to the

Let's all join together to share the pro bono load

As a sole practitioner whose creditors decline to contribute their premises, supplies and services to assist in the "pro bono" efforts of lawyers (as advocated by Chief Justice Ronald George), I would find the proposal more attractive if the justices, judges, court clerks, bailiffs and supporting court personnel would also contribute their time, without recompense, to the obviously noble endeavor of dispensing justice to the poor. I look forward to hearing of the first such volunteer.

Allan W. Wallace

Attorneys are paying
too much for legal CDs

I read with great interest John Michael O'Connor's letter last month regarding the exorbitant cost of legal CDs. I think he is right on point. As he suggested, if we follow Jesse Jackson's approach and the 120,000 active bar members threaten to boycott any publisher who charges an unreasonable price, it would make a difference. I would feel much more comfortable if the dues I paid to the bar were used to protect attorneys from gouging and public criticism, as opposed to punishing an attorney who was cruel to his animal or to conduct sexual orientation training.

Michael B. Rainey
Woodland Hills

Give retired attorneys
a break on MCLE

Proposed new section 6.1.6 of MCLE rules and regulations would permit state and federal employees to provide pro bono services without MCLE "base touching." Thus, it appears there is a question as to the need or desirability for MCLE compliance by a limited number of attorneys. Why? Are state and federal lawyers so much more qualified than other lawyers? Absolutely not! Yet, retired attorneys are required to take boring, unnecessary MCLE courses if they wish to devote their time and skills to do pro bono work. Shouldn't the proposed new section include exemption for retired lawyers who practiced more than (choose one) 20, 30, 40 or 50 years? I for one see no distinction (and no purpose) in taking MCLE courses to permit my doing pro bono work.

Jerry S. Berk
Los Angeles

Towery deserves thanks for bar dues decrease

By now, every California attorney has received his or her 1997 bar dues statement. With minimal fanfare, the 1996 Board of Governors decided to reduce bar dues for the first time ever. This is a great accomplishment that should be heralded. Former State Bar President Jim Towery deserves substantial recognition for this fee reduction. I was a strong supporter of the unified bar during the plebiscite campaign. Nevertheless, I recognize that financial efficiencies can be accomplished. I hope that the 1997 board will continue to search for ways to make the State Bar more efficient.

Paul S. Hokokian, President
Fresno County Bar Association

Forego -- or forgo?
Just forget it . . .

The front page headline in the December issue of the Bar Journal announces bar applicants who "forego" law school. The article is about people who "forgo" law school.

Although my old dictionary refers to forego as a variant of forgo, the variant arose because many people often confuse forgo with the transitive and intransitive verb forego, in the sense of one thing's preceding another -- a word rarely used except for a foregone conclusion.

Forgo has the Anglo Saxon root "for," indicating a neglect or refusal to do something, as in forbear, forbid, forfeit, forfend, forget, forgive, forlorn, forsake, forsooth and forswear.

The article was about people who neglected or refused to go to law school, right?

Thomas E. Anderson

We forego comment.

Who else can we offend?

I am a New York City legal secretary and first-time reader of your journal. I write to respectfully suggest an immediate self-assessment test for the person who chose the cartoon that ran in your November 1996 issue. Where is the humor in the thinly veiled denigration of women and mental health professionals? In my opinion, its measure of malice was only surpassed by the obvious ignorance of its creator.

Marie A. Colasuonno
Fort Lee, N.J.

Misfits and felons who happen to be lawyers

I have been retired from the active practice of law for the last three years and elected to go on inactive status next year. Before leaving active status, I feel compelled to comment on two matters, discipline and dues, which have disturbed me for many years.

After reading the monthly discipline summaries in the Bar Journal, it appears the bar is becoming a refuge for societal misfits and felons who also happen to be lawyers. Of the 24 suspensions and four interim suspensions listed in the November issue, approximately 90 percent should have been disbarred permanently.

For example, why should a convicted child molester or burglar be not forthwith disbarred?

The bar also seems to be engaging in the treatment of members' personal problems rather than protecting the public from incompetent lawyers. In the area of dues, it concerns me that our funds are being spent on such programs as the committee on sexual orientation.

The bar should significantly reduce dues and prioritize what functions and programs are truly necessary to insure that intelligent, reasonably competent and ethical persons are admitted and allowed to practice law.

Daniel J. Kirk
Santa Maria

Letters to the Editor

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 (only the city or town will be used in print). All letters are subject to editing, and no anonymous letters will be printed. Send letters to Editor, California Bar Journal, 555 Franklin St., San Francisco, CA 94102-4498; fax to 415/561-8247; or e-mail: calbarj@ix.netcom. com.