California Bar Journal
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California Bar Journal

The State Bar of California


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Front Page - February 2000
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News Briefs
Appeal court denies bar's petition to reverse Brosterhous
Fee bill introduced
Bar fee arb program gears up
David Bryson, Loren Miller recipient, dies at 58
Board to name one to Judicial Council
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You Need to Know
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From the President - For our system to work, we need to be involved
Let's let public lawyers take a seat at the table
The illusion of a cosmetic fix
Letters to the Editor
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MCLE Self-Study
The Supreme Court and the ADA
Self-Assessment Test
MCLE Calendar of Events
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Access commission seeks members for 2 positions
Apply to serve on a bar committee
Bar seeks applicants for ABA delegates
Judge evaluation positions open
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Ethics Byte - 'Rampant' conflicts in a new economy
Attorney suspected of soliciting murder of bar prosecutor
Attorney Discipline
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Legal Tech - If the hype is right, ASPs are H-O-T
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Public Comment


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How to tell you've really been bad...Rose Bird: An inspiration who will be sorely missed

I for one shall miss Rose Bird as one of the great lights in the midst of death with her decisions on the death penalty, the poor, the weak, the underprivileged. Her dissents were and are an inspiration and become more brilliant with the passage of time.

Her views on the death penalty were absolutely on target that only the poor, the uneducated, the minorities are usually the ones put to death. (Come to Texas where death reigns supreme and whose people have the moral sensitivity of goats.) Cardinal Roger Mahony has much penance to do for humiliation of this great public figure.

She was right on the unconsitutionality of Proposition 12. Why else do you think that California’s educational system has gone from one of the best to almost last?

She was right in her position that public employees have as much right to strike as anyone else, and she continued to serve the poor and the underprivilieged even after her public humiliation.

She suffered for many years without complaint with her cancer. She bore it with dignity and resignation. I wept bitter tears at her death, but rejoice greatly that God graced me in my life with the honor of knowing her as a person and as a public servant of the very first order.

She will always be in my heart and in my prayers.

Peter J. Riga

Wake up and pursue something you enjoy

After reading Richard Zanassi’s review of Steven Keeva’s book (December California Bar Journal) about finding balance in the practice of law, I felt compelled to write. During my 15 years of practice, I actually achieved balance: I rarely took work home, I took time to smell the roses, I tried to be a problem solver, not a shark. Nonetheless, the practice of law was a constant disappointment.

Let’s face it: Between ungrateful clients, arrogant judges, impossible peers and the long hours of drudgery, the practice of law leaves much to be desired. My decision in June to leave the profession and to do something I like (redevelopment of historic properties) has been a pure blessing.

Lawyers of the world, wake up! The practice will only get worse. Do you see yourself doing this for the next 20 years?

Forget trying to find a balance. If you don’t like the law, get out of the profession entirely. Only then can you experience the joy of using your intelligence for something creative, meaningful and fun.

Of course, if you don’t mind being a harassed, stressed out, parasitic functionary, stay right at that desk.

Scott A. Burton
Danville, Va.


California Bar Journal invites its readers to send letters on any topic. All letters must be signed with a daytime telephone number and complete address. All letters are subject to editing, and no anonymous letters will be printed. Send letters to Editor, California Bar Journal, 180 Howard St., San Fran-cisco, CA 94105-1639; fax to 415/538-2247; or e-mail: