|What will bar leadership do with MCLE results?
that the California Bar Journal MCLE survey has shown that at least 75 percent of the
respondents do not feel that exemptions should be permitted for full-time professors,
officers and elected state officials, and retired judges, it should be interesting to see
what the State Bar leadership does with the results.
Will they respond positively to the clear desires of their members, or will they ignore
the survey because it conflicts with their agenda?
MCLE can't cure the lazy
The argument goes: "Good law-yers educate themselves," "MCLE is virtuous
. . .," and "An expensive exercise . . ."
Active lawyers and judges who do their work, who read the law for its reasons and not
for its rule, are constantly educating themselves. Legal instincts are thus sharpened.
Those who have no curiosity - who are not self-motivated - will likely not understand the
law and its reasons. MCLE can't cure the dull shortcomings of those who enroll just to
"get their numbers."
Ethics are learned from parents, teachers and from those who taught us the importance
of reputation and fairness. Ethics is a part of being a professional. Ethics seem to
escape those who are immersed in self-aggrandizement and those focused on money. MCLE
can't change that. The issue is character, not text.
Each year there are basic developments in the law that all legal professionals should
know, regardless of specialty. These developments, where local or national, should be the
minimum required focus of MCLE. Further, all should be enrolled in a minimum program,
whether lawyer, judge, educator. Some will benefit; others will not.
James H. Disney
IOLTA money for clients a bookkeeping nightmare
Allan W. Wallace (June letters) insists that interest on trust account funds belongs to
the client and should be paid to the client. My trust account includes funds from several
hundred clients, for each of whom I am holding between $250 and $500. The interest on the
account last month was $22.62, paid to the State Bar.
The clients should certainly get this money. You can see that each client is entitled
to one or two pennies, or perhaps a fraction of a cent, each month. If a client's
contribution increased or decreased during the month, the calculation would be more
It should not take more than half a day each month to account for the interest and
apply it to each client's funds. Would Allan W. Wallace be willing to drop by my office
and do the bookkeeping?
Michael V. Mahoney
Gun safety mechanisms are not effective
Your July 1999 issue has an opinion that lawsuits relying "on traditional product
safety law" allege "gun manufacturers have failed to place adequate safety
mechanisms on guns, including child safety locks and devices that allow only the owner to
fire the gun." However, child safety locks have been available for years, and devices
that allow only the owner to fire the gun do not exist even now. Since I am not a tort
lawyer, but one who sometimes attempts to justify their existence to non-lawyer friends,
please help me with explaining how it is "traditional" for products safety law
to rely on what is just not so.
Do I need to support my allegations? I can, but you published the allegations to the
contrary without support.
Gun manufacturers think child safety locks are a good thing because the manufacturers
make a little proft on each one. However, the locks are not effective because those who
want a loaded gun handy do not put on a child safety lock, and those who really want
safety unload the gun and keep the gun and its ammunition locked up in different
locations. Also, a child safety lock - or a device that allows only the owner to fire the
gun - will not stop one with some time and tools - a successful thief or anyone 10 or
older who is mechanically inclined.
Stephen J. Church
Guns don't pose a public health risk
The actual statistics on firearms death can be found in the Statistical Abstract of the
United States, and relevant statistical comparison as well. The reported accidental death
per year from firearms since 1980 is less than 1,000. From handguns it is less than 250.
In 1995, the accidental deaths from all firearms was 992, and from handguns 233. Compared
to other causes of death by accidents, this rate is miniscule. Accidental deaths from
handguns are the lowest of all causes listed, and firearms are near the bottom for causes
of accidental death.
Thus, "countless individuals" are not being destroyed by firearms, and no
"tragic toll" of deaths exists to justify any lawsuits against the firearms'
manufacturers. There is no public health threat and no reason to expend time and resources
on this misguided crusade.
The opinion written by Erwin Chemerinsky is an attempt to poison the well of public
opinion. The thrust of the suits against the firearms manufacturers is that they produce
too many guns. Where, in any capitalistic system, do we have any manufacturer who is
encouraged to produce less of anything? To do so would raise prices by restricting supply.
Cars certainly kill a lot of people each year. Should we reduce the supply of cars so less
people drive and so fewer people are killed on the road?
Alan Dale Daniel
St. George to the rescue
Tireless, enduring, adroit: an apt characterization of Matt St. George, chair of the
1999 Conference of Delegates, in his quest to preserve and perpetuate the conference in a
perilous era. One day he is jousting with the board of governors about a fair allocation
of revenues generated by the conference; the next day he goes one-on-one with the state
legislature about a good dues bill.
He became chair in the year of living dangerously - no bar dues legislation, no money,
no anything. The conference goes forward on the strength of his perseverance.
Kirk Ah Tye
Rwanda editorial gave voice to different views
Thank you for publishing the editorial by Willis Shalita (May Opinion) regarding the
carnage suffered in Rwanda. I, too, was deeply disappointed that the United Nations did
not, and the United States did not, treat the war in Rwanda with greater importance. While
I do not believe that the United States can come to the rescue of every civil war minority
on the globe, we can take an even-handed approach.
Contrary to the comment of Robert A. Edwards (June Letters), I think it is very
important and relevant to hear from the State Bar staff, or any other bar member, to gain
the benefit of the diversity within our ranks. While Mr. Edwards sees this as
"self-indulgent parochialism," I see it as a more global view.
Cheryl Anne Woodard