California Bar Journal
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California Bar Journal

The State Bar of California


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Front Page - September 1998
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Need info about bar members? Look on the net
Western State law school wins provisional approval for ABA accreditation
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You Need to Know
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From the President - A privilege gone awry
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In defense of opinion
Thomas can think as he chooses
Time to drain the 'BOG'
Let's build a stronger forum
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Letters to the Editor
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Trials Digest
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Legal Tech - 10 reasons to ignore 2000 problem
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New Products & Services
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Law Practice - When mediating, let your imagination run loose
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MCLE Self-Study
The Internet and Global Implications
Self-Assessment Test
MCLE Calendar of Events
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Ethics Byte - 'He said, she said' rule for sex
Attorney disbarred after investing client's assets
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Annual Meeting
Did you know these Monterey Peninsula facts?
Scenic, legal visions on the menu
Four vie to lead embattled State Bar
11 seek five seats on bar board
District 2: Three-way race in capital and environs
District 4: Unopposed in San Francisco, Albers is ready
District 7, Office 1: 3 seek southern seat...
District 7, Office 2: ...and also in Los Angeles...
District 3: Two-way race develops in South, East Bay region
District 3: Two-way race develops in South, East Bay region
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DISTRICT 3: Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

Gerald R. McKay

The State Bar’s current predicament relates directly to the manner in which the organization approaches both the public and the practice of law, and until that changes, it will have no constituency, says Burlingame attorney GERALD R. McKAY.

"The approach to the practice of law needs to be more toward the resolution of problems rather than the adjudication of matters for the purpose of raising money for lawyers," he explained.

Although the bar cannot directly change that approach, it can create a stronger emphasis on ways other than litigation to resolve problems. "The view the public should have of lawyers in the future is they are people you go to if you have a problem you want to solve," he said.

McKay, 53, acknowledges his idea may not be realistic, but adds, "the bar is so far down the tubes right now that what the heck?"

If the public, the legislature and its own members don't care if the bar exists, McKay said, "the direction of the bar has to fundamentally change."

He supports an integrated bar, because it exposes its members to educational materials, and he believes 36 hours of required education over three years is reasonable.

He also favors assessing what functions the bar should perform, determining the cost of those activities, and budgeting on that basis.

An employment arbitrator, McKay is a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators, the American Arbitration Association, and the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution. He is a lecturer at Hastings College of the Law, Golden Gate University and San Francisco State University.

He and his wife, an English professor at San Francisco State, are the parents of two adult children. McKay also is a scuba diving instructor.

He received undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Minnesota and has been a California lawyer since 1976.

David L. Roth

Attorneys need a strong statewide organization to represent their interests in California, and DAVID L. ROTH remains convinced that group is the State Bar.

He says he is concerned that the possible creation of two or more voluntary bar associations, competing for membership, could dilute any influence lawyers might have.

And as a member of the Conference of Delegates, he firmly believes it should remain a part of the bar and continue to perform its function of improving the law.

"The governor has his facts wrong" when he accuses the conference of engaging in liberal politics, Roth said. In fact, he added, with the exception of "very, very few resolutions which are somewhat controversial," the conference concerns itself with reviewing and analyzing proposed changes in the law, with a goal of making statutes more effective and practical.

"The controversy over the conference in particular and the bar in general is more a matter of year 2000 presidential politics than with any real problems with either the State Bar or the conference," Roth said.

He believes the legislative battle over the bar has been destructive and says there is no justification for shutting down most of its operations in order to effect a restructuring. No matter what happens in Sacramento, the board of governors can have an important influence on how the State Bar looks next year, Roth said.

A 44-year-old sole practitioner in Oakland, Roth focuses on business litigation, real estate and personal injury cases. He is a member of the bar's real property law section, articles editor of the California Real Property Journal, and a member of the board of directors and six committees of Alameda County Bar Association.

He received his law degree from Hastings College of the Law and has been in practice since 1979.

Roth is single and says he enjoys reading history in his spare time.