Introducing Your 2019 Section Leaders

Introducing Your 2019 Section Leaders

We would like to introduce you to an extraordinary group of hardworking and dedicated individuals.  Faster than speeding bullets, more powerful than locomotives, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound are just a few of the incredible characteristics of CCCBA’s 2019 SECTION LEADERS.

These marvelous individuals are the true super heroes of the Contra Costa County Bar Association.  In the following pages they will introduce themselves and tell you about their section and what CCCBA means to them.

ADR SECTION

Mark LeHocky is a mediator and arbitrator who works throughout California.  He previously served as general counsel to Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, Inc. and Ross Stores, Inc., where he managed all litigation and other legal matters. Before that, he spent two decades litigating employment, antitrust, intellectual property, commercial and tort cases. Mark began mediating two decades ago when he was appointed to the federal court’s mediation panel. He earned his JD from UC Berkeley and his BA from UCLA. Mark has taught Mediation Advocacy at UC Davis’ School of Law, currently teaches at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Business on the intersection of law and decision-making and has been repeatedly voted a Best Lawyer in America for Mediation by Best Lawyers®.

What does the CCCBA mean to you?

“CCCBA is a wonderful blend of highly-skilled attorneys working in a community where we see each other and work together frequently. Having lived in the county for over 30 years now, I’ve repeatedly seen that combination play out through lawyers who are cordial while also extremely effective advocates for their clients. As a mediator, you can’t ask for anything better.”

“CCCBA is also a great vehicle to learn and share. I have been very impressed by the number and quality of learning opportunities CCCBA helps organize for its members and others – particularly those events where various sections of the bar collaborate. We are all lucky to have the great leadership and staff at CCCBA to support these efforts.”

The Alternative Dispute Resolution Section (ADR) As the use of mediation, arbitration and other forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) expands, the CCCBA ADR Section works to promote their use as an accessible, effective, faster and more economical means of resolving most disputes. Through such efforts, the section works to help clients maintain more control over their options and outcomes and helps counsel preserve and enhance their client relationships.

The ADR Section organizes and presents educational programs for its members and other CCCBA members, analyzes and comments on new rule proposals related to ADR, drafts recommendations for the court and the board of directors and helps develop other initiatives to promote and provide access to ADR processes.

Section members include both lawyers and non-lawyers. Many serve as mediators, arbitrators, neutral case evaluators and special masters, and many serve as practicing attorneys who advocate for clients in ADR as well as traditional litigation. Law students are also welcome.

APPELLATE SECTION

Gary Watt serves as chair of Hanson Bridgett’s Appellate Practice. He is a state bar approved Certified Appellate Specialist, handling writs and appeals in all of the California appellate courts, including the California Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. His practice also includes dispositive motions such as SLAPP, summary judgment, and post-trial motions. His appellate experience gives him unique insights into complex cases and esoteric disputes. He excels at issue spotting and arrives at thoughtful solutions to business problems. His practice includes risk management such as interpreting contracts, indemnity provisions, and more.

What does the CCCBA mean to you?

“CCCBA provides me the opportunity to converse with fellow practitioners on the craft of appellate advocacy.”

The Appellate Section—formed in 1991—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. Seminar 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 Appellate Section welcomes all lawyers and law students to join and attend programs. Many programs have broad appeal to litigators and are presented in partnership with the Litigation Section.

The section has been approved as a provider of appellate specialty MCLE credits, an extra benefit for attorneys who are, or are seeking to become, certified appellate specialists.

BANKRUPTCY LAW SECTION

E. Vincent Wood, owner of the Law Offices of E. Vincent Wood, has offices throughout the Bay Area but his main office is located in Walnut Creek. He represents consumers and small business owners with debt issues including representation in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy matters. Recently, he added mortgage and bankruptcy litigation to his practice to help homeowners defend against wrongful foreclosures and negligent mortgage servicing. Originally from Southern California, Vincent now lives in Lafayette and has two teenage daughters.

What does the CCCBA mean to you?  

“The ABA recommends that each year, attorneys assist low-income clients, give back to our communities, and participate in activities to improve the legal profession. The Contra Costa County Bar Association is meaningful to me because it plays an important role in achieving this goal. The CCCBA supports the legal needs of the local community, provides important education to its members, and offers valuable networking opportunities. The CCCBA can deliver these benefits because it has strong volunteer efforts.  I find it personally rewarding to be part of this organization.”

