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2010: The Final Report

Posted By Mark Shem, Friday, December 10, 2010
Updated: Friday, April 25, 2014

by Mark Shem, SCCBA 2010 President

[reprinted from the December, 2010, Daily Journal, SCCBA Monthly Newsletter]

 

THE OTHER DAY, I WAS HAVING A CONVERSATION WITH A NEW ATTORNEY IN OUR OFFICE. HE ASKED ME WHAT WAS THE BENEFIT OF JOINING THE SCCBA. I IMMEDIATELY EXTOLLED THE VIRTUES OF THE DAILY CASE SUMMARIES, THE SOCIAL EVENTS, LOW COST CLE, ONLINE DIRECTORY, ETC. NOT CONVINCED, HE LOOKED ME STRAIGHT IN THE EYES AND ASKED AGAIN "SO, WHY SHOULD I JOIN THE SCCBA?" I LEANED BACK AND THOUGHT FOR A MOMENT. THEN THE REVELATION HIT ME. ULTIMATELY, AS JOHN KENNEDY WOULD SAY, THE QUESTION IS NOT WHAT THE SCCBA CAN DO FOR YOU BUT WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR THE SCCBA. OUR ORGANIZATION IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT.

AS I CONCLUDE MY YEAR AS PRESIDENT, I AM ALSO CONCLUDING NEARLY TEN YEARS OF ACTIVE INVOLVEMENT ON THE SCCBA BOARD OF TRUSTEES. DURING THIS TIME, I HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN A MYRIAD NUMBER OF ISSUES INCLUDING THE ARIZONA IMMIGRATION LAW DEBATE, THE MARRIAGE EQUALITY DEBATE, THE BAR'S PUSH TOWARDS AN ELECTRONIC BASED COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM TO THE BAR'S FORAY INTO PRO BONO INITIATIVES AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN. NONE OF THESE ISSUES WOULD HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE EXCEPT FOR THE VARIOUS LEADERS AND MEMBERS WHO TOOK THE TIME OUT OF THEIR BUSY PRACTICES AND CAREERS TO ADVOCATE AND EXECUTE PLANS TO MAKE ADDRESSING THESE ISSUES A REALITY. OUR BAR IS THE SUM OF ITS MEMBERS; WITHOUT THEM, WE ARE NOTHING. WITH THEM, WE ARE ONE OF THE LEADING BAR ASSOCIATIONS IN THE COUNTRY. FOR ME, THE SCCBA HAS PROVIDED AN OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE OUR LEGAL COMMUNITY FIRST IN THE LEGAL EDUCATION ARENA AND THEN LATER THROUGH THE VARIOUS LEADERSHIP POSITIONS I HAVE HELD OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS. THE SCCBA PROVIDED ME AN OPPORTUNITY TO HARNESS MY INNER COACHING ABILITIES WITH THE MOCK TRIAL PROGRAM. I AM PROUD TO SAY I'VE BEGUN MY 18TH SEASON COACHING AT LYNBROOK HIGH. OVER THE YEARS, MANY OF MY FORMER "ATTORNEYS" HAVE GONE ON TO BECOME COLLEAGUES. THIS MONTH, A STUDENT FROM MY 2003 TEAM WAS JUST ADMITTED INTO CALIFORNIA. SO, THIS MONTH'S SWEARING IN CEREMONY HAS A MORE PERSONAL SIGNIFICANCE FOR ME. ALSO, I HAVE HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO GET TO KNOW MORE OF MY COLLEAGUES AND JUDICIAL OFFICERS ON A PERSONAL LEVEL THROUGH MY INVOLVEMENT IN THE HIGH SCHOOL MOCK TRIAL PROGRAM HAD I NOT BEEN A MEMBER OF THE SCCBA.

 

AS CHAIR OF THE CIVIL PRACTICE COMMITTEE IN 2007, THE SCCBA OPENED UP SEVERAL MCLE SPEAKING OPPORTUNITIES FOR ME. WHEN PREPARING FOR THESE PROGRAMS, I RECEIVED THE OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN A LITTLE MORE THAN I WOULD HAVE HAD I NOT PARTICIPATED.

FINALLY, AS PRESIDENT, I HAVE MET MANY OF OUR MEMBERS AND PROSPECTIVE MEMBERS OPENING MY EYES TO VARIOUS ISSUES AND CONCERNS. AT THE BAY AREA MINORITY SUMMER CLERKSHIP MIXER, I MET MANY NEW ATTORNEYS HAVING THAT DIFFICULT TIME BREAKING INTO THE PROFESSION. YOUR HEART GOES OUT TO THEM AND YOU CAN'T HELP BUT THINK "BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD GO I." AT THE MINORITY BAR SCHOLARSHIP DINNERS, WHICH THE SCCBA HAS SPONSORED FOR MANY YEARS, I MET MANY OUTSTANDING LAW STUDENTS WHOSE RESUMES PUT US ALL TO SHAME. THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENTS MAKE US THINK IF THEY CAN SUCCESSFULLY FIGHT ADVERSITY AND IMPROVE THEIR COMMUNITIES, WHAT ARE WE COMPLAINING ABOUT?

