Nov 08, 2017
Wildfires and Shining Stars
Nov 08, 2017
By Dorothy Chou Proudfoot
Dominating the local discourse last month were the devastating wildfires that blazed through the North Bay. Our hearts go out to those affected by the fires, whether they are our own families and friends or complete strangers to us. Now more than ever, we need to remember we are all part of one community, and we need to be good to each other, not just in the days following a disaster, but throughout the year.
I am proud of all the folks who jumped into action to support their fellow human beings. First and foremost, our first responders—who selflessly launched themselves into danger to save others—deserve our thanks. I also wanted to give a shout out to an additional group of men and women of the Marin County law enforcement community who helped organize a massive support effort, providing over 8,000 hot meals and a rest area out of the public eye for first responders, some of whom were fighting the fires even after having lost their own homes.
What has MCBA done to help? Initially, we are working with the Bay Area Resilience Collaborative to organize legal support. We know that there are people who will need various forms of assistance for years to come. We can and should contribute basic necessities or funds like anyone else, especially as the holiday season is upon us, but we are also positioned to use our specialized legal skills to maximize our assistance to those in need. In the days, weeks, and months following this disaster, we can predict that people will need representation, and we encourage our members to serve where they can.
Even in the face of sobering events, we continue to strive to fulfill our mission. A huge THANK YOU to Mee Mee and Karen who were given the crazy plan to manage three major events in the span of eight days, all while continuing to run the first month of our membership drive and the day-to-day needs of MCBA. They rose admirably to the challenge. From the entertaining Judges’ luncheon with recognition of our volunteers, to the elegant Lifetime Achievement Award Dinner honoring the amazing Michael B. Dufficy, to the 10th Annual MCLE Fair, so much work went into hitting just the right note for each occasion!
Speaking of the MCLE Fair, I want to focus on one part of the message so ably articulated by our keynote speaker David Kelly, General Counsel and Vice President of the Warriors. I was talking with a friend this weekend, telling him about Mr. Kelly’s refreshingly candid remarks, and he said something really interesting, which I will do my best to paraphrase. The culture Mr. Kelly referenced is the key to why the Warriors are not just an ordinary championship team. Almost any group of really talented individuals can eventually find some success in any competitive endeavor. The lasting success that leads to a legacy can only happen with an intentional decision as to what the culture of the organization will be. What sets the Warriors apart is the establishment of a diverse, inclusive, and respectful team culture that reflects their values—that is what drives their mission. Let’s challenge ourselves to apply these principles to our own endeavors.
Recently, our Barristers Section was honored as an Affiliate Star by the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division (YLD). Congratulations to Section Chair Tory Tallman on her leadership! Our YLD district representative Vincent Tong had profiled the MCBA Mentorship Group Program in his quarterly report leading up to the YLD Fall Conference last month, and notified us of this national recognition.
You may have read about our Mentorship Program in last month’s Mentorship article. The program structure is designed for a barrister, mid-level, and senior attorney to trade traditional mentorship advice and guidance for “reverse” mentoring where senior attorneys can learn from their junior counterparts who may have more expertise in such areas as social media. As any good teacher knows, empowering your student by having her teach a skill exponentially increases her own understanding and maturity with the area of expertise. I am sure the ABA will be interested in our progress, so I would encourage everyone to sign up to be a part of a mentoring group here.
Don’t miss the MBC Unity Awards on November 14, where our Diversity Section Chair A. Jeanne Grove will receive MCBA’s award. We highlighted this award last month, so if you have not yet signed up to attend this reception (at no charge), please do so. If you already sent your RSVP, don’t forget to attend. Let’s have a strong showing from Marin!
Finally, I wanted to offer hearty congratulations to Beth Jordan, our newest Marin County Superior Court Judge. Governor Brown’s appointment of our 2010 MCBA President brings us to our full complement of 12 judges, a great step in improving access to justice in our community. Judge Jordan will start on December 1, so let’s all congratulate her at the Holiday Party on December 5. We’re looking forward to seeing you on the bench, Beth!
Dorothy Chou Proudfoot is a Deputy District Attorney at the Marin County District Attorney’s Office, and President of the Marin County Bar Association. She earned her B.A. and J.D. from UC Berkeley.