Test the Limits | by Yan Goldshteyn, Barristers President

Over the course of my term as Barristers President, I have wanted to acknowledge and thank the leadership, bar association members and staff for all of their encouragement and support. It has been a rewarding and humbling experience to serve with dedicated professionals who volunteer their time to give back to the community. In the years past, I was fortunate to work with previous bar leaders on event and program planning. My prior experience taught me the importance of working as a team. I am proud to say that the Barristers have faced challenges throughout this year, but did not hesitate to rise to the occasion and come out on top.

It is truly a blessing that our selfless members strive to make Barristers committees grow and thrive. We continue to provide pro bono legal services at the Roxbury Legal Clinic every first Saturday of the month. Our Law School Outreach program is finding new ways to connect with law school students and faculty. The Social Media committee has been doing a fantastic job of connecting new followers to the Barristers programs and events. Our Barrister Happy Hour has attracted attention not only from the local law firms, but also with young professionals from real estate, finance and other industries. And let’s not forget that we continue to prepare hot meals for those less fortunate at the Santa Monica Homeless Shelter every second Saturday of the month. I am especially proud to have the Mentorship Initiative Program active, where young lawyers are matched up with senior practitioners for one-on-one mentorship opportunities.

When my term as President began last year, I wasn’t sure how much could be accomplished in a relatively short amount of time. Over the course of a year, I have seen first-hand that there is no limit to what the Barristers team can achieve. I would like to extend my personal gratitude for the relationships, friendships and mentorship from everyone at the Bar who helped me get through this year. I urge the incoming Barristers President to continue to test the limits and achieve what seems impossible.


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.

Finding Your Village

To attain professional highs, it takes determination, hard work and it cannot be done without support. It’s important to acknowledge those in your life who provide the much-needed encouragement to help get through the tough times and achieve success. Whether your closest circle of supporters is small or large, as human beings, we all need a village we can count on.

For some, their greatest aid comes from parents. Naturally, parents care for you and your well-being. Mom and Dad know you the best and know what to say when you need words of encouragement. Definitely being able to count on parents is invaluable for future success.

Others turn to their spouse for strength and support. Your significant other is on the journey with you at every step of the way. When the relationship is built on trust, love, and support, you turn to your spouse to help you grow. Having a spouse who can lift you up is someone you definitely need in your village.

Friends can be the biggest support group that you can count on. Good friends are more precious than possessions. As the old adage goes: “it’s better to have four quarters than one hundred pennies.” Friends will tell you when you’re making bad choices and help you make good ones. You should have a few solid friends you can rely on when building your village.

Just as imperative to find in your village is a mentor. A mentor is someone with whom you build a connection and someone to ask for advice. Mentors have a special set of skills and knowledge that may have a greater impact on you professionally… more than anyone. Since mentors have walked the walk and have a deeper level of understanding about the profession as well as life in general, their words of wisdom are invaluable. If you don’t have a mentor in your life, I would suggest finding one at the Beverly Hills Bar Association.

A person is not an island. We all need to build strong villages around us to help us succeed. The earlier we realize what our village should look like, the better off we will be in the long run. It doesn’t matter the size of your village, what matters is who is in it. On your journey through life, think about the people you want to surround yourself with and build your village.


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.

Give Back by Funding Scholarships for Law Students

The Beverly Hills Bar Association and Beverly Hills Bar Foundation have a history of over 50 years of scholarship support for economically disadvantaged law students in Southern California.  The Barrister Board of Governors is working hard to help raise funds for these scholarships, but we can use your help.

These scholarships are given to students who show a financial need during law school and show a commitment to future public service after graduating from law school.  Scholarships are awarded only to deserving and hard-working students who are willing to use their legal education to give back to the community.  The funds will help pay for living expenses like rent, food, gas, utilities, medical expenses and other necessities.

For more information, click on the link below or on your left.  Every little bit counts!

Click above to donate today!

Building Relationships | by Yan Goldshteyn, Barristers President

It gives me great pleasure to announce that the Barristers have formed a new committee dedicated to mentorship. As young lawyers are entering the profession and facing challenges, many are in need of sound advice. The Beverly Hills Bar Association is cognizant of that need and wants to build lasting relationships that help newly admitted lawyers reach their full potential.

