Judges Still Payin’ Their Dues?

For retirees, these judges are full of spit and vinegar.

For nearly a year, judges who have left the bench to practice mediation and arbitration have been in an uproar over a State Bar proposal to place them on the organization’s active lawyer rolls and start charging them dues.

Last week, the State Bar and the California Judges Association took a step back and decided to try to work things out. State Bar President James Heiting said Friday that representatives from the CJA and the Bar’s Board of Governors have agreed to sit down within the next month and discuss an alternative CJA proposal that could grant retired judges a “special status? Bar membership.

In return, he said, CJA President Terry Friedman has agreed to encourage retired judges doing alternative dispute resolution to pay 2006 dues of $395 in the meantime. State Bar officials said about 250 retired judges now work in the ADR field, 114 of them at JAMS.

State Bar leaders have maintained that requiring retired judges to be on active status is a longstanding policy that just hasn’t been enforced.

Friedland, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, said Friday that retired judges don’t object to paying dues or taking classes, but worry that they could be construed as practicing law if they are doing ADR work. “That’s not only incorrect,? he said, “but raises liability or malpractice concerns.?

— Mike McKee


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