November 2009 - OCBA's Education Committee
by Claudette D. Kunzman and Michelle Lents
Michelle Lents and Claudette D. Kunzman co-chair the Orange County Bar Association Education Committee. This is a hardworking committee that puts together various specialty credit seminars as well as the granddaddy of them all, "The Last Dash." This labor intensive committee meets monthly and provides MCLE seminars in the spring, fall and winter. Each committee member is eager to participate and willingly carries out the assignments of contacting speakers and formulating programs. They are bright, fun, hard working and come from varied law practice backgrounds. Even though there are thirty seven members, only a handful do the lions share of the work. These delightful people include Melinda Bell, H. Shaina Colover, Jacline Evered, Wayne Gross, James Lloyd, Solange Ritchie, Phillip Sandoval, Edward Susolik and Leejanice Toback.
If you aren't familiar with "Last Dash" either you consistently meet your mandatory MCLE requirements or you are from another state. "Last Dash" provides attorneys all the difficult-to-get MCLE requirements in one fell swoop. In one day you can get the majority of your MCLE credits and meet the six hours of specialty credit requirements covering Ethics, Substance Abuse, and Bias. If you missed the first run, the OCBA puts on a video replay so that you can catch the specialty credits on the last Saturday before the February deadline. There are eighteen separate programs involving twenty four speakers comprised of judges, attorneys, and even actors.
Committee chairs come and go; however, the success of the Education Committee can be attributed to OCBA staff person Patricia Martinet. She keeps the committee members on task and makes all the arrangements insuring that the seminars progress smoothly. Recently we held a seminar on women litigators which was well received and rather enlightening to hear from women litigators in the trenches.
On October 6, 2009, the seminar "Making Rain During A Dry Season" featured some outstanding panelists including Martha Gooding, John C. Hueston, Jennifer L. Keller, Thomas R. Malcolm and Robert K. Sall. Wayne Gross moderated the program which featured ethical rain-making strategies for one's law practice - a very timely topic given this difficult economic period. Special thanks to the Federal Bar Association for its co-sponsorship and to Chapman University School of Law for hosting the program at its beautiful campus.
Of special interest this December 3, 2009 is our Specialty Credit Night with a Substance Abuse presentation regarding the affects of alcohol in "real time." Volunteers will be monitored as they drink alcoholic beverages during the seminar. Throughout the presentation the volunteers' perceptions will be assessed as they drink. Not only will one learn something, one can see first-hand the affects of alcohol. The topics of Bias and Ethics are also covered this same night.
In the future, the Committee will feature a program dealing with school districts and children with special education needs. There are laws that school districts must follow when children who have special education needs are in attendance. Some districts follow these laws and some districts do not. This seminar will interest attorneys who want to be better versed when working with clients with special needs children who are having school district problems.
Being a member of the Education Committee is a great way to contribute to enhancing the education of our peers as well as to interact with some very interesting individuals.
Ms. Lents has her own practice concentrating in Employment law and Ms. Kunzman's practice concentrates in Probate law.