State Bar signs $900,000 contract with lobbyist

The State Bar last month signed a $900,000 contract with a former sen-ior executive to serve as its Sacramento lobbyist for the next two years.

Mel Assagai, senior executive for governmental affairs since 1992, resigned that position Jan. 16. He formed The Advocacy Group in the state capital and will earn a minimum of $450,000 per year from the bar in each of the next two years.

One of his key duties will be winning passage of a multi-year dues bill in the legislature.

"This agreement assures the bar of having the services of one of the most respected and talented lobbyists in Sacramento," said bar President Thomas G. Stolpman.

Stolpman said the agreement will result in a cost savings to the bar. Three employees in Sacramento will be laid off, and two full-time staffers will remain to handle Conference of Delegates and other legislative activities.

The senior executive position will not be filled as long as Assagai remains as lobbyist, said bar executive director Herb Rosenthal.