Answer the call for MCLE evaluation
In June 1999, former State Bar president Ray Marshall appointed an
MCLE evaluation commission to examine all aspects of the MCLE program. David Heilbron, a
past State Bar president, is leading the commission on its mission.
To date, the commission has done tremendous work gathering
information. In addition to meeting three times, it has studied materials from other
states, surveyed a sample of MCLE providers and conducted six public forums across the
state. So that the commission receives information from our members, the board of
governors has authorized the commission to conduct a telephone survey of a representative
sample of members. However, this is an area where every member should take the time to
voice an opinion.
I urge each of you to take the time to send your views to: MCLE
Evaluation Comment, c/o: California Bar Journal, 180 Howard Street, San Francisco 94105.
MCLE is an area that touches every lawyer licensed to practice in California. The views
from lawyers all over the state, in all sizes of practice, is critical to both the
commissions and the boards examination of the MCLE program.
James R. Jay Greiner
State Bar Board of Governors, Sacramento
Lets walk together down the MJP path
I was very interested in Palmer Maddens artful position that
corporate counsel are so over-qualified as lawyers that they need not be asked
to take our bar in order to practice in this state. Once one starts making such a list, we
can quickly add such categories as retired judges and lawyers who work for multistate law
firms. Let us see, why that just leaves the small practitioners who should not be allowed
to move from state to state.
In any organization, the organized always try to discriminate against
the unorganized. So it is no shock that those who influence our bar are trying to project
special rights for corporate lawyers and the like. To mangle a quote that resides in the
back regions of my mind: The danger is not that evil people discriminate; the danger
is that good and decent people find just and proper reasons to discriminate.
We shouldnt use the multijurisdictional practice issue to
discriminate against any California lawyer because of the practice type or firm size or
whether they are of a non-ABA school or not. My suggestion is that we all bite the ethical
bullet and walk down the multijurisdictional practice path together.
William B. Briggs
Involuntary servitude, before or after admission?
State Bar vice president Paul Hokokian has apparently called for
every law student to perform a minimum number of service hours possibly 300
at a nonprofit or government agency as a new requirement for admission to the bar.
In addition to having to survive law school and pass the rigorous
California bar, Mr. Hokokian now wishes to impose a term of involuntary servitude on
individuals who wish to become members of the bar. As an experienced attorney, Mr.
Hokokian should know that the involuntary servitude generally comes after admission to the
Robert. W. Lazzarini
The inequity of exemptions
As a lawyer who has practiced some 42 years in California, I have
always thought that professional competence required continuing education, particularly in
fields beyond my specialty, for responsible counseling mandates the ability to recognize
legal issues in related areas of the law and direct clients to those specializing in those
areas of practice.
While I dislike being coerced to comply with a requirement that I
would otherwise fulfill as a responsible professional, that which will pique my
displeasure are circumstances when such compliance is not uniformly applied. I see no
distinction between lawyers practicing in the private sector and those whose practice is
under the umbrella of the government. By what standard was it decided that a deputy
district attorney would not benefit from a mandatory course in ethics and substance abuse,
and by the same token, who decided that those on the bench were so all knowing that their
legal education could cease?
We all know who set the standards and made the decision, the same
lawyers who as judges would be required to recuse jurisdiction over a similar matter on
the basis of a conflict of interest. The old story of the wolf guarding the henhouse.
John Carpenter Otto
Scramble bar numbers to avoid age bias
The State Bar number for individual attorneys should be scrambled to
not readily reveal the approximate year of the attorneys bar admission. The
sequential numbering system makes newer attorneys subject to possible bias by forcing them
to advertise their new admission to the bar.
The federal courts in New York use the last four digits of Social
Security numbers as an individual attorneys number. How about using the first three
letters of the last name plus the last four digits of Social Security numbers? Better yet,
let the computer experts scramble the numbers and start assigning non-revealing numbers.
CBJ costs you nothing
My interest was aroused by an arch reply to a letter in the June
issue critical of the content of a Los Angeles Times editorial which was reprinted. The
letters author seemed to be of the opinion that the State Bar ought to be terminated
and expressed the hope that our bar dues are not employed in paying for the Bar Journal,
concluding with the observation that it is not worth anything to me. You
replied, And it costs you nothing.
My questions: Is that right? How is the California Bar Journal
funded? Entirely from advertising? Does this include the salaries of editorial staff,
photographers, contributing writers, etc?
Yes, that is right.
California Bar Journal advertising revenue pays for all staff salaries, production and
mailing of the paper, contributors, ad reps, art and photography, phones, overhead,
travel, including any indirect costs to the bar, such as human resources, payroll,
building security, electricity, etc. In addition, the Bar Journal generally turns a profit
last year $172,000 which goes directly into the bars general fund.
California Bar Journal invites its readers to send letters on any
topic. All letters must include full name 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 Francisco, CA
94105-1639; fax to 415/538-2247; or e-mail: email@example.com.