San Diego Lawyer November/December 2022

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Di∙ver∙si∙ty Giving it Meaning INCLUDING: LRIS 70th Anniversary What To Do When You Take an Unexpected Career Detour A Look Back at Our DFP Alums ® ® NOV/DEC 2022

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PRESIDENT'S COLUMN by David Majchrzak

LAW SCHOOL COLUMN by Karli Kendall


A Payment Plan, but With Risks by Edward McIntyre

TECHNOLOGY Tech Tips and Tidbits by Bill Kammer

BUSINESS OF LAW Mentoring — What's Changed? Life in a Hybrid Environment by Stephen Korniczky

WHY I LAWYER by Brandon Kimura


Page 36 Page 8
Get to Know Joscelyn
DISTINCTIONS Community Members Honored for Their Achievements CERTIFICATES OF RECOGNITION TO SECTIONS, COMMITTEES, AND DIVISIONS 2023 SECTION AND DIVISION EXECUTIVE COMMITTEES 36 19 41 43 14 45 8 Page 23 21 32 48 34 PASSING THE TORCH Nima D. Shull to take over as DFP Director in 2023
COMMUNITY — Advancements
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Issue no. 6. San Diego Lawyer® (ISSN: 1096-1887) is published bimonthly by the San Diego County Bar Association, 401 West 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 is included in their dues. Annual subscriptions to all others: $50. Single-copy price: $10.

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George W. Brewster Jr. Gayani R. Weerasinghe

Editorial Committee

Eric Alizade

Sara Gold Wendy House

Julie Houth Anne Kammer

Edward McIntyre

Michael Olinik Stephanie Sandler Wilson Schooley

Andrea Warren


Board of Directors


David Majchrzak


Melissa Johnson

Immediate Past President

Renée N.G. Stackhouse

Secretary Stacey A. Kartchner

Treasurer Michelle A. Gastil

Vice Presidents

Warren Den Wilson A. Schooley L. Marcel Stewart Kimberly Swierenga

401 West A Street, Suite 1100, San Diego, CA 92101 Phone (619) 231-0781 • •


Alternative Resolution Centers 15

Executive Director Bill Baldwin

Director of Marketing & Outreach

Ron Marcus

Senior Designer

Attiba Royster


Leslie Abrigo

Jodi Cleesattle

Brandon Kimura

Tatiana Kline Brenda Lopez Angela Medrano Spencer Scott Robert M. Shaughnessy Fanny Yu

New Lawyer Division Chair Jake Zindulka

Content and Publications Editor

Savanah Tiffany

Marketing Manager

Sasha Feredoni

Judicate West 18, 42 LawPay 4 Lawyer Referral & Information Service 40

Monty A McIntyre, Esq 41

San Diego County Bar Foundation 20 Shustak Reynolds 2

Singleton Schreiber, LLP 6

Todd Bulich Real Estate Company, Inc 52

US Courts — 9th Circuit Southern District of California 45

West Coast Resolution Group 35

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | November/December 2022 7

SDCBA Staff — San Diego Lawyer LAWYER EDITORIAL COMMITTEE ® Issue 6, November/December 2022
Buchalter 43
David Carey 45 CaseyGerry 3 Clio 44 JAMS 46
Wheatley Mediation Services 33


In the mid-’80s, Steven Spielberg shared a story about a group of people in the Goon Docks area of Astoria, Oregon who were facing loss of their homes to a country club expansion. Following a cartograph to the location of hidden items, of historic and intrinsic value, a group of teenagers ultimately walked away not with a fantastical treasure, but with the gems they needed to continue prospering as they had existed.

The journey of the San Diego County Bar Association to its new executive director was perhaps not as dramatic. The story does not involve being chased by a crime family, booby traps, or clever inventions. But there are parallels.

When our past executive leader elected to move on, that left a gap to fill. And though we were extremely fortunate to have had a highly capable deputy executive director in place to bridge us to the next leader, organizations naturally feel some unease when there is not a permanent leader in place.

Fortunately, Bill Baldwin represents another exceptional leader in the line of executives who have led the San Diego County Bar Association. Bill’s resume is impressive enough. Since 2011, he served as the executive director of the Delaware County Bar Association, a voluntary bar association near Philadelphia. There, his duties included supervision of all association staff, publication of a weekly legal journal, development and implementation of continuing legal education programs, oversight of the association’s budget, management of the pro bono program, administration of the association website and social media presence, and the planning and execution of major association events such as a bench-bar conference and other annual meetings. At the same time, Bill also served as the executive director of the

County Bar Foundation, the 501(c)(3) arm of the association.

Bill has also had extensive experience practicing law and serving in management positions in the non-profit sector where he demonstrated the ability to manage programs and implement and accomplish strategic goals related to the missions of those programs.

But, as with most people, who Bill is as a person is much deeper than what his resume says. He is somebody who has been tested in the crucible. He grew up in a modest means household where neither parent had received the benefits of a college education. In fact, he was the first person in his extended family to get such an education. That meant that there was not a trusted family member available to provide advice based on personal experiences to Bill to help him navigate the myriad challenges of college life. He was forced to figure out how to succeed in that environment on his own. And though Bill received a scholarship that covered his undergraduate tuition, there was built-in pressure because of the sacrifices that still needed to be made along the way.

When Bill practiced law, he took on work that challenged not only intellectually, but also emotionally. He dedicated his practice to assisting domestic violence victims, which meant helping people overcome injustices that are very personal and often heartwrenching. This helped Bill grow in the ways that he worked with people and how he looked at the world. Bill had come from an incredibly close, loving family. So, this constant exposure to people with different experiences helped make real the fact that such a home life is not enjoyed by all. In turn, Bill’s empathy continued to grow.

8 SAN DIEGO LAWYER | November/December 2022 SAN DIEGO LAWYER | September/October 2022 8

It is perhaps this broadening of Bill's people skills that helped him overcome significant relationship challenges he would face when he became the executive director of the Delaware County Bar Association.

He was only the second executive director the association knew. The first had been there for 35 years, and Bill had the unenviable task of succeeding a beloved fixture in the legal community. Not only did Bill win the job, but he won over his team and endeared himself to the membership.

First, Bill earned the trust of his professional team. He made clear that he was not replacing his predecessor; he was succeeding her. And he did not rush to change things right away. But he worked to get to know the people and their needs, and carefully crafted solutions to advance the organization. Bill proved to be particularly adept at involving people in the decision-making process for the changes that he made, which increased buy in. Bill viewed the key to success there as respecting the foundation, and remaining positive while necessary improvements were proposed, adopted, and implemented.

When looking at leaders in such roles, it may be natural to ask what motivates somebody to take on such work. In Bill’s case, he simply has a servant’s heart. He loves being able to put others before himself, an example that his parents set for Bill and his two younger siblings. Bill also thrives on challenges. He loves to find creative ways to solve problems, and to do so while engaging those around him. And, at the end of the day, Bill is the kind of person who just loves giving 100 percent of himself to everything he does.

And the importance that he naturally places on relationships will serve him incredibly well at the SDCBA, a place where relationships are the bedrock of

what we do here. A great example of this is the way Bill acts in his personal life. Like many people, Bill loves to travel. One of the main draws for him about seeing the world is learning about other cultures. Reflecting this, each time Bill prepares to embark for a new country, he learns some of its language, with the hope that this will enable him to better relate to the residents he encounters abroad.

The bottom line about Bill is that he really enjoys being around people, and working with them. He likes to get to know different perspectives. He looks forward to challenges and will work incredibly hard to overcome them. In short, Bill is the gem that the search committee was looking for — a gem that will help us continue to thrive as a community and a support system for our region’s lawyers.

( is the Deputy General Counsel and a Shareholder with Klinedinst PC. His practice is devoted to serving lawyers and judges in ethics, discipline, and litigation matters. He is the 2022 SDCBA President.

David Majchrzak
SAN DIEGO LAWYER | November/December 2022 9
SDCBA Executive Director Bill Baldwin


Marc D. Adelman

Patron and Friend member lists as of November 2022

Doc Anthony Anderson III

Danielle Patricia Barger

Hon. Victor E. Bianchini (Ret.)

Jedd E. Bogage

James A. Bush

Adriana Cara

Joseph S. Carmellino

Andy Cook

Steven T. Coopersmith

Ezekiel E. Cortez

Tricia D'Ambrosio-Woodward

Taylor Darcy Warren K. Den John A. Don

William O. Dougherty Hon. Bonnie M. Dumanis (Ret.)

Alexander Isaac Dychter James J. Eischen Jr. Ben E. Embry

Matthew J. Faust Sergio Feria Nicholas J. Fox


James P. Frantz

Matthew David Freeman Jennifer French Michelle Ann Gastil Olivia J. Gilliam

Douglas A. Glass Alvin M. Gomez Van E. Haynie Nicole L. Heeder

Stephen M. Hogan

Ted Holmquist

A. Melissa Johnson Stacey A. Kartchner

Carla B. Keehn

Garrison Klueck Lilys D. McCoy

Joseph Jay McGuire Mark M. Mercer

Peter P. Meringolo Jillian M. Minter

Virginia C. Nelson Erin C. O'Kane Ron H. Oberndorfer

Anthony J. Passante Jr.

Frank J. Polek

Kristin Rizzo Shannon D. Rose Ana M. Sambold

Pamela J. Scholefield Seana Kelly Scholtemeyer Wilson A. Schooley

Khodadad Darius Sharif D. Elizabeth Silva David G. Sizemore Hon. Stephanie Sontag (Ret.)

Renée N.G. Stackhouse Todd F. Stevens Christopher J. Sunnen Genevieve A. Suzuki Cassandra C. Thorson Thomas J. Warwick Lenden F. Webb Bhashini Weerasinghe Andrew H. Wilensky Karen M. ZoBell

Rochelle A'Hearn

Alison K. Adelman

Alicia Aquino

Pedro Bernal Bilse

Linda Cianciolo

David B. Dugan


Ronald Leigh Greenwald

Rolando Israel Gudiel Sanchez

Mark Kaufman

Randall E. Kay Elysian M. Kurnik

Matthew J. Norris

Anne Perry

Kristi E. Pfister

Blanca Quintero

Stella Shvil

Michael A. Van Horne

The SDCBA gratefully acknowledges the generous commitment of 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, or by request at any time. For more information about upgrading, please contact


K, sounds good. Thanks for your kindness. You don’t know how much I appreciate it. It’s taken me a while to get up the courage to call.” During my gap year before law school, I worked as a front desk assistant at a family law firm. While working there, I received these calls regularly. I was often the first person that clients interacted with when they reached out to our office. Clients offer money for legal counsel, but the services that attorneys provide exceed that of an ordinary business transaction. When potential new clients called the firm, they expressed anxiety over whether they would be able to keep their home, receive permission to see their children, or escape domestic abuse. Attorneys are charged with guiding their clients through what are often the most stressful situations of their lives.

Out of all of the quotes that I heard from clients, the phrase about courage affects me most. I empathize with the fear of asking for help. Throughout high school, I too experienced domestic turmoil and fear of my family losing our home, but I was too afraid of judgment to seek outside assistance. When receiving a call, I knew firsthand how much bravery was required to seek out help.

My experiences at home and working for law firms sparked my interest in becoming an attorney. My passion for pursuing a career that will serve the public is longstanding, and I believe law is the best route for me to achieve this goal. Volunteering as a teaching assistant at my local elementary school and as a mentor with my high school’s Advancement Via Individual Determination

(AVID) program cemented my passion for public service at a young age. While I was an undergraduate student, my personal struggles with mental health fueled me to create a safe space for women to speak up about their mental well-being, something I wish I had access to earlier. As a founding member of the UCLA chapter of CHAARG, a health and wellness club for women, I coordinated with gyms, counselors, therapists, and recreational facilities to provide free or discounted classes for women.

