Share this on Twitter Share this on Facebook Share this on Linked In Share this by Email
MCLE Self-Assessment Test

State Bar board welcomes new president, trustees

By Laura Ernde
Staff Writer

As Craig Holden prepared to take the oath as State Bar president last month, he drew the crowd’s attention to a historic moment: The chief justice, the incoming president and the outgoing president who shared the stage each “represent the rich tapestry of diversity in the state of California.”

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and Craig Holden
Outgoing State Bar President Luis J. Rodriguez, left, and Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye welcome incoming President Craig Holden.
Photo by S. Todd Rogers

When the applause died down, he got serious. “But don’t be fooled by the optics,” he said. “We have more work to do. We need to promote and support diversity pipeline initiatives that ensure that we have a strong supply of diverse students in the next generation of leaders coming into the profession.”

In his Sept. 13 inaugural address, Holden made it clear that his top priorities will be ensuring that the bar’s admissions and discipline systems are running at an exceptional level and supporting Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye as she works to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the court system.

Beyond that, Holden, 44, indicated that he takes a broad view of the bar’s mission of public protection. In addition to the need for diversity in the profession, Holden spoke of enabling mentorship opportunities for lawyers and improving access to justice for the people of the state.

“Regulation is our most important function, but it’s not all that we do,” Holden said. “We are also policymakers. And it’s smart policy to help lawyers become better lawyers so they can better serve the public through increased competency, professionalism and ethics.”

Craig Holden
Craig Holden takes the oath.
Photo by S. Todd Rogers

Holden is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith LLP, where his practice focuses on intellectual property and commercial litigation and he chairs the firm's commercial litigation practice group.

Outgoing President Luis J. Rodriguez said he was proud of Holden on his inauguration as the 90th president of the bar.

Also taking the oath of office at the ceremony were Vice President Heather Linn Rosing, 43, of Klinedinst PC in San Diego, and Treasurer Michael Colantuono, 42, of Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley PC in Penn Valley. The officers will serve one-year terms.

Two new board members were also sworn in for three-year terms: Janet Lee Brewer, 64, of Palo Alto, who was elected by attorneys in District 6, and Terrance W. Flanigan, 67, of Sacramento, who was appointed by the California Supreme Court. Two other incoming board members will be sworn in for their three-year terms at a later date. They are James P. Fox of San Mateo, who was appointed by the Supreme Court, and Danette Meyers of Los Angeles, who was elected by attorneys in District 2.

Also at the ceremony, Rodriguez presented presidential recognition awards to five honorees:

  • University of La Verne College of Law Dean Gilbert Holmes, for his contributions to access to justice through the school’s innovative “true tuition” model.
  • Attorneys Paul Kiesel of Kiesel Law LLP and Niall McCarthy of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy LLP – co-chairs of the Open Courts Coalition – for their contributions to access to justice.
  • Bakersfield attorney Jeanne Rubin, for her efforts in mentorship and civics education.
  • Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, for public protection. Gonzalez authored legislation aimed at preventing immigration fraud.