Tuesday, May 20, 2003
Fresno Attorney Anthony P. Capozzi Elected to State Bar Presidency
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Fresno attorney Anthony P. Capozzi has been elected president of the State Bar of California for 2003-2004.
Board of Governors members elected Capozzi Saturday as the organization’s 79th president. The 57-year-old litigator defeated Nancy Hoffmeier Zamora, of the Los Angeles firm of Hoffmeier and Zamora, in the voting.
The vote was taken by secret ballot, and the count was not announced. Zamora could not be reached for comment on the election result.
Capozzi, who has his own practice, emphasizing civil litigation and white-collar criminal defense in federal court, as well as appeals, will succeed James Herman of Santa Barbara at the bar’s annual convention in September.
Local Bar Groups
Capozzi is a third-year member of the Board of Governors—a requirement for candidates for the presidency, and chairs the board’s finance committee. He is also a former president of the Fresno County Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association, San Joaquin Chapter—positions he held simultaneously in the late 1990s.
He expects to spend the next four months “following Jim Herman around and doing what he does,” he told the MetNews. Herman “is doing a tremendous job,” Capozzi said, adding that he hopes to build on the current president’s successes.
The president-elect made his first appearance in that capacity Saturday night, when he accompanied Herman to a local bar function in Yuba City.
Herman said he’s happy to have Capozzi available to help with “a lot of heavy lifting” that needs to be done in the last four months of his term. His successor, he said, “is going to be a terrific president” because “he’s a real consensus-builder, he has vision both in principle and in practice, and he believes in the same things I do—pride in the profession. access to justice and helping the membership.”
Capozzi said he will give priority to improving the image of the profession.
“The public really doesn’t know ...what lawyers do for society,” he commented. “We do a lot...we make sure the rule of law is enforced.”
Other priorities, he said, will be to “make the bar more efficient and effective” and to work on projects, such as the sale of insurance products, that will both deliver services to lawyers and raise revenues without raising dues.
The Buffalo, N.Y. native said he is proud of the profession, although he was attacked publicly for being a member of it.
He ran for mayor of Fresno in 1989, losing to then-City Council member Karen Humphrey. His opponent ran a television ad, he recalled, featuring the image of a police officer telling voters that “we all make choices in life,” and that Capozzi had chosen to become a lawyer, and a criminal defense lawyer at that.
Century City lawyer David Marcus, a first-year board member who said he voted for Capozzi, predicted the new president would represent the organization well. “He is universally respected among the Board of Governors members and he’ll bring a great deal of energy into helping to make the bar more relevant to the members.”
Capozzi’s extensive political connections were not a factor in his election, Marcus opined, but won’t hurt.
Was Federal Prosecutor
Capozzi was an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California, based in Fresno, from 1973 to 1979. He became the top assistant in the Fresno office just six months after he arrived, and was a finalist for the position of U.S. attorney under President Jimmy Carter.
He did not get the appointment, but remained a supporter of Carter and became active in local, state and national politics after opening his own practice in January 1979. He campaigned for Carter in 1980 and for Walter Mondale in 1984, attending the Democratic national conventions both years as a member of the California delegation.
He also played leading roles as a campaigner and fundraiser for governors Jerry Brown, who favored him with a Regional Water Quality Control Board appointment, and Gray Davis, and for the late Tom Bradley when he ran for governor in 1982. He didn’t only favor Democrats, however, backing George Deukmejian’s successful bid for re-election as governor in 1986.
Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company