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Advanced fees for immigration reform work banned

The new law signed last month by Gov. Jerry Brown targets scams aimed at undocumented immigrants. Attorneys and immigration consultants can no longer charge upfront fees for federal immigration reform services until Congress passes legislation.

Bar’s first Latino president makes history,
new trustees take oaths

Luis Rodriguez swearing inState Bar President Luis J. Rodriguez took the helm of the Board of Trustees last month as its first Latino president in 87 years. His leadership comes as the governor signed sweeping legislation affecting undocumented immigrants, including granting driver’s licenses and making them eligible to practice law. Five brand new trustees also took their oaths.

Board creates new provider review,
leaves 25-hour MCLE rule intact

New rules adopted last month stop short of upping the requirement for 25 hours of Minimum Continuing Legal Education every three years. Trustees did adopt a new “competence issues" requirement to help lawyers spot substance abuse and mental and physical health issues that could damage their ability to practice. The rules also create a formal audit system for providers.

Board asks for next steps in competency training plan

Jon StreeterWith the goal of better preparing new lawyers to enter the profession, the State Bar ‘s Board of Trustees gave the go-ahead last month to new practical training requirements as well as a committee that will decide how to carry them out. Former president Jon Streeter will chair the committee.

Panel postpones decision on three-day bar exam

Cutting one day from California’s three-day bar exam will have to wait. Other major bar projects and the upcoming move of Los Angeles office last month prompted the Committee of Bar Examiners to postpone the idea indefinitely.

Supreme Court will review
licensing undocumented immigrants in 2014

Although Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a new law that allows immigrants to become eligible for a State Bar license, the California Supreme Court wants time to review the idea that they can be admitted. The court’s review of the law was prompted by a controversial case brought by Mexican immigrant Sergio C. Garcia, whose application for admission to the bar was approved by the Committee of Bar Examiners.

Disgraced journalist Stephen Glass
makes appeal to Supreme Court

The Supreme Court delves into the question of whether a former journalist who faked stories and lied to cover it up has rehabilitated himself enough to receive a law license. Stephen Glass’ application was denied by the Committee of Bar Examiners, but he drew the support of the State Bar Court.