The seats in Districts Three (Alameda, Contra
Costa, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties) and Seven (Los Angeles,
office one) are contested.
The needs of sole practitioners in California are
cited by several candidates, who range from a familiar name - former
attorney general John Van de Kamp - to a lawyer who joined the bar
only last December. On the other hand, Van de Kamp says he wants to
serve on the bar board because large firms no longer hold a single
Other issues range from multidisciplinary
practice to the efficient use of limited resources to unpublished
Although the election is so far quiet, it was the
subject of a threatened free speech lawsuit last year by a law
professor and a former board member and unsuccessful candidate. San
Jose attorney Richard Alexander, who has twice run unsuccessfully for
the board, complained about election procedures that he said violated
candidates' First Amendment rights. He caught the attention of Boalt
Hall professor Stephen Barnett and Karl Olson, a San Francisco First
In avoiding the suit, the bar agreed to give
candidates more time to gather signatures and campaign, increased the
length of the voting period and allowed candidates to include in
ballot statements mailed to voters a full description of their ideas
and campaign platforms as well as criticism of the bar. The candidates
also were able to obtain lists of attorneys in each district earlier
in the election season than in previous years.
Those statements are on the bar's website,
Ballots were mailed July 2 and voting will end
As a "certified bar junkie," WINDIE O.
SCOTT is familiar with the board of governors and considers it the
State Bar's "central point of power." She wants to be at the
forefront of the bar's "new era of accountability," helping to
oversee fiscal accountability and services to members.
know we're in another era," Scott says. "It's not going to be
business as usual and I think there will be more accountability.
It's a great challenge for the bar to try to keep the activities the
bar junkies like and still be accountable to the people who are not so
interested in the things we've done in the past. It's a balancing
Scott was president of the Sacramento Bar
Association in 1997, and served as president of the Wiley Manuel Bar
Association and the Women Lawyers of Sacramento and vice president of
the northern chapter of the California Black Women Lawyers'
As a member of the conference of delegates
executive committee, she is a strong supporter of the group but says
she would keep an open mind about the group's occasionally
A longtime public lawyer, Scott, 48, is chief
counsel for the California State Workforce Investment Board, a
2-year-old appointed board which focuses on job and economic
development in the state.
She starred in a film produced by her sister for
a master's degree. The semi-documentary, which has been shown twice
at the Cannes Film Festival, is about Scott's experiences in an
integrated Mississippi school at the time of Martin Luther King's
Sole practitioner MICHAEL LYNN GABRIEL
places the interests of his solo colleagues at the heart of his
campaign, urging the State Bar to be more user-friendly and responsive
to their needs.
One way to meet those needs is the creation of an
internet bulletin board where lawyers could seek help from other
lawyers. Gabriel envisions a lawyer picking an area of practice,
referencing particular code sections and asking a question. The answer
would be indexed and a database of information created. The lawyer who
responds to the question would receive continuing education credit.
himself is an MCLE provider, marketing his courses in five states, and
has prepared 17 legal books on topics ranging from bankruptcy to
estate planning. He calls his courses "very, very user-friendly;
much better than the State Bar courses."
The 47-year-old Gabriel, who is based in Redwood
City, also favors amnesty for lawyers who are in professional trouble
but have not yet been charged with misconduct by the bar. If they seek
help from the bar about office management and correct their problems,
their record should be clean, he said. "The purpose of the bar
should be to help attorneys and the public with prevention as much as
punishment," he explained.
Gabriel also suggests that the bar create a web
page where bar members could post questions to their representative on
the board, thus enhancing the governors' accountability.
In addition to his CLE business, Gabriel
continues to handle estate planning and tax issues. He enjoys scuba
diving and biking in his spare time and currently is restoring classic
Just six months after being sworn in as a
California lawyer, HOLDEN W. GREEN decided to seek a seat on
the board of governors in the hope he can make the justice system more
Although he practices in Santa Clara County and
joined the county bar association, Green took the unusual step of
joining the bars of San Mateo, Contra Costa and Ala-meda counties as
well. "You need to show all the members in your district that you
are committed to listening to their concerns and needs," he
As a sole practitioner, the 40-year-old Green is
concentrating on civil litigation, but hopes to start an environmental
elected, he would concentrate on increased support for pro bono work,
making the legal profession more accessible to the disabled by careful
oversight of the bar exam, and increasing consumer awareness of the
State Bar and of their legal rights.
