Joe Dunn is out at State Bar

Posted on November 14, 2014


Focus for a moment on the following statement that can be found all over the State Bar website:

The State Bar of California is an administrative arm of the California Supreme Court, protecting the public and seeking to improve the justice system for more than 80 years. All lawyers practicing law in California must be members of the State Bar. Membership now stands at about a quarter million.

As has now been widely reported, Joe Dunn filed a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit against the state bar – an administrative arm of the supreme court – and was promptly fired.

It would appear that Mr. Dunn alleges that operatives at the state bar cooked the books to conceal a disciplinary backlog. We’re not sure of how that would come to fruition but it seems to us the easiest of ways would be to 1) lose the initial complaints or 2) dismiss the allegations as being without merit as that would only require a form letter. Either way, there would be no time consuming investigations and no hearings….

Much like the VA scandal where our citizen soldiers were the victims of cooked books and dying while waiting for doctors appointments, I’m guessing CalBar management thought the easiest way to blow through the backlog would be to consider them non-existent or resolved. After all, that would be the way that Tani’s other office at the judicial council would handle things.

Now based on the allegations, one would think the phearless leader of her administrative office would launch an investigation into the actions of that administrative office or invite an independent investigation into the allegations made. But true to Tani form, they’ve chosen to sit on their hands and are allegedly “monitoring the situation”. Rather than have anyone launch any fact-finding mission to deal with the allegations, “monitoring the situation” amounts to not doing a damn thing except to play interference on behalf of CalBar management.

In more euphemistic terms, there is likely some meat on those allegation bones and we wouldn’t want to tarnish the image of an administrative office of the Supreme Court.

I can’t say that Joe Dunn’s tenure wasn’t rocky as he was at one time willing to commit millions in CalBar funds for a module of CCMS to run the state bar court, even though by that time there were serious misgivings that the judicial council had a functional product. As far as attorney discipline, no organization can serve as both an exclusive chamber of commerce for lawyers as well as a public protection organization policing lawyers without having insurmountable conflicts of interest – but they’ve managed to do just that for years without being called on it.

Lastly, there is the alleged conflict of interest in retaining a law firm tied to a member of the board of trustees. A member that was formerly a judicial council member and was appointed by the supreme court who was allegedly retained to dig up the dirt on Joe Dunn after he made his concerns known regarding the alleged cooked books.

One would think that this would have never occurred without the full backing of the appointer.