(Spoiler alert: This blog has nothing to do with mediation, today!)
On April 25, 2016, a legislative analysis was issued regarding AB 2878 which is not only the dues bill but also possibly the mechanism by which to de unify the California State Bar into two parts; a regulatory function and a trade association function.
In a lengthy and detailed analysis, legislative counsel discussed the turmoil within and mismanagement of the Bar during the past year. (See, “Analysis”) http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/15-16/bill/asm/ab_28512900/ab_2878_cfa_20160424_141537_asm_comm.html
The turmoil included the litigation with its former Executive Director while the mismanagement included allowing approximately 300 complaints of the unauthorized practice of law to sit idle and unattended to in a drawer for anywhere from two to six months (Id. at 11-12.), spending approximately $76.6 million for a building in Los Angeles although the legislature only approved $10. 3 million (Id. at 15), and securing it with seventy percent of its Public Protection Fund. (Id. at 15-16.) The Bar, again without input from the legislature took out a $10 million loan to make tenant improvements to three floors in its building in San Francisco, securing that loan with future member dues. (Id at 16.) (That security has since been replaced with other collateral.) Further, the members took trips to El Salvador, Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Peru and Mongolia (Id at 22) ostensibly to protect the public from “unscrupulous lawyers”. (Id. at 21.) While there, they signed an accord “… with the nation’s foreign affairs minister pledging to work together to educate Salvadorans living in California about available legal resources. …”. (Id. at 21-22.) Needless to say, such an accord is within the province of the U. S. Secretary of State, not the California State Bar. (Id.)
The analysis also addressed the anti-trust implications of the 2015 U. S. Supreme Court decision in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission (2015) 135 S. Ct. 1101 in which the Court held that since the dental Board was controlled by “market participants” (i.e. dentists) without “active supervision” by state officials, the state itself could face anti- trust liability. (In short, the State of California could be held liable for the anti-trust activities of the State Bar.)
Given this analysis and the fact that “
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