Although Green said he does not favor mandatory
pro bono for attorneys, he wants the bar to make it easier for lawyers
to do more pro bono hours. He would like to tap the expertise of
inactive attorneys and possibly offer reduced dues to those who
volunteer their services to the poor.
"There are a lot of people who don't have
access to good lawyers," Green said, adding that he intends to
devote 5 percent of his workload to pro bono work.
Green received his undergraduate degree from the
University of California at Berkeley and earned his law degree from
National University School of Law. Describing himself as "pretty
savvy" about the wine business, Green said, "If I wasn't a
lawyer, I would want to be a som-melier."
Emeryville sole practitioner and former candidate
for statewide political office MICHAEL SCHMIER wants the State
Bar to take a stand on the issue of unpublished appellate decisions, a
practice he says undermines the legal system.
"My opinion is it is a change in the locus of
power in our society from the written law on the one hand to the
personal whims and caprices of the folks that wear the black robes,"
Schmier says. "If you cannot look up in a book and find out what's
required, then you have to go to court and see a judge."
Calling the issue a "sunshine in government
idea," Schmier said the courts should be open to everyone. "The
ability to cite decisions is the only thing that keeps the courts in
line," he said.
he feels so strongly about the issue that he even filed an
unsuccessful lawsuit last year, seeking to change California court
Schmier, 56, believes the bar is influential when
it comes to adopting such rules and wants it to embrace the issue, as
well as address other flaws in the judicial system, including the use
of private referees and what he calls an error-prone death penalty
system. "If the justice system isn't delivering justice, how can
it consider imposing the ultimate penalty?" he asked.
A current member of the Emeryville school board,
Schmier ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate last year and for attorney
general in 1998. His practice focuses on labor and employment, and in
his spare time he likes to sail, ski and ride horses.
In an era of belt-tightening, Burlin-game
attorney MARIE SETH WEINER favors the efficient use of limited
resources all around, whether it is helping sole practitioners or
diverting lawyers out of the discipline system when they have drug or
Pointing out that the majority of lawyers in
District 3 are sole practitioners, the partner at Cotchett, Pitre
& Simon said she would like to see the State Bar devote more
resources to meeting their needs.
who was president of the San Mateo County Bar Association last year
and has a long list of other bar and professional memberships on her
resume, said she supports the discipline system's continued focus on
egregious misconduct rather than using its limited resources to focus
upon such minor infractions as "the mis-accounting of pocket change,
which is unduly burdensome on sole practitioners."
In addition, Weiner favors efforts to foster
diversity in the legal profession, and as a longtime participant and
former chair of the conference of delegates, she believes the
conference "should be embraced, not shunned." She said past boards
have "put the conference in a corner, as if it were a naughty child.
But their thoughts should be welcome and should not be ignored."
A partner at Cotchett since 1991, Weiner, 42,
specializes in investment fraud and consumer fraud, and also handles a
variety of business litigation and some intellectual property matters.
Her husband, a former attorney, now operates a catering business and
is a stay-at-home dad for the couple's two children.
With an extensive history of bar and community
activities behind him, RUSSELL S. ROECA will add one more to
his resume when he joins the board of governors as the District 4 (San
Francisco and Marin counties) representative.
He currently serves as vice president of the San
Francisco Fire Commission, was a member of the Bar Association of San
Francisco board for four years, and has been extensively involved in
malpractice issues. "I believe I have an obligation to the community
to be involved and, as a lawyer, an obligation to the profession to
insure that it's proactive and responsive to the public and the
community we serve," he said.
47, says he does not bring a particular agenda with him, although he
takes seriously the issue of access to the justice system. Describing
himself as a "big supporter" of voluntary legal services, he said,
"I have a big concern that legal services don't get to those who
need them." He also is a strong backer of increased diversity in the
legal profession, opening it to "those traditionally excluded.
A graduate of UCLA, Roeca earned his law degree
from Hastings law school and specializes in professional liability
matters, as well as real estate and some commercial litigation. He is
a partner in Roeca Haas Hager, which he describes as a small niche
firm in San Francisco. He is interested in politics and likes to
garden in his spare time.
