This week I attended my annual continuing education of the bar sessions at Las Vegas. This is something I have to do to maintain my license and keep my skills up. I always learn something new by reviews of new cases, the law, and consequential changes in the law. This year I was shocked about something else in the law not related to the cases or changes in the law.
What I learned was that the bar examiners had investigated and decided that they needed to increase the number of so-called minorities as members of the bar. As a result of their investigation into the number of minorities admitted to the bar, the Committee of Bar examiners decided they needed to reduce the passing score on the California Bar Examination. I read this in an article on this subject in the August 31, 2017 Daily Journal which speciﬁcally mentioned that the suggested changes could result in the largest percentage of pass rates for African Americans and Hispanics.
I have been practicing law since 1982. I have not-so-fond memories of failing the bar over and over again. Now to see that the result could have been different if the Bar examiners had been a little more considerate of differences and a need for diversity. The article talks about a potential 40% more passing rate for African American applicants and 26% more for Hispanics and 24% more for Asians.
An example is that Hispanics represent 35 % of the state population over 18 years old but are only 5% of the state’s attorneys. It’s just wrong, and these results, could go to prove discrimination against Blacks, Hispanics and non-Whites.
Someone said that this was the equivalent to the cocaine prosecution results. The rules now about cocaine use beneﬁt white powdered cocaine users versus those Blacks, Hispanics and other non-Whites who use rock cocaine.
The reason for the disparate results are not a part of the investigation. What is clear from the report is that a large portion of the lawyers representing minorities does not represent the population of the client.
Hiring a lawyer from who comes from and/or understands your culture may be the best to represent you. You’re not just another dollar. They may see themselves or a member of their family in you and represent you like a family member or like they would want to be represented.
What bothers me now is the recruitment of clients. When I went to law school it was a violation of legal ethics to solicit clients. Today client solicitation is rampant but the bar now calls it advertisement. I can only wonder how it is that you get arrested on a Monday and on Tuesday you get letters to you speciﬁcally from lawyers saying, “I am the best lawyer to represent you, and I can do it cheaper than the unknown Lawyer”. Maybe it isn’t cheaper, but other persuading promises are made which may not be true. Further, the beneﬁts of having a lawyer of your race may inspire another person of your race to become a lawyer.
But it does no good to clean up the burden of passing the bar if all the potential clients are pulled away by alleged “advertising” that is in-fact solicitation and yet legal. My conclusion is that this continues the perpetuation of discrimination.
Other than the shocking fact about the Bar examination, we studied the law of Employment Discrimination and the changes in that law. We also discussed changes in Police Abuse. One of the facts often missed is that witnesses standing at the scene of the Police abuse are often handcuffed and detained. These witnesses may sue for false arrest and false imprisonment.
Employment discrimination cases must be evaluated based on whether the factual dilemma could be fatal or ﬁxable. When you sue an employer for sexual harassment be sure that you don’t get caught showing affection, course joking and x-rated conversations, or having fond nicknames. If you claim that you were discriminated against and ﬁ red be sure the reasons you are claiming are not ﬁxable, you didn’t quit, or there is no jurisdiction either because the employer didn’t have the requisite number of employees, or that employment-at-will didn’t apply.
Be careful, the rules keep changing. Hire a lawyer who knows the rules.