More than 260 veterans and active duty personnel representing each branch of the military, along with civic leaders, judges and attorneys, came together at the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s (LACBA) second Armed Forces Ball on Saturday, February 22 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel to raise funds to support LACBA's pro bono efforts and new Veterans Project at Patriotic Hall.
As part of the evening’s festivities, former LACBA president and vice chair of the Armed Forces Committee (AFC) Alan Steinbrecher unveiled details about the new project. LACBA will work with U.S. VETS and the County of Los Angeles to add pro bono legal services to a multi-service program at Patriotic Hall that currently provides early intervention services, jobs programs, supportive services, housing referrals, and financial stipends for veterans to help stabilize their lives, become employed, and prevent the slide into homelessness.
Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA) Armed Forces Committee (AFC) Chair, and Major in the U.S. Army Reserve Stephen Morgan welcomes more than 260 veterans, active duty military personnel, civic leaders, judges and attorneys to LACBA’s Armed Forces Ball at the Biltmore Millennium Hotel to raise funds to support LACBA's pro bono efforts and new Veterans Project at Patriotic Hall.
The Veterans Project will provide advice and counsel; conduct legal trainings, workshops and self-help clinics; and make referrals. Initially, the project will focus on expungements, clearing tickets and warrants, and reinstating California driver’s licenses.
In addition to announcing the new project with U.S. VETS at Patriotic Hall, LACBA’s AFC also honored Got Your 6 for service by a non-profit organization on behalf of veterans. The mission of Got Your 6 is to bridge the civilian-military divide and ensure that veterans are seen as leaders and civic assets. The campaign unites major entertainment studios, networks and talent agencies with top veteran-focused nonprofit organizations to support the reintegration of veterans into civilian life through six key pillars: jobs, health, family, education, housing and leadership. Accepting the award on behalf of Got Your 6 was its managing director, Chris Marvin, who served for more than seven years as a U.S. Army officer and Blackhawk helicopter pilot.
Got Your 6’s Managing Director Chris Marvin, a veteran of the U.S. Army and former Blackhawk helicopter pilot, accepts the Award for Service by a
Non-Profit Organization on behalf of veterans. Got Your 6 is a campaign that unites major entertainment studios, networks and talent agencies to support the reintegration of veterans into civilian life.
Also honored was past AFC Chair Adam Siegler who received the 2014 Alan K. Steinbrecher Volunteer Leadership Award for service by a LACBA member who has demonstrated leadership and commitment in service to veterans and/or active duty military personnel. Siegler, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and an attorney with Greenberg Traurig, served as the co-chair of the AFC when it was founded, helped create the VALOR Guide (a compendium of legal services for veterans throughout Los Angeles County), and currently serves on the board of U.S. VETS.
AFC Chair Stephen Morgan presents the Alan K. Steinbrecher Volunteer Leadership Award for service to veterans and/or active duty military personnel by a LACBA member to Greenberg Traurig’s Adam Siegler, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve (right). Siegler was recognized for his work as co-chair of the AFC when it was founded, helping to create the VALOR Guide (a compendium of legal services for veterans throughout Los Angeles County), and currently serving on the board of U.S. VETS.
To complete the evening, John Sharrock, a veteran and client of the Veterans Project, and Demian Casey, his pro bono attorney and general counsel of Aeroscraft, shared their story of how important programs like the Veterans Project is to those who have served.
Sharrock was honorably discharged after serving 11 years in the U.S. Army, including a combat tour attached to an Army Ranger unit in Grenada that lost six men. After military life, he had trouble adjusting to the civilian world.
His service was followed by 20 years of homelessness, mental health challenges, and substance abuse. On the streets he received numerous citations all over Los Angeles County that prevented him from obtaining a driver’s license and a chance at regular employment. Then he met his sponsor who connected him with Veterans Affairs programs and the Center for Veterans Advancement, which partnered with LACBA to provide pro bono legal assistance to veterans and train lawyers who are interested in serving veterans.
It was there that Sharrock was introduced to Casey, who became involved in representing veterans following a joint LACBA-Public Counsel workshop on clearing outstanding tickets and warrants.
John Sharrock (right), an honorably discharged U.S. Army veteran, struggled to reintegrate into civilian life and suffered from more than 20 years of homelessness, mental health challenges, and substance abuse. While living on the streets, John received numerous quality-of-life citations that prevented him from obtaining a driver’s license and a chance at regular employment. With the help of LACBA’s Veterans Project and the representation his pro bono attorney Demian Casey (left), nearly all of Sharrock’s outstanding tickets and warrants have been dismissed with the remaining matters expected to be resolved shortly so he can pursue his commercial driver’s license and employment.
Casey has provided pro bono representation to Sharrock in several courts throughout Los Angeles County, helping him clear 9 of 11 outstanding tickets and warrants so far, with the remaining matters expected to be resolved shortly.
In each case, Casey shared Sharrock’s story with the court, including his service record and multiple letters of support, and in all cases the judges agreed to dismiss the citation in the interest of justice.
Sharrock has now been off the streets and sober for over a year, and has already been accepted to a commercial driving school once the remaining outstanding tickets are resolved and removed from his record.
The event concluded with guests dancing the night away to the sounds of a live band.
Among the dignitaries who attended the event were: California State Controller John Chiang; Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer; President and CEO of U. S. VETS Stephen Peck; Chief Deputy Director, Veterans Affairs for the County of Los Angeles Stephanie Stone; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Judge Harry Pregerson; past Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Lee Smalley Edmon; past Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Tim McCoy; Riverside Veterans Court Judge Mark Johnson; and Deputy to Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich for Military and Veteran’s Affairs Debra Mendelsohn.
Law firms and corporations also showing their support for veterans by sponsoring the Armed Forces Ball were: Diamond level sponsors Greenberg Traurig, Paul Hastings, and Wells Fargo; and Gold level sponsors BakerHostetler; The Havner Family Foundation; Keesal, Young & Logan; Latham & Watkins; The Morrison & Foerster Foundation; Munger, Tolles & Olson; O’Melveny & Myers; Pacific Western Bank; Seyfarth Shaw; and Walzer & Melcher.