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Letters to the Editor

Outsource to India

A simple way for the bar to save money is to close all the satellite offices and move its headquarters to some city where rents and cost of living are cheap, and the municipality would welcome well-paid and overpaid new residents. I suggest Taft, Lodi, El Centro, Salton City, Lake Los Angeles and California City as candidate HQ locations.

A second simple savings: Since most of the bar’s work does not even need to be done in California, let’s outsource routine clerical tasks to India and save 80 percent of the cost.

These two simple steps would allow it to reduce bar dues dramatically. Certainly the bar’s present performance does not justify the highest dues in the country.

I have suggested these commonsense savings measures, and others, to the bar, but never got a pertinent reply. Maybe, with its ability to extract compulsory dues in danger, the bar will be motivated to listen to its members’ cost-saving suggestions.

David L. Amkraut
Los Angeles

Punish all the bad guys

It is disappointing that Roger Christianson implicitly misled the traffic court by suggesting that he was his client, the real defendant, but it is most telling that all of the official scorn is heaped only on the attorney, and apparently none on the cop who committed perjury by falsely and under oath identifying Christianson as the driver (February CBJ).

Those who try criminal cases, which obviously does not include any of the State Bar disciplinarians and maybe none of the governors, know that cops will dutifully identify as the culprit whomever is sitting where the defendant is supposed to be sitting, whether it is truly the defendant or not. That is just an extension of the license to lie that the courts have given to cops since the dawn of proactive constibulary, yet fie on the defense bar when we point out their duplicity.

The attorney should have been disciplined, if the recitation of the facts in the Journal is accurate, but the errant officer, and all errant officers, should also be punished. However, hold not thy breath until that just day.

Michael J. Kennedy
Palm Springs

Witch hunt

When I read the article (about Philip Kay’s discipline), it smacks of corruption within the State Bar’s discipline courts. I do not know Mr. Kay, but from what I have read he sounds like a righteous man, not someone worthy of discipline.

The message I get is that the bar is the tool of corporate power to punish ethical attorneys who go after true wrongdoers and win large judgments against corporate America. As the governor stated, the bar should be above reproach but has been found to be full of internal corruption.

This case is an example of how the bar is gone wrong. It is going after an attorney who is actually doing the good work which benefits the public by holding irresponsible corporations accountable under a description which makes the charges against Mr. Kay suspect as retaliation for being an effective advocate against corporate corruption.

If Mr. Kay was not effective and getting these large verdicts, I doubt the bar would bother going after him, but because he is effective and a threat to other corporate wrongdoers, the bar has chosen to go after him to send a message on behalf of corporate America not to mess with them or else they will be targeted for witch hunts by the State Bar.

I suggest a federal grand jury take a close look at all bar prosecutions and the relationships between judges and corporate attorneys and those who decide who to prosecute in the name of the State Bar. We need to clean up the corruption in the California State Bar.

Brett Maxfield

Gritted teeth at the mailbox

Why is it that nearly every communication we get from the State Bar reads like a penal statute: the latest requirement demanded of us, complete with threats of the penalties and punishments that will befall us if we don’t obey?

No wonder we grit our teeth and brace ourselves every time an envelope from the State Bar arrives in the mail.

Mark Leinwand
Agoura Hills

Sorry to see us go

I don’t believe I am the only one who will miss the print edition of the Journal. Digital reading has its benefits and uses but I cannot sit in a comfortable chair with my cup of coffee and balance my computer on my lap to read. I certainly will not take my computer, or any of my portable electronic equipment, into the bathroom and sit back to relax and read in peace. Those are the times I have a free moment to really peruse newspapers, journals and magazines for quiet information and enjoyment. I need the print versions.

I am not someone who is uneasy with and tries to avoid electronic equipment. I am a long time, enthusiastic computer user. I love my computers, but I enjoy reading in other ways easily as much.

So will it be environmentally sound to send the Journal digitally? No print, no paper? I wonder how many of us, wanting to really take time to read an article, will print it out using up paper and print material? I recycle all of my newspapers. I try to recycle print cartridges, etc., and hope I am doing it efficiently, but either way, the use is there.

I guess we must go with the inevitable. But I just want to express my sadness at the departure of the print version of the Journal and hope enough will go along with me that it might be reconsidered.

Eileen Walker

Not much bang for the buck

The decision of the California Bar Journal (CBJ) to “go digital” is disappointing. I enjoy the paper format and the ability to read it easily on an airplane, at lunch or at other times when I’m not using a computer.

California attorneys are forced to pay $400 per year for State Bar fees, and now the State Bar can’t even afford the cost of printing and mailing for its members a small monthly newspaper which is at least partially subsidized by advertisements in the newspaper? Disappointing.

Why not at least offer members the option of paying a few extra dollars per year to continue to receive the CBJ in paper format?

Adam Chester
El Paso, Texas

An inconvenient truth

I am sorry to hear this. I always read my Journal. Even when I have no time, I save them for when I go to doctor visits or waiting to pick up kids, etc. I do not take my computer with me everywhere! When I am buried with files, phone calls and e-mails, the first thing to go are the e-mails that aren’t client-related.

I do support the need to save money and trees. Unfortunately being responsible is inconvenient sometimes!

Judith Tuttle

Cutting the cord

I am not happy about losing the print version of the Journal. It was a convenient publication that allowed me to read it anywhere, any time. I could set it aside and it will be there as a physical reminder that I have yet to read it or return to it. All the information and news was in one place. Sitting in front of a screen is quite tiresome.

Providing links to the latest news is not helpful – we may miss something important. It’s just a dumb idea all around – just as is requiring that all practicing lawyers under age 70 provide you with an e-mail address.

You know, we do not all have an umbilical cord to electronic devices.

Stephany Yablow
Studio City

Too, too busy

I hope that, when the State Bar Journal goes digital, it will not contain any essential information that is not otherwise made known to State Bar members. I do not have sufficient time in my busy day to download and read online or print out electronic newsletters. They must, therefore, be ignored.

James R. Madison
Menlo Park

The advantages of paper

I read in the January issue of the Journal that you folks have decided to go digital and cease publication in paper format. I am sorry to learn of this change – I do understand the need to save trees and reduce costs, but have you given much thought to the value of having the Journal in paper form to the membership?

Paper allows the reader to carry the Journal with him/her on planes and trains, read it during their down time, read it while stuffing a burger down their gullets, start and stop as time and place allow or require. The information contained in the Journal can be underlined and passed on to others, thereby becoming more useful.

Having to read the Journal online will tie up practicing members’ screens for possibly hours when those same screens are usually filled with documents applying to their clients and other income producing work. Reading the Journal will become a detraction to all the efforts members need to make to do their practice and earn a living – maybe a bad thing for many – resulting in much lower actual readership.

I hope you will give your decision a second thought. Maybe a small fee or charge could be instituted to ease your costs of publication.

John Sturgeon
Woodland Hills


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