My experiences interning in law offices, taking elective ethics and public policy courses, and receiving mentorship from current attorneys has convinced me that, through my career and pro bono work, I can more effectively tackle issues like immigration, school funding, and domestic abuse. Instead of standing in as a volunteer when teaching funds are slim, I can help secure more school funding; instead of consoling a potential client on the phone, I can be the lawyer that brings them justice. Attorneys occupy a unique position from which they can help individuals solve the root causes of their issues, rather than simply addressing the symptoms. The University of San Diego School of Law — an institution which prides itself on its cultivation of compassionate and ethical leaders — is the perfect setting for me to receive my law degree, and I look forward to the career my future holds.

Karli Kendall is a UCLA alumna and second-year law student at University of San Diego School of Law.

San Diego Lawyer welcomes article submissions from practicing attorneys and industry experts on various law-related topics. Interested contributors can view guidelines and submit their ideas using the form at We also highly encourage the participation of diverse authors, including (but not limited to) people who have less than five years of legal practice, women, people of color, people with disabilities, and people who identify as LGBTQ+. Please read posted submission criteria carefully. Publication cannot be guaranteed, but the SDCBA appreciates and will consider all article submissions.

LAW SCHOOL COLUMN by Karli Kendall
We want to hear from you.
SAN DIEGO LAWYER | November/December 2022 11



Macbeth and his team — Sara and Duncan — had barely settled into their booth for a Friday, post-workday pint when Will McCarthy came up.

“If I buy a round, can I get some ethics advice?”

Macbeth gestured to the open seat. “Glad to have you, Will. No need to treat us.”

“Nonsense. This one’s on me. What do you know about litigation funding?”

Macbeth answered. “Some. We’ve never used it. But it can help clients in certain situations. Let’s order. You can tell us why you ask after we’re served.”

Pints in hand, McCarthy started. “My firm represents an up-and-coming IP company. Good patent portfolio. More on the way. They’re gearing up for an infringement action against a major competitor.”

Duncan spoke, “Long haul?”

“Precisely. That’s why I’m here. General counsel negotiated commercial litigation funding to pursue it. The funding source will then share in the royalty stream — if we’re successful.”

Macbeth nodded. “Obviously, you have questions.”

“Indeed. First, may I do it? Next, what do I have to look out for?”

“I assume the client couldn’t proceed without third-party funding?”

“Correct. Has a great balance sheet. Strong portfolio. But cash flow for major litigation? While funding its ongoing business? Too much. Funding’s critical.

“The answer to your first question is easy. California has no ethical barrier to litigation funding itself. Issues arise from how it’s structured.”

“Well, the funder insists on paying me directly, not the company. Also, wants a memo with my analysis of the client’s prospects. Requires regular updates and quarterly strategy sessions.”

“Any other conditions?”

“It put a $15 million outside fee and cost limit on participation. Shouldn’t be an issue. Patent litigation is expensive, but we can prosecute an infringement case within that limit.”

“Settlement issues? Other restrictions?"

“Nothing explicit. But quarterly strategy sessions could raise questions down the road.”

“Let’s start with the payment arrangement. The rule — 1.8.6 — requires your client’s informed written consent. Also, there can’t be any interference with your independent professional judgment. No interference

Illustration by George W. Brewster Jr.
12 SAN DIEGO LAWYER | November/December 2022

with your relationship with your client. The arrangement triggers your confidentiality obligations under rule 1.6 and section 6068 (e)(1).”

Sara added, “That dovetails with rule 2.1. A lawyer must exercise independent professional judgment. Give candid advice. Likely, there’s a candor-to-others issue, as well.”

“Spot on, Sara. Will, let’s talk about the analysis-ofprospects memo. You’ll have to be sure your client understands that giving your conclusions to the funder may waive attorney-client and work-product privileges. A nondisclosure agreement with the lender may help, but —”

Sara finished: “No guarantees. Almost assuredly, the defendant’s lawyers will try to get it. Which raises the candor issue. Rule 4.3 prohibits a materially false statement of fact or law to a third party.”

Macbeth picked up the thread. “Sara’s right. Your memo will have to be honest, whether it helps your client or not. I suspect a negative or lukewarm analysis will dampen the lender’s ardor?”

“Have to assume. Fifteen million is a lot for a doubtful case.”

“The key question is, does your client understand the risks? The same with the client’s confidential information. Rule 1.6 and section 6068 (e)(1) mandate informed written consent.”

Duncan added, “In the initial analysis. But also, for each report and quarterly strategy session."

Macbeth nodded. “Good point, Duncan. Those sessions only underscore the need to always exercise independent judgment. Regardless of what the funder may want. Your client’s interests must be paramount.”

Will spoke. “I see the prospect of real tension as the case goes along. Especially if the client wants to accept a settlement — it happens in most patent litigation — but the funder wants higher royalty payments. After all, its return on investment is the royalty stream.”

Sara interrupted. “You likely should determine under what conditions the funder may withdraw. If it can bail and your client can’t afford paying, you might be trying to withdraw in the middle of a patent suit and ...”

Duncan finished: “The court won’t let you out. You can’t abandon the client. So, you may be stuck if the court says, ‘No.’”

Macbeth added, “Candid and full disclosure with the client is key. Can it weigh the risks against the benefit of defending its IP? If you can withstand likely pressure from the lender to influence your judgment, this could be an opportunity for your client.”

Duncan smiled: “And a not-so-bad opportunity for your firm.”

Will threw a handful of bills on the table and rose. “Thanks so much, guys. Very helpful. I’m meeting with the general counsel tomorrow. This is terrific background for our discussion.”

Macbeth held out his hand. “Glad we could help. Thanks for the beer. Let us know if we can do anything else — assuming things move forward.”

Edward McIntyre ( is a professional responsibility lawyer.


CALL THE LEGAL ETHICS HOTLINE: (619) 231-0781 x4145

The SDCBA Legal Ethics committee is here to help! SDCBA members can call our Legal Ethics Hotline* for guidance and perspective on a variety of ethical considerations in the practice of law. Your call will be taken by a seasoned attorney with significant experience in legal ethics issues.

Simply call the hotline and leave a message with your phone number, your question, and any context you can provide that can help our attorneys research your question before responding. One of our Legal Ethics Committee members will call you back to discuss your question with you.

*Before calling, please read this disclosure:



PayPal Phishing Scam

Many use PayPal, particularly when the merchant allows it or when wisdom suggests not disclosing bank data during the payment process. You may have willingly received and paid invoices in the past via PayPal, but sadly, scammers are now sending invoices through that include a legitimate link to PayPal to include the scam transaction. Naturally, you might call to dispute the transaction using the supplied tollfree number. When you do, though, you will reach the scammer who directs you to download software allowing the scammer to take control of your computer. Maybe you would never fall for this ruse, but it’s worth reading more at Brian Krebs’ Security website: https://

Ransomware Redux

The number and frequency of ransomware attacks continue to increase. This necessitates continued attention to and protection of your data, including installation of appropriate safeguards. The security consultants CSO recently posted a list of 40 ransomware safeguards for small and medium businesses (SMBs): ransomware-safeguards-for-small-to-medium-sizedbusinesses.html. They are worth a review for advice on protecting yourself from ransomware. Most lawyers are practicing in smaller firms and offices. Scammers have deduced that defenses at SMBs are not robust, making them perfect targets.

Installing safeguards as part of a good defense plan should be the primary focus of SMBs. Historically, some of those targeted have paid the ransom to regain prompt control of their data. Assuming the decryption key works, that may restore access to stolen files and data. Yet, you are probably not dealing with an honest criminal, and you can’t control and prevent them from later leaking the data onto the internet. Despite bargaining down the ransom amount, this victim still suffered that fate: https://

Free Privacy Email Addresses

Many of us have chosen DuckDuckGo as our preferred browser. That browser claims it does not collect user data or track search history. Unlike Google, it does not package all that data into a nice profile that its advertisers use to follow you around the internet. After all, data is gold to marketers. But now DuckDuckGo will also provide privacy-protected email addresses. They don’t create a new email profile or platform, but function more like a forwarding service. Their addresses act as intermediary shields against incoming emails, checking and removing harmful URLs and trackers. They will then pass the email to your primary email address. TechViral and DuckDuckGo provide more details and better explanations at https://techviral. net/duckduckgo-privacy-protected-email-service and

14 SAN DIEGO LAWYER | November/December 2022

Do You Have a 'Digital Executor?'

Better question: Should you want one? Most people probably appreciate the substantial amount of their personal digital information that resides either on computers, media, and devices, or is stored in the cloud or on someone’s servers. That data mass probably includes usernames and passwords, photos and emails, and documents and messages. Perhaps you purchased digital merchandise like movies, books, or music. You may even have cryptocurrency or NFTs. The wisdom of naming a digital executor in your estate planning can be understood if you consider the necessity of allowing access to those resources and assets were you to become incapable of caring for them yourself. Read more at and

Cybersecurity at Home

Most probably have a Wi-Fi network at home, using a router to distribute signals throughout their residence

to many devices. Most routers now will work right out of the box because they come with a default network name and a default password. Most of us appreciate the immediate need to change the password, but how many change the router’s name? New routers usually carry a name identifying the manufacturer, such as Netgear19 or LinkSys. The combination of a manufacturer’s name and perhaps a model number provides a hacker with information that may facilitate a stealth attack because of known vulnerabilities. The make and model may suggest it is an old router no longer receiving security updates. Or if the router’s firmware has not been updated, it will be susceptible to security issues fixed in more recent updates. HowTo-Geek provides advice and a roadmap to curing issues at

Personal Injury Specialists Available In Person and Statewide Via Zoom For a complete list of personal injury specialists, visit or call 310.284.8224
Bill Kammer ( is a partner with Solomon Ward Seidenwurm & Smith, LLP. Hon. Jaime R. Corral (Ret.) Hon. Margaret M. Grignon (Ret.) Hon. Mary Thornton House (Ret.) Hon. Andrew C. Kauffman (Ret.) Hon. Vincent J. O’Neill, Jr. (Ret.) Hon. Victor I. Reichman (Ret.) Hon. Charles G. “Skip” Rubin (Ret.) Hon. John P. Shook (Ret.) Robert M. Cohen, Esq. James Curry, Esq. Thomas M. Dempsey, Esq. Lori M. Dobrin, Esq. Max Factor III, Esq. Robert T. Hanger, Esq. Sidney Kanazawa, Esq. Peter J. Marx, Esq. John K. Raleigh, Esq. Peter L. Weinberger, Esq.

Your success as a lawyer depends not only on determination and effort, but, equally important, the connections you make along the way. As a member of the San Diego County Bar Association, you’ll have unlimited opportunities to connect with thousands of other lawyers, judges, and legal professionals at frequent networking and educational events and on our online community listservs. You’ll also enjoy a host of member-exclusive benefits designed to help you succeed in your practice.

Best of all, annual membership costs less than the cost of a typical billable hour. Connecting for success has never been more accessible.

Join. Connect.
Join or Renew now:

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The partner entered my office as I, one of 17 new associates, struggled drafting my first complaint. Having only been at the firm a few months, I had no idea what I was doing.

“Make it to tonight’s game? We need a fifth. Otherwise, we forfeit.”

The lobby trophy case announced the firm’s pride in its basketball team. With most of the team away at trial, he was strong-arming me to play.

“I’m not much of a basketball player. Besides, I need to get this done tonight.”

“Thought you played sports in college.” “Wrestler.”

“Perfect. Just pass the ball. Don’t shoot.” He picked up the draft complaint. “Talk to my secretary. Get a team shirt. And some sample complaints. Why are you drafting this from scratch? Get sample pleadings. Start a form file. No need to reinvent the wheel.”

My first mentoring experience. So obvious after he said it. He saved me hundreds of hours my first year and helped me to be more efficient throughout my career.

Mentoring continued post-game at Molly Malone’s Irish Pub. The partner and a senior associate recounted war stories and gave unsolicited advice: which partners to work for, which to avoid, and other useful information. The setting made it easy for newbies to ask questions. The same ritual followed every game. Over time, we learned how to seek out work we wanted; what it took to make partner; and other information that helped propel our careers. We didn’t call it “mentoring.” We were just hanging out.

Not everyone was mentored at Molly Malone’s. Early birds were invited to the “breakfast club.” At 7:00 a.m. on Thursday mornings, a partner walked the halls and invited whoever was around to The Grill across the street. Over pancakes and coffee attorneys got to know each other, caught up on firm lore, and brainstormed legal research projects.

