June 2021 Cover Story - 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.


Association of Business Trial Lawyers, Orange County Chapter (ABTL-OC)

The Association of Business Trial Lawyers (ABTL), founded over forty-five years ago, has five thriving chapters across California. ABTL provides a forum in which litigators and judges meet to address issues important to business trial lawyers. Judicial participation in ABTL programs and events is very strong, in part because ABTL includes both plaintiff and defense perspectives.

The Orange County Chapter (ABTL-OC) provides top quality programs, combined with social hours where colleagues can meet with each other and with judges. Although the pandemic prevented in-person events, ABTL-OC presented a number of webinars both OC-centric, and statewide through partnership with its other chapters. ABTL-OC was pleased to welcome Dean Erwin Chemerinsky to speak on “The Supreme Court: Its Composition and Direction, Upcoming Cases, and Comments About Election-Related Litigation.” And most recently, former ABTL-OC President Michele Johnson presented an in-depth discussion of the equal pay dispute between U.S. Soccer and the U.S. Women’s National Team.

In addition to its programs, ABTL is known for its unmatched statewide Annual Seminars. ABTL postponed its 2020 Annual Seminar to October 2021 and will hold its members only Annual Seminar at the Mauna Lani resort on the Big Island of Hawaii. The Annual Seminar usually draws approximately 400 attendees and offers 12 hours of CLE credit to lawyers and judges from across the state.

ABTL-OC also is dedicated to mentoring and education for its Young Lawyer Division (YLD), which is defined as those practicing ten years or fewer. The YLD hosted a virtual brown bag lunch with then-OCSC Presiding Judge, Kirk Nakamura.

Finally, ABTL-OC is devoted to giving back to the Orange County community. Although COVID-19 canceled our 2020 plans, ABTL-OC usually builds at least one house with Habitat for Humanity and hosts a holiday gift-giving opportunity where attendees participate by donating money to select children’s charities or by donating new stuffed animals to the Orange County Superior Court’s adoption program. ABTL-OC annually raises tens of thousands of dollars for the Public Law Center and was able to continue this process even during the pandemic—raising almost $40,000 in 2020.

Every Orange County business litigator is encouraged to join ABTL-OC. For more information, visit our website at www.ABTL.org, or contact Linda Sampson at abtloc@abtl.org or President Maria Stearns at mstearns@rutan.com


Celtic Bar Association (CBA)

The goals of the Celtic Bar Association (CBA) are to promote camaraderie amongst members, 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 Celtic nations, all of which are connected by common history and culture: Wales, Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Galicia (in Spain), Brittany (in France), and Cornwall (in England). Celtic people are known for their outgoing nature and love of the written and spoken word. While there are many Irish-American lawyers’ groups throughout the United States, we believe that the CBA is the first attempt to gather all the Celtic clans in a single legal organization.

In non-pandemic times, we meet on the third Tuesday of each month at Muldoon’s Irish Pub—originally through the graciousness of one of our founding members, Ronald “O’Schwartz” (and now thanks to the pub’s new ownership)—located near Fashion Island in Newport Beach. We have a longstanding tradition set forth in our bylaws that meetings cannot last more than five minutes, which is strictly adhered to at all meetings, with our leaders heckled down as the deadline approaches.

Each year, we install 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 Charles Margines was recognized as the Celtic Judge of the Year at our well-attended Zoom installation. Past recipients include Judge Shaina Colover, Judge Jamoa Moberly, Judge Linda S. Marks, Judge Nancy Wieben Stock (Ret.), Judge Gail A. Andler (Ret.), Judge Dennis Choate (Ret.), 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, Judge Lon Hurwitz, and Justice William Bedsworth. In 2019, we granted the inaugural Founder’s Award at Samhain Eve to Attorney Ronald Schwartz.

We have organized MCLE travel seminars to Ireland, Scotland, Iceland, France, Italy, England, Spain, Iceland, and Wales. We have also had excursions to contemporary Irish comedies and plays, the Orange County Irish Fair, a local Renaissance Faire, and Irish and Celtic movies.

More than 300 lawyers and judges rally to our cause. One does not have to be of Celtic descent to join. All we ask is that you be an OCBA member, have an outgoing nature, and support our organization’s goals. (We have modest annual dues of $25!) For further information, contact CBA President Andrew A. Wood at awood@allenmatkins.com or call (949) 851-5421, and visit celticbarassociation.org.


