Contra Costa Lawyer. Larry Cook 2009 CCCBA President. Annual Bar Issue. Presiding Judge Elect Mary Ann O Malley

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1 Contra Costa Lawyer Volume 22, Number 1 January 2009 The official publication of the B A R A S S O C I A T I O N Presiding Judge Elect Mary Ann O Malley and Assistant Presiding Judge Elect Diana Smith Larry Cook 2009 CCCBA President Annual Bar Issue

2 Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook Professional Law Corporation would like to congratulate Larry Cook on becoming the 2009 President of the Contra Costa County Bar Association n n We continue to represent plaintiffs in personal injury cases as we celebrate the firm s 30th year in Contra Costa County N. California Blvd., Suite 1020 Walnut Creek, CA T F Personal Injury Wrongful Death Vehicular Accidents Products Liability Industrial Accidents Elder Abuse Child Sexual Abuse Employment Discrimination Civil Rights

3 Contra Costa Lawyer Volume 22, Number 1 January 2009 B A R A S S O C I A T I O N c o n t e n t s features 6 Meet Your bar Association s new Board Members... and staff members Judicial Assignments & Holidays 12 Your CCCBA Membership Take advantage of everything We have to offer! Lisa Reep departments 4 Inside Candice Stoddard 16 Question Man What was the most gratifying thing that happened to you in 2009? 31 Sustaining Law Firms 38 Classifieds 14 Merchant Discount Program 18 Meet your 2009 President Larry Cook Candice Stoddard Year-End Financial REport 22 Why Membership in the LRIS Makes good business sense! 24 Meet your sections About the cover... Welcome to CCCBA s 2009 President, Larry Cook. See interview on page 18.

4 inside 2009 BOARD of DIRECTORS Larry Cook President Ron Mullin President-Elect Kathy Schofield Secretary Audrey Gee Treasurer Robin Pearson Ex Officio Christopher Bowen Oliver Bray Mike Brewer Jay Chafetz Virginia George Peter Hass Leigh Johnson Kristen Thall Peters Ron Rives Dana Santos Stephen Steinberg Candice Stoddard CCCBA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Lisa Reep: CCCBA main office: Jennifer Comages Membership Coordinator Emily Day Systems Administrator and Fee Arbitration Coordinator Manny Gutierrez Administrative Assistant and Legal Interviewer EDITOR Candice Stoddard ASSOCIATE EDITOR Nancy J. Young BENCH LIAISON Hon. Mary Ann O'Malley BOARD LIAISON Candice Stoddard COURT LIAISON Kiri Torre ADVERTISING/DESIGN Young Design & Production PRINTING Excel Graphics Contra Costa Lawyer PHOTOGRAPHER Moya Fotografx Maria Navarrete LRIS Coordinator Barbara Tillson Moderate Means Program Coordinator Michele Vasta Section Liaison / Education & Programs Coordinator EDITORIAL BOARD Kate Bekins Mark Ericsson Matthew P. Guichard Local Civil Jury Verdicts Nicole Mills Craig Nevin Andrea L. O Toole David Pearson Ericka Portillo Andy Ross Kathy Schofield Audrey Smith, JFK Liaison Marlene Weinstein The Contra Costa Lawyer (ISSN ) is published monthly by the Contra Costa County Bar Association (CCCBA), 704 Main Street, Martinez, CA Annual subscription of $25 is included in the membership dues. Second-class postage paid at Martinez, CA. POSTMASTER: send address change to the Contra Costa Lawyer, 704 Main Street, Martinez, CA The Lawyer welcomes and encourages articles and letters from readers. Please send them to Nancy J. Young, Associate Editor, Contra Costa Lawyer, P.O. Box 1867, Benicia, CA The CCCBA reserves the right to edit articles and letters sent in for publication. All editorial material, including editorial comment, appearing herein represents the views of the respective authors and does not necessarily carry the endorsement of the CCCBA or the Board of Directors. Likewise, the publication of any advertisement is not to be construed as an endorsement of the product or service offered unless it is specifically stated in the ad that there is such approval or endorsement. by Candice Stoddard Wishing you the warmest welcome to 2009 and the 22 nd year of the Contra Costa Lawyer. I can hear the collective sigh of relief that 2008 is over. It is now more important than ever to focus on what is positive as we transition into the new year. Our country has a new president and hope for change! Last year I had the honor of sharing the role of editor with Harvey Sohnen, who I am sure is most grateful to hand the baton to me having given us three years of his thoughtful and dedicated service. Thank you Harvey! I will now handle this job solo, with the help of an incredible editorial board full of talent, creativity, energy, ingenuity, and the humor and good spirit to get the job done every month. This couldn t be accomplished without the team of guest editors who are also willing to give their time and talent to accomplish this task. Looking forward, we will endeavor to keep you all well informed about our bar association, its activities and accomplishments and to write about the legal topics that interest you. On the adjacent page is our list of themes for the upcoming editions. We are living in challenging and changing times that affect all areas of the law. The changes seem to be occurring at warp speed in comparison with the past. Our team will work to keep you current with the changes in the various areas of law and present articles of interest to the legal community. Any of you who wish to contribute articles on the areas of law covered in upcoming editions, please let us know. We can use all of the worker bees we can get. This magazine is a volunteer effort, with the sole exception of Nancy Young, our most talented Associate Editor, who always makes sure we meet our deadlines, and is the behind-the-scenes magic that gets the job done. Having said that, welcome to the January 2009 edition of the Contra Costa Lawyer. First off, welcome to our new Presiding Judge, the Honorable Mary Ann O Malley, our new board members (page 6) and our staff members (page 7). Welcome also to CCCBA s new president, Larry Cook (you can read his interview on page 18). Also welcome to our new section leaders (starting on page 24) and please take special note of our new Diversity Section! For those of you who haven t seen it, you will read about the Diversity Section s Power Point Presentation on page 31. You will also read about our upcoming events, such as the Installation Luncheon on January 16 (see page 11), featuring Justice Ruvolo, as well as the other bar events for the year. Mark your calendars for the judicial holiday schedule and check out the 2009 judicial assignments on page 10. Don t miss the information provided regarding the bar s latest membership benefits (page 12), the CCCBA s Member Discount Program (page 14), and the Lawyer Referral and Information Service (page 22), so you can all take advantage of everything the bar association has to offer! We hope you enjoy this edition! u Candice Stoddard is an attorney in Walnut Creek with emphasis on real estate and estate litigation, personal injury and mediation. 4 January 2009

