THE STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIA
Created by the Legislature in 1927, the State Bar of California is a public corporation within the Judicial Branch of state government, serving as an administrative arm of the California Supreme Court. The State Bar licenses attorneys and regulates the profession and practice of law in California by administering the California Bar Exam; enforcing Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys; disciplining attorneys who violate rules and laws; advancing access to justice; and promoting diversity and inclusion in the legal system.
The State Bar of California is the largest State Bar in the country and one of the largest in the world. The State Bar licenses more than 250,000 attorneys, investigates approximately 16,000 complaints of attorney misconduct annually, and distributes over $50 million in grants each year to legal aid organizations (more than $60 million in 2019). It is headquartered in San Francisco and also has an office in Los Angeles.
“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 the promotion of efforts for greater access to, and inclusion in, the legal system.”
The State Bar is led by a Board of Trustees and managed by staff. The Board of Trustees serves as the State Bar’s governing body and develops the guiding policies and principles underpinning its regulatory mission. The Board is comprised of 13 members that include five attorneys appointed by the California Supreme Court, two attorneys appointed by the Legislature; and six “public” (non-attorney) members appointed by the Legislature and the Governor. The Executive Director, through and with the Bar’s Leadership Team of seven Division Chiefs, is responsible for ensuring that the organization fulfills its mission and achieves the specific goals outlined in the Bar’s strategic plan.
The State Bar is organized into seven functional divisions: Office of General Counsel, Office of Chief Trial Counsel, State Bar Court, Office of Finance, Programs Division, Administrative Division, and Mission Advancement & Accountability Division.
THE OFFICE OF ACCESS & INCLUSION
The newly-minted State Bar Office of Access & Inclusion brings together grantmaking of the Legal Services Trust Fund Program, policymaking of the Center on Access to Justice, and the State Bar’s diversity work. This restructure will focus the State Bar’s access and inclusion work and build a framework to ensure that innovations and policy developments guide decisions about discretionary legal services grants and other grantmaking and vice versa.
One core function of this office is to oversee the State Bar's legal aid grants benefitting organizations providing direct legal services to low-income Californians, including immigrants, seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities. Through these grants, the State Bar ensures that all Californians have access to qualified, ethical attorneys. The office also guides State Bar policy on access to justice and legal services, staffing the California Commission on Access to Justice and delivering on the access goals and objectives set forth in the State Bar’s strategic plan. The office is also responsible for leading the Bar on diversity and inclusion initiatives, through the Coalition on Access and Fairness and Bar driven initiatives. These initiatives support the goal of increasing diversity in the legal profession with a goal that the legal profession reflect the diversity of California.
As a member of the Executive Management Team, the Director is responsible for planning, directing, and managing efforts to achieve the access to justice and diversity and inclusion missions of the State Bar.
The new Director will be joining the Bar at an exciting time of transformation and refinement, including an expansive governance review, reorganization, and recommitment to equity. The Director will operationalize this commitment in the organization’s daily work and cultivate and maintain a workplace culture that values equity and diversity, is culturally competent, and in which all staff are supported, inspired, included, and open to change and growth.
Addressing the Justice Gap
The State Bar is embarking on an exciting statewide Justice Gap Study, slated for completion by the end of 2019. The Director will be charged with managing the study and its many component parts to completion. The Director will be expected to assess how the results of the study could or should guide the important grantmaking activities of the office. The Director will also be charged with developing new approaches to serve modest means Californians, exploring issues on the right to counsel, and improving the diversity in the legal profession.
Advocate on Behalf of Californians
The Director will serve as a liaison and spokesperson to the judicial branch, legal services organizations, law schools, and other local, state, and national entities regarding access to justice and diversity and inclusion related issues and activities.
Liaise with Appointed Commissions and Partners
The Director provides staff support to the California Commission on Access to Justice, the Council on Access and Fairness, and the Legal Services Trust Fund Commission, and is responsible for strategizing, spearheading, and managing various access to justice, inclusion, and diversity initiatives relevant to these commissions. Also, as a continuation of ongoing governance review activities, the Director will evaluate the efficacy of these commissions and suggest improvements or changes to the Executive Leadership team and implement changes approved by the Board of Trustees.
QUALIFICATIONS OF THE IDEAL CANDIDATE
While no one candidate will embody all the qualifications enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences
* An inclusive, visionary leader with demonstrated experience effectively inspiring and leveraging staff, community, and partner relationships toward impact
* Experience developing or improving organizational capacity, with an eye toward opportunities for process improvement
* Demonstrated leadership in a large, dynamic organization including strategic and fiscal oversight, including budget development experience
* Excellent writing, analytical, and oral communication skills
* Deep knowledge of the legal services community across the state, including a keen understanding of the issues faced by underrepresented groups in a legal context
* An understanding of the importance of advocacy in broader policy and public relations contexts, and a facility for advancing justice, equity, and inclusion through such channels
* A Law Degree and significant nonprofit management experience in the legal aid or social justice fields
More information about the State Bar of California may be found at: www.calbar.ca.gov
This search is being conducted by Tamar Datan and Chris Cannon of the national search firm, NPAG. Nominations, inquiries, and/or applications, including a cover letter describing your interest and qualifications, and your resume should be submitted to: SBC-DAI@nonprofitprofessionals.com
Cultivating a diverse and inclusive team of board members, staff members, and partners is an essential component of the State Bar of California’s work to advance equity. Candidates of all backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.