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Letters to the Editor

Miller hits the mark …

Howard Miller’s commentary on the lack of practical preparation seems to hit the mark. Although, I must say, my alma mater, McGeorge School of Law, had an excellent small claims program. I had daily opportunity to meet prospective litigants and discuss their factual complaints in the context of the small claims process (under the direction of a supervising attorney), that was of great benefit in preparing me to interface with clients.

I now enjoy a successful solo practice, with an emphasis in real property.

Paul J. Warner

… Or misses the mark

The article misses the mark completely because Mr. Miller (and others) fail to understand the real world.

Most attorneys in California don’t work for big firms. We don't get “high pay” for the work we do. And, most of the time, our clients aren’t stuffed shirts with big egos and fat wallets. Hence, Miller’s “problem” appears to be that he is suffering from a misconception of what it really takes to be a lawyer in California.

We all entered the practice of law in order to help people. However, it seems that once some attorneys get out of law school the focus shifts to helping themselves to other peoples’ money and the actual practice of law gets short shrift. That is the real problem and we need to fix it.

The solution isn’t to propose that law schools teach grads how to properly apply for a job a big law firm or how to get clients to stop complaining about their overbilled fees. Let’s look instead to getting rid of minimum billable hour requirements, lower bar dues, getting rid of mandatory insurance disclosures, and requiring actual competency when it comes to practicing law.

If we were to do that more attorneys would be employed and our clients might actually like to pay their bills.

Robert D. Peterson

Effete pride

What Miller stated has probably been said many times before and was obvious to me as a law school grad from UCLA 35 years ago. It was just as true then and everyone recognized that none of the graduates “knew where the courthouse door was” in the fullest meaning of that phrase and that it would take five to seven years of full time apprenticeship to become a functioning lawyer.

Nothing ever will change at the law schools. At the time, only one or two of the members of the faculty were members of the California bar. There was an effete pride in not being licensed by any bar and still getting paid to be a legal scholar. I think only a few of the faculty themselves had even been in a courtroom or tried a case, and then I doubt that any of them were principal counsel in any case. I suspect it is no different than today.

Today’s economy has scored the law school’s quality of education and preparation for the practice. I doubt that any law school is listening or cares. They still get paid even if their graduates don’t. Not knowing themselves how the practice law they will never know how to produce a marketable grade legal education.

Daniel L. Dawes
Huntington Beach

Kudos all around

Congratulations on the new e-mail/electronic version of the Journal!

And kudos for our bar president stepping up to the bar, and telling it like it is for the deficiencies in law school education! It's about time – this is the 21st Century, and these issues should have been addressed better in the last.

Mark Anderson
Portland, Ore.

Another failure

I strongly dislike the electronic Cal Bar Journal. The font is well nigh illegible and much too small. There is no index so we have to wander through the site. What a failure. I have been a member since 1976 and must tell you that this is yet another example of how the State Bar administrators screw things up. Without fail.

Mary Swann

A salute to Joe Aidlin

I am just writing to say thank you for including that wonderful profile of Joseph Aidlin. After reading it, I wanted to forward it to friends. I salute you— and him — for all the fine effort that led to that piece.

David Miller
San Francisco

A remarkable man

I want to thank you for your story about Joe Aidlin. He is a remarkable man, to be sure, and I know he shared with you only a small and modest portion of his life. I liked the story and am very grateful for your interest. And your skill in obtaining his consent to be in the spotlight!

Dale Van Camp


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