State Bar Bans Units That Use Private Clubs

Times Legal Affairs Writer

The Board of Governors of the State Bar of California voted unanimously Saturday to ban local Bar associations that patronize private discriminatory clubs from participating in the Bar’s annual Conference of Delegates.

The board of governors, headquartered in San Francisco but meeting this month at a Los Angeles facility, sets policy for the state’s 101,000 lawyers. The conference, including delegates from more than 120 local Bar associations, adopts advisory resolutions about the administration of justice and other matters.

Proposed by the Women Lawyers of Sacramento, the new rule won approval in the Conference of Delegates last September. It prohibits participation by any local Bar association that patronizes a club--from the Elks or Moose lodges in small cities to the Jonathan Club in Los Angeles or Bohemian Club in San Francisco--which excludes people from membership or use of its facilities because of their “race, color, creed, national ancestry, sex or sexual preference.”

Only 1 Objection


Only one of the 28 local Bar associations that responded to a board of governors request for comment, Santa Cruz County, opposed the rule.

The board last year passed a resolution advising attorneys to resign or decline membership in discriminatory clubs. The California Judges Assn. passed a similar but stronger edict for its members last September.

Pasadena attorney Don Mike Anthony, chairman of the board’s Discipline Committee, also reported Saturday that the Bar’s backlog of complaints against lawyers--often criticized by legislators and the public--has dropped 42% since its peak in February, 1986.

Staff reports showed that 2,353 complaints had been disposed of in the first three months of 1987 compared to 1,665 for the same period last year.