Tuesday, April 5, 2005
Two State Bar Board Seats Here Each Draw Three Hopefuls
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Three lawyers filed to run for each of two State Bar Board of Governors seats representing Los Angeles County by Friday’s deadline, the State Bar reported yesterday.
Los Angeles attorney Holly Fujie, Sherman Oaks attorney Phillip Feldman, and Los Angeles lawyer Adam Abrahms have filed to run for the seat currently occupied by Deputy District Attorney Steven Ipsen.
Los Angeles attorney John P. McNicholas III, Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Kim, and Los Angeles attorney Marty O’Toole are seeking the seat being vacated by Century City attorney David Marcus.
Ipsen and Marcus are completing three-year terms this fall.
Voting is by district, and is conducted by mail during May and June—all active lawyers in Los Angeles County can vote—and the votes are counted in mid-July. Los Angeles County is District 7.
A total of five attorneys are being elected by State Bar members this year. The other open seats are in Districts 4, 6, and 8.
In District 4, which consists of San Francisco and Marin counties, San Francisco lawyers Jennifer A. DePalma, James N. Penrod, and Barry K. Tagawa filed petitions.
In District 6, which includes Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, Los Osos practitioner Allen Minker, Ventura Superior Court staff attorney Maria Carmen Ramirez, and Riverside Deputy District Attorney E. Michael Soccio are the candidates.
In District 8, which consists of Orange County, Irvine appellate specialist John L. Dodd; Richard W. Millar Jr., a partner in a Newport Beach firm; and Danni R. Murphy, a supervising attorney in the county Public Defender’s Office and former Orange County Bar Association president, are the candidates.
Fujie and McNicholas won the backing three weeks ago of the influential Breakfast Club, which for the last three decades has endorsed candidates to represent District 7, most of whom have been elected.
Three other candidates sought the club’s endorsement, but only one of those—Feldman—chose to run without the club’s backing.
McNicholas, 68, is a civil litigator whose West Los Angeles firm, McNicholas & McNicholas, also includes his daughter and two sons. He served on the State Bar’s Judicial Nominees Evaluation Commission from 1999 to 2002 and from 1989 to 1992 was a lawyer representative appointed by federal judges to serve on the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference.
He indicated yesterday that he did not know his opponents, but joked that he would “wrestle” O’Toole for the Irish vote. “He must be an Orangeman,” McNicholas joked, using a historical term for Irish Protestants.
O’Toole actually has “Green” credentials, having graduated from St. Mary’s University in Minnesota and Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law in Washington, D.C.
He said he would base his campaign on his 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.
Kim said she felt she has a “unique perspective” as a result of having practiced both in the private sector and in the Attorney General’s Office, where she is a member of the Health, Education, and Welfare Section.
She has served as a Los Angeles County Bar Association delegate to the Conference of Delegates.
Fujie is a partner with the downtown office of Buchalter Nemer Fields & Younger, where her litigation practice emphasizes class actions, fraud, insurance coverage and bad faith suits. She is a member of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles governing board and chairs WLALA’s Attorney Mentoring Committee.
She also serves on the boards of Bet Tzedek and the Los Angeles chapter of the Federal Bar Association, and has been among Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s federal judicial selection advisors since Feinstein was elected in 1982. Her husband is also an attorney.
She currently serves as an attorney member of the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference.
“I believe that Los Angeles lawyers will recognize my broad range of experience and elect me to the board,” Fujie said yesterday.
Feldman, who has run before, said he will emphasize his familiarity with the State Bar’s disciplinary system, in which he has worked as both a prosecutor and a defense counsel, in his campaign. He is a certified specialist in legal professional liability.
Abrams, an associate at Proskauer Rose, said he feels the bar “needs to serve all its members and...should be focused only on service.” The organization, he said, ought to cut back further on lobbying and leave those efforts to voluntary bar groups, he told the MetNews.
He has not previously been involved in organized bar activities, he said.
Copyright 2005, Metropolitan News Company