Friday, March 21, 2008
Breakfast Club Endorses Aguirre, Davis for State Bar Board
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Civil attorney James H. Aguirre and Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela J. Davis yesterday won the backing of the Breakfast Club for seats on the State Bar Board of Governors.
The club endorsed Aguirre and Davis after they emerged as the top two vote-getters on a ballot that also included entertainment lawyer Nancy L. McCullough.
If elected, they will succeed current District Seven representatives Holly J. Fujie and John P. McNicholas, who are set to conclude their three-year terms this summer and will then be eligible to run for State Bar president.
Aguirre, of Richardson and Fair, told the group of about 45 people who attended the early morning meeting in downtown Los Angeles that his priorities as a member of the Board of Governors would be championing access to justice and increased diversity in both the legal profession and on the bench.
Remarking that it was “an honor to be supported by the club, Aguirre said that the Board of Governors represented the “pinnacle of the profession” and that it would allow him to work with “the best.”
A 1978 graduate of UCLA School of Law, Aguirre was admitted to the State Bar of California that year and will mark his 30th year as a practicing attorney in November.
He began his career as a poverty attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Pasadena, where he set up one of the first domestic violence clinics in California. He later became first managing attorney of the United Auto Workers Legal Services Plan in 1983, and then assistant general counsel to the Los Angeles Community College District in 1988 before joining Richardson and Fair in 1990, where he is also house counsel to the Automobile Club of Southern California.
Aguirre has served on many volunteer committees through the State Bar, the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the Conference of Delegates of California Bar Associations and the Mexican American Bar Association. In 2006, the Board of Governors of the State Bar appointed him to a three year term as a member of the Committee of Bar Examiners.
A founding board member of the Conference of Delegates of California Bar Associations, which split off from the State Bar in 2002, he served as its board secretary in its first year, and its chief executive officer and chair in 2005.
Davis, who serves as community outreach and education liaison with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California and specializes in the prosecution of major corporate and financial crimes, told the group that her priorities as a governor would be encouraging firms of all sizes to support volunteer efforts by attorneys and increasing participation in the bar’s Justice Gap Fund.
Noting that she had encountered—while serving as president of the California Women Lawyers—an “unfortunate trend in law firms to pull back on their past practices of encouraging volunteer efforts by attorneys” for both pro bono work and involvement in the State Bar’s sections, Davis said that she wanted to make the State Bar more responsive to the concerns of attorneys in small and solo practices and appeal to the “enlightened self-interest of law firms” in order to fulfill the “improvement of the profession” component of the bar’s mission.
She also said out that if only half of the approximately 211,000 attorneys admitted to practice law in the state made a $10 contribution annually to the Justice Gap Fund, it would raise an additional $1 million, and said that she had entered into discussions with current members of the Board of Governors about engaging in solicitation efforts throughout the year, or at least at a different time than when bar dues must currently be paid.
A graduate of Stanford University, where she studied comparative literature and foreign languages, and UCLA Law School, where she served as a editor of the law review, Davis has practiced law in California for 21 years.
She spent the first several years of her career as a civil litigator with major law firms and a supervisory attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice, before joining the U.S. Attorney’s office in 1995, and has lectured at the U.S. Department of Justice National Advocacy Center—the facility training federal prosecutors from throughout the country—and received a National Director’s Award from the Department of Justice and Commendation from then-Attorney General Janet Reno, as well as several honors and awards from federal agencies.
Davis is the immediate past president of California Women Lawyers, a state-wide organization, and also the articles coordinator and chair-elect of the Editorial Board for Los Angeles Lawyer, the official magazine of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. She also serves as one of 11 attorneys representing the State Bar in the ABA House of Delegates.
In recent years, she has chaired the Women Lawyers of Los Angeles Delegation to the State Bar Conference of Delegates, where she has served as the author and floor speaker for legislative proposals endorsed by the conference, lectured in Spanish to members of the Argentine judiciary and represented the United States in matters overseas.
A first-time candidate for a position on the board, Davis told the MetNews that it was “a delight and an honor” to have the Breakfast Club’s support.
Yesterday’s meeting also included remarks from McCullough, who is active in the presidential campaign of Barack Obama, her former Harvard Law School and Harvard Law Review colleague.
McCullough, who attended college at UCLA and was admitted to the State Bar in 1993, is currently a sole practitioner. She previously worked at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP before working as in-house counsel for both Sony Records and Capitol Records.
She had pledged, if elected to the board, to make increased volunteerism a priority and had said that her organizational skills—particularly her work in coordinating efforts by attorneys monitoring polling places during previous national elections and in relocating in the Los Angeles-area some 10,000 persons displaced by Hurricane Katrina—made her an ideal member of the board.
The Breakfast Club, nearly 40 years old, is open on a dues-paid basis to any lawyer practicing within Los Angeles County. Its primary function is to endorse candidates for the Board of Governors.
The last eight District Seven representatives to be elected have been Breakfast Club nominees. The club re-asserted its domination in the process after two years in which self-described “outsider” candidates defeated three of the club’s nominees.
District Seven covers Los Angeles County and has five of the 23 seats on the board.
Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company