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May 2014 - Who’s Who in the OCBA—The Affiliate Bars

In order to offer our members increased diversity alongside engaging networking and learning opportunities, the Orange County Bar Association proudly partners with a variety of Affiliate Bars. As such, we invite you to take this opportunity to go behind the scenes and learn more about our Affiliates directly from their leadership. Joining a relevant Affiliate Bar may improve your practice while simultaneously increasing your involvement in the Orange County legal community.

Celtic Bar Association

The goals of the Celtic Bar are to promote camaraderie amongst its membership, civility and professionalism within the Orange County legal community, and a greater awareness of the Celtic culture and history, particularly its contribution to the law. There are seven separate Celtic nations, all of which are connected to one another by common history and culture: Wales, Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man (if your ancestors are from Man, your dues are waived for the first year), Galicia (in Spain), Brittany (in France), and Cornwall (in England). The Celtic people are known for their outgoing nature and their love of the written and spoken word. Not surprisingly, many descendants of Celtic immigrants have entered the legal profession. While there are many Irish-American lawyers’ groups in major cities throughout the United States, we believe that the CBA is the first attempt to gather all the Celtic clans in a single legal organization.

We meet on the third Tuesday of each month at Muldoon’s Irish Pub (through the graciousness of one of our founding members, Ronald O’Schwartz), located near Fashion Island in Newport Beach. We have a long-standing tradition that is set forth in our bylaws that meetings cannot last more than five minutes, which bylaw is strictly adhered to at all meetings.

Each year, we install our officers and recognize our Celtic Judge of the Year on Samhain Eve, which heralds the beginning of the Celtic New Year. This past year, Judge Lon Hurwitz was recognized as the Celtic Judge of the Year, while past recipients include Judge Sheila Fell, Judge James Di Cesare, Justice Kathleen O’Leary, Judge William McDonald, Judge C. Robert Jameson, Judge David McEachen, Judge Ronald Kreber, Judge Dan Pratt, Judge Franz Miller, Judge Michael Brenner, Judge Andrew Banks, and Justice William Bedsworth.

We have organized travel seminars to Ireland, Spain, France, Italy, England, Scotland, and Wales. This September we will launch a Celtic tour of Montreal and Quebec, Canada (see our website to sign up at We have also had excursions to the contemporary Irish comedies Stella by Starlight and Many Happy Returns at the Laguna Playhouse, Riverdance and The Weir at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, Thurgood at the Geffen Theater, as well as the Orange County Irish Fair, the Renaissance Faire, and Irish and Celtic movies. Guest speakers at our events have included Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, human rights activist and daughter of Robert Kennedy; the prominent Irish playwright, Bernard Farrell; and our own Judge McDonald (Ret.), all of whom adhered to the five-minute meeting rule.

Over 300 lawyers and judges have rallied to our cause. One does not have to be of Celtic descent to join the CBA. On the contrary, all we ask is that you be a member of the OCBA, have an outgoing nature, and support for our organization’s goals. (Oh yes, we do have modest annual dues at $25!) For further information, please contact CBA President Michael Penn at, 714.434.1424, ext. 41, or the OCBA, 949.440.6700, ext. 261.

Federal Bar Association, Orange County Chapter

The FBA is the preeminent national organization for private and government lawyers and judges involved in federal practice. The Orange County Chapter of the FBA covers the spectrum of federal legal practice in Orange County. Regular programs and events provide a unique opportunity to meet federal judges and their staffs, stay current on the latest developments in federal practice, and meet and learn from other federal practitioners in our community. The FBA/OC has won numerous national awards as an outstanding chapter for its innovative and valuable programs, and for its excellent newsletter.

Local federal judges assist in planning and presenting chapter CLE activities, provide valuable and specific insight regarding federal practice in Orange County, and many of them serve on the FBA/OC Board of Directors. FBA/OC’s hallmark event each year, Judges’ Night, draws many judges from local and regional courts. The Chapter’s membership spans all types of attorneys in Orange County, from civil to criminal, from private practitioners to corporate counsel to federal attorneys with the United States Attorney’s Office, Federal Public Defender’s Office, and other federal agencies, and includes lawyers in all kinds of practices, from solo offices to the largest firms.

