Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, July 13, 2007


Page 1


Michael Marcus, Rex Heinke Elected to State Bar Board of Governors


By TINA BAY, Staff Writer


Retired State Bar Court Judge Michael D. Marcus and former Los Angeles County Bar Association President Rex S. Heinke have been elected to the State Bar Board of Governors, organization officials said yesterday.

A tally of all valid ballots submitted by Los Angeles County-based bar members showed Marcus taking the Office One race with 4,167 votes, and Heinke winning Office Two with 3,937.

The other Office One contenders, Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley of counsel James H. Park and non-practicing attorney Jeffrey Lustman, received 856 and 638 votes, respectively. In the Office Two race, juvenile law attorney Darold Shirwo secured 1,039 votes while entertainment lawyer Thomas Dover garnered 523.

Breakfast Club Candidates

Marcus and Heinke had been endorsed by the Breakfast Club, whose nominees have prevailed in the last six contests for a District Seven seat.

Marcus, who was the most experienced of the Office One candidates, told the MetNews he had been “hopefully confident” of winning.

“But there’s always the possibility that some untoward result could happen, so I was appreciative that it happened,” he said, adding that he now looks forward to working on important issues including the revision of the proposed Rules of Professional Conduct.

Currently a mediator and arbitrator with ADR Services in Century City, Marcus, 65, previously served as a State Bar Court hearing judge from 1995 to 2001 and as a trial lawyer for 27 years.

Lustman, whose platform was to push for improvements in the State Bar’s attorney discipline system, said he was “very surprised” by his loss.

“I’m not just surprised I lost, I’m surprised I lost by so much,” he said, noting Marcus apparently won due to his “impressive resume.”

“It’s disappointing and, frankly, surprising that people would not be willing to vote for someone who was so willing to be an advocate for the rights of attorneys.”

Defeated Candidate

Currently a private investigator in Los Angeles, Lustman, 55, was disciplined by the State Bar once during his short-lived law career and said he left the practice of law out of disgust with the judiciary’s dishonesty and corruption. He was admitted to the State Bar in 1995.

Attorneys who did not vote for him, he pointed out, “shouldn’t complain” when they feel they have been treated unfairly in the court system.

“I was perfectly willing to address those issues as a member of the Board of Governors, and now I can’t, at least not as a member the Board of Governors,” he said. 

Lustman expressed doubt that Marcus would be receptive to his concerns.

“I think that the views I have are views that so much go against the Bar and against the courts that I doubt if most of the board at least would have the guts to act on any of my proposals,” he remarked.

But Marcus said Lustman “doesn’t have to be worried that he does not have a voice” on the board.

“I can tell Mr. Lustman and any person in Los Angeles County that if they look at my background and my breadth of experience, they’ll see that I have always, and I emphasize always, represented the big guy and the little guy and/or girl,” he said.

As a judge in the attorney discipline system, he was “not always a person that favored the State Bar,” Marcus added.

“I can understand that a person who is disciplined is never happy,” he remarked. “If he’s concerned that the processes of the State Bar were unfair, then that’s something I’d like to hear about.”

Lustman said he expects to run for the Board of Governors again next year, and does not intend on changing his platform or his outreach strategies. When asked whether he would enter law practice in the interim, he told the MetNews, “I do not intend to file a lawsuit ever again as long as I live.”

Park, who specializes in commercial real estate transactions and disputes, could not be reached for comment.

In a previous MetNews interview, the 36-year-old, now in his 10th year of practice, stressed the importance of diversity in the practice.

Office Two winner Heinke said he was delighted to have been elected and looked forward to serving.

Consistent with his candidate statement, he said, he plans to be an “effective and productive” member of the board. One issue that remains a priority for him is reminding attorneys of their “higher purpose” of public service, he added.

“People need to get involved in these kinds of activities and the best thing you can do is lead by example,” Heinke said. “I also hope to work with the State Bar to encourage other lawyers to either donate time to public service or increase the time that they’re spending on public service activities.”

Heinke, 57, presently heads Akin Gump’s national appellate and litigation strategy group and its local litigation practice, and has been a lawyer in Los Angeles for 30 years. He specializes in First Amendment issues.

In addition to his term as LACBA president in 2000-01, Heinke has served on a State Bar advisory committee to review the rules and procedures of the Judicial Nominees Evaluation commission and the California Supreme Court’s Task Force on Multi-Jurisdictional Practice.

He also served as president of Public Counsel and for four years as a member of the Board of Directors of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles.

Shirwo and Dover did not return phone calls.

Shirwo, 67, has been in solo private practice since his admission to the State Bar in 1981, and currently has an office in Beverly Hills. He has been a long-standing member of numerous professional organizations including LACBA and the Juvenile Court Bar Association, on whose executive board he has served for 25 years.

Prior to his legal career, he was the chief executive officer of a large stock brokerage firm in California as well as other retail/wholesale businesses. He has authored seminars and lectured at law school and public law organizations on both law and business.

Dover, 40, is currently vice president of business affairs and general counsel at Playhut, Inc. in the City of Industry. He previously said he was interested in joining the Board of Governors in order to “add a new viewpoint.”

Admitted to the State Bar in 1994, he has practiced in entertainment law firms—MacIntosh & Dean, Byrum, Holland & Brumfield, and Bacalski, Byrne, Koscka & Ottoson—and on his own. He has also worked in product management, licensing, merchandising, and marketing in a non-attorney capacity.

Also elected to the Board of Governors was Sacramento-based lawyer Paul August Kramer Jr., who with 878 ballots received 10 more votes than rival Theresa M. La Voie to secure a District Two post.   District Two covers Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Napa, Sacramento, Solano, Sonoma, Tuolumne and Yolo counties.

San Jose lawyer Patricia P. White beat Walnut Creek attorney Stephen R. Sonaty by a margin of 2,208 to 655 to win the District Three seat, representing Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

A total of 389 ballots, from all districts, were not counted due to a variety of reasons, such as an unsigned outer envelope and failure to meet the July 2 postmark deadline.

San Francisco practitioner William Hebert, the only candidate certified from District Four, which covers San Francisco and Marin counties, was previously deemed elected.

Encino attorney Jason Gross, Los Angeles lawyer D. Bryan Garcia, and northern California practitioners Jennifer Hightower, Juna Kim and David Silberman were elected to the board of the California Young Lawyers Association.

The newly-elected governors are set to be sworn into office on Sept. 30 at the State Bar’s annual meeting in Anaheim.


Copyright 2007, Metropolitan News Company