New President, Board Members Sworn in at State Bar Annual Meeting

Contact: Laura Ernde 

415-538-2028 

laura.ernde@calbar.ca.gov

Monterey, Oct. 13, 2012 – Patrick M. Kelly of Los Angeles was sworn in as president at the State Bar's Annual Meeting in Monterey today, along with four new members of the Board of Trustees.

A partner at Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP, Kelly said his top priority will be "securing full and fair access to justice for the citizens of our state" who have been hard hit by the "devastating and unacceptable underfunding of the courts."

"We in the legal community cannot turn a blind eye to the issue," Kelly said in remarks after taking the oath of office administered by Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye. "Because of limited court funding, justice is now being rationed in our state."

Kelly used the acceptance speech as a call to action among lawyers, urging them to become "the U.S. Marine Corps of the judiciary." He said lawyers need to educate the public and the legislature about the importance of the court system to protect the rights of society's most vulnerable as well as ensure a healthy economy. Businesses can't function without a swift and fair way to resolve disputes, the civil litigator said.

A former president of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, Kelly succeeds Keker & Van Nest partner Jon Streeter of San Francisco for a one-year term. Kelly is a graduate of Loyola Law School and chaired the board's Planning, Program Development and Budget Committee.

Four new attorney board members also took the oath of office. Christopher W. Todd of San Diego and David A. Torres of Bakersfield were elected by their fellow lawyers earlier this year. David Pasternak of Los Angeles was appointed by the California Supreme Court and Michael G. Colantuono of Penn Valley was appointed by Speaker of the Assembly John A. Perez.

The new members will serve three-year terms.

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The State Bar of California is an administrative arm of the California Supreme Court, serving the public and seeking to improve the justice system for more than 80 years. All lawyers practicing law in California must be members of the State Bar. By October 2012, membership reached 238,000.