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You Need to Know

Vote by June 30 for the board of governors

June 30 is the last day to vote for candidates for the State Bar Board of Governors. Seventeen candidates are running for three-year terms in the five open seats. The bar is conducting a “hybrid” election in which voters can choose whether to vote electronically or with a traditional mail-in ballot. Winners will take their seats in September and serve three-year terms.

The candidates are:

Questions about the election or requests for replacement ballots may be addressed to

JNE Commission is looking for new members

Active members of the State Bar, former members of the judiciary and members of the public who are interested in volunteering to serve on the 2012 Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation (JNE) may apply for an appointment. The application deadline has been extended to June 15.

Lawyer commissioners must be members of the bar in good standing, with a preference for those in practice 10 years or more. Consideration is given to lawyers with substantial litigation, trial and/or appellate experience. The commission also may include one or more former members of the judiciary; those with appellate backgrounds are encouraged to apply. The time commitment is 40 hours each month.

JNE evaluates candidates for judicial appointment, maintaining a strict code of confidentiality.

The commission continues to use electronic rating forms for judicial candidates in an effort to generate more responses, relieve commissioners of administrative burdens and reduce postage. Raters are able to complete the form in a matter of minutes. Testing of electronic forms began last year and forms were successfully transmitted to active bar members in northern and southern California.

Questions and comments about the new process may be sent to

Advanced fee arb training scheduled in Los Angeles

An advanced training for current volunteers who arbitrate attorney-client fee disputes through the State Bar and Los Angeles-area bar associations will be offered July 28. The free session will focus on writing the award. Non-lawyers also are invited to attend. Participants will receive two hours of MCLE credit, including a half-hour of legal ethics.

The training also will address conflicts of interest and professional negligence, reasonable versus unconscionable fees, interest on fee refunds, and avoiding the appearance of bias.

The training will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the State Bar offices, 1149 South Hill St., Los Angeles. Registration begins at 3:30.

To reserve a spot, contact Susan Carlson, 415-538-2056 or  Questions (not RSVP) may be addressed to Doug Hull at 415-538-2015.

Law corporations and LLPs must be registered

Law corporations are required to register with both the California Secretary of State and the State Bar of California under Corporations Code §13404. Registration requirements are set forth in Business & Professions Code §§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; and
  • 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 §16306(f), which specifically removes the protection from liability for claims based upon legal work.

Prior to registering with the Secretary of State, it is advisable to check with the State Bar to ensure that 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. Assistance is available at

Legal services board has one vacancy

A southern California legal services agency that serves both Orange County and east Los Angeles is looking for an attorney to fill a vacancy on its board. Applicants who practice in Orange County are preferred for the opening at the Legal Aid Society of Orange County (LASOC) and Community Legal Services in Southeast Los Angeles County.

The board of directors meets 10 to 12 times a year; the term for the vacant position is three years.

Interested attorneys should submit a letter and resume, including work experience, community activity, educational background and bar number, to Chris Zupanovich, 180 Howard St., San Francisco, CA 94105-1639. Questions may be directed to 415- 538-2534 or

Solo and small firm summit set for June

Solo and small firm practitioners can get advice for managing their law practice, building a successful client referral network and strategies for building a thriving practice at the 2011 Solo and Small Firm Summit. Scheduled for June 23-25 at the Anaheim Marriott Hotel, the event will offer a technology lab, ethics hotline live “by satellite” and CLE programs in substantive areas most common to solo or small firm practitioners. 

Attorneys can earn up to 10 hours of continuing legal education by attending courses that address issues like ethical risks in cyberspace, managing risk at a small firm, your practice as a retirement asset and employment relationships in a social media environment.

The early registration deadline is June 16 and can be completed online. Registration information is available at 415-538-2508. For program content information or special assistance call 415-538-2467.

Create a surrogacy agreement

An “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 will have the power to sell the practice.

