Three unopposed candidates will begin three-year
terms on the State Bar Board of Governors next month, while six candidates battle it out
to represent two other seats on the 23-member board.
Candidates from Districts One (Butte, Colusa, Del Norte, Glenn,
Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra,
Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity and Yuba counties), Seven (Los Angeles) and Nine
(Imperial and San Diego counties) ran without opposition and were automatically elected.
The seats in Districts Three (Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara and
San Mateo counties) and Five (Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono,
Monterey, San Benito, San Joaquin, Santa Cruz, Stanislaus and Tulare counties) are
For the first time, one candidate will succeed his wife when her term
concludes next month. A former board member is seeking a new term and, if elected, it is
believed hed be the first to win two three-year terms. Most of the candidates have
strong bar-related backgrounds, but the issues each stresses vary widely, from legal
services to the importance of the educational sections to fighting the unauthorized
practice of law. Several candidates expressed support for a three-year funding bill, a
recommendation of special master Justice Elwood Lui, as a way to stabilize the bar and
permit long-range planning.
Chico attorney ROBERT KEITH PERSONS practices with
his wife, Valerie Miller, and will succeed her as the representative for District 1.
Perhaps with some understatement, he says, I have a pretty good idea of what the
board does and what it doesnt do.
Active in the bar for many years, Persons lists an improved relationship with
the legislature at the top of his priorities, and says he hopes to educate lawmakers about
what the bar does. He is a strong supporter of the Conference of Delegates, where he has
served on the executive committee for three years, and believes its importance as a legal
resource should be made clear to the legislature.
He also puts a high priority on better outreach by the bar to its
members. We need to let lawyers know the bar is there to assist them, not just
discipline them, he says. Theres a perception that the bar is just
discipline and admissions. Were more than that, and we should be more than
A general civil practitioner, Persons, 46, practices primarily
business and real estate law.
He and Miller have no children. They like to travel, ski and kayak,
and a trip to Fiji is on their August calendar.
San Jose attorney RICHARD ALEXANDER, who served on
the board of governors from 1985-88, wants to make a comeback because he believes he knows
what reforms are needed to make the bar relevant to California attorneys. The key, he
says, is better communication.
Nobody can tell you who represents them on the board, he
says. Thats because the board is more concerned about talking to itself.
He favors a president elected by the membership, because that would require those
people who want to be president to actually communicate with the membership and do what
the members want.
He also wants to poll the membership to determine its priorities in order that
the bar can be more responsive to lawyers and serve their needs.
The first attorney certified as a northern Califor-nia civil
litigation specialist in 1980, Alexander, 55, is a partner with Alex-ander, Hawes &
Audet and runs consumerlawpage.com, a legal information website for the public. His resume
offers a lengthy list of law-related activities, including the presidency of the Santa
Clara Bar Association, membership in the bars Committee on Professional Ethics, and
serving as a founding member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates.
Alexander and his wife are the parents of two grown children and
enjoy hiking in the coast range and the Sierra in their spare time.
ARTHUR MIKE BREDENBECK went from representing the
Rod McLellan Co., a well-known orchid grower based in Half Moon Bay, to running the place
as its chairman when he retired three years ago from the Burlingame firm of Carr,
McLellan, Ingersoll, Thompson and Horn. He also served as chair of the Council of State
Bar Sections and would like to put that experience to work on the board of governors.
We have to refocus on our critical mission, Bredenbeck
says. We have to improve the quality of education and our other services and
undertake a major public relations effort to teach the public about the professionalism,
quality and need for lawyers in this state. The upcoming survey of California
lawyers about MCLE is critically important, he says, and should help the bar improve its
continuing education program to serve the needs of both lawyers and the public.
Pointing to attorneys tremendous buying power, Bredenbeck, 60,
says the bar should expand the professional services it offers to its members,
particularly in the area of communications and technology, adding that those services can
help keep fees in line.
In addition to a variety of law-related activities, Bredenbeck, who
is single, serves on the board of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco,
chairs the capital campaign to restore Grace Cathedral and is the former chair of the
Mills Peninsula Hospital Foundation.
Oakland attorney THEODORA LEE would like to use her
experience as president of the Alameda County Community Food Bank to help the board of
governors improve its system of governance. At the food bank, she helped implement a
policy governance model which emphasizes vision, values, leadership and empowerment of the
governors and the executive director, an approach she believes would serve the State Bar
issues like multidisciplinary and multijurisdictional practices, the unauthorized practice
of law and continuing education also are among the priorities the bar should address, she
says. The debate should focus on our obligations to our clients and to the public,
while preserving our independence as lawyers, maintaining our commitment to professional
development and retaining our sense of ethical conduct, Lee says.
In addition, she supports continued efforts to assure access to
justice, and places a high priority on strengthening and increasing diversity in the
Lee, 38, has been practicing in the Bay Area for 13 years and is
currently the managing shareholder of Littler Mendelson in Oakland. Her resume offers a
lengthy list of activities, including the presidency of the Barristers Club of the Alameda
County Bar Association and the Bay Area Black United Fund, as well as membership in
numerous legal organizations.
Lee is single and when she has any spare time likes to travel, read
ERICA YEW says she would begin a term on the board
of governors with an open mind and no pre-conceived notions, willing to be educated about
issues before formulating her opinions. Im not sure Id want to change
things, she says. My role would be to represent people who practice in
District 3. Im supposed to listen to people, make a reasoned evaluation and advocate
for those I represent.
As a 1991
winner of the State Bars Wiley Manuel Award for Pro Bono Legal Services, Yew does
admit shes a strong supporter of legal services for the poor. And as a faculty
member at Stanford Law Schools Advocacy Trial Workshop, she has a strong interest in
education and likes MCLE the way it is.