This is a bygone era with the shift toward remote/hybrid work. That change impacts young associates and lateral attorneys more than any others. Much of what a young lawyer learns

about firm culture and how to lawyer is through interaction with partners and senior associates. The benefits of mentor-mentee relationships are straight forward: they cultivate high career satisfaction in associates and stronger commitment to the firm and clients, and teach lawyering and business development. But dropping by an associate’s office with an invitation to play basketball may not be feasible; associates may no longer be able to knock on a partner’s door with a question. So, how does one build a mentorship in a hybrid environment?

Mentoring, once informal and spontaneous, may now need to be planned and intentional. Some law firms have professional development programs matching new associates with partner and senior associate mentors. Involving the mentee in the selection process is essential; an incompatible match benefits no one. Mentors and mentees should discuss expectations at the outset, such as how often to meet and whether by phone, videoconference, in person, or other venues (e.g., golf course, client meeting, court hearing). Two other important topics are expectations of confidentiality and an agreement for gracefully exiting the relationship without assigning fault.

An ongoing mentor-mentee relationship may require a list of topics to chart professional development (performance expectations, time management, work/life balance, goalsetting, and enhancing visibility at the firm) and firm-specific topics (partnership and in-house counsel career paths, firm politics, building relationships, business development, and client service). Allowing the mentee to select topics for discussion may provide insight into the mentee’s interests and concerns. But, necessarily, the mentor should choose topics relevant to the firm or the mentee’s career.

Mentors can capitalize on the hybrid/remote-work environment. Court hearings, depositions, and client meetings are important learning events for younger lawyers, but were sometimes prohibitively expensive for them to attend. These events now regularly occur by videoconference, allowing an associate to participate remotely or share a conference room with a partner to observe an oral argument, deposition, lawyer conference, or client meeting.

The environment may have changed, but the need for mentoring remains. Successful mentoring builds strong firms.

Stephen S. Korniczky is a partner at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | November/December 2022 17



Why I lawyer? That’s a complicated answer that has evolved over time. Let's start with this: After over 15 years, I love being a lawyer. That feels funny to say because growing up, I never thought I would be a lawyer.

I believe dreams are like goldfish; they grow to fit the size of their environment. I grew up in a small town in Hawaii where everyone knew everyone. There were lawyers in my family, but they were retired or so distant that I was only vaguely aware of what they did. Because of this, I never dreamed of being a lawyer.

Becoming an attorney was not something I considered until late in my college career. At first, my motivation was that it seemed like the best choice for a history major. When I voiced the possibility, an aunt who was a lawyer counseled me to get some legal experience before I made the decision. So, I left Hawaii and moved to Northern California in the summer of 2000.

I got a job at a very traditional white-shoe law firm during the early Silicon Valley tech days. I watched the attorneys work long hours under considerable stress. I think my aunt and most of those I worked with thought that this experience would discourage me from going to law school. It didn’t. Seeing it in action helped me to believe that it was a possibility. At that time, I was interested in the money and the prestige.

Law school was a transformative experience and it evolved my interest in the law yet again. Instead of just wanting to be a lawyer, I realized I enjoyed the study of law. Later in law school, I also discovered I enjoyed the skills associated with the practice of law. I joined a moot court competition with modest expectations of confronting my fear of public speaking. I ended up

winning the competition. It was the first time I enjoyed presenting in front of people. I still get the same kind of thrill every time I stand before a jury.

I joined a large tech law firm after graduation. My motivations for being a lawyer stayed the same. I enjoyed the cutting-edge work and the paycheck. Two years in I was assigned a criminal investigation that became a 10-month trial. I worked back-breaking hours, but I became engrossed by the theater of trial. What frustrated me was that I was a bystander to all of it. I knew the facts, did much of the work in preparation, but others executed all of it.

I started looking into prosecution positions shortly thereafter. I wanted to recapture the excitement of being in trial, but this time as the lead. I became a federal prosecutor in late 2011 and haven’t regretted it since. My motivations have evolved with my understanding of the job. I enjoy the independence and the idea of helping my community, which includes the individuals I prosecute. I love the action of court and the bonds I have created with my colleagues.

But the best part about the job is also the hardest part. I am charged with doing justice. What that means in any given case is difficult to define. Reasonable people can have contradictory ideas of what justice is and there are no easy answers. This job has also given me the opportunity and platform to help others and to expand their dreams. It is hard work, but the most satisfying job I have ever had, and in my humble opinion, the best job in law. And that is why I lawyer.

Brandon Kimura ( is a federal criminal prosecutor in San Diego.
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Your billable hour supports acce to justice !
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As her time as Director of the SDCBA-ACC Diversity Fellowship Program (DFP) draws to a close, Bhashini Weerasinghe reflects on what initially drew her to the Program. She first volunteered with the DFP when one of her mentors, Stacey East, was Director: “I saw the real impact it had and the opportunity it gave to students. It was not a question of whether I wanted to be part of it, but whether I could step into the role that was so well-handled by Stacey.”

Over Weerasinghe’s four years as DFP Director, the Program assisted 96 fellows. Most recently, in 2022, a record-breaking 31 employers participated, allowing the acceptance of 33 fellows — more than double the average number of past years. Under Weerasinghe’s leadership, the DFP grew significantly — launching a mentorship program, offering new events designed to help students continue to progress beyond their summer fellowships, and building relationships within the legal community — though she is quick to note that there are many in the San Diego legal community who share the credit for this growth. “While I had the privilege of being the face of the Program for the last four years, this Program and its accomplishments belong to us all! It is amazing to think how far we have come and how many people in the San Diego legal community can say, ‘I am part of this movement.’”

One of the most memorable parts of this experience for Weerasinghe has been watching law students evolve from scared interview candidates to confident attorneys landing their first job out of law school. As a first-generation attorney herself, Weerasinghe knows firsthand how scary the law school process can be. “I like to think of the fellows as my little ducklings, and it has been an absolute pleasure to help them realize they can swim!”

She is also grateful for the tremendous support of the legal community’s employers, noting that many attorneys in law firms, in-house departments, and public sector agencies have advocated for the Program and given students a real opportunity to propel themselves to the next level. Weerasinghe hopes the number of employers involved

will continue to grow. “The success of the Program is in our ability to retain the employers we have while recruiting new employers to the table. The more employers we get, the more students we can assist.”

Nima D. Shull, who will take over as DFP Director in 2023, has been participating on the employer side of the program for a few years now. Shull is a professional liability defense attorney at Klinedinst PC and a member of Lambda Legal, where he has served as a member of the Host Committee of Lambda Legal in San Diego, the San Diego Inn of Court, the San Diego County Bar Association, and San Diego Defense Lawyers.

He is also a former DFP fellow who believes his firm’s focus on diversity and inclusion is critical to ensuring that the firm stays competitive and provides excellent legal representation. “Fostering a space that promotes diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging helps facilitate creative solutions to complex problems, and maximizes contribution and success from everyone at the firm.”

Weerasinghe is looking forward to the upcoming year: “Just as Stacey had faith in me, I have faith in Nima Shull, our new Director. As an alum of the Program who has also been on the employer side for the last few years, he brings a new perspective and energy to this Program.” Shull has already begun working with potential applicants, fielding inquiries about the program and leading law school orientation sessions.

To any employers thinking about participating, he gives this advice: “If your firm or company is not currently part of the DFP, join! This is an incredible program that benefits everyone involved, including the talented fellows, employers, clients, and the San Diego legal community as a whole.”

Applications for the 2023 Program open December 1, 2022..

Savanah Tiffany ( is the Content and Publications Editor for the SDCBA.
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Bhashini Weerasinghe and Nima D Shull

Diversity and inclusion betters our office’s business and culture by demonstrating a commitment to the equity of all people and showing support, trust, and respect for all ideas, input, and perspectives. American Specialty Health participated in DFP because we had a successful year in the program last year and strongly believe in creating job opportunities for diverse students. I learned how to be a better leader and listener from my fellow. Through time and work with my fellow, she taught me to be a stronger teacher through her great questions and feedback.

Jeff Ames

As a 100% veteran, disabled, woman, and minority owned law firm, diversity is a fundamental part of who we are. We are committed to maintaining a diverse staff, and to providing opportunities to enhance the professional experiences of underrepresented students. We are proud of our commitment to diversity, and look forward to participating in DFP for many years to come.

Having a diverse and inclusive workplace culture fosters personal and professional growth, and the DFP program provides access and visibility to various career paths that are not always known by all students. We are always inspired by our DFP fellows’ enthusiasm to stretch and learn new things.

Hannah Pajarillo

California Western School of Law

The most important takeaway from my DFP experience is to always remain open to new opportunities that may arise. Prior to being selected as a DFP fellow, my mind was set on practicing family law. My experience with American Specialty Health allowed me to learn about new areas of law that I would have never had interest in and has changed my career goals for the better.

Karla Sasing

California Western School of Law

Being a minority in the legal profession can feel daunting; however, growth requires leaving your comfort zone. With that, one of the most important takeaways from my DFP experience is to be inquisitive, ask your “why,” and get as much exposure as you possibly can, because the opportunity gives you the tools and the skill set to be a successful advocate for your clients moving forward.

Taylor Hart

University of San Diego School of Law

As a first-generation law student, the DFP fellowship provided me with professional and social opportunities that I will be forever grateful for. My time at AALRR has solidified my interest in employment law and I am excited to continue that passion. As a diverse fellow, I can bring a unique point of view to the workplace and be a voice for under-represented individuals such as Laotian Americans in the legal community.

EMPLOYER AMES KARANJIA, LLP FELLOW Korry Huffman AMERICAN SPECIALTY HEALTH INC. EMPLOYER FELLOW EMPLOYER FELLOW Jonathan Andrews ATKINSON, ANDELSON, LOYA, RUUD & ROMO, APC The San Diego County Bar Association and the Association of Corporate Counsel — San Diego Chapter created the San Diego Diversity Fellowship Program (DFP) in 2009 as a response to the
low number of diverse attorneys practicing law in San Diego County law firms, corporate legal departments, and public agencies. In the summer of 2022, we were proud to host a record-breaking 33 fellows with 31 participating employers.
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We asked our fellows and employers for their thoughts on what was most impactful about the Program and the importance of inclusion efforts in our profession. Here are their responses.


Sarah Mason

At BD, we are committed to driving inclusion and diversity across our global organization by building and engaging diverse teams and individuals, and leveraging their unique ideas, backgrounds, and experiences to deliver better outcomes for our global marketplace. We have been participating in the DFP for several years now, and every year we learn from our fellow’s unique perspectives, insights, and creativity brought to bear on complex problems.


Sanjay Bhandari

A diverse, inclusive workplace is a more welcoming, interesting, creative, and enjoyable place to work. My advice to any firms interested in increasing diversity is to just get involved, and talk to your peers about opportunities and what has worked for them. The DFP is a well-run, structured program that does a great job matching employers with qualified, interested students.


Hon. Charles Bell

My advice for public sector employers is to move their focus beyond that of the organization. Instead, focus on the community that the public agency serves. When we implemented the program in the City of National City’s City Attorney Office, we introduced the DFP program to the National City community as well. The community learned that there are programs for their youth who dare to dream about pursuing a career in law.

After the time of this survey, Judge Bell was appointed to the San Diego Superior Court.

Callie Ng

University of San Diego School of Law

Diversity and inclusion are important to me because everyone deserves to work in an inclusive environment where they are encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas. Through my DFP experience, I was able to explore different legal fields that I was interested in pursuing, and the seminars also allowed me to gain better insights on other legal opportunities. This is truly an opportunity of a lifetime, so take advantage of this program and learn as much as you can!

Christopher Rodriguez

University of San Diego School of Law

I have found the career path I want to pursue: international tax! My most important takeaway is that working hard is important, but working smarter is even better. As I move forward in my career, I want to continue to foster diversity by seeking to make opportunities for others.

