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Davis, English reappointed to board of governors

Gov. Schwarzenegger named two public members to the State Bar Board of Governors last month. George Davis, a Los Angeles media entrepreneur, was reappointed to a second three-year term, and public policy expert Jeannine English returns to the board after an earlier term expired last summer. Both have focused on improved management and efficiency of the bar.

George Davis

Davis is president of Los Angeles-based Davis Broadband Group, Inc., a media and entertainment consultancy that focuses on international business development and technical operations. Schwarzenegger first appointed Davis to the bar board in 2007.

“I think the public members have really helped to have more of a focus on the management of bar operations” and have pushed for a greater focus on public protection issues, Davis said. As a large organization, the bar could benefit from some business and management expertise, he said, adding that the public members “bring a refreshing outsider point of view.”

After a three-year stint on the board, he said he now has a “more balanced” perception of the legal profession, a group he likened to the media as clubby and insular. “When they’re talking, they’re talking to the choir and to each other,” Davis said. “They hang out with each other.”

That insular nature, he added, “I think creates a communication problem both with the public and with the legislature/governor.” He suggested lawyers could take a page from the dental profession’s effort to soften its image with better marketing and greater publicity about pro bono, legal services and other good works.

Jeannine English

English originally was named to the bar board in 2006 by then-Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez and said during her term, “I felt like I was a good voice for the public.” She said her main focus “continues to be making sure the bar is responsive to the public as well as the members.” A decision by the board last year to launch a find-a-lawyer search tool without the ability to search by practice area was “a disappointment,” she said, because that sort of information and transparency are important tools for consumers.

With a background in accounting and previous service on the board’s audit committee, English said she hopes to rejoin that committee, particularly in view of the governor’s veto of the fee bill and his criticism of the bar’s internal control mechanisms. “I tend to focus on ways to make organizations run more efficiently and effectively,” she said.

English currently serves as president of AARP California, works on a variety of government integrity issues, and last year co-chaired the successful redistricting initiative campaign. She was for 10 years executive director of the Little Hoover Commission, an independent state oversight agency created to investigate state government operations and promote efficiency, economy and improved service to the public.

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