The State Bar Of California Is Lawless And A Travesty, And Should Be Abolished

8 09 2014

 By Timothy D. Naegele[1][2]

When I took and passed California’s bar examination and became a lawyer and a member of The State Bar of California, I was very proud of what I had accomplished.  I worked hard in law school at Berkeley—and later at Georgetown, for a second law degree—and I considered it an honor to be a member of the State Bar . . . but not anymore.  Under former California Governor Pete Wilson, for all intents and purposes, it was put out of business; and its uselessness was exposed for all to see, like the emperor in Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”[3]

This stinging indictment should have been a wake-up call for California lawyers.  However, the State Bar has come roaring back with a vengeance; and it is worse than ever, and a true disgrace.  Once again it is a “rogue” trade association; a waste of its members’ and taxpayers’ monies; and a travesty.  It should be eliminated permanently, with its staff sent looking for other jobs.[4]  Or at the very least, it should become voluntary, with its disciplinary functions transferred to an independent arm of California’s Supreme Court—and its present staff of rogue prosecutors eliminated completely.

Today, I am ashamed to be a member of the State Bar; and I never thought that I would come to that conclusion.[5]  It is like belonging to a private club that discriminates, and is run by an inbred clique or cabal.  At best, it is a third-rate trade association—and Sacramento and Washington, D.C. are full of them.

Undergraduates in colleges, and others who enter law schools in California, have been lulled into the belief that being a lawyer is some “magical” ticket to success—which it is not—and that it is an honorable profession to join.  What they do not realize is that very successful lawyer friends of mine and I have recommended for many years that our kids and others never become lawyers or practice law . . . albeit I am proud of what I have accomplished as a lawyer.[6]

The value of this advice will be even more evident as California’s economy deteriorates during the balance of this decade, and fewer Californians are able to afford legal services.  The State Bar has defrauded would-be lawyers by failing to disclose that the debt obligation a legal education entails may encumber the students (or their parents) for much of their lives, and there may be no jobs when they graduate.[7]

A $15-an-hour job as a non-lawyer will not service a $150,000 debt incurred during law school, yet the State Bar never discloses this because it is knee-deep in fraud itself.  The first goals of any trade association are to perpetuate its existence and full-time employment for its staff members, which the State Bar has been doing with gusto since it essentially went out of business.[8]

Also, the State Bar has done almost nothing to police abuses by lawyers in California, relating to fraud in mortgage lending and other activities.  It has wasted valuable resources pursuing “minnows,” all the while allowing the “big fish” to escape unscathed.  It has never gone after the lawyers at Countrywide who participated in and/or condoned predatory lending practices; and one of Countrywide’s lawyers even testified on the State Bar’s behalf in a predatory lending case[9].

Equally disturbing, disconcerting and odious is the fact that divorce lawyers prey sexually on their vulnerable and distraught clients.  They should be automatically disbarred; and the State Bar is culpable and morally reprehensible for failing to act.  As in the case of other professionals—such as medical doctors and psychiatrists who prey on their vulnerable patients—the most stringent sanctions must be imposed, but they are not.  The State Bar turns a blind eye, which undermines any notions of morality and propriety that it purports to represent.

Its failure to disbar these divorce lawyers is inherently repugnant.  Women’s rights organizations especially should be up in arms, protesting the State Bar’s culpability.  Anyone is vulnerable during divorce proceedings, and this is particularly true of women.  Yet the State Bar does nothing.  If some lawyers can act with impunity in the context of divorces, what use is the State Bar to society—or to those lawyers whose conduct is above reproach?

Unlike the District of Columbia Bar, of which I am proudly a member—for example, because (1) it is more prestigious, with its members being recognized on a nationwide and worldwide basis, and (2) it does a far better job, and (3) its members are charged much less in terms of annual dues—the State Bar forces its members to satisfy Continuing Legal Education (“CLE”) requirements every three years, which is absurd.  Financial “kickbacks” are standard for the State Bar, which is a travesty unto itself; and mandatory CLE is merely one example.

Most CLE courses that are required have no bearing whatsoever on a lawyer’s legal specialty and practice.  Over the years, I have never seen a successful lawyer who failed to keep up with the nuances of his or her specialty.  Indeed, truly proficient lawyers do it each and every day that they practice law; and there is no need to take mandatory CLE courses to accomplish this.  Quite to the contrary, it is a waste of time—but the State Bar mandates this because it enhances the State Bar’s financial coffers and insures the perpetuation of the trade association’s existence and power.[10]  

The contrast between the State Bar and the District of Columbia Bar is striking in almost every respect.  Aside from costing much more, the State Bar is grossly inefficient in serving its members.  For example, I received a check from a purported “client” in what turned out to be a fraudulent “phishing” scam; and I contacted both bar associations to ask what I should do with it, ethically.  The D.C. Bar got right back to me; and one of its attorneys was very thoughtful and helpful.  No one from the State Bar ever called me back, and I gave up trying to reach them.

To say that the State Bar is totally worthless—and lawless, and does not pay its bills—is not to exaggerate one iota.[11] When I was sworn in as a California lawyer, I was in awe of the State Bar.  However, this has not been true for many years.  It is just one more fraudulent trade association, whose existence is perpetuated to serve its staff members above everyone else.  Lawyers are held in low esteem today, inter alia, because rogue organizations like the State Bar exist, which are bankrupt morally and ethically.

Its support from financially strapped Californians and the equally strapped State of California[12] is wasted and must be eliminated completely; and its membership must become voluntary, at best.  Clearly, enough political forces coalesced to effectively put the State Bar out of business when Pete Wilson was California’s governor.  The same thing must happen now—this time to accomplish the job once and for all, and eliminate what is probably the most corrupt and diabolical trade association of its kind in the United States.

In a quotation attributed to the Irish-born statesman Edmund Burke: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men [and women] do nothing.”  California lawyers must rise up and say enough is enough, and mean it this time.  Perhaps it is naïve, optimistic and idealistic to believe this will happen, but hopefully not.  American justice requires nothing less.[13]

© 2014, Timothy D. Naegele

Ban State Bar of California

[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass).  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, which specializes in Banking and Financial Institutions Law, Internet Law, Litigation and other matters (see and  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years (see, e.g.,, and can be contacted directly at; see also Google search: Timothy D. Naegele

[2]  Note: The author has held these personal opinions for many years, probably since the State Bar was effectively put out of business (see infra n.3), and he and other members woke up to problems with the Bar.  The author paid dues, but worked full time in Washington, D.C. then, and did not pay much attention to the Bar.  He began drafting this article in 2012, long before he heard the names Erin McKeown Joyce, Thomas A. Miller or Lucy Armendariz; and he made refinements (i.e., principally to its footnotes) before it was published here.

[3] See (“Member fee authorization process”) and

[4]  Two general counsel (i.e., “the State Bar’s lawyer,” or chief legal officer) have served during this time frame: Joseph Starr Babcock and Thomas Allen Miller.  Babcock came in to pick up the pieces after the State Bar essentially went out of business; and Miller came on board recently after practicing law.

Miller has taken a “hands’ off” approach, by saying that his “Office of General Counsel” has no “direct involvement” with “the exclusive jurisdiction of the Office of Chief Trial Counsel,” despite the fact that Miller was told by the author that (1) one of his lawyers in the latter office—Erin McKeown Joyce—has totally ignored the law nationally, as enunciated by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit and California’s Supreme Court; (2) the State Bar owes the author a substantial sum of money stemming from his deposition testimony as an expert witness, and payment is required by a California statute; (3) another member of the State Bar is reportedly subject to criminal prosecution for fraud, Lloyd J. Michaelson (SBN 94145), yet no actions have been taken by the State Bar; and similarly (4) the State Bar has not taken action against a second attorney, Richard H. Lubetzky (SBN 154032), even though he suborned perjury with respect to testimony before the State Bar, and his troubled history with the State Bar began before his admission to the Bar.  See, e.g.,; see also infra n.11.

See, e.g. (“The suits claim that from 2008 through early 2010, defendants Nicholaus Skultety and lawyer Lloyd Michaelson were scamming millions of dollars from individuals and businesses across the United States by fraudulently promising to fund construction projects in exchange for an up-front cash fee of 2 percent of purported loans. . . . Various people . . . , including some of the alleged victims, said they have been in contact with the FBI”) and (“Local men charged in real estate loan scam – Complaint says they collected fees for loans that were never delivered”) and

While Miller may be competent, and the “new kid on the block,” he is in charge now.  If he will not take actions (1) to rein in abuses by lawyers in the “exclusive fiefdom” of the Office of Chief Trial Counsel, and (2) to address other serious problems with the State Bar—and he allows such problems to fester—who will?  Ultimately, he is responsible and the buck stops with him, yet he is turning a blind eye to wrongdoing by those who work for him.  Indeed, others beneath him have taken the State Bar down a path that must end.  Investigations by California’s legislature and its Governor are warranted and needed; and there must not be a “whitewash.”

[5] The author has debated for some time whether to go “inactive,” or resign from the State Bar altogether.  He applauded the actions that essentially put it out of business.  While it may be best to fight it from within—because only a relatively small number of lawyers know how truly corrupt it is—the State Bar costs the author money, and it wastes his time satisfying useless CLE requirements.

Since being admitted to the State Bar, the author has handled very few matters in California, and less than a handful for individual clients.  Mostly, he has purchased banks there from the federal government for large business clients located elsewhere in the U.S. or overseas; served as an expert witness for the FDIC, in connection with a failing national bank case; and served as a special consultant to the State on banking matters, during the first administration of Governor Jerry Brown.

[6] See  (see also the footnotes and comments beneath the article) and  (“Justice And The Law Do Not Mix”); see also

[7] See (“The American Legal System Is Broken: Can It Be Fixed?”) (see also the footnotes and comments beneath the article)

[8] If one looks hard enough at the State Bar’s Web site, its staggering budget is set forth, although nowhere is an overall summary presented.  See, e.g., (“2015 Proposed Final Budget”).  Its members must be provided with such information in great specificity, because they pay dues; and the public must be as well, because the State Bar’s budget is part of the General Fund support for California’s judicial branch.  Also, funds for the State Bar should be eliminated entirely.

For 2015 alone, more than $5 million is shown for the Office of General Counsel, even though the State Bar’s lawyer apparently will not “intrude” in the activities of his lawless Office of Chief Trial Counsel (see infra n.4 & 11), whose budget for the same period is shown to exceed $30 million.  Both individuals are shown to earn $200,000 per year.

At the State Bar’s Web site in July, 2014, it was stated:

The bar’s programs are financed primarily by fees paid by attorneys and applicants to practice law. In 2011, the bar’s general fund budget was more than $64 million, over 75 percent of which funded the bar’s attorney disciplinary activities.

See (“How is the State Bar funded?”).

Surely, the State Bar must cite figures that are more recent than three years old; and 75 percent of “more than $64 million” equals almost $50 million.  This means that the Office of Chief Trial Counsel’s budget is likely more than that amount today, rather than the amount shown in the “2015 Proposed Final Budget.”  And this money is paid to rogue prosecutors, who are seeking as many “scalps” as they can take.  Not many lawyers can afford to fight this vicious and unholy juggernaut.  See infra n.11.

[9] James Goldberg of Bryan Cave LLP, San Francisco, represented related persons and entities—for example, Bank of America, N.A., Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., ReconTrust Company, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. and Kelly Germa (hereinafter referred to collectively as “Countrywide”)—which have been defendants in a lawsuit alleging predatory lending and fraud; namely, Kaleb v. Bank of America Home Loans, et al. (U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Case No. 3:09-cv-05958-RS).

In turn, Goldberg testified on behalf of the State Bar in a predatory lending case before the State Bar Court, In the Matter of Sharon Lapin, 165919, A Member of the State Bar, in which Countrywide’s wrongdoing was an issue.  Clearly, the State Bar has zero problems with (1) allowing the “fox” into the “chicken coop,” and (2) not pursuing the lawyers at Countrywide—which was headquartered in Calabasas, California—for their wrongdoing, despite the fact that Countrywide has been the “poster child” for fraud in America’s mortgage lending scandals.  Also, all of this occurred before State Bar Court Judge Lucy Armendariz, who presumably had no problems with it either.  See also infra n.11.

[10] Instead of eliminating CLE requirements altogether, the State Bar has actually advocated increasing them, which is patently absurd—and simply underscores how irresponsible the State Bar is.


Furthermore, the State Bar is wasting money auditing thousands of its members—to ensure compliance with the requirements—which is absurd, abusive, and another reason why the trade association should be abolished.

See (“5,500 attorneys expected to go through MCLE audit”)

Education of California’s lawyers can and does take place on an individual, very personal basis.  Also, there are many private organizations, such as universities, which provide superior educational resources.

[11] For example, the author testified as an expert witness before the State Bar pursuant to its subpoena on June 27, 2012, with respect to matters involving another member of the State Bar.  Section 1986.5 of California’s Code of Civil Procedure states in pertinent part:

Any person who is subpoenaed and required to give a deposition shall be entitled to receive the same witness fees and mileage as if the subpoena required him or her to attend and testify before a court in which the action or proceeding is pending.


The State Bar has not paid the author, and one must assume that it has not paid others as well.  In its defense, on September 12, 2013, it produced a handwritten “Clarification order,” dated July 9, 2012, for the first time—which had been signed by State Bar Court Judge Armendariz, and purported to shift the fees and costs away from the State Bar.  However, it did not override or nullify the California statute; and arguably the State Bar Court judge is “complicit” in the State Bar’s lawlessness.

How many people have been “cheated” financially by the State Bar?  Indeed, it must be determined—by means of an independent investigation—how many other times the State Bar has used the State Bar Court or other ruses to cheat people out of monies that are owed.  The spotlight must be focused on the State Bar’s employees and State Bar Court judges who engage in such abuses.

Clearly, the State Bar is dodging the courts and the laws by turning to its own State Bar Court judges to bless its decisions.  The State Bar’s rules and those of the State Bar Court are Byzantine at best, and are skewed against lawyers in California.  See, e.g., and (“Rules of Practice and the Rules of Procedure, which govern State Bar Court proceedings”)

Next, a “Senior Trial Counsel” with the State Bar, Joyce, told the author that the “black letter law” decisions of federal courts (including the U.S. Supreme Court, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit) do not count as far as she was concerned, nor do decisions of California’s Supreme Court.

In essence, she was saying that the “law of the land” could and should be ignored.  Needless to say, the author was stunned and flabbergasted by her ignorance and naïveté, yet these are the types of lawyers who are apparently employed by and represent the State Bar.  They are lawless; and hence, when the State Bar acts through them, it is lawless.

Evidently the performances of the State Bar’s prosecutors are measured by how many “scalps” they take, which gives them enormous incentives to go after the State Bar’s members, whether they are innocent or not—and grotesquely distorts the prosecutorial process.  When State Bar Court judges override existing laws, without thinking twice about it, one understands how corrupt the system is, from one end to the other.

Most prosecutors seemingly have never laid eyes on an innocent defendant.  As the author has written:

Anyone who thinks that prosecutors are advocates of truth and justice is living in a “Mary Poppins” fantasy world, and knows nothing about how our legal system really operates. It is seldom if ever discussed or written about, yet it is often said—by lawyers—that the only thing separating prosecutors from guilty criminals is the “badge.”

See infra n.6.  Imagine a life spent hurting people.  Joyce may be a perfect example, and the question is: how many people has she hurt?

Unlike some state bar associations such as the District of Columbia Bar, where the membership is worth something, the State Bar is a burden and not something to be proud of.  When it essentially went out of business, it was not missed except by its staff members, who had been feeding at its trough.

As the author has written in an article cited above:

Can our legal system be fixed, and will the American people come to trust and respect lawyers and judges again, and believe that justice not only exists but prevails in this great nation?  Maybe . . . if the profession is restructured, and if it attracts those people who believe that the law is sacred, sacrosanct and pristine—truly a shining city upon a hill—and they put such principles into practice.  The profession does not require saints, but it does need something different than “Law West of the Pecos by Judge Roy Bean.”  And it needs people who are different than it has been attracting: who are often driven, ruthless, unprincipled, money-hungry, and power-hungry.

See infra n.7 (emphasis in original).  At the very least, Joyce seems to be Bean’s successor.

On July 29, 2014, Joyce commenced a disciplinary action against the author based on (1) “Failure to Update Membership Address,” and (2) “Unconscionable Fee” and “Failure To Refund Unearned Attorney Fees.”  The charges were totally false, bogus and constituted pure harassment—and this article was written well beforehand (see infra n.2)—but she brought the action anyway.  And Miller did nothing to stop her, even though both were briefed fully about the issues.  See, e.g., infra n.4.  It is unrealistic to expect even a modicum of justice from a rogue prosecutor such as Joyce, or a judge like Armendariz to whom the author’s case was assigned,  who ignores the law.

It is interesting that on the same date, July 29, 2014, the homepage of the State Bar’s Web site asked in a banner headline: “What can the State Bar of California do for you?”  Above that question in bold print appeared another headline: “MCLE audit will include more than 5,500 [members].”  See infra n.10. Below the question appeared another headline: “State Bar Court recommends three-year suspension for prominent ex-prosecutor.”  This is the State Bar today: hurting its members in every way possible, to justify its bloated budget and staff.

The author has maintained and paid for the same Post Office address continuously since 1989, but some mail was returned to the State Bar through no fault of his own.  Also, the author and a legal team that he assembled lost a class-action, RICO Internet fraud case against the national infomercial company, Guthy-Renker, despite the fact that its agent in Texas testified as to the full extent of the fraudulent scheme that hurt large numbers of Americans.  Other attorneys (including one who is a federal judge today), law clerks and the author worked hard to win the lawsuit; however, “success has many fathers, while defeat is an orphan.”

There is no way to predict with certainty how a federal judge will act: lawyers are not fortune tellers or seers.  A new District Judge decided against the author’s clients, just as the judge decided against a major Hollywood movie studio where a friend of the author is Executive Vice President and General Counsel.  Hence, the former clients came after the author—even though no lawyer can guarantee success, and the author made that clear to them—and Joyce was only too happy to oblige.

