Share this on Twitter Share this on Facebook Share this on Linked In Share this by Email
California Bar Foundation
You Need to Know

Don’t miss the deadline for fee payment, MCLE compliance

Annual license fees for members of the State Bar are due Feb. 1. The fees are $430 for active attorneys and $155 for inactive attorneys.

Failure to pay fees by the deadline will trigger a $100 late payment penalty for active lawyers and a $30 penalty for inactive lawyers.

Those attorneys whose last names start with A-G (Group 1) also have a Feb. 1 deadline to report completion of their 25 hours of Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE). The late fee for missing that deadline is $75.

Fees can be paid and MCLE compliance can be reported online by logging on to My State Bar Profile. Please note: After Feb. 1, My State Bar Profile will be temporarily unavailable while late penalties are assessed.

The fee bill includes contributions to the Client Security Fund, disciplinary activities and the Lawyer Assistance Program. Fees are waived for inactive attorneys who have turned 70 years old by Feb. 1.

Lawyers also have the opportunity to donate to the Justice Gap Fund (recommended donation $100), the California Bar Foundation ($50 recommended donation), the ($35 recommended donation) and the California Supreme Court Historical Society ($25 donation recommended). In addition, they can deduct up to $40 that would otherwise go to legal aid, $5 designated for lobbying and $5 designated for the elimination of bias fund.

Active lawyers with qualifying income levels are eligible for a 25-percent reduction in the membership fee. To qualify, a lawyer must declare a total gross annual individual income from all sources of less than $40,000 in 2015.

Join the Pro Bono Practice Program

The State Bar's Pro Bono Practice Program (PBPP), previously known as the Emeritus Attorney Pro Bono Program, affords opportunities for retired attorneys, as well as those who are taking a temporary break from the active practice of law, to assist low-income Californians on a pro bono basis. The program takes advantage of the legal skills, training and experience of attorneys from all practice areas and settings and offers them the opportunity to contribute their legal expertise to California's neediest residents while receiving valuable State Bar benefits.

Eligible participants will receive a waiver of the active State Bar membership fee and have access to free and reduced rates to attend MCLE programs sponsored by the State Bar, the Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) and Practising Law Institute.

To learn more, visit

Apply for appointment to the Board of Trustees

The California Supreme Court State Bar Trustees Nominating Committee is accepting applications through March 18 from those interested in serving a three-year term.

The Supreme Court appoints five people to the board and two of those seats will be vacant in 2016. The appointee will be sworn into office in October for a three-year term.

More information, along with the application form, is available online:

Volunteer opportunities available at State Bar

Applications are being accepted for dozens of volunteer positions that are coming available next year through the State Bar.

The State Bar’s Board of Trustees appoints members to 10 standing committees, 16 section executive committees and 21 special committees, boards and commissions, along with five outside entities.

More information about all of the 2016-17 appointments, as well as a link to the online application, is available on the appointments page of the State Bar's website.

Applications also are available by writing to the appointments office, State Bar of California, 180 Howard St., San Francisco, CA 94105-1639, or by calling 415-538-2370.

Most of the volunteer positions carry a three-year term and the application deadline for most appointments is Jan. 29. Applicants may apply to as many as three committees, but can be appointed to only one. The Board of Trustees will make the appointments next summer, and committee terms begin in October.

Nominate your favorite pro bono lawyer for an award

The State Bar Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services (SCDLS) is accepting nominations for the President’s Pro Bono Awards and the Loren Miller Legal Services Award. The awards recognize extraordinary service to low-income Californians. The deadline is March 15.

Guidelines for submitting the electronic nomination form for both the Loren Miller Award and Pro Bono Awards are provided on the State Bar’s website at The 2016 awards will be presented at a reception on Sept. 30 during the State Bar Annual Meeting in San Diego. 

CRLA seeking attorneys to join board

The State Bar’s Office of Legal Services is accepting applications from attorneys interested in filling one vacant position on the board of California Rural Legal Assistance(CRLA). The deadline to apply is Jan. 29.

