The participation of all State Bar members is encouraged. From time to time, the board may appoint public members (i.e., representatives of other professions, members of the public, or attorneys who are not admitted in California). The State Bar complies with all applicable anti-discrimination laws in its appointment process.
- Applicants may apply to a maximum of three committees but can be appointed to only one committee.
- Committee members may not serve on more than one committee at any one time unless an exception is authorized by the Board.
- Applicants for appointment to a section executive committee must be members of that section in order to be eligible for appointment; the level of the applicant's involvement in the section's activities is also a factor taken into consideration.
- Lawyer applicants to the legal specialization entities must be certified specialists unless otherwise specified in the description.
- In no case shall the board appoint a person who is subject to disciplinary probation.
- Due consideration will be given in the appointment process to the budget impact of any additional costs that may be incurred by the State Bar due to the service of out-of-state members.
- Specific requirements for individual committees are noted in the committee descriptions.
Factors that militate against appointment, but are weighed among other factors, are:
- if a lawyer appointment, whether there is any public information known to the State Bar about the applicant or a record of public discipline imposed;
- whether any other member of applicant's firm is on the entity; and
- whether the applicant previously served on the entity.
Members generally are appointed to serve three-year terms. A few committees have two-year or four-year terms.
On occasion, the board may appoint a member to fill an unexpired vacancy (i.e., the appointee serves only the remaining portion of the term of the member who resigned).
The State Bar's committee year runs from Annual Meeting to Annual Meeting. The 2013-14 committee year starts at the close of the 2013 State Bar Annual Meeting, Oct. 13, 2013, and ends at the close of the 2014 State Bar Annual Meeting, Sept. 14, 2014. The 2013-14 terms commence at the close of the 2013 State Bar Annual Meeting.
- Committees differ in the number of meetings scheduled in a year, but a typical meeting requires two to four hours of preparation and four to six hours of attendance.
- The meeting locations generally alternate between San Francisco and Los Angeles, and some meetings may be conducted by conference call.
- Most committees require members to have a current e-mail address to receive committee communications; some also require a fax.
- An additional time commitment may be required for special tasks and projects.
- Committee members take an oath of office and receive no compensation for services.
- Committee members may be reimbursed for approved travel expenses, such as mileage and airfares, in accordance with the State Bar's travel policy and the committee's budget.
The application period for the 2013-14 appointments begins in the fall, and the deadline for receipt of the applications for most committees is Feb. 1, 2013. A few committees have deadlines between Feb. 1 and June 3 (see below). Every applicant must submit the 2013-14 State Bar application form. All applications, including letters of recommendation, must be submitted to the State Bar's Appointments Office at 180 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94105-1639.
Deadline for 2013 applications:
- Feb. 1, 2013: ABA House of Delegates, Judicial Council, and the State Bar's Standing, Section Executive and Special Committees
- Feb. 15, 2013: Council on Access and Fairness
- April 2, 2013: Committee on Mandatory Fee Arbitration, Solo and Small Firm Section Executive Committee
- May 1, 2013: Committee on Professional Liability Insurance, Committee on Group Insurance Programs
- June 3, 2013: Client Security Fund Commission, Legal Services Trust Fund Commission, 2014 Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation (JNE), the JNE Review Committee, and the 2014 Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP) Oversight Committee
The committees review the appointment applications in the spring and forward their recommendations for appointment to the Board of Trustees' appointments committee, the Nominations and Appointments Committee (NAC). NAC will consider the appointments between May and August. The board usually makes the appointments at its May and July meetings. The ultimate authority to make appointments rests with the Board of Trustees.
Applicants normally are notified of the board's appointments not later than the last day of the State Bar Annual Meeting (i.e., Oct. 13, 2013). Those appointed are notified as early as possible following the board's July meeting to allow their participation at the State Bar's Annual Meeting. Any applicant who does not receive notification by Oct. 13, 2013, should contact the Appointments Office. Applications of those not selected are kept on file for approximately one year to consider for vacancies that may arise during the committee year.