Click for Barristers/Young Attorneys Section Newsletter Online Version
dark blue triangle in newsletter heading
Social Media
LACBA Section/Committee Liaisons Section
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

Be on the lookout for news on our upcoming fall and winter events, including:

  • Bench Meets Bar Virtual “Brown Bag” Lunch with Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Paez (December 17, 2020 from 12 p.m.-1 p.m.)
  • E-Discovery Principles with Magistrate Judge Maria Audero (January 27, 2021)
  • OCI Tips and Tricks / Mock Interview Program (January 2021)
  • Clerkship Opportunities (March 2021)

Event Review—Racial Justice: Where Do We Start? October 29, 2020

On October 29, 2020, the LACBA President’s Task Force on Racial and Social Justice presented its first event in its Racial Justice Speakers Series – a panel discussion entitled “Racial Justice: Where Do We Start?” The distinguished panelists for this inaugural event were: Connie Rice, a former member of President Obama’s Twenty-First Century Task Force on Policing and author of “Power Concedes Nothing;” Michael Lawson, President and CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League; and John Gibson, a Partner at DLA Piper. The panel discussion was moderated by Barristers/Young Attorneys Executive Committee Member and Chair of Networking, Jason Parnell, an attorney in the Downtown Los Angeles office of Winston & Strawn LLP.

Members of LACBA and the general public were invited to virtually join these prominent members of the Los Angeles legal community and hear their thoughts regarding issues of racial justice in the legal system, policing, and the larger community. The candid discussion was designed to broaden the audience’s perspectives and help members of the audience better advocate for racial justice and equality in their daily lives. During the discussion, the panelists focused on the need to reform our criminal justice system, and the role that lawyers need to have in that important and timely process. In addition, the panelists and moderator focused on some of the challenges and barriers that attorneys of color face in the legal community and broader society in a very racially-charged year filled with protests, headlines, civil unrest, and a deadly pandemic. More than 300 individuals attended this incredibly informative event. The Racial Justice Speakers Series event was generously sponsored by more than a dozen law firms and other organizations, and was also supported by numerous LACBA Sections and Committees, including the Barristers/Young Attorneys Section, as well as LACBA Affiliate and Affinity Bar Associations.

LACBA Section/Committee Liaisons

Interested in Social Security law? The application period is open for the BYA liaison position to the LACBA Social Security Law Section. If you’re interested in Social Security law, this is an excellent opportunity to work with and learn from experienced attorneys in this field.

Liaisons serve on the executive committee of their assigned section for 2-year terms, help foster a connection between the sections, and ensure that the BYA know of any upcoming events or issues in their assigned section (and vice versa). Serving as a liaison can help you get on the fast-track to LACBA leadership both in the BYA and in whichever practice area you choose.

Applications are due by November 27, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Please feel free to share with anyone who may be interested and contact for questions.

Section Spotlight—Cannabis Section

LACBA’s brand new Cannabis Section is blazing a new trail and “Raising the Bar Higher.” California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana and recently adopted a comprehensive and complex regulatory scheme covering the cultivation, manufacture, testing, transportation, and sale of cannabis for both medicinal and adult recreational use. At the same time, possession and commercial production, distribution, and sale of cannabis remain unlawful under federal law.

The Cannabis Section is an active section that provides high-impact and unique programming. Programs include: “Cooking With Cannabis” (Nov. 12, 6-7pm). This unique program featured a cooking demonstration from an acclaimed chef helped demystify cooking with cannabis followed by live Q&A.

Other past programs include: “It’s Legal, Is It Ethical?” (Nov. 2.); “All Cannabis Is Local: Understanding the Complex Intersection of Cannabis and Real Estate” (Oct. 7); “In the Deal Trenches” (Sept. 3); “Trailblazing in Cannabis and Hemp Trademarks” (Aug. 25); “Getting In The Weeds With Cannabis Litigation: Claims, Strategies, Challenges, Finding Resolution” (May 26); “Brown Bag Lunch” (Mar. 11); “Demystifying LA City's Cannabis Licensing & Regulatory Program” (Feb 11).

