Contra Costa Lawyer - Contra Costa County Bar Association

Contra Costa Lawyer - Contra Costa County Bar Association

Contra Costa Lawyer

Volume 22, Number 1 • January 2009

The official publication of the


Presiding Judge Elect Mary Ann O’Malley

and Assistant Presiding Judge Elect Diana Smith

Larry Cook

2009 CCCBA President

Annual Bar Issue

Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook

Professional Law Corporation

would like to congratulate

Larry Cook

on becoming the 2009 President of the

Contra Costa County Bar Association



We continue to represent plaintiffs in personal injury cases

as we celebrate the firm’s 30th year in Contra Costa County.

2121 N. California Blvd., Suite 1020 • Walnut Creek, CA 94596

T 925.947.1147 • F 925.947.1131

Personal Injury • Wrongful Death • Vehicular Accidents • Products Liability • Industrial Accidents

Elder Abuse • Child Sexual Abuse • Employment Discrimination • Civil Rights

Contra Costa Lawyer

Volume 22, Number 1 • January 2009


c o n t e n t s


6 Meet Your bar Association’s

new Board Members . . .

and staff members

10 2009 Judicial Assignments & Holidays

12 Your CCCBA Membership

Take advantage of everything

We have to offer!

Lisa Reep


4 Inside

Candice Stoddard

16 Question Man

What was the most gratifying thing

that happened to you in 2009?

31 Sustaining Law Firms

38 Classifieds

14 Merchant Discount Program

18 Meet your 2009 President

Larry Cook

Candice Stoddard

20 2008 Year-End Financial REport

22 Why Membership in the LRIS

Makes good business sense!

24 Meet your sections

About the cover . . .

Welcome to CCCBA’s 2009 President,

Larry Cook. See interview on page 18.



Larry Cook President

Ron Mullin President-Elect

Kathy Schofield Secretary

Audrey Gee Treasurer

Robin Pearson Ex Officio

Christopher Bowen

Oliver Bray

Mike Brewer

Jay Chafetz

Virginia George

Peter Hass

Leigh Johnson

Kristen Thall Peters

Ron Rives

Dana Santos

Stephen Steinberg

Candice Stoddard


Lisa Reep: 925.288-2555 •

CCCBA main office: 925.686-6900 •

Jennifer Comages

Membership Coordinator

Emily Day

Systems Administrator and

Fee Arbitration Coordinator

Manny Gutierrez

Administrative Assistant

and Legal Interviewer


Candice Stoddard



Nancy J. Young



Hon. Mary Ann O'Malley



Candice Stoddard



Kiri Torre



Young Design & Production



Excel Graphics


Contra Costa Lawyer


Moya Fotografx


Maria Navarrete

LRIS Coordinator

Barbara Tillson

Moderate Means Program


Michele Vasta

Section Liaison / Education

& Programs Coordinator


Kate Bekins


Mark Ericsson


Matthew P. Guichard

Local Civil Jury Verdicts


Nicole Mills


Craig Nevin


Andrea L. O’Toole


David Pearson


Ericka Portillo


Andy Ross


Kathy Schofield


Audrey Smith, JFK Liaison


Marlene Weinstein


The Contra Costa Lawyer (ISSN 1063-4444) is published

monthly by the Contra Costa County Bar Association (CCCBA),

704 Main Street, Martinez, CA 94553. Annual subscription of $25

is included in the membership dues. Second-class postage paid

at Martinez, CA. POSTMASTER: send address change to the

Contra Costa Lawyer, 704 Main Street, Martinez, CA 94553.

The Lawyer welcomes and encourages articles and letters from

readers. Please send them to Nancy J. Young, Associate Editor,

Contra Costa Lawyer, P.O. Box 1867, Benicia, CA 94510.

The CCCBA reserves the right to edit articles and letters

sent in for publication. All editorial material, including editorial

comment, appearing herein represents the views of the respective

authors and does not necessarily carry the endorsement of

the CCCBA or the Board of Directors. Likewise, the publication

of any advertisement is not to be construed as an endorsement

of the product or service offered unless it is specifically stated

in the ad that there is such approval or endorsement.

by Candice Stoddard

Wishing you the warmest welcome to 2009 and the 22 nd year of the Contra Costa

Lawyer. I can hear the collective sigh of relief that 2008 is over. It is now more important

than ever to focus on what is positive as we transition into the new year. Our country

has a new president and hope for change!

Last year I had the honor of sharing the role of editor with Harvey Sohnen, who I am

sure is most grateful to hand the baton to me having given us three years of his thoughtful

and dedicated service. Thank you Harvey! I will now handle this job solo, with the

help of an incredible editorial board full of talent, creativity, energy, ingenuity, and the

humor and good spirit to get the job done every month. This couldn’t be accomplished

without the team of guest editors who are also willing to give their time and talent to

accomplish this task. Looking forward, we will endeavor to keep you all well informed

about our bar association, its activities and accomplishments and to write about the

legal topics that interest you.

On the adjacent page is our list of themes for the upcoming editions. We are living in

challenging and changing times that affect all areas of the law. The changes seem to

be occurring at warp speed in comparison with the past. Our team will work to keep

you current with the changes in the various areas of law and present articles of interest

to the legal community. Any of you who wish to contribute articles on the areas of law

covered in upcoming editions, please let us know. We can use all of the worker bees

we can get. This magazine is a volunteer effort, with the sole exception of Nancy Young,

our most talented Associate Editor, who always makes sure we meet our deadlines,

and is the behind-the-scenes magic that gets the job done.

Having said that, welcome to the January 2009 edition of the Contra Costa Lawyer. First

off, welcome to our new Presiding Judge, the Honorable Mary Ann O’Malley, our new

board members (page 6) and our staff members (page 7). Welcome also to CCCBA’s

new president, Larry Cook (you can read his interview on page 18). Also welcome to

our new section leaders (starting on page 24) — and please take special note of our new

Diversity Section! For those of you who haven’t seen it, you will read about the Diversity

Section’s Power Point Presentation on page 31. You will also read about our upcoming

events, such as the Installation Luncheon on January 16 (see page 11), featuring Justice

Ruvolo, as well as the other bar events for the year. Mark your calendars for the judicial

holiday schedule and check out the 2009 judicial assignments on page 10.

Don’t miss the information provided regarding the bar’s latest membership benefits

(page 12), the CCCBA’s Member Discount Program (page 14), and the Lawyer Referral

and Information Service (page 22), so you can all take advantage of everything the bar

association has to offer! We hope you enjoy this edition! u

Candice Stoddard is an attorney in Walnut Creek with emphasis on real estate and estate litigation,

personal injury and mediation.

4 January 2009



It is fast and easy to RENEW ONLINE at

The first 250 online renewals will be entered into a drawing for the winner’s choice of a refund of his or her

2009 CCCBA membership dues* and three practice area listings; or a one-third page ad in an upcoming

issue of the Contra Costa Lawyer. The winner will be drawn at the January 16 Installation Luncheon.**

To renew online:

1. Open “Member Resources” and follow the “to renew click here” link. Use your CCCBA ID # to log-on

to your personalized application. Forget your ID #? Call us at (925) 686-6900 x 2 for help.

2. Review your current membership information and make any changes then update your dues, sections

and practice areas. Payment: If you are paying by credit card, fill-in the secure payment section - or -

Checkmark the “I’m mailing in a check” box.

3. Checkmark the “Yes, I agree” box validating your Membership agreement.

4. Click “Print Form” to make a copy for your file and/or your accounting department.

5. Click “Submit Form.” Paid by credit card? Your membership renewal is complete. Mailing a check?

Your membership renewal will be processed upon receipt of payment.

Some firms have their accounting department collect all the membership applications and bundle them

for submission to CCCBA with one check. If your firm does this, you may still make the necessary changes

to your on-line membership application and then before you click “Submit Form” print a copy to give your

accounting department for processing. As always, your continued membership is appreciated.

For uninterrupted service, please pay your dues by February 15, 2009.

*Does not include Section Dues or LRIS Dues. **You do not have to be present to win.

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2009 Contra Costa Lawyer Themes and Deadlines

Issue Theme Deadline

January Annual Bar Issue November 20, 2008

February Financial Distress December 19, 2008

March Family Law January 19, 2009

April Corporate/Business February 20, 2009

May Elder Law March 20, 2009

June Real Estate April 20, 2009

July International May 20, 2009

August Education June 22, 2009

September Green/Environment July 20, 2009

October Bench/Bar August 20, 2009

November Tax September 21, 2009

December Readers' Choice October 20, 2009

Interested in writing an article (or advertising in any of these issues)?

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Contra Costa Lawyer 5

meet your bar association's new board members . . .

Christopher Bowen

A Bay Area native, Christopher

Bowen is an attorney with the

Contra Costa County Public

Defender’s Office, where he began

working in 1993. Since 1997, he

has primarily handled serious felony

cases in both the Richmond and Martinez

branches of the PD’s office. He is currently

assigned to Alternate Defender Office

(ADO), handling cases in which the PD

has declared a conflict of interest (usually

because more than one person is charged

in the same case), and is certified as a

Criminal Law Specialist by the State Bar

Board of Legal Specialization.

Christopher graduated cum laude from

Santa Clara University in 1990, and

received his J.D. from the University

of Virginia School of Law in 1993.

While in law school, he had summer

clerkships with the San Francisco City

Attorney’s Office and the Contra Costa

Legal Services Foundation in Richmond.

Christopher belongs to the California

Public Defenders Association (CPDA),

the Lithuanian-American Bar Association

(LABAS), and Bay Area Lawyers for

Individual Freedom (BALIF). He has

long been involved in Contra Costa

County Bar Association activities, and is

a proud member of the Robert G.

McGrath American Inn of Court.

Christopher makes his home in Richmond,

where he serves on the Historic

Preservation Advisory Committee and is

a member of the Richmond Museum of

History. On weekends, he can frequently

be found as a visitor aboard the Red Oak

Victory, a ship built in Richmond during

World War II that is being lovingly (if not

slowly) restored by enthusiastic volunteers.

An avid linguist, he speaks French

and Spanish exceedingly well, and over

the years has dabbled (with varying

degrees of success) in German, Polish,

Italian, and a few other languages.

Leigh Johnson

A sole practitioner, Leigh

Johnson practices family law,

estate planning, and probate

out of her Richmond office.

She completed her undergraduate

studies at California

State University Hayward, earning a

B.S. degree in Biology with honors. She

attended law school at John F. Kennedy

University in Pleasant Hill, graduating

cum laude and number one in her class.

Leigh passed the California Bar in

December 2003 and completed the skill

requirements to become a Certified

Family Law Specialist in December of

2007. Leigh is admitted to practice

before the United States Patent and

Trademark Office and before the United

States Supreme Court.

Leigh grew up in South Florida and

left home to join the United States Air

Force when she was 18 years old. She

spent five years in the military before

moving to Fremont to work as an Air

Traffic Controller. She attended law school

part-time while working the midnight

shift at Bayer Pharmaceuticals, where she

aspired to be a patent attorney.

Leigh is the co-chair of the Education

outreach committee and a very active

member of the CCCBA and the Robert

McGrath American Inns of Court. She is

also an active member of the Richmond

Rotary and the Rodeo Lions Clubs.

Leigh is the proud grandmother of

10-month old Aisleigh Johnson, who is

the love of her life, and her favorite

activities revolve around spending time

with her family. Leigh’s hobbies include

reading, relaxing, and listening to good


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6 January 2009

. . . and staff members

Jennifer Comages

I have been employed by the

CCCBA since 1979. I have

had the opportunity to

work with four Executive

Directors and have seen

many Presidents come and go.

As Membership Coordinator, my duties

consist of maintaining all current and

pertinent information in the database for

our new and renewing members. I am

also a Legal Interviewer with our Lawyer

Referral and Information Service, which

involves either scheduling a consultation

with an attorney, if it appears that this

would best serve the caller’s legal needs,

or referring them to other resources such

as self-help workshops, government

agencies or other services. As you can

imagine, I have encountered every legal

problem one could imagine in 29 years.

Aside from all that, I have enjoyed my

employment with the bar association and

the many members I have come to know,

as well as working with my co-workers.

As for my home life, I have been married

for 25 years to my wonderful husband

Gabe. We have three terrific boys: Justin,

who is 23 years old and works for True

Organics. He lives and works in Chico;

Twin boys Kacy and Kory, who are 20

years old, one of whom works for PG&E,

and the other at 24-Hour Fitness. I also

have a 26 year-old step-son, Derek, who

lives in Oklahoma. My husband and I

both grew up in Antioch, and have always

lived in this area. Besides work and family

life, I enjoy singing in a small worship

group at my church on Sundays. I also

have a full household, as I care for my

elderly parents who reside with us, a

disabled sister, and, recently, my younger

sister and her son, who have temporarily

moved in with us.

Emily Day

Hi, I’m Emily Day and I have been

working for the Contra Costa County

Bar Association for just over 20 years.

My main duties are Fee Arbitration Coordinator

and Systems Administrator, but

I am also our Webmaster and a Lawyer

Service & Information Service (LRIS)


When I first started the bar association,

our modern office equipment was a typewriter

with word processing capability and

one personal computer in the Executive

Director’s office. The Attorney Reference

Panel (ARP) referrals were done by hand

using a system of cards. The card was

rotated to the back of the stack after a

referral was made. An appointment confirmation

was then mailed to the attorneys

who collected the ARP payment from the

clients and sent the payments back to us.

This confirmation was and is still referred

to as the “blue form” because it is printed

on blue paper.

Now renamed the LRIS, our office

accepts credit cards and most of the “blue

forms” are faxed to the panelists. But the

ones we mail are still printed on blue

paper. Once we changed the color of the

paper but it caused a disruption in so

many offices that we went back to blue.