Federal Bar Association, Orange County Chapter (FBA/OC)

The Federal Bar Association (FBA) is the preeminent national organization for private and government lawyers and judges involved in federal practice. The organization’s mission is to strengthen the federal legal system and administration of justice by serving the interests and needs of federal practitioners, the federal judiciary, and the public.

The Orange County Chapter of the FBA (FBA/OC) covers the spectrum of federal legal practice in Orange County and focuses on presenting frequent and topical CLE programs. Local federal judges assist in planning and presenting many of the programs, provide valuable and specific insight on federal practice in Orange County, and serve on the FBA/OC Board of Directors. Programs and events provide a unique opportunity to meet federal judges and courthouse personnel, stay current on the latest developments in federal practice, and meet and learn from other federal practitioners in our community. FBA/OC has won numerous national awards as an outstanding chapter for its innovative and valuable programs and its excellent newsletter.

FBA/OC’s regular programs include: annual civil, criminal, and intellectual property practice programs on cutting edge topics; periodic “Behind the Bench” and “Behind the Glass” tours of the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse; and special programs with nationally recognized members of the legal community. The chapter’s hallmark event each year, Judges’ Night, draws many judges from local and regional courts. Each summer, the organization hosts two Bench and Bar luncheon events, during which local federal judges provide valuable insights to practitioners.

FBA/OC supports the local community by hosting an annual pro bono lunch to raise awareness of the various pro bono programs in the County. Its members also support the Federal Pro Se Clinic at the Santa Ana courthouse via volunteer activities.

FBA/OC is also committed to promoting the growth of younger federal court practitioners through its Young Lawyers Division. The YLD hosts brown bag lunches with our local judges and networking opportunities for younger federal court practitioners. In addition, the YLD supports the Federal Pro Se Clinic, the Constitutional Rights Foundation of Orange County, and other charitable organizations.

The chapter’s membership spans a wide range of attorneys in Orange County, from civil to criminal, from private practitioners to corporate counsel to government attorneys, and includes lawyers in diverse practices, from solo offices to the largest firms.

For more information, membership applications, or to join the FBA/OC, visit the website at www.fbaoc.com or contact FBA/OC Administration at info@fbaoc.com, or 949-608-9905 (phone and fax).


Iranian American Bar Association (IABA-OC)

Founded in 2000, the Iranian American Bar Association (IABA) has grown to be the largest national organization of Iranian-American legal professionals in the United States, with multiple chapters nationwide. IABA is a nonprofit, non-religious, apolitical, and all volunteer member-funded organization that serves Iranian American lawyers, judges, students, and the community as a whole. IABA-OC is the Orange County chapter of IABA.

The IABA’s mission is to educate our community about legal issues of interest and ensure that the public and our representatives are informed on such matters; to protect and advance the legal rights of our community; and to foster and promote the achievements of Iranian American legal professionals.

Since its founding, the IABA has been at the forefront of legal issues impacting the Iranian American community. Most recently, the IABA and IABA-OC have issued timely “Know Your Rights” educational material, assisted community members, worked to safeguard the Iranian American community against hate crimes, and held community outreach and educational town hall events. Through IABA-OC’s legal clinics, often held in partnership with local nonprofit counterparts, attorneys give back to the community, by offering guidance covering a wide array of topics, such as, immigration and family law, and by introducing the community to additional resources available to them.

Contributing to and supporting the careers of Iranian American legal practitioners and law students is another main objective of the IABA. That’s why the IABA started the National Iranian American Law Students Association. IABA-OC has implemented a mentorship program to guide law students and young practitioners as they begin their journey in law. The mentees are paired with a mentor, empowered to pursue their personal career objectives, learn from others, and raise their professional confidence. Together with the IABA Foundation, multiple scholarships are provided to law students across the country.

IABA-OC hosts numerous live and virtual programs on hot topics, provides MCLE to participants, and offers an opportunity for members and non-members to expand their network locally and nationally.

Both the IABA and IABA-OC host separate annual galas, which foster connections and collaboration, provide an opportunity to learn and inspire, and raise funds for law student scholarships and other IABA efforts.

The annual holiday toy drive, hosted by IABA-OC in December of each year, is not only a celebration of the holiday season, but also benefits national and international children through charitable efforts in partnership with non-profit organizations.

IABA-OC is open to all attorneys, judges, and law students, and one need not be of Iranian descent to join. IABA-OC invites readers to become a member and to connect with IABA-OC through the website iaba.us, and join the IABA-OC community on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn @iabaoc.