DISTRICT 7, OFFICE 1
The State Bar's board of governors has
traditionally been somewhat insular, its members chosen by local bar
activists, says MATTHEW CAVANAUGH, a Los Angeles transactional
attorney who was not endorsed by local bar activists.
As a result, he believes, the board is not
responsive to the needs and problems of ordinary attorneys -
primarily economic survival.
bar needs to spend less time dealing with expensive litigation and
ideological issues and more time looking at the economic challenges
that face lawyers today, and it needs to be an effective advocate,"
Cavanaugh says. "The bar should make its chief goal helping lawyers
succeed in the modern economy."
Pointing to competition from large accounting
firms and other non-lawyers, Cavanaugh said it's time for the bar to
examine its rules, particularly those involving conflicts and
fee-sharing, to help its members compete in the marketplace.
Cavanaugh, 38, was not endorsed by the Breakfast
Club, the Los Angeles lawyer group which traditionally sends
successful candidates to the board of governors. But he suggested past
board members who received the club's endorsement contributed to the
bar's "pretty embarrassing messes" and said it is "time for
everyday members to govern the State Bar."
He is of counsel with Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer
& Feld, a District of Columbia firm, teaches at Whittier Law
School and is a real estate broker. He belongs to both the Orange
County and Los Angeles County bar associations.
PATRICIA LOBELLO-LAMB is a big fan of the
unified bar and believes the California bar is envied throughout the
country. For years, she has looked for and encouraged qualified
candidates to run for the board of governors and decided this year
it's her turn.
important we work to have the best people who are willing to volunteer
their time and energy to keep our bar at its best," she said. "We
don't recognize how well we are thought of outside our state."
Lobello-Lamb believes highly qualified people
provide good corporation organization for the bar, enabling the board
to study controversial issues such as multidisciplinary practice and
multijurisdictional practice, two questions on which she has not taken
"I'm very concerned about attorney-client
privilege with respect to MDP," she said, adding that she has yet to
see any guarantees that core values of the legal profession will be
maintained if the rules of practice change. But she also wants the bar
to be active in deciding the issues so that "some other organization
outside the legal profession doesn't try to foist rules on us that
don't meet our criteria."
Lobello-Lamb, 59, has served on the Commission on
Judicial Nominees Evaluation, belonged to three bar sections and has
been involved with numerous professional and charitable organizations,
including 30 years with The Breakfast Club, which endorsed her
A partner in Lamb, Morris & Lobello, where
she handles a wide array of civil cases, Lobello and her husband, a
retired attorney, have three adult children and six grandchildren.
DISTRICT 7, OFFICE 2
Former California attorney general JOHN VAN DE
KAMP says it's time for someone with extensive bar experience as
well as a big firm background to resume a seat on the board of
governors, now dominated by public lawyers and solo or small firm
experience includes public and private practice as well as years of
bar activism: he currently is of counsel to Dewey Ballantine LLP, a
Washington, D.C.-based firm with more than 50 lawyers in Los Angeles,
he was a federal public defender and Los Angeles district attorney
before being elected California's top lawman, and he's a longtime
bar activist, with lengthy membership in the conference of delegates
as well as other professional involvements.
His continuing connections in Sacramento don't
hurt, although Van de Kamp credits the bar with having "gone a long
way towards mending our fences. I haven't heard any concerns (from
lawmakers) lately, but you never know," he said.
Van de Kamp, who appointed the State Bar
Court's first discipline monitor when he was attorney general,
believes the discipline system has bounced back well from its near
shutdown following Gov. Pete Wilson's veto of the bar's fee bill
in 1997. Of the court created under his watch, he said, "There was a
crying need for a system that had some speed and fairness and strength
and that's what emerged."
Van de Kamp supports some type of reciprocity to
make it easier for attorneys to practice in California and other
jurisdictions without having to pass multiple bar exams, and he favors
a look at the rules governing multidisciplinary practice.
Van de Kamp, 65, handles a mix of work at Dewey,
is president and general counsel of the Thoroughbred Owners of
California, was recently elected president of the California
Historical Society, is president of the Los Angeles Conservation Corps
and serves on the board of United Airlines.
The candidate biographies were prepared by Nancy McCarthy.
Information provided by the candidates themselves, including a list of
bar and community activities and formal platform statements, are
online at www.calbar.org.