Greater use of the Internet will save
the bar money
The single greatest impediment to obtaining quality legal services
for an average Joe or Jane is the absence of single practitioners,
and small, low overhead firms to serve this market. These also just happen to be the
groups that receive the fewest services from the bar.
Here are two suggestions to make the State Bar a useful organization,
servicing the true needs of its members and the public, and two suggestions to save the
1. Under bar auspices, publish all appellate and Supreme Court
decisions for free on the Internet.
2. Retain experts to write, and keep up to date, volumes on specific
topics. Publish these works for free on the Internet.
3. Publish the Journal only on the Internet. This will save trees,
money and time. Those who want to read it will do so.
4. Move the bar offices. San Francisco is one of the most expensive
places to live in the country. A smaller city, like Fresno, would allow the bar to pay
lower office expenses and staff salaries, while allowing staff to save money on
What about FDR?
How can anyone with any sense of history place Dwight Eisenhower in
the top five (Presidents Column, December Bar Journal), much less place him ahead of
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, without whom neither Eisenhower nor Churchill would have had an
opportunity to make any significant impact on history?
FDR was our finest president, successfully dealing with the two most
catastrophic events in our history, the Great Depression and World War II.
If bar President Andrew Guilford is going to pick an Indian, has he
heard of Gandhi, clearly the equal of both Martin Luther King and Mother Theresa,
John A. Lefcourte
The greatest list omits Lenin, Stalin and
Andrew Guilford begins by failing to understand what the word
great means. It does not mean good or moral. Rather it means large, big or
important. The three most important men of this century are Lenin, Stalin and Hitler, in
Beyond these three, we come to the first leaders who could be called
moral as well as great, Roosevelt, Churchill, Ronald Reagan. Roosevelt and Churchill are
there because they defeated Hitler, and Reagan because he defeated communism.
If Guilford really feels it is necessary to choose a black man for
his list, why not Nelson Mandela, who is a great leader, or Malcolm X, who rose from
racism and bigotry to being a great leader.
Mother Theresa too is out of place. She was a moral individual, but
not a leader, and as such she had no significant influence on the course of world events.
More kudos for Joseph Ball
In reciting Joseph A. Balls impressive resume (November Bar
Journal), you failed to mention that he was the very first recipient, in April 1994, of
the Litigation Section of the State Bars annual Trial Lawyer Hall of
Fame award. The award reflects the excellence of the recipients entire career,
which distinguishes it from some of the trial lawyer of the year awards given
by other organizations. The Litigation Section is pleased that Mr. Balls stellar
career was also recognized by the State Bar in the granting of the Bernard E. Witkin
Robert S. Gerber
Chair, State Bar Litigation Section
Question to the court: Is that spit, or is it rain?
It is no great surprise that the California Supreme Court, employing
the well-worn Rational Basis Test, upheld the MCLE program in its entirety.
I have noticed over the past 10 years that this particular court has
a penchant for deciding what result it wants and then writing the opinion to justify it.
Obviously, result-oriented decisions appear to be more important than carefully reasoned
The rational basis test, of course, has been a vehicle the courts
have employed in order to massage facts and evidence into a pre-determined result.
The fact of the matter is there is no rational basis for some members
of the bar being forced to sit through worthless continuing education classes while others
The state Supreme Court can shout from the mountaintops that its
opinion is justified based upon precedent all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. Such
gamesmanship is the equivalent of spitting on my neck and trying to convince me that
Robert L. Kelley