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Reflecting on the Year and Looking Ahead to the SCCBA’s Centennial

Posted By Mattew H. Poppe, Thursday, December 8, 2016
Updated: Friday, December 9, 2016

by Matt Poppe

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

2016 SCCBA President


With 2016 drawing to a close, I wanted to take this opportunity to report on the SCCBA’s accomplishments this year, thank some of the people who made them possible, and preview what’s coming next year as the SCCBA celebrates its 100th anniversary under the leadership of 2017 President Kate Wilson.

An Expression of Gratitude 

Many people contributed to keeping the Association running smoothly and helping us achieve several important goals in 2016. It’s not possible to list them all here, but following are some of those who made notable contributions.

Executive Committee: The Executive Committee meets monthly to address emergencies and give initial consideration to matters that will be ultimately decided by the Board of Trustees. This is the group I worked with most closely during the year, and I’d like to thank each of them for their hard work and support. They are:

  •  Kate Wilson (President Elect)
  •  Nicole Isger (Treasurer)
  •  Kevin Hammon (Secretary)
  •  Troy Benson
  •  Bernie Greenfield
  •  Gabriel Gregg
  •  Lauren Jones
  •  Suchitra Narayen

Board of Trustees: The Board of Trustees is the SCCBA’s ultimate policy-making body, meeting seven times during the year to address major issues facing the Association. In addition, our Trustees devoted many additional hours to serving on subcommittees tasked with reviewing governance issues (discussed below). The Trustees form a representative cross-section of our membership and proved themselves to be highly dedicated. In addition to the Executive Committee members listed above, the Trustees include:

  •  Josh Borger
  •  Hogene Choi
  •  Katie Diemer
  •  Eugene Flemate
  •  Susana Inda
  •  Michael Lee
  •  Bruce MacLeod
  •  John Mlnarik (Past President)
  •  Golnesa Monazamfar
  •  Mindy Morton
  •  Megan Ottoboni
  •  Sylvia Perez-MacDonald
  •  Richard Schramm

Committee/Section Chairs: A committed contingent of lawyers stepped up to chair or co-chair our many committees and sections.Under their leadership, the committees and sections held regular meetings, put on countless CLE programs, organized social gatherings and other events, and carried out important tasks like evaluating judicial candidates, overseeing our fee arbitration program, and running a high school mock trial competition. The committees and sections are the face of the Bar Association to many of our members, and the services they provide are critical to our mission. I’d like to thank the following individuals for serving as chairs this year:

  •  Tyler Atkinson (Civil Practice)
  •  Alison Buchanan (Professionalism)
  •  John Conway (Centennial Planning)
  •  Lori Costanzo (Women Lawyers)
  •  Henry Chuang (Judiciary)
  •  Jil Dalesandro (Fee Arbitration)
  •  Jeremy Deuel (Barristers)
  •  Katie Diemer (Women Lawyers)
  •  Melanie Griswold (LRE)
  •  Steve Haley (Centennial Planning)
  •  Audra Ibarra (Appellate)
  •  Nicole Isger (Finance)
  •  Justine Kastan (Real Property)
  •  Melissa Kiniyalocts (Judiciary)
  •  Michael Lee (Diversity)
  •  Hon. Miguel Marquez (Appellate)
  •  Colin McCarthy (Insurance)
  •  Golnesa Monazamfar (Barristers)
  •  Lisa Peck (Labor & Emp.)
  •  Britten Sessions (High Tech
  •  Shiv Shastri (Conf. of Delegates)
  •  January Stramaglia (Family)

Chris Burdick and the SCCBA Staff: Chris Burdick is CEO of the SCCBA and runs its daily operations. She is highly dedicated to her work, incredibly knowledgeable about the organization and local legal community, a great source of ideas, and an effective manager. She has also been a mentor to me for several years and a wonderful partner throughout 2016. She is joined by a friendly and professional staff consisting of Irene Cortez, Angie Loyola, Craig Melton, Brenda Metz, Judy Ruedas, and Tiffany Taubodo. The SCCBA could not function without them and I’m grateful for everything they’ve done.

SCCBA Accomplishments in 2016

The SCCBA worked hard this year to meet the needs of its members, improve the organization, and promote justice in our community and beyond. In addition to the regular work done by our committees, sections, and staff, we’ve successfully undertaken several projects and initiatives. 

One major task was to thoroughly examine the way the SCCBA is governed, develop a revised governance structure that will allow us to operate more effectively and efficiently, and prepare amendments to our By-Laws to implement those changes. I reported on the proposed amendments in detail in this space in October, and they will be presented to the membership for a vote next month.

Another important project was planning for the SCCBA’s 100th anniversary next year.  A special committee was formed for the purpose, chaired by Past Presidents John Conway and Steve Haley. The committee prepared a plan providing for the Centennial celebration to be a running theme throughout 2017. It will begin at our Installation Ceremony in January and continue through Judges’ Night in November, with many forms of commemoration during the year. 

In April, we issued a newly updated version of the Code of Professionalism that the SCCBA first created in 1992. The new Code includes many edits and modifications, many of which relate to addressing new technologies (like social media), applying the rules to attorneys who deal with self-represented litigants, and adding explanatory examples and illustrations. The Code has been widely circulated, and the Santa Clara County Superior Court recently adopted a standing order providing that the revised Code will serve as a guide in the judges’ exercise of discretion when adjudicating disputes among attorneys. Additional details about the Code and its history were covered in this space in April. 

The SCCBA also spoke out on policy issues when our leadership determined that doing so was important as a matter of principle and consistent with previously adopted policies and practices. In June, we issued a statement on judicial independence that was novel when made but was later echoed by many other legal groups and commentators.  And in October, we signed on to an amicus brief supporting a litigant who is challenging the North Carolina law that bans transgender individuals from using bathrooms consistent with their gender identity.

Each of these efforts was the product of many volunteers donating their time and working together, and it was a real pleasure to be part of it. 

A Final Note

Lastly, I’d like to thank all SCCBA members for supporting the organization and for giving me the opportunity to serve as President. On behalf of the Association, I wish everyone in our community a happy holiday season and hope the New Year brings you joy and good fortune.

If you have questions or comments regarding this President’s Message, or suggestions for the SCCBA on any topic, I encourage you to contact me at or (650) 614-7431.

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