GOVERNOR SIGNS STATE BAR FEE BILL

MEDIA CONTACT:  Diane Curtis   415-538-2028   diane.curtis@calbar.ca.gov

San Francisco, January 25, 2010 — Gov. Schwarzenegger today signed the 2010 State Bar fee bill.

Fee statements for the $410 yearly fees for active members will be sent out immediately with a due date of March 1. Inactive members pay $125.

"We are grateful to the governor for signing the State Bar 2010 fee bill. He has helped us to focus on issues and matters that are important to the State Bar," said State Bar President Howard Miller. "We also want to thank the legislative leadership that has been so supportive and forthcoming. This entire period has strengthened the State Bar and given us important missions and goals that we now can actively achieve."

Schwarzenegger vetoed the fee bill in October, citing as one reason a leak that one of his judicial nominees, former State Sen. Chuck Poochigian, was rated "not qualified" by the Committee on Judicial Nominees Evaluation (JNE). (Poochigan was later confirmed as an appellate court judge.) Miller created a task force to investigate the leak.

The task force, led by William Gailey, a Schwarzenegger appointee to the State Bar board and head of a private investigation firm, issued a report last month saying that despite an extensive investigation, it could not identify who leaked the information.

Schwarzenegger also had criticized the bar for a state audit that found inefficiencies and the embezzlement of $675,000 by a former employee. To deal with these issues, the State Bar for the first time hired a special audit firm to report directly to its Audit Committee, chaired by public board member and Inspector General of California, Laura Chick.

Founded in 1927 by the legislature, the State Bar of California is an administrative arm of the California Supreme Court, serving the public and seeking to improve the justice system for more than 80 years. All lawyers practicing law in California must be members of the State Bar. By January 2010, membership reached more than 226,000.