Regarding the crisis in the courts that I discussed in my previous blog post, I have been asked "What is the Bar doing about it?" The answer is: The Bar as an agency of the government can only take limited action; however, it is strongly supporting the work of the Bench-Bar Coalition and the Open Courts Coalition that exist for the sole purpose of keeping the courts open for the public through increased funding. I am on the steering committee of the latter group, chaired by Paul Kiesel and Naill McCarthy, and we are working together to facilitate budget discussions between the various departments of the court.
More importantly, we have been regularly meeting with court officials, representatives of the executive branch and legislators. For example, on March 11, both the BBC and the OCC traveled to Sacramento to meet with legislators and support the court by attending the Chief Justice's State of the Court address. I personally met with many legislators, including the chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee, to underscore the crisis and secure full funding for our courts. I am pleased to say that everyone with whom we met understands the importance of the issue to their constituents and agrees we are at risk of losing many of the benefits of our justice system. To a person they support increased funding for the courts.