Carlos Mojica

University of San Diego School of Law

Diversity and inclusion is the reason I am in law school. While working for a couple of nonprofit law firms, I noticed a lack of bilingual attorneys, leading to the frequent use of interpreters and an added barrier for clients who did not speak English. My fellowship has reinforced that I want to work on transactional matters. Moving forward, I will continue to take a client-focused approach in my career, ensuring a client not only receives great legal service, but also feels comfortable and heard while doing so.

Gwendolyn Peng

California Western School of Law

My fellowship taught me a career path is not always linear. It’s OK to graduate and not land your dream job. It’s also OK to change jobs if it’s not the right fit. People grow and change so career shifts are natural. It’s important to be fulfilled in your career, and even if it isn’t a perfect fit, you should always be a hard worker and give your best effort.

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Kris Cherevas

Our office is challenged, pushed, and opened to bigger and broader perspectives with every new and diverse member. My advice to other firms interested in increasing diversity is to focus on opening up opportunities where they may otherwise not be as accessible. See yourself in these young fellows and give them all the guidance and mentorship you wish you could have had.


Justin Paik

Those who have a strong work ethic and are eager to learn and improve will succeed if they are given the opportunity and guidance. Commit to making diversity and inclusion a purposeful choice, and involve your young lawyers in the efforts you undertake. It was rewarding to know that our firm played a role in helping our fellow get one step closer to fulfilling her goal.

David Amaya

Fisher Phillips is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects the diversity of the communities in which we serve. Cultivating an inclusive environment drives innovation and growth, which in turn strengthens our ability to best serve our clients. Ultimately, a diverse culture with a variety of backgrounds and perspectives makes any business more successful.


Mariel Estigarribia

As a minority women-owned firm, FELLP Law chose to participate in the DFP recognizing that our field of law could benefit from a diverse group of attorneys that bring a fresh perspective to the unique business issues our clients face. Hearing other perspectives on specific situations enables the firm to problem-solve effectively and thoroughly.

Elizabeth (“Elle”) Peterson

University of San Diego School of Law

My most important takeaway was realizing that lawyers are people too. I came into law school convinced that I would have to hide parts of myself in order to succeed. I realize now from candid conversations with my employers that successful lawyers come from all walks of life, with even more diversity in background and identities than I’d previously realized. My identity as a queer first-generation woman is not isolating, but empowering. Not all spaces are built for those in the minority, and I want to use my platform as a white cis-gendered person to create space for those communities at times when an institution will not.

Aubrianna Staker

California Western School of Law

I came into working in business law knowing it was something I was interested in, and now I am leaving knowing it is something I am passionate about. Helping prep a partner for opening statements in a civil trial will always be something I remember dearly. Even with over 40 years of experience, the pros still practice! As a hearing aid user, it is so important to have a legal field that is representative of the population. I am happy to be a part of that representation and show that disabled people are just as capable as anybody else.

Andrew Dizon

University of San Diego School of Law

The DFP has changed my career goals by inspiring me to pursue employment law! Moving forward, I will foster diversity and inclusion by assisting and providing the same “foot in the door” opportunities that have allowed me to find success.

Arif Salam

University of San Diego School of Law

The DFP definitely reinforced my career goals to continue on in the field of law. My most important takeaway was don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You only have a short time to make an impression. The more comfortable you are with yourself, the more comfortable you can be with your employer. That can translate to a great experience if you play your cards right.

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Edwin M. Boniske

Our country and our profession are in a pivotal moment when it comes to equity and inclusion issues. As stewards of the court and our justice system, it is critical for law firms to demonstrate leadership in this area and ensure the future of our profession is strengthened by creating and supporting initiatives that provide opportunities for future lawyers from diverse backgrounds. A profession that better reflects our population will better serve our citizenry. Our DFP fellows often bring us perspectives that we aren’t normally privy to, including how their generation’s views and values will shape the practice of law.

Diversity and inclusion helps us better understand and interact with our clients and community. Almost every moment with our DFP fellow, Eliacin Velazquez, was stand out. His enthusiasm for learning and experiencing the practice of law was uplifting, and reminded us to keep an open perspective and enthusiasm for what we do as lawyers.

Anne Rudolph

At Hughes & Pizzuto, we feel that bringing different points of view and different life experiences benefit the clients we serve. Mary was a joy to work with, and a great reminder that being on time, being ready to learn, and bringing a fresh perspective always drive things in a positive direction.

The opportunity to work with students who are excited about the legal profession is a pleasant reminder that we must take an active role in the development of our future lawyers. At Jackson Lewis, we believe diversity and inclusion are a never-ending journey, and we are intentional about our DEI efforts. We believe that participation in DFP moves the needle forward within the San Diego community and at our firm.

Kendelle Carr

California Western School of Law

The most memorable moments of my DFP experience were being introduced to a judge by one of the partners that I was working for at the time, and how welcoming and helpful the entire Higgs team was in general. The associates and other partners truly took me under their wings, offering assistance whenever necessary.

Eliacin Velazquez

California Western School of Law

What stands out the most when thinking about my employer is the general respect I received from the start of our working relationship. Diversity and inclusion are important to me because the field of law remains a field that is slow to show increases in the amount of working Latino attorneys. Organizations and companies that value diversity and inclusion are critical to changing that reality.

Mary Cronkleton

University of San Diego School of Law

Diversity and inclusion are important to me because the Asian American law community is quite small. Moreover, very few Asian Americans become judges or partners at firms. I believe we need more representation in the higher levels of the legal community to foster a more equitable path toward success. Coming from Omaha, Nebraska, I had no idea what probate law was, but the attorneys who mentored me have given me the confidence to pursure a career in probate litigation.

Serena Pendleton

University of San Diego School of


My DFP experience has changed my career goals and allowed me to become more knowledgeable about the world of employment law. I want to set an example for little Black girls so they know they can do anything they put their mind to. Representation truly matters. Our legal community needs to reflect the demographics of the people it serves and be an open space for diverse faces.

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Klinedinst PC has been a proud participating DFP employer for several years and is committed to the program and its mission. Since I got my start at Klinedinst through the DFP during law school, interviewing and mentoring DFP fellows is very much a full-circle moment for me. In addition to increasing my appreciation and admiration for the program, working with and mentoring DFP fellows at KPC has shown me that there are so many incredibly talented law students whose meaningful contributions are as diverse as they are.


Katie Cohen

Employees are more engaged when they feel included and valued. We have so much to learn from one another’s diverse life experiences and viewpoints. We chose to participate in DFP as part of Kura’s ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We were thrilled about the possibility of providing a local law student with exposure to in-house practice at a biotech company, and eager to mentor such a student.


Jennifer Hamilton

LBBK is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion because we believe it promotes a wider array of viewpoints and ideas that can only come from a variety of life experiences and backgrounds. Each year we continue to learn that inclusion is critical to developing a workplace environment that is more prepared for the challenges and struggles our clients face and being better equipped to solve those challenges in a creative and efficient way.


Brian Boxler

We at LPL Financial have found our past participation in DFP very valuable for all involved, so it was an easy choice to decide to participate again this year. We believe in hiring the most talented candidate for each position, and in order to do so, a diverse slate of candidates must be considered. Katharine impressed LPL on many occasions and was a great reminder that approaching situations with a beginner’s mindset is valuable, whether or not you are a beginner.

Derek Sturhann

University of San Diego School of Law

My fellowship experience solidified my confidence in civil litigation. By participating in a long-term litigation case, I was able to learn more about the practice of law through different phases in the litigation process and gain practical experience every step of the way. I hope to inspire others in the future and make them realize that they can do anything they want and are not limited by other people.

Zahra Ahmed


Western School of Law

My most important takeaway is to have a willingness to explore. Many times we are taught what a traditional lawyer is supposed to look like, or come into law school clueless. By attaining experience through the fellowship, I was able to expand my horizons and even gain interest in areas I did not know I would be interested in.

Kassidy Lin Davis

California Western School of Law

My employer allowed me to work with multiple attorneys on a variety of employment and professional liability cases. Being exposed to the different areas of law allowed me to narrow down my particular interests and helped me to develop a strong legal research and writing style. The feedback and encouragement I received for my work was incredibly motivating and reaffirmed my decision to pursue law.

Katharine Naqvi

California Western School of Law

Prior to working at LPL Financial this summer, I did not have any exposure to or interest in the financial services industry. My mentors opened my eyes to a new area of law I had not considered. Now, moving into my 2L year, I am planning to complete a business law concentration. For me, the most important takeaway from the DFP is that, no matter how much experience you have, the legal field is fluid and there is always something new to learn.

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Many of our employment law disputes involve discrimination claims, and we appreciate the perspectives that our diverse employees bring when representing clients. Our employment law practice is expanding rapidly, and the high-quality candidates offered by DFP provided a perfect opportunity to grow our talent pool.

Diversity is not just about what is on paper; it’s imperative to focus on retention and championing efforts to ensure initiatives do what they intend to do! We have found the DFP to be a great way to increase visibility for traditionally marginalized groups in the legal profession and to find great talent.

Shannon Finley

Implementing a successful diversity and inclusion program requires a leadership team that is dedicated to prioritizing active participation from all levels throughout the entire firm. It is important to create and encourage channels of open communication to allow teammates from all backgrounds to share their varied interests, opinions, and strategies. Participation in the DFP over the years has been a rewarding experience and allows us to further our commitment to achieving and maintaining ethnic, gender, and cultural diversity among our attorneys and staff.

Adriana Ochoa

Procopio has proudly participated in DFP since the program’s inception. DFP has consistently provided our firm with impressive interns that contribute to our law firm’s success and culture. Many interns do so well that they stay on for clerkships and advance toward associate positions after law school graduation. Year after year, DFP fellows remind us of who we were — eager young attorneys that want to succeed and learn and thrive. We are reminded to be patient, to be curious, and to enjoy the spoils of our profession. And of course, we also inevitably learn the latest vernacular. It’s lit. No cap.

Anthony Walker

University of San Diego School of Law

The DFP experience introduced me to employment law. It was an area that I had not previously considered but found incredibly interesting. As a result, I am now actively pursuing an employment law career and will tailor my future coursework and clinical experiences accordingly. My most important takeaway from my fellowship is the connections I was able to foster with attorneys I may otherwise have never met.

Sofia Carrasco

California Western School of Law

Law school is one thing; practicing is another. My DFP experience allowed me to (thankfully) understand that I enjoy the work outside of school: research, memo-writing, etc. Diversity is important to me because we spend so much time in the office and with our co-workers. It is critical to me that our workspaces be safe for everyone; diversity is an ever-widening scope. Personally, I raised diversity to be a paramount factor in my choice of law school and now continue to do so regarding my future places of employment.

Said Shaba

University of San Diego School of Law

As this country continues to become more diverse, legal practitioners need to become more diverse and inclusive so that the communities they serve continue to have faith in their ability to advocate. DFP allowed me to explore practice areas I did not consider when I first applied to law school, and my biggest takeaway is to speak up! If you want an opportunity, ask. The San Diego legal industry has surprised me with how supportive and generous it is to new attorneys.

Alejandro Echeverria

California Western School of Law

This program opens doors for students who do not have the contacts to get their foot in the door of prestigious firms. Additionally, it enriches the diversity of the legal field. Most of us are first-generation lawyers. Therefore, we may lack guidance in our careers. This program mitigates these gaps and levels the field for everyone. My commitment is to encourage and help new Latino students who want to pursue a patent law career.

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Sarvenaz Karbasi

University of San Diego School of Law

Commit to making diversity and inclusion a purposeful choice, and involve your young lawyers in the efforts you undertake. Varied viewpoints provide for a richer discussion of issues and provide unique perspectives on how to approach strategy and problem-solving in our cases. Our practice is very difficult, but I watched our fellow rise to the occasion and grow in her research and writing skills as the summer progressed.


The most important takeaway from my DFP is that the legal community needs more of us. We are just as capable, intelligent, and deserving to be in these high positions with prestigious offices and firms. Experiences like this create the space for students like myself to pay it forward to future law students who may be experiencing the same things. The DFP has reinforced my career goals by showing me that true passion, hard work, and self-motivation are the keys to success.


