Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Brazile, Brot, Smith Named METNEWS 2019 ‘Persons of the Year’
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge
RONALD F. BROT
Los Angeles County Bar Association
SELMA MOIDEL SMITH
Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Kevin Brazile, Los Angeles County Bar Association President Ronald F. Brot, and attorney/composer Selma Moidel Smith have been designated by the Metropolitan News-Enterprise as 2019 “Persons of the Year.”
The “POY” Award will be presented to them at the 32nd annual awards dinner, with public officials also bestowing commendations. The black-tie event will be held at a private club in downtown Los Angeles (the rules of which preclude identifying it other than in invitations).
An invitation will be appearing shortly on the website at www.metnews.com.
Former Los Angeles County District Attorney Robert H. Philibosian, now of counsel to Sheppard Mullin, will serve as emcee at the dinner for the 24th time.
In early January, a special “Persons of the Year” section containing profiles of the honorees, along with tributes to them by members of the legal community, will be included in an edition of the METNEWS.
Co-Publisher Jo-Ann W. Grace yesterday said of Brazile:
“He is a man who smiles, who hugs, who loves people—and attracts warm feelings and confidence. It is clear that those both inside and outside the Superior Court hold him in topmost regard both for his personal qualities and his abilities and successes.
“Despite his high visibility post and the hard decisions he must constantly make, Judge Brazile appears to be without detractors.”
Brot Sounded Alarm
Of Brot, she remarked:
“He was one of the first to sound an alarm, initially unheeded, that LACBA was on the wrong track, that it was alienating those who were members of the association based on kinship to one or more of its specialty sections, which were being regimented and ill-served. There did, however, develop a wide awareness that Brot was right; a reform movement was formed and it gained offices in a contested election—the first in 25 years—in 2016.
“With tact, inventiveness, and spirit, Brot is continuing and building upon the wise reform efforts of his immediate predecessors as president, Mike Meyer and Brian Kabateck, in the quest to return LACBA to fiscal soundness, responsiveness to members’ needs, and relevancy—and, as they did, he has made huge strides.”
Grace hailed Smith—who this year turned 100—as “a pioneering woman lawyer who has achieved mightily.” The honoree was admitted to the State Bar of California on Jan. 5, 1943; her bar number is 18051.
Smith is the only honorary life member of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, of which she was president in 1947 and 1948.
The newspaper’s co-publisher lauded Smith’s “amazing talent” as a music composer, noting that a few of her more than 100 pieces have been played in public performances by the Los Angeles Lawyers Philharmonic.
Brazile’s law degree is from UCLA; Brot’s is from the University of Michigan; Smith received hers from USC.
Counting Brazile, Brot and Smith, there have been 63 “Persons of the Year.” The first was Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Mildred L. Lillie, now deceased, who was named in 1983.
She and the next four honorees, each being the respective year’s single designee—California Supreme Court Justice Stanley Mosk, Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Lester Wm. Roth, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kathleen Parker (all deceased), and then-Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Billy G. Mills (now retired)—were recognized, only in print. The annual dinners were launched in 1988.
“Persons of the year” since then have included two California chief justices, four Court of Appeal presiding justices (and three future presiding justices), six Los Angeles Superior Court presiding judges, three assistant presiding judges of that court, two U.S. District Court judges, four State Bar presidents (and one future president of that group), five Los Angeles County Bar Association presidents, two district attorneys, two law school deans, two sheriffs, two county supervisors, a state attorney general, a county public defender, and a Los Angeles city attorney.
Copyright 2019, Metropolitan News Company