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Forget online charges

Have you folks lost your minds? Lawyers are the people who bring about due process and support the presumption of innocence. To put allegations of misconduct on an attorney’s bar listing before anything is proven is anti-American and outright stupid. It’s something we would expect to see in a fascist country, not in California. Surely the bar knows this kind of information would be so prejudicial to the attorney in question as to cause him or her to lose any business an inquirer might have.

As a former prosecuting attorney myself, I am appalled at this proposal and strongly suggest you come to your senses and withdraw it.

Ken Cady
Rancho Mirage

Guilty until proven innocent

I am completely opposed to the online publication of notices of disciplinary charges, as it is overzealous to say the least. Being a criminal lawyer, I know that the court of public opinion is completely different than that of a court of law. In the court of public opinion, for the most part, people are guilty until proven innocent, instead of the other way around. It is not fair to make public simple accusations of attorney misconduct, as that can and will directly cast an adverse reflection on that lawyer’s reputation without any proof that the allegations are correct.

The State Bar may be able to prove its charges around 90 percent of the time; it is the other 10 percent who have done nothing wrong that I am worried about. These notifications may even cause a chilling effect in the types of cases and clients lawyers are willing to take if they think there is a chance that something may occur that may warrant a complaint. Sometimes, even the best attorneys will receive complaints from clients who lose their case on the merits but blame their attorney.  

Allowing a statement by the attorney in response to the notice posted will do nothing to correct this situation, and may even make the situation worse if the attorney for some reason is not able to articulate his side in writing in the most accurate way possible. The best (and most American) thing to do is for the prosecution to prove its case first.  

Samer A. Salhab

Nonsensical idea

The hubbub about the Justice Gap contributions is much ado about nothing. The financial contribution by the attorneys at these firms with 100 percent “participation” works out to less than .1 percent of their total salaries. I suppose now they can enter 100 percent participation on their NALP forms, tout it on their Web sites, and as an added bonus, get good publicity through the State Bar.

That same $100 would probably buy you about 20 minutes of the respective attorney’s legal services. Members should be commended for pro bono, but I think recognizing this is ridiculous and embarrassing.

James Walters
San Diego


I find it truly amazing that our State Bar president in his June opinion column laments the inaccessibility of legal services to the poor and middle class due to cost when at the same time the bar has approved malpractice insurance disclosure rules. These rules will do nothing but increase the overhead for small firms and solo practitioners who are the attorneys most likely to serve the middle class. Attorneys will have no other option but to pass these costs to the consumer, making competent legal services that much more out of reach to the average person.

If the State Bar truly cared about legal access, it would pass rules and lobby for changes in court operations that would result in a reduction of overhead costs so attorneys could provide legal services to the poor and middle class and still make a living. 

Darren J. Bogié

Let the market work

There is no middle class “legal services crisis,” unless you suspend reality and look for ways to expand government. Your editorial totally ignored what we middle class persons do about life’s risks. While we probably cannot afford non-plaintiff’s litigation, we have found a free enterprise way to take care of ourselves, while not raising taxes or expanding the government. We buy insurance — auto insurance, homeowners insurance, umbrella insurance, uninsured motorist insurance. As a member of an insurance pool we can and every day do hire lawyers to represent us.

There is no need to create faux-lawyers to fix faux-problems. There are a plethora of mediation programs to handle low-level neighbor or family disputes to be found in colleges, law schools, real estate associations, etc. As to taxes, there are bookkeepers, accountants, H&R Block, and Quicken’s Turbo-Tax, all of whom know more tax than I do.

There are many plaintiffs’ attorneys out there who want new clients with meritorious claims. Persons can already get representation in areas from environmental issues to bad faith insurance practices to ADA compliance and even Social Security representation, all at no cost and on a contingent fee basis, if the attorney thinks the case has merit.

I don’t think the State Bar, as a part of California’s government, should be using my taxes (dues) to work to expand government. Rather, I suggest the bar let the market work. 

Tom Reeve
San Diego

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