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MCLE Self-Assessment Test

Board of Trustees welcomes former LA Times exec

By Amy Yarbrough
Staff Writer

The State Bar’s Board of Trustees welcomed one new member last month and will have at least two others come October.

Renee LaBran

On March 5, Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Renée LaBran, 55, of La Cañada Flintridge, to a public seat on the board. LaBran participated in her first board meeting via conference call at the end of last month.

LaBran and the other board members will be joined later this year by San Diego attorney Todd F. Stevens, who was elected to the Board of Trustees last month, and Brandon N. Stallings, who was deemed elected after he was the only candidate to run in his district. Both will be sworn in at the State Bar’s Annual Meeting Oct. 8 through 11 in Anaheim.

LaBran, who filled one of the four vacant public seats on the board appointed by the governor, is a partner at Rustic Canyon-Fontis Partners, a private equity firm based in Pasadena. Before joining the firm in 2006, she held a number of positions with the Los Angeles Times, including vice president.

LaBran told the Bar Journal that she was looking for a new opportunity to do public service and after talking with the governor's appointments secretary the Board of Trustees seemed like a good choice given her interests and skills.

"I work with many attorneys in my professional life, and am a sophisticated user of legal services," she wrote in an email. "I also know from my nonprofit work with a Child and Family Services agency how important access to the judicial system can be, so I felt that protecting the public interest in this regard would be a good fit with my skills and my personal values."

Todd Stevens

A civil litigator and shareholder in the San Diego Law firm of Keeney Waite & Stevens, Stevens, 52, was elected in District 4, which is made up of six counties: Imperial, Inyo, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego.

Stevens ran against sole practitioner Teresa A. McQueen and Scott C. Smith, a partner in Best Best & Krieger’s municipal law practice, both of whom work in Irvine. Turnout for the election was 15 percent of those attorneys eligible to cast votes.  

In his candidate statement, Stevens said that he plans to “continue supporting educational opportunities for new and diverse members of our profession” and wants to encourage lawyers to do pro bono and get involved with the State Bar or their local bar associations.

“I know that lawyers, with the right opportunities and tools, affect positive change in the profession and society,” he wrote.

Brandon Stallings

Stallings, 31, comes from District 5, which covers Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Stanislaus, Tulare and Tuolumne counties. A Bakersfield resident, he is a prosecutor in the Kern County District Attorney’s Office.

Active in the Kern County Bar Association, Stallings has served in various roles, including president of its Young Lawyer Section and member of the board of directors.

“Through serving on these boards, I have seen the necessity of training young attorneys to represent our profession in a manner that personifies our ethical standards,” he wrote in his candidate statement.

The governing and policy-making body of the 253,000-member State Bar, the board is made up of 19 trustees and the State Bar president. It meets approximately eight times a year.