Imagine every lawyer in California being harassed by the State Bar when he or she loses a lawsuit, which is Joyce’s modus operandi and constitutes nothing more than a witch hunt.  The author ceased to represent the former clients more than ten years ago. Hence, the case is time-barred by “Rule 5.21 Limitations Period” of the Rules of Procedure of the State Bar of California, which states in pertinent part: “[T]he proceeding must begin within five years from the date of the violation.”  The case was baseless for other reasons as well.  However, this did not matter to Miller or Joyce, or deter them.

The tragedy is that Californians and other Americans were defrauded by Guthy-Renker, yet the federal judge did not care; and certainly, neither Miller nor Joyce care, even though Guthy-Renker conducted its fraudulent scheme from and in California.  Just as the State Bar does not take action against Countrywide’s lawyers—or against (1) attorneys who prey sexually on their vulnerable clients in divorce proceedings, or (2) Michaelson who is reportedly subject to criminal prosecution for fraud, or (3) Lubetzky who suborned perjury with respect to testimony before the State Bar, which is a crime—so too it looks the other way regarding Guthy-Renker and its lawyers.

[12]  Lots of Californians and Americans are hurting these days, including lawyers.  See (“Poverty In America”) (see also the comments beneath the article).  California has severe financial problems.  However, the State Bar continues to spend like a “drunken sailor,” which is unfathomable and reprehensible.

[13] Also, it is not beyond the pale of reason to believe that boycotts of the State Bar and its activities by members may occur; mass refusals by them to pay State Bar dues may take place; and California lawyers may refuse to satisfy the State Bar’s CLE requirements.



67 responses

15 11 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

Ex-California State Bar Director Files Whistle-Blower Action

Ban The State Bar Of California

The Courthouse New Service has reported:

In a whistle-blower lawsuit filed Thursday, former Sen. Joseph Dunn says the State Bar fired him as its executive director for exposing malfeasance and “egregious improprieties.”

Dunn, who was fired on Nov. 7, claims he was targeted after he discovered that the bar’s chief trial counsel, Jayne Kim, removed 269 backlogged cases from official reports released to the public in order to make her office appear more productive.

Dunn is represented by Mark Geragos in Los Angeles.

“We wouldn’t have filed this case if we didn’t think there was egregious conduct going on at the State Bar,” Geragos said.

The lawyer noted that Dunn’s fellow whistleblowers are afraid of retaliation. “They figure if they’re going to blow the whistle that their employment is at risk,” Geragos added. “They’re very brave to stand up against what I consider to be outrageous, unethical and illegal conduct at the State Bar.”

He said Dunn was not available for comment Thursday.

Filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, the complaint names the bar and the bar’s newly installed president, Craig Holden, as defendants.

Shortly after Holden took office in May, says the complaint, he began telling people he wanted “to do something about Dunn,” who had worked as executive director since 2010.

Upon learning of Dunn’s concerns with the activities at the Office of Chief Trial Counsel, Kim complained about Dunn, according to the lawsuit.

Her internal complaint led to an evaluation “conducted at exorbitant expense to the membership of the State Bar,” said Dunn. He was at no point provided with a copy or summary of her complaint.

In early November, Dunn and several other bar employees lodged complaints about Kim’s conduct with the bar’s board of trustees.

Within two days, Dunn was fired.

His lawsuit points out that Kim’s alleged misconduct occurred just as the bar is about to undergo an audit.

“The California Bureau of State Audits is set to conduct its biannual audit of the State Bar in 2015. Rather than hold Ms. Kim and the OCTC accountable for its actions as Senator Dunn encouraged, the State Bar has terminated Senator Dunn and taken adverse actions against other whistleblowers for bringing this issue to their attention,” said the complaint.

This investigation cost bar members more than $300,000, according to Dunn.

His lawsuit says the State Bar used a private law firm with close ties to one of the bar’s trustees, Miriam Krinsky, even though a retired former California Supreme Court Justice had offered to conduct a pro bono evaluation.

Krinsky was a member of the Judicial Council from roughly 2009-2012. The council decides on rules and budgets for California’s vast court system. During a period of intense turmoil in the council’s staff roughly two years ago, Dunn was under consideration to direct the staff, then called the Administrative Office of the Courts.

One of the merits to his possible ascension to that post was his knowledge of the Legislature where the administrative office had been severely criticized over its handling of public funds, including a disastrous software project. Dunn served as a California state senator representing Santa Ana in Orange County from 1998-2006.

In Thursday’s lawsuit, Dunn said, “The retention of the private firm, in addition to being an utter waste of State Bar membership dues, violated State Bar protocol.”

“Three billing partners from the private firm that were put on the ‘evaluation’ each billed in excess of $800 per hour,” said the complaint. “The current billable hours for the services rendered by that private firm likely exceeds $300,000.”

Dunn says he was given his 30-day termination notice on Nov. 7 while he was giving a speech for the State Bar in San Francisco. Holden allegedly said he couldn’t speak to the press, or risk losing his severance pay.

The State Bar has not announced a search for a new executive director, Dunn’s lawsuit notes, adding that Holden plans to take the job himself.

Dunn is seeking damages and injunctive relief reinstating him as executive director, or at the very least, an order to show cause why he should not be reinstated.

See (emphasis added); but see (“Investigation Found Dunn Misled Bar Trustees, Breached Fiduciary Duties”)

16 01 2018
Peter Norell

You are right on point Timothy Naegele. Despite being exonerated, the case being thrown out and a Federal Judge finding me factually innocent, the State Bar and its prosecutors have continued to wrongfully display a misdemeanor conviction on my record. They have been properly notified of this and yet fail to remove it rather keeping a false record on their site.

16 01 2018
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Peter, for your comments.

Sadly, the State Bar is totally lawless. As I wrote in my article above, it is probably “the most corrupt and diabolical trade association of its kind in the United States”—which speaks volumes.

25 11 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

Investigate Former SF Bar President For Taking $438,000 From Escrow Account

The following petition has been provided by Leah Ahn, and its facts have not been independently confirmed or denied:

All California attorneys are bound by an ethical duty of candor that is codified by statute. The State Bar Act imposes misdemeanor criminal liability on any attorney who engages in any deceit or collusion with punishment that could include a jail sentence (section 6128). Section 6106 deems “any act involving moral turpitude, dishonesty or corruption” as cause for disbarment or suspension and does not wait for a criminal conviction to disbar or suspend an attorney for an act that constitutes a felony or misdemeanor.

We respectfully request that the State Bar of California investigate complaints that the former President of the Bar Association of San Francisco, PRIYA SESHACHARI SANGER, secretly took $438,000 from an escrow account, then passed forged and false documents to claim that it was authorized.

A homebuyer deposited purchase funds into an escrow account intending that her money be sent to the bank to pay the mortgage on the property she was buying. Instead, $438,000 of the unsuspecting homebuyer’s money was wired directly into Priya Sanger’s personal bank account.

Sanger was vice president and senior counsel of Wells Fargo Bank when she tapped into the escrow account without the homebuyer’s knowledge. At the time the homebuyer found out that Sanger had taken her money, Priya Sanger was the Treasurer of the Bar Association of San Francisco.

[Note: Sanger is apparently with Google’s Legal Department now:]

Sanger had accessed the account with the help of notoriously corrupt real estate broker WB Coyle and his contacts at the escrow company. NBC News has already aired several investigative stories exposing Coyle’s widespread real estate-based fraud and theft ( Coyle surrendered his license last year after the California Bureau of Real Estate served him with allegations of fraud and intentional violation of real estate laws.

The homebuyer was buying into a three-unit building where there were already two other owners. My family is one of these owners. Sanger happens to be the other owner. Sanger’s actions didn’t just harm the homebuyer; the mortgage is secured by the entire building, which includes my family’s home. Because Sanger took the money that was supposed to be paid to the mortgage, that debt is still on our property. The mortgage is in technical default. Sanger (a former bank attorney) refuses to correct the mortgage default. She refused the homebuyer’s request to pay back the money and avoid legal action. Instead, Sanger chose to litigate against her neighbors, claiming that we agreed to give her the money.

Sanger produced a document with the homebuyer’s forged signature claiming that the homebuyer agreed to give $438,000 to Sanger instead of paying it to the mortgage. Sanger entered this false evidence in a legal proceeding where she specifically informed the judge of her then-current position as the President of the Bar Association of San Francisco—and won. Sanger’s sole witness to “verify the authenticity” of her fraudulent evidence was none other than WB Coyle ( Sanger had retained Coyle’s attorney to represent her in the proceedings.

Evidence discovered after these proceedings show how Sanger got the money, which involves other forged and altered documents. Sanger personally solicited the escrow holder—using her Wells Fargo Bank email address identifying herself as senior counsel for Wells Fargo Bank—to secretly get her hands on someone else’s money. The escrow instructions had been altered after they were signed to include a new handwritten note to give the funds to Sanger. Sanger executed an agreement that she would not sue the escrow holder for giving her the cash—which she faxed from her Wells Fargo Bank office using the official Wells Fargo Bank cover sheet identifying herself as vice president and senior counsel of Wells Fargo Bank. That same day, the escrow assistant (who was the girlfriend of Coyle’s business partner) prepared the wire transfer for $438,000 directly into Priya Sanger’s personal bank account with the instruction to “RUSH, please!”

Complaints reporting Sanger’s actions have been submitted with documentary evidence to the State Bar. The Bar also received documents in which Sanger made deceitful representations to different parties regarding the $438,000 and refused to cooperate in releasing the other mortgage borrowers from personal liability for the money that she took. My family has been financially devastated from litigating the mortgage disputes against Sanger.

Furthermore, the Bar received evidence that, in a separate matter, Sanger and her husband were also discovered to have taken $15,000 out of the building’s common bank account. The building contract required the homeowners’ agreement to take funds from the account. The other then-homeowners, who deposited the majority of the money, deny authorizing the withdrawals to Sanger. Sanger never produced any proof of authorization. Instead, Sanger stated in writing that the statute of limitations had passed and refused to pay back the $15,000. Sanger was the Treasurer of the Bar Association of San Francisco at the time.

We ask the State Bar to determine if the foregoing is conduct becoming of an officer of the court. It is baffling that any third party could take $438,000 out of an escrow account and manage to escape formal inquiry. We respectfully contend that there is sufficient evidence of an attorney’s wrongdoing to warrant investigation by the State Bar. Especially given that the accused attorney continued a pattern of unethical and dishonest behavior while holding official titles within the local Bar Association, we believe that any finding of Priya Sanger’s misconduct should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the disciplinary system.


I, Leah Ahn, author of the petition, hereby declare under the penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the above petition is true of my own knowledge, except as to those things stated upon information and belief, and as to those, I believe it to be true. Executed on November 13, 2014, in San Francisco, California.


7 12 2014
Michael Warnken

While I agree with you in principle because the Ca State Bar itself is in fact a corrupt cesspool. However abolishing it is not really the issue. The real truth is, the Bar and many other State agencies who are also corrupt is a function of the tiny legislature bodies we have across America. In fact, after looking over all of your articles between the the “US Department of Injustice” to the American Legal system being broken, these are all issues that directly exist due to poor representation.

The Federal level is an excellent example. 435 US House members cannot properly represent the over 700,000 constituents they each have. The idea that the US Senate has a mere 100 members for the over 300 million people in America is a cabal in itself.

Consider locally in LA County, its 10 million residents have 5 Supervisors. Each has 2 million. More violence by Government goes on there than anywhere else. So, you are correct in your views, but the problems you aptly examine are symptoms. The disease is lack of representation!

7 12 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Michael, for your comments.

On balance, I agree with you—and certainly with your first sentence.

I have spent my professional career thus far dealing with the federal government and State governments. The only exceptions are a few real estate projects; for example, trying to oversee the construction of a building on the California coast from Washington, D.C., which required approximately 40 different permits and turned out to be a nightmare.

You conclude: “The disease is lack of representation!”

I understand your point of view; and certainly in theory, I would agree.

However, too many chefs stirring the pot might result in nothing positive being done. This is one of the reasons why so many Americans hate government at all levels today, feeling they have lost their freedoms. However, I realize too that what is “positive” is in the eye of the beholder.

After dealing with governments, there is one conclusion that I came to years ago: the government that governs least governs best.

The United States today is a country that is strangled by government intrusions into Americans’ lives and their privacy; and perhaps the EU is even worse.

Food for thought.

7 12 2014
Michael Warnken

I disagree and from your thoughts, I should sit down and do a compilation of all the powers in a law review at some point since so many people tend to misunderstand this. However, Too many chefs do not spoil the soup is not the proper analogy here even if it does seem apt.

There are two key duties of the legislative branch. The first is to take Petitions for redress of grievances. This Petitioning process is what leads to the creation of laws. Generally only those with lots of money can get laws. The rest of us are left Petitioning and getting no answers.

The second key duty is to investigate and inform.

“It is the proper duty of a representative body to look diligently into every affair of government and to talk much about what it sees. It is meant to be the eyes and the voice, and to embody the wisdom and will of its constituents. Unless Congress have and use every means of acquainting itself with the acts and the disposition of the administrative agents of the government, the country must be helpless to learn how it is being served; and unless Congress both scrutinize these things and sift them by every form of discussion, the country must remain in embarrassing, crippling ignorance of the very affairs which it is most important that it should understand and direct. The informing function of Congress should be preferred even to its legislative function. The argument is not only that discussed and interrogated administration is the only pure and efficient administration, but, more than that, that the only really self-governing people is that people which discusses and interrogates its administration. The talk on the part of Congress which we sometimes justly condemn is the profitless squabble of words over frivolous bills or selfish party issues. It would be hard to conceive of there being too much talk about the practical concerns and processes of government. Such talk it is which, when earnestly and purposefully conducted, clears the public mind and shapes the demands of public opinion.”

“By increasing the representation we make it more difficult to corrupt and influence the legislative members; we diffuse them more extensively among the body of the people, perfect the balance, multiply information, strengthen the confidence of the people, and consequently support the laws on equal and free principles.” Federal Farmer

There are a few more than 535 members of Congress. Who can they investigate? There are more Federal Agencies than Members of Congress. There are over 1,000 Federal Judges and who knows how many Federal Prosecutors? It is the duty of the Members of Congress to investigate, well all Federal expenditures and everything else.

“[George] Mason was convinced that once the US House began meeting, it would resist efforts to add more members, which he believed necessary for the body to represent the diverse interests of the people.”

The same is true at the state level. In California, we have 120 no ability to oversee the 560+ California Agencies.

7 12 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Michael, for your additional comments.

First, I worked in the U.S. Senate for almost four years. During this time, I wrote several pieces of legislation that are still the law today.

Second, after leaving the Hill, I worked directly with both the Senate and House for many years, and am still involved.

Third, I rewrote the financial institutions laws of the State Of Maine, which now appear as Title 9-B of the Maine Revised Statutes Annotated.

Fourth, I served as special consultant to the State of California on matters pertaining to financial institutions.


I do not say any of this to brag, but merely to point out that I know how the legislative process works.

Fifth, you have said:

There are two key duties of the legislative branch. The first is to take Petitions for redress of grievances. This Petitioning process is what leads to the creation of laws. Generally only those with lots of money can get laws. The rest of us are left Petitioning and getting no answers.

Each member of Congress—Senators and Congresspersons alike—has “case workers” who receive “petitions” from constituents regarding problems. Most of the time, this relates to problems with government agencies; and the staff members handle them to the satisfaction of the constituents.

Sixth, you have said:

The second key duty is to investigate and inform.

Generally, this is handled by the Senate and House committees, and not by the personal staffs.

Seventh, you have cited two paragraphs in quotes, which are apparently from the “Federal Farmer.” Perhaps more legislators are needed. I do not disagree. However, a constitutional change would be required at the federal level, which would be difficult if not impossible to obtain.

7 12 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

The State Bar Of California Is Further Descending Into A Banana Republic

Ban The State Bar Of California

Maura Dolan of the Los Angeles Times has reported:

The agency that regulates California’s lawyers is once again beset with conflict, riddled by accusations involving expense accounts and ethics.

The turmoil became public last month when the board of the State Bar of California fired its executive director, Joe Dunn, a former state senator from Orange County.

Dunn did not go quietly.

He hired high-profile Los Angeles lawyer Mark J. Geragos and filed a lawsuit charging the bar with “egregious improprieties.”

Dunn’s critics fired back by revealing that a confidential report commissioned by the board found Dunn had spent $5,600 for a party at a Los Angeles restaurant and that a former bar president had filed an expense account report for $1,000 at Tiffany & Co.

The acrimony threatens to further diminish the reputation of the bar, an arm of the California Supreme Court that oversees nearly 250,000 lawyers and is charged with rooting out corrupt attorneys and upholding high moral standards.

Some lawyers and lawmakers have long criticized the bar as bloated, political and lenient on errant lawyers. Upheaval in the 1990s almost led to the organization’s demise, and there have been various efforts to make it less a trade organization and more a regulatory agency.

“The bar is just further descending into a banana republic,” said Golden Gate University law professor Peter Keane, who tried unsuccessfully decades ago to overhaul the association. “It is totally dysfunctional and should be unraveled.”

Funded largely by mandatory lawyers’ dues, the bar is a public corporation that regulates, disciplines and licenses attorneys, subject to the approval of the state high court. Becoming a bar leader is considered a steppingstone to a judgeship and a way to enhance a resume or attract clients.

Dunn, a former trial lawyer hired four years ago, was earning $259,000 a year when he lost his job, overseeing 500 employees and an organization with a $138.6-milllion budget.

Shortly before Dunn was fired, he filed an anonymous “whistle-blower” complaint alleging, among other things, that a bar official was manipulating records to hide a huge backlog in untended complaints against lawyers. Dunn later identified himself as the whistle-blower and said he was fired in retaliation for the complaint.

The bar suggested in a prepared statement that Dunn knew he was going to be fired before filing the complaint, a charge Geragos called “totally untrue.” The statement said Dunn was being investigated because of a complaint by a high-level executive — the same bar official Dunn had accused of misconduct.

The highly public fight is expected to cost the bar hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and could lead to efforts to restructure the organization. The Legislature must pass bills each year authorizing the bar to collect dues, and two governors have vetoed such bills, calling the bar wasteful, partisan and racked by “chronic disharmony.”

