2021 Sections

CCCBA Sections At the foundation of the Contra Costa County Bar Association there are over 20 diverse and thriving sections. CCCBA boasts a plethora of practice area sections as well as many interest-focused sections that support the CCCBA’s solo/small firm practitioners, women, and law student members plus young barristers, and more experienced attorneys.

The CCCBA also has two sections that support members in the East and West areas of the county, respectively. All the sections provide educational, social and networking events, strengthening and truly fostering the community spirit of the CCCBA.

With the pivots and challenges of 2020 behind us, and looking forward to what adventures 2021 holds, we want to thank all the 2020 Section Leaders for keeping things on track and welcome the new and returning 2021 Section Leaders. Please enjoy reading the short pieces below about our sections and section leaders. For all the details about each section please visit the CCCBA wesite under the main For Attorneys tab, to see each section’s web page.

ADR Section
Palvir Shoker, Shoker Law Group

Litigators resolve cases – either by trial or settlement. Lots of continuing legal education materials prepare lawyers to try cases, but as a practical matter most cases settle. The ADR Section works hard to improve the quality of ADR processes and the effective use of ADR by organizing programs from top notch presenters who help attendees develop their negotiation, settlement and ADR skills.
Section members include both lawyers and non-lawyers. Many section members serve as mediators, arbitrators and neutral case evaluators, but membership is open to all persons who are interested in developing their negotiation, settlement and ADR skills.

Appellate Section
Gary Watt, Hanson Bridgett, Chair, Appellate Practice

Formed in 1991, the Appellate Section focuses on continuing education and the improvement of appellate advocacy. Members include attorneys whose practice is devoted to appeals and writs as well as trial lawyers interested in enriching their understanding of the appellate process and issues. The section hosts periodic MCLE seminars. Speakers have included appellate court justices, appellate and Supreme Court research attorneys, and attorneys with special expertise in appeals, writs, and post-trial motions. The section has been approved as a provider of Appellate Specialization MCLE credits.

Bankruptcy Law Section
David Arietta, Law Offices of David A. Arietta

The Bankruptcy Law Section is comprised of attorneys who represent debtors and/or creditors in bankruptcy cases. The purpose of the section is to provide a forum of fellowship and learning concerning topics of interest for attorneys who practice in bankruptcy court and also for those attorneys who practice in state court. The section typically meets three to five times each year for formal MCLE programs or casual roundtable discussions. Speakers have included bankruptcy judges, bankruptcy trustees, and private practice attorneys in the area.

Barristers Section
Rebecca Jones, Wapnick Family Law

The Barristers/Young Lawyers Section provides recently ad- mitted attorneys with networking, education, and mentoring opportunities. All CCCBA members with fewer than ten years of practice are automatically members of the section and are welcome to attend the meetings of the Section’s Board to become more involved. The goal of the section is to help its members develop a strong social and referral network. The Barristers host MCLE events, engage in charitable endeavors and organize social and networking events.

Business Law Section
Marta Vanegas, Martin & Vanegas | CCCBA Board of Directors

The Business Law Section’s mission is to provide up-to-date information on issues facing business lawyers in our competitive climate, to provide continuing legal education to attorneys in California, and to provide opportunities for networking in our growing East Bay legal community. The Section presents programs specifically addressing corporate formation, corporate reporting, due diligence, public-offerings, compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley and other issues of topical importance The Business Law Section is a great way to be involved with the CCCBA, increase your legal prestige and visibility within the legal community while also being an easy and effective way to market your practice. Realizing the pandemic has created business uncertainties and possibly a loss of income, the Business Law Section is not going to charge Section membership fees for the year 2021. Please join us!

Criminal Law Section
Ashley Bargenquast, Tully & Weiss

The Criminal Law Section hosts regular MCLE meetings and provides continuing education on such topics as new statutes, case law, and technology. Speakers include judges, attorneys, expert witnesses, and county administrators. Additionally, our programs provide information specific to practicing law in our county courts. These meetings provide a relaxed environment within which to learn from the talented legal resources available in our county, to get to know other lawyers, and to make valuable contacts. The goal of this section is to provide information that can be of practical assistance to criminal defense attorneys in motions and trial practice and case management.

East County Section
Marie Quashnock, Alvis Quashnock and Associates

The East County Section was formed to serve the needs of current Contra Costa County Bar Association members who either live or practice in East Contra Costa County. This section brings continuing education, social and membership events closer to Pittsburg, Antioch, Oakley, Brentwood and Discovery Bay. The goal of the section is to provide members a sense of community, assist them in building their practice, provide valuable continuing education, and cultivate social interactions among its members. The East County Section hosts a monthly mixer where members can share resources and information while networking with their contemporaries. The Section also hosts MCLE events throughout the year.

