California Bar Journal
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4 candidates seek the open District 3 seat on bar board of governors
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ty counsel; Tahir J. Naim, an attorney in the Palo Alto offices of Cooley Godward; and Demetrius D. Shelton, an Oakland deputy city attorney.

Carl A. Lindstrom Jr.Lindstrom brings 22 years of experience as a sole practitioner, extensive community involvement and 16 years as an arbitrator for the Santa Clara County Superior Court to his race for the board, billing himself as the "every person candidate."

"I have an 'everyman's' perspective of the lawyer who's out there every day trying to make ends meet as an attorney, comply with the rules and provide competent legal service to the clients they represent," he said.

He wants the bar to address its members' needs and to give them more bang for the buck, to help make practice easier by offering services such as online MCLE courses, and to educate the public about how to access licensed lawyers. Lindstrom said unlicensed practice is a significant problem in Santa Clara County, and he believes the bar should take action to curb UPL and protect the public.

Lindstrom divides his practice between what he calls do-good work, such as discrimination cases, and business transactional work, which pays the bills. A 47-year-old father of a 2-year-old and a 1-year-old with another due next month, he said he tries hard to balance his personal and professional lives.

More active with community groups than with bar associations, he said he works on issues like domestic violence and juvenile justice, which often require the assistance of lawyers. "I think it might be an advantage to be an outsider on the bar board," he said.

Tamara K. LopezLopez decided to run at the urging of Yew, Santa Clara County Counsel Ann Ravel, a former board member and Yew's interim replacement, and former bar President James Towery of San Jose.

"Really, it's their encouragement that led me down this path," she said. "I have no doubts I'm going to grow professionally (if elected) and I welcome the challenge." Lopez, who will turn 44 this month, said her goals are to work toward a bar association that "serves its members well and that projects a positive image to the public.

"The first is by being responsive to members when they express concerns or complaints about how we're doing in the management of the bar association. The second is really using the media to get out our message that we're here to serve the people of the state of California and really get the word out on some of the great things that lawyers do in this state."

A deputy county counsel since 1992, Lopez currently is assigned to the elder abuse/probate litigation section. She has been a delegate to the Conference of Delegates, serves on the executive committee of the Santa Clara County Bar Association, was president in 1999 of Santa Clara Women Lawyers and is a member of the county La Raza Lawyers Association, which has endorsed her along with the East Bay La Raza lawyers group and the Santa Clara, Alameda and San Mateo county bar associations.

A single mother of a 12-year-old boy, she and her boyfriend enjoy salsa dancing.

Tahir J. NaimNaim's involvement with the State Bar consists primarily of participation in the 2000 Conference of Delegates, when he sponsored a resolution which ultimately became part of the group's legislative package and was signed into law.

An associate since 1995 with Cooley Godward, Naim, 40, specializes in stock option compensation, the area of law in which he was able to effect a change.

He is seeking a seat on the board of governors, he said, in order to have a greater involvement with the bar and to have input on two issues in particular - continuing education and multidisciplinary practice.

A sole practitioner when he first became a lawyer, Naim said he found the cost of MCLE was significant and he'd like to address that concern as well as streamline the entire program. As for an often-expressed complaint about the quality of MCLE programs, he said he was not certain the bar could do much to guarantee good courses without engaging in a detailed screening and evaluation process.

Naim said he is skeptical about the prospect of multidisciplinary practice, which would require a change in the rules to allow reciprocity between California and other states. Nevertheless, he added, "I would be open to it. California is a big legal market with a lot of different ways of practicing. New York is going down this road, so I think we should keep an eye on New York."

Naim is president of the South Asian Bar Association of Northern California and likes to camp, ski and bike in his spare time. He is the father of a 6-year-old daughter.

Demetrius D. SheltonShelton, 36, says he wants to be a part of the bar's "post-restructuring process" and make a difference in improving the bar.

"If we're going to have a State Bar, I want it to be useful to members," he said. "The best way to figure that out is to talk to the membership."

Because he is active in a variety of bar associations, Shelton said he has both a good sense of the issues and a network to tap into through affiliations which have "given me a good sense of what's important to the membership and how to make things happen."

A deputy city attorney handling code enforcement, Shelton recently completed a term as vice president of the California Young Lawyers Association.

He's on the board of the Alameda County Bar Association, was president in 1998 of the Charles Houston Bar Association, has been a board member and general counsel of the California Association of Black Lawyers, and for the past two years has served on the national association's executive committee.

He has been endorsed by the Charles Houston Bar Association and the California Association of Black Lawyers.

In addition to his legal and community-related work, he owns a small event consulting/public relations business.

Ballots were to be mailed Jan. 4 to active attorneys whose place of business is in one of the district's counties (Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda and Contra Costa). The last day to vote is Feb. 22.

Election information is available on the State Bar's web site, For additional information, call Biljanna Sivanov, at 415/538-2274.