A-Z Partner Leads Annual Bar Association Conference

February 24, 2010

“Well, what does the bar really do, anyway?” As the 2010 President of the Ventura County Bar Association, this is a question I frequently get asked, and I know that many of my predecessors did, as well. Early on a recent Saturday morning, that question was answered loudly, as I had the privilege of leading 41 men and women in the 20th Annual Ventura County Bar Association Bar Leaders Conference.

VCBA has 35 distinct sections, committees and affiliates, and the work that is done there is the lifeblood of the bar. In addition to the various committees devoted to continuing education in substantive practice areas, the bar has other sections focused on providing support, mentoring and networking for their members, such as the Women Lawyers Association, the Mexican-American Bar Association, and the East County Bar Association. VCBA is fortunate to have activities and people wholly devoted to fundraising, including those that organize the annual Law Day 5K, and our Annual Dinner.

As President of the bar, I’m always gratified to see involvement by our younger and newer attorneys, and the Barristers – open to those attorneys 36 years of age or under, or who have been in practice seven years or less — is one of the busiest sections of our bar. Barristers provides opportunities for networking, mentoring and community involvement, and they always have a lot of fun doing it.

I take particular pride in how much our members give back to the community. At the conference, I learned that several of our sections, including the Mexican-American Bar Association and the Ventura County Asian-American Bar Association, award annual scholarships to law students, or those interested in the legal profession. But no better example of community service exists than in the work done by our highly regarded and honored Volunteer Lawyers Services Program, or VLSP, Inc.

Over a span of almost 15 years, hundreds of lawyers have provided pro-bono legal services to the low income and underserved population in the county. The backbone of the program is the panel of emeritus attorneys, which in 2002 was awarded the California State Bar President’s Distinguished Pro Bono Service Award. The award was presented to our panel in recognition of their commitment to provide or enable the direct provision of legal services to the poor in our county. As the needs of the community grow, so does the work of VLSP, and their service is immeasurable.

This conference was a reminder to me that I am a member of a truly vibrant and dedicated organization, and in which I’m proud to serve.