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January 2016 - Hey Todd!

For a complete list of Orange County Lawyer magazine President's Page columns, please click here.

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by Todd G. Friedland

“Hey Todd!” I hear that every day. “Hey Todd, the OCBA should ...” “Hey Todd, how can I help out with ...” “Hey Todd, can the OCBA ... ?” “Hey Todd, why are the Kardashians so popular?” Well, just like a Magic 8 Ball, I am here to help.

If you want to volunteer with the OCBA, suggest an improvement, know what the OCBA can do for you, learn about the OCBA’s community outreach programs, get some CLE, or even volunteer with the OCBA (yes, I mentioned that twice), I am here for you. I cannot explain why the Kardashians are so popular (really, who can?), but on OCBA matters, I am looking to get you involved and for your help to keep the OCBA on the right track. So feel free to shout out “Hey Todd” whenever you see me and let’s talk. But wait, there’s more! I’ll make it even easier for you. Just email me at HeyTodd@ocbar.org. It doesn’t get any easier than that right? Go ahead. Do it now. I’m waiting.

Now, on with the President’s Page. Ashleigh Aitken did a great job in 2015. The Veterans & Military Task Force, spearheaded by Ashleigh and Dwight Stirling, created a website, put on programs to help lawyers understand issues facing veterans, and accomplished years’ worth of good in less than a year. If that were not enough, Ashleigh also kept her speeches brief. You’ll have to come to Judges’ Night to see whether I can continue that trend. Congratulations Ashleigh on a wonderful year. Those are some big shoes or, rather, great heels to fill.

Countless OCBA members have suggested content for my first President’s Page. The battles in my own mind over which issues to tackle in this article are ongoing—even as my fingers type away. I have plenty to say, but not enough time or space to say it. Do I write about the assault on civility endangering the reputation of our profession? What about the plight of the homeless, many of them veterans, surrounding the Santa Ana Courthouse? Should I comment on the hurdles faced by junior lawyers and the benefits of mentoring? Should I write about how I would like to see the OCBA be an inclusive bar soliciting diverse opinions from various corners of the legal and non-legal community? How about expanding our reach to better serve the Orange County community as a whole—not just lawyers? I believe in all of these things.

Let’s start with the OCBA’s Mission Statement: “To Enhance the System of Justice, To Support the Lawyers Who Serve It, and To Assist the Community Served By It.” Notice that the OCBA’s mission is not only to serve its members, but also the justice system and the community.

The OCBA’s Vision Statement really drives home our Mission:

“Our Bar will be the leader of the legal community in Orange County combining the best features of a professional society and a trade association. This organization will be one that anticipates, and even shapes, changes in the practice of law, which will make lawyers proud to be lawyers and the public proud of our work. The Bar will focus on excellence, not perfection; preserving the ideals of legal practice as a profession, not just making a living; and becoming intimately involved with the community, not just providing a service. We will demand inclusivity, charity, and relevancy by and for our members as they strive for the betterment of themselves while being professionally fulfilled. And finally, our Bar will continue to insist on promoting the integrity and honor of the legal profession while insisting on access to justice for all Orange County residents.”

With the Mission and Vision Statements in mind, here are some drivers for 2016:

  • Be an inclusive and diverse bar
  • Foster civility and ethics
  • Mentor junior attorneys and law students
  • Develop new volunteers and leaders
  • Contribute to our community

I will discuss specific initiatives in the February issue. I know; you can hardly wait. For now, though, let me take a step back. You see, I have lived in Orange County nearly my entire life. Having been practicing in this County for over 15 years, I have witnessed the power of the OCBA and what it can do for our community. So I take this position of OCBA President very seriously. I am not alone. I am simply one steward of the OCBA. We also have an outstanding and dedicated Board of Directors. Our board is diverse in practice area, race, gender, and viewpoint. Importantly, over 1,000 of you volunteered in 2015 to administer the OCBA’s programs, lead sections, write articles, and make Orange County a great place to practice. In 2016, I expect we will build on our past achievements and look for ways to better our profession and the Orange County community as a whole. Thank you for the opportunity and trust you have placed in me. I will do everything in my power not to screw it up.

And don’t forget to “Hey Todd” me.

Todd G. Friedland, the 2016 President of the Orange County Bar Association, is a Partner with Stephens Friedland LLP. His practice focuses on complex business litigation including shareholder disputes, trade secrets, and unfair business practices. Mr. Friedland is a Past-President of the Constitutional Rights Foundation, Orange County and a current member of the Board of Governors of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers. He can be reached at Todd@sf-lawyers.com or HeyTodd@ocbar.org.