Friday, July 15, 2005
Holly Fujie, John McNicholas Win Seats On State Bar Board of Governors
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Los Angeles attorney Holly Fujie and Century City practitioner John P. McNicholas have been elected to the State Bar Board of Governors to represent Los Angeles County lawyers, final results released yesterday show.
Fujie, a partner at Buchalter Nemer Fields & Younger, received 3,525 votes in winning a four-way race. Sherman Oaks attorney Phillip Feldman was second with 1,961, followed by Century City sole practitioner Marty O’Toole with 1,081 and Alan Abrahams, an associate at Proskauer Rose, LLP, with 626.
McNicholas—a civil litigator whose firm, McNicholas & McNicholas, also includes his daughter and two sons—received 4,348 votes to 2,913 for his lone opponent, Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Kim.
Fujie—whose litigation practice emphasizes class actions, fraud, insurance coverage and bad faith suits—said she was “very pleased” with the results and looked forward to “serving the lawyers of Los Angeles County.”
Future Success Prediced
Feldman, running for the third time, said he was “exceptionally encouraged by doubling my votes since last year.” He said he intends to run again next year and expects to “double again” and thereby win a seat.
O’Toole said he was satisfied with his third-place finish and would consider running again. He congratulated Fujie, whom he said he did not know before the campaign, as a deserving winner.
“I think she’ll be remarkable in that position,” O’Toole said.
O’Toole focused his campaign on a belief that the disciplinary system is too heavily focused on attorneys who have done “something stupid in their private life,” such as those convicted of drunk driving “and [are] being punished somewhere else,” and not on those who are engaged in unethical conduct in court, such as filing frivolous suits.
He said he discussed the matter with Fujie and believes that she shares his concerns. Fujie, while not committing to specifics, said she thought O’Toole might have a point and that she will look at the matter.
Abrahms attributed his last-place finish to having too little time to campaign. He said he may run again, but that if he does, “I’ll look at my trial schedule a little more closely.”
Feldman could not be reached for comment.
McNicholas said he was gratified by the support he received and the opportunity to be a board member.
“After life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, what’s left but public service and philanthropy,” he told the MetNews. “The practice of law of law has been very good to me and my family....I thank those who voted for me, both my friends and my enemies who forgave me.”
He called Kim, who was not available for comment, “a delightful young lady” who “has a bright future” in organized bar activities if she chooses to pursue it.
Fujie and McNicholas won the backing of the influential Breakfast Club, which for the last three decades has endorsed candidates to represent District 7, which includes the entire county.
When they take office in September, they will succeed Deputy District Attorney Steven Ipsen and Century City attorney David Marcus, who won rare victories over Breakfast-Club backed candidates three years ago.
The three holdover members from District 7—MetNews Co-Publisher Jo-Ann W. Grace, West Los Angeles practitioner Sheldon Sloan, and Deputy Public Defender Marguerite Downing—were all backed by the Breakfast Club.
Three board members were elected from other parts of the state, and will also take office in September, as will the new new State Bar president, James Heiting of Riverside. The three are San Francisco attorney James N. Penrod, Ventura Superior Court staff attorney Maria Carmen Ramirez, and Danni R. Murphy, a supervising attorney in the Orange County Public Defender’s Office and former Orange County Bar Association president.
Copyright 2005, Metropolitan News Company