staff will be sorely missed
No way to recreate service . . .
The dismantling of the Office of Legal Services is a great loss to the public and our
profession. No one can justify this loss.
The OLS was, quite simply, the best and most complete program anywhere for the support
of efforts to meet the needs of clients who are not adequately served by the market for
legal services. It will not be possible for volunteers and a much smaller staff to
recreate what the office achieved.
We will try to make the most of other methods. We will always be grateful for your
dedication and your accomplishments.
Jack W. Londen
Accomplishments shine through . . .
It is with enormous pride and great sadness that I write to thank the Office of Legal
Services staff for many years of truly exceptional work. It seems the State Bar efforts we
can all be most proud of originated in the OLS.
The staff consists of people who genuinely believe in helping the poor and
underrepresented, possess the initiative to solve problems, have the temerity to implement
responses, and the heart to see it through. This absurd display of partisan politics must
not for a moment minimize the extraordinary accomplishments of the OLS.
The California legal profession owes you and your staff an enormous debt of gratitude.
Karen A. Lash
Associate Dean, USC Law School
No greedy lawyers here . . .
Everything that the Office of Legal Services stands for, and much of what the State Bar
stands for, is directly counter to the widespread conception of greedy lawyers who put
their own interests before the public good.
I have tried to convey to my staff the importance of OLS and the damage to the cause of
equal justice that the debacle over the State Bar has caused.
In many ways, we at LAFLA are fortunate. When we help a client, we know immediately.
The work of the OLS staff results in helping poor people also, but there are many faces
you never see and many hands you never shake. I can only assure you that from my vantage
point, the contributions of the OLS have been tangible and vital.
Executive Director, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
ADR support efforts are gone . . .
Your office has played a key role in the development of alternative dispute resolution
as an important component of the delivery of legal services in this state. You have always
provided timely, high quality support for those of us out in the field, working to promote
and improve available ADR services.
Im not sure exactly what well do without your assistance.
Howard A. Herman
ADR Program Counsel, U.S. District Court San Francisco
The bar does have some fans . . .
It is no secret that we are big supporters of the State Bar, but even we forget to say
thank you sometimes. For your assistance in improving our service delivery models, thank
you. For your guidance on fund-raising and board development, thank you.
For your promotion of the ideals that make the legal profession proud, thank you. For
your support of our staff and board members, thank you. For the leadership provided by OLS
director Mary Viviano and the rest of the staff, thank you.
Executive Director, Public Law Center, Santa Ana
|Just say no to pressure for
Gov. Wilsons and Prof. Robert Fellmuths
suggestion that our bar be governed mainly by appointees of the governor is not a good
idea. Neither California lawyers, nor the public, should tolerate a bar which is
controlled by political appointees of the governor. The maintenance of freedom in a
democracy makes it as critical for the bar, as it is for the press, to remain independent
of the executive branch.
Historically, the bar has been supervised, both as to admissions and discipline, by the
courts. There continue to be sound reasons for this: The bar is an integral part of the
judicial branch of government, and under the principle of separation of powers, should
remain so; and, countries which have placed the bar under political control have suffered
unfortunate experiences, leading to loss of freedoms.
Charles B. Parselle
|A reconstituted bar should
have an appointed board
Robert Fellmuth has it right and Marc Adelman has it
wrong in the June issue. Fellmuth suggests that a board appointed by the court, with five
legislative and executive appointees, should regulate attorneys. The Conference of
Delegates or some other body would take on the advocacy function. Adelman feel[s]
strongly that lawyers should continue to have the privilege of self-governance.
A slavish defense of self-regulation is a waste of time. We need to get into the upper
loop of thinking. We need a slash-and-burn approach to eliminating the professionally,
morally and ethically unqualified members of the bar. We dont need the patronizing
disciplinary approach to quality assurance that the current system promotes.
We need an independent regulatory body that will uncompassionately but fairly decide if an
individual is qualified to practice law.
Im confident that anyone the court appoints can do this.
Steven A. Hillyard
|In defense of tribes
take exception to the inaccurate, overbroad and loose characterization of tribes as
harsh with their own outcasts, [who] tend not to change their own rules, made
by Robert C. Fellmuth. In his effort to challenge the legal profession, Mr. Fellmuth has
unfairly disparaged the more than 50 federally recognized Native American tribes in the
Far from being the static entities suggested by Mr. Fellmuth, tribes for centuries have
been and continue to be dynamic and resilient governments and societies. Tribes, more than
most governments and societies, have demonstrated an unusual ability to change their
own rules to meet the needs of their people and to survive in a rapidly changing
world while at the same time maintaining a core set of unique cultural values and
traditions that define each of them as a distinct people.
Colin Cloud Hampson
|One more time: dump the
It is truly a shame that employees of the State Bar will suffer the
most from the many machinations of lawyers and politicians over bar structure.
If the bar needs some carry-over funding, it should consider terminating
"our" Sacramento consultants contract based on either illegality of
purpose and/or failure of consideration. Since a great amount has been paid to him
already, actions for restitution or unjust enrichment might also be available.
Righting this wrong may well breathe life into a unified effort to get on with fixing
Bernard A. Meany
|While youre at it,
dump the biased newspaper
I find it interesting that, in the midst of the
bars largely self-inflicted "crisis," it continues to publish its color,
30-plus page monthly newspaper.