The technological advances in computers,

software, phones, scanners, copiers,

printers, and the internet have been

amazing and have certainly kept my job

interesting and honed my administrative

skills. I appreciate all the opportunities

I have been given during these

years and I have worked hard

to use them to promote the

bar association’s best interests

for its members and the


Manny Gutierrez

I am a native Nicaraguan. I

came to the United States

with my mother, brother and

sister when I was 11 years

old, and we settled in San

Francisco. I attended middle and

high school in San Francisco, and then

moved to Miami for three years before

returning to California.

After a career in customer service, I

joined the CCCBA in December of 2007

as an Administrative Assistant to Executive

Director Lisa Reep. As her executive

assistant, I am responsible for much of

the day-to-day operations of the bar office.

I am also a bilingual legal interviewer

with the Lawyer Referral & Information

Service. On occasion, I also assist with bar

events and other special projects.

I have two children, love spending time

with them, and participate in their activities

as much and as often as possible. I coach

my son’s little league baseball team and am

the assistant coach for his soccer team. I

enjoy playing softball, basketball, reading,

and spending time with my family.

Maria E. Navarrete

I have been a long time resident

of the San Francisco Peninsula,

where I worked for 11 years

as a case manager/investigator

with the Department of

Child Support Services in San

Mateo County. In this capacity, I

supported six attorneys and worked closely

with clients, translating and assisting with

legal documents in Spanish. I implemented

an outreach program to the

Charter High School and received an

award for my contribution to Community

Outreach in 2003. I also owned and ran a

vending machine business for four years. u

Contra Costa Lawyer 7

I joined the CCCBA in May of 2008

as the LRIS Coordinator. I am responsible

for administrative duties, including serving

as primary liaison with the staff, attorney

panelists, and the oversight committee,

while maintaining accurate attorney

records and handling conflict resolution.

I am also responsible for preparing reports

and ensuring compliance with the California

State Bar and American Bar Associations’

certification requirements. I work

with the LRIS intake staff on continuing

development and education to ensure

customer satisfaction and to best reach

the community and maximize our services.

In addition, I handle fiscal responsibilities

through providing statistical reports to the

Executive Director and LRIS Committee,

as well as tracking cases, percentage fees

and billings.

I am a new resident of Benicia and have

two adult children who both attend universities.

Included in my many activities

outside of work are scuba diving, soccer,

traveling and gardening. I also enjoy

children, family and friends (and a good

bottle of wine). In my thirst for knowledge,

I took a leap and am currently enrolled at

San Francisco State University in their

Bi-Lingual/Paralegal Studies program.

Barbara Tillson

I joined the CCCBA as the

Moderate Means Program Coordinator

in February of 2008.

Prior to joining the CCCBA, I

spent nearly 25 years working

in escrow in Alameda County.

The Moderate Means Program was

developed to offer affordable legal representation

in the family law field for issues

with jurisdiction in Contra Costa County.

I am currently working with the Moderate

Means Committee to establish a program

for immigration issues as well. My duties

include maintaining a qualified panel of

attorneys; preparing and implementing an

annual eight-week attorney training in

family law (see page 23), and eventually

immigration — in conjunction with Bay

Area Legal Aid; assisting, reviewing and

processing program applications; and referring

qualified individuals to program

attorneys. In addition to coordinator duties,

I work as a legal interviewer with the

Lawyer Referral & Information Service.

I am a third generation native San

Franciscan, currently residing in Martinez.

In my spare time, I enjoy being with my

family, reading, cooking and volunteering

with the Committee to Improve the Paso

Nogal Small Dog Park in Pleasant Hill.

Michele Vasta

Happy New Year! I was born

and raised in Concord and

still live there today. Recently

I graduated from California

State University, Chico, where

I worked in the Human Resources

Department on campus. After completing

my degree, I worked for the City of

Concord’s Community and Recreation

Services Department and thoroughly

enjoyed it.

My journey as the Section Liaison/

Education and Programs Coordinator here

at the CCCBA began half a year ago. Some

of my responsibilities include: organizing,

recruiting attorney volunteers for, and

publicizing monthly Bar Associationsponsored

legal workshops in the county;

facilitating business/finances, relations,

e-communications, and events calendaring/

planning for the bar’s 20 sections; organizing

social events and bar-wide annual

educational programs (such as the MCLE

Spectacular); and coordinating the

activities of the bar’s Client Relations

Committee, just to name a few. I really

enjoy my job and look forward to working

with all of you. Have a great 2009!

Debbie Garcia

I joined CCCBA’s Criminal Conflict

Program (CCP) in July of 2007 as an

Administrative Assistant. The CCP

appoints qualified attorneys for clients

when the public defender and the alternate

defender are not available. Our current

caseload is 1042; our annual budget is

$2,675,000; and we have 75 attorney

members. My co-worker and I work

together to provide the highest level of

service to the clients and the attorneys

involved in the program.

Prior to joining the program I worked

for a family law attorney in San Jose for

over three years. At the start of my working

career, I was employed for eight years

at Microscience International Corporation,

a hard disk drive manufacturer, in

the HR department. I also took several

years off to raise a family (nine years to

be exact).

After leaving San Jose three years ago,

I moved to Oakley with my husband and

five children: four boys and my niece. We

also have a dog, two lizards, three turtles

and some fish. I absolutely love football,



Representing employees only in all types of

labor and employment matters, including

wrongful termination and overtime claims.

Free consultation, contingency fees,

costs advanced, 26 years experience.

1866 Clayton Road • Suite 211 • Concord

(925) 677-5080

8 January 2009

especially watching my children play! As

a family we love camping, boating and

classic cars.

Kathi Lane

I began working for CCCBA’s

Criminal Conflict Program in the

spring of 2003 as an Administrative

Assistant to the Director,

David J. Briggs. I have enjoyed

watching the program expand,

change and improve over the last five years.

It is personally rewarding to work with

such a highly qualified and committed

group of defense and probate attorneys,

and to be on the front-line, interfacing

with the clients in the process of obtaining

representation. I have the opportunity to

interact with the Public Defender’s Office,

the ADO, the court system personnel and

also many highly qualified professionals,

who help support the attorneys and their

clients. When people ask if I like my job,

the answer is always in the affirmative.

I am lucky to have a great co-worker,

Debbie Garcia, whom together we share

responsibility for keeping the program

running smoothly.

Prior to working with the conflict

program I worked as an executive administrative

assistant for Electronic Data

Systems (EDS) for the Western Region

HR and recruiting department. I have

also worked in administrative and management

positions since college in various

careers from an executive recruiter, preschool

director, restaurant management

and an event manager. I graduated from

California State University, Chico with a

degree in Social Welfare and Corrections,

back when “Pioneer Days” were still a

grand event.

I have lived in Benicia for the last 12

years where I spend time with my 15

year-old- twins and a daughter in college.

I volunteer my time with a local program

in Benicia for youth substance abuse,

Reach Out Benicia. In my spare time, I

enjoy hiking in Yosemite, gardening,

spending time with my extended family

and friends, and sight-seeing and wine

tasting in Sonoma and Napa. u

Standards • Strategies • Strength • Solutions


to handle your complex business transactions

Doug Maggi, SVP

925.944.0180 ext. 209

Colleen Benatar, VP

925.944.0180 ext. 215

Rick Wise, EVP

925.944.0180 ext. 216

California’s Oldest

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Day & Lindstrom, Inc.

155 Grand Avenue, Suite 1050

Oakland, CA 94612

Important Reminder!

If you’d like your practice area(s) to appear in the 2009/10 CCCBA Membership Directory, be sure

to get your information to the bar no later than Monday, March 2, 2009 ($25 for up to three and

$40 for four to six practice areas). What an effective and inexpensive way to market your practice!

Bob Kouba, VP

925.944.0180 ext. 212

Northern California

Mediator / Arbitrator

11 years as Mediator

20 years as Arbitrator

28 years in Civil Practice

• Training includes Mediation Course at

Pepperdine University 1995

• Serving on Kaiser Medical Malpractice

Neutral Arbitrators Panel

• Settlement Commissioner, Alameda and

Contra Costa Counties

• Pro Tem Judge, Small Claims,

Alameda County

• Experienced in all areas of Tort Litigation,

including injury, property damage, fire loss,

malpractice, construction defect

Contra Costa Lawyer 9


Mary Ann O’Malley

Presiding Judge

Diana Becton-Smith

Assistant Presiding Judge


Walnut Creek

Criminal Trials

Judge Terence L. Bruiniers - Supervising

Judge John W. Kennedy

Judge Theresa J. Canepa

Judge Jill Fannin

Judge John H. Sugiyama

Judge Charles Burch

Judge Charles S. Treat (1/09 to 6/30/09)

Judge John T. Laettner (7/1/09 to 1/10)

Criminal Calendars

Judge Leslie G. Landau

Judge Joni T. Hiramoto

Judge John T. Laettner (1/20/09 to 6/30/09)

Judge Penny M. Scanlon (7/1/09 to 1/10)

Judge Richard E. Arnason


Judge Judith Craddick - Supervising

Judge David B. Flinn - Complex Litigation

Judge Thomas M. Maddock

Judge Barry Baskin

Judge Barbara Zuniga

Civil (cont.)

Judge Bruce C. Mills - Limited Jurisdiction

Commissioner Judith A. Sanders


Judge Joyce Cram

Commissioner Don Green

Family Law

Judge Barry P. Goode - Supervising

Judge Cheryl Mills

Judge Susanne Fenstermacher

Judge Joyce Cram

Commissioner Josanna Berkow

Commissioner Jeffrey D. Huffaker


Judge Lois Haight - Supervising

Judge George V. Spanos

Judge Diana Becton-Smith

Judge Lewis A. Davis

Judge Penny M. Scanlon (1/09 to 6/30/09)

Commissioner Stephen F. Houghton

Judge William M. Kolin - Supervising

Judge Harlan Grossman

Judge Barbara Hinton

Commissioner Joel Golub


Judge Steven K. Austin - Supervising

Judge Nancy Davis Stark

Judge Brian Haynes

Commissioner Lowell E. Richards

Commissioner Ronald K. Creighton


Judge Laurel S. Brady - Supervising

Judge Peter A. Berger

Judge Clare Maier

Judge Trevor S. White

Commissioner Robert L. Broughton

Judicial Holidays

Thursday, January 1, 2009 New Year’s Day

Monday, January 19, 2009 Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday

Thursday, February 12, 2009 Lincoln’s Birthday

Monday, February 16, 2009 President’s Day

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 César Chávez Day

Monday, May 25, 2009 Memorial Day

Friday, July 3, 2009 Independence Day

Monday, September 7, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Labor Day

Columbus Day

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 Veterans’ Day

Thursday, November 26 and

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

Friday, January 1, 2010

Thanksgiving Holiday

Christmas Day

New Year’s Day

10 January 2009

Annual CCCBA Officer Installation


Justice Ignazio Ruvolo

First District Court of Appeal

Friday, January 16, 2009

Contra Costa Country Club

801 Golf Club Road Pleasant Hill

Social 11:30am Lunch and program 12:00 – 1:30pm

CCCBA Membership Directory photos may be taken from 11:00am to noon ~and~ 1:30 to 2:30pm

$40 CCCBA members $50 non members

1 hour MCLE Credit

Menu Choices: Grilled, Herb Marinated Chicken Breast served over Roasted Mushrooms and Sweet Garlic Herb Jus

~or~ Poached Salmon Filet with Kettle One and Green Olive Beurre Blanc (vegetarian option available)

To register: Phone in your credit card (925.370-2548) or send check, payable to CCCBA to Michele Vasta, c/o CCCBA,

704 Main Street, Martinez 94553. Please indicate your menu selection. Call Michele, 925.370-2548, for further information.

Pictorial Membership Directory Photos

Photo sessions for the directory are free. No appointment is necessary; simply show up during one of the following scheduled photo shoots:

Friday, January 16, 11am–noon; 1:30-2:30pm: (in conjunction with the annual Installation Luncheon above)

Contra Costa Country Club, 801 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill

Tuesday, January 20, 8am–5pm: Morgan Miller Blair, 1331 N. California Blvd., 2 nd floor, Walnut Creek (925.937-3600)

Thursday, January 22, 8am–2pm: Contra Costa County Bar Association, 704 Main Street, Martinez (925.686-6900)

Alternatively, you may forward a camera-ready photo for inclusion in the directory (head and shoulders, plain background) to CCCBA, 704 Main Street,

Martinez, CA 94553 or e-mail a photo (minimum of 300dpi) to Nancy Young at no later than February 13, 2009.

Reminder: You must be a current member by March 1, 2009 to be included in the annual CCCBA Membership Directory.

Restricted Access Court Security Cards

How to obtain a card for the FIRST time (or for those wishing to have their photo retaken): The Contra Costa County Superior Court

provides restricted access court security cards to CCCBA members for a $10 fee. These photo ID cards are valid for two years and allow our members

to bypass the court’s perimeter security system, which is particularly beneficial to attorneys who make frequent court appearances. Purchase of a

restricted access court security card is entirely optional. If you would like to obtain one, you will be required to sign a contract, which you can obtain

from Jenny Comages at 925.370-2543 or via e-mail at You must present a form of picture identification and your State Bar

card at the time your photo is taken. Current membership in the CCCBA will be verified by the Court’s Executive Office. Interested members may drop

in to have their photo taken by Lisa Frades at Superior Court’s Executive Offices, located at 649 Main Street, Room #103, in Martinez. Although

walk-ins are welcome, we recommend that you notify Lisa in advance of your intention to drop in. She can be reached directly at 925.957-5600.

Payment will be accepted by cash or check.

Note: Cards obtained in 2009 and 2010 will be valid until December 31, 2010.

Contra Costa Lawyer 11

Your CCCBA Membership

Take advantage of


we have to offer!

A Comprehensive List of Membership Benefits

by Lisa Reep

CCCBA Executive Director

The Contra Costa County Bar Association’s Mission is to represent its members and to advocate on

their behalf; to educate its members and the public concerning the law, the legal profession, and the

judicial system; to provide a means of communication both among its members, and between its

members and the public; and to provide services that will support its members in their legal practice.

