November 2015 - Defending November

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by Ashleigh E. Aitken

November is having a tough time. It used to have its own identity, associated with Thanksgiving, Veterans Day, National Deviled Eggs Day, and Mickey Mouse’s birthday. But with the holidays marching into November, occupying Thanksgiving Friday and now Thanksgiving Day itself, November is unsure of its place in American culture. Filled with self-doubt and December-envy, it questions its very existence. I have tried the usual tactics to prop up November’s self-confidence: flowers, Air Supply-filled mixtape, smelly candles; nothing seems to work.1 I empathize, as judging from the amount of holiday décor in Costco this past October, I think Halloween and October should be worried.

At least at the OCBA, we try and celebrate what makes November great. On November 5, the OCBA Charitable Fund will host its annual fall fundraiser, Raise Your Glass III, at Big Canyon Country Club. The event is chaired by our OCBA secretary, Nikki Miliband, who reinvented the annual fall event from a costumed 1980s kitsch-fest into a classy, sell-out evening. (I assume the sight of several members of the Executive Committee and their spouses dressed as either Don Johnson or Melanie Griffith led to too many complaints.) The Raise Your Glass events are wildly successful, featuring wine tastings with the opportunity to meet the winemakers, amazing culinary delights, a live auction, and the chance to leave with a unique bottle of wine from the blind wine pull, donated from the private cellars of the OCBA board of directors and the Charitable Fund board. Plus, it provides you with a forum to say things like, “This wine is very fruit forward,” or “I usually don’t drink pinots from south of the Alexander Valley,” without feeling too out of place. It is always a fun event, so please consider attending and supporting the Charitable Fund and the award recipients featured on last month’s cover.

We also have a member mixer on November 12, at the Morton’s Steak House by South Coast Plaza. The mixers are a unique opportunity to meet members from other sections and committees, and socialize in a relaxing environment. Who doesn’t like short rib tacos and jumbo shrimp cocktail? I actually have no idea what is being served that night, but I know it is better than reheating whatever week-old pasta I can find in our office refrigerator and eating alone at my desk! Bring your business cards to hand out to new colleagues, and extra for our raffle.

We also celebrate Veterans Day on November 11. I have written a lot about veterans this year, and the work of the Veterans and Military Task Force. This month the task force will seek OCBA Board approval to become a standing committee, providing OCBA members with continuing opportunities to volunteer and learn about the myriad of legal issues facing the veteran community. The hope is to have a continuing forum for those who want to serve the veteran community, and provide education, guidance, and volunteer opportunities. I hope the passion and success that the task force has had this year continues to address the needs of the veteran community.

This issue is dedicated to veterans and the many members and judicial officers who have served in the Armed Forces. I extend a heartfelt thank you on behalf of the association to all of our lawyers and judges who have put their lives on the line for our country. This Veterans Day, I encourage everyone to reach out to an active military member or veteran, and simply extend a note of appreciation for their service. It is wonderful to have a day off of work, but the day shouldn’t pass without reflection on its purpose. Even if you do not have a veteran in your life, you can acknowledge the day by attending a local Veterans Day event in your city, mailing a holiday card to a service member through the Red Cross’s Holiday Mail for Heroes, or sending a letter to a veteran in a VA facility through www.americasadoptasoldier.org.

As you can see, November is a busy time at the OCBA. I know there are a myriad of events to attend this month, and most of us are just hoping for a brief calm before the holiday storm of office parties, holiday mixers, and fruitcake. But, if you can spare a moment to join us at one of our events, it would make November feel a lot better.


  1. Being mean, I’ll put this song in everyone’s head for the rest of the day. “Here I am, the one that you love, asking for another day. Understand, the one that you love, loves you in so many ways.” Ah, Air Supply.

Ashleigh E. Aitken is Of Counsel at Aitken*Aitken*Cohn, a position she obtained neither through nepotism nor duress. She is a plaintiff-only civil litigation attorney specializing in wrongful death, personal injury, business torts, and class actions. She can be reached at ashleigh@aitkenlaw.com.