SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ The board of directors of the California State Bar voted Saturday to begin hiring permanent replacements for 33 disciplinary lawyers who went on strike April 25 in a pay dispute.

The strike is the first in the bar's 59-year history. The lawyers, who work in Los Angeles and San Francisco, prosecute other lawyers accused of disciplinary offenses before the state Bar Court.

The lawyers are represented by the Service Employees International Union, and make from $2,700 to $4,800 a month.

They have been offered a 5 percent raise, with another 2 percent later in the year, but say that would leave them behind other state lawyers handling professional licensing cases.

The board voted 16-5 to authorize hiring of replacements, after rejecting a proposal for a 10-day delay to allow more negotiations.

The striking lawyers have said they would return to work if the dispute goes to binding arbitration, said Marilyn Alper, a spokeswoman for the striking lawyers.

The bar has assigned disciplinary cases to private law firms under short- term contracts since the strike began.