Thursday, July 5, 2001
Balloting Underway in State Bar Board of Governors Race
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer/Appellate Courts
Ballots are in the mail for the election of State Bar Board of Governors members, the State Bar confirmed Tuesday.
Under the previously published schedule, voting will continue until Aug. 17 for the two seats being contested, including one in Los Angeles County. Patricia Lobello-Lamb, a partner in the San Dimas firm of Lamb Morris & Lobello, faces Matthew Cavanaugh, who is of counsel in the Los Angeles office of Akin Gump Strauss and is also a teacher at Whittier School of Law and a real estate broker.
The winner will get a three-year term on the State Bar’s governing body. Of the 16 lawyer members of the board, five are elected each year by attorneys within the various districts, with the California Young Lawyers Association choosing one annually.
Five of the 15 elected lawyer members represent Los Angeles County, which is District 7. Two of those seats are up this year, but former California Attorney General John K. Van de Kamp is unopposed and deemed elected under State Bar rules.
The only other contested seat this year is in District 3, on the eastern side of San Francisco Bay. Marie Weiner of Cotchett, Pitre & Simon in Burlingame, Michael K. Schmier of Emeryville, Michael Lynn Gabriel of Redwood City and Holden W. Green of Los Gatos are the candidates.
Joining Van de Kamp as automatic winners are Windie Scott and Russell Roeca.
Scott, who works for the California Workforce Investment Board in Sacramento, will represent District 2, covering Sacramento and adjacent foothill areas. Roeca, of the San Francisco firm of Roeca, Haas and Hager, will be the new member from District 4, covering San Francisco and Marin counties.
Cavanugh did not return a MetNews phone call Tuesday afternoon. Lobello said she has yet to meet her opponent, although Lobello says they have exchanged voice mail messages.
Both candidates have posted statements on the State Bar’s website. Lobello’s can be found at http://www.calbar.org/2new/candid/lamb.html and Cavanaugh’s at http://www.calbar.org/2new/candid/cavanaugh.html.
Cavanaugh has posited himself as an insurgent, opposing “the insular nature of the bar” and the fact that “[l]ocal bar activists traditionally hand select governor candidates.”
He has called for governance by “everyday members” and has urged elimination of “outmoded rules” that “prevent [attorneys] from competing in the modern economy” by barring multidisciplinary practice.
Lobello, who said she’s prepared to debate Cavanaugh on those points, said she’s proud to be what some derisively refer to as a “bar junkie.” She is past president—and the endorsed candidate—of the Breakfast Club, a group that has been backing successful Board of Governors candidates for decades, and has been an officer of other bar groups as well.
“I’ve been willing to spend my voluntary time and energy to improve the practice of law,” she told the MetNews. “That’s a good thing from my point of view.”
She also said she felt the need for caution before changing rules that inhibit multidisciplinary practice, such as those against sharing of fees with non-lawyers. One issue that needs to be studied, she commented, is how the changes would affect the attorney-client privilege.
The current Breakfast Club president, JoAnn W. Grace—who is co-publisher of the MetNews—said she expected the club’s tradition of endorsing winners to continue.
“We have a fantastic candidate with great credentials,” Grace said of Lobello.
The winner not only has to represent lawyers in Los Angeles County, Grace commented, but has to work with other board members from around the state. Lobello’s long history of bar activism proves that she can do that, Grace said.
The winner of the seat will take office at the conclusion of the State Bar’s annual convention in September.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company