Jerrilyn Malana

Diversity and inclusion are part of our core values at the District Attorney’s Office. We have over 1,000 employees including over 325 attorneys from diverse backgrounds. Every employee brings a unique voice and individual perspective to the work that we do. Our diversity enriches our workplace culture as we are stronger, smarter, and more innovative as an organization. This allows us to better serve our community and fulfill our public safety mission.

Kristin Scogin

I believe the DFP enriches both the legal community and the student’s law school experience alike. The program ensures a diverse group of students are exposed to areas of law they might not have considered previously. Firms in turn are able to meet to a wide range of students from different backgrounds and cultures.

Sarah Evans

We generally host a summer law clerk and were excited about the opportunity to blend that tradition with this Diversity Fellowship Program. Focusing on diversity and inclusion keeps us young, as well as engaged in and aware of our world, which is also our clients’ world!

Rachel Braby

University of San Diego School of Law

My internship with the San Diego District Attorney’s Office reinforced my desire to pursue a career in litigation. Diversity and inclusion are important to me because in order to foster growth and change, there needs to be an influx of ideas from people of all backgrounds. I hope to foster diversity and inclusion in my career by doing my best to amplify the voices of others, and engage and work with people from all walks of life.

Monica Miguel

California Western School of Law

The DFP has given me a glimpse into criminal defense, an area of law I never knew would intrigue me so much. In addition, it has shown me there can be great working environments despite the stigma around a law career. Sometimes as a first-generation, the journey is difficult not because of the actual work, but because you feel like you don’t belong. Diversity and inclusion help combat this. I will ensure moving forward to always help others feel like they belong.

Savannah Richardson

California Western School of Law

I would like to emphasize two standout traits of my employer: trust and patience. With every task, I was presented with trust that I had the capacity to complete it. This created a trust within myself which I did not have before. I was also met with patience, allowing me to learn and improve with each opportunity. This resulted in an experience I will be forever grateful for. Creating and reinforcing environments where people feel comfortable will continue to remain a priority of mine while navigating my career path.

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N. Carol Kim

Sempra Energy was a founding member of the DFP and has participated every year since. At Sempra, our future is rooted in the strength of our people. When we value diversity and inclusion, employees can bring their whole selves to work and share their unique perspectives and ideas. This helps us achieve better business outcomes, and the impact extends beyond the walls of our company to the communities we serve. Each summer, our DFP fellows keep us grounded and give us hope for the future of companies, law firms, or anywhere else they choose to work.

Matthew Faust

In an increasingly interconnected world and diverse local community, it is essential to a law firm to factor diversity and inclusion into its hiring practices. For so long, our profession has suffered the reputation of being oldfashioned and out of touch, especially in hiring practices. Nowadays, our clients and the bench expect law firms to have a diverse and representative work force. Additionally, at every stage of the life of a case it is extraordinarily helpful to have viewpoints and opinions that differ from our own.

India Jewell

A focus on increasing diversity and inclusion should squarely align with the company’s broader goals and objectives. There is a through line to success and longevity with respect to mirroring communities and consumers that support our companies. The benefits are beyond the bottom line. We always state that our internship programs are mutually beneficial. We know that diverse and unique personal experiences bring value to the table no matter the legal problem presented, and we are always refreshed with new perspectives.

Corina Martinez

Notre Dame Law School

It is important to be flexible and adaptable. I received a variety of assignments at Sempra, from researching employment drug testing regulations, to COVID-19 restrictions, to the alter ego doctrine, to causes of action in property and torts, and I was always open to trying something new. Collaboration is also important! Diversity in the law helps to foster networks built on empathy filled with lawyers and law students who are passionate about supporting each other because they understand how challenging and fulfilling a career in the law can be for members of underrepresented groups.

Hyun (Esther) Suh

Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University

There is not a single thing that is untouched by my identity as a first-generation Korean American woman. And therefore everything I do and everyone I talk to is touched by that as well. Diversity and inclusion are important because they are a part of everything lawyers do. They're a part of communicating with your clients, understanding what they say back to you, writing assignments, etc. I want to always make space for this system to serve diverse groups as well as it has served the majority.

Zameer Karim

California Western School of Law

The experiences I had during the DFP reinforced my decision to go to law school, and allowed me to realize the complexities and realities of our justice system that weren’t so visible from the theoretical principles we learned in the classroom. In addition, the knowledge I gained from the fellowship helped to solidify the fields of law that actually interest me, and those that I would prefer not to practice in in the future.

Iris Diaz

California Western School of Law

The law cannot afford complete justice to all without diverse representation and perspective. I plan to stay in the legal field to continue providing access to diverse and underrepresented populations.

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Parada Ornelas

Be intentional about recruiting efforts and diligent about retention efforts when it comes to diverse attorneys. At WTK, we actively encourage our attorneys to join affinity bars in San Diego and all around the country. My hope is that the DFP experience not only contributes to the law students’ legal skills but also enriches their life experience.

Ian Friedman

Diversity allows us to bring in unique viewpoints and experiences into the process of reviewing and evaluating our cases. An inclusive culture allows us to better reflect the jury pools and understand how issues may be perceived by a wide range of people. The DFP has consistently identified excellent candidates that we might otherwise have missed.

You to

American Specialty Health, Inc.

Ames Karanjia, LLP

Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo, APC Becton, Dickinson and Company


City of National City — Office of the City Attorney Cozen O’Connor

Ferris & Britton, APC

Fisher Phillips, LLP

Fonss & Estigarribia, LLP

Higgs Fletcher & Mack, LLP

Horton, Oberrecht & Kirkpatrick, APC

Hughes & Pizzuto, APC

Jackson Lewis, P.C.

Klinedinst PC

Kura Oncology, Inc.

Lagasse Branch Bell + Kinkead, LLP

LPL Financial

Ogletree Deakins

Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton, LLP

Pettit Kohn Ingrassia Lutz & Dolin, P.C.

Banna Esaias

University of San Diego School of Law

Participating in the DFP reinforced my decision to become an advocate for others. This program is a prime example of what it means to advocate for marginalized communities. I plan to use my legal career to continue creating spaces for diverse students to have equal opportunities. This was such a fulfilling experience and I am so blessed to have been given such an amazing opportunity.

Olivia Totten

University of San Diego School of Law

My DFP experience reinforced my goal of working closely with a team. The attorneys at Wingert graciously involved me in many parts of the litigation process and took the time to explain the legal process and issues. The most important takeaway from my fellowship is to advocate for yourself. Attorneys are very busy, but if you continue to ask for opportunities, they are happy to give you the work and opportunity to observe!

Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch, LLP

Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, LLP

San Diego County District Attorney’s Office

San Diego County Public Defender's Office

Schwartz Semerdjian Cauley & Evans, LLP

Sempra Energy

Sharif | Faust Lawyers, Ltd.

Sony Electronics, Inc.

Wilson Turner Kosmo, LLP

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | November/December 2022 31 Di∙ver∙si∙ty

Wingert Grebing Brubaker & Juskie, LLP Our 2022 Participating DFP
If you are interested in participating in next year's Program, you can visit to learn more and view the 2023 DFP timeline. Student applications open December 1, 2022, and close February 8, 2023 at 9:00 a.m.
If you are a law firm, corporate legal department, or public agency interested in participating in the Program, please reach out to Nima D. Shull, DFP Director, at 949-945-4071 or by email at to get started.


Avisionary group of local leaders launched the pilot SDCBA-ACC Diversity Fellowship Program (the “Program” or “DFP”) in 2008 to help talented diverse law students connect with prominent employers early in their legal education. The goal was to help move the numbers and make our profession better reflect the rich diversity we see in our community. As we celebrate the amazing year we had in 2022, with a record-breaking 31 employers and 33 students participating, and look to pass the torch to the next DFP Director, we wanted to highlight some of the incredible alums we have had over the last 14 years and how the Program impacted their journeys.

So often our students are first-generation law students, and the Program serves as a bridge that connects them to the greater legal community and equips our fellows with the tools to navigate the field.

As Elizabeth Mireles , a 2019 alum said, “As a firstgeneration Latina college graduate and law school graduate, navigating the legal field felt daunting and unfamiliar. However, participating in DFP provided me with guidance and multiple opportunities to network and create professional contacts all while enhancing my legal skills through the fellowship process.”

Jennifer Solano expressed, “As a first-generation, queer, gender-nonconforming person, I felt this program could help me not only become acclimated

with the legal community and develop essential skills to be a lawyer, but more importantly, it could also help me gain confidence as a first-year law student, and that although I am navigating a historically cis, white, male-dominated profession, I can thrive here and I do belong in these spaces.”

In 2020, when the world shut down and the Program pivoted to keep the unparalleled opportunities offered to our students from derailing, we launched a mentorship program. Several of our fellows received the opportunity to gain some work experience with their mentors while they waited for their fellowship to start. Andrew Steiger explained, “As a law student and a member of the LGBT+ family, it was not clear to me how I might break through on my own into my preferred practice area, financial services, when, in my view, the finance industry as a whole seemed less than enthusiastic about the trend toward diversity and inclusion.” The mentor that Steiger was matched with, Jonah Toleno, a securities and financial services attorney, offered him a law clerk position that led to a post-bar position that will transition to an associate attorney position pending bar results.

The benefits of this Program are vast and long-lasting. As Jing Li , part of the inaugural class, explained, “The mentorship, the doors it opened, and finally the opportunities that were made available” were his favorite aspects of participating. Or as Kim Carter said, “I loved that the Program offered training, camaraderie, and exposure to high-caliber fellows, amazing volunteers, and outstanding employers.

“We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in our hands to make a difference.” — Nelson Mandela
32 SAN DIEGO LAWYER | November/December 2022 Di∙ver∙si∙ty

The support I have received over the years from various individuals attached to this Program has truly been the best gift. This Program reaps dividends for participants at every level.”

Justin Paik expressed, “I am now working for my DFP employer.” Paik explained that after becoming a practicing litigator and realizing it was not the path he wanted to be on, he reached out to his DFP employer, who he kept in touch with. “The partner informed me that the firm was looking for a transactional attorney and that I should apply, and the rest is history.” As Daniel De La Cruz said, “DFP basically served as a preview for my legal career. During the Program, I figured out what my interests were and stuck with them. I was placed at Sheppard Mullin doing employment law, and 11 years later I am an associate with the firm doing employment law.”

“Participating in the DFP was without a doubt the best decision I made during law school,” says Nima Shull, incoming Director of the DFP, who was not only a fellow, but went on to supervise students as an employer. “Through the DFP, I learned that I really enjoyed

litigation practice and I was able to network and build relationships with attorneys from Klinedinst and other participating employers. I was encouraged to stay in touch after the Program ended, and a few years later, Klinedinst asked me to come back and work for them as a full-time associate attorney.”

As for parting wisdom, Tatiana Kline said it best: “To students, apply! This program is worth writing the essay. The connections you make are unlike any other, especially for a 1L summer internship. For employers, thank you and I hope you continue with the program.”

As Kline explained, “This program helped me step into the San Diego legal community.”

Learn more about the DFP and ways to participate in 2023 at

Bhashini Weerasinghe ( is the owner of Law Office of Bhashini Weerasinghe, Assistant Director of Pro Bono & Public Service at California Western School of Law, and the 201922 Director of SDCBA-ACC Diversity Fellowship Program.

(619) 987-9575 | | email: William (“Bill”) Wheatley—Mediator Areas of Mediation: • Personal Injury • Products Liability • Public Entity Claims • Business & Commercial Disputes • Contractual Disputes • Corporate, Partner and Member Disputes • Employment Disputes Wheatley Mediation Services Serving San Diego & Orange County Dedicated to helping individuals and businesses resolve conflict and move forward in their lives through effective and creative solution-based services.


Latinx attorneys make up 6% of California’s attorney population, despite comprising 36% of California’s adult population.2 Yes, you read that correctly: 6%. In fact, Latinxs in California are the most underrepresented when it comes to attorneys. What’s worse is the downward trend of Latinx attorneys since at least 2019, when Latinos made up 7% of the State’s attorney population.3

This glaring discrepancy in representation is disheartening. Fortunately, the percentage of newly admitted Latinx attorneys has increased from 10% in 2019 to 11.2% in 2021, meaning the Latinx community is making advancements in getting Latinxs to and through law school. However, when coupled with the overall decrease in Latinx attorneys, the number of Latinxs leaving the profession is likely far greater than we realize.