As with most relationships, it’s important for both participants to find common interests and set ground rules. At the onset, mentors should set clear expectations of their mentees. A mentor’s responsibility is to listen and provide constructive feedback. Mentees must prove to be responsible, knowledgeable, interested in the respective field of law, and willing to appropriately challenge their capabilities. Secondly, mentors need to be sensitive to potential culture and gender issues. Gender and cultural differences can sometimes be seen as obstacles to effective communication. However, by recognizing diversity and respecting individual differences, a meaningful and fulfilling relationship could be cultivated.

Next, preparation is vital. The mentee needs to be clear about the topic of interest and have an agenda that reflects the goals or challenges to be addressed. Finally, mentees should be mindful of the mentor’s time and availability. In order to be respectful of a mentor’s time, it would be prudent to schedule meetings in advance and prepare a list of topics to discuss. I believe that such skills and preparation would bode well for a successful mentorship program.

Speaking from personal experience, the Beverly Hills Bar Association is a wonderful place for networking and professional development. We try to cater to all of our membership and provide a welcoming environment for camaraderie and friendships. At the organization, you are not referred to by a number, but by name. We feel that it is important to serve our membership to no lesser degree that we serve the community or advance the profession.

If you are excited about the opportunity to serve as a mentor or want to be mentored, I welcome you to reach out and learn more about this wonderful program. I believe that what distinguishes one Bar Association from another is not its location or prestige, but its membership and shared objectives. I invite you to see what the BHBA has to offer.


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.

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.

Join the BHBA Barristers in Supporting US Troops!

Drop off items from the Troops Wish List below to the Beverly Hills Bar Association at 9420 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212 to help ensure a brighter holiday season for our troops while they’re far away from home.

Troops Wish List

The Keystones of a Bar’s Bright Future

William S. WenzelThis article marks the conclusion of two years of my deep personal investment in the Beverly Hills Bar Association as a leader of the Barristers, first as President-Elect, then as President. I am deeply honored to have led and served during a period of fundamental change within our organization.

I am proud to report that our Barristers are as strong as they’ve ever been. Internally, we have had a greater voice and increased participation in Association and Foundation activities. Besides an active and vocal presence on both the Ex-Com and the Board of the Association, we have established a strong presence on the Budget and Finance committee and helped shape the resource allocation of the organization.

Our Barrister Board members sit on Membership and Ways and Means because we care about the benefits the Association confers on its members and the ways that it stays fiscally agile. And we have a committed group working on the Long-Range Planning Committee to ensure that the Barristers have a voice in the Association’s direction over the next 5-10 years.

Over the last two years, I have worked hard to ensure that our group of young lawyers has a place at the table in this Bar Association. And I am deeply grateful that the Association and Foundation have welcomed us with open arms in a way that is unmatched by any other professional organization.

But the Barristers’ enthusiasm over the last year has extended well beyond the walls of the Rolex building. We’ve made the Barristers a fundamental component of the Teen Court organization–they rely on us to fulfill their mission. And in doing so, we have helped hundreds of high-school-age kids around the Los Angeles area.

We’ve put our hearts into the Monthly Roxbury Park Pro Bono Legal Clinic in such a way that lines form outside the Clinic a half-hour before it begins. Roxbury has become a place where young lawyers who are not yet BHBA members can go to see the good works the BHBA does and be inspired to join our BHBA community. And the same is true for the Samoshel homeless project: the Board organized a 25% budget increase for this event this year. And it’s been used to make innovative and creative meals every single month – and provided a place for lawyers to bond over a beneficial activity.

This year, we’ve worked to make the Barristers’ role in the LA Law Library “Lawyers in the Library” event an annual standard. And the LA Law Library has come to depend on us to staff this major legal aid event.

We’ve put intensive resources into making sure that our monthly Thursday professional networking events are places where young professionals know they can meet colleagues and make solid connections.

The networking event is a go-to wherever our members meet young potential leaders who need an introduction to the BHBA’s activities. And this year, we’ve been coordinating with more young professionals than ever: from financial planners to CPAs, to young business owners.

We’ve held bike rides, and we’ve welcomed new bar passers. We threw our signature Vintage Bouquet and we’ve thrown ourselves out to the Los Angeles region in ways we’ve never done before. And in doing so, we’ve empowered our group to be stronger and more vocal leaders. We’ve had our members step up to an unprecedented degree. I’m honored to lead this group, and I’m proud to say I’ve left it better than I found it. My deepest thanks to everyone involved.


William S. Wenzel is a business and corporate attorney at The Law Offices of William S. Wenzel, APC. His office serves as outside general counsel for hire and can be contacted at 213 207 6885 or wsw@wswlegal.com.

