DSO Update

Cari M. Pines

Editor’s Note: Cari M. Pines, CFLS, practices Family Law in Encino, California.  Cari is the Vice Chair of The Family Law Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.  She has been the Daily Settlement Officer Chair for the last four years.

Although hard to believe, April of this year marked the third anniversary of LACBA’s marriage to the DSO program at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse.  Over these past three years, the family law departments have referred just about 3500 cases and our DSO’s have knocked it out of the park by settling over 2200 matters and preparing 64 Judgments.  Fantastic effort by some incredibly dedicated and hard-working family law attorney and forensic accountants. 

The Mosk DSO Program continues to operate with two attorneys every day, a forensic accountant joining the attorneys every Wednesday, and on Thursdays, we staff an attorney proficient in Spanish who can assist those who need assistance in Spanish. 

Our DSO Program couldn’t survive without the tireless efforts and support of Department 2 and Judge Nelson’s staff led by the ever-patient, LaVette Young.  Our DSO applications are closely screened by the watchful eye of Heidi Tuffias, and our CPA component is expertly handled by the multi-talented Tracy Katz. 

This year, we are proud to boast our official second DSO program which operates at the Compton Courthouse.  The Compton panel is run by our very own unstoppable Merlyn Hernandez and also provides Spanish-speaking DSO volunteers to assist on a regular basis.

The dedicated volunteers who have made the program what it is today and their hard work deserves recognition well beyond what I can offer in this brief article.  Judge Nelson and the Los Angeles Superior Court Family Law Division is planning to have a DSO Appreciation Reception on Thursday, September 1, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. in Department 2.  Last year, they had a lovely celebration for the volunteers and I am certain this year will be no exception.

The DSO panel in Central and the panel in Compton are always accepting new applicants who meet our membership criteria.  Please contact me or DSO Membership Coordinator, Heidi Tuffias at for an application or with any questions.

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