The use of Dr. for People who have earned JDs

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

You may have read the stories in the local press about the President of San Bernardino Valley College using “Dr.” before her name.  As of today, the page linked above is titled “Meet the President of SBVC, Dr. Gloria Fisher.”

The controversy is that the doctorate comes in the form of a juris doctor degree from a California accredited law school.

What does the world think of using Dr. for those with juris doctor degrees?

JDs are the primary degree for graduates of law school in the United States at this time. You will sometimes see people who went to law school, but are not licensed used it at the end of their name, for example, John Smith, JD.  In fact, on the page linked above, the note is signed, “Sincerely, Gloria M. Fisher, J.D. [,] President”

A good overview of a non-legal perspective on the issue is from this blog post from the Economist.

A good argument is made in a post from the legal blog “Above the Law”: Any Lawyer Who Calls Himself ‘Doctor’ Like a Ph.D. Should Get Punched In The Mouth

I am a part-time instructor of code enforcement law at Santiago Canyon College.  I get paid more with a juris doctor degree (which is treated like an MA), but I assure you I have never, and will never, use Dr. before my name

‘The use of the term “Esquire” is another topic (briefly discussed in the Above the Law post) for another day.

A: 300 E. State St., Suite 517
Redlands, CA 92373-5235
T: (909) 708-6055

“This testimonial or endorsement does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.”

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

In California, the Rules of Professional Conduct apply to attorney conduct.  In particular, attorneys should not guarantee, warranty or predict an outcome.

The standards adopted by the State Bar of California pursuant to Rule of Professional Conduct Rule 1-400 prohibits, in pertinent part:

“(1) A “communication” which contains guarantees, warranties, or predictions regarding the result of the representation.

(2) A “communication” which contains testimonials about or endorsements of a member unless such communication also contains an express disclaimer such as “this testimonial or endorsement does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.”

Even if this was not part of the Rules of Professional Conduct, it would be a very bad idea to promise clients anything.  In my written fee agreements, which are based off the models on the State Bar’s website, and in its book The California Guide to Opening and Managing a Law Office,  I use this language:

” 13. DISCLAIMER OF GUARANTEE. Nothing in this Agreement and nothing in Attorney’s statements to Client will be construed as a promise or guarantee about the outcome of this matter. Attorney makes no such promises or guarantees. There can be no assurance that Client will recover any sum or sums in this matter. Attorney’s comments about the outcome of this matter are expressions of opinion only. Client acknowledges that Attorney has made no promise or guarantees about the outcome.”

The original can be found on Page 139 of the 2008 edition of the California Guide to Opening and Managing a Law Office, published by the State Bar of California.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

 

A: 300 E. State St., Suite 517
Redlands, CA 92373-5235
T: (909) 708-6055

The Last Two Posts Were Written in 2013, but Unpublished Until Now

The last two posts were written in 2013.  The first, regarding the 2013 recall, was intended to be published, and was inadvertently not published. The second one on former City Attorney Waldo Wilhoft was unfinished.  Sorry for any confusion about publishing old material.
A: 300 E. State St., Suite 517
Redlands, CA 92373-5235
T: (909) 708-6055

Waldo Willhoft, City Attorney of San Bernardino

This post was originally written in October 2013, but never published.

Last night was the San Bernardino County Bar Association’s Annual Installation & Awards Banquet at the National Orange Show in San Bernardino.  The back of the program has the Past Presidents of the San Bernardino County Bar Association’s Past Presidents from 1875-1913.  Of interest to me was the 1960-1961 President, Waldo Willhoft.

I knew that Waldo Willhoft was City Attorney of San Bernardino for one term, from 1951 to 1955.  In 1955, the Charter was amended to make the City Attorney a full-time position.  Here’s what else I have learned about Waldo Willhoft:

Waldo Willhoft, J.D. ’30, was elected City Attorney of San Bernardino, Calif., by a precedent-shattering write-in campaign, which commenced forty-eight hours before the election last spring and resulted in a write-in vote of 8,642 for Willhoft and 4,659 for the incument [H.R. Griffin].  Mr. Willhoft’s first act upon taking office was to appoint as his Deputy his office associate, A.J. Flory ’48. Both men are continuing in the private practice of law at 415 Andreson Bldg. San Bernardino.

