The Contra Costa Lawyer - May 2021 The Attorney Wellness Issue

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Contra Costa


The Lawyer Wellness Issue

On the Cover Aloe Polyphylla, commonly known as the Spiral Aloe. Like the perfect spirals found in nautilus shells, sunflower heads, and pine cones, the leaves of Aloe Polyphylla are arranged in a balanced spiral growing at a proportional increase that follows the Fibonacci sequence. In a Fibonacci pattern each number is the sum of the two preceding ones: 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13, 21, etc. This arrangement of leaves is aesthetically pleasing for its balance and harmony and, more importantly, ensures that each leaf is optimally positioned to receive an abundant amount of sunlight. Photo courtesy of the Ruth Bancroft Garden & Nursery, Walnut Creek, CA

Ruth Bancroft Garden

Ruth Bancroft Garden is a three-acre botanical garden and retail nursery located in Walnut Creek. The garden is a foremost example of the art of garden design with droughttolerant plants, and is known as one of the finest dry gardens in the world. The garden is located at 1552 Bancroft Rd. Walnut Creek, California and is open to the public for visits Tues.-Thurs., 10 am – 4 pm and Fri. – Sun., 10 am – 5 pm.


• Will and Trust Litigation • Elder Abuse • Conservatorships & Guardianships • Fiduciary Representation • Probate & Trust Administration • Probate & Appeals • Real Estate • Estate Planning

• Joe Morrill, Founder • Jennifer McGuire, Partner • Jeff Coons, Attorney • Camille Milder, Attorney • Ritzi Lam, Attorney • Morgan Durham, Attorney • Rachel Rosenfeld, Of Counsel • Lara Heisler, Of Counsel • Vahishta Falahati, Of Counsel • Ruth Koller Burke, Of Counsel • Norman Lundberg, Of Counsel

• Nicole Morrill, Executive Director of Marketing and Human Resources • Jill Olivier, CFO • Patti Engle, Paralegal • Danielle Higuera, Paralegal

Walnut Creek: 2175 North California Blvd., Suite 424 • Walnut Creek, CA 94596 Martinez: 610 Court Street, Suite 204-206 • Martinez, CA 94553 Point Richmond: 1160 Brickyard Cove Road, Suite 103 • Richmond, CA 94801 P: 925-322-8615 • F: 925-357-3151 • Morrill.Law

MORRILL LAW Trust and Estate Litigation

Contra Costa  2021 BOARD OF DIRECTORS Dorian Peters President Ericka McKenna President-Elect David Erb Secretary David Pearson Treasurer Oliver Greenwood Past President Dean Christopherson Patanisha Davis Pierson Jonathan Lee Terry Leoni Cary McReynolds Craig Nevin

Michael Pierson David Ratner Summer Selleck Marta Vanegas Andrew Verriere Qiana Washington

CCCBA   EXECUTIVE   DIRECTOR Theresa Hurley | 925.370.2548 |

LAWYER Volume 34, Number 3 | May 2021

The official publication of the

FEATURES INSIDE: Lawyers Taking Care of Ourselves, by Heidi Coad-Hermelin and Anina Dalsin, Guest Editors. . . . . . . . 5 Know Yourself to Help Others: Wellness and Professionalism Go Hand-in-Hand, by Stuart C. Gilliam. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

CCCBA main office 925.686.6900 |

Barbara Arsedo Carole Lucido

LRIS & Moderate Means Director Communications Director

Jennifer Comages Anne K. Wolf

Membership Director Education & Events Director

Emily Day

Systems and Operations Director


Finding Wellness along “The Way,” by Anina Dalsin. . . . . . . . . . . . 10 The Substance of Getting Well Soon, by Oliver Greenwood. . . . . 13 Lawyers Find Wellness Through Art, Craft and Creativity, by Natasha S. Chee. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

925.482.8950 925.233.6222

Ann Battin Matthew Cody

510.210.2755 916.718.8938

BOARD LIAISON Perry Novak Marta Vanegas 925.746.7278 925.937.5433 Andrew Verriere COURT LIAISON 925.317.9113 Kate Bieker Lorraine Walsh 925.957.5600 925.932.7014

Attorneys and Financial Wellness, The Forgotton Wellness Topic, by Jen Lee. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 The Power of a Knitting Circle, by Mary Grace Guzman. . . . . . . . 23

DESIGN Christina Weed Carole Lucido 925.953.2920 925.370.2542

ADVERTISING Carole Lucido 925.370.2542

PRINTING Modern Litho 800.456.5867

The Contra Costa Lawyer (ISSN 1063-4444) is published six times in 2021 by the Contra Costa County Bar Association (CCCBA), 2300 Clayton Road, Suite 520, Concord, CA 94520. Annual subscription of $25 is included in the membership dues. Periodical postage paid at Concord, CA and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: send address change to the Contra Costa Lawyer, 2300 Clayton Road, Suite 520, Concord, CA 94520. The Lawyer welcomes and encourages articles and letters from readers. Please send them to The CCCBA reserves the right to edit articles and letters sent in for publication. All editorial material, including editorial comment, appearing herein represents the views of the respective authors and does not necessarily carry the endorsement of the CCCBA or the Board of Directors. Likewise, the publication of any advertisement is not to be construed as an endorsement of the product or service offered unless it is specifically stated in the ad that there is such approval or endorsement.

NEWS & UPDATES 8-9, 22 ��� Pets for Wellness 25 ���������� Board Nominations are OPEN! 26 ���������� Bar Fund Benefit 26-28 ����� Calendar 28 ���������� Advertiser Index 29 ���������� The Justice James J. Marchiano Distinguished Service Award and Pro Bono Honor Roll 29 ���������� Classified Advertising 30 ���������� Sustaining Firms




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Taking Care of Ourselves by Heidi Coad-Hermelin and Anina Dalsin, Guest Editors As attorneys, we are well trained to develop intellectual acuity and “wellness” through years of school and continuing education. However, there are many other facets of wellness that are equally important to lawyers. As attorneys, we are charged with the duty of taking care of our client’s legal issues. This responsibility, compounded by the demands entailed in the care of family and loved ones, often leads us to neglect the care of ourselves. This issue of Contra Costa Lawyer explores wellness for attorneys in various aspects of our lives. It can be easy to forget to give attention to our own physical, mental and financial wellbeing with the pressures of practicing law. Contributing authors to this edition share how they have found an outlet in craft, art and physical activity to balance their intellectual and professional lives. Mary Grace Guzman shares how she found wellness in an unexpected community of attorneys who knit. Natasha Chee explains the benefits of art therapy and inspires us to explore the creative process. Anina Dalsin provides a wonderful reflection of her walking travels through Spain, describing her spiritual and physical journey. Stu Gilliam, a recently retired attorney,

reflects on his 35 years of practice and how he maintained both a lucrative and rewarding practice within the bounds of his personal life challenges. The issue also includes sage advice on financial wellness from Jen Lee and insight on prevention of substance abuse from Oliver Greenwood to help keep us on track within these important facets of our lives. On a final note, in early 2020, the Solo and Small Firm Section switched from hosting bi-monthly happy hours to sponsoring healthier social activities. Prior to the health mandates, two hiking outings were held with a great turnout of attorneys, judges, their families and canines. The first was around the Lafayette Reservoir and the second outing was in Briones Regional Park with two groups taking different trails of varying difficulty. As vaccines are administered and health mandates fade away, additional hikes, as well as other wellness events, will be planned. The Contra Costa County Bar Association is also establishing a Wellness Committee and if you would like to get involved in planning future wellness activities, please contact Theresa Hurley at thurley@cccba. org or (925) 370-2548.

