Looking Forward | by Elizabeth Peterson, Barristers President

With 2018 now in full swing, the Barristers are looking forward to an exciting spring and summer filled with events and activities in keeping with our mission of giving back and community involvement.

We’ve reinvigorated our monthly happy hours with a new location at Rock & Reilly’s on Sunset in trendy West Hollywood and continue our monthly programs at Roxbury Park and the Santa Monica Homeless Shelter. We have partnered with other sections to offer relevant MCLE programs, which have been well attended across the board.

As I continue to mention, this year marks the 25th anniversary of the Roxbury Park Pro Bono Legal Clinic, which we celebrated in April with a fabulous fundraising event at US Bank in Beverly Hills. We honored the clinic’s original founders, Richard Kaplan and Christopher Bradford, as well as all past chairs and the current chair of the clinic, Jonah Grossbardt.

We also welcomed many of the new admittees to the California Bar at an exclusive shopping event at Theory on Melrose, where we offered the new barristers an opportunity to buy, at a discounted price, their first designer suit as a licensed attorney while enjoying esteemed remarks from our local bench officers, as well as various section chairs and bar leaders.

Looking toward the summer months, we are working on some exciting fundraising events in and around LA, such as the Hollywood Bowl and other landmarks that we hope you will attend with us! I continue to be impressed and humbled by the dedication of our board members who never cease to find new and exciting ways for the Barristers to raise money for the Bar Foundation and help those in need.  Donate to our GoFundMe today!

As I enter the second half of my term as Barristers President, I hope to continue the work we have done in the first few months, welcome new board members and deepen the strength of our leadership.  Attend an upcoming Board Meeting!

Elizabeth practices family law with Howe Engelbert LLP. Her practice is dedicated to dissolution cases and dependency law. She can be reached at 310 626 1383.

Spirit of Gratefulness | by Yan Goldshteyn, Barristers President

In these times of political turmoil, social unrest and future uncertainty, the holiday season provides a much-needed distraction from the world, allowing us to spend time focusing on what really matters – a time for reflection and appreciation. I am very grateful to have the support of young lawyers who strive to make a difference not only in the work they do professionally, but also by eagerly and unselfishly volunteering to help others. The Beverly Hills Bar Association has been gracious in recognition of the efforts of Barristers and has rewarded them with various membership benefits.

For example, the recently enacted new dues model makes it affordable to take advantage of networking, opportunities for business development, and free access to continuing education. This new model has been structured to help ease the financial hardship on newly admitted attorneys. New Admittees to the California State Bar receive free regular membership, with special discounted rates given to attorneys in practice under three years, law students and those awaiting Bar results. Membership also includes participation in Sections, Committees and pro bono legal activities. These activities serve as a meeting ground for attorneys who want to make a difference in the lives of others.

Our Board is also thankful for the opportunity to support our veterans. We have partnered with “For the Troops,” a non-profit organization dedicated to providing members of the military with “We Care” packages containing basic necessities to show our gratitude for their service to us. We are appreciative of all who have contributed their donations and hope they will continue to do so throughout December. Through this partnership, the Barristers are able to bring aid and encouragement to veterans in times of need. This is especially important during the holiday season when they are far away from the comforts of home, their families and loved ones. We want veterans serving our country to know that their contribution, sacrifice and honor have not gone unnoticed.

So, as we celebrate the holidays, let’s have a thankful spirit and remember the difference that we can make while working together. I am very proud of what we have accomplished this year and look forward to achieving much more in the year ahead. It is a pleasure working with a group of dedicated and determined colleagues. May you all have a blessed holiday season filled with joy and warmth.

Yan Goldshteyn is a Principal attorney at Maven Law Firm, with a concentration on immigration and business law practice areas: 310 363 0240 or Yan@mavenlawfirm.com.

Thank You for a Beautiful and Blessed Year | by Doron Eghbali, Barristers President

Doron EghbaliThis is my last piece in Bar Brief as the President of the BHBA Barristers. Accordingly, it is important to reflect on the successful and jovial year we have had as Barristers and express our deepest gratitude to our beloved Barristers BOG members for their profound dedication and sacrifice.

Even though it is rather impossible to bestow individual accolades on more than 20 committees and many MCLEs we spearheaded, here is a summary of our notable activities this past year.

Roxbury Park – Every first Saturday of the month William S. Wenzel, our wonderful President-Elect, along with ebullient Danielle Grabois, Co-Chaired this event to provide free legal services.

