Piling on one more liability for
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 lawyers 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.
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 publics eyes.
We were all new once.
Theodore A. Cohen