LA Veterans Stand Down — Volunteer Dec. 20 or 21

Dear BHBA Barristers,

We need your help to deliver free legal assistance to homeless veterans on December 20-21, 2014, at the “Los Angeles Stand Down” held at the LA Convention Center in Downtown LA.  We anticipate that 2500 homeless veterans will attend the LA Stand Down, and many will be seeking legal assistance. These veterans need help and we cannot do this alone. Please join us to serve those who have served us.

What is a Stand Down?  Stand Downs are typically one to three day events where homeless Veterans can receive food, shelter, clothing, health care, benefits counseling, legal assistance, respite, and more. These collaborative events bring together local Veterans Administration staff, other government agencies, and community-based organizations to provide comprehensive help and support to homeless Veterans.

How can I help?  At the Stand Down, volunteers will conduct intake interviews of veterans and help issue spot in the following areas:  (1) Veterans’ Benefits; (2) Citation defense; (3) Family law; (4) Housing/Evictions; and (5) Expungements.  All volunteers will receive training on how to spot these issues and learn answers to basic legal questions in these areas.  Volunteers also will receive reference materials that they can use and refer to during the intake interviews.

How do I sign up?  To register for the LA Stand Down, please visit https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1EOkxQSkRhmVLAP8j7x8SNxDNTj7GU3-pWOnvqtdxYoU/viewform. The event is being coordinated by Legal Aid Foundation Los Angeles (“LAFLA”).  Your responses in the sign-up form are private and will be viewed by LAFLA staff only.

Volunteers must also register (on the google document) to attend a training on one of the following days:

  1. Monday, December 15th, 5:30-7:00 p.m. at LAFLA, 1102 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90019
  2. Wednesday, December 17th, 5:30-7:00 pm at Patriotic Hall, 1816 S. Figueroa, Los Angeles, CA 90015

For more information about legal assistance at the LA Stand Down, contact Nicole M. Perez, LAFLA’s Veterans Justice Center Coordinator at nperez@lafla.org.

Looking forward to seeing you at the Stand Down!

2014StandDownFlyer

1.27.15 Veteran Advocate Training

See flyer below for details and click here for Agenda and Registration form: Veteran Advocate Training – Agenda and Registration Form 1.8

Veteran Advocacy Training

Barristers Holiday Community Outreach Project

presents

Grant a wish for a boy at Hathaway-Sycamores: For over 110 years, Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services has provided a loving home and compassionate care for abused and neglected children in Los Angeles County.  Send gifts to the boys at Hathaway-Sycamores through our Amazon Wish List!

The holiday season is one of the most exciting times of the year for children, but for children who are abused and neglected, and living in out-of-home care, it can be a very sad, difficult time.  This holiday season, the BHBA Barristers is joining forces with Hathaway-Sycamores to fulfill the special wishes of the thirty-nine boys, ages 11-18, who are currently residing in their group home.

Help us to support Hathaway-Sycamores, and ensure that the boys in their care greet the holidays with joy and anticipation.

With great care we have discovered the individual holiday wish of each boy living in the group home.  For example, Robert, age 14, expressed that he wants a Marvel Legos set, and Sean, age 17, wants a New England Patriots blanket.  We have already done the legwork by locating the products that most closely matched the boys’ wishes (factoring pricing and shipping options). We then created an Amazon online wish list where you can purchase these items (which average $35), and have them shipped directly to Hathaway-Sycamores! All you need to do to fulfill a holiday wish for a deserving child is browse the Amazon Wish List, select a child, click to purchase their special gift, pay, and have it sent directly to the home! For detailed instructions see the top of the Amazon Wish List, or click here.

Your support will ensure a brighter season for the boys living at Hathaway-Sycamores, who, with your help, will receive gifts they might not otherwise enjoy during this joyful season.

Please contact one of us at the following email addresses if you have any questions: Autumn Ronda ar@vrmlaw.com and Rachel Balchum Rachel.Balchum@gmail.com

More about Hathaway-Sycamores: Hathaway-Sycamores (Federal Tax I.D. #95-1691005) is a not-for-profit agency providing an array of services including residential treatment, therapy, special education, foster care, and in-home family support for emotionally disturbed children and their families. They are one of the largest private children’s mental health and welfare agencies in Los Angeles County, providing care and treatment of over 7,000 children and families a year. For more information visit their website at http://www.hathaway-sycamores.org/.

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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July 2014 Barristers Pro Bono Newsletter

Dear Barristers,

The mission if the Barristers Pro Bono Committee and this Newsletter is to match members of our community who are in need of free legal services, with the abundance of young lawyers who are in need of practical legal experience.  Read more about this ideal match in a recent Bar Brief article entitled, Match Made in Bar Heaven.

To facilitate said pairing, we encourage you to volunteer for pro bono work by taking advantage of one or more of the many opportunities listed below!

BHBA BARRISTERS

Barristers Monthly Free Legal Clinic

Volunteer the first Saturday of each month (note: July clinic held on second Saturday due to holiday) at our very own BHBA Monthly Free Legal Clinic at Roxbury Park in Beverly Hills, where volunteer attorneys answer legal questions presented by the public! Join us Saturday, July 12, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.  If you are interested in volunteering, or want more information please feel free to contact co-chairs Brian Smith, or Wil Wenzel.

PUBLIC COUNSEL

As many of you know, the BHBA was a founder of Public Counsel, which is the nation’s largest pro bono law firm in the nation and helps more than 30,000 people every year through the power of law. Public Counsel's activities are far-ranging, and impact a wide array of people who live at or below the poverty level. Volunteer lawyers, law students, and legal professionals have the opportunity to work on a variety of different projects. For more information on Public Counsel, please contact their Pro Bono Director David Daniels.

