LACBA 2016 Installation and Awards Dinner, Thursday, June 23, 2016

CLICK HERE to view photographs from the event.

More than 400 state and local officials, judicial officers, LACBA members and guests came together at the beautiful Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown Los Angeles to celebrate the installation of Margaret P. Stevens as LACBA’s 2016-17 President.

Stevens, who was joined on stage by her husband and past LACBA President Robin Meadow, was sworn in by both Presiding Justice Lee Smalley Edmon and her husband, Judge Richard J. Burdge (both former LACBA presidents).  With Stevens’ accession to president, it was the first time in LACBA’s long history that two married couples had both served as LACBA presidents. 

Justice Edmon also administered the LACBA Oath of Office to incoming Officers along with incoming members of the Board of Trustees as well as incoming Barristers’ President Damon Thayer and Barristers incoming Officers.

But before the formal program began, outgoing LACBA President Paul R. Kiesel wowed guests with a surprise announcement that LACBA’s Domestic Violence Legal Services Project had just received an additional $273,000 in Cy Pres funds thanks to the efforts of Spearmint Rhino Consulting Worldwide General Counsel Peter Garrell and Stevens.

The Project’s Directing Attorney, Debbie Kelly, was thrilled with the presentation of the funds, stating, “The Cy Pres funds received from Spearmint Rhino and ear-marked for the Domestic Violence Program help assure that we will be able to continue to provide free legal services for victims of domestic violence at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles, the state’s busiest courthouse. 

Adding, “Nearly 68 percent of those we help have children who also receive protection from the battering parent.  The Domestic Violence Project thanks Margaret and Peter for helping to secure these funds and the difference it will make in the lives of the men, women and children who come to us for help each day.”

The Project helped more than 4,600 people last year and provided over $1.5 million in pro bono services thanks to the assistance of 170 LACBA volunteers.

To date, LACBA and DVP have received more than $573,000 in Cy Pres funds because of Margaret and Peter’s work on behalf of DVP. (Click here to learn more)

The first award of the evening, the Outstanding Jurist Award, was presented to the Hon. Arthur Gilbert, Presiding Justice of the Second District, Division Six, of the California Courts of Appeal, in recognition of his life-long contributions to the bench, practice of law and the community at large.

Justice Gilbert is known as the “Court of Appeal’s poet laureate,” for his ability to simplify complex legal matters and issue rulings that are both scholarly and clear in their meaning and interpretation.  It’s a philosophy Justice Gilbert has carried with him throughout his 40-year career, that began during his time on the Los Angeles Municipal and Superior Courts.

As a traffic court judge, he noticed a disproportionate number of Hispanics had warrants for their arrests for failing to appear in court.  To address this language barrier, Justice Gilbert introduced bilingual tickets in Spanish and English, which greatly reduced this number.

Justice Gilbert has passed along his belief that judges have an obligation to carefully explain their decisions, slashing through legalese and writing in layman’s terms. 

“I am deeply honored to receive this award from the Los Angeles County Bar Association, that has accomplished so much for the legal profession,” said Justice Gilbert.  “During the past four decades that I have been a judge, momentous changes have occurred in the law, and I am fortunate to have played a small part in some of those changes.  And yet some things remain constant, like how I do my work.  It's just the two of us in a room, me and my brain...only often I'm alone.  I feel privileged to join the list of extraordinary people who have received this honor.”

 “LACBA commends Justice Gilbert for his efforts and commitment to simplifying complex rulings and helping to make the law accessible to everyone,” Kiesel said.  “He reminds each of us that the law can be complicated and intimidating for many, and that it is our responsibility to demystify the law for our clients and those appearing in the courts.”

Before the award was officially presented, guests were treated to a very special musical performance of “The Gilbert Touch” by the Singers in Law, featuring Justice Gilbert’s wife, Barbara Gilbert, Ken Freundlich, and Linda Hurevitz.

The next award of the evening - the Shattuck-Price Outstanding Lawyer Award - was presented to L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl in recognition of her extraordinary dedication to the highest principles of the legal profession and to improving the administration of justice.

Throughout her career, Supervisor Kuehl has worked and collaborated on a number of high-profile initiatives and legislation throughout the state, and in Los Angeles, to improve equality, civil rights, access to justice and legal protection as a public-interest attorney, member of the California Senate, Speaker Pro Tempore of the California Assembly, and now as County Supervisor.

Supervisor Kuehl was the first woman in California to be named Speaker Pro Tempore of the Assembly and first openly gay or lesbian person to be elected to the California Legislature. 

As a member of the legislature, she authored 171 bills that were signed into law, including legislation to establish paid family leave, nurse-to-patient ratios in hospitals, and prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender and disability in the workplace and sexual orientation in education, among others.

Prior to her election to the Legislature, Supervisor Kuehl was a public-interest attorney who drafted and fought to get more than 40 pieces of legislation relating to children, families, women, and domestic violence into California law. 

“I am very honored to be receiving this recognition from the Los Angeles County Bar Association and so many of my colleagues and friends. I have happily devoted my adult life to trying to use the majesty of the law to serve the expansion of equality and justice,” said Supervisor Kuehl.

“LACBA is proud to recognize Supervisor Kuehl for her remarkable career and successful efforts to improve the quality of life for all Californians,” said Kiesel.  “Her contributions to the practice of law and dedication to fair and equal justice is a legacy that will live on for generations.” 

Among the guess who attended the reception and dinner were Presiding Judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court Carolyn Kuhl, L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer, L.A. County Public Defender Ron Brown, President of the State Bar of California David J. Pasternak, City Controller Ron Galperin, and Executive Director of the LA Law Library Sandra Levin.

LACBA would also like to thank those who purchased VIP tables for the event: Dokich Court Reporters, Gibson Dunn, Greines, Martin, Stein & Richland  LLP., Kiesel Law LLP, Loeb & Loeb LLP, Nelson & Fraenkel LLP, Panish Shea & Boyle LLP, Shoreline, A Law Corporation, and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.