Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, July 12, 2010


Page 1


L.A. Attorneys Nelson, Rodriguez Elected To State Bar’s Board of Governors


By STEVEN M. ELLIS, Staff Writer


Former Los Angeles County Bar Association President Gretchen M. Nelson and Los Angeles Deputy Public Defender Luis J. Rodriguez have been elected to three-year terms on the State Bar’s Board of Governors, the group said Friday.

Nelson overwhelmingly beat out two opponents in the race for Seat 1 in District 7—which consists of all of Los Angeles County—with two-thirds of the vote. Rodriguez won election to the district’s second seat with approximately 42 percent of ballots cast in a four-way race.

In three other races around the state for seats on the State Bar’s governing and policymaking body, attorneys Karen Goodman of Sacramento, Alec Chang of Palo Alto and Loren Kieve of San Francisco won election, respectively, to three-year terms in Districts 2, 3 and 4.

All five will be sworn in at the State Bar’s annual meeting Sept. 25 in Monterey, the group said.

‘Hybrid’ Election

The election, which ran from late April until June 30, marked the State Bar’s first “hybrid” vote, in which members could vote by mail or online. Nineteen percent of those eligible to cast ballots did so, up from 16 percent last year, and the State Bar said approximately 44 percent of the almost 19,650 votes cast in the five races came online.

A State Bar spokesperson called the hybrid vote a “success,” crediting it for the bump in voter turnout and predicting that it would be used again given the high rate of online participation. About 50 percent of voters cast ballots online in Districts 2, 3 and 4, but that number dipped in District 7 to only 42 percent of nearly 11,900 total votes in the district’s two races.

However, the spokesperson added that the group has no plans to switch over to an all-online election system in the immediate future, given the number of voters who chose paper ballots this year.

Nelson, who is currently managing partner of Kreindler & Kreindler and has been a trial lawyer for more than 25 years, garnered 3,959 votes, more than three times that received by the second-place candidate in her race, Manhattan Beach attorney Joseph R. Donnini, who claimed 1,223 votes. Santa Monica attorney Colleen O’Hara came in third with 738 votes.

Rodriguez—a 16-year veteran of the Public Defender’s Office who served on the State Board of Education and chaired the State Bar’s Council on Access and Fairness—garnered 2,492 votes compared to approximately 1,599 for Los Angeles attorney Daniel Sobelsohn. Los Angeles attorney Stephen K. Hazen received 1,324 votes and private investigator Jeffrey Lustman claimed 583 in his fourth consecutive bid for a seat on the board.

Goodman and Chang each won two-way races by a two-to-one margin, while Kieve took 49 percent of the vote in a three-way contest.

District 7 Winners

Nelson, 55, has represented plaintiffs exclusively since 1988 and was a member of law firm Corinblit & Seltzer and a solo practitioner before joining Kreindler & Kreindler. A graduate of Smith College and Georgetown University Law Center, she serves on the board of the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles and chairs LACBA’s judicial election evaluation committee.

Rodriguez, 43, joined the State Bar in 1994 after attending college and law school at the University of Santa Clara. A former president of the of the California La Raza Lawyers Association, the Mexican American Bar Association and the Latino Public Defenders Association, he was endorsed Los Angeles Public Defender Michael Judge, District Attorney Steve Cooley and former State Bar President Holly Fujie.

Both Nelson and Rodriguez were also endorsed by the Breakfast Club, a group of attorneys whose primary function is endorsing candidates for the State Bar Board of Governors, and Rodriguez credited his success to the backing of that group and others.

Commenting on his election, he told the MetNews:

“I’m extremely honored and obviously pleased. I’m very, very thankful for the support from individuals and bar associations, especially the Breakfast Club, and their help to get out the vote,” he said.

‘Pleasantly Surprised’

Rodriguez admitted he had been worried with four candidates in his race, but he said he was “pleasantly surprised” to have bested his nearest opponent by almost 1,000 votes.

Nelson could not be reached for comment.

Goodman, 50, is a principal at Goodman & Associates, where she handles professional liability, business and real estate litigation. A past president of California Women Lawyers who graduated from UC Davis and the University of San Francisco School of Law, she has served on the Conference of Delegates and the Legal Malpractice Specialization Commission.

Her opponent was Sonora attorney Mark Borden.

Chang, 45, is an antitrust lawyer at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and serves on the boards of the Santa Clara County Bar Association, the Asian Pacific Bar Association of Silicon Valley and the Asian American Law Fund of New York. He also has served as president of the Asian American Bar Association of New York.

He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and Tulane University Law School. He defeated Emeryville attorney Mike Schmier.

Kieve, 62, operates his own firm and specializes in complex domestic and international disputes and legal problems, including civil cases, internal investigations, corporate compliance and arbitrations. A graduate of the University of New Mexico School of Law, he has worked with large firms on the east and west coasts and has been involved with a variety of law-related organizations, such as the ABA House of Delegates, the ABA’s Standing Committee on Federal Judicial Appointments and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights of the Bay Area.

His opponents were Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton attorney David DeGroot, who took 42 percent of the vote, and Tiburon attorney Ronald Goldman, who received less than 10 percent.


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