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Letters to the Editor

Fraudulent fee statement

Is anyone else disgusted by the State Bar’s misleading fee statement?

It includes a voluntary payment of $100 to the “Access to Justice” fund directly in the “subtotal due” on the form. One has to modify the form to pay nothing to the bar’s pet project. I assume they expect lots of firms to just pay the “Amount on Line 11” without scrutinizing the bill. This is similar to the tactics of sleazy credit card companies and irreputable mortgage brokers.

Someone should be fired, or if an attorney prepared this form, he/she should be brought up on fraud charges before the State Bar Court.

Elliot Smith
El Cerrito

Leak source could be anywhere

Your article (December) — “Board Approves Stricter JNE Rules” — implies that, although the bar’s investigation was unsuccessful, the leak of a “not qualified” rating was caused by someone on the JNE Commission. But the leak could just as well have come from the Governor, his office, the State Bar or the candidate himself. Presumably those possible sources were not investigated and, possibly because of the anger at the commission’s “not qualified” rating, the investigation focused only on JNE.

Ronald Schoenberg
Los Angeles

A waste of money?

President Hebert’s request for donations to legal services groups (December) may be well-intentioned, but most of this money is wasted if we cannot turn the tide of anti-consumer judicial opinions and laws.  

His first example of those in need are “low-income Californians who needed legal aid to help them stay in their homes.” But the bar he leads is the one that obtained passage of laws making it illegal to pay any fee to an attorney who assists low-income Californians who need help to stay in their homes. While I don’t condone the scam operations that existed, there absolutely were legitimate practitioners put out of business. Of course, the ability of banks to hire attorneys or foreclose on these homeowners has not been restricted at all.

There are plenty of willing attorneys available to represent the needy, but without courts and laws that are willing to level the playing field, our money may be better spent on organizations that provide direct assistance to the needy.

Mark Burton
San Francisco


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