Even if the production, publication and distribution costs of the California Bar
Journal are covered or exceeded by advertising revenue, it seems that the bars
employees might be better served by a shift in resources.
As it stands, a majority of the Bar Journal reads like a biased tract attempting to
disguise itself as a balanced paper.
Martin L. Pitha
|California Bar Journal has
a conflict of interest
You are to be commended for keeping your letters section
fair and open to all views of the State Bar during recent months.
However, I chastise your editors for not printing updates on the MCLE litigation
pending at the Supreme Court. Inasmuch as the Journal receives a significant part of its
funding from MCLE provider advertising, dont you have a conflict of interest
regarding the future of MCLE, which is a $50 million business?
I must register my dissent to Judge Roderic Duncans views on the bar. Its
easy for him to support the bar, since as a judge he hasnt paid bar dues at all
during the past 20 years. Moreover, hes been saving another $500 annually since
hes excused from MCLE, unless the Supreme Court rules otherwise in the pending
appeal. No wonder he thinks the State Bar is a great deal.
Jerome M. Garchik
The Bar Journal does make money from MCLE. We also report regularly (most recently
in the main story in the July issue) that the Supreme Court has yet to set a date to hear
the bars appeal on MCLE.
|The bar, not its opponents,
is playing game of politics
It is symptomatic of the State Bars current
political posturing that I must read about the dismantling of the lawyer disciplinary
system in the glossy, four-color newspaper which the bar still manages to produce each
month, even as it decries the latest layoffs and imperilments to the public good.
The bar is playing an age old game which is the antithesis of bread and circuses,
discontinuing the most conspicuous services to incite the greatest public outcry, while
administrative and lobbying arms feed on the bars remaining resources, perpetually
promoting the continuation of a system whose abuses catalyzed the present crisis.
It is ironic that the leadership of an institution engaged in such shameless tactics
would accuse opponents of playing politics, especially when the State Bar has
conspicuously avoided acknowledging its total responsibility in creating this predicament.
Jeffery A. Garofalo
|The bar is twisting
It is absolutely hypocritical for Marc Adelman to be
invoking the philosophy of Thomas Jefferson in defense of the mandatory State Bar
As Jefferson so aptly noted: To compel a man to furnish contributions of money
for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical.
The State Bar engages in precisely the conduct Jefferson condemned when it forces me
(and other similarly minded attorneys) to contribute money for its lobbying efforts
supporting an unconstitutional, politically correct MCLE program which I abhor, a law
forcing me to belong to a mandatory trade association which I do not wish to join, and to
effect changes to medical malpractice laws which I cannot condone.
Richard L. Rubin
|Equal treatment for haoles
am anxious to pay my bar dues for education, ethics and protecting the consumer.
I do not want to pay one red cent for political correctness, gender bias or
discriminatory treatment of men and haoles.
William Fenton Sink
|So long, but not farewell
bye bar! I cant say Ill miss you and your exorbitant dues.
The only question I have is: Why are there still 200 employees?
|The Beach Boys ought to
know how to surf
Question 5 (June MCLE test) is somewhat ambiguous. For all we
know, the Beach Boys do subscribe to the adage as stated (You cant stop the
waves, but you can learn to surf).
Sounds like they would, anyway.
Richard Cotta Jr.
We just wanted to show that, despite stressful times within the bar, some of us
still have a sense of humor.
|Discipline of med-mal
attorney is disgraceful
The discipline of David M. Harney (July 1998) is a
disgrace. I too believe that MICRA is unconstitutional. In the medical profession, the
higher fees for specialists go unquestioned because they have the expertise a general
practitioner does not.
Mr. Harney possesses far more medical knowledge than the average attorney and far more
expertise in the prosecution of plaintiff claims of injury or death due to medical
malpractice. His fees should not be subject to the likes of MICRA. He is an exceptional
trial lawyer with the highest standards of ethics.
If all lawyers practiced to Mr. Harneys standards, there would be no reason to
have disciplinary proceedings.
chasers, not petty offenses
I am a personal injury attorney. I practice in a
community where personal injury attorneys commonly employ ambulance chasers and cappers.
Attorneys such as myself who refuse to violate the law and who refuse to use cappers or to
buy cases are thus at a huge disadvantage.
The State Bar does nothing about this open and notorious problem. When is the last time
you read about a lawyer being disciplined for ambulance chasing? As a result, honest
attorneys lose millions of dollars in potential fees each year. However, the bar does
vigorously investigate every other minor and petty complaint which comes its way.
Guess how I vote on the continued existence of this corrupt and useless organization.
Stephen B. Austin
|Look to real estate trade
for inexpensive role model
I just received the Summer 1998 Real Estate
Bulletin that states that as a result of increased operating efficiencies,
self-imposed cost-saving measures and an improved economy, the cost to renew my
brokers license has been reduced from $285 to $210.
And did I mention that license is good for four years?
If the Department of Real Estate can license and discipline the real estate profession
for $52.50 per year per licensee, why cant the bar do the same for $77 per year?
Kristin S. Door
|LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Bar Journal invites its readers to send letters on any topic. All letters must be signed
with a daytime telephone number and complete address.
All letters are subject to editing, and no anonymous letters will be printed. Send
letters to Editor, California Bar Journal, 555 Franklin St., San Francisco, CA 94102-4498;
fax to 415/561-8247; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.