New State Bar executive director and board president will continue the momentum of reforms Thursday, September 7, 2017 Categories: News Releases Two experienced leaders step into new roles at the State Bar of California today to continue the momentum of reforms at the agency. Leah T. Wilson steps into the role of executive director, after serving two years as chief operating officer. Michael G. Colantuono was sworn in as president of the Board of Trustees. Colantuono and Wilson will lead the agency in significant governance and structural reforms aimed at greater accountability, transparency, effectiveness and focus on the State Bar’s public protection mission. Among the reforms: Separation of the State Bar’s Sections under SB 36, the State Bar fee bill, after decades of discussion on the topic. Transition to an all appointed board, and an appointed chair, rather than electing officers and attorney trustees elected by attorneys. Streamlining and alignment of board committees and staffing structure for greater oversight and effectiveness. First-ever comprehensive studies of the California Bar Exam, and recommended options that will be submitted to the California Supreme Court for final consideration and action. “I believe strongly in good government, and in the importance of effective public agencies. To that end, I look forward to working with staff and the board to make the State Bar an example of excellence in serving the public,” said Wilson. “This is a time of reform for the State Bar, and I look forward to continuing that work to protect Californians, promote a diverse profession, and to enhance access to justice by Californians in every community of our state and in all walks of life and of various means,” said Colantuono. More about Leah T. Wilson Wilson served for two years as chief operating officer at the State Bar before a being named to the Executive Director position. She previously served as a court executive officer for the Alameda County Superior Court. Leah Wilson introduction letter More about Michael G. Colantuono Colantuono has served on the State Bar Board of Trustees since 2012, when he was appointed by then-Assembly Speaker John Perez. He was reappointed in 2015 by Speaker Toni Atkins. He has held a number of leadership roles in the State Bar and is a certified specialist in appellate law. His law practice focuses on local government, and he serves as city attorney for Auburn and Grass Valley. Colantuono is also the first openly-LGBT president of the State Bar of California. Also sworn in today are Jason Lee as vice-president and Todd Stevens as treasurer. Additions to the board include Hailyn Chen, appointed by the California Supreme Court and former State Bar President James P. Fox, who was re-appointed by the Court for a second term. Additional appointments by the Governor, Senate Rules Committee and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon are expected in coming weeks. ### The State Bar of California’s mission is to protect the public and includes the primary functions of licensing, regulation and discipline of attorneys; the advancement of the ethical and competent practice of law; and support of efforts for greater access to, and inclusion in, the legal system.