Italian American Lawyers of Orange County—Lex Romana (IALOC)

Our mission is to celebrate Italian culture, provide continuing legal education opportunities to members of the Orange County legal community, and create fun and festive opportunities for networking among lawyers, non-lawyers, and anyone interested in good food, good wine, and good company.

The Italian American Lawyers of Orange County—Lex Romana (IALOC) meets on the second Tuesday of each month. Annual highlights include our January Board Installation Dinner, cooking demonstrations, and a summer bocce tournament at Il Fornaio.

Additionally, IALOC annually recognizes a member of the legal community for their outstanding lifetime legal career and support of the Italian American Lawyers of Orange County. Past honorees include Hon. James Alfano, Hon. James Di Cesare, and Joseph D’Antony.

As an MCLE provider, IALOC provides periodic CLE programs to its members, normally while enjoying a glass of wine and good Italian cuisine. In addition to these local CLE programs, IALOC has a “CLE in Italy” program every two years. Attendees obtain MCLE credits while experiencing the history, food, wine, and culture available only in Italy. We have traveled to Sicily, Tuscany, Verona, and Sorrento. We will be hosting another trip to Italy in 2021 to the Puglia region.

IALOC 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. We are well known for our love of Italian culture, food, and wines, and believe everyone is an Italian at heart. Italians and non-Italians are all welcome and encouraged to join. Our membership has grown over the years and is currently approximately 100 members. If you love good food, good wine, good company, and/or periodic opportunities for CLE locally and in Italy, you qualify for membership in the IALOC!

IALOC established its roots in the Orange County community in 1979 with Joseph D’Antony installed as its first President. Founding members also include Hon. James Di Cesare, Frank Barbaro, John DiCaro, Joseph DiVincenzo, Andrew Lachina, and Frank Terreri. IALOC thanks all of its past presidents.

For more information on becoming a member, attending a meeting, learning about the IALOC and its history, searching our Board and Membership Directories, or getting on our CLE in Italy interest list, please visit our website at IALOC.org or contact our 2020 President, Anthony Modarelli at amodarelli@damfirm.com.


J. Reuben Clark Law Society—Orange County (JRCLS-OC)

The J. Reuben Clark Law Society (JRCLS) is a diverse, worldwide organization with active chapters throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and North, Central, and South America. The JRCLS emphasizes public service, loyalty to the rule of law and to the Constitution, and appreciation for the religious dimensions both in society at large and in a lawyer’s personal life. The JRCLS Mission Statement reflects these values: “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.”

With approximately 150 active members, the Orange County chapter (JRCLS-OC) is one of the largest and most dynamic in the JRCLS. Our chapter hosts approximately six CLE luncheons each year, an annual Religion & the Law Symposium, Women-in-Law events, an annual dinner, and community service events. We refer pro bono matters to our members who are interested in such opportunities.

Members of the JRCLS-OC and their guests have recently heard presentations by Judge Ryan D. Nelson (9th Circuit), Judge Thomas Griffith (U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit), Judge Nancy Wieben-Stock (OC Superior Court), Diane Bass, Esq. (Criminal Defense Attorney), and Blaine Evanson, Esq. (Gibson Dunn LLP), and we have upcoming presentations from Michael Ray, Esq. (CLO, Western Digital) and Robert C. O’Brien (Former National Security Advisor).

Our society is named after an eminent statesman, jurist, and religious leader who embodied the values we espouse. J. Reuben Clark, Jr. served as solicitor of the U.S. State Department and later in the JAG Officers’ Reserve Corps, earning a Distinguished Service Medal in his work for the U.S. Attorney General’s Office during World War II. He also served as Undersecretary of State, publishing the “Clark Memorandum on the Monroe Doctrine,” and then as U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. He later served in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Membership in the JRCLS-OC is open to all law students, attorneys, and judges who support our mission statement and share these values. There is no requirement to have attended or graduated from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University or to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All who share our mission are welcome.

Anyone interested in attending one of our luncheons or joining our organization may contact the JRCLS-OC Chapter Chair Mark Peterson at mpeterson@omm.com, or visit our website at www.jrcls-oc.com and www.jrcls.org.


