- In This Issue -

2011 - 2012 Section Officers

Hugh Biele - Chair
Lola Marie McAlpin-Grant - Vice
Edward J. Horowitz - Treasurer
Patricia Lobello-Lamb - Secretary
Jill Switzer - Immediate Past

Executive Committee

Philip W. Bartenetti
Robert Berliner
John Carson
Hon. Lawrence W. Crispo
Anthony De Los Reyes
Joseph E. Deering, Jr.
Peter Dolan
Jacqueline M. Fabe
L. Ernestine Fields
Alan L. Fox
Cynthia Elizabeth Gitt
Jo-Anne Grace
Roger Martin Grace
Harry Hathaway
Nowland C. Hong
Philip Nelson Lee
Frankie L. F. Leung
Charles E. Michaels
Robert M. Newell, Jr.
Ellen A. Pansky
Patricia Phillips
Toby J. Rothschild
Deborah Crandall Saxe
Hon. George Schiavelli
Robert Schirn
Edwin C. Summers
William Lew Tan
Caroline C. Vincent
Michael L. Wachtell

An ePublication of the Los Angeles County Bar Association
Volume 1, Number 2 • November 2011 • Archives of Past Issues
Visit the Senior Lawyers Section web page

Senior Moments
By Ed Horowiz, Editor

How did this happen? I mean, how did I suddenly become a "senior lawyer," and then editor of this newsletter. Didn't I just pass the bar exam only a few weeks ago? What happened to the 45 years in between? I must be having another one of my "senior moments." (Note to myself: "Senior Moments" could be a good title for this column, instead of the traditional, "From the Editor.")

I'll start at the end. I was appointed as editor by email from our section's energetic chair, Hugh Biele, who wrote the newsletter's inaugural issue. Then, he passed the job along to me. Why me? I suspect Hugh surmised that since I'm an appellate law specialist – one of those folks who writes briefs for a living – I could whip out a newsletter during a lunch hour, or maybe two at most. Hugh was wrong. He didn't count the time I would spend thinking, "How did this happen to me?" And then, "How did the 45 years since I passed the bar exam happen the way they did?" And, "What does this self-reflection reveal about confronting life as a senior lawyer?"

The answer, I think, lies in the similarity most of us have experienced between planning our legal careers and the often serendipitous paths that we've actually followed.

My experience may be typical. My first job, as a California Deputy Attorney General, would not have happened but for the fact my law school roommate had heard a representative of that office was interviewing on campus. He signed up for an interview. So, I did too. My roommate then joined the Peace Corps. I got hired. At that time, all new Deputy AG's were assigned to handling felony appeals – a type of practice I had never considered. Yet, here I am 45 years and almost 1,000 briefs later still litigating appeals.

Unlike the unplanned path to my first job, a few years later I devoted much thought and planning to leaving that job for private practice. Since then, both planning and serendipity have influenced my career path. However, one constant has always been the anticipation of what will come next, planned or not. What kind of case? What sort of client? And, in a larger sense, what "something new," legal or otherwise, will I learn tomorrow? What contributions, legal or otherwise, can I make as a lawyer that I have yet to make during the past 45 years? What fun and adventures, legal or otherwise, await around the corner? In short, "What's next, now that I've reached senior lawyer status? Do I want to continue practicing as I have been? For how long? Should I slow down, or change the nature of my practice, or should I stop completely? And how? What might I do with the free time I'd like to have? How much planning can I do, must I do? What role might serendipity play?"

And finally, bringing my musings back to the Senior Lawyers Section , "What can our section do to help in answering these questions?" The answer is, "A lot."

For example, the section provides programs and information on serious subjects such as planning for and effectuating alternatives from continuing full time practice to full retirement, and options in between. (Note: the upcoming "Retirement 202" program will discuss further issues not reached in last year's "Retirement 101" program. See "Coming Events," below).

The section also provides a vehicle for keeping in touch with our contemporaries through means such as our programs, our website and our Facebook page.

Our "Trailblazers" events remind us of the societal progress our profession has engendered, by honoring those among us who have participated in making that progress happen.

The section also provides means by which we may "give back," through mentoring programs, volunteer assistance to the Los Angeles Superior Court and other volunteer programs.

And, equally important, we have fun events, which should always be a part of our lives. We deserve it. Thus, we recently had another "Night at the Magic Castle" event. (A resounding success, as described in "Recent Events" below.) We've also had trips to the Hollywood Bowl and are constantly planning other enjoyable outings. Your suggestions are welcome!

