Tuesday, April 6, 2010
State Bar Releases List of Candidates for Seats on Board of Governors
By STEVEN M. ELLIS, Staff Writer
Eight candidates are running for the two seats on the State Bar’s Board of Governors up for election this year in District Seven, which covers Los Angeles County, the group said yesterday.
Manhattan Beach attorney Joseph R. Donnini, former Los Angeles County Bar Association President Gretchen M. Nelson and Santa Monica attorney Colleen O’Hara are seeking the first seat, while Los Angeles attorney Stephen K. Hazen, private investigator Jeffrey P. Lustman, Perkins Coie associate Vilma Palma, Los Angeles Deputy Public Defender Luis J. Rodriguez and Los Angeles attorney Daniel Sobelsohn are competing for the second seat.
Thursday was the deadline to file nominating petitions for the seats, which will become vacant this summer when the terms of two of District Seven’s five current board members—Michael D. Marcus and Rex Heinke—conclude.
Candidates have until Monday to decide whether to withdraw, after which the State Bar is expected to make available candidate statements. Ballots are scheduled to be mailed to State Bar members April 30, and voting will end June 30.
For the first time, this year’s election will be a “hybrid” in which members will be able to vote by mail or online. Eligible voters—members whose principal place of business is located within a county included in the district—will receive a ballot packet in the mail. Those who choose to vote online will be asked to provide their bar number and a PIN number printed on the ballot.
Donnini is a sole practitioner and licensed real estate broker who previously served as general counsel for RE/MAX International in California and Hawaii. Admitted to the State Bar in 1996, he attended college at Drew University in Madison, N.J., before graduating from Whittier College School of Law.
Nelson is currently managing partner of Kreindler & Kreindler and has represented plaintiffs exclusively since 1988. A former member of the law firm Corinblit & Seltzer and later sole practitioner, she attended Smith College in Massachusetts and law school at Georgetown University before admission to the State Bar in 1984.
O’Hara is a sole practitioner who joined the State Bar in 1999 after graduating from the University of Virginia and the George Mason School of Law.
Hazen currently offers special counsel, consulting and expert witness services in corporate law and governance matters, and told the MetNews he “semi-retired” from practice in 2006. Admitted to the State Bar in 1976 after attending Pepperdine University and the University of Chicago Law School, he has been active in both the State Bar and the American Bar Association.
Since 2008, he has served at the appointment of the Board of Governors as a State Bar delegate to the ABA House of Delegates.
Lustman is a non-practicing attorney who works as a private investigator and has run for a spot on the board in the last three elections. He graduated from the University of Maryland and Taft Law School in Santa Ana before joining the State Bar in 1995.
Palma is an associate in Perkins Coie’s litigation practice. She was admitted to the State Bar in December after attending college at UC Irvine and law school at UCLA.
Rodriguez has been a member of the Public Defender’s Office since joining the State Bar in 1994, and has previously served as a member of the State Board of Education and as president of the California La Raza Lawyers Association, the Mexican American Bar Association and the Latino Public Defenders Association. A graduate of college and law school at Santa Clara University, he has also been active on the State Bar’s Council on Access and Fairness.
Sobelsohn is a sole practitioner whose practice focuses on complex business litigation. A 1995 admittee to the State Bar, he attended college and law school at Columbia University, and is also licensed to practice in New York and Washington, D.C.
Last month the Breakfast Club—a group of attorneys whose primary function is endorsing candidates for the State Bar Board of Governors—gave its endorsement to Nelson and Rodriguez. All five of District Seven’s current representatives—Marcus, Heinke, James H. Aguirre, Angela Joy Davis and Patrick M. Kelly—were in attendance at the Breakfast Club’s endorsement meeting and threw their support behind Nelson and Rodriguez.
Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company