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Experienced Trial Lawyer Becomes State Bar Leader During Challenging Times

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 24, 2014

The Editor Interviews Craig Holden, President of the State Bar of California and a partner in the Los Angeles office of Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith LLP, where he chairs the firm’s National Commercial Litigation Practice.

Editor: First, congratulations on becoming the 90th president of the State Bar of California. Describe for our readers your path to becoming president.

Holden: When I started practicing law some 20 years ago, I had mentors who encouraged me to become active in the State Bar, which I did by participating as a speaker in the State Bar’s educational programming and taking on various leadership roles. My leadership roles started by serving on the Executive Committee for the Law Practice Management and Technology Section and I then went on to serve on the Intellectual Property Section Executive Committee. Soon after I formed and chaired the IP Litigation Committee, which was a good opportunity to get involved in cutting-edge IP and complex litigation issues. We took trips to Washington, DC and met with the Registrar of Copyrights, the chief judge of the Federal Circuit and the head of the Patent and Trademark Office, which gave me enormous exposure to policy-making opportunities, and fueled my desire to stay involved in bar leadership.

I was also active in efforts to diversify the profession and leadership of the bar by encouraging bar leadership to engage in more outreach to recruit from specialty and minority bar organizations. This effort resulted in my founding, along with another lawyer, what was then called the State Bar Diversity Coalition, which helped coordinate efforts between various sections, committees, councils and other organizations of the State Bar that were attempting to diversify their membership and encourage members to get involved with the leadership of the State Bar. I also served on the State Bar Diversity Pipeline Task Force, and I went on to chair the State Bar’s Council on Access & Fairness, which is a diversity think tank for the profession. In this role I worked with corporate counsel, law schools, law departments and firms to develop diversity initiatives that could be replicated by other organizations. Friends and colleagues asked me to continue serving, so I went on to serve on the State Bar Board, which was then called the Board of Governors and is now called the Board of Trustees. After serving for a year I was elected vice president and am now the 90th President as of this past September.


Read the whole story at The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel

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