The FBA/OC supports the local community by hosting an annual pro bono lunch with the goal to raise awareness of the various pro bono programs in the County. The FBA/OC has been a sponsor of the “Constitution Day” program for high school students put on by the Orange County chapter of the Constitutional Rights Foundation and also makes an annual contribution to the Public Law Center.

The Orange County Chapter has always focused on presenting frequent, excellent, and topical CLE programs. Regular programs include: annual civil, criminal, and intellectual property practice programs on cutting edge topics; summer Bench and Bar luncheons at which the local federal judges provide advice on successful practice in their courts; periodic “Behind the Books” tours of the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse; and special programs with nationally recognized members of the legal community.

For more information, membership applications, or to join the FBA/OC, visit the website at or contact FBA/OC Administration at, or 949.608.9905 (phone and fax).

Hispanic Bar Association of Orange County

The Hispanic Bar Association of Orange County (HBA) advocates for a legal community that reflects the true diversity of Orange County and ensures access to justice for all. At its core, the HBA’s mission is to increase: (1) the number of Latinos pursuing a law school education; (2) the number of Latino attorneys practicing in Orange County; and (3) the number of Latinos serving on the bench.

The HBA encourages law school enrollment with its Wally Davis Scholarships, awarded to deserving law students every year since 1995. Wally Davis scholars have gone on to work at large and small firms, in both public and private service, and many have joined the leadership ranks of the HBA, including three who have taken its helm as president.

Every year, the HBA’s scholarship fundraiser and installation dinner draws hundreds of leaders of the local legal community. This year’s theme, Honoring Our Trailblazers by Advancing Our Dreamers, was showcased at all levels; we honored the creators of the Wally Davis Fund by awarding an unprecedented $40,000 in scholarships to four excellent local, Latino law students. We honored the First Latino State Bar President, Luis Rodriguez, a true trailblazer, as Attorney of the Year. We also honored the HBA’s first female President, Diane Nordby, with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her 20+ years of service to the HBA. Our guest speaker, Sergio Garcia, Esq., won a five-year legal battle to become licensed after the California Supreme Court granted him a license to practice law, notwithstanding his legal status in the country. Our Guardian De Justicia, Fishkin & Slatter, LLP, took on Sergio’s case pro bono for over four years.

In addition to uniting and inspiring, the HBA provides professional and networking opportunities for its members, including the 2014 Memorial Day MCLE travel seminar to Belize. The HBA’s de barranda mixers throughout the year have become a staple of the social life of the local legal community.

In short, the HBA is a great place to give back to the community, empower the next generation of Latino lawyers and leaders, meet new friends, see old faces, and share good memories. If you are interested in becoming a member or learning more about the HBA, its Committees, its scholarships, or how to get involved, please visit or email

J. Reuben Clark Law Society—Orange County Chapter

The J. Reuben Clark Law Society—Orange County Chapter is part of the larger, international J. Reuben Clark Society. Started in 1988, the founders of the Society sought to emphasize “three basic values and attitudes toward the practice of law in modern society: public service, loyalty to the rule of law and to the Constitution, and appreciation for the religious dimensions in both American society and in a lawyer’s personal life.” Since then, the Society has grown to more than 13,000 members with roughly 67 chapters throughout the nation and 27 international chapters in areas such as Africa, China, Canada, Germany, Mexico, Jordan, Russia, Switzerland, and more. 

The J. Reuben Clark Law Society—Orange County Chapter appeals to lawyers whose personal religious conviction guides their lives and manner of practicing law. Our Mission Statement reads: “We affirm the strength brought to the law by a lawyer’s personal religious conviction. We strive through public service and professional excellence to promote fairness and virtue founded upon the rule of law.” Although most of our membership is associated with the Latter-day Saint (Mormon) faith, we welcome all judges, attorneys, and law students who believe that a lawyer’s personal religious conviction can and should make a positive difference in how the law serves our society.