In keeping with its mission, the CCCBA

is committed to assist its members in

developing and improving their practice

of law by providing information, services,

networking opportunities, career development

programs, community service

opportunities, and other resources, particularly

in the current economic climate.

Most programs conducted or sponsored

by CCCBA offer substantial discounts to


Professional Development & Networking

Membership in any of our many sections

provides opportunities to network with

other practitioners who share common

interests. To learn more about our sections,

see page 24-37. We also offer regular

opportunities to interface with members

of our local bench, including our popular

“Get to Know Your Local Judges” receptions,

which are generously hosted by local

sustaining law firms. We plan to continue

this social and networking opportunity on

a quarterly basis starting in February.

Community Service

The CCCBA, with enthusiastic participation

from our volunteer members,

sponsors myriad community service

opportunities. These include our 14 th

annual “Food From the Bar” Drive in the

spring (we raised nearly $100,000 to feed

the hungry in 2008!), our ongoing Education

Outreach Program with local middle

and high schools — including regular

court tours during the academic year in

both Martinez and Richmond, our regular

consumer-focused legal workshops

offered at various public venues throughout

the county, our annual Court Scholarship

Program, and numerous pro bono

opportunities in cooperation with local

legal services agencies. If you are interested

in participating in any of these programs,

contact the staff at 925.686-6900.

Continuing Legal Education

CCCBA, together with its sections and

committees, offers frequent seminars,

courses and forums that fulfill the State Bar

of California’s MCLE requirements. These

include our 15 th annual MCLE Spectacular,

our most popular and well-attended

event, which will be held on November

20 th at the Walnut Creek Marriott.

We are also pleased to continue our

alliance with the State Bar of California.

One component is an online consortium

comprised of a number of local bars

throughout California who have been

working together with the State Bar to

develop and deliver quality and meaningful

online MCLE. Through this alliance,

we can deliver hundreds of hours of California

state-specific content generated by

the State Bar of California and other alliance

members. To learn more about this

member benefit, visit our website at www., go to Member Log-in, Member

Benefits, and click on On-line MCLE. We

plan to revise the website in 2009 to make

it even more accessible and user-friendly

for our members, including providing for

electronic transfer of our monthly events

calendar to Outlook. Stay tuned!

Lawyer Referral & Information Service

The Lawyer Referral & Information Service

(LRIS) provides referrals to attorneys who

have met specific experience requirements

for membership. Nearly 5,000 client

consultations are scheduled with members

of our LRIS each year through both our

phone-based service and the internet.

More than $1.5 million in attorneys’ fees

were collected by our LRIS panelists during

the 2008 calendar year. Special malpractice

insurance rates are available for sole

practitioners participating on our LRIS.

For information on LRIS membership and

malpractice insurance, call 925.686-6900.

(Please refer clients to 925.825-5700).

12 January 2009

(See article entitled “Why Membership on the

Lawyer Referral Service Makes Good Business

Sense” on page 22).


Members receive a subscription to our highly

regarded monthly magazine, the Contra

Costa Lawyer, as well as our annual pictorial

Membership & Reference Directory. The

CCCBA also hosts a comprehensive website

(, which includes

up-to-date, searchable contact information

on all members. As mentioned, we

will be revamping the site in 2009 to

make it an even better resource and tool

for our members.

Insurance Programs

Dental, vision, life and disability insurance

plans are available to you, your family and

your employees through our broker/administrator,

Myers-Stevens-Mello & Co., Inc.

‣ Dental: The CCCBA Dental Plan,

underwritten by Lincoln Financial Group,

offers two different calendar-year maximum

options available to firms with two

or more enrolled attorneys and/or employees.

Both plans allow you to choose any

dentist; however, you can maximize your

benefits by utilizing PPO providers. Firms

with at least five enrolled do not have a

waiting period for major work. In addition,

there is an indemnity (go to any

dentist) plan with a higher calendar-year

maximum for those firms with at least 15

attorneys and/or employees enrolled.

‣ Vision: The CCCBA Vision Plan,

underwritten by MES/Blue Shield Life

Insurance Company, provides for eye

exams and eyewear (including contact

lenses). Members may use any optometrist

or ophthalmologist but will receive higher

benefits when they use participating

providers or vendors.

‣ Life and accidental death and dismemberment:

Members of CCCBA may apply

for up to $2,000,000 with super-preferred

rates on amounts more than $500,000

(available at age 30 and up). Coverage is

guaranteed renewable to age 75 and

convertible to a permanent policy anytime

before the policy terminates at age 75. This

plan includes an accelerated life benefit

payout for terminal illness. CCCBA members’

spouses are able to apply for coverage

if the member does not apply. A rider is

also available to cover children. New

members age 59 and younger may apply

for a guaranteed issue amount of $50,000.

Contact Myers-Stevens-Mello for details.

(ING/ReliaStar Life Insurance Company, one

of the largest nation’s insurers, underwrites

this plan.)

‣ Disability Insurance: Underwritten by

Standard Insurance Company, this plan

offers two benefit options and you can

select from a 60 or 90-day waiting period.

You can insure up to 60% of your predisability

earnings, to a monthly benefit

maximum of $5,000. This plan features a

Return to Work Incentive, Survivor Benefit,

Rehabilitation Benefit, Lifetime Security

benefit and more. New members may

apply for a guaranteed issue amount.

Contact Myers-Stevens-Mello for details.

‣ Health Insurance: The CCCBA does

not have a sponsored health plan at this

time. However, through its long-term

relationships with the major healthcare

providers, Myers-Stevens-Mello is able to

research the various health insurance plans

and programs that are available to you,

whether as an individual or a law firm with

employees. They will review and analyze

your current program, help you select a

plan that meets your objectives and assist

you through the enrollment process.

Thereafter, they will continue to provide

assistance with renewals and all other

claim/customer service issues. You are

invited to take advantage of Myers-Stevens-

Mello’s expertise and services to get competitive

rates and benefits for your health

insurance needs. Group Life and Disability

plans are also available for law firms. u

These are brief summaries prepared for this

publication. Complete descriptions of benefits

and limitations of these plans will be found in

the insurance policies. If you would like more

information on any of these plans, call Myers-

Stevens-Mello at 800.862-4243 or email

Why you should make

referrals to CCCBA’s LRIS

• Our LRIS is the only State Bar certified

(certification #0018) and American Bar

Association approved lawyer referral service

in our county;

• LRIS has been providing quality referrals

as a public service since 1978;

• LRIS panel attorneys are required to meet

specific experience requirements as a prerequisite

to joining the service;

• Every LRIS attorney is required to carry

malpractice insurance;

• LRIS has an experienced, friendly and

knowledgeable staff to assist you.

If you have any questions or would like more

information, please contact the LRIS staff at

925.686-6900. If you’re interested in joining

the LRIS, please contact Maria Navarrete,

LRIS Coordinator, at 925.370-2542 or go to

“Join the LRIS” under “Member Resources”


Mark V. Murphy

Personal Injury

Referrals Requested

Over 25 years experience

representing injury victims.

Practice dedicated solely to

Personal Injury.

Each client given prompt,

courteous attention.

Antioch and

San Ramon Offices


Contra Costa Lawyer 13

Merchant Discount Program

The following businesses will be offering discounts to CCCBA members through December 31, 2009.

Simply present your CCCBA membership card (unless otherwise noted) to the participating business at the time of your transaction.


Court Connection

P.O. Box 5818 • Concord 94524

Contact: Jody Iorns, 925.285-2668;

Discount: 20% off the first five hours of work. On-call staff support

specializing in computers, organization, case & client management,

marketing, billing, bookkeeping, event coordination.


Expresso Airport Parking

880 Doolittle Drive • San Leandro 94577

Contact: Go to

Discount: Enter “con” (all lower case) and print off discounted

coupon. Present coupon and photo ID at checkout to receive

discount. Over 2,000 parking spaces. Indoor valet service, self-park

indoor and outdoor spaces. 24/7 shuttle service. Fully fenced and

monitored facility. Free coffee, muffins, newspapers. Car wash

service available. 10-minute shuttle ride to Oakland airport.

Park SFO

195 North Access Road • South San Francisco 94080

Contact: 866.727-5736

Discount: Free membership to PARK SFO Club (normally $100

a year), personalized PARK SFO membership card, free upgrade

from standard parking to valet parking. Coupons good for one

free day of parking (one per visit) and auto detailing discounts.


Deadlines on Demand

Contact: Melissa Notari, 888.363-5522, ext. 2113

Discount: 3 free searches for membership in CCCBA; 50% discount

off regular prices through June 2009. Reliable, rules-based deadline

available on a pay-per-use basis at


Advertising Magic

2116 N. Main Street, Suite G

Walnut Creek 94596

Contact: Rosalind Boukis


Promotional advertising, client gifts, marketing, imprinted items.

Discount: Set-up and screen charges waived.

corporate office services

Pacific Business Centers

Contact: Larissa Causi, 925.746-7164/

Virtual office with access to a premier business address, conference rooms

and day offices. Features answering services, unified massaging services,

IT support, bookkeeping services and other networking opportunities.

Discount: Virtual office and free LexisNexis for $130/month.

Credit Card Processing Services


Westlake Village, California

Contact: Jerry MacDonald, 800.589-8200, ext. 3456

Discount: 1.59% swiped rate and 2.05% keyed rate. Lifetime

warranty for POS equipment and month-to-month service agreements!

Transaction funds deposited in 48-72 hours. Accept Visa, Mastercard,

American Express and Discover cards.

383 Diablo Road, Suite #100 • Danville 94526

Contact: Richard Wood, 925.788-5057

Discount: Free Terminal: Our credit card processing comes with a

free state-of-the-art terminal and no strings. Even shipping is free.

Low Rates: Use our terminal and get our low, low credit card rates.

Dial, Internet or Wireless: Our free terminal support dial communications

for processing or it can use a broadband internet connection

or even wireless communications for lightning quick transactions.

Check Services: Never suffer a bad check loss with our check

guarantee service, or use Electronic Check and turn checks into

guaranteed, automatic electronic deposits into your account.

Document Solutions

Pak Mail

821 Escobar Street • Martinez 94553

Contact: Terry Edwards, 925.228-6209

Shipping Services: FedEx, UPS and other carriers; pick-up and

international shipping available. Business support services: Notary

Public, faxing, copies, mailbox rental, business cards, office supplies

and rubber stamps.

Discount: 20% discount for FedEx, UPS, DHL (ground commercial);

Mailbox rental: 2 months free with 6-month rental, 4

months free with 12-month rental (first year only); 15% discount

on business cards and office supplies; notary services $8 per

signature. Discounts also available on copies and faxes.

Thomson Reuters

Contact: Karen Cornell, 510.530-6181

PROLAW Front and Back Office Management software.

Discount: 10%.

Toshiba Business Solutions

12677 Alcosta Blvd., Suite 100 • San Ramon 94583

Contact: Melanie Wild, 925.277-2182

Electronic Content Management Solutions: DocuWare, e-Discovery,

Re-Search, Re-Rite, Re-Find. Bus. Equipment: multi-functional devices

Discount: 10%.


First Metropolitan (Metro 1) Credit Union

Contact: Marla Fernandez, Marketing Manager, 925.682-6650

Membership includes: High-yielding savings accounts,

investment plans, market share certificates and IRAs; checking

accounts; free internet banking; low-cost VISA credit card; account

access through STAR or PLUS ATM networks; free 24-hour account

access; new and used auto loans; first and second mortgages.

Membership available to CCCBA members and their employees.

One-time membership fee waived for all CCCBA members. Call Metro

1’s marketing department for a packet.

Wachovia Investments

Tice Valley Plaza, 1880 Tice Valley Blvd. • Walnut Creek 94595

Contact: Bill Parker, 925.935-0911

Discount: 20% off set-up costs/10% off transactional commissions.

Wells Fargo Bank

Contact: Orin Pierce, 925.352-3809/

CCCBA firm’s membership includes: Business banking services:

Free business checking account for six months, free order of

business checks, discount on treasury management solutions

to help provide specialized advice to help law firms stay in

compliance with depository regulations, reduce fraud and check

float. Business Credit: 50% off standard loan origination fee;

50% off appraisal fee and more. Call for more information.


Jory’s Flowers

546 Ygnacio Valley Road, Walnut Creek • 925.944-5494

1330 Galaxy Way, Suite B, Concord • 925.689-0966

Contact: Manager / Discount: 10%

14 January 2009


GMA Chiropractic

913 San Ramon Valley Blvd., #284 • Danville 94526

Contact: Dr. Gabe Allende, 925.838-9996

Discount: 30% off chiropractic and massage therapy. Dr. Allende

specializes in the treatment and prevention of a wide variety of

muscular and skeletal injuries.

Personal & Professional Coaching

178 E. Prospect Avenue, #2B • Danville 94526

Contact: Joy Tomasino, 925.855.1032 /

Discount: 20%. Joy Tomasino offers a diverse set of tools to

provide a safe, supportive, confidential environment to explore:

life balance; skills development; values clarification; education;

life, career transition; stress management; trust and boundaries;

marriage; divorce; family issues. Get what you want out of life!


Martin Dean’s Essential Forms

CA Judicial Council Forms & Local Court Forms

Discount: Purchase of Essential Forms entitles CCCBA members

to choose two local county modules of their choice from the 51

counties available (a $338 value). To receive this discount when

ordering, please identify yourself as a CCCBA member.


Diversified Services

5800 E. Thomas, Suite #107 • Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Contact: Robert Schwartz, 800.301-9567

Discount: 28% contingency rate (regularly 33%).


The East Bay Business Times

6160 Stoneridge Mall Road, Suite 300 • Pleasanton 94588

Contact: Diane Webb, 925.598-1407

Discount: $20 off one-year subscription rate; includes the 2009

Book of Lists (a $191 value). If you have advertising questions,

please contact Carol Burns, 925.598-1412.

