Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, September 24, 2001


Page 5


Nobumoto Names Task Force to Study State Bar-Conference Links


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Following through on a promise she made when sworn in this month as State Bar president, Karen Nobumoto has named members of a task force to study the relationship between the State Bar and the Conference of Delegates.

Named to the panel, which Nobumoto will chair, are Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Matthew St. George, a former conference chair; Sacramento attorney Diane Wasznicky, also a former conference chair; and San Diego lawyer Stephen Marsh, this year’s conference chair.

Also named were State Bar Executive Director Judy Johnson, General Counsel Marie Moffat, special assistant Starr Babcock, Board of Governors member Robert Persons of Chico, board member Scott Wylie of Orange County and former board member Ron Albers of San Francisco.

The conference was formerly an integral part of the State Bar and used mandatory attorney dues to run its annual meeting, where delegates from voluntary bar associations around the state debated and selected new laws to lobby for in the Capitol.

But the conference was cut off from State Bar funding in the wake of the dues crisis after then-Gov. Pete Wilson, criticizing the political nature of the lobbying efforts, vetoed legislation to keep the organization operating.

Conference leaders embraced independence, believing they would be liberated from State Bar “purview” regulations restricting what they could discuss.

But many have expressed chagrin over the State Bar’s continuing practice of issuing guidelines for proper topics of discussion. The Board of Governors also has mandated that the conference’s legislative agenda be reviewed by the State Bar’s office of general counsel-—which then bills for its services.

Wasznicky said she expected lobbying to be at the top of the task force’s agenda when it first meets later this fall, probably in November. She said everyone involved believed change was needed, but she added that she did not believe the Board of Governors currently sees eye-to-eye with the conference.

“It’s just not clear exactly what they [the board members] want,” Wasznicky said.

At this year’s conference in Anaheim, delegates entertained a resolution to sever links with the State Bar. But the motion was amended to instead support Nobumoto’s offer to engage in talks.

“You matter to the bar,” Nobumoto told delegates after being sworn in as State Bar president on Sept. 8. “You matter to the Board of Governors.”


Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company