Click for Barristers/Young Attorneys Section Newsletter Online Version
MAY 2021
dark blue triangle in newsletter heading
Social Media
Section Spotlight
Barristers Spotlights
Get Involved


Barristers/ Young Attorneys Newsletter

Barristers/Young Attorneys Executive Committee Officers:

Sharon G. Gelbart, President
Diana A. Sanders, Immediate Past President
Sarah Kelly-Kilgore, President-Elect
Anne Nash, Vice-President
J.D. Rees, Assistant Vice President of Outreach
Janette Blair, Assistant Vice President of Public Relations
Melissa Hailey, Assistant Vice President of Special Events
Nick Spear, Secretary
Social Media

To stay connected with us and receive information about events, updates and opportunities, follow us on the following social media forums:

  • Instagram: Follow @lacbabarristers
  • Twitter: Be one of the first to follow @LACBAbarristers
  • Facebook: Like our page @lacbabarristers
  • LinkedIn: Connect with us. Group Name: Barristers/Young Attorneys Section, Los Angeles County Bar Association (
facebook-icon linkedin-icon instagram-icon twitter-icon LACBA-App
LinkedIn Instagram Twitter LACBA App

Bench Meets Bar Reception (May 20, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.) [TOMORROW]

The Barristers/Young Attorneys (BYA) Section is hosting a virtual cocktail reception on Thursday, May 20 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. that will feature a few leading jurists as speakers, including Chief Judge Philip S. Gutierrez of the United States District Court for the Central District of California and Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor and Assistant Presiding Judge Samantha P. Jessner of the Los Angeles Superior Court. It will also include a “cocktail hour” for young attorneys to talk and network with local state and federal judges in Zoom breakout rooms, so please bring your favorite beverage. Registration closes today, so make sure to sign up!

Event Review—New Admittee Celebration: The Circus of Life! (April 29, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.) by J.D. Rees

On April 29, the the BYA Section hosted a Celebration for 2020 passers of the California Bar. The circus-themed event—called the Circus of Life—brought an array of dazzling acts into the home of LACBA members via Zoom. With aerialists, contortionists, acrobats, cyrwheelers and more, the show was a welcome bit of respite and a unique introduction to the LACBA organization. The BYA Section hopes to make next year’s celebration even more exciting.

J.D. Rees is an associate in the Business Trial Practice Group at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP and the BYA’s Associate Vice President of Outreach.

Event Review—A Joint Session of the Cannabis and Barristers/Young Attorneys Sections Virtual “Brown Bag” Lunch by Todd Berman

The first co-sponsored event between the Cannabis and BYA sections was well-attended and well-received by new and young attorneys, law students, and experienced attorneys who learned about the continually developing practice area of cannabis law. Each of the five leading Los Angeles cannabis lawyer speakers (Joshua Mandell, Meital Manzuri, Taylor Wagniere, Sheila Gibson, and Andrew Koussevitzky) offered insights from a diversity of experiences that would be relevant to the audience, and answered the many great questions asked. A recording of the event is on the Cannabis Section Home Page, where you can learn more about the Section, its events, and membership:

Todd Berman is a tutor for the bar and Professor of Law. Todd is a member of the BYA Executive Committee and the BYA Liaison to the Cannabis Section.

Be on the lookout for news about our other upcoming spring and summer events, including:

  • Bar Preparation Workshop (May 24, 2021 at 12:00 p.m.)
  • Legal Issues Concerning the Gender Pay Gap (June 15, 2021)
  • What Does Zealous Advocacy Mean? A Primer for Young Attorneys (June 23, 2021) [Free CLE]
  • Networking Event (June 2021)
  • Virtual Painting Night Event (June 2021)
Section Spotlight—Trusts and Estates Section

The Trusts and Estates Section has been a powerhouse section of the LACBA for decades, with an active membership and many successful events each year. The section concerns itself with laws governing trusts, probate estates, guardianships, conservatorships, and other matters affecting estate planning and administration, bringing members together, and acting as liaison with the Los Angeles County Probate Court. As the only bar association with a countywide focus, we are uniquely positioned to bring you important developments from the Probate Court, which our leadership immediately passes to its membership.