EVEN WHEN THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES ADDRESSED SOME IMPORTANT LEGAL ISSUES, I WAS EXPOSED TO THE SCCBA'S POWERFUL EFFECT ON THE COMMUNITY AT LARGE. THE BOARD DECIDED ON A RESOLUTION REGARDING THE ARIZONA IMMIGRATION LAW EARLIER THIS SUMMER. DURING THE DEBATE, SOME TRUSTEES RAISED THE POINT THAT ANY SCCBA ACTION WOULD BE PREMATURE SINCE THE LAW WAS JUST SUBJECT TO LAWSUIT. THE VERY NEXT DAY AFTER THE BOARD VOTED TO APPROVE A RESOLUTION, A RALLY IN OPPOSITION TO ARIZONA'S LAW WAS SCHEDULED. I HEARD THAT A LOCAL TELEVISION STATION CANCELED FILMING THE EVENT WHEN IT HEARD THE SCCBA VOTED ON A RESOLUTION. APPARENTLY, THE STATION'S STORY WAS ON WHY THE SCCBA HAD NOT ACTED ON THIS ISSUE. OUR COMMUNITY LOOKS TO US TO HELP DEFINE THE DEBATE. 

AT THE BEGINNING OF MY TERM I CHALLENGED OUR MEMBERS TO "TRIFECTA"- GIVE TO LEGAL SERVICES ORGANIZATIONS, PROVIDE PRO BONOSERVICES OR VOLUNTEER IN YOUR COMMUNITY. I AM PLEASED TO REPORT OUR MEMBERS ROSE TO THE CHALLENGE. IN THESE TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES WE ARE STILL CONTRIBUTING TO LEGAL SERVICES ORGANIZATIONS. THE SILICON VALLEY CAMPAIGN FOR LEGAL SERVICES STILL NEEDS $100,000 TO REACH LAST YEAR'S FUND RAISING LEVEL TO MAKE SURE THAT THE EIGHT AGENCIES ITS SUPPORTS REMAINS WHOLE. PLEASE CONSIDER CONTRIBUTING. DONATE ONLINE AT WWW.SCVCLS.ORG. ON THE PRO BONO FRONT, REPORTED HOURS APPEAR TO BE UP. AND, ON THE VOLUNTEER FRONT, MANY OF YOU GRACIOUSLY DONATED YOUR TIME AND EFFORT FOR BOTH OUR LOCAL HIGH SCHOOL MOCK TRIAL TOURNAMENT AS WELL AS THE STATE FINALS IN MARCH IN LARGE NUMBERS.

THE FUTURE OF OUR ORGANIZATION CONTINUES TO LOOK BRIGHT. THE BAR WILL LAUNCH THE NEW WEBSITE SOMETIME IN THE FIRST OR SECOND QUARTER OF NEXT YEAR. THE BAR WILL ALSO ROLL OUT SEVERAL E-DISCOVERY CLE'S GEARED FOR OUR MEMBERS. WHEN THE CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT APPROVES THE NEW ETHICS RULES, OUR BAR WILL BE PUTTING ON CLE COURSES TO UPDATE YOU ON WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW. OUR PROFESSIONALISM COMMITTEE CONTINUES TO EXPLORE WAYS TO ENCOURAGE CIVILITY IN OUR PRACTICE. MY THANKS TO ALL OF YOU WHO WROTE WITH YOUR SUGGESTIONS. THOSE COMMENTS WERE PASSED ON TO THE COMMITTEE. FINALLY, SOME PERSONAL THANK YOU'S TO THOSE OF YOU WHO MADE THIS YEAR POSSIBLE. FIRST AND FOREMOST TO MY FAMILY FOR PUTTING UP WITH ME DURING THIS YEAR. MY FIRM, BORTON PETRINI, FOR KEEPING THE PRACTICE GOING. I OWE A GREAT DEBT OF THANKS TO THE 2010 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE-SHANNON STEIN, MINDY MORTON, BOB CHASTAIN, STEVE HALEY, KATE WILSON, ALVARO ALMANZA AND JOYCE ANDREWS-FOR THEIR SUPPORT, GUIDANCE AND COLLECTIVE WISDOM AND WIT. I WILL MISS THOSE "RANDOM THOUGHTS". A SPECIAL THANKS TO JUDGE JULIE EMEDE, ROBERTA HAYASHI, CLARK STONE, JIM SCHARF, BOB WEEKS, AND KATHY GALLO FOR ALWAYS AGREEING TO HELP OUT AT ANY TIME AND OFTEN AT A MOMENTS NOTICE. TO CHRIS, ANGIE, TIFFANY, CINDY, IRENE, ALISA, CRAIG, DAVID, VERONICA AND DOLORES, THANK YOU FOR ALL THAT YOU DO. WE DON'T ALWAYS SAY IT ENOUGH ABOUT THE SCCBA'S STAFF. AND THANK YOU ANGIE, FOR ALWAYS WATCHING MY BACK. SO, RATHER THAN THINK OF WHAT THE BAR CAN DO FOR YOU, PERHAPS WE SHOULD THINK OF WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR THE BAR. YOUR PARTICIPATION IN THE SCCBA WILL MAKE YOU A BETTER PERSON. IT HELPED ME. 

SHANNON STEIN WILL BE TAKING OVER THIS PAGE NEXT MONTH. I WISH HER AND THE 2011 OFFICERS MY BEST WISHES FOR AN EVEN MORE SUCCESSFUL YEAR. THANK YOU FOR THE 12 MONTH RIDE. IT HAS BEEN WONDERFUL, BUT IT IS TIME FOR ME TO GET OFF THIS E TICKE

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