State Bar “Sections” to Separate from the State Bar, Effective as Early as January 1, 2018

From Jim Hill, Chairman of the Business Law Section of the State Bar:

The bar restructuring legislation, SB 36, passed unanimously in the Senate and has been sent to the Assembly for its consideration in the early days of the summer.  If all stays on track, we are looking for the Sections to emerge into the new entity as early as January 1, 2018.

The summary of Senate Bill 36 provides:   

This bill would establish the California Bar Sections Association as a private, nonprofit corporation, which would be governed by a board of governors.  The bill would provide that the association is a voluntary association, is not part of the State Bar, is prohibited from being funded by membership fees, and is not considered a state, local, or other public body for any purpose.  The bill would require the board of governors to, among other things, adopt a dues schedule for membership in the association.  The bill would require the State Bar to, among other things, collect voluntary dues set by the association with the annual membership fee and to pay any such voluntary dues collected to the association.  The bill would prohibit the State Bar from having sections and would transfer the existing sections of the State Bar to the association, as specified.  The bill would prohibit the State Bar from providing educational programs or materials by which members may satisfy continuing education requirements, except as provided, and would require the association to provide and develop low-cost continuing education programs and materials.  The bill would make various findings and declarations.

My understanding is that there were/are those who believe that the State Bar had a conflict in that it is supposed to be disciplining attorneys at the same time it is cozying up to them selling MCLE products.  So a separation of the two functions will eliminate the conflict.

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