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Hebert elected the State Bar’s 86th president

Bill Hebert
Bill Hebert

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. The board recently hired a new chief trial counsel to oversee the bar’s disciplinary arm and the president-elect said he believes there are efficiencies “we can wring out of the system.”

He promised to run the bar as he chaired the committee: “I will preside over the board fairly. I’ll make sure it is involved in every decision and I’ll ensure cohesion within the board.” He said he has emphasized communication during the past year and will continue that policy. The coming year will be transitional and Hebert said he expects it will be largely devoted to integrating four new members of the senior management team. The bottom line, he said, is to “continue to look for ways to keep costs under control at the bar while not adversely impacting member services and our mission related to access to justice.”

Hebert also said a recent proposal by an academic watchdog group to eliminate an elected board of governors, replace it with appointed members and increase the number of non-lawyer governors “deserves study. I don’t think the sky would fall if the structure changes.” At the same time, he said, he doesn’t want any bar costs shifted to taxpayers. He explained that some work traditionally done by lawyers, such as revising the rules of professional conduct, might shift to the taxpayer-funded Administrative Office of the Courts if it feels such work deserves expertise a public board might not have.

He also said he favors requiring malpractice insurance for lawyers under certain conditions, such as making sure it is affordable and does not discourage lawyers, especially those who are retired, from doing pro bono work.

Hebert said the State Bar’s first responsibility is public protection, followed by its responsibilities to its members and to the Supreme Court. Because he did not come to the bar board through local bar activities, as many governors do, he said he is not beholden to any particular constituency.

A graduate of Stanford University and Boalt Hall School of Law at UC-Berkeley, Hebert represents clients in business litigation, patent and trademark infringement, false advertising and California’s Unfair Competition Law. He serves on the boards of the San Francisco Legal Aid Society and the Public Interest Law Project. He is a former managing partner of the San Francisco office of Coudert Brothers LLP and was of counsel at Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis LLP.

Hebert lives in Oakland with his wife, Morrison & Foerster partner Lori Schechter, and their two children, Nicole, 11, and Jordan, 9.