Pam Patterson, San Juan Capistrano
An Oct. 8 Orange County Register article (“In San Juan Capistrano elections, how much do past transgressions matter?”) is misleading.
First of all, and most importantly, the reporter’s review of my California Bar membership status states: “This member has no public record of discipline.” Perhaps she missed or intentionally ignored the fact that not only is my membership status “in good standing.”
In fact, my recent admittance to the U.S. Supreme Court Bar requires certification by the California Supreme Court that I am an attorney in good standing. I believe this information is most relevant and should have been shared with OC Register readers, especially voters considering whom they should elect to their San Juan City Council.
The reporter sent this email after business hours Friday, Oct. 3, “I notice that your license to practice law has been suspended three times, twice for failing to pay bar association fees. Were you actively practicing law when the suspension occurred? Or were you on a break, which is why you hadn’t paid? Basically, I want to give you an opportunity to explain and provide any type of commentary you wish.”
But, the reporter apparently ignored the following response to her inquiry, which I sent to her early Monday, Oct. 6, “No, I was not actively practicing; I was a single mother of five and certainly doing my best to make ends meet, which was not easy.” I further indicated to the reporter that, as a single mother, if given the choice between making payments for the welfare of my children or paying bar dues when I wasn’t practicing law at the time, my children’s welfare won. This response is not reflected in the article.
A review of the Bar website shows the years involved, 2005 to 2007, during which time I was a single mother of five and had a very sick little girl in the hospital. For most of that time and I was living at the hospital with her. Bar dues and keeping up with continuing education requirements was the farthest thing from my mind, especially since I was not practicing. My sole focus was keeping my daughter alive.
Having your bar license suspended for failing to pay your dues on time is like getting your phone turned off because you missed a payment. To describe that as “legal difficulties,” is close to defamatory. Further, the misrepresentation that I have been suspended four times, when the reporter’s review of the State Bar website reveals twice, simply for failure to pay dues, is a very large margin of error, even for a reporter.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Pam Patterson is a candidate for San Juan Capistrano’s City Council.