Two OCBA Members Selected to Receive 2023 Marcus M. Kaufman Jurisprudence Award!

2023 OCBA Board Member Eric V. Traut (Traut Firm) and OCBA Member the Honorable Glenda Sanders, Ret., (JAMS) will be honored with the 2023 Marcus M. Kaufman Jurisprudence Award by the Anti-Defamation League.

Since 1993, the Anti-Defamation League has presented the Marcus M. Kaufman Jurisprudence Award to attorneys who make exceptional contributions not only to the legal profession, but also to the community. Jurisprudence honorees serve as role models of ethics and leadership in the legal community and embody ADL’s vision and mission "to secure justice and fair treatment to all." The award is made in the memory of Supreme Court Justice Marcus M. Kaufman, the 103rd Justice of the California Supreme Court and a champion for civil rights. The 2023 Marcus M. Kaufman Jurisprudence Awards Dinner will be in September 2023.

Honorable Glenda Sanders, Ret., was born in Durban, South Africa. She began her legal career as an assistant professor at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She then obtained a Masters degree in Law at the University of Cambridge, Clare College, England. She returned to South Africa where she practiced as a barrister (trial lawyer) for five years. During her time as a barrister, Judge Sanders represented many people accused of capital crimes pro bono. In 1979, it became legal, in spite of Apartheid, for black South Africans to join trade unions. The law of collective bargaining was in its infancy at that time. Judge Sanders chose to represent unions rather than management to assist underrepresented workers in their fight to enhance workers’ rights, which in South Africa at that time included basic civil rights to associate, strike and bargain for workplace accommodations and safety measures. In 1986, Judge Sanders joined Latham & Watkins, LLP. In her fifteen years at Latham, which included eight years as an equity partner, Judge Sanders focused on commercial law but also found time to devote to pro bono cases. These matters included cases she took on as a member of the Federal Indigent Panel. In her capacity as a member of that panel, she devoted hundreds of hours representing defendants accused of serious federal crimes pro bono. In her early years on the bench, Judge Sanders presided over the Felony Drug Court in Westminster. In collaboration with prosecutors, public defenders, psychologists, probation officers, and law enforcement officials, she helped hundreds of persons accused of drug related felonies obtain access to treatment for their addictions including access to rehabilitation facilities. Successful completion of the drug court program resulted in expungement of their crimes, reunification with their families and employment opportunities. Judge Sanders’ commitment to access to the courts and to justice has been recognized by the legal community in Orange County. The American Board of Trial Advocates, the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association, the Constitutional Rights Foundation, the Legal Aid Society of Orange County, and the Orange County Women Lawyers’ Association have all bestowed upon her their “Judge of the Year” awards for her efforts to promote and protect the integrity of our judicial system. During her 20 years as a Judge of the Superior Court of California, Orange County, Judge Sanders spent many years focusing on civil disputes including 6 years on the Complex Civil Litigation Panel and she also shouldered extensive administrative responsibilities. Her contribution to the judiciary was not confined to her work in the courtroom. She made a considerable contribution to the administration of justice by serving as the Supervising Judge of the Civil Panel, Chairperson of the Court’s Finance Committee, Member of the Court’s Technology Committee, Assistant Presiding Judge and then Presiding Judge of the Orange County Superior Court, California’s third-largest court (144 judicial officers and 1500 employees). She was elected by her peers to lead the Orange County Superior Court as its Presiding Judge at a time when the Judicial Branch in California was experiencing unprecedented budget cuts causing many courts throughout the state to downsize and shut down entire courthouses. Under her leadership, the Orange County Superior Court substantially reduced its expenses by millions of dollars without closing courthouses or retrenching staff. Instead, the cost cutting measures implemented by the court enhanced access to e-filing and electronic records by encouraging court users to serve themselves by going “online” rather than standing “in line” waiting for clerical assistance. Judge Sanders has recently retired from the bench and joined JAMS as a mediator and arbitrator. She focuses upon the mediation of complex civil matters for parties seeking to resolve their disputes by agreement rather than by litigation.

Eric V. Traut distinguished himself early as one of the top trial attorneys in Southern California when he was recognized as the youngest winner of the prestigious Trial Lawyer of the Year award in the history of the Orange County Trial Lawyer Association. He went on to win the Orange County Chapter of ABOTA Trial Lawyer of the Year in 2019 and is the current Orange County Chapter nominee for the Cal-ABOTA trial lawyer of the year, an award bestowed annually on one winner chosen from nine participating chapters from California and Hawaii. Eric has handled high-profile cases that have resulted in appearances on Good Morning America, Fox News, Court T.V., and ABC’s “Primetime.” Eric was the youngest member ever admitted to the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) at the age of 33, and he served as President of the Orange County Chapter of ABOTA in 2010. He has tried over 100 civil jury trials in his 33 year career, winning many where there was little or no offer. He attributes much of his success to decades of giving back to local underprivileged youth and to the legal community by offering his advice, time, and money. Presently, he serves on the Executive Committee for Project Youth – Orange County Bar Foundation, where he served as president in 2014. This non-profit organization strengthens Orange County youth and families through unique, award-winning health and education programs. He personally donated $100,000 in 2020 and continues to annually employ an underprivileged high school senior intern as a way of inspiring them to succeed. One of his prior interns graduated from UCI and now attends law school at UC Berkeley. Eric has been a speaker at countless seminars on civility, diversity, professionalism, and trial skills.