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Five attorneys were elected to the State Bar Board of Governors on Thursday, including James Penrod, who came out on top in an extremely low-key race for the San Francisco-Marin County seat. Penrod, a partner in the San Francisco office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, got 1,674 votes in defeating San Francisco solo practitioner Barry Tagawa and Jennifer DePalma, an associate in O’Melveny & Myers’ San Francisco office. Tagawa received 721 votes and DePalma 699. Penrod, a civil litigator who has practiced law since 1967, had little comment when notified that he won the District Four seat, saying that he was preparing for a major hearing today in Los Angeles. “I’m looking forward to [serving on the board],” he said. “It should be an interesting challenge.” Penrod replaces Roderick McLeod, a partner in Jones Day’s San Francisco office. The 63-year-old attorney conducted no active campaign, saying in his official statement on the State Bar’s Web site that he was relying on voters to choose him for his “background and experience.” According to his statement, Penrod got his bachelor’s degree from the Naval Academy in 1963 and his law degree from George Washington University Law School in 1967. He is a past chairman of the Bar Association of San Francisco. He was named California Lawyer of the Year in litigation last year and is listed in three categories of the book, “Best Lawyers in America.” He has lectured and taught law in Bolivia, El Salvador, Tunisia, Greece and Jordan. Penrod said in an interview last month that he would like to use his seat on the Board of Governors to protect the judicial branch of government from political attacks. “People have lost sight of our foundations, our whole system of government,” he said. “They’re trying to turn it into a government of men and not laws.” The votes in each race were canvassed at State Bar headquarters in San Francisco. Officials tossed 245 ballots, most for not having signatures. The District Six seat, which includes Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, was won by Maria Ramirez, 56, an Oxnard-based coordinator of a self-help legal access center for the Ventura County Superior Court. She got 1,323 votes to beat Riverside County Deputy District Attorney E. Michael Soccio, with 1,117 votes. In District Seven, which holds one of two seats for Los Angeles County, Holly Fujie, 49, a partner in L.A.’s Buchalter Nemer Fields & Younger, won Office One with 3,525 votes. Sherman Oaks solo and former State Bar prosecutor Phillip Feldman came in second with 1,961 votes, followed by Los Angeles solo Marty O’Toole with 1,081 and Adam Abrahms, an associate in Proskauer Rose’s L.A. office with 626. L.A.’s Office Two went to John McNicholas III, 68, a partner in Los Angeles’ McNicholas & McNicholas, with 4,348 votes, compared with 2,913 for L.A. County Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Kim. Orange County’s District Eight was won by Danni Murphy, the Santa Ana-based supervisor of the Orange County public defender’s South Justice Center office, with 1,111 votes. The 57-year-old beat Richard Millar Jr., a partner in Newport Beach’s Millar, Hodges & Bemis, who got 909 votes, and Tustin attorney John Dodd, a well-known appellate lawyer who got 808 votes. All five new governors will take office in September during the State Bar’s annual meeting in San Diego.

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