5 2009 MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL DRIVE IN PROGRESS NOW! It is fast and easy to RENEW ONLINE at The first 250 online renewals will be entered into a drawing for the winner s choice of a refund of his or her 2009 CCCBA membership dues* and three practice area listings; or a one-third page ad in an upcoming issue of the Contra Costa Lawyer. The winner will be drawn at the January 16 Installation Luncheon.** To renew online: 1. Open Member Resources and follow the to renew click here link. Use your CCCBA ID # to log-on to your personalized application. Forget your ID #? Call us at (925) x 2 for help. 2. Review your current membership information and make any changes then update your dues, sections and practice areas. Payment: If you are paying by credit card, fill-in the secure payment section - or - Checkmark the I m mailing in a check box. 3. Checkmark the Yes, I agree box validating your Membership agreement. 4. Click Print Form to make a copy for your file and/or your accounting department. 5. Click Submit Form. Paid by credit card? Your membership renewal is complete. Mailing a check? Your membership renewal will be processed upon receipt of payment. Some firms have their accounting department collect all the membership applications and bundle them for submission to CCCBA with one check. If your firm does this, you may still make the necessary changes to your on-line membership application and then before you click Submit Form print a copy to give your accounting department for processing. As always, your continued membership is appreciated. For uninterrupted service, please pay your dues by February 15, *Does not include Section Dues or LRIS Dues. **You do not have to be present to win. Forensic Real Estate Appraisal Specializing in services for family law, estate planning and litigation support. Quality valuation services for all types of real estate, individually tailored to each client s specific needs. We offer appraisal services to individuals, attorneys, State and Federal Courts, corporations, accountants, lenders, government agencies, casualty / title insurance companies, and many others. Bruce M. Hahn SRA, ASA Alvin R. Bergren MAI Mark A. Bacanskas Glenn & Dawson LLP Certified Public Accountants Donald A. Glenn CPA, ABV, CVA, CFE Leslie O. Dawson CPA, ABV, CVA 2009 Contra Costa Lawyer Themes and Deadlines Issue Theme Deadline January Annual Bar Issue November 20, 2008 February Financial Distress December 19, 2008 March Family Law January 19, 2009 April Corporate/Business February 20, 2009 May Elder Law March 20, 2009 June Real Estate April 20, 2009 July International May 20, 2009 August Education June 22, 2009 September Green/Environment July 20, 2009 October Bench/Bar August 20, 2009 November Tax September 21, 2009 December Readers' Choice October 20, 2009 Interested in writing an article (or advertising in any of these issues)? Please contact Nancy Young at or Specializing in Litigation Support family law Business Valuations Probate and Estates Financial Investigations Audit Tax and Accounting Services for individuals and privately owned companies. 323 Lennon Lane, First Floor Walnut Creek, CA Telephone (925) Facsimile (925) Contra Costa Lawyer 5

6 meet your bar association's new board members... Christopher Bowen A Bay Area native, Christopher Bowen is an attorney with the Contra Costa County Public Defender s Office, where he began working in Since 1997, he has primarily handled serious felony cases in both the Richmond and Martinez branches of the PD s office. He is currently assigned to Alternate Defender Office (ADO), handling cases in which the PD has declared a conflict of interest (usually because more than one person is charged in the same case), and is certified as a Criminal Law Specialist by the State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. Christopher graduated cum laude from Santa Clara University in 1990, and received his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in While in law school, he had summer clerkships with the San Francisco City Attorney s Office and the Contra Costa Legal Services Foundation in Richmond. Christopher belongs to the California Public Defenders Association (CPDA), the Lithuanian-American Bar Association (LABAS), and Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF). He has long been involved in Contra Costa County Bar Association activities, and is a proud member of the Robert G. McGrath American Inn of Court. Christopher makes his home in Richmond, where he serves on the Historic Preservation Advisory Committee and is a member of the Richmond Museum of History. On weekends, he can frequently be found as a visitor aboard the Red Oak Victory, a ship built in Richmond during World War II that is being lovingly (if not slowly) restored by enthusiastic volunteers. An avid linguist, he speaks French and Spanish exceedingly well, and over the years has dabbled (with varying degrees of success) in German, Polish, Italian, and a few other languages. Leigh Johnson A sole practitioner, Leigh Johnson practices family law, estate planning, and probate out of her Richmond office. She completed her undergraduate studies at California State University Hayward, earning a B.S. degree in Biology with honors. She attended law school at John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, graduating cum laude and number one in her class. Leigh passed the California Bar in December 2003 and completed the skill requirements to become a Certified Family Law Specialist in December of Leigh is admitted to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office and before the United States Supreme Court. Leigh grew up in South Florida and left home to join the United States Air Force when she was 18 years old. She spent five years in the military before moving to Fremont to work as an Air Traffic Controller. She attended law school part-time while working the midnight shift at Bayer Pharmaceuticals, where she aspired to be a patent attorney. Leigh is the co-chair of the Education outreach committee and a very active member of the CCCBA and the Robert McGrath American Inns of Court. She is also an active member of the Richmond Rotary and the Rodeo Lions Clubs. Leigh is the proud grandmother of 10-month old Aisleigh Johnson, who is the love of her life, and her favorite activities revolve around spending time with her family. Leigh s hobbies include reading, relaxing, and listening to good music. Wanted Conservatorships think Matt Toth as in Pedder, Hesseltine, Walker & Toth, LLP oldest partnership in Contra Costa County (52 years) p f Golden Gate Way, P.O. Box 479 Lafayette, CA AV Martindale-Hubbell Arlene Segal Law Offices of Arlene Segal Litigation - Mediation Trust and Estate Disputes Financial Abuse 200 Pringle Avenue, Suite 350 Walnut Creek, CA telephone (925) fax (925) January 2009

7 ... and staff members Jennifer Comages I have been employed by the CCCBA since I have had the opportunity to work with four Executive Directors and have seen many Presidents come and go. As Membership Coordinator, my duties consist of maintaining all current and pertinent information in the database for our new and renewing members. I am also a Legal Interviewer with our Lawyer Referral and Information Service, which involves either scheduling a consultation with an attorney, if it appears that this would best serve the caller s legal needs, or referring them to other resources such as self-help workshops, government agencies or other services. As you can imagine, I have encountered every legal problem one could imagine in 29 years. Aside from all that, I have enjoyed my employment with the bar association and the many members I have come to know, as well as working with my co-workers. As for my home life, I have been married for 25 years to my wonderful husband Gabe. We have three terrific boys: Justin, who is 23 years old and works for True Organics. He lives and works in Chico; Twin boys Kacy and Kory, who are 20 years old, one of whom works for PG&E, and the other at 24-Hour Fitness. I also have a 26 year-old step-son, Derek, who lives in Oklahoma. My husband and I both grew up in Antioch, and have always lived in this area. Besides work and family life, I enjoy singing in a small worship group at my church on Sundays. I also have a full household, as I care for my elderly parents who reside with us, a disabled sister, and, recently, my younger sister and her son, who have temporarily moved in with us. Emily Day Hi, I m Emily Day and I have been working for the Contra Costa County Bar Association for just over 20 years. My main duties are Fee Arbitration Coordinator and Systems Administrator, but I am also our Webmaster and a Lawyer Service & Information Service (LRIS) Representative. When I first started the bar association, our modern office equipment was a typewriter with word processing capability and one personal computer in the Executive Director s office. The Attorney Reference Panel (ARP) referrals were done by hand using a system of cards. The card was rotated to the back of the stack after a referral was made. An appointment confirmation was then mailed to the attorneys who collected the ARP payment from the clients and sent the payments back to us. This confirmation was and is still referred to as the blue form because it is printed on blue paper. Now renamed the LRIS, our office accepts credit cards and most of the blue forms are faxed to the panelists. But the ones we mail are still printed on blue paper. Once we changed the color of the paper but it caused a disruption in so many offices that we went back to blue. Tradition! The technological advances in computers, software, phones, scanners, copiers, printers, and the internet have been amazing and have certainly kept my job interesting and honed my administrative skills. I appreciate all the opportunities I have been given during these years and I have worked hard to use them to promote the bar association s best interests for its members and the community. Manny Gutierrez I am a native Nicaraguan. I came to the United States with my mother, brother and sister when I was 11 years old, and we settled in San Francisco. I attended middle and high school in San Francisco, and then moved to Miami for three years before returning to California. After a career in customer service, I joined the CCCBA in December of 2007 as an Administrative Assistant to Executive Director Lisa Reep. As her executive assistant, I am responsible for much of the day-to-day operations of the bar office. I am also a bilingual legal interviewer with the Lawyer Referral & Information Service. On occasion, I also assist with bar events and other special projects. I have two children, love spending time with them, and participate in their activities as much and as often as possible. I coach my son s little league baseball team and am the assistant coach for his soccer team. I enjoy playing softball, basketball, reading, and spending time with my family. Maria E. Navarrete I have been a long time resident of the San Francisco Peninsula, where I worked for 11 years as a case manager/investigator with the Department of Child Support Services in San Mateo County. In this capacity, I supported six attorneys and worked closely with clients, translating and assisting with legal documents in Spanish. I implemented an outreach program to the Charter High School and received an award for my contribution to Community Outreach in I also owned and ran a vending machine business for four years. u Contra Costa Lawyer 7

