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Home Page Official Publication of the State Bar of California December2005
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Winning isn’t everything

I was a trial lawyer for 13 years with a public agency in this state. I left because of the “winning at all costs” mentality of many of the lawyers I faced. I, too, believed in winning, but not at the cost of integrity and ethical considerations. I felt my word could be trusted, and I expected the same from opposing counsel. Regrettably, I was frequently not accorded the same respect.

I became an administrative law judge and earned an MA in psychology and a certificate in conflict resolution. I have mediated dozens of cases where people are unable to communicate with each other. I help teach them the skill of good communication by example and through discussion.

In reading Jim Heiting’s column (November), I felt regret that I didn’t have the capability when I was a trial lawyer to practice the principles of good communication which I subsequently learned and use today. 

There is no question that if lawyers practiced a little more “problem solving, counseling, negotiating and peace making” in addition to active listening, the profession would be serving the public more effectively and be perceived more favorably.

Adele Grunberg
Oakland

Fond memories

The announcement of bar committee openings (October) brought back some great memories for me.

Many years ago, I served on the executive committee of the Public Law Section. I learned an enormous amount about the law and the legislative process, though at the time, that meant receiving packets of paper bills, since the information wasn’t available to the public online. Beyond that, I met some absolutely wonderful people whose friendships have endured for close to two decades.

I’d highly recommend serving on a bar committee to any California attorney. The committees combine the opportunity for professional growth with the chance to give something back to the community and the profession. It’s a highly satisfying combination.

Debra Bowen
Senator, 28th District
Redondo Beach

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