Friday, April 7, 2006
Three Join Field of Candidates for State Bar Board
By DAVID WATSON, Staff Writer
Three more attorneys have joined the race for the single seat open this year representing Los Angeles County’s lawyers on the State Bar Board of Governors, swelling the field to six.
Downtown lawyer Bradley R. Marsh said yesterday he will seek to replace former Los Angeles Municipal Court Judge Sheldon R. Sloan on the board. A State Bar spokesperson said Redondo Beach lawyer Theodore P. Byrne and Westside attorney Richard P. Longaker have also filed for the District 7 seat Sloan will surrender in October.
District 7, which consists of Los Angeles County, has five seats on the 23-member board.
Meanwhile an unusually high-profile contest is developing in District 9, which consists of San Diego and Imperial counties. State Bar officials said San Diego District Attorney Bonnie M. Dumanis will oppose San Diego City Attorney Michael J. Aguirre, who had earlier filed papers to run for the board seat up for vote there.
Attorney Stephen C. Grebing of Wingert, Grebing, Brubaker & Goodwin is also running.
Aguirre’s candidacy came after the board last month rejected his personal plea for support for AB 1612, a measure sponsored by Assemblywoman Fran Pavley, D-Woodland Hills, which would create an exception to an attorney’s duty of confidentiality for public lawyers faced with official misconduct.
The board voted 12-5 to oppose the measure.
Attorneys elected to the board serve three year terms. The District 7 balloting filled two seats last year and will do so again next year, but will fill only one this year.
Three candidates last month sought the endorsement of the influential Breakfast Club, a group the primary purpose of which is to recruit candidates for the board. The endorsement went to Girardi & Keese partner Howard B. Miller.
The two hopefuls who lost out to Miller in the Breakfast Club voting, Sherman Oaks transactional and trial attorney Phillip Feldman and Century City sole practitioner Marty O’Toole, have also filed papers to run. Both have run for the board before.
The Breakfast Club has recently re-asserted its sway in the selection process after two years in which self-described “outsider” candidates defeated three of the club’s choices. All of the current board members representing District 7 were elected with Breakfast Club backing, as was the State Bar’s immediate past president, former State Attorney General John Van de Kamp.
Marsh, an associate with the 20-attorney downtown firm Rodi, Pollock, Pettker, Galbraith & Cahill, is a tax specialist who in September will become chair of the Young Tax Lawyers Committee of the State Bar’s Tax Law Section. He has also co-chaired the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Young Tax Lawyers Committee.
The 30-year-old lawyer described himself as a “young attorney” who would seek to “make the bar more transparent” and “make sure Los Angeles County is well represented” on the board if elected.
“There are a lot of things the State Bar does that I don’t think folks like me really get to take advantage of,” he commented.
He noted that he served as Cal State Northridge’s student body president during a tumultuous period in which the school proposed eliminating four men’s sports, including baseball, and helped lead the successful opposition to the plan.
That experience “sort of got me started in looking for these kinds of posts,” he said.
Marsh speculated that a candidate willing to plunge “head first” into campaigning for the post could “easily” spend $40,000 to $50,000, but added:
“I won’t be doing that.”
Marsh said he will likely spend $3,000 to $4,000 on selective mailings focused on bar groups and on “asking friends to contact their friends.”
He earned his law degree at Hastings College of the Law in 2003, and joined Rodi Pollock the same year.
Bradley noted that the signatures he submitted on his nominating petition must still be verified by State Bar officials. A State Bar spokesman confirmed yesterday that the verification process remained incomplete, so some candidates who have filed papers could fail to qualify.
Neither Byrne nor Longaker could be reached for comment yesterday.
Byrne, 39, provided a biographical statement stressing his work with the California Young Lawyers Association, the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association, and the Barristers, a young attorneys group associated with the Beverly Hills Bar Association.
If elected, the statement explained, Byrne “hopes to implement measures that will increase the value of the State Bar membership, ensure fiscal responsibility, and promote a positive image of attorneys.”
He is currently a litigation attorney for the Federal Aviation Administration, having joined that agency after 10 years as a sole practitioner. He earned his undergraduate degree from Seattle University and has both a J.D. and an M.B.A from Pepperdine, as well as an LL.M. degree in taxation from Loyola Law School.
He is also a licensed commercial pilot and a major in the Judge Advocate General Corps of the U.S. Army Reserve.
Longaker, 56, is the principal of Longaker & Associates and president of the Santa Monica Bar Association. The Longaker & Associates Web site describes him as a business and liability litigator.
He earned his law degree from Loyola Law School after graduating from UC Santa Barbara and attending the University College School in London.
He has served as judge pro tem for Los Angeles Superior Court and the Beverly Hills Municipal Court and on the Board of Directors of the American Corporate Counsel Association, Southern California.
Attorney members of the Board of Governors are elected in mail balloting conducted during May and June. A majority is not required for election.
Though Sloan’s term will end when the State Bar holds its annual convention in Monterey in October, he could remain on the board for an additional year if his board colleagues choose him in June to be the organization’s president. He and two other third-year members of the board are competing for that post.
In addition to the races in District 7 and District 9, single seats on the board are also up for election this year in three other districts.
In District 1, which consists of Butte, Colusa, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity and Yuba counties, Chico lawyer Michael L. Bury and Auburn attorney John J. Dutton have filed candidacy papers.
In District 3, which consists of Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, San Ramon attorney Richard Frankel was the only candidate to file for the post.
In District 5, which consists of Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, Monterey, San Benito, San Joaquin, Santa Cruz, Stanislaus and Tulare counties, the candidates are Visalia attorney Leonard C. Herr Jr. and Fresno lawyer John E. Peterson.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company