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Johanna Schiavoni 2020 SDCBA PRESIDENT


PLUS: Lawyers Giving Time Legal Power Couples San Diego’s Lawyer Artists



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DEANS What Makes a Good Lawyer? by Niels B. Schaumann


WHAT TO DO WHEN ... Honest Faith Requires Honest Doubt by David Majchrzak


MEET YOUR BAR-ISTA Kayla Higgins Administrative Assistant


ETHICS Straightforward Works Best — in Several Respects by Edward McIntyre


TECHNOLOGY 2020 Technology Jambalaya by Bill Kammer


WHY I BELONG Get to know SDCBA member Tara L. Shaw

SAN DIEGO LAW LIBRARY New Access to Justice Programs in 2020 by Valerie Gragg



39 Page











JOHANNA SCHIAVONI: LEADING WITH VISION Get to know the 2020 SDCBA President by Rebecca Kanter



2019 DIVERSITY FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM (CONTINUED) Employers and fellows reflect on the summer





LAWYERS GIVING TIME by George W. Brewster Jr., Edward McIntyre and Renée Stackhouse




LEGAL POWER COUPLES by Seth Garrett and Christine Pangan



SAN DIEGO'S LAWYER ARTISTS by James Crosby and Renée Stackhouse ABA SOLO & SMALL FIRM SUMMIT by Julie Houth

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | January/February 2020



®® ®

Issue 1, January/February 2020

Issue no. 1. San Diego Lawyer™ (ISSN: 1096-1887) is published

Co-Editors Edward McIntyre

bimonthly by the San Diego County Bar Association, 401 West

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A Street, Suite 1100, San Diego, CA 92101. Phone is 619-231-0781. The price of an annual subscription to members of the San Diego County Bar Association ($10) is included in their dues. Annual subscriptions to all others, $50. Single-copy

Editorial Board George W. Brewster Jr. James Crosby Jeremy M. Evans Devinder Hans Wendy House

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Anne Kammer Michael Olinik Christine Pangan Julie Wolff


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additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to San Diego Lawyer™, 401 West A Street, Suite 1100, San Diego, CA 92101. Copyright © 2020 by the San Diego County Bar Association. All rights ­reserved. Opinions expressed in San Diego Lawyer™ are those of the author only and are not opinions of the SDCBA or the San Diego Lawyer™ Interested contributors may submit article ideas to the editors at www.sdcba.org/SDLidea. Unsolicited articles will not be printed in San Diego Lawyer™. San Diego Lawyer™ reserves the right to edit all submissions, contributed articles and photographs at its sole discretion. The opinions expressed by the authors and editors in San Diego Lawyer ™ do not necessarily reflect an official position of the San Diego County Bar Association.

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Deans by Niels B. Schaumann, California Western School of Law



n this issue of San Diego Lawyer we are celebrating lawyers. Implicit in this is that we are celebrating good lawyers. But what does that actually mean? What makes a good lawyer? After 35 years practicing and teaching law, the following comes to mind. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it comprises a few essential characteristics I would encourage all law students — and practicing lawyers — to cultivate throughout their careers. • Enjoy learning. One of the things most lawyers say they like best about their practice is the ability to keep learning throughout their careers. New clients, new cases, new transactions — no matter the kind of practice, most lawyers are always learning something new. It helps if the lawyer welcomes and enjoys it. • Cognitive skills. Lawyers must be able to learn quickly and effectively. The law is constantly changing, as are the circumstances of the lawyer’s engagement. A good lawyer has to be able to process information quickly and “connect the dots” to see patterns. • Communication skills. The essence of a lawyer’s job is to communicate, both verbally and in writing. A good lawyer spots ambiguity and eliminates it, and is able to communicate with the client, the court and opposing counsel. This is no less important for transactional lawyers, who have to draft contracts with the utmost care. • Empathy. Good lawyers have to be able to put themselves “into the shoes” of their clients, and be able to understand the client’s objectives and advocate for them. It is also important to be able to understand the objectives of the opposing party. A lawyer who understands the interests of all parties will be a more effective advocate and negotiator. • Perseverance. This is important in research, but also in other aspects of practice (see "Communication skills" above). Drafting and, more importantly, redrafting requires the willingness to keep at it until the written document is as good as it can possibly be, within the constraints of the lawyer’s time and the client’s budget. • Analytical skills. A good lawyer can go through a mountain of materials, see the important parts and connect them to understand the facts and the law. When complemented by integrity, people skills, good judgment, creativity and compassion, lawyers who develop these characteristics set themselves up for success. They also help illustrate what is good and noble about practicing law, and why the profession should indeed be celebrated.

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | January/February 2020


Ethics by Edward McIntyre



uncan knocked on Macbeth’s open door. “Uncle, got a minute?”

“Always. Come in.” A young man followed Duncan. “Uncle, this is Duane. We’ve been having a … discussion. We’d like your thoughts.” “Let’s ask Sarah to join us.” With all four seated around the conference table, Macbeth asked, “What was the discussion about?” Duncan started. “Approaches to discovery.” “What’s the issue?” Duane picked up. “I represent a client that’s party to an indemnification agreement. The more ‘triggering events’ covered by the agreement, the more money my client receives. The parties couldn’t agree on more than one triggering event. So, we filed a declaratory relief action. Have the court determine the number of events.” “With you so far.” “The defendant served a set of interrogatories. The first asks ‘How many events happened, for which payment is due?'” “Sounds like a key question.” “That’s the problem. I don’t want to answer it. Not yet.”


“Why?” “The client’s documents suggest only one event. I need time to find more.” “You propose? “No more extensions to answer. Duncan and I were discussing — disagreeing about — a bunch of standard objections and then an answer that says: “The parties entered into an indemnification contract dated blah, blah, blah.’ Nothing more.” “But no number?” “No way.” “Duncan thought that a bad idea?” “How’d you know?” “Well-trained. I suspect Sarah agrees.” She nodded and smiled. “Shall we talk about your plan?” “Yes, but …” “The question is clear? Asks for a number? Number of events?”

Motion to compel. I’ll have to amend or supplement. Another answer. Perhaps buy more time. Meanwhile, my client has months to find more events that trigger payments. That’s the plan.” “Let’s consider some ethics rules that might apply. A new rule requires us not to use means with no substantial purpose other than delay or to cause needless expense. Another says we can’t unlawfully obstruct a party’s access to evidence or suppress evidence our client has a legal obligation to reveal. Yet another says, in representing a client, we can’t make a materially false statement to a third person. And there’s our obligation of candor to a tribunal. Make sure our client does the same.” “What’s that got to do with the interrogatory answer?” “The question calls for a number of events and it’s relevant?” “Yeah, but —” “The mumbo-jumbo answer about ‘the parties entered into a contract, etc.’ is just to buy time? Not for any other purpose?”

“Yes —” “Well —” “The number of events is relevant?” “It’s key.” “If you answer as you propose?” “They’ll object. Bunch of meetand-confer. Likely months of it.

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | January/February 2020

“Months of delay. Meeting-andconferring. Motions to compel. All cause expense?” “On both sides —” “Unnecessary expense — but for the

mumbo-jumbo answer.” “You’re saying it violates that new rule?” “The other party has a legitimate right to a straight answer to the question, does it not?” “You’re also saying I’m also interfering with their access to evidence?” “Think that’s a stretch?” “No, but —” “You’ll sign the answers and serve them on your opponent — a third person?” Cartoon by George W. Brewster Jr.

“Yes.” “Implying the answer accurately responds to the question — when you know it doesn’t?” “But the statement is true.” “Just not a true answer to the questions asked, no?” “OK, but —” “You’ll have a client representative verify the answer under oath?” “Yeah.” “Other rules prohibit assisting a client violate any law, rule or ruling of a tribunal or giving false evidence.” “OK.” “What about those documents you mentioned?” “I’ll delay producing them — until I absolutely have to.” “More delay? More obfuscation?”

“A motion to compel? Opposition? A court fight?” “In this case? Yeah.” “You’ll have to defend with a sworn declaration?” “I see where you’re going.” “Good. In addition to the ethics issues, think about your judge. He or she will see immediately you’re playing games.” “I guess.” “You’ve worked hard to build your reputation. Don’t damage it for this.” “How do I answer?” “Truthfully. If the answer is one event at this time, say it. Reserve the right, however, as discovery proceeds, to amend that answer if evidence supports more." “What do I tell my client? They won’t be happy.”

“Tell them the truth. You practice according to the Rules of Professional Conduct — because you have to. And because it’s good for the client, too, in the long run."

Editorial Note: The Rules of Professional Conduct to which Macbeth referred are Rules 3.2 [delay of litigation]; 3.4 [fairness to opposing party and counsel]; 4.1 [truthfulness in statements to others]; 3.3 [candor toward the tribunal] 1.2.1 [advising or assisting the violation of law] as well as Business and Professions code section 6068, subdivision (d) [candor to a tribunal].

Edward McIntyre (edmcintyre@ethicsguru.law) is a professional responsibility lawyer and co-editor of San Diego Lawyer.

“Well —”

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | January/February 2020


Technology by Bill Kammer



s we start a new decade, this column looks ahead to the changes and challenges of the New Year.

