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Legal Reform Needed; Point Out the Cheaters

July 11, 1993

* It was refreshing to read attorney Sarah L. Catz's article ("Middle-Class People Often Can't Afford a Much-Needed Day in Court" June 28).

President Bush did bring attention to legal reform, but totally missed the target. The trial lawyers are our friends. It's stories like those mentioned in Catz's article that have the American people crying out for legal reform.

As Founder of Consumers for Legal Reform (CLR), I've heard thousands of similar stories. Yes, something has to be done about these nightmare situations.

The high-powered attorney who wanted hundreds of thousands of dollars for a breach of contract was unfair to his profession. He should have referred the case to an adequate attorney who could do the job for far less money.

The most important role CLR has to play is to refer consumers to reputable attorneys of integrity.

The attorney we would refer to, all things considered, would take the case or refer to an attorney who would be appropriate for the case. An undeclared Consumers Bar Assn., attorneys working with attorneys to help the consumer.

The attorney who charged $25,000 to write a few letters is a definite shyster; and we are here to identify and make known the shysters in Orange County.

Our campaign to identify the best and the worst attorneys and judges in Orange County is active. I'm happy to say that in meeting with Michelle Reinglass, president of the Orange County Bar Assn. and Jennifer Keller, secretary of the County Bar, a program to make the legal system affordable to the middle class is underway.

Darlene Duncan, MFCC, will be doing a workshop for us on: 'How to keep the bitterness from your involvement with the legal system from destroying your life." I'm sure she would be more than happy to do one for the lawyers on people skills. But for compassion, you either have it or you don't.

The time has never been more right for legal reform. As a consumer I'm pleased to say the Orange County Bar is taking steps to reform itself.

The Bar is requesting our support, and we are asking you to get involved in a project they said would never happen--legal reform.

BARBARA J. SWIST

Irvine

Barbara J. Swist is president of Consumers for Legal Reform.

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