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Serving Clients with Diminished Capacity: Ethics Issues in Legal Services and Pro Bono Practice

Speaker(s): Katie Danielson, Merri A. Baldwin, Richard Zitrin, Toby J. Rothschild
Recorded on: Jan. 22, 2021
PLI Program #: 316637

Merri Baldwin is a shareholder at Rogers Joseph O’Donnell, where her practice focuses on attorney liability and commercial litigation.  She handles claims of legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty, as well as motions to disqualify and for sanctions.  She regularly counsels lawyers and law firms on legal ethics and law practice management issues.  She represents attorneys in disciplinary matters before the State Bar of California, and has extensive experience handling attorney-client fee disputes.  Ms. Baldwin is a Vice-Chair of the State Bar of California’s Closing the Justice Gap Working Group.  Ms. Baldwin is a former chair of the State Bar of California Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct, and is currently a member of the California Lawyers Association Ethics Committee.  She is a co-chair of the Legal Malpractice subcommittee for the American Bar Association Litigation Section Committee on Professional Services Litigation.  Ms. Baldwin served as the President of the Bar Association of San Francisco for 2017.  Ms. Baldwin frequently lectures to attorneys and professional organizations on issues related to litigation, legal malpractice and ethics issues, and she is a lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley School of Law.  Ms. Baldwin co-edited The Law of Lawyers’ Liability (ABA/First Chair Press 2012) and since 2006 she has served as a consulting editor for the Attorney Fee Agreement Forms Manual, published by Continuing Education of the Bar, California.  Prior to law school, Ms. Baldwin was a Fulbright Scholar at the London School of Economics.


J.D., University of California at Berkeley, School of Law (Boalt Hall)

B.A., Smith College, Magna Cum Laude with high honors

Richard Zitrin has been a professor of Legal Ethics for decades, at UC Hastings since 1994. He’s written three books and dozens of articles. Richard is also a certified specialist in Legal Malpractice Law. He has chaired the California State Bar’s Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct. He also devotes a lot of time helping Justice & Diversity Center clients at the Homeless Advocacy Project, as well as assisting staff with ethics issues. With JDC, Richard also funds scholarships for minority students to attend law school, and mentors scholarship recipients. Richard is the 2019 recipient of the California State Bar’s Sondheim Award for outstanding long-term contribution to the advancement of attorney professional standards in California.

Katie Danielson, is the Senior Supervising Attorney at the Justice and Diversity Center of the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP). She has been working with clients experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness for over 20 years. She supervises a team of HAP advocates that help folks with mental health disabilities access benefits through Social Security Administration. Ms. Danielson also has extensive experience doing eviction prevention work, including representing tenants with mental health disabilities in eviction actions. Ms. Danielson attended San Francisco State University and graduated in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in Art. She graduated from New College of California School of Law in 2000. She has been teaching as an adjunct faculty member at the Golden Gate University School of Law since 2007.

Toby J. Rothschild is Of Counsel to OneJustice, providing ethics training and counselling to legal services programs in California. He retired after serving as the General Counsel of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles for 13 years. Prior to that, he was the executive director of the Legal Aid Foundation of Long Beach for 28 years and Interim Executive Director of LAFLA. He graduated from UCLA School of Law in 1969, and has worked at legal aid programs since graduation. He has been the president of the Long Beach Bar Association and was Vice Chair of the California Commission on Access to Justice. Toby served as a member of the State Bar Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct, a member of the California Lawyers Association and Orange County Bar Ethics Committees, and as Chair of the Professional Responsibility and Ethics Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar. He was liaison on access to justice issues to the first commission which drafted the proposed new California Rules of Professional Responsibility, and was a member and vice chair of the second Rule Revision Commission. He also has served as a member of the State Bar Judicial Nominees Evaluation Commission. He served as co-vice chair of the State Bar Task Force on Access Through Innovations in Legal Services, and is a member of the State Bar Closing the Justice Gap Working Group.