5G IS HERE — OR IS IT? This is probably not the time to drink the 5G Kool-Aid. The fifth generation of mobile device technology has arrived, but the product offerings are probably an unnecessary immediate investment. When complete, 5G will be the path of evolution from every carrier’s current 4G LTE technology. 5G basically involves two components. One component, available from some carriers, offers only a connection that greatly resembles the speed and characteristics of 4G LTE. The other component, the one that will offer high speeds and downloads, is probably at least a year away. The high-speed applications promised require high frequencies called mmWave. The basic rule of communications is that the higher the frequency, the shorter the distance that signals can travel. Most present mobile phone frequencies are below 2 gigahertz (GHz). mmWave frequencies that carriers will use will be above 24 GHz. They will only travel a short distance and cannot easily penetrate buildings. Additionally, only the latest mobile devices 12

are 5G capable, and some of the ones on the market cannot use the mmWave frequencies. Those 5G frequencies require infrastructure build-out that is in progress, but hardly completed. These manufacturing and infrastructure challenges have not prevented carriers from marketing 5G to customers. Some advertisements refer to mmWave rollouts that exist only in certain NFL stadiums or in a few cells in urban centers. Other ads refer to comprehensive national coverage, but only in the lower frequencies that provide the service that only resembles 4G LTE. Best advice is to wait and see what your carrier is offering; whether it is available in the areas where you live or work; and what mobile device models can use this new technology. This 5G rollout highly resembles the problems we experienced in the earliest days of cellular communication when a phone might work on only one carrier’s network and you had to determine if that carrier’s service was spotty or unavailable in the area near your home or office.

particularly in eDiscovery, ephemeral messaging will be another and further development. Ephemeral basically refers to applications that facilitate communications or collaboration, but which may not be preserved for a substantial period. Familiar names include Snapchat, WhatsApp, Telegram, Wickr and Signal. Their principal characteristic is a feature that will delete a message after a set period of time. Other messaging applications that facilitate collaboration in the workplace, such as Slack, may leave behind data or ESI that can be collected or analyzed. Much commentary discusses whether businesses are welladvised to allow the use of messaging apps or collaborative hangouts and whether or not they have a regulatory or ethical obligation to preserve the contents of those messages and conversations. Electronic discovery will focus on these applications and potentially implicate the evidentiary impact of the practices of an entity that does not require preservation of the content of those conversations.



I last wrote about texts being the new email. As 2020 develops,

Almost 40 states require technology competence for all attorneys.

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | January/February 2020

The ABA, the State Bar and the SDCBA have all issued opinions to that effect. Those opinions admonish attorneys to choose between learning the technology, working with someone who possesses it or declining a particular representation. Maintaining required competence is an evolving obligation that only gets more difficult with passing time. The areas affecting that competence include not only discovery but also cybersecurity, communications and encryption. We cannot pause in our efforts to maintain and enhance our competence without forsaking those ethical obligations.

LEGAL ANALYTICS Many software developers continue to produce and evolve products that allow attorney analysis of masses of data. Products are available for legal research, judicial research, electronic discovery and similar

endeavors. “Buyer Beware” continues to be cogent advice. Except for the efforts of law librarians, there is little consumer research or comparative rankings to assist attorneys in determining whether a particular product will enhance their ability to serve their clients, analyze contracts, or simplify the expense and effort of discovery. We must remain aware of developments in these areas that would justify a conclusion that the return on our investment, in time and expense, is worthwhile.

SMART HOMES AND OFFICES You can’t miss the ads for Alexa, Nest, Ring, Philips Hue and smart TVs. All depend on the internet of things (IoT), the linking of devices on a network that may not be secure. Late last year, the FBI issued a warning that your smart TV might be spying on you, noting that the

interconnection of unsecured devices might allow hackers to penetrate your home or office network, wreak havoc, corrupt functions or cyberstalk you. Basically, they issued a general reminder that the convenience of these devices may come at a cost that renders them a poor bargain. The only common thread to these thought categories is that 2020, and the years following, will involve a steady evolution of processes and devices we use daily at home or work. That evolution will affect our practices and experiences and require constant attention and learning. Climb aboard for the ride!

Bill Kammer (wkammer@swsslaw.com) is a Partner with Solomon Ward Seidenwurm & Smith, LLP.

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LEARNING TO BE A LAWYER Carole Buckner, Procopio partner and general counsel; Dan Eaton, Seltzer Caplan partner; and Tanya Schierling, partner and chair of Solomon Ward’s litigation department, discuss learning to be a lawyer. Ed McIntyre moderated. Substantially edited and condensed for space, their conversation follows.

Ed: Did you have a mentor? Carole: At every stage. That’s been important, especially because I’ve switched among different areas: prosecutor, educator, litigator. At each stage, mentors helped me learn.

experience was working with Jerry McMahon on one of his last trials. Mentorship through example is one great thing a lawyer can experience. Watching that man conducting cross-examination was a mentoring masterclass.

We owe it to the next generation of lawyers to tell them that. Ed: What do you wish you could have done earlier, looking back over a 24-, 30-, 35-year career?

Dan: Often, mentoring’s projectspecific. Thought of episodically — not a sustained guide over a career — you have mentors at critical stages. The value comes from the

Tanya: One thing we can tell them: we don’t expect you to know everything. In fact, if you think you know everything, that’s your first problem. We’re here to guide you, help you. You may feel we expect you to operate on a hundred cylinders all the time. But it’s OK if

Tanya: I started practice as a JAG attorney and can’t imagine a better way to start. You get hands-on experience immediately. Not just in the practice of law, but in briefing senior commanders. It’s a structure of respect and order; there’s comradery and mentorship, time to mentor young lawyers. I can’t say there’s something I would have done differently; that was the best experience of my life.

silent nudges you get, even when they’re unavailable, as you confront questions, and ask yourself, what would your mentor do? One great

you don’t know the answer. As lawyers we identify issues. Identify what you know, what you don’t. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Carole: I was a litigator for years. Still am in many respects. I wish I had tried more cases earlier.

Tanya: I’ve had senior mentors, junior mentors. All kinds. Still have them. They’re critical to the ethical and competent practice of law.


Ed: Tanya, what are your thoughts about young lawyers today?

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | January/February 2020

I worked with an experienced trial lawyer out of law school — that was great. I became a prosecutor later. In some ways, I wish I’d become a prosecutor earlier, had been in court and gotten that experience earlier, rather than mid-career. Ed: What mistakes were important to you in your development? Tanya: I think one thing you continue to learn is what you can control, and what you can’t. To make allowances for the things you can’t. For things you can control, make sure they’re buttoned down tight. I’m thinking about my first major trial. I thought it was just like a mechanical go-through, put the evidence on. Not realizing it’s about putting on a play. Persuasive effort. I had to think less myopically, more broadly. Carole: When I was in litigation, my initial attempts at discovery were pretty basic. After years of doing it, I learned to focus on what counted at trial, what made a difference. Also, listen to the opposition, to clients, to judges. Dan: Younger attorneys tend to focus project-specific; don’t see the proverbial forest through the trees. You try to learn all you can about a specific question; but when you find that answer, you can lose context. If you lose context, you lose the ability to put what you’re doing into the broader narrative. Maybe the answer you found isn’t the right one — in the broader context. The puzzle piece doesn’t fit exactly. The need to step back and look more broadly is one of the great lessons of experience.

Edward McIntyre, Dan Eaton

Tanya: No one could expect a brand-new lawyer to understand the whole context, but they should understand they don’t understand it. Dan: A bad outcome doesn’t equal a mistake. You learn from a bad outcome; you focus on what you might have done better, what to do differently. You’ll make mistakes. Wisdom comes from not making the same mistake twice. Education comes in recognizing a mistake from a non-mistake. That’s the value seasoned lawyers bring to clients and, importantly, to those they mentor. Ed: What was important in learning to be the lawyer you are? Carole: In my career I’ve tried a lot of new things. I started off doing business litigation. I did legal education. Ed: You were a law school dean. Carole: Yes. I became a federal prosecutor. I was never afraid when somebody presented an opportunity that looked interesting. Go ahead, take a leap, try it. My job now as general

counsel benefits from having that diverse background. Teaching evidence, ethics, civil procedure — all the classes I taught — understanding criminal law and federal investigations, all becomes valuable. Tanya: One thing I did in law school and continue to do is read fiction. It’s important to the lawyer I am today. From maintaining balance in my life, to maintaining a sense of humanity, to understanding good writing, seeing bad writing, being able to tell a story. Dan: Following Carole and Tanya, just as preparing a case is a narrative process, so is developing a career. One thing: Be alert to what lessons you’re learning. Be conscientious about building on the things you’ve experienced so you continue to grow. Recognize when you feel your muscles getting taxed — because of a new experience, because it’s a different kind of case, because of difficult personalities — all this ultimately makes you a better lawyer. The critical point: Don’t be afraid of launching in and accepting the challenge.

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | January/February 2020


different. It gets back to Tanya’s point: we are and have been since the beginning of our noble profession stewards of our client. When you ask me to look around the corner, I couldn’t possibly tell you what the specifics will be. I can tell you with some confidence that the core is going to be exactly what Tanya and Carole have already expressed. Ed: What one or two things from law school were important in your development? Dan: This gets to the point Tanya, you raised before, about the

Tanya Schierling, Carole Buckner

Ed: Tanya, you were JAG … Tanya: Then I was with one firm, went to another, left, went to the firm where I am now. New to the San Diego legal community, new to the practice of civil law, I didn’t know the business side — choosing a firm, what to look for. At each stage I learned and found something different and better. I feel like Goldilocks; the third firm — it’s a perfect fit. Ed: What learning experiences will prepare lawyers in practice three to five years, and five to eight years for practice in 20 years? Tanya: We are stewards of our clients. Approach every client as its steward; strive to understand their problem and solve it. Of course, you can only solve legal problems, but at least in my practice I feel I do a lot more around the edges. Patience, listening, compassion, but also be analytical. I told an


associate just yesterday our job is to tell our clients bad news. Yes, we’re their advocate to the world, but when we sit at a table with them, we tell them the worse case. A big part of our job is managing expectations. But be compassionate about it. Today, it’s become so individualized you can live in your own tunnel. It’s difficult to have that sense of stewardship for someone else. Carole: Progressively take on more responsibility to improve your capacity as a lawyer. You need to continue to grow to meet the needs of the clients; do that by having a diversity of experiences, with different people mentoring you. Dan: It gets to the point that Carole and Tanya have been making. The best way forward is to surround yourself with a variety of people whose experiences have been different from yours and whose practices have been

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | January/February 2020

importance of narrative and about the focus on consequences of acts as a means of persuasion. The other is the idea of being able to distill your whole case into one sentence, maybe two. Those seeds were planted in law school, and I was fortunate to be in places where those seeds were nurtured again and again. Carole: Two people. One was Justice Carol Corrigan, whom I had for trial advocacy, when she was a prosecutor — an incredible teacher. The other was Professor Downs, whom I had for civil procedure. He was not an academic, but a practical, successful, real trial lawyer. He made it sound like the most fun thing you could ever do. That was so attractive. Those two professors made an indelible impression on me. Tanya: I came to realize that there is a limitless ocean of knowledge. You will never know everything there is to know about any legal issue. No matter how expert you are. That’s a little daunting, but it’s also inspiring. I love that about the practice of law; the seed of it began in law school.

