A Dark Day for the State Bar of California

14 Nov

Good summary of the many bumps in the Bar’s road over the past 30 years – with apparently more to come.

Kafkaesq

Rumors of Senator Joseph Dunn’s firing as Executive Director of the State Bar of California were confirmed yesterday with release of a terse announcement from the Board of Trustees.  As shocking as that announcement was, even more shocking was the news that Senator Dunn had filed a complaint against the State Bar and State Bar President Craig Holden (sen.-joseph-dunn-v.-cal.-state-bar—complaint)  alleging wrongful termination based on his status as a “whistleblower” on alleged misconduct committed by Chief Trial Counsel Jayne Kim.

Senator Joseph Dunn Senator Joseph Dunn

Deputy Trial Counsel Jayne Kim Chief Trial Counsel Jayne Kim

The State Bar has lurched from crisis to crisis over the last thirty years.  Some of the “highlights”:   The Chronicle news stories (1985), the implementation of the massive reforms led by Sen. Presley and designed by Prof. Fellmeth (1987-1991), the early conflict between the new full time State Bar Court and the Office of Chief Trial Counsel (OCTC) (1989-1995), the restructuring of…

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Supreme Court Goes Old School On Revised Rules of Professional Conduct

2 Oct

Ten years of effort to bring California into some kind of compliance with national standards for attorney conduct now arguably down the drain. The concern, however, is that the Bar’s abandonment of the new proposed RPC reflects a growing effort to make those rules penal only, not aspirational.

Kafkaesq

Waybackmachine3After 10 years of effort by the State Bar of California Rules Revision Commission (RRC), and four years of dithering by the State Bar and the Supreme Court, the Court has confirmed that it will not adopt any of the RRC’s work product. The State Bar has been ordered to go back to the beginning, set up a new commission and come with a new set of Rules of Professional Conduct by March 2017.

The handwriting has been on the wall for a long time ( See New Rules of Professional Conduct: Obsolete on Arrival? Kafkaesq, February 2012.)   The project was begun under the aegis of former Chief Justice Ron George, who thought that it was important to bring California’ s rules in line with the “evolving national ethical standards” reflected in the American Bar Association’s Model Rules, especially after the ABA announced around the turn of the century…

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15 Nov

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