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JULY 2019

A Publication of the Small Firm and Sole Practitioner Section of LACBA.


Ann Schneider
Nikki Mehrpoo Jacobson



Caroline Vincent -  Chair
Erin Joyce  - Vice-Chair
Joshua Furman - Treasurer
Donna Kirkner - Secretary

Marcia Brewer
Stuart Chelin
Joshua Friedman
Alice Graham
Daniel Imber
Janice Miller
Tom Myers
Matthew Norris
Zein Obagi
Roger Rosen
Ann Schneider
Carolin Shining
Marilyn Smith
Peter Weinberger
Richard Williamson


Chair's Message

Caroline Vincent_3
Caroline Vincent

What a whirlwind of activities our Section members participated in last month, described in more detail below. In one two-week period I attended a total of five (5) Section related events and cannot begin to express the rich networking, referrals and professional talent and resources we have in our Section, the greater LACBA, and now with our sister organization, the CLA Solo and Small Firm Section.

I cannot even say that the highlight was receiving President Brian Kabateck’s award for Outstanding Section Leader, but that was pretty terrific! What I learned was that this award was inspired by my leadership in creating a series of fingerprinting party events, which lead to reactivating a section, and more parties! The highlight was our Speed Networking event, which we patterned after the Fingerprinting party, which was to focus on a gathering for Section members, whose primary connections are digitally through the List Serve. What better way to network, refer business and receive referrals than getting together to personally meet and know your fellow Section members in an informal setting!

For our July 18 Westside mixer, we carry forward that theme of focusing on providing members of our list serve a pre-registration period so they can fill our rooms and have a chance to meet. And yes folks, we are taking it on the road, with a few other non-downtown locales already identified for future events.  But for the time being, there is a strong sentiment that functions where Section members have the opportunity to get together to meet and know each other better, is a great way to begin our journey as a reactivated Section.

I wanted to take a short moment to talk about leadership. Those of you on my mailing list will find my July email as well on this topic (when I get it finished!). Our Section members are all leaders, of our own firms, or co-leaders if our firm has more than one owner.  We take the lead in our client matters, manage vendor relationships, run our businesses and basically handle everything as the boss. Our Executive Committee members, increasingly engaged in the process of working together in teams and committees and creating a variety of alliances and projects beyond programs and events, are developing leadership skills, team models and know-how to expand our capacity as leaders of our Section. Stay tuned for future updates on what we are doing, but I am enjoying the opportunity to watch our talented members take the reins and co-create great things. It is my joy and privilege to be a part of this effort. We are all learning together and as long as we keep having great parties, I say all is well!


Caroline Vincent, Section Chair

Upcoming Events
Westside Summer Mixer 
(hosted by the Small Firms Section)

July 18, 5:30-8:30 p.m.,
Rush Street, 9546 Washington Blvd, Culver City

Following on the footsteps of our first and very successful “Meet Your Colleagues” mixer, we are venturing to the Westside!

Meet new contacts on the Westside
Light appetizers
Cash/no-host bar
Rush Street Tavern
9546 Washington Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232 
View Map

Open to both Section and non-Section members. Please encourage non-Section members to come and see what a wonderful group we have!  Space is limited, so please register ASAP!
Price: $25



LACBA Section Leaders Retreat -

July 27

Four members of our Executive Committee (Caroline Vincent, Erin Joyce, Zein Obagi and Stuart Chelin) will be meeting with other LACBA Section Leaders. We will keep you posted about any important developments from this retreat.


Executive Committee Retreat -

August 3

Members of your Executive Committee will be meeting to plan for the next year. While, for a recently reactivated section, we have already accomplished a lot in a short time in terms of identifying goals for the section, this retreat will focus on organizing our ExComm more effectively to bring our ideas to fruition. Topics to be discussed are identifying projects of interest to Section members, identifying and calendaring MCLE and social events, and brainstorming additional ideas to foster the needs of our general membership.

LASC Temporary Judge Training, Bench Conduct and Demeanor – 

September 10

Los Angeles Superior Court,
111 N. Hill Street, Room 222 (Second Floor),
Los Angeles, CA 90012

The Los Angeles Superior Court is currently scheduling Temporary Judge Training. Rule 2.812, et seq., of the California Rules of Court requires Temporary Judges to receive, inter alia, three hours of live training in Bench Conduct and Demeanor. Earn 3 hours of MCLE participatory credit and learn if you might have what it takes to become a temporary judge! Price: $50.


LACBA Small Firm Section CLE Program with CLA –

November 23,  Half Day.  
Southwestern Law School
The program will provide CLE of particular value to the small firm/sole practitioner. 
Details to follow.


Past Events

Wow! June was a busy month for our Section. We engaged in activities which brought attention to our Section within the legal community at large, within the LACBA in general, and among our Section membership.

California Lawyers Association (CLA) 2019 Solo and Small Firms Summit, Excellence Award Reception – June 14

(Sponsored by the Small Firms Section)

Our Section presented the Excellence in Practice Award to Norma J. Williams (former Chair of the LACBA Real Property Section and a Trustee). We also had a sponsorship table which provided attendees with LACBA membership and section information. We added several new members from this event!

Several of our ExComm members were in attendance and met with CLA leadership to bring attention to our Section. We will continue to network with the CLA to identify shared interests, develop joint programs and community outreach efforts, and increase networking and referral opportunities! We are already working on a November MCLE program which will be co-sponsored with CLA here in the Los Angeles area. Details to follow.


2019 Outstanding Volunteer Service Awards – June 19

Only six months after our Section was reactivated, our importance to the LACBA was recognized when President Brian Kabateck presented Caroline Vincent with the prestigious Matthew S. Rae, Jr. Outstanding Section Leader Award. 

