|Each year the State Bar of California offers attorneys in California an
opportunity to contribute to the legal profession and the public by volunteering to serve
on one of the State Bar's committees. State Bar committees presently consist of 15
standing committees, 18 section executive committees and 11 special committees, boards and
commissions. Be-cause of the bar's funding crisis, the appointments process is being
handled this year on a voluntary basis. Currently, applications are being accepted for
only eight committees.
The State Bar's board of governors 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 to a maximum of three committees but can be appointed to only one
of the eight committees currently being filled. 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
1999-2000 committee year starts at the close of the 1999 annual meeting (Oct. 3, 1999),
and ends at the close of the 2000 annual meeting (Oct. 8, 2000). Terms for the 1999-2000
appointments commence at the close of the 1999 meeting, i.e, Oct. 3, 1999.
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 a meeting later this year prior to
the close of the annual meeting. The ultimate authority to make appointments rests with
Applicants are notified of the board's appointments not later than the last day of the
State Bar annual meeting (Oct. 3, 1999). 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.
A description of the eight committees currently being filled and the number of
vacancies on each follows:
Committee on Appellate Courts
Five vacancies, five meetings per year.
Reviews proposed changes to the rules of court affecting appellate courts and comments
to the board of governors and directly to the Judicial Council. Reviews comments on
proposed legislation affecting appellate court operation and appellate practice; also
initiates legislative and rules proposals in these areas. The committee consists of 16
attorneys who are currently drawn from such diverse sources as appellate court research
staff, defense and prosecution offices handling criminal appeals, law firms and solo
Chair: Susan A. Streble, San Bernardino
Committee on Mandatory Fee Arbitration
Five vacancies, nine-plus regular meetings and special projects.
Provides policy oversight for State Bar's fee arbitration program; assists local bar
associations that operate arbitration and mediation programs to resolve attorney-client
fee disputes; evaluates and makes recommendations for changes in the law concerning fee
arbitration and related issues; educates the public and attorneys about avoiding and
dealing with fee disputes; and provides educational seminars and practical training for
attorneys, fee arbitration program administrators and fee arbitrators from local bars.
Lawyers and public members with experience in fee arbitration, including arbitrators,
chairs, vice chairs and administrators from local bar fee arbitration programs are
encouraged to apply.
Chair: John S. Chang, Pasadena
Committee on Women in the Law
Five vacancies, six meetings per year.
Studies and addresses issues of concern to women attorneys as they relate to the
administration of justice. The mission of the committee is to provide educational
opportunities to improve the practice of law by women attorneys and to increase
opportunities for participation in State Bar programs and activities. It involves analysis
of concerns within the work sphere hiring practices; assignment of work; client,
mentor, peer and staff interaction including the elimination of bias; collegiality; tenure
or partnership; monetary and other benefits return; and family issues. The mission also
entails monitoring of discriminatory clubs, integration into local bar associations and
other community activities, mandatory pro bono, legal services and legal education to and
from women. Men and women who are interested in working on these issues are encouraged to
Chair: Robin M. Pearson, San Ramon
Committee on Federal Courts
Four vacancies, four meetings per year.
Studies, recommends and reports on proposed changes in statutes and rules relating to
practice before the federal courts. Works to enhance relations between the State Bar and
the federal courts in California. The committee seeks attorneys who are knowledgeable in
Chair: Denis Landin, Los Angeles
Committee on Sexual Orientation Discrimination
Four vacancies, six meetings per year.
Examines and reports to the State Bar on the prevalence of bias against lesbian, gay or
bisexual litigants, lawyers and judges in the legal system, and on the concerns of
lesbians, gay men and bisexuals in the legal profession. This committee also inquires into
the status and participation of lesbians, gay men and bisexuals in State Bar activities
and the legal profession and makes specific recommendations for ensuring full integration.
The committee creates materials and resources related to lesbians, gay men and bisexuals
within the legal system and produces substantive programs for regional and statewide
conferences. Lawyers and public members of any sexual orientation are encouraged to apply.
Chair: Akilah Monifa, Oakland
Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) Joint Advisory Committee
10 vacancies, one annual meeting plus two to three subcommittee meetings.
Provides advice and recommendations to CEB staff on program topics, speakers,
locations, materials, book topics and formats, and other publications and media. The
advisory committee consists of 25 members who are expected to attend the meetings of their
assigned subcommittees as well as the annual joint meeting with the governing committee.
The subcommittees are: business law; criminal law; family law; labor and employment;
probate/estate planning; real property; taxation; and trial practice.
Chair: Marc M. Stern, Los Angeles
Committee on Ethnic Minority Relations
Three vacancies, seven meetings per year.
Serves as a liaison between the State Bar and minority attorneys; identifies and
encourages minority attorneys to become active participants in the State Bar; studies and
reports on the status of minorities in State Bar activities and the legal profession; acts
as a resource center for information and materials related to issues affecting minorities;
and produces ongoing programs and materials designed to maximize opportunities for
minorities in the profession, including sponsorship of the annual Statewide Minority
Attorneys' Conference. The overall goal of the committee is the full and complete
integration of the State Bar. Lawyers and members of the public are encouraged to apply.
Chair: Michael P. Johnson, Oakland
Committee on Legal Professionals with Disabilities
Five vacancies, six meetings per year.
Explores, reports, addresses and recommends to the board of governors policies and
programs to promote entry into and full participation in the legal profession and legal
system for legal professionals with disabilities and chronic medical conditions. This
committee also examines the status and participation of legal professionals with
disabilities in State Bar activities and makes specific recommendations for increasing
that participation. Lawyers and public members, with or without a disability or chronic
medical condition, who are interested in working on these issues, are encouraged to apply.
Chair: George G. Katz, Ph.D., Pacific Palisades