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Governor names new bar board member

Los Angeles City Controller Laura Chick was appointed a public member of the State Bar Board of Governors by Gov. Schwarzenegger. Chick, 62, joins two other non-attorney members of the board; there are three additional vacancies awaiting gubernatorial appointment.

Laura Chick

A longtime friend of bar President Shelly Sloan, Chick said she is interested in his attorney civility initiative as well as the bar’s efforts to increase diversity in the legal profession. “I have a great many friends who are attorneys and judges and so I know a great deal about lawyers,” she said.

Chick said Sloan encouraged her to seek appointment to the board. “He said, ‘I could use you on the board of governors,’ so I threw my hat in the ring.” Coincidentally, she learned about her appointment while at Sloan’s home for a holiday party.

The longest-serving elected official in the city of Los Angeles, Chick served on the city council from 1993 to 2001, when she was elected city controller. As controller, she serves as the chief auditor and accountant for the city of Los Angeles, with responsibilities that include conducting financial performance audits of all aspects of city operations, supervising expenditures that include payroll and accounts payable, and issuing various financial reports.

She has established herself as a taxpayers’ watchdog since taking office and, according to the Los Angeles Business Journal, “has emerged as a central voice in the ongoing debate over how the city handles its contracts.”

Chick said she is interested in consumer protection by the bar and “preventative” measures. “I have learned that 80 percent of the bar budget goes toward discipline,” she said. “I am very interested in what we can do to help attorneys at the front end.”

She also wants to take a look at malpractice insurance for lawyers and wondered, “What are insurance companies doing to continue to reduce the regulatory actions?”

Chick was a stay-at-home mother, manager of a family-owned retail business and a social worker for Jewish Family Services before entering elective office at the age of 49.

A resident of Silver Lake, she is the mother of two grown daughters and grandmother of one.

Chick joins Jeanine English of Sacramento and Richard Rubin of San Francisco as a public board member. The governor’s appointments secretary told the board last month that he’s aware of the three vacancies on the board and is working on finding appointees. English was appointed by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez and Rubin was named to the board by the Senate Rules Committee.

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