April 2015 - Join the OCBA All Over Again

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by Ashleigh E. Aitken

"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing."

Now, I know people will accuse me of starting with a quote to try and look smart, and I am not denying it, especially if it worked. It is the writer’s equivalent to putting on glasses. But I do have a deeper point.

I recall the first weeks of law school involving a lot of discussion of the Socratic method, the importance of independent thought and a focus on ideas, not just on facts and events. What I always liked about the quoted sentiment is that it reminds me to dig deeper into each situation, especially when I feel I have almost mastered something.

I came into my presidency with a decade of OCBA experience, and I felt fairly confident I knew the organization inside and out. Well, I now have a few months as OCBA President in my wake, and have quickly learned that this organization is doing even more than I had imagined. I highlight this because I believe that most of us are not fully utilizing our OCBA memberships, and would get more involved if we knew a fraction of what the bar is doing. There are many committees and volunteer opportunities that members can join, at no additional cost. To that end, I want to devote part of my column each month to some of the work being done by our committees and bar volunteers. I hope that members will see something that interests them, and take advantage of the benefits that the OCBA provides. This month I want to highlight the Legislative Resolutions Committee.

Free Lunch in Anaheim, Anyone?
Each year, the Legislative Resolutions Committee sends an OCBA delegation to the annual Conference of California Bar Associations (CCBA). This conference takes place at the same time and location as the annual state bar convention in October, and this year will take participants all the way to Anaheim, California!1 The committee proposes creative solutions to law-related issues in the form of resolutions that, if adopted, are brought to the California legislature. Last year, twenty-eight resolutions sponsored or supported by the CCBA were included in bills working their way through the legislative process.

Prior to the CCBA, the OCBA Legislative Resolutions Committee drafts its own resolutions and also reviews resolutions proposed by other bar associations and legal entities. The OCBA has a strong history of getting its resolutions passed, and has been at the forefront of the law on issues dealing with telephonic appearances, HOA homeowner rights, and changes to the criminal code. The committee is chaired by Lorena Peñaloza, who, in addition to being a tireless advocate for Orange County, is tremendously fun to be around. The committee is open to all areas of practice, and there is no “years of practice” requirement, making it a perfect vehicle for both new and seasoned lawyers. And, during the conference, the OCBA hosts a luncheon for its delegates, providing an opportunity to expand your waistband in addition to your professional legal network.2

So please, mark April 29, 6:00 p.m. in your calendar and join us at the OCBA headquarters for the Spring Caucus. And who doesn’t like to caucus in the spring?

Happy Year of the Sheep Goat Ram
This February ushered in the new Lunar Year, and depending on where you celebrate, it is the Year of the Sheep, the Goat, or the Ram.3 The confusion seems to stem from the fact that the Chinese character yang can be translated to mean gazelle, sheep, goat, or ram. In Vietnam, the Tet festivals honored the goat, whereas in Japan, the New Year cards are adorned with the sheep. The ram seems to be favored by those that feel the sheep is too meek. Those goats born in 2015 (as well as those born in 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, and 2003) are said to be gentle, mild-mannered, shy, sympathetic, and brimming with a strong sense of kindheartedness and justice. Good career choices for sheep/goat/rams are a pediatrician, actor, daycare teacher, interior designer, florist, hair stylist, musician, and art history teacher.4

On April 23, we can debate this issue at the OC Asian American Bar Association’s 22nd Annual Installation Dinner. I have the pleasure of emceeing the evening, which honors Deputy Attorney General Peggy Huang and keynote speaker Michael Ray. At this sell-out event, the food is the real star. There is no rubber-chicken dinner, only delicious Asian fare and a chance to honor the accomplishments of this affiliate bar’s members and volunteers.


  1. North County Pride; Go Angels!
  2. The Legislative Resolutions Committee was the first committee I joined through the OCBA. I wanted to comment that it was my gateway to OCBA leadership and the presidency, but some thought that might hurt the committee’s chances of recruitment.
  3. For those who doubt the utility of my tangents, I would like to acknowledge OCBA Director Kyhm Penfil for informing me that my pistachio comments led to hours of debate on the Hebrew word boten. I was fact-checked correctly at www.haaretz.com/news/features/word-of-the-day/1.610087. I am putting that on my résumé.
  4. I am a Rabbit, which according to Chinese mythology makes me suited for a career in “breeding, education, religion, health care, medicine, culture, police/judiciary work, and politics.” As a mother, I suppose I can cross off breeding, and as a former prosecutor, the police work. Let’s see where my next career turn takes me.

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.