Heidi Coad-Hermelin has been a partner with the Hermelin Law Firm since 2008. She practices law with her husband David Hermelin in Martinez focusing on real estate, bankruptcy and business law. Ms. Coad-Hermelin graduated from the University of California at Davis in 1989 with a degree in Economics and earned her Juris Doctor degree from McGeorge School of Law in 1992. She is currently co-leader of the Solo and Small Firm Section and serves on the Education Committee. Her favorite wellness activities include hiking, gardening and playing bocce. Anina (Ann) Dalsin is the founder of Dalsin Law, a boutique law firm focusing on transactional business matters. Anina is a co-leader of the Solo and Small Firm Section.



Know Yourself to Help Others:

Wellness and Professionalism Go Hand-in-Hand by Stuart Gilliam


I closed my practice at the end of January, took down my shingle, and went inactive with the state bar. Soon after, Anina Dalsin asked me to share how, despite challenges I faced along the way, she, at least, thought I had practiced with confidence, grace, and wellbeing. So, either I put on one helluva show over my 35 years of practice, or I managed pretty well. It made me think, what did I learn about these topics in my years of being an active lawyer? And if I did learn something, would my education be useful if I shared it with others? And crucially, how do I share it without relying on the war stories that attorneys are so fond of telling?

defeats, promotions, partnerships, dissolutions, marriages, children, illnesses, deaths, etc. Some of my challenges were typical and some not so. Early in my career, I was empaneled on a Federal Grand Jury for 18 months which delayed my path to partnership. My second child was autistic, necessitating a lot of attention and effort to get an appropriate education for him. In the ‘90s, a 10-year regulatory battle with the Army Corp of Engineers in regard to a family farm ended well, but on one occasion I thought I might leave the land in handcuffs. My wife suffered Stage 4 Lymphoma: a year of terror and treatment, fortunately with a happy ending.

We all experience challenges in law and in life: long hours, successes,

I am not diminishing the challenges others have and will face; it is part of life. The background noise

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(sometimes deafening) affects all careers. It is just that with the law, the intensity of what we do makes the challenges very impactful and also makes us vulnerable to certain fictions:

Fallacy #1: “Everyone else is more skilled than I am.” There is a psychological danger in comparing yourself to other attorneys. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. There are the attorneys who can cite code sections and relevant cases at just the right moment. That’s not you? Don’t worry; no-one is the “complete package.” They are just putting their best foot forward in full view. (Perhaps that is all that they can do.) If you can’t do a particular thing or have a go-to strength don’t assume that you are

a second-class lawyer. Someone is always going to have a strength that you don’t have. And the real danger (especially for young lawyers) is to compare yourself to all of the lawyers you meet who have strengths you don’t have. Then, once you have put each of them into one template for comparison purposes, you make the jump to thinking that every other lawyer has all of the strengths you don’t. Stop. They don’t. Be confident with what you are good at.

Fallacy #2: “I have to know EVERYTHING to be good.” There is danger in thinking you don’t know enough. Take a breath. It is law; you can always look it up. Moreover, you simply *can’t* know everything, any more than you can practice effectively in every area of law. As lawyers we are (or should be) learning constantly. Not a day went by in my 35 years of practice that I did not learn something new. Be honest with yourself and others. Saying “Wow, I didn’t know that” is not an admission of failure, but a sign of honesty and willingness to understand. Sometimes saying “can you explain that to me” can create a bridge that would not exist if you tried to bluff your way through. It can often defuse a situation. (And sometimes while working through the learning process you discover that what is being explained is not applicable or on point. It might even be someone else’s bluff!) Be graceful and open to those who open up to you as to their lack of knowledge. Learning to build bridges can be beneficial to finding resolution.

Fallacy #3: “Personal needs are a sign of weakness.” In the current world, people have become more accepting of differences and limitations, but there are still gaps. If you were a diabetic at a deposition, you would not hesitate

to let the others know that breaks are necessary. What if you are an old guy with bladder issues? I never hesitated to say I will need a break every so often in my later years of practice. (A lot less embarrassing than soiling myself.) Other personal issues are less apparent: maybe you have claustrophobia and can’t function in a small room, or you have social anxiety disorder and can’t go into a courtroom, or you are suffering from depression and can only manage four hours’ work a day. If you open up to people (partners, opposing counsel, judges) you would be surprised at what accommodations and concessions can be made. OK, one war story: After my son was born with Autism, I was so stressed and depressed that I could not imagine adding the stress of trying a case. I could do motion work, depositions, hearings, etc., but could not face a trial. When assigned a file that was assured of going to trial, I decided to tell the insurance adjusters who were my main source of revenue that I simply couldn’t do it. We arranged to transfer it to another attorney in the firm. Did it sink my practice? No. Both of the adjusters were not only accepting, but actually thanked me for being honest. And it did not hurt my business, which increasingly thrived on the negotiated settlements that were my strength. Open up about your human imperfections.

The Flip Side

Being personally healthy and seeking balance requires courage, but it also bestows an obligation to others. Being graceful and compassionate when someone opens up to you about their issues creates a healthier practice for you and all of us.

danger to your own practice in being perpetually unpleasant. Providing a zealous representation is one thing, but fighting at every turn, constantly being argumentative, being sneaky and underhanded can garner you a reputation you should avoid. You will quickly be marked with that invisible “scarlet A” on your chest in the legal community. (And that “A” is not for adulterer.) In turn, that “A” can make you unwell. Not being liked, not being respected as a pillar of the community, but rather an obstacle can take its toll on you emotionally. You might like to think of yourself as a successful and aggressive outsider, but it will eventually cause you (and your clients) harm. (And if you aspire to an AV rating, you will never get one if you start out with that “scarlet A”.) Your wellness as an attorney is tied to knowing yourself and your limitations, remembering that everyone around you is also human, knowing that being civil is how you become and stay part of the community, and knowing that being open will find you support for your needs. Happily, this self-knowledge and compassionate practice will improve not only your own life but the lives of your fellow practitioners and the ethical reputation of our demanding profession. Stuart C. Gilliam has practiced law in the Bay Area for thirty-five years, primarily in civil litigation. He recently retired from his passion-practice: providing legal services to families of children with special needs. Stuart and his wife have two adult children and two Labradors.

