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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.

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comments (1)

  • I have caught the Register manipulating editorials like this a lot in the last year. The basic rules of journalism are lead with the facts. The reporter chose to slant her remarks about an unpaid Bar Membership fee to imply Patterson had lost the right to practice law. Shame on the Register once again. If a mother of five takes a break from practicing law to focus on family that does not mean she lost her license to practice law. I find it amazing that Patterson continues to advocate for and fight for the rights of special needs kids. There is a special place in heaven for lawyers who specialize in defending kids with special needs. She didn’t show up for court unprepared. She didn’t take a retainer and skip town. She did not photoshop evidence to win a case. Those issues would be cause to pull a license. Better get your records straight reporter because there are ten reporters out there who need a job doing honest journalism.

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