The Bankruptcy Law Section is primarily comprised of attorneys who represent debtors and/or creditors in bankruptcy cases. The section has non-attorney members, including accountants and bankruptcy trustees. The purpose of the section is to provide a forum of fellowship and learning concerning topics of interest for attorneys and non-attorneys who practice in bankruptcy court and non-attorneys who provide support to the bankruptcy bar. The section typically meets three to five times each year, usually for MCLE programs held at lunchtime at the CCCBA office conference room. At these luncheons, speakers discuss topics of interest to the bankruptcy bar. Speakers have included bankruptcy judges and trustees, private practice attorneys in the area, and other professionals.

BARRISTERS SECTION

Ryan H. Apperson is an estate planning and probate attorney located in downtown Walnut Creek currently in his third year of practice. He is passionate about helping working people get the support they need. Ryan’s law practice helps clients ensure their estates are in order. People work their whole lives to amass whatever wealth they can, and Ryan helps ensure his clients are able to pass on those assets to their loved ones as seamlessly as possible. When he is not practicing law, Ryan enjoys spending time with his wife Shannon and daughter Teagan; preferably enjoying the great outdoors.

What does the CCCBA mean to you?

“As a solo practitioner, CCCBA provides a great opportunity to network and connect with other attorneys for referrals, business advice, and comaraderie. As a Barrister/Young Lawyer early in my legal career it is especially important to have a support group as we establish ourselves in the legal community.”

The Barristers/Young Lawyers Section provides recently-admitted 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 build a network within the bar association, develop familiarity with all aspects of the legal field and to help new attorneys with their burgeoning legal careers. The section helps its members develop a deep understanding of what other lawyers do, a strong social and referral network no matter where their practice takes them, and a genuine commitment to advancing the profession.

The Barristers Section creates MCLE events targeted to recently-admitted attorneys, engages in charitable endeavors and organizes social events that allow new lawyers to grow their network of peers, potential mentors, and judicial officers.

BUSINESS LAW SECTION

Alexander  Golovets is a solo practitioner with focus on business transactions and litigation.   His MBA degree from Cal State East Bay, law degrees from civil and common law systems, and international business experience gives him unique perspective and ability to help businesses succeed.

What does the CCCBA mean to you?

“CCCBA is an invaluable resource for development of my legal career. It provides access to more experienced attorneys in, and outside of, my areas of expertise, different panels, and it is the greatest referral service.”

The Business Law Section. Business lawyers (whether outside counsel or in-house counsel) are among the most important members of a business team. They work with all key members of the enterprise to provide a wide range of strategic and legal insights to address and resolve routine as well as thorny matters facing entrepreneurs and developed business. 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 Business Law Section supports regular meetings with experts in the wide variety of issues facing business lawyers to support new ventures, to promote business development, and to provide a basis for corporations taking advantage of the many new initiatives for business growth and development. Because Contra Costa County is in an ideal position to be a corporate growth center in Northern California, the Business Law Section strives to bring strategic and legal expertise to you.

It presents programs to members of the bar association addressing corporate formation, corporate reporting, due diligence, public offerings, compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley, protection of intangible corporate property (trade secrets, patents, copyrights and trademarks) and other issues of topical importance. It’s goal is to assist members in the development and support their practices in business and corporation law. The section also provides educational service to the general public with occasional public seminars such as the “Two Entrepreneurs Walk Into a Bar” series. The section would greatly appreciate hearing from members or potential members about specific areas that are important to them and their clients.

CRIMINAL LAW SECTION

Joseph Tully began his career at the Fresno County Public Defender’s Office in 1999 and has been practicing criminal law ever since. He is a certified specialist in criminal law by the California State Bar Board of Specialization, has been recognized as a Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorney by Attorney and Practice Magazine, the Nation’s Top 1% by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel, and is a fierce advocate for the accused. A founding partner of Tully & Weiss Attorneys at Law, he has been highly successful in jury trials up and down the state. He recently authored an e-book on California Domestic Violence charges and the Amazon best seller, “California: State of Collusion.”

What does the CCCBA mean to you?  