Yes, we are in the business of managing conflict. But that does not require us to embrace incivility. Beyond impacting the reputation of our entire profession, there is real CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER


David Pearson, named his pets Mac (Macallan) and Toshi (Auchentoshan) for scotch. They were adopted after “celebrating” at the past Highland Games.

Oski, Commissioner Glenn Oleon’s Riley the Wonder Dog, reminds six year-old Goldendoodle Perry Novak that it’s time for their tug-of-war break.

Theresa Hurley’s cats, Ru and Dani posing for their formal portait. Theresa with Winston, her grand-dog

Marleau is Havanese and Craig Judson nominated her for the “cutest dog” award.

Frank helped his owner, Ariana Flynn, get through law school. He recently celebrated his 3rd birthday.

Joshua Genser’s two-year old golden retriever/yellow Lab mix, Cashew

Dan Birkhaeuser calls this photo of his dog, Sadie Marie, “Not me!”

Whitney and McKinley, owned by Heidi Coad-Hermelin. (She names all of her dogs after mountains to celebrate her love of hiking and the outdoors.)

Ruger is an AKC California champion Doberman Pincher owned by Michael Goforth.

Meet Willow, Marta Vanegas’ emotional support cat. She was adopted during the Spring quarantine. 8

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Pets ... for Wellness

Arizona, owned by Qiana Washington

Perry is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, owned by Brittany Toth

Dawn Ceizler’s fur babies Cooper and Rigby.

Joey, owned by Kirsten Barranti

Pomeranian puppies, Kayce and Rip, owned by Barbara Scramstad

Cody and Riley, owned by Matt Toth

Cherry is Pam Schafer’s best friend.

Colette and Fiona, owned by Shannon Wolfrum

Gracie, the little old yellow stealth Hanna was adopted from a shelter by Gaby Odell lightning dog of doom with Kyle Johnston

Meet Roe, owned by Suzanne Foley

Cuyahoga and Yugi, Jim Wexel’s co-workers for the past year.

Thank you to all the CCCBA members who shared these adorable photos of their pets! For more, turn to page 22. “All personality and a whole lot of love,” is how Commissioner Jennifer Lee describes her dog Floyd

Derrick Roehn describes his dog Ernie as “waggish”

Elizabeth Talbot cuddles with Icaro, mascot of the Talbot Law Group CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER



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Finding Wellness Along “The Way” By Anina Dalsin

The competing demands of managing a legal practice, parenting teenagers, serving as a support to family members and undertaking volunteer work are often overwhelming and exhausting. While a great sense of satisfaction is derived from the time, effort and care devoted to family, community and professional endeavors, when not counterbalanced by acts of self-care, juggling these commitments can result in feeling unbalanced and depleted. I found myself in such a state as my 50th birthday approached, acute back pain alerting me that I was buckling under the strain. Pictured left: The author, Anina Dalsin, with her brother, Michael Dalsin, at one of the more prominent distance markers in the French Pyrenees – marking the trail to Saint Jacques de Compostelle (Santiago de Compostela).

Around that time, I started hearing from several separate sources about the Camino de Santiago (the Way of Saint James), a network of medieval hiking trails stretching across Europe and converging in Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. A client mentioned that he had recently returned from a transformative 6-week backpacking trip on the Camino, a gift to himself after surviving cancer. A few months later, a couple with whom I volunteer at the Historical Society told me they were planning to hike the last 100 kilometers of the Camino. After watching “The Way,” a Martin Sheen movie about the Camino de Santiago, I decided to commemorate my milestone birthday by embarking with my brother, Michael, on my own month-long Camino in search of wellness.

by having my pilgrimage passport (the Credencial) stamped with the start date, and set out on the climb over the majestic Roncevaux Pass bordering France and Spain. Along the Camino, I collected stamps in my Credencial chronicling my journey, each a unique imprint bearing the name of a bar, restaurant or albergue (inn) where I ate or slept.

Thousands of pilgrims from across the world are drawn to the Camino de Santiago each year, seeking to complete the arduous trek, by foot, bicycle or horseback. Some pilgrims view the Camino as a way to challenge their physical limits by hiking hundreds of kilometers over steep terrain and through adverse weather conditions. For others, it serves as a way to disconnect from the usual stresses of daily life, focusing instead on completing each day’s 15-mile trek immersed in the beauty of the mountains, quaint villages and impressive cities. The Camino is as much a spiritual inner journey as an outward physical one.

It is a Camino tradition to collect pebbles along The Way, each representing a particular earthly struggle and, as it is clenched in the pilgrim’s hand, to transfer onto the rock the weight of the burden embodied by that stone. The long route is periodically marked with monumental markers bearing a scallop shell, the emblem of Saint James. After contemplating burdens along the journey, pilgrims release their worries by placing their pebbles atop these iconic markers. Stones representing particularly significant burdens are carried for longer stretches of the Camino and released at the base of the Cruz de Ferro, a towering iron cross sitting atop a mound of castoff rocks at the highest point of the Camino Frances in the Cantabrian Mountains.

Of the several routes in the Santiago network of trails, I chose the popular Camino Frances (the “French Way”), an 850-kilometer stretch starting in a charming village in the French Pyrenees. On the first morning, brimming with anticipation, I registered my journey at the pilgrims’ office

Each day the Camino delivered a different landscape and new companions with whom to share the day’s hike. Over the course of the month, Michael and I walked with dozens of pilgrims from all over the globe. Sometimes, the entire day or even a stretch of days were passed in the company of the same group of travelers. Other days, the hike was shared with someone for only a few hours. Frequently, we walked alone.

I hiked with travelers varying greatly in age and life circumstances. Many were free with their conversation,

Continued on page 12



Wellness Along The Way

Continued from page 11 unburdening themselves by baring their souls to a stranger they would likely never see again. Opening up to other pilgrims about the burdens represented by the worry stones and listening to them without prejudices or complexes was therapeutic. Ascending the Pyrenees, we hiked with Australian sisters who were striving to fortify their bond before one married and the other started her career as a police officer. In Pamplona we hurried to keep pace with a young German guy, who was trying to decide whether to continue his studies or start working. Near the city of Leon, I was pleased to speak Italian with a group of plucky 40-something moms from the Veneto seeking to escape the demands of their ordinary lives and improve their fitness. One of them, Paola, struggled to keep up with her friends, looking exhausted. I carried Paola’s pack for a part of that day’s journey and was rewarded by her warm smile. One memorable “therapy session” resulted from conversation with a woman who confessed her sadness over infertility, as I shared my own experience with her. Toward the end of the month, dear friends from Madrid joined us. Hiking together, we delighted in memories of our youthful days galivanting in the Spanish capital. At the outset, the long voyage seemed dauntingly unconquerable. However, upon reaching the shell emblazed marker that indicates the last 100 kilometers, I experienced a kind of dissonance. I felt excited about finishing the epic trek and, simultaneously, melancholy that the journey would end too soon. On the last morning, I reached the hilltop point at which several Santiago trails converge with the Camino 12

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Frances. Taking in the sight of my ultimate destination– the magnificent bell towers of Santiago cathedral – I felt at peace. Descending into the cathedral plaza, exhausted travelers smiled, some cried and embraced as the sound of Galician bagpipes filled the air. I tendered my Credencial to the pilgrim’s office where the stamps were tallied ensuring I had completed sufficient mileage to receive the Compostela, a beautifully adorned certificate baring my name in Latin calligraphy. I then joined hundreds of travelers as they filled the pews and spilled onto the cathedral floor for the pilgrims’ mass. Organ music played while grey plumes of scented vapor spewed from the massive Botafumeiro (incense burner) that swayed overhead, a medieval practice to mitigate the pestilence of the pilgrims!

