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Hebert sworn in as the State Bar’s 86th president

Ron George and Bill Hebert
Justice Ron George and Bill Hebert

Recalling a horrific event in his personal life that only increased his respect for the legal profession, Bill Hebert of San Francisco’s Calvo & Clark was sworn in as the State Bar’s 86th president last month. Hebert, 49, who was sworn in by Chief Justice Ronald George, succeeds Howard Miller of Los Angeles.

During his inaugural speech, the new president told of the 2001 murder of his father in his hometown of Iowa City, Iowa. Twenty-six-year-old Bradley Hylton, the sidekick of an older man wanted by the police for sexual assault on a minor, confessed to the killing and was sentenced to life in prison.

Hebert said the prosecutor led his family through the case and made them “feel like he was our lawyer, not just the state’s lawyer.” At the same time, Hebert added, he respected defense lawyers for allowing Hylton to confess. “They didn’t stand in the way, but they respected their client’s wishes to clear his conscience.” Attorneys on both sides of the case were both kind and skillful, he said. “I appreciated these skills when my family needed them most.”

“The chance to help people through troubled times is why so many of us become lawyers,” said Hebert, a graduate of Stanford University and UC-Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. “It is the defining trait of a good lawyer. Because lawyers are involved in so many of the major events of our lives, a good lawyer can guide us through those events, whether bad or good: the lawsuit to recover for injuries in a car crash, the divorce, the bankruptcy, the writing of a will, the lawsuit that overturns an unfair business practice or nullifies a law rooted in bigotry or hatred.”

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 talked of the many lawyers who consistently work for the good of others and for the community, including his wife, Lori Schechter, an attorney at Morrison and Foerster, “who has spent countless hours of pro bono service on issues relating to the rights of minors and children.” 

Hebert indicated that he was the beneficiary of the kind of influence and mentorship provided by such local leaders. Hylton wasn’t. Hylton was just “a lost young man,” Hebert said.

The State Bar “has helped promote just the kinds of things I’ve been talking about: community service, promoting diversity in the professions, promoting pro bono services for the poor, pushing for access to justice and granting scholarships for deserving law students,” he said.