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Introducing the 2019 SCCBA Officers and New Trustees

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Santa Clara County Bar Association is pleased to announce the results of the selection of 2019 Officer and Trustees. Those selected will serve with 2019 President, Gabriel Gregg.

The 2019 Officers and Trustees will be the first Board of Trustees to serve since the Association amended its By-Laws in January 2017 that reduced the size of the Board to 17 trustees. Other amendments included a number of substantive changes to the governance structure of the Association, including a decrease in the size of the Board, a revised selection/election process for officers and trustees and designating the Immediate Past-President an Ex Officio, non-voting member of the Board.

The Board of Trustees, including Officers, totaled 21 members in 2018, reduced from 29 members in previous years.  In 2019 and going forward, the Board will be comprised of 16 voting members with the Immediate Past-President serving as an ex-officio trustee.  The Board adopted these changes after a three-year strategic planning process to review how the Association could best be responsive to the needs of the membership.

We are pleased to announce that the following newly selected Officers and Trustees will serve in 2019 along with the three remaining at-large trustees:  Jil Dalesandro, Bruce MacLeod, and Richard Schramm.  Below you will find a brief bio of each new officer and the 3 new at-large trustees.


Gabriel Gregg:     President

S. Michael Lee:    President-Elect

Lauren Jones:      Treasurer

Susan Inda:          Secretary

Adam Davis:         Trustee

Cory Hammon:     Trustee

Jonathan Gentin:  Trustee

 

Gabriel Gregg
2019 President 

GABRIEL GREGG will serve as the Association's President for 2019. Mr. Gregg is currently President-Elect and prior to that he was the SCCBA Treasurer and has served on the Executive Committee for four years.  He was previously the Chair for the Business Law & Litigation Section.  He also served a term on the SCCBA Fair Election Commission. Mr. Gregg is a partner with Rimon Law in their Palo Alto office, one of 17 offices located throughout the United States and Rome, Italy.  He previously practiced at other law firms, including Robinson & Wood, San Jose and at Latham & Watkins in Los Angeles and San Francisco where he began his career after graduating from the UCLA School of Law and completing a federal judicial clerkship.

 

S. Michael Lee 
2019 President-Elect

S. MICHAEL LEE is an IP litigation attorney at the law firm of Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves, and Savitch, located in Palo Alto.  He received his BA from UC Berkeley, with Honors, in 1994 and graduated from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1998.  He served on the Santa Clara Bar Association's Judiciary and Diversity Committees was Chair of the Diversity Committee, and served on the Executive Committee, the Strategic Planning Committee, and the Board of Trustees.  He is the former SCCBA Secretary and currently serves as Treasurer.  He will become President-Elect in 2019 and automatically succeed to be President in 2020.

 

 

Lauren Jones 
2019 Treasurer

LAUREN JONES received her Juris Doctorate from Santa Clara University School of Law in 2013. She maintains a general practice at Gallagher, Reedy and Jones emphasizing estate planning, real estate, mechanic's liens, unlawful detainer, business formation and transactions, family law, personal injury, and general civil litigation. She is active in the Santa Clara County Bar Association and has served on the Executive Committee, Finance Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, and has been a Board of Trustee member for the past five years.  This year she was the Secretary for the SCCBA and in 2019 she will be the Treasurer. 

 

 

Susana Inda
2019 Secretary

SUSANA INDA graduated from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in 2013.  She is currently a Staff Attorney for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) and has been with VTA since 2014.  Susana has served on the Board of Trustees for the SCCBA since 2016 as the representative of La Raza Lawyers of Santa Clara County and as an SCCBA Executive Committee Member since 2017.  She has been President of La Raza Lawyers for the past two years.

 

NEW TRUSTEES-AT-LARGE

ADAM DAVIS is an associate at Davis & Young, APLC in San Jose. Since graduating Santa Clara University School of Law in 2010, Adam has served two terms as the Co-Chair of the SCCBA's Barristers' Committee and two previous terms as a member of its Board of Trustees. He is a frequent lecturer at Santa Clara University and Lincoln Law School and presents regularly to attorneys and other professional groups regarding emerging legal issues and topics.  Adam will serve a two-year term as trustee beginning January 1, 2019, and ending December 31, 2020.


