California Bar Journal
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California Bar Journal

The State Bar of California


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Front Page - April 1999
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Legal specialist exam set Aug. 19
Sullivan to take reins at Stanford Law School
Only two appointed members remaining on State Bar board
Legal services board has five vacancies
Davis taps Michael Kahn
State Bar honors Justice Mosk with Witkin Medal
Board tentatively approves budget based on dues of $384
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If it distracts, so be it
Let's cut back on jury service
Limit bar to admissions and discipline
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From the President - Door to justice must be open
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Letters to the Editor
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Law Practice - Preparing for a successful mediation
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Appointments - Apply to serve on a bar committee
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Legal Tech - DSL speeds up Internet - at a reasonable price
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New Products & Services
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MCLE Self-Study
Taxes and long-term care
Self-Assessment Test
MCLE Calendar of Events
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Trials Digest
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Ethics Byte - Fiduciary duties basis for all rules
Attorney nabbed at State Bar offices for soliciting murders
Attorney Discipline
Ethics for the 21st Century - A canon for the future
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Public Comment


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Were the good old days really all that better?

Am I the only one suspicious of older lawyers who bemoan in editorials what they describe as the "erosion of professionalism?" Are you one of the old guard who pine for the dissension-free days of a predominantly white male bar?

If so, cuddle up with Schware v. Board of Bar Examiners, 60 N.Mex. 304, 291 P.2d 607 (1955), for a trip down memory lane. Or perhaps you'd rather reminisce about the halcyon days when established attorneys conservatively concentrated power in their own hands, stifled competition, and kept fees artificially inflated by unconstitutionally restraining the speech of new lawyers seeking work by - gasp - advertising?

Today is imperfect, but the golden era probably never existed. Query also whether the elders' grievances are the result, at least in part, of their feeling threatened by newer lawyers who are more - take your pick - (i) competitive; (ii) efficient; (iii) diligent; (iv) risk-taking - or perhaps less homogeneous - or maybe simply not male.

Established citizens in the U.S. throughout history have looked with disdain at the next wave of unwashed, uncouth immigrants. Is their disdain qualitatively different from Dr. Phillip C. Stone's editorial in January? Have I irritated my elders by talking back? Am I therefore part of the problem Dr. Stone describes?

Richard Briones-Colman
Corrales, N.M.

No apologies, please

I just read the first two paragraphs of the February opinion column from State Bar President Ray Marshall, and that is as far as I could go. He seems to be apologizing for the board of governors because they cannot give refunds for, or otherwise give credit for, voluntary dues payments made last year, from the special assessment for the discipline activities allowed by the Supreme Court.

Am I missing something? Did he and the board want to use discipline money for refunds? If that is the case, then obviously the special assessment for discipline activities is too high because the money must not be needed for discipline activities.

Here we go again. Our bar is a joke.

Curtis C. Welke
Kokomo, Ind.

A business or a profession

I read George Kraw's column in the February issue, and all I can say is, right on!

It's long past time for the legal consumer's interest to be put ahead of the attorney's if we would purport to be performing a public service. If we're not, we're just a business like any other and it's time to pass the regulatory reins over to the Depart-ment of Consumer Affairs and stop this pretense of being above everyone else.

John Covell
San Francisco

An onerous nuisance

Todd M. Mareno's letter in March is right on the ball.

It has always been my belief that a lawyer should, on his or her own, keep current with respect to matters relative to his or her practice. Being compelled to attend MCLE, which may perhaps be acronymized as "mandatory continuing lawyer exploitation," is an onerous and expensive nuisance.

If MCLE is eliminated, it will be interesting to see how many of the bar-created businesses which produce and market the continuing education programs continue to flourish. I detect that very few of us will continue to purchase their wares.

William H. Hoogs
Santa Maria