Distance marker indicating the last 100 kilometers.

The physical accomplishment, selfreflection, and recovery of lost time with my brother and Spanish friends contributed to the wellness that I found on The Way. I returned to California feeling rejuvenated, grounded and grateful – in much stronger condition to meet life’s personal and professional demands. The Credencial (pilgrim’s passport) and Compostela (certificate of pilgrimage completion)


The Substance of Getting Well Soon By Oliver Greenwood Substance use and wellness is an important issue for members of the legal profession. People often ask me whether or not they have a problem with drinking. I’m flattered, but the problem with that question is that I do not know the answer. They tell me about their consumption and expect that there is a number which, if passed, causes them to be considered an alcoholic. What I can tell them is that most people that don’t have a problem, don’t ask if they have a problem (sorry if that is too close to home). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) used by medical professionals provides guidance. Note the term of art is “substance use disorders” and no longer “abuse.” There are four categories and the level of severity is determined by a physician: 1. Impaired Control—using more of a substance than intended. Wanting to cut down or stop using but not being able to; 2. Social Problems—Neglecting responsibilities and relationships. Giving up activities they used to care about because of the substance use. Inability to complete tasks at home, school or work; 3. Risky Use—Using in risky settings. Continued use despite known problems; 4. Pharmacological Indicators— Needing more of the substance to get the same effect. Having withdrawal symptoms when a substance isn’t used.

The stresses of the legal profession are real. Frequently, substance use leads to attorney misconduct. It is no surprise that 21 percent of the participants of the State Bar’s Alternative Discipline Program made their way to them by way of the State Bar Court due to substance use disorders – this according to the 2018 State Bar Lawyer Assistance Program Annual Report. Ultimately, the determination as to whether it is time for someone to stop drinking or using substances has to be determined by the individual and that individual alone.

But is abstinence the only solution?

I’ve recently become familiar with one of many adults able to use alcohol and other substances with no ill effects. Discussing his recent book, Drug Use for Grown-Ups, Dr. Carl L. Hart, a recreational drug user states, “I do not have a druguse problem. Never have. Each day, I meet my parental, personal and professional responsibilities. I pay my taxes, serve as a volunteer in my community on a regular basis and contribute to the global community as an informed and engaged citizen.” Note: I do not recommend a work-life balance which includes illegal drugs or illegal drug use, I only want to highlight that there are other opinions. Dr. Hart takes the approach that responsible use can enrich and enhance lives. Dr. Hart further argues that actual addiction is relatively low if following the criteria of the DSM-5.

Another option is the practice of “Mindful Drinking.” Whitney Akers, in their April 10, 2020, article, “What is Mindful Drinking? How It Can Help Your Mental Health,” describes Mindful Drinking (MD) as the concept of being intentional with one’s decisions around alcohol. A prime focus of MD is the awareness of each drink and a healthy relationship with alcohol. Akers is clear that MD isn’t for people with alcohol use prob-

Continued on page 14



The Substance of Getting Well

Continued from page 13 lems but describes MD as a path for anyone seeking a healthier relationship with alcohol. The author then gives six tips in the practice of MD. 1. Pause and evaluate whether each drink supports you 2. Make a drinking — or alternative — game plan in advance 3. Don’t hold on tightly to restrictions, as rules can backfire 4 Order first 5. Rehearse how you’ll tell people 6. Savor your drink. Wellness as it relates to substance use, illegal or legal, is a personal decision. For some, wellness means abstention, to others moderation. Attorneys looking for help have a few resources available. The Lawyer Assistance Program was established by the California Legislature under Business and Professions Code §6140.9, 62306238. It is a confidential service of the State Bar of California staffed by professionals. The Other Bar ( is a confidential counseling and referral resource open to all California lawyers, judges, law students and their families for help with alcoholism, drug abuse and related personal problems. The organization is founded on the principle of anonymity and provides services in strict confidentiality. The network of “lawyers helping lawyers” comprises 30 to 40 peer support meetings throughout the state, most of which meet every week. The Other Bar is completely unrelated to, and has no association with, the discipline system of the State Bar of California. In fact, many 14

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Other Bar participants have no disciplinary problems at all. Unlike the State Bar program, The Other Bar has no dues or fees for participation and serves a community of lawyers at various stages of recovery, and it is the only network that focuses on continuing sobriety—for life. The Other Bar also differs from traditional AA or NA in that it is the only forum where lawyers can work on problems and pressures related to the practice of law. Lawyers can be assured of complete confidentiality and the mentorship of others with decades of experience with the same challenges. Alcoholics Anonymous www. is an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements. Now you might be wondering, who will know that they/I are/am receiving help? Well, everyone and because of the anonymity— no one. It is clear when someone gets sober, they show up to work, they are generally pleasant to talk to and they rarely steal your stuff (red staplers excluded). As far as will anyone know that you attend “those meetings”, they have a

policy of anonymity which means no one talks about who they see at those meetings. The understanding is deep rooted in these programs, they refer to them as traditions. Wellness regarding substance use is important to a successful practice of law and that deserves a some reflection. Oliver A. Greenwood has lots of titles but his favorite is dad and husband, next, that he is a past CCCBA President. His practice in Pleasant Hill, focuses on estate planning, probate litigation, guardianships and conservatorships.

MCLE SELF STUDY Earn one hour of MCLE credit by answering the questions on the Self Study MCLE test available on our website: Send your answers along with a check ($30 per credit hour for CCCBA members/ $45 per credit hour for nonmembers), to the address on the test form. Certificates are processed within two weeks of receipt. If you prefer to receive the test form via email, contact Anne K. Wolf at or (925) 370-2540.

