Yori Geiron

Basic facts: 45 years old, graduated The Hebrew University Faculty of Law; LL.B. in 1988, LL.M in 1990; specializes in civil and commercial law. Sixteen years ago, in his first year as a lawyer, Yori Geiron founded the "Lishka Aheret" faction in the Israel Bar. The faction's candidate, Shlomo Cohen, has headed the Bar for the past eight years. Originally, Geiron did not intend to run to succeed him. However, when the faction's original candidate, Yoram Danziger, decided to step down after his partner, Avigdor Klagsbald, was sentenced to jail for causing a fatal accident, Geiron was picked to replace him. To the dismay of many lawyers, Cohen took an outspoken left-wing position on many of the political issues of the day. His prime concern on the national level is to see the Bar acting as a conciliator to soothe tensions among the branches of government. "Relations have never been so fragile," he told the The Jerusalem Post. "The tensions between the Knesset and the government, on the one hand, and the judiciary on the other, are approaching a red line. Yet all these institutions are vital for a democratic society." Geiron prides himself in being his own man. "I have many positions that are anti-establishment and others that are pro-establishment," he said, "each according to the issue at hand rather than passing fashion." One of his main passions is human rights. He has been active in various organizations throughout his career and established the Haim Cohen Center for the Legal Defense of Human Rights, which operates out of his firm. As a member of the Judges Election Committee for the past several years, Geiron has been touting Hebrew University law professor Mordechai Kremnitzer for the Supreme Court. He also wants to see two private lawyers and two district court judges, along with an academic - "Kremnitzer or someone like him" - elected to the Supreme Court in the next round of appointments. For the most part, however, Geiron prefers to discuss the specific problems of the law profession. He says he is worried about the large number of new lawyers joining the professional ranks each year. Although he does not want to reduce the number of law schools, he believes the one-year apprenticeship should be extended and the format of the entrance exams to the Bar changed. "It's not a matter of schools," he says. "The issue is how to turn a student into a lawyer." He said the Bar must fight against people who are not lawyers infringing on activities that belong to the law profession, including bridging facilitators and those offering preliminary legal consultations without being lawyers. The Bar should also look for ways to increase the profession's income potential. One way is to enter new areas of activity where the presence of lawyers is currently low, such as in the field of legacies. Another is to increase the fees the state pays public defenders from the private sector and to encourage civil service bodies, such as the police, to hire more lawyers. Geiron believes the government must hire more judges to deal with the ever-increasing caseload. At the same time, each new judicial position will also provide many new openings for lawyers. He also wants to increase the Bar's influence on legislation by establishing a task force of lawyers who can be consulted by the Knesset legal department, as well as establish liaisons with the minister of justice and the Courts' Administration.