Paralegals pose bigger threat than web lawyers
After reading Leslie Walkers article on the various state bar
associations fear of unauthorized practice of law by attorneys giving advice over
the Internet, it occurred to me that all bar associations, especially the State Bar of
California, should worry more about the unauthorized practice of law by so-called paralegals
and document preparation services who are clearly giving legal advice despite
their lack of training and qualifications, and are, in many instances, doing a disservice
to their clients by preparing and filing poor and inadequate legal documents.
What is our bar association doing to protect us and the consumer from
this form of unauthorized practice of law?
Christopher L. Mahan
Inequitable discipline frustrates honest lawyers
The February issue contains reports of exactly the type of thing
which frustrates all honest lawyers and leads to the conclusion that those running the
State Bar are not really trying to help us with the practice of law.
The discipline article describes the outrageous, bad faith behavior
of a licensee which led to his public denigration by judges and 37 impositions of
sanctions for filing repeated frivolous actions. In comparison, the next report was about
a licensee who let his client trust account fall below the proper amount.
The two results provided a shockingly disappointing comparison. The
former licensee received a 30-day suspension, while the latter received a three-year
suspension. Common sense and professional self-protection obviously require revocation of
the first perpetrators privilege to practice law, but that is not what happened.
This report seems to describe practices we can prohibit; an
unprofessional image of lawyers we can fix by cleaning our own house. Isnt there
something we, individual lawyers, or collectively as a State Bar, can do to fix our
clearly broken system?
James L. Walker IV
Personal responsibility: The goal of legal reform
I would like to respond to the musings and ramblings of Esther
Lardent (January Bar Journal).
I believe the system needs radical (at the roots) restructuring. But
I am talking about the entire system beginning with the institutions our
citizens are educated in. For most, this is the government
(public) school system. The system where mediocrity is the goal and an A is
awarded for merely attempting that goal.
People who are uninformed and ignorant will always need help solving
their day-to-day problems. It is a wonder to me were not asked to help clients fill
out drivers license applications and insurance forms more often than we are.
And of course, one can never be expected to be responsible for his
actions if for years he is taught that someone else is responsible for his situation. This
combination of ignorance and inability to take responsibility for their own actions
guarantees that any legal system will be a failure for many of our citizens.
Walter David Herbert
In search of moral center
Thanks to Stephen Reed for his understanding of and then writing such
a clear piece identifying the problem with our culture, e.g., the lack of a
moral center. The problem is furthered by the lack of agreement that there is one (he
notes the findings that show two-thirds of Ameri-cans do not believe in moral absolutes or
in absolute truth) or should be one. Mr. Reed correctly points out that . . . the
next phase should be a serious and principled discussion of how to redevelop cultural
consensus around fundamental issues of right and wrong . . . He has my support and
Thomas M. Holliday
A man who takes great pride in his profession
In response to the February letter of Scott Burton: I have practiced
law in California for almost 50 years. After all those years, I still believe our
profession is to be counted among the noble ones, providing an almost
unmatched opportunity to do some good in this world. To be able to work with clients in
addressing their problems, trying to find fair, reasonable and equitable solutions that
are acceptable to the parties, and being (mostly) paid for those efforts, provides a
lifetime of rewarding activity that is not measured just in money.
Yes, I have at times felt harassed and there is always some degree of
stress. But I would not trade it for any other occupation.
For those who do not take pride in what they have the power to
accomplish, or those who do not recognize the intangible rewards possible from their
efforts, or those who cannot stand the heat, I guess the answer is to get out of the
kitchen, as Mr. Bur-ton has done. Such a step would prob-ably be a favor to the existing
and potential clients of any attorney with such an attitude toward the profession.
Bruce F. Bunker
Will the bar ever learn?
I see the State Bar has learned nothing from the prior years
tribulations. There it was on the bottom of page 3 (February Bar Journal) Appeal Court Denies Bars Petition to
Reverse Brosterhous. And who represented the State Bar none but the most
liberal, leftist law firm in the state. Who authorized the filing of that mandate
Ronald T. Golan
The board of governors
authorizes all such actions.