Thursday, October 5, 2006
State Bar Gathers Today in Monterey, 3,000 Expected to Attend
Peninsula Plays Host to Profession as Conference of Delegates and CJA to Convene Tomorrow
By TINA BAY, Staff Writer
MONTEREY—Four days of meetings of California’s lawyers and judges were set to kick off this afternoon with an address by Martin Luther King III at the kickoff luncheon for the State Bar of California’s 79th annual meeting.
The four-day-long event, which is set to host 3,000 attorneys from throughout the state, will offer over 200 continuing legal education programs on a wide range of subjects and include the installation of Los Angeles attorney Sheldon Sloan as the Bar’s 82nd president.
California Chief Justice Ronald M. George is scheduled to deliver his annual State of the Judiciary address on Saturday afternoon as part of the State Bar’s installation ceremony, which will be held jointly with the California Judges Association’s changing-of-the-guard. Sloan, along with CJA’s 2006-2007 president, Solano Superior Court Judge Scott L. Kays, are expected to speak following the chief justice’s address.
The annual meeting’s main opening night event, the California Women Lawyers dinner, is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. today at the Portola Plaza Hotel.
Incoming CWL President Angela J. Davis of Los Angeles, an assistant U.S. attorney for the Central District of California, will be sworn in by the chief justice. along with CWL’s other new officers and board members. Davis has been a member of the Bar since 1986 and specializes in major fraud and white-collar prosecutions.
Upon taking office, she will present a president’s award to Mark Hanis and the Genocide Intervention Network for the group’s efforts to halt the killings of black Africans in the troubled Darfur region of Sudan.
In addition to the installations and a keynote address by veteran National Public Radio anchor Susan Stamberg, this evening’s schedule includes a presentation of the CWL’s 24th annual Fay Stender award to the late Tanya Neiman, former director of San Francisco’s Voluntary Legal Services Program. VSLP’s acting director, Tiela Chalmers, is slated to accept the honor on behalf of Neiman, who died earlier this year.
This will be the first time CWL bestows the distinction posthumously.
Other awards to be presented throughout the annual meeting are the State Bar’s pro bono, diversity, distinguish service, and commitment to legal access awards.
Tomorrow’s meeting schedule features as keynote speakers Justice William Bedsworth of the Fourth District Court of Appeal’s Div. Three and acclaimed author Isabel Allende. Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will deliver the Morrison Lecture at Saturday afternoon’s Bench and Bar Luncheon.
The Conference of Delegates of California Bar Associations. and California Judges Association will officially kick off their annual meetings tomorrow, and those gatherings will run concurrently with the State Bar’s programs and also conclude on Sunday.
The Conference of Delegates, now in its fourth year as an organization operating independently from the State Bar, is expected to host more than 500 attendees. It will formally open tomorrow at 2 p.m. with the traditional “march of delegations” at the Hyatt Regency Monterey.
As usual, authorized delegates from bar associations across the state plan to meet throughout the weekend to discuss and debate resolutions regarding proposed legislative and policy changes. This year’s various delegations have submitted 101 resolutions, of which two—pertaining to the war in Iraq—have been deemed not germane, meaning they will not be considered unless the conference’s Executive Committee votes to allow them.
Conference Chair Linda Mazur, a Studio City lawyer, told the MetNews that this year’s gathering will function identically to those of previous years, but post-conference steps would be different.
“What’s new is not so much what happens at the conference, but it’s what we are doing after the conference,” she said. “[Over the last three years], we have developed an independent legislation program and we have been building that program. Now the CDCBA has a lobbyist in Sacramento and we seek to implement some of the legislative proposals that are generated by the conference, as part of our mission to serve justice by improving the law. We’ll be changing the ‘categorization’ of resolutions to try to be more inclusive as to what we include and try to lobby in the California Legislature this year.”
Mazur said the organization expects a very productive conference.
The CJA’s 77th annual meeting focuses on the topic of evidence and will be attended by an estimated 375 judges, the highest number in recent years, a staff member said.
Sixth District Court of Appeal Justice Patricia Bamattre-Manoukian, a member of the planning committee chaired by First District Court of Appeal Justice Mark B. Simons, told the MetNews the educational programs offered this year would provide both trial and appellate judges on all assignments with much-needed practical tools to do their job.
In addition to running judicial education programs, the organization will install Kays as its new president and swear in the new board members on Saturday, and conduct a variety of closed session committee meetings throughout the weekend.
The association’s executive director, Stanley Bissey, said one highlight of this year’s meeting would be the association’s hosting of nine judges from Mexico, including the chief justice from the state of Michoacan.
Last year, a group of judges including California Supreme Court Justice Carlos R. Moreno made a 10-day cultural exchange visit to Morelia, the capital of Michoacan, with the goal of learning about the Mexican judiciary, Bissey explained.
“It was the first time we’d been to Mexico, and we were treated very well,” he said. “The hospitality was overwhelming and as a result we extended an invitation to the Morelia judges to come to California and participate in our annual meeting. This is our opportunity to extend to them the same hospitality that they extended to us in Mexico.”
Bissey added that the chief justice of Michoacan is expected to speak on Mexican law at the association’s membership luncheon tomorrow.
Chief Justice George is also scheduled to share his views of the state of the judiciary with the association in a conversational format on Sunday morning.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company