I don’t profess to know all the reasons for this decline, but from my personal observations, lack of access to the profession and a lack of support once in the profession are obvious factors. Indeed, these observations have been confirmed by research from the California Bar and the American Bar Association, among other sources.

Lack of access encompasses everything from proximity and positive exposure to the legal system, lawyers, and lawyer “culture” (i.e. the fancy dinners, galas, high-level networking, etc.), to the ability to pay for the ever-increasing cost of a legal education. For many, just this lack of access is enough to invoke feelings of unworthiness (i.e., imposter syndrome), creating lasting impacts on success and career satisfaction.

Once in the legal profession, the lack of support comes from not seeing many other attorneys who look and think like you, not having the institutional support (because of unconscious bias) that fosters upward mobility, or being pigeonholed into very specific types of law such that professional fulfillment becomes a foreign concept, just to name a few.

I certainly notice when I’m the only Latina in the gallery waiting for my case to be called. I certainly notice when I am mistaken for a court reporter instead of recognized as my client’s counsel. And I certainly notice being stereotyped

as the immigration or criminal law attorney instead of the employer-side defense attorney that I am. However, I believe that the strength and vibrancy of our San Diego Latinx lawyer community has created an atmosphere of support where I, and attorneys like me, are well aware of the disparity, but we don’t feel the loneliness that comes from this overwhelming lack of representation.

Not So Hidden Gems in Our San Diego Legal Community

I would be doing our legal community a disservice if I did not highlight the important work of organizations like the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association, Latinas in the Law, and the San Diego Latino Judges Association in bridging the gaps of access and support.

For example, the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association not only provides programming for the professional development of attorneys, but, since 2007, it has awarded over $500,000 in scholarships and bar stipends to local law students through the SDLRLA Scholarship Fund. Through the SDLRLA Public Benefit Fund, it has engaged with thousands of local youth and created positive interactions with lawyers through Project L.E.A.D. (elementary school) and the Trial Advocacy Program (high school mock trial). It has also benefited the community at large through know your rights programming with En La Comunidad sessions, and by endorsing candidates whose platforms are poised to benefit the Latinx community.

In addition, Latinas in the Law masterfully, and with love and compassion, focuses its programming on Latina attorneys — a group that comprises less than 2% of all attorneys in the nation.4 It hosts panels for attorneys and law students focused on the struggles specific to Latinas and manages a robust mentorship program.

The San Diego Latino Judges Association also provides mentorship and support, not only for the 12% of San Diego judges that are Latinx5 , but for local attorneys looking to become judges.

Indeed, these organizations are doing big things for the local Latinx community and Latinx lawyer community.

34 SAN DIEGO LAWYER | November/December 2022 Di∙ver∙si∙ty

Coupled with the recent accolades of local superstars like Justice Patricia Guerrero — the first Latina California Supreme Court Justice and the Court’s first Latina Chief Justice — and Judges Linda Lopez and Ruth Bermudez Montenegro — appointees to the United States District Court for the Southern District of California in 2021 and 2022, respectively — there is much to celebrate and be motivated by, despite the disparities.

Community Within Community

Although lawyers like myself and several of my colleagues

For the sake of our clients, colleagues, and the San Diego community, it behooves us all to join each other — in celebration and struggle — in fostering and maintaining a diverse and representative legal community.


schedule a case

of our
please contact
Arcelia N. Magaña (arcelia.magana@jacksonlewis. com) is an employer-side employment law attorney at Jackson Lewis P.C. or visit us online at:
Case Manager Kathy Purcell at 619-238-7282
Rich Paul & Joann Rezzo
Let Our Experience Work For You. Employment & Workplace Dispute Resolution Experts Di∙ver∙si∙ty
West Coast Resolution Group, a division of the National Conflict Resolution Center, has one purpose: to provide exceptional and affordable mediation services to the legal community.


Michelle Chavez, Director of Public Service Programs L to R: Scherelle Simpson, Genaro Lara, L Marcel Stewart Attendees enjoying a toast L to R: Frank Fox, Kimberly Swierenga, Jason Sheinberg
36 SAN DIEGO LAWYER | November/December 2022
L to R: Michelle Chavez, Perla Perez, Dawn Young, Jason Sheinberg, Holly Thomas, Elizabeth Arias, Gloria Varela

The SDCBA’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) has been celebrating its 70th Anniversary throughout 2022. You might have noticed the special logo added to the official SDCBA email signature this year (see the opposite page).

You might also have been greeted by the anniversary’s official mascot, the LRIS Cool Cat, in invitations to the Anniversary Party held this past September 28 (see the opposite page, bottom left).

If you joined us at the party, you met the Cat in person. But more importantly, you got to mingle with LRIS staff and attorney panelists. Many panelists were honored that evening for outstanding work in service of clients referred to them by LRIS.

Those honored were:

• Longest Serving Panelists: William Daley (1976), Marc Geller (1977), Shaun Boss (1977)

• Most Outstanding Reviews Received by the Public: Jeremy Golden

• Modest Means Award: Law Office of Christmann & McConnell

• Consumer Advocate Awards: Thomas Diachenko, Frank Fox & Kimberly Swierenga, Sergio Feria, Cassandra Thorson, Matthew Blancato, Jeffrey Hogue

• Outstanding Attorney of the Decade: Maurizio Mangini

Many attorney panelists have interesting stories to share from their LRIS experience over the years. We caught up with a few of this year’s honorees to learn some of what has made LRIS special to them.

William Daley, Law Office of William D. Daley

“When I first started practice, I made it a priority to become a member of the LRIS as a source of clients. Over the years I became active as a member of the LRIS Committee, as well as a Chairman. What I have learned in the process is the significance of the ‘Information Service’ component of LRIS. LRIS is a significant resource for those in the community seeking reliable legal information.”

Jeremy Golden, Golden & Cardona-Loya, LLP —

“LRIS referred a military servicemember who was stationed overseas when his identity was stolen. Numerous credit cards were taken out in his name. Even a car was

purchased by the identity thief. I was able to clear up his credit report and obtain a monetary settlement for him from the banks and debt collectors who violated debt collection and credit reporting laws.”

Marc Geller, Marc B. Geller, APC “LRIS screening and follow-up, with both clients and attorneys, are highly professional. It is very unusual for a potential client to be referred to the wrong type of attorney. Because the staff at the San Diego County Bar Association is highly trained, referrals have improved substantially during the 40+ years

I have been a member of the service. I always instruct individuals who are looking for an attorney in a different field to contact LRIS for an appropriate experienced practitioner.”

Maurizio Mangini, Law Offices of Maurizio A. Mangini — “I was very happy that several of my clients referred to me by LRIS were able to buy homes with the proceeds of their settlements or judgments, especially those who turned to LRIS after being rejected by other law firms.”

Kimberly Swierenga, Swierenga Law & Mediation — “A memorable case referred by LRIS was being able to hold an insurance company and salesperson accountable for locking up a dying elder's assets which precluded her from being able to afford life saving treatment. California consumer and elder protection laws are powerful.”

Cassandra Thorson, THORSON LAW GROUP, LTD. — “I took a case that no one else thought was worthy and found out the plaintiff had a brain injury caused by the Defendant. I obtained a great result for the client and a good referral fee for LRIS. This case started my interest in brain injury cases.”

A common thread in these stories and those from so many other panelists is the sense of fulfillment gained from helping clients who in many cases had no place else to turn. LRIS provided a way for them to get the representation they needed, resulting in a win-win all around.

To learn more about receiving client referrals as an LRIS attorney panelist, please visit


SAN DIEGO LAWYER | November/December 2022 37
Ron Marcus is the Director of Marketing and Public Outreach at the San Diego County Bar Association.




The first issue of DICTA magazine (the predecessor to San Diego Lawyer), published in December 1951, references a Bar Board announcement that the Bar will soon launch a “Lawyers Reference Plan.” The plan would be an agency “through which a member of the general public can be referred to a competent and reliable lawyer.” The matter was put to a vote of the membership, and the Bar Board launched it in January 1952. This plan worked, and 70 years later, the Plan — now the Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) — thrives. But first, a little background.

In a 1950 article in the American Bar Association Journal (Vol. 36, No. 1) by the then-ABA President, the “Lawyer Reference Plan” is described as a way to offer legal services to persons of moderate means. Legal Aid was providing services to the poor, and the wealthy had no problems obtaining legal services. The idea of providing affordable services for the middle class had been pushed since at least 1937 (and more so by the ABA in 1946 following domestic/civil issues hounding vets returning home from WWII), with the ABA developing an operational manual for bar associations in cities with populations of 30,000 or greater. The 1951 DICTA article describes a thorough review of the plan by a Bar Activities Committee (headed by future Bar President Ferdinand Fletcher), which in turn described the Plan as “a public relations program profitable for the layman and the lawyer.” As noted in DICTA, the Plan “is to provide a means for legal consultation for the uninitiated at an established consultation rate for the first consultation only, so devised and administered to overcome the layman’s fear of excessive legal charges.” As suggested by the ABA and followed by the local bars, an extensive advertising program would be necessary. The first administrator of the San Diego bar’s Plan was the Board Secretary at the time, Edwin Jeffries.

As noted in Legal Lore & the Bar by Leland Stanford, the Plan initially called for an annual registration fee of $10, with participating attorneys paying to the Plan 25% of all fees collected after the first conference charge. At that time, the initial conference fee was $5 if the

consult was under 30 minutes, or $10 if the consult exceeded 30 minutes. Stanford said that the 1952 referrals under the Plan averaged about 50 per month, with that number tripling by 1956. In 2021, LRIS averaged 3,159 referrals per month, and the program income now depends on a flat 15% of attorney fee at the close of a case. Over the past decade, LRIS income has increased steadily, from $671,089 in 2012 to $884,450 last year.

Somewhere along the way the name of the program was changed to LRIS (nationally), and the San Diego program added Imperial County to its service territory in 2020. The SDCBA LRIS has around 315 panel attorneys signed up to provide services (after passing what is described by LRIS as rigorous criteria), and the first 30 minutes of consultation are free. (San Francisco, which established the Plan in 1946 when it was first being discussed, charges $35 for a consultation.) Forty of the 58 counties in California have LRIS programs, which are regulated by the State Bar of California. A portion of the attorney fees collected from a referral case are given to the LRIS program of the participating county, which is used to pay operational expenses (staffing, etc.). Any profits made by the LRIS program are to be used for charitable purposes.

As to law specialties, the focus changes with the times. In the 1970s there was a reduced rate provided to Vietnam War veterans. In the 1980s, a special HIV/AIDS panel was established, and in the 1990s a panel was created on the heels of passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Other events have been addressed as well, such as wildfire losses, earthquake damages, and COVID-19 (primarily estate planning). Currently, the top five areas of referrals are family, employment, personal injury, civil & commercial litigation, and consumer fraud. LRIS is overseen by the SDCBA's Director of Public Services, four referral counselors, and a Standing SDCBA Committee of nine members.

George W. Brewster Jr. ( 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.

38 SAN DIEGO LAWYER | November/December 2022

LRIS Testimonials: Making New Connections

Joining the SDCBA as a young attorney was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life, both personally and professionally. Becoming a panel member for the Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) is also something that forever changed my practice and my career path!

LRIS played a substantial role in growing my practice as an estate attorney. Since joining the LRIS panel as a practitioner in Estate Planning, Probate, Conservatorship, and Guardianship, I have received dozens of client referrals per year, adding up to thousands of dollars in business and connecting me with people from all walks of life that I would otherwise have never met and never been able to help.

The financial side of things is wonderful because we all want to thrive in our business, but the ability to help people who are seeking legal assistance is what drives me. I think that’s why we become attorneys: to help people, first and foremost. For that I am eternally grateful and always will be.