Candice E. Stoddard Personal Injury Real Estate Litigation Trust and Estate Disputes Mediation


Law Offices of Candice E. Stoddard 1350 Treat Blvd., Suite 420 Walnut Creek, CA 94597

925.942.5100 • fax 925.933.3801 Practicing law in the East Bay for over 30 years

Lawyers Find Wellness Through Art, Craft and Creativity by Natasha S. Chee The law is often regarded as being rigid, exacting, and demanding, whereas art is thought to be loose and free. Lawyers and artists seem to be on opposite sides of the spectrum; however, artistic lawyers are finding balance and wellness combining the two disciplines. In art, the transformation the artist undergoes during the creative process has a benefit unto its own. The process of creating art comes from deep within the artist’s soul, rising up through experiences, memories, cherished moments, and beyond, forming in a medium appreciated by both the artist and the viewer. The power with which art can positively affect the human psyche is undeniably strong. Understanding this as an artist and a lawyer, I created the inaugural Contra Costa County Bar Association Virtual Art Show to display works of art made by artistic lawyers to demonstrate how creativity can add value beyond measure in a lawyer’s life and practice. The legal profession is one of the most rewarding professions in the world; however, it is equally fastpaced, high-stress, and arduous, often leading to burnout, depression, anxiety, addiction or a combination of these concerning outcomes. In a study conducted in 2016, a substantial number of attorneys experienced behavioral health problems and symptoms of depression (28%), anxiety (19%), stress (23%), and alcohol related dependency (20.6%).1 These statistics are concerning, considering lawyers have duties to provide competent representation and diligence to their clients, as well as duties to non-

clients.2 Given the disturbing statistics on mental health and addiction, and their likely impact on lawyers’ abilities to fulfill their ethical duties, the need for attorney wellness is not to be taken lightly, nor is it to be ignored. Creative therapy could be utilized to combat and alleviate the mental toll that lawyers experience by providing an outlet for stress relief. There are various creative therapies such as music engagement, movement-based creative expression, and expressive writing. The CCCBA’s Visual Art Show focused on visual art therapy. “There is evidence that engagement with artistic activities, either as an observer of the creative efforts of others or as an initiator of one's own creative efforts, can enhance one's moods, emotions, and other psychological states as well as have a salient impact on important physiological parameters.”3 Art therapy is a recognized modality of integrative mental health that is facilitated by a board-certified art therapist through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship.4 By engaging the mind, body, and spirit in ways that are distinct from verbal articulation alone, art therapy is used to improve cognitive and sensory-motor functions, foster self-esteem, cultivate emotional resilience, promote insight, enhance social skills, resolve conflicts, reduce distress, and advance societal change.5 The CCCBA Visual Art Show provided a fantastic opportunity for artistic attorneys to share how they use creative expression to foster

and develop wellness. The participants included Julie Ann Giammona, Marc Bouret, Qiana Washington, Mary Grace Guzman, and myself. Each artistic lawyer had the ability to present their works of art, explain their artistic journey and inspirations, and their process. The presenters elaborated on the creative aspects that brought them joy, while attendees were encouraged to engage in discussion. Julie Ann Giammona, labor and employment attorney at Ferber Law PC, shared her “Dot Rock Art” which she created by pouring acrylic into molds, and subsequently painting the rocks using a dot technique that created beautiful intricate designs. Giammona also shared her love of floral arranging as another Dot Rock Art by Julie Ann form of her Giammona creativity. As a child, she was told she was not artistic by a teacher, which had a lasting negative effect, and led her to shy away from artistic activities throughout her life. Fortunately, as an adult she rekindled her creativity, valuing the process just

Continued on page 17



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Lawyers Wellness,

Continued from page 15 as much as the resultant work of art. Award-winning oil painter, Marc Bouret, mediator at Bouret ADR & Mediation Firm, draws inspiration from his travels and memorable life moments. Bouret began painting later in life after taking several

Oil painting by Marc Bouret

classes, and has found passion for the artistic medium – mixing vivid colors with scenic subject matter, combined with an impressionistic style reminiscent of many of the great masters. He shared a sweet painting of his wife in Venice, Italy, which he declined to sell for sentimental reasons.

Skirt and blouse designed by Qiana Washington

Fashion designer Qiana Washington, criminal defense attorney at Washington & Associates, creates elegantly tailored opera gowns, coats, and suits, gathering inspiration from various sources including television characters like “Rachel” on Friends. She shared how she sketches each design, creates a pattern and prototype, then sews the final garment to her specifications. The time, skill, and detail put into each garment creates a work of art, with little resemblance to fast-

Continued on page 18



Lawyers Find Wellness, Continued from page 17

fashion found in big-box retailers. Washington recalls her grandmother’s influence on her passion for clothing design, reminding us that historically, cultures passed skills down from one generation to the next, thereby creating a living heritage. Knitter Mary Grace Guzman, ethics and professional responsibility attorney at Guzman Legal Solutions, walked the audience through the process of creating a merino wool sweater that she knitted in the traditional Fair Isle style, adding her own flair by using bright colors and a skull motif. Guzman Sweater by Mary Grace Guzman learned how to knit from a former boss and cited her embroiderer grandmother as a source of inspiration. She finds knitting to be relaxing, calming, and meditative, greatly helping her handle the stress of running her law practice. Natasha Chee, I am an entertainment, video game, and tech attorney with my own firm who loves working in various mediums including painting, photography, ceramics, and knitting, as a way of expressing my creativity. These activities allow my brain to enter a state of flow whereby I completely immerse myself in my art. I often flip the canvas painting multidirectionally, using brushes and palette knives to create texture and evoke emotions in the resultant Photography by artwork. I utilize photography as a Natasha Chee way of transforming a moment into a dream-like state of abstractionism, whereas knitting and ceramics are more meditative, tactile, and organic methods of creating something beautiful. My inspirations come from anything experienced in the world, whether it be a memory, a dream, a film, a song, an artist that I admire, or an abstract idea. I was fortunate to be raised in an artistic family where art was discussed, valued, and celebrated as a way of life.


MAY 2021

Oil painting by Natasha Chee

Art and the creative process can help lawyers achieve a more balanced life, in addition to greater feelings of satisfaction, calm, and well-being. As lawyers lead increasingly stressful, over extended, fast-paced lifestyles, creating art and flow may be a refreshing way to heal and reset your life. Pick any artistic medium that speaks to you, release your mind, and find all the ways the creative process may be just what the doctor ordered! Natasha S. Chee is the principal at the Law Offices of Natasha S. Chee. Her practice focuses on Entertainment, Intellectual Property and Business Law. She works with producers, filmmakers, musicians, content creators, and video game and tech companies. She graduated from Santa Clara University School of Law and UCLA. To learn more: 1 Krill, et al. “The Prevalence of Substance Use and Other Mental Health Concerns Among American Attorneys.” Journal of Addiction Medicine, vol. 10, issue 1, Jan./Feb. 2016, pp. 46-52, se_ and_Other_Mental.8.aspx. Accessed 22 Mar. 2021. 2 ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Rules 1.1, 1.3 and 4.1-4.4. 3 Stuckey, et al. “The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature.” Am. J. Public Health, vol. 100(2), Feb. 2010, pp. 254-263, PMC2804629/. Accessed 23 March 2021. 4 See 5 See Id.

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Attorneys and Financial Wellness:

The Forgotten Wellness Topic by Jen Lee

Physical Emotional Social Spiritual Environmental Intellectual Occupational Financial


MAY 2021

“I’m so embarrassed. I can’t believe I have to talk to an attorney about my own finances.”

Wellness ness follows. It is such a demeaning and condescending approach to the problem.

“I wish I never would have gone to law school. I’ll never pay off these student loans.”