“The need to step back and look more broadly is one of the great lessons of experience.” - Dan Eaton Tanya (continued): Another thing I learned came from a domestic violence clinic in third year. For many of these people, the legal system isn’t the solution to their problems. We were young law students wanting to help. One of my colleagues said, remind yourself: these are not my facts. The facts are what they are. I can’t control them. I can try to build a story and progress from there, but I have to distance myself to some extent from the facts. That was particularly useful when I was a prosecutor, because the human condition can be depressing sometimes. Even in civil litigation, it’s an awesome responsibility when clients call and put their trust in your hands. You have to be their stewards, but also know, those are their facts, and I can’t change those facts.

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Dan: At the end of the day, young lawyers should say, “yes.” If you do, remarkable opportunities will open up and will build on those you’ve already had. If you get into the habit of saying yes, seizing opportunities, you will build upon them one at a time. When you look back, decades later, you’re going to be pretty satisfied. Ed: Thank you all. Wonderful.

THINK OUTSIDE THE Edward McIntyre (edmcintyre@ethicsguru.law) is a professional responsibility lawyer and co-editor of San Diego Lawyer.



SAN DIEGO LAWYER | January/February 2020



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he San Diego legal community is full of talented and generous lawyers. This article highlights a few of those individuals who volunteer their time to the community, in both personal and professional capacities. Whether it's coaching basketball or providing pro bono legal services, these lawyers give time to make our community the best it can be.

A League of Their Own By George W. Brewster Jr.


very Tuesday night from January through March, you’ll find Christopher Welsh in court. Or rather, on the basketball courts at Meadowbrook Middle School in Poway. And instead of his normal day job as a litigator with the Office of County Counsel advocating for a client, he is helping athletes with developmental disabilities advocate for themselves. For the past 15 years, Christopher has been a volunteer coach and organizer for the Challenge League, a basketball program for individuals with autism, Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities that is under the umbrella of the Poway Youth Basketball League (PYBL). The PYBL was organized over 40 years ago as a “typical kids league” said Christopher. Ten years into the program, one of the parents in the stands, Linda Bradbury, saw how her developmentally disabled 10-year-old loved hanging next to the court and playing with the ball whenever he could. This sparked the creation of the Challenge League. Today, over 90 athletes participate in a threetiered system, with the least-skilled taking the courts for the first hour, the more adept players working on court skills and in games in the second hour, and the third hour predominately game play. Christopher and his hardworking volunteer assistant coaches give personal

guidance to each of the athletes whose ages range from 10 to 49, and who come from all over North Inland San Diego County. Christopher learned of the Challenge League while he was a member of the PYBL Board, and when he went to see one of the Challenge League sessions he saw “it was the best of basketball — everyone was happy to be there, and they were very supportive of each other.” Christopher particularly likes the small victories that seem to occur during each session. “There is usually some sort of success or happy moment and the spectators react with the athlete. It is very rewarding to watch — I’d pay to do this!”

Christopher Welsh

San Diego Office of County Counsel

Linda Bradbury, who continues to oversee the Challenge League — and whose son is a participant — called Christopher “a wonderful partner in overseeing the program. I couldn’t do it without him. Chris sees the potential in each one of these kids.” Recently, Christopher organized appearances by local firefighters and law enforcement officers, who came to talk about their professions and then took to the courts with the athletes. “Chris wanted our kids to know these are our friends,” said Linda. “The parents love watching their kids have fun — that’s what it is all about,” said Christopher.

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | January/February 2020


What One Lawyer Can Do By Edward McIntyre


Nancy Aeling HR Results

young man from Cameroon — target of government persecution — escaping jail in a trash can, fled to the United States. He met a lawyer who, with three months of intense pro bono work, mounted his asylum case, took it to hearing and successfully argued his entitlement to remain. In a year, he will apply for residency; in five years, citizenship. She also helped him find a job — with one promotion already — and enroll as a full-time student at Mesa College. He will major in chemistry, eventually to become a doctor. Finally, his lawyer found him a place to live — her parents’ former home in Point Loma where she grew up. Nancy (née Berner) Aeling, formerly a Paul Plevin employment lawyer, wanted to do something while on medical leave. Introduced to Sister Ann Durst, SHCJ, the Catholic nun/lawyer who co-founded Casa Cornelia Law Center, Nancy

was hooked. After training, and with help from a mentor, she represented her first Casa Cornelia clients in an asylum proceeding — a woman from Eretria and her 5-year-old daughter. Following a two-year struggle, asylum was granted. Through a Good Samaritan, the woman and child now have an apartment and the daughter, in school, is thriving. Nancy is currently preparing asylum trials for a teacher and a journalist both also from Cameroon — targets of government and separatist attacks. “Handling an immigration case is like trying a capital case in traffic court. I love it.” And, of course, she keeps a watchful eye on her Cameroon student. Nancy received the Distinguished Pro Bono Attorney of the Year La Mancha Award on October 19.

Unsung Heroes Help Keep a Promise By Edward McIntyre


asa Cornelia Law Center is committed to ensuring that no unaccompanied child in custody would face an immigration judge — without a lawyer. It has kept that promise 100% because some 200 San Diego lawyers represent Casa Cornelia clients pro bono.

Casa Cornelia Law Center

As supervising attorney Jesse Imbriano explained, Casa Cornelia is a public interest law firm providing high-quality legal services to indigent persons in the immigrant community who are victims of human and civil rights violations. It provides free representation to asylum seekers going through the immigration process; detained, unaccompanied children; and undocumented victims of crime, including domestic violence and human trafficking — among the immigrant community’s most vulnerable. The 200 unsung heroes who volunteer come from San Diego’s major international firms, and its medium-sized and smaller firms. Many are


SAN DIEGO LAWYER | January/February 2020

solo practitioners. After selecting an area of interest — asylum, unaccompanied children, victims of violence — a lawyer receives training in the basic area of law and procedure. The lawyer then works with a senior lawyer mentor, typically on one case at a time. An asylum case involves a 150-hour commitment; an unaccompanied child, 80-hour; and a violence victim, 50-hour. The pro bono program is mentorship heavy, affording an opportunity for genuine lawyering. It permits the lawyer to represent a client where the outcome could mean life or death; to marshal evidence and present it at trial; examine witnesses; and argue to a court. Casa Cornelia has stayed true to its mission of representing the most vulnerable among the immigrant community with legitimate claims for protection. Thanks to 200 San Diego lawyers contributing their talent and time, it continues that mission.

Lawyers Who Give By Renée Stackhouse


rom Big Brothers, Big Sisters to Make-A-Wish Foundation, Jessica Klarer Pride gives wholeheartedly to every organization of which she is a part. After completing seven years as a Big Sister, Jessica had her first sexual assault case as a newer lawyer. It moved her and she knew it was her next calling. She reached out to Center for Community Solutions (CCS), San Diego’s only rape crisis center, and took the 60-hour training to become a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) advocate so that she could be a responder. Once CCS found out she was a lawyer, they had a different request: help empower the survivors by representing them in civil court.

to join the Board, and then skyrocketed to President of the Board within one year. Not only is she responsible for the governance of the organization, she also puts her heart and soul into it. She brought the “What Were You Wearing” exhibit to San Diego (to stop the victim blaming/shaming conversation) and underwrote a two-day training on forensic experiential traumatic interview techniques, which was provided free of charge to the SDPD, CHP and California Medical Investigators. Jessica spends countless hours, in addition to managing The Pride Law Firm and being mom to two beautiful children, working to raise awareness about — and to end — sexual assault. She notes that 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted in college. She wants better for her daughter, Nyah.

Jessica Klarer Pride

The Pride Law Firm

Today, she continues to help survivors find closure through justice. Jessica was asked



wo local law schools’ incubator programs for new solo practitioners host free clinics to assist members of the public with a wide variety of legal needs.

the Center for Solo Practitioners and the SDCBA’s immediate past president. “The work is extremely rewarding, and I highly recommend this type of service to all California lawyers.”

Thomas Jefferson School of Law’s Center for Solo Practitioners hosts a clinic at the El Cajon Library every Wednesday from 1-3 p.m.

California Western School of Law’s Access to Law Initiative also hosts two clinics each month. The ALI Legal Clinic is held the second and fourth Thursday of the month at the San Diego LGBT Community Center.

The center also holds a clinic on the first Tuesday of every month from 4-6 p.m. at the Sherman Heights Community Center and one on the third Monday of every month from 3-5 p.m. at the Otay Mesa-Nestor Library. “The clinics provide lawyers with an opportunity to use their skills and education to help educate and guide people who have often been alienated by or denied access to the legal system,” said Lilys McCoy, director of

“The primary goal of the ALI Legal Clinic is to provide access to legal services for those in our community who fall into what is termed the ‘access to justice gap,’ meaning those individuals who earn more than the maximum income threshold allowed to qualify for free legal services, but not enough to afford the fees typically charged by local attorneys,” said

Matthew Lab, director of the Access to Law Initiative. Meanwhile, ALI’s Neighborhood Business Law Clinic (NBLC) serving small businesses is held at the San Diego Law Library by appointment. “These businesses are typically the corner grocer, the neighborhood restaurant, the laundromat, gas station, landscaper and flower shop, which often go at it alone when it comes to dealing with common legal issues that impact their business,” Lab said. “The NBLC strives to change that.” Both incubator programs’ clinics are not available on holidays. Lyle Moran (@lylemoran) is a freelance legal reporter..

