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BAR TUSSLES OVER ONLINE ADVERTISING PROPOSITION In the future, visitors scouring the State Bar’s Web site for information on a lawyer’s background or for facts about continuing legal education might come across ads for attorneys or legal services. But that possibility is the subject of much debate. What some see as a great non-dues revenue source for the Bar is viewed by others as the kind of crass commercialism that could offend Joe Public. The Bar’s Board of Governors looked at both sides of the debate Wednesday during a lively discussion in the association’s San Francisco headquarters. The proposal is one of many — including allowing annual dues to be paid online with credit cards — aimed at making the Bar’s increasingly sleek Web site more interactive and user friendly. Two of the staunchest opponents to Web site ads were non-lawyers: Dorothy Tucker, a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles, and John Snetsinger, a history professor at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Snetsinger argued that the average person usually goes to the Bar’s Web site for a “solemn reason” and might be offended by pop-up ads by lawyers. Tucker agreed that negative “public perception” could result and questioned whether ads would generate enough revenue to offset that possibility. On the other side of the fence were Roderick McLeod, a partner in the San Francisco office of Philadelphia’s Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, and former California Attorney General John Van de Kamp, an of counsel in the L.A. office of New York’s Dewey Ballantine. McLeod argued that ads would be tasteful, not banners or pop-ups, and would be a good service for the Bar’s lawyer members. Van de Kamp, meanwhile, thought the idea made financial sense. “It just seems to me,” he said, “that at a time when we are stuck Bar dues-wise, we need to play around with it and give the staff a chance to see what can be done.” The contentious nature of the proposal was highlighted by the fact that the Bar committee that first set forth the idea split 4-3 in favor of ads. At one point, Dean Kinley, publisher of the California Bar Journal, the association’s in-house newspaper, expressed concern about throwing the Web site open to ads “in a vague way” and suggested that ads, if taken, be looked at case by case. He also said Web site ads could reduce the revenue now generated by the Bar Journal. In the end, the board voted to explore the possibility of Web ads, and make a firm decision at a later date. — Mike McKee LOOSE IN SIN CITY For John Worden, there may be a downside to the speedy settlement talks taking shape in a Las Vegas dispute involving a client. He may have fewer chances to stay at the four- and five-star hotels along the storied Las Vegas strip. “Vegas is fun to hang out in,” Worden said, “It’s not fun sitting in a hotel room in Orange County.” Worden, a partner at San Francisco’s Morgenstein & Jubelirer, cleared Nevada’s arduous lawyer-licensing process in 2000 and is the only one of his partners certified to practice in Nevada. Now, when firm clients there need counsel, Worden racks up the frequent-flier miles crossing the desert for court appearances and other meetings. But his client’s beef with the builders of a courthouse and jail in Clark County, where Las Vegas is located, may require fewer trips than he thought. A handful of the parties involved appear willing to talk settlement instead of bracing for a protracted legal fight, Worden said. The dispute, Fisk Electric Co., v. AF Construction Co., 474173, was filed in March. Worden is representing an electric subcontractor on the 18-story, $180 million Regional Justice Center project. His client, Fisk Electric Co., claims the estimated two-year delay in construction is adding to its expenses. The attorney representing AF Construction was out of town last week and could not be reached for comment. A Clark County spokesman said the county isn’t at fault for the delays. As managing partner of Morgenstein’s Las Vegas office, Worden will likely get plenty of chances in the future to shoot cards, relax poolside or even see clients, which he said is his real priority. “Whatever it takes to get justice for my client is what I want,” Worden said, “even if it means I miss a couple hands of blackjack.” – Renee Deger ANGER ISSUES It must be hard for a city attorney to go on trial for kicking a 17-year-old’s car. It must be even more difficult for ex-Danville Town Attorney Mark Doane — because this is the second time in his legal career that he has been accused of vandalism. On May 20, Doane, who’s now the Roseville city attorney, will defend himself against one misdemeanor count of vandalism that stems from a 2002 parking lot dust-up. Doane and his attorney, Thomas Leupp, could not be reached for comment. The supervising district attorney, Steven Dragland, declined to comment on details about the case. According to news reports, Doane and 17-year-old Frank Nowitzski got into an argument after Nowitzski stopped his car at a pedestrian crossing. The city attorney says the young man became angry when Doane drove around the PT Cruiser, and the teen later tried to hit Doane with his car after the attorney was walking in the parking lot. Doane said he kicked the car. In those same stories Nowitzki’s family claims that Doane became enraged when Nowitzski stopped to let pedestrians pass. Later, Doane tried to snatch away a piece of paper that Nowitzski used to write down Doane’s license plate number, the family says. Back when Doane was Danville’s lawyer, he was involved in another embarrassing vandalism incident in March 1993 when Doane and three other city officials chopped up a sign in front of a resident’s property. Doane and the men later handed out pieces of the butchered sign as souvenirs at a party. All four pleaded no contest to vandalism and paid fines. State Bar records show Doane was privately reproved. Doane was also required to take a professional responsibility exam and to attend ethics school. Doane began working as Roseville city attorney in 1994. Dragland, the Placer County prosecutor trying the case, said the trial should take three days and a judge has not been assigned yet. Doane could be sentenced to as much as a one year in jail. — Jahna Berry SOLID SUPPORT Maha Khalaf was just embarking on her legal career when she was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of lymphatic cancer in 2001. A third-year corporate associate at McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen (now Bingham McCutchen), Khalaf was forced to go on disability leave as she underwent round after round of chemotherapy treatment. Despite the rigors of the treatment and some close calls (in March, Khalaf’s family was told she had 48 hours to live), the 28-year-old Bay Area native remains optimistic. But as the cancer spreads throughout her body, it’s increasingly urgent that Khalaf receive a bone marrow transplant. Of course, finding a donor whose marrow matches Khalaf’s is no small feat. And the effort has been complicated by the fact that Khalaf’s medical insurance won’t cover the $75 it costs for each prospective donor to take the necessary blood test. So far, Khalaf and her family have spent $150,000 to test nearly 4,000 people for a marrow match. Now the Bay Area legal community is rallying along with Khalaf’s family to raise funds necessary to continue testing for a match. On Tuesday, a group of Khalaf’s friends from Bingham, Latham & Watkins and Morrison & Foerster are hosting a fund-raiser party at San Francisco’s 111 Minna St. The group has collected a wide assortment of donations from fellow attorneys that will be auctioned off at the event, including San Francisco Giants tickets, artwork, bottles of wine and weeklong time-shares at condos in locales like Vail and Breckenridge, Colo. “I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but it’s just been so affirming that the support has been so overwhelming,” said Christina Wheeler, an organizer of the event who graduated from Boalt Hall School of Law with Khalaf in 1999 and joined her at McCutchen. “It’s a testament to Maha herself, who has touched so many people.” Tuesday’s fund raiser, which will also feature appetizers from Kokkari Restaurant, begins at 7 p.m. – Alexei Oreskovic

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