CBJ - May 2009 #03. 18 vie for seat on the bar board.


California Bar Journal


CBJ - May 2009 #03.

18 vie for seat on the bar board

California Bar Journal May 2009 18 vie for seat on the bar boardAn unusually high number of lawyers - 18 - declared their candidacy for five seats on the State Bar Board of Governors. Among the would-be governors are a deputy district attorney, a deputy public defender, a county counsel, sole practitioners, lawyers for medium-size firms, one with a discipline record and two who like to play guitar in their free time. Just two women are seeking a seat. Several focus their candidacies on the current economic crisis and suggest the bar needs to do more with less; others urge reducing bar dues, reforming MCLE and streamlining the discipline system.

Ballots were mailed April 30 to voters in districts with an opening on the board; they must be returned by June 30. The winners, who will take their seats in September, will serve three-year terms on the 23-member board.

The candidates are:

District 1

In the current economic client, the State Bar must learn "to do the job with less," says CLARK E. GEHLBACH, a Placer County deputy district attorney who ran for the board in 2003. Bar dues must be reduced, he says, by focusing on core functions, improving the responsiveness and efficiency of the discipline system, cutting wasteful spending and avoiding divisive issues. In addition, Gehlbach, 42, favors reducing MCLE requirements and reforming the discipline system through both rapid removal of serious offenders and allowing innocent attorneys to clear their names quickly. A board member of both the Auburn Union Elementary School District and the Placer Public Employees Organization, Gehlbach received his law degree from Hastings and his undergraduate degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

MICHAEL W. JONES is a partner with Hansen Kohls Jones Sommer and Jacob LLP in Roseville, where he practices business litigation, personal injury with a focus on wrongful death and elder abuse, civil rights with a focus on police abuse, and criminal defense with a focus on white collar crimes. Jones, 52, said board members hold "an important public service responsibility" and must serve both the lawyers and the consumers in their district. He said the bar must meet its members' needs today as well as plan "for the future needs of members, clients and our system of justice." Prior to receiving his law degree from Western State University, Jones had a career in law enforcement and was a deputy district attorney in Los Angeles and Shasta counties and a member of the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation (JNE Commission). He serves on the board of the Capitol City Trial Lawyers Association.

District 3

CHERYL L. HICKS is a solo practitioner in Oakland, a status she believes qualifies her to understand "the special needs and concerns of solo practitioners," who represent the majority of California lawyers. She also believes the bar should have as a primary goal serving its members. A specialist in juvenile dependency, family law and plaintiffs personal injury law, Hicks last year received the Myer J. Sankary Attorney of the Year Award, given to a lawyer who demonstrates service and leadership to the community. She also received an attorney of the year award from the bar's solo section and the Alameda County Bar Assocation (ACBA) Distinguished Service Award for 2009. Hicks, 50, is past president of ACBA, which endorsed her candidacy, and has chaired its Civil Court Appointed Attorney Program (CCAAP) for many years. She is a graduate of Boalt Hall.

EDWARD M. LAI says...

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