“I think there are going to have to be major changes,” said Arthur L. Margolis, who defends lawyers before the bar and advises other attorneys on legal ethics, “to protect whatever credibility” the bar has left.

Dunn’s lawsuit alleged “ethical breaches, prosecutorial lapses and fiscal improprieties” within the bar.

He accused the bar of paying a private law firm $300,000 — with three law partners each billing $800 an hour — to investigate him even though a former judge had offered to do it for free. The purported hourly fee galled many lawyers, who must pay bar dues. Most earn far less than $800 an hour. The bar has refused to confirm the amount spent on the investigation.

The target of Dunn’s wrath was Craig Holden, a partner at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, one of L.A.’s largest law firms, who became bar president in September in an uncontested election. Dunn, who reported to the bar’s board, accused Holden of orchestrating his ouster, possibly because Holden wanted the job himself.

Holden, whose bar position is volunteer, said he laughed at that charge. The bar said Dunn’s lawsuit was “baseless.”

After Dunn filed his lawsuit, details of the outside law firm’s confidential investigation into Dunn became public. People with access to the report shared its contents with The Times and two legal newspapers.

The investigation, ordered by the bar’s trustees, found that Dunn had submitted an expense report for $5,600 for an event in July at 10e, a Los Angeles restaurant owned by Geragos. Geragos said the expense was for a going-away event for former bar President Luis Rodriguez, a Los Angeles deputy public defender whose one-year term ended in September.

The report also said Rodriguez submitted an expense for $1,000 at Tiffany. Rodriguez, asked about the expense, said any suggestion of impropriety was “maddening.”

Rodriguez said bar presidents are given $30,000 annual stipends, and he used part of that to buy gifts for the bar’s trustees as a gesture of appreciation as he was leaving. He said the gift giving was a tradition.

“Every president before me has given a gift, and he or she is free to use that money,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez presented the trustees with pens from Tiffany. He referred further questions to his lawyer.

A bar spokeswoman said presidents have been given up to $30,000 a year since 2006 for “secretarial assistance, miscellaneous expense and travel expense.”

The money for the stipend and the going-away party came from mandatory bar dues, which this year cost most practicing lawyers $420 each.

Under a 1990 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, mandatory bar dues may be spent only on regulating the profession and improving legal services to the public. A spokeswoman for the bar said expenses such as gifts and dinners will be paid from other revenues in the future — a policy instigated by Holden when he became president.

Disclosures from the confidential report infuriated Dunn’s supporters. Geragos described the ouster of Dunn as “a power play” and said Dunn was never allowed to hear or respond to the charges, which included cronyism and misleading the board.

Geragos blamed the bar board for revealing the contents of the report on Dunn to journalists, and warned that any lawyer who divulged the findings could face legal discipline.

The feud is drawing attention in legal circles in California and elsewhere.

“Lawyers in California and legal ethicists around the country are wondering if there is something systematically problematic with the state bar,” said John Steele, who teaches legal ethics at UC Berkeley’s law school.

Or, Steele added, the internal squabbling may amount to just another particularly bad bout of turbulence.

See; see also (“Suit spurs calls for new lawyer discipline model”—”The state bar for the last generation has been a completely dysfunctional organization”)

7 12 2014
Michael Warnken

Mr. Naegele,

I appreciate your response. It is interesting reading your response and I shall respond accordingly.

I am aware that you have some experience, but the experience you have is exemplar. You are in effect an insider that has had access that more than 99% of the people do not have. You also have an idea on the process.
You wrote: “. . . Senators and Congresspersons alike has ‘Case workers’ who receive ‘petitions’ from constituents regarding problems. . . ” these petitions relate to government agencies. Then you go on to note that “. . . the staff members handle them to the satisfaction of the constituents.”

Now, there are a number of ways I can react to this. I want them all to be constructive and you not to be upset, but I also wish to be a little colorful to make my point and perhaps have it stick. These responses range “Are you kidding me?” to “Do you really believe that?” to the more obvious and proper response of “That is not really how it works in most instances” because right now is the magical moment where I don’t think you see the connection between the topics you write about, but might. What I am saying directly is that is the deficiency of the legislature and its formation which is allowing these issues to occur.

I have more direct responses with these “staffers” and there is a great book about them called “Hill Rat” that is one hell of an expose on these staffers, what they do and their effect on this process. The Average member of Congress now has about 100 non elected staffers either for themselves or the committees. Just like the members of Congress cannot oversee the executive or judiciary, but they can barely watch the staffers and as “Hill Rat” shows us, the staffers are making more and more of the decisions of the members of Congress. I argue that when members of Congress are debating, questions should not so much be “How would vote on this or that issue” but in fact, “who are you going to hire and what are they going to vote for?”

I attended Georgetown University in the Summer of 1999 and worked at a large org in DC and had many roommates who worked for members of Congress and I heard a lot about what really goes on there and what the staffers really do.

The theory is, we pay taxes, thus we have representation. What the public coffers pay for are supposed to be watched by those we elect as well as the laws they create. This is the concept of “Taxation with Representation” but if we do not have enough members of a legislative body to do its job, then what does it matter? Taxes are collected and the money is used as it is used. If the money is wasted or people are harmed, by the institutions that money creates or pays for, then what? Nothing, the abuse continues.

Also, the more people that a rep has in their district, the more money it costs to run for office. This in turn makes it so money has more import than each individual vote. So, the concentrated powers (The Bar, The DOJ, Trade Associations) and the moneyed interests have more access. The real reforms do not exist or those enjoying the current circumstances can keep them that way and those petitioning or those who should be petitioning do not. People harmed do not even assume that they can affect the process.

So, if these “staff members” who work for the members of the legislatures were indeed handling these petitions for grievances from their constituents to the satisfaction of those petitioning, then the Bar would be dealt with. The Law would not be so that the Prosecution was overcharging the Defendants because they would be able to Petition over these wrongs.

I am aware that Committees perform oversight. However, that is just my point, not only are there more agencies than there are members of Congress, but there are far more agencies than there are committees. So, you probably recall the Madoff incident. One of the things it made us aware of is the fact that members of the SEC were engaged in misconduct of an array of stripes. Lawyers not current with their bar licenses, some members were in there downloading pornographic material all day. Would you like to know why? They have no one looking over them. The Secretary of Commerce (I think it was Chris Cox at the time) overseeing the SEC did not even have an idea that this was going on. So, the internal procedures were not enough and Congress did not investigate the SEC so, the abuses were able to go on.

Wanna know why the VA is in such a mess? No oversight. Those receiving the services from the VA were letting their members of Congress know what was going on, but Congress did not respond, not until the media showed that people were dying (quite a threshold). I have a friend in this boat. He complained often. He was ignored. So, the VA (which you have not apparently written about) was engaging in abusive practices for a very long time.

So, some investigations do occur. We all remember when Baseball was being investigated. The bigger question is, what weren’t they investigating when they were investigating baseball? Well, the VA for one since it seems they were having massive problems then. They also weren’t investigating the SEC at that time either. Why weren’t they investigating Football which is rampant with steroids? What else aren’t they investigating? How about the abuses of the bar that you have written about?

The US House size is set in 2 USC 2(a-c) and its size can be between a minimum of 1 per state (which would place the house at 50) and just over 10,000. The Size of the Senate is set twice by the Constitution, both in Article I and Article V. Article I sets it at 2 per State. Article V opens the door for more, but suggests that there can be more, but that the number allocated can be equal per state. So, we could in theory have 3 per state or 4 or 6 or even 12!

I agree with you, difficult, but not for the direct reason you cited.

So, I reassert that the things you are rightfully complaining about are in fact symptoms of lack of legislative representation! So now you know why the things you are being courageous about by blogging on are happening. But, you still might not see it or agree with me!

8 12 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Michael, for your additional thoughtful comments.

First, I can only speak based on my personal experiences. We had exceptional case workers, who were very dedicated to doing their jobs and serving the constituents. And we monitored their efforts.

Heaven knows, this may not be true of every congressional staff member, much less those who serve constituents on a state-wide or local basis. Each of us has encountered rude, uncaring conduct on the part of government workers.

However, I have received exceptional care and attention—and when I write these words, three black men come to mind immediately, two with the federal court system and another with the Social Security Administration.

With all due respect, to increase the number of government employees seems to be no solution to anything. Also, to increase the number of our federal legislators would require a constitutional change, which again is almost impossible to obtain.

8 12 2014
Michael Warnken

Again, I return to the point that all the problems you speak of are symptoms of lack of representation. It is that simple!

Second, I do not advocate the increase of Government employees at all.

Third, no, an increase in the size of the US House does not require a Constitutional amendment. The Size of the US House increased and decreased since it was formed. It’s initial size is set in the Constitution (I believe at 65 members). From there, it grew. More states were added, the population grew.

The US House actually shrunk during the Civil War when the Southern states no longer participated. Then it increased up until 1911. Then it was officially frozen at 435 until Alaska and Hawaii were added and it became 437. Then two years later it was shrunk back to 435.

The Population was about 100 million when the house was frozen today we are about 320 million. So, the Congressional districts are 3 times as large. We now add assistants in lieu of adding more reps.

The cost of running an effective campaign correlate 93% with money. So, the incumbents all have the benefit and the challengers are forced to be millionaires and the real losers are the rest of us who endure the violence of the Bar. Turn over is less than 10% and yet our reps have a favorability rating of about 10% to 20% at any given time. Turn out is low because “why bother” and at the same time, when a lawyer damages a person and they go to the bar and the bar does nothing, you will find that when you go to your representative or their assistants, they do the same and guess what, they win their next election! It’s pretty perverse.

As a simple question I ask of those who defend the current system. Where in the Constitution does it say anything about Assistants or Staffers? When I ask people “Should you as a voter have access to the Representative or the Assistant?” I rarely hear the Assistant. When you ask a big donor if they should have access to the rep or the Assistant, their answer is no different!

Guess who has their grievances remedied? Not I said the fly!

8 12 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Michael.

First, the “District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendment” and the “Equal Rights Amendment” have failed, and this may be reflective of other similar efforts, although I realize that the number of representatives has changed over time.

See (“Synopsis of each unratified amendment”)

Second, if you review all of my articles here, you will realize that in no way do I believe the “system” is perfect or above reproach. Quite to the contrary. However, there is no simple solution to remedying an imperfect system.

Having said that, I believe “trade associations” such as the State Bar of California should be abolished, or at the very least made voluntary; and their staff members should be discharged without any benefits.

8 12 2014
Michael Warnken

I appreciate your thoughts here. I actually disagree on the Trade Association matter. They have the right under Amendment I to Assemble. They are like any group of like minded individuals who wish to act in concert. I just don’t believe they should have so much influence on the process as they do.

The Amendments you have raised are not really relevant here. But DC and other similar enclaves such as the US Virgin Islands do need representation and at least now have non voting (actually part time voting).

There was a reason that DC was not supposed to have a Representative. The founders were worried that such a corrupt center would have too much influence on the process. There is a great US Supreme Court case on this the topic of DC not having a Rep: Loughborough v. Blake, 18 U.S. 5 Wheat. 317 317 (1820)

There is an interesting argument raised by a resident of DC that he should not have to pay taxes since he doesn’t have a representative. John Marshall rules against him and notes:

“Although in theory it might be more congenial to the spirit of our institutions to admit a representative from the District, it may be doubted whether, in fact, its interests would be rendered thereby [Page 18 U. S. 325] the more secure, and certainly the Constitution does not consider their want of a representative in Congress as exempting it from equal taxation.”

DC has a non voting representative. Representation was supposed to run with the States. DC gets about $5 for every dollar it pays in taxes, so from that angle, it is well represented!

How many people can a representative really represent? When does agency dissipate? When is substituting an Assistant proper and when does it no longer constitute agency? I think we’ve been there.

When the size of a district was proposed by the Founders, 30,000 was decided to be the right size.40,000 was tyranny. We are 720,000 per US House member. Is that agency? Can they oversee these things?

I have read many of your articles and enjoyed them. The problems you have spoken are complex. However, the legislative branch has the duty to oversee and reign in these problems. 435 Members do not have the bandwidth to deal with these problems. It is just that simple! The better the representation, the less violence committed against the common citizen and the more liberties. More representation does not fix the core problem of man’s sometimes evil nature, however, it makes it more likely for individuals to find protection from the Bar or the other groups who are violating citizens.

I am surprised you have stayed in this so long, you need not respond, I enjoy once in a while debating this, especially with astute people as yourself. Some are more abstinent about their refusal to acknowledge the obvious. I have to keep sharp when I am not presenting to a crowd on the issue.

8 12 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you again, Michael.

First, I have represented trade associations, some very large and some small; and the State Bar is nothing more than a third-rate trade association, if that. Its “leadership” should be sacked, along with its staff. What happened when Pete Wilson was governor was the right thing to do. It should disappear permanently.

Second, you have said:

The better the representation, the less violence committed against the common citizen and the more liberties.

The thugs and hoods who torched Ferguson and other communities should be treated as domestic terrorists, and dealt with harshly.

They must not be coddled, which has happened since the Watts’ riots of 1965!

Third, you and I do not disagree about the need for effective representation. This is what our great country is all about. However, I have difficulty squaring that with my long-held and deep belief that the government that governs least governs best.

I am sick and tired of government, and so are most Americans. When we find corrupt organs such as the State Bar, we rail against them—privately or in public.

8 12 2014
Michael Warnken

I like the idea of competing Bars. One of the problems with the State Bar as it is formed is the fact that it has a monopoly on the matter. That would take away some of the problems under the bar.

I need not touch the Ferguson matter. That is outside the scope here.

More representation does not mean more government. This is essential. There are two ways to look at the issue of Government. The first idea is that Government is all person involved in a Polity. The question is, what is our function. Some people are representatives. Some people are in the Judiciary and some are in the legislature.

Most of us are Citizens and as such, we have the potential of running for office. However, we have the function of voting and being Jurors. This means service in both Petite Juries and Grand Juries. So, under this theory Government is everyone within a Polity.

Under my Second theory, the “Government” as we know it is the Executive branch. That is anyone who executes the functions of Government. The Executive branch is the most dangerous branch of Government. The legislature in effect creates the Executive, it forms taxes that pays the Executive. It is the ultimate duty of the legislature to restrain the Executive.

I have traced this last theory back to Blackstone. He had an interesting passage in the Common Law of England where he noted that it was quite natural for the King to go out and Conquest other Countries for himself. He then noted it was necessary that Parliament restrain the King.

When we speak of a “Balance of Power” We just assume that there are three branches and they Balance. Done right? Some people take it a little bit further and they note that it is necessary for a legislature to be BiCameral and there are many reasons for this. I recall one that note that the Power of the Legislature was so great that it must necessarily be divided.

However, the Federalist Papers actually give parameters.

“The members of the executive and judiciary departments are few in number, and can be personally known to a small part only of the people. The latter, by the mode of their appointment, as well as by the nature and permanency of it, are too far removed from the people to share much in their prepossessions. The former are generally the objects of jealousy, and their administration is always liable to be discolored and rendered unpopular. The members of the legislative department, on the other hand, are numberous. They are distributed and dwell among the people at large. Their connections of blood, of friendship, and of acquaintance embrace a great proportion of the most influential part of the society. The nature of their public trust implies a personal influence among the people, and that they are more immediately the confidential guardians of the rights and liberties of the people.” Federlist 49

So, it says that there are supposed to be more Reps than Judges. In 1789 when the Judiciary Act of 1789 was first Passed, there were 19 Judge, 26 Senators and 65 House members. The Executive branch was tiny. George Washington was the entire Patent Office! Today, there 435 House members, 100 US Senators and over 1,000 Federal Judges. The Executive branch is massive. I saw one figure that noted we had 22 million Federal employees!

So, when you say “The Government” I beleive that means the Executive branch. As the Federalist notes:

“In a government where numerous and extensive prerogatives are placed in the hands of an hereditary monarch, the executive department is very justly regarded as the source of danger, and watched with all the jealousy which a zeal for liberty ought to inspire. In a democracy, where a multitude of people exercise in person the legislative functions, and are continually exposed, by their incapacity for regular deliberation and concerted measures, to the ambitious intrigues of their executive magistrates, tyranny may well be apprehended, on some favorable emergency, to start up in the same quarter. But in a representative republic, where the executive magistracy is carefully limited; both in the extent and the duration of its power; and where the legislative power is exercised by an assembly, which is inspired, by a supposed influence over the people, with an intrepid confidence in its own strength; which is sufficiently numerous to feel all the passions which actuate a multitude, yet not so numerous as to be incapable of pursuing the objects of its passions, by means which reason prescribes; it is against the enterprising ambition of this department that the people ought to indulge all their jealousy and exhaust all their precautions.” Federalist 48

There is what you are looking for! I hope that makes sense.


8 12 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

First, I am not proposing the idea of “competing Bars” at all. The corrupt State Bar of California would become voluntary at best, and would likely disappear quickly, similar to what happened under former Governor Pete Wilson.

Few if any bar members would want to pay its extravagant dues or satisfy its absurd CLE requirements—which are nonexistent with the District of Columbia Bar.

Second, as you know, there has been a long debate over whether our elected representatives must reflect precisely the will of a majority of their constituents, or whether they are elected to “listen” and then make intelligent, informed decisions. Each elected official sees his or her job in this context, and makes individual decisions as issues arise.

Third, your citations are interesting, and will be debated and put into effect—or not—as long as our republic exists, which hopefully will be forever.

4 12 2016
Donna Christine

As the oldest daughter of a 27 year Army Veteran, a domestic abuse survivor, former wife of an attorney and a victim of the divorce process and the lawyers and others that my ex-husband associated with, I can tell you that there is no one in government or at the State Bar level of any state that truly helps or protects child rearing parents. Many are homeless and have no voice. The District Attorneys really don’t do anything either without Police investigating the case and giving them evidence. It is a very ineffective triangle. The DCSS stops enforcing Spousal Support when all children turn 18, so once again the custodial and child rearing parent gets screwed. There has to be a Federal Website to list those individuals. They go from state to state doing the same thing. Essentially they have 50 chances to move and start over.

4 12 2016
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you for your comments.

14 12 2014
Mark Talmont

I have not seen any coverage of these matters in the press. I scan numerous papers online including the Sacramento Bee, which did a decent job of looking into the stunningly unprofessional conduct during the building of the new SF/Bay Bridge.

