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February 2018 - Calling All Future Leaders: The OCBA Wants You!

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by Nikki Presley Miliband

Are you interested in serving our legal community? Is community service on your radar? Would you like to gain valuable experience and help shape our legal community? Would you like to become more involved with the courts? If so, the OCBA would like to work with you! Leadership in the OCBA is open to all and there are several ways to get there. I’m but an email away at nikki@ocbar.org.

As Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “it is a terrible thing to look over your shoulder when you are trying to lead—and find no one there.” Thankfully, I do not have this problem; over my shoulder, I have the pleasure of seeing President-Elect Deirdre Kelley, Director of Career Services at Chapman Law School; Treasurer Scott Garner, partner at Umberg Zipser; and Secretary Larisa Dinsmoor, OC Deputy Public Defender, each of whom will serve as OCBA President from 2019-2021. Each has taken a different path to OCBA leadership; there is no “only” or “right” path. Contact them or any of the OCBA Board members—an amazing, diverse, and dedicated group of individuals with whom I have the pleasure of working with this year.

The OCBA’s Leadership Committee, co-chaired by Dean Zipser and Mike Yoder, seeks leaders in our legal community, and is charged with cultivating and encouraging those individuals. This year the OCBA will have a series of cocktail receptions and intimate roundtables where future, present, and past bar and legal community leaders will meet to discuss OCBA leadership opportunities. Please email me and/or fill out the form at www.ocbar.org if you are interested.

The OCBA’s Diversity Committee, chaired by Rick McNeil, will assist the Leadership Committee in identifying, contacting, and encouraging diverse individuals to seek leadership opportunities. Board and officer positions in OCBA affiliate bar associations is an excellent way to gain valuable experience in pursuing an OCBA leadership role.

Becoming active on one of the many OCBA committees, seeking leadership roles in the various OCBA sections, or volunteering with the Mentoring Committee to mentor a new attorney also provide excellent paths to leadership. The more active you become, the more you will be recognized as a leader amongst your peers.

Some details you should know: the OCBA Board consists of five officers, eleven elected directors, eight appointed directors, and one director appointed by the OCBA Young Lawyers Division.

The OCBA election for OCBA Secretary (and future president) and board positions (usually four per year) opens in September. However, now is the time we start encouraging individuals to consider putting their name in to possibly be included on the slate of candidates. Pursuant to OCBA bylaws, the President-Elect forms a Nominating Committee (usually in June) that reviews all of the submitted nomination forms and selects a slate of individuals to stand for election.

After the election, the President-Elect forms an Appointments Committee. Although there are eight appointed board positions, the terms are staggered and the number of open positions varies each year. The Appointments Committee recommends appointment to the OCBA Board considering “the outcome of the election with a view to ensuring that the composition of the Board fairly represents, to the extent reasonable, the diverse composition of the Association, including minorities, women, lawyers in firms of various sizes and sole practitioners, public lawyers, lawyers with various specialties, and lawyers in various geographic areas.” At least five of the eight appointed directors must be members of OCBA affiliate bars. All individuals recommended by the Appointments Committee must be approved by the OCBA Board of Directors.

The OCBA shares a close relationship with its past leadership. See page 49 for a full list of the 116 past presidents of the OCBA—all powerhouses in their own right. Without naming all, several past presidents are now judicial officers such as Hon. Andrew Guilford, Hon. Kimberly Hubbard, and Hon. Franz Miller. We also have the founding partner of Rutan & Tucker, A. W. Rutan (1927), and Knobble Martens’ founder, Don Martens. Large firm past presidents include Tom Malcolm (Jones Day), Mike Yoder (O’Melveny Myers), and Joseph Chairez (BakerHostetler). Entrepreneurs such as John Hueston (Hueston Hennigan), Wayne Gross (Greenberg Gross), Dean Zipser (Umberg Zipser), Jennifer Keller (Keller/Anderle), Lei Lei Wang Ekvall (Smiley Wang-Ekvall), Todd Friedland (Stephens Friedland), Robert Gerard (Friedman, Stroffe & Gerard), Ed Connor (Connor, Fletcher & Hedenkamp), and Tom Bienert (Bienert Miller Katzman) have started their own firms. Past presidents also include solo practitioners such as Michelle Reinglass (now at Judiciate West) and Julie McCoy, this year’s Franklin G. West award honoree. We have had government employee Danni Murphy (OC Public Defender’s office), and even a political candidate: Ashleigh Aitken, running for mayor of Anaheim. Corporate counsel include Dimetria Jackson and Michael Baroni. Nor can I forget my husband, Joel Miliband and his law partner, Cathrine Castaldi, formerly of Rus, Miliband & Smith and now with Brown Rudnick. If I didn’t name someone it was for lack of room, not lack of credentials. I have repeatedly reached out to many of these leaders for advice and direction, and they have all been very gracious in that regard; for that, thank you.

Come out to meet many of these individuals as well as the present OCBA leadership. If you are interested in getting involved, now is the time to act. We look forward to your joining us!

Nikki Presley Miliband is the OCBA’s 2018 President. Nikki is also a probate and trust litigation partner at Good Wildman in Irvine. She can be reached at nikki@ocbar.org.