Legal specialist exam set for October 

The certified legal specialist exam will be given October 25 in Pasadena and Oakland. Attorneys with three or more years of experience may sit for the exam in one of 13 areas of law: admiralty and maritime; appellate, civil; appellate, criminal; bankruptcy; criminal law, state; criminal law, federal; estate planning, trust and probate; family; franchise and distribution; immigration and nationality; legal malpractice; taxation; and workers’ compensation. 

Certification is a two-step process. In addition to passing the exam, specialists must demonstrate a high level of experience in the specialty field, practice in the specialty for five years (though they can take the test at three years), fulfill ongoing education requirements, and be favorably evaluated by other attorneys and judges familiar with their work. 

Attorneys will have at least 18 months after passing the exam to complete these requirements, but they can begin tracking requirements for this portion of the process from their first day in practice using sample applications located on the website under each area of law.

The registration deadline for the exam is Sept. 26. The exam, given every other year, consists of 75 multiple-choice questions and eight short essays. For a limited time, new specialties in admiralty and legal malpractice have an alternate route to certification, replacing the exam with additional requirements. In addition, immigration and nationality standards have been updated to accommodate practice realities for business immigration lawyers.

Bar foundation is looking for board members and a new chief

The California Bar Foundation is seeking applications for several positions on its Board of Directors for terms beginning Jan. 1. In addition, executive director Leslie Hatamiya is stepping down at the end of the summer, and the foundation is recruiting her successor.

Attorneys, judges and members of the public who have a demonstrated interest in and commitment to the foundation’s charitable mission, who have previous board, public or community service, and/or who are knowledgeable about charitable fundraising are encouraged to apply for the board of directors. 

The California Bar Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization affiliated with the State Bar of California, dedicated to building a better justice system for all Californians. Through gifts from lawyers, law firms and other donors, the foundation distributes grants for law-related projects and scholarships for students pursuing public interest careers, and supports other educational programs. More information about the foundation is available at

Members of the board serve two-year terms and are expected to attend approximately five board meetings per year, participate on at least two committees and possibly attend other events. They also are expected to participate in fundraising and annually make a personally significant financial contribution to the foundation. 

The application deadline is Aug. 12. Applicants must submit a resume and statement of interest by mail, fax or email to: Leslie Hatamiya, Executive Director, California Bar Foundation, 180 Howard St., San Francisco, CA 94105; 415-856-0788 (fax); Appointments will be made by the State Bar Board of Governors in November.

Annual Meeting set for Sept. 15-18 in Long Beach

The State Bar Annual Meeting will take place Sept. 15-18 in Long Beach, offering participants an opportunity to complete their MCLE requirements in one weekend. Focused educational tracks will be offered as well as classes in the required sub-fields and legal specialization credit. The meeting also will feature luncheons with well-known speakers, receptions, award ceremonies, a run/power walk, an annual art show and more.

Details, including registration information, will be online soon. For more information, contact 415-538-2210 or email Theresa Raglen or Carol Zlongst.

Feeling stressed? The Lawyer Assistance Program can help

Attorneys struggling to cope with the stress of a challenging economic environment or a difficult employment situation are invited to contact the Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP). The program offers support for issues like stress, relationship and personal problems, grief and anxiety, in addition to traditional help with substance abuse and depression.

Support 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 an Orientation & Assessment (O&A) to any attorney who wants professional assistance to cope with personal and work problems, substance abuse or other mental health issues. The O&A provides a confidential assessment completed by an LAP clinician. Referrals to outside resources and an opportunity to participate in a LAP group for a short period of time also are provided. The service is free.

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

Member benefits from CalBar Connect

CalBar Connect, part of the bar’s member services and benefits initiative, provides discounts to all State Bar members. In June, attorneys can take advantage of Hertz special offers to save up to $30 on weekend rentals and use discount CDP# 67649 for additional savings of up to 25 percent on all rentals.

A 20 percent discount also is offered on floral or gift arrangements at using discount code 61G.

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).”

Members also may email their opt-out request to

Include your bar number.