Shannon Stein, SCCBA President
I received notice of my twenty year high school reunion via Facebook this past summer. As soon as I received the invitation I debated about attending. I do not keep in touch with most of my high school friends. I did not like a lot of the people at my high school. I was a “geek,” and not entirely in the popular crowd. I did remind myself that I attended my ten year reunion and had a good time so I would think some more about attending.
During August and September, suddenly my Facebook friend request increased. People that I thought could give two “$**” about me wanted to be my Facebook friend. The captain of the football team---who probably did not know my name in high school wanted to be my “friend.” The cheerleaders who laughed at me when I tried out to be a cheerleader wanted to be my “friend.” The speech and debate team, and newspaper staff wanted to be my “friend.” (Those people I wanted to “friend” immediately.) Yes, I accepted all the friend requests unless there were people that I really did not know/remember.
Slowly as posts came through on my wall and posts were put to the Lincoln High School Class of 1991 Reunion page, I began to get excited to attend the reunion. I will admit that it was nice to see that some of the cute boys—were not so cute anymore. Some of the skinny girls were not so skinny. Some of the people that I thought would be making millions were not. And it was nice to get back in touch with the people that I did actually hang out with at Lincoln.
The night of the reunion I pulled up to the hotel. I did go through the dilemma again of whether I really wanted to attend or not. I sat in the car for about fifteen minutes. I finally psyched myself up to attend. (I did look good with my new black dress and shoes.) As soon as I approached the sign in table, about four people came up to me and hugged me. (I did not remember who two of the four were.) Also waiting were a few of my close friends in high school who were excited to see me.
As the evening progressed, I realized that some of these people had known me since I was in kindergarten. In fact at one point during the reunion, the organizer had signs made of the elementary schools that feed into Lincoln and asked us all to go to the signs and take a picture and mingle with our childhood friends. About twenty people from my elementary school were in attendance. One friend, Nicole, mentioned to me “You know- you and these people are my family. We all have been through a lot and these are our oldest friends.” She was correct.
There was dancing, drinking and mingling. There definitely was plenty of people excited to be out for a night without their children—and a few excited to have an evening out without their spouses. There were discussions of an “after party.” I heard there was an “unreunion at a local bar” for those who did not want to spend money on a ticket to the “actual reunion.” I got the chance to network as well.
By the end of the evening, I did have a realization that I turned out okay. That despite the teasing that I may have gotten by some of these people growing up and in high school---I was probably one of the most successful people in my class. I was the only one, at least who was in attendance, who had my own law office and certainly the only one who was President of a large bar association. Most of my classmates as well also turned out okay. Some of the highlights of people’s careers were: the executive chef at Evvia in Palo Alto; a Hollywood prop artist; an artist who worked on the Harry Potter movies; a former news reporter in Sacramento; a Pulitzer prize winning author; a few doctors and teachers and many people who just had regular jobs.
I highly recommend to each of you that you attend your reunions. If nothing else, it is one of those life stages that I think you just have to do.
As for the SCCBA it is hard to believe that it is November and my year of Presidency is drawing to a close. This month on November 2, 2011 was our Annual Judges Night. Over 400 people were in attendance. We honored Craig Needham as the Professional Lawyer of the Year; the Hon. Erica Yew received the diversity award; the Hon. Rise Jones Pichon was named Outstanding Jurist of the Year and R. Terence La Porte received the Pro Bono Award. Jon Streeter, President of the State Bar Of California was the key note speaker. He addressed the importance of the judiciary maintaining its role as the third co-equal branch of government and the separation of powers issue being raised by the Legislature’s and the Governor’s approach to the funding of the judiciary and the rather draconian cuts being made. He encouraged all of us to become involved in educating the Legislature about the importance of the judiciary as the third branch of government and to work to ensure that our courts are adequately funded to address the rights of the citizens of California.