CPIL's Administrative Director Bridget Gramme Quoted in ABA Journal on California Bar Split

CPIL's Administrative Director Bridget Gramme Quoted in ABA Journal on California Bar Split

SAN DIEGO (February 5, 2019) – University of San Diego (USD) School of Law Center for Public Interest Law’s (CPIL) Administrative Director Bridget Gramme was quoted in an article published in the ABA Journal this week.  The article focused on the one year anniversary of the California bar split into two entities.

According to the article, in 2018, the California Bar was mandated by the legislature (SB 36) to separate the bar’s 16 specialty law sections to become an independent non-profit entity, the California Lawyers Association.

CPIL had long called for the bar split with little sucess, until new allies joined the board in 2016; trustees Joanna Mendoza, Dennis Mangers, and Glenda Corcoran.  Together advocating for the de-unification of the bar to the legislature. 

The article states that since the split, state bar leaders and outside groups say the agency has paid greater attention to lawyer discipline and admissions.

“We are heartened by what can best be described as a cultural shift at the bar—a difference in the language they use, and what appears to be a much more narrowed and clarified focus on public protection and access to justice,” said Bridget Gramme, the Center for Public Interest Law’s administrative director. 

According to the article, Gramme said she was encouraged the agency has looked to licensing boards from other professions for guidance on best practices and formed a Task Force on Access Through Innovation of Legal Services. “I am hopeful that this work may provide a useful model for other bars across the nation to follow,” she said.

The recent 2019 funding bill for the State Bar included language changes requested by the bar to reflect that it is a regulatory agency, not a bar association. Licensed attorneys are now officially referred to in the State Bar Act as “licensees” instead of “members,” and they pay “fees” rather than “dues.”

Too read the full article in the ABA Journal click here.

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 law 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.


Bridget Gramme

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