JONATHAN GENTIN currently serves on the SCCBA's Civil Practice Committee, as a Judge Pro Tem in Santa Clara Superior Court (Small Claims) and as a Hearing Officer for Santa Clara County. He recently returned to a wide-ranging solo practice in Mountain View after holding leadership positions in Silicon Valley with global public companies and with the Association of Corporate Counsel's Bay Area chapter. Originally from Durban, South Africa, Jonathan moved to the Bay Area in 1996 to join Keker and Van Nest in San Francisco where he focused on complex commercial litigation.  Jonathan received his J.D. from Emory University School of Law in 1992 and his undergraduate degree from Brown University. Jonathan will serve a two-year term as trustee beginning January 1, 2019, and ending December 31, 2020.

CORY HAMMON completed his undergraduate education at UC Berkeley before attending UC Hastings College of the Law. After graduating from law school in May of 2013, Cory began practicing Family Law in Santa Clara County with the Law Offices of Walter Pierce Hammon. Since joining the Santa Clara County Bar Association, Cory has been a member of the Law Related Education Committee and has served as an attorney coach and as a member of the Steering Committee for the Santa Clara County Mock Trial Tournament. He will be the Co-Tournament Administrator for the 2019 Mock Trial Tournament. Cory will serve a two- year term as trustee beginning January 1, 2019, and ending December 31, 2020.

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The Constitution: A Judicial Toolbelt

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Guest Message By

Hon. Julia Alloggiament
Superior Court of California,
County of Santa Clara

 

Some years ago, after speaking at a community event, I headed out to my car to load up my materials with the assistance of a SJPD officer who had also attended the event.  When I opened my trunk, she laughed out loud.  There in my trunk was a poster sized version of the United States Constitution including the preamble and a summary of the first three Articles.  On the back side was a blown up version of the Bill of Rights.  “Seriously?!,” she asked me, “You carry a giant version of the Constitution with you everywhere you go?”  I answered, “You have your tools, we have ours.”

 

Most people in the community do not necessarily realize that in the legal profession we use that tool, the Constitution - a document created over 230 years ago - every day.  We rely on it to uphold the principles our country was founded on, to protect the rights of our citizens, and to embrace the separation of powers.

 

As a judge, I took an oath swearing that I “will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic.  That I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California.  That I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.  And that I will well and faithful discharges [these] duties…”

 

I know that my colleagues and I take that oath and our obligations seriously and are committed to upholding and applying the basic foundations of the Constitution.  Daily we are asked to rule on many matters whose outcomes are driven by the Constitution, including (to name just a few) issues related to search and seizure, the right to a trial, the right to counsel, and the right to confront witnesses.  Fundamentally, a judge’s role is to ensure, for everyone who walks through the courtroom doors, that they are guaranteed equal protection and due process of law. 

 

The day designated to recognize and celebrate this historic document is quickly approaching:  September 17 is designated as “Constitution Day,” commemorating the signing of the United States Constitution.  Federal law mandates that all publicly funded educational institutions provide educational programming on September 17th about the history of the American Constitution.  Who better to do this than the judges who use this tool in their job every day? So, every year, over 30 judicial officers from the Santa Clara County Superior Court reach out to more than 3,200 students from approximately 40 schools to honor and celebrate Constitution Day.  Judges, donning their black robes, go into the schools and teach a grade-level appropriate lesson complete with a fun quiz game followed by an open Q & A with the judge.  

 

This is only one of the many programs organized by the Court Community Outreach Committee to help educate students and the community as a whole about the justice system.  The Court Community Outreach Committee is comprised of judges along with numerous law and education partners with whom we collaborate - including the Santa Clara County Bar Association, the Santa Clara County Office of Education, San Jose Unified School District, the Offices of the District Attorney and Public Defender, Probation, LACY, the Self-Help Center, and more. 