What should we be talking about instead?

“I can’t sleep. I just stay up all night worrying about the bills I have to pay and that I don’t make enough to cover my regular living expenses.” I have heard all of these quotes and more from lawyers over the years and realized that financial wellness is not something really anyone wants to talk about or address. By not talking about the financial problems that lawyers are facing, many lawyers feel isolated and overwhelmed. This type of financial stress can also lead to mental health and substance abuse issues. The American Bar Association released its 2020 Law School Student Loan Debt Survey Report and the overwhelming statistics show that more than 75% of the respondents (new and young lawyers) had more than $100,000 in student loans at graduation.1 One of the biggest problems with financial wellness is the name itself. Financial wellness implies that everything is hunky-dory as long as you have some basic budgeting tools and are saving for retirement. The disconnect comes when there is actual financial stress and crisis. The term “financial wellness” itself is an out-of-touch statement, for example, telling someone with $300,000 in student loans that if they just budgeted better, financial well-

How can we encourage ourselves and our colleagues to not view financial difficulties as an embarrassment or failure? First of all, we need to get it out of our heads that financial stress is somehow rare. In recent years, statistics show that the number of people admit that they are financially stressed ranges from 62 percent to 80 percent and a whopping 90 percent of Americans say that money has impacted their stress level.2 However, when you talk to people or look on social media, you would never know because everyone is afraid of what others will think. Lawyers are people, too. We have the same financial problems as those around us and sometimes more because of the amount of student loan debt. A lot of us went to law school because of the income potential, but when your student loan balance is growing every year because of interest on income-based repayment, it is very stressful and discouraging. The idea of paying for 25 years and owing five times the amount borrowed will keep you up at night. Second, understand what financial stress does to our health, relationships and our job satisfaction. The ABA study summarized many of the responses regarding how student loans affect the lives of lawyers and

the words regarding mental health problems were telling, including constant anxiety, stress, inability to save, giving up on life, massive depression, hate for the profession, unbearable, panic attacks, insomnia, inability to provide for children, divorce. While this was a student loan report, these same responses apply to other types of debt as well. These reports and studies are hard for us to read. We also feel like we should be smart enough to solve these problems on our own. Third, we need to ask for help and encourage others to ask for help without judgment. We see a lot of mental health, substance abuse, and similar discussions becoming more mainstream, but financial stress discussions are not happening as much, even though finances are the main source of stress and stress is often the trigger for mental health and substance abuse problems that lawyers are facing. Depression, anxiety, and insomnia can affect mental health and can be the catalysts for poor decision-making. Studies also show that financial concerns have a cognitive impairment, comparable to losing a full night of sleep.3 That means that our decision-making skills are so diminished when distracted by finances that we make questionable decisions and do not ask for help. With consumers, this is often seen when they try to fix their own problems without understanding all of the details, fall for scams or ignore the problem hoping it will go away. With lawyers, we sometimes wonder how a lawyer made a decision that was so wrong that they could not see it, for example, improper use of trust account funds or mishandling settlement proceeds.

What’s the future of financial wellness?

Just as other wellness topics are coming to the forefront these days, financial difficulties need

to be included in the conversation. It is so hard when we are worried about the perceived stigma and even harder when we think no one else has the same problems. Unfortunately, if we are being honest, more of us than not are financially stressed and could use some reassurances that we are not alone. Wellness comes from admitting that there is a problem that needs to be solved, finding legitimate options and solutions, and implementing the plan. From a public policy standpoint, financial wellness also comes from addressing the massive student loan issues that lawyers (and others) are facing, or we will be forced to keep talking about this problem for many generations to come.

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Jen Lee is the managing attorney at Jen Lee Law, Inc. in San Ramon. She focuses her practice on helping individuals and business owners come up with effective legal and financial strategies to deal with debt and credit issues. She is the co-author of Preventing Credit Card Fraud: A Complete Guide for Everyone from Merchants to Consumers, published by Rowman & Littlefield in March of 2017. 1. American Bar Association. 2020 Law School Student Loan Debt Survey. https://www. pdf 2. American Psychological Association. Stress in America™ Paying With Our Health. https:// stress-report.pdf 3. Catherine Gage O’Grady. Nevada Law Journal. Behavioral Legal Ethics, Decision Making, and the New Attorney’s Unique Professional Perspective.

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More Pets ... for Wellness Heather Carraher and Frank Acuna with Sera (short for Seraphim) delivered gifts to all of the children of Acuna Regli and Lozano Smith law offices. Sera was rescued in 2008 after she was abandoned at a foreclosed home. She is a certified therapy animal who visits clients in hospitals and senior living centers. She comes to work every day, attends meetings and serves grieving families, special-needs clients and elders. This is Maui Joe the Labradoodle. He likes car rides, apples and his owner Jennifer Navalle Oliver, a 10-year old pug, loves to sit in the sun while his owner, Angela Yakou studies law at Northcentral University/


MAY 2021

Barbara Arsedo’s three musketeers, Blossom, Rocky and Sophie (the CCCBA bar dog)

Corrine Bielejeski says Comet thinks he is part mountain goat.

The Power of a

Knitting Circle By Mary Grace Guzman

In 2020, yarn companies credited their record sales directly to individuals learning to knit or crochet or reengaging in their childhood hobby. Many folks turned to virtual fiber arts circles, or knitting circles, not only to learn to knit or improve on their skills but also as a means to have a covid-safe social experience. Before the year of coronavirus, I never participated in a knitting circle or knew much about their value or histories. A year ago, Friday, March 20, 2020, I hosted my very first virtual knitting circle (or a “Virtual Stitch-n-Bitch”) for my fiber arts Facebook group of lawyers. California had just entered lockdown and I wanted a way for me to feel social despite being homebound. Until this group, I had friends who knitted, but never did I have a regular group with whom I regularly met solely for the purpose of knitting. I didn’t know what to expect or how to lead this group; my only goal was to meet similarly situated individuals, who were stuck at home hoping to meet other individuals like themselves—folks working in the legal field and interested in the fiber arts. This is how I joined and started my first knitting circle and began to learn about the important history of knitting circles. This group is made up of women,

though men who knit are welcomed. Our group is from both American coasts and middle-America along with one lone Canadian attorney. We are diverse in age, experience, and career trajectories. At first, we primarily talked about our individual projects and how we came to knitting. Interestingly, we all started knitting because of our legal careers. Some of us learned as children, but began to take our knitting seriously when we entered the legal world, because we needed an outlet separate from our education or careers. One of the members told a story of her knitting with friends as they voted for President Barack Obama to become the first Black President of Harvard Law Review. I too can trace my knitting directly to my legal career. I taught myself to poorly knit in law school, but my former managing partner taught me to properly knit when she wasn’t mentoring me as a young associate. As I engaged in my knitting group, I began to become curious about the role of knitting circles or other fiber-art circles to women and other groups. Until my group, I kept my passion for knitting a bit secret because of the negative stereotypes associated with knitting. Knitting or sewing circles are equated with gossip circles where women meet to gossip or vent to complete strangers.