In summary, our section provides multiple opportunities for we senior lawyers to deal with matters that require planning, and to take advantage of serendipitous opportunities for fulfillment and fun both in and out of the context of our legal careers. Take advantage of these opportunities.

Back to Top

Recent Events

Fifty members and guests (a sellout) visited the Magic Castle on October 25 for an evening of socializing, dinner, libations and "how did they do that" magic, with added touches of humor and Halloween.

The evening began with a social hour at the bar (the Castle's, not a court's) and the opportunity to explore the elegant Victorian surroundings, including fascinating mementoes and displays from the world of magic (which apparently were unharmed by the fire that occurred a few days later), with added haunted house/Halloween decorations. And, of course, the famous piano, Irma, that plays requests for almost any song for a $1 tip, with no apparent human assistance.

We next adjourned to the dining room for a very good dinner and (optional) further libations. This gave us a further opportunity to converse with members we had long known and many we had just met.

Then we enjoyed a choice of magic performances that included: a woman who created fire out of nowhere and occasionally swallowed some with no apparent damage to herself; plus Sylvester the Jester whose costume had to be seen to be believed and whose magic included changing and even "erasing" his face and then restoring it to "normal"; and the "Closeup Room," where I was able to sit in the front row only three feet from a magician whose act included making coins move unseen from one place to another on the small table between us, with no apparent contact between his hands and the coins. Most remarkably, he duplicated what I'm told was Harry Houdini's trick: he swallowed about 24 sewing needles and, separately, a length of thread (an audience member "fed" the needles to him and carefully inspected his mouth with a flashlight to verify that the needles and thread had been swallowed); then after some weird body contortions, the magician pulled the thread out of his mouth with the needles neatly strung out on it!

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable evening. We hope to do it again in a future year, so if you missed this one, be sure to sign up early next time.

Back to Top

Coming Events

The following events are currently scheduled:

"Retirement 202: How to Find Gold Nuggets in Your Retirement Years," November 9, 2011, at LACBA's Conference Center:

A panel of experts in elder law, taxation law and legal ethics will discuss how to best protect assets acquired during your earning years to preserve them for you and your loved ones. The speakers will discuss IRAs, SEP IRAs, Keoughs, 401Ks, 403(b)s, Social Security and Medicare, and estate planning documents for yourself and for your family. Other topics will include retiring from a law firm or selling a law practice and the applicable rules of professional conduct relating to withdrawing from representation, the handling of client files, fee issues, law firm retirement payments and IRS considerations. (This program does not require having attended the previous "Retirement 101" program.)

"Trailblazers of the Bar," February 2, 2012, site to be determined:

A reception to honor trailblazers of our bar. The honorees will be: Presiding Justice Joan Dempsey Klein of the Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District; Y.C. Hong, first Chinese-American member of our bar, and his son, Nowland Hong, of Best, Best & Krieger, LLP. An email with further details, including the location how to register for the event, will be forthcoming soon.

"Frozen in Time," May 22, 2012, tentative site: LACBA's Conference Center:

This program will be similar to previous years' programs that featured the history of famous cases such as the O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson criminal trials, with insights and commentaries from judges and attorneys involved in those trials. This program's subject is tentatively scheduled to be the McMartin criminal case in which the defendants were accused of numerous counts of child molestation based, inter alia, on bizarre stories from the alleged young victims.

Additional programs are in the planning process, including one with highly distinguished panel members who will discuss the current U.S. Supreme Court's application of Constitutional principles to issues of interest to senior citizens. Watch for announcements from your Senior Lawyers Section.

Back to Top

Recent Case of Interest

In Conahan v. Sebelius (9th Circuit Case No. 09-17510, filed Nov. 1, 2011, per Judge Milan D. Smith, Jr., with Judges Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain and Richard C. Tallman, concurring), the Ninth Circuit upheld a ruling by the Medicare Appeals Council that the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan was not required to pay for liver surgery performed on one of its Medicare Advantage insureds. Kaiser's Tumor Board had determined that surgical removal of a cancerous tumor could leave the insured with too little liver for survival and that the possibility of recurrence would not be eliminated. Instead, the Board recommended that the insured undergo a form of chemotherapy to shrink the tumor. The insured then consulted with a physician, not affiliated with Kaiser, who performed surgery that removed 70% of the insured's liver. The result was a three-week further hospital stay to deal with complications and nearly $150,000 in surgical bills. The insured sought reimbursement from Kaiser, relying on Medicare regulations that required Kaiser to make its medical services "available, accessible and adequate." The Medicare Appeals Council ruled Kaiser had reasonably decided that surgery was not a viable option and that the recommended alternative type of treatment was advisable. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the denial of the requested reimbursement, finding there was substantial evidence to support the Appeals Council's conclusion. (The insured died about five years after the surgery, while the legal proceedings were ongoing. The matter was then pursued to its conclusion by her estate.)

