|Prior mismanagement cause of bar's ills
Marshall's article blaming Gov. Wilson's veto for a host of ills (August, California Bar
Journal) is disappointing and frustrating, but not surprising. Heaven forbid the bar
bureaucracy take any responsibility for a wake-up call that was long in coming. Such
sentiment suggests that those in charge have learned nothing from the bar's prior
As for Mr. Marshall's reference to "California's model attorney discipline
system," I cannot say how often I have read the Bar Journal's discipline section and
been shocked and angered by what an attorney can do without outright disbarment. Public
relations is about all that justifies mandatory CLE (even for most lawyers who truly buy
into the MCLE marketing charade).
Where is our profession's public image concern when it comes to what we allow a corrupt
or incompetent lawyer to get away with? If the bar wants to boost public confidence in the
legal profession, let it do better weeding out those who should not be practicing law. Let
it also realize that the fundamental problems with these unfortunate license-holders will
not be cured by a two-hour seminar in ethics or law practice management.
On a different note, multidisciplinary practices (MDPs) would invite another problem
plaguing the medical profession: licensed personnel supervising too many non-licensed
personnel. Imagine a firm where, in addition to his or her own work, one attorney must
supervise the work of 10 paralegals. Now imagine not 10 paralegals but 10 paralegal
assistants. No attorney in their right mind would want this kind of responsibility.
Todd M. Moreno
Getting more aggressive to set the record straight
Every year those lawyers aspiring to be the leader of the State Bar discuss their goals
for the coming year. Often they mention that one of their goals is to improve the
reputation of the attorneys in this state. This goal, however noble, seems to have a short
shelf life and falls by the wayside as other more pressing issues take priority.
I would urge all those involved in the State Bar to read the article by Carl Heintze in
the opinion section of the August California Bar Journal. His article was an honest, fair,
eloquent statement about what lawyers do and who they are. Finally we hear a voice that
could and should be heard far more often.
Are the leaders listening? I certainly hope so, because if we are ever going to change
public opinion, it will only come when we become more aggressive about setting the record
Christopher P. Rugaard
Time for humans to assume responsibility
It sickens me as an attorney and human being to see not only the lawsuits being filed
against gun companies, but the moralizing behind those lawsuits (July Opinion, California
Bar Journal). Guns are weapons that by definition are meant to be dangerous. However, they
present no danger until they are loaded and placed in the hands of human beings.
This issue is but one of many examples. When are we as human beings going to start
assuming responsibility for ourselves and our actions, instead of always looking for
someone else to blame? The simple truth is that until we do start taking responsibility
for our own actions and mistakes, the moral fiber of our society will continue its
downward spiral, all the while hiding behind a facade of righteousness.
After guns, will we then decide to sue the knife manufacturers?
C. Brian Martin
A novel idea for states to eliminate taxes
Since the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in Florida Prepaid v. College Savings Bank
that states cannot be sued on infringement claims, state legislatures across the country
should seriously consider manufacturing patented products of all shapes and sizes for
revenue purposes. This could be so successful that it could lead to the total elimination
of all state and local taxes.
And, if states are immune from patent infringement suits, why should they not also be
immune from copyright infringement suits? In that case, states could begin producing
knockoffs of best-selling novels, the latest computer software programs, and . . . well,
the list is endless.
Seriously, while this idea might be politically unfeasible in California, that is not
necessarily so in smaller states like Mississippi and Wyoming, which have no significant
constituency possessing either patents or copyrights that need protection.