We recently sponsored the 10th Annual Orange County Religion & the Law Symposium, a highlight for our society which helps us to explore, celebrate, and protect religious liberty. We hold bi-monthly MCLE presentations on subjects of interest to our membership. We hold an Annual Dinner event each fall featuring a prominent speaker. The highlight of our Annual Dinner is the presentation of the J. Reuben Clark Award to someone who has made significant contributions to the legal community and embodies the values of our Society. These events are great opportunities to network with old friends and meet new ones. Anyone interested in attending one of our luncheons or joining our organization may contact the Orange County Chapter Chair, Brent North, at 949.752.2219, or visit our website at

Lex Romana

Lex Romana (Italian American Lawyers of Orange County) takes pride in being the premier OCBA Affiliate that places equal emphasis on the importance of legal, cultural, epicurean, and fermented contributions Italians have made to our society. Our group meets the second Tuesday of every month rotating between various local Italian restaurants. We are well known for our love of Italian culture, food, and wines and believe everyone is an Italian at heart. In fact, Italians and non-Italians are all welcome and encouraged to join. Like a scene from The Godfather, our dinners are an experience of multiple conversations sparking across the table, bursts of laughter, and wine glasses chiming—this defines our vision of the term “networking.”

Lex Romana established its roots in the Orange County community in 1979 with Joseph D’Antony installed as first President. Past Founding Members include Hon. James Di Cesare, Frank Barbaro, John DiCaro, Joseph DiVincenzo, Andrew Lachina, and Frank Terreri.

Our membership continues to grow, adding non-Italians and non-lawyers alike, and we welcome everyone with open arms. With dues at only $50 per year, there is no better way to break from the daily grind one evening a month to enjoy our festivities. Annual highlights include our annual Installation Dinner at Antonello Ristorante, Bocce matches at Il Fornaio, dinners at different Italian eateries, a joint meeting with the Celtic Bar Association, wine tasting, MCLE credits (at least four a year), cooking classes, and a special Christmas event. We are also an approved MCLE provider—what better way to earn credits than a presentation over wine and pasta! (This will be kept to a minimum to ensure more fun than work!) In addition, we always look forward to including speakers on topics relating to Italian culture and heritage.

For more information or an application, please visit our website at or contact our President, Pamela Liosi.

Orange County Asian American Bar Association

Established in 1993, the Orange County Asian American Bar Association (OCAABA) is proudly celebrating its 21st year as Orange County’s pan-Asian bar association. OCAABA’s objectives are to: (1) promote professional development and personal growth; (2) foster the exchange of ideas and information between OCAABA and the broader legal profession and community at large; (3) provide a forum for fellowship spanning other civic organizations; (4) promote educational and civic events and programs that enhance the community’s knowledge and understanding of, and thus appreciation for, the legal system and the profession of law; and (5) provide a vehicle for the expression of reasonable opinion arising in the Asian community on current social, political, economic, legal, or other matters of interest or concern.

OCAABA’s dedication to its mission is embodied in its eight extraordinary committees.

The Professional Development Committee presents MCLE programs and seminars specifically focused on our members’ needs, including a Specialty MCLE Credit Program. These programs are treated as an investment in our membership.

The recently-formed In-House Counsel Committee recognizes the differing needs of OCAABA’s in-house attorney members and exists to build stronger relationships among in-house and outside legal counsels through exchange of ideas and information at networking events such as the “The Three Must Know GCs in OC” reception and “Must Know GCs” lunch series, among other events and programs.

The Pipeline Committee works with law student associations and partners with local law schools—Chapman, Western State, Whittier, and UCI—to provide mentorship, career panel programs, and skill workshops to our future lawyers.

Pro bono clinics and charitable drives are organized by the Community Service Committee each year to provide opportunities for members to volunteer on the project(s) of their choice. OCAABA is also a supporter of the Asian Americans Advancing Justice and the Public Law Center.

