California Bar Journal
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Although everyone assumed it was a bluff, no one was willing to test it...

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No name-calling, no drinking, no classes

Any reduction in MCLE hours would be welcomed. The more the merrier. However, I submit that ethics and management each be cut down, and that the abuse and discrimination segments be eliminated posthaste.

I'm certain you'll agree that the overwhelming majority of members know well the concepts that one

doesn't call another an SOB or a discriminatory epithet, and that more insects are caught with honey than with vinegar. Likewise, that group knows that it's not gong to be effective conducting personal and firm business when loaded or stoned.

Slash the hours, the dues, the bureaucratic fat and the politicking. Permanently. Now.

Jerry A. Weissburg
Los Angeles

How about no exemptions for lawmakers? . . .

I note that Sen. Schiff's bill to set bar dues at $395 would continue to exempt California lawmakers from taking CLE. Ah, to be a legislator, where one can enact laws to benefit oneself. But seriously, folks, isn't it the legislators who need CLE more than anyone?

David Pressman
San Francisco

. . . or let's just end it all

What is it about the State Bar and MCLE? What part of "we don't want it" don't they understand? What a terrible mistake it was for the Supreme Court to rescue the bar from its near-extinction. The bar has learned nothing.

We are told that the bar will throw us a crumb and knock the 36-hour requirement down to 25. But otherwise the program will continue, and a huge and expensive "commission to review MCLE" will assure that. Like a dog with a favorite bone, the bar will not let it go.

It is not "time to modify MCLE." It is time to end it. Let's stop dancing around this thing. Let's have a referendum on MCLE and see if even one time the bar can do what its members want.

Mark A. Leinwand
Agoura Hills

So much for the revolution

I was discouraged to read in your paper that bar dues are likely to go back up again, to as much as $395. If that is so, what was it all for? The "revolution" will have failed.

Margot J. Champagne
Washington, D.C.

The dues are not going up, but down - from $458 in 1997 and $478 in 1996.

Spiral to de-sensitize

Willis Shalita's insight (May California Bar Journal) into the manner in which the media portrays people of color is correct. It is little wonder that a divisive gulf between races and violent racism exists today.

Portrayal of gang violence on Los Angeles television news has a lurid sideshow style that seeks to expose differences between races in an effort to sensationally terrorize its viewers. Making other races less than human in the U.S. media self-justifies our lack of humanitarian response to areas in the world where a U.S.-led NATO response would allow our business interests little bottom line return. Words such as "warlords" and "tribal conflict" are red flag indicators that the staggering loss of human life is not what's important.

Adam R. Fairbairn
Paso Robles

Client's funds and interest should belong to the client

It is beyond question that the United States Supreme Court has ruled that the interest on client's funds belongs to the client. I believe it is a serious breach of ethics to so handle a client's property that it can be confiscated by a government agency without the client's consent.

The only ethical procedure for an attorney holding the funds for a client is to open a separate account in the client's name and use any interest it generates for the client's benefit. It is not an attorney's prerogative to make charitable contributions for a client without permission.

Allan W. Wallace
La Crescenta

Restraints on advertising

Of the 11 full-page lawyer advertisements in the July 1998 G.T.E. Greater Pomona Valley phone book yellow pages where the lawyer can be personally identified by name, and the State Bar online information service professes to have a record of membership, five have a record of discipline and one, not disciplined, has had a $15 million legal malpractice judgment entered against him.

I wonder if the United States Supreme Court intended this result with its ruling in the Arizona attorney advertising case?

Daniel N. Fox

No place for human insight

I completely understand why Willis Shalita, a Rwanda-born Tutsi and U.S. citizen, would recognize the obvious opportunity presented by the debacle in Kosovo to air his anguish, despair and anger of what happened (or didn't happen) in and to Rwanda. What I do not understand is the editorial decision to place that particular item in the California Bar Journal.

It is true that some thread of relevance to the business of law and the practice of California lawyers could no doubt be tied to events in both Kosovo and Rwanda. Of course, the same could be said for an essay on costume jewelry.

I doubt I am alone in suspecting that Mr. Shalita's insider employment as a special investigator for the State Bar had more to do with the editorial decision than any law-related merits of that otherwise well-written and heartfelt opinion piece. Sadly, it is just such self-indulgent parochialism that has made the State Bar irrelevant and oblivious to the interests of the vast majority of California attorneys.

Robert A. Edwards
San Francisco

The choice, just like the one in running this letter, was the editor's.