Orange County Asian American Bar Association (OCAABA)

Established in 1993, the Orange County Asian American Bar Association (OCAABA) celebrates its twenty-eighth year as Orange County’s Pan-Asian bar association. OCAABA embraces diversity, welcoming members from any and all backgrounds and practices. Interfacing regularly with fellow local bars and nationally with the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), OCAABA is a voice for our community, dedicated to service, charity, and leadership.

In 2017, OCAABA was honored with NAPABA’s prestigious “Affiliate of the Year” award, competing with bar associations all across the United States and Canada. Above all, our members and leaders make the OCAABA experience truly exceptional. There is something for everyone in OCAABA, and we welcome you to join one of our ten committees:

The Professional Development Committee organizes MCLE programs and seminars. These provide guidance for professional development and advancement and often focus on popular, present-day issues.

The In-House Counsel Section helps build relationships among in-house counsel and with outside counsel through events such as the “Must-Know GCs in OC” reception and the “Must-Know GCs” lunch series.

The Small Firm/Solo Practice Section provides a welcoming home for solo, small firm, and general practice attorneys by offering a platform of programs, networking mixers, and general support to assist members in advancing their practices.

The Pipeline Committee works with law student associations and partners with local law schools to provide mentorship, career panel programs, and skills workshops. Student members can sign up for OCAABA’s popular mentor-mentee program.

The Community Service Committee organizes monthly pro bono clinics and charitable drives. OCAABA is also a strong supporter of Asian Americans Advancing Justice and the Public Law Center.

The Social Committee plans and coordinates social events throughout the year. The Moon Festival and Holiday Dim Sum mixers have become two of our signature events, creating opportunities for students, attorneys, judges, and community supporters to promote friendships and professional ties.

The Membership Committee works on expanding our membership base. Popular events include the Fall Membership Drive and Sushi & Sake Fest where members can also meet candidates for OCAABA’s incoming board.

The PR/Affiliates Committee interfaces with OCAABA’s affiliate bar organizations and the wider community. OCAABA often partners with affiliate bars to host events.

The Judicial Evaluation Committee evaluates qualified judicial candidates for OCAABA endorsement and endeavors to recognize and celebrate diversity on the bench.

The Digital/Social Media Committee provides up-to-date information about OCAABA activities and conducts member outreach via our website and social media platforms.

OCAABA’s annual installation and awards dinner offers a chance for members and friends to celebrate an evening of camaraderie. This year, OCAABA will host its 27th Annual Installation Dinner on September 30, 2021, at the Hilton Costa Mesa.

For more information, visit www.ocaaba.org or email contactus@ocaaba.org.


Orange County Criminal Defense Bar Association (OCCDBA)

The Orange County Criminal Defense Bar Association (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.

In the pandemic, the OCCDBA has been instrumental in assisting to ensure that the rights of the accused have not become lost in the process. A strong working relationship with the courts and prosecution and public agencies guarantees that the voice of the criminal defense bar continues to be effectively heard.

The OCCDBA Board members have been actively participating in courthouse and remote meetings and providing a voice for the private criminal defense bar. The concerns and input from the members have contributed to many productive changes in the Orange County criminal courts. Membership continues to grow, and great MCLE is one of the hallmarks of the OCCDBA. Expanded vision for private defense counsel and a high level of camaraderie amongst its members are highlights of the Association. Our meetings have included panel discussions with presiding and trial judges, open forums for judicial candidates, and great insights arising from those practicing trial and appellate law. In the coming year, the programs will continue to feature town-hall style exchanges with the bench and co-hosted receptions with other legal associations. The OCCDBA members range in age and experience. Seasoned attorneys offer their time and insights to younger members in a friendly and informal mentoring setting.

In normal times, we meet at 5:00 p.m. 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, Past President Kate Corrigan, or visit our website at www.occdba.com.


Hispanic Bar Association of Orange County (OCHBA)

The Hispanic Bar Association of Orange County was founded in 1970 by an astonishingly small group of Orange County lawyers of Hispanic heritage. The late Honorable Judge James O. Perez was the first Latino judge to be appointed to the bench in Orange County and, naturally, became a founding member of the organization. To proudly honor his legacy, the James O. Perez Trail Blazer Award will be given at the annual Judges Barbeque in September.

