CPIL's Robert Fellmeth Quoted in Daily Journal Article on Recent Complaints Against State Bar's Outside Investigator

CPIL's Robert Fellmeth Quoted in Daily Journal Article on Recent Complaints Against State Bar's Outside Investigator

Los Angeles (January 14, 2016) – University of San Diego (USD) School of Law Professor Robert C. Fellmeth was quoted in a Daily Journal article regarding a recent State Bar investigation into Chief Trial Counsel Jayne Kim. Leaders of the State Bar employees' union recently told the agency's board that the investigative report produced by attorney Nancy Solomon should not be relied upon. 

In an internal whistleblower complaint filed last fall, longtime bar employee John Noonen said Solomon "was dismissive and clearly had an agenda" when he met with her months before, during her probe of Kim's office. 

"She seemed to be immediately dismissive of any culpability by Ms. Kim, which struck me as odd for an independent investigation," wrote Noonen, who worked at the bar for 28 years.

In November, Erin Joyce, vice president of the union's attorney unit in Southern California, filed a document with Chief Operating Officer Leah T. Wilson that alleged false reporting by Kim of disciplinary case backlog numbers.

At a Dec. 21 board meeting, Joyce joined another union leader in publicly dismissing Solomon's review of complaints against Kim. The union officials also urged the board not to reappoint Kim to a second term, though the panel voted 141 to do so, subject to state Senate confirmation.

About a week after the meeting, Solomon informed Joyce she had been retained to investigate her complaint.

"It is shocking they would have that same person doing this investigation," said Lita Abella, the employees' union president for Southern California.

Fellmeth, executive director of the Center for Public Interest Law at USD, said the bar hiring Solomon to conduct investigations of the union leader's and Noonen's complaints "was not exactly politically brilliant."

"If it is a request for a rebuttal or self-examination, fine, but it was naive for them to think this will be taken as an independent inquiry," said Fellmeth. "I think they need some better PR advice."

Read the full article here

About Professor Fellmeth

Robert Fellmeth is the Price Professor of Public Interest Law at the University of San Diego School of Law, where he teaches and writes in the areas of children's rights, regulation, antitrust, and consumer law. Professor Fellmeth is also the executive director of both USD’s Center for Public Interest Law and Children's Advocacy Institute.

About the University of San Diego School of Law

Celebrating 60 years of alumni success, the University of San Diego (USD) School of Law is recognized for the excellence of its faculty, depth of its curriculum, and strength of its clinical programs. Each year, USD educates approximately 900 Juris Doctor and graduate law students from throughout the United States and around the world. The law school is best known for its offerings in the areas of business and corporate law, constitutional law, intellectual property, international and comparative law, public interest and taxation.

USD School of Law is one of the 81 law schools elected to the Order of the Coif, a national honor society for law school graduates. The law school’s faculty is a strong group of outstanding scholars and teachers with national and international reputations and currently ranks 23rd worldwide in all-time faculty downloads on the Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN). The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Founded in 1954, the law school is part of the University of San Diego, a private, nonprofit, independent, Roman Catholic university chartered in 1949.

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