“The Bay Area is one of the most beautiful and coveted locations in the world and the East Bay, in particular, holds a special charm. However, practicing criminal defense in this county holds unique challenges. Adhering to one of the fundamental tenets of American jurisprudence, that of checks and balances, it is therefore imperative that the relatively powerless, the criminally accused and those who represent them, unite together to serve as a balance to the functions of the bench and the prosecution. While there are wonderful, inspirational judges and honorable and humane prosecutors, there must always be a unified defense bar to counter any naturally occurring coalescence of power on the side of judges or prosecutors. This, to me, is the vitally important function of the Contra Costa County Bar Association.”

The Criminal Law Section hosts lunchtime MCLE meetings in Martinez, where it provides continuing education on such topics as new statutes, case law, and technology.  Speakers include judges, attorneys, expert witnesses, and county administrators. Additionally, 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. The section generally sponsors an issue of the Contra Costa Lawyer, which gives our members a chance to write articles and be published.

ELDER LAW SECTION

Douglas W. Housman is a partner at the Law Offices of Cain, Cain & Housman practicing in the areas of conservatorships, trust administrations, estate planning, elder abuse, decedent’s estates, and litigation.  He is a lifelong resident of Benicia where he resides with his wife and 3-year-old son. In his spare time Doug enjoys exercising, specifically playing basketball and running ultramarathons.

What does the CCCBA mean to you?

“The CCCBA allows me an opportunity to be involved with the legal community.  It provides a platform for attorneys to become involved in respective legal sections, while also allowing attorneys access to the CCCBA’s abundance of information and resources.  Without the tireless efforts of many within the CCCBA, our legal community would be lost.”

The Elder Law Section presents programs that help keep attorneys informed about Elder Law issues and also presents a monthly conservatorship workshop as a joint project with the Superior Court.  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.

Board meetings occur at noon, the first Wednesday of every month at the Law Offices of Cain, Cain & Housman, located at 150 N. Wiget Lane, Suite 105, Walnut Creek, CA 94598. Members who are interested in joining the board should contact Douglas W. Housman or any of the board members.

EMPLOYMENT LAW SECTION

Marta R. Vanegas is a shareholder at Martin & Vanegas, APC. Her main areas of practice are labor and employment law, business law, social security disability law, civil rights law, and pension rights. She is a zealous and compassionate advocate for her clients, unafraid to go the extra mile for a successful resolution of their complaints. A native of Budapest, Hungary, Marta has called California home for the past 19 years. Prior to joining her firm, Marta served as Deputy Legislative Counsel in Sacramento, drafting legislative proposals and providing counsel to legislators on labor, employment, and business law issues.

What does the CCCBA mean to you?

“To me, the CCCBA is a welcoming, friendly community where I can find friendship, mentoring, and professional advice. Our county bar is unique in that it is not too large for members to feel lost, and not too small for lack of novelty and diversity. Here, we know we will meet our fellow CCCBA members at each turn of our practice, thus, we treat each other with not only professional detachment, but with warm friendship. From the day I joined, I always felt seen and heard, acknowledged, welcomed, and helped by the members and staff of CCCBA, and for that I am very grateful. I hope to continue to give back to our community by serving this year as President of the Employment Law Section governing board.”

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 Employment Law Section. If would like to become a member or learn more about this section, please contact her.

ESTATE PLANNING & PROBATE SECTION

Deborah C. Moritz-Farr is a partner at Turner, Huguet, Adams & Farr in Martinez. Prior to joining the firm, Deborah was a sole practitioner, specializing in estate planning.  Before her time as an estate planner, she worked in insurance defense litigation, and in-house for a local bank.  Her experience as an attorney includes jury and court trials in addition to all aspects of estate planning including wills, trusts and probate.  For the past five years, she sat on the board of the Estate Planning & Probate Section of the CCCBA,  is a member of the Trust & Estate Section and the Taxation section of the State Bar of California.  Deborah began her legal career as a deputy district attorney in Alameda County.

What does the CCCBA mean to you?

“The CCCBA provides an ever evolving and dynamic way for our community of attorneys to meet and interact with one another, grow professionally, and to easily find an avenue to help those in our greater Contra Costa community find legal help when they need it.”

