California Bar Journal
CBJ - September 2009 #01.
Law, academia and public service will guide Howard Miller's presidential path
California Bar JournalSeptember 2009Law, academia and public service will guide Howard Miller's presidential pathBy Nancy McCarthyStaff WriterHoward Miller assumed from childhood that he would join the legal profession. "I can't remember when I didn't know I was going to be a lawyer," he says. "I have no idea why." Nor can he think of many instances when he didn't enjoy his work, which he says never tires him. That attitude likely will serve him well in the coming year, when he will preside as the State Bar's 85th president.
Miller brings an unusual breadth of experience to the job, including years as a law professor, television and radio experience and a stint as the executive editor of the Los Angeles Daily Journal, in addition to an extensive trial and appellate background. And unlike many of his predecessors, he never held an official position in the local bar association, although he is a longtime members of the Los Angeles County bar.
"There's nobody like Miller when it comes to a total wide understanding of the law and knowing every case that'll have an impact on what you're doing," says Tom Girardi, who brought Miller in to the Girardi & Keese law firm in 2002 as its only lateral partner - ever. "He's the only guy I can say that about, and he does it all with that soft smile."
"He has a level of commitment that will be hard to equal," says Amy Solomon, another partner. "He's really making the profession shine as it should in the eyes of the public and in the eyes of his colleagues."
And his wife, Shirley, says he'll bring wisdom to the presidency, along with a talent for managing people.
The 72-year-old Miller ran for bar president, he says, out of a "desire to improve the organization." He will focus on legal services, a cause that drew him to the board of governors in 2006 because "the need is enormous." Indeed, it will be his number one priority this year, followed closely by pursuing attorneys who have engaged in unprofessional conduct with regard to loan modification activities, and completion of the nine-year rewrite of the Rules of Professional Conduct. He also said the bar board needs to pay attention to the organization's finances and ensure it operates efficiently. An early...