I think I’ll drop a note to a few editors and suggest they look into it.

15 12 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Mark, for your comments.

Aside from the Courthouse New Service article that I cited above—with respect to ex-State Bar Director Joseph Dunn and his attorney Mark Geragos—and the Los Angeles Times article regarding the same issues, I have not seen anything either.

See (“Ex-California State Bar Director Files Whistle-Blower Action”) and (“The State Bar Of California Is Further Descending Into A Banana Republic”)

The more people who are aware of the depth of the State Bar’s wrongdoing, the better.

13 01 2015
Ron Pierce

I’ve been struggling with the blatant cover up of my complaint against an attorney for over two years now. I have to take the matter to the Supreme Court but that has burdened the holy hell out of me doing it myself. Not that I’m overly inspired by what I already know to be a seriously corrupt state supreme court.

And then there is this:

13 01 2015
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Ron, for your comments.

LOTS of good luck to you!

14 01 2015
Ron Pierce

Thank you. I’ve referenced your blog here to put it in their face. I’ll need more than luck though. Actively being targeted here.

15 01 2015
Ron Pierce

Don’t I know it. If you saw my cases and how they’ve been fixed, it would bear that out. With the Dunn matter further exposing the State Bar as corrupt, with the CaliforniaALL scandal exposure, with the recent audit of the court system—and I think an impending State Bar audit now—what can be done to further demonstrate that the State Bar and larger court system is a giant charade? I can tell you that things on the public side are definitely heating up.

15 01 2015
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you again, Ron. The idea that members of the Judicial Council—whatever that is—allowed you only a minute of their precious time is a travesty unto itself!

15 01 2015
Timothy D. Naegele

California Is Lawless

Justice And The Law Do Not Mix

Tragically, the system of “justice” in the United States—and especially in California—is little better than that of Russia and other authoritarian countries that try to silence their critics.

The principal problem is that the judges are often egotistical, callous, mean-spirited, power-hungry, self-righteous, condescending and, yes, incompetent and arrogant. They can smile at you, just as easily as they can slit your throat and never think twice about doing it.

To be perfectly blunt, they are Hitler-esque—and not worth a thimble full of a day laborer’s warm spittle.

As I have written:

Shakespeare’s famous quotation—“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”—must have been written in some light-hearted moment with the dark and sinister characteristics of judges in mind.

See (“Justice And The Law Do Not Mix“); see also (“The State Bar Of California Is Lawless And A Travesty, And Should Be Abolished“) and (“The United States Department of Injustice“) and (“The American Legal System Is Broken: Can It Be Fixed?“)

. . .

When the California Supreme Court does nothing in the face of irrefutable evidence of wrongdoing at the State Bar and State Bar Court—and even ignores its own precedents and established law, and is blindly bureaucratic—it too becomes lawless, complicit and a disgrace.

A fish rots from the head down . . .

This prompts a growing awareness of the burning need for justice in the State where I was born.

21 02 2015

The State Bar needs to burn down with all inside the building . . .

Their lawyers destroyed my profession and family by all kinds of illegal actions, lies and fabrications. I filed numerous complaints about lawyers B.N.G, J R, S.G and TM but nothing happened. Then I filed complaints to their appeal unit but still nothing happened. The State Bar is a fraudulent organization that is running the biggest fraud operations, and is not really interested in taking complaints seriously.

The best option is to close this organization immediately. It is nothing more than a useless and shameful operation. They have done nothing about thousand of pages of complaints about the ongoing legal mafia; and corruption in the legal system is at the highest [level] ever.

9 03 2015
Juan Jimenez

Sad to read such horrible things about our State Bar in Los Angeles, CA. We need closer monitoring on every Attorney licensed by the State Bar of California to omit corruption, abuse, and misleading of any, and all Attorneys!

Restore monitoring the Attorneys by the State Bar because the general public needs such truth who, or whom is serving with good intensions, and not with wrongful intensions! Attorneys suppose to protect, and serve the client well, not unfair!

Just like Law Enforcement protect, and serve the public, not shot to kill, and then ask questions after the fact! If one cannot depend on Attorneys, and Police Officers then who, and whom can we depend on to avoid unruly acts?

9 03 2015
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Juan, for your comments.

Yes, I agree: it is sad to realize that the State Bar of California and the State Bar Court are corrupt. However, this has been true for many years.

Yes too, attorneys who are licensed in California must not abuse their duties to clients. However, sometimes there are literally “clients from Hell” who abuse the legal system as well.

A very careful balance must be achieved between protecting the public—and each of us is a member of the public—and protecting members of the legal profession. It is a “two-way street.”

As I have written in the article above:

Lawyers are held in low esteem today, inter alia, because rogue organizations like the State Bar exist, which are bankrupt morally and ethically.

Its support from financially strapped Californians and the equally strapped State of California is wasted and must be eliminated completely; and its membership must become voluntary, at best.

28 03 2015
Timothy D. Naegele

The State Bar Of California Is Acting Illegally In Restraint Of Trade

Ban the State Bar of California

In an article entitled “[U.S.] Supreme Court ruling puts state regulatory boards in crosshairs,” the Los Angeles Times‘ Michael Hiltzik has written:

Want to get paid for shampooing someone’s hair? In California, you may need to have at least nine months of experience and pass a licensing test overseen by the state barbering and cosmetology board, whose members include salon professionals.

Do you clean dogs’ teeth for pay as part of a grooming service? You might run afoul of the state Veterinary Medical Board, which includes four veterinarians and a veterinary technician among its eight members. The board treats tooth cleaning using anything but a toothbrush as veterinary medicine — and the unlicensed practice of which is a crime punishable by up to a year in jail.

These are just two of countless ways that members of a business or occupation can close the doors to others by using their authority on a state regulatory board. This smacks of “restraint of trade,” a fundamental no-no in antitrust law. Until a few weeks ago, such state regulatory boards thought they had an exemption from the law. The U.S. Supreme Court has now set them straight, ruling 6-3 on Feb. 25 that if a “controlling number” of a board’s members are active participants in the business it regulates, they could be sued as antitrust violators.


The case involved North Carolina’s board of dental examiners, but its nationwide impact could be immense. Yet in California, state officials have been slow to acknowledge its implications. The Department of Consumer Affairs, which encompasses as many as 40 boards, says it hasn’t yet figured out how it applies. The state Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development has asked legislative counsel to examine the Supreme Court decision, but it isn’t expecting a report until next month.

Hanging in the balance is the state’s ability to regulate not only barbers and pet groomers, but also doctors and surgeons, nurses, chiropractors, optometrists, accountants, architects, lawyers, pest exterminators and security alarm installers. That’s a partial list of California professional boards affected by the ruling, which is based on a 1943 precedent set in a case involving a marketing program for California raisins. The Supreme Court ruled then that state regulatory bodies comprising industry members are entitled to antitrust immunity only as long as their authority to set regulations is constrained and their decisions are subject to “active supervision” by state officials.

February’s decision means that “the vast majority of commissions and boards in all 50 states are untenable and illegal,” says Robert Fellmeth, a veteran antitrust expert who is executive director of the Center for Public Interest Law at the University of San Diego law school. The court has established, he says, that “the king has been wearing no clothes for the last 72 years.”

There’s little doubt that California is in the ruling’s crosshairs. “My sense is that it will apply directly to California,” says state Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), chairman of the Senate’s business and professions committee. “We don’t have active supervision of our boards — they make their decisions and move forward without any oversight by the state.”

The downside of professional and occupational licensing is one of the few subjects on which liberals and libertarians have been in accord. Liberals say that licensing provisions can be pretexts for discrimination against minorities or other disadvantaged groups. Libertarians cite studies indicating that licensing raises income for incumbents and therefore consumer costs, often without any increase in the quality of services.

Many regulatory boards nominally function as enforcement bodies overseeing health, safety and consumer protection rules. That’s true of California’s healthcare boards, which typically have strong majority membership from the regulated specialty. For example, of the 14 current members of the state medical board, which licenses and disciplines physicians and surgeons, eight are M.D.s and a ninth is a registered nurse practitioner. One non-physician’s seat is vacant.

Yet distinguishing between consumer protection and professional protectionism can be difficult under any circumstances; it’s harder when the regulators are members of the profession. Consider a California accountancy board rule barring individuals from identifying themselves as “accountants” or offering “accounting” services unless they’re licensed as a public or certified public accountant by the board, six of whose 13 current members are CPAs. Is the goal to prevent consumer “confusion,” as the board maintains? Or is it to foreclose competition from non-licensees who may be qualified to perform any number of services the general public would regard as “accounting”?

Nor is it simple to assess a board’s approach to misbehavior by those it has already admitted to the club: The medical board and the State Bar of California (13 of whose 19 trustees must be attorneys) have been faulted for sometimes treating misbehaving or underperforming licensees too leniently.

The North Carolina case involved a successful effort by the state’s dental board to eradicate teeth whitening services by non-dentists. The board designated whitening as the practice of dentistry and issued 47 cease-and-desist letters warning providers that they were committing a crime, even urging shopping mall operators to kick teeth-whitening kiosks off their premises. The commercial services disappeared, but the dental board got sued by the Federal Trade Commission.

To Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, author of the majority opinion upholding the FTC, the dentists were acting suspiciously like a price-fixing cartel, not a state agency. When a state delegates regulation to members of the regulated business or profession, he wrote, “established ethical standards may blend with private anticompetitive motives in a way difficult even for market participants to discern.”

The ruling doesn’t provide states with much guidance on what to do next. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., writing for the dissenters, argued that removing “active market participants” as a “controlling number” of board members — Kennedy’s phrasing — leaves vague whether insiders can’t be a majority or can’t even constitute “a voting bloc that is generally able to get its way.”

In Sacramento, legislators may consider simply “removing active participants from the boards,” Hill says — reconstituting the boards as advisory panels for boards comprising only members of the public and empowered to set regulations and enforce them. The Legislature has been trying to strengthen the public voice on regulatory boards anyway, by giving majorities to their public members. The Supreme Court ruling may hasten the process, while answering the old question of who watches the watchmen. In the wake of the court’s decision, the job belongs to the public.

See (emphasis added)

This is just another way in which the State Bar of California Is lawless and a travesty, and why it should be abolished.

Also, the pathetic, incestuous and insidious relationship between the State Bar and the State Bar Court must be terminated.

13 05 2015
Cliff lee

Obviously I couldn’t agree more. I think TIm you have hit this before, the Bar is a political institution with little concern over its members and the community and is more interested in the occasional flashing headline and throwing its members under the bus when it is desirable. I hope this will lead to its being dismantled.

13 05 2015
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Cliff, for your comments. I agree completely.

As you may know, its executive director Joe Dunn, and its general counsel Thom Miller are both gone.

The rest of the trade association needs to be dismantled too.

29 05 2015
Timothy D. Naegele

Why Doctors And Lawyers Quit

Ban the State Bar of California

The Washington Post‘s Charles Krauthammer—an American Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist, author, political commentator, and physician—has written an article entitled “Why doctors quit,” which states:

About a decade ago, a doctor friend was lamenting the increasingly frustrating conditions of clinical practice. “How did you know to get out of medicine in 1978?” he asked with a smile.

“I didn’t,” I replied. “I had no idea what was coming. I just felt I’d chosen the wrong vocation.”

I was reminded of this exchange upon receiving my med-school class’s 40th-reunion report and reading some of the entries. In general, my classmates felt fulfilled by family, friends and the considerable achievements of their professional lives. But there was an undercurrent of deep disappointment, almost demoralization, with what medical practice had become.

The complaint was not financial but vocational — an incessant interference with their work, a deep erosion of their autonomy and authority, a transformation from physician to “provider.”

As one of them wrote, “My colleagues who have already left practice all say they still love patient care, being a doctor. They just couldn’t stand everything else.” By which he meant “a never-ending attack on the profession from government, insurance companies, and lawyers . . . progressively intrusive and usually unproductive rules and regulations,” topped by an electronic health records (EHR) mandate that produces nothing more than “billing and legal documents” — and degraded medicine.

I hear this everywhere. Virtually every doctor and doctors’ group I speak to cites the same litany, with particular bitterness about the EHR mandate. As another classmate wrote, “The introduction of the electronic medical record into our office has created so much more need for documentation that I can only see about three-quarters of the patients I could before, and has prompted me to seriously consider leaving for the first time.”

You may have zero sympathy for doctors, but think about the extraordinary loss to society — and maybe to you, one day — of driving away 40 years of irreplaceable clinical experience.

And for what? The newly elected Barack Obama told the nation in 2009 that “it just won’t save billions of dollars” — $77 billion a year, promised the administration — “and thousands of jobs, it will save lives.” He then threw a cool $27 billion at going paperless by 2015.

It’s 2015 and what have we achieved? The $27 billion is gone, of course. The $77 billion in savings became a joke. Indeed, reported the Health and Human Services inspector general in 2014, “EHR technology can make it easier to commit fraud,” as in Medicare fraud, the copy-and-paste function allowing the instant filling of vast data fields, facilitating billing inflation.

That’s just the beginning of the losses. Consider the myriad small practices that, facing ruinous transition costs in equipment, software, training and time, have closed shop, gone bankrupt or been swallowed by some larger entity.

This hardly stays the long arm of the health-care police, however. As of Jan. 1, 2015, if you haven’t gone electronic, your Medicare payments will be cut, by 1 percent this year, rising to 3 percent (potentially 5 percent) in subsequent years.

Then there is the toll on doctors’ time and patient care. One study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine found that emergency-room doctors spend 43 percent of their time entering electronic records information, 28 percent with patients. Another study found that family-practice physicians spend on average 48 minutes a day just entering clinical data.

Forget the numbers. Think just of your own doctor’s visits, of how much less listening, examining, even eye contact goes on, given the need for scrolling, clicking and box checking.

The geniuses who rammed this through undoubtedly thought they were rationalizing health care. After all, banking went electronic. Why not medicine?

Because banks deal with nothing but data. They don’t listen to your heart or examine your groin. Clicking boxes on an endless electronic form turns the patient into a data machine and cancels out the subtlety of a doctor’s unique feel and judgment.

Why did all this happen? Because liberals in a hurry refuse to trust the self-interested wisdom of individual practitioners, who were already adopting EHR on their own, but gradually, organically, as the technology became ripe and the costs tolerable. Instead, Washington picked a date out of a hat and decreed: Digital by 2015.

As with other such arbitrary arrogance, the results are not pretty. EHR is health care’s Solyndra. Many, no doubt, feasted nicely on the $27 billion, but the rest is waste: money squandered, patients neglected, good physicians demoralized.

Like my old classmates who signed up for patient care — which they still love — and now do data entry.

See; see also (“Why doctors quit, Chapter 2”)

The Wall Street Journal has an article entitled “Ex-Partner Says Dewey & LeBoeuf Got Stuck in Debt Cycle,” which is worth reading as well.


Krauthammer’s comments echo the sentiments of many successful lawyers, who strongly recommend to their kids and others: “Never become a lawyer.”

A number of large and small law firms have gone belly-up, with many more to come.

Global economic conditions between now and the end of this decade—and beyond—are scary at best.

The legal profession is by no means sheltered from these developments. Far from it, lawyers may be on the cutting edge of the suffering.

See (“The World’s Next Credit Crunch Could Make 2008 Look Like A Hiccup”)

Lawyers with excellent clients often break away and form their own firms, or join other firms as a ready-made “department,” when the handwriting is on the wall.

What is crystal clear, however, is that no American lawyers or lawyers from other countries need corrupt trade associations like the State Bar of California.

See (“The State Bar Of California Is Lawless And A Travesty, And Should Be Abolished“) and (“California Is Lawless“) and (“The State Bar Of California Is Acting Illegally In Restraint Of Trade“)

1 09 2015
Timothy D. Naegele

The State Bar Of California Must Be Abolished

Ban the State Bar of California

In an editorial entitled, “State Bar proves it needs a little sunshine,” The Sacramento Bee notes:

Annual legislation authorizing the State Bar Association to collect dues from attorneys wouldn’t ordinarily warrant much attention beyond the legal profession.

But this year’s dues bill comes after the California State Auditor in June revealed an astonishing level of dysfunction at the bar, including questionable spending and lax discipline of errant attorneys.

The Center for Public Interest Law at the University of San Diego law school, which tracks the bar’s spotty history of policing its own, is asking the Legislature to require that the association become subject to the Public Records Act and the state’s open meetings law.

As described in The Recorder, a publication aimed at lawyers, the Assembly Appropriations Committee agreed, and slipped amendments into the dues bill, Senate Bill 387 by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara. The bar is protesting. In our view, the disclosure provisions represent a good start.

The auditor, which concluded that the bar failed to properly report its backlog of discipline cases, counted it at 5,174 as of 2011. The bar helped alleviate the backlog in part by imposing weak sanctions, the audit said.

The California Supreme Court, which reviews attorney discipline cases, took the extraordinary step of rejecting 27 cases because penalties were so limp. Upon further review, the bar increased sanctions in 21 cases, five of which resulted in disbarment.

“Thus, to reduce its backlog, the State Bar allowed some attorneys whom it otherwise might have disciplined more severely – or even disbarred – to continue practicing law, placing the public at risk,” the audit said.

The audit also found that the bar bought and renovated a downtown Los Angeles building at a cost of $76.6 million, $50 million more than what it told the Legislature the building would cost.

Unlike state boards that oversee doctors, nurses, dentists and other professions, the State Bar functions as a trade association for lawyers and regulates them. That is an inherent conflict. Adding to the insider nature, 13 of 19 members on the board are attorneys; only six are public members.

The Center for Public Interest Law suggests ending the attorney majority on the bar board, and eliminating provisions allowing for the election of six of the 13 lawyer board members. Both steps make sense. Lawyers, no one’s dummy, probably would not vote for candidates who promise to crack down on abusive lawyers.

We can think of other steps: Why not require bar board members and top executives to file meaningful statements of economic interest, as officials in other state agencies do? For now, however, subjecting the bar to basic provisions of open government would help cleanse an organization that has shown itself to be in need of greater oversight.

See (emphasis added)

More than “a little sunshine,” the State Bar of California must be abolished.

