Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, December 8, 2017


Page 1


LACBA Names CJA’s Top Administrator As Its New Executive Director

Stanley S. Bissey to Assume New Post Jan. 16; Steps Are Taken To Make Relations Smoother Than With Suchil, Cohen


By a MetNews Staff Writer



Incoming LACBA Executive Director

The Los Angeles County Bar Association Board of Trustees has hired Stanley S. Bissey—presently executive director and chief executive officer of the California Judges Association—as the group’s executive director, effective Jan. 16.

Action was taken Wednesday night at LACBA’s monthly board meeting. Bissey, 53, will receive an annual salary of $220,000.

A screening committee narrowed the applicants to three, including Bissey, all from outside of Los Angeles, who were interviewed by trustees at a special session on Nov. 7. The board, in closed session, tentatively decided at its Nov. 15 meeting to hire him, pending arriving at an agreement as to employment terms.

Provisions were inserted in a contract aimed at avoiding problems that arose in connection with his two immediate predecessors.

Previous Difficulties

Earlier this year, relations quickly soured between bar leaders and interim CEO Rick Cohen—who was slated to serve from May 22 through 2018—in light of what some saw as a domineering manner and an inflated notion of the significance of his role. He departed one day short of two months since assuming his $195,000-a-year post.

Sally Suchil was hired in 2009 as “executive director,” and her salary for the year of 2010 was $197,851. By the time she left last Jan. 13, she was “chief executive officer”; her latest reported salary was $374,261 a year (for 2013); and she had drawn enmity of members of the Council of Sections, and others, based on what was viewed as her autocratic wielding of powers.

She received a $350,289 golden handshake.

Terms of Employment

Bissey, unlike Suchil, is at at-will employee, though terms of that employment, envisioned to be for two years, are spelled out in a contract. One of the terms is that upon cessation of his employment, he will receive no compensation beyond unpaid salary.

The title is specified as “executive director,” rather than CEO.

LACBA President Michael E. Meyer, chair of the Los Angeles office of DLA Piper, remarked yesterday that Bissey is “a proven leader and visionary whose unique blend of qualifications and experience in the legal and association communities will benefit LACBA, our sections, volunteers, and staff.” He said the officers and other trustees “look forward to working with Stan as we implement our vision and strategy for LACBA.”

LACBA President-Elect Brian S. Kabateck of Kabateck Brown Kellner, LLP, commented that the selection of Bissey fits in with LACBA’s goals, under its present leadership. Last year, there was a the first contested election in 25 years, with reform candidates—who sought increased openness in LACBA—gaining all officer elective positions and winning all trustee seats for which it had a candidate.

Kabateck said:

“Bringing Stan aboard as LACBA’s executive director is a natural continuation of the changes Michael Meyer and I implemented—along with the Board of Trustees—since taking over leadership less than five months ago. He represents the kind of change we were elected to bring.

“LACBA stands for openness and frankness in promoting the profession of law as well as serving all of the citizens of Los Angeles County. Stan is a great addition to our team.”

Bissey’s Background

Bissey has been at his present post with  the CJA since 2003. He is also executive director of the California Judges Foundation. According to a LACBA press release:

“Bissey and his husband, Lucas, share a passion for travel and time with family in the United States and Germany, for indulging in epicurean adventures from food trucks to Michelin-starred restaurants and for the rare, quiet moment anticipating and planning their next great adventure.”

Unlike Suchil and Cohen, Bissey is not an attorney.

LACBA is now gearing up for a Dec. 18 installation reception at the Biltmore, with brief remarks by U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., along with George J. Mitchell, who was U.S. Senate majority leader from 1989-95. The event, which usually takes place in June or July, was delayed based on uncertainty over this year’s election results, marked by litigation.

Although the bylaws provide that unchallenged choices of the Nominating Committee are automatically elected, it is still necessary for the president to certify the results. The then-president, Margaret Stevens, resisted doing so but, after some Los Angeles Superior Court rulings were made adverse to the position that a new election should be held based on breaches of confidentiality in the nominating process, the litigation was ended with Stevens acquiescing.


Copyright 2017, Metropolitan News Company