California Bar Journal
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Marshall makes plans to move a restructured State Bar into the future
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"When he sets a goal or promises something, you can pretty much take it to the bank," she says.

The 45-year-old Marshall will need plenty of inspiration in the coming year as he grapples with the bar's problems. He insists he won't commute to Sacramento to plead with lawmakers to fund the bar, as did his predecessor, San Diego attorney Marc Adelman.

"The bar is really at a crossroads as to where it's headed," Marshall says. "We really have an opportunity to restructure the bar, to do some things differently than what we have done historically. I'd like to start taking some of those steps now."

Marshall is just the kind of leader the bar may need right now, says Steve Grant, who hired Marshall and guided him as a young attorney.

"He's extremely people-oriented and he's non-doctrinaire, which I think are two good qualities," Grant says. "He's very good at distilling problems and avoiding side issues. Most importantly, he's the best person you could possibly have if the objective of the bar is to put together a broad-based organization."

Before the end of the year, Marshall wants his colleagues on the board of governors to decide what to do with the bar's three properties in San Francisco and Los Angeles, determine the amount of dues, voluntary contributions and credits it will include in the annual bill to the state's lawyers, and take a close look at how the bar can be recreated.

No sacred cows

"There should be no sacred cows in the sense that every aspect of the bar should be looked at to see whether we could do things differently and better," he says.

Longer-range planning will be undertaken after a series of forums Marshall wants to sponsor, inviting friends and foes to address issues raised in recent months as the legislature debated the bar's future.

The Conference of Delegates and the bar's 17 educational sections, both slated for abolition in proposals before lawmakers in the last session, must become self-funding, Marshall says.

He supports retaining the conference, which was lambasted in the past year by politicians who disapprove of its liberal stands on a variety of issues. "The conference is being pushed towards a more independent role, and I'd like to work with them to attain that independence," Marshall says. "But I don't want them to feel they'll be pushed out."

He pointed out that the majority of conference resolutions taken to Sacramento have been embraced by the legislature and signed into law by the governor, and says it should continue its role as advisor to lawmakers on statutes that will make the justice system work better.

Marshall also believes the sections were improperly targeted and should remain in a mandatory bar. He suggested that the larger and more prosperous groups, such as litigation and business law, may have to help support the smaller sections.

Restarting discipline

The bar's top priority, if it receives funding from any source, is the reinstatement of the discipline system, Marshall says. He also will fight to preserve legal services, try to establish more effective communication between the bar and its members, "do what we can with regard to IOLTA," and push hard for inclusion and access to justice.

Marshall is savvy enough to admit that the little issues may get scant attention and he must focus on the big question: the survival of the bar itself.

"We're more than just a trade association, we're more than just a group that should be dealing with discipline and admissions," he says. "There's a role for us to play, and it's a very valuable role that we have historically played that has served the state and this country well.

"The burden, which I don't think can be met, is upon others to show how that has failed."

Marshall is a partner at McCutchen Doyle Brown & Enersen in San Francisco, where he has worked since his graduation from Harvard law school. His practice is primarily environmental and commercial, with a sub-specialty in white-collar crime.

He is the fourth McCutchen product to serve as a State Bar president. "McCutchen has always been a place where people felt you should think about life outside the firm," he says, emphasizing pro bono and community work. "It breeds activism."

Born in Puerto Rico, Marshall is one of two sons of a non-commissioned officer in the Air Force and his wife. The family moved often, and Marshall attended school in Spain, Germany, Montana and Idaho.

Only one B

His mother, Jessie Ann, can recall only one B among dozens of A's on any of Marshall's report cards. "I thought he could achieve anything," she says.

He graduated from the College of Idaho, where he excelled as a student and a wrestler, with a degree in history and American studies, and a particular interest in German military history. Thoughts of teaching were discouraged by an advisor who told Marshall "there were lots of unemployed Ph.D.s out there."

Three years at Harvard law school led to McCutchen and life with a classmate, Piper Kent, now an attorney with Lucent. The couple has an 11-year-old son, Kyle, whom Marshall calls "my passion."

Working his way up

He got involved with the Bar Association of San Francisco when he heard it was conducting a study on minority attorneys but not a single minority attorney was on the study panel. He ultimately was elected president of BASF, and then joined the State Bar board for a three-year term.

One of the casualties of a year as bar president will be Kyle's baseball team, which Marshall has coached for years, and the north Oakland Little League, where he serves on the board.

"My family is my favorite outside interest," Marshall says, "and Kyle's activities dominate my calendar."

Coincidentally, his wife has taken a year's sabbatical and will try to step in for her husband in some of his outside activities.

She admits she questioned Marshall's decision to run for bar president, particularly at such a difficult time in its history.

Because the bar's future is important to Marshall, Piper says, he will devote himself to it.

"Ray is a person who truly believes in whatever he undertakes," she says. "He does it with a passion and with a sincere belief that the work he's going to do will make a difference for the better."

His positive perspective and ability to build consensus will serve him well in the coming year, she says.

"If the bar is going to survive," adds Steve Grant, "I think it has to be much more inclusive, and Ray is an excellent person to bring that about."

Ready to go

As for Marshall himself, he's ready to tackle the bar's problems.

"Ultimately, my view is the State Bar is worth fighting for and preserving. Its ideals should not go silently into the night. I feel I can make a major contribution to that fight."