CBJ - August 2012 #06. Lawyer admission cases highlight the personal, political.


California Bar Journal


CBJ - August 2012 #06.

Lawyer admission cases highlight the personal, political

The California LawyerAugust 2012Lawyer admission cases highlight the personal, politicalFor the first time in about a decade, there are two significant admissions cases pending at the California Supreme Court regarding who shall be admitted and who shall not. I realize that if you are reading this column you are a member, but we all have a vested interest in who gets to be in our profession. Let's consider the cases of Sergio C. Garcia and Stephen Glass, in which vastly different issues are raised.

Sergio Garcia was brought into the United States as a toddler. As a youth, he spent time in Mexico. In 1994, his father became a permanent resident and Sergio returned to the United States. He filed a petition (about 17 years ago, it can take decades) to become a lawful resident. Mr. Garcia went to law school and passed the California Bar Exam in 2009. The Committee of Bar Examiners, Attorney General's office, and most county and local bars in the State support his admission.

However, the Supreme Court (when notified of his status) said "wait a minute." They issued five questions and requests for amici participation in the responses. One of the questions was who is basically in charge of admissions in California? Most, if not all, resoundingly believe it is within the penumbra of the Supreme Court's powers, as it is in all the other states.

Garcia does not qualify for the DREAM Act, or for President Obama's recent policy modifications, and could be legally admitted during the pending controversy. Remember, he could be like one of the kids that grew up in all of our houses. All of our families (except Native Americans) were immigrants. This issue was already pending in Florida and New York when the California Supreme Court placed it front and center here.

The first promise an applicant makes when taking the Oath is to support the Constitution and State and Federal laws. (Business and Professions Code § 6068) The Committee of Bar Examiners argued in its brief that federal law is not controlling, although it may prevent Garcia from being employed.

The bar suggested he could be an independent contractor or engage in pro bono activity. The argument seems to be that having a license to practice is a necessary prerequisite...

To continue reading