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Kelly elected State Bar president

The State Bar Board of Trustees has chosen Patrick M. Kelly, a partner at Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP, to be its 88th president.

In addition, the vice president will be Luis J. Rodriguez, 45, and the treasurer will be Gretchen Nelson, 58. The board elected the new officers for 2012-2013 at its July meeting. All three are from Los Angeles.

Patrick Kelly


Kelly, 69, will be sworn in Oct. 13 at the State Bar Annual Meeting in Monterey along with two newly elected board members, Christopher W. Todd of San Diego and David A. Torres of Bakersfield.

Kelly called it a “tremendous honor” to lead the board, which is united in its mission of public protection.

“One thing that falls within that rubric is making attorneys better prepared, better educated and better able to serve the public,” he said.

In particular, Kelly said he’s concerned about lawyers at either end of the age spectrum. Some in the Baby Boom generation have found themselves “cut adrift from firms or corporations” while young lawyers are having a harder and harder time finding work in the legal profession. Mentorships could help bridge the gap, he said.

 Kelly also said would like to explore whether the bar could play a role in matching younger and older attorneys with pro bono opportunities. Money for legal aid services has dropped off significantly in recent years from $22 million to less than $7 million a year. A large source of legal aid funding is the interest charged to attorney trust accounts. Interest rates are at historic lows with no sign of changing.

Kelly takes office as the makeup of the board continues to shift. Under legislation that went into effect in January, the board is gradually transitioning from 23 to 19 members. The legislation reduces the number of attorneys elected by the membership from 15 to six.

Todd and Torres were elected to three-year terms in July.

Christopher Todd


Todd, 51, will represent bar members who live in District 4, which covers Imperial, Inyo, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange and San Diego counties. Todd is a civil trial lawyer at Wingert Grebing Brubaker & Juskie LLP. He’s held leadership positions in the San Diego County Bar Association, San Diego Defense Lawyers and William L. Todd Jr. chapter of the American Inns of Court.

David Torres


Torres, 51, will represent bar members who live in District 5, which includes Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Stanislaus, Tulare and Tuolumne counties. His private practice focuses on state and criminal defense. He’s held leadership positions in the Kern County Bar Association and the Bench-Bar Coalition of the California Judicial Council. Torres also serves as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve Judge Advocate Generals Corps.