Teen Court: Unexpected Connection to Traditions | by William S. Wenzel, Barristers President

William S. WenzelWith the onset of summer vacation, the 2015-2016 Teen Court season has come to a close. The 2016-2017 Teen Court season will begin in August/ September. And while the students are off playing for a few months – remember last month’s article on play? I admit I’m jealous – the Barristers are turning their attention to the many other projects that we do to help the community and bring attention to the BHBA.

But before I lay aside the Teen Court program for a while, I want to relate one more experience:

In prior articles, I’ve discussed my Teen Court at Anahuacalmecac Preparatory School in East Los Angeles / South Pasadena. I’ve mentioned it’s a Native American charter school with a largely Native-American student population. The Teen Court there is overseen by two Native American LASC judges.

I’ve always been impressed by the uniquely high degree of engagement that these high school students/peer jurors have with the Teen Court program. Even among the committed students around LA County, these kids stand out. They bring their personal lives and journeys to bear in questioning and deliberation in a way that I have not seen at other schools.

The final Teen Court of this year was no different – the students took their responsibility seriously and structured the Defendant’s probation in a way that ensured that she would continue her schooling while increasing her exposure to community service and making sure she received some counseling to keep her from repeating her crime.
Once the sentence was rendered, I figured that the day’s proceedings were over. But I was in for a surprise. One of the school’s moderators appeared and began a ritual with several of the older Native American students. Judge Gilbert Manuel Lopez caught on first to what was going on. “It looks like we’re having a gifting ceremony now,” he observed.

Judge Lopez described to us all that for his judicial career, he gives back to his tribe and other tribes by building the big Pow Wow drums for use in Native American ceremonies.

He never sells them, but gives them away at his cost, with the only restriction being that the recipient never sells the drum; if they want to get rid of it, they must gift it.

Judge Lopez then described how sacred giving is a central part of Native American culture. It is a means of giving thanks, bringing the people together, and maintaining the balance that keeps a nation together: keeping individuals in the right relationship with the community.

And now the students of Anahuacalmecac were including us Teen Court participants in a giving ceremony. The students presented me with maize and a bandanna with the school’s sacred emblem on it. They were deliberate and conscious of the ceremony attached.

I was deeply, deeply moved by what I experienced. I hesitated to even share it in this article. But through that gifting ceremony, I was able to see my part in not just the judicial traditions of the United States, but a much older and deeper spiritual tradition. It was an impactful experience.

I encourage you all to take several hours out of your schedule every month to connect with the opportunities that the Barristers provide to aid our community. I can attest to the fact that the rewards are much greater than what is expected.


William S. Wenzel is a business and corporate attorney at The Law Offices of William S. Wenzel, APC. His office serves as outside general counsel for hire and can be contacted at 213 207 6885 or wsw@wswlegal.com.

Play to Play | by William S. Wenzel, Barristers President

William S. WenzelOur Teen Court program continues to build momentum, with five new volunteers just since my last article! If you haven’t heard about what we’re doing yet, please take a minute to look us up on the BHBA’s website for more information, or contact me directly for a personal touch.

I want to take a small detour from Teen Court for this article to talk about “play.” Perhaps it’s not so much a detour as spotlighting a lesson the Teen Court student participants impart to me. They are, after all, young people for whom play is still an integral part of their lives and development. But for us, as lawyers and (mostly) adults, have we left play behind? And is the absence of play to our collective and individual detriment?

Recently, I had occasion to go to Chicago. There, I had dinner with a mentor of mine from college. As I’ve discussed in prior articles, I was a theatre major and my mentor, Dr. Jonathan Wilson, is a renowned director teaching acting and directing at Loyola University Chicago.

As we ate, we reflected on politics and philosophy until we both realized that we were wading, in his words, “into way-too-heady stuff.” He asked me point-blank: what was I doing for play? I admit I struggled to find an answer. Jonathan, too, admitted that his personality led him often to try to solve the world’s problems in his mind – despite his career in an industry that may emphasize play more than any other.

Dr. Stuart Brown, MD, head of the National Institute for Play, defines “play,” as “something done for its own sake. It’s voluntary, it’s pleasurable, it offers a sense of engagement, it takes you out of time. And the act itself is more important than the outcome.”