Elder Law Section
Douglas W. Housman, Law Offices of Cain, Cain & Housman

The Elder Law Section presents programs that help keep attorneys informed about Elder Law issues. Generally, there are two areas of practice of Elder Law. The first is transactional work, closely related to estate planning, which often focuses on eligibility for various benefits, such as Medi-Cal. The second is litigation, including conservatorship proceedings, financial elder abuse and physical elder abuse/neglect. In addition, Elder Law often overlaps with other practice areas when a client, or interested party, is over the age of 65. Given the breadth of what is, or can become, an Elder Law issue, and the increasing portion of the aging population, many practitioners can benefit from what the Elder Law Section offers. People who are interested in joining section leadership should contact Douglas W. Housman.

Employment Law Section
Anjuli Cargain, Duane Morris

The Employment Law Section includes members representing both employee and employer/management interests, as well as in-house counsel, neutral investigators, mediators and law school students. Through continuing education events on pertinent issues facing employment law practitioners, networking events, and sponsoring non-profit legal aid workshops, the Employment Law Section hopes to be a resource for its members and local community. Those involved in employment law or interested in employment law are invited to participate in the Section.

Estate Planning & Probate Section
Kathryn Korn, Korn Law Group

The Estate Planning & Probate Section was established in 1993. Membership is open to practicing attorneys, private professional fiduciaries, accounting practitioners, trust officers, and law students. Our programs begin in January each year with the annual Probate Bench Luncheon. In the spring, with co-sponsorship of The Mechanics Bank’s Trust Department, we present an Annual Estate Planning Symposium. The section continues its practice of donating to local legal service organizations as a regular sponsor of “The Bar Fund.” The section is broadly based among probate, estate planning, conservatorship, guardianship, and trust practitioners. We strive to present opportunities for members to obtain MCLE credits at programs that address all these areas of practice and welcome suggestions from our membership.

Family Law Section
David Lederman, Law Offices of David Lederman

A Family Law Section membership is indispensable for anyone who practices family law in Contra Costa County. The Family Law Section has a long and respected history of robust programming in the form of monthly CLEs, mentoring/networking group evening presentations with speakers, Custody Issues Committee (CIC) CLE programs on child custody-related hot topics, and more. MCLE and specialization credits are available. The Family Law Section maintains ongoing liaisons with the bench, Family Court Services, the Facilitator’s Office, the Department of Child Support Services, the Advisory Council Against Domestic Violence (ACAD), and the various legal aid providers in the county. Through its liaison with the court, the section is actively involved in reviewing court rules and policies and providing input and assistance in the creation of or changes to rules and/or policies.

Immigration Law Section
Marco Garzon, Argumedo Garzon Law Group

The CCCBA Immigration Law Section strives to sup-port the work of Contra Costa’s immigration attorneys and promote the best immigration services and practices in our county and beyond. The section also strives to provide continuing education, training and mentoring for immigration attorneys. We assist attorneys in the overlap between Immigration law and other practices – e.g. employment, juvenile, family, criminal, business & estate planning and probate. Finally, our section works to promote events and programs that make Immigration Law accessible to those who need it.

Intellectual Property Law Section
Joseph R. Snyder Ph.D, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton

The Intellectual Property Section is a resource for attorneys and others to learn, share, network, and strengthen their expertise in intellectual property. The IP Section is on the cutting edge of law changes that impact all areas of business. Approximately 6-8 times per year, the IP Section presents topical presentations on current intellectual property issues that are of a general interest or are of high importance to practitioners in the IP field.

Juvenile Law Section
Rhonda Wilson-Rice, Law Office of Rhonda Wilson-Rice

Juvenile Law Section members are lawyers who represent children, parents, guardians, foster parents, relatives, and others involved in juvenile dependency proceedings, who are before the court due to the abuse or neglect of a child. Membership in our section provides beneficial continuing legal education and opportunities for professional development. MCLE programs are held on such topics as case law and statutory reviews, interviewing techniques, immigration laws, and recognizing and treating substance. These programs go towards meeting the local court rules for mandatory competence of counsel. We participate in meetings between the bench, Social Services and Contra Costa Juvenile Advocates (CCJA) We also participate in the Social Worker-Attorney Training Committee (SWATT).