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. Section members and non-members are invited to attend numerous programs throughout the year. Programs begin in January each year at the Contra Costa Country Club with the annual Probate Luncheon.

Every year since 1994 the section, with co-sponsorship of The Trust Department of Mechanics Bank, has presented an annual estate planning symposium in the spring. The event draws counsel, educators, and professionals to present topics of current interest to the bar, tax professionals and students. The section is pleased to present this program with availability of specialization credit.

Board members and section liaisons provide volunteer service, each devoting time and energy to ensure that events provide broad continuing education opportunity for members at a competitive cost. The section continues its practice of donating to local legal service organizations as a regular platinum level sponsor of “The Bar Fund.”

The section is broadly based among probate, estate planning, conservatorship, guardianship, and trust practitioners. It strives 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

Kimberly Kirkpatrick has practiced family law exclusively for over a decade.  She loves the ability to help her clients in meaningful and significant ways as they navigate through a difficult experience.  Kim especially loves to help her clients reach that “a-ha” moment when they realize that they are going to be okay, their kids will be okay and there is, in fact, a light at the end of their tunnel.

When not practicing family law, Kim enjoys spending time with her family which includes three teenage daughters, two dogs, one cat, three chickens and one amazing, (albeit exhausted), husband.

What does the CCCBA mean to you?

“Resources! Since I have always limited my practice to family law, I sometimes find that my clients will have a question or concern that reaches outside of their family law case.  When I need to find a colleague with experience in another area of law, I can always count on CCCBA to help me find the right person.  CCCBA events, such as the MCLE Spectacular, are a wonderful resource not just for meeting MCLE requirements, but more importantly help to connect attorneys with attorneys in other practice areas. CCCBA events help members build a network of colleagues, both in and outside your practice area. CCCBA publications are a great source for need-to-know information.”

A Family Law Section membership is indispensable for anyone who practices family law in Contra Costa County. The most visible benefits of membership are:

Dynamic monthly education seminars and periodic extended seminars led by experienced faculty

Early notification of changes in rules

Practice requirements in the family law departments

Annual “State of the Court” meeting and other programs with local family law judges. The bench often uses these meetings as an opportunity to make announcements. MCLE and specialization credits are provided for attending.

In Chancery, the Family Law Section’s monthly section newsletter keeps members abreast of section activities, news from the bench, and educational opportunities.

Section members receive exclusive use of the section website at www.familylawsectioncontracosta.org.

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. The Family Law Section has a long and respected history of robust, current programming in the form of monthly luncheon CLEs, mentoring/networking group evening presentations with speakers, Custody Issues Committee (CIC) brown bag CLE programs on child custody-related hot topics, and more.

IMMIGRATION LAW SECTION

Flavio Carvalho is lead immigration attorney for the Matian Law Firm, San Jose office. He represents clients throughout the Bay Area and practices deportation defense in San Francisco. He earned his J.D. from John F. Kennedy University and an M.A. in Biblical Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is also a member of the American Immigration Law Association (AILA). Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, his experience with immigration is personal.

What does the CCCBA mean to you?

“A great place to belong, make friends, and do business.”

Immigration is as old as America itself and the United States remains the number one destination for immigrants from all over the world. Immigration attorneys represent them and/or the people who hire them.

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

CCCBA through its Lawyer Referral and Information Service, holds monthly immigration workshops at local libraries. If you are interested in volunteering for one of the workshops, please contact Anne K. Wolf, Education and Events Director at [email protected] or (925) 370-2540.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW SECTION

Joseph R. Snyder is the Managing Partner of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton’s Walnut Creek office. He focuses his practice on patent prosecution and counseling, primarily in the chemical arts, biotechnology, life sciences and clean technology. He represents U.S. and foreign companies, such as pharmaceutical companies, diagnostic laboratories, universities and start-ups in all areas of intellectual property counseling and protection.   His technology experience includes small molecules, pharmaceutical formulations, drug delivery technologies, medical diagnostics, nucleic acid assays, nucleic acid sequencing technologies, dyes and clean technology, such as fuel cells.   He was recognized as a 2014, 2015 and 2016 Northern California “Super Lawyer” in the area of intellectual property by Super Lawyers magazine.

