|President Raymond C. Marshall's letter accompanying the 1999 fee
information does not comfort me concerning the attitude and thus the direction and efforts
of the State Bar administration. The letter does not recognize, let alone address, the
fundamental reason for the bar's present problems: its social and political activities.
these perhaps may be subsumed under "entire bar programs" eliminated, the
example he cited, the Ethics Hotline, appears to evidence the effort of the State Bar to
make it appear that the issue is funding for discipline and related matters, not the bar's
political and social agenda, which is the real target of the ire of the general
It would be much more
satisfactory to me and, I think, to other members of the "silent majority," were
Mr. Marshall to pledge unequivocally to restrict the activities of the mandatory bar to
admissions and discipline, including perhaps the related subject of continuing competency.
As I read Mr. Marshall's letter, however, if a dues bill is enacted, the State Bar will go
back to business as usual. This impression is strengthened by his message in the December
California Bar Journal: "All parts of the State Bar family . . . must remain part of
the family." On the contrary, complete separation is required.
The administration of the State Bar falls by default into the hands of activists
precisely because the silent majority who want the bar to restrict its activities to
admissions and discipline are silent and are not active and see it as unreasonable to be
required to become "active" themselves simply to prevent the hijacking of their
bar dues. As a consequence, with no one without an ax to grind running for office, the
board of governors tends to be composed of those who have an agenda.
Even when it became apparent from the small percentage of members voluntarily paying
dues that a majority of California lawyers want the State Bar to restrict its functions,
the bar administration refused to do so, continuing to spend on its social and political
programs. It then blamed the bankruptcy of the disciplinary system on the dues revolt,
rather than on its refusal to give up its ideological projects.
If the bar engaged only in admissions and discipline activities, there would be a
Bar dues would be significantly lower;
Members would not have their dues money spent
paying for things they do not support; and
There would be no dues revolt.
Mr. Marshall could pledge to limit the bar's function just to admissions and discipline
and the bar's problems would shortly disappear.
Darrell Glahn is of counsel with Glahn &
Hirschfield in Stockton.