Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Services Pending for County Bar Association Trustee Pamela Dunn
By SHERRI M. OKAMOTO, Staff Writer
Services are pending for Pasadena appellate attorney and Los Angeles County Bar Association Board of Trustees member Pamela Dunn, who unexpectedly passed away Friday at the age of 59.
She is survived by her partner, Maria “Ria” Cousineau of Sedgwick Detert Moran & Arnold, their son Cary, and their daughter Casey.
A scholarship fund is betting set up on Dunn’s name, Cousineau said, and the arrangements for memorial services should be finalized today.
Cousineau said the event will likely take place in January at Southwestern. The two met while students at the school over 25 yeats ago.
Dunn had battled lupus for several years, and her heart apparently failed due to complications from the disease, Cousineau said.
LACBA President Danette Meyers said that the organization was “stunned” by Dunn’s death, adding that “the good truly do die young, they truly do.”
Meyers said she had known Dunn for over 18 years, and that she had expected Dunn to eventually become LACBA president.
“I can not comprehend the fact that she’s not with us,” Meyers said, recalling that less that two weeks ago she had walked with Dunn to their cars after a meeting talking about the upcoming holidays.
“The Board is planning on doing something,” Meyers pledged. “What we’re going to do, I’m not quite sure, but I guarantee you there will be something.”
Dunn belonged to several professional organizations, including the Federal Bar Association, the American Bar Association, Women Lawyers of Los Angeles, California Women Lawyers, Lawyers for Human Rights, and the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel.
She served as chair of the California State Bar Appellate Courts Committee, and LACBA’s Appellate Courts Committee. She also served as an adjunct associate professor of law at Loyola Law School and Southwestern.
Additionally, Dunn established LACBA’s AIDS Service Project and assisted this district’s Court of Appeal in establishing its Settlement Conference and Mediation Program.
Robin Meadow of Greines Martin worked with Dunn training mediators as part of the appellate court mediator program. He remembered Dunn as “someone who would pretty much light up a room when she came in.”
Meadow says “it was always fun to do stuff with her, not just because she knew her stuff…but because she just always seemed to be having a good time.”
Dunn earned her law degree from Southwestern University, and her undergraduate degree from the University of South Florida.
Mary Newcombe, an appellate court attorney with this district’s Court of Appeal, Div. Seven, said that she “just hit it off” with Dunn after they met as young, second-career attorneys active in gay rights advocacy in the mid 1980s.
Dunn was once a music critic for a newspaper in Florida and a teacher before coming to California and pursuing law, Newcombe said.
As an advocate, Newcombe praised Dunn as “one of the superb practitioners in this state,” who “was always really prepared for argument…knew her judges, knew how to talk to them about the case law, [and] knew how to present a case in its best light.”
Sole practitioner Daniel J. Koes, Dunn’s former law partner, called Dunn his “mentor.”
“She taught me how to read a record, research difficult issues, draft a winning brief, how to argue…she taught me everything.”
Koes met Dunn while she was working at Robie & Matthai P.C., and joined the firm as well. The two later established their own partnership, Dunn Koes LLP.
“We called Houston’s our firm’s cafeteria,” he recalled, based on how frequently they dined there. “That was our special thing.”
Before she joined Robie & Matthai, Dunn was with Greines, Martin, Stein & Richland LLP. Feris M.Greenberger remembers her friend and former colleague was “a wonderful story teller” and “such a cheerleader for our profession.”
Greenberger recalls her friend loved iced tea “with extra lemon,” unblended scotch, fountain pens and starched white shirts.
Koes also said Dunn was “all about the iced tea,” with “like, the entire lemon” on the side.
But above all else, Cousineau opined, Dunn “loved her children and was prouder of her children than anything else in the world,” adding that her partner, who“was never for a loss of words,” “had a heart of gold” and “put herself second, always.”
Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company