The [University of] Michigan Alumnus, Volume 58, Page 30.

You can see an example of Mr. Willhoft’s stationary in Ordinance 1980, which gives his Andreson Building address.

According to the State Bar of California, his full name was Waldo Oscar Willhoft, he was admitted in June 1931, and his bar number was 12549.  He was born on August 14, 1903 in Nebraska City, Nebraska.   He died on July 11, 1982 in San Bernardino.  His father was Herman Willhoft, a cabitnet maker, and his mother was Marie Vitzikam.

He is buried in Encampment Cemetery in Carbon County Wyoming with his wife, Mildred Parkinson Willhoft, who lived from 1906-1997. According to the 1930 University of Michigan Michaganenesian Yearbook, he received an LLB in Law, he was from Nebraska City, Nebraska, and was a member of the Lawyer’s Club, Sigma Tau Delta and the Michigan Law Review.  After Michigan, he became associated with a fellow Michigan alum, Charles J. O’Conner, Class of 1900 of O’Conner & Findlay in the Arcade Building in Colton.  He wrote a book in 1929 published by Prentice Hall, called Modern Debate Practice and was the former debate coach in Peru, Nebraska.

In 1936, he lived at 1058 North 8th Street in Colton at the Porter Apartments with his wife Mildred. He was listed as the City Attorney of Colton and his office was at 159 North 8th Street in Colton.  By 1949, he had moved to San Bernardino, and lived at 741 24th Street, and worked at 320 North E Street, Room 415.  In other words, he worked in 415 Andreson Building.

Later, Waldo Willhoft served as special counsel for the Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Bernardino regarding the Meadowbrook Project and related litigation (including Andrews v. City of San Bernardino, (1959) 175 Cal.App.2d 459). RDA Minutes, June 2, 1960, and as acting Agency counsel, May 3, 1962 and again in 1964 in the absence of William J. Ward, Agency Counsel.

Prior to being elected City Attorney for San Bernardino, Waldo Willhoft was City Attorney for the City of Colton as early as 1934, as seen in the case of American Co. v. City of Lockport (1934) 220 Cal. 548.

 

A: 300 E. State St., Suite 517
Redlands, CA 92373-5235
T: (909) 708-6055

An Update: The Notices of Intention to Circulate Recall Petitions in the Proposed San Bernardino Recall 2013

I’m not sure why this was not posted at the time, but for historical interest, here is a post that supposed to appear in 2013.

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

San Bernardino Residents For Responsible Government, the political action committee behind the proposed recall,  contacted me today regarding the last post on the Notices of Intention to Circulate Recall Petitions in the Proposed San Bernardino Recall for November 5, 2013.

The Petitions were drafted by Michael L. Allan, a Pasadena attorney.  The decision to use process servers was also his decision.  The rest of the petitions will be released to the public on Monday, as listed on their website.  They say they have not filed the petitions against Wendy McCammack and Rikke Van Johnson yet. San Bernardino Residents For Responsible Government says they are giving the office holders 14 days to respond to the petitions.

Per the Charter of the City of San Bernardino, Section 122:

Within seven (7) days after the filing of the notice of

intention, the officer sought to be recalled may file with the City Clerk an answer in

not more than 500 words to the statement of the proponents and if an answer is

filed, shall serve a copy thereof, personally or by certified mail, on one of the

proponents named in the notice of intention. At the time the proponents publish

the notice and statement referred to above, the officer sought to be recalled may

have the answer published at his/her expense. If the answer is to be published the

officer shall file with the City Clerk at the time the answer is filed a statement

declaring his/her intent that the answer be published. The statement and answer

are intended solely for the information of the voters and no insufficiency in the form

or substance thereof shall affect the validity of the election or proceedings. The

notice and statement as referred to above, and the answer, if it is to be published

shall be published at least once in a newspaper of general circulation, as described

in Sections 6000 to 6066 of the Government Code, adjudicated as such.

