Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Kelly: Los Angeles Could Lose Seat on State Bar Board
By STEVEN M. ELLIS, Staff Writer
A member of the State Bar Board of Governors confirmed yesterday that Los Angeles County could possibly lose one of its five seats on the 23-member board this year as part of the reapportionment process which takes place each decade.
Board member Patrick M. Kelly said he was part of a committee studying the redistribution of seats among the state’s nine districts and told the MetNews that District Seven—which represents all of Los Angeles County—could face changes based on data to be provided by the State Bar.
But Kelly—a managing partner for Wilson Elser’s Los Angeles office—cautioned that it was premature to speculate on which districts might gain or lose representation, noting that the committee has not yet started its work and that any results would represent “a math-driven issue.”
“The numbers will show what they show, and we will respond.”
Business and Professions Code Sec. 6012.5 provides for adjustment of State Bar districts every 10 years, beginning in 1990, with the primary consideration being “the development of an equitable distribution of attorney members to governors in each district,” except for certain districts containing rural counties.
Under that formulation, districts with areas that have seen high growth in the last decade but which currently have only one seat on the board—such as District Eight, which includes Orange County, and District Nine, which includes San Diego and Imperial counties—might be entitled to an increase in representation.
Kelly called it a “misnomer” to describe the committee’s work as “redistricting,” noting that it is tasked only with determining how many representatives each district will have.
“I would be happy to approach [redrawing the districts themselves],” he said, “but that’s not the charge” the committee was given.
He added that he would be meeting in two weeks with the other members of the committee—Board of Governors members Wells B. Lyman and Joseph L. Chairez—to “initiate the process” and said he expected to complete the process and present the committee’s report to the Board of Governors by July 1, the deadline currently imposed by state law.
Last fall the State Bar sought public comment on a proposal to amend the State Bar’s rules to move the committee’s deadline up to Feb. 1, when nominating petitions for seats on the board become available. The proposal remains pending, but Kelly said it was possible the committee could complete its work by that time.
Chairez is District Eight’s representative on the board, while Lyman represents District Nine. Neither could be reached for comment.
Under District Seven’s current configuration, its five seats are filled in a 2-2-1 pattern: two seats are up for election in one year, followed by two other seats the next year and then the one remaining seat in a third year. Kelly was elected to represent District Seven last year, while Angela Joy Davis and James H. Aguirre were elected to represent the district in 2008. Rex Heinke and Michael D. Marcus were elected in 2007.
The Board of Governors is the State Bar’s governing body. Fifteen of its members are lawyers elected by members of the State Bar, and a 16th lawyer is elected by the California Young Lawyers Association Board of Directors.
The board also has four “public” non-lawyer members appointed by the governor, one appointed by the state Senate Committee on Rules and one by the Speaker of the Assembly. The 23rd member is the State Bar president, who is elected by the other board members to serve a fourth year as the bar’s chief officer.
The board meets approximately eight times a year to debate organizational, policy and professional issues.
Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company