Ronald M. George reshaped California’s legal landscape through sweeping changes he brought to the state’s courts during his 14 years as chief justice, becoming the most influential figure in the judicial system. His announcement last month that he will step down at the end of the year sent shockwaves through California’s legal community.
Moving swiftly to replace retiring Supreme Court Chief Justice
Ronald George, Gov. Schwarzenegger nominated appellate
Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye to the state’s top judicial office last month.
Bill Hebert, a partner at Calvo and Clark in San Francisco, will be sworn in Sept. 25 as the State Bar’s 86th president, after winning election by the board of governors on the fourth ballot last month. Hebert, 49, has presided over the board’s discipline committee for the past year as the bar has been inundated with consumer complaints about lawyers who have engaged in improper loan modification activities.
October Term 2009 will be most remembered for being the last on the Court after 35 years for Justice John Paul Stevens and the first for Justice Sonia Sotomayor. In many ways, it was like the prior four years in which John Roberts was Chief Justice. The Court decided 73 cases after briefing and oral argument, almost the same as the 75 during the year before.
A pedestrian who was struck by a car and suffered injuries that cost her upwards of $25,000 in medical bills and lost wages wants to sue the driver who was unquestionably at fault. The victim’s harms are substantial, but not astronomical, and she has trouble finding a lawyer to take the case. Should the matter ever go to trial, however, all the parties, including the driver’s insurance carrier, face expensive litigation costs.
At the State Bar’s Annual Meeting in Monterey next month, California attorneys will have their pick of 157 continuing education programs on topics ranging from developments in mortgage lending, foreclosure and loan modification to animal law to trade secret protection.
Five attorneys were elected last month to serve three-year terms on the State Bar Board of Governors. In the first hybrid online/paper ballot vote, Karen Goodman of Sacramento won the District 2 seat; Alec Chang of Palo Alto was elected to represent District 3; Loren Kieve of San Francisco won the District 4 seat; Gretchen Nelson of Los Angeles will fill the Seat 1 position in District 7, and Luis Rodriguez of Los Angeles won the district’s second seat. Turnout amounted to 19 percent of those eligible to cast ballots, up from last year’s 16 percent.
Starr Babcock, a member of the State Bar’s senior management team for more than a decade, was named general counsel today. Babcock, who earlier worked in the Office of General Counsel for six years, was hired for the bar’s top legal job by the organization’s board of governors. He assumes the post Aug. 9.
Auditors hired in the wake of an embezzlement scheme by a State Bar employee have given the bar high marks for its internal controls over the expenditure of member dues.