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Home Page Official Publication of the State Bar of California October2009
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MCLE for jury duty

Here’s an idea for the California bar: Award minute-by-minute MCLE credit to attorneys who report for jury duty in any court located in California.

Surely reporting for and actively participating in the real-world jury process as a member or prospective member of the jury provides as much continuing legal education as sitting in a CLE program in which hypothetical scenarios are contrived so that a discussion might ensue regarding fact patterns that might never happen.

Providing MCLE credit for jury duty also would give those attorneys an increased incentive to serve on (rather than avoid) jury duty, which would benefit the governmental agencies charged with filling pools of prospective jurors. I would guess that most practitioners would waive the compensation for serving on jury duty if instead they could claim MCLE credit for the time they invest in the jury process.

The alternative would make it clear to me that the MCLE system is merely a platform to support the MCLE-provider industry and has nothing to do with continuing legal education.

Norbert M. Seifert
Los Angeles

Plaudits for Gnaizda …

No one deserves the Loren Miller Legal Services Award more than Robert Gnaizda (September). I practiced law in Monterey County from 1958 to 1992. When Bob Gnaizda helped create CRLA and established an office in Monterey County, life for farm workers was the last vestiges of slavery in this country. The most basic laws, such as requiring toilets in the fields, were ignored by the growers and not enforced by local law enforcement officials. The culture was such that local lawyers ostracized CRLA lawyers.

I hate to think of what the life of our essential farm workers would be today had it not been for Bob Gnaizda.

Charles H. Page

… And brickbats

Thank you for your inspirational article on attorney Robert Gnaizda. But I was shocked as I read “… (he) set his sights on helping those for whom justice and equality are too often a distant dream,” because there was a tear running down my cheek.

At age 61, my law career is in the rear view mirror. My one regret is that I did not stand up and speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. If I had it to do over I would dedicate my legal career to ending this nation’s holocaust of abortion and our culture of death.

James T. McDermott

Does color matter?

In connection with President Fujie’s reference to herself as a woman of color (September), I thought that “color” was irrelevant. Has anything changed?

Draper B. Gregory

A matter of time

I am astonished that in this day and age, people still try to maintain that diversity does not create better decision-making. As women gained political and legal positions, so the decisions regarding women’s rights improved. Likewise, as people of non-white skin color gain political and legal positions, so will their rights improve. If the above is not true, why go beyond white propertied men as far as eligible voters?

William B. Briggs

Saving for the future

An entire article about “emergencies” (September MCLE) and not one mention of disability insurance for office overhead and lost income? I was a sole practitioner, Certified Family Law Specialist, who became disabled after surgery; however, I kept my office running like a clock for the next 15 months. I called in my “chits” with opposing counsel, as my longtime assistant notified clients and transferred my cases to other trusted counsel, along with the unused portion of the client’s retainer from my trust account.

Initially I had to pay three months’ overhead out of pocket. That was not a problem because I had something very un-American: an emergency cushion called savings. On the personal side, over the years, I’d gradually paid off my house, contributed to my SEP-IRA and had no debts.

Diligently planning ahead will also keep your malpractice carrier happy, as you avoid the hellish nightmare of “Chance Rambo,” as described by Willis S. Baughman.

Bonnie Ann Baker

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