8 I joined the CCCBA in May of 2008 as the LRIS Coordinator. I am responsible for administrative duties, including serving as primary liaison with the staff, attorney panelists, and the oversight committee, while maintaining accurate attorney records and handling conflict resolution. I am also responsible for preparing reports and ensuring compliance with the California State Bar and American Bar Associations certification requirements. I work with the LRIS intake staff on continuing development and education to ensure customer satisfaction and to best reach the community and maximize our services. In addition, I handle fiscal responsibilities through providing statistical reports to the Executive Director and LRIS Committee, as well as tracking cases, percentage fees and billings. I am a new resident of Benicia and have two adult children who both attend universities. Included in my many activities outside of work are scuba diving, soccer, traveling and gardening. I also enjoy children, family and friends (and a good bottle of wine). In my thirst for knowledge, I took a leap and am currently enrolled at San Francisco State University in their Bi-Lingual/Paralegal Studies program. Barbara Tillson I joined the CCCBA as the Moderate Means Program Coordinator in February of Prior to joining the CCCBA, I spent nearly 25 years working in escrow in Alameda County. The Moderate Means Program was developed to offer affordable legal representation in the family law field for issues with jurisdiction in Contra Costa County. I am currently working with the Moderate Means Committee to establish a program for immigration issues as well. My duties include maintaining a qualified panel of attorneys; preparing and implementing an annual eight-week attorney training in family law (see page 23), and eventually immigration in conjunction with Bay Area Legal Aid; assisting, reviewing and processing program applications; and referring qualified individuals to program attorneys. In addition to coordinator duties, I work as a legal interviewer with the Lawyer Referral & Information Service. I am a third generation native San Franciscan, currently residing in Martinez. In my spare time, I enjoy being with my family, reading, cooking and volunteering with the Committee to Improve the Paso Nogal Small Dog Park in Pleasant Hill. Michele Vasta Happy New Year! I was born and raised in Concord and still live there today. Recently I graduated from California State University, Chico, where I worked in the Human Resources Department on campus. After completing my degree, I worked for the City of Concord s Community and Recreation Services Department and thoroughly enjoyed it. My journey as the Section Liaison/ Education and Programs Coordinator here at the CCCBA began half a year ago. Some of my responsibilities include: organizing, recruiting attorney volunteers for, and publicizing monthly Bar Associationsponsored legal workshops in the county; facilitating business/finances, relations, e-communications, and events calendaring/ planning for the bar s 20 sections; organizing social events and bar-wide annual educational programs (such as the MCLE Spectacular); and coordinating the activities of the bar s Client Relations Committee, just to name a few. I really enjoy my job and look forward to working with all of you. Have a great 2009! Debbie Garcia I joined CCCBA s Criminal Conflict Program (CCP) in July of 2007 as an Administrative Assistant. The CCP appoints qualified attorneys for clients when the public defender and the alternate defender are not available. Our current caseload is 1042; our annual budget is $2,675,000; and we have 75 attorney members. My co-worker and I work together to provide the highest level of service to the clients and the attorneys involved in the program. Prior to joining the program I worked for a family law attorney in San Jose for over three years. At the start of my working career, I was employed for eight years at Microscience International Corporation, a hard disk drive manufacturer, in the HR department. I also took several years off to raise a family (nine years to be exact). After leaving San Jose three years ago, I moved to Oakley with my husband and five children: four boys and my niece. We also have a dog, two lizards, three turtles and some fish. I absolutely love football, LAW OFFICES OF DOUGLAS A. PRUTTON Representing employees only in all types of labor and employment matters, including wrongful termination and overtime claims. Free consultation, contingency fees, costs advanced, 26 years experience Clayton Road Suite 211 Concord (925) January 2009

9 especially watching my children play! As a family we love camping, boating and classic cars. Kathi Lane I began working for CCCBA s Criminal Conflict Program in the spring of 2003 as an Administrative Assistant to the Director, David J. Briggs. I have enjoyed watching the program expand, change and improve over the last five years. It is personally rewarding to work with such a highly qualified and committed group of defense and probate attorneys, and to be on the front-line, interfacing with the clients in the process of obtaining representation. I have the opportunity to interact with the Public Defender s Office, the ADO, the court system personnel and also many highly qualified professionals, who help support the attorneys and their clients. When people ask if I like my job, the answer is always in the affirmative. I am lucky to have a great co-worker, Debbie Garcia, whom together we share responsibility for keeping the program running smoothly. Prior to working with the conflict program I worked as an executive administrative assistant for Electronic Data Systems (EDS) for the Western Region HR and recruiting department. I have also worked in administrative and management positions since college in various careers from an executive recruiter, preschool director, restaurant management and an event manager. I graduated from California State University, Chico with a degree in Social Welfare and Corrections, back when Pioneer Days were still a grand event. I have lived in Benicia for the last 12 years where I spend time with my 15 year-old- twins and a daughter in college. I volunteer my time with a local program in Benicia for youth substance abuse, Reach Out Benicia. In my spare time, I enjoy hiking in Yosemite, gardening, spending time with my extended family and friends, and sight-seeing and wine tasting in Sonoma and Napa. u Standards Strategies Strength Solutions WELL PREPARED to handle your complex business transactions Doug Maggi, SVP ext. 209 Colleen Benatar, VP ext. 215 Rick Wise, EVP ext. 216 California s Oldest Independent Bank WALNUT CREEK 1500 N. California Blvd Oakland, 1111 Broadway, Santa Clara 5201 Great America Pkwy., Roger F. Allen Ericksen, Arbuthnot, Kilduff, Day & Lindstrom, Inc. 155 Grand Avenue, Suite 1050 Oakland, CA Important Reminder! If you d like your practice area(s) to appear in the 2009/10 CCCBA Membership Directory, be sure to get your information to the bar no later than Monday, March 2, 2009 ($25 for up to three and $40 for four to six practice areas). What an effective and inexpensive way to market your practice! Bob Kouba, VP ext. 212 Northern California Mediator / Arbitrator 11 years as Mediator 20 years as Arbitrator 28 years in Civil Practice Training includes Mediation Course at Pepperdine University 1995 Serving on Kaiser Medical Malpractice Neutral Arbitrators Panel Settlement Commissioner, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties Pro Tem Judge, Small Claims, Alameda County Experienced in all areas of Tort Litigation, including injury, property damage, fire loss, malpractice, construction defect Contra Costa Lawyer 9