She adds, I think its important to have representation of
people from diverse backgrounds, diverse practices and diverse racial backgrounds.
A partner with McMainis Faulkner & Morgan in San Jose, Yew, 40,
practices civil litigation, representing both plaintiffs and defendants, primarily in the
areas of intellectual law and personal injury. She has served as a child advocate for two
girls since 1981, representing the interests of the two who were dependents of the court.
She also served on the board of the program.
Yew, who is single, also volunteers and serves on the boards of two
other pro bono organizations, is a past president of the Asian-Pacific Bar Association of
Silicon Valley and currently co-chairs the Santa Clara County Bar Associations
ANTHONY CAPOZZI thinks the State Bar needs to make
itself important to California lawyers. We belong to the bar because were
mandated, says last years president of the Fresno County Bar Association.
I want to give a reason for the State Bar to exist, a reason for us to pay dues. I
want attorneys to say, I belong because the bar is helpful to me.
revitalize the organization, Capozzi says he would tap the expertise of all local and
specialty bars in the state, and develop better communication between those groups and the
He also believes the bar needs to address critical issues, such as
multidisciplinary and multijurisdictional practices, improve the quality of legal services
and mount a public relations campaign to improve lawyers image. Were not
bad people, he says. We want to help people and improve our society and we
need to change our image.
A sole practitioner, Capozzi, 55, works primarily as a trial attorney
in federal court, handling civil and criminal white collar defense. 1999 was a busy year
at the same time he headed the county bar association, he also served as president
of the San Joaquin chapter of the Federal Bar Association when its leader was named a
judge. Capozzi also serves as a judge pro tem in the county traffic court.
He and his wife are the parents of an 18-year-old and a 13-year-old.
In his spare time, he likes reading legal thrillers, playing golf and traveling.
Monterey patent attorney F. DAVID LaRIVIERE has long
been active in the State Bars educational sections, which he considers the backbone
of the organization. But it is his interest in the bar at large that prompted his
candidacy. Its time for the bar to move on, he says. Weve
survived the crisis, and its time for us to go on with the business of doing
LaRiviere said he strongly agrees with the final report issued by Justice
Elwood Lui, the special master appointed by the Supreme Court during the funding crisis
two years ago, particularly his recommendation that the legislature enact a three-year fee
bill so the bar can stabilize its finances. We fix the finances and a whole lot of
other problems fall away, LaRiviere says.
A longtime advocate of continuing education, LaRiviere, 60, believes
MCLE is good in principle, but hes not sure the program is as effective as it might
be. Im not sure how to tinker with it, but I think attorneys should have the
incentive to maintain their sharpness in the practice of law.
A partner at LaRiviere, Grubman and Payne, LaRiviere has co-chaired
the Council of State Bar Sections, serves as a fee arbitrator and is a past member of the
American Intellectual Property Law Association.
He and his wife, Wendy, admissions director for the Monterey College
of Law, enjoy golf because we live in golf mecca, and they like to ski in
their spare time.
Los Angeles attorney NANCY HOFFMEIER ZAMORA will end
her presidency of California Women Lawyers the same day shes sworn in as the newest
representative of Los Angeles on the State Bar Board of Governors, continuing a history of
intense involvement in a large number of legal and womens organizations.
She cites a large number of issues she wants to tackle once that term begins,
including strengthening the bars relationship with the legislature, focusing on
long-range planning, particularly a multi-year fee bill, and taking a hard look at what
she calls an upswing in the unauthorized practice of law, especially in immigration,
bankruptcy and family law.
The bar is again on the upswing, and we need to encourage more
participation from our members state-wide, including recruiting them for our
committees, Zamora said. She also wants to open the lines of communication with
members of the legislature, creating greater continuity between lawmakers and bar leaders,
and discussing issues other than bar dues. In addition, Zamora offered her support for
executive director Judy Johnsons efforts to run a tight ship, with a focus on
discipline and budgetary concerns.
Zamora, 40, who won the influential Breakfast Club endorsement in her
district, practices with her husband Tony, handling primarily bankruptcy law and business
She has served on the board of the Los Angeles County Bar Association
and its judicial appointments committee, belongs to the Mexican-American, Langston and
Latina Lawyers bar associations, and is a member of the board of the NOW Legal Defense and
San Diego attorney JUDITH COPELAND makes no bones
about being a long-time bar junkie. I actually care about the profession, she
says. I care about how we are perceived, about how we handle ourselves.
And unlike other candidates for the board of governors, she openly
says she thinks some State Bar programs should be eliminated, although shes not yet
sure which ones. I have some vague things in mind, but I think I need to know
more, she says.
Copeland, 51, believes the State Bar should offer support to local bars and
encourage them to handle the many social programs which have caused the bar so much grief
in recent years. Let the local bars decide what they want to do, she says.
At the same time, she knows what activities the State Bar should
continue: the Conference of Delegates, MCLE, the educational sections, admissions,
discipline and the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation (JNE).
Indeed, JNE has a special place in Copelands heart, having
served four years and twice as chair. In addition, she belonged to the Conference of
Delegates for 13-plus years.
A probate specialist, Copeland works with a partner handling elder
law, and she belongs to the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and California
Advocates for Nursing Home Reform. A widow, she lives with her 16-year-old son, Austin,
and plays volleyball, raquetball, and wallyball (a combination of the two), and loves the
Padres and Chargers.
Ballots were mailed last month
for the board elections. Attorneys whose place of business is in one of the five bar
districts with an open seat are eligible to vote. The last day to vote is Aug. 18. The
successful candidates will be sworn in at the bars Annual Meeting in San Diego in