18 April 2022

Professional Link Sausage Platter

…the kind of professional that rides a motorcycle, wears a black leather jacket, and is far more sadistic (and causes far more pain) than any dentist. Dentists drill into one's teeth; these professionals drill into one's soul.

  • Well, not always a leather jacket. Sometimes it's a black robe. And foofy wig. And on strike (every public defender in this country is probably rolling eyes thinking "This is news?"). At least we're getting a public defender on our highest court before Blighty gets a full-time public-aid criminal barrister on theirs… let alone at the Home Office where it's even more necessary.
  • I suppose it could be worse; it could be goofy legal (actually cultural) limitations on name changes. (I get to say that as someone who suggested that my spouse not change her name to match mine back in the 80s; there were pragmatic reasons, too, but it Wasn't Normal for commissioned officers…)
  • Or we could just ponder the "abandonment" of commercial law, which is no longer a bar-exam subject. So, so sad that lawyerly competence in this field is no longer considered testable. (I never took the class, but I have had to deal with some aspects of it; so has everyone who has ever taken out a car loan, or a mortgage, or been through bankruptcy as debtor or creditor.)
  • That, however, is the least of the problems. Consider the music industry and its various protection rackets — whether in the 1970s or right now, at the nearest venue to you. And if y'all at the top of the music industry think I'm defaming you, remember: Truth is not defamation. At least not Over Here.
  • OK, I think I've buried the lede sufficiently now. The Califonia Bar's disciplinary system has been audited and found wanting. Well, color me extremely… bored. "Rampant corruption in the [insert your jurisdiction's name here] bar with little or no effective discipline" is as newsworthy as a declaration that the Earth orbits the Sun approximately every 365.24 days.

    Which is not at all to say that there's no problem in the profession with "corruption" — just that the problem with "corruption" is far from limited to "stealing funds from settlements and judgments that were supposed to go to clients." The more-subtle, and more-difficult, corruption problems in the law come from sheer incompetence (and not just at commercial law!) and failures to perform independent fact-gathering and analysis — which cannot be measured on any bar exam — and intentional perversions of the course of justice.

    The organized bar presumes that courts will deal with these problems; the courts presume that the organized bar will deal with these problems; and in the end, nobody deals with these problems (and anyone who complains — in proper form, with documentation — gets either ignored or castigated by the judge/bar system for engaging in ridiculous satellite proceedings).1 I'll freely admit that judges generally have better things to do with their time than deal with disgruntled lawyers accusing each other of distorting matters to pervert the course of justice; I deny, however, that the organized bar does. That's its [unbelievably foul and offensive string of expletives in six different languages deleted] job. Not being a trade association, not keeping The Club's membership disproportionately limited to the Right Kind of People, not obsessing over the appropriate passing score for a bar exam that tests less than a quarter of what a lawyer needs to know and nothing at all of how a lawyer needs to investigate merits.

  1. And here, a bit of a Glomar irony, which contributed in no small part to both the necessity and the shortcomings of the audit of California's disciplinary system: A complainant who is either also a member of the bar or is represented by independent counsel may not disclose the existence of a complaint. For example, let's say that Lawyer A became aware of a scheme by the Governor of his state — a member of the bar — to sell a nomination for a vacant legislative seat to the highest bidder (money or whatever), and had solid, admissible evidence. Lawyer A may never reveal that he/she/they made a complaint to the bar authorities — except to the bar authorities if later accused of failing to comply with Rule of Professional Conduct 8.3(a), the "rat on your buddy" rule (cf., also from that jurisdiction, In re Himmel, 125 Ill.2d 531 (1988) (imposing discipline on a lawyer who, at his own client's demand, failed to report another lawyer's misconduct because it would have interfered with the client's recovery from the other lawyer)).

    So I'm thoroughly Glomaring the past few decades. But then, I knew how to make a Glomar response looooooong before law school… but that's only required as to specific instances. I can neither confirm nor deny my personal knowledge (and/or supporting documentation or other evidence) of any examples of licensed attorneys engaging in conduct to the prejudice of justice as it relates to Rule 8.3 or any report thereunder or related to it.