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | January/February 2020



L-R: D.A. Summer Stephan, Judge Dana Sabraw, Christine Pangan, Valentine Hoy, Judge Margo Lewis Hoy


e recently sat down with two well-known San Diego dual legal-career couples to get a glimpse of their lives. D.A. Summer Stephan and Judge Dana Sabraw as well as Judge Margo Lewis Hoy and Valentine Hoy, Partner at Allen Matkins, discussed how being legal professionals affects their work-life balance, families and relationship dynamic. Is there ever competitiveness between you as a couple? Or does envy arise because one might be receiving awards or the other is on the bench? D.A. Stephan: I consider us “one,” but we have our independent lives too. So there’s actually a lot of pride and joy when things are going well for him and he’s getting recognized for good work, which he doesn’t like. He always says that the best judging happens in anonymity, but sometimes that’s not what the cards hold. Judge Sabraw: I can honestly say, over 33 years of marriage, I’ve never once felt jealous or envious of Summer. It’s always the opposite. I always feel so good when Summer gets recognized. The common work that we do with the law is really a source of strength in 22

our marriage. One of us being recognized is always really exciting. Mr. Hoy: I agree with that. There’s never been any jealousy or envy. I want Margo to be recognized. I know what she’s capable of and how good she is at what she does and I want everyone to see and recognize that. That really makes me feel good. However, we have some competitiveness because we both grew up as competitive athletes, students and people. But that’s a function of our personalities more than it is our job. Judge Hoy: Val’s such an amazing litigator, I don’t know that I could beat him. He’s really good, so I’m very proud of that. Val really has a way of taking it down to the facts and the rules. How does your relationship dynamic work? D.A. Stephan: You think that you don’t have time to nurture a relationship because you’re so busy. However, the way we think about it is life happens all through the day and the relationship happens all through the day. You invest in what you prioritize, and family is something that we both prioritize, even though we work long hours. Even a text, a call, riding together to work or a quick frozen yogurt break, something very small connecting us is really important.

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | January/February 2020

By Seth Garrett and Christine Pangan

Judge Hoy: I attended a conference for the California CPAs through the Family Law Seminar and the night I finished, instead of coming straight home, Val decided to come up for the day, work out of his San Francisco office, and we had a good dinner and a little bit of shopping in San Francisco before we returned home. Do you ever, now or in the past, run legal matters by each other? Mr. Hoy: Yes, sometimes I want to know whether my explanation of something is easy to comprehend or whether I’m so deep in the weeds that it’s not coming across clearly. So I might try something out that way. However, I don’t know that I would ever ask Margo if she thinks my argument is right or wrong. That’s my job. But I do want to know whether it’s easy to follow. D.A. Stephan: Yes, but we are very independent-minded about our responsibilities and duties. I would say it really is more as a sounding board. Somebody to actually listen to you as you process all the different sides of it. Along the journey of talking with someone you trust about how you’re trying to make the decision, they may bring up something you haven’t considered.

Judge Sabraw: I really respect Summer’s judgment. So, of course, I seek her advice on all matters in general, but I have to be careful with case-specific issues and what we’re really respectful of are the lanes that we’re in. Summer’s an executive branch official and I am in the judiciary, and they are separate and independent. We honor each other’s role and what we do. What are some examples of how you support your spouse? Judge Hoy: Professionally we support each other, it just comes naturally. However, I think the support for us is more the joined lives and the fact that he inherited two teenagers

and the support that he gives me, understanding that I was running from the courthouse to the schoolhouse to the soccer field. I think Val fit in beautifully to that work-life balance that I struggled for a long time to develop. He’s very supportive of that.

Summer and I are empty nesters now. It’s a new chapter. What we do, every day without fail, is hear the story of each other’s day. No matter how late it is, she comes home and tells me what she did and I tell her what I did. We care.

Mr. Hoy: On a professional level, we do go to one another’s events. We support each other in that way. I also think we try to divide up responsibilities because we both have busy professional lives and we understand that. I think it’s both professional and personal.

D.A. Stephan: It may be very brief depending how late we get home, but it’s still the story of the day. Relationships are all about respect and love. One doesn’t work without the other. It’s the small things that become the big things in a marriage, especially a busy marriage. Dana will say something that will transform the challenge in front of me to something that I can handle. It’s just about being there.

Judge Sabraw: I think the key way to support each other is just by being present in each other’s lives.

Seth Garrett (sgarrett@allenmatkins.com) is

Christine Pangan (cipangan@yahoo.com)

an Associate at Allen Matkins Leck Gamble

served as co-editor of San Diego Lawyer

Mallory & Natsis LLP.

in 2019 and is a Lead Attorney at the Legal Aid Society of San Diego, lnc.



For Formore moreinformation informationvisit visit www.neutralcheck.com www.neutralcheck.com




Johanna Schiavoni 2020 SDCBA PRESIDENT By Rebecca Kanter


magine walking into a bar association event with hundreds of people and not knowing anyone except the other junior attorney you came with. You see clusters of veteran lawyers talking to important-looking people who appear to be judges. No one approaches you to talk or invites you to their discussion. You sit down at a table of new faces, but no one introduces themselves. You don’t talk to anyone else, except the one person you came with. You leave the event, and you never go back.


This might sound like one of those commonly recurring nightmares – ⁠ like the one where you’re speaking to an audience and realize you’re not wearing pants. But in this case, it was a real lived experience, one that new SDCBA President Johanna Schiavoni recounted in her remarks after being sworn in at Stepping Up to the Bar on December 13, 2019. Johanna told the story of attending that bar association event when she was a relatively new lawyer living in

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | January/February 2020

New York and working as an associate at a big law firm. She contrasted that discouraging and alienating experience to the inclusiveness and welcoming atmosphere she found in the San Diego legal community after moving here in 2006. That spirit of community and inclusion has been a hallmark of Johanna’s service throughout her life and will be a significant theme in the coming year as she takes the helm of the region’s largest voluntary bar association.

COMMUNITY AND INCLUSION RUN DEEP “Community” and “inclusion” are among the SDCBA’s core values, formalized in 2018. Not only do they provide a strong statement from the SDCBA, they match Johanna’s personal values. The outsider status Johanna felt attending that bar association event years ago was an echo, in a way, of a feeling that lingered since she was a teenager watching the events unfolding at the confirmation hearing of Associate Justice Clarence Thomas. The tableau of (all white, all male, mostly older) Senators seated on the dais in the so-called greatest deliberative body in the world, presiding over the confirmation hearing, brought issues of male privilege, power, sexual harassment, and race to the fore for 15-year-old Johanna, and left her with a sinking feeling. As a high school sophomore, she observed – even if she could not yet fully articulate – how institutions and centers of power can be forces for good or can be used to exclude certain people. With that foreboding, a seed was planted: you can fight systems of power, work within them, or – with the right skill and dexterity – try to do both. Since then, Johanna has charted the latter course, working within existing systems to improve her community, but also pushing institutions and people, and dissenting as necessary, to advance her ideals of inclusion, progress, and justice for all.

A FOUNDATION BUILT EARLY Johanna’s adaptability and drive to build bridges was imprinted on her early in life. By the age of eight,

she had already lived in three very different places. She was born in Cleveland, Ohio. But when she was four, Johanna’s family moved to the rural Berkshires in Massachusetts. Her town was so small that the opening of a new pizza restaurant was call for a city-wide celebration. It was there that Johanna learned downhill skiing, starting to compete at the ripe age of five. She gained fearlessness on the slopes, a trait that would prove beneficial as she moved to new places and started new life chapters. In third grade, Johanna’s family moved again, this time to Louisville, Kentucky. The City of Louisville, with seven shopping malls, was a big change from the Berkshires. Johanna learned not only to acclimate to a more metropolitan environment, but to quickly make a new set of friends from scratch. She was involved in team activities, playing field hockey, serving as Student Council President, and playing competitive tennis. It was in

middle and high school that Johanna also found an outlet in the arts – painting, drawing, and ceramics. A study-abroad exchange with a student from Spain during her junior year further opened her eyes to the benefits of travel, experiencing new places and cultures, and deeply listening to others’ life journeys. But, it wasn’t always easy. At age 16, after being sick for nearly a year, Johanna was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease. It was a relief to have a name for the illness, but there was a long road to recovery and managing a chronic illness requires diligence and care. Johanna credits this lifelong experience with helping her develop heightened empathy for others and her strong belief that everyone has their “story,” and simply wants to be seen and heard. During college, Johanna initially pursued an interest in pre-medicine studies at Washington University in St. Louis, but landed on her true passion after taking an American politics class during the height of the 1996 Presidential election

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | January/February 2020


campaign. She then refocused her studies on political science, women’s studies, and art. A senior seminar on the death penalty sealed Johanna’s desire to attend law school. Reading the U.S. Supreme Court’s jurisprudence about state-sanctioned homicide and the intersection with issues of race, gender, youth, and mental capacity highlighted how decisions by the government, courts, and citizens affect people’s lives in the most consequential of ways.

Johanna brings so many talents to the table, not necessarily typical of lawyer leaders. She has always been intellectually curious and an engaged student, but didn’t know she was going to be a lawyer. She painted in high school and college, honing her observational skills and embracing the creative side of her brain. Because of her extraordinary curiosity, she looks at people’s talents differently and often sees others for more than they see in themselves.   — ⁠ Sara Schiavoni, Johanna’s sister and a professor of political science

EMBRACING CHANGE In making the choice about law school, Johanna had the opportunity to attend Northwestern in Chicago (where she knew lots of people) or UCLA (where she knew no one). She chose UCLA School of Law because of its robust public interest program; the warm weather and great outdoors were a bonus. Packing up her car to make the cross-country trek to Los Angeles in 1999, Johanna recalls an excitement about going West and taking on a new challenge. Of course, it didn’t take long for Johanna to establish a new network of friends and colleagues at UCLA. I have experienced Johanna’s efforts as a community builder first-hand. We first met two decades ago, when she was a 2L at UCLA School of Law and Johanna was randomly assigned to be my student mentor as I entered my 1L year. One of my first and most enduring memories of Johanna is walking through the hallways of the law school together as she gave me her insider’s tour, where she greeted or was greeted by everyone (or so it seemed to me). Students, faculty and staff alike, it seemed Johanna knew everyone and everything. She gave me outstanding strategic advice throughout law school (about which professors were great, which journals

to join, which judges to apply to clerk for), and not simply out of obligation as my peer mentor; Johanna was an authentic and organic unofficial mentor and friend to many. She is the same today. After graduating in 2002, Johanna clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder, gaining exposure to a wide variety of cases. Ultimately, it was intellectual property (IP) law that really attracted Johanna. Being in Los Angeles, there was no shortage of fascinating IP cases around patents, trademarks, and copyrights, with big money at stake. Following her clerkship, Johanna set out for New York to practice at top-tier firm Latham & Watkins. She found the work challenging and exciting, participating in a number of patent and trademark cases that went to trial in federal courts from New York to Texas. But life at a large law firm also presented challenges. In addition to the long hours, when working IP cases, Johanna often was the only woman in the room and more than once was mistaken for a secretary or court reporter. Her mentors worked hard to keep her at the firm, but as the challenges of Big Law set in, Johanna sought a way to transition back to the West Coast. In 2006, Johanna landed her dream job. She moved to San Diego for a clerkship on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit with Judge Margaret McKeown. It was here that she was welcomed into a more collegial and supportive legal community and was able to pursue her broad passions and interests ranging from the arts to politics to community service.