10 2009 JUDICIAL ASSIGNMENTS Mary Ann O Malley Presiding Judge Diana Becton-Smith Assistant Presiding Judge Martinez Walnut Creek Criminal Trials Judge Terence L. Bruiniers - Supervising Judge John W. Kennedy Judge Theresa J. Canepa Judge Jill Fannin Judge John H. Sugiyama Judge Charles Burch Judge Charles S. Treat (1/09 to 6/30/09) Judge John T. Laettner (7/1/09 to 1/10) Criminal Calendars Judge Leslie G. Landau Judge Joni T. Hiramoto Judge John T. Laettner (1/20/09 to 6/30/09) Judge Penny M. Scanlon (7/1/09 to 1/10) Judge Richard E. Arnason Civil Judge Judith Craddick - Supervising Judge David B. Flinn - Complex Litigation Judge Thomas M. Maddock Judge Barry Baskin Judge Barbara Zuniga Civil (cont.) Judge Bruce C. Mills - Limited Jurisdiction Commissioner Judith A. Sanders Probate Judge Joyce Cram Commissioner Don Green Family Law Judge Barry P. Goode - Supervising Judge Cheryl Mills Judge Susanne Fenstermacher Judge Joyce Cram Commissioner Josanna Berkow Commissioner Jeffrey D. Huffaker Juvenile Judge Lois Haight - Supervising Judge George V. Spanos Judge Diana Becton-Smith Judge Lewis A. Davis Judge Penny M. Scanlon (1/09 to 6/30/09) Commissioner Stephen F. Houghton Judge William M. Kolin - Supervising Judge Harlan Grossman Judge Barbara Hinton Commissioner Joel Golub Pittsburg Judge Steven K. Austin - Supervising Judge Nancy Davis Stark Judge Brian Haynes Commissioner Lowell E. Richards Commissioner Ronald K. Creighton Richmond Judge Laurel S. Brady - Supervising Judge Peter A. Berger Judge Clare Maier Judge Trevor S. White Commissioner Robert L. Broughton Judicial Holidays Thursday, January 1, 2009 New Year s Day Monday, January 19, 2009 Martin Luther King, Jr. s Birthday Thursday, February 12, 2009 Lincoln s Birthday Monday, February 16, 2009 President s Day Tuesday, March 31, 2009 César Chávez Day Monday, May 25, 2009 Memorial Day Friday, July 3, 2009 Independence Day Monday, September 7, 2009 Monday, October 12, 2009 Labor Day Columbus Day Wednesday, November 11, 2009 Veterans Day Thursday, November 26 and Friday, November 27, 2009 Friday, December 25, 2009 Friday, January 1, 2010 Thanksgiving Holiday Christmas Day New Year s Day 10 January 2009

11 Annual CCCBA Officer Installation featuring Justice Ignazio Ruvolo First District Court of Appeal Friday, January 16, 2009 Contra Costa Country Club 801 Golf Club Road Pleasant Hill Social 11:30am Lunch and program 12:00 1:30pm CCCBA Membership Directory photos may be taken from 11:00am to noon ~and~ 1:30 to 2:30pm $40 CCCBA members $50 non members 1 hour MCLE Credit Menu Choices: Grilled, Herb Marinated Chicken Breast served over Roasted Mushrooms and Sweet Garlic Herb Jus ~or~ Poached Salmon Filet with Kettle One and Green Olive Beurre Blanc (vegetarian option available) To register: Phone in your credit card ( ) or send check, payable to CCCBA to Michele Vasta, c/o CCCBA, 704 Main Street, Martinez Please indicate your menu selection. Call Michele, , for further information. Pictorial Membership Directory Photos Photo sessions for the directory are free. No appointment is necessary; simply show up during one of the following scheduled photo shoots: Friday, January 16, 11am noon; 1:30-2:30pm: (in conjunction with the annual Installation Luncheon above) Contra Costa Country Club, 801 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill Tuesday, January 20, 8am 5pm: Morgan Miller Blair, 1331 N. California Blvd., 2 nd floor, Walnut Creek ( ) Thursday, January 22, 8am 2pm: Contra Costa County Bar Association, 704 Main Street, Martinez ( ) Alternatively, you may forward a camera-ready photo for inclusion in the directory (head and shoulders, plain background) to CCCBA, 704 Main Street, Martinez, CA or a photo (minimum of 300dpi) to Nancy Young at no later than February 13, Reminder: You must be a current member by March 1, 2009 to be included in the annual CCCBA Membership Directory. Restricted Access Court Security Cards How to obtain a card for the FIRST time (or for those wishing to have their photo retaken): The Contra Costa County Superior Court provides restricted access court security cards to CCCBA members for a $10 fee. These photo ID cards are valid for two years and allow our members to bypass the court s perimeter security system, which is particularly beneficial to attorneys who make frequent court appearances. Purchase of a restricted access court security card is entirely optional. If you would like to obtain one, you will be required to sign a contract, which you can obtain from Jenny Comages at or via at You must present a form of picture identification and your State Bar card at the time your photo is taken. Current membership in the CCCBA will be verified by the Court s Executive Office. Interested members may drop in to have their photo taken by Lisa Frades at Superior Court s Executive Offices, located at 649 Main Street, Room #103, in Martinez. Although walk-ins are welcome, we recommend that you notify Lisa in advance of your intention to drop in. She can be reached directly at Payment will be accepted by cash or check. Note: Cards obtained in 2009 and 2010 will be valid until December 31, Contra Costa Lawyer 11

12 Your CCCBA Membership Take advantage of everything we have to offer! A Comprehensive List of Membership Benefits by Lisa Reep CCCBA Executive Director The Contra Costa County Bar Association s Mission is to represent its members and to advocate on their behalf; to educate its members and the public concerning the law, the legal profession, and the judicial system; to provide a means of communication both among its members, and between its members and the public; and to provide services that will support its members in their legal practice. In keeping with its mission, the CCCBA is committed to assist its members in developing and improving their practice of law by providing information, services, networking opportunities, career development programs, community service opportunities, and other resources, particularly in the current economic climate. Most programs conducted or sponsored by CCCBA offer substantial discounts to members. Professional Development & Networking Membership in any of our many sections provides opportunities to network with other practitioners who share common interests. To learn more about our sections, see page We also offer regular opportunities to interface with members of our local bench, including our popular Get to Know Your Local Judges receptions, which are generously hosted by local sustaining law firms. We plan to continue this social and networking opportunity on a quarterly basis starting in February. Community Service The CCCBA, with enthusiastic participation from our volunteer members, sponsors myriad community service opportunities. These include our 14 th annual Food From the Bar Drive in the spring (we raised nearly $100,000 to feed the hungry in 2008!), our ongoing Education Outreach Program with local middle and high schools including regular court tours during the academic year in both Martinez and Richmond, our regular consumer-focused legal workshops offered at various public venues throughout the county, our annual Court Scholarship Program, and numerous pro bono opportunities in cooperation with local legal services agencies. If you are interested in participating in any of these programs, contact the staff at Continuing Legal Education CCCBA, together with its sections and committees, offers frequent seminars, courses and forums that fulfill the State Bar of California s MCLE requirements. These include our 15 th annual MCLE Spectacular, our most popular and well-attended event, which will be held on November 20 th at the Walnut Creek Marriott. We are also pleased to continue our alliance with the State Bar of California. One component is an online consortium comprised of a number of local bars throughout California who have been working together with the State Bar to develop and deliver quality and meaningful online MCLE. Through this alliance, we can deliver hundreds of hours of California state-specific content generated by the State Bar of California and other alliance members. To learn more about this member benefit, visit our website at www., go to Member Log-in, Member Benefits, and click on On-line MCLE. We plan to revise the website in 2009 to make it even more accessible and user-friendly for our members, including providing for electronic transfer of our monthly events calendar to Outlook. Stay tuned! Lawyer Referral & Information Service The Lawyer Referral & Information Service (LRIS) provides referrals to attorneys who have met specific experience requirements for membership. Nearly 5,000 client consultations are scheduled with members of our LRIS each year through both our phone-based service and the internet. More than $1.5 million in attorneys fees were collected by our LRIS panelists during the 2008 calendar year. Special malpractice insurance rates are available for sole practitioners participating on our LRIS. For information on LRIS membership and malpractice insurance, call (Please refer clients to ). 12 January 2009

