The three-part series may have served well to explain maneuvering currently taking place amid some of the largest and most prestigious law firms in Los Angeles and the nation. However, it may have cast a shadow on what is, first and last, an honorable profession. Some readers may have been led to the misapprehension that most lawyers are wealthy, influential power brokers trading in millions of dollars and possessing secret inroads to the arcane dealings of multinational corporations; that the legal profession fails to share an appreciation of the need for equal justice under the law for all.
The great majority of lawyers work in offices of 10 or fewer attorneys, and a very sizable portion work as sole practitioners representing individuals with relatively small, but nonetheless real, everyday problems. It should also be stated that those attorneys who earn in excess of $100,000 a year also constitute a small minority of the lawyer population.
"The Real L.A. Law" also does not mention the many thousands of hours of free pro bono time donated to the public by the county's lawyers each year. Attorneys from all walks of life and all branches of the profession donate these services through numerous programs sponsored by the Los Angeles County Bar Assn. and other bar groups throughout the county. Among these programs one will find legal aid to the poor and to victims of domestic violence, free assistance to hospice and AIDS patients, free and low-cost legal services to those with immigration problems and multifaceted legal assistance to the elderly. (Recently, in fact, one county bar group began work on a pamphlet containing basic legal advice for persons who suffer substantial losses in major emergencies such as the Oct. 1 earthquake.)