Tuesday, April 6, 2004
Longtime State Bar Official Fran Bassios Dies at 59
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Francis P. Bassios, an architect of the State Bar of California’s attorney discipline system and a 30-year employee of the organization, died Saturday following a year-long illness.
Bassios, 59, continued to commute from his Oakland home to the State Bar offices in San Francisco until he was hospitalized about a month ago, a statement released by the State Bar noted. Barely a week before his hospitalization he had traveled to San Antonio, where his colleagues in the National Organization of Bar Counsel honored him for a lifetime of service to the legal profession and to the State Bar’s public protection goals.
“Fran’s career contributions to the State Bar and to the field of attorney regulation are formidable,” State Bar Deputy Executive Director Bob Hawley said in a statement. “This was his passion and professional life. He was proud of what he did and championed it.”
For most of two decades, Bassios served as the top assistant to the bar’s chief prosecutor.
In the late 1980s Bassios helped design and implement the State Bar’s professional discipline system, which removed attorney discipline from the hands of voluntary judges and lawyers.
He served as top assistant to four occupants of the post of State Bar chief trial counsel: James A. Bascue, now a Los Angeles Superior Court judge; Robert P. Heflin, now a Los Angeles head deputy district attorney; Judy Johnson, now the executive director of the State Bar; and current Chief Trial Counsel Mike A. Nisperos Jr.
Bassios also served as acting chief trial counsel on several occasions.
As deputy chief trial counsel under Johnson, Bassios helped rebuild the discipline system in the wake of the shutdown which followed then-Gov. Pete Wilson’s veto of the bar’s dues bill for 1998.
Johnson was named executive director in 2000 and appointed Bassios as her special assistant. In that capacity, he helped restructure several different areas of the State Bar, including member services, continuing legal education, and legal specialization and certification programs.
At a meeting of the State Bar Board of Governors in Los Angeles last month, Johnson said Bassios had become the “institutional memory” of the State Bar.
“Fran can never be replaced,” she commented.
Bassios was born in Worchester, Mass., earning a degree in history and government from Boston University in 1966 and serving in the U.S. Army from 1966-69. He received his law degree from Hastings School of Law in 1972 and became a member of the State Bar of California in December of that year.
He served for a year in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office before joining the staff of the State Bar in 1973.
Bassios was also active in community affairs, serving as a member of the City of Oakland Public Ethics Commission.
Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company