13 (See article entitled Why Membership on the Lawyer Referral Service Makes Good Business Sense on page 22). Publications Members receive a subscription to our highly regarded monthly magazine, the Contra Costa Lawyer, as well as our annual pictorial Membership & Reference Directory. The CCCBA also hosts a comprehensive website (, which includes up-to-date, searchable contact information on all members. As mentioned, we will be revamping the site in 2009 to make it an even better resource and tool for our members. Insurance Programs Dental, vision, life and disability insurance plans are available to you, your family and your employees through our broker/administrator, Myers-Stevens-Mello & Co., Inc. Dental: The CCCBA Dental Plan, underwritten by Lincoln Financial Group, offers two different calendar-year maximum options available to firms with two or more enrolled attorneys and/or employees. Both plans allow you to choose any dentist; however, you can maximize your benefits by utilizing PPO providers. Firms with at least five enrolled do not have a waiting period for major work. In addition, there is an indemnity (go to any dentist) plan with a higher calendar-year maximum for those firms with at least 15 attorneys and/or employees enrolled. Vision: The CCCBA Vision Plan, underwritten by MES/Blue Shield Life Insurance Company, provides for eye exams and eyewear (including contact lenses). Members may use any optometrist or ophthalmologist but will receive higher benefits when they use participating providers or vendors. Life and accidental death and dismemberment: Members of CCCBA may apply for up to $2,000,000 with super-preferred rates on amounts more than $500,000 (available at age 30 and up). Coverage is guaranteed renewable to age 75 and convertible to a permanent policy anytime before the policy terminates at age 75. This plan includes an accelerated life benefit payout for terminal illness. CCCBA members spouses are able to apply for coverage if the member does not apply. A rider is also available to cover children. New members age 59 and younger may apply for a guaranteed issue amount of $50,000. Contact Myers-Stevens-Mello for details. (ING/ReliaStar Life Insurance Company, one of the largest nation s insurers, underwrites this plan.) Disability Insurance: Underwritten by Standard Insurance Company, this plan offers two benefit options and you can select from a 60 or 90-day waiting period. You can insure up to 60% of your predisability earnings, to a monthly benefit maximum of $5,000. This plan features a Return to Work Incentive, Survivor Benefit, Rehabilitation Benefit, Lifetime Security benefit and more. New members may apply for a guaranteed issue amount. Contact Myers-Stevens-Mello for details. Health Insurance: The CCCBA does not have a sponsored health plan at this time. However, through its long-term relationships with the major healthcare providers, Myers-Stevens-Mello is able to research the various health insurance plans and programs that are available to you, whether as an individual or a law firm with employees. They will review and analyze your current program, help you select a plan that meets your objectives and assist you through the enrollment process. Thereafter, they will continue to provide assistance with renewals and all other claim/customer service issues. You are invited to take advantage of Myers-Stevens- Mello s expertise and services to get competitive rates and benefits for your health insurance needs. Group Life and Disability plans are also available for law firms. u These are brief summaries prepared for this publication. Complete descriptions of benefits and limitations of these plans will be found in the insurance policies. If you would like more information on any of these plans, call Myers- Stevens-Mello at or Why you should make referrals to CCCBA s LRIS Our LRIS is the only State Bar certified (certification #0018) and American Bar Association approved lawyer referral service in our county; LRIS has been providing quality referrals as a public service since 1978; LRIS panel attorneys are required to meet specific experience requirements as a prerequisite to joining the service; Every LRIS attorney is required to carry malpractice insurance; LRIS has an experienced, friendly and knowledgeable staff to assist you. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact the LRIS staff at If you re interested in joining the LRIS, please contact Maria Navarrete, LRIS Coordinator, at or go to Join the LRIS under Member Resources at Mark V. Murphy Personal Injury Referrals Requested Over 25 years experience representing injury victims. Practice dedicated solely to Personal Injury. Each client given prompt, courteous attention. Antioch and San Ramon Offices Contra Costa Lawyer 13

