Monday, January 7, 2002
State Bar Seeking Comment on Possible MCLE Changes, Two Other Proposals
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The State Bar of California is calling for comment on a proposal to eliminate the topic of emotional distress as a required subject area for lawyers’ Minimum Continuing Legal Education.
Current MCLE rules, which require 25 hours of continuing legal education every 36 months for most attorneys, mandate at least one hour in the area of prevention, detection and treatment of substance abuse and emotional distress. The proposal, if adopted, would keep intact the substance abuse portion of the rule but delete the emotional distress component.
The State Bar is not backing away from substance abuse education, and in fact has recently implemented an intervention program for lawyers suffering addictions or other substance problems.
But classes in emotional distress prevention and management would not longer count toward either the special substance abuse requirement or the general hourly total.
A State Bar MCLE Evaluation Commission recommended elimination of the emotional distress requirement in a report issued in July 2001.
Any lawyer or member of the public wishing to offer comment on the proposed change should contact Dina DiLoreto in the State Bar’s Office of Certification. Comments may be mailed to DiLoreto at 180 Howard St., San Francisco, CA 94105-1639, faxed to (415) 538-2180, or e-mailed to email@example.com.
Deadline for comments is 5 p.m., Thursday March 7, 2002.
Corporate Representation Proposal
The State Bar also is seeking comment on a proposed formal opinion from the Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct on the duties of a lawyer who represents both a corporation as outside counsel and an officer of that corporation individually.
The proposed opinion is based on a hypothetical situation in which such a lawyer receives information concerning conduct by the officer that exposes the corporation to potential liability.
The proposed opinion states, in essence, that if the information came from the officer, or in the course of representing the officer, the lawyer must protect it as a client secret. If the information comes to the lawyer in some other manner, the lawyer’s duty of undivided loyalty to the officer prevents the lawyer from advising the corporation concerning the officer’s alleged behavior, since such advice would be adverse to the officer.
The lawyer must withdraw from representation of the corporation if the duty of competent representation requires advising the corporation but the duty to the officer prevents such disclosure.
The lawyer would not be required to withdraw from representation of the officer.
The proposed opinion is numbered Interim No. 95-0005 and interprets Business and Professions Code Sec. 6068(e) and Rules 3-110, 3-310, 3-500 and 3-700 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
It was tentatively approved, subject to comments, by the professional responsibility panel on Aug. 10, 2001.
Comments are due by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2002. They should be directed to Audrey Collins at the State Bar Office of Professional Competence, Planning and Development, 180 Howard St., San Francisco, CA 94105-1639.
ABA Delegate Proposal
The State Bar is in the final stage of collection comments on a proposal to diversify its representation in the American Bar Association House of Delegates.
The State Bar’s delegation currently is made up of 11 members, one of which must be 35 or younger at the start of the two-year term.
The proposal would keep that young lawyer requirement but also mandate up to two delegates to include the most immediate past member of the ABA Board of Governors and any immediate past officer of the ABA from California; two members without substantial ABA volunteer experience but with leadership and other valuable experience; and six members with “substantial bar experience” and whose appointments are “typical of other State Bar appointments.”
Comments, due Jan. 22, should be directed to Karen Hagelund, Appointments Office, Atate Bar of California, 180 Howard St., San Francisco, CA 94105-1639. Faxes may be sent to (415) 538-2255.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company