 

As the court strengthens its connections with the schools, we hope to increase participation in these types of programs, especially with an eye to expanding outreach efforts into some of the more underrepresented areas of our county.  As the number of judges countywide is limited, our ability to reach more students will rest on the participation of our partners, including lawyers in the community.  That is why we are thrilled to see the SCCBA training lawyers through the American Constitutional Society’s (ACS) “Constitution in the Classroom Program” as well as the SCCBA’s general call for lawyers to get involved. (See SCCBA President’s Messages from 3/2/18 and 4/2/18). 

 

In addition to Constitution Day, the Court Community Outreach Committee organizes numerous other programs: Educators Day (educating our educators about issues intersecting the legal and education systems), Clergy Day (giving clergy insight and understanding of legal issues as well as court services), Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties (with a community event and a court event for the legal community), Read Across America, Law Day (designated to celebrate the Rule of Law which includes Poster Contests, Law Day Essay and Poetry Contests, Panel Presentations, Speaking Engagements, and the infamous rivalry between the bar and the court on who can get the most attendees at the Law Day Mixer), Speakers Bureau, Court Tours, Mock Trials, and more.  We are also happy to join forces with our partners in their programs, such as presiding over the trials in the annual Mock Trial Competition run by the SCCBA and the Santa Clara County Office of Education.  Anyone can request a court tour, mock trial at the courthouse, or a judicial officer for a speaking engagement on the Superior Court website:

http://www.scscourt.org/general_info/community/community.shtml

 

As Ben Franklin himself said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”  By connecting with our young students today, we are educating our future jurors, lawyers, judges, legislators, and leaders on the importance of the rule of law.  Moreover, our outreach programs have the added benefit of demonstrating to children and adults alike that the judges in our county encompass a diverse group, representing many different backgrounds, genders, ages, races, and ethnicities but all of whom share a common goal of supporting and defending the Constitution and guaranteeing equal rights and due process for all.  As we approach our celebration of the Constitution on September 17, I encourage all members of the legal community to participate, get involved, and educate.  If you are interested in getting involved in law-related education efforts, please contact Melanie Griswold, the SCCBA’s Law Related Education Chair, at mgriswold@DAO.SCCGOV.ORG.  I guarantee you will find the experience to be enlightening and rewarding 

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Families Belong Together

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, July 3, 2018

By Kevin Hammon
2018 SCCBA President

Where does the time go? It is the middle of summer, but many of us are already calendaring hearings, meetings, depositions, and other events deep into the fall months.  Santa Clara County Bar Association staff are hard at work planning a variety of fall programs, including the annual Judges’ Night event on October 10, 2018. For parents, just as we finish planning or enjoying the summer family vacation, our attention must turn to the first day of school. We ask the small questions: do we have enough school supplies? what time do the bells ring? and, which teacher(s) will we get?  We ask the big questions: will my child fit in? is my child smart enough? and, is my child emotionally equipped to handle a totally new educational experience?

 

 

Although the first day of school can be frightening, it is often accompanied by careful planning and consideration. Some parents send their young children to school with an important toy, blanket, or book to provide comfort during the adjustment period. We try to keep siblings together. We tour the school many times before the actual start date.  We meet the teachers. Fortunately, most school environments are deliberately child-focused.  Despite a predictably terrifying first day of school, our children often adjust well to their new surroundings thanks to an abundance of love, support, coping strategies, and safety factors. 


Children crave structure and stability.  A disruption in routine can have catastrophic consequences for even an emotionally healthy child. Like many Americans, I have spent the past two months transfixed by the heart-wrenching images and stories of migrant children detained and displaced at the southern border. There are no words and not enough words to describe the unabashed cruelty of systematically separating children from their parents and imprisoning asylum-seekers in detention camps.  It is difficult to articulate an insightful perspective on an issue this fundamental, an issue without nuance. Nevertheless, there is value in speaking out against atrocity, and amplifying the multitude of voices for humanity. On June 21, 2018, the SCCBA issued this statement:


The SCCBA strongly opposes any government policy or congressional action that violates the due process rights of migrants seeking entry to the United States, including indefinite detentions, forcibly separating children from their parents, and forcing children, including toddlers, to appear in court on their own with no right to appointed counsel. These practices not only violate due process, but they are in opposition to the humanitarian values which represent founding principles of our democracy.  