Samoshel – Every second Saturday of the month, our chef extraordinaire, LeRoy Williams, joined by amiable past President of Barristers, Jeanine Percival Wright, and superb Jeremiah Livesay prepared eclectic food and served around 60 homeless people at the Santa Monica Shelter.

Vintage Bouquet – Like previous years, our indomitable Co-Chairs, Dira Imam and Danielle Grabois, spearheaded another electrifying Vintage Bouquet along with our invaluable Elizabeth Peterson, Jeremiah Livesay, Eseigbe Omofoma, Lauren Gabbaian and Yan Goldshteyn. Special thanks to Leigh Leshner, John Grimball and Nicholas Francescon for their efforts during past years.

Pro Bono Committee – On a Saturday, during Law Week at L.A. Law Library, Autumn Ronda along with Elizabeth Peterson, Rachel Balchum, and Dira Imam, provided free legal advice to more than 100 people. In addition, with the diligence of Jack McMorrow and other members of this great Committee, we succeeded in continuing to inform the public of noble pro bono activities in our neighborhoods through our meticulously prepared Pro Bono Newsletters.

Power Lunch – Nearly every month Yan Goldshteyn and Brian Schaller planned a “Power Lawyer” lunch with legal titans for an intimate roundtable discussion.

Committee for the Arts – Anastasia Alen and Dira Imam brought to fruition an ethereal evening of memorable art, music and food at the former House of Blues.

Tolerance Through Education – Liana Yoon and Eseigbe Omofoma taught elementary school children the meaning of love, respect and tolerance through educational activities.

Meet the Judges – Megan Peitzke deftly assembled eight judges and two commissionaires for a private and rare evening at the Santa Monica Courthouse.

Brunch for Eight – Ariadne Giannis executed four separate Brunch for Eight programs with UCLA, USC, Loyola and Whittier law schools.

Mentorship Committee – Our tireless Zev Shechtman, Autumn Ronda and Diana Ovsepian sought to continue matching qualified mentors with receptive mentees.

Social Media Committee – Special thanks to Lauren Gabbaian for her expertise in supervising our Social Media.

Happy Hour – David Paletz, our convivial Chair, ensured every Thursday of the month that we all had a classy place to go to for professional networking.

Join me in my heartfelt thanks of our beloved and blessed BOG.


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

Barristers Can Facilitate Career Enhancement | By Doron Eghbali, Barristers President

Doron EghbaliMy friends and colleagues often ask me how their involvement in the Beverly Hills Bar Association’s Barristers could help them with their career. My response to them is often simple: become sincerely involved and you will appreciate the tangible and intangible benefits.

In fact, given more than 20 projects and programs that our Barristers’ section offers members and non-members alike, any serious and sincere Barrister would find a program to get involved with or even spearhead, of course with our help and support.

Such Barristers’ programs not only help the community, but also reward those dedicated Barristers who spend their weekends or evenings planning and executing such programs with credibility in the eyes of their employers and clients. This credibility often translates into new and lucrative attorney-client relationships.


Indeed, impeccable reputation and integrity are sine qua non for a successful legal career. Community involvement on the level that Barristers have accomplished undoubtedly helps those volunteers with name recognition.

For instance, on October 25, 2014, Rachel Balchum and Elizabeth Peterson diligently and deftly planned and executed a legal clinic involving more than 30 volunteer Barristers serving more than 100 people as part of L.A. Law Library Pro Bono week.

Kudos to Rachel and Elizabeth who undertook this colossal endeavor under the able aegis of Barristers Immediate Past President Autumn Ronda. In addition, on November 8, 2014, Barristers presented “What Every Tenant Needs to Know,” a substantive two-hour free Landlord-Tenant seminar to the public, at Roxbury Park.

The other examples of Barristers’ constant involvement in the community would be our monthly Roxbury Park Free Legal Clinic and Samoshel. Every first Saturday of the month our volunteers, run by our able Barristers’ President-Elect William S. Wenzel, provide free legal advice to the public.

Every second Saturday of the month, at Santa Monica Shelter, our dedicated Barristers’ volunteers cook and feed around 60 homeless people under the tutelage of our own chef extraordinaire, LeRoy Williams. Another project involved a toy drive in December, before the New Year, to help the greater Los Angeles’ impoverished children.

Legal Community

In addition to community involvement, Barristers are also involved in the legal community by planning and executing a few substantive MCLEs a month, geared mostly toward the needs of the younger attorneys. Our revived “Lunch with…” Power Lunch Series, run by our own Brian Schaller and Yan Goldshteyn, brings together illustrious attorneys in different practice areas with a small group of younger attorneys for an informal and candid round table discussion.