14 Merchant Discount Program The following businesses will be offering discounts to CCCBA members through December 31, Simply present your CCCBA membership card (unless otherwise noted) to the participating business at the time of your transaction. ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANCE Court Connection P.O. Box 5818 Concord Contact: Jody Iorns, Discount: 20% off the first five hours of work. On-call staff support specializing in computers, organization, case & client management, marketing, billing, bookkeeping, event coordination. AIRPORT PARKING Expresso Airport Parking 880 Doolittle Drive San Leandro Contact: Go to Discount: Enter con (all lower case) and print off discounted coupon. Present coupon and photo ID at checkout to receive discount. Over 2,000 parking spaces. Indoor valet service, self-park indoor and outdoor spaces. 24/7 shuttle service. Fully fenced and monitored facility. Free coffee, muffins, newspapers. Car wash service available. 10-minute shuttle ride to Oakland airport. Park SFO 195 North Access Road South San Francisco Contact: Discount: Free membership to PARK SFO Club (normally $100 a year), personalized PARK SFO membership card, free upgrade from standard parking to valet parking. Coupons good for one free day of parking (one per visit) and auto detailing discounts. CALENDARING & DOCKETING Deadlines on Demand Contact: Melissa Notari, , ext Discount: 3 free searches for membership in CCCBA; 50% discount off regular prices through June Reliable, rules-based deadline available on a pay-per-use basis at CLIENT GIFTS Advertising Magic 2116 N. Main Street, Suite G Walnut Creek Contact: Rosalind Boukis Promotional advertising, client gifts, marketing, imprinted items. Discount: Set-up and screen charges waived. corporate office services Pacific Business Centers Contact: Larissa Causi, Virtual office with access to a premier business address, conference rooms and day offices. Features answering services, unified massaging services, IT support, bookkeeping services and other networking opportunities. Discount: Virtual office and free LexisNexis for $130/month. Credit Card Processing Services BankCardUSA.Com Westlake Village, California Contact: Jerry MacDonald, , ext Discount: 1.59% swiped rate and 2.05% keyed rate. Lifetime warranty for POS equipment and month-to-month service agreements! Transaction funds deposited in hours. Accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover cards. 383 Diablo Road, Suite #100 Danville Contact: Richard Wood, Discount: Free Terminal: Our credit card processing comes with a free state-of-the-art terminal and no strings. Even shipping is free. Low Rates: Use our terminal and get our low, low credit card rates. Dial, Internet or Wireless: Our free terminal support dial communications for processing or it can use a broadband internet connection or even wireless communications for lightning quick transactions. Check Services: Never suffer a bad check loss with our check guarantee service, or use Electronic Check and turn checks into guaranteed, automatic electronic deposits into your account. Document Solutions Pak Mail 821 Escobar Street Martinez Contact: Terry Edwards, Shipping Services: FedEx, UPS and other carriers; pick-up and international shipping available. Business support services: Notary Public, faxing, copies, mailbox rental, business cards, office supplies and rubber stamps. Discount: 20% discount for FedEx, UPS, DHL (ground commercial); Mailbox rental: 2 months free with 6-month rental, 4 months free with 12-month rental (first year only); 15% discount on business cards and office supplies; notary services $8 per signature. Discounts also available on copies and faxes. Thomson Reuters Contact: Karen Cornell, PROLAW Front and Back Office Management software. Discount: 10%. Toshiba Business Solutions Alcosta Blvd., Suite 100 San Ramon Contact: Melanie Wild, Electronic Content Management Solutions: DocuWare, e-discovery, Re-Search, Re-Rite, Re-Find. Bus. Equipment: multi-functional devices Discount: 10%. FINANCIAL SERVICES First Metropolitan (Metro 1) Credit Union Contact: Marla Fernandez, Marketing Manager, Membership includes: High-yielding savings accounts, investment plans, market share certificates and IRAs; checking accounts; free internet banking; low-cost VISA credit card; account access through STAR or PLUS ATM networks; free 24-hour account access; new and used auto loans; first and second mortgages. Membership available to CCCBA members and their employees. One-time membership fee waived for all CCCBA members. Call Metro 1 s marketing department for a packet. Wachovia Investments Tice Valley Plaza, 1880 Tice Valley Blvd. Walnut Creek Contact: Bill Parker, Discount: 20% off set-up costs/10% off transactional commissions. Wells Fargo Bank Contact: Orin Pierce, CCCBA firm s membership includes: Business banking services: Free business checking account for six months, free order of business checks, discount on treasury management solutions to help provide specialized advice to help law firms stay in compliance with depository regulations, reduce fraud and check float. Business Credit: 50% off standard loan origination fee; 50% off appraisal fee and more. Call for more information. FLORISTS, GIFTS Jory s Flowers 546 Ygnacio Valley Road, Walnut Creek Galaxy Way, Suite B, Concord Contact: Manager / Discount: 10% 14 January 2009

15 HEALTH & WELLNESS GMA Chiropractic 913 San Ramon Valley Blvd., #284 Danville Contact: Dr. Gabe Allende, Discount: 30% off chiropractic and massage therapy. Dr. Allende specializes in the treatment and prevention of a wide variety of muscular and skeletal injuries. Personal & Professional Coaching 178 E. Prospect Avenue, #2B Danville Contact: Joy Tomasino, / Discount: 20%. Joy Tomasino offers a diverse set of tools to provide a safe, supportive, confidential environment to explore: life balance; skills development; values clarification; education; life, career transition; stress management; trust and boundaries; marriage; divorce; family issues. Get what you want out of life! JUDICIAL COUNCIL / LOCAL COURT FORMS Martin Dean s Essential Forms CA Judicial Council Forms & Local Court Forms Discount: Purchase of Essential Forms entitles CCCBA members to choose two local county modules of their choice from the 51 counties available (a $338 value). To receive this discount when ordering, please identify yourself as a CCCBA member. LEGAL FEE RECOVERY SERVICES Diversified Services 5800 E. Thomas, Suite #107 Scottsdale, AZ Contact: Robert Schwartz, Discount: 28% contingency rate (regularly 33%). LEGAL & BUSINESS PUBLICATIONS The East Bay Business Times 6160 Stoneridge Mall Road, Suite 300 Pleasanton Contact: Diane Webb, Discount: $20 off one-year subscription rate; includes the 2009 Book of Lists (a $191 value). If you have advertising questions, please contact Carol Burns, The Recorder 10 United Nations Plaza, 3 rd floor San Francisco Contact: Circulation, Discount: $310 per year plus applicable sales tax (new sub scribers only). Anyone with a paid subscription receives access to the website. San Francisco Daily Journal 44 Montgomery Street, Suite 250 San Francisco Contact: Circulation, Discount: New subscribers: $371 per year, plus tax ($296 less than regular rate of $667). LEGAL RESEARCH LexisNexis 6525 Chelton Drive Oakland Contact: David LaRosa, Discount: 25% off of the purchase price of any legal research title. All print, CD-ROM or online subscriptions qualify for the CCCBA discount. (Desktop code books are excluded.) Thomson Reuters Contact: Karen Cornell, Discount: Westlaw, West Legal EdCenter, books and CD-ROMs all qualify for CCCBA discount of 20% by contacting Karen Cornell. Legal Calendaring and ProDoc now available. LIABILITY INSURANCE SERVICES Attorneys & Professionals Insurance Services, Inc Clayton Road Concord Contact: Michele Epstein, AAI, AIS, ACSR, CISR, CPIW, DAE / / Discount: Broker fees waived whenever possible for CCCBA members for professional liability. Never a broker fee for general liability, workers' comp, bonds or employment practices liability. One-stop shopping through APIS, Inc. Access to over 15 CA admitted carriers. Marsh Affinity Group Services 160 Spear Street, 15th Floor San Francisco Contact: ; fax ; The State Bar of California sponsored professional liability insurance program provides high-quality coverage and valuable added benefits such as free online legal research, a risk management website, and a toll-free claim prevention hotline. LIMOUSINE SERVICES Avon Limousine Service 7786 Ironwood Drive Dublin Reservations: / Reference CCCBA promotional code: APLVOC / Discount: Airport transport in Lincoln sedan for up to 4 passengers; wide range of limos available for 6 to 20 passenger Hummer or party bus. Wine tours and corporate events for any occasions. Call for great CCCBA rates! ON-LINE MCLE Thomson Reuters Contact: Karen Cornell, Discount: 15% off MCLE: Rutter, PLI, CEB, AALL, ABA and more! (Only $59.50/mo. for an unlimited 12-mo. pass). PRINTING & COPYING Business Point Impressions 5060 Commercial Circle, Suite A Concord Contact: Pat Burnett, Discount: 25% off first order of copy or print. 10% off sub sequent orders. Services include: high speed docutech copying, scanning, multicolor printing, courtroom displays, fulfillment. Copy Station 2175 N. California Blvd., Suite 210 Walnut Creek Contact: Peter Holtz, Discount: 20% off all onsite copying or 25% off any first job with new account registration filled out in full. 20% off highspeed scanning/archive to CD ROM. Free pick-up and delivery. Walnut Creek Super Print 1770 N. Broadway Walnut Creek Contact: Pat Condon, Discount: 10% off all printing. TELEPHONE & WEB CONFERENCING SERVICES Premier Global Services Contact: Scott Caughlin, Account Executive, (reference CCCBA membership for discount); Discount: 10% off (cpm=cost per minute; pp=per participant) Automated audio conferencing $.10 cpm/pp; Document sharing via the web; 500 minutes for $20. Partial assist toll/toll free: $.34 cpm/pp; Operator assist toll/toll free: $.22 cpm/pp. Available for depositions, litigation and client calls. TRAVEL SERVICES The Hertz Corporation Members only toll-free number: (mention your HERTZ CCCBA CDP# contact Jenny Comages at to get your Hertz member discount card, which must be presented at the time of rental) Discount: 10% discount off Hertz daily member benefit rates; 5% or greater off Hertz leisure rates, all car classes (advance reser vations required); discounts in Europe and worldwide; and Hertz #1 Club membership, computerized driving directions, Hertz NeverLost, express return, and 24-hour emergency roadside assistance. Enterprise Rent-A-Car 3000 Executive Parkway, #255 San Ramon Contact: Jennifer Shaeffer, Discount: Receive discounts on rental cars from our local & airport branches using discount code 23C4309 (www.enterprise. com). Save up to 30% off the other rental companies rates. Get 5% off our lowest rate with the exclusive CCCBA discount code. u Contra Costa Lawyer 15