The Recorder

10 United Nations Plaza, 3 rd floor • San Francisco 94102

Contact: Circulation, 415.749-5405

Discount: $310 per year plus applicable sales tax (new

sub scribers only). Anyone with a paid subscription receives access

to the website.

San Francisco Daily Journal

44 Montgomery Street, Suite 250 • San Francisco 94104

Contact: Circulation, 866.531-1492

Discount: New subscribers: $371 per year, plus tax ($296 less

than regular rate of $667).



6525 Chelton Drive • Oakland 94611

Contact: David LaRosa, 415.246-5511

Discount: 25% off of the purchase price of any legal research

title. All print, CD-ROM or online subscriptions qualify

for the CCCBA discount. (Desktop code books are excluded.)

Thomson Reuters

Contact: Karen Cornell, 510.530-6181

Discount: Westlaw, West Legal EdCenter, books and CD-ROMs

all qualify for CCCBA discount of 20% by contacting Karen

Cornell. Legal Calendaring and ProDoc now available.


Attorneys & Professionals

Insurance Services, Inc.

3450 Clayton Road • Concord 94519

Contact: Michele Epstein, AAI, AIS, ACSR, CISR, CPIW, DAE

925.688-2396 / /

Discount: Broker fees waived whenever possible for CCCBA members

for professional liability. Never a broker fee for general liability,

workers' comp, bonds or employment practices liability. One-stop

shopping through APIS, Inc. Access to over 15 CA admitted carriers.

Marsh Affinity Group Services

160 Spear Street, 15th Floor • San Francisco 94105

Contact: 800.343-0132; fax 415.983-5197;

The State Bar of California sponsored professional liability insurance

program provides high-quality coverage and valuable added benefits

such as free online legal research, a risk management website, and

a toll-free claim prevention hotline.


Avon Limousine Service

7786 Ironwood Drive • Dublin 94568

Reservations: 925.803-8300 / Reference CCCBA promotional

code: APLVOC /

Discount: Airport transport in Lincoln sedan for up to 4

passengers; wide range of limos available for 6 to 20 passenger

Hummer or party bus. Wine tours and corporate events for any

occasions. Call for great CCCBA rates!


Thomson Reuters

Contact: Karen Cornell, 510.530-6181

Discount: 15% off MCLE: Rutter, PLI, CEB, AALL, ABA and more!

(Only $59.50/mo. for an unlimited 12-mo. pass).


Business Point Impressions

5060 Commercial Circle, Suite A • Concord 94520

Contact: Pat Burnett, 925.771-2080/

Discount: 25% off first order of copy or print. 10% off sub sequent

orders. Services include: high speed docutech copying, scanning,

multicolor printing, courtroom displays, fulfillment.

Copy Station

2175 N. California Blvd., Suite 210 • Walnut Creek 94596

Contact: Peter Holtz, 925.287-9122

Discount: 20% off all onsite copying or 25% off any first job

with new account registration filled out in full. 20% off highspeed

scanning/archive to CD ROM. Free pick-up

and delivery.

Walnut Creek Super Print

1770 N. Broadway • Walnut Creek 94596

Contact: Pat Condon, 925.934-1613

Discount: 10% off all printing.


Premier Global Services

Contact: Scott Caughlin, Account Executive, 800.693-8747 (reference CCCBA membership

for discount);

Discount: 10% off (cpm=cost per minute; pp=per participant)

Automated audio conferencing $.10 cpm/pp; Document sharing via the

web; 500 minutes for $20. Partial assist toll/toll free: $.34 cpm/pp;

Operator assist toll/toll free: $.22 cpm/pp. Available for depositions,

litigation and client calls.


The Hertz Corporation

Members only toll-free number: 800.654-2210

(mention your HERTZ CCCBA CDP#438042 – contact Jenny

Comages at 925.370-2543 to get your Hertz member discount

card, which must be presented at the time of rental)

Discount: 10% discount off Hertz daily member benefit rates; 5%

or greater off Hertz leisure rates, all car classes (advance reser vations

required); discounts in Europe and worldwide; and Hertz #1 Club

membership, computerized driving directions, Hertz NeverLost, express

return, and 24-hour emergency roadside assistance.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car

3000 Executive Parkway, #255 • San Ramon 94583

Contact: Jennifer Shaeffer, 925.498-7272

Discount: Receive discounts on rental cars from our local &

airport branches using discount code 23C4309 (www.enterprise.

com). Save up to 30% off the other rental companies rates. Get 5%

off our lowest rate with the exclusive CCCBA discount code. u

Contra Costa Lawyer 15

Question man

What was the most gratifying

thing that happened to you in 2008?

After three years of much work,

together with a great team of

transactional and litigating

attorneys, I managed, edited,

and published through CEB a

new book on California easement

law for practicing attorneys.

Bonnie Maly


Realizing while in the hospital for heart

disease what really matters in life.

Wayne V.R. Smith

Attorney and Mediator

It started with four years of law school

at night while maintaining a full-time

computer job and family. It ended with

studying for two months, seven days a

week while maintaining family and church

obligations culminating in passing the

bar the first time. This was a great year!

Matthew M. Hart

Solo, Antioch

11:59 p.m., December 31, 2008.

Gary Cornwall

Law Offices of Gary Cornwall

New life. Augie Martinez, born

January 3, 2008.

Janine Ogando

Pandell Law Firm, Inc.

Professionally the most gratifying

thing that happened to me in 2008

was that I conducted, and won,

my first jury trial (after practicing

law in California since 1982).

Kevin S. Eikenberry

Law Office of Kevin S. Eikenberry

The tremendous outpouring

of support and encouragement

from everyone as I underwent

cancer surgeries and treatments.

Thank you all for all

that you’ve done and for the

good thoughts that helped me weather

this journey.

Barbara Suskind

The Law Office of Barbara Suskind

Far and away the most gratifying

event in 2008 was my decision to

practice ADR full time in 2009!

David M. Miller


In January, picking Barack Obama

as my candidate for President.

Robert G. Seeds

Greenan, Peffer, Sallander & Lally LLP

I have a job and my work allows

me to meet a lot of great people.

Tom Cain

Solo, Walnut Creek

My wife, Ryoko, gave birth to

wonderful twins on February

22, 2008 — Rana Sophia (7

lbs 6.4 oz) and Raiden Thomas

(7 lbs 6.6 oz).

Kurtiss Jacobs

Solo, Concord

The birth of my son.

Ross Pytlik

Gagen, McCoy et al

One of the most gratifying experiences

of 2008 has been the warm welcome

I’ve received from the members of the

Contra Costa Bar since moving my practice

to Walnut Creek.

Elva D. Harding

Shapiro Buchman Provine LLP

The number of clients who simply

said “Thank you.”

Mitch Stevens

Law Offices of Mitchell A. Stevens

Starting our new law firm, without question.

Having the clients respond to the new

service delivery vehicle and gaining the

freedom to practice law tailored specifically

for technology companies has

been terrific and soul enriching.

Richard C. Vasquez

Vasquez Benisek & Lindgren LLP

The most gratifying thing that happened

to me was to see my older son “find his

way” when he joined the Navy. Ian had

been floundering since high school and

seemed lost. He has now blossomed and

is having the time of his life experiencing

Japanese culture and showing responsibility

and maturity beyond his years. We are

indeed very proud and very pleased he

has “found his way.”

John MacMillan

North American Title Insurance Company

2008? I think I’ll follow Mr.

Scrooge: “Bah, Humbug.”

Dan Ryan

Solo, Benicia

16 January 2009


Contra Costa Lawyer_ 7.1875 x 9.375"_Small Business Attorneys Ad_run date: 00_01_08


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Contra Costa Lawyer 17

meet your 2009 president

Larry Cook

an interview conducted by Candice Stoddard

The 76 th president of our bar has been a trial lawyer in Contra Costa County for 23 years. He cares

deeply about the members of our Bar Association, their future and their ability to practice law and

serve their clients. He believes that our profession has the ability and the obligation to provide access

to justice for all people. He shares with us his history and hopes for the CCCBA and the profession.

Tell us about yourself.

One of four boys, I was raised in Clayton

by my parents, and am a product of the

public school system. After graduating

from Clayton Valley High School, I went

on to UC Berkeley, as did all three of my

brothers (Go Bears!). I graduated from

UC Berkeley with a BS degree in 1980.

I was employed by US Steel for a year and

then decided to pursue my childhood

dream of becoming a lawyer; so I enrolled

in JFK Law School. I was drawn there

because of the quality of the practicing

attorneys and judges on faculty, including,

at that time, Bill Gagen, Charlie James,

Judge Norman Spellberg, Judge Richard

Patsey, among others. While at JFK, I

was a law clerk for Judge Patricia Herron,

who gave me many opportunities to meet

and interact with lawyers. From then on,

I knew I wanted to be a Contra Costa

lawyer. In fact, while in law school, I met

my future partners: Stan Casper, Andrew

Schwartz, and Michael Meadows, who

were already in private practice, having

come from the public defender’s office. I

did some clerking for them, and after law

school, they offered me a job. I started

working with them, and then partner,

Peter Loewenstein in 1985, and have been

with the firm ever since. In 2005, our firm

became Casper, Meadows, Schwartz and

Cook. I was proud to have my name on

the door of the firm that I had come to

love. We are trial lawyers representing

plaintiffs in personal injury cases. We

represent clients over a wide spectrum

of cases — areas including victims of

child sexual abuse, medical malpractice,

product liability, construction accidents,

civil rights, and injury accidents of every

conceivable type.

I am married to Lisa Ramos and have

two children from a former marriage.

Daughter, Rachel, 15 and son, Daniel

13. I have been very involved in youth

sports, coaching girls’ basketball, and

little league baseball over the past nine

years. I spend as much time as I can

participating in my children’s school and

extra-curricular activities. Needles to say,

I am a very busy guy.

How did you get involved

in the Bar Association?

I joined the Bar Association in 1986 when

I became a lawyer, on the heels of my

partner, Stan Casper, and former boss,

Peter Loewenstein, who are both past

presidents of the Bar Association. I learned

from them the importance of participating

at the local level. My partners have

always given generously of their time and

money to support the good work of our

bar, and I am extremely proud of them

for their ongoing commitment. I was

asked to be on the bar’s Board of Directors

ten years ago. I had been the President of

the Barrister’s Association, and had been

on the Board of the Contra Costa Legal

Services Foundation, now Bay Area Legal

Aid. I jumped at the opportunity to be

on the board, and have been an active

member ever since.

What are your goals and visions

for the Bar Association?

My goals are to keep the ship afloat. I

want to keep up the good work of Robin

Pearson, and of the many past presidents

and board members who have come before

me. I want to find ways to improve the

working lives of the lawyers who belong

to our bar. I think one of our top goals

and duties is to offer solid benefits to the

lawyers in the community. We are a trade

organization, and we need to do what we

can to assist lawyers in the practice of law

by creating a good climate between the

bench and the bar, between our lawyers

and the State Bar, and with all of the other

stakeholders in the justice system. Our

bar needs to offer opportunities for professional

development for our members.

That is what we are all about.

Of course, we need to also continue

our work in the greater community. We

will continue to expand our efforts at

community outreach, pro bono representation

and charitable giving. I would like

to see all of our members participate at

some level. I encourage all members to

take advantage of what we have to offer

at the bar by attending programs and

seminars, becoming active in one or more

18 January 2009

sections or committees, participating in

the many events that we offer through

the year, and to interact and socialize with

other lawyers. Even though our bar association

has grown in its membership in

the past 10 years, over 1700 members in

a county that has seen unparalleled growth

in the state, we are still a small local group.

By being active in the bar, our members

can develop close personal relationships

with lawyers and judges to form a tightknit

legal community.

How has the practice of law changed

in the past couple of years?

Well of course the biggest change has been

in technology. The way we communicate

with each other and with clients has

undergone a complete transformation as

we all know. Technology has given us the

ability to file pleadings electronically, to

conduct discovery electronically and to

network with other lawyers and clients on

a much grander scale. Technology shrinks

the world in a lot of ways. Everything is

more accessible because of technology.

Many more lawyers can participate, especially

solos and small firm practitioners

because it levels the playing field for them.

The expanded use of the internet has played

a huge role in how clients select attorneys,

how we market our practices and how we

market the services of the bar. One of our

bar’s challenges, and for our member

attorneys, is the constant need to stay

current with technology.

Of course, one would have to live under

a rock not to notice that the practice of

law has become more and more expensive.

Lawyers are under constant pressure to

find ways to reduce the costs of litigation

to clients while at the same time providing

the highest quality representation

possible. One of the bar’s goals is to find

creative ways to help our members work

smarter, but not necessarily harder. We

will be offering programs again this year

that address those issues including our

Law Day for Lawyers Program.

The issue of diversity in the legal profession

is a constant concern. It seems over

the past few years that we have made

significant gains in the area of diversity.

Although the legal profession has lagged

behind most industries and professions

when it comes to actually creating a

socially diverse profession, we have made

progress, in the last few years through

national exposure, state-wide and local

efforts. In Contra Costa County, we have

realized some gains in attracting diverse

attorneys to our county and securing the

appointment of more women and people

of color to the bench. Our challenge is to

build on these gains and to create some

momentum toward making the legal

profession look more like the population

that we serve.

Given these changes, how do you see the

Bar Association responding in 2009?

This year, our members can check out the

bar’s calendar (, where

they will find each month programs,

workshops and other opportunities for

professional development.

On the professional development side,

we are going to continue to expand our

offerings, including section programs,

MCLE events, social gatherings, etc.

In terms of outreach, we will continue

to sponsor and offer opportunities for

our members to provide pro bono legal

services throughout the county, across a

wide range of programs. We currently

provide support and outreach for legal

education in every high school in Contra

Costa County. We also sponsor court tours

and mentoring programs for students

throughout the year. We will also continue

to solicit contributions from our

members for charitable organizations.

There is one point I think should be made

very clear: The lawyers of this county

have always been exceedingly generous

in donating attorney time and money to

support our many charitable causes. We

should — and we must — continue to

ask our members to give generously in

support of programs like The Bar Fund,

Food from the Bar, court scholarships

and others.

