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Two new executives join State Bar

The State Bar Board of Trustees has hired Leah T. Wilson as its first chief operations officer and Vanessa L. Holton as general counsel.

The two executives, along with incoming Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, will start their jobs this month.

Leah Wilson

Wilson, 42, previously was the court executive officer for Alameda County Superior Court, which has a staff of nearly 700 and a $100 million budget. She is a graduate of the University of California Diego and received master’s and law degrees from UC Berkeley.

As chief operations officer, Wilson is on contract to the board, but answers to the executive director and will provide operations oversight and support for the organization, including information technology (IT), budget, personnel, facilities and other areas.

“The board is pleased to welcome a talented and innovative administrator with experience in addressing the fiscal, programmatic, and organizational cultural issues that often define an organization’s success,” State Bar President Craig Holden said. He called Wilson and Parker “our ‘dream team’ of State Bar management.”

Wilson said she is honored by the opportunity to “tackle head-on the operations issues facing the organization.”

Vanessa Holton

Holton, 63, comes to the bar from the California Department of Industrial Relations, where she has served as assistant chief counsel and as chief counsel to the legal unit of more than 75. She has worked there since 1988.

Before that, Holton served for five years as an attorney for the Communications Workers of America, where she represented the labor organization in arbitration, collective bargaining and other matters. She has also served for many years as a consultant to the National Conference of Bar Examiners and to the California Bar Exam and Legal Specialization Unit. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley and UC Hastings College of the Law.

“I am excited to serve as the chief legal officer for the State Bar, and I am looking forward to grappling with the diverse legal issues it faces in pursuing its highest priority of protecting the public,” Holton said.

Holden said the board was impressed with Holton’s acumen and is “pleased to welcome such a savvy and experienced attorney to provide sage counsel to the State Bar on a wide range of legal issues.”