Former California State Senator and Executive Director of the State Bar of California, Joseph Dunn, will deliver the keynote address at this year’s Whittier Law School Commencement.
Senator Dunn graduated with honors from the University of Minnesota School of Law and began practicing with the national firm of Robbins, Kaplan, Miller and Ciresi in the Newport Beach, California office. While his litigation practice was diverse, Joe quickly became recognized as a leader in products liability litigation involving defective medical devices and pharmaceuticals. He joined Newport Beach based Robinson, Calcagnie, Robinson in 1996 and continued to focus on products liability and complex litigation until his election to the California State Senate in 1998. Senator Joe Dunn is a founding partner of The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP. Given his broad professional experience, Joe’s practice bridges all three areas of specialty of the firm: litigation, legislation, and regulation.
Senator Dunn was elected to the California State Senate in 1998 and served until 2006. In the Legislature, Joe chaired key committees such as the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Housing Committee. He received international acclaim as chair of the Senate Investigation Committee into the 2001 California energy crisis. California Lawyer Magazine labeled then-Senator Dunn as “The Man Who Cracked Enron.”
In late 2006, Senator Dunn joined the California Medical Association (CMA) as Chief Executive Officer (CEO). CMA is the nation’s largest state medical association. While at CMA, Joe oversaw its governmental affairs and advocacy activities as well as numerous related entities that perform critical functions in the world of medicine. Senator Dunn gained invaluable business experience as well as command of a wide range of health care issues as CEO of CMA. Joe relinquished the reigns of CEO in late 2009 in order to establish The Senator’s Firm.
Throughout Senator Dunn’s career, he has received numerous awards and recognitions. These include the Stanley Musk Defender of Justice Award from the Judicial Council of California, the Scales of Justice Award from the California Judges Association, the Glenn R. Winters Award from the American Judges Association, as well as legislator of the year awards from the California State Bar Association, California State Firefighters Association, California Building Industry Association, California State Sheriff’s Association, and numerous medical related organization.
In addition, Joe has been consistently recognized on the Top 100 Lawyers in California list published by the California Lawyer Magazine, and was twice awarded the prestigious California Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Award. He has previously served as a member of the Judicial Council of California and currently serves on the Steering Committee for the Commission for Impartial Courts.
Senator Dunn is currently appointed as the California State Bar’s Executive Director. In announcing the appointment, the State Bar said of Joe that “as a veteran plaintiff’s lawyer and two-term state senator, Joe Dunn possesses the legal skills and political acumen indispensable for smoothing the waters between the State Bar and California’s legislative and executive branches. With the agency in Sacramento’s crosshairs, the new executive director leaves no doubt he’ll put public protection at the forefront of its regulatory activities.”
Whittier Law School Commencement exercises take place Saturday, May 14, at 10:00 a.m. on the grounds of its campus in Costa Mesa. Immediately after the ceremony there will be a light reception in the courtyard. For more information please click here.