Seven (7) days after the publication of the notice, statement and answer, if it

is to be published, the recall petition may be circulated and signed.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

A: 300 E. State St., Suite 517
Redlands, CA 92373-5235
T: (909) 708-6055

New Address

My new address is 300 E. State Street, Suite 517

Redlands CA 92373-5235

What’s The Construction At Alabama Street, Redlands Boulevard and Colton Avenue in the City of Redlands?

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

My office is on Colton Avenue between Tennessee and Redlands Boulevard. That is confusing to people, because Colton Avenue dead-ends into Redlands Boulevard.  I tell visitors to exit the 10 at Tennessee Street instead of Alabama Street, because getting to Colton from Alabama without mentioning Industrial Parkway.  It is about to become less confusing, and more

Here is a blurb on what’s happening from the City of Redlands’ blog, and I will add detail about the project based on my experience working with the City.

Artist’s conception of the Redlands Boulevard Alabama Street Realignment looking north on Alabama Street, south of Redlands Boulevard

Work to improve traffic on the City’s busiest intersection will begin this month as contractors begin construction on the intersection of Redlands Boulevard and Alabama Street and reconfiguration of Colton Avenue at Redlands Boulevard.

The approximately $4 million construction project will realign the intersection of Redlands Boulevard and Alabama Street, the City’s busiest intersection with more than 24,000 vehicles passing through the crossing daily. The realignment will eliminate a 22-foot offset as Alabama Street crosses Redlands Boulevard and widen both streets adding a third northbound lane and additional left turn lanes in each direction on Alabama Street.

The project will also realign an unorthodox and difficult merger of Colton Avenue and Redlands Boulevard, creating a signalized T intersection just east of the Redlands Boulevard/Alabama Street intersection. In addition, the project will improve drainage in the area and replace all street lighting with energy-efficient LED equipment.

Here’s some background behind the press release.  The press release says “busiest intersection” but it is the worst intersection in the City (with the possible exception of California Street and Redlands Boulevard that has its own challenges). The current level of service (LOS)  is “F.” The challenges to the Alabama/Redlands/Colton Intersection are many.

The first is that the intersection is fairly close to the Alabama Street off-ramps of the Interstate 10 Freeway. On the other side of the freeway is the popular Citrus Plaza, and the two shopping centers on the other side of Alabama Street straddling Lugonia.

The intersection itself is quite busy, with a 7/11 and a K-Mart on the southwest corner, a McDonalds and Del Taco on the northwest corner, a Chevron on the northeast corner, and a Big 5 anchored strip mall on the southeast corner.

Alabama Street is offset at the intersection, and south or northbound  vehicles on Alabama Street have to veer. The realignment should fix this problem.

To compound the problems, the intersection is very near an unused spur line for the BNSF Railroad. Not a great problem at the moment, but the right-of-way is controlled by SANBAG, and it is slated as the site of the proposed San Bernardino-Redlands Passenger Rail Line which is proposed to link Redlands with Metrolink (but not without a transfer at the San Bernardino transit center).

To compound the problems, there is a signalized intersection at Industrial Parkway that can be a busy intersection.  Tri-City Plaza and two car dealerships are nearby.

To compound problems even more, we have what the City’s press release calls “an unorthodox and difficult merger of Colton Avenue and Redlands Boulevard.”

When I started as the Assistant City Attorney for the City of Redlands in 2006, the project was alive but not funded. I had a minor role with the project, but by the end of my time in 2010, the project may have been alive, but it was not really progressing. The plans had been drawn earlier (the press release says it was around starting in 2003), and even then the City was using a consultant to obtain right-of-way. By the time the project was bid in 2013, because of difficulty with some landowners, less lanes than originally planned will actually be built.

The City of Redlands badly needs this project because the intersection (at least on Alabama) is a nightmare during the morning and evening rush hours.

For a few months, though it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

I will follow-up with a post regarding a photographic survey of the intersection and its environs today.

Address:  300 E. State Street, Suite 517
                   Redlands, CA 92373
Telephone: (909) 708-6055
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