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turn away from the bait of simply chasing the dollar and urging our clients to
do the same. The so-called promise of
“justice for all” is not measured in quan-tity but in quality to all parties.
It is highly unlikely that rows of sala-ried attorneys in little cubicles doing
legal piecework are more efficient than
the current system that safeguards professional judgment and individual independence by putting the bottom line
second to quality representation and
the traditional wisdom of the profession. There are other paths to reducing
the costs of providing legal services and
outside consultation will reveal them as
needed. We do not live alone and isolated merely by retaining our traditional
independence from the greed and tumult of the age in which we live.
Thomas Mengert, Keyport
I read with interest WSBA Immediate
Past-president Patrick Palace’s contribution to what is apparently a new
feature in NWLawyer, “Future of the Profession.” [APR/MAY 2015, p. 20] I was
expecting to see something of substance,
a concrete idea, some new insight, especially from one of my colleagues who has
wrestled with this issue of the future of
the legal profession as our president for
a year. Unfortunately I got none of that.
What I got instead was a lengthy outline of what it seemed to me we already
know: Lawyers are not like tech start-ups.
Is Mr. Palace advocating for a change in
the Rules of Professional Conduct to allow venture capital funding? If so, he
doesn’t say. He certainly laments the fact
that as the rules are presently drafted,
there can be no such speculative involvement with lawyers as lawyers. I have said
to other past WSBA presidents and will
say it again: We don’t have to innovate to
serve people who could benefit from lawyers but feel closed off from legal help by
cost. We don’t need to hand more money
to agencies devoted as a sole mission to
helping such people. We don’t need programs of reporting to the WSBA how
many pro bono hours we put in. What we
need is for lawyers to come down out of
their lofty places and help people, often,
yes, at a greatly reduced rate or for free as
a matter of course.
The reason we are taking hits as a
profession in my opinion is that we have
ceased to want to try and help people as a
core value of being a lawyer. We refuse to
listen to people and give them what they
need. We specialize to the point of not be-
ing able, as one past president of the bar
told me, to help a woman in a protection
order hearing. We no longer want to be
seen as leaders in society unless it helps
us bring in more money. This is who we
have become. No amount of money from
venture capital or fancy form factories
will solve our dilemma. What will solve it
is giving a damn about people again.
Micheal D. Noah, Lawrence, Kansas
There have been a spate of articles
lately in NWLawyer covering the topic
of “diversity,” most recently including
“Know Thy Client: Cultural Competency in a Diverse World” in the MAR
2015 issue [p. 27]. It is, of course, a fine
goal (and politically correct, as a bonus)
to work towards “diversity.” But there is
a concept that bothers me, and it is very
evident in the “Know Thy Client” article.
It is the concept that some persons are