16 Question man What was the most gratifying thing that happened to you in 2008? After three years of much work, together with a great team of transactional and litigating attorneys, I managed, edited, and published through CEB a new book on California easement law for practicing attorneys. Bonnie Maly CEB Realizing while in the hospital for heart disease what really matters in life. Wayne V.R. Smith Attorney and Mediator It started with four years of law school at night while maintaining a full-time computer job and family. It ended with studying for two months, seven days a week while maintaining family and church obligations culminating in passing the bar the first time. This was a great year! Matthew M. Hart Solo, Antioch 11:59 p.m., December 31, Gary Cornwall Law Offices of Gary Cornwall New life. Augie Martinez, born January 3, Janine Ogando Pandell Law Firm, Inc. Professionally the most gratifying thing that happened to me in 2008 was that I conducted, and won, my first jury trial (after practicing law in California since 1982). Kevin S. Eikenberry Law Office of Kevin S. Eikenberry The tremendous outpouring of support and encouragement from everyone as I underwent cancer surgeries and treatments. Thank you all for all that you ve done and for the good thoughts that helped me weather this journey. Barbara Suskind The Law Office of Barbara Suskind Far and away the most gratifying event in 2008 was my decision to practice ADR full time in 2009! David M. Miller Miller Mediation In January, picking Barack Obama as my candidate for President. Robert G. Seeds Greenan, Peffer, Sallander & Lally LLP I have a job and my work allows me to meet a lot of great people. Tom Cain Solo, Walnut Creek My wife, Ryoko, gave birth to wonderful twins on February 22, 2008 Rana Sophia (7 lbs 6.4 oz) and Raiden Thomas (7 lbs 6.6 oz). Kurtiss Jacobs Solo, Concord The birth of my son. Ross Pytlik Gagen, McCoy et al One of the most gratifying experiences of 2008 has been the warm welcome I ve received from the members of the Contra Costa Bar since moving my practice to Walnut Creek. Elva D. Harding Shapiro Buchman Provine LLP The number of clients who simply said Thank you. Mitch Stevens Law Offices of Mitchell A. Stevens Starting our new law firm, without question. Having the clients respond to the new service delivery vehicle and gaining the freedom to practice law tailored specifically for technology companies has been terrific and soul enriching. Richard C. Vasquez Vasquez Benisek & Lindgren LLP The most gratifying thing that happened to me was to see my older son find his way when he joined the Navy. Ian had been floundering since high school and seemed lost. He has now blossomed and is having the time of his life experiencing Japanese culture and showing responsibility and maturity beyond his years. We are indeed very proud and very pleased he has found his way. John MacMillan North American Title Insurance Company 2008? I think I ll follow Mr. Scrooge: Bah, Humbug. Dan Ryan Solo, Benicia 16 January 2009

17 8UBC5469RTL_Attorney_CCLAW.indd Contra Costa Lawyer_ x 9.375"_Small Business Attorneys Ad_run date: 00_01_08 SM welcome to youbanking You Timothy L. Randall, Partner Songstad & Randall have the right to your own personal banker. You have the right to enjoy the one-to-one attention of a Priority Banker. A financial ally who s experienced in the complex financial needs of attorneys and law firms. Someone to guide your banking with an expert touch. Whether it s establishing IOLTAs and client trust accounts, arranging a line of credit to smooth cash flow between cases, or managing employee benefits, you deserve a banker who gives you the proper financial representation. Call to schedule a meeting with a Priority Banker. Invest in you To qualify for a Priority Banker, you must open a Priority Banking account. Requires minimum combined balances of $100,000 or more, which can be maintained in a combination of qualifying accounts. You may be assigned to another program or product if you no longer meet the minimum requirement of Priority Banking. See our All About Business Accounts & Services Disclosure and Agreement for details. This is not a commitment to lend. Financing subject to credit and any applicable collateral approval. Other restrictions may apply. Financing available to businesses located in California, Oregon, and Washington. Terms and conditions subject to change Union Bank of California, N.A. Member FDIC _CCLAW.indd 1 7/30/08 3:54:48 PM Contra Costa Lawyer 17

18 meet your 2009 president Larry Cook an interview conducted by Candice Stoddard The 76 th president of our bar has been a trial lawyer in Contra Costa County for 23 years. He cares deeply about the members of our Bar Association, their future and their ability to practice law and serve their clients. He believes that our profession has the ability and the obligation to provide access to justice for all people. He shares with us his history and hopes for the CCCBA and the profession. Tell us about yourself. One of four boys, I was raised in Clayton by my parents, and am a product of the public school system. After graduating from Clayton Valley High School, I went on to UC Berkeley, as did all three of my brothers (Go Bears!). I graduated from UC Berkeley with a BS degree in I was employed by US Steel for a year and then decided to pursue my childhood dream of becoming a lawyer; so I enrolled in JFK Law School. I was drawn there because of the quality of the practicing attorneys and judges on faculty, including, at that time, Bill Gagen, Charlie James, Judge Norman Spellberg, Judge Richard Patsey, among others. While at JFK, I was a law clerk for Judge Patricia Herron, who gave me many opportunities to meet and interact with lawyers. From then on, I knew I wanted to be a Contra Costa lawyer. In fact, while in law school, I met my future partners: Stan Casper, Andrew Schwartz, and Michael Meadows, who were already in private practice, having come from the public defender s office. I did some clerking for them, and after law school, they offered me a job. I started working with them, and then partner, Peter Loewenstein in 1985, and have been with the firm ever since. In 2005, our firm became Casper, Meadows, Schwartz and Cook. I was proud to have my name on the door of the firm that I had come to love. We are trial lawyers representing plaintiffs in personal injury cases. We represent clients over a wide spectrum of cases areas including victims of child sexual abuse, medical malpractice, product liability, construction accidents, civil rights, and injury accidents of every conceivable type. I am married to Lisa Ramos and have two children from a former marriage. Daughter, Rachel, 15 and son, Daniel 13. I have been very involved in youth sports, coaching girls basketball, and little league baseball over the past nine years. I spend as much time as I can participating in my children s school and extra-curricular activities. Needles to say, I am a very busy guy. How did you get involved in the Bar Association? I joined the Bar Association in 1986 when I became a lawyer, on the heels of my partner, Stan Casper, and former boss, Peter Loewenstein, who are both past presidents of the Bar Association. I learned from them the importance of participating at the local level. My partners have always given generously of their time and money to support the good work of our bar, and I am extremely proud of them for their ongoing commitment. I was asked to be on the bar s Board of Directors ten years ago. I had been the President of the Barrister s Association, and had been on the Board of the Contra Costa Legal Services Foundation, now Bay Area Legal Aid. I jumped at the opportunity to be on the board, and have been an active member ever since. What are your goals and visions for the Bar Association? My goals are to keep the ship afloat. I want to keep up the good work of Robin Pearson, and of the many past presidents and board members who have come before me. I want to find ways to improve the working lives of the lawyers who belong to our bar. I think one of our top goals and duties is to offer solid benefits to the lawyers in the community. We are a trade organization, and we need to do what we can to assist lawyers in the practice of law by creating a good climate between the bench and the bar, between our lawyers and the State Bar, and with all of the other stakeholders in the justice system. Our bar needs to offer opportunities for professional development for our members. That is what we are all about. Of course, we need to also continue our work in the greater community. We will continue to expand our efforts at community outreach, pro bono representation and charitable giving. I would like to see all of our members participate at some level. I encourage all members to take advantage of what we have to offer at the bar by attending programs and seminars, becoming active in one or more 18 January 2009

