finds bar makeup is shifting, but slowly
While 2000 U.S. Census data shows whites are
California's new minority, lawyers here are still predominantly
white and male, according to an updated demographic profile of the
But their hold appears to be slipping: State Bar
membership among people of color nearly doubled since 1991, climbing
to 17 percent. And the number of women rose from 26 percent to 32
percent of the profession in the past decade.
Other highlights of the survey, conducted by
telephone over a five-week period last summer, include:
$100,000 is the dividing line for income, with half of California's
lawyers earning less than $100,000 per year, and half earning more.
The largest percentage - 34 percent - reported income of between
$50,000 and $100,000. Men still earn somewhat more than women.
use is widespread. A full 81 percent report they use the internet in
their legal practice and 87 percent of that work is devoted to case
law research. Of those who knew the type of internet connection used
by their office, 72 percent use a high-speed connection, a number
substantially higher than average for other internet users. Sixty-one
percent said their firm or organization has its own web site.
practice hits vulnerable immigrants
A Chinese couple in San Francisco spent $40,000
in a two-year quest for green cards, but their life savings instead
bought them deportation proceedings.
Where the money went, their attorney says, is
straight into a paralegal's pocket.
"They were made to believe they were paying
this money to various government agencies, but there is a lengthy
paper trail of checks being written by my clients and then cashed by
this (paralegal), to the tune of $40,000," attorney Steve Baugh-man
said. "They ended up losing their immigration status and they
weren't even told about it."
The woman, now in her 50s, suffered several
forced abortions while living in China - a solid asylum claim. But
the chance to file such claims with the U.S. Immigration and
Naturalization Service evaporates after one year, and Baughman says
the paralegal never prompted the couple to pursue asylum.
whole reason they waited too long was this highly corrupt paralegal
kept telling them they had legal status," he said. "It's a
gut-wrenching example of the damage unscrupulous people can do."
effort to stamp out unauthorized practice and fraud in immigration law
has been taking shape in recent years, with private attorneys,
prosecutors and legislators joining the fray. Minority bars in
southern California solicited the aid of the Los Angeles district
attorney's office and
sets bar dues at $390
A revitalized State Bar and a faltering economy
combined to force the bar to raise its dues next year to $390, a move
approved by the board of governors last month. Despite the $45
increase from this year, the dues remain well below the $478 fee
charged from 1991-96.
"This budget preserves the status quo and
contains no new programs," said bar President Karen Nobumoto.
"This budget is lean and mean."
Executive Director Judy Johnson attributed the
increase to five factors:
bar is returning to almost
federal judge Moreno joins California Supreme Court
Carlos R. Moreno, born and reared in East Los
Angeles and the first in his family to attend college, was sworn in
last month as the only Latino justice on the California Supreme Court.
his unanimous confirmation by the Commission on Judicial Appointments
- appellate Justice Joan Dempsey Klein voted, "Aye, con mucho
gusto!" - Moreno took the
MORENO SWORN IN