Dr. Brown, in many publications, emphasizes that grown-ups play creates community. It helps us maintain our social well-being. Play with others is how we connect and maintain healthy relationships. It’s also how we stay sharp. And the lack of play has consequences. Dr. Brown says, “What you begin to see when there’s major play deprivation in an otherwise competent adult is that they’re not much fun to be around. You begin to see that the perseverance and joy in work is lessened and that life is much more laborious.” That’s serious stuff.

Now, I love the practice of law. I love the study of law. And I love the philosophy of law. I’ve made these things the pillars of both my livelihood and of my worldview.

But the law and its aspects, particularly its commercial aspects, leave little room for play. They are not done for their own sake: they pay the bills. And falling into a lifestyle where everything I do advances my career also runs the risk of making my life much more laborious.

To increase play in my life, experts suggest the following minor changes:

  1. Change how I think about play: remembering that play is important for all aspects of my life, I can give myself permission to play every day.
  2. Take a play history: Mine my past for play memories as a kid – what did I do that excited me then? How can I recreate that today?
  3. Surround myself with playful people: I can make conscious choices to select friends who are playful and play with those people.
  4. Play with little ones: Playing with kids can help me to experience the magic of play through their perspective.

Nearing the end of my dinner, Jonathan and I made a mutual promise to each other: that we would go forward from here with a greater emphasis on play. That we would play more often in our lives. I am pleased to report that I’m making good on my promise. And our Barristers Board and I will work to ensure that, as lawyers, we create more opportunities to connect with each other through play.


William S. Wenzel is a business and corporate attorney at The Law Offices of William S. Wenzel, APC. His office serves as outside general counsel for hire and can be contacted at 213 207 6885 or wsw@wswlegal.com.

Teen Court | by William S. Wenzel, Barristers President

William S. WenzelI’m encouraged by the strong response we’re getting from all of you regarding our Teen Court program. I share your enthusiasm. If you’re still not on board or want more evidence of the power of this program, let me relate my recent experience:

Three Barristers representatives were proctors at the inaugural Teen Court at Anahuacalmecac High School in South Pasadena/East Los Angeles. Anahuacalmecac (pronounced “anna-WALK-a-may-a”) is a Native American charter school; its teachers and students are primarily Native American.

Teen Court at Anahuacalmecac is overseen by two Native American judges: Judge Sanchez and Judge Lopez. Incidentally, both judges are Beverly Hills Bar Foundation Scholarship recipients – the BHBA’s good works resonating through our community!

Before the Court stood a 17-year-old from an affluent school. She was an honor student with a 4.1 GPA and intensely involved in extra-curricular activities.

We learned she had an internship with a congresswoman lined up after graduation. To all outside appearances this young woman was entirely on the right track. But her charging documents indicated she had caused a car accident (with no injuries to the other driver) and she was accused of driving under the influence of prescription medication. Now she and her parents stood before the student jurors.

The questioning was intense. The students asked about the accused’s family life. They grilled her about the pressures she faced at school. They did not stop with initial questions – they dug deep and asked follow-up after follow-up. It was revealed that, though the parents didn’t believe they applied pressure to succeed, the accused felt a strong internal pressure to please everyone. Between school, extra-curricular activities, and her world’s expectations, she felt she just couldn’t keep up. The night of the accident, it emerged that she got into an argument with her parents and – fed up – took two full bottles of her own prescription medication, intending to kill herself. She got into her car to drive to a friend’s house, passed out, and ran into another car.

The heart-wrenching facts couldn’t have hit closer to home for the jurors. They’ve also faced home and school anxieties, intense pressures to succeed: to get good grades but also to have laundry lists of extra-curriculars. And they saw a person their own age driven to the breaking point. It was clear they were absorbing the lessons, and remember: it was up to them to determine what should be done.

While the jurors deliberated, the two judges discussed the case with the student audience. They talked at length about the consequences for the accused had she not been diverted into Teen Court. A DUI at 17 would mean her dreams of a successful career would be put on hold if not entirely shattered. All her hard work might have evaporated over a single decision.

The jury returned a guilty verdict. But for this young woman, her sentencing was tailored to rehabilitation and growth. She received counseling and community service. She will get the help she needs to deal with the pressures she faces. And if she successfully completes her probation, her record will be clear.

It’s a concrete example of the second chances that Teen Court provides. If you’re ready to lend a hand, please contact Aimy Zodieru at aimyzodieru@gmail.com or 310 975 9694. We want your help.


William S. Wenzel is a business and corporate attorney at The Law Offices of William S. Wenzel, APC. His office serves as outside general counsel for hire and can be contacted at 213 207 6885 or wsw@wswlegal.com.