 

 

Additionally, the SCCBA endorsed a letter authored by the American Bar Association’s President Hilarie Bass.  The ABA encourages immigration reform that is comprehensive and just, and insists that everyone involved with the process be treated with dignity and respect. For more information, I encourage you to visit the SCCBA’s recent statement and links to other resources, available at this webpage.


Of course, the first day of school is a far cry from the horrific traumas suffered by migrant children at the border.  Nevertheless, the first day is a reminder of how sensitive children are to change.  Even with the best of child-focused intentions, a new experience can be utterly frightening.  I can only imagine how the federal government’s immigration policies have affected children’s emotional and psychological development.  The President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Colleen Kraft, concluded that forced family separation affects the child’s brain chemistry in a way that amounts to child abuse.  

 

 

I am proud to be part of a community that champions empathy, and the president of an association that sees value in shedding light on inhumane policies and practices.  If you have any additional ideas for how the SCCBA can address this important issue, please do not hesitate to contact me.   

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Recall Discourages Rehabilitation

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 1, 2018

By Kevin Hammon
2018 SCCBA President

By the time you read this message, the fate of Judge Aaron Persky’s career may have been decided by Santa Clara County’s voters.  I have never appeared before Judge Persky, but I know him to be kind and thoughtful through his work with the county’s high school mock trial program.  Over the past two years, I have spoken with a wide array of lawyers, paralegals, and court personnel who have appeared before or observed Judge Persky in the courtroom.  Their feedback is universally positive.  Some praise his calm demeanor, patience and humility.  Others praise his intellect, compassion, and good humor.  If this recall is successful, it appears Santa Clara County will have lost an outstanding jurist.   

 

I think about Judge Persky often when I reflect upon my years representing the Department of Family and Children’s Services in Santa Clara County’s Dependency Wellness Court.  In this setting, parents describe their victories and challenges with overcoming addiction, navigating bureaucracies, coping with intimate partner violence, finding affordable housing, securing employment, and obtaining mental health services.  Many of these parents have experienced multiple traumas over the course of their lives, finding temporary solace in illicit drugs or alcohol. In DWC, parents receive support from a team of professionals including social workers, domestic violence and substance abuse counselors, attorneys, and judges.  Team members facilitate and bear witness to the capacity for human beings to change.  Breaking the cycle of domestic violence, accepting responsibility, embracing recovery are not just abstract concepts- but tangible accomplishments.  Successful parents will often have their children returned to their care and ultimately their children’s dependency cases dismissed.

 

But make no mistake. These parents have often done terrible things.  They may have histories of domestic violence, substance abuse, drug sales, property crimes, gang activities, and repeated incarcerations. Their children are victims of abuse or neglect.  If dependency proceedings were not confidential, I imagine an understandable public outrage when children are returned to the care of parents described as felons, drug addicts, domestic violence perpetrators, and gang members.  Although they may be accurate, these descriptions miss the point.  If we perpetually define people by their worst decisions, we ignore and discourage rehabilitation. The reduced headlines overlook litigants’ profound life changes readily observable to social workers, probation officers, attorneys, judges, and others charged with closely investigating or assessing a panoply of facts.  There is a special danger in recalling so-called “lenient” judges and enacting legislation that limits judicial discretion in an effort to be “tough on crime.”  While well intended, these efforts exacerbate over-incarceration and preclude a thoughtful consideration of individualized circumstances.  

 

To be clear, I have profound sympathy for all victims of violent crime.  Far too often, we tend to view the criminal’s conviction or sentence as a validation of the victim’s experience.  This is wrong. For victims, there is no amount of jail or prison time that will “make it right.”  Proponents and opponents of the recall agree that Brock Turner’s victim suffered a horrific experience, and that her public statement should be widely disseminated.  Simply put, her words must be heard.  It is a mistake to view Brock Turner’s sentence in any way as a discredit to her, her message, or her experience.   