The members of the OCHBA have been committed to its purpose even in the plight of the pandemic. Efforts continue to promote education, unity, and excellence in the Hispanic legal community. The loyal supporters and friends of the OCHBA have given strength in areas where our community needs it. This year, members united to create the first Virtual Installation of Officers and Fundraiser Gala themed, Together Toward Tomorrow. Educational scholarships were donated to deserving law students, Minerva Gomez and Alexandra Reyes. Awardee Netflix became our Corporate Citizen whose attorneys work pro bono programs throughout Southern California. This year’s Guardian de la Justicia (Guardian of Justice) is the Elizabeth G. Macias Legal Studies Academy, a program aimed to encourage and promote the legal profession for high school students in Santa Ana. Jennifer Lee Koh is Attorney of the Year, acknowledged for her unwavering commitment to enhance the United States immigration system. District Attorney and former Chief of Police George Gascon received the Lifetime Achievement Award acknowledging his trajectory and dedication to the law and community.

The success of this organization, its programs, and events are a product of solidarity, compassion, and good old comradery. Continuing to work, this year the OCHBA hosts several virtual networking, social events, and community outreach programs. Become a member and be part of the mission and network at ochba.org. Join in the upcoming events:

September 2021 Judges Barbeque

November 2021 Dia de Los Muertos Event

December 2021 Holiday Party

We look forward to standing with you in 2021, Together Toward Tomorrow.


Orange County Jewish Bar Association (OCJBA)

The OCJBA was founded to provide a social environment that engenders comradeship among its members based on the Jewish traditions of Torah (law), Mitzvot (good deeds), and Tzedakah (justice/kindness) while practicing law and serving the community. The OCJBA greatly appreciates Jordon Steinberg for taking the initiative to create this incredible organization, and to Ron Shwartz for hosting our monthly “Schmooze and Booze” meetings at Muldoon’s in Newport Beach (pre pandemic shut ins) for over a decade. We look forward to returning to in person meetings soon, as COVID restrictions are lifted. In the meantime, we will continue with virtual events, and our board is also available virtually.

Passover, a time of extended family gatherings and feasts, was again spent essentially isolated due to the continued coronavirus closures and guidelines: a second Passover staying home to survive a deadly pandemic while commemorating the survival from the ten plagues and exodus from slavery. This year our people’s perseverance to connect led to additional meaningful ways to unite, via “outdoor walk-through celebrations” as well as with continued appreciation for the nuclear family unit and the relationships afforded by modern technology.

OCJBA continues to connect virtually with the Orange County and Long Beach community by facilitating and participating in activities with local organizations such as Jewish Community Centers (Orange County and Long Beach), Chapman University, affiliate bars, and OCBA sections/committees, the California Lawyers Association, the Anti-Defamation League, the Museum of Tolerance, OC Jewish Collaborative, and Jewish Federation. And we look forward to continuing this tradition in person once it is safe to do so.

It is time to begin building our new “normal.” We look forward to celebrating our Mensch of the Year—the Honorable Lon Hurwitz—at the 2021 Vodkas & Latkes party later this year. Lon Hurwitz is a judge for the Superior Court of Orange County in California. Hurwitz was elected to the bench in 2010 and, later that year, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Hurwitz to the bench, which allowed him to immediately assume his judicial position.

Please join our friendly Jewish group. Per our bylaws, the business aspect of the general monthly meetings lasts less than five minutes and the fun lasts all night!

For more information about OCJBA activities and to submit Mensch of the Year nominations, Board nominations, or activity ideas, please visit OCJBA.org, write OCJBA, P.O. Box 6130, Newport Beach, CA 92658, or email president Sheila-Marie Finkelstein at smf@ahavalaw.com.

Looking forward to some in-person Schmoozing with you this year; keep your eyes out for the announcements.


Orange County Korean American Bar Association (OCKABA)

OCKABA was established in 2005 to foster meaningful relationships among Korean American lawyers and law students, to provide pro bono services to the Orange County Korean American community, and to promote the appointment of Korean American judges. Over the past sixteen years, with the help and support of OCBA, other affiliate bars, and the greater legal community, OCKABA has grown significantly as an organization.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, OCKABA’s focus this year has been to build a stronger community within and outside of the organization. At the outset of the pandemic, OCKABA quickly shifted its outreach efforts to build connections virtually. In October 2020, OCKABA held its first ever remote installation event, featuring as the keynote speaker the Honorable Lucy H. Koh (United States District Judge of the Northern District of California). Judge Koh has presided over some of the most important cases of this generation, including the Apple v. Samsung smartphone litigation, Yahoo’s data breach case, and the census litigation. Judge Koh’s deeply personal speech inspired and motivated OCKABA’s guests.