As highlighted in the article and comments above, it is probably the most corrupt and diabolical trade association of its kind in the United States.

Like a rabid warthog on the rampage, it must be put down.

22 10 2015
Timothy D. Naegele

No Confidence in State Bar of California’s Discipline Chief [UPDATED]

Ban the State Bar of California

Cheryl Miller of The Recorder has reported:

Employees in the California State Bar’s Office of Chief Trial Counsel on Wednesday cast an overwhelming vote of “no confidence” in department leader Jayne Kim, signaling opposition to bar leaders’ plans to appoint the top prosecutor to another four-year term.

Seventy-six percent of those who cast ballots in the two-hour election period indicated no support for Kim, according to an employee who was familiar with the vote tally. Approximately 200 attorneys, investigators, secretaries and other OCTC workers in the bar’s Los Angeles and San Francisco offices were eligible to participate in the election, said Lita Abella, president of the workers’ union, the State Bar of California Association.

Abella said that union leaders expected to meet Thursday to consider what to do next. She declined to comment further.

The vote is the latest blow for an organization that has been searching for stability since the ouster of its executive director and general counsel almost one year ago. Kim, who filed an internal complaint against then-top executive Joe Dunn that contributed to his firing by the bar board of trustees, survived the turnover and has generally received strong public support from bar leaders.

A critical state audit issued in June found that the bar has not been transparent in reporting its disciplinary caseload numbers and that at one point, the agency was so focused on clearing cases that it offered lenient settlements to lawyers under investigation to clear the books quickly. But bar leaders placed the blame squarely on Dunn and praised Kim for changes she made after she took office in late 2011.

Kim did not respond to a message seeking comment Wednesday. But chief operating officer Leah Wilson said in an email that the bar “values its employees, and respects employee rights to express their opinions in all legally permissible and appropriate formats.”

But, Wilson added, “significant improvements have been made in the discipline system in particular in recent years,” including a reduction in the bar’s ongoing case backlog, additional training for staff and creation of a vertical prosecution system.

OCTC employees who spoke with The Recorder, often on the condition of anonymity, described a department with enormous discipline caseloads and pressure from managers to pursue charges against lawyers under investigation. A document provided to The Recorder outlining unnamed employees’ complaints cites chronic understaffing and an overreliance on temporary workers. The seven-page “whistleblower complaint” describes Kim as “a bully, petty, thin skinned, and vindictive” and says employees have voiced their concerns to trustees and bar executives to no avail.

“There’s a lot of acrimony in this office,” said Adriana Burger, an attorney who has worked at the bar for more than 20 years. “People are very disappointed that this has been going on for so long and nothing has really happened to change it.”

The state Senate Rules Committee must confirm Kim’s nomination if bar trustees recommend her for another term as chief trial counsel, a fact that could prove troublesome if bar employees decide to actively oppose her. The bar union is affiliated with Service Employees International Union Local 1000, a powerful lobbying force in the state Capitol.

See (emphasis added); see also (“State Bar wrestles with controversy over its chief prosecutor”—”Only months after new management took charge, the State Bar of California is tangled in another controversy. . . . In September a new management team, lead by former McGeorge School of Law dean Elizabeth Parker, took charge of what many call a dysfunctional organization. . . . [S]enior trial counsel Erin Joyce . . . and Robin Brune, a former El Dorado County district attorney who now serves as senior trial counsel at the bar, railed about [Kim]. . . . [Famed attorney Mark Geragos said:] ‘In my 33 years of practicing law, I’ve gone up against a lot of parties. I’ve never seen a more dysfunctional group than this. In my humble opinion, it may be time to clean house or disband the bar altogether'”) and (“Spurning Union, Bar Backs Discipline Chief”—”The state bar’s board of trustees voted Monday to give chief trial counsel Jayne Kim a new term despite a vote of no confidence from office workers”—”[The totally lawless and despicable] Erin Joyce, vice president of the attorney unit of the State Bar of California Association, also spoke out against Kim before Monday’s vote”)

As the article and comments above make crystal clear, the State Bar’s problems are not limited to one person. They are pervasive institutional problems, which cannot be rectified by “scapegoating” one person.

Indeed, as my article above states:

[The State Bar’s] support from financially strapped Californians and the equally strapped State of California is wasted and must be eliminated completely; and its membership must become voluntary, at best. Clearly, enough political forces coalesced to effectively put the State Bar out of business when Pete Wilson was California’s governor. The same thing must happen now—this time to accomplish the job once and for all, and eliminate what is probably the most corrupt and diabolical trade association of its kind in the United States.

Nothing less will suffice.

Also, the employees’ union for these misfits must be eliminated. President Ronald Reagan fired 11,345 striking air traffic controllers. With the termination of the State Bar, its attorneys will be dismissed too, and its union dissolved.

See also (“Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (1968)“)

18 05 2016
Much to learn in Arizona from Calif. State audit blasting State Bar non-transparency. | The Irreverent Lawyer

[…] last week. My praise, though, is restrained. The California Bar has sustained plenty of hits and fault-finding the past 30 years.1 And still it has resisted genuine reforms. Apart from that, the Cal Bar getting […]

28 05 2016
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28 05 2016
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you. 🙂

1 07 2016
Regenia Thurstonson

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1 07 2016
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you for your kind words.

19 08 2016

I submitted a complaint to the CA State Bar approx. 6 months ago, and just recently got a call from them saying they plan on closing my case b/c of the state bar’s rule of limitations. My complaint was filed within 5 years of the date of the attorney’s violation, however, for whatever reason (backlog, laziness, forgetfulness, corruption) they chose to do nothing with it for months, and then contacted me recently to say it’s now too late to proceed. He acknowledged we had properly filed our complaint and that is was submitted with months to spare (until the 5 year mark)…And, he even said, “I’m not saying it’s fair….read the rule on our website.”
This clearly isn’t fair/right, b/c if what he is saying is true (that even though our complaint was submitted within the necessary timeframe), the CA Bar could intentionally or unintentionally stall complaints long enough to get them past the rule of limitations. (an easy way to reduce backlog, to help out a fellow atty., …) Where are the victim’s rights in this scenario?
Please explain if you think the Bar atty was explaining the rule properly. If not, how do you recommend I proceed.
Thanks in advance!

19 08 2016
Timothy D. Naegele

Ban the State Bar of California

Thank you for your comments, Emily.

Pursuant to “Rule 5.21 Limitations Period” of the Rules of Procedure of the State Bar of California:

[T]he proceeding must begin within five years from the date of violation.

See Rules of Procedure of the State Bar of California Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 5.21.

As stated in my article above, the State Bar is corrupt and lawless, and it must be terminated. It pursues cases long after the 5-year limitations period has expired; and it fails to pursue other cases that have been filed in a timely manner, such as yours.

The California Supreme Court is equally shameful (e.g., it ignores its own precedents, as well as the law nationally enunciated by the U.S. Supreme Court), and represents the worst of America’s legal system. The State Bar festers because the California Supreme Court is lawless. Tragically, Judge Roy Bean’s notions of justice are alive and well in California.

My recommendation is that you contact state legislators. This may be your only hope, sadly, of obtaining redress. You might wish to contact the media as well (see, e.g., some of the sources cited above).

I am sorry that I cannot be more helpful, but Californians need to realize that when dealing with the State Bar, they are encountering a lawless, rogue entity that must be put out of business permanently.

Hiring new State Bar officials is tantamount to stocking a pond with sharks, or rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

30 08 2016
Darell Duncombe

Thank you for every other fantastic article. Where else could anybody get that type of info in such a perfect approach of writing? I’ve a presentation next week, and I’m on the search for such information.

30 08 2016
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Darell, for your comments.

If you are interested in the lawlessness of the State Bar, do a Google search and you will find plenty of opinions that mirror the article above.

The State Bar is a travesty, and must be abolished, not reconstituted. To “tinker with it” is tantamount with rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

8 12 2016
Timothy D. Naegele

The State Bar Is A Cancer That Must Be Removed

Ban the State Bar of California

In an article entitled, “California Supreme Court sets interim dues for state bar, creates $4.5 million shortfall,” it has been reported:

Interim dues have been set by the Supreme Court of California for the California State Bar in light of legislation that has not been approved a bar bill for 2017.

The interim due schedule allows for the California State Bar to collect dues from members of $297, slightly lower that the $315 that was outlined in the bar bill that didn’t pass the legislature. The lower amount presents a shortfall for the California State Bar of $4.5 million which is approximately 5 percent of its general budget.

“We’re looking at using existing reserves to cover that shortfall and we do have the reserves available to cover that,” Rebecca Farmer, director of strategic communications and stakeholder engagement told the Northern California Record.

While the California State Bar will be able to cover the loss of revenue, it does have plans to tighten its belt when it comes to finances for the agency. “It will require us to look at our focus and priorities and what we’re spending money on,” Farmer said. “We want a really minimal impact on staff, so we’re looking at where we can streamline funding elsewhere.”

The money from the interim dues supports the California State Bar’s attorney discipline activities, an important function of the bar. The bar’s admission, client security fund, lawyer assistance program and sections are funded separately from the interim dues.

“We have 550 staff and well over half of those staff are in the attorney discipline system,” Farmer said. “It’s a core part of what the bar does to make sure people who need an attorney to help them navigate whatever in their life is happening. Often when you come to an attorney, it’s to deal with the hard stuff so it’s critical to make sure attorneys are high quality, they’re ethical and that they’re abiding by a bound set of ethics rules.”

The California State Bar anticipates having legislation in place that will dictate full member dues for 2018 and give the bar a clear path for the following year. The California State Bar operates as state regulatory agency as well as a trade group association.

“The legislation in California, as well as the Supreme Court, have oversight of the state bar,” Farmer said. “There were a number of important conversations about how and when the bar should make certain reforms so that was a big focus of how this agency should best be fulfilling its public protection mission.”

The California State Bar protects the rights of 39 million Californians. With the new presidential administration coming in, it doesn’t know how or if this will impact its legislation or functions as a state regulator. It does anticipate an uptick in fraud from immigration consultant and is prepared to deal with that issue should it arise.

“When there’s a change in political leadership, there’s always going to be effects but it remains to be seen what those will be, Farmer said.”

See (emphasis added)

California’s legislature is correct: not a penny should go to the State Bar. As stated in my article above, it is “the most corrupt and diabolical trade association of its kind in the United States.”

Like a cancer, its existence must be terminated, not covered with a Band-Aid. California’s Supreme Court is corrupt and lawless too; and hence, its decision is not surprising.

28 02 2017

I just suffered a painful arbitration process through California Bar Associations. California State Bar is a big lawless monster for the public, I do not think I have enough power to fight with evil attorneys under Bar’s protecting umbrella. I quit with a deep concern for “US justice”… The monster is growing so fast with decades… I will consider to leave California in future because of the darkness.

28 02 2017
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you for your comments.

As I have written in the article above, the State Bar must be abolished. It is a “big lawless monster,” as you aptly described it.

28 02 2017
Guven uzun

Judiciary biggest fraud in United States almost the level of Zambia -I have been defrauded by judge Myers , judge Mel racana, judge rotschield and her colleagues at appeal court Cheney as well as Judge Johnson , judge Borenstein etc lawlessness out OF control that public court replace fraudulent judiciary-

10 05 2017
Timothy D. Naegele

Lawlessness Continues Unabated In California

Ban the State Bar of California

The Courthouse News Service has reported:

A bill to allow the California State Bar to collect membership dues next year sailed out of the Senate Judiciary committee Tuesday, but it also contains a caveat: the agency must divide its disciplinary and trade association functions.

The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson D-Santa Barbara, will enact a host of changes to how the state bar operates, including winnowing its current 19-member board of trustees to 13 and cutting six attorney members from that number. Board members will now be expected to serve four-year terms instead of three. Members of the bar’s executive board must also include one member appointed by the governor, state Supreme Court and the Legislature.

It will also rename the positions of president and vice president as chair and vice chair, to be appointed by the state Supreme Court rather than elected by the board.

“This has been a very carefully thought-out effort. There’s a lot going on in this bill. We want to make sure we get this right,” Jackson said Tuesday. “This has not been easy and this has not been fun, but it’s my hope we will pass this and that the bar will once again do what it should be doing to protect the public and serve lawyers and the people of California.”

Jackson’s bill will authorize the bar to collect dues of $390 for 2018 and 2019, but disallows the bar from blocking the Legislature’s reduction of membership dues in the future.

Chief among the bill’s changes to the bar is its requirement that the agency allow its 16 specialty law groups to split off and form their own nonprofit corporation, to be called the California Bar Sections Association.

The “sections,” as the state bar calls them, are specialty organizations currently affiliated with the bar that focus on various areas of legal practice, from family and labor law to intellectual property and antitrust law. It also includes the California Association of Young Lawyers.

They provide low-cost continuing education for its attorney members, which the state bar requires. They also work with legislators to interpret, amend and propose legislation. While lawyers are required to be dues-paying members of the bar to practice law in California, section membership is voluntary and members pay separate dues of roughly $95 a year.

The sections began considering a split from the bar last year, spurred by a combination of factors including new restrictions imposed by bar executives to reconcile the bar’s regulatory and trade association functions.

Among these was a ban on spending on alcohol at events and contracting with resort-style meeting venues. The sections had argued that these regulations prevented them from attracting and keeping members.

Jackson’s bill is the culmination of talks within the state bar and with the state Supreme Court and lawmakers, who were concerned about how the agency spends its money and whether it has been sufficiently diligent in disciplining wayward attorneys.

After the Legislature ended its session last fall without passing a yearly dues bill, the state Supreme Court stepped in and allowed the bar to collect dues for 2017 – but only to support its disciplinary functions.

At Tuesday’s hearing, State Bar President James Fox called the bill a perfect solution.

“We are strongly in support of this bill. You all know how contentious it was last year. This, I think, is a perfect solution,” he said.

“So you’re agreeing to the terms of your surrender,” joked state Sen. John Moorlach, R-Orange County.

“My white flag,” Fox laughed.

The committee passed the bill unanimously, 6-0.

See (“Committee Approves Overhaul of California State Bar”) (emphasis added)

Clearly, the Left Coast legislature has blinders on, and is looking the other way; and it is complicit in the State Bar’s lawlessness—which is not surprising in the least.

13 05 2017
Timothy D. Naegele

California Bar Exam Pass-Rate Slides Below 35 Percent [UPDATED]

Ban the State Bar of California

Cheryl Miller has written for The Recorder:

The success rate of would-be lawyers taking the California bar exam continues to slide, with just 34.5 percent of those who sat for the February test earning passing marks, according to figures released late Friday.

The pass rate is the lowest for a spring sitting in eight years and the third worst over the last 30 years.

“Regrettably the pass rate shows a continuing decline, a trend happening nationally,” State Bar executive director Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker said in a prepared statement. “The State Bar is committed to a better understanding of the problem to determine how to address it.”

The pass rate for the February exam is traditionally lower than the rate for the July sitting. The fact that more than 2,900 test-takers failed the spring exam, however, is likely to reignite a debate over the test’s validity.

After the July 2016 exam pass rate slumped to a 32-year-low of 43 percent, frustrated law school deans took their complaints to state lawmakers and to the Supreme Court. Those who took the California test actually scored higher than the national average on the multistate bar exam portion, the deans noted. But California requires the second highest score in the nation—144—to pass.

“Graduates of our law schools who would have passed the bar with similar performance in virtually any other state . . . are failing it in our great state, simply because of where California has decided to draw the line between passing and failing,” the deans of 20 American Bar Association-approved law school said in a letter to the Supreme Court in February.

The deans asked the court to temporarily lower the passing score—also known as a “cut” score—to between 133 and 136 while the state bar scrutinizes the test. Democrats on the Assembly Judiciary Committee agreed, telling Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye the bar had failed to identify any “close evidence-based connection” between the high cut score and protecting the public from bad lawyers.

The Supreme Court in March declined to reduce the passing score, saying it wanted “a fully developed analysis with supporting evidence” before acting. The court instead directed the bar to study the exam and slumping test scores and to submit a report with recommendations by Dec. 1.

Parker said the first phase of a study examining the test score starts May 15.

Graduates of California-based, ABA-approved law schools had the highest pass rates on the February exam, with 45 percent of first-time test-takers and 46 percent of “repeaters” passing. Out-of-state ABA school graduates had pass rates of 39 percent and 34 percent. And graduates of California-accredited schools had pass rates of 18 percent and 15 percent.

Pass rates for individual schools have not been released yet.

See (“Calif. Bar Exam Pass-Rate Slides Again, Falling Below 35 Percent“); see also (“California’s Bar Exam Results Are Absolutely Abysmal“) and (“Legislature tries State Bar fix, but remedy falls short“)

I passed the California Bar exam on my first attempt. However, the bar results are merely one more manifestation of very deep problems in the lawless State of California. Moreover, there is nothing great about California except its climate and physical beauty.

See, e.g., (“The State Bar Of California Is Lawless And A Travesty, And Should Be Abolished“) and (“California Is Lawless“) and (“Ex-California State Bar Director Files Whistle-Blower Action”) and (“The State Bar Of California Is Further Descending Into A Banana Republic”)

When my article above was published on September 8, 2014, I wrote:

I am ashamed to be a member of the State Bar; and I never thought that I would come to that conclusion. It is like belonging to a private club that discriminates, and is run by an inbred clique or cabal. At best, it is a third-rate trade association—and Sacramento and Washington, D.C. are full of them.

Today, I regret even more deeply that I ever became a member of the State Bar. It is a grotesque and thoroughly-lawless organization, and a travesty; and it should cease to exist, period, and be abolished. No changes will ever “fix” it.

There is nothing positive about the State Bar.

Also, as I wrote in the article:

Since being admitted to the State Bar, the author has handled very few matters in California, and less than a handful for individual clients. Mostly, he has purchased banks there from the federal government for large business clients located elsewhere in the U.S. or overseas; served as an expert witness for the FDIC, in connection with a failing national bank case; and served as a special consultant to the State on banking matters, during the first administration of Governor Jerry Brown.

See (“The State Bar Of California Is Lawless And A Travesty, And Should Be Abolished“), n.5 (emphasis added).