Before joining the firm, Joe worked as a patent attorney for Zeneca Ag Products in the areas of patent drafting, patent prosecution and patent validity opinions. Prior to joining the legal profession, he was a senior scientist in its analytical department doing organic structural analysis using NMR and mass spectrometry.

What does the CCCBA mean to you? 

“The IP Section of the Contra Costa County Bar Association provides a forum for IP specialists to discuss current case law and opportunities to network with other IP professional in the community.  Because the CCCBA has members with very diverse backgrounds, it also allows for interaction with attorneys having a variety of practices and skills.  The members of the bar are friendly and collegial, and the sponsored events offer a real sense of community.”

The Intellectual Property Section is a resource for attorneys and others to learn, share, network, and strengthen their expertise in intellectual property. The goals for the section are to 1) Keep abreast of new legal developments; 2) Share written resources through an online brief bank; 3) Develop industry contacts and interaction between the members and the local business community; 4) Pool resources in order to obtain discounts on continuing education programs; 5) Develop contacts and interaction with local in-house counsel; 6) Develop programs for law schools to further the practical training of future IP attorneys; and 7) Learn about the members’ own practice areas for the purpose of assisting in client referrals.

The IP Section is on the cutting edge of law changes that impact all areas of business. Approximately six to eight 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. Meetings are held during the lunch hour in a centrally-located conference room in Walnut Creek. The up-to-date information coupled with convenient scheduling allows our members to keep current on industry practices and case law with minimum disruption to their schedule.

JUVENILE LAW SECTION

Rhonda Wilson-Rice has been practicing law in Contra Costa County for over 25 years. Her practice serves the families and children in the community, primarily in juvenile dependency (CPS cases). This year she moved her practice from Pittsburg to Antioch. As of July 1, 2017, Contra Costa Juvenile Advocates (CCJA) has taken over the contract for court appointed juvenile dependency cases and as of August 14, 2017 all juvenile cases (with the exception of Juvenile Hall) were moved to the courthouse in Walnut Creek. Many of the members of the Juvenile Law Section are independent contractors with CCJA.

What does the CCCBA mean to you?  

“CCCBA means comradeship and friendship.” 

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 the section provides beneficial continuing legal education and opportunities for professional development.

Brown bag lunch MCLE programs are held on such topics as case law and statutory reviews, techniques on interviewing children, the Indian Child Welfare Act, immigration laws and their effect on dependent children, and recognizing and treating substance abuse in our clients. Speakers include experienced attorneys, therapists, and other professionals, besides fulfilling state bar requirements, these programs go towards meeting the local court rules for mandatory competence of counsel.

During the holiday season, the section  also sponsors an annual toy drive for foster children and teens in need in our county. Members participate in meetings between the bench, social services, Contra Costa Juvenile Advocates (CCJA) and representation at the “Judges’ Meeting.” The section participates in the Social Worker-Attorney Training Committee (SWATT).

LAW STUDENT SECTION

Elizabeth Lam is a third-year law student at John F. Kennedy University. She has worked in the financial industry for almost 10 years and currently holds the following licenses: Series 6, Series 7, Series 63, Series 66, and Life Insurance. She is multilingual in English, Mandarin, and Cantonese.

What does the CCCBA mean to you?

“CCCBA means an opportunity to network with new and seasoned attorneys and judges that have enlightened my legal future.”

Jennifer Spalding is a second-year law student at John F. Kennedy University. She grew up in Moraga and Lafayette.  She graduated from Acalanes High School, and received her B.A. from UC Davis in Music and Fine Art.  She attended graduate school at St. Mary’s College earning her California Teaching Credential in music education.  She taught K-12 art, choir and musical theatre in San Francisco, then ventured to Hollywood where she had an extremely successful career as a professional composer and recording artist under the artist name “Cadence Spalding”.  Her CD “Save The World” was critically acclaimed. Jennifer also worked as a news producer for KTVU Channel 2 and Time Telepictures Inc. in Los Angeles.  The apple of Jennifer’s eye is her teenage son William who already plays five instruments.

What does the CCCBA mean to you?  

“CCCBA means friendship, it means community, it means knowledge.  It is where I go to get support, answers and guidance when it comes to the legal community in Contra Costa County.  And did I mention the great parties?  I love the CCCBA staff and I feel blessed to know them and have them leading the way.”