In addition, OCKABA has been hosting virtual social events and webinars designed to keep its members and friends engaged and connected. For example, OCKABA launched a “small group coffee break” series that pairs up small groups of OCKABA members to virtually meet for a thirty-minute coffee break during the week.

 OCKABA’s board is made up of several committees focused on meeting the needs of various member groups. For example, the Mentoring Committee—chaired by Yashina Burns (Director of Data Privacy and Legal Affairs at DeepIntent)—kicked off an exciting Mentorship Program that hosts a virtual “day in the life of an attorney” webinar series for aspiring student members. As another example, our Bench & Bar Committee—chaired by Daniel Lim (Assistant United States Attorney)—is creating a new pipeline for diverse Orange County attorneys to apply for state and federal judicial positions.

OCKABA has many other exciting programs planned for the year, and we hope to see you, virtually or (public safety permitting) in person! For inquiries about upcoming events or sponsorship information, please contact us at info@ockaba.org.


Orange County Lavender Bar Association (OCLBA)

The Orange County Lavender Bar Association (OCLBA) is the official association of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ), and allied attorneys, judges, and law students in the county. OCLBA provides networking, educational, and mentorship opportunities and resources to its membership and the community with the goal of increasing the county’s participation in the broader statewide LGBTQ community and the visibility of LGBTQ issues in the county.

OCLBA launched on June 16, 2010, at a gala attended by 200 attorneys, philanthropists, business and community leaders, judges, professors, and students. The gala featured remarks by the attorneys who completed closing arguments in the landmark Perry v. Schwarzenegger case, which challenged Proposition 8 in federal court. Since then, the annual gala has provided the opportunity to celebrate advances in LGBT legal protections in California and across the nation, including the legalization of same-sex marriage. OCLBA’s Board of Directors, which includes representatives from private practice and academia, continue to implement a robust series of MCLE programs. These programs include a number of highly successful events ranging from constitutional law to tax and estate planning to addressing bias issues.

For 2021, OCLBA has focused on increasing networking events to allow all members to connect professionally. Initially through very successful in-person events, OCLBA now hosts networking events on Zoom to allow continued socializing and professional development during the “new normal.”

Since its founding, each summer the OCLBA hosts its annual Anniversary Gala honoring community and legal leaders in the fight for justice and equality. OCLBA also awards its M. Katherine B. Darmer Equality Scholarship to a law student committed to LGBTQ issues in Orange County. After a year off due to the pandemic, OCLBA looks forward to hosting its annual anniversary party in September.

OCLBA will also host its annual Harvey Milk Day Luncheon on May 21 and will also be holding a National Coming Out Day event in October. Stay tuned for more details.

OCLBA seeks to serve and unite not just the LGBTQ community, but our allies as well. For more information, please visit www.oclba.org or email OCLBA President Casey Johnson at casey@aitkenlaw.com.


Orange County Trial Lawyers Association (OCTLA)

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 most influential Affiliate Bar organizations in Orange County. Now in its 58th year, OCTLA is stronger than ever, dedicated to providing premier advocacy for the protection of individuals and their access to civil justice through superior education and training for our members and access to the collective resources, knowledge, and experience of our membership. Below is an overview 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 trial 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.

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.

Member Listserv: Some have said OCTLA’s most valuable member benefit is our member-only listserv, which allows attorney members to post questions regarding their cases and solicit immediate responses from hundreds of fellow trial attorneys. It is OCTLA members connected together in a real time, private, virtual forum sharing their collective knowledge and experience for mutual benefit.

Deposition and Document Bank: Our attorney members also have free access to our online document bank stocked with motions, pleadings, and almost a thousand deposition transcripts. 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 annual Columbus Day Golf Tournament, along with fun networking mixers including members-only Bowling Night. For those who enjoy more formal events, OCTLA delivers with its black-tie Installation and Judicial Awards Program held in January each year and its annual Top Gun Trial Lawyer of the Year Awards Program and charity auction, which will be held on Saturday, November 13, 2021, be held at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott in Dana Point.

All consumer 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 www.OCTLA.org, or contact OCTLA at 949-916-9577.


Orange County Women Lawyers Association (OCWLA)

In 2021, Orange County Women Lawyers Association (OCWLA) is celebrating its 46th Anniversary. While our events and programming look a little different now than they did in years past due to the pandemic, our mission remains the same: advancing women in the legal profession by providing a professional network to its members, raising awareness of discrimination and bias, and supporting charitable organizations.

