Monday, December 16, 2013

Is the San Diego Bar Association using public property and public funds to maintain a private club for lawyers?

John W. Adkins

Open letter to the San Diego Public Law Library chief administrator:

Dear Mr. John Adkins, Director:

I strongly urge you to bring back the introductory legal classes for members of the public that were offered before the recent re-purposing of the San Diego Public Law Library.

Previously there were many classes giving an overview of the legal system and teaching citizens how to conduct lawsuits and appeal decisions.

A few years ago I took those classes, making it possible for me to defend my constitutional rights against a large law firm that wanted to shut down my public interest website. I won in the Court of Appeal in 2011, and I recently filed another appeal. [Here's the Leagle web page with the earlier decision.]

I suspect that the legal establishment in San Diego wants to limit poor litigants to those few who have been chosen for pro-bono representation because they allow business as usual to proceed in the legal community. Certainly the legal clinics offered by USD law students do not fill the void created by the canceled classes. It seems that local lawyers (and judges) want to make sure that people like me (who critique the local justice system) are prevented from protecting themselves in state and federal courts.

It appears that the the San Diego Bar Association has influenced the Public Law Library to help in this goal.

It is improper to sabotage and undermine the longstanding purpose of the Public Law Library. Please return the library to its former purpose of educating the public as well as educating attorneys.

Maura Larkins

[Note: I sent a message to your staff using the "Request a class" page of the Public Law Library website on Nov. 27, 2013. I received no response. ]

See SDER web page on the San Diego County Public Law Library

See also: The profession's in crisis, but law schools don't care. They're steeped in a toxic, hyper-capitalist worldview

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is a mentality in San Diego that lawyers have an exclusive right to appear in a courtroom. However, that means that leaves out a good portion of San Diego residents who cannot afford their rates, particuarly in a system where cases are stretched out for years.
Many people in the probate and family law courts have no access to justice at all. Legal clinics will not help with probate and there are no volunteer probate lawyers. The probate court in San Diego is run like a mafia with at least one of the judges appointing public guardians so the county can make money off what they charge the trust since the individual does not keep it. Instead it goes to the county who pays the judge and his staff. Since this judge is elected, rather than appointed, he also has motive to keep the legal community, comprised of professional fiduciaries and probate attorneys happy by givng them opportunities to make more money by how he handles the case, often violating the law itself in doing so. I suppose his motive is that when it comes time for re-election, they are the ones who will contribute to his campaign in the form of funds and/or endoreements.
Those who find themselves thrust into a probate case or family law case without the ability to hire an attorney should not be handicapped further. Their only hope lies in having the resources to help themselves which means the law library and opportunity for legal education.
Lawyers do not have exclusive rights to the law. It is a sad world if San Diego thinks so.