California Lawyer


June 2013

CLAY Critique
I just read the article concerning the 2013 California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year awards [March]. Conspicuously absent is any mention of any family lawyers, be they in traditional practices or nonprofits. Of the 4,506 specialists certified by the State Bar Board of Legal Specialization 1,221 - or 27 percent - are in family law, by far the most in any category of specialization. Family law has issues that deal with people's lives and their families'. Family lawyers need to know enough to know when other experts are needed in the areas of real estate, taxes, business valuation, psychology, and many others. Surely there was one lawyer in California deserving of CLAY distinction.
Ira M. Friedman
Beverly Hills

Editor's response: Thank you for writing. CLAY Awards recognize lawyers whose work had a significant impact in a particular twelve-month period. The majority of winners are selected from candidates submitted online. We will accept nominations for the 2014 CLAY Awards from August 1 to November 1.

Read the Contracts
All one has to do to find flaws with the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. ["In MERS We Trust," March], at least with regard to the securitization process, is read the relevant sections of pooling and service agreements and prospectuses about who can do what and when and compare that with the assignments of mortgage.

I'm seeing MERS, oftentimes as a nominee for entities dead as long as five years, assigning the mortgage and notes into trusts as far out as six years after the time frames to do so expire. To the best of my knowledge, neither courts nor the insurance industry nor the SEC nor the IRS seems to have shown any interest in this. This isn't a question of borrowers not having the standing to challenge assignments of mortgage or enforce PSAs as third-party beneficiaries. This is about trusts refusing to abide by their own contractual documents - which trump Uniform Commercial Code and Internal Revenue Code.
Mike Dillon
Manchester, New Hampshire

System Overhaul
I know the difference between an Erlenmeyer and a Florence laboratory flask. I also know that recent legal cases involving gay marriage, immigration, and medical marijuana all have one thing in common: states' rights. I know these things because my entire life I dreamed of being either a lawyer or a lab technician. I continue to live with passion for law and science.

"A Lost Generation" [At Large, March] caught my eye. Today, I have been a land use litigation paralegal for nearly ten years. I am a perfect candidate for law school, but that idea is completely cost-prohibitive. I argue that, to save the legal profession, the education paradigm should slow down the rate at which law degrees are handed out, and incorporate a paralegal occupation as a required element for a JD. Let the profession capture those who are truly interested and capable, and let ABA paralegals sit for the bar in California.
David Garcia
San Diego

In 1952, my graduation year from UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall (Bar # 23929), we had 15,000 active bar members and California's population was about 12.5 million. Today's population is about 38 million, but we have 150,000-plus lawyers. That's a 300 percent population increase but a 1,000 percent increase in the number of attorneys - many of whom are driving taxis and some scamming the public to pay for groceries and student loans. There's a message here.
William B. Bagley
San Rafael

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