Just a couple weeks ago, I had such a blast at our Installation Gala. I may have been accused of being a bit too serious at times in my career, but I’ll admit that planning for some fun is a necessary part of a vibrant Association, and I'm glad it was our first order of business. Getting to know our fellow attorneys and judges as people and enjoying their company is the first step in promoting the camaraderie of our inclusive community. It’s a lot easier to tackle the work ahead of us when we know we’re surrounded by friends with whom we have built a connection.

Holding the Gala the final day of Chinese New Year allowed us to combine the tradition of wishing good luck and prosperity to the younger generation through hong bao (red envelopes) with fundