1. The latest article published by TLR, tells the story of two lawyers who were disbarred from the State Bar of California under questionable circumstances, Mr. Shalant and Mr. Gottschalk. Both nemesis of Thomas Girardi of Girardi & Keese. The story should be viewed as only one side of the coin.
The other side, is the unwillingness of the State Bar to prosecute attorneys from the firm of Girardi & Keese (or associated firms) when circumstances clearly mandate such prosecution. Misconduct by Girardi & Keese in the litigation against Dole is such an example, where charges should have been filed over five years ago.
Reciprocating, Howard Miller, the president of the State Bar of California, ignores misconduct committed by State Bar employees, judges, executives, and prosecutors.
Miller’s inaction is not motivated at all by the fact that Girardi deposits money at his bank account on a bi-weekly basis. Performance bonus,once per year.
Additionally, Girardi & Keese is one of the main contributors to the State Bar Foundation. As was reported here, the Foundation funnels a large part of the donation it receives to the State Bar of California, the parent organization. The rest goes to operating expenses, scholarships, and legal organizations.
The money funneled to the State Bar of California is usually spent by the State Bar on diversity related event. For example, on April 12-13 of this year, the State Bar of California sponsored a two-day diversity workshop. It took place at the San Francisco Hyatt.
You did not hear about it, as it was only open to employees of the state bars of California’s 49 sister states.
A copy of the brochure can be found at the State Bar of Ohio web-site:
Strangely, while State Bar employees are being laid-off, the State Bar of California offered stipends to those who wish to attend from across the country.
The purpose of the event was to educate the employees on matters relating to diversity in the legal profession. Of course, the current de-jure executive director of the State Bar of California, Judy Johnson, was one of the speakers.
Johnson, feeling important and proud of herself ( with the monetary help of Girardi & Keese), is nowhere to be found when it relates to misconduct by Girardi & Keese, as the charade continues.
Notwithstanding the above, TLR acknowledges the wide spread instances of racism, sexism and discrimination within the legal profession and the legal system. TLR will continue to support the advancement of racial, ethnic, religious, women and LGBT persons, as well as persons with disabilities. Concurrently, TLR will continue with efforts to investigate specific institutions, organizations, and individuals who display or otherwise engage in invidious discrimination.
2. TLR became aware of Ronald Gottschalk during the investigation and publication of the expose dubbed “Bribing Pat.”
Gottschalk’s defense attorney, Mr. Stanley Arouty, alleged that Judge Pat McElroy engaged in the destruction and spoliation of evidence.
For McElroy, it was the third time a party levels such accusation against her.
To date, the California Supreme Court and the State Bar Board of Governors took no action to inquire as to Judge McElroy’s trail of lawlessness.
Should such an investigation be requested by Miller, it would sabotage the disbarment of Gottschalk, who is one of Thomas Girardi’s nemeses.
However, Girardi & Keese’s involvement in the Gottschalk proceedings does not end with Mr. Miller. It also manifested itself to TLR via the name Stephen Larson.
With respect to Mr. Stephen Larson, TLR declares unequivocally that presently it possesses no evidence of any wrongdoing on his part.
Stephen Larson is a former federal judge and a current partner at the firm of Girardi & Keese. At 2006, he assumed the position of a district court judge in the Central District of California. In September of 2010, he quit the bench amid dissatisfaction with his low salary. A month later, he assumed a partnership position with the firm of Girardi & Keese.
While a district court judge, Stephen Larson presided over a case that was brought by Ronald Gottschalk against Litt, Vargas, and L.A. County.
Stephen Larson’s adjudication of the matter involving Gottschalk, standing alone, is of no concern to TLR.
However, the surfacing of the name Girardi & Keese, via Stephen Larson, is troubling to TLR, under the totality of the circumstances.
Also troubling to TLR is the fact that presiding over the Gottschalk’s proceedings in the State Bar Court is Judge Patrice McElroy, who unfortunately possesses very little qualities normally expected of a judge. Her prior involvement in the Bribing Pat saga alerted TLR, McElroy’s integrity is amiss.
3. An article published in yesterday’s Recorder discusses the potential conflict of interest Mr. James Towery faces in any prosecution of Thomas Girardi.
The article quotes several legal experts who opined that since Howard Miller is both a partner at Girardi & Keese, and the president of the State Bar, a conflict exists. The experts opined Towery’s best course of action would be to assign the case to an outside entity.
As stated above, the referral to an outside counsel should have been done 5 years ago, when the attempted fraud was discovered.
4. The “Rachel Abelson Scandal” is yet another scandal involving extreme misconduct by the State Bar of California; and subsequent attempt to cover it up, and cover a little more, and just a tiny bit more.
The net result, as the readers will soon see, is that the compounding alone is greater than the principal; and, is of a greater interest to TLR and its staff.
It took for an honest judge from the San Francisco Superior Court to shed just enough light on the scandal, providing TLR with the opportunity to connect the dots.
The judge, Hon. James Warren, admonished the State Bar that he (Judge Warren) finds that the trial tactics, and meritless legal position the State Bar was advocating to be “Disquieting”.
Additionally, Judge Warren, in a written decision stated that he found the circumstances in which Rachel Abelson, a State bar employee who breached confidentiality, to be “Rather Gossipy”.
It now appears that Debra Murphy Lawson, along with a State Bar investigator, Mr. Malmquist, also took part in the attempt to conceal the breach of confidentiality, at the expense of the victim.
In a suit filed in federal court, it was alleged that Debra Lawson, along with State Bar investigator Malmquist, intentionally did not contact or questioned Abelson at all, despite knowing about her involvement.
The one and only time Abelson was contacted by anyone from the State Bar, pursuant to her sworn testimony, was when Donald Steedman had called to alert her that the victim managed to ascertain her identity.
Specifically, Abelson testified that Donald Steedman spoke with her for less than a minute, and did not ask any questions or attempted to conduct an inquiry. This, despite Steedman’s duty to investigate exculpatory evidence.
Most troubling to TLR is Donald Steedman prior attempts, via his oppositions to the various motions submitted by the victim to the State Bar Court, urging the court to block any attempts by the victim to ascertain the name and identity of his former law clerk.
Based on Judge Warren’s findings that Abelson breach of confidentiality was “rather gossipy,” it is easy to understand Steedman, Malmquist, and Lawson’s motives.
5. Previously, TLR learned of the involvement of Hastings Ethics Professor, Mr. Geoffrey Hazard, in the Ninth Circuit proceedings involving Girardi & Keese and Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack.
Allegedly, Prof. Geoffrey Hazard, was retained by the defense as an expert witness to opine about issues pertaining to ethics. Prof. Hazard submitted an expert opinion, in a form of a sworn declaration, that no sanctions should be imposed.
Hazard’s testimony was before the panel of judges consisted of Marsha Berzon, Randy Smith, and William Fletcher.
William Fletcher, aka Bill Fletcher, is a well-known FOB. A Friend of Bill.
Bill is a disbarred ex-respondent, and the former president of the United States of America.
While president, Bill Clinton nominated W. Fletcher, a Boalt Hall professor and his campaign manager in Northern California, to serve as a judge with the Ninth Circuit.
The appointment was delayed as W. Fletcher’s mother, Betty Fletcher, also serves as a judge on the Ninth Circuit. Despite allegation of nepotism, W. Fletcher was confirmed.
In addition to being a judge, the former campaign manager of Bill Clinton, and a law professor, W. Fletcher is also an accomplished author.
In fact, he, along with Geoffrey Hazard, the ethics expert who appeared before him in the Dole litigation, co-authored the following:
A big coincidence, or just a coincidence?