California Bar Journal
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California Bar Journal

The State Bar of California


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Front Page - September 1998
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Need info about bar members? Look on the net
Western State law school wins provisional approval for ABA accreditation
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You Need to Know
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From the President - A privilege gone awry
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In defense of opinion
Thomas can think as he chooses
Time to drain the 'BOG'
Let's build a stronger forum
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Letters to the Editor
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Trials Digest
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Legal Tech - 10 reasons to ignore 2000 problem
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New Products & Services
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Law Practice - When mediating, let your imagination run loose
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MCLE Self-Study
The Internet and Global Implications
Self-Assessment Test
MCLE Calendar of Events
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Ethics Byte - 'He said, she said' rule for sex
Attorney disbarred after investing client's assets
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Annual Meeting
Did you know these Monterey Peninsula facts?
Scenic, legal visions on the menu
Four vie to lead embattled State Bar
11 seek five seats on bar board
District 2: Three-way race in capital and environs
District 4: Unopposed in San Francisco, Albers is ready
District 7, Office 1: 3 seek southern seat...
District 7, Office 2: ...and also in Los Angeles...
District 3: Two-way race develops in South, East Bay region
District 2: Three-way race in capital and environs
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DISTRICT 2: Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Napa, Sacramento, Solano, Sonoma, Tuolumne and Yolo counties.

Brenton A. Bleier

Sacramento attorney BRENTON A. BLEIER favors dismantling the mandatory State Bar and separating its regulatory and professional functions.

He ran for the board of governors on that platform in 1995, and feels strongly enough that he served on the Lawyers Committee for a Yes Vote on the 1996 plebiscite.

He also testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this year, where he urged the legislature to split the State Bar's regulatory and professional activities.

The current board of governors, he charged, has mismanaged its negotiations with Sacramento since the governor's October veto, and has implemented only those changes forced upon it.

“The current board is doing everything it can to demonstrate the profession cannot be trusted to regulate itself,” says the 55-year-old Sacramento practitioner.

“From my perspective,” said Bleier, “what you have is a board that is reluctantly trying to make a political deal rather than demonstrate leadership that would show the governor and legislature that the profession itself can influence the future of the bar.”

He accused the board of arrogance for continuing to honor its controversial contract with a Sacramento lobbyist while laying off hundreds of bar employees and “sacrificing the public interest” by closing down the complaint intake line.

Bleier called for the resignation of every board member who voted to approve the $900,000, two-year pact with lobbyist Mel Assagai.

“This group of people has got to go,” Bleier said. “They are ruining the State Bar with their showdown tactics. It's time to stop playing politics.”

Bleier is the principal of a five-attorney firm that bears his name and focuses on complex commercial litigation, specializing in telecommunications. His wife is the bookkeeper for the firm, and the couple has two grown children.

He is a member of the American Bar Association's communications law forum and the National Panel of Arbitrators of the American Arbitration Association. He also has been active in the Sacramento judge pro tempore program since 1989.

A graduate of the University of Michigan, Bleier received his law degree from Michigan State University's Detroit College of Law. He has been a California attorney since 1974.

James R. Greiner

JAMES R. “JAY” GREINER believes that being an attorney is a privilege which brings with it a responsibility to give something back. If elected to the board of governors, he says he would bring the same type of leadership and vision he has provided to the Sacramento County Bar Association as its president this year.

One of his goals is to foster better lines of communication between the bar and its members “so that informed decisions can be made by reasonable individuals. It is this striving for excellence that will be the hallmark of the State Bar.”

Improved communication also will help the bar re-establish credibility with its membership, Greiner believes. “We have to find out what they are thinking and be open at meetings with that information,” he said.

The 43-year-old Sacramento criminal defense attorney believes scrutiny of the bar by lawmakers is healthy “because the product that will emerge will be a stronger State Bar for both the lawyers and the public.”

He views the hostility toward the bar as “a positive sign that lawyers in California desire a State Bar that is responsive and visionary.”

A sole practitioner, Greiner has a lengthy list of bar-related activities, including membership in the American Bar Association, Anthony M. Kennedy Inn of Court and the California Public Defenders Association.

He also is a judge pro tem in El Dorado County and an attorney representative on the Criminal Justice Act panel for eastern district of California.

Greiner is single, coaches his nephew's soccer and baseball teams and also coaches a high school mock trial team. He received his law degree from McGeorge law school and has been an attorney since 1986.

Timothy M. Taylor

A founding member and one-time head of the State Bar's environmental law section, TIMOTHY M. TAYLOR holds the bar's 17 educational sections in high esteem and sees them as undeserving victims of the fee bill fracas.

“If we step back and take a look at the whole thing and what we want to preserve, the sections are at the top of my list,” he said.

“My concern is, we're throwing the baby out with the bath water, the baby being the sections.”

Also a member of the real property law section, Taylor said his involvement with the sections means he has been strongly affected by Gov. Wilson's veto of the bar's fee bill.

“I thought it was a good time to try to step

in and see if some problems that have been raised can be addressed,” he said.

“The bar is an organization I respect.”

Taylor's first priority as a board member would be to stabilize the bar with respect to staffing and funding, so it can perform necessary services.

Bar leaders need to listen to the complaints of the “sizeable number of attorneys throughout the state” and address those concerns, he said.

A shareholder in De Cuir & Somach in Sacramento, Taylor is married to an attorney, has two children and is “a monster” New York Yankees fan.

He's a member of the Sacra-mento County Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the American Planning Association and a board member of the Nehemiah Progressive Housing Development Corp. Inc.

A graduate of Dartmouth College, he received his law degree from UCLA law school and a masters degree from UCLA graduate school of architecture and urban planning.

He's been a California lawyer since 1987.