BHBA Barristers team up with LA County Teen Court Program
Volunteers are needed to support youth and change lives

Around the state, jails are overcrowded, courts have been shut down, and kids are getting lost in the shuffle. Nearly ninety thousand (86,823) juveniles were arrested in 2014 in California alone. Just shy of 80 percent of those arrests were for misdemeanors or status offenses (crimes only applicable to juveniles, such as truancy and curfew violations). As just one of hundreds being pushed through the courts daily, each child is not given the individual attention or support he or she needs.

That’s where Teen Court comes in. By casting trained, volunteer teenagers in the roles of attorneys and jurors, the program allows first-time juvenile defendants accused of misdemeanors to be represented and judged by the people who understand them best. Jurors ask a wide range of questions of the defendant as well as his/her parents, allowing them to get a complete picture of the person. The sentences exclude confinement or fines and are directed to rehabilitate rather than to punish. They range from a letter of apology to community service to counseling. If the sentence is carried out within six months, the defendants avoid a stain on their record.

This is great for everyone. People with convictions have a harder time getting admission to college and securing jobs and housing. Not only does Teen Court prevent those first-offense convictions from appearing on a student’s record, but studies have shown that Teen Court-style programs can help keep them out of trouble in the future.

While beneficial, Teen Court often lacks support from schools that can’t provide staff or classrooms; some schools are short on volunteers to guide the process. This is why the Beverly Hills Bar Association’s Barristers have made it their mission this year to partner with Teen Courts around LA County. With plans to donate volunteers and resources, the Barristers’ partnership with Teen Court will help many dozens of students change their lives for the better.

We need your help! Volunteers make sure all court sessions proceed as intended. Volunteers can be attorneys, judicial officers, or even law students. All volunteers must attend a training session, which will take place on January 28, 2016. Currently we have planned to work most closely with the program at Santa Monica High School, and we are adding more schools all the time. Program schedules will be added to the calendar.

If you would like more information or to volunteer, please call the BHBA at (310) 601-BHBA (2422) or email Barristers President Wil Wenzel at wsw@wswlegal.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.

Kudos To Our Incredible Barristers | By Doron Eghbali, Barristers President

Doron EghbaliThis article is dedicated to the noble work of our invaluable Barristers’ Board of Governors (“BOG”). The profound work of the BOG positively affects lawyers, law students and laymen alike. To demonstrate the lofty work of our Barristers’ BOG, let us review only about one week of the BOG’s accomplishments.

March 7 – The monthly Roxbury Park Free Legal Clinic helps the public with general legal services. It is Co-Chaired by our superb President-Elect William Wenzel and Danielle Grabois.

March 7 & 8 – Brunch for Eight is a BHBA Barristers’ program in which eight law-school students are invited to the BHBA to help them ascertain the salience of involvement in a local Bar Association and the noble work BHBA performs for “young and newer” attorneys. Two such brunches were held in March with students attending from Loyola Law School on the 7th and UCLA on the 8th. This year’s Chairperson is our able Ariadne Giannis. On both days, dignitaries from the BHBA and the Bench joined Ariadne and the students.

March 10 – Our superb Co-Chairs of the Committee for the Arts, Dira Imam and Anastasia Alen held an art and music event at the legendary House of Blues. This program was held in their architecturally beautiful Foundation Room and consisted of high quality music and ethereal artifacts put together by the homeless.

March 13 & 14 – The Barristers superbly led by Yan Goldshteyn, Lauren Gabbaian and Liana Yoon proudly represented BHBA at the UCLA Entertainment Symposium.

March 14 – Our chef extraordinaire, LeRoy Williams, chaired Samoshel at the Santa Monica Shelter. LeRoy, along with Jeanine Percival Wright (Barristers’ Past President), Jeremiah Livesay and other selfless volunteers served around 60 homeless people with a St. Patrick’s themed menu.

March 15 – Danielle Grabois, our diligent Chair of the Bench Bar Bike Ride, facilitated a fun and non-strenuous bike ride along Hermosa and Manhattan Beach.

In addition, the Barristers put on an MCLE program about how to start a law firm and another “Power Lunch” program with an entertainment “Power Lawyer,” ably Co-Chaired by Brian Schaller and Yan Goldshteyn.

Barristers have been preparing for the annual “Vintage Bouquet,” set for April 26, 2015. It is being Co-Chaired this year by our very own Dira Imam and Danielle Grabois.

Our invaluable Megan Peitzke is preparing an MCLE program with 11 judges of the West District for May 2015 on “Do’s and Don’ts” of court conduct.

Furthermore Leigh Leshner, Nick Francescon and John Grimball are planning an all-day seminar on the nuts and bolts of entertainment law for June 2015.

Thank you so much BOG for your lofty work.


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.