On a strictly personal note, I added:

The author ceased to represent the former clients more than ten years ago. Hence, the case is time-barred by “Rule 5.21 Limitations Period” of the Rules of Procedure of the State Bar of California, which states in pertinent part: “[T]he proceeding must begin within five years from the date of the violation.” The case was baseless for other reasons as well. However, this did not matter to Miller or Joyce, or deter [the State Bar].

See id. at n.11; see also

The law does not matter at all to the lawless State Bar, or to the equally-disgraceful California Supreme Court. Both are living examples of the “Law West of the Pecos by Judge Roy Bean.”

See and (“Justice And The Law Do Not Mix“)

6 07 2017
Timothy D. Naegele

The Lawless State Bar and Microsoft Ruin The California Bar Exam [UPDATED]

Ban The State Bar Of California

Joe Patrice of Above the Law has written:

There was a day when you would go down to your local software merchant and buy the latest edition of whatever operating system you wanted to run. Until you made your next venture to Software Etc., the version in your hand was the version you’d use. Of course, this meant that you could look up one day and find yourself woefully out of date, but it also meant that every other program you might hope to run would have a consistent and predictable platform to work with.

Then came the automatic updates. The data involved had to be small given the data infrastructure of the time, but no one could complain about minor patches and security fixes.

Now data comes in tidal waves and tech companies see their opportunity to make an end run around the first sale doctrine — selling a service. Instead of buying an operating system, for example, customers can watch their wallet constantly drained by a “service” that keeps updating the system — in ways both minor and major — in perpetuity.

And this is how Microsoft is ruining the bar exam. Or, perhaps more precisely, this is how Microsoft is causing ExamSoft to ruin the bar exam.

Examinees in California planning to take the July exam were recently informed that ExamSoft just can’t handle Windows 10 and those taking the test need to either take it by hand or get themselves a new computer that doesn’t run Windows 10. Sorry about that brand new laptop your got for graduation!

There’s a temptation to place the blame solely on ExamSoft because, well, this happened. And, make no mistake, ExamSoft’s inability to deal with predictable operating system updates deserves a great deal of scorn. But according to the alert available on the State Bar of California’s website, the real culprit is that Microsoft’s April Windows 10 update:

Microsoft recently released “Windows 10 Creators,” a new version of Microsoft’s operating system (OS) which will impact people taking the July California Bar Exam. ExamSoft currently does not support the Windows 10 Creators OS, as it does not meet its minimum system requirements. As a result, applicants intending to use their laptop computers that have the Windows 10 Creators OS loaded may experience problems during administration of the July 2017 California Bar Examination.

That’s . . . not good. Because it’s not like users can easily avoid these updates or even realize that while they’re sleeping, their shiny new computer is spending the evening turning itself into a bar exam brick. Some schools predicted the problem and tried to let people know to turn off their updates — probably because ExamSoft has always been unable to keep up with Windows 10, so why would this update be any different? — but many folks remained in the dark until the last couple of weeks when bar examiners started alerting test-takers.

And it’s not just California. North Carolina has this issue. Massachusetts isn’t letting Windows 10 Creators machines into the exam. Tennessee is ejecting people using the operating system from the exam. Because ExamSoft provides testing software all over the country and can’t provide working software, this is a nationwide crisis. And the words “ExamSoft” and “nationwide crisis” appear in the same sentence for roughly the 8 millionth time here at Above the Law.

But, to come back to the fundamental intellectual property issue, this ultimately all comes back to Microsoft’s move to a continually updating software service to squeeze cash out of their users for the “right” to have their software surreptitiously upgraded with features they’ll never use that will only crash the features that matter. It’s not fair to single out Microsoft for taking advantage of the gap between the intellectual property regime and technology — they’re not the only digital players adopting this model — but it’s times like these that drive home how much mischief a near global monopoly can unintentionally cause.

Good luck on the July exam!

See (emphasis added)

The real culprit is the despicable State Bar of California. Anyone who believes in or trusts the State Bar is ignorant, or part of the problem. It is lawless and a travesty, and it should have been abolished years ago.

It is like belonging to a private club that discriminates, and is run by an inbred clique or cabal. At best, it is a third-rate trade association—and Sacramento and Washington, D.C. are full of them.

See (“The State Bar Of California Is Lawless And A Travesty, And Should Be Abolished“); see also (“California Closer to Creating Sanctuary State”—”Over objections from sheriffs’ unions and the California Police Chiefs Association, the California Assembly Judiciary Committee took a step forward in making the Golden State a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants”) and (“California Bar Examiners Stripped Of Authority To Determine Passing Score On State Bar Exam“)

Microsoft has been ripping off its customers for years. Its forced upgrades are unconscionable, but predictable to the Apple faithful who watch with amusement.

See, e.g., (“Is Google Becoming Microsoft Or Worse?“)

11 08 2017
Timothy D. Naegele

More Chaos At The Corrupt And Lawless State Bar of California

Ban The State Bar Of California

Cheryl Miller of The Recorder has written:

Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, the former law school dean who has led California’s state bar during two years of enormous change and turmoil, announced late Wednesday that she will resign from her post as executive director in September.

In a letter to bar president James Fox, Parker said she plans to return to the East Coast in 2018 to spend more time with family.

“I believe my commitment to bringing transformative change to The State Bar has been met and new leadership is available to continue the reforms well underway,” Parker wrote.

Parker will be succeeded by the bar’s chief operating officer, Leah Wilson, who was designated as Parker’s heir apparent when she was hired almost simultaneously in 2015.

In a memo sent to bar staff Wednesday, Fox and president-elect Michael Colantuono called Wilson “the right leader … to ensure that the agency will continue the progress it has made in advancing its mission to protect the public.”

Parker was hired in July 2015 to lead an agency in disarray. The board of trustees had fired former executive director Joe Dunn over allegations of financial mismanagement and dishonesty. The general counsel [Thomas A. Miller], a Dunn ally, had been terminated, too. A state audit released just weeks before Parker’s arrival accused the bar of cutting lenient disciplinary deals with troubled lawyers in a frantic effort to cut a chronic backlog of public complaints.

Parker’s tenure was also marked by intense scrutiny from the legislature, which had grown weary of frequent headlines about agency leaders’ lavish spending and priorities that seemed more focused on protecting the bar than protecting the public. Angry lawmakers, some comparing the bar to the Titanic, did not pass an annual dues authorization legislation in 2016, forcing the Supreme Court to approve an emergency fee in order to keep the organization running this year.

Parker attributed such criticisms to the bar’s “legacy” problems. Over the last two years, bar leaders have hired a new general counsel and chief trial counsel. Pushed by pending legislation, they’ve begun divorcing the bar’s main regulatory operations from 16 specialty practice sections. They’ve also instituted new spending oversight, ramped up scrutiny of the unauthorized practice of law in California and launched a review of the bar exam amid complaints about plummeting passage rates.

“Now these impressive accomplishments, personal considerations, and my confidence in the succession plan the Board [of Trustees] created by simultaneously hiring both me and Leah Wilson, convince me that it is time to step down as Executive Director,” Parker wrote.

Parker served as dean of the Sacramento-based McGeorge School of Law for a decade ending in 2012. Prior to her arrival at McGeorge, she was general counsel to the 26-campus University of Wisconsin system. She also served 11 years in various top-level legal positions in the federal government, including principal deputy legal adviser at the U.S. Department of State and general counsel for the CIA.

Parker’s last day will be Sept. 7.

See (emphasis added)

The “spin”—which the corrupt and lawless State Bar, and Parker have given to this story—is feckless and absurd.

As I stated above:

Hiring new State Bar officials is tantamount to . . . rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

The State Bar Of California continues to be lawless and a travesty, and it should be eliminated permanently, with its staff sent looking for other jobs.

And I added:

At best, it is a third-rate trade association—and Sacramento and Washington, D.C. are full of them.

19 09 2017
Timothy D. Naegele

The Lawless State Bar Of California Continues To Wallow In Corruption

Ban The State Bar Of California

Daniel Guss has written at CityWatch:

Did Leah Tamu Wilson, the new Executive Director of the State Bar of California, spend the first 15 years of her career dodging the Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) requirements she is now paid $267,500 to enforce against all Active status California attorneys?

Ironically, Wilson, who in her first few days on the job last week pledged much greater transparency at the controversy-stricken, quasi-government agency, won’t say. In fact, she is evading questions at a curious clip.

I reached out to her as a follow-up to my latest article about false charges filed by the Bar’s Senior Trial Counsel, Kevin B. Taylor, against notorious Los Angeles attorney Wayne Spindler, whose inflammatory behavior at LA-area government meetings has become legendary in and out of legal circles. Taylor, who would not explain how he came to his erroneous conclusions, quickly withdrew his filing when I asked him about them.

I asked Wilson whether Taylor actually read the case file before signing and filing his false charge. If not, will he be punished? And if he did, how does he explain its blatantly erroneous conclusions? Wilson refused to reply, further breaking her transparency pledge.

Wilson, through her communications office, evasively wrote, “We take this matter very seriously. As such, on September 7, the State Bar’s Office of Chief Trial Counsel submitted a request to withdraw the transmittal of conviction regarding Mr. Spindler.”

This is precisely the type of secretiveness that caused the Bar so many headaches in recent years, raising the question of whether Wilson has been a part of the problem all along, having previously held the job of the Bar’s Chief Operating Officer after years of apparently manipulating its rules and guidelines to her advantage.

Wilson, who didn’t get her own California Bar license until several years after graduating from law school at UC Berkeley (the 8th highest ranked law school in the U.S.) has something more curious on her Bar page.

In the nearly 15 years since obtaining her California law license, Wilson has had four changes of her status from “Active,” in which the license holder can actually practice law, to “Inactive,” during which time they cannot. Wilson, who has never been a practicing attorney, has only been on Active status 15% of the time since getting her license. In her 2010 run for Berkeley’s School Board, she was on Inactive status when she simultaneously claimed she was an attorney professionally. At the time, her actual job was Court Administrator.

While the State Bar does not require its Executive Director, whose salary is almost $72,000 more than that of the Governor, to be an Active member, Wilson appears to switch to, or stays, Inactive whenever her Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) requirements are on the horizon and Active when it suits her. Case in point: Wilson was on Inactive status from 2009 through mid-2015, when she applied for the Bar’s COO position, got the job, and went back on Inactive status six months later.

When asked on what dates she completed her past MCLE requirements, which all Active status California attorneys must complete every three years, Wilson and her communications office did not respond.

Professor Robert Fellmeth, Executive Director of UC San Diego’s School of Law’s Center for Public Interest Law, and an original member of government watchdog “Nader’s Raiders,” who has significant issues with both the Bar and its MCLE requirements, told me, “There is no requirement that the (MCLE) courses you take even be connected to your area of practice. There is no assurance of [attorney] competence at all by this regulator [the Bar.] Just an arbitrary cut score on an irrelevant exam to bar 60% of applicants with 7 years of higher education each. It [the Bar] has been operating as an unlawful cartel violating the Sherman Act.”

In contrast to Wilson, Fellmeth, who earned his law degree from Harvard and was admitted to the California Bar on July 8, 1971, has zero changes to his Active status in 46 years.

Wilson was also suspended from the Bar in 2013 for failure to pay her dues. While her communications office was eager to explain that it was due to a change of address problem, it stopped responding when I reiterated my other unanswered questions.

If the public cannot trust, or even get straight answers from the executive in charge of protecting us from rogue and misbehaving attorneys, will the California Supreme Court or Governor Jerry Brown’s office intervene to find out what’s going on here and soon, please?

See (“Did New California State Bar Boss Cheat on Bar Rules?“) (emphasis added)

As stated in my article above, and in the extensive comments beneath it, the State Bar of California is lawless and a travesty, and it must be abolished.

Nothing less will suffice.

4 10 2017
Timothy D. Naegele


Ban The State Bar Of California

Debra Cassens Weiss has written in the ABA Journal:

The State Bar of California has spun off its 16 voluntary sections into a nonprofit entity, making the state bar strictly a disciplinary and regulatory agency that is mandatory for state lawyers.

The changes are authorized in a bill signed by California Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday, report Courthouse News Service, the Metropolitan News-Enterprise and a state bar press release.

The sections began to consider a split from the state bar last year, partly because of new restrictions that included a ban on spending on alcohol at events and on contracting with resort-style venues, Courthouse News Service reported in May. Sections had argued the restrictions would hurt membership.

The bill maintains annual state bar dues of $315 for practicing attorneys with active status, which comes to $430 with additional fees. The cost of a voluntary section membership is about $95 a year, according to Courthouse News Service.

The bill signed by Brown also transitions the state bar’s board of trustees to a group appointed entirely by the California Supreme Court, the legislature and the governor. Lawyers will no longer elect some trustees. The board will consist of seven lawyers and six nonlawyers.

The board reforms follow a February 2015 Supreme Court decision that found a North Carolina dental regulatory board made up mostly of dentists didn’t have state-action antitrust immunity in its efforts to to block nondentists from providing teeth-whitening services. The court said there is no immunity unless the challenged restraint of trade is clearly articulated state policy and it is actively supervised by the state.

See (“California bar spins off its sections amid concerns over liquor spending, resort functions“) (emphasis added)

These actions are tantamount to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

As discussed in my article above and the comments beneath it, the State Bar of California is lawless and a travesty, and it must be abolished not restructured.

Nothing less will suffice.

16 12 2017
Timothy D. Naegele

Labor Problems Shadow California’s Rogue State Bar As It Ends Year Of Upheaval, Turmoil

Ban The State Bar Of California

Greg Moran has written in the San Diego Union-Tribune:

A year of turmoil and turnover at the State Bar of California is drawing to a close under another looming problem — labor issues including the possibility of a strike that could affect the bar’s primary mission of disciplining bad lawyers.

The union representing most of the bar’s rank-and file workers, including the attorneys and investigators who probe complaints about dishonest lawyers and bring disciplinary cases, have been without a contract for more than a year.

In November the union filed an unfair labor complaint against the bar, saying that the organization’s management was not bargaining in good faith. That came weeks after union members voted to authorize a strike if necessary.

Union members are seeking wage increases as well as cost of living adjustments. Also they say that the bar leadership wants to move employees from the current 36-hour work week to 40 hours without a commensurate increase in pay.

The union says that low pay and under-staffing is hurting morale and making it hard to recruit new workers. The bar is located in San Francisco, which has a high cost of living.

Two years ago the organization employed 56 full-time lawyers and 62 investigators.

Now, there are 57 lawyers and 58 investigators. Those investigators handle an average caseload of about 60, according to figures supplied by the union.

Ben Fuchs, a bar investigator, said protecting the public from lawyer misconduct is the bar’s primary mission.

“We can’t do that if we can’t hire enough people to do that mission,” he said. “We can’t do that with the current salaries.”

Also irking union members is the pay of top bar executives — six of whom make in excess of $200,000. The bar’s new executive director, Leah Wilson — its third since 2014 — will be paid $267,5000. Five other executives are paid more than Gov. Jerry Brown’s salary of $195,803.

The board’s new president, Michael Colantuono, said the organization is spending less on upper management pay now than it did two years ago. A pay and compensation study that examined pay for all bar workers concluded that upper management was actually underpaid compared to similar positions in the local market.

The union has disparaged that study by saying it was riddled with errors and favored management.

Colantuono said the bar is aware that it needs to hire more and fill vacant position but it is taking time. Overall he said the labor anxiety is as much a product of the recent upheaval at the bar.

“Change is hard,” he said. “The bar is in the midst of remaking itself itself partly because the legislature has mandated that.”

The labor conflict is the latest controversy at the bar, the quasi-public state agency charged with regulating the more than 250,000 licensed lawyers in the state.

In the past two years the bar has been slammed by the State Auditor, which found the organization overpaid its top officials, wasn’t transparent about its finances and had a backlog of more than 5,000 claims by consumers who were ripped off by their lawyers.

The legislature has also weighed in, pressuring the bar to reform its operations. In 2016 the legislature didn’t pass a normally routine bill authorizing the bar to collect dues from lawyers, its main source of revenue.

That forced the organization to seek an emergency request to the state Supreme Court allowing it to collect the dues for 2017 year. The court authorized the collection — but at a reduced level, cutting into the budget.

As a result of these and other factors the bar has undergone a major overhaul of its operations. It split its discipline and regulatory functions away from its 16 specialty law groups, which acted largely as trade associations for lawyers — creating a longstanding tension with the bar’s regulatory role. The specialty groups will now be a separate nonprofit corporation.

The overhaul also changed the composition of the bar leadership, reducing the board of trustees from 19 to 13.

Stacie Spector of San Diego, the public representative on the newly constituted board of trustees, said that consumers should not be concerned that the turmoil is preventing the bar from filling its consumer protection goals.

“Everything we have done organizationally is honing and tightening our focus on public protection,” she said.

The bar has long been criticized for how long it takes to discipline miscreant lawyers and also for going too soft in its discipline. A 2015 audit by State Auditor Elaine Howell blasted the bar for letting scores of attorneys off with easier punishments than they should have received in an effort to reduce a swollen backlog of cases between 2009 and 2014.

See (“Labor problems shadow State Bar as it ends a year of upheaval, turmoil“) (emphasis added)

First, as discussed in the article above and the comments beneath it, the State Bar of California is lawless and a travesty, and it must be abolished.

Second, “the current 36-hour work week”? What other employees have this, other than government workers? Where is the taxpayer revolt in California?

Third, the employees’ union for the State Bar’s misfits must be eliminated. Former California Governor and American President Ronald Reagan fired 11,345 striking air traffic controllers. With the termination of the State Bar, its attorneys will be dismissed too, and its union dissolved.

See, e.g., (“Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (1968)“)

Fourth, the “high cost of living” will not be an issue in the future, once all of the State Bar’s employees are terminated.

15 01 2018
Timothy D. Naegele


American poverty

Michael Walsh has written at PJ Media:

This just in from what was once the best state in the Union:

Guess which state has the highest poverty rate in the country? Not Mississippi, New Mexico, or West Virginia, but California, where nearly one out of five residents is poor. That’s according to the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, which factors in the cost of housing, food, utilities and clothing, and which includes noncash government assistance as a form of income.

Given robust job growth and the prosperity generated by several industries, it’s worth asking why California has fallen behind, especially when the state’s per-capita GDP increased approximately twice as much as the U.S. average over the five years ending in 2016 (12.5%, compared with 6.27%).

