SaMoShel Thanksgiving

A lot of Barristers showed their support at November’s SaMoShel, preparing and serving a meal for as many as 60 shelter residents, proving there can never be too many cooks in THIS kitchen!

The residents of the Santa Monica Shelter (SaMoShel) have experienced difficulties that caused them to lose everything. SaMoShel provides food, a bed, work-life skills and helps people find jobs and housing to get them back on their feet. Come join the Barristers at 505 Olympic Blvd in Santa Monica on December 13 (the second Saturday of the month) and make a real difference! You’ll be glad you did!

For questions or more information, feel free to leave a comment below or on Facebook.

The Barristers Monthly Samoshel Homeless Project is a community service program of the Beverly Hills Bar Association, 9420 Wilshire Blvd, 2nd Floor, Beverly Hills, CA 90212.

A Bright Future with Barristers | By Doron Eghbali, Barristers President

Doron EghbaliWhen I completed my legal studies and moved from San Diego to Los Angeles, I did not know anybody in the Los Angeles legal community. Trusting my mentors’ advice, I soon embarked upon attending various Bar Associations in quest for a cordial and cerebral community of legal professionals. After attending and becoming involved in other Bar associations, I attended the BHBA Barristers Board of Governors (BOG) for the first time. I went to the BOG meeting early, talked to as many people as I could and listened to what Barristers were doing. Thereafter, I became involved and relished every moment of it. This was around seven years ago.

Today, with the assistance of our beloved Barristers’ indispensable officers, including incoming Barristers President, William Wenzel; Treasurer, Yan Goldshteyn; and Secretary, Nadira Imam, I intend to build on what we have been blessed with.

In fact, thanks to personal sacrifices of our Barristers, we now foster about 20 or more social, educational and legal committees and programs. They serve not only the legal community but mostly the public ranging from seniors, the homeless, firefighters and police force, to troubled teens and children.

This past year the Barristers’ immediate past President, Autumn Ronda, deftly instituted the “Mentorship Program,” “Job Board” and our “Pro Bono Newsletter” with the invaluable help of Zev Shechtman, Diana Ovsepian, Rachel Balchum and Elizabeth Hall.

Gratefully, Barristers continue their successful “Monthly Free Legal Clinic” chaired by our wonderful William Wenzel and Danielle Grabois. Our monthly “Samoshel” program chaired by our own in house chef extraordinaire, LeRoy Williams, with the insight of Jeanine Percival Wright, caters to about 60 homeless people with eclectic foods, all prepared and served by our own Barristers.

Our veritable treasure trove, Leigh Leshner, is Co-Chairing the VINTAGE BOUQUET™ again this year with superb help from John Grimball and Nick Francescon. Our great chair of “Court- house Walkthrough” and “Kids in the Courthouse,” Megan Peitzke, is spearheading a Teen Court program.

Ariande Giannis continues to diligently head our “Law School Outreach” committee to promote the noble principles of Barristers.

Our “Lunch With…” program is being revived by our invaluable Co-Chairs Brian Schaller and Yan Goldshteyn this year. Also, Nadira Imam and Anastasia Allen, with their artistic minds, are again Co-Chairing our “Committee for the Arts” while our “Social Committee,” Co-Chaired by convivial Laura Cable, Lawrence Freiman and David Paletz, is holding Happy Hour mixers every month. Lauren Gabbaian continues to expertly Chair our “Communications and New Media Committee,” and Jonathan Dennis will ably Chair our “Law Day.”

We would love to share with you the bright future we are building for our communities and ourselves. We meet every second Wednesday of the month in the BHBA headquarters at 6:00 p.m.


Doron F. Eghbali is a Senior Partner at Law Advocate Group, LLP in Beverly Hills and practices Business, Real Estate and Entertainment law.  Contact him at DoronEghbali@LawAdvocateGroup.com, or 310 651 3065.

Join the National Association of Women Judges In Supporting The Informed Voters Project

Informed Voters ProjectThis election season, the BHBA and the Barristers proudly join the National Association of Women Judges in supporting the Informed Voters Project . The IVP is a non-partisan civic education initiative that increases citizen awareness about the process of voting for judges in an election. The IVP does not endorse any particular candidate; the goal is to educate citizens about why they should care about an informed vote for any judge.

The problem: in the last election approximately 50% of Californians voted. Of that 50%, only about 12% voted for judges. That means not only that a small minority of people determine who sits or stays on the  California bench, but also that special interests have a disproportionately strong voice in who wins a judicial election.