This stereotype focuses on a circle’s members sharing of information but downplays the quality and the importance of communication between its members. Historically, fiber-art circles can be linked to major historical events from newly freed enslaved people to World War II to the more recent “Pussy Hat” worn in the women’s marches. In the 14th Century, knitting guilds were social clubs where male knitters met to improve and develop the art of knitting and to exchange ideas on marketing strategies to sell products to their clientele. Former enslaved people used sewing or knitting circles to help newly-freed Black Americans adjust to lives of freedom. Black women used these circles as a way to share information, share resources, or educate each other in a private setting. In World War II, both American and British governments asked for knitted socks and other knitted items for our soldiers. British women began to knit secret codes by knitting a series of knots into their projects which were then delivered to military officers who used this information to evade German attacks. More recently, men’s knitting circles have gained popularity for both straight and gay male knit-

Continued on page 24



Knitting Circle

Continued from page 23 ters. Similar to women’s knitting circles, men’s knitting circles are safe spaces for male knitters to meet and share information about knitting and their lives. Knitting circles offer knitters a space where they can meet with others who may not be a part of their familial, professional, or immediate social circles.1 My knitting circle is unique in that we all work in the legal field, but we came together because of our interest in knitting. Historically, knitting circles also include a variety of age groups, life experiences, and expertise in the art. The diversity of membership lends itself to sharing of information not limited to knitting. The circle allows its members to share information about their personal lives, discuss


MAY 2021

politics, and seek guidance from others with more life experience. Knitting is the modality for the shared common experience. In my group’s case, we are a wide range of experienced knitters. One member took up knitting as her “corona-hobby,” picking up knitting to ease quarantine-related anxiety. While we initially started talking about knitting, our conversations have evolved to include a wide variety of subjects and hard issues such as race, politics and gender. In this year, we provided support to each other on a wide variety of levels – one member caught COVID-19, while another’s parent passed away. We all mourned the loss of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and knitted RBG-themed garments. We also discussed the differences between American and Canadian legal theories then quickly turned to discuss our current favorite cult docuseries.

We also laugh and laugh so hard that we can’t breathe. Personally, I have sought career advice from my group as I navigated my first year as a solo practitioner. My knitting circle has become my safe harbor during very turbulent and uncertain times. Like circles before mine, my circle is not only a space for me to meet with a group of knitters, but also a group where I can seek guidance or share my personal wins and losses. Ultimately, I am forever thankful for the gifts of my knitting circle and impressed that it offers me far more than a space where I knit. Note: If you are interested in joining the knitting circle, you are most definitely welcomed. Please reach out to Mary Grace at (marygrace@

Mary Grace Guzmán of Guzmán Legal Solutions advises lawyers, law firms, and law students on their professional responsibilities and risk managem e n t needs. She teaches legal ethics and professional responsibility at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Ms. Guzmán regularly provides MCLE programs throughout California and has been a monthly blog contributor for the Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB), writing about legal ethics and risk management. 1.“Stitching Together: An Exploration of Women’s Sociality Through an Urban Knitting Group,” Gillian Barbara Ruland, Georgia State University, 2010. cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer= com/&httpsredir=1&article=1040&context=an thro_theses

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Board Nominations


CCCBA attorney members in good standing are eligible to join the Board of Directors. The Board seeks candidates who agree to meet the following expectations: •

To possess or acquire a basic understanding of the Contra Costa County Bar Association (CCCBA) and its activities.

To commit to the mission and values of the Association.

To represent the CCCBA in a manner consistent with Board decisions.

To prepare for and regularly attend monthly Board meetings.

To attend additional meetings and bar-sponsored events as needed

To participate on at least one committee or task force.

To participate in the annual Board Orientation and Training program.

Directors are selected for their experience and personal attributes. Active participation on a CCCBA committee or section leadership is a plus.

Nomination Process:

To be eligible, nominees must be active attorney members of the CCCBA. Any attorney member of the CCCBA may selfnominate by June 1, 2021, for consideration by the Nominations Committee. If you are interested in serving on the 2022 Board of Directors please submit your written nomination (including statement of interest, resume and 3-4 written references) to: Theresa Hurley, Executive Director, CCCBA, 2300 Clayton Rd., Ste. 520, Concord, CA 94520

Deadline for submitting nominations is June 1, 2021. CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER



more details on page 27

May 12 | CCCBA Education Committee CCCBA’s Attorneys Behaving Series #1 Civility in the Age of Zoom and Covid: A Panel Discussion more details on page 27

May 13 |

Appellate & Criminal Law Sections

Protecting the Record for State Criminal and Civil Appeals more details on page 27

May 13 | Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee Racial Reconciliation Forum 2021: A Pathway to a More Inclusive Contra Costa Legal Community more details on page 27

May 20 | Women’s Section Women’s Section Book Club #7 more details on page 27

May 26 | Women’s Section ApPEERing Productive more details on page 27

June 3 | ADR and Women’s Sections Pathways to a Mediation Practice Part 2 more details on page 28

June 8 | CCCBA Educataion Committee CCCBA’s Attorneys Behaving Series #2 Ethics Now and in the Future more details on page 28

June 8 | Women’s Section Women’s Section Social Hour more details on page 28

The Contra Costa County Bar Association certifies that the MCLE activities listed on pages 27-28 have been approved for the specific MCLE credit indicated, by the State Bar of California, Provider #393.


MAY 2021

May 7 |


Fastcase Training Speaker: Erin M. Page, Esq. – Fastcase Senior Law Librarian and Reference Attorney Join us for a in-depth tour of the Fastcase platform. Learn how to conduct efficient research and take advantage of the research tools to make your process easier, faster and more effective. Time: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm, Webinar Cost: Free Sign Up: Online at

Education May 12 | CCCBA Committee

May 13

ATTORNEYS BEHAVING... with Civility, Professionalism & Competence

Protecting the Record for State Criminal & Civil Appeals

#1 Civility in the Age of Zoom and Covid: A Panel


Speaker: Hon. Jill Fannin | Philip M. Andersen | Larry Cook | Robin Pearson We will look at civility and how, over the last year, new issues have developed due to Zoom, lack of in-person meetings and general lack of social interaction. The panelists will look at where we are now and how we must improve and increase civility in the legal profession. Time: Noon – 1:15 pm, Webinar MCLE: 1 hour Legal Ethics credit Cost: Free for members of the Barristers and Law Student sections, $20 CCCBA members | $35 non members

and Criminal | Appellate Sections

Speakers: Tiffany Gates |Gary A. Watt The presentation will focus on sticky issues of record preservation occurring during trial, which can jeopardize the appeal. Topics will include how to grapple with deposition transcripts read during trial, the increasing frequency of emailed jury instructions discussions, and related conundrums. Time: Noon - 1:15 pm, Webinar MCLE: 1 hour Appellate Law Specialization and General credit Cost: $15 for members of the Appellate and Criminal Law Sections | $30 CCCBA members | $45 non members Register: Online at

Register: Online at Equity & May 13 | Diversity, Inclusion Committee

Racial Reconciliation Forum 2021: A Pathway to a More Inclu-

sive Contra Costa Legal Community

Speakers: Judge Joni Hiramoto | Michael Caesar | Audrey Gee | Nichelle Holmes | Venus Johnson Please join us for a vitally important discussion on racial inclusion in the Contra Costa County legal community. Distinguished panelists will share “real talk” about their experiences with diversity in the workplace. This event promises thought provoking conversation, enlightenment and understanding. Time: 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm, Zoom Meeting

May 20 |

Women’s Section

Women’s Section BOOK CLUB #7: “Educated,” by Tara Westover As we strive to educate ourselves on the systemic racism that exists in our country, its origins, and what we can do to end it, please join the Women’s Section as we discuss ”Educated,” by Tara Westover. Time: 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm, Zoom Meeting Cost: Free Sign Up: Online at

May 26 | Women’s Section ApPEERing Productive Speaker: Sarah Tetlow – Firm Focus This month’s topic will be: Organizing. Organizing your business. Organizing your paper. Organizing your home. Organizing your life. What are you struggling with at work or at home that you’d like to crowdsource and get expert tips on? Submit your organizing questions to Sarah at sarah@ Time: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm, Zoom Meeting Cost: Free CCCBA members | $10 non members Register: Online at

MCLE: 1.5 hours Elimination of Bias credit Cost: $10 for members of the Law Student Section | $20 CCCBA members | $30 non members Register: Online at

Interested in some additional exposure for you, your firm or your company?

Consider sponsoring an event or MCLE program. For more information, please contact Anne K. Wolf at

For more information on these events: Unless noted otherwise, please contact Anne K. Wolf at (925) 370-2540 or CONTRA COSTA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CONTRA COSTA LAWYER


CCCBA Education Committee

ADR and Women’s June 3 | Sections and ACBA

June 8 |

Pathways to a Mediation Practice Part 2

ATTORNEYS BEHAVING... with Civility, Professionalism & Competence

Speakers: Michelle Brown | Sharon Godbolt | Tamara Lange | Palvir Shoker As promised in our first session, we are back with a nuts-and-bolts approach to pathways to a mediation career. In addition to their own journey in the ADR field, our panelists will provide background, organizational set-up, opportunities to join and contribute to the U.S. District Court (Northern District) program, Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and The Congress of Neutrals. Time: 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm, Zoom Meeting Cost: Free Register: Online at

#2 Ethics Now and in the Future

June 8 | Women’s Section Women’s Section Social Hour - Chocolate Tasting

Carol Langford will discuss the new Rules of Professional Conduct two years later, new ethics opinions and the Provisional Licensing Program. She will also look to the future of the bar, the bar exam and what an attorney’s obligations will be in the postpandemic era.

Join us for a fun, interactive Virtual Social Hour featuring a 30-minute chocolate tasting with Lumineaux Chocolate. The tasting kit includes enough chocolate for 1-3 participants. During the tasting, a facilitator from Lumineux will give a brief introduction to their chocolate production process and cocoa origins, then they will guide the participants through each of the chocolate varieties. Please register by May 20 to allow time for shipping.

Time: Noon – 1:15 pm, Webinar

Time: 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm, Zoom Meeting

MCLE: 1 hour Legal Ethics credit

Cost: $35 per person

Cost: Free for members of the Barristers and Law Student sections, $20 CCCBA members | $35 non members

Sign up: Online at, by May 20

Speaker: Carol Langford

Register: Online at

More info: Contact Ritzi Lam,

For more information on these events: Unless noted otherwise, please contact Anne K. Wolf at (925) 370-2540 or

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MAY 2021

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The Justice James J. Marchiano DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD Nominations are open now for the inaugural Justice James J. Marchiano Distinguished Service Award. This award will go to a CCCBA member who volunteers his or her time, either in a legal or non-legal capacity, to improve the circumstances of others and changes lives for the better in our community. To be considered for the award, a member can selfnominate or be nominated by someone else. Applications for the award are available at

The inaugural award will be given out at the Bar Fund Benefit on September 2, 2021. Deadline: Please send the completed award application to Anne K. Wolf at no later than July 19, 2021 at 5:00 pm.

2) Retired Senior Partner Office Space Details: Large finished, wood panel office with private full bath and separate room for secretary or assistant. $1,850/month. Interested? Call Stan Pedder at (925) 283-6816.

Advertising Opportunities in Contra Costa Lawyer Magazine Reach over 1,500 attorneys, judges, legal and other professionals when you advertise in the July issue of Contra Costa Lawyer magazine. Print and digital advertising and sponsorship opportunities are available now. Contact Carole Lucido, Communications Director at or (925) 370-2542 for the 2021 Advertising Kit or find it online.

If you are one of the many CCCBA members who help out in their communities in a legal or non-legal capacity, we hope you will enter the CCCBA Pro Bono Honor Roll. Any CCCBA member who has volunteered 50 or more hours over the period September 1, 2020 – August 31, 2021 is eligible for the Pro Bono Honor Roll. Download our Excel form to track your hours. For more information visit

Recipients of the Pro Bono Honor Roll will be honored at the Bar Fund Benefit on September 2, 2021.



gratefully acknowledges its

2021 SUSTAINING LAW FIRMS Firms with 30+ attorneys: Miller Starr Regalia

Firms with 20-29 attorneys: Bowles & Verna, LLP Littler Mendelson PC McNamara, Ney, Beatty, Slattery, Borges & Ambacher LLP

Firms with 11-19 attorneys:

Brothers Smith LLP Brown, Gee & Wenger, LLP Clapp Moroney Vucinich Beeman Scheley Doyle Quane Gagen, McCoy, McMahon, Koss, Markowitz & Fanucci Greenan, Peffer, Sallander & Lally, LLP Hartog Baer & Hand APC Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton Whiting, Fallon, Ross & Abel LLP

Firms with 5-10 attorneys:

There is no fee to become a sustaining firm. These firms receive additional administrative support services and are recognized in the following ways: • On the CCCBA website at sustaining-law-firms/

Acuna Regli

Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook

• In the CCCBA Membership Directory

Craddick, Candland & Conti

Edrington, Schirmer & Murphy Ferber Law APC

Galloway, Lucchese, Everson & Picchi

Gillin, Jacobson, Ellis, Larsen & Lucey Livingston Law Firm, P.C. Morrill Law

Seto Wood Schweickert, LLP

MAY 2021

Sustaining Law Firms of the Contra Costa County Bar Association have a minimum of five Contra Costa-based attorneys and maintain current CCCBA membership for all attorneys practicing under the same firm name in the local office.

• In Contra Costa Lawyer magazine (in print and online)

Barr & Young Attorneys


What Is a Sustaining Law Firm?

• Displays at the CCCBA office and at all CCCBA-sponsored events For more information, contact Jennifer Comages, CCCBA Membership Director at (925) 370-2543 or