Monday, August 10, 2015
State Bar Names Vanessa L. Holton General Counsel
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Vanessa L. Holton, a veteran of 27 years in state government, has been chosen by the Board of Trustees as the next general counsel of the State Bar of California, President Craig Holden said Friday.
Holton, currently assistant chief counsel of the state Department of Industrial Relations, will assume the new post sometime prior to the group’s October convention, the president said.
“The board is pleased to welcome such a savvy and experienced attorney to provide sage counsel to the State Bar on a wide range of legal issues,” Holden said in a statement. “The board was impressed with her acumen and we are confident she will excel in this new position.”
Holton has worked for the DIR since 1988, having served as chief counsel for eight years before being named assistant chief counsel in 2012. Before joining the department, she served for five years as an attorney for the Communications Workers of America, representing the union in arbitration, collective bargaining and other matters.
She has also served for many years as a consultant to the National Conference of Bar Examiners and to the California Bar Exam and Legal Specialization Unit. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley and UC Hastings College of the Law.
“I am excited to serve as the chief legal officer for the State Bar, and I am looking forward to grappling with the diverse legal issues it faces in pursuing its highest priority of protecting the public,” Holton said.
As general counsel, Holton will lead a staff of about 20 lawyers and answer to the Board of Trustees, the State Bar said. “Among her duties will be to provide legal analysis on laws and proposed legislation, advice on contracts and labor relations, representation in courts and administrative agencies and counsel to the State Bar in discipline and admission cases before the California Supreme Court,” the release said.
Holton’s selection completes the reorganization of the State Bar’s top executive management.
Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, the former dean at McGeorge School of Law, was named the organization’s new executive director in late July, while Alameda Superior Court executive Leah Wilson was named the bar’s first chief operating officer last week.
The chief operating officer position replaces that of deputy executive director. Robert Hawley, the current acting executive director, will leave that position at the end of September.
Parker replaces the fired Joseph Dunn, while the previous general counsel, Thomas Miller, was named to the position in March of last year and terminated in November, shortly after Dunn.
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