Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Wednesday, March 1, 2017


Page 1


Committee Backs Kabateck as LACBA President-Elect

Nominating Panel Rejects Kiesel’s Bid for Support of Lindsey, Who Lost in Last Year’s Balloting




Consumer attorney Brian S. Kabateck, founder and managing partner of Kabateck Brown Kellner LLP, is the choice of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Nominating Committee for president-elect of the organization, with the committee on Monday night spurning an effort by the immediate past president, Paul Kiesel, to gain backing for someone else.

The MetNews has learned that although Kabateck was favored by President-Elect Michael E. Meyer, who will become LACBA president on July 1, Kiesel pushed for the nomination of Michael K. Lindsey, a partner in Steinbrecher & Span. Meyer, chairman of the Los Angeles offices of DLA Piper, gained his post last June by defeating Lindsey—then LACBA’s senior vice president and treasurer—by a membership vote of 1,273 to 448.

Despite last year’s vote, Kiesel sought to have Lindsey nominated as president-elect this year, and Kabateck to be chosen either as senior vice president or vice president, according to a knowledgeable source.

Kabateck, in an email to members of the Council of Sections, which endorsed him, said he wanted to publicly “thank Mike for his support and trust in me.” Alluding to a gaffe at the Academy Awards presentations on Sunday, Kabateck quipped:

“I did wait a few hours after this announcement was made public to make sure that I wasn’t actually named the president elect nominee by mistake and that the movie ‘Moonlight’ wasn’t the real nominee!”

Lindsey said yesterday he has “no present plans” to seek nomination for the office by gathering 100 signatures of LACBA members.

Unless defeated by some candidate who does run through nomination by petition, Kabateck will become president-elect next July 1 and assume the presidency one year later.

Nominating Committee choices normally gain election without opposition. The contest last year for officer and trustee positions was the first in a quarter of a century.

Clean Sweep

The reform slate of candidates last year won all three elected officer positions and all of the trustee slots for which they competed. Deputy City Attorney Philip H. Lam, a former president of the Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association, as well as the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association, was handily elected as senior vice president and Tamila C. Jensen, a past president of the San Fernando Valley Bar Association, was chosen by a large margin as vice president.

The Nominating Committee on Monday backed Jensen for senior vice president and Lam for the post of vice president.

The reform candidates complained last year that under Kiesel’s administration, deficit spending was eating into LACBA reserves, over-priced events were deterring attendance, that there was excessive secrecy within the organizations (including declining to supply copies of financial statements or bylaws to members), and staff was being mismanaged by then-Chief Executive Officer Sally Suchil.

Then-President Elect Margaret P. Stevens, of Daehnke Stevens LLP, automatically ascended to the presidency last July 1, and since then, practices have been altered, with a balanced budget being produced for the first time in seven years, limited financial information becoming available to members, along with governance documents. Suchil has vacated her post.

Optimism Expressed

Meyer told the MetNews yesterday that he is “thrilled with the result of the vote and more importantly with the intelligence and civility of the discussions.” He revealed that the Nominating Committee was in session Monday for three-and-a-half hours, and said it “ultimately focused on a slate of candidates that would unify the LACBA and allow them to proceed together to make the organization vibrant and energized.”

He praised Stevens and Kiesel “for their efforts in bringing the parties together.”

Stevens said yesterday:

“The quality of all the candidates considered is outstanding. They are some of the top attorneys not only in the community but in the country, and all are firm supporters of LACBA who have demonstrated a commitment to service to the community and to their fellow lawyers in L.A. We expect high achievements from our slate of candidates.”

Charles E. Michaels, a past LACBA president and a leader of the reform movement, remarked:

“Since the contested election in 2016, and under the leadership of President Margaret Stevens and President Elect Mike Meyer, the association has begun a process of reform that’s been long overdue. There are many tough issues and very difficult choices facing the Association, but the 2017-2018 nominated officers and trustees are reform minded, have the best interests of our members at heart, and will serve the association well.

“President Elect Mike Meyer and the nominees should be supported.”

Kabateck’s Statement

Kabateck commented:

“I am anxious to get to work with Michael Meyer and all of the other officers in making the future of the Los Angeles County Bar Association brighter and better for all the lawyers in our community. I am proud to support fiscal conservancy and to advocate for change, where change is welcome and needed, but at the same time protecting those services that address the needs of our members.

“Moreover, we need to continue working with younger lawyers to make the Bar relevant to their needs and their future. In my work as the current chairman of the Board of Directors of Loyola Law School, as the former president of Consumer Attorneys of California, as well as my ongoing work in politics in Sacramento advocating for access to justice for all Californians, I strive try to make both the practice of law and the lives of others better.”

Kabateck is credited with having reformed operations of the Consumer Attorneys while president in 2012-13.

He was president of the Century City Bar Association in 2005-06, and served as a LACBA trustee in 2000-03 and 2006-07.

Nominated as trustees are the following persons:

At-Large Trustees

Susan J. Booth, Tanya Forsheit, Jennifer W. Leland.

Section Trustees:

Kristin Adrian, Corporate Law Departments Section; Matthew W. McMurtrey, Trusts and Estates Section; Kevin L. Vick, Entertainment Law and Intellectual Property Section.

Affiliate Trustees:

Firoozeh “Faye” Nia, Iranian American Lawyers Association; Michael R. Sohigian, Beverly Hills Bar Association; Felix Woo, Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association.


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