Wednesday, August 24, 2011

State Bar to Consider "Re-organization Separation Plan"

It appears the State Bar is preparing for a major reorganization, above and beyond that contemplated by SB 163 (Evans), this year's Fee Bill.  At its meeting scheduled for August 30, 2011, at the Bar's Los Angeles offices, the Bar's Board of Governors will consider and vote upon a "Re-Organization Separation Plan" that proposes to ease the way out for Bar employees dislocated by a "structural reorganization" of the Bar currently being developed by Executive Director Joseph Dunn.

Joseph Dunn
The details of the reorganization have not been revealed to the public (and possibly have not been finalized);the Board agenda item describing the separation plan mentions that its goal is not to reduce stuff but to "enhance performance"and change the institution's "organizational culture."  The proposed reorganization plan would help achieve this goal by providing an enhanced separation package for line and confidential (but not executive staff) employees who elect to leave the Bar. 

The proposed reorganization is separate and apart from the changes in the State Bar's governance which are anticipated to take place with the expected enactment of SB 163, which (if the bill is enacted in its current form - see earlier post) will change the Bar from an organization overseen primarily by elected attorneys.  SB 163 is currently on the Assembly Floor awaiting a final vote by that house, which would send it back to the Senate for concurrence and then to Governor Brown for signature.  There have been rumors that the bill may be returned to the Assembly Judiciary Committee for some late amendments, but so far nothing of kind has taken place.

The changes contained in the proposed reorganization and anticipated enactment of SB 163 come hard on the heels of major changes in the Bar's attorney discipline system earlier this year, beginning with the resignation of Chief Trial Counsel James Towery and the subsequent dismissal of four of the top administrators of the discipline system.  The issue of an Interim Chief Trial Counsel is also on the agenda for the Board's August 30 meeting, but to be considered in closed session as a personnel matter.

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