Law Student Section
Jennifer Spalding, Golden Gate University School of Law anticipated graduation 2023

The Law Student Section engages students with attorneys in countless networking and mentorship opportunities. With all the sections that CCCBA offers, the law student members have the opportunity to explore many areas of potential practice. Section members can expand their law school education in significant ways that both serve the community and yield practical legal experience. Volunteer opportunities at many of the bar-hosted events allow students to serve the legal community while honing their networking skills. The CCCBA is bridging the gap between the law school and real life practice.
The Law Student section is currently looking for additional leadership. If you are interested, please contact Anne K. Wolf awolf@cccba.org.

Litigation Section
Jaime B. Herren, Holland & Knight
Andrew R. Verriere, Hartog, Baer & Hand

The Litigation Section provides a forum for civil trial attorneys to hone their advocacy skills, network and socialize. It presents seminars on trial practice featuring the county’s judicial officers and its senior practitioners providing instruction and real-world advice on the art and science of trial practice. The section holds programs of interest for civil practitioners of all experience levels and abilities. In past years, the Litigation Section has sponsored presentations on use of technology in the courtroom, jury trials, complex issues in breach of contract cases, taking and defending depositions, ADR, and litigating in federal court. The section also facilitates dialog with the local superior court bench to keep pace with changing court procedures and to promote the efficient and fair administration of justice.

Real Estate Section
Allison K.Wopschall, Side, Head of Legal

The Real Estate Section offers monthly MCLE programs, free to section members, also open to others, as well as networking and activities related to the various aspects of the practice of real estate law. Non-members are welcome to participate in monthly programs for a small fee. The Real Estate Section is proud to make annual charitable contributions on behalf of its members.

Senior Section

The Senior Section was formed in January 2019 to serve the interests of the senior attorneys of the CCCBA, by offering programs of educational and general interest, cultivating social interactions, preserving the history and tradition of the CCCBA and being the voice of senior attorneys within the CCCBA. CCCBA member attorneys who have 30 years in practice or are 60 years of age are eligible to join the Section. Non-attorneys who are 60 years old are also permitted to join. The Section hosts ABA Law Day events and offers educational and social events tailored to our membership including volunteer opportunities, attorney succession planning, senior bias and age discrimination and recognition for retiring attorneys.

Solo & Small Firm Section
Heidi Coad-Hermelin, Hermelin Law Firm
Anina Dalsin, Dalsin Law

Launched in 1996, the Solo Practice & Small Firm Section evolved from the recognition that many solo and small firm practitioners desired and at times needed the camaraderie, intellectual stimulation, and informational exchange that attorneys generally find in larger law firms. By having consistent networking and fellowship opportunities, the Section has evolved into a collegial organization resembling a “firm,” with specialists in various fields both willing and able to offer assistance to other Section members. Members have access to the section email listserv that provides a wealth of referrals and resources to small firm practitioners. The Section hosts MCLE, practice management and social activities throughout the year.

Taxation Section
Ryan Lockhart, McKenna|Brink| Signorotti
Jay Suen, Brothers Smith

The Taxation Section is one of the longest running sections of CCCBA.Members meet regularly with tax agency leaders, skilled practitioners, and legal scholars to discuss changes in tax laws and administration. The Taxation Section also holds regular joint meetings with a number of different sections, such as the Real Estate, Family Law, Bankruptcy and Estate Planning & Probate Sections, to educate them on tax issues relevant to each section’s members. The section invites all interested attorneys and accountants to join.

West County Section

The West County Section reestablished the connection between CCCBA members in West County that had been missing since the consolidation of the West, Central and East County Bar Associations and it is currently looking for leadership. If you are interested, please contact Anne K. Wolf awolf@cccba.org All practice areas are welcome and those practicing in the area are encouraged to join.

Women’s Section
Celine Mui Simon, Strata Legal

The Women’s Section has been a strong presence in CCCBA for over 26 years. Its members include attorneys practicing in all areas of the law who live or work in Contra Costa County.

The goal of the section is to further the advancement of women in the legal profession and the judiciary. Men are welcome to join. The CCCBA Women’s Section is a proud affiliate of the California Women Lawyers (www.cwl.org). Members of the Women’s Section receive a discounted membership to CWL. The Women’s Section provides networking opportunities for its members to meet other attorneys and professionals. The section hosts informational programs and lunches, some offering MCLE credit and others focusing on matters of more personal interest, such as job opportunities and rainmaking. The Women’s Section annually awards the Honorable Patricia Herron and Honorable Ellen James Scholarship to deserving law students who have shown leadership potential, achieved academic success, and helped to advance women’s issues. The section hosts a scholarship fundraiser each spring.