Apply to serve on a bar committee

Leadership of the State Bar not only involves the board of governors but also lawyers throughout California who make significant contributions to the profession and help shape the practice of law by volunteering to serve on one of the State Bar’s committees.

The State Bar’s committees presently consist of 15 standing committees, 11 special boards, commissions and committees, and 18 section executive committees. The standing and special committees advise and serve the board of governors with regard to concerns that relate to the administration of justice and the practice of law, or that affect the profession at large.

The State Bar sections address the concerns and interests of a specific segment of the profession. Each section’s executive committee assists the board of governors in matters relating to the section and supervises the section’s activities such as its educational programs, membership communications, publications, and substantive committees.

Assuming that the State Bar funding issues will be resolved soon, the application period for these committee appointments will run from Jan. 1 to March 2, 1998. The applications will be available from the Appointments Office.

If you are interested in applying, please write or call the Appointments Office at 415/561-8855 or 213/765-1585.

Appointment considerations

Each year, the board of governors appoints approximately 200 new members to these committees. The board strives to make appointments that will achieve diversity and broad representation of the California legal community.

The participation of all State Bar members is encouraged by the board. From time to time, the board may appoint representatives of other professions and members of the public to select committees.

The State Bar does not discriminate against persons on the basis of sex, race, color, ancestry, religious creed, national origin, physical disability (including HIV and AIDS) or mental disability, medical condition (cancer), age (over 40), marital status, denial of family care leave, political affiliation, sexual orientation, disabled veteran or Vietnam era veteran status.


Applicants may apply for a maximum of three committees but can be appointed to only one committee. Applicants for appointment to a section executive committee must be members of that section. In no case shall the board of governors appoint a person who is subject to disciplinary probation.

Factors which could militate against appointment, but are to be weighed among other factors, are: 1) if a lawyer appointment, whether there is any public information known to the State Bar about the applicant or a record of public discipline imposed; 2) whether any other member of applicant’s firm is on the entity; and 3) whether the applicant previously served on the entity.

Term, time commitment, and committee service

Members are appointed to serve three-year terms, with the exception of the Committee of Bar Examiners and the CEB Governing Committee, whose members serve four-year terms. On occasion, the board may appoint a member to fill an unexpired vacancy (i.e., the appointee serves only the remaining portion of the term of the member who resigned).

The State Bar’s committee year runs from annual meeting to annual meeting. The 1998-1999 committee year starts at the close of the 1998 annual meeting (Oct. 4, 1998), and ends at the close of the 1999 Annual Meeting (Oct. 3, 1999). Terms for the 1998-1999 appointments commence at the close of the 1998 meeting, i.e, Oct. 4, 1998.

Committees differ in the number of meetings scheduled in a year, but a typical meeting requires two to four hours’ preparation and lasts four to six hours.

The meeting locations generally alternate between San Francisco and Los Angeles. An additional time commitment may be required for committee tasks and projects.

Committee members take an oath of office and receive no compensation for services. Committee members may be reimbursed for approved travel expenses, in accordance with the State Bar’s travel policy and the committee’s approved budget.

Application review and board appointment

Committees review the appointment applications in the spring and forward their recommendations to the board of governors.

The board of governors will make the appointments at either its July or September meeting. The ultimate authority to make appointments rests with the board.


Applicants are notified of the board’s appointments not later than the last day of the State Bar annual meeting (Oct. 4, 1998). Those appointed are notified as early as possible to allow their participation at the Annual Meeting.

Applications of those not selected are kept on file to consider for any vacancies that may arise later in the committee year.

List of committees

The committees to which applicants may apply are listed below. Information on the areas of interest of each committee or section and details regarding the process will be included in the application materials. If you have questions, you may contact the Appointments Office or the committee’s staff administrator at the State Bar office in San Francisco.

The anticipated vacancies are:

Standing committees
  • Administration of Justice
    • Northern section 5
    • Southern section 5
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution 5-6
  • Appellate Courts 5
  • Bar Examiners 3
  • CEB Advisory Committee 10
  • Ethnic Minority Relations 3
  • Federal Courts 4
  • Group Insurance Programs 6
  • Legal Professionals with Disabilities 5
  • Mandatory Fee Arbitration 5
  • Minimum Continuing Legal Education 4
  • Professional Liability Insurance 5
  • Professional Responsibility and Conduct 5
  • Sexual Orientation Discrimination 4
  • Women in the Law 5

Special committees, boards and commissions

  • Client Security Fund 2
  • Governing Committee, CEB 1
  • California Board of Legal Specialization 3
  • Legal Specialization Advisory Commissions
  • Appellate Law 5
  • Criminal Law 4
  • Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law 4
  • Family Law 3
  • Immigration and Nationality Law 2
  • Personal & Small Business Bankruptcy Law 4
  • Taxation 4
  • Workers’ Compensation 4

Section Executive Committees*

  • Antitrust and Trade Regulation Law 4
  • Business Law 6
  • Criminal Law 8
  • Environmental Law 6
  • Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law 7
  • Family Law 7
  • Intellectual Property 6
  • International Law 7
  • Labor and Employment Law 8
  • Law Practice Management & Technology 7
  • Legal Services 7-9
  • Litigation 6
  • Public Law 8
  • Real Property Law 5
  • Senior Lawyers 5-6
  • Solo and Small Firm 5
  • Taxation 7
  • Workers’ Compensation Law 6

* Only members of the section may apply for the section’s executive committee. Section enrollment forms are available from the State Bar’s Office of Section Education and Meeting Services, 415/561-8210.