Four Reasons to Join the Trusts and Estates Section:

  1. The Programs – We offer a robust calendar of courses, including free “Trusts and Estates Lecture Series” programs, providing unique insights directly from judges, court personnel, county officials, and our own elite and experienced practitioners.
  2. The Newsletter – Each month, we email our members news from the Court, recent cases, legislative developments, and upcoming programs.
  3. The Listserv – Our section probably has the most active listserv in all of the LACBA, with seasoned practitioners generously assisting others with nuanced issues and sharing their answers with all on the listserv.
  4. The Community – Our biggest asset is our tight-knit community of practitioners. The section is actively seeking more BYA and we would love for you to consider getting more involved! Please reach out to former BYA President Jessica Gordon to find out how:
Barrister Spotlights

Meet Your BYA Executive Committee

Melissa Hailey-portrait

Melissa Hailey is Labor Counsel at FirstGroup America, Inc., the largest provider of student transportation and a leading provider of public transportation contracting and management services. She oversees labor and employment matters, such as collective bargaining with labor unions, and also assists in the areas of human resources and employee relations. Melissa was recently selected for and completed a leadership and development program for high potential executives within her company.

Melissa enjoys working on the “people side” of business and applying her legal knowledge to provide fast-paced and effective assistance to daily operations. Melissa believes building and maintaining strong relationships with internal and external stakeholders is essential to her and her company’s success. Melissa has traveled all over the country in her role and is grateful for the unique and diverse experience it has provided.

Melissa is an Officer and Executive Committee member of the BYA Section, where she currently serves as the Associate Vice President of Special Events. In the past, Melissa has also served as the Secretary, Co-Chair of the Law Student Outreach Committee, and the Labor and Employment Section Liaison.

Melissa earned an honors degree in Psychology from the Ohio State University and her J.D. from Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law. At Chase, she was inducted into the Order of Barristers for her excellence in trial advocacy. As a Midwest native and now resident of the South Bay, Melissa enjoys the luxuries of year-round beach activities, spending time with her family, friends, and dog, and is a certified yoga instructor and holistic health enthusiast. Namaste.

Member Spotlight

Taylor Wagniere_portrait

Taylor Wagniere currently works for the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office where she advises the Department of Cannabis Regulation. Since she began in 2018, Los Angeles has grown into the largest regulated cannabis market in California.

Taylor is a proud double Trojan having obtained her law degree and undergraduate degrees from the University of Southern California. She currently serves on the Board of Governors for the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, and is a founding member of LACBA’s new Cannabis Section and a member of the BYA section. Prior to her time at the City, she was an antitrust attorney for Blecher Collins & Pepperman. In her free time, she enjoys college football (Fight On!), reading murder mysteries, and trying new restaurants in downtown LA where she lives.

Get Involved

Interested in getting more involved with the BYA Section? Connect with our AVP of Outreach J.D. Rees ( to hear about the various BYA Committees and benefits of membership. The Committees are: Bench and Bar, Law Student Outreach, Networking, Professional Development, Media and Marketing, Membership, and Counsel for Justice (CFJ). Committee descriptions can be found at


© 2021 Los Angeles County Bar Association Contact LACBA at


You are subscribed to as %%emailaddr%% .

You are receiving this message because you are a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA) or one of its sections, have registered to receive correspondence through LACBA's website, or are a member of the legal profession. If you wish to be excluded from any future correspondence, please see instructions below or mail us at 200 South Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012.

To unsubscribe from this mailing list, click the following url, %%url.unsub%% or copy and paste the following url into your browser %%url.unsub%%


Barristers/Young Attorneys Section facebook icon Barristers/YA twitter icon LACBA linkedin Barristers/Young Attorneys Section Homepage Read the Barristers/Young Attorneys Section Newsletter Archives