| DISTRICT 7, Office 1: Los
Thomas L. Flattery
As a longtime corporate general counsel who is now semi-retired, THOMAS L.
FLATTERY believes he would bring both a fresh perspective and enough free time to
make some changes at the State Bar.
"I would bring a fresh approach and wouldn't be encumbered by the board's policies
that have caused them to reach a point where they've run into a wall with the
governor," Flattery said. "I have some extra time, and I'd like to put some time
back into the profession which has done very well for me."
Also a member of the voluntary New York and Connecticut bars, Flattery says they work
well; he favors a voluntary bar which can take political stands and a mandatory bar to
regulate the profession.
And although he supports continuing legal education, he opposes a system which permits
exemptions for some while requiring 36 hours over three years for others.
Flattery, 75, was the first chair of the State Bar business law section's corporate law
committee and served on similar committees in the Los Angeles and Century City bars. He
also is a member of six sections of the American Bar Association and the Los Angeles
Intellectual Property Law Association, and is an arbitrator, mediator and settlement
officer for the Los Angeles municipal and superior courts. In addition, Flattery is a
commercial arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association and a judge pro tem in Los
A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, he received his law degree from UCLA law
school and an LLM from the University of Southern California. He and his wife have nine
adult children and they like to ski and play golf.
Robert E. Kelly Jr.
ROBERT E. KELLY JR. wonders if he's the only candidate for the board
of governors who possesses a personality.
With his candidacy papers, he filed a statement attesting to his membership in the
National Rifle Association, the Home Handyman Club of America and the American Welding
He also stated, admittedly tongue in cheek, that he "believes strongly that the
consumption of alcohol in moderation can alleviate many of the stresses of legal practice,
as well as removing the rough edges from a personality which has been described by those
who know him well as demented, unpleasant and psychotic."
A 57-year-old trial lawyer and partner with La Follette, Johnson, De Haas, Fesler &
Ames of Los Angeles, Kelly said in an interview that the bar needs some serious pruning,
discipline should be stricter, and if MCLE (which he opposes) is required, courses should
be taken in areas relevant to an attorney's practice.
Unafraid of hyperbole, Kelly added, "If the State Bar or those who remain there
wish to continue business as usual once they get the dues back up, which I hope doesn't
happen, if there is any life left in the corpse, I would like to be there to help put the
stakes in its heart."
Kelly's only bar activity was former membership in the Los Angeles County Bar
Association, "an organization in which he lost interest after one meeting."
Kelly's wife is a certified public accountant and the couple has no children. He
received his law degree from New York University Law School and has been a California
lawyer since 1976.
Karen S. Nobumoto
If elected to the board of governors, KAREN S. NOBUMOTO's first order
of business will be to help resolve the impasse over the State Bar's dues bill. That, she
said, requires a hard look at the bar's finances.
"We have to be financially prudent and responsible to our members," said the
Los Angeles deputy district attorney, adding that fiscal responsibility can help
re-establish the bar's credibility. "If we show dues being efficiently utilized, we
will improve our relationship with our members."
A longtime bar activist who has the endorsement of the influential Breakfast Club,
Nobumoto, 46, also favors strong and quick action against attorneys who are harming the
public and swift resolution of complaints against attorneys which are meritless.
She is a strong supporter of universal access to the courts and legal services. And she
thinks the bar can be streamlined by becoming more cost-effective and less bureaucratic.
Citing the bar's ownership of two buildings in San Francisco and a lease in Los Angeles,
Nobumoto said, "We don't have to be landowners to serve our constituency."
Nobumoto served as the California Young Lawyers Association liaison to the board of
governors in 1991-92, has been a delegate to the Conference of Delegates and is past
president of the John M. Langston Bar Association. She currently is president of the John
M. Langston Foundation.
Her lengthy list of bar-related activities also includes membership on the State Bar's
ethnic minority relations committee, three years on the Commission on Judicial Nominees
Evaluation (JNE), and she was a founding fellow of the Foundation of the State Bar.
She is a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, Women Lawyers Association of
Los Angeles, the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, Black Women Lawyers of Los
Angeles and the National Bar Association.
None of those activities leaves much spare time, but she likes to dance and paint.
Nobumoto is single, received her law degree from Southwestern School of Law and has been a
lawyer since 1989.