L-R: Johanna Schiavoni, Rod Rezaee, Grayson Rezaee, Benjamin Rezaee, Sara Schiavoni, Suzanne Schiavoni, Michael Schiavoni

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Johanna Schiavoni, with the 2013-14 Board of Lawyers Club of San Diego

I was privileged to have Johanna as one of my early law clerks in San Diego. From the time I first met her, I knew she was focused on the importance of justice. She also brought a special community spirit to chambers. Even as a new lawyer, she saw the value of being part of the larger legal community and the broader San Diego region. Music is one of her passions and soon after leaving her clerkship, she helped kickstart a support group for La Jolla Music Society. She has done an amazing job juggling an active appellate practice with a commitment to women’s rights, civil rights, community organization, and regional governance. I salute her as she becomes president of the San Diego County Bar Association. — ⁠ Hon. M. Margaret McKeown, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

SETTING A COURSE FOR LEADERSHIP WITH THE MINDSET “PEOPLE COME FIRST” After her Ninth Circuit clerkship, Johanna returned to Latham & Watkins (San Diego) with a focus on appellate practice, and it was through the firm’s 100% club membership that she first became involved in the SDCBA. Never one to simply come to events, Johanna joined the Appellate Practice Section and became Chair of the Civil Rules Committee and then Programs Chair. It was in that Section that Johanna forged key relationships, found mentors, and built the confidence that led to opening her own appellate law practice in 2013. Richard Huver, the SDCBA’s President in 2015, was one of Johanna’s early champions in San Diego. Shortly after meeting Johanna through the Inns of Court in 2009, he became “impressed with her intellect, drive, and presence,” so he “encouraged Johanna to seek

out leadership roles and has watched her rise as a clear leader in the San Diego legal community.” He and Johanna worked together as she stepped up her SDCBA involvement with her work on the Court Funding Action Committee. The Committee was formed in response to deep state funding cuts to the courts between 2007 and 2012, which impeded access to justice. Already politically active, Johanna was able to leverage relationships with elected officials to lobby for the issue. One pivotal piece of advice she received from a state senator was that to gain attention among other critical issues like poverty, homelessness, and healthcare, they would have to show “the blood and guts” of the issue ⁠ – in other words, tell a compelling story of the consequences of the cuts. She brought this back to the Committee, which refined its messaging to tell deeply compelling stories of people being hurt by the lack of access to the courts.

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | January/February 2020


and laser-sharp focus to running the SDCBA, or to any organization, that she does to her law practice. — Elaine Lawrence, Executive Director, Lawyers Club of San Diego

Around this time, Johanna participated in a leadership program that inspired her and fellow attorney Colin Parent to co-found in 2011 the San Diego Leadership Alliance (SDLA), a local nonprofit organization focused on building a network of progressive young professionals. SDLA’s flagship program is a six-month leadership institute that provides training in professional skills ranging from public policy and communications, to fundraising and grassroots organizing. Key goals are creating a pipeline of talented and passionate young professionals in San Diego, helping them get connected to each other and to seasoned leaders, and equipping them with skills to advance in their jobs or to take on leadership roles. Many of the now 200-plus alumni of the leadership institute have sought out job promotions, lead nonprofits or serve on their boards, or serve in appointed or elected government office.

When we ran the SDLA together, the organization really benefited from Johanna’s training and perspective as an attorney. One of the key things she was most successful in doing is ensuring that the other board members and participants in the 28

program were able to develop leadership skills and opportunities for themselves and I think that is a valuable perspective she’ll bring to the leadership of the Bar Board. — Colin Parent, La Mesa City Councilmember and Head of the mobility and land use think tank Circulate San Diego Johanna also expanded her legal community involvement by pursuing leadership in Lawyers Club of San Diego, the bar association with the mission to advance the status of women in the law and society. Elected to that board in 2010, she then served as Lawyers Club’s president from 2013-2014. During her presidency, the organization thrived, achieving its highest membership to date, and hosted retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor – that Court’s first female justice – as the keynote speaker at its 2014 annual dinner.

I first met Johanna in 2011 when she was a member of the interview team that hired me as Executive Director of Lawyers Club. Johanna is an accomplished attorney who will bring the same level of attention, boundless energy,

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | January/February 2020

After concluding her board service at Lawyers Club, Johanna took time to focus on her solo law practice, leaning on resources and relationships at the SDCBA. Then, several Board members encouraged her to run for the SDCBA Board. She was elected and started her term in 2016. Early in her service, she helped craft a policy for making public statements and served as the inaugural chair of the Public Positions Advisory Committee. In 2017, she served as Treasurer and helped reinforce the Board’s focus on the organization’s finances as the “foundation of the house” from which their member-focused offerings were built. Johanna’s successor in the SDCBA Treasurer role appreciated not only her expertise but also her guidance as he followed her in the role.

I distinctly remember our Treasurer transition lunch meeting ... She literally handed me a scripted game plan that she humbly referred to as “just some notes” I put together. I left that meeting with two things: a new-found respect and appreciation for her work ethic, and a confidence I was prepared to hit the ground running as Treasurer to accomplish the goals in front of me. — Christopher Lawson, 2018 SDCBA Treasurer

Johanna’s leadership abilities and her deep passion for improving the broader community also caught the attention of elected leaders. In late 2017, Johanna was tapped by Mayor Kevin Faulconer for a seat on the Board of Directors of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. After receiving strong support from leaders in the labor and business communities, Johanna was unanimously confirmed by the San Diego City Council to a Board seat in February 2018. The Airport’s Board oversees its CEO, General Counsel, and Chief Auditor, and Johanna serves as Chair of the Executive Personnel and Compensation Committee. The experience Johanna has gained helped inform the SDCBA Board’s recruitment of its new Executive Director, Jill Epstein, in 2019. Johanna’s consistent advancement to leadership roles has not surprised Lilys McCoy, her immediate predecessor as SDCBA President. They have worked closely together for years in the legal community and at the SDCBA.

Johanna is a leader’s leader. She cares deeply about ethical and consistent application of the best practices around corporate and nonprofit governance, while also remembering to honor each person she works with as individuals who have unique talents and approaches. — Lilys McCoy, 2019 SDCBA President  Embracing the change that comes with her Bar presidency, after nearly seven years with a thriving sole appellate practice, Johanna has embarked on a new chapter. She recently joined the California Appellate Law Group LLP, an appellate specialty firm with offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and is helping launch the firm’s San Diego office. Chairman Ben Feuer says of the decision to recruit Johanna to the firm, “Johanna is a supremely talented appellate expert and we are delighted to welcome her to our dynamic and exciting high-end appellate boutique.”

San Diego County Bar Association 2020 Board of Directors

In her personal and professional life, Johanna embodies the SDCBA’s core values of growth, innovation and leadership. She also works hard to celebrate the SDCBA’s members and the profession. These values will drive Johanna’s leadership of the SDCBA moving forward.

2020 VISION: PAVING THE ROAD TO TRANSFORMATION Johanna has a clear vision for the SDCBA’s future. It starts with cohesion. Johanna has always viewed cohesion of a board of directors, and strong working relationships with staff, as critical to the success of any organization. At the SDCBA, she experienced this first-hand in late 2018 when three senior staff members transitioned out of the Bar to retire or pursue new career passions. While the timing was challenging, the end-result illustrated what great team cohesion looks like. Board members closely collaborated and shared the load to support the

Johanna with her Book Club

staff team. The result: the collective kept the Bar operating while the Board recruited and onboarded Executive Director Jill Epstein, who joined the SDCBA in March of 2019. Only a cohesive team of staff and volunteer leadership could have pulled this off so seamlessly. One of Johanna’s top priorities is to nourish and preserve this culture of cohesion and collaboration at the SDCBA.

I am excited to partner with Johanna in 2020! She has creative ideas for programming and engagement that directly tie into our core values. Stay tuned! — Jill Epstein, Executive Director Another top priority: promoting diversity and inclusion. This is one of the pressing issues that originally inspired Johanna to run for the Board. More than buzzwords to Johanna, diversity and inclusion mean changing perceptions of what an expert legal practitioner looks like. It is not hard to find experts from diverse backgrounds – whether demographically or experientially. Yet historically, lawyers from diverse backgrounds have been vastly underrepresented in panel discussions, educational events, and in leadership roles. Johanna was among a group that proposed a policy change adopted in 2018, which broadly defined diversity within the SDCBA and required that


Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

at least a quarter of all speakers in educational programs come from diverse backgrounds. The policy also sets a 50% requirement by 2022. The SDCBA is leading the way among metro bar associations to elevate diversity and inclusion through action. In this same vein, Johanna has worked for several years to increase diversity on the SDCBA Board itself. The 2020 Board is one of the most diverse in the organization’s history, and the goal is to make this the norm, not the exception, going forward. Johanna also will strive to help the SDCBA open doors to connect lawyers with opportunities to serve in the broader community. The SDCBA can be the catalyst to raise the visibility of fulfilling leadership opportunities and facilitate access to them. To that end, the SDCBA will continue its Leadership Speaker Series, and will launch a formal Leadership Academy in 2020, with the goal of inspiring and training lawyers to contribute their unique knowledge, expertise, and talents by serving on nonprofit or corporate boards, in leadership of law firms or in-house legal departments, as judges, or in appointed or elected government positions. Johanna also welcomes the opportunity for the 2020 Board to develop a new three-year strategic plan. Building on the association’s core values, the Board will be identifying strategic focus areas to

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | January/February 2020

Uyuni Salt Flat, Bolivia

best serve the SDCBA’s membership and to set the organization’s course for years to come. Those who have served with her are confident Johanna will help the SDCBA achieve its goals. Superior Court Judge Loren Freestone, who worked with Johanna on the SDCBA Board and served as President in 2017, observed that, “Johanna has the ability to rally people around her because she’s rational, reasonable, and is always able to bring a new and unique perspective, that no one thought of, to the issues facing the Bar.” Ultimately, Johanna’s vision for 2020 is to pave the way for transformational change at the SDCBA by creating a cutting-edge support system to help lawyers to thrive. This ranges from helping lawyers develop and progress as leaders, to supporting them to run successful, fulfilling law practices as businesses, to helping them achieve harmony between their work and personal lives, to creating a truly representative, richly diverse and inclusive legal community.