At the bar association, we are going

to be upgrading our website to make it

even more user friendly, and it will be

more accessible to our members and to

the public. We are going to expand our

marketing efforts for our Lawyer Referral

and Information Services, which provide

an incredible amount of access for the

public to legal services in our county and

a lot of business opportunities for our


In the coming year, we are going to

continue to develop the expansion of the

diversity law section, begun by Robin

Pearson. We have a wonderful diversity

PowerPoint presentation (see page 31)

that will be made available to lawyers and

law firms across the state who have asked

to see it. We are going to continue to

advocate for a diverse bench at the state

and local level.

Each year, our CCCBA board of directors

gathers for a retreat in December.

We create a strategic plan whereby we

closely examine the goals and values of

our organization and try to implement

programs that further those goals. At

the end of each year, we can look back

and know that we accomplished most

— if not all — of what we set out to do.

That is the value and the purpose of

strategic planning. We have a great board

of directors from a diverse group of

practitioners in Contra Costa County

and I am very excited to help them achieve

their goals.

What would you like your

bar association legacy to be?

I would like to be remembered as a leader

who reached out to everybody, who really

rolled up his sleeves, and who did the

work necessary to make improvements

where he could while upholding the best

traditions of the bar. u

Contra Costa Lawyer 19

2008 Year-End Financial Report

(Based on projections as of mid-December. Staff and overhead expenses are

not reflected under individual categories. Does not include capital expenditures.)


profit / (loss)

Membership 291,401.00 5,351.00 286,050.00

Dues, mailings, committee meetings, applications,

State Bar swearing-in ceremonies, recruitment campaigns,

database modifications, holiday party, printing costs.

Lawyer Referral & Information Service 355,230.00 50,317.00 304,913.00

Consultation fees, membership fees, percentage fees, advertising,

brochures & marketing, phone system, postage, supplies, client surveys,

hearing impairment interpreters, committee meetings, staff education,

Moderate Means Program, Family Law training series, FLARe

(Family Law Mediation program), Limited Representation program,

marketing & panel recruitment, State Bar re-certification fees,

database modifications, free community legal workshops.

Fee Arbitration/Mediation & Client Relations Programs 23,213.00 1,628.00 21,585.00

Filing fees, State Bar reimbursements, refunds, postage, committee meetings, supplies.

Bar-Sponsored Programs & Events 52,890.00 31,051.00 21,839.00

MCLE Spectacular, State of the Court Address, Law Day for Lawyers,

committee meetings, State Bar provider status renewal.


Printing, postage, production, mailing house, MCLE self-study tests,

committee meetings, photography, advertising revenue, etc.

Contra Costa Lawyer and Calendar 93,317.00 117,427.00 (24,110.00)

Membership Directory 48,923.00 50,455.00 (1,532.00)

Office Administration

Staff (does not include Criminal Conflict Program) 449,014.00 (449,014.00)

Payroll, payroll taxes, payroll service, pension disbursements, medical,

dental and vision benefits, workers’ comp insurance, staff education.

Executive Director 7,031.00 (7,031.00)

Education & travel, dues/membership fees, expenses, etc.

Office Equipment 28,604.00 (28,604.00)

Computers, computer consulting services, database upgrades/modifications,

photocopier, fax machine, printers, postage machine and meter, etc.


• Conference room rental 5,150.00

• Interest & dividend income 21,669.00

• Sale of mailing list 400.00

• Member affinity dividends 387.00

• Criminal Conflict Program administrative fee 1,000.00

20 January 2009


profit / (loss)

• Postage (general) 3,000.00

• Accounting 3,200.00

• Business Property Tax 526.00

• Taxes (other) 30.00

• Property tax (704 Main Street) 2,590.00

• Property & liability insurance 2,200.00

• Rent 64,800.00

• Parking permits 3,024.00

• Janitorial 4,578.00

• Garbage & recycling collection 1,230.00

• PG&E 3,858.00

• Office supplies 7,879.00

• Sodas 474.00

• Coffee & bottled water 1,491.00

• Phone (bar line, fax) 5,316.00

• Staff meetings 1,392.00

• Bank & credit card processing charges 13,344.00

• Reference books, manuals 340.00

• Security system 580.00

Total General: 28,606.00 119,852.00 (91,246.00)

Officers & Board of Directors 4,145.00 22,715.00 (18,570.00)

Installation luncheon, board meetings, bar leader conferences, strategic

planning meetings, gavels & plaques, miscellaneous committee meetings,

errors & omissions insurance, past presidents’ meeting.

Section Administration 2,013.00 1,138.00 875.00

E-mail broadcasts, section leaders’ meetings, program registration,

handbooks, postage & mailings.

Education Outreach Program 1,981.00 (1,981.00)

Planning meetings, postage & mailings, Acalanes HS Appellate

Oral Argument Reception, materials, etc.

Diversity 1,045.00 (1,045.00)

Outreach, committee meetings, ABA & State Bar diversity conferences.

Conference of Delegates 3,835.00 (3,835.00)

Planning meetings, registration & hotel, materials, etc.

Information Technology 7,597.00 (7,597.00)

Committee meetings, website, SPAM filter, DSL line and internet use.

Court Support 697.00 (697.00)

Bench/Bar meetings, Fast Track Bench/Bar roundtables, etc.

TOTAL INCOME & EXPENSES 899,738.00 899,738.00 (0.00)

Total reserves as of 12/31/08: $360,477.00

Contra Costa Lawyer 21

Why Membership on the Lawyer Referral & Information Service

Makes Good Business Sense!

“ ”

I am very pleased with the service you offer! The lawyer I saw spent more than enough time

answering all of my questions. I would definitely recommend this attorney, as well as your

service in general, to anyone I know that needs legal advice for a reasonable fee. Thank you. 1

Our Lawyer Referral & Information Service

(LRIS) staff handles over 12,000 calls and

online requests each year from members

of the public who contact us with legalrelated

problems; nearly 4,000 of those

calls result in client consultations with

I was very impressed with the lawyer, her

professionalism, and her ability to answer

my questions so that I could understand

the answers. If anyone I know has a family

law question, I will recommend her.

members of our LRIS each year. Clients are

carefully screened to determine whether a

consultation with an attorney or a referral

to another agency is the most appropriate

course of action. When it is clear that the

caller would benefit from consulting with

an attorney, a 30-minute consultation is

scheduled with an LRIS panelist who has

met specific experience requirements,

maintains malpractice insurance coverage 2

and who practices in the geographic and

subject matter areas that match the client’s

needs. The LRIS is a public service of the

Contra Costa County Bar Association, a

non-profit organization. Our Lawyer

Referral & Information Service is certified

by the State Bar of California (Certification

#0018) and meets American Bar Association


Moderate Means Program

Help make quality legal support a reality

for moderate income clients by joining the

Moderate Means Program. As an adjunct

to the Lawyer Referral & Information

Service, this program offers reduced-fee

representation in family law matters. The

program is designed to make legal services

available for those who do not qualify for

pro bono services but who still do not

have the means to retain attorneys at their

usual rates. Moderate Means clients pay

partici pating attorneys a modest retainer

and hourly rate that fit within the program

guidelines. Panel attorneys come from all

different legal backgrounds and experience

levels. The program also holds an

annual 16-hour Family Law Seminar Series

that all panelists are encouraged to attend.

(For details on this year’s seminar, see

adjacent page.)

Family Law Alternative Resolution

(FLARe) Program

Also an adjunct to LRIS, the FLARe program

provides a mediation alternative for

parties with a family law situation who

agree to attempt resolution of their dispute

using this process. A 90-minute session

at a much-reduced rate is offered to give

clients the opportunity to determine if

mediation would be useful in attempting

to resolve their entire family case. The

FLARe program is never offered where

domestic violence is a factor.

Why should you join the Lawyer

Referral & Information Service?

We do the marketing for you: We get over

12,000 calls each year from people who

are looking for legal representation.

Rather than place expensive ads in the

yellow pages, magazines or other publications

hoping that prospective clients might

need your services some day, your LRIS

membership gives you access to the

people who really need your help today.

LRIS referrals are paying clients: Over

$1.3 million in attorney fees are collected

annually from clients referred by our LRIS.

Although not every case leads to a paying

client, there are rewards realized even from

prospective clients who only come in for

a consultation. An initial consultation can

lead to a long and profitable attorneyclient

relationship, as well as future referrals

to colleagues, friends and family.

Better clients are coming through the LRIS:

There is a growing distrust of what are

often perceived as self-serving yellow page

ads and TV infomercials. The public is

looking for a referral source that can be

“I contacted several attorneys prior to con -

tacting your office. Each attorney I contacted

was not specifically oriented towards (my

issue). (This attorney) was thorough and

professional along with being a skilled

listener. I got the best attorney and saved

myself hours of looking by using your service.”

trusted. Your LRIS is certified by the State

Bar of California and approved by the

ABA as an independent provider of competent

and reliable legal representation.

Join the LRIS now by contacting the

Contra Costa County Bar Association at

925.686-6900 or by visiting our website

at u


The quotes used in this article were taken directly

from our regular client surveys.


Affordable LRIS malpractice insurance coverage is

available to solo practitioners through Lawyers’ Mutual

Insurance Company. Please call 800.252-2045 for rates

and details.

22 January 2009

together with

present the

2009 17th annual


When Six consecutive Tuesday & Thursday sessions (3/10, 3/12, 3/17, 3/19, 3/24, and 3/26/09), 5:30 – 8:00pm

Where Contra Costa County Bar Association • 704 Main Street, Martinez

Fee One Moderate Means Case from CCCBA and One Pro Bono Case from BayLegal

MCLE Credits 12, including 1 Ethics credit

Registration Fee $60 (assists with cost of training manual and food/refreshments for each session)

Questions Genevieve Richardson, Bay Area Legal Aid, (510) 250-5218 or

Barbara Tillson, Contra Costa County Bar Association, (925) 370-2544 or

Family Law Overview and Getting Started

Client interviews; overall case management; big picture overview of family law practice (including causes of actions, pleadings and procedure)

Domestic Violence and Restraining Orders

Pleadings; procedure; and hearing practice

Hearings and Trials in Family Law

Children’s Issues/Custody

Procedural and substantive issues (best interest standard, FC§3044); pleadings; court process

(Family Court Services, evaluations); and other players (therapists, minor’s counsel, special masters, evaluators)

Child and Spousal Support, Attorney’s Fees

Pleadings; Department of Child Support Services; hearing practice; and computer support program calculations

Property Issues: Characterization, Discovery, and Distribution

Identifying, distributing and dividing community and separate assets and debts; credits/reimbursements; experts; disclosures; and discovery

Client Relations

Expectations of clients and attorneys; barriers and challenges facing low-income clients

Getting it Done/Judgments

Default and uncontested judgments and contested trials



2009 17th Annual Family Law – The Basics • Six Consecutive Tuesdays & Thursdays beginning March 10, 2009

co-sponsored by Bay Area Legal Aid, Contra Costa County Bar Association and its Family Law Section



$60 Payment: o My check is enclosed (payable to CCCBA)

o Please charge my credit card (circle one) Visa / Mastercard



Credit card nuMBER

Cal. Bar#


I certify that I am in good standing with the California State Bar and agree to take 1 pro bono case from BayLegal and 1 moderate means case from the CCCBA

in exchange for this training.



Please return to CCCBA, Attn: Barbara Tillson • 704 Main Street, Martinez, CA 94553

Contra Costa Lawyer 23

meet your Sections


This section is dedicated to the professional

education of its members, and to be a

bridge between the membership, the ADR

staff, the courts and the public in matters

involving dispute resolution. The members

of this section are lawyers who are

also practitioners of mediation, arbitration,

neutral case evaluation and special

mastering. The section plans general

luncheon meetings every two to three

months and a seminar at the MCLE Spectacular

in November. These meetings are

in addition to special events and cocktail

mixers. Board meetings are held bimonthly

except in the summer.


Wayne V. R. Smith

P. O. Box 3219

Martinez 94553

925.228-5232 / fax 925.228-1531

Wayne Smith has practiced law in

Contra Costa County for 36 years,

and has devoted an increasing part

of his professional life to ADR

matters, particularly mediation.

He has participated in over 200

mediations in the past 10 years, including

other ADR proceedings, evaluations and

arbitrations. He has served as a mediator

in over 150 matters, many of which were

referred out of the Contra Costa County

ADR program, and in many where he was

retained as a private mediator. He has

been an active member of the ADR Court

Committee, now merged with the ADR

Section, for many years. In addition to his

membership with the CCCBA, Wayne is

also a member of the California Bar and

related ADR Section, and a member of

the ADRNC. His areas of practice are real

estate, business law, estates and probate,

and general civil law.

Other Officers and Board Members

David Miller

Ron Mullin

Malcolm Sher

Jessica Notini

Jim Trembath

Paul Dubow

John Warnlof

Ken Strongman

Nicole Mills


The Appellate Section — formed in 1991

— focuses on continuing education and

the improvement of appellate advocacy.

Members include attorneys whose practice

is devoted to appeals and writs as well as

trial lawyers interested in enriching their

understanding of the appellate process

and issues. The section hosts periodic

MCLE seminars. Seminar speakers have

included appellate court justices, appellate

and supreme court research attorneys, and

attorneys with special expertise with

appeals, writs and post-trial motions.

The Appellate Section welcomes all

lawyers and law students to join and attend

programs. Many programs will have broad

appeal to litigators and will be presented

in partnership with the Litigation Section.

Section membership is $25 annually. The

section has been approved as a provider of

appellate specialty educational credits, an

extra benefit for attorneys who are, or are

seeking to become, certified appellate

specialists. If you wish to join this section,

please contact the chair or the CCCBA.