LRIS has also helped me build close relationships with more SDCBA members. The experience was so positive that I became a volunteer with LRIS. Today, I have the honor of serving as the LRIS chair. And that allows me to not only to cultivate new relationships with all kinds of attorneys, but also to help share the good word about the SDCBA with as many lawyers as possible — which I love to do because of everything that LRIS has given to me! Thank you, SDCBA and LRIS; you have changed so many lives by offering legal referrals to San Diego and Imperial Counties — mine included — and I will never forget that.

The SDCBA’s Lawyer Referral & Information Service (LRIS) has been an unexpected gem for high quality referrals at a ridiculously low cost. The landscape of legal advertising has changed dramatically over the course of my career. Yellow Page ads have gone the way of the dodo and optimizing Google placement is a never-ending task, especially without a full-time marketing/ technology team. While I originally started working with LRIS in 2019 as a way to give back to my community, over the years I have found that working with LRIS not only feels good but has become a great marketing tool.

Stratton & Green, ALC focuses its practice on employment and business consulting and litigation, and we spend a great deal of time speaking with and screening potential clients. As a member of both the employment and civil litigation referral panels, LRIS sends me general case summaries along with potential client contact information, significantly cutting down the time spent getting up to speed on the facts of any potential matter. Some referrals need only quick guidance that puts them on a forwardthinking path without legal intervention, but many others require more significant legal work.

For a boutique law firm primarily relying on reputation and referral for new business, LRIS has been a source for several high-quality repeat clients, which has had a significant impact on Stratton & Green’s bottom line.

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | November/December 2022 39

We Connect You With More Clients

The San Diego County Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) helped participating attorneys gain just under 38,000 qualified clients in 2021, resulting in nearly six million dollars in legal fees earned.

With results like these, LRIS can offer you the most cost-effective way to gain high-quality clients, hands down. The cost is much lower than other marketing methods, including advertising, SEO, listing/rating services, you name it (lower still with the highly discounted LRIS enrollment

fee offered to SDCBA members — your membership will immediately pay for itself).

The public trusts LRIS as the reliable way to get connected with qualified attorneys. Lawyers trust LRIS too, because we carefully pre-screen potential clients to ensure we only send you referrals that match well with your practice area.

Best of all, by participating in LRIS, you will be helping clients access quality legal services they wouldn’t find otherwise — a true win-win.

Request your LRIS application: 619.321.4153 or San Diego & Imperial Valley Counties


Unexpected layoffs. Family emergencies. Worldwide recessions or pandemics. Burnout. There are many reasons why your meticulously planned career path may face an unexpected detour, but just like finding an alternate route when the 8 is closed or to bypass an accident on the 78, there are ways to either get back on track or even find a new destination you never considered before.

First, check your gauges. Just as you should not take a 100-mile detour on an empty tank, take stock of your situation before setting out. Evaluate your finances, your work experience, your strengths and weaknesses, and what you enjoy doing so you know how far and fast you can go.

Second, ask for directions. Your friends, colleagues, and professional networks can provide insights that will not only give you a different perspective of your situation, but also may help you find shortcuts or new roads you hadn’t

considered, such as moving to a different size of firm, moving in-house, or working for the government.

Third, figure out where to go. You do not have to follow suggested deviations and may even consider changing your ultimate destination. Make the detour an opportunity to reevaluate your ultimate career goals. Take the freedom to change up your route, or take an opportunity to rest and recharge. Driving angry or tired is just as dangerous as driving on a closed road.

Finally, enjoy the ride. There is nothing to be gained from lamenting the roadblock. You are on a new path now, and it is up to you to find joy and fulfillment in your new journey. It may turn out that this was the path you were meant to take all along. Happy trails.

Michael G. Olinik ( is the owner of The Law Office of Michael G. Olinik. Michael’s practice focuses on real estate matters, employment matters, civil litigation, and appeals.



Areas of practice: Criminal Defense

What initially inspired you to practice law?

Watching afternoon courtroom shows with my grandmother in Brooklyn, NY as a child. Criminal law, particularly criminal defense, became an interest of mine once I started seeing friends and family from back home go through the legal system and witnessing the defense attorneys who helped them out along the way.

What is your proudest career moment?

My colleagues and I deal with people who are indigent, mentally ill, dealing with substance abuse, or who have just hit a rough patch in life. An often-overlooked part of what we do is providing our clients with resources and helping them get their lives together once their cases are at an end. I am at my proudest when I see my clients days, weeks, months, or even years after their cases have been resolved and they are happy, healthy, and thriving because they have completed a treatment program, or are off the streets and have found housing, or were able to get a job because of the work that was done on their case.

What fills your time outside of work?

I am focused on my health and fitness, so I try to make it to the gym often. I am a basketball fan (go Knicks!), and enjoy competing in the local rec leagues. I also love music; often when I am at home I am listening to my Bob Marley or Temptations vinyls. Involvement in the legal community fills my time outside of work as well. For the past four years I have been a member of the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Foundation, serving as Treasurer, President, and Immediate Past President. I have also been a part of a few task forces for the SDCBA. Any other time outside of work is taken up by my cat Tux.

“If I weren’t an attorney, I’d be ...”

An author. Growing up I loved to read, and I would often write short stories, poems, and comics of my own. I still write from time to time as a hobby.

What is your favorite movie, book, or TV show? Why?

Clue is my favorite movie. It’s a 1985 comedy based on the board game of the same name. The writing is excellent, with great jokes, double-entendres, and wit. The acting is

great as well with a great cast, and Tim Curry gives one of his best performances.

What one skill has helped you be successful as an attorney, and how could others develop that skill to better their practices?

Public speaking. When I was a kid, everyone around me at home spoke patois (a Jamaican dialect), but no one spoke it at school. I would often speak a rough combination of patois and American English, which sometimes made it hard for teachers and other kids at school to understand me. It took me a while to be comfortable with the sound of my own voice.

In college I took a public speaking course that helped me tremendously. To effectively represent our clients, we have to have a certain level of confidence and conviction when talking to a judge, jury, or opposing counsel. There are many resources out there, including online courses, selfhelp books, and even YouTube videos.

What would you most like to be known for?

Making a difference in my community. My parents always taught me to leave a place or situation in better condition than I found it. At the end of the day, I want to be known as someone who had a positive impact on those around him.

San Diego County Public Defender's Office
SDCBA MEMBER PROFILE The Professional Responsibility Practice Group focuses on ethics, litigation
regulatory issues that
impact lawyers and law firms, in addition to public entities, inhouse departments, as well as judges and law students.
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Text messaging and so much more. Visit, or scan the code, to see why members of the San Diego County Bar love Clio!


The following individuals in our community were recently honored for their achievements. If you achieve a professional success, feel welcome to submit it to for inclusion in an upcoming issue of San Diego Lawyer.

Regina Petty , member and past President of the San Diego County Bar Association, was named to the San Diego Business Journal’s 2022 SD 500, The Most Influential People in San Diego.

Regina has been Chief Diversity Officer & Partner at Fisher Phillips LLP for nearly 14 years. She is highlighted for her 40 years of legal service, her experience in multi-district and class action litigation as well as arbitrations, and her past presidency of the San Diego County Bar Association.


San Diego Lawyer has been recognized in six categories at the San Diego Press Club’s Annual Excellence in Journalism Awards. Congratulations to all award recipients, and special thanks to our volunteer contributors and SDCBA staff for their incredible work!

• George W. Brewster Jr., 3rd Place, Magazine Column: “Seconds Column”

• Brian Keliher, Honorable Mention, Magazine Feature: “Tattoos on Trial”

• Edward McIntyre, 3rd Place, Magazine Column: “Ethics Column”

• Attiba Royster, Honorable Mention, Magazines: Front Page Design, “Cover: You Don’t Look Like a Lawyer: The Changing Face of the Profession”

• Wilson A. Schooley, 2nd Place, Magazine Feature: “The Rewards of Resilience: Building Black-Owned Law Firms in San Diego”

• Gayani R. Weerasinghe, 1st Place, Magazine Column: “Why I Lawyer”


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SAN DIEGO LAWYER | November/December 2022 45


Rashad Abdallah

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Jessica Anderson

Mark Anderson

Christopher Angelich Natalie Antemate

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Jinshi Bai

William Baker

Colten Ballinger

Nathan Barbara Sabrina Barr

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Jack Benoit

Ali Bloom

Morgan Bolin

Rachel Bowanko

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Robert Brownlie

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Carys Davies Jayda Davis

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Grace Gilman

Robin Gimm

Jacob Goldschlag

Edwin Gonzalez Aisling Gorman Sina Govashiri

Megan Gramlich Clayton Grant Natasha Graves Elliott Greb

Jonathan Greenbergs

Connor Greth Matthew Griffin Max Gruenberg

Brooke Hallisey Matthew Halverson

Lea Halvin

Hala Hammi

Michelle Hamson

Alison Hansen

Aaron Harburg

McKenzie Hardy

Joseph Hargis

Kathryn Hauh

Kyle Headrick

Meghan Heesch

Anthony Hernandez

Mayra Hernandez

Victor Hernandez

Lesli Hernandez Venegas

Tyler Herrera Marisa Hirsch

Cedar Hobbs

Cameron Holl

Amy Holmes

Harrison Hought Greer Houston

Jamie Hulsey

Michelle Hunt

Joshua Husen

Leonardo Husid

Emily Hyatt

Kelly Ilacqua

Allison Imam-Hedrick

Gavin Jack

Gavin Jackson

Timothy Jacobs Paula Jahn

Atul Jain

Alexandra Jankiewicz Kaitlyn Jensen

Matthew Jensen

Kirstin Jensvold-Rumage

Jacob Johnstone

Jordan Jones Lucy Jones

Jennifer Kammerer

Jason Kandah

Georgia Karageorge Seth Kaswan

Daryoush Kat

Jacob Katz

Charles Kausen

James Keegan

Johnathan Keller

Jordan Kellogg Joseph Kennedy

Leena Ketkar

Sanam Khajenoori

Sichan Kim

Yulian Kolarov

Alexandra Kolsky

Elaine Kong

Lauren Kownacki

Alexander Kristofcak

Jonathan Kuang

Amy Lam

Alexis Lamprea

Catherine Larrabee

Noah Larsh

Eric Laufgraben

Amanda Le

Lauren Leach

Marissa Lebert

Seulgi Lee

Christine Lentz Max Levinbook

Qin Li

Morgan Liggan

Monica Lillo

Karen Lindow Erica Loo

Valerie Lopez

Shelby Lorenzi Richard Lozano

Alaina Lynch

Adrian Lyons Eric Maas

Maximilian Mabile

Dion Macbeth John Mackesy

Oliver Maize Madison Marder

Lauren Martin Brisa Martinez

Victor Mastromarco

Jeremy Mauritzen

Geoffrey Maynor

Austin McCall

Sean McCroskey

Claire McKeown

Heike McNaughton Alec Mcniff

Brian McPherson

William McTaggart

Kathryn Mefford

Jonah Mekebri Alana Mellgren

Daisy Mendez Maya Valeria Menendez

Cherie Miller

Victoria Minnich

Jenna Misuraca Paloma Monesi

Domanique Moore

Madison Moreno Kourtney Morrison

Cassandra Moser John Mosley

Kendra Muller Shannon Munemura

Cristina Murillo

Fiona Murphy

Rosa Namgoong

Janani Natarajan

Mary Naughton

Jeffrey Nellis

Martha Nelson Ronan Nelson Cameron Neubauer

Takuma Nishimura

Rami Noeil

Catherine Noveck

Michael Nunez

Angela O'Hara

Allison O'Neill

Emily Oetting

Hannah Ohman

Caroline Olivier

Zachary Ortale Walter Osuna

Cody Page

Aubrey Pardue Yesha Patel

Sophia Petrichenko

William Petti

Sara Pfeiffer Alexis Philpott Daniela Pirvu Danielle Pompeo Jake Posnock

Patrick Potives Mary Powell

Anika Prednis Austin Prewitt

Lily Purqurian Joshua Rainville Sasha Ramirez Kelly Recker Sean Reed Savannah Reed-Plouffe