When asked why she was selected for this honor, she stated: “I have reflected on why our Section was chosen to receive this award, and why in particular I had a part to play. Being at the intersection of the State Bar re-fingerprinting requirement, the difficulty for solo and small firm lawyers to deal with a non-productive task, and the opportunity to have fun, I suggested on our List Serve that we have a Fingerprinting Party. The idea took off like wildfire, and as we proceeded, I was aware there had been past talk of reactivating the Section. But no one to step up. I volunteered to lead the organizational effort and to serve [if no one else wanted to]. I do have past bar association leadership and team building skills and have been mediating and helping attorneys and their clients problem solve as a mediator for decades, and that’s what I offer to a group of talented sole and small firm practitioners.

We asked the List Serve and magically 19 other attorneys agreed to serve on the Executive Committee, and so our leadership was born. I accept the honor to the extent that I stepped up to an opportunity to serve our bar association’s members and to lead the charge to reactivate our Section. The rest is up to those who co-created the opportunity by their own stepping up. I am thrilled to be a leader among a section full of leaders who have stepped up with me. It has truly been a team effort.”

Fantastic work, Caroline!

Caroline Vincent accepts her Award.  Congratulations, Caroline!

2019 LACBA Matthew S. Rae, Jr. Outstanding Section Leader Award

Caroline with 2018-2019 LACBA President Brian S. Kabateck

Caroline Vincent and Saundra Wootton


Meet Your Colleagues - June 20

What a fabulous event this turned out to be!  The brain child of ExComm member Roger Rosen, and organized by ExComm Members Alice Graham and Zein Obagi and our Executive Director, Terrina Scott, this was our first major event to bring us out from behind the list serve to meet on a personal basis. 

This was a fun filled evening of great food (featuring charcuterie board, fresh fruit, beef sliders, coconut fried shrimp, mac-n-cheese balls, Chinese chicken salad, chicken-n-waffles, Caprese skewers, and Spanakopita—all YUMMY!), great drink, and great schmoozing.  The highlight of the evening was a “speed dating” format of introductions and business card exchanges.

It was great to meet in person many of our more active voices on the list serve, and even greater to meet so many relatively new section members who were so enthusiastic about the event and our Section!

A special “Thank You” to:

Obagi Law Group, P.C. 
Caroline Vincent, ADR Services, Inc.

for their sponsorship of this event!

We plan on hosting more networking events (including our July 18 Westside event), and we have received many suggestions for other venues throughout the greater Los Angeles area.  Keep your suggestions coming!

Getting to know you, getting to know all about you...

Speed networking

More speed networking

Larry Kohn, Erin Joyce, Caroline Vincent

Maria Hall and Amanda Rokita, enjoying their LACBA swag...


LACBA Installation Dinner – June 27

A contingent of ExComm members filled a table and more at this annual event, held at the historic Millennium Biltmore Hotel this year, to raise funds for the LACBA Domestic Violence Legal Services Project.  The event celebrated the installation of the 2019-2020 LACBA President, Ronald F. Brot and the Officers and Board of Trustees.  The dinner presented further opportunity to publicize our section and to meet the movers and shakers within the LACBA.

LACBA President Ronald Brot and Caroline Vincent

Stuart Chelin, Caroline Vincent, Marilyn Smith, Erin Joyce, Marcia Brewer

Zein Obagi, Matthew Norris, Caroline Vincent, Erin Joyce, Alice Graham

Donna Kirkner, Caroline Vincent, LACBA Past President Patricia Phillips, Marcia Brewer, Alice Graham

Hot Topics

Last month’s list serve offered two discussions which exemplify the value of the list serve in providing multiple viewpoints on important topics.

The first featured a spirited discussion among many members regarding the California State Bar’s Task Force on Access through Innovation of Legal Services (ATILS), and its recommendation to allow non-lawyers to provide legal advice and services “with appropriate regulation.” Click here for more information. 

While many members expressed vehement opposition to such a proposal (citing the economic interests of the bar and consumer protection, and the danger of legal decisions being improperly driven by economic interests of corporate profiteers), others offered their thoughts on potential benefits to the legal community, in terms of increasing access to justice for those of modest means, noting that in many practice areas nonlawyers already play important roles (e.g., environmental law, family law, probate law and patent law). 

The second discussion was an exchange among Zein Obagi, Jack Schaedel, Matthew Norris, and Seth Tillman which offered a mini tutorial on analyzing potential causes of action and defenses regarding an airline employee terminated for alleged involvement in drug trafficking, which the employee denied. Amy Breyer and Caroline Vincent also offered their thoughts on potential negotiations for the employee’s reinstatement assuming the employee’s noninvolvement could be sufficiently established.

Two great examples of how the list serve can assist in revealing two (or more!) sides of the same coin!

Welcome to Our New Members

Ruchit Agrawal


Joshua T. Kluewer

Yiyan Cao


Xinlin Li Morrow

David D. Carico


Ken G. Plachy

Sarah E. Cortez


Phyllis G. Pollack

Jennifer Lynn Emery


Brian Kelly Trinidad

Kevin Gres


Jennifer Wood

Joseph Dale Huser


Joseph Younes

Become Involved!
We need your participation!

Our Executive Committee, and this Newsletter, are works in progress. If you would like the Section to address other focus areas, or would like to see additional features in the newsletter, let us know! Send your comments/inquiries to

We particularly invite you to become involved in one or more of our committees, provide comments or suggestions for programs and networking functions, and to author articles of interest to sole and small firm practitioners. Our Section’s committees, committee members and committee chairs so far are posted on our Section’s webpage.

The Section encourages nonmembers to join the LACBA and our Section! 

Membership applications are available at or by calling LACBA Member Services at (213) 896-6560.

Keep in touch!  Find us on social media at:


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