CPIL's Bob Fellmeth and Bridget Gramme Quoted in Courthouse News Service Article on Bar Split

CPIL's Bob Fellmeth and Bridget Gramme Quoted in Courthouse News Service Article on Bar Split

Los Angeles(April 26, 2016) – USD School of Law Professor Robert Fellmeth and CPIL assistant administrative director Bridget Gramme were quoted in Courthouse News Service article on the proposal to break apart the State Bar of California into a regulatory agency and a separate voluntary trade association.

The article reported that speakers told the Task Force on Governance in Public Interest that carving off a regulatory agency focused just on the public-protection issues of lawyer licensing and discipline from other state bar activities could cripple the bar's work to promote legal aid services and access to justice for the poor and middle class.

However, Gramme said, "it's a conflict of interest [for the bar to be] advocating for the profession and advocating for the public."

Gramme and others also said there is no reason a purely regulatory agency could not also promote legal services for the poor, improved access to courts, pro bono activities by lawyers and diversity in the legal profession. All those activities benefit the public and could be defined in legislation as part of "public protection," she and others said.

Doing that would "be getting rid of distractions and allowing you to enhance the access to justice function," Gramme told the task force.

"This group is a walking antitrust violation," said Fellmeth. Even setting standards for passing the bar exam could be classified as anticompetitive. Splitting the bar in two could give both the new voluntary association and the remaining regulatory agency greater freedom to act, he said.

About Center for Public Interest Law

Founded in 1980, the University of San Diego School of Law’s Center for Public Interest Law (CPIL) serves as an academic center of research and advocacy in regulatory and public interest law. CPIL focuses its efforts on the study of an extremely powerful, yet often overlooked, level of government: state regulatory agencies. Under the supervision of experienced public interest attorneys and advocates, CPIL law student interns study California agencies that regulate business, professions, and trades.

CPIL publishes the California Regulatory Law Reporter, a unique legal journal that covers the activities and decisions of over 25 major California regulatory agencies.

In addition to its academic program, CPIL has an advocacy component. Center faculty, professional staff, and interns represent the interests of the unorganized and underrepresented in California’s legislature, courts, and regulatory agencies. CPIL attempts to make the regulatory functions of California government more efficient and visible by serving as a public monitor of state regulatory activity. The Center has been particularly active in reforming the state’s professional discipline systems for attorneys and physicians, and in advocating public interest reforms to the state’s open meetings and public records statutes.

About the University of San Diego School of Law

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.

CPIL's Bridget Gramme and Bob Fellmeth

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