Lawyers Back Bar’s Strict Disbarment Play

Before State Bar governors on Saturday approved permanent disbarment for certain crimes or acts of misconduct, they had sought comments from the public.

Many of the sharpest written remarks in support came from within the legal profession. A few responses:

“Anything less allows a fraud or worse on the unsuspecting public and potential clients who are the only ones who should benefit from Bar rules and professional conduct standards.” — Beverly Hills attorney Martin Perlberger.

“The California Bar must act to address the public perception that all California lawyers are ‘crooked shysters.’” — San Diego lawyer Francis Tepedino.

“In cases where lawyers knowingly act unethically to the detriment of their clients, for their own personal gain, disbarment certainly should be forever.” — San Francisco attorney George Markell.

“It is outrageous, in this lawyer’s opinion, for a lawyer to be ‘disbarred’ and then reinstated. Former attorneys upon whom this penalty is imposed have no business getting back into the profession. If they do, they should be required to inform the public on business cards and/or letterhead that they are ‘formerly disbarred.’” — Burbank lawyer Howard Ekerling.

“Why should the Bar or the public have to take the risk that an attorney will not steal, forge, cheat or bribe again if reinstated?” — Stanwood, Wash., attorney John Edison.

“They have demonstrated they have no understanding of the huge public trust we all bear. This is not [an] ‘economic death sentence’ — there are still many employment opportunities in allied fields.” — Former Alameda County Superior Court Judge Roderic Duncan.

“This profession needs to be cleaned up. Right now lawyers are pretty low on the food chain. Being a lawyer and practicing law ought to be a privilege and not a right.” — Roseville attorney Thomas Couris.

“Sometimes I am actually ashamed to say I am a lawyer, yet it is my life’s work. Let’s clean up our act. Once you are out, you are out — FOR GOOD.” — Los Angeles lawyer Elta Wilson.

“I recognize that there are those who would argue they have been rehabilitated and they have changed their ways after being disbarred. To them I say, ‘Too bad. You blew it. You are an embarrassment. Get out and never come back.’” — Vacaville attorney Gregory Adler.

And among the nonlawyer viewpoints was this one by Daniel Powell, of Solana Beach: “Get rid of the jerks, permanently.”

Mike McKee

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2 Responses to “Lawyers Back Bar’s Strict Disbarment Play”

  1. David Cameron Carr Says:

    Mildly interesting but unfortunately not surprising. Lawyers, like everyone else, respond emotionally to the simplistic model of “good vs. evil” that pervades our culture, despite their training. The growth and stratification of the bar in the last 35 years has left lawyers with less and less in common beyond our law licenses. This is one reason for the much noted decline in civility in the profession. The superabundance of lawyers also means that individual lawyers are worth less; what is the harm in getting rid of a few more when there are so many? The policy that the Supreme Court articulated in the 1930’s of allowing every lawyer a chance at reinstatement comes from a time when the phrase “integrated bar” was a true descriptor of the community of values that lawyers shared. That time is no more and the embrace of permanent disbarment is another sign of its passing.

  2. linda wagner - michael's mom Says:

    I agree, once a lawyer is out – their out!! My son, Michael was discriminated against all his short lived life – forced to live one of the most dysfunctional lives possible because of corruption in Tennessee “courts”. This includes judges as well as the attorneys. Michael’s grandmother is the very Mary Alice Firestone of the Time Inc. vs Firestone case. She is an atrocious excuse of a human being. Luckily for the children one of the “judges” was voted off the bench. I’m still going after another “judge” (I was allowed to file a complaint but the complaint went through the process without my filing the evidence!) and some “attorneys”. The Firestone “attorney” stated he “didn’t have to answer the BOPR due to “attorney/client priviledge”!! Anyway, two senators wrote a joint letter and requested the AG to issue an opinion over my concerns. The General Soliciter cited TCA 8-such and such, stating they had no authority. Not only will I NEVER get over Michael’s premature death – I will NEVER get over the heinous way he was treated while he was alive.

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