Gary A. Watt

McNamara, Dodge, Ney, Beatty,

Slattery, Pfalzer, Borges & Brothers LLP

1211 Newell Avenue, 2nd Floor

Walnut Creek 94596

925.939-5330 / fax 925.939-0203

Gary Watt chairs his firm’s

appellate practice section and

handles complex commercial

litigation at the trial court level.

He handles appeals in all the

state appellate courts, including

the Supreme Court, and in

the United States Court of Appeals for

the Ninth Circuit. Gary is an adjunct

professor of appellate advocacy at Hastings

College of the Law and faculty coach of

Hastings’ National Environmental Law

Moot Court Competition team, National

Champions in 2005. His law practice

articles are frequently published in The

Recorder and the Daily Journal. He is a

graduate of California State University,

Hayward (economics) and received his

J.D. from the University of California,

Hastings College of the Law.

Directors at Large

John T. Schreiber, 925.831-1882

Bryce C. Anderson, 925.513-0724


The Barristers Section seeks to provide

attorneys in practice six years and less

with quality education and networking

opportunities, as well as opportunities to

contribute to the community. Membership

is free to all Contra Costa County Bar

Association attorney members in practice

for six years or less. For information about

upcoming events, please see the monthly

CCCBA calendar insert or contact a board



Jeremy D. Perkins

Innovative Technical Solutions, Inc.

2730 Shadelands Drive, Suite 100

Walnut Creek 94598

925.946-3332 / fax 925.256-8998 u

24 January 2009

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Contra Costa Lawyer 25

Jeremy Perkins serves as Corporate

Counsel in the legal department of Innovative

Technical Solutions, Inc. (ITSI), a

world-wide construction/engineering firm.

Jeremy advises the business on transactions,

commercial leases, and claims.

Before joining ITSI, he litigated construction

defect matters and served as clerk to

Judges James L. Warren (ret.) and Ronald

E. Quidachay. He received his J.D. from

the University of San Francisco School of

Law in 2006 and his Bachelor of Arts in

Spanish and English from the University

of California, Berkeley in 1996.

Business Law & Corporate Counsel

This section focuses on and acknowledges

that new business growth is vital to our

community. The majority of our members

are private and corporate counsels who

work with private and public Contra Costa

businesses. Our section also includes the

lawyers who support our civic infrastructure

and provide needs for all the legal

services that our bar association offers.

The section offers seminars and luncheons

that offers guest speaker talking on a topic

of current relevance to the section.


David S. Pearson

Law Offices of David S. Pearson

48 Kingston Place

Walnut Creek 94596

925.287-0051 / fax 925.287-0052

Fresno Office: 559.271-2409

David Pearson is a solo practitioner

in Walnut Creek with

a satellite office in Fresno.

David initially practiced in

Fresno in the insurance

defense field where he handled

all aspects of personal

injury and construction defect defense.

Since striking out on his own in 1996, he

has concentrated his practice in the representation

of closely held businesses and

their owners. He handles a variety of

transaction and litigation issues for his

clients in the entity formation, general

business and real estate areas and has an

extensive mergers and acquisition practice

primarily representing sellers. David has

been on the Contra Costa Lawyer board for

six years, and he previously sat on the

organizing committee for the business

section of the Fresno County Bar Association.

David and his wife have one child

who occupies all of their free time.


This section of about 30 active members

is primarily comprised of attorneys who

primarily represent debtors and/or

creditors in the bankruptcy courts. In

addition, the section has had several

members who are non-attorneys including

accountants and bankruptcy trustees.

The purpose of the section is to provide

a forum of learning, fellowship and topics

of interest for attorneys and non-attorneys

who practice in the bankruptcy area or

provide support to the bankruptcy bar.

The section meets approximately four

to five times a year. Generally, luncheon

meetings are held at the John F. Kennedy

University School of Law in Pleasant Hill

usually on a Wednesday. Guest speakers

are invited to meetings to discuss topics

of interest to the bankruptcy bar. The

meetings are usually $20 for section

members and are usually approved for

one hour of MCLE credit. Past speakers

have included bankruptcy judges and

trustees, private practice attorneys in the

area and other professionals from the

community at large.

If you’d like to become a member or

would like more information regarding

the Commercial Law & Bankruptcy

Section, please contact the chair.


David A. Schuricht

Katzen & Schuricht

1981 N. Broadway, Suite 340

Walnut Creek 94596

925.279-3080 / fax 866.850-7652

David A. Schuricht graduated

from Boalt Hall School of Law

at the University of California

at Berkeley in 1974 and then

served as a law clerk for the

California State Court of

Appeal. After several years

with federally-funded legal services organizations,

David moved into private

practice in 1983. Before co-founding

Katzen & Schuricht, he spent more than

Free Notary Services

Take advantage of one of the many

CCCBA membership benefits!

To schedule an appointment with

a CCCBA notary, please call

Barbara Tillson, (925) 370-2544

704 Main Street • Martinez

Julie Schumer

Certified Appellate Specialist

Certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization

Motions, Appeals & Writs

30 years experience

925.254.3650 •

26 January 2009

14 years handling real estate, business

litigation, bankruptcy, and debtor-creditor

matters. As a partner in Katzen &

Schuricht, he has been specializing in

bankruptcy and debtor-creditor matters

since 1996.

The Law Offices of David M. Lederman



Established in 1993, membership for this

section is open to practicing attorneys,

private professional fiduciaries, accounting

practitioners and law students. Section

members and non-members are invited

to attend our programs.

With the expert assistance from The

Mechanics Bank, Trust Department, we

have sponsored each year an Estate Planning

Symposium. The symposium is currently

held at the Dean Lesher Regional Center

for the Arts in Walnut Creek. The event

draws counsel, educators and professionals

to present topics of current interest to our

members. We also sponsor an annual

update on legislative changes presented by

Commissioner Don Green and a series of

additional programs sponsored by our section

alone or jointly with other sections.

Board members and section liaisons

continue to provide volunteer service: cochairs

Janice Crosetti Titmus, David J.

Elefant, Ira L. Hillyer, Barbara L. Lanier

and Oliver W. Bray; Maurice Huguet, Court

Liaison and Kathleen U. Poling, Liaison to

the Probate Court Investigation Office,

each devoting time and energy to ensure

that our events provide broad coverage for

continuing education for our members.

Our section is proud and pleased to

have the ability to continue the practice

of donating to organizations that serve

our community. Funds available for these

donations are collected from the dues paid

by section members.

The section is broadly based among

probate, estate planning, conservatorship,

guardianship and trust practitioners. We

strive to present opportunities for members

to obtain MCLE credits at programs

that address these areas of practice and,

as always, welcome suggestions from our

membership. u

David M. Lederman

Certified Family Law Specialist

State Bar Board of Legal Specialization

Tom Smith

Associate Attorney

Practicing exclusively in all aspects of Family Law

in Walnut Creek and Antioch

3432 Hillcrest Avenue • Suite 100 • Antioch, California 94531

309 Lennon Lane • Suite 102 • Walnut Creek, California 94598

Phone 925.522-8889 • Fax 925.522-8877

and Mediation Center

“A unique and effective style -

a great mediator”

Candice Stoddard

Ron Mullin

One Corporate Centre p 1320 Willow Pass Road, Suite 420

Concord, California 94520

Telephone (925) 798-3413 p Facsimile (925) 798-3118


Contra Costa Lawyer 27


Norman C. Lundberg

Masterson, Calhoun & Lundberg

3220 Blume Drive, Suite 200

Richmond 94806

510.222-8222 / fax 510.222-8227

Norman C. Lundberg is a graduate

of U.C. Santa Barbara with honors

in History. He graduated from

Hastings Law School in 1972. He

has been practicing in West Contra

Costa County since 1972, beginning

in general practice and currently

practicing in the areas of probate, estate

planning and post-death trust administration.

He also practices in the area of health

care contract regulatory compliance.


Janice Crosetti Titmus, 925.299-2030

David J. Elefant, 925.943-1991

Ira L. Hillyer, 925.256-3033

Barbara L. Lanier, 510.527-7303

Oliver W. Bray, 925.228-2550


Criminal Law is an active CCCBA section.

This year, regular meetings will be held

at various locations in the county and will

include a wide variety of speakers with

emphasis on education and training.

Additionally, the programs will provide

information specific to practice in our

county courts. The goal is to provide information

that can be of practical assistance

to criminal defense attorneys in motions

and trial practice and case management.

Speakers include judges, attorneys and

expert witnesses. All of our section programs

offer MCLE credit.

This section offers a mentoring program

for new attorneys, and also regularly

sponsors an issue of the Contra Costa

Lawyer, which gives the members a chance

to write articles and be published.

Officers and all members of this section

are eligible to run for vice chair and chair.

The annual dues are $25. If you have any

questions, please contact Peter Johnson.


Peter Johnson

Law Office of Johnson & Johnson

319 Railroad Avenue

Pittsburg 94565

925.432-7447 / fax 925.427-3020

Peter Johnson begins his

second term this year as

president of the Criminal Law

Section. He has practiced

criminal defense in Contra

Costa County since 1993.

Peter is partners with his wife, Carin

Johnson, in Pittsburg’s Law Office of

Johnson & Johnson. Peter is a member of

the National Association of Criminal

Defense Lawyers, California Public

Defenders Association, National College

of DUI Defense and the California Association

of DUI Lawyers. Peter graduated

from St. Mary’s College in 1987 and

received his J.D. from Golden Gate

University in 1993.

Vice Chair

Ross Pytlik, 925.837-0585


Joseph Tully, 925.229-9700


With the encouragement and enthusiastic

support from the Bar Association

leadership, general membership, and the

county judiciary, the Diversity Section just

became the newest CCCBA section. This

section will work to further the goals and

interests of attorneys, law students, legal

professionals, and residents of color and

other under-represented groups within

our county.

We welcome all bar members to our

section and look forward to your participation

and input.


Jim W. Yu

Balamuth Harrington, LLP

3 Altarinda Road, Suite 202

Orinda 94563

925.254-1234 / fax 925.254-0778

Jim Yu is a partner at Balamuth

Harrington, LLP in Orinda. His

clients come from diverse

backgrounds — immigrants,

professionals, tradespeople,

homemakers, the disabled,

children, retirees. He and his

partners (Kelly Balamuth and Molly

Harrington) devote all of their practice


Criminal & Civil

Law Office of Ian R. Greensides

2121 North California Blvd., Suite 290

Walnut Creek, California 94596

(925) 313-8703

925.790-2600 • •

28 January 2009

to representing plaintiffs who have been

injured or civilly wronged. Jim received

his bachelor’s degree in Latin American

Studies from Cal-Berkeley and his law

degree from Georgetown.



Anita Santos, 707.422-3552


Stephen C. Seto, 925.944-9700


















As our population ages, the purposes of the

Elder Law Section are to present programs

that will help keep attorneys informed about

elder law, create a forum for attorneys who

are dealing with elder law issues, and provide

members with information personally

helpful for retirement.

Future program announcements will

appear in calendar inserts of the Contra

Costa Lawyer. If you have suggestions for

programs, please contact the president.


Arlene Segal

Law Office of Arlene Segal

200 Pringle Avenue, Suite 350

Walnut Creek 94596

925.937-4224 / fax 925.937-4273

Arlene Segal has practiced in

Contra Costa County since

1985. She is a sole practitioner

working in the areas of both

litigation and mediation. Much

of her practice involves the

resolution of real property,

trust and estate disputes, and the financial

abuse of elders.


This section is comprised of plaintiff and

defense bar attorneys. Its monthly meetings

provide a forum for practitioners to

gather and discuss current issues affecting

labor law, employment law and workers’

comp. The monthly meetings typically

feature presentations by judges, arbitra- u


Bonnie Sabraw


Mediator Arbitrator

Discovery Referee

Dorene Kanoh, VP

50 Fremont St., Ste. 2110

San Francisco, CA 94105

Walnut Creek 925.210.8984

Oakland 510.251.3808

San Francisco 415.249.0348

Sacramento 916.648.2672



















Contra Costa County

Locations Available!

tel 415.772.0900

fax 415.772.0960

Business Escrow Services at

Mechanics Bank.





Mechanics Bank Business Escrow Services

Department offers a wide range of escrow

services for attorneys. We are the experienced,

neutral third party you need to manage your

client’s business transactions in accordance

with the terms of the escrow agreement. Call

us today to learn how we can help you with:

• Stock Transfers and Merger Acquisitions

• Subscription Offerings

• Professional Practice Sales

• Holding Escrows

• Bulk Sales

• Depository for 1031 Exchanges

Contractor Retention/Construction Contract

• Controlled Disbursement Accounts

MEC 2719 Contra Costa Lawyer Mag 4.6875x4.5625_v4.indd 1

7/31/08 7:01:04 PM

Contra Costa Lawyer 29

tors, representatives of state and federal

enforcement agencies and experienced

practitioners. Section members also host

a workshop at the annual MCLE Spectacular

and, from time to time, are called

upon to write articles for the Contra Costa

Lawyer. By far, the greatest benefit of

membership and participation in the

section is gaining access to a solid network

of skilled attorneys who are willing to

share not only their knowledge and expertise

but also their questions and dilemmas.

Annual dues are $25. Members as well as

non-members are welcome to attend the

programs. If you would like to become a

member or learn more about the section,

please contact the president.


Andrea Kelly Smethurst

Andrea Kelly Smethurst Law, P.C.

P.O. Box 3267

Walnut Creek 94598

925.932-4955 / fax 601.510-7824

Andrea Kelly Smethurst is a graduate

of the University of California at Berkeley

School of Law. As an employment attorney,

she writes employee handbooks, and

advises employers on per son nel matters

such as hiring, wages, leaves of absence,

discipline, and terminations. Andrea

represents employers in administrative

matters before the DFEH, the EEOC

and the Labor Commissioner. She also

regularly conducts workplace investigations

into alleged employee misconduct

and conducts training seminars on

sexual harassment and discrimination,

employee management and employment

law compliance. Andrea is fluent in

Spanish, and conducts training seminars

and workplace investigations in both

English and Spanish.