Amrieka Takhar is a third-year law student at John F. Kennedy University where she is on the Dean’s List and is a Witkin Award recipient.  Prior to embarking on her law school career, she was an arts professional with a specialization in market development for contemporary Non-Western art.  She lived and worked for several years in New Delhi, India, and London, UK in this capacity.  While in India, Amrieka established a charitable trust for purposes of creating an ethically-sourced supply chain for textile design projects through local women’s development organizations.  She currently works as a senior paralegal for an Oakland-based business immigration law firm while attending law school.

What does the CCCBA mean to you?  

“CCCBA has been a very welcoming organization for me as I begin my second career in the legal field.  I have been continually impressed with the caliber of CCCBA’s membership, and I feel very fortunate to be in the company of such esteemed colleagues.  Most recently, CCCBA has presented me the opportunity to co-develop educational programming on current events in constitutional law for my fellow classmates at JFKU.”

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.

Law student membership comes primarily from JFKU College of Law, Hastings, Boalt, and Golden Gate University. 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. Events, such as the annual MCLE Spectacular, also provide students important exposure to current issues in the field of law. Students can gain hands-on experience through the CCCBA-sponsored “Free Legal Workshops” as they may work directly with attorneys in a consumer-oriented client setting. The CCCBA is bridging the gap between the law school and the real life practice opportunities through their mentorship, internships, and networking events.

Suggestions for presentation topics or student-related activities are welcomed and encouraged. Please contact your co-chairs.

LITIGATION SECTION

Jaime B. Herren is an attorney at Doyle Low LLP, located in Lafayette. Jaime is a patent attorney with significant experience in complex estates, probate and taxation litigation.  She specializes in IP-probate crossover issues and her practice spans state and federal civil litigation, as well as dispute resolution on business and administrative levels.  She has experience in-house and has appeared in many states on PHV admissions.  In addition to the State Bar of California, she is admitted to the Patent Bar and the U.S. Tax Court.  Jaime was born, raised and educated in the Bay Area. She has a Master of Science in thermal sciences and combustion and a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering, both from the University of California, Berkeley. She graduated cum laude from the University of San Francisco School of Law.

What does the CCCBA mean to you?

“The Contra Costa County Bar Association is a bountiful resource.  It not only provides professional resources like CLE credited events, forums for legal discussion and interactions with the judiciary, but it also provides camaraderie with colleagues, a forum for dialog on current issues and community outreach. It helps attorneys with work-life balance by bringing us together outside our daily environments, whether that’s the courtroom or an office desk, and providing a network touching on many legal interests.”

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 dialogue 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

Dean Christopherson is a Walnut Creek trial attorney, litigator and mediator who has represented lenders and borrowers in actions involving a wide range of real estate and commercial disputes. Dean has spoken and written on a number of issues, including a presentation to the members of this section on issues relating to litigation arising from securitized mortgage loan transactions. He began his career as an in-house counsel at Wells Fargo in 1986 – which he has continued to represent in his private practice – and has been a principal in his own firm since 1996.

What does the CCCBA mean to you?

“Its virtue lies in the relationships that are developed through the course of one’s involvement in the CCCBA. Over the years, I have met – and continue to consult and work with – a number of lawyers through CCCBA functions and groups whose practices compliment mine in any number of ways, enriching my practice both from a legal and personal perspective.”

The Real Estate Section offers monthly breakfast 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.

This section has breakfast meetings on the third Friday of most months. Annual dues are $55, which cover the MCLE programs – including breakfast at the monthly meetings — and related meals.

SOLO & SMALL FIRM SECTION

Chris Schneider is an estate planning and tax attorney with Dorband & Schneider, LLP in Walnut Creek. He has been practicing since graduating from Golden Gate University in 2008. Chris is a native of the East Bay having grown up in Lamorinda and then attending Saint Mary’s College for undergraduate and graduate studies. He now lives with his wife and two young children in Alamo.

What does the CCCBA mean to you?

“I honestly feel that the CCCBA sets the tone for collegiality within our legal community. We have a good group of people who genuinely seem interested in helping clients get quality representation and promoting the success of colleagues.

The Solo Practice & Small Firm Section—launched in 1996—evolved from the recognition that many sole 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.

