Bill Hebert, 49, of Oakland, a partner in the San Francisco law firm Calvo and Clark, was elected by the bar's Board of Governors in Los Angeles on Saturday after four rounds of voting.
Hebert will be sworn in as the 86th president of the 228,000-member bar at the organization's annual meeting in September in Monterey.
The bar, based in San Francisco, is the regulatory agency for California lawyers, in charge of licensing attorneys and investigating and disciplining those accused of misconduct.
The bar president is elected from among members of the bar's Board of Governors who have served for three years.
Bar spokeswoman Diane Curtis said this year was the first time in nine years that all five third-year lawyer members of the board chose to run for election.
The other candidates were Patti White of San Jose, Rex Heinke and Michael Marcus of Los Angeles, and Paul Kramer of Sacramento. Curtis said White was the other finalist in the fourth round of voting.
Hebert, who was chair of the bar's Discipline Oversight Committee, said he will work to ensure cohesion among the 23-member board.
He told the board after the election that he would be open to studying the configuration of the panel, which currently consists of 16 attorney members, six public members and the president, who can be elected from either group.
Hebert also said he favors requiring malpractice insurance for lawyers under certain conditions, including that it is affordable and doesn't discourage attorneys from doing pro bono work.
Hebert is a graduate of Stanford University and Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley. He represents clients in business litigation, patent and trademark infringement, false advertising and the state's Unfair Competition Law.
Hebert also serves on the boards of the San Francisco Legal Aid Society and the Public Interest Law Project.
Hebert lives in Oakland with his wife, Lori Schechter, an attorney at Morrison and Foerster, and their two children, Nicole, 11, and Jordan, 9.