Don't believe the legal industry is a glorified trade guild? Still convinced state bars have any genuine interest in "public protection"? Here are just a few examples of why that's not the case.
Tom Girardi Paying Off the California Bar. California's government has been aggressively resisting reforms that would expand access to justice. But its state bar allowed disgraced former attorney Tom Girardi to continue practicing until 2021 despite his amassing an amazing 205 ethics complaints dating back to 1982. No fewer than nine regulators received gifts from Girardi, including one who raked in $1,000,000.00. State Bar Executive Director Leah Wilson recently noted that efforts like improved "conflicts of interest screenings . . . will help us improve public trust in [our] integrity". Presumably this means that from now on it will be made abundantly clear to Golden State regulators that bribery is, in fact, bad.
Blocking Legal Aid to Tenants Facing Eviction. The vast majority of tenants facing eviction can't afford an attorney. Instead of helping these pro se litigants, some states are moving to shut down the nonprofits that have been providing assistance. Upsolve sued New York after its bar tried to stop the organization from working with indigent tenants. South Carolina, which has one of the country's highest eviction rates, has been taken to court over similar efforts. These nonprofits provide only information vetted in advance by licensed attorneys. But please, industry regulators, remind us again how everything you do is to protect the public.
The Stanford Law School Speech Morass. Law is a rough and tumble profession. The system is adversarial. Arguing is part of the job and courts sometimes rule against you. So a Stanford dean interrupting and berating a conservative federal judge and suggesting students are being harmed just by listening to him paints the school's graduates as fragile, entitled weenies likely to break into tears any time an objection is overruled. Fortunately, more sensible school administrators apologized and that dean has taken a leave of absence. And if their clients file bar complaints, the well-heeled procelain dolls who graduate from Stanford will no-doubt land jobs paying more than enough to bribe California regulators.
AI Passes the Bar. The National Conference of Bar Examiners initially insisted applicants keep sitting for live bar exams during the CoVid pandemic. Sure people would get sick and some even die, but NCBEX was much more concerned that even small changes to the testing process would further demonstrate its obsolesence. When the ABA pushed back the test went virtual. But in the ensuing years NCBEX has never developed a reliable online version. So when recently introduced Chat GPT 4 passed the bar, it meant the technology to successfully take the exam was developed before that used to administer it. More damning evidence against NCBEX.
These guys. The lawyer in Missouri who was suspended but not disbarred after he was videoed groping 6 different women. The former Tennessee disciplinary counsel who in a personal tweet asked for "evidence" that Islam is a religion of peace. Alex Murdaugh (I'll take "two words that say it all" for $800, please). Rudy Giuliani (same category for $1,000.00, please).