The Summer Family Picnic and Holiday Dim Sum Party are light-hearted affairs planned by the Social Committee, while fun and networking will always be found at the fall Moon Festival Mixer and winter Membership Mixer. If these signature events aren’t enough, OCAABA’s energetic Membership Committee also hosts new member happy hours during the year.

OCAABA’s annual installation and awards gala enables members and friends to celebrate an evening of camaraderie with the traditional Asian banquet. OCAABA enjoyed record-breaking attendance and sponsors at its 21st annual gala in April, where it installed its 2014-2015 officers and directors and celebrated the extraordinary leadership and achievements of Judge Lance Ito and Judge Andrew Guilford.

The PR/Affiliates Committee focuses on outreach to OCAABA’s affiliate bars and the wider community. OCAABA partners with affiliate bars to host events throughout the year, such as a judicial reception to welcome new judges to Orange County. OCAABA also actively participates in the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association and California Minority Counsel Program to offer additional resources to OCAABA members, particularly in the areas of professional development and advancement.

Finally, the Judicial Evaluation Committee evaluates qualified judicial candidates for endorsement by OCAABA.

For more information, please visit or contact

Orange County Criminal Defense Bar Association

The OCCDBA is the unified voice of the criminal defense bar for Orange County. The founding Board members, Paul Meyer (President), Kate Corrigan (Past President), Jennifer Keller, Gary Pohlson , John Barnett, Mike McDonnell, Al Stokke, Jack Earley, and Ed Muñoz, started the association to promote the interests of the private criminal defense bar in Orange County. Ed Flores, Tom Bienert, and Ed Welbourn joined the Board and are currently serving as active members.

The OCCDBA Board members have been actively participating in courthouse meetings and providing a voice for the private criminal defense bar. In its first year, the Board was able to achieve several of its goals, including growing its membership, providing great MCLE opportunities to its membership, achieving the expansion of access to VISION to private defense counsel, and a high level of camaraderie amongst its members. Our meetings have included panel discussions with presiding and trial judges, a night at the jail, town hall style exchanges with the bench, candidates for the bench, rehabilitation services providers, the Orange County District Attorneys’ Office, private pay to stay jail providers, and, of course, great panels of seasoned attorneys, both from Orange County and beyond. In November, we will again co-host a criminal panel with the Federal Bar Association—Orange County Chapter. The OCCDBA members range in age and experience. More experienced and seasoned attorneys offer their time to younger members in the way of informal mentoring.

We meet on the last Thursday of the month at Original Mike’s in Santa Ana. Our dues are $150 per year, and we offer a discount to law students and investigators. Membership is now open. For further information, please contact OCCDBA President Paul Meyer or visit our website at

Orange County Jewish Bar Association

In August 2009, President and Founder Jordon P. Steinberg of Kaufman Steinberg LLP envisioned an Orange County Jewish Bar Association (OCJBA), and by February 2010, the vision became a reality.

The OCJBA’s Mission Statement says it all: “Providing a social environment that will engender comradeship among its members, building upon the foundation of thousands of years of Jewish tradition steeped in the law (Torah), fostering the application of Jewish principles and morality, committing good deeds (Mitzvot) and acts of kindness (Tzedakah) while practicing law and serving the community.”

The OCJBA gives back to the Orange County community by participating in pro bono activities with Human Options and Jewish Federation/Family Services. The OCJBA’s partnership with the Anti-Defamation League has brought the Anti-Bullying Campaign in full swing as member volunteers (and others) visit Orange County K-12 schools offering a free, nationally approved program. The sole purpose is to educate schools on how best to deal with bullying issues from both the target’s and perpetrator’s perspectives.

The OCJBA meets the first Tuesday of every month at Muldoon’s in Newport Beach, located at 202 Newport Center Drive. The OCJBA is eternally grateful to Ron Schwartz for hosting our “Schmooze and Booze” meetings. The meetings are open, and all are welcome, Jewish or non-Jewish; you do not have to be a “member” to attend.