Rebecca Kanter, Esq. is a graduate of UCLA School of Law and prosecutes white collar cases.


We asked our 2019 fellows and employers about their summer. They reflected on the program and the importance of inclusion efforts in our profession.* *These two narratives were inadvertantly omitted from the Diversity issue of San Diego Lawyer (November/December 2019).

RIMON, PC Juan Zuniga — Attorney

Chae Kim — California Western

Diversity is one of our core values. It transcends our culture and allows attorneys to practice law with greater skill, nuance, sensitivity and impact.

One important takeaway from my DFP fellowship is that diversity in the legal community will not just happen on its own; it requires active advocacy. Although programs like the DFP and other organizations that encourage diversity have made much progress, there is still more work to be done.



Lationa Simpson-James —

Chief Deputy District Attorney

California Western

The creation of an inclusive workplace culture is the key to implementing a successful diversity and inclusion program. The commitment to diversity and inclusion must start with the executive leadership team and must be embraced at all levels of an organization.

Including minority groups in the legal community can only bring good things. New perspectives break groupthink and force people to check their own biases no matter how uncomfortable that may be. I plan to devote my career to opening the door for others.




San Diego's Lawyer Artists By James Crosby and Renée Stackhouse

Top L to R: Deborah Wolfe, Justice; Nannette Farina, Horses; Bottom L to R: David Majchrzak, MJ; David Majchrzak, Tommy Trojan; David Majchrzak, Frog for Morgan; Deborah Wolfe, Blossom Valley


rganized, structured, methodical, tactical, deadline-oriented, device-laden, neatly stacked documents on sleek desks, always busy, always working, always billing — these common (and commonly inaccurate) perceptions of lawyers seem far removed from notions of artistic inspiration and individual creativity, and from sketchpads, easels and paint. But is that accurate or fair? Are the traits that make lawyers successful incompatible with those that could make them happy, fulfilled and successful artists? Can one be both a busy, successful lawyer and an active, creative artist? These three San Diego lawyer-artists say, “Yes. Why not?”

Nannette Farina, Portrait


Nannette Farina has a long career practicing successfully in complex business, commercial and bankruptcy litigation matters. She is also an active, working artist. Her work has shown in juried art shows and she has successfully sold pieces and worked on commission. She paints and draws with an array of materials and regularly displays her work on social media. Nannette also had early childhood art experiences, painting and drawing with a neighbor. She started to dabble again with art 15 years ago in connection with her travels. When she traveled, she would create and send to family members postcard sketches and watercolors of the sights. Then, as an outlet from her busy practice, she started regularly sketching at the San Diego Museum of Art and meeting up with other local artists.  She then moved into painting in oil and acrylic as well as watercolor, and her painting has accelerated in the last five years. She received first place at the San Diego County Fair Mini Masterpiece watercolor contest last year. Recently, her work has been shown in a juried art show at the San Diego Watercolor Society, where she received a second place award. Painting is a passion for Nannette (“I just love it”), an integral part of her life, and a good release from the pressures of practicing law. Nannette also believes everyone should investigate their artistic side — “I believe everyone is an artist in their right and in their own way.” Nannette’s art can be seen at nannettefarinaart.weebly.com and on Instagram at @nannettefarinaart.

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | January/February 2020

Deborah Wolfe is a busy, well-known and highly respected San Diego plaintiff’s trial lawyer. She is also a working artist. She paints almost every week. She works with, mentors and is mentored by other San Diego artists. Her works have been displayed and sold at juried art fairs and shows in San Diego. Through social events and gatherings centered on art, she has introduced numerous friends and colleagues to painting and the arts. And she loves it; it’s a passion, an integral part of her active lawyer life. Deborah was exposed to painting at an early age — her parents were both amateur artists. In the early 2000s, Deborah started to take painting classes as an outlet from her busy practice and personal life. She learned to draw and moved to experimenting with other materials. She started to attend and host at her home meet-ups with other San Diego artists. “Bring a dish, a piece of art, and a story to go with it” was the invitation to one such event at her home. Her interest and involvement in painting and the arts has continued to expand, and painting remains a good outlet from her law practice. Deborah enjoys being a lawyer but painting and being creative feeds Deborah’s creative soul and has led her to new adventures. In recent years, Deborah has become a jazz singer, regularly performing with some of San Diego’s best jazz musicians. Deborah’s art can be seen at www.fascinatorart.com

Deborah Wolfe, Marilyn

David Majchrzak, The Lovers

David Majchrzak is a shareholder at Klinedinst, PC and seasoned ethicist, civil litigator and certified specialist by the State Bar of California in legal malpractice law. Many in the legal community may be stunned to learn that David is an incredibly talented artist, as it is not common knowledge. As a young man, David found an early affinity for art projects and thanks to his local school district, painting in elementary school was mandatory. He continued his artistic efforts through high school, bringing to life characters and monsters from Dungeons & Dragons. When he left for college, his art took a backseat to studying and eventually stopped altogether. A few years ago, David took a Connoisseur Cruise, where he befriended several artists and “got the bug” to do something creative again. He asked his family for art supplies for his birthday and began stretching his artistic muscles. David paints for himself, his family and a few fortunate friends. He has also donated his work to a nonprofit fundraiser for California Women Lawyers, creating a bidding war for his work and bringing in the largest donation of the night with a commissioned and stunning painting of Rosie the Riveter. To see more of his work, visit David at his office where he has Tommy Trojan hanging proudly or be lucky enough to be invited to his house.

These three San Diego lawyer artists prove that successful lawyers can also be active, creative artists. So, pick up a pencil and sketchpad, or a brush and watercolors, and give it a try!

James D. Crosby

Renée Stackhouse

(crosby@crosbyattorney.com) is founder

(renee@stackhouseapc.com) is a founder

of the Law Office of James D. Crosby.

of Stackhouse APC. SAN DIEGO LAWYER | January/February 2020


Thank You For Making 2019 A Great Year With Over $401,000 in Grants! 21 organizations received funding to provide “justice for all” through legal services and support.

Your Donations Help • Children • Homeless • Immigrants • Senior Citizens • Veterans • Domestic Violence Victims

Ways To Donate: www.sdcbf.org/donate @SDCBF 619-231-7015



San Diego County Bar Foundation Awards Over $401,000 to 21 Local Nonprofits • The Bail Project, Inc. – $25,000 to continue outside of clinic, engages in extensive outreach to bonding clients out of federal criminal custody; community groups, and works with the Regional and Center in San Diego County; he San Diego County Bar Foundation has awarded • Think Dignity – $50,000 to support the Homeless • License to Freedom – $10,000 to provide links for Youth Legal Advocacy Project, which helps young legal representation and education to the refugee $401,180 to 21 local nonprofit organizations to people with a variety of criminal legal issues. immigrant community about sexual assault; provide legal services, public awareness education • SD Victim Offenders Reconciliation Project – and improvements to the region’s justice and court The San Diego County Bar Foundation also $10,000 to provide a mediation pilot program to system. awarded $151,180 in general grants to 15 nonprofit all participants in domestic violence disputes; • San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program – $15,000 Awards from the Bar Foundation’s general grant and organizations. These include: to continue operating the Vision for Justice Indigent Criminal Defense funds focus on assisting • Cal-Western Community Law Project –$10,000 for consultation and regular community legal Collaborative, which provides representation to people and communities throughout North County, education. Attorneys and volunteer law students low-income immigrant and refugee crime victims Central/Downtown San Diego and East County. provide personalized advice to low-income San who need civil legal assistance; Grants assist organizations that serve immigrants, Diegans; • Southern California Immigration Project – $12,500 the working poor, domestic violence victims, the for pro bono legal services to asylum seekers in San disabled, veterans, the homeless, low income • Casa Cornelia Law Center – $15,000 for Victims of Crime legal services to immigrant victims of Diego County; seniors and at-risk youth. domestic violence, human trafficking and other • Voices for Children – $15,000 to support serious crimes; volunteers advocating on behalf of youth who “It is critical to visit these organizations to see how the Bar Foundation’s grants will be used,” said San Diego • Center for Community Solutions – $7,500 supports no-cost pro se legal assistance, legal County Bar Foundation Board Member Shannon advocacy and direct representation for restraining Stein. “I came away with a greater appreciation and orders; understanding of the organizations throughout our community that provide legal support to those who • Children’s Legal Services of San Diego, Inc. – $4,980 to host informational sessions over one year to need assistance.” discuss legal rights and possible consequences; Recipients of the 2019 Indigent Criminal Defense • Community Resource Center – $5,000 to provide legal assistance to 40 domestic violence survivors Fund are: annually; • California Veterans Legal Task Force – $50,000 to • Elder Law & Advocacy – $15,000 to serve about provide criminal defense attorneys for veterans; 8,000 low-income seniors throughout San Diego • Center for Employment Homeless Court –$30,000 County by providing legal advice; to support legal services for indigent participants; • National Conflict Resolution Center – $50,000 to • Interfaith Community Services, Inc. – $7,500 to provide professional and financial assistance have committed minor, nonviolent offenses and support and expand the restorative justice project for unauthorized immigrants to navigate the are involved, or at risk of involvement, in the for juveniles; immigration system; juvenile justice system. • St. Vincent de Paul Village – $45,000 to support representatives who prepare homeless clients for • Jewish Family Service – $5,000 to support the San Diego Rapid Response Network, which educates, Since the Foundation began its grants program in court; protects and assists immigrant individuals and 1979, it has distributed more than $4 million to over families, including refugees and asylum seekers, 50 legal aid and public interest organizations. with legal support and social services; • Karen Organization of San Diego – $8,700 to For more information about the San Diego County facilitate and expand the availability of legal services Bar Foundation, or to make a donation, visit www. and promote understanding of the law among sdcbf.org. refugees from Burma who have been resettled in San Diego; Pantone Colors • Legal Aid Society of San Diego – $10,000 to continue the full operation of the San Diego County Conservatorship Assistance Program, which fields calls and answers questions from participants


Red - Pantone 7628 CP Blue - Pantone 2955 CP White









The American Bar Association’s (ABA) Solo, Small Firm & General Practice Division (GPSolo) held its 2019 Solo & Small Firm Summit this past October in Carlsbad. More than 100 solo and small firm professionals gathered to learn, network and have fun. The meeting offered a variety of programming and events including opportunities to attend CLE programs, GPSolo committee meetings, luncheons and panel discussions. At the 2019 Difference Maker Awards Luncheon, keynote speaker Laura Farber, the 2019-2020 Tournament of Roses President & CEO, exemplified her “Power of Hope” theme for the 131st Rose Parade. The first Latina and only the third woman in Rose Parade history embraced diversity and mentoring. She shared how the

word “hope” had never been used in a Tournament of Roses theme before and how it has been a theme throughout her life.