Membership in the Family Law Section,

the largest section of the CCCBA, is

essential for anyone who practices family

law in our county. Some of the many

benefits of membership: dynamic monthly

education seminars led by experienced

faculty; periodic extended seminars; early

notification of changes in local rules; and

practice requirements in the family law


The section addresses the needs of all

members, from certified specialists to the

newest admittees. Designed for all practitioners,

the monthly programs keep members

informed of current topics in the field

as well as offer MCLE and specialization

credit. The bench often uses these meetings

as an opportunity to make announcements

and to network with the bar.

The section monthly newsletter, In

Chancery, is a vital communication resource,

keeping members aware of section activities,

news from the court, and educational


The section maintains an ongoing

liaison with the bench, Family Court

Services, the Facilitator’s Office, the DCSS,

and the various legal aid providers in the

county. It is also instrumental in developing

innovative services to family law

litigants through a variety of mediation

and unbundled legal services programs.

It has over 20 standing committees, which

allow members more in-depth education

and networking with associate members

who are professionals in related fields.

Passing knowledge forward, the mentoring

program allows newer practitioners to learn

from more experienced family lawyers.

Through its liaison with the court, the

section expresses the voice of the members

in the formation of court rules and policies,

providing input and assistance in drafting

new rules and changes to existing rules

and procedures at the courthouse.

If you would like to join this section

or have any questions, please contact the

president. (The 2009 officers will be elected

at the Family Law board retreat the second

week of January.)


Lee C. Pearce

Law Offices of Lee C. Pearce

1333 N. California Blvd., Suite 540

Walnut Creek 94596

925.946-0450 / fax 925.746-8799

Lee C. Pearce has been a

member of the California Bar

since 1975, was a member of

the first class of Certified

Family Specialists in 1980 and

has practiced family law

mediation and litigation since

then. His practice is now limited strictly

to family law mediation and private judging.

He was a founding director of the

Family Law Section of the CCCBA and

he was the first president of that section

in 1988 and 1989. He is now returning

for a second tour of duty as president of

the section.

Past President

David Lederman, 925.522-8889

Board of Directors

Paul Bonnar

Joe Wolch

Barbara Suskind

Faith Jansen

Nancy Thomas

Karen Johnson

Kim Dunworth

Marcia Keefe

Greg Abel

Daniel Harkins

Intellectual Property

This CCCBA section is a resource for

attorneys and others to learn, share, network

and strengthen their expertise in

intellectual property. The goals of the

section are to:

1. Keep abreast of new legal developments;

2. Share written resources through an online

brief bank;

3. Develop industry contacts and interaction

between the members and the local business


4. Pool resources in order to obtain discounts on

continuing education programs;

5. Develop contacts and interaction with local

in-house counsel;

6. Develop programs for law schools in order

to further the practical training of future IP


7. Learn about the member’s own practice areas

for the purpose of assisting in client referrals.

30 January 2009

For further information, please contact

the section president.


Stuart J. West

West & Associates

2815 Mitchell Drive, Suite 209

Walnut Creek 94598

925.465-4603 / fax 925.944-9598

Stuart J. West formed West &

Associates in February of 2004. As

a managing attorney, he is responsible

for coordinating prosecution,

transactional and litigation matters.

In addition to counseling clients in

matters relating to the litigation and

licensing of intellectual property rights,

his practice also includes counseling clients

in obtaining, protecting and enforcing

rights associated with patents, trademarks,

service marks, trade names, trade

secrets and copyrights.

Vice President

Eric Mewes, 925.934-5202

Law School Liaison

Michael Williamson, 925.673-8957


Lawyers who represent children, parents

and others involved in juvenile dependency

proceedings find themselves very

active in advocating for the needs of their

clients. These individuals are before the

court due to the abuse or neglect of a

child, which rises to a level that requires

court intervention to protect that child.

Membership in our section provides

beneficial continuing legal education

and opportunities for professional development.

Attorneys represent the full

spectrum of parties, including parents,

guardians, foster parents, relatives and

minor children.

Brown bag lunch MCLE programs are

held monthly in Department 10. Speakers

include experienced attorneys, therapists

and other professionals on such topics as

case law and statutory reviews, techniques u

Free In-House MCLE program available to CCCBA members

The CCCBA’s Diversity Committee developed a power point presentation last year entitled “Investing

in the Future of Diversity: Building a Better Law Practice”, which qualifies for one hour of elimination

of bias in the legal profession MCLE credit. Members of the committee will present this seminar at no

cost, in-house to member law firms with 10 or more attorneys. Arrangements can also be made for

presentations to smaller groups of CCCBA members.

The seminar focuses on why diversity matters; the state of diversity in the legal profession nationally,

state-wide, and locally, as well as in law schools and on the bench; reasons for the lack of progress;

perceptions of lawyers from diverse backgrounds; what the organized bar is currently doing; model law

firm programs and practices; and, finally, what lawyers and law firms can do to increase diversity by

attracting and retaining attorneys from diverse backgrounds.

If you are interested in scheduling a presentation, please contact Lisa Reep at 925.288-2555.

Sustaining Law Firms

The CCCBA gratefully acknowledges our sustaining law firms:

Firms with 30+ attorneys

Archer Norris

McNamara, Dodge, Ney, Beatty, Slattery, Pfalzer, Borges & Brothers, LLP

Miller Starr Regalia

Firms with 20-29 attorneys

Bingham McCutchen

Bowles & Verna

Morgan Miller Blair

Firms with 15-19 attorneys

Gagen, McCoy, McMahon, Koss, Markowitz & Raines

Greenan, Peffer, Sallander & Lally, LLP

Firms with 5-14 attorneys

Bramson, Plutzik, Mahler & Birkhaeuser, LLP

Carroll, Burdick & McDonough, LLP

Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook

Cooper, White & Cooper, LLP

Craddick, Candland & Conti

Edrington, Schirmer & Murphy

Frankel & Goldware, LLP

Galloway, Lucchese, Everson & Picchi

Gillin, Jacobson, Ellis & Larsen

Littler Mendelson, P.C.

Morison Ansa Holden Assuncao & Prough, LLP

Morrison & Foerster, LLP

Shapiro, Buchman, Provine & Patton, LLP

Whiting, Fallon & Ross

Youngman, Ericsson & Low, LLP

Contra Costa Lawyer 31

on interviewing children, ICWA, immigration

laws and their effect on dependent

children, and recognizing and treating

substance abuse in our clients.

These programs can be used to qualify

towards meeting the California and local

court statutes and rules for mandatory

competence of counsel. During the holiday

season, we also sponsor an annual toy

drive for foster children and teens in need

in our county.

We keep the lines of communication

open by participating in meetings between

the bench, Social Services, and the Legal

Aid Society, Dependency Program

through representation at the “Judges’

Meeting.” We also participate in the Social

Worker-Attorney Training Committee

(SWATT), as well as participation in planning

and evaluation of the county-wide

Annual Cross Training for attorneys and

social workers.

Our section welcomes all attorneys

interested in this unique and challenging

area of law. Annual dues are $25. Members

are admitted free to the monthly brown

bag programs, while non-members are

charged only $5 for attendance. Members

receive advance notification of our

monthly programs.

If you are interested in joining our

section or would like further information,

please contact the president.


Rhonda Wilson-Rice

Law Office of Rhonda Wilson-Rice

525 Marina Blvd.

Pittsburg 94565

925.432-7373 / fax 925.427-3018

Rhonda Wilson-Rice grew up in

Los Angeles. She received her

undergraduate degree in Political

Science from the University of

California, Berkeley and her

J.D. from George Washington

University in Washington, D.C. After

law school, she returned to the Bay Area

and started her Pittsburg practice in 1991.

Her practice has evolved over the years

from criminal, civil, juvenile delinquency

and juvenile dependency to being primarily

focused on juvenile dependency law.

The law surrounding juvenile dependency

has become quite specialized. Barbara

Suskind, the previous president, still serves

as a valuable contributing member of our


Vice President

Jeanne Olin, 925.376-6690


The Litigation Section was formed in

1997 as a forum for civil trial attorneys

to foster collegiality and hone advocacy

skills. It presents seminars on trial practice

featuring the county’s fast track judges

and its most senior practitioners in live

demonstrations on the art and science of

trial practice. The section sponsors programs

of interest for civil practitioners of

all experience levels and abilities. In past

years, the Litigation Section has sponsored

presentations regarding use of technology

in the courtroom, jury trials, complex

issues in breach of contract cases, taking

depositions, ADR and litigating in federal

court. In 2006, the Litigation Section

co-sponsored a series of programs with

the Barristers Section, demonstrating the

stages of trial from voir dire to closing

statements. The section continues to look

for ways to maintain and improve itself

as a place for litigators to obtain up-todate

information regarding all aspects of

litigation and to socialize and network.

The section also facilitates an ongoing

dialogue with the Superior Court bench

to keep pace with changing court procedures

(including e-filing and related

administrative developments) and ensure

the efficient and fair administration of


Section membership is $30 annually.

Members obtain advance notice of and

discounts to the Litigation Section’s programs

and publications. If you wish to

join our section or have an interest in

joining the board of directors, please

contact Josh Cohen.


Josh Cohen

Morgan Miller Blair

1331 N. California Blvd., Suite 200

Walnut Creek 94596

925.937-3600 / fax 925.943-1106

Josh Cohen represents business,

technology and real estate clients

in litigation prevention, mediation,

arbitration and trial. He is

Vice Chair of Morgan Miller

Blair’s Business & Technology

Practice and is on the Board of

Trustees of the California Shakespeare

Theater. Josh obtained his J.D. from UC

Davis School of Law in 1996.

Board Members

Jay Chafetz, 925.933-5890

Terrence Meyerhoff, 925.943-6570

Kristy Montee, 925.930-6600

Justin Schnitzler, 925.937-3600

Amy Lee, 925.287-8181


The ABA estimates that approximately

half of the people living in poverty each

year will have a legal problem — which

means approximately 50,000 poor people

in Contra Costa County will need help

(125% of federal poverty line in 2008:

$1,800 per month for a single mother with

two children). With less than 20 legal

services attorneys in Contra Costa County

(2,500 poor people/legal services attorney),

the justice gap is overwhelming. The

CCCBA Pro Bono Section members focus

their efforts on building upon the limited

resources of the county’s legal services

agencies to address this great need and

expand access to justice in our county.

The Pro Bono Section brings together

the Legal Services Agencies — serving

thousands of poor individuals and families

in Contra Costa — and members of the

private bar who want to use their valuable

legal skills to help their community and

promote access to justice. Pro Bono Section

members include: newly admitted attorneys

32 January 2009

and those with many years of experience;

solo practitioners; public interest attorneys;

retirees; associates and partners in small

and large local firms. The section brings

together individuals who share a common

passion for social justice and the desire to

make a difference.

The section connects interested volunteers

with a range of pro bono opportunities,

educates the community about the serious

legal needs of the poor, organizes judicial

and bar recognition for pro bono efforts,

and recruits volunteers to help serve the


The range of pro bono opportunities

include: extended representation; limited

scope representation or legal assistance

[limited issue(s) or hearing(s)]; mentorship

and consultation of other pro bono attorneys

or legal services advocates; co-counsel;

participation in community education; and

participation in a legal clinic or Attorney

Counseling Evenings (ACE). There are

opportunities for everyone in a range of legal

subjects. Make a difference! Get involved!

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For further information, please contact Nancy Young at


Genevieve Richardson

Bay Area Legal Aid (Bay Legal)

405 - 14th Street, 9th Floor

Oakland 94612

510.250-5218 / fax 510.663-4711

Genevieve Richardson is the

Director of Pro Bono Activities

for Bay Legal, the Bay

Area’s largest provider of free

civil legal services to the

poor. She coordinates and

develops pro bono opportunities and

recruits attorneys to help expand access

to the civil justice system for low-income

families. A graduate of the University of

Colorado School of Law, Genevieve is a

family law attorney, specializing in domestic

violence and is an active member of the

CCCBA. Among other projects, she plays

a leading role in coordinating the annual

BayLegal-CCCBA family law training (see

page 23) and running the family law pro

bono panel in Contra Costa County. u

Elder Law is



The average survival rate is eight years after being

diagnosed with Alzheimer’s — some live as few as

three years after diagnosis, while others live as long

as 20. Most people with Alzheimer’s don’t die from

the disease itself, but from pneumonia, a urinary

tract infection or complications from a fall.

Until there’s a cure, people with the disease will

need caregiving and legal advice. According to the

Alzheimer’s Association, approximately one in ten

families has a relative with this disease. Of the

four million people living in the U.S. with

Alzheimer’s disease, the majority live at home —

often receiving care from family members.

If the diagnosis is Alzheimer’s,

call elder law attorney

Michael J. Young

Estate Planning, Disability, Medi-Cal,

Long-term Care & VA Planning

Protect your loved ones, home and independence.



1931 San Miguel Drive, Suite 220

Walnut Creek, California 94596

Contra Costa Lawyer 33


The Real Estate Section offers monthly

breakfast MCLE programs free to section

members and open to other members of

the Contra Costa County Bar Association,

as well as networking and activities related

to the practice of real estate law. Our

section is also proud to make annual

charitable contributions to various groups

and interests, including the bar’s Pro

Bono Section.

This section meets the third Friday of

most months. Annual dues are $50, which

covers the MCLE courses and related

meals. Nearly each year, the Contra Costa

Lawyer devotes one of its editions to the

presentation of real estate issues by

members of the section. (Look for this

year’s real estate issue in June!)