OCWLA hosts four signature events annually. The first event is our Wine Tasting & Membership Mixer, which we hosted virtually this year and which was led by an expert sommelier. The Women Judges Reception honors the many women judges of Orange County’s federal and state bench. The Annual Gala at Pelican Hill honors OCWLA’s Attorney of the Year, Judge of the Year, and recognizes a firm or organization with the Advancement of Women Award. In addition, OCWLA’s philanthropy recipients will be recognized at the Gala. The Holiday & Installation Dinner recognizes the outgoing board members and installs the incoming board as well as presents the Community Service Partner Award. Like our fellow legal organizations, OCWLA is monitoring the pandemic to determine when and how we can safely host in-person events. We are eager and hopeful about bringing our membership together in-person again soon.

In addition to its signature events, OCWLA hosts CLE webinars featuring members of the bench and bar incorporating notable annual events such as Equal Pay Day. OCWLA has also responded to membership desires in providing low or no-cost networking opportunities, such as the monthly book club, virtual webinars, philanthropy activities, (virtual) coffee meet-ups, Zumba over Zoom, and additional opportunities as they arise.

OCWLA works with its charitable arm, the OCWLA Foundation, to aid local programs helping women and children who are subject to domestic violence and human trafficking, as well as programs that assist with the unmet legal needs of women and children. OCWLA also works alongside the OCWLA Foundation to endow bar stipends and diversity bar stipends twice annually to outstanding law school graduates who are studying for the California Bar Examination.

OCWLA offers free membership to first-year admittees and law students, and offers discounted membership to young lawyers and government lawyers. In addition to the OCBA, OCWLA is an affiliate of California Women Lawyers and the National Association of Women Lawyers, offering OCWLA members steeply discounted memberships in both organizations.

OCWLA welcomes members of any gender identity to the organization and looks forward to continuing to EmpowHer women in the Orange County community.

For more information about OCWLA, view www.ocwla.org or email info@ocwla.org.


Thurgood Marshall Bar Association (TMBA)

Thurgood Marshall Bar Association (TMBA) was founded in 2012. TMBA is a contemporary bar association committed to connect, support, and increase the Black legal community in Orange County. TMBA strives to promote diversity and inclusion, professional improvement, and the advancement of justice through positive community involvement and excellence in the practice of law for the Black legal community, allies, and the Orange County legal community at large. Everyone is welcome to join and encouraged to support TMBA.

TMBA’s leadership team includes seventeen dedicated Board Members and Officers who have volunteered their time, resources and talents to support TMBA’s mission while at the same time leading active careers in various sectors of our legal community. We are sincerely grateful for our 2021 servant leaders who include: Yemi Adeyanju, Denise Carter, Porsche Clarke, Errol Cook, Lance Cotton, Lakeshia Dorsey, David Griffith, Lisa Hurns, Melonie Jordan, Biola Macaulay, Melissa Padilla, Sakeenah Redmond, Rebekah Thomas, Ashley Turner, Honieh Udenka, Hollie Washington, and Brooke Weitzman.

Since the beginning of the year, we have been planning intentional and strategic events to further TMBA’s mission and this year’s theme—Reconnect. Reinvest. Rebuild! Between the lingering effects of the pandemic and the continued social unrest surrounding the elections, 2021 proved to have a rocky start. With that framework, our goal is to be intentional about the content and message to our membership. As a result, we wanted to take our time and get started on programming for the year. Our 4th Annual Awards & Installation Gala was a virtual fundraiser this year and was held on February 28th. This is our biggest fundraiser for the year and our supporters showed up for us in a big way. We have been able to raise over $30,000 for the newly formed Thurgood Marshall Bar Association Foundation.

We are continuing our mission to serve Black law students through scholarships and our new summer internship program. This summer, we will be working with partner employers to host our first class of associates. We will also be expanding our scholarship opportunities to include high school and community college students. We are working diligently on a partnership with Santa Ana College and their pathway to law school programs.

Also this year, for the first time, we will have quarterly general body meetings with raffles and giveaways! We want to get to know each of you, so expect a call from our Vice-President or myself within the coming weeks.

Lastly, be on the lookout for a revamped website that includes more information about the Foundation. We can’t wait to Reconnect, Reinvest, and Rebuild with each of you. I am incredibly proud of the hard work of each of our board members. Stay tuned for future TMBA events and visit www.thurgoodmarshallbarassociation.org to join TMBA today.