Back to Top

Health Tip
Six Drinks that Lower Blood Pressure

(From an article in Caring.com, by Nikki Jong)

Two big risk factors for high blood pressure, age and family genetics, are beyond our control. However, we can control factors that help lower high blood pressure, such as being physically active, eating healthfully and reducing sodium intake. There are also six drinks that can contribute to a drop in blood pressure, in combination with the latter factors:

1. Low-fat milk. The calcium content in low-fat milk has been shown to help reduce systolic blood pressure. Three servings a day are recommended.

2. Beet juice. Beets are a good source of potassium and folate which are important in regulating blood pressure. One to two cups a day are recommended.

3. Pomegranate juice. This juice acts as a natural ACE inhibitor. ACE is an enzyme that raises blood pressure. Six ounces a day are recommended.

4. Hibiscus tea. Hibiscus provides benefits similar to pomegranate juice (and it tastes better). Three freshly prepared cups a day are recommended.

5. Cranberry juice. Cranberries and cranberry juice have significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help prevent and reduce damage inside blood vessels, thereby deterring an undesirable increase in blood pressure. One or two servings of unsweetened juice are recommended.

6. Water. Chronic dehydration causes blood vessels to constrict. Constricted blood vessels require your heart to work harder, resulting in a spike in blood pressure. Water is one of the healthiest, cheapest and most effective ways to stay hydrated. In lieu of the "eight-glasses-a-day" rule, you can determine the minimum number of ounces to drink each day by dividing your body weight in two. For example, a 150-pound person should drink at least 75 ounces a day.

(The article did not discuss the effect of drinking each of these liquids in the recommended amounts each day. Common sense dictates, however, that in following this regimen, one should always know the location of the nearest restroom.)

Back to Top

Some Humor for Seniors

Part of having fun as seniors is laughing at senior-type humor. For example:

(Rated "G") Wife, to her retired husband, "Whatcha planning to do today?
Retired Husband, "Nothing." Wife, "You did that yesterday."
Retired Husband, "I wasn't finished."

(Rated PG) Five-year old Joey was staying with his grandfather for a few days. He'd been playing outside with the other kids, when he came into the house and asked, "Grandpa, what's that called when two people sleep in the same bedroom and one is on top of the other?"
Naturally, Grandpa was taken a little aback, but he decided to tell the truth, "Well, Joey, it's called sexual intercourse." Joey said, "O.K.," and went back outside.
A few minutes later Joey came back in and said, "Grandpa, it isn't called sexual intercourse. It's called Bunk Beds. And Jimmy's mom wants to talk to you."

(Rated R) Defense Attorney: Will you state your age, please?
Old Lady: I'm 94.
Defense Attorney: Will you tell us what happened the night of April 1?
Old Lady: I was sitting on my swing on my front porch; it was a warm evening. A young man I didn't know came creeping up and sat down beside me.
Defense Attorney: What happened next?
Old Lady: He started to rub my thigh.
Defense Attorney: Did you stop him?
Old Lady: No.
Defense Attorney: Why not?
Old Lady: If felt good. Nobody had done that since my Albert died 30 years ago.
Defense Attorney: What happened next?
Old Lady: He began to rub all over my body.
Defense Attorney: Did you stop him then?
Old Lady: No.
Defense Attorney: Why not?
Old Lady: His rubbing made me feel all alive and excited. I haven't felt that good in years.
Defense Attorney: What happened next?
Old Lady: Well, by then, I was feeling so aroused that I just laid down and told him, "Take me, young man. Take me now!"
Defense Attorney: Did he?
Old Lady: Hell, no! He just yelled, "April Fool!" And that's when I shot him, the little bastard.

Back to Top


You can keep up with our section's doings between issues of the Dinosaur Digest by clicking here to visit our page on the LACBA website or to our Facebook page. To do that, click here and log in if you need to and you'll go right to the Senior Lawyers Facebook page. And be sure to "like" us if you haven't already!

Back to Top