What the CCCBA Accomplished in 2018

As 2018 winds down and we reflect on a year that zoomed by, the Contra Costa County Bar Association has much to be proud of and thankful for.  We started 2018 off with the most well attended Installation Lunch in recent history.  That was due in large part because we also presented our first ever Diversity Awards to several well-deserving law firms and solo practitioners.  We also recognized Robin Pearson, a champion of the CCCBA and the Diversity Committee for over 14 years. Fittingly, Robin Pearson was also recognized in November 2018 as well by the Minority Bar Coalition).  And, those who tell me to “toot my horn more” want me to point out that I am the first Asian American male to be installed to lead the CCCBA.

The CCCBA and our profession have made strong strides in promoting women.  In fact, our Women’s Section had another very vibrant year raising scholarships for deserving recipients, honoring our first Asian American President, Audrey Gee, with the first ever “Outstanding Woman Lawyer” award, and helping to mentor and promote women attorneys in the county.

Furthermore, our Diversity Committee planned and held its first Lunar New Year celebration, spearheaded by Judge Ben Reyes and Judge Joni Hiramoto.  The interest and attendance at that event exceeded expectations and the restaurant’s capacity!  Our next one is already being planned for February 13, 2019 – so save the date!  In 2018, the Diversity Committee also held the first Networking Mixer in Contra Costa with the Minority Bar Coalition.  That event too exceeded expectations and capacity.

As I expressed in January 2018, one of my goals for the year was to focus on our “senior attorneys” as well as diversity.  I am excited to report that our senior attorneys appear to have appreciated and welcomed this focus.  Our Senior Lawyers Task Force held several very successful events, roundtables, happy hours and planning meetings. With some additional work from dedicated leaders, I hope that we will create a Senior Lawyers Section of the CCCBA in 2019.

But there’s more.  A lot more!

  • Between January and October 2018, we had over 2,600 attendees at over 93 MCLE events. Importantly, these numbers do NOT include the additional 300+ attendees at the 24th Annual MCLE Spectacular.
  • Some of the new events the CCCBA put on this year include:
    • District Attorney Candidates Forum
    • Lunar New Year Celebration
    • Family Law Training Series (6 events)
    • New Rules of Professional Conduct (3 presentations)
    • Senior Lawyers roundtables and happy hours
    • Judges Night
    • Diversity Networking with the Minority Bar Coalition
    • LiveScan Fingerprinting (offered at numerous events, dates and times throughout the County)
    • Brown bag lunches with West County Judges
  • Some of our traditionally popular events grew in attendance and participation in 2018, including our All Section Mixer/Pro Bono Expo, Comedy Night, A’s Game and tailgate party, and our annual Bar Fund Benefit (raised over $53,000.00 for the Arnason Scholarship and the Public Law Library)
  • In addition, the CCCBA Editorial Board put out the nationally award-winning Contra Costa Lawyer Magazine each and every month
  • All of our sections put out educational and/or social events throughout the year, including the 25th Annual Estate Planning Symposium
  • We put on a total of 42 legal workshops for the public in January – October 2018 in areas including Bankruptcy, Civil Pro Per, Family Law, Immigration, Employment, and Conservatorship
  • Also from January – September 2018, we had over 8,153 inquiries to the CCCBA’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service, and 3,058 attorney referrals were made – an increase over 2017. Currently, we have 115 LRIS panels and 179 LRIS panel attorneys
  • We also assigned 66 Moderate Means cases to attorneys from January – September 2018, and we currently have 31 Moderate Means attorneys
  • Finally, Virginia George and Leonard Marquez were poised to have leadership roles in their sections in 2018, however, Governor Brown appointed both to the bench in Contra Costa County. We are proud of both of them.

Quite a bit happened in 2018 that cannot be summarized here.  We don’t just strive to have impressive numbers.  Instead, most all of our members and leaders are dedicated to making the CCCBA stronger, and helping each other, the public, and the bench.  Our incredible staff, lead by Theresa Hurley, rose to the challenge this year with all the new events we put on, and the CCCBA simply could not function without their dedication and hard work.  We are in good hands going forward with a strong Board, Section Leaders and staff.  Teaser for 2019: look for a refreshed CCCBA logo and revamped website!

There is no good way to say thank you to everyone involved in the CCCBA, other than to simply say:  THANK YOU, and cheers to a great 2018, and a wonderful start to 2019!