Children’s Rights Project – Force for Foster Youth Team

Public Counsel’s Children’s Rights Project (CRP) is building a new team of 25 to 30 attorneys to help non-minor dependent youth resolve outstanding tickets and warrants in the courts. Volunteer attorneys should expect to take on up to four cases per year. Each individual case should no more than 7 to 10 hours to resolve – many of these tickets are dismissed by the courts outright in the interest of justice once the jurist learns of the foster youth status of the client. Want to join the team? Please contact CRP’s Senior Staff Attorney Ruth Cusick.

Bankruptcy Self-Help Desk and Clinic

Public Counsel seeks volunteer attorneys who wish to help individuals through the bankruptcy process, either by counseling individuals one-on-one at the self-help desk, or by presenting to a group in a workshop-style clinic. Volunteers will gain valuable client-counseling skills and increase the breadth of their bankruptcy knowledge due to the plethora of bankruptcy and bankruptcy-related issues that arise at the Bankruptcy Self-help Desk and Clinic. The Self-help Desk, located at the Federal Building, is open to the public on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Clinics are held every other Tuesday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Public Counsel office.  Please contact Maggie Bordeaux for more information.

Bankruptcy Reaffirmation Hearings

Public Counsel is also seeking attorneys who want to gain valuable client-counseling skills by advising debtors regarding the consequences of reaffirming a particular debt prior to their reaffirmation hearing. Reaffirmation Hearings take place at the Los Angeles Bankruptcy Court and the Woodland Hills Bankruptcy Court.  Please contact Maggie Bordeaux for more information.

BET TZEDEK LEGAL SERVICES

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.  For more information, or to volunteer for one of the listed opportunities, please contact Bet Tzedek's Pro Bono Director, Diego Cartagena.

Real Estate Fraud/Financial Elder Abuse

Bet Tzedek is seeking an attorney with real estate experience who has litigated in probate court to serve as pro bono counsel in a real estate fraud and financial elder abuse matter. The case involves helping an elder veteran with Alzheimer’s disease remove a fraudulent deed of trust from his home, and obtain damages for elder abuse. You can view a memo on the issues by clicking here.

Estate Planning Matter

Bet Tzedek is seeking an attorney with estate planning experience to serve as pro bono counsel to help an elderly client with his estate planning needs. You can view a memo on the issue by clicking here.

Small Claims Spanish Clinic

Bet Tzedek is seeking the assistance of Spanish-speaking attorneys to volunteer at the Spanish-language session of its Small Claims Clinic. The clinic is held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at Southwestern Law School. The next clinics are scheduled for July 10 and August 14.  Click here to find information regarding the clinic!

CHRISTIANCHRISTIAN LEGAL AID OF LOS ANGELES

Christian Legal Aid of Los Angeles (CLA-LA) believes that pursuing "justice for all" is the best way to offer a hand-up to the most vulnerable in society. CLA-LA is a non-profit corporation, which assists clients regardless of their religion, race, color, creed, national original, ancestry, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or age. CLA-LA offers free legal services to the poor throughout Los Angeles County and provides volunteers with training, fellowship, and FREE MCLE opportunities. For more information on CLA-LA and their offerings, please contact their Legal Fellow, Sarah McKendricks.

FREE MLCE Immigration Trainings at LA Law Library

Join CLA-LA for a full day of FREE MCLE training and lunch on Immigration at the LA Law Library on July 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Various attorneys and CLA volunteers will be teaching on a variety of immigration-related topics. Up to 2.5 MCLE credits available. Email info@cla-la.org to sign up.

Legal URGENT Care Clinic

CLA-LA is seeking the assistance of attorneys, law students and paralegals to volunteer at their upcoming Legal URGENT Care Clinics. Upcoming clinics will be held from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on July 19 at the DREAM Center in Echo Park, on July 26 at the World Impact School in South Central LA and on August 9 at Cornerstone West LA in Santa Monica. Please email volunteer@cla-la.org to sign up.

ALLIANCE FOR CHILDREN'S RIGHTS

The Alliance for Children's Rights protects the rights of impoverished, abused and neglected children and youth. By providing free legal services and advocacy, the Alliance ensures that children have safe, stable homes, and access to the healthcare and education they need to thrive.  For more information on available opportunities, or if you are interested in volunteering or attending upcoming trainings listed below, please contact the Alliance's Pro bono Director, Laurel Adcock

Special Education Advocacy FREE MCLE

The Alliance is offering a FREE MCLE training on Pro Bono Special Education Advocacy. The training is scheduled for August 20, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at 333 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 550. Attorneys will learn to gather necessary records, ensure completion of appropriate assessments, negotiate Individualized Family Service Plan (for children 0-3) and Individualized Education Plan (for children 3+), and challenge inappropriate denials or decisions. After completing the training, attendees will be eligible to work with the Alliance on Education Advocacy cases. Click here for more information.

Foster Care Benefits Cases for Representation

The Alliance is on the lookout for more pro bono attorneys to take benefits cases. By advocating for funding and services, attorneys can help provide a stable home to a child in need. Pro bono attorneys speak with the caregivers, obtain and analyze records, prepare letters, negotiate with the Department of Children and Family Services, draft briefs, prepare for hearing and ensure compliance with judges’ orders.

Legal Guardianship Cases for Representation

The Alliance is also seeking pro bono attorneys to help eligible caregivers obtain legal guardianship of their children by representing them in probate court. Pro bono attorneys meet with the family, prepare the Petition for Guardianship and represent the family at unopposed hearings in probate court. 

We hope you find this Newsletter valuable and look forward to the Barristers taking active roles in these incredible opportunities!

Very truly yours,

Rachel Balchum, Pro bono Committee Co-Chair, and

Autumn Ronda, Pro bono Committee Co-Chair and Barristers President