Happy With Lopez
I am delighted that Angel Lopez is the first person of color to serve as president of our bar. It is also quite noteworthy that a criminal defense lawyer has been chosen to lead the bar. I don't practice much in that area anymore, but I have the greatest respect for the lawyers that have committed themselves to representation of the accused. They get little respect from the public and media and too often I have been shocked to hear even 'liberal' educated people (some even lawyers) make the comment: 'How can they represent those people?' That is one comment I never let go without a lecture on the vital and historical role defense counsel plays in our system of justice.
And yes, it may sound a tad trite, but gosh, Angel Lopez really does appear to be a nice person!
Richard A. Weill
End of MDP?
I suspect the Big Five accounting firms' efforts in aid of 'multidisciplinary practice' have been dealt a lethal blow by the Enron collapse and the alleged destruction of records by the company's accounting firm. I welcome such a result. However, an argument in favor of multidisciplinary practice could still be made. No one can imagine lawyers being so venal as to condone fraudulent accounting practices and the destruction of records; ergo the accountants and the lawyers had to have been walled off from each other.
The bar's published Guide to Setting Up Your Trust Account says on page 14 that to protect client confidences no client name should appear on a deposit slip which the lawyer sends to the bank. A January 11 CLE added that when a lawyer draws on the trust account the lawyer should not note the name of the client on the check's memo line. I began worrying that bankers would read my clients' names on their checks to me or mine to them, so I asked my mentor, a disbarred Arkansas lawyer, how he used to protect his clients from this bank.
'Cash,' he said. He would carry a client's check to the client's bank, cash the check there, and then deposit anonymous currency into his trust account. Disbursement worked the same way: he wrote a check to himself, walked to the bank with his hooded client, cashed the check and handed the currency over on the spot. No slip of paper ever clued the lawyer's bank that an identifiable client had retained or paid the lawyer or that the lawyer had recovered money for the client. My mentor thus maintained the highest standards of confidentiality adjured today by the Oregon State Bar.
Craig P. Colby