California Bar Journal
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At home with lawyers...

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Piling on one more liability for lawyers

Diane Karpman had a depressing message for me and other lawyers: We can be at risk for a malpractice action if we should make a special  appearance for a friend or anyone else (September California Bar Journal). Do appellate justices leave reality, common sense, and sometimes justice behind when they mount the bench? I suggest that such a rule protects no one, but helps vexatious litigants to expand their list of possible defendants.

Adding to a lawyer’s overhead means more pro per parties.  The burden on the legal profession of holding the specially appearing lawyer liable for the work of the attorney of record can be significant,  while the protection to the clients is de minimis, if not imaginary.

Shades of Smith v. Lewis and Yarborough.

Don Condren
Carmel Valley

Getting respect the old-fashioned way: Earn it 

In the July issue, Jaenam Coe suggests that State Bar membership numbers should be scrambled so that brand new lawyers would not be subject to “possible bias by forcing them to advertise their new admission to the bar.”

I assume Coe is one of these recent admittees.

Just what prejudice could occur when a prospective client or employer knows that they are dealing with a lawyer who is wet behind the ears.

What a great fraud on the public this suggestion would accomplish. Why not also allow newcomers to claim that they are also experienced and seasoned specialists or experts in a particular area?

I hope that Coe develops some humility and realizes that the law is a craft that has to be learned and continued to be honed after admission, and that a few gray hairs do count for something. Let Coe earn his or her respect from clients by performance and dedication and not by trying to pull the wool over the public’s eyes. We were all new once.

Theodore A. Cohen
Beverly Hills