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MCLE Self-Assessment Test

IP attorney to join Board of Trustees

By Amy Yarbrough
Staff Writer

A Sacramento-area intellectual property lawyer will join the State Bar’s Board of Trustees this fall after being deemed elected in District 3.

Joanna Mendoza

Joanna R. Mendoza, 49, of Granite Bay was the only candidate to run in District 3, comprised of 23 Northern California counties: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Mono, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo and Yuba.

A sole practitioner who specializes in intellectual property and general and complex business litigation, Mendoza has volunteered with various State Bar groups for 10 years, including serving as chairwoman of the Intellectual Property Law Section and as co-chairman of the Council of State Bar Sections. Mendoza said she saw running for the Board of Trustees was a “natural progression” because she already understands the State Bar and how to be effective within the organization.

“Having been involved in the State Bar for a while, I know it takes a good year or two to understand how everything works,” she said. “When you first start volunteering, you’re kind of lost. It’s a big organization.”

Mendoza, who has two sons with her husband Joseph, attributes her longtime interest in volunteering to having grown up in a family that struggled to make ends meet. As a child, Mendoza lived in government housing, and she and her mom received food stamps during a period when her mother was unemployed. Mendoza earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, San Diego and a law degree from UC Berkeley School of Law with the help of grants.

“I really feel that I have an obligation to give back because of that,” she said.

In the other Board of Trustees election this year, two attorneys have filed to run in District 1, comprising Alameda, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Solano and Sonoma counties. They are Daniel Dean, a San Francisco trial attorney whose practice focuses on complex personal injury and public entity liability, and Omid E. Talai, an assistant district attorney with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.

In his candidate statement, Talai, 30, wrote that he sees serving on the Board of Trustees as “a unique opportunity to continue to service his immediate and surrounding community.” Dean, 47, wrote of his “strong commitment to community service.”

Ballots for District 1 were mailed on April 30. The last day for voting is July 1. Mendoza and other new board members will take office at the conclusion of the 2013 State Bar Annual Meeting, scheduled from Oct. 10 to 13 in San Jose.