Based on personal experience as a former ABA GPSolo Young Lawyers Fellow and someone who is heavily involved in bar association activities, I believe it is advantageous to attend these events to network, potentially get a client referral, meet CLE requirements, and take a mental break. Conferences can provide a great balance to every busy lawyer’s life while still “working” away from the office.

Other awards included: The Making a Difference Through Community Service Award Honoree: Laura V. Farber of Hahn and Hahn LLP

The Making a Difference Through Pro Bono Work Award Honoree: Katrina J. Eagle of The Veterans Law Office of Katrina J. Eagle

The Making a Difference Through Service to the Profession Award Honoree: Stephen B. Rosales of Rosales & Rosales LLC

Julie Houth (jhouth@gmail.com) is a staff attorney at Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP.


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n 1891, the legal business in California took off. Thanks to growth in commerce, population and litigation, the number of judges in the state increased (to three in San Diego), and the state legislature, recognizing the need for law books and other materials, enacted a statute creating a law library “in every county of the state.” These law libraries were public — meaning both members of the public as well as attorneys could use them. The quarters of the law libraries were funded then, as now, with a portion of the civil filing fees — $1 from each party in every legal action in 1891, rising to $4 in 1967. Today it is $38 for each initial filing. For many years, the sole official law library was on the third floor of the courthouse. Sometime around World War I, it was moved to the basement and remained in quiet, albeit poor, solitude. Following WWII, the space doubled, and in 1958 the central law library was moved into its present space on Front Street. The growth in San Diego, and in the number of litigants, allowed the law library in 1983 to expand to four branches: Central, Vista, El Cajon and Chula Vista. These regional law libraries provided access to legal materials and print and online databases, as well as held classes, training sessions and legal clinics. At the end of 2019, the El Cajon and Chula Vista branches are no more; the spaces each occupied in the East County and South Bay courthouses have been turned over for use by the offices of the District Attorney and the Public Defender.


SAN DIEGO LAWYER | January/February 2020

“The law library closed its doors to everyday reference services for the simple fact that there were no users,” said John Adkins, Director of the San Diego County Public Law Library. The main reason for user decline was the removal of civil courts in those two regional courthouses. “However, the law library quickly migrated its services to nearby public libraries, where today law librarians hold office hours and help people navigate robust legal databases like Westlaw and Lexis,” said Adkins. Adkins assures patrons that the law library “is still alive and well” at its central location in downtown San Diego, at Front and C streets, and North County residents still have access to the remaining law library branch in Vista. He added that classes and trainings will soon be accessible remotely using videoconferencing systems available at public library branches due to a state grant expanding access to justice for rural and Spanishspeaking residents. “These are great steps forward in the law library’s vision of becoming every county resident’s first choice for information when faced with a legal issue,” he added.

George W. Brewster Jr. (sandbrews@aol.com) is a retired attorney after 35 years of practice, including JAG, private practice and the last 30 with the County of San Diego, Office of County Counsel.

NEW ACCESS TO JUSTICE PROGRAMS IN 2020 By Valerie Gragg, Reference Librarian for Partnerships and Outreach


he San Diego Law Library is constantly innovating to expand access to justice, and thanks to a one-time state grant, we have created new programs to serve more San Diego County residents! Our new Civil Self-Help Clinic is a collaborative effort with San Diego Volulnteer Lawyer Program, which will provide legal consultations on simple civil issues not covered by existing clinics, as well as workshops on California civil procedure. We will have a full-time, on-site attorney and paralegal for this program, with at least one fluent in Spanish. We are also expanding our Access to

Justice Program with the help of the San Diego County Library. Together, we have identified rural areas of our county that have limited legal resources. Our librarians will travel to these county libraries to provide legal reference services to their patrons. We are planning more events for our topic of the year: Tribal Law. We were inspired by the guest speaker and the movie Tribal Justice at our November event and plan to have continuing legal education classes and a second showing this spring at the Oceanside Public Library. Finally, we would like to thank everyone that celebrated with us

at our 8th Annual Open House on February 6. Our theme for this year’s event was “Peace, Love, and Law Libraries,” and our attendees showed the groovy kind of love they have for us by enjoying the food, games, prizes, and live band. We are grateful to our co-hosts the San Diego County Bar Association, the San Diego County Public Library, and the San Diego Superior Court and our generous sponsors CEB, Henderson, Caverly, Pum, & Trytten, LLP, Ballast Point Brewing Co., and ByWater Solutions. For more news about our events and projects, please sign up for our newsletter at our website: www.sandiegolawlibrary.org.

Your Employment Neutral.

Your olution.

MEDIATING EXCLUSIVELY THROUGH WEST COAST RESOLUTION GROUP With years of experience representing employees and companies in a wide range of employment law matters, Kristin’s unique background informs a deep understanding of both parties’ perspectives. Kristin is available to mediate all employment matters including:

• Harassment • Discrimination • Retaliation

• Wrongful Termination • Leaves of Absence • Breach of Contract

• Wage and Hour • Class Actions

To schedule a mediation, please contact Kathy Purcell at 619.238.7282, or KPurcell@westcoastresolution.com




San Diego attorneys earned over $5 million from our referrals in 2019 The SDCBA’s Lawyer Referral and Information

clients that match your practice area. Our

Service (LRIS) referred over 40,000 clients to

clients know they’re being paired with quality

participating lawyers in 2019, resulting in over

attorneys too, thanks to our thorough lawyer

$5 million in legal fees earned. With its low

qualif ication process. This is your assurance of

annual enrollment fee (even less for SDCBA

the best possible referrals.

members), LRIS is one of the most effective ways to help grow your practice in San Diego.

Join the San Diego attorneys

Our mission is to set you up for success,

already growing their practices

so LRIS sends you only carefully screened

with LRIS.

REQUEST YOUR LRIS APPLICATION: 619.321.4153 or LRIS@sdcba.org




awyers must employ only means consistent with the truth. How to satisfy this obligation and still remain a strong client advocate becomes more challenging when the lawyer suspects, without knowing for certain, that the client is dishonest. Diplomacy, detective skills and practicality sometimes do the trick.



When a client provides information that is more difficult to believe, a lawyer may discuss the importance of credibility, including that the surrounding information suggests the client’s version is unlikely and that presenting such

information could lead a judge or jury to disbelieve other, truthful evidence. In such situations, try stressing the need to find corroborating evidence. Sit with the client and talk through all the ways the client’s recollection could be supported or refuted, and provide a budget for discovery related to the issue. This does two things. It lets the client see the weakness in the position, whether truthful or not. And, if the client knows the lawyer is searching to support a lie, the client may be less willing to invest more resources in pursuing it further.

David Majchrzak (dmajchrzak@klinedinstlaw.com) is a Shareholder at Klinedinst PC.

Meet Your


KAYLA HIGGINS Administrative Assistant

What are your main responsibilities at the Bar? I’m very fortunate to be the only employee to have a role in every department. However, my main responsibility is working in the Member Services Department along with the Concierge. I really enjoy giving our members a tour of Suite 1100, who never knew we existed. We’re a one-stop shop! How long have you been working at the Bar? I’ve been working at the Bar for three years. I started as a temp in August 2016 and was hired on in January 2017.


What is your favorite part of your job? I love the diversity, from the Board to our law students. I also love the SDCBA community. Helping members and patrons from outside has been my favorite part of my job. What is your favorite food? My favorite food is New Orleans gumbo, but my favorite to cook is baked ziti with garlic Parmesan croissant rolls. What’s your favorite movie? Thelma & Louise. Besides being some of my favorite actresses, they took their power back and were bad ass about it. What is your favorite quote? "You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas." — Shirley Chisholm What do you love about San Diego? I’m from Harlem, New York, so I love the cleanliness and weather of San Diego.

The SDCBA gratefully acknowledges the generous commitment provided by members who support our community at the Patron and Friend membership levels. You can become a Patron or Friend member when you activate or renew your membership online. For more information, please contact our Member Services Department at (619) 231-0781 x3505.



James P. Frantz

Anthony J. Passante

Laura Ashborn

Doc Anthony Anderson

Erin M. Funderburk

Kristin Rizzo

Steven Barnes

Mylinh Uy Arnett

Douglas A. Glass

Michael J. Roberts

Victor E. Bianchini

Richard A. Golden

Ana M. Sambold

Jedd E. Bogage

Alvin M. Gomez

Wendi E. Santino

David B. Dugan

Linda Cianciolo

James A. Bush

Camille Gustafson

Thomas P. Sayer

Bonnie M. Dumanis

Jose S. Castillo

Charles R. Hayes

Johanna S. Schiavoni

Susan K. Fox

Andy Cook

Van E. Haynie

Pamela J. Scholefield

Steven T. Coopersmith

Matthew C. Hervey

Khodadad Darius Sharif

Ezekiel E. Cortez

Stephen M. Hogan

Renee N G Stackhouse

Randall E. Kay

Taylor Darcy

Richard A. Huver

Todd F. Stevens

Marguerite C. Lorenz

Warren K. Den

Fred C. James

Christopher J Sunnen

Christine Murphy

Thomas M. Diachenko

A. Melissa Johnson

Genevieve A. Suzuki

John A. Don

Garrison “Bud” Klueck

Kimberly Swierenga

William O. Dougherty

Don S. Kovacic

Amanda L. Thompson

Alexander Isaac Dychter

Steven Henry Lorber

Thomas J. Warwick

Matthew J. Faust

Garrett Marshall

Andrew H. Wilensky

Sergio Feria

Jillian M. Minter

Karen M. ZoBell

Nicholas J. Fox

David B. Norris

Mark Kaufman

Anne Perry

Stella Shvil



CEN PER T 2020

THANK YOU 100 PERCENT CLUB 2020 The San Diego County Bar Association wants to thank all of the San Diego law firms that have provided SDCBA membership to 100% of their attorneys in 2020. Your commitment to the San Diego legal community is greatly appreciated.

Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo

Green Bryant & French, LLP

Office of the Public Defender

Balestreri Potocki & Holmes

Greene & Roberts LLP

Office of the San Diego City Attorney

Beamer, Lauth, Steinley & Bond, LLP

Grimm, Vranjes & Greer LLP

Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton LLP

Bender & Gritz, APLC

Hahn Loeser & Parks, LLP

Pettit Kohn Ingrassia Lutz & Dolin

Best Best & Krieger LLP

Henderson, Caverly & Pum LLP

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Blackmar, Principe & Schmelter APC

Higgs Fletcher & Mack LLP

Preovolos Lewin & Hezlep, ALC

Blanchard, Krasner & French APC

Hilbert & Satterly, LLP

Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP

Bobbitt, Pinckard & Fields, APC

Hoffman & Forde

Pyle Sims Duncan & Stevenson APC

Bonnie R. Moss & Associates

Hooper, Lundy & Bookman, PC


Brierton Jones & Jones, LLP

Horton, Oberrecht, Kirkpatrick & Martha, APC

San Diego Unified Port District

Brown Law Group

Hughes & Pizzuto, APC

Sandler, Lasry, Laube, Byer & Valdez LLP

Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP

Jackson Lewis PC

Schwartz Semerdjian Cauley & Moot LLP

Casey Gerry Schenk Francavilla Blatt & Penfield, LLP

Johnson Fistel LLP

Seltzer|Caplan|McMahon|Vitek ALC

Christensen & Spath LLP

Judkins Glatt & Rich LLP

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP

Cohelan Khoury & Singer

JWB Family Law

Shustak Reynolds & Partners, PC

Collinsworth, Specht, Calkins & Giampaoli, LLP

Kennedy & Souza, APC

Siegel, Moreno & Stettler, APC

Devaney Pate Morris & Cameron, LLP

Klinedinst PC

Smith Steiner Vanderpool, APC

Dietz, Gilmor & Chazen, APC

Koeller Nebeker Carlson & Haluck LLP

Solomon Minton Cardinal Doyle & Smith LLP

District Attorney’s Office

Konoske Akiyama | Brust LLP

Solomon Ward Seidenwurm & Smith, LLP

Duckor Spradling Metzger & Wynne, ALC

Law Offices of Beatrice L. Snider, APC

Solomon, Grindle, Lidstad & Wintringer, APC

Dunn DeSantis Walt & Kendrick, LLP

Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Inc.

Stokes Wagner, ALC

Erickson Law Firm APC

Lincoln Gustafson & Cercos LLP

Sullivan Hill Rez & Engel, APLC

Farmer Case & Fedor

Littler Mendelson PC

Tresp Law, APC

Ferris & Britton, APC

Mara Law Firm, APLC

Vanst Law

Finch, Thornton & Baird, LLP

McCloskey Waring Waisman & Drury LLP

Walsh McKean Furcolo LLP

Fleischer & Ravreby

McDougal Love Eckis Boehmer Foley Lyon & Canals

Wilson Turner Kosmo LLP

Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP

Miller, Monson, Peshel, Polacek & Hoshaw

Winet Patrick Gayer Creighton & Hanes

Gatzke Dillon & Ballance LLP

MoginRubin LLP

Wingert Grebing Brubaker & Juskie LLP

Gomez Trial Attorneys

Moore, Schulman & Moore, APC

Wirtz Law APC

Goodwin Brown Gross & Lovelace LLP

Musick, Peeler & Garrett LLP

Witham Mahoney & Abbott, LLP

GrahamHollis APC

Neil, Dymott, Frank, McCabe & Hudson APLC

Withers Bergman LLP

Greco Traficante Schultz & Brick

Noonan Lance Boyer & Banach LLP

Wright, L’Estrange & Ergastolo


Free time: Biking the boardwalk, walking at Fiesta Island with my dogs or watching the elephants at the zoo.

Shaw Legal Office Education: University of San Diego Thomas Jefferson School of Law Areas of practice: Trusts & Estates

Proudest career moment: Opening up my own office and seeing how far I’ve come in just a few short years.

Favorite movie: Meet the Parents and The Weatherman. Best concert you’ve ever been to: Snow Patrol. Favorite food: Fried chicken sandwiches and mac 'n’ cheese. Most memorable SDCBA moment: Volunteering for Kids’ Ocean Day and creating a picture on the beach that was photographed from a helicopter above.

Family: Married with many four-legged "kids." Birthplace: Oswego, NY. Current area of residence: Bay Park, San Diego. “If I weren’t an attorney, I’d be...” a veterinarian or zookeeper. Last vacation: Washington, D.C. to get sworn into the U.S. Supreme Court. Favorite Web site: amazon.com

What one skill has helped you be successful as an attorney, and how could others develop that skill to better their practices? Never stop improving yourself. Always keep learning and thinking of ways to make things around you better or more efficient. What would you most like to be known for? For always doing something to the best of my ability. What makes the SDCBA so special? The other amazing attorneys I am surrounded by and the small community feel.

Distinctions The following individuals in our community were recently honored for their achievements:

Rebecca Church was elected President of the Federal Bar Association, San Diego Chapter for 2021.

Wilson Adam Schooley received a Presidential Appointment to the American Bar Association Coalition on Racial and Ethnic Justice.

Passings Past SDCBA President Justice William L. Todd recently passed away at the age of 90. He was a pillar in the community and will be missed. To view his Legends of the Bar video please visit www.sdcba.org/barlegends.

We are saddened by the recent passing of Pieter Speyer, founder and owner of the Law Office of Pieter D. Speyer.


Monty McIntyre, Esq.

Butterfield Schechter LLP

NeutralCheck 23



CaseyGerry 3

Panish Shea & Boyle

Coughlan Mediation 17

Rizzo Resolution 39

Gomez Trial Attorneys

San Diego County Bar Foundation



Todd Bulich Real Estate Company, Inc.


Judicate West 4

USClaims 2

Kathryn Karcher Appeals


West Coast Resolution Group


Lawyer Referral & Information Service


Wheatley Mediation Services


Law Office of Steven C. Vosseller




PHOTO GALLERY STEPPING UP TO THE BAR Photos by Douglas Gates Photography. SDCBA members gathered at The Guild Hotel to celebrate the installment of the new Board of Directors and 2020 President, Johanna Schiavoni. Thank you to our event sponsors: Antonyan Miranda, LawPay, CopyLink, Foley & Lardner LLP, JAMS, Rizzo Resolution, Torrey Pines Bank, Judicate West, and Stackhouse APC. L-R: Arlene Yang, Nga Pham, Brandon Kimura, Gayani Weerasinghe, Bhashini Weerasinghe, Puja Sachdev

Teodora Purcell and Bella Litchev

L-R: Martin Buchanan, Miriam Buchanan, Ken Vandevelde

Tom Becker and Kristin Rizzo

SDCBA 2020 Board of Directors, with Ninth Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown and San Diego Superior Court 2019 Presiding Judge Peter Deddeh


SAN DIEGO LAWYER | January/February 2020


L-R (front row) Jacqueline Vinaccia, Elidia Dostal, Allison Soares, Sarah Evans; (back row) Shana Hazan, Vanessa Hardy, Johanna Schiavoni, Laura Fink, Marni von Wilpert, Sarah Kruer Jager, Megan Blair

Sara Yunus, Justin R. Prybutok

L-R: Julie Olejnik-Brown, Melanie McDonald, A. Melissa Johnson

Thank you to Diamond level sponsor Antoyan Miranda

Edward Southcott, Lily Lemos

Kimberly Neilson, Lisa Frisella

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | January/February 2020


EXCLUSIVE MEMBER BENEFITS sdcba.org/memberdiscounts PREMIER MEMBER BENEFIT PROVIDER SAVE UP TO 20%! Enjoy up to a 20% discount as an SDCBA member, depending on coverage. AHERN offers members an Exclusive Lawyers Professional Liability Program with AXA XL, as well as a full line of insurance products designed specifically for law firms.




SAVE 10% ON PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Clio’s legal practice management and client intake software makes running your law firm easier.

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DOWNTOWN PARKING Park at the lot at Union and B street for free after 5 p.m. and all day on weekends.

NOTARY SERVICE Schedule your free notary appointment with one of our notaries at the SDCBA Downtown Bar Center.

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UNIVERSITY CLUB $250 Initiation Fee (retails at $1,500) $50 monthly dining credit* *Discounted monthly membership dues apply.

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GET MORE CLIENT REFERRALS! Lawyer members of SDCBA’s lawyer referral service earned over $5 million in fees in 2019 from the over 40,000 client referrals we provided to them. It really pays to be part of this service! SDCBA members can join at a discounted rate. As of February 1, 2020. Benefits subject to change without notice.

LAWYER. BROKER. NICE GUY. (Unless you’re on the other side of the deal.)


R E A L E S T A T E C O M P A N Y, I N C .












OFFICES IN CALIFORNIA AND NEVADA The attorneys of Panish Shea & Boyle LLP have obtained some of the most significant verdicts and settlements in U.S. history. With 20 eight-figure and nine-figure verdicts in the last 10 years, no other California or Nevada plaintiff’s firm wins this big, as often, as Panish Shea & Boyle LLP.

The Firm has the resources, experience and skills to litigate the most complex cases for individuals and families who have suffered an injury or death because of the wrongful acts of others and handles cases throughout the country. Firm attorneys are licensed in many states and the firm welcomes joint ventures with lawyers who want to stay more actively involved in a case.


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Profile for San Diego County Bar Association

San Diego Lawyer January/February 2020