The Left’s first, last and only instinct is to throw more money at the problem, but California’s already done that[] and guess what?

It’s not as though California policymakers have neglected to wage war on poverty. Sacramento and local governments have spent massive amounts in the cause. Several state and municipal benefit programs overlap with one another; in some cases, individuals with incomes 200% above the poverty line receive benefits. California state and local governments spent nearly $958 billion from 1992 through 2015 on public welfare programs, including cash-assistance payments, vendor payments and “other public welfare,” according to the Census Bureau. California, with 12% of the American population, is home today to about one in three of the nation’s welfare recipients.

The generous spending, then, has not only failed to decrease poverty; it actually seems to have made it worse.

The progressives who control every aspect of the state’s government are not necessarily stupid people, but they are malign. They understand that increasing welfare spending only encourages the arrival of more recipients on whom to spend it, and the high likelihood that those new constituents will vote Democrat as soon as they are able, legally or otherwise. Already, some 55 percent of “immigrants” receive means-tested benefits, while only 30 percent of native Californians do so.

California’s army of bureaucrats contributes as well, as does the state’s highly restrictive land-use ordinances and environmental restrictions, which drive up the cost of housing in what is already the nation’s most expensive real-estate market:

With 883,000 full-time-equivalent state and local employees in 2014, California has an enormous bureaucracy. Many work in social services, and many would lose their jobs if the typical welfare client were to move off the welfare rolls.

Further contributing to the poverty problem is California’s housing crisis. More than four in 10 households spent more than 30% of their income on housing in 2015. A shortage of available units has driven prices ever higher, far above income increases. And that shortage is a direct outgrowth of misguided policies.

They’re not “misguided” — in fact, they’re doing exactly what the progressives designed them to do. Higher housing prices means more money in the pockets of Angelenos and San Franciscans when they go to sell, high energy prices have a disproportionate impact on the poor, generous welfare “benefits” mean an endless supply of new Democrats and permanent employment for the public-employee unions who actually run the state.

It’s a perfect racket, and one that will continue unless and until the California Republicans get their act together and begin vigorously contesting what has become a one-party state designed to enrich those at the top, beggar the middle class, and keep those on the bottom in permanent penury.

See (“What’s the Matter with California?“) (emphasis added); see also (“California of the Dark Ages“) and (“Poverty In America“) (see also the other comments beneath the article) and (“‘New California’ Declares ‘Independence’ From State”)

There is nothing “progressive” about America’s Left and far-Left, or its eco-Nazis. They are the Pigs that George Orwell described in his prescient Animal Farm, where all of the animals were equal until the Pigs reigned supreme and subjugated the other animals.

See (“Animal Farm”)

30 03 2018
Timothy D. Naegele


Justice and the law do not mix

A moronic judge in California’s lowest court—seeking media attention—has ruled that coffee requires cancer warnings. Leave aside the merits of such warnings, judges must not legislate or regulate from the bench. Those who attempt to do so must be removed.

Brian Melley has reported for AP News:

Coffee sellers will have to post ominous warnings in California because each cup contains a chemical linked to cancer, a judge ruled.

The culprit is a byproduct of the bean roasting process that is a known carcinogen and has been at the heart of an eight-year legal struggle between a tiny nonprofit group and Big Coffee.

The Council for Education and Research on Toxics wanted the coffee industry to remove acrylamide from its processing — like potato chip makers did when it sued them years ago — or disclose the possible risk in signs or labels. The industry, led by Starbucks Corp., said the level of the chemical in coffee isn’t harmful and any risks are outweighed by benefits.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle said Wednesday that the coffee makers hadn’t presented the proper grounds at trial to prevail.

“While plaintiff offered evidence that consumption of coffee increases the risk of harm to the fetus, to infants, to children and to adults, defendants’ medical and epidemiology experts testified that they had no opinion on causation,” Berle wrote in his proposed ruling. “Defendants failed to satisfy their burden of proving … that consumption of coffee confers a benefit to human health.”

The suit was brought against Starbucks and 90 companies under a law passed by California voters in 1986 that has been credited with culling cancer-causing chemicals from myriad products and also criticized for leading to quick settlement shakedowns.

The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, better known as Proposition 65, requires warning labels for about 900 chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects. It allows private citizens, advocacy groups and attorneys to sue on behalf of the state and collect a portion of civil penalties for failure to provide warnings.

“This lawsuit has made a mockery of Prop. 65, has confused consumers, and does nothing to improve public health,” said William Murray, president and CEO of the National Coffee Association, who added that coffee had been shown to be a healthy beverage.

Scientific evidence on coffee has gone back and forth for a long time, but concerns have eased recently about possible dangers of coffee, with some studies finding health benefits.

In 2016, the cancer agency of the World Health Organization moved coffee off its “possible carcinogen” list.

Studies indicate coffee is unlikely to cause breast, prostate or pancreatic cancer, and it seems to lower the risks for liver and uterine cancers, the agency said. Evidence is inadequate to determine its effect on dozens of other cancer types.

Coffee companies have said it’s not feasible to remove acrylamide from their product without ruining the flavor.

But attorney Raphael Metzger, who brought the lawsuit and drinks a few cups of coffee a day, said the industry could remove the chemical without impairing taste.

“I firmly believe if the potato chip industry can do it, so can the coffee industry,” Metzger said. “A warning won’t be that effective because it’s an addictive product.”

Many coffee shops have already posted warnings that say acrylamide is cancer-causing chemical found in coffee. But signs that are supposed to be posted at the point of sale are often found in places not easily visible, such as below the counter where cream and sugar are available.

Customers at shops that post warnings are often unaware or unconcerned about them.

Afternoon coffee drinkers at a Los Angeles Starbucks said they might look into the warning or give coffee drinking a second thought after the ruling, but the cup of joe was likely to win out.

“I just don’t think it would stop me,” said Jen Bitterman, a digital marketing technologist. “I love the taste, I love the ritual, I love the high, the energy, and I think I’m addicted to it.”

Darlington Ibekwe, a lawyer in Los Angeles, said a cancer warning would be annoying but wouldn’t stop him from treating himself to three lattes a week.

“It’s like cigarettes. Like, damn, now I’ve got to see this?” he said. “Dude, I’m enjoying my coffee.”

The defendants have a couple weeks to challenge the ruling before it is final and could seek relief from an appellate court.

If the ruling stands, it could come with a stiff financial penalty and could rattle consumers beyond state lines.

The judge can set another phase of trial to consider potential civil penalties up to $2,500 per person exposed each day over eight years. That could be an astronomical sum in a state with close to 40 million residents, though such a massive fine is unlikely.

California’s outsized market could make it difficult to tailor packaging with warning labels specifically to stores in the state.

That means out-of-state coffee drinkers could also take their coffee with a cancer warning. Cream and sugar would still be optional.

See (“California judge rules that coffee requires cancer warning“) (emphasis added); see also (“Coffee-Cancer Link? California Warnings Overstate Risks, Experts Say”—”The International Agency for Research on Cancer, the research arm of the World Health Organization, has repeatedly found no conclusive evidence that drinking coffee boosts cancer risk. In addition, the WHO removed coffee from the organizations list of cancer-causing agents in 2016″—”[I]n fact, a great deal of research has linked drinking coffee to longer life and a lower risk for many chronic diseases”)

As stated previously:

The principal problem is that the judges are often egotistical, callous, mean-spirited, power-hungry, self-righteous, condescending and, yes, incompetent and arrogant.

Clearly, that is true in the case of this moronic California judge.

[Note: Timothy D. Naegele does not drink coffee, and has not done so for more than 40 years]

11 05 2018
Timothy D. Naegele


Ban State Bar of California

Almost four years after my article above was published on September 8, 2014, California is finally addressing sex between its attorneys and their clients. As I stated:

Equally disturbing, disconcerting and odious [as the State Bar’s failure to police abuses by lawyers in California, relating to fraud in mortgage lending and other activities] is the fact that divorce lawyers prey sexually on their vulnerable and distraught clients. They should be automatically disbarred; and the State Bar is culpable and morally reprehensible for failing to act. As in the case of other professionals—such as medical doctors and psychiatrists who prey on their vulnerable patients—the most stringent sanctions must be imposed, but they are not. The State Bar turns a blind eye, which undermines any notions of morality and propriety that it purports to represent.

Its failure to disbar these divorce lawyers is inherently repugnant. Women’s rights organizations especially should be up in arms, protesting the State Bar’s culpability. Anyone is vulnerable during divorce proceedings, and this is particularly true of women. Yet the State Bar does nothing. If some lawyers can act with impunity in the context of divorces, what use is the State Bar to society—or to those lawyers whose conduct is above reproach?

The Tampa Bay Times has reported:

Attorneys in California could face discipline for having consensual sex with their clients under a new ethics rule approved Thursday by the state Supreme Court.

The state currently bars attorneys from coercing a client into sex or demanding sex in exchange for legal representation. But starting in November, even consensual sex between attorneys and clients will be banned unless it preceded the professional relationship or the client is the lawyer’s spouse or domestic partner.

The change was part of an overhaul of ethics rules for attorneys by the State Bar of California that required final approval by the state Supreme Court. The justices decide whether to suspend or disbar attorneys found to have committed acts of professional misconduct or who are convicted of serious crimes.

The court on Thursday approved all but one of the 70 new or amended rules recommended by the state bar.

Another rule that takes effect in November allows the state bar to discipline attorneys for discrimination and harassment even without a separate finding of wrongdoing. The current rule requires a final determination of wrongful discrimination in a lawsuit or other proceeding before the state bar can take action.

The sex ban proposal was divisive, even though at least 17 other states have adopted a similar ban.

Supporters said the relationship between a lawyer and client is inherently unequal, so any sexual relationship is potentially coercive. But some attorneys said the blanket ban was an unjustified invasion of privacy.

A State Bar commission modified the proposal to create an exception for a lawyer who is representing a spouse or registered domestic partner. It also required the state bar to consider whether a client would be “unduly burdened” by an investigation of sexual misconduct if someone other than the client filed the complaint.

The state’s ethics rules for attorneys were last fully revised in 1987. Lawyers who violate the regulations are subject to discipline ranging from private censure to loss of their legal license.

See (“California Supreme Court approves ban on attorney-client sex“)

Kudos to the Tampa Bay Times for reporting about what is probably the most corrupt and diabolical trade association of its kind in the United States; and the disreputable California Supreme Court.

Needless to say, this is merely the tip of the iceberg of the State Bar’s illegality and lawlessness that has stretched over decades.

2 06 2018
Timothy D. Naegele

More Lawlessness By The State Bar Of California

Ban State Bar of California

Thy Vo has written for the Voice of OC:

The State Bar of California has reinstated the law license of Lenore Albert-Sheridan, a Huntington Beach attorney and Democratic candidate for District Attorney who was suspended in February.

The State Bar updated its website Friday, June 1 to reflect the change, although the actual date of reinstatement is listed as March 16. Candidates for district attorney must have a license to practice law.

The change comes four days before the June 5 primary election, where Albert-Sheridan is one of four candidates running for District Attorney. The other candidates are incumbent District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and Supervisor Todd Spitzer, both Republicans, and Democrat Brett Murdock, an attorney and former mayor of Brea.

Albert-Sheridan said she received a letter from the State Bar on June 1 notifying her of the reinstatement of her license.

“With only two business days before the election, it is unclear how much of the damage looming over the campaign can be fixed. There is no rhyme or reason to the timing of the State Bar’s letter,” said Albert-Sheridan Friday. She said she has not communicated with any officials at the State Bar.

Her license was suspended effective February 14, for a minimum of 30 days or until she pays fines to the State Bar. She owes more than $5,738 in sanctions and $18,000 in other fees.

Six days after her suspension, on February 20, Albert-Sheridan filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Although two attorneys filed a lawsuit March 19 seeking to remove Albert-Sheridan from the ballot, a judge determined in April that it was too early to say whether she would be qualified to serve as District Attorney, given she could pay the fees and be reinstated by the State Bar before election day.

A spokeswoman for the State Bar, Rebecca Farmer, said the agency determined the money Albert-Sheridan owes “may be dischargeable in Chapter 13 bankruptcy,” meaning the court could decide she is no longer obligated to make those payments.

“Federal law prohibits the conditioning of a license based on dischargeable debt,” Farmer said in an emailed statement, adding the State Bar could still take action against Albert-Sheridan if the bankruptcy court decides those debts can’t be cancelled.

Albert-Sheridan’s bankruptcy case is still pending, and the court has made no decisions about which of her debts can be cancelled.

Farmer was not available Friday night to answer additional questions about why the State Bar notified Albert-Sheridan about the lifting of her suspension three months after it became effective, or before a court decision on her bankruptcy case.

Lee Fink, an attorney who helped bring the lawsuit challenging Albert-Sheridan’s ability to appear on the June primary ballot and a Murdock supporter, said State Bar officials told him in April Albert-Sheridan was still suspended.

He argues that case law suggests the Bar does not need to reinstate Albert-Sheridan’s license until the bankruptcy court actually approves her bankruptcy plan, in case “the debtor had a dubious record and was perhaps gaming the system.”

Fink also argues the Bar cannot lift the suspension absent an order from the state Supreme Court, which is the final authority on attorney discipline.

Albert-Sheridan is campaigning as a consumer protection attorney who would protect people from consumer fraud, corruption, and reduce mass incarceration.

She originally sought the title of “civil rights attorney” as her ballot designation, but a judge later struck that from the ballot.

She will appear on the ballot with no official title.

See (“Candidate For District Attorney Reinstated by State Bar“) (emphasis added)

13 06 2018
Lenore Albert

I would like to correct something the author of the article has wrong – in fact judge Griffin ruled that a candidate for D.A. does not have to have a license to practice law. Additionally, a suspension does not take one’s license to practice away, it merely suspends it. The court ruled that only at the time the elected “takes office” does the D.A. have to have their license to practice law. Thy Vo, the author knew that fact because she was in the courtroom when she heard the arguments and she saw the order later issued by the court.

The question is why did the State Bar wrongfully misrepresent my status from March 16 to June 1, if not to allow the voters be misled that to vote for me would be a wasted vote? They were never supposed to hold my license to practice law beyond March 16, if at all. Backdating the reinstatement does not negate the harm caused by the State Bar.

This is not over yet. This is just a battle and there is a war waging.

13 06 2018
Lenore Albert

Oops, I meant to say in the above comment that judge Griffin ruled that a candidate for D.A. does not have to have a license to practice law “when running for D.A.” – but does upon being elected and taking oath of that office.

21 07 2018
Anonymous Advocate

Mr. Naegele,

Your article post is spot on. I am not an attorney; however, my experience and background involve advocacy for several non-profit organizations, that routinely encounter unethical, and sometimes criminal complicity on the part of attorneys, which result in state bar complaints all over the country.

I was recently involved in a California state bar court hearing, and witnessed firsthand, the ‘witch hunt’ nature and atmosphere of the state bar court. You are correct in your assessment that the state bar is concerned with persecuting the ‘minnows,’ yet leaves the big fish alone.

While there are a large number of honorable and ethical attorneys, unfortunately, there are some bad apples in every profession.

I found your comments on family law attorneys to be accurate. This is one area of practice where there seems to be a significant number of unethical attorneys who are primarily motivated by $$$.

To shed light on some of the unethical, and perhaps illegal methods, of some family law attorneys and firms, there is an example of a law firm doing family law that may be indirectly responsible or complicit in a mass murder.

Without naming names, any reader of this comment will be able to connect the dots. There is a very well-known and highly publicized murder case where eight people died in a mass shooting in a hair salon.

The person who committed this atrocity was embroiled in a highly contentious family law case, which continued after the dissolution with repeated instances of custody interference.

The person responsible for this atrocity had legal counsel, which could be described as your classic-textbook-greasy-sleazy-ambulance chasing-criminally corrupt-morally bankrupt-money grubbing cabal of inbred shysters.

Numerous online reviews of this firm reveal their pattern and practice of ripping off their clients, actively working against their clients interests and pro-actively compromising their client’s cases. You would think someone at the state bar would notice the gaggle of complaints, get a clue and initiate an inquiry, but nope!

Almost immediately following this crime, this poster child of a corrupt law firm with a biblical level of glutenous greed, petitioned to be withdrawn as counsel and to have the family law case sealed, and it was granted.

Why you may ask? Well the reason is blatantly obvious to anyone with more than three working brain cells.

This law firm did not want the general public to see, first hand, how they screwed up this case and how they continued to drain this killer of his money.

They did not want the public to see how, over and over again, the ex-spouse continued to deny and interfere with custody of the couple’s child. News reports revealed that numerous half-hearted and failed attempts to resolve the custody interference with the responsible parent, each time while the cash register was ringing. All failed.

The offending ex-spouse was forced back into the family court where the judge advised the offending spouse not to do it again. Virtually the next day, the offending spouse went back to the same behavior.

The killer, now at the end of his/her rope, rendered parentless and broke, went to his/hers ex-spouse’s place of employment where the offending ex-spouse was shot point blank in the face and killed instantly.

Since the killer already murdered one person, the killer then shot and killed seven others and was captured a few blocks away. The killer now sits in prison for life, but the question must be asked, why such an abysmal failure on the part of the family court and of this law firm?

The answer to these questions can be answered in one word; money!

Various letters and attempts to get the California state bar to initiate, not only a state bar inquiry, but a federal criminal investigation was ignored.

There’s at least a dozen or more various websites in CA about the corrupt family courts, all over the state, and the documentary film ‘Divorce Corp’ exposed the corrupt $50 BILLION dollar a year family court cottage industry, much of which occurs in California.

This tragedy should have been the top priority for the CA state bar; to determine the failures and complicity of this law firm and many others who engage in similar family destructive methods and actions, but it was not.

You are absolutely correct in that the CA state bar goes after ‘minnows,’ those cases which they can jump up and down on the desk and shout, ‘hey everybody, look at us and how great we are,’ then fail to address the ones that are the biggest problem, and as this case illustrates, whose failures and greed may have been complicit in a mass murder.

With attorney and prosecutorial misconduct at near pandemic levels, and a completely feckless regulatory agency whose motto should be ‘incompetent and indifferent,’ the abolishment of the California state bar is necessary.