 

On June 5th, I will vote against the recall of Judge Persky not simply because I believe he is an exemplary jurist or because I believe in judicial independence.  I will vote against the recall because I value rehabilitation.  I have seen the transformative power of targeted interventions.  At face value, the recall effort conveys to judges that their jobs are in jeopardy if their orders do not sufficiently punish the litigants who appear before them.  I fear that the recall may ultimately suggest to litigants that: their progress, change, and accomplishments are irrelevant; and that their wrongdoings will forever define them.  When we focus only on the misconduct, it is easy to confuse thoughtfulness and compassion for leniency.  Please join me in opposing the recall of Judge Persky.    

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Good news, bad news …. and more good news

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, May 2, 2018
  Guest Message By
Hon. Patricia Lucas
Presiding Judge
Superior Court of California,
County of Santa Clara

 

When it comes to court underfunding and backlogs, I am very much a fan of Winston Churchill who famously said: “I am an optimist.  There doesn’t seem to be much use being anything else.”

The current good news—and this is very good news indeed—is that for the first time in about ten years, there is substantial new money in the Governor’s budget proposal for the judicial branch.  Although celebration would be premature until this proposal makes it through the May revise and of course the June legislative vote, it appears to have deep support among legislators as state revenues remain strong.  The new-money proposal would be a reversal of a decade-long trend which left many courts with no option but to cut services, to reduce staffing and hours, and in some instances to close courtrooms or courthouses.  Although we are proud to be the only Bay Area court that successfully avoided layoffs, we unfortunately had to attrit one-third of our staff positions, with consequent reduction in services countywide and elimination of certain case types in North County and South County.  New trial court funding, if it is approved, could be the beginning of a new era in the ability of the statewide trial courts to serve the public.

Now, the bad news: while the statewide perspective is positive, even if the new funding is approved it is not likely to have a significant effect on our local court.  It is not yet clear how any new funding will be allocated among the 58 Superior Courts.  Moreover, even if some of the new funding reaches our local coffers, the uptick will likely be more than offset by the continuing decline in revenue generated by court fines and fees, which regrettably has come to constitute a significant portion of the funding on which trial courts have had to rely.  Certainly, any increase in state funding to our local court will not be sufficient to allow any appreciable increase in staffing.  In a people-intensive business like court operations, staffing adjustment is the main way of dealing with budget shortfalls.  It is likely that some backlogs, particularly in the civil and appellate divisions, will persist in the near term, because of the constitutional and statutory imperatives that drive timelines in other case types.  In her State of the Judiciary speech this year, the Chief Justice recognized that civil justice is the first impaired and the last to recover when court funding is cut. 

Given the importance of primacy and recency which I learned as an advocate, I will end where I started: with good news.  Although I cannot guarantee that we have seen the last backlog, our outstanding court administration advises that we will be able to manage existing backlogs so that they will not grow in number or size.  For a time, it seemed like a game of whack-a-mole, to use Judge Julie Emede’s terminology: when we triaged to reduce backlogs in one area, we fell further behind in other areas.  But thanks to the diligence of the division supervising judges and administrative leadership, and some miracles performed by our hard-working court employees, we have eliminated many delays and reduced others.  With the remaining case types coming onto our Odyssey case management system in the summer and fall, we anticipate steady progress toward eliminating all backlogs.  There is further good news in the Court’s strong relationship with our local county government, which consists of astute leaders attentive to the areas in which the courts and county government work together and depend on each other.  As one of many examples, we are delighted to have a close working relationship with our county justice partners in the final run-up to the Odyssey launch in traffic and criminal.

Finally, one enduring piece of good news is the excellent teamwork between the SCCBA and our local bench.  The regular exchange of information between the bar and the court benefits all.  We appreciate that SCCBA members continue to be patient and courteous with court employees who are dedicated to processing your cases as expeditiously as possible.  Working together, we hope to show that optimism is warranted, and that despite limited funding, Santa Clara can continue to be known for leadership and innovation.

 

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more Latest News
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9/25/2018
2018 Annual Reception Honoring Santa Clara County Women Judges

10/10/2018
2018 Annual Judges' Night Dinner

Recent Recognitions
Hon. Julie A. Emede2017 Outstanding Jurist of the Year
Hon. Edward J. Davila2017 Diversity of the Year

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