CPIL’s Executive Director Robert Fellmeth Quoted in Recent Los Angeles Daily Journal Article on State Bar Proposing a 30 Percent Fee Hike

CPIL’s Executive Director Robert Fellmeth Quoted in Recent Los Angeles Daily Journal Article on State Bar Proposing a 30 Percent Fee Hike

SAN DIEGO (January 11, 2019) – University of San Diego (USD) School of Law Center for Public Interest Law’s (CPIL) Executive Director Robert C. Fellmeth was quoted in an article published in the Los Angeles Daily Journal this week. 

The article focuses on the State Bar projecting an operating deficit this year of $15.3 million, the third year the bar will outspend its revenue. The Bar may ask for a 30 percent increase in attorney’s dues in 2020, from $315 to $415.

According to the article, in order to secure the increase the Bar will have to make its case to California lawmakers, who have been skeptical of the Bar’s finances and operations.  A state audit and review by Legislative Analyst’s Office will be completed by May and July.  The Bar submitted its preliminary 2019 budget in November to the Legislature, and the Bar’s Board of Trustees will approve the final budget in the end of January.

The article goes on to state that Leah Wilson, the State Bar executive director, believes the final proposal for the increase will be released in July.

Robert Fellmeth, executive director at CPIL and former State Bar discipline monitor is supportive of the increase.  Fellmeth stated he would want the fund to be targeted to specific functions, such as attorney discipline, and shares the legislature’s criticism of the Bar.

“The solution here is not to starve the part of the operation that needs more money,” Fellmeth said. “Allow them the resources to do what they are doing satisfactorily.”

Assemblyman David Chiu, who sits on the Judiciary Committee, believes it is too early to gauge how convincing the Bar’s push for an increase will be, and remains skeptical based on the agencies previous history, according to the article.

According to Wilson, if a fee increase is not secured, the agency would need to downsize in operations, personnel and programming, declining to elaborate further on her statement.

“I think at the end of the day there will be a realization that this is a reasonable request on the part of the State Bar,” said Wilson.


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 12 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

Each year, USD educates approximately 800 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 84 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 36th nationally among U.S. law faculties in scholarly impact and 29th nationally in past-year 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, independent, Roman Catholic university chartered in 1949.



Robert C. Fellmeth

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