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State Bar Education Is Guilty of Fraud

January 02, 2002

Your insightful Dec. 28 article on the state bar's continuing education programs is long overdue ("Keeping State's Lawyers on Their Toes). Only bar journals to date have reported the disgust attorneys have for this sham. Continuing education serves but three purposes: It gives the public the impression that it has better-qualified attorneys and that the state bar is cognizant of public needs and is responding to them; and it gives promoters of continuing education classes continuing income.

As you point out, the public is not getting better attorneys. The courses taken have little or no relevance to the attorneys' practice. To meet my requirements I had to take courses on patents, how to negotiate a tort claim and nutrition. I did none of this work. When I suggested doing volunteer work for a federal agency that was relevant to my practice, I was turned down, as this wasn't an "approved" course.

The state bar is not aware of what benefits the public, or it would revamp the system. Attorneys have written volumes to the state bar on how to make the continuing education system viable. The state bar turns a deaf ear to its membership and the public.

The only ones who benefit from this system are the promoters who have state-bar-approved courses to offer to a captive audience. It is little wonder that attendees at these courses read the newspaper, catch up on office work or skip out after registering and return when the certificates are handed out. They know a waste of time when they see it.

Bruce M. Stark

Seal Beach

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