Courtroom, San Francisco Superior Court

These were the final paragraphs of the last filing in my appeal on 20 March 2017, my Petition for Rehearing:


… [10] The legal profession is largely self-governing. Although other professions also have been granted powers of self-government, the legal profession is unique [ because ] ultimate authority over the legal profession in vested largely in the courts. … [12] The legal profession’s relative autonomy carries with it special responsibilities of self-government. The profession has a responsibility to assure that its regulations are conceived in the public interest and not in furtherance of parochial or self-interested concerns of the bar. [ ‘Model Rules of Professional Conduct: Preamble and Scope’, The American Bar Association.]

The opinion of this Court of Appeal acknowledges that I got to know Mr Meredith when I retained him to negotiate a settlement agreement for me. The acute imbalance of power in our attorney-client relationship is obvious. The fiduciary role in which he entered my life created a degree of trust that left me vulnerable to the possibility of his using his professional expertise and network to do me undeserved harm. This Court’s affirmation of a judgment shaped by the unconventional proceedings below, skewed to the benefit of the respondent, has put me in a Kafkaesque predicament. A decision resting solely on the words of an officer of the trial court — against the clear weight of evidence — has not, so far, received objective, non-deferential scrutiny by the reviewing court.

Mr Meredith has all the advantages of an insider, in every sense. He is an American with nearly four decades of experience as a family law practitioner. I am, in every degree, an outsider — an E.U. or British citizen without legal training, assistance, or power in the legal community, seeking help from a rural base that is a seven-hour journey from San Francisco and the trial and appellate courts on McAllister Street. It is not surprising that Mr Meredith has persistently rebuffed my proposals that we discuss a reasonable settlement of this case.

I am asking that the unique difficulties of my position also be taken account in considering this petition.

The answer from the appellate justices? After my Petition for Rehearing received only silence for a reply, they awarded my former partner costs against me — something even the trial court had not done.

I hope that readers starting on this page of COTIN will read the articles on the rest of the site and ask themselves: could I have met the same fate if court proceedings were conducted with an intelligent online audience?