For more information about the OCJBA or pro bono activities, please visit our website at, write to OCJBA, P.O. Box 6130, Newport Beach, CA  92658, or email Jordon P. Steinberg at

Orange County Lavender Bar Association

The Orange County Lavender Bar Association is the county’s official association of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT), and allied attorneys. OCLBA provides networking, educational, and mentorship opportunities and resources to its membership and the community. As part of its mission, OCLBA seeks to increase the visibility of LGBT issues in Orange County and the profile of Orange County in the broader statewide LGBT community.

OCLBA was launched on June 16, 2010, at a gala hosted by Gibson Dunn that was attended by 200 attorneys, philanthropists, business and community leaders, judges, professors, and students. The launch event featured remarks by attorneys in San Francisco who had just completed closing arguments in the landmark Perry v. Schwarzenegger case challenging Proposition 8 in federal court. Thereafter, OCLBA’s founding Board of Directors, which includes representatives from private practice and academia, began implementing a robust series of bar programs.

Since 2010, OCLBA has produced a number of highly successful events ranging from constitutional law to tax and estate planning issues facing the LGBT community along with social events for networking opportunities. OCLBA’s annual Anniversary Gala takes place in the summer honoring community and legal leaders in the fight for justice and equality. In 2013, OCLBA honored Justice David Thompson, Bryan Cave, and Family Equality Council along with presenting the first M. Katherine B. Darmer Equality Scholarship to a law student committed to LGBT issues in Orange County.

At the Fourth Anniversary Party being held on July 16, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. on the Sky Garden of The Michelson Building, OCLBA will honor Justice Kathleen O’Leary, Nielan Barnes, and the second recipient of the M. Katherine B. Darmer Equality Scholarship.

OCLBA seeks to serve and unite not just the LGBT community, but our allies as well. For more information, please visit or email

Orange County Trial Lawyers Association

Formed in 1963, when plaintiffs’ attorneys gathered to share information and exchange tips and strategies with one another, the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association (OCTLA) has grown into one of the largest and most influential Affiliate Bar organizations in Orange County. Now in its 51st year, OCTLA is stronger than ever, dedicated to promoting quality representation of consumers and employees while educating and supporting our membership. In addition, OCTLA is at the forefront of efforts to ensure full funding of the courts, so that access to justice is preserved for everyone. Below is an overview of just some of the benefits that OCTLA members enjoy.

Best Networking Opportunities in Orange County: It’s no secret that OCTLA is one of the most prominent bar organizations in Orange County, and members are treated to regular networking opportunities with judges and top lawyers in the county at special events and our monthly dinner meetings.

Relevant and Interesting Educational Events: Not all MCLE educational events are created equal. OCTLA provides monthly opportunities to earn MCLE credits while learning about relevant issues from some of the greatest speakers in the state, if not the country. In addition, every year, OCTLA hosts a members-only candid evaluation of local judges, arbitrators, and mediators—crucial information for every trial lawyer’s practice. This benefit alone is worth the price of membership.

Informative Quarterly Magazine: From insightful interviews with Orange County Superior Court judges to practical, nuts-and-bolts articles on issues of procedure and trial skills, you will not want to miss an issue of The Gavel magazine.

Interactive Website/Bulletin Board: To get a glimpse of our new website, log on to Some have said the most valuable feature of the website is our members-only forum, which allows members to post questions regarding their cases and solicit immediate responses from hundreds of fellow trial attorneys. It’s like having the resources of a large law firm at your fingertips.

Social Activities: OCTLA gives its members many opportunities to build lasting personal and professional relationships. These include our fall softball game against Orange County’s judicial officers (the series is currently tied 3-3) and our annual Bench and Bar Golf Tournament on Columbus Day (when the courts are closed, so everyone can enjoy some time out on the course). For those who enjoy more formal events, OCTLA delivers with its black tie installation of officers and board at the beginning of each year and its Top Gun Trial Lawyer of the Year awards program and charity auction, which will be held Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, at the Montage in Laguna Beach.

All attorneys engaged in trial practice in Orange County are encouraged to join OCTLA. With benefits like these, how can you afford not to join? For more information, visit our website at, or contact Janet Thornton at 949.916.9577.