Career Enhancement

Given more than 20 or so events and programs the Barristers spearhead, any member of this proud and humble community should feel rewarded. Hence, when Barristers state these accomplishments on their resumes, LinkedIn, Avvo, Twitter, or Facebook pages, clients and employers take notice.

Clients know that such dedicated lawyers will steadfastly champion their rights, while employers realize that such competent and accomplished lawyers are invaluable assets to their law firms.

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.

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.

Three Things:

1) A BIG CONGRATULATIONS! to everyone who passed the February Bar Exam!  Welcome to the California Bar, and we hope to see you at future events.

2) A BIG CONGRATULATIONS! to everyone who graduated law school!

3) A BIG THANK YOU! to everyone who participated in the Bench Bar Bike Ride this morning!  We had a great turn out, with about 21 people, and it was a positively glorious day for a bike ride in the South Bay.  We had a blast!

Our next ride will be in August.  Keep checking in to learn the particular date!

Check Out Pictures from This Month’s SaMoShel Visit!

Join us next month at SaMoShel on June 14!

Barristers November Pro Bono Newsletter

Dear Barristers,

In an effort to keep you informed of all the wonderful pro bono legal services opportunities available for your participation, this is the second installment my new monthly series of newsletters highlighting some of the many volunteer options available at various legal aid organizations in Los Angeleas County. 

In addition to the organizations highlighted below, we encourage you to volunteer at our very own BHBA Barristers Monthly Free Legal Clinic at La Cienega Park in Beverly Hills on Saturday, December 7th from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (and every first Saturday of the month thereafter)! If you are interested in volunteering or would like more information please feel free to contact co-chairs Brian Smith, Anton Labrentz or Wil Wenzel

Bet Tzedek

Bet Tzedek provides assistance to all eligible needy residents throughout Los Angeles County, regardless of racial, religious, or ethnic background. Bet Tzedek’s pioneering projects combine direct legal representation with outreach, education and legislative advocacy, resulting in equal access to justice for over 15,000 low-income Angelenos last year alone.  Barrister Rachel Balchum is our Liaison to Bet Tzedek and she can help you navigate your way through the various opportunities.

I would like to specifically highlight the following opportunities with Bet Tzedek:

Barrister co-hosted Training Session on Representing Clients in Probate Guardianship Matters: 

On December 16th at 6:00 p.m., at the BHBA offices, the Barristers will co-host a CLE providing the training necessary to participate in Bet Tzedek's Probate Guardianship Kinship Care program. This training will cover the basic aspects of a guardianship case, including completing the court forms, filing the forms with the Los Angeles Superior, providing notice to relevant parties, and what to expect at the court hearing. The CLE is free and open to those attorneys who commit to take on a pro bono guardianship case through the Probate Guardianship Kinship Care program.  Matters are heard in the Los Angeles Superior Court, are uncontested, and typically require between 25 and 35 hours to complete, over the course of approximately 2 to 3 months.  For more information and to sign up for the program please contact Pamela Weston.

Individual Pro Bono Estate Planning Cases

The following are two clients that are in need of pro bono representation for estate planning matters. If you are interested in assisting in either matter, please contact Bet Tzedek’s Pro bono Director, Diego Cartagena.

1.       Two developmentally disabled brothers currently live in a home left to them by their deceased parents.   The home was originally left to the two brothers and their older brother.  Older brother has since passed away.  Although high functioning, the two surviving brothers are not capable of managing the estate and would like a family friend to be appointed as successor trustee.  Deceased brother left debts and an account which may have trust assets co-mingled.  Bet Tzedek would like Pro bono assistance to review the trust, have a family friend appointed as the new trustee, and set up an estate plan (possibly a Special Needs Trust) to maintain the developmentally delayed brothers in the home with all possible services and support. 

2.       Dorothy is a lovely, low-income, disabled elderly widower, aged 79, whose Certified Public Accountant drafted a will, revocable living trust, power of attorney for health care, and general power of attorney for her several years ago. She would like to have these documents reviewed by an attorney in order to make sure they are appropriate.  In particular, Dorothy is a homeowner and wants to ensure her home passes to her 7 adult children with minimal taxes.

