Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, October 27, 2006


Page 3


Los Angeles County Bar Staff Members Earn National Recognition


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Board of Trustees commended three of the association’s staff members for receiving Luminary Awards from the National Association of Bar Executives.

At its meeting Wednesday night, the board lauded Joanne Williamson, LACBA’s Director of Internet Services, who received her award in recognition of the association’s web site. The site contains a “virtual museum” full of pictures and information and invites viewers to “step into the past . . . and experience the fascinating history of the Los Angeles County Bar Association  . . . and of the legal community in Los Angeles.” 

Samuel Lipsman, publisher and editor of  “Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine” was honored for his publication “Survivor Guide for New Attorneys.”  Michael T. Elliot, Director of Marketing and Sales, was commended for receiving NABA’s “excellence in marketing” award last year.

The NABA awards recognize excellence in bar publications, including Web sites outstanding efforts in public relations efforts and in overcoming overwhelming difficulties. LACBA President Charles E. Michaels noted that only 12 of the awards are given nationally each year.

In other matters:

•The board unanimously approved a request from the association’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service to increase fees charged to attorneys each year to participate in the service by $50. The current membership fee is $250 for bar members— $300 for nonmembers—plus $50 for placement on each major panel in excess of two.

Michaels noted that the fees had not been raised for a number of years and the increase was needed to keep pace with costs.

•The board overwhelmingly approved without discussion a recommendation from the Amicus Brief Committee to file an amicus brief in a case the California Supreme Court has agreed to hear to decide whether a prevailing party seeking an award of attorney fees under the private attorney general statute, Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 1021.5, must show that it made adequate efforts to resolve the dispute short of litigation. The Fourth District Court of Appeal held in Vasquez v. State of California, D045592, that such a requirement exists only where the plaintiff did not prevail in the litigation but seeks fees on a “catalyst” theory.

Randall Spencer, a member of the committee, told that board:

“The committee believes settlement is always desirable . . . but to impose an absolute ban . . . would serve no useful purpose.”

The  sole dissenting vote came from Don Mike Anthony, the executive vice-president, who told the MetNews it’s “good public policy” to require a party to attempt to settle, “and if they don’t, they shouldn’t get attorneys fees.”

•David E. Barker, chair of the Dialogues on Freedom Committee, reported that 16 attorneys and five judicial officers participated in this years Sept. 11 classroom discussions on the balance between national security and personal freedoms in a post 9/11 world. The number is down from about 100 participants when the event started five years ago.

Twenty-nine classrooms in 13 schools throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District participated. Barker said the “challenge is getting judges and lawyers to participate.”

David A. Lash, who noted he has participated every year in inner-city schools with substantial immigrant student populations, said:

“The kids were so bright, and so articulate, and brought such an interesting perspective. I think it’s a shame we only had 16 attorneys and five judges.”

Other members also noted how rewarding their experience in the event was. Michaels said it was “ absolutely fundamental to democracy that we get in the schools and do this.”

•The board congratulated LACBA trustee and Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert N. Kwan on his appointment to the Bankruptcy Court for the Central District to California. Kwan said he will start Feb. 1.


Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company