Orange County Women Lawyers Association

OCWLA started in 1975 with five members. It was originally called the Women and Individual Rights section of the Orange County Bar Association. In 1979, OCWLA became an affiliate organization of the Orange County Bar Association.

OCWLA is dedicated to advancing women in the legal profession. We support the continued growth and development of OCWLA and its members by providing an exceptional professional network, raising awareness of discrimination and bias, and supporting worthy charitable organizations.

We hold our regular lunch meetings at Grand Catered Events in Orange on the first Tuesday of every month. Our meetings offer quality Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs at very reasonable prices. We also hold several evening programs throughout the year, including our popular Mardi Gras cocktail mixer in February. For the first time this year, we held a Women Judges Reception in April to honor our many female federal and state judges. We hope to make this a recurring annual event.

Our board has been hard at work planning an exciting 2014. Our 2014 Judge of the Year is Hon. Glenda Sanders, Presiding Judge of the Orange County Superior Court. We are pleased to announce that Joan Mayer, Deputy General Counsel of Lennar Homes, is our Attorney of the Year. These awards will be presented at our Annual Gala Dinner this fall. The Gala is our primary fundraising event. At the dinner, we will also be honoring Steve Young, of the Law Offices of Steven R. Young, with a President’s Award, in recognition of his many years of support of OCWLA.

OCWLA uses money raised through its fundraising efforts to award $1,000 bar stipends and diversity bar stipends twice annually to law school graduates who are studying for the California Bar Examination. We also provide financial support to organizations such as the Public Law Center and California Women Lawyers, of which OCWLA is an affiliate.

At all of our events, OCWLA collects donations of sample-sized toiletries (shampoo, toothpaste, etc.) that we donate to the Orange County Collaborative Courts. The toiletries are distributed to people in the Homeless Outreach Court and Drug Court programs. We also collect dry pasta donations, which we give to Catarina’s Club. Bruno Serato, the owner of the Anaheim White House, uses these donations to make pasta dinners every night for children living in the motels of Anaheim.

For more information about OCWLA, please contact us at, 949.440.6700, ext. 259.

Thurgood Marshall Bar Association

When America’s founding fathers, in our Declaration of Independence, wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” they probably did not fully grasp the challenges such a direct philosophic statement would face for hundreds of years thereafter, and continuing.

Despite the founders’ inability to predict the future, the expressed but then-untested concept of equality also fostered social and legal systems to review, evaluate, and rule on the question of exactly what “equality” means.

Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall—following a pathway hewed out by abolitionist Frederick Douglass, slave-rebel Nat Turner, Underground Railroad currier Harriet Tubman, AME Church Founder Richard Allen, slave-freer John Brown, emancipationist Abraham Lincoln, and civil rights preacher Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to name a few—put democratic ideas to legal tests, and won! As lead counsel in the almost sixty-year-old case of Brown v. Board of Education, Mr. Marshall convinced the U.S. Supreme Court to vote unanimously that segregation in public schools on the basis of race is “inherently unequal.”

Thurgood Marshall Bar Association stands for what Justice Marshall stood and successfully fought for: Equality amongst lawyers, judges, educators, other legal professionals, and Americans in general, with no detrimental, only respectful, notice of differences in national origin, race, color, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Also, reflecting Justice Marshall’s professional successes as both a lawyer and judicial officer, we promote high professionalism and competence.

Please note that on May 17, 2014, Thurgood Marshall Bar Association will partner with Chapman University to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board: registration 5:00 p.m.; dinner 5:30 p.m.; program 6:30 p.m. Panel speakers include The Honorable Frederick P. Aguirre, Orange County Superior Court; Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean, UC Irvine School of Law; and Charles Ogletree, Professor, Harvard Law School. Register online at

Come. Join us. Help us make, and keep, everyone equal and excellent—the American Dream!

For more information, visit our website at

Orange County Bar Association | P.O. Box 6130 | Newport Beach, CA 92658 | 949.440.6700 |
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