President of the California State Bar: Who Is Craig Holden?

Friday, October 03, 2014
Craig Holden


The California State Bar Board of Trustees elevated its vice president, Craig Holden, to the top spot last month after an uncontested election. Holden, the 90th president of the Bar, is a partner at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP and is the third consecutive president from Los Angeles.

Holden, 44, received a Bachelor of Arts in 1991 from UCLA and a Juris Doctor in 1994 from the University of California, Hastings College of Law.

Holden worked for Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP between May 1997 and May 2002. While there, he represented major record labels in their successful effort to shut down Napster’s breakthrough file-sharing service that revolutionized the way people obtained music.

He left to join Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P and worked there for precisely the same five years and one month as his previous job. He served as a judge pro tempore for the Los Angeles Superior Court from 2002 to 2005.

Holden joined Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith LLP in September 2010 where he is co-chair of the Commercial Litigation Department. Lewis Brisbois was the second-largest law firm in California as of 2012, with nearly 900 lawyers, and the 30th largest in the United States. Another Lewis Brisbois partner, Sheldon Sloan, was president of the State Bar in 2006-2007.

Holden was co-chair of the State Bar’s Intellectual Property Litigation Committee from June 2008 to June 2013 and was chair of the State Bar’s Council on Access & Fairness for a year, beginning September 2010. The council focuses on diversifying the legal profession.

Holden is vice chairman of the board’s Civil Justice Strategies Task Force, a new group that is working on the gap between the amount of legal services, and the legal needs of more than 6 million indigent Californians who have little or no access to critical legal help.

He is chairman of the Limited License Working Group, which is exploring the feasibility of developing standards for the limited practice of law and/or the licensing of legal technicians involving people who are not fully admitted to the Bar.

Holden was elected to State Bar board of trustees in 2011 and elected vice president in October 2013.

Holden’s practice focuses on a range of commercial matters, including intellectual property, privacy and data breach and financial transactions. Linked-In page lists copyright law as his top skill, followed by litigation, trade secrets, class actions, civil litigation, commercial litigation and trials.

California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye administered the oath of office on September 13, 2014. Holden succeeds Luis J. Rodriguez, the first Latino and the first public defender elected to the position.

He is married and has two children.

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

New President, Board Members Sworn in at State Bar Annual Meeting (State Bar of California)

Craig Holden (Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith)

Craig Holden Elected Vice President of State Bar (by Kenneth Ofgang, Metropolitan News-Enterprise)

Craig Holden (Linked-In)

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