The Northern California Chapter in 2012
By Larry Moskowitz, 2012 Chapter President
2012 was a very productive year for our Chapter. I want to thank the 2012 Board of Managers – President-Elect Brigeda Bank, Treasurer Sharon Mah, Secretary Lorie Nachlis, Past President Ron Granberg, Membership Chair Bob Blevans, Chapter Delegate Margaret Anderson, Symposium Chair John Harding, Counsel Tom Wolfrum, and At-Large Members Ellen Stross and Geniveve Ruskus, for their excellent work and their numerous contributions to our many successes last year. And, of course, we couldn’t have done any of it – well, we probably would have done a lot less of it, anyway – without the help of our top-notch Chapter Coordinator, Paula Jackson. More on her later.
Our monthly Chapter Dinners were friendly, collegial, and informative. Brigeda Bank arranged excellent CLE presentations, particularly the October program on how to balance collegiality and professional boundaries. The attendance at that dinner program was a record-setting 51 Fellows.
Our “special” dinner nights – Judges Night in February and Associates Night in March – were well planned and well attended. The Associates Night presentation, by Nordin Blacker, Charles DeLacey, Sarah Killingsworth, Lexi Musallem, and Andrea Palash, was lively and full of valuable practice tips for the associates and mentees to whom the program was geared.
The scheduled CLE for our April Chapter Dinner was pre-empted by a discussion about the proposal, made at the March National Meeting in Costa Rica, to change the Admissions Process in several ways. National’s Admissions Process Committee had asked for input from the Chapters, so at Margaret Anderson’s suggestion, we brought a court reporter to our meeting and had a transcript prepared containing remarks from several Fellows. The transcript was sent to the Admissions Process Committee, and our comments were cited approvingly by several other Chapters in their various submissions to the Committee. When the Admissions Process Committee met in November at the National Annual Meeting, it recommended a set of proposals which turned out to be a lot like the ideas our Fellows had supported in April.
The Symposium, held May 18-20 at the Silverado Resort in Napa, was a special occasion in more ways that one. In addition to incorporating excellent CLE and wonderful social events, we had the pleasure of entertaining the National Executive Committee that weekend. We also presented our DeGoff-Sherman Award to Retired Justice Donald B. King of the California Court of Appeal. This was also the occasion for us to present a plaque to Meli Cook, the daughter of the late Jeanne Ames, recipient of the 2011 DeGoff-Sherman award. Many kudos, and many thanks, to John Harding for planning and carrying out a program that everyone loved, and that ran seamlessly.
Our annual summer party was held on August 6 at the home of Tony and Janet Dick. Thanks to Tony and Janet for allowing us to have another occasion for food, drink, fun, and Fellowship.
We held our biannual Trial Practicum from October 24 to October 27. Chaired by Joe Crawford and Gretchen Wallacker, and with the help of numerous Fellows acting as faculty, the Practicum enabled 23 young and vigorous family law attorneys to learn skills relating to trial preparation, opening statements, presentation of evidence, direct and cross-examination, offers of proof, closing argument, and trial demeanor. Most of the students at the 2012 Practicum were mentees in our various mentoring groups. So let’s have a tip of the cap to all of our mentors, and to Brigeda Bank and Katie Fox, our Mentoring Program Co-Chairs.
As usual, we closed out the year with a Holiday Party in December. This year, the party was held at the Urban Tavern in San Francisco, and it sold out – another feather in the cap for Brigeda, President-Elect extraordinaire. There were tarot readers and judges (some people occasionally get the two confused), as well as more people to honor. We presented our Fellow of the Year Award to the tireless Lorie Nachlis, and we also gave the C. Rick Chamberlin Award, for special contributions to the California Legal Specialization Program, to Dawn Gray. (On a personal note, I also received a really cool shirt as a lovely parting gift, which I broke in at a “Court’n’Disaster” gig in January 2013).
No recap of the Chapter’s year would be complete without a special “thank you” to Paula Jackson. In addition to keeping things squarely under control at our various and sundry events, Paula is the glue that holds the Chapter together. She makes sure that everything is done when it’s supposed to be done, in accordance with the Chapter By-Laws and our event schedules. She makes sure that the Board of Managers has everything it needs for our meetings, and to carry out the action items that come from the meetings. And she makes sure that everyone else’s jobs are just a little bit more enjoyable because of the way she does hers.
All in all, an excellent year. I will always appreciate the opportunity to have served as your President in 2012, and I have the utmost confidence that the Chapter will continue to prosper in 2013 with Brigeda at the helm.