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You Need to Know

Save the date for the State Bar’s ethics symposium April 21

The State Bar’s 21st annual ethics symposium will take place on Friday, April 21 at the Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. Sponsored by the State Bar of California’s Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct (COPRAC), the symposium provides advanced programs for attorneys in all practice areas who are interested in cutting-edge legal ethics issues.

  • Among the planned panel topics:
  • Analysis of the significant changes made by the proposed new rules of professional conduct
  • Recent developments concerning the attorney/client privilege
  • Ethics, civility and professionalism in the courtroom: a disciplinary perspective
  • Scope and limits of Evidence Code section 958

Attendees at the all-day event can earn five hours of Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) credit in legal ethics. Registration information will be available in March. Questions may be addressed to Lauren McCurdy at 415-538-2107 or lauren.mccurdy@calbar.ca.gov.

Apply for appointment to the Board of Trustees

Those interested in serving on the State Bar Board of Trustees may apply for appointment to a three-year term by the California Supreme Court. Two board positions will be filled through this process in 2017. The deadline to apply is March 17. See more information about how to apply.

Applicants sought for election to Board of Trustees

Nominating petitions are available for attorneys interested in running for election to the State Bar’s Board of Trustees in Districts 2 and 6.

District 2 covers Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. District 6 covers Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Any attorney licensed by the State Bar of California with active status and who maintains their principal law office in the district is eligible to run.

Nominating petitions are due April 3. Voting will take place online and by mail in May and June. The election winners will begin their three-year terms at the State Bar Annual Meeting Sept. 21-22 in Los Angeles.

Registration opens for legal specialist exam

Attorneys practicing in their specialty area of law since at least January 2016 who are interested in being certified as a specialist by the State Bar of California may now register for the next one-day legal specialist examination given on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017.

Special pricing for registration will be offered this year. The examination registration fee is $100 if valid payment is received on or before May 1. The fee increases to $250 on May 2 and to $350 on Sept. 2. The laptop option can also be added this year at no charge, allowing test-takers to type essay answers. Registration closes on Oct. 2.

The exam is offered every other year and is open to attorneys who have practiced in one of 11 designated specialty areas since January 2016 and who are able to complete the experience, education and reference requirements by January 2021. The morning portion of the exam contains eight short essays, while the afternoon session contains 75 multiple-choice questions in the specialty.

The bar offers free preparation packets on its website to help attorneys gauge how much study is needed. For more information, see the California Board of Legal Specialization (CBLS) web page.

Follow the State Bar on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

Stay informed by following the State Bar on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn. We’ll give you a heads up about important regulatory information and let you know about other happenings at the State Bar. If you’re seeking information relevant to your particular practice area, the State Bar’s voluntary sections and the California Young Lawyers Association also have a presence on social media.

Opt out of sharing certain information

As of Jan. 1, 2016 the State Bar of California is subject to the California Public Records Act (CPRA). For more information regarding the impact of CPRA on the bar’s obligation to release member information, please log on to My State Bar Profile. Go to “account information” and select “update my mailing preferences (opt out).”

Have your voice heard in evaluating judges

The State Bar commission that evaluates the governor’s candidates for judgeships is seeking the help of attorneys to solicit information electronically.

The Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation, commonly known as the JNE (“Jenny”) Commission uses email to gather comments, but continues to encounter one barrier: the spam filter. Most of JNE’s emails reach their intended recipients. However, some are blocked.

Attorneys can solve this problem by authorizing the spam filters serving their email address listed with the State Bar to accept the following email address: jneccf@calbar.ca.gov. Those who work in legal offices, public agencies and the court system can help by asking their IT specialists to authorize the JNE email address for all spam filters serving office computers.

The electronic comment forms are identical to the written forms. A hyperlink in the email takes the commenter to a website where a form identical to the written comment form can be completed electronically. The electronic comments are maintained confidentially, with access only by investigating commissioners and staff. Questions and comments about the process can be directed to jneccf@calbar.ca.gov.

Ethics rules book available for e-reader

To make it easier for lawyers to readily identify and address legal ethics issues, the State Bar has published an e-reader version of the Rules of Professional Conduct and the State Bar Act. The e-reader version of the rule book is compatible with the Kindle Reader App, a free e-reader application available for iPads, iPhones, Blackberry phones, Android phones, MacBooks and PC laptops. The book also works on all versions of Amazon.com’s Kindle.

The 2015 edition of the e-Reader version of the rule book is available on Amazon.com for $6.99, a significant discount from the price of the print version. It offers several useful features including a search function, bookmarking, highlighting and annotating. In addition, once downloaded to a tablet, smart phone or other compatible device, the book can be accessed at any time, even without the Internet or a cellular data signal.

The bar’s rule book has been published for more than 65 years. The 30-page edition published in 1949 has grown to more than 400 hard copy pages. In addition to the rules and State Bar Act, the book includes other related authorities such as selected Rules of Court, code sections, the Federal Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule, the State Bar Pro Bono Resolution, the Lawyer Referral Service rules, MCLE rules and more.

Attorney benefits from CalBar Connect

CalBar Connect, which provides discounts to all State Bar members, also offers a variety of insurance plans including professional liability insuranceworkers’ compensation insurancegroup and individual disability planslife insurance, accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D), autohome and business office plans.