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CPIL’s Administrative Director Bridget Gramme Quoted in Law360 Article on “Unified” Bar Model

CPIL’s Administrative Director Bridget Gramme Quoted in Law360 Article on “Unified” Bar Model

SAN DIEGO (June 5, 2019) –University of San Diego (USD) School of Law’s Center for Public Interest Law (CPIL), Administrative Director Bridget Gramme was quoted in an article on Law360 discussing the legal attacks on the “unified” bar model in various states.

According to the article, a slew of lawsuits have been filed in recent decades challenging the so-called “unified” bar structure, but they have largely failed.  A handful of the suits received a lifeline when the U.S. Supreme Court recently deemed it unconstitutional to charge nonmembers with mandatory union fees.

Bridget Gramme, Administrative Director of CPIL participated in a panel at the American Bar Association’s National Conference on Professional Responsibility in Vancouver, British Columbia. According to the article, the question is “What does it mean to be a member of a bar?”

Some state bars, like Texas, Florida, Wisconsin and Michigan, act as both a regulator and a lawyer association, while other states, like New York, New Jersey and Illinois, have court-run lawyer regulation systems focused on public protection and lawyer discipline that are separate from voluntary state bar groups who focus on supporting their practitioners.

Speaking on the panel, Gramme said the “inherent conflict” in the unified structure was a significant factor in the legislative move in 2017 to split California’s lawyer discipline system from trade group and educational functions now organized under a voluntary bar.

A unified bar “has a statutory duty to protect the public but if [bar leaders] ... are elected by members, are you going to spend your money on enforcement and protecting the public, or are you going to spend the money on your nice conferences?” Gramme said.

Read the full article by Law360 here.

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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

Recognized for the excellence of its faculty, curriculum and clinical programs, the University of San Diego (USD) School of Law 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, Administrative Director at the Center for Public Interest LawBridget Gramme, Administrative Director at the Center for Public Interest Law

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