Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, July 27, 2015


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David J. Pasternak Elected State Bar President




The State Bar Board of Trustees, meeting in Los Angeles Friday, elected Century City attorney David J. Pasternak as president of the State Bar for 2015-2016.

Another local lawyer, Deputy District Attorney Danette Meyers, was elected treasurer. Former San Mateo County District Attorney James Fox was chosen vice president.


State Bar of California President-elect

Pasternak, 64, will be sworn in at when the State Bar meets in October in Anaheim. Pasternak defeated the current vice president, Heather Rosing, in voting by the trustees and will be the 91st president.

“I am deeply honored by the support of my colleagues on the Board of Trustees and I look forward to continuing to help the State Bar continue its mission of public protection, following in the footsteps of outgoing President Craig Holden,” Pasternak told the MetNews.

Unique Challenges

The next president will face a number of unique challenges, including working with a completely new senior management team and trying to resolve a contentious lawsuit brought by former Executive Director Joseph Dunn.

Pasternak, however, said he had no intent of allowing those issues to detract from the organization’s other work, including trying to persuade the governor and Legislature of the wisdom of  “preserving access to courts [through] adequate funding” and seeking  “adequate funding for legal services” for the poor and affordable representation for those who do not qualify for free services.

As for the Dunn lawsuit, Pasternak said it was “going in the right direction” after Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff last month granted the State Bar’s motion to compel arbitration of the dispute.

Pasternak’s work on the Board of Trustees has included serving as an active member of multiple committees and task forces, including the Executive Committee; the Regulation, Admissions and Discipline Oversight Committee; Senior Lawyers Working Group; Planning and Budget Committee; and the Task Force on Admissions Regulation Reform. He also chaired the Stakeholders and Access to Justice Committee, and among other things co-led the board oversight of the State Bar’s Case Management System and Board Book revision projects.

Previous Experience

Pasternak, a partner in the firm of Pasternak, Pasternak & Patton, previously served as president of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, president of Bet Tzedek Legal Services and president of the Chancery Club.

He also chaired a Los Angeles City Council Advisory Committee and dozens of committees for an array of bar associations, including the Beverly Hills Bar Association, the Association of Business Trial Lawyers, and the American Bar Association. His work with the County Bar has spanned decades, as he headed the Barristers group for young lawyers in 1983-84 and the Senior Lawyers Section more than 30 years later.

He and his wife/law partner, Cynthia Pasternak, were among three recipients of the MetNews “Person of the Year” awards for 2013.

The State Bar board last year completed its legislatively mandated transition from a 23-member body, formerly titled the Board of Governors and made up primarily of lawyer representatives from around the state, to a smaller body that includes five appointees of the Supreme Court, an elected lawyer representative from each of the six state appellate districts, six public members, and two attorneys appointed by the state legislative leadership.

SB 163

Pasternak was the first Supreme Court appointee under SB 163, in 2012. His term under the original act is set to expire this year, however, under subsequent legislation, a member in the last year of a term is eligible to be elected president, enabling him or her to serve an additional year. 

Meyers, 57, defeated Granite Bay attorney Joanne Mendoza in Friday’s voting. Meyers was elected to the board last year by Second Appellate District attorneys.

Meyers served as president of the County Bar in 2007-2008. She ran for Los Angeles County district attorney in 2012, finishing in fourth place with more than 13 percent of the vote in a six-candidate race.

She has served on the State Bar Complaints, Audit and Review Board, the Board of Directors of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, and the LACBA delegation to the State Bar Conference of Delegates.

Fox, 70, defeated the current treasurer, Michael Colantuono, for the vice presidency. Fox was appointed to the Board of Trustees last year by the Supreme Court.

He began his legal career in his county’s District Attorney’s Office in 1970, left for private practice in 1974, and was elected district attorney in 1982. He served 28 years before stepping down in in December 2010.

Fox served as a member of the State Bar’s Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation from 1980 to 1982. He has also served on the Judicial Council and on several of its advisory committees.


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