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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Warped thinking

Sorry for the prolonged silence - the jet lag got to me today. I arrived back in Israel shortly after 5:00 am and have been struggling to remain awake....

For years now, Israel's bar association - membership in which is mandatory if you want to practice law here - has been struggling with lawyers like me who complain about the level of bar dues. My bar dues in Israel are more than double what the dues are in New York - the other jurisdiction in which I am admitted to practice.

I just got an email from the chair of the Jerusalem District Bar Association informing me of the wonderful news that the bar has 'solved' my problem. If I move my bank account to Bank Leumi and meet certain unspecified criteria, the bank will give me a 'grant' that is equivalent to my bar dues. If I were a big firm lawyer whose bar dues are paid by the firm, that money would go to my pocket; since I'm not, the money will go to the bar.

But let's get real: If I'm not paying the bar dues, and the bank sure isn't going to really pay the bar dues, who is? You guessed it: The ordinary people who are customers of Bank Leumi. In other words, the people subsisting on NIS 7,000 per month and less are going to subsidize a bunch of lawyers - many of whom make an awful lot of money - so that they won't complain about the bar's spending.

What's worse is that the organized bar is probably one of (if not THE) most wasteful organizations in the country. A big chunk of our bar dues goes to pay for 'social and cultural events' that are attended by a relatively small number of lawyers - mostly from the elites.

Yet another reason for all of you to hate lawyers.

For those who read Hebrew, you can find the district bar's letter here. Disgraceful.

Welcome to Animal Farm, where all the animals are equal except for the ones who are more equal.

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