|Lawyers face extinction
I think we have
done enough damage to our profession during my 45 years as a member of the bar without the
help of the ABA. At the rate we are going, the legal profession - as a profession - will
soon become another endangered species.
We have already surrendered participation in the real estate industry to the brokers,
escrow and title companies. We divorced ourselves from ordinary no-fault domestic
dissolutions and handed them to independent money-making paralegals.
Corporate trustees now dominate trust estates which at one time were the exclusive
domain of attorneys at law. Their erasing of the once-mandatory annual accounting to their
beneficiaries further booted lawyers out of court.
Attorneys' fees are now in the triple-digit dollar-per-hour level, leaving ordinary
working citizens without our services.
Now, we face extinction by dilution in partnership with other disciplines. Is our
once-honored profession now lodged in courts or is it one of the vegetable stands in the
Charles F. Day
MDPs pose a real threat
One need only look at the medical profession and the proliferation of non-doctor-owned
HMOs to see what the future of law would be with MDPs. Non-attorneys, who owe no ethical
obligation to the client and have no understanding of the importance of rules of
professional conduct, will be making case management decisions based upon the bottom line.
Attorneys, like doctors now, will be at the mercy of non-attorney owners who one can
assume are primarily motivated by the profit potential for MDPs, not serving the best
interest of the client.
While attorneys are also profit-motivated, most attorneys I know have on many occasions
taken pro bono cases or continued to vigorously represent a client on a non-profitable
case out of a sense of client loyalty, professional responsibility and a desire to further
justice. While we attorneys may not be perfect, most of us have a very real commitment to
put the interests of our clients first and to be in control of the decisions that affect
our clients' legal rights.
To argue that MDPs should be allowed because "everyone is doing it anyway"
and the Rules of Profes-sional Conduct barring such conduct are not enforced is specious
reasoning reminiscent of a teenager rationalizing his way out of restriction. To further
argue that attorney opposition is based upon "turf protection" is a slap in the
face to the profession as a whole.
MDPs threaten the basic principals of what it means to be an attorney.
Susan K. Chelsea
MDPs will lead to a downward spin
The hallmark of any professional is independence, both apparent and real. Incestuous
relationships between attorneys and other personal advisors - bankers, accountants,
realtors, etc. - destroy that independence and import economic motives that can compete
with a client's best interests.
MDP is simply another downward rung on the ladder we seem bent on descending, from the
dignity of a true profession into the mire of crass provision of commercial services with
little regard for the duty to independently analyze our clients' needs and situations and
provide sound, untainted advice.
Anti-gun lawsuits won't keep us safe
Erwin Chemerinksy's support of lawsuits by cities and victims of gun accidents holding
gunmakers liable for the negligence of gun owners where no defect is present in their
products (July Opinion) is troubling. A totally safe gun is an oxymoron; it could not
carry out the purpose for its use - firing a projectile - without some risk of harm if
Furthermore, his premise that ". . . firearms have a devastating impact on
American society," while a not-unreasonable response to the horrifying figure of
1,500 annual accidental firearms deaths, is nevertheless unsupported by empirical
evidence. When one actually checks the facts of the matter, it is seen that firearms are
in fact surprisingly safe compared to all other dangers inherent in life.
When nearly 29 times more Americans are killed in automobile accidents than from
accidental shootings, and nearly 59 times more Americans die from pneumonia or flu than
from accidental shootings, and 483 times more Americans die from heart disease than from
accidental shootings, perhaps our efforts are better directed at encouraging seatbelt use,
regular immunizations, proper diet and exercise than advocating blackmail-by-litigation in
pursuit of a fairy tale dream of a society completely free from harm.
Would you like some cheese with that whine?
I was insulted by H.L. Young's remarks (July letters) that lawyers are whining and
being lazy. There is a big difference between laziness and wasting time on useless courses
that are only there to make money for the course providers.
I also don't understand his logic regarding the exemptions. A retired judge, who is not
a retired lawyer, would presumably have clients. Often law professors have outside
practices and even if they don't, their "clients" are the students. As for
government officials, the most ludicrous exemption of all, the clients are you and me, the
Non-ABA law school grads beware of bar's neglect
Yet another shocking example of how the State Bar neglects its members is the plight of
members who are graduates of non-ABA law schools. Move out of the state and you can no
longer be an attorney!
Only Oregon and the District of Columbia bars afford any status to non-ABA-graduate
California attorneys. But what has the bar done to remedy this grossly unfair situation?
Nada, nothing, not a thing.
Apparently being licensed to practice in California is not good enough for the vast
majority of states.
Any non-ABA law school graduate who supports the current bar structure must truly be
defective since the bar supports this patently unfair status quo through its tacit
acceptance of second class status for a sizable minority of its members.
Lawyers should prepare for the unthinkable
Ellen Peck provides many valuable insights in the column, "The Disabled
Practitioner." Naturally, many California bar members need to be aware of
circumstances in which they or their partners could no longer practice. I would hope there
would be equal awareness of a more common situation: where someone becomes disabled and
could not practice. Unfortunately, we've all been too slow to make the adaptations
necessary for smooth transition to practice with a disability. I fear that because of a
perception that the transition might not be smooth, lawyers in California and elsewhere
may take the easier choice, which would be not to practice.