Kristen Thall Peters

Cooper, White & Cooper LLP

1333 N. California Blvd., Suite 450

Walnut Creek 94596

925-935-0700 / fax 925.256-9428

Kristen Thall Peters is a partner

of Cooper, White & Cooper LLP,

resident in the firm’s Walnut Creek

office. She is co-chair of the firm’s

Green Practice Group and practices

real estate, land use, environ mental

and business law. She regularly counsels

landlords and tenants, and negotiates

and documents commercial and industrial

property leases and indemnities. She also

represents contractors, real estate brokers,

and homeowners’ associations in a wide

array of business, real estate and environmental


Kristen received her B.A. in Environmental

Sciences from the University of

California at Berkeley and her J.D. degree

from Santa Clara University. She is currently

a member of Women in Cable

Telecommunications, Commercial Real

Estate Women - East Bay, California Land

Title Association, the Real Estate and

Environmental Sections of the State Bar

of California as well as a CCCBA board

member, and Kappa Alpha Theta. Prior

to practicing law, Kristen was an Environmental

Protection Specialist with the

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


Our section evolved from the recognition

that many solo and small firm prac ti tioners

desired, and at times needed, the camaraderie,

intellectual stimulation and

informational exchange that attorneys

generally find in larger law firms. By

having consistent networking and fellowship

opportunities, the section has evolved

into a collegial organization resembling

a “firm” with specialists in various fields,

both willing and capable to offer assistance

to other section members.

A partnership has been forged with

John F. Kennedy University School of

Law so that Solo Practice Section members

have cost-effective and convenient access

to legal resources. Section members are

entitled to full use of the JFKU Law


Our section members receive a monthly

email newsletter, The Maverick, informing

them of upcoming events, providing

topical articles and providing a forum

for comment and commentary. In 2009,

we hope to accommodate more schedules

by alternating meetings — one month

in the morning and one month in the

evening — instead of just evening mixers

as we have been doing. In addition, the

section participates in the Contra Costa

County Bar Association’s MCLE Spectacular

held in November. We are also

working on other ideas to use technology

to develop deeper ties between solos,

specifically strengthening our online networking


Section programs highlight issues of

interest to solo and small firm attorneys.

The programs have included a number of

excellent speakers on a variety of topics,

including a roundtable discussion on

drafting fee agreements, a presentation

on law firm newsletters, and programs on

Quickbooks and Timeslips. MCLE Spectacular

programs have included panel

discussions of how to open a law firm and

how to prepare the small firm for death,

disability, and disaster.


Dorianne Romero Plihon

Romero Plihon Law Offices, P.C.

4115 Blackhawk Plaza Circle, Suite 100

Danville 94506

925.415-0095 / fax 925.415-1144

Dorianne Romero Plihon

has been practicing for 11

years and established her

own firm four years ago. Her

practice, which focuses on

family law, is in Blackhawk.

She also has a satellite office in San

Jose, so she can represent clients who live

in Contra Costa but work in the Silicon

Valley. She speaks fluent Spanish, so is

able to represent both English and Spanish

speaking clients. In her free time, she

enjoys attending her children’s sporting

events with her husband.

Board Members

David Pearson, 925.287-0051

Nicole Davidson, 925.932-5555

William “Bill” Hickey, 925.957-1133


The Contra Costa County Bar Association

provides networking, internship and

employment opportunities for students

through its Student Section. Of the 20

sections of the bar association, this section

is active in many of the sections providing

volunteer support and as-needed assistance

for CCCBA programs and events.

The Student Section is sponsored by the

CCCBA and seeks student membership

in the bar primarily from JFKU and

Golden Gate University School of Law.

Student members of this section have

access to information about internship

and employment opportunities, as well

as some of the benefits offered to attorney

members, such as group insurance and

membership discounts.

34 January 2009

This section provides students with

the chance to practice networking,

interview ing and lawyering skills through

volunteer opportunities at many of the

bar-hosted events. These events, such as

the recent MCLE Spectacular, provide

students exposure to current issues in the

field of law. Another program, Attorney

Counseling Evenings (ACE), provides

hands-on experience for students by

working directly with an attorney in a

consumer-oriented client setting. This is

particularly helpful, whereas in law school,

students generally have access only to

practice seminars that approximate reallife


The Student Section offers its members

opportunities to expand the law school

experience in significant and germane

ways. As future attorneys, this section

provides students, and their future clients,

a unique opportunity to acquire real-world

experience that will be invaluable at


How do you join the Student Section?

Visit the bar’s website,,

or call the section’s president. Student

membership is $25 and section fees are

only $5, including discounts in membership

fees for other CCCBA sections.


Jeff Johnston

JFKU School of Law

100 Ellinwood Way

Pleasant Hill 94523


Jeff Johnston graduated with a

Juris Doctor degree from JFKU

School of Law in May, 2008. He

earned a B.S. degree in Business

Administration from Kansas

State University in 1981. He has

been active in the real estate and mortgage

industries for 17 years and holds licenses

and certifications in residential mortgage

banking and commercial real estate brokerage.

He intends to open a small law

firm in the Bay Area focusing on bankruptcy

and real estate practice areas. u

Contra Costa Lawyer 35


One of the CCCBA’s oldest sections, the

Tax Section has met regularly for almost

30 years. Today, most of its meetings are

held jointly with other sections and feature

speakers who discuss income, payroll,

estate and gift, sales, and property tax

issues that affect practitioners in other

areas of law. The section invites all interested

attorneys and accountants to join.

Contact any of the officers or directors for

a schedule.


Michael J. Low

Youngman, Ericsson & Low, LLP

1981 N. Broadway, Suite 300

Walnut Creek 94596

925.930-6000 / fax 925.934-5377

Michael J. Low practices

with Youngman, Ericsson &

Low, LLP, a boutique tax,

estate, and business law

firm in Walnut Creek. His

practice emphasizes probate

litigation and civil and criminal

tax controversies, as well as tax and estate


Board Members

Mark Ericsson, 925.930-6000

Nancy Gibbons, 925.279-3415

G. Scott Haislet, 925.283-1031

G. Virginia Peiser, 925.930-6600

Edward T. Perry, 925.472-6800


CCCBA’s West County Section is the

only regional committee that is tasked

with ensuring the interests of those

lawyers who practice in the West

Contra Costa area are represented at

and considered by the CCCBA. Any

attorney from West County is invited

and encouraged to contact one of the copresidents

with questions, suggestions or

comments. The section meeting information

is emailed and snail mailed to all

section members.

Bi-monthly meetings are scheduled

with a variety of continuing education

presentations, including juvenile, family,

real property, trust and estate matters, and

other issues of general legal interest.


Joshua Genser

Len Watkins

Genser & Watkins, LLP

Attorneys at Law

125 Park Place, Suite 210

Point Richmond 94801

510.237-6916 / fax 510.236-9851

Joshua Genser was born

and raised in Richmond,

Cali fornia. He has practiced

law since 1983, after

graduating from Stanford

University with a Master’s

Degree in Economics and from Boalt

Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley.

Len Watkins graduated from the

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy,

USF School of Law and the UC

Davis Graduate School of Management.

Len spent several years

as a litigator with larger San

Francisco law firms and has also

worked as a real estate broker and securities

broker. Genser & Watkins specializes

in Real Estate and Business matters, both

transactions and litigation, and in probate,

trust and elder abuse litigation. Genser &

Watkins is also the recipient of the 2007

Chief Justice Ronald M. George Pro Bono

Award from the CCCBA.


The Women’s Section has been a strong

presence in the Contra Costa County Bar

Association for over 25 years. Its membership

includes attorneys practicing in all

areas of the law who live or work in Contra

Costa County. The goal of the section is to

further the advancement of women in the

legal profession and the judiciary. Men are

welcomed to join. This section is an affiliate

of California Women Lawyers, whose goal

is to promote the rights and laws concerning

women, children and diversity.

The section provides networking opportunities

for its members to meet other

attorneys and professionals. The section hosts

informational programs and lunches, some

offering MCLE credit and others focusing

on matters of more personal interest, such

as job opportunities and rainmaking.


Ericsson & Low, llp

1981 North Broadway, Suite 300

Walnut Creek, CA 94596

(925) 930-6000

Tax Lawyers

Mediation Solutions

Specializing in

Tax, Probate, Wills, Trust & Business

LL.M Taxation • Over 25 years legal experience

“AV” rated attorney with mediation training

Experienced mediator since 1992

Nancy A. Gibbons


36 January 2009

The Women’s Section annually awards

the Hon. Patricia Herron and Hon. Ellen

James Scholarship to deserving law students

who have shown leadership potential, have

achieved success academically and who

have helped to advance women’s issues.

The section hosts a scholarship fundraiser

each spring and gratefully accepts donations

to the Scholarship Fund.

Board meetings are held on the first

Wednesday of each month at noon. All

members are invited to attend. Contact the

president for further information.


Katherine F. Wenger

1331 N. California Blvd., Suite 200

Walnut Creek 94596

925.937-3600 / fax 925.274-7550

Katherine Wenger is an attorney at

Morgan Miller Blair, with a practice

focusing on assisting private and public

companies in a variety of business and real

estate litigation disputes. Her practice

emphasizes the litigation of complex business

and real estate disputes, including

intellectual property disputes, product

liability claims and class action litigation.

Katherine obtained her undergraduate

degree from Wellesley College and law

degree from University of California,

Berkeley, Boalt Hall.

Vice President

Natasha Chee, 925.962-9038


Dorianne Romero Plihon, 925.415-0095


Elva Harding, 925.944-9700

Board Members

Denae Budde

Karyne Ghantous

Katherine Oberle

Janine Ogando

Adair Paterno

Monica Sloboda

Juliet Jonas

Sharon Collier

Delia Isvoranu

Lonnie Yu

Do it for the Kids!

The Contra Costa County Bar Association

is looking for energetic and

enthusiastic volunteers for the

Education Outreach Program

To strengthen our pledge of providing

valuable law-related education to local high

school and middle school students, attorneys

are needed to volunteer with EOP throughout

the county. The time commitment is

minimal, but the rewards for participation are

significant for both you and our youth!

To learn more about

this exciting program,

please contact:

Michele Vasta


Contra Costa Lawyer 37

advertisers’ index

ADR Services, Inc.. .................29

Maureen Ahlf. ......................8

Roger F. Allen ......................9

Armanino McKenna LLP .............28

Barr & Barr Attorneys. ...............39

Diablo Valley Foundation for the Aging ...35

Diablo Valley Reporting Services .......40

Nancy Gibbons ....................36

Glenn & Dawson LLP. ................5

Landmark Valuation ..................5

Law Office of Ian R. Greensides ........28

Law Offices of Arlene Segal ............6

Law Offices of David M. Lederman ......27

Law Offices of Douglas A. Prutton .......8

Law Offices of Magany Abbass. ........38

Mechanics Bank ...................29

Mullin Law Firm ...................27

Mark V. Murphy ....................13

Myers-Stevens-Mello & Co. ..........25

One Hour Legal Services . . . . . . . . . . . . .25

Pedder, Hesseltine, Walker & Toth, LLP... 6,38

Julie Schumer. ....................26

Scott Valley Bank. ...................9

Harry L. Styron ....................38

Union Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17

Michael J. Young. ..................33

Youngman, Ericsson & Low, LLP .......36

Zandonella Reporting Service .........39


for rent...







Walnut Creek Space – Furnished

Extremely nice Class A space; close to

Pleasant Hill BART; sublease; 836 s.f. incl.

3 offices to be shared with 1 atty. $800/mo.

Call 925.935-4600.

Lafayette Office Space

200 s.f. office, $850/month. Two conf

rooms, use (at cost) of phone, fax, photocopier,

scanner. On-site gym and showers.

Free parking. Call 925.284-7788.

Prime Space in Walnut Creek

Space available in separated portion of

law office in prime Class A building in

downtown Walnut Creek. Range of office

sizes, some with amazing view of Mt.

Diablo. Rents ranging from $800 to

$1,750 per month. Secretarial stations

available for additional rent. Reception,

law library, conference rooms, parking

included. Call 925.979-3330.

Walnut Creek Window Office

Lease a fully furnished window office

w/sec station and tons of amenities. On-site

conf rooms, receptionist service, law library,

telephone system, voice mail, notary (onsite),

copy machines, postage machines,

and mail-handling. Professional Class A

bldg. w/plenty of parking, great location,

and easy access to freeway and BART. Call

Kristie, 925.947-0100, x224.

961 Ygnacio Valley Road, Walnut Creek

Share building with 7 solos. One office

available. All amenities. 925.938-2460.

WC Law Offices at Locust/Bonanza

Large window office $1295; small furn.

office $695. Conf rooms, kitchen, more.

Call Randall at 925.935-5566.

Lafayette Transit Village Office Space

Office in business law firm next to BART

in Lafayette (27 min. to Montgomery Street

BART station). Receptionist, conf. room,

parking, ground floor, only one block from

post office and Lafayette’s restaurant row.

Call Jim or Michelle at 925.284-4447.

professional announcements

Probate paralegal to attorneys

Joanne C. McCarthy. 2204 Concord Blvd.

Concord, CA 94520. Call 925.689-9244.

DNA / Paternity & Immigration test

Legal DNA test in Martinez. Fully

accredited lab. $350 test fee. Hair, urine

& 80-hr. alcohol tests also available. Call

925.957-6870 for appointment.

To place a display or classified advertisement,

please contact Nancy Young at 925.229-2929


Real Estate Lawyer

Over 25 years experience in the real property business!


Title Matters • Probate/Trusts

Dispute Resolution (International)

Law Offices of

Magany Abbass

3445 Golden Gate Way

Lafayette, CA 94549


Family Law

Appeals & Writs

Harry L. Styron

30 years appellate experience

1615 Bonanza Street, Suite 305

Walnut Creek, CA 94596

(925) 932-4300

Fellow, American Academy

of Matrimonial Lawyers

Certified Family Law Specialist

Since 1980

38 January 2009

Will & Trust Litigation

Elder Abuse Litigation • Conservatorships

B A R R & B A R R


101 Gregory Lane, Suite 42 • Pleasant Hill, CA 94523-4915 • (925) 689-9944

Edward E. Barr

Christopher M. Moore

Loren L. Barr*

John Milgate, Of Counsel

Joseph M. Morrill

Tracey McDonald, Paralegal

*Certified Specialist, Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law, The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization

Contra Costa Lawyer 39

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