The Spectrum Institute sent a letter to the California Bar Association on October 20, asking it to audit a Los Angeles Bar County Bar Association program designed to educate court-appointed attorneys for people who are the subject of conservatorships, or guardianships, as they are known in other states.
“The State Bar has been authorizing the Los Angeles County Bar Association to give (mandatory continuing legal education) credits for training programs that allow, or actually encourage, violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” the letter states.
The Spectrum Institute alleges that the CLE programs fail to deliver promised training or interviewing skills for representing people with disabilities. In fact, Spectrum Institute attorneys attended a CLE class led by an attorney who allegedly had zero experience working with clients with disabilities, as detailed in the letter.
Further, the Spectrum Institute asserts that the classes fail to cover necessary topics, provide “incorrect information,” and cover critical subjects in only a “cursory manner.”
“The State Bar of California was previously unaware of these problems,” the letter states. “But now that these complaints and supporting documents have been brought to its attention, the association has a responsibility to take corrective action.”
The move comes four months after the Institute’s Disability and Guardianship Project filed a class-action complaint with the Department of Justice, accusing the Los Angeles Superior Court of denying people with disabilities their right to effective counsel in conservatorship proceedings.