Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, May 18, 2017


Page 3


At Bar Event:

Judge Hammock Jokes About LACBA Dispute


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Attorney H. Michael Soroy, left, applauds as Joan Aerestad assumes office as president of the Half-Norwegian (on the Mother’s Side) American Bar Association. Soroy is the Norwegian consul general in Los Angeles.



A Los Angeles Superior Court judge on Tuesday night playfully chided the County Bar over purporting to cancel the results of its recent election of officers and trustees based on alleged leaks of confidential information to the press.

Following the show-of-hands election of Pasadena attorney Joan Aarestad over two rivals for the post of president of the Half-Norwegian (on the Mother’s Side) American Bar Association—a group that meets once a year in celebration of Norwegian Constitution Day—Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Randy Hammock stood and protested:

“I make a motion to nullify or vacate this election.”

This drew loud laughter from those present, at the group’s 29th annual meeting, reflecting awareness of the controversy besetting the Los Angeles County Bar Association, which on Monday erupted into litigation.

Hammock, in his tongue-in-cheek objection, proclaimed that governing documents of the Norwegian group “have not been substantially complied with, at all,” citing a supposed section of the non-existent bylaws.

“It’s unprecedented,” he proclaimed, that there had been a “secret nominating committee.”

(LACBA is currently conducting what it terms a “redo” election, with the identities of members of the Nominating Committee being kept secret because of the lobbying of members of the original committee that made its nominations Feb. 27.)

“Suffice it to say,” Hammock declared, that the majority of the members of the group staging that night’s event “have clear conflicts of interest, and they have received confidential communications.” He said he suspects that most of the purported electors “do not have mothers who are half-Norwegian,” adding:

“So, I hereby move that we recuse all persons who do not meet the minimal qualifications of the organization.”

The “appropriate legal remedy,” he advised, should be sought “in Department 47 of the Los Angeles Superior Court, where I serve.”

Hammock’s motion failed for lack of a second.

Attorney Jan Akre was elected vice president, over one competitor, and Lee Kanon Alpert, a former president of the San Fernando Valley Bar Association, was elected secretary and treasurer, without opposition.

The speaker was veteran Pomona attorney Robert L. Kern, a past president of the Eastern Bar Association (as well as the group sponsoring the event). His topic was, “Gripes of a Norwegian Curmudgeon.”

In a parade of barbs, Kern poked fun at practices of the Los Angeles Superior Court, and also expressed displeasure with goings-on in LACBA.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge J. Stephen Czuleger, who was presiding judge in 2007 and 2008, was called to the microphone by the outgoing president, Gary S. Greene, for an impromptu rebuttal. Czuleger jokingly said he agreed with everything Kern said and that all of the problems arose after his watch.

Los Angeles attorney H. Michael Soroy, Norwegian consul general in Los Angeles, extended greetings at the start of the meeting from Norway’s King Harald V, and at the end—after small glasses of Linie aquavit, a Norwegian spirit, were passed out—led the group’s traditional toast to the president of the United States and the king of Norway.

The organization will next meet on May 15, 2018. Its dinners are held at a private club in downtown Los Angeles which features a seafood buffet on Tuesday nights, and the meetings are on the Tuesday closest to May 17, which is Norwegian Constitution Day.


Copyright 2017, Metropolitan News Company