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Bar Leader Weekly

Issue 219 | September 2

Huge Changes to Arizona's Legal Regulatory Framework

Arizona Supreme Court Approves Task Force Recommendations on Fee Sharing, Nonlawyer Investment, Limited Legal Services by Paraprofessionals
On August 27, the Arizona Supreme Court announced that it had approved what it called "far-reaching changes," effective January 1, 2021, that arose from the court's Task Force on the Delivery of Legal Services. One of the most significant changes will allow for a licensure process for nonlawyers, to be called legal paraprofessionals, who can then provide limited legal services, including going to court with their clients. Another change that many were closely watching is the elimination of a rule barring lawyers from fee sharing and nonlawyers from having an economic interest in a law firm. A press release from the court offers more details about these and other changes, the regulatory framework that will be established to support them, and why Arizona Supreme Court Justice Robert Brutinel believes these changes will allow more people to access legal advice and help at prices they can afford.

Bar Exam News: Florida Allows Temporary Practice Under Supervision, California Considers Making Lowered Cut Score Retroactive to 2015
Last week, the Florida Supreme Court issued an order that will allow certain applicants for the August bar exam (rescheduled from July and now postponed until October) to temporarily practice under supervision. The court stopped short of what was asked in a recent petition by a group of Florida lawyers, which was that recent law school graduates be permanently licensed without taking the bar exam. What are the requirements for this supervised practice program, and how long will applicants be allowed to practice before they must pass the bar exam? Find out at Bloomberg Law. Also last week, the California Assembly Judiciary Committee passed a resolution to make the recently lowered bar exam cut score in that state retroactive to July 2015; currently, the lowered threshold passing score applies only to this year and beyond. The resolution, whose stated intention is to open up the profession to applicants who would be competent lawyers and were unnecessarily weeded out, was scheduled for a full Assembly vote before the session ended on August 31. Check Courthouse News Service for an update.

State Bar of California Diversity Report Reveals Gaps, Black Lawyers Share Why They Left Big Law
The State Bar of California's Report Card on the Diversity of the Legal Profession, released earlier this summer, paints a sobering picture when it comes to women lawyers and lawyers of color. While women make up 42 percent of California's total lawyer population, only 21 percent of them make partner, according to the report. Also, while 60 percent of the state's overall population identifies as people of color, 68 percent of lawyers in California identify as white. North Bay Business Journal highlights more figures from this report, as well as insights from several lawyers in its area. California is by no means alone in its diversity shortfall, and the world of Big Law is often said to have a particularly high attrition rate among lawyers of color. According to several Black lawyers who spoke with The American Lawyer, the conditions that drove them away included frustration with unwritten social rules, struggles to build a book of business, and less forgiveness toward their mistakes than toward those made by white colleagues. What proactive steps could have encouraged them to stay?

Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Cookbook a Tasty Way to Honor Voting Rights, Suffragists
A handwritten recipe for spinach squares from Sandra Day O'Connor. A favorite apple squash soup from National Public Radio legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg. Pizza with pesto and sweet corn from international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney. Are you getting hungry?or even just curious? These recipes and many more are available in an online cookbook to celebrate the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment, a nod to similar cookbooks that suffragists themselves put together to gain support for women's right to vote. An ABA news item shares how to access the cookbook, as well as well as a recent online video program that helped mark the centennial and the amendment's continuing importance today.

Board Catalyst Webinar on September 23 Offers Practical Governance Advice for an Era with No Roadmap
The pandemic and our reckoning with racial inequity following the death of George Floyd have raised numerous new governance issues for our bar organizations. Many of us have found ourselves in novel, thorny territory. On September 23, from 2:00pm to 2:45pm Eastern, a panel of experienced bar leaders will discuss this new landscape, including governance roles that may have shifted during the emergency, what strategy looks like in this moment of uncertainty, and the bar's reputation and action during this time of increased social awareness and activism. Register today and bring your questions as we grapple with these complicated governance issues. Also, please note: In light of the pandemic, the ABA Division for Bar Services has established a new pricing structure for Board Catalyst. Through the end of 2020, your entire board can access Board Catalyst webinars at a total cost of $50 per program, and access to the Board Catalyst short videos that cover board basics is complimentary.

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