What you can do: As a member of BHBA, you have access to prepared presentation materials, op-eds and letters to the editor, and social media & blog posts with links to articles and videos. Here’s how you can get involved (from least to most intensive):

1. Incorporate IVP materials on your website/blog/linkedin/facebook/twitter: IVP has prepared a short video featuring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor discussing the importance of voting for judges. They also prepared materials ready to be posted immediately. Leverage your connections to immediately spark people’s interest.

2. Submit an Op-Ed or Letter to the Editor: IVP has templates for both; the templates are ready-to-use. This is a fantastic way to get the message out with your name attached as a concerned citizen.

3. Make community presentations: Attend a short, 45-minute webinar instruction session and take an IVP-prepared power point presentation out to wherever the community gathers. A few suggestions:

  • PTA Meetings;
  • Homeowners’ association meetings;
  • Rotary meetings;
  • Kiwanis meetings;
  • Provisors meetings;
  • Law firm meetings;
  • Chambers of commerce meetings;
  • Wherever groups of people meet!

Not only will you be doing a service to this state, but you will also be holding yourself out to your community as a person who is actively involved in addressing serious community issues. Rarely are we afforded such an opportunity to engage directly and leverage such support to get a message out!

If you are interested: Please contact Brian Smith bsmith493@sbcglobal.net with your level of interest, and we will respond with the appropriate instructions and materials. Once you have participated, please get back to us and let us know how it went so you may be credited with the work you’ve done.

Together, we can use this opportunity to make a real, lasting difference in our community.

Click Here To Email Brian Smith

SaMoShelling Out the Good Stuff

At the September installment of SaMoShel, the Barristers rang in the start of football season with wings and nachos!

The Barristers always meet on the second Tuesday of the month at OPCC SaMoShel (Santa Monica Shelter) to cook and serve a meal to as many as 60 of Santa Monica’s homeless population.  Join us at our next meeting on Oct. 11, from 3-5 p.m.

Congratulations!

Autumn-Ronda-2013 Anton Labrentz

Big kudos to outgoing Barristers President Autumn Ronda and former Barristers Board of Governors member Anton Labrentz on their selection to the list of Super Lawyers Rising Stars of Southern California for 2014.  Keep being awesome!

Leaves Are Falling All Around, It’s Time I Was On My Way* | By Autumn Ronda, Barristers President

Autumn-Ronda-2013What an incredible year it has been.

First, I would like to thank my fellow officers, who have been wonderfully supportive and proactive throughout this exciting and challenging year: Doron Eghbali, President-Elect; Jonathan Dennis, Treasurer (Law Day and Softball Team); and Laura Cable, Secretary (Social Committee).

Also deserving of appreciation is Dira Imam, who, along with one of our new Board Members, Anastasia Alen, has revamped the dormant Committee for the Arts with style and grace, helping me realize my “pipe-dream” of bringing famous courtroom sketches to a Barrister event, by planning the Sights and Sounds reception at the L.A. Law Library, which featured the works of Bill Robles.

With a fresh perspective, new Board Member, Ari Giannis, strengthened our ties with the law school community by founding the new Law School Outreach Committee. Our other new Board Members, Lawrence Freiman, LeRoy Williams, and Elizabeth Hall have also jumped in headfirst, contributing to the Board in various capacities.

Diligent as ever, Immediate Past President, Jeanine Percival Wright (Community Outreach), Lauren Gabbaian (New Media), David Paletz (Social Committee), Brian Schaller (Lunch With), Yan Goldshteyn (New Member Committee), Nick Francescon and John Grimball (Vintage Bouquet), and Wil Wenzel (Free Legal Clinic) continued to amaze with their respective Committees.

Like one of the fine wines she brings to her fabulous Vintage Bouquet, Leigh Leshner has only become more extraordinary with her contributions as time passes. She leaves the Barristers this year, but we are delighted that she will still serve with us as an Honorary Board Member. Another veteran Board Member, Megan Peitzke (Courthouse Walkthrough), recipient of this year’s coveted Lawrence J. Blake Award, will also retire as a Barrister and join us as an Honorary Board Member.

A sad but hopeful farewell to those well-respected, long-term Board Members who retire from their positions on the Board: Anton Lebrentz and Brian Smith (Free Legal Clinic), and former Past President, Jaison Benjamin. Each of these Board Members leaves us with very big shoes to fill.

