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What began as an earnest discussion over legal education at a State Bar meeting in San Francisco on Friday quickly devolved into a shouting match between two State Bar governors loudly accusing each other of hogging the spotlight. Los Angeles lawyer Sheldon Sloan and San Francisco attorney Roderick McLeod went at it for several minutes during a meeting of the board’s Committee on Member Oversight, stopping only when a State Bar staffer called them on the carpet like two quarreling kids. “Knock it off,” State Bar Deputy Executive Director Robert Hawley barked. “This is ridiculous. It’s embarrassing. This is a public meeting, and the press is here.” The two men backed off, only to resume their spat while shaking hands in the hallway shortly after the meeting ended. The whole incident provided a rare moment of overheated conflict in a group that, rightly or wrongly, likes to regard itself as a bastion of civility. The confrontation — which had Bar staffers chuckling afterward — began when Sloan, of counsel at Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith, refused to relinquish the floor during a discussion about possibly requiring lawyers to take an hour of law practice management as part of legal education. McLeod, a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, tried to cut him off, saying he was taking up too much time. “You’re hardly one to tell me not to talk,” Sloan, a former municipal court judge, said, referring to McLeod’s tendency to not shy away from asking questions until he gets some kind of answer. “But I don’t hold the floor for 15 minutes,” McLeod said, adding that the Board of Governors needs to have a rule preventing someone from monopolizing meetings. “I listen to you monopolize the floor all the time,” Sloan shot back. “I’ve let you talk for a year.” Both men’s voices rose higher and higher as they tried to outtalk each other, with Sloan finally shouting, “Shut up!” That’s when Hawley jumped in, to the relief of everyone in the room. As staffers and governors arrived from other meetings, the hallways were abuzz about the clash. And that’s when it started up again. While shaking hands with McLeod, Sloan told him he didn’t realize that he talked a lot in meetings. To which McLeod said he normally asks three questions at most and never takes the floor for 15 minutes. “Bullshit,” Sloan said, pulling his hand away and heading down the hallway. “Strong feelings,” one Bar governor muttered.

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