State Bar of California California Bar Journal
Home Page Official Publication of the State Bar of California August2004
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Progress is coming slowly

As a new attorney in the mid-1980s, I was asked in job interviews about my marital status, number of children, whether I intended to become pregnant and what I intended to “do with my children during the day.” I attempted to handle these situations with humor (“do you prefer fertile or non-fertile associates?” and “In the trunk — when I leave them in the front seat they honk the horn.”).

Attorneys and administrative staff (including court personnel) routinely referred to me by my first name, while addressing male attorneys by their last name preceded by the respectful “Mister.” Screeners at the courthouse steps commented “this is the fun part” when the metal detector went off. As a friend stated: “I’m tired of explaining why the other half of my suit is a skirt.” My impression is that there has been great improvement in the last two decades.

Especially at the federal level, judges have aggressively sought to banish indications of gender bias from the courthouse (not just the courtroom). It is my hope that members of the legal profession will be vigilant in continuing their efforts to end both overt and subtle indications of gender bias — as well as other forms of discrimination — from our profession. Who knows, someday even individuals in the food service industry might realize that my name is not hon’.

Candace C. Carlyon
Las Vegas

A welcome column

President Capozzi’s “Welcome to new admittees” column (July) was really uplifting — even for those of us who aren’t so new. He made me feel a little extra proud to be a lawyer.

Kim Nystrom-Geist

Hates MCLE

Continuing legal education should be voluntary. But since it’s not, let’s at least provide courses that are tailored toward actually helping lawyers do their jobs better. I am an inactive lawyer in part because I found myself taking courses to meet the mandatory requirements rather than concentrating on subjects related to my field of interest, entertainment law.

Mandatory seminars in substance abuse are useless to me. I don’t drink and I have never taken drugs and will never take drugs. People who use drugs will continue to use them, seminar or no seminar.

Mandatory ethics classes are unnecessary. Common sense should be our guidepost. Unethical people will not change because they take a class in the subject.

Richard Molinar
Shasta Lake

Spanking is not OK

I disagree with the title “Spanking is OK” given to the letter in the June 2004 issue. Just because an action is legal doesn’t mean it’s intelligent or acceptable.

A vast amount of research during the past 60 years shows that corporal punishment causes serious damage to many children.  

The long-term effects of corporal punishment can include aggression, crime, spousal abuse, child abuse, depression, suicidal thoughts, distorted sexual behavior, impaired learning ability and lowered occupational success and income.

Moreover, schools report many positive results after eliminating corporal punishment. They see increased attendance, higher academic performance, fewer behavioral problems and better relations between students and school personnel.

The harms associated with corporal punishment have led some European nations to ban it not only in schools but also in homes. Our society should do the same.

Joseph C. Sommer
Columbus, Ohio

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