Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, October 25, 2001


Page 3


Stovitz to Lead State Bar Court; High Court Picks Two New Members


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The state Supreme Court yesterday elevated State Bar Court Review Judge Ronald W. Stovitz to be the discipline bodyís presiding judge, and named San Bernardino Superior Court Staff Counsel Stanford E. Reichert and San Francisco lawyer Patrice E. McElroy to be hearing judges.

In his new role, Stovitz will continue to act as a Review Department judge but will also assume administrative responsibility for the entire State Bar Court, taking over for outgoing Presiding Judge James Obrien.

Stovitz has spent virtually all of his career in the State Bar discipline system, working as a prosecutor, an attorney in the Office of General Counsel, and chief counsel to the State Bar Court before becoming a judge on the court. Stovitz has spent the last 12 years in the Review Department.

He was appointed to a five-year term, to begin Nov. 1.

Reichert, a 1977 graduate of Columbia University School of Law, previously worked as a litigator in San Bernardino County.

Reichert was appointed to a three-year term. He replaces Michael Marcus in the courtís Los Angeles office.

McElroy currently is a sole practitioner in San Francisco. She is a 1978 graduate of Hastings College of the Law and served as a principal trial attorney in the office of the San Francisco Public Defender and as a staff attorney for the National Center for Youth Law.

McElroy was appointed to a three-year term. She succeeds Eugene E. Brott in the courtís San Francisco office.

The court was reconstituted last year under legislation, with appointments now coming from the Assembly speaker, the Senate Rules Committee chair, the governor and the Supreme Court.

The high court, which under the state Constitution has ultimate oversight of the legal profession, previously had the sole authority to appoint State Bar Court judges. It continues to appoint four members.

The Supreme Court in June 2000 ruled 4-3 that the new appointment scheme does not violate separation-of-powers principles. Stovitz was the only one of the Review Department judges then sitting not to challenge the change.

In the Review Department, which is the appellate level of the State Bar discipline process, the only change is the elimination of the one non-attorney seat in favor of a State Bar member.

Judge Madge S. Watai serves in the Review department, along with Stovitz. The high court has another appointment to fill the slot Stovitz will vacate with his elevation.

In addition to Reichert, the Los Angeles hearing judges are Robert M. Talcott and Paul Bacigalupo. JoAnn M. Remke serves in San Francisco.


Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company