19 sections or committees, participating in the many events that we offer through the year, and to interact and socialize with other lawyers. Even though our bar association has grown in its membership in the past 10 years, over 1700 members in a county that has seen unparalleled growth in the state, we are still a small local group. By being active in the bar, our members can develop close personal relationships with lawyers and judges to form a tightknit legal community. How has the practice of law changed in the past couple of years? Well of course the biggest change has been in technology. The way we communicate with each other and with clients has undergone a complete transformation as we all know. Technology has given us the ability to file pleadings electronically, to conduct discovery electronically and to network with other lawyers and clients on a much grander scale. Technology shrinks the world in a lot of ways. Everything is more accessible because of technology. Many more lawyers can participate, especially solos and small firm practitioners because it levels the playing field for them. The expanded use of the internet has played a huge role in how clients select attorneys, how we market our practices and how we market the services of the bar. One of our bar s challenges, and for our member attorneys, is the constant need to stay current with technology. Of course, one would have to live under a rock not to notice that the practice of law has become more and more expensive. Lawyers are under constant pressure to find ways to reduce the costs of litigation to clients while at the same time providing the highest quality representation possible. One of the bar s goals is to find creative ways to help our members work smarter, but not necessarily harder. We will be offering programs again this year that address those issues including our Law Day for Lawyers Program. The issue of diversity in the legal profession is a constant concern. It seems over the past few years that we have made significant gains in the area of diversity. Although the legal profession has lagged behind most industries and professions when it comes to actually creating a socially diverse profession, we have made progress, in the last few years through national exposure, state-wide and local efforts. In Contra Costa County, we have realized some gains in attracting diverse attorneys to our county and securing the appointment of more women and people of color to the bench. Our challenge is to build on these gains and to create some momentum toward making the legal profession look more like the population that we serve. Given these changes, how do you see the Bar Association responding in 2009? This year, our members can check out the bar s calendar (, where they will find each month programs, workshops and other opportunities for professional development. On the professional development side, we are going to continue to expand our offerings, including section programs, MCLE events, social gatherings, etc. In terms of outreach, we will continue to sponsor and offer opportunities for our members to provide pro bono legal services throughout the county, across a wide range of programs. We currently provide support and outreach for legal education in every high school in Contra Costa County. We also sponsor court tours and mentoring programs for students throughout the year. We will also continue to solicit contributions from our members for charitable organizations. There is one point I think should be made very clear: The lawyers of this county have always been exceedingly generous in donating attorney time and money to support our many charitable causes. We should and we must continue to ask our members to give generously in support of programs like The Bar Fund, Food from the Bar, court scholarships and others. At the bar association, we are going to be upgrading our website to make it even more user friendly, and it will be more accessible to our members and to the public. We are going to expand our marketing efforts for our Lawyer Referral and Information Services, which provide an incredible amount of access for the public to legal services in our county and a lot of business opportunities for our members. In the coming year, we are going to continue to develop the expansion of the diversity law section, begun by Robin Pearson. We have a wonderful diversity PowerPoint presentation (see page 31) that will be made available to lawyers and law firms across the state who have asked to see it. We are going to continue to advocate for a diverse bench at the state and local level. Each year, our CCCBA board of directors gathers for a retreat in December. We create a strategic plan whereby we closely examine the goals and values of our organization and try to implement programs that further those goals. At the end of each year, we can look back and know that we accomplished most if not all of what we set out to do. That is the value and the purpose of strategic planning. We have a great board of directors from a diverse group of practitioners in Contra Costa County and I am very excited to help them achieve their goals. What would you like your bar association legacy to be? I would like to be remembered as a leader who reached out to everybody, who really rolled up his sleeves, and who did the work necessary to make improvements where he could while upholding the best traditions of the bar. u Contra Costa Lawyer 19

20 2008 Year-End Financial Report (Based on projections as of mid-december. Staff and overhead expenses are not reflected under individual categories. Does not include capital expenditures.) INCOME EXPENSES NET profit / (loss) Membership 291, , , Dues, mailings, committee meetings, applications, State Bar swearing-in ceremonies, recruitment campaigns, database modifications, holiday party, printing costs. Lawyer Referral & Information Service 355, , , Consultation fees, membership fees, percentage fees, advertising, brochures & marketing, phone system, postage, supplies, client surveys, hearing impairment interpreters, committee meetings, staff education, Moderate Means Program, Family Law training series, FLARe (Family Law Mediation program), Limited Representation program, marketing & panel recruitment, State Bar re-certification fees, database modifications, free community legal workshops. Fee Arbitration/Mediation & Client Relations Programs 23, , , Filing fees, State Bar reimbursements, refunds, postage, committee meetings, supplies. Bar-Sponsored Programs & Events 52, , , MCLE Spectacular, State of the Court Address, Law Day for Lawyers, committee meetings, State Bar provider status renewal. Publications Printing, postage, production, mailing house, MCLE self-study tests, committee meetings, photography, advertising revenue, etc. Contra Costa Lawyer and Calendar 93, , (24,110.00) Membership Directory 48, , (1,532.00) Office Administration Staff (does not include Criminal Conflict Program) 449, (449,014.00) Payroll, payroll taxes, payroll service, pension disbursements, medical, dental and vision benefits, workers comp insurance, staff education. Executive Director 7, (7,031.00) Education & travel, dues/membership fees, expenses, etc. Office Equipment 28, (28,604.00) Computers, computer consulting services, database upgrades/modifications, photocopier, fax machine, printers, postage machine and meter, etc. General Conference room rental 5, Interest & dividend income 21, Sale of mailing list Member affinity dividends Criminal Conflict Program administrative fee 1, January 2009

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