August 2022 Cover Story - Raise Your Glass 2022

by Christina M. Zabat-Fran

With all we have gone through and where we are headed, I am in awe of the strength and resilience of our bar. No doubt, our glasses are full. We have so much to be grateful for and to celebrate as we approach the 2022 Orange County Bar Association Charitable Fund’s Annual Benefit, “Raise Your Glass”!

The Orange County Bar Association Charitable Fund (OCBA CF) is the OCBA’s charitable giving arm that supports numerous community programs consistent with the OCBA’s mission, “To Enhance the System of Justice, To Support the Lawyers Who Serve It, and To Assist the Community Served By It.” The Charitable Fund supports organizations and programs that enhance the system of justice and promote equal justice for all.

Just this year, the Charitable Fund awarded $170,000 in grants to many incredibly impactful pro bono legal providers and law-related charities in our county. In fact, in the last two decades, the Charitable Fund has awarded over $2,200,000! The Charitable Fund is able to provide these grants with the funds raised at two signature events: the annual Kenneth Lae Golf Tournament and the annual fall gala, the Raise Your Glass event.

This year’s Raise Your Glass event will be held on August 25 at the Newport Beach Country Club, and I hope you all can join us. As has become a capstone for the season, there will be fantastic music, fabulous wine tasting from numerous wineries, delicious food, must-see silent and live auction items, and a wonderful opportunity to mix and mingle with Orange County’s own bench and bar, all while helping to raise funds for pro bono legal services. Glasses full for sure!

In 2022, the Charitable Fund proudly provided grants to the following law related organizations:

Collaborative Courts Foundation: Participant Assistance Project
Community Legal Aid SoCal: CLA SoCal OC Community Engagement Project
Constitutional Rights Foundation, Orange County (CRF OC): The Civic Education Project
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Orange County: Mentor-Advocate Program
Elder Law and Disability Rights Center (ELDR Center): Stability in Housing and Employment - License and Registration Clinic
Family Assessment Counseling & Education Services (FACES): Expansion of Reunification Program
Human Options, Inc.: Legal Advocacy Program
Laura’s House: Legal Advocacy Services for Domestic Violence Survivors
Project Youth OCBF: SHORTSTOP and STOP SHORT of Addiction
Orange County Gang Reduction and Intervention Partnership (OC GRIP Foundation): “OC GRIP” Mission -To keep students on a path towards success and away from criminal street gangs.
Orange County Justice Fund (OCJF): Coordination of Removal Defense Legal Services for Orange County Residents
Public Law Center (PLC): COVID-19 Pandemic Pro Bono Response
UC Irvine School Of Law: Pre-Law Outreach Program (POP)
UC Irvine School Of Law: Saturday Academy of Law (SAL)
Veterans Legal Institute: Virtual Pro Bono Veteran Legal Clinics for Orange County Veteran Hotspots and Homelessness Prevention
Women’s Transitional Living Center (WTLC): Survivor Immigration Legal Services

At Raise Your Glass, we also have the opportunity to raise our glasses to stand out charitable partners in the community. Here is whom we will be honoring this year.

Individual Honoree: Ken Babcock
Ken Babcock has spearheaded the Public Law Center (PLC) for the last nineteen years as Executive Director and General Counsel of PLC. Throughout his tenure, he has embodied the epic qualities of a servant leader. Ken’s impact and influence in Orange County is unmatched. Ken has expanded the reach of PLC significantly to provide pro bono legal assistance to more Orange County low-income residents.

In addition to his role with PLC, Ken is heavily involved in bench and bar activities. Ken has received numerous awards for his work, including the Dorsey Award from the American Bar Association’s Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division (2010), the Attorney of the Year Award from the Hispanic Bar Association of Orange County (2009), and the Bernard E. Witkin Amicus Curiae Award from the Judicial Council of California (2008). In 2003, and again in 2008, he was named by the Los Angeles Daily Journal as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in California.

Law Firm Honoree: Umberg/Zipser LLP
One of the most respected and esteemed business litigation and intellectual property law firms in the nation is Orange County’s own Umberg/Zipser LLP. Umberg/Zipser is a premier boutique law firm that has the ability to draw on decades of experience in some of the nation’s largest and most prestigious firms, as well as national and state government service.

Beyond their exceptional work in the courtroom and with clients, the attorneys of Umber/Zipser are truly exemplary in their commitment to giving back, both to our community and to our profession. It would be difficult to find another firm in Orange County, regardless of size, that can boast the number of community leaders that exist at Umberg/Zipser. The founding partners of Umberg/Zipser are California State Senator Tom Umberg and Dean Zipser, OCBA’s 2005 President and the Charitable Fund 2006 President. Partner Scott Garner is OCBA’s 2020 President and the Charitable Fund 2021 President, and partner Mei Tsang currently serves as 2022 OCBA and Charitable Fund Secretary.

Community Partner Honoree: Orange County Coalition for Diversity in the Law (OCCDL)
The Orange County Coalition for Diversity in the Law is a collaborative effort of professionals from leading Orange County law firms and other community partners committed to achieving cultural diversity in recruiting and retaining law students and attorneys in Orange County. What started as an initiative in 2004 by managing partners and office administrators from several major OC law firms has now evolved into a thriving organization led by legal rising stars, providing a forum for sharing best practices, personal experiences, and upcoming programs from across the community.

Most recently, OCCDL has endeavored to shine a spotlight on law firms, legal organizations, and attorneys who further its mission by establishing the OCCDL DEI Awards Program. The Orange County Bar Association is one of the proud recipients of this inaugural award for 2021.

Our efforts this year are thanks to the great leadership of this year’s OCBA Charitable Fund President, Larisa Dinsmoor. Thank you, Larisa! I am beyond fortunate to serve as co-chair of this year’s Raise Your Glass alongside two powerhouse leaders and OCBA Past Presidents, Nikki Miliband and Deirdre Kelly. A million thanks, Nikki and Deirdre! I would also like to thank my co-chair for our Wine Committee, Kate Corrigan, and our Auction Committee co-chairs, Kristen Spada and Carley Millian. In addition, a big thanks goes out to the efforts and support from the Charitable Fund Board of Directors, the OCBA Board of Directors, OCBA Past Presidents, the OCBA CEO/Executive Director, Trudy Levindofske, Associate Executive Director, Carole Martinez, and the OCBA staff.

The generous support from our legal community year after year through sponsorships, attendance at our events, donations to the Charitable Fund, and participation in our auctions is what makes the Charitable Fund as impactful as it can be. Thank you to all of you who have been a part of our community commitment over the years. Register today at www.ocbar.org or email events@ocbar.org, or simply call 949.440.6700.

Please join us in raising our glasses to our community, to our incredible honorees, and to our future!

Christina M. Zabat-Fran is the 2022 Treasurer for OCBA and OCBA Charitable Fund. Christina is the 2022 Orange County Charitable Fund Raise Your Glass Co-Chair because of her well-known mindset to never see a glass half empty. Reach her at christina.zabat@sjk.com.