Bartholomew & Wasznicky End Online Public Access To SCBA Family Law Section Newsletter
|Family law firm Bartholomew and Wasznicky has stopped providing online public access to the Sacramento County Bar Association Family Law Section newsletter The Family Law Counselor.|
Prominent Sacramento family law firm Bartholomew & Wasznicky has cut off the public from online access to The Family Law Counselor, a monthly newsletter published by the Sacramento County Bar Association Family Law Section. The firm website previously provided the only online, downloadable access to the newsletter, which Sacramento Family Court News often uses in reporting on family court issues.
Family court watchdogs have pointed out that many articles in the Counselor reveal an overly collegial relationship between for-profit family law attorneys and family court judges and employees, who are paid by taxpayers to serve the public interest.
About 70 percent of family court users cannot afford to hire a lawyer and are unrepresented, but, as the newsletters often reflect, superior court judges regularly provide important family court policy, procedure and staffing updates and other information only to the attorneys who represent the 30 percent. The same information is rarely made available to the 70 percent without lawyers, many of whom face an opposing party represented by a Sacramento County Bar Association Family Law Section member.
Family court Judge Matthew J. Gary regularly offers the family law bar "Bench Tips" in The Family Law Counselor on family law, law and motion tactics, and courtroom procedure. Unrepresented parties seeking the same advice and information from the Family Law Facilitator Office - which ostensibly serves the needs of pro per litigants - are told the subjects are beyond the scope of the services the office provides, or, worse, given inaccurate information.
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Sacramento Family Court News was tipped off ahead of time that the newsletters would be scrubbed from the Bartholomew & Wasznicky website. We took a screenshot of the now deleted page where the newsletters were available to the public for download:
|Bartholomew and Wasznicky have deleted this page - which offered downloads of each issue of the Family Law Counselor newsletter - from the firm website.|
The URL for The Family Law Counselor downloads page at the Bartholomew & Wasznicky website was http://www.divorcepage.com/CM/Custom/The-Family-Law-Counselor.asp. The link now redirects to the homepage of the firm. Veteran family law attorney Mary C. Molinaro, Of Counsel at the firm and Sacramento County Family Court Temporary Judge is the "Editor Emeritus" of the newsletter, according to the newsletter masthead and her webpage at the firm.
The family law sections of other county bar associations make similar newsletters available to the public. The Santa Clara County Bar Association Family Law Section provides its newsletter to the public through the SCCBA main website. Click here for the SCCBA Family Law Section newsletter archives.
In October, 2012 we reported that firm founders Hal D. Bartholomew and Diane E. Wasznicky were using the judge pro tem status of firm attorneys for promotional purposes in violation of the California Code of Judicial Ethics. The judge pro tem title implies influential, insider status at the courthouse and is used by some attorneys as a marketing tool to attract new clients. But, as we reported last year, using the title for advertising or promotional purposes is prohibited by judicial ethics rules. After our report was published, the judge pro tem reference was removed from the Bartholomew & Wasznicky website.
|East Sacramento office of family law attorneys Mary C. Molinaro, |
Hal D. Bartholomew and Diane E. Wasznicky.
Family court watchdogs and whistleblowers contend that FLEC dictates and controls most family court policies and procedures - including local court rules - for the financial benefit of private lawyers who represent just 30 percent of family court parties.
Family court reform advocates say many court policies and procedures work against the 70 percent majority of litigants who are financially disadvantaged and self-represented. Sacramento Family Court News has reported on these and other, related issues, including:
|Judge pro tem attorney Mary Molinaro wrote this article for the|
August 2002 issue of Sacramento Lawyer magazine.