Julia Reilly

Jessica Remlinger

Daniel Riordan Carlee Roberts Kamil Robinson

Luciana Roble

Rachel Rockwell

Mondona Rostami

Lauren Rubio

Sydney Rusch Kelsie Russell

Yuliya Ryabchikova Nicole Saab

Shabnam Saadatkhah Lizeth Sanchez Aguirre

Stephanie Sandoval

Derek Sanford Alexis Santana

Dominick Sawaya

Todd Sayles

Trent Scheurman

Alexander Schindler

Hannah Schnell

Anna Schwartz

Yuki Sekine Dean Shaffer

Srushti Shah Melissa Shannon Kelley Sheehan

Phillip Shelton Jonathan Shkedy

Tarik Shoukeh

Graham Simmons Erica Skerven

Ashley Snook

Tiffany Spencer

Divya Sriharan Nicholas Stack Oliver Stallmach

Andrew Steiger

Joshua Stewart

James Stinehart

Kristin Strange

Troy Strange

Tyler Strycula

Erin Sully

Queenie Sun Sterling Swift

Madison Swoy

Gregory Sylvester

Kyla Szubinski Nicole Tanaka Samuel Tari Jasmine Tauer Michael Tetreault Stacy Thumsuden

Yzabel Tinga Christina Tran Lily Tran Lydia Tran Auston Turman Cullen Tyndall Madhavan Vajapeyam Sheila Vajdi

Emaleigh Valdez

Brittany Van Ryder

Fernando Vargas Luis Vasquez

Jose Vega Zamudio Vincenzo Ventre

Julie Voorhes

Minh Hieu Vu

Lauren Wade Taylor Walsh

Amanda Wang

Alice Wargo Jane Watts

Courtney West

Yegina Whang

Morgan Williams

Timothy Willis

Joseph Woodson

Micheal Wright

Bryan Wyman

Ziran Xuan Sarah Yesil

Ahmed Yousef

Barbara Zalewski-Zaragoza

Anayeli Zavala Courtney Zuniga

If you live in San Diego and passed the bar exam in July 2022 and your name isn’t listed here, please let us know at

The San Diego County Bar Association celebrates the success of those in San Diego who passed the bar exam in July 2022.
SAN DIEGO LAWYER | November/December 2022 47


The SDCBA recognizes the hard work and leadership of our Sections, Committees, and Divisions that host educational and other programming that align with our Mission, Vision, Core Values, and Strategic Plan. This year, we are recognizing five Sections for their dedication and commitment.

Visit to learn more about these awards.
and mobility
PRESIDENTIAL CERTIFICATE OF RECOGNITION DIFFERENT ABILITIES SUBCOMMITTEE For producing five joint collaborative programs and events throughout the year. CERTIFICATE FOR COLLABORATION ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ADR) SECTION CERTIFICATE FOR VARIETY OF PROGRAMMING & EVENTS NEW LAWYER DIVISION (NLD) For producing an amazing variety of meaningful ways to keep our new lawyers engaged and connected in the legal community including networking mixers, roundtables, CLE’s, meet-ups, and volunteer community service opportunities. For producing programs with content geared toward new lawyers and hosting a sponsored networking mixer as a unique way to bring members, judges, and new lawyers together outside of the courtroom. CERTIFICATE FOR NEW LAWYER CONTENT CRIMINAL LAW SECTION CERTIFICATE FOR INNOVATION WELLNESS SUBCOMMITTEE For producing creative and timely topics and events to connect our members and highlight the importance that to be a great lawyer, one has to be a well lawyer. 48 SAN DIEGO LAWYER | November/December 2022
widely impactful work this year, specifically regarding improving access of MTS trolley systems
devices on airplanes.


New Lawyer Division

Stephanie Pengilley - Chair

Elijah Gaglio - Vice Chair

Heather Daiza - Member at Large

Dani Glazer - Member at Large

Linda Nelte - Member at Large

Claudia Salinas - Member at Large

Matthew Spolsky - Member at Large

Hannah Theophil - Member at Large

Alternative Dispute Resolution

James Astuno - Chair

Ana Sambold - Vice Chair

Hilary Boyer - Member at Large

Adam Noakes - Member at Large

Julie Wolff - Member at Large

Animal Law

Shawn Huston - Chair

Cheryl Nolan - Vice Chair

Lori Mendez - Member at Large

Appellate Practice

Elisabeth Cannon - Chair

Jeff Michalowski - Vice Chair

Joseph Goodman - Member at Large

Michelle Pena - Member at Large

John Sylvester - Member at Large

Savannah Montanez - New Attorney Member at Large


Kathleen Cashman Kramer - Chair

Gary Rudolph - Vice Chair

Business & Corporate

Matthew Hrutkay - Chair

Ray Ayers - Member at Large

Ethan Watts - Member at Large

Civil Litigation

Stephen Anderson - Chair

Steven Sabel - Vice Chair

Joseph Goodman - Member at Large

Daniel Kaplan - Member at Large

Aaron Sibley - Member at Large

Stephanie Atkinson - New Attorney Member at Large


Stuart Eisler - Chair

Pamela Scholefield - Vice Chair

Mike Nolan - Member at Large

Criminal Law

Andre Bollinger - Chair

David Finn - Vice Chair

Ana De Santiago Ayon - Member at Large

Domenic Lombardo - Member at Large

John Pro - Member at Large

Claudia Salinas - New Attorney Member at Large

Elder Law

Julie Thorpe-Lopez - Chair

Carla Keehn - Member at Large Andrew Liska - Member at Large

Entertainment & Sports Law

James Hess - Chair

Omar Hernandez - Vice Chair

Jeremy Evans - Member at Large

Matthew Spolsky - New Attorney Member at Large

Environmental Law

Alison Schlick - Chair

Jerod Markley - Vice Chair

Estate Planning

David Greco - Chair

Carla Keehn - Vice Chair

Linda Nelte - Member at Large

Alexandra "Lexi" Happersett - New Attorney Member at Large

Family Law

Ashley Dudley - Chair

Kelli Blackburn - Vice Chair

Justin Prybutok - Member at Large

Government Law

Monica Hall - Chair

Victoria Hester - Member at Large

Immigration Law

Maria Chavez - Chair

Paulina Reyes-Perrariz - Vice Chair


Kristina Fretwell - Chair

Sharon Huerta - Vice Chair

Mitchell Lathrop - Member at Large

Peter P. Meringolo - Member at Large

Christopher Hicks - Member at Large

Intellectual Property

Jeffrey Morton - Chair

Jesse Salen - Vice Chair

Melissa Patterson - Member at Large

Taneashia Morrell - Member at Large


Ray Ayers - Chair

Maria Estela De Orduna - Vice Chair

Juvenile Law

Karen Prosek - Chair

Marissa Walter - Vice Chair

Jesica Fellman - Member at Large Kim Coulter - Member at Large

Labor & Employment

Emilia Arutunian - Chair

Kim Carter - Vice Chair

Stephanie Atkinson - Member at Large

Jason Murtagh - Member at Large

Haley Murphy - New Attorney Member at Large

Law & Medicine

James Eischen, Jr. - Chair

Sasha Jamshidi - Member at Large

Military Law

Paul LeBlanc - Chair

Eric Alizade - Member at Large Ian Corey - Member at Large

Privacy & Cybersecurity

Ethan Watts - Chair

Myriah Jaworski - Vice Chair William Marshall - Member at Large

Real Property

Kyle Yaege - Chair

Mark Guithues - Vice Chair

Schuyler V. V. Hoffman V - Member at Large

Taxation Law

Michael Laisne - Chair

Aaron Hughes - Vice Chair

Jennifer Conklin - Member at Large

Workers' Compensation

John Don - Chair

Michael Rott - Member at Large

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | November/December 2022 49

THANK YOU 100% CLUB 2022

The San Diego County Bar Association wants to thank all of the San Diego law firms, public agencies, and nonprofit legal organizations that have provided SDCBA membership to 100% of their attorneys in 2022. Your commitment to the San Diego legal community is greatly appreciated.

Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP

Ames Karanjia LLP

Antonyan Miranda, LLP

Appellate Defenders, Inc.

Astuno Sabel Law PC

Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo

Balestreri Potocki & Holmes ALC

Beamer, Lauth, Steinley & Bond, LLP

Bender Kurlander Hernandez & Campbell, APC

Best Best & Krieger LLP

Blackmar, Principe & Schmelter APC

Blanchard Krasner & French

Bobbitt, Pinckard& Fields, APC

Brierton Jones & Jones, LLP

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC

Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP

Burton Kelley, LLP

Butterfield Schechter LLP

California Western School of Law

Casey Gerry Schenk Francavilla Blatt & Penfield, LLP

Christensen & Spath LLP

Cohelan Khoury & Singer

Dean Gazzo Roistacher LLP

Devaney Pate Morris & Cameron, LLP

Dietz, Gilmor & Chazen, APC

District Attorney’s Office of San Diego

Donald R. Holben & Associates, APC

Duckor Metzger & Wynne ALC

Dunn DeSantis Walt & Kendrick, LLP

Erickson Law Firm APC

Farmer Case & Fedor

Ferris & Britton, APC

Fitzgerald Knaier LLP

Fleischer & Ravreby

Gatzke Dillon & Ballance LLP

Gomez Trial Attorneys

Goodwin Brown Gross & Lovelace LLP

GrahamHollis APC

Green Bryant & French, LLP

Greene & Roberts LLP

Grimm, Vranjes Greer Stephan & Bridgman LLP

Hahn Loeser & Parks, LLP

Henderson, Caverly, Pum & Trytten LLP

HHJ Trial Attorneys

Higgs Fletcher & Mack LLP

Hoffman & Forde

Hooper, Lundy & Bookman, PC

Horton Oberrecht & Kirkpatrick, APC

Hughes & Pizzuto, APC

Hurwitz Holt, APLC

Jackson Lewis PC

Johnson Fistel LLP

Judkins, Glatt & Rich LLP

JWB Family Law

Karen D. Wood & Associates

Kennedy & Souza, APC

Klinedinst PC

Koeller, Nebeker, Carlson & Haluck, LLP

Konoske Akiyama | Brust LLP

Kriger Law Firm

Law Offices of Beatrice L. Snider, APC

Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Inc.

Lincoln Gustafson & Cercos LLP

McCloskey Waring Waisman & Drury LLP

McDougal, Love, Eckis, Boehmer, Foley, Lyon & Mitchell

Miller, Monson, Peshel, Polacek & Hoshaw

Mintz Levin

MoginRubin LLP

Moore, Schulman & Moore, APC

Musick, Peeler & Garrett LLP

Neil, Dymott, Frank, McCabe & Hudson APLC

Niddrie | Addams | Fuller | Singh LLP

Noonan Lance Boyer & Banach LLP

Office of the Public Defender

Office of the San Diego City Attorney

Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton LLP

Pettit Kohn Ingrassia Lutz & Dolin PC

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Preovolos Lewin, ALC

Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP

Pyle Sims Duncan & Stevenson APC

Rowe | Mullen LLP

San Diego County Counsel

San Diego Unified Port District

Schulz Brick & Rogaski

Schwartz Semerdjian Cauley & Evans LLP

Seltzer|Caplan|McMahon|Vitek ALC

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP

Shustak Reynolds & Partners, PC

Siegel, Moreno & Stettler, APC

Smith, Steiner, Vanderpool, APC

Solomon Minton Cardinal Doyle & Smith LLP

Solomon Ward Seidenwurm & Smith, LLP

Stokes Wagner, ALC

Sullivan Hill Rez & Engel APLC

Sullivan, McGibbons, Crickard & Associates, LLP

Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire LLP

Tresp, Day & Associates, Inc.

Walsh McKean Furcolo LLP

Webb Law Group, APC

Wilson Turner Kosmo LLP

Winet Patrick Gayer Creighton & Hanes ALC

Wingert Grebing Brubaker & Juskie LLP

Wirtz Law APC

Witham Mahoney & Abbott, LLP

Withers Bergman LLP

Wright, L'Estrange & Ergastolo

50 SAN DIEGO LAWYER | November/December 2022
100% Club member list as of November 2022


All information shown is as of November 2022, and subject to change without notice.








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