To become a lawyer, Whitnie McVay Henderson juggled
full-time law school at night and a full-time job running an Oakland career program for
inner city teenagers by day all while raising her 8-year-old son.
Initially, I thought Id be able to afford to do it,
the 37-year-old single mother recalls. I knew things would be tight, but Id
just make do.
Then, after just one year at San Francisco Law School, Henderson lost
her job to de-funding. But with the help of a $7,500 scholarship from the Foundation of
the State Bar of California, the largest of several scholarships awarded to Henderson, she
was able to continue her studies, raise her academic standing to second in her class and
accept a judicial internship in Alameda.
As in the past, attorneys can include a donation to the foundation
this year when paying their State Bar fees. In addition, they can choose to contribute to
the Conference of Delegates, which proposes changes in the law to improve the justice
system. And they can join a State Bar special section for the educational and networking
benefits. The bars fee statement packet sent to more than 170,000 attorneys
last month highlights all three options as ways in which attorneys can voluntarily
support their profession.
The summary disbarment statute requiring an
automatic loss of license for attorneys convicted of certain felonies involving moral
turpitude seems likely to survive two challenges heard by the California Supreme Court.
The justices appeared unmoved by arguments last month that the
handful of lawyers who face such punishment each year should be allowed to explain their
actions to the State Bar Court rather than be disbarred without a hearing.
grilled Ellen Pansky, the South Pasadena attorney representing two convicted lawyers,
about issues ranging from what constitutes moral turpitude to the legislatures
intent when it enacted the summary disbarment statute. Panskys argu-
Looking back on 92-year-old Walter Gordons life, you might say that the
course of his 63-year legal career was set by two attractive young ladies and a couple of
bowls of chili.
Slim, as he was known back in the late 1920s, was working
in one of the chili and bean parlors popular in Los Angeles at the time when two young
teachers vacationing from Ohio stopped by for a bite to eat.
I found out they made $22 a day and I only made $16 a week,
said Gordon. So I decided I wanted to be a teacher.
headed off to college at Ohio State University, but along the way changed his course as he
became intrigued by the legal profession. In 1936, after a stint on the Law Review
editorial board, he graduated from Ohio State University Law School, ready to make his