The participation of all State Bar members is encouraged. From time to time, the board may appoint public members (i.e., representatives of other professions, members of the public, or attorneys who are not admitted in California). The State Bar complies with all applicable anti-discrimination laws in its appointment process.

Eligibility and Appointment Policies

  • Applicants may apply to a maximum of two committees but can be appointed to only one committee.
  • Committee members may not serve on more than one committee at any one time unless an exception is authorized by the Board.
  • In no case shall the board appoint a person who is subject to disciplinary probation.
  • Section executive committees:  An applicant for appointment to a section executive committee must be a member of that section in order to be eligible for appointment; the level of the applicant's involvement in the section's activities also is a factor taken into consideration.
  • Legal specialization: Public member applicants to the legal specialization entities must be non-lawyers; most lawyer positions must be filled by certified specialists; a few positions may be filled by lawyers who are not certified specialists.
  • Due consideration will be given in the appointment process to the budget impact of any additional costs that may be incurred by the State Bar due to the service of out-of-state members.
  • Specific requirements for individual committees are noted in the committee descriptions.

Factors that militate against appointment, but are weighed among other factors, are:

  • if a lawyer appointment, whether there is any public information known to the State Bar about the applicant or a record of public discipline imposed;
  • whether any other member of applicant's firm is on the committee; and
  • whether the applicant previously served on the committee.

Appointment Term

Members generally are appointed to serve three-year terms. A few committees have two-year or four-year terms.

On occasion, the board may appoint a member to fill an unexpired vacancy (i.e., the appointee serves only the remaining portion of the term of the member who resigned).

The State Bar's committee year runs from Annual Meeting to Annual Meeting. The 2016-17 committee year starts at the close of the 2016 State Bar Annual Meeting, Oct. 2, 2016, and ends at the close of the 2016 State Bar Annual Meeting, Aug. 27, 2017. The 2016-17 terms commence at the close of the 2016 State Bar Annual Meeting.

Time Commitment and Committee Service

  • Committees differ in the number of meetings scheduled in a year, but a typical meeting requires two to four hours of preparation and four to six hours of attendance.
  • The meeting locations generally alternate between San Francisco and Los Angeles, and some meetings may be conducted by conference call.
  • Most committees require members to have a current email address to receive committee communications; some also require a fax.
  • An additional time commitment may be required for special tasks and projects.
  • Committee members take an oath of office and receive no compensation for services.
  • Committee members may be reimbursed for approved travel expenses, such as mileage and airfares, in accordance with the State Bar's travel policy and the committee's budget.

Application Filing

The application period for the 2016-17 appointments begins in the Fall, and the deadline for receipt of the applications for most committees is Jan. 29, 2016. A few committees have a May 6 deadline (see below). Every applicant must submit the 2016-17 State Bar application form. All applications, including letters of recommendation, must be submitted to the State Bar's Appointments Office at 180 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94105-1639.

Deadlines for 2016-17 applications: 

Deadlines for Interim Appointments:  Application deadlines for interim appointment positions are noted on the Committees and Commissions page, under Interim Appointment Vacancies. If no deadline is listed, applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Application Review and Board Appointments

The committees review the appointment applications in the Spring and forward their recommendations for appointment to the Board of Trustees' appointments committee, the Nominations and Appointments Committee (NAC).  NAC typically considers the appointments between May and July and submits its recommendations to the Board of Trustees. The board usually makes the appointments at its May and July meetings. The ultimate authority to make appointments rests with the Board of Trustees.


Applicants normally are notified of the board's appointments not later than the last day of the State Bar Annual Meeting (i.e., Oct. 2, 2016). Those appointed are notified as early as possible following the board's July meeting to allow their participation at the State Bar's Annual Meeting. Any applicant who does not receive notification by Oct. 2,  2016, should contact the Appointments Office. Applications of those not selected are kept on file for approximately one year for consideration for vacancies that may arise during the committee year.