The Symbol of Liberty … Personal comments

When I was in Washington, D.C., I saw two views of the White House, one of which was normal and one of which exhibited a far different personality. If we have to live behind wire, if we have to be strip searched everytime we go into court houses, public buildings and transportation centers, and if we have to watch one civil liberty after another disappear, then we’ve already “lost the war” with only one transgression. September 11th has changed our lives more because of the politicians than because of the actual dangers we face.


I find the same mentality being exhibited by state bar associations who see danger in almost every new idea expressed by lawyers in their effort to communicate with clients and prospective clients. There are already enough rules on the books to protect the public. We have penal codes that make stealing from clients (theft) illegal and we have rules of professional conduct that prevent lawyers from doing “bad” (however you want to define lawyers’ conduct) things (moral turpitude. So why do we need new rules that effectively prevent lawyers from helping economically fatigued clients in their effort to renegotiate their home mortgages? And why is it that using technology (social media) to communicate with prospective clients is subject to rules that are different from the existing rules on advertising and client communications? Why is it that truth in advertising is no longer sufficient despite a new mode of delivering the communication? Oh, and I guess a more basic question: Why is it that the single goal of bar associations is to “protect” the public? Why is this not just one of two goals, the other to protect and promote the interests of its members, lawyers?


This seems to br a novel concept. When the president of the State Bar of California said the Bar had two co-equal goals, to protect the public and advance the interests of its lawyer-members, people (staff) almost went into convulsions. Well, that novel idea didn’t last very long … and with new presidents, has gone right out the window.


No different in other states … except the latter goal never even made it onto the table. Tell me if you see this differently.


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