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Letters to the Editor

Ventura likes the case management system

The May edition of the article on the California Case Management System (CCMS) includes a quote by Assembly Member Bonnie Lowenthal that the judges of the Ventura Superior Court “support putting CCMS on hold and diverting funds to support court operations.”

To the contrary, the Ventura Superior Court is an early adopter of CCMS and supports the current plan to fully develop and complete the deployment of CCMS for the benefit of all California courts.

Kevin J. McGee, Presiding Judge
Michael D. Planet, Executive Officer/Clerk & Jury Commissioner
Ventura Superior Court

Thanks, President Miller

I read the op-ed piece by bar President Howard Miller, and I want to thank him. I know probably nothing will come from it, but as a recent graduate of law school (2007) and currently in a non-practicing job, Mr. Miller could not have summed up more perfectly exactly what I have been feeling since passing the bar here in Minnesota. All of the current job openings are looking for experience, which I obviously do not have. I have several fears about opening up my own practice too. I took a few practical skills courses, but that still doesn't tell me what I have to file, when I have to file something, who I have to file it with, etc. I don’t know if I would be getting my client a good deal or not, and not only do I want to not be committing malpractice, but I also feel if I am representing my clients I better be doing a damned good job at it. And without some sort of apprenticeship, and with no law firms hiring, I can’t achieve any of this.

I completely agree that the bar is inadequate in assessing the practicing skills of attorneys. The year I took the bar exam in Minnesota, the state had the most people register to take the exam, around 1,100, and had a passing rate above 85 percent. Either law schools and BarBri are becoming really good at preparing students to become attorneys, or the exam has embraced the culture of passing everyone. The bar is inadequate, just as Mr. Miller pointed out, at assessing whether or not someone is ready to practice law. I passed the bar, and without some sort of mentor or apprenticeship, I would feel completely inadequate in representing clients.

Kevin Hamlin

What law school is good for

My first assignment as a newly admitted lawyer was to argue a “law and motion” matter. I did not even know the term previously. What sticks in my mind was being told about the idiosyncrasies of the law and motion judge but precious little about the merits of the motion. The second discovery was the first name basis between the judge and “experienced counsel” while in chambers.

Yes, law school is good training for finding the law, but not for using it.

Peder W. Eriksson

Emulating Canada

California should consider adding the completion of a formal legal apprenticeship program to its requirements for admission to the bar, akin to Canada’s articling system. Such a system would better prepare law school graduates for practice by ensuring they gain practical experience in a range of areas while under the supervision of more senior attorneys.

A formal apprenticeship requirement whereby all graduating students are matched with articling positions would leave fewer graduates unemployed, underemployed or otherwise on the margins of the profession, and better equipped to serve clients as sole practitioners or as members of a firm.

Stefan Cap
San Diego

Too good to be true

I read your online warning, “Beware the latest Internet scam,” ending with this statement: “The scams are getting increasingly sophisticated.”

Are you kidding? It is not “sophisticated” to ask someone to deposit a check and return an amount to the sender. Any lawyer who is duped in that way doesn’t have the smarts to practice law.

If a check is not solely for the amount of legal services to be provided, whether it is a retainer or advanced fees, the check should not be accepted and cashed. Period. Money should never be returned to the sender.

How hard is that to figure out?

E. Lynn Malchow

Kudos for the online paper

I can’t tell you how nice the online version of the CBJ is. It is easy to navigate, easy to read, and has a soothing appearance (layout, colors). Well done!

Michael Fadus
Stallikon, Switzerland