While no one is in favor of a new governmental oversight body with layers of bureaucracy, as you succinctly articulated, the investigation of attorneys must be removed from the bar to an entity with complete transparency and oversight.

As the countless examples attest, current oversight bodies responsible for the investigation of potential misconduct of attorneys, judges, and law enforcement officers in California, can no longer be trusted to ‘police their own.’ Only an independent body with strict oversight and complete transparency can make a difference.

21 07 2018
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you for your comments. They are excellent . . . albeit tragic.

As we know, divorces can be and usually are horrendous.

In that regard, for those who are interested, I recommend the following article—especially footnote 2.

See (“Divorces”)

15 11 2018
Timothy D. Naegele

The Most Corrupt And Diabolical Trade Association Clears The Creepy Porn Lawyer [UPDATED]

Ban State Bar of California

Brooke Singman has written for Fox News:

The State Bar of California has closed its investigation into Michael Avenatti and allegations of professional misconduct leveled against him earlier this year, stating it does not have clear evidence of violations of the state’s ethics rules.

The complaint, which was filed in late March by attorney David Nold of Bellevue, Wash., was related to Avenatti’s role in purchasing Tully’s Coffee several years ago through an entity called Global Baristas. The complaint said Avenatti and Global Baristas faced a lien for unpaid federal taxes worth roughly $5 million, claiming taxes were withheld from workers’ paychecks but not paid to the government.

“The State Bar has completed the investigation of the allegations of professional misconduct reported by David Nold. We have determined that this matter does not warrant further action,” Joe Nunley, an investigator with the California State Bar, wrote in a letter to Avenatti’s attorneys. “Therefore, the matter is closed.”

Avenatti posted the letter on Twitter Tuesday night, blasting the complaint as “baseless.”

“I said at the time that the accusations were politically motivated and baseless,” Avenatti tweeted. “And I was right. I was just cleared. #Basta.”

According to the state bar’s website, an investigation is launched based on a complaint only if the state bar attorney “sees evidence of a serious violation.”

“The State Bar’s investigation and complaint process is confidential, so we are not able to confirm or deny whether there is or was an investigation into any particular attorney,” a spokesman for the State Bar wrote in an email to Fox News Wednesday. “If the State Bar files a notice of discipline charges against an attorney, information about the case is available and posted on the attorney’s online State Bar profile.”

In a statement to Fox News on Wednesday, Nold said the State Bar “invited a written response within 90 days to supplement the record and assist it in further investigation.”

“Contrary to the malicious and personal attacks leveled against me for filing the Grievance, my motivation has always been solely to bring justice to the government and citizens of Washington State that were victimized by the undisputed and colossal failure of Global Baristas US, LLC,” Nold said in a statement to Fox News. “Mr. Avenatti has himself claimed that he profited from the sale of the company to the tune of millions of dollars. In turn, there remain unanswered questions regarding what happened to the millions of dollars generated by the company that never reached employees, landlords, or various levels of government.”

Nold added: “Public records still list Mr. Avenatti as controlling the company, and nobody has risen up to claim ownership or responsibility as his successor.”

Nold said Avenatti “refuses to answer that question” and has “gone to great lengths to prevent the public from learning anything about its current ownership structure.”

“A license to practice law is a sacred privilege, and one that I still believe imposes duties of morality inconsistent with what has transpired in connection with Global,” Nold told Fox News.

Nold also told Fox News that “several other creditors represented by other attorneys commenced an involuntary bankruptcy against Global.”

“The bankruptcy will shed light on many of these issues because no longer will those who were running the company be able to hide their identity or conduct,” Nold said.

Since the coffee chain purchase, Tully’s has shuttered its stores (though closures were described as temporary) as Global Baristas has dealt with numerous lawsuits, first reported by The Seattle Times.

The paper trail for that deal is complex.

Earlier this year, Fox News obtained a copy of the notice of federal tax lien in question, sent to “Global Baristas US LLC” and “Michael J. Avenatti MBR [member].”

Avenatti reportedly said he thinks Global Baristas has paid outstanding taxes. Further, Avenatti claimed to Fox News in May that he wasn’t a “member” of Global Baristas US LLC—but rather the entity that owned it, Global Baristas LLC.

“The federal tax lien is related to an entity that was owned by another company that I used to have an interest in,” Avenatti told Fox News in May. “At no point in time was I ever responsible for any taxes for Global Baristas US LLC, nor was I ever a member of that entity, nor did I own any direct interest in that entity.”

However, a 2017 court document posted by The Seattle Times earlier this year shows Avenatti acknowledging he was the “principal” of Global Baristas US LLC.

Avenatti, though, strongly disputed the complaint itself in May in an email to Fox News, calling it “complete and utter nonsense.”

Meanwhile, another lawsuit was filed back in 2013 against Avenatti by his famous business partner, Patrick Dempsey of “Grey’s Anatomy” fame. Dempsey’s complaint against Avenatti, which was settled quickly, alleged that Avenatti had not fully financed the Tully’s Coffee chain as agreed.

Avenatti no longer has any interest in either Global Baristas entity. The attorney was surely the lesser known partner in the Tully’s deal.

Avenatti has made national headlines in recent months in his representation of porn star Stormy Daniels, who allegedly was paid $130,000 in the weeks prior to the 2016 presidential election in exchange for her silence about an alleged sexual encounter with President Trump.

Most recently, Avenatti represented Julie Swetnick, one of the women who accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct during his confirmation process. Since, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, referred Avenatti and his client for criminal investigation regarding a potential “conspiracy” to provide false statements to Congress and obstruct its investigation.

Avenatti has said he is exploring a 2020 presidential run to take on Trump.

See (“California State Bar closes probe into Michael Avenatti, takes no ‘further action’ on allegations of ‘professional misconduct'”) (emphasis added; Tweets and letter omitted); see also (“Michael Avenatti claims his domestic violence arrest was a set up“)

Why is this not surprising in the least?

After all—as discussed in my article above, and the extensive comments beneath it—the “rogue” trade association has engaged in nonstop wrongdoing, if not outright criminal conduct endlessly.

For example, (1) it has defrauded would-be lawyers by failing to disclose that the debt obligation a legal education entails may encumber the students (or their parents) for much of their lives, and there may be no jobs when they graduate, yet it profits from this; (2) it has never gone after the lawyers at Countrywide who participated in and/or condoned predatory lending practices, and one of Countrywide’s lawyers even testified on the State Bar’s behalf in a predatory lending case; (3) women’s rights organizations should be up in arms, protesting the State Bar’s culpability in turning a blind eye to Avenatti’s abuses; and (4) the State Bar is totally worthless and lawless, and does not pay its bills.

20 11 2018
Timothy D. Naegele

California Bar Exam Pass Rate Reaches Nearly All-Time Low [UPDATED]

Ban State Bar of California

Staci Zaretsky has written the above-titled article for Above the Law:

The results from the July 2018 administration of the California bar exam have been released, and compared to last year’s “breath of fresh air” — an almost 50 percent pass rate — they are pretty bad. In fact, compared to any year in recent memory, they are still really, really bad. Just how bad are we talking here? This is the worst pass rate the state has seen in nearly 70 years.

According to a press release from the State Bar of California — which notes that “[t]he latest results mirror a national downward trend in scores from the July 2018 bar exams” — the overall pass rate for the July 2018 exam was 40.7 percent, while the pass rate for first-time takers was 55 percent. In July 2017, the overall pass rate was 49.6 percent, and the pass rate for first-time takers was 62 percent. The pass rate for repeaters was a horrifyingly low 16 percent. Although California’s overall pass rate dropped by 8.9 percentage points, and its pass rate for first-time takers dropped by 7 percentage points, its examinees seemed to be a bit “more able” than test-takers in other states. The state’s mean scaled MBE score was 1404 (down 17 points since July 2017) compared with the national average of 1395 (down 8 points since July 2017), but this is the closest these numbers have been in quite some time.

Perhaps that bright spot ought to be taken with a shaker of salt, because this is the lowest overall pass rate California has seen for the July administration of the bar since results were released in the fall of 1951, when only 37.6 percent of all test-takers passed the exam. The state hasn’t seen an overall pass rate this low in 67 years. In fact, this pass rate is historically horrible — it’s actually the second-lowest summer pass rate California has seen since the state began publishing test records in 1951. The last time the overall pass rate was nearly this low was 34 years ago in 1984, when 41.8 percent of test-takers passed the exam. In more recent times, the last time the overall pass rate for California’s July exam was this low was in 2016, when just 43 percent of all test-takers were successful on the exam. This is a disturbing trend.

Recall that after the February 2017 administration of the California bar exam, the State Bar changed the way it calculated the total percentage of those who passed. That percentage now includes only those who finished the exam, whereas in the past, that percentage included the total number of those who sat for it. This summer’s low overall pass rate would have been even lower had the State Bar not eliminated those who were unable to complete the test from the calculation. Something is clearly wrong, but it doesn’t seem like anyone in charge knows what to do.

Leah Wilson, Executive Director of the State Bar of California, said she and her team are “troubled by a low pass rate, and are working to better understand the reasons behind this national trend.” Here’s what the California Bar is doing to combat the problems that law graduates face when taking the exam:

Over the last 18 months we have conducted four distinct studies on the California Bar Exam designed to determine if the passing score is appropriate and the content valid. While these studies did not suggest that changes to either should be made at this time, the State Bar takes seriously its commitment to ensuring integrity and fairness in the admissions process. We have just launched a California Attorney Job Analysis Study to collect information about the knowledge and skills that entry level attorneys need. This job analysis will form the basis of a new review of the exam itself to ensure that the Bar Exam is relevant and actually testing what’s needed.

The first meeting of the working group for the Job Analysis Study will be held on December 10, 2018, and the study will be published sometime in December 2019. That study is supposed to help the Bar figure out if they’re “testing for the skills and content that new attorneys need.” (Spoiler alert: They’re not.) The State Bar will also be finishing up its Productive Mindset Study — remember, that’s the one those who failed in February 2018 couldn’t sign up for even though it was advertised to those who had failed the exam so they could succeed in July 2018 — to see if they can figure out how to help students pass the exam. (Hint: They can’t.)

For the sake of comparison, let’s take a look at the results for the last decade or so of summer administrations of the California bar exam. At this point, you can probably feel free to disregard the July 2017 results since we can now attribute that little hiccup of “success” to the state moving to a two-day test. Check it out, below:

Year, Overall Pass Rate

July 2018 40.7 percent passed
July 2017 49.6 percent passed
July 2016 43.07 percent passed
July 2015 46.6 percent passed
July 2014 48.6 percent passed
July 2013 55.8 percent passed
July 2012 55.3 percent passed
July 2011 54.8 percent passed
July 2010 54.8 percent passed
July 2009 56.4 percent passed
July 2008 61.7 percent passed

Here are some additional statistics that the State Bar of California released from this summer’s exam (pass rates rounded to whole numbers):

School Type, First-Timers, Repeaters

California ABA 64% 22%
Out-of-State ABA 58% 12%
California Accredited (but not ABA) 16% 9%
Unaccredited: Fixed-Facility 12% 6%
Unaccredited: Correspondence 11% 8%
Unaccredited Distance Learning 23% 10%
All Others 31% 16%

All Applicants 55% 16%

Even though pass rates went down across the board, graduates of ABA-accredited law schools still displayed an obvious advantage over their peers who attended California-accredited or unaccredited law schools. Specifically, the pass rate for first-time takers from California’s ABA-accredited law schools decreased by 6 percentage points, down from 70 percent last summer. Those who went to law schools accredited only by California and took the exam for the first time saw their pass rate decrease by 17 percentage points. Boy, are we eager to see the pass rates for individual law schools.

When you’ve run out of words to describe how bad the situation in California is, it’s inherently obvious that something here needs to change — and fast. Yes, law school admissions standards have played a large factor for bar exam results in the past, but something more must be done. If the California Supreme Court had decided to lower the state bar’s cut score to bring it in line with that of the vast majority of other states (or hell, even if the state’s high court had decided to lower the cut score by just a point or two), imagine how many more people would have passed. This is ridiculous, and it seems like all the State Bar is doing is collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars from the would-be lawyers who have been forced to take the test over and over again instead of offering them legitimate assistance. Won’t someone, anyone please help the thousands of would-be lawyers who continue to fail the test year after year?

Congratulations if you managed to pass the bar exam in California this summer. If you didn’t pass, don’t despair. Many very successful people have failed the bar exam (see our list of famous bar exam failures). Focus on February and try to develop a plan for passing, and someday, you’ll conquer the beast that is the California bar exam.

State Bar Releases July 2018 Bar Exam Results [State Bar of California]

See (emphasis added)

It bears repeating:

This is ridiculous, and it seems like all the State Bar is doing is collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars from the would-be lawyers who have been forced to take the test over and over again instead of offering them legitimate assistance.

Amen, in spades!

What I wrote in the article above bears repeating as well:

Undergraduates in colleges, and others who enter law schools in California, have been lulled into the belief that being a lawyer is some “magical” ticket to success—which it is not—and that it is an honorable profession to join. What they do not realize is that very successful lawyer friends of mine and I have recommended for many years that our kids and others never become lawyers or practice law . . . albeit I am proud of what I have accomplished as a lawyer.

The value of this advice will be even more evident as California’s economy deteriorates during the balance of this decade, and fewer Californians are able to afford legal services. The State Bar has defrauded would-be lawyers by failing to disclose that the debt obligation a legal education entails may encumber the students (or their parents) for much of their lives, and there may be no jobs when they graduate.

A $15-an-hour job as a non-lawyer will not service a $150,000 debt incurred during law school, yet the State Bar never discloses this because it is knee-deep in fraud itself. The first goals of any trade association are to perpetuate its existence and full-time employment for its staff members, which the State Bar has been doing with gusto since it essentially went out of business.

. . . [T]he State Bar forces its members to satisfy Continuing Legal Education (“CLE”) requirements every three years, which is absurd. Financial “kickbacks” are standard for the State Bar, which is a travesty unto itself; and mandatory CLE is merely one example.

Most CLE courses that are required have no bearing whatsoever on a lawyer’s legal specialty and practice. Over the years, I have never seen a successful lawyer who failed to keep up with the nuances of his or her specialty. Indeed, truly proficient lawyers do it each and every day that they practice law; and there is no need to take mandatory CLE courses to accomplish this. Quite to the contrary, it is a waste of time—but the State Bar mandates this because it enhances the State Bar’s financial coffers and insures the perpetuation of the trade association’s existence and power.

Indeed, what I wrote in the article above remains emphatically true:

[The State Bar of California] is probably the most corrupt and diabolical trade association of its kind in the United States.

See also (“Why is it so much harder to become a lawyer in California than in New York?“)

4 12 2018
Timothy D. Naegele

U.S. Supreme Court Suggests Forcing Lawyers To Pay Bar Dues Violates Their Free Speech

Ban State Bar of California

David G. Savage has written in the Los Angeles Times:

The Supreme Court cast doubt Monday on laws in at least 30 states that require lawyers to pay dues to bar associations.

In most states, the bar association regulates the legal profession by licensing lawyers and disciplining those who violate the rules. Lawyers in turn are required to pay dues to cover the cost.

But the more conservative high court may be on verge of upsetting this longstanding system on the grounds that forcing lawyers to subsidize a private organization violates the 1st Amendment.

Justice Samuel A. Alito in a recent opinion called it a “bedrock principle” that “no person in this country may be compelled to subsidize speech by a third party that he or she does not wish to support.”

In June, Alito spoke for a 5-4 majority that struck down state laws in California and elsewhere that required teachers and other public employees to pay fees to support a union. In Janus vs. AFSCME, the court said that requirement violated the free-speech rights of employees who did not support the union.

That case proved helpful to lawyers challenging mandatory bar association fees based on the same principle. In a brief order on Monday, the court overturned a ruling last year by the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals that had upheld mandatory bar dues in North Dakota and sent the case back “for further consideration in light of Janus.”

Although the decision is a not a final ruling, it suggests the court’s majority now doubts the constitutionality of requiring lawyers to support a private bar association.

But it is not clear such a ruling would have a major impact in California, New York, Illinois or other states that regulate lawyers through a state agency that includes a state bar.

Lawyers for the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix who appealed the issue to the high court said their constitutional challenge was aimed at forced subsidies of private bar associations, not forced payments to cover the cost of state regulation.

But they are also challenging mandatory bar dues in states like California that make it hard for lawyers to “opt out” of subsidizing activities involving politics and lobbying.

The case began when Arnold Fleck, a North Dakota lawyer, sued his state bar association after he learned it had contributed $50,000 to oppose a state ballot measure. Fleck had contributed $1,000 to support the same measure. He objected to being compelled by state law to pay $380 a year to support the bar association.

A federal judge and the 8th Circuit, based in St. Louis, rejected his constitutional challenge to the forced dues, citing a 1990 high court ruling in Keller vs. State Bar of California that had upheld mandatory dues while also freeing lawyers from subsidizing political donations.

With the help of the Goldwater Institute, he filed an appeal petition with the high court in Fleck vs. Wetch and argued that the mandatory state bar “involves compelled association and compelled speech,” as in the union fees case.

After considering the appeal over nine weeks, the justices opted to vacate the ruling of the lower court and told its judges to give the free-speech question a second look.

“This is a major victory, not just for Arnold Fleck but attorneys like him across the nation who have been forced to fund speech that they don’t agree with,” said Timothy Sandefur, a lawyer at the Goldwater Institute.

His appeal noted that 19 states, including New York, New Jersey, Colorado, Illinois and Pennsylvania, regulate lawyers without requiring them to support the bar association.

The State Bar of California has set an annual fee of $430 for active lawyers. A public information officer said the state bar “has no comment on this topic at this time.”

See (“Supreme Court suggests forcing lawyers to pay bar association dues violates their free speech“) (emphasis added)

As I have written clearly and unequivocally in my article above and the comments beneath it, the State Bar of California is probably the most corrupt and diabolical trade association of its kind in the United States.

It is like belonging to a private club that discriminates, and is run by an inbred clique or cabal. At best, it is a third-rate trade association—and Sacramento and Washington, D.C. are full of them.

It must be abolished, period—for all of the reasons that I have stated above.

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