California Lawyers Guild Is Born!

March 31, 2016

The Executive Committee of the Business Law Section

The Chairs of the Standing Committees of the Business Law Section


Ladies and Gentlemen:

The undersigned, all being former Chairs and Vice Chairs of the Business Law Section, various Standing Committees of the Business Law Section and the Council of State Bar Sections, write to you today in our individual capacities regarding recent events involving the Sections of the State Bar of California, and, most importantly for us, the Business Law Section.

As you aware, the Sections are currently struggling with several issues, including the impact of the Bagley-Keene Act and the assessments levied on them by the State Bar.  These issues stem in part from (and are not made easier by) the increased focus by the California legislature on the State Bar as a result of management and other matters.  We believe that the attention currently focused on the State Bar offers all relevant constituencies an opportunity to reflect on and revisit the manner in which the State Bar and its Sections are organized, including whether each organization would be stronger and more focused were they to be separated.

Based upon on our collective experience, which, in certain instances, dates back to the initial formation of the Sections and includes the problems the Sections faced in the late 1990s, we believe that the continued operation of the Business Law Section – and the other Sections – under the umbrella of the State Bar is neither sustainable nor advisable.  In the days ahead, there are likely to be proposals made to the Board of Trustees and in the California legislature to sever the regulatory components of the State Bar from the non-regulatory components, like the Business Law Section.  We cannot predict the fate of any such proposals, but believe that the Business Law Section must work cooperatively with those exploring a new voluntary organization for the Sections and participate constructively in efforts to relieve the difficulties facing the Business Law Section.

In light of the foregoing, we advise you that we have formed the California Lawyers Guild, a California nonprofit mutual benefit corporation (and an entity that is a 501(c)(6) business league), to provide a potential home for the work of all of the Sections, including the Business Law Section, by creating a voluntary, statewide bar association in California.  In doing so, we appreciate, and seek to preserve, the work that the Business Law Section and all of its Standing Committees have done over the past four decades.  Our goal is to provide the Sections, and all lawyers in California generally, a place to participate with and support each other in an environment free from the restrictions and distractions associated with being formally connected with the State Bar.

Our hope is that, through the formation of the California Lawyers Guild, both the State Bar and the Sections can better realize their respective missions and better serve the interests of lawyers and the public in California.



Peter S. Szurley

Roland E. Brandel

Donna Parkinson

Charles L. Crouch, III

Twila L. Foster

Richard N. Frasch

Suzanne S. Graeser

Marie F. Hogan

Timothy G. Hoxie

Carol K. Lucas

John B. Power

Ann Yvonne Walker

Steven O. Weise

Neil J. Wertlieb


The following additional former Chairs of the Business Law Section and/or its Standing Committees hereby support the efforts of the California Lawyers Guild and believe that the continued operations of the Business Law Section under the umbrella of the State Bar is neither sustainable nor advisable.

Peter C. Bronson

Knox Cologne

Mark Moore

Mark E. Porter

Gordon Yamate