First Latino, public defender in line to head governing
By Amy Yarbrough
Luis Rodriguez is poised to become the State Bar’s next president
by virtue of being the only trustee seeking that office in the July election.
Rodriguez left unspoken the fact that he would be the State
Bar’s first Latino president, talking instead of being the first public
defender to hold the position. And, he joked after scanning a wall filled with
photos of past leaders, the first with a goatee.
“It means a lot to me that this happened for so many
reasons,” Rodriguez said at the May 10 Board of Trustees meeting after CEO
Joseph Dunn announced that Rodriguez would be running unopposed. “It’s a great
Along with the other “firsts,” Rodriguez is currently the
first elected vice president of the board, a position created last year following
the passage of State Bar governance reform legislation Senate Bill 163.
Previously, members of the board automatically became vice presidents in their
third year and only vice presidents could run for president. As a result of the
legislation, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2012, any member of the board can
run for president, the number of vice presidents was reduced to one elected
position and an elected treasurer position was added.
The vice president’s duties, formally approved at the May 10
meeting, include acting as vice chairman of the Board Operations Committee,
co-chairing the board’s annual planning retreat and overseeing meetings when the
president is absent. The vice president would also step in should the
president’s position became vacant. Although there is no automatic succession from
vice president to president, Rodriguez’s candidacy could be indicative of a
Three trustees are running for vice president: Nancy
Fineman, Craig Holden and Pearl Mann. The treasurer’s election is also
contested, with the candidates being Michael Colantuono, David Pasternak and
Heather Rosing. The election will take place at a special meeting held prior to
the Board of Trustees regular meeting on July 19. Candidates will have the
opportunity to submit candidate statements before July 9.
The new officers will be sworn in at the State Bar’s annual
meeting in San Jose in October.