Friday, February 17, 2023


By Tim Rohr

'It's a signal': Arriola concerned about decline in local attorneys

Guam Daily Post, Feb. 16, 2023

This is a strange news story

And I probably would have nothing to say about it except for my recent 5 year long experience with multiple Guam attorneys and the local courts. 

Beyond what appears to be a hit-piece by Atty. Jay Arriola on Attorney General Douglas Moylan (read the story), the issue is really about "free market economics." 

The real question is why are so many attorneys abandoning the practice of law (in Guam) or not aspiring to it?

Arriola says that there were 400 practicing attorneys in 2010 and there are now less than 300:

“There are only approximately 284 licensed members, active members of the Guam Bar (as of this month). … Say 2010, say around then, we were at our peak with over 400 lawyers,” Arriola told The Guam Daily Post.

While Arriola appears to blame both the court (for lack of pay) and AG Douglas Moylan (see the story), the bottom line free market factor is that if attorneys are worth their pay, not only would they would be getting it, there would be a waiting line at the entrance door to the Guam Bar. 

But there isn't. 

In fact, at least according to Arriola (per the news story), the only waiting line is a line at the EXIT. 

I am not going to drag the details of my particular case into this, but in short, I was ignorantly drug through "the system" at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars, unnecessary and tragic personal loss - both to myself and my children, and five terrible long years, before I fired my fourth attorney and launched out on my own and into what the system calls "pro se" (self-representation). 

I would have happily paid even more tens of thousands of dollars to any of those four attorneys had they answered my phone calls, replied to my emails, or showed the slightest interest in my case after they spent my initial retainer. But they DID NOT. In fact, my fourth attorney... well, never mind. 

Meanwhile, I would have happily paid Atty. Arriola himself all those tens of thousands of dollars had he taken my case. But he DID NOT. For reasons I do not know and he did not say. So never mind that as well. 

In the end, thanks to very special help from friends who I choose not to name, my own research, and my retaining a 5th attorney who at least let me file what I wanted to file...I got what I wanted - though I lost 5 years of my life, my children's lives, and my life savings on the way. 

From what I've read, Atty. Jay Arriola would have been an awesome advocate and could have saved me years of hell and tens of thousands of dollars. But he did not. And I wasn't given a reason. 

And that's okay. In fact, I thank him for refusing me. In the end I learned how to win on my own. And maybe that's why people are not willing to pay attorneys what Mr. Arriola thinks they are worth - anymore. 


There are several PS's. To be fair Doug Moylan, when in private practice, also turned down my case. But at least he gave me a reason: "too busy" he said. Thanks Doug. That's a very good reason. The last thing I wanted was an attorney who was "too busy." That's an honest answer. Ethically, attorneys should not accept cases they cannot properly commit time to. 

Another PS:

In addition to the special counsel I received from friends who I choose not to name, I found much help from a fellow who represented himself for eight years in a custody case and who not only got full custody of his child but got court-ordered termination of the mother's parental rights. 

Also - and I share this for anyone who is despairing as I once was - I was helped much with a rather inexpensive subscription to How To Win In Court Without a Lawyer

There is one more PS. 

Not only did I go through 5 local attorneys, I also had to "go through" 5 local judges, 2 of whom recused themselves, and one of whom - though he did not state this - was the first cousin of the now EX-Fr. Adrian Cristobal. 

And that's a story I am saving for "The Book." 

NOTE: AG Doug Moylan responded to Atty. Jay Arriola here.


  1. Something's been left unsaid...namely the demographics of the bar 13 years ago versus today. Bet there's a different proportion of lawyers who were born in the States.

  2. Please feel free to elaborate.