A partnership with JFKU College of Law allows members to have cost-effective and convenient access to legal resources through full use of the JFKU Law Library, and it admits JFKU law school students to the section. Solo Practice & Small Firm Section members also receive an email newsletter, The Maverick, informing them of upcoming events and providing topical articles and a forum for comment and commentary. Members also have access to an email listserv.

The section hosts after-work mixers and breakfasts in alternating months, and participates in the bar’s MCLE Spectacular each November. Monthly meetings are open to both members and non-members. Its MCLE Spectacular programs have included panel discussions on how to open a law firm and how to prepare a small firm for death, disability, and disaster.

TAXATION SECTION

Christina Weed JD, LLM (Taxation) a partner at Mendes Weed LLP and a co-founder of Weed Law PC.  Mendes Weed, LLP, assists clients in the areas of tax law, business law, accountant malpractice, family law, civil litigation, and trusts & estates. Christina is certified by the State Bar Board of Legal Specialization in taxation.

What does the CCCBA mean to you?

“The CCCBA helps to empower and support attorneys in a number of practice areas.”

The Taxation Section is one of the longest running sections of CCCBA. Its 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. Speakers at events have included ranking members of the IRS, the Franchise Tax Board and legal scholars and practitioners. Legal ethics, recent tax acts and “practice pointers” are among the topics covered during the year.

The section invites all interested attorneys, accountants, financial advisors, paralegals, and others to join us for one of our luncheon meetings. Affiliate membership is open to accounting practitioners only.

WEST COUNTY

Harpreet K. Sandhu is a solo practitioner. Her law practice is primarily focused on providing legal services in the areas of family law and criminal defense.  In addition, she dedicates pro-bono hours to the Contra Costa County Family Justice Center to help victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse and human trafficking. In her spare time, Harpreet leads an active lifestyle by participating in boot-camp-style extracurricular activities and chasing her three-year old at the park. She enjoys reading and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix and HBO. In addition, she is passionate about traveling and immersing herself in other cultures. She spent some time volunteering at the schools in City of God, which is a famous shanty town in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro.

What does the CCCBA mean to you?  

“The CCCBA represents a community of committed and zealous advocates that serve the legal needs of the Contra Costa community as a whole. The CCCBA connects the legal community by helping individual attorneys network and build long lasting relationships.

The West County Section reestablished the connection between CCCBA members in the west county that had been missing since the West County Bar Association was consolidated with the Central and East County Bar Associations. It is the bar’s only regional section, tasked with ensuring that the interests of lawyers practicing in the West Contra Costa area are represented within, and considered by, CCCBA. Meetings, which are generally held on a quarterly basis, are scheduled with a variety of continuing education presentations on topics including juvenile, family, real property, trust and estate matters, and other issues of general legal interest. Bench/Bar networking events and brown bag lunches are also a priority to allow members to connect with each other and members of the local judiciary.

All practice areas are welcome and the section encourages those practicing in the area to join. Please contact Harpreet if you have any questions or would like to serve within the section leadership.

WOMEN’S SECTION

Patanisha E. Davis-Jenkins is a partner with Key Counsel, P.C., with offices in Walnut Creek and Antioch. Patanisha’s primary practice areas are in probate, guardianships, conservatorships, civil litigation and adoption. Patanisha has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Tuskegee University, Master of Arts in Organizational Psychology/Change Leadership from California School of Professional Psychology. She was a professor at her law school alma mater, John F. Kennedy University, where she co-taught legal methods. She is currently authoring a book on infertility and adoption. She enjoys traveling around the world and spending time with her significant other and children.

What does the CCCBA mean to you?  

“The CCCBA holds a very special place in my heart. When I first started my practice seven years ago it was the CCCBA that aided in growing my business.  I am moved by the CCCBA’s commitment to the community and the legal practitioners that provide service. My name, Patanisha, means reconciler of difference. As such I am proud to assist in reconciling differences, effectuating change and serving on the Women’s Section Board of the CCCBA.”

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, usually in the form of a silent auction and wine-tasting. It gratefully accepts donations to the scholarship fund anytime and would like to thank all who have donated and supported this great scholarship.

All members are invited to attend the board meetings which are held on the first Wednesday of each month. If you would like to serve on the board or want further information, please contact the president.

Leave a comment