2011 Year in Review

The Los Angeles County Bar Association had a remarkable 2011. For our members, we improved communications through online versions of LACBA>This Week and County Bar Update, redesigned the Home Page and online calendar on our website www.lacba.org.

We increased our visibility in the community by highlighting LACBA's pro bono efforts with events such as the Domestic Violence Project's (DVP) 25th Anniversary Celebration, and the Foundation's First Annual Casino & Poker Night supporting our public service projects. These types of events brought out community leaders, including Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, and Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, among many others, in support of LACBA.

We also established new partnerships with major community corporate and law firm stakeholders throughout southern California. Verizon Wireless made a $30,000 donation to DVP to improve the project's technology and services, and is currently working with us to implement those technologies. The law firm of Buchalter Nemer provided DVP with a $25,000 grant to establish the Buchalter Nemer Victim Compensation Claim & Application Assistance Program to assist victims of domestic violence in accessing money from the state to help them break away from their abusers.

These are just a few of the highlights from 2011. Please take a few minutes to read the LACBA 2011 Year in Review and learn more about the great things we accomplished in your name. Thank you for your support!




Past President Becomes First Female Presiding Judge

Judge Lee Smalley Edmon, past president of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, becomes the first woman to serve as presiding judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court. In addition to being LACBA's president, she also served on the Board of Trustees, chaired five critical committees, and was Barristers president.


LACBA.org Home Page Makeover

LACBA unveils a completely redesigned Home Page to make it easier for members and the general public to navigate by simplifying the menu, format, and style of the site, and making search categories more user-friendly.


Domestic Violence Project 25th Anniversary

More than 200 civic leaders, judges and attorneys, including former State Senator Sheila Kuehl, Sheriff Lee Baca, Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Lee Edmon and U.S. District Court Judge Margaret Morrow joined together to celebrate DVP's 25 years of helping victims of domestic violence navigate the legal system. The event raised $100,000, including a $30,000 Verizon Wireless grant to develop new technology solutions to support the Project, and a $25,000 grant from Buchalter Nemer to establish the Victim Compensation Claim & Application Assistance Program.


Armed Forces Networking Reception

U.S. Army Sergeant Major Jesse Acosta, who was blinded during Operation Iraqi Freedom, joined Judge Charles W. McCoy Jr., a retired and decorated Marine; past President Alan K. Steinbrecher, a retired Naval Aviator, and representatives from legal organizations with existing veterans' projects to exchange ideas as to how LACBA members can best support those who have served our country. The reception was well attended and set the stage for the Armed Forces Ad Hoc Committee which would be formed later in the year.


Hon. Charles W. McCoy Jr. Named 2011 Outstanding Jurist

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles W. McCoy Jr. is selected as the 32nd recipient of LACBA's Outstanding Jurist Award. Judge McCoy was recognized for his distinguished career on the bench, guiding the court through the judiciary budget crisis, and for his life-long contributions to the community and practice of law.

In addition to honoring Judge McCoy, new 50 Year Club members were inducted during the program in recognition of a half-century of LACBA membership: John H. Brinsley, Hon. Richard P. Byrne (ret.), Hon. Lawrence W. Crispo (ret.), Bertram Fields, Herbert I. Galperson, Seymour Gantman, Gerald N. Gordon, Donald M. Hoffman, John D. Hussey, R. Chandler Myers, Kevin O'Connell, Karl M. Samuelian, Sherwin L. Samuels, Alan Stamm, Lillian Tomich, John A. Tucker Jr., Robert R. Waestman, and William J. Zeutzius.

Center for Civic Mediation Annual Awards Dinner

The Center for Civic Mediation recognized Ambassador Pierre-Richard Prosper, the American Arbitration Association, Hon. Charles W. McCoy, Jr. and Peter W. Mullin for outstanding achievement in conflict prevention and community service at its 18th Annual Awards Dinner.

Ambassador Prosper, who served as Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues in the State Department from 2001-2005, gave the keynote speech about the importance of mediation in resolving disputes on international and local levels.


Eric A. Webber Installed as LACBA President

More than 500 people came together to celebrate the installation of Eric A. Webber as the 117th president of LACBA at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown Los Angeles. The event recognized outgoing President Alan Steinbrecher, President Elect Richard J. Burdge, incoming LACBA Officers and Trustees, and new Barristers President Sarah Luppen.

Shattuck-Price Outstanding Lawyer Award Presentation

County Counsel Andrea Ordin was presented with LACBA's highest honor, the Shattuck-Price Outstanding Lawyer Award, for extraordinary contributions to improving the administration of justice and outstanding dedication to the high principles of the legal profession. Ordin, who served as LACBA president from 1991 to 1992, is the County Counsel for Los Angeles, the first woman to hold the position since it was established in 1913.