CRLA is a nonprofit that provides legal assistance to the rural poor. Interested applicants should apply by letter to Louisa Ayrapetyan, the State Bar of California, Office of Legal Services, 180 Howard St., San Francisco, CA 94105. The applications should also include a resume that outlines work experience, community activity and educational background. For questions, call Ayrapetyan at 415-538-2534 or email

Legal ethics and technology resource page is online

The general Ethics Information page on the State Bar website has an area dedicated to attorney ethics ― a collection of resources that address professional responsibility issues raised by the use of websites, email, chat rooms and other technologies. The resources include advisory ethics opinions, articles and MCLE programs.

Most of the resources are internal links to other pages on the bar’s website and some are external links to local or specialty bar associations. The page is organized both by the type of resource (ethics opinion, article, etc.) and by subject matter (law firm websites, electronic files, social networking, etc.).

The resources focus on providing basic legal research leads on how the rules apply to new technologies rather than specific law office systems, hardware or software options. For the latter, see the resources in the State Bar’s Law Practice Management & Technology Section.

Register a law corporation

Law corporations are required to register with both the California Secretary of State and the State Bar of California under Corporations Code Section 13404. Registration requirements are set forth in Business & Professions Code Sections 6160 and 6161.

Rules and application materials are available on the State Bar website. Information required to register a law corporation includes:

  • Proof of registration with the Secretary of State
  • Submission of bylaws and a sample share certificate containing the appropriate restrictions on share ownership
  • A completed application that reports all the attorneys who are associated with the corporation
  • Submission of the Guarantee for Claims in the appropriate amount
  • A Declaration of Compliance with Rule 1-400

Limited Liability Partnerships providing legal services are also required to register with the State Bar. If not registered, attorneys should be particularly aware of California Corporations Code Section 16306(f), which specifically removes the protection from liability for claims based upon legal work.

Before registering with the Secretary of State, be sure to check with the State Bar to determine if the entity name complies with rules and has not already been registered. Additional information is available at the Law Corporations page, LLP page or the Law Office Management page. For questions or help, send an email to

Create a surrogacy agreement

A sample “Agreement to Close Law Practice in the Future” is available on the State Bar website for attorneys who want to plan for the possibility they will not be able to continue to work. The sample agreement, available to all lawyers, spells out the responsibilities of the primary attorney and his or her successor in the case of death or incapacity.

If a lawyer designates a successor using the new sample contract, the designated surrogate goes to court for appointment as the practice administrator who can take control and dispose of the practice. A lengthy list of duties is part of the contract and includes the ability to open mail, become a signatory on bank accounts, notify clients and transfer files, pay bills and handle funds and accept the original attorney’s clients and cases. The practice administrator also would have the power to sell the practice.

Feeling stressed? The Lawyer Assistance Program can help

Attorneys struggling to cope with the stress of a challenging economic environment, a health issue or a difficult employment situation are invited to contact the Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP), which now offers new support programs in addition to its traditional help with substance abuse and depression. Support is offered for issues like stress, relationship and personal problems, grief and anxiety.

The LAP is designed for attorneys who might wish to participate in a weekly group with other lawyers and would like the support of a mental health professional (group facilitator) or a trained peer counselor who is familiar with attorneys’ particular challenges.

The LAP also offers a free Orientation and Assessment (O&A) to any attorney who wants professional assistance to cope with personal or work problems, substance abuse, health or mental health issues. The O&A provides a confidential assessment completed by one of the LAP clinicians located throughout the state. Referrals to outside resources and an opportunity to participate in a LAP group for a short period of time also are provided. There is no fee for this service.

Interested attorneys should call 877-LAP-4-HELP (877-527-4435) or contact All calls are confidential.

Subscribe to the Daily News Digest

In between monthly issues of the Bar Journal, you can keep up with the major legal news of the day by visiting the new Daily News Digest on the Bar Journal’s home page. The State Bar’s Office of Communications scours the day’s news and culls top headlines of interest to legal professionals. You may also subscribe by visiting the Daily News Digest web page.

Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn

Stay informed by following @StateBarCA on Twitter and the State Bar of California page on LinkedIn. We’ll give you a heads up about important regulatory information and let you know about other happenings at the State Bar or within the legal community. 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 through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Opt out of lists

Attorneys who wish to remove their names from lists the State Bar provides to qualified outside entities may do so by logging on to My State Bar Profile. Go to “account information” and select “update my mailing preferences (opt out).”