I’m immensely proud of what I was able to build, with the help of new Board Member, Rachel Balchum, with the launch of our new Pro Bono Committee. Facilitating joint programming among the BHBA and local legal aid organizations, and furthering this symbiosis through the distribution of our Pro Bono Newsletter, we are connecting our Barristers with the members of our community in need of pro bono representation.

Lastly, I am thrilled and relieved that I retire from my Presidency with a strong sense of accomplishment, knowing that my primary goal for the year was realized — creating a Mentorship Program for our Bar. With the help of my Co-Chair, Zev Shechtman, we have set into place a program that will reach far beyond my term, helping young lawyers establish themselves as successful members of our profession — this alone makes “it all” worth it.

*”Ramble On,” Led Zeppelin (Led Zeppelin II, 1969)


Autumn Ronda is a Tax and Estate Planning attorney at Valensi Rose, PLC in Century City. You may contact her at ar@vrmlaw.com or 310 277 8011.

Supercharged SaMoShel

We had a great turnout at our last SaMoShel event, and everyone was chopping, grilling, scooping SOMETHING to perfection.  The menu was Carribean themed, and everyone we served was so greatful we even got some applause!  Check out pictures from the event below, and remember: the next SaMoShel will be this weekend on August 9!

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If You Build It, They Will Come | By Autumn Ronda, Barristers President

Autumn-Ronda-2013My managing partner was recently educating me on the “good ol’ days” in the practice of law, back when attorneys stayed with their firms for the length of their career and the industry was considered practically recession-proof. What really caught my attention, however, was when he mentioned that an associate attorney could actually make partner, without a book of business. Now, I know that firms have always stressed the importance of associates developing their knowledge of the law and perfecting their technical skills, but these days, good lawyering won’t always save you from the chopping block. In order to make yourself indispensable, even young attorneys must start building a healthy book of business.

The only way to do this is through business development, which requires marketing. I’ve met newly minted lawyers who flawlessly deliver their professional pitches, but generally, networking and branding are terms that strike fear into the hearts of young lawyers. So how can Barristers begin to develop these undisclosed prerequisites of a successful legal practice — in a painless manner?

I suggest focusing on building your professional reputation before you build your “brand.” Anyone can brand themselves in a particular manner by perfecting their sales pitch and having a substantial web presence, but reputation is based on what other practitioners, referral sources, and clients say about you. Thus, the only way to build a good reputation is by consistently and successfully demonstrating your professional integrity and skill. While building a reputation is more difficult and takes more time, it ultimately serves you better, because it is built on substance.

Involvement in the Barristers Board of Governors, and its Committees and activities provides young attorneys with a plethora of opportunities to build their professional reputation:

• Plan and moderate a CLE panel – the panelists will be impressed with your contributions.

• Help plan a Bar fundraiser – influential members of the legal community will take note of your philanthropic nature and organizational skills.

• Write articles for Bar publications – readers will remember your name as a contributing member of our profession.

• Volunteer for pro bono work – you will work closely with experienced practitioners who may refer you cases.

• Participate in changing legislation with the Resolutions Committee – enough said.

There are so many subtle ways to develop your professional reputation through Bar involvement, and these activities tend to come more naturally than those that are solely networking- based. Before you know it, you will have branded yourself organically, without needing a degree in marketing.

Remember that all of this takes time. Work hard to craft your reputation now, and you will build the foundation you need to develop your own client base, while having made yourself an indispensable member of your firm.


Autumn Ronda is a Tax and Estate Planning attorney at Valensi Rose, PLC in Century City. You may contact her at ar@vrmlaw.com or 310 277 8011.

PI Summer Mixer a Success!

The Personal Injury section's innaugural summer mixer brougt attorneys together from all different practice areas. Barristers had a great time!

From left: Barristers President Autumn Ronda, Lawrence Freiman, and Personal Injury Section Vice Chair (and Barristers Treasurer) Jonathan Dennis

From left: Barristers President Autumn Ronda, Lawrence Freiman, and Personal Injury Section Vice Chair (and Barristers Treasurer) Jonathan Dennis

Batter Up!

Barristers from the Beverly Hills and Santa Monica Bar Associations went head to head last Saturday in Santa Monica to play an epic game of softball.  Sadly, the home team won in the last inning, with a final score of 7-6, but the weather was great, the game was a blast, and both sides came together for a pizza party afterward.  Thanks to Jonathan Dennis for organizing, and stay tuned for details about a rematch later this year!

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