Michael Lawson Honored Upon His Retirement

LACBA's Diversity in the Profession Committee recognized Michael Lawson upon his retirement with a reception at LAX for his efforts in encouraging women and minorities to pursue a career in the legal profession, and for his life-long service to the community. Michael has been a LACBA member for more than 20 years and served in many capacities on the Diversity in the Profession Committee, including as Chair.

He also served on the Board of Directors of the Music Center, as President of the Los Angeles World Airports Commission and Chairman of the Board of the Constitutional Rights Foundation.


Armed Forces Ad Hoc Committee Created

LACBA established an Armed Forces Ad Hoc Committee to identify opportunities in which judges, lawyers, paralegals and law students could assist active military members, veterans, and reservists with their legal affairs.

The committee's efforts include determining the interest in forming and maintaining a long-term group dedicated to matters regarding the armed forces, identifying opportunities to provide pro bono and community outreach, and exploring how to complement and supplement public interest legal organizations that already serve military and veterans' affairs.


The Crocker Symposium

LACBA co-sponsored the 2011 Benjamin S. Crocker Symposium along with the Richard S. Ziman Center for Real Estate at UCLA to bring together Southern California's top leaders in real estate, including developers, investors, bankers, attorneys, accountants, brokers, academics, government representatives, and property owners, for an extraordinary day of dynamic discussion, networking, thought leadership and analysis.

This year's theme was, "The California Kaleidoscope: Perspectives and Possibilities in an Ever Changing Real Estate Market." The luncheon speaker was Nelson C. Rising, Chairman, Rising Realty Partners, LP, who discussed the complex problems and creative solutions required as urban redevelopment revitalizes blighted areas.


Dialogues on Freedom

Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich joined more than 100 judges and lawyers from the Los Angeles County Bar Association in visiting high schools throughout southern California for the 9th Annual Dialogues on Freedom, a program designed to encourage students to consider the balance of national and local security, and their personal freedom.

The program was started in 2002 by United States Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks to provide students with an opportunity to discuss the concepts of freedom, law, and justice with judges and attorneys.


Casino & Poker Night

More than 200 supporters of the Los Angeles County Bar Foundation gathered for an elegant evening of Vegas-style gaming to raise funds to support the Los Angeles County Bar Association's three pro bono projects: Domestic Violence, AIDS Legal Services and Immigration Legal Assistance.

As part of the celebration, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa recognized Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and Judge Kim Wardlaw, U.S. Court of Appeals, for their support of the causes served by the projects.

The newly redesigned Los Angeles Athletic Club was transformed into a high-end Monte Carlo casino, complete with a VIP High Rollers section; blackjack, roulette, poker, and craps tables; and the sounds of people cheering their winning streaks.


Open Courts Committee

LACBA established the Open Courts Committee to determine how to best support efforts to keep courtrooms open and functioning despite judicial budget cuts, and to coordinate with the Statewide Open Courts Coalition. LACBA also worked with other judicial advocates to raise awareness of the budget crisis through media relations, participating in regular meetings with other organizations to coordinate efforts, and announced a rally of lawyers, judges and union members, among others near the Stanley Mosk Courthouse on January 18.

In Memoriam

Board of Trustee Member James R. Robie

James R. Robie unexpectedly passed away on Sunday, January 16. A partner in the law firm of Robie & Matthai, which he co-founded with his wife, Edith Matthai, a former president of LACBA. Robie was a gifted trial lawyer who represented insurance carriers in bad faith litigation while also defending lawyers in malpractice actions. He also served on several LACBA committees, including chair of the Litigation Section and vice chair of the Judicial Elections Evaluation Committee, among others.

Former LACBA President Warren Christopher

Warren Christopher, best known for serving as Secretary of State and the Warren Commission, passed away on March 18 at the age of 85. Christopher was a key figure in the peace efforts in Bosnia and the Mideast as Secretary of State during the Clinton administration. He also headed a panel that pushed a number of Los Angeles Police Department reforms following the 1992 riots, and he supervised the contested Florida recount for Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election. Christopher served as LACBA president in 1974-1975.

Former LACBA President Roy Aaron

Roy Aaron, LACBA president in 1982, and recipient of the Shattuck-Price Outstanding Lawyer Award, passed away in April. He was a long-time member of the Center for Civic Mediation Board of Directors which benefited greatly from his vision and leadership.

Aaron was a partner in Pacht, Ross, Warne, Bernhard and Sears. After 22 years as a practicing attorney, he became a business executive serving in senior positions with Plitt Theater Companies, Showscan Entertainment, Inc. and Intra-Asia Entertainment Corporation.

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