The Cannabis Section also established a pro bono panel to help verified social equity applicants in the City of Los Angeles and is seeking more attorneys to help pro bono clients. For more information, please contact Todd Berman, the Section’s BYA Liaison, at

Barristers Spotlights
Claire-Lise Kutlay portrait

Claire-Lise Kutlay is an experienced trial lawyer at Greenberg Gross LLP, a top boutique litigation firm in Southern California. Claire-Lise has worked on numerous high-profile matters, including representing plaintiffs in whistleblower/wrongful termination suits, representing survivors of childhood sexual assault, and defending an AM Law 200 firm in a case seeking $500 million in damages for violation of civil RICO, fraud, and other torts. Her work routinely generates press coverage and two of her 2018 trial victories were featured as Top Verdicts by the Daily Journal. She has been recognized as a Southern California Super Lawyer Rising Star in 2020.

Claire-Lise is a proud citizen of Canada, born in Nigeria, spent summers in England and Turkey, lived in the United Arab Emirates, and now calls Los Angeles home. Pre-pandemic, Claire-Lise enjoyed curling, belting off-tune songs at karaoke, axe-throwing (with minimal injuries), exploring new restaurants, and traveling (over 25 countries and counting). During the pandemic, she has refined her baking skills and enjoys regular virtual board game nights with friends.

Todd Berman-portrait

Todd Berman is a distinguished member of the Barristers/Young Attorneys (BYA) Section. He serves on the Marketing and Media, Networking, Bench and Bar, Professional Development, and Law Student Outreach Committees. In these roles, Todd instrumentally helps organize, promote, and/or execute various BYA events and initiatives. He is also an asset as BYA’s Liaison to LACBA’s Cannabis Section and topical Barristers Tips author for Los Angeles Lawyer.

Todd grew up in the greater New York City area. The “chilling effect” (legal pun intended) of two snowy years at the State University of NY at Alb(rrr!)any was driving west to sunny southern California.

After establishing residency and qualifying for in-state tuition, Todd completed his bachelor’s degree in sociology at UC Santa Barbara. A lifelong movie buff, he rose to managerial positions in marketing at Sony Pictures and other major L.A. area studios.

Following several restructurings, Todd began exploring specific entrepreneurism as a means to greater control over his life. Believing that he would be the most zealous advocate for his interests and rights as a business owner, he completed his legal education in the Law Office Study Program. This required highly self-disciplined study and CA Bar Examination preparation, without graduating from law school. While this exceptional achievement is unique nowadays, it was the traditional path for aspiring attorneys such as Abraham Lincoln, who Todd greatly admires, before law schools proliferated.

Todd was admitted in December 2019. California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye graciously administered his oath personally in the very courtroom where years earlier, he observed her hear oral argument in a case that sparked his interest in franchise law.

While tutoring for the Bar Examination and considering additional employment options, Todd is working on his business idea with an eye on eventual franchising.

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 Meets Bar, Law Student Outreach, Networking, Professional Development, Social Media, and Membership. Committee descriptions can be found at

As the holidays near and our year comes to a close, we are reminded of the many projects and organizations that have been impacted financially by this pandemic. They still need your help. One of those organizations is the AIDS Legal Services Project, which is a LACBA committee that provides direct legal advocacy to low-income individuals living with HIV. Since the start of the pandemic, the LACBA Aids Legal Services Project has dedicated significant resources toward protecting these individuals by helping them access vital medical care and housing. World AIDS day is Tuesday, December 1, 2020. In anticipation of this day and in recognition of this critical time, we encourage everyone to make a donation to the project at the following link: Don’t forget that you can also always support LACBA’s Counsel for Justice, and the numerous other organizations they support, by selecting it when shopping at!


© 2020 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 1055 West 7th Street, Suite 2700, Los Angeles, CA 90017-2557.

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