Public Counsel

As many of you know, the Beverly Hills Bar Association was a founder of Public Counsel. Public Counsel is now the largest pro bono law firm in the nation. Public Counsel’s staff of 61 attorneys and 52 support staff – including five social workers – along with over 5,000 volunteer lawyers, law students and legal professionals assists over 30,000 children, youth, families, and community organizations every year.  Public Counsel has endless opportunities available for you to get involved and help those who are in need.  Former Barrister President, Jaison Benjamin is our Liaison to Public Counsel and she can help you navigate your way through the various opportunities.

I would like to specifically highlight the following opportunity with Public Counsel:

Foreclosure Prevention Clinic

Please join us at a Foreclosure Prevention Clinic presented by the California Consumer Justice Coalition (CCJC) on Tuesday, December 17th, 2013 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the downtown offices of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), located at 3655 S. Grand Avenue, Suite 250, Los Angeles, CA 90007, to help provide pro bono assistance to homeowners at risk of foreclosure. This event is a collaboration by the following nonprofit legal service organizations: Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Bet Tzedek, Los Angeles Legal Aid Foundation (LAFLA), and Public Counsel.

Pro bono volunteers will participate in a short training (don't worry, we will provide you all the information you will need) and then meet with homeowners to conduct an intake interview, provide legal advice and counsel as well as targeted referrals. Staff attorneys will be available at all times to provide assistance.

You don’t have to have expertise in this area of practice, and you don’t need to bring anything with you to the clinic –just your great legal mind and your enthusiasm for pro bonoSign up here!  

If you participate, please let Public Counsel know that you heard about this opportunity via the BHBA Barristers!

American Bar Association Death Penalty Representation Project

Los Angeles Lunch & Learn

Please join your colleagues in the Los Angeles legal community on December 4th or 5th for a lunchtime discussion about current pro bono opportunities that will assist prisoners on death row.  If you've never thought about working on a death penalty matter—or if you've rejected the idea in the past as either too expensive or too time-consuming—our conversation will surprise and inspire you.

There are now many different opportunities for law firms to make significant pro bono contributions, including challenging prison conditions, administrative regulations, and methods of execution; drafting amicus briefs and clemency petitions; and systemic litigation that will improve due process protections for vulnerable groups. Hundreds of mentally ill and intellectually disabled prisoners without counsel are also looking for volunteer lawyers to become their champions. Our new pro bono model means that firms working in some states will have expert assistance that will significantly reduce out-of-pocket costs and travel.

On December 4th, join us at 12:00 p.m. at Morris Polich & Purdy, 1055 West Seventh Street, Suite 2400, Los Angeles, CA 90017.

On December 5th, join us at 12:00 p.m. at Greenburg Traurig, 1840 Century Park East, Suite 1900, Los Angeles, CA 90067.

Please RSVP here or email Kaitlin Sandin by Monday, December 2nd.

I hope this post helps you make a difference!

All the best,

Autumn Ronda

Barristers President

Beverly Hills Bar Association


Happy Holidays from Barristers President Autumn Ronda

Autumn-Ronda-2013I am enthusiastic, a bit nervous, and full of pride as I write this, my first Bar Brief article, addressing you in my new role as President of the BHBA Barristers. I speak for all my fellow Barristers when I say that this past year, under the leadership of our friend and collaborator, Jeanine Percival Wright, has been both personally and professionally rewarding.

Barristers Programs

Traditional Barristers programs such as Law Day, the New Admittee’s Reception, Barristers Monthly Free Legal Clinic, and Vintage Bouquet remained strong, while more recent projects such as the Community Outreach Committee and the Social Committee forged their place in Barristers history.

Early last year I put a new spin on the “Lunch With” program, expanding it beyond Entertainment Law, and establishing the program as a monthly
luncheon in which Barristers can join well-respected leaders in the legal community for a power lunch. As Committee Chair, Brian Schaller took the program to new heights and the Barristers have enjoyed tremendous success with these mini-mentoring sessions.

Lauren Gabbaian, took the lead on bringing the Barristers into the social media revolution by revamping our website, creating Barristers pages on
popular social media websites, and providing all of those outlets with continuous fresh content. With all of this to boast about, it is hard to see how the Barristers can do even more, but we have big plans to share with you!

Read more of Autumn's Bar Brief column here: 

Molto Bene!

The Barristers really came together this weekend to prepare dinner for about thirty homeless people at SaMoShel.  They got a delicious dinner of chicken parmasean, penne bolognese, Italian salad, and garlic bread, along with a healthy serving of vanilla-almond pudding (with a much fancier sounding name) for dessert.  We got cooking lessons from Roshni Gandhi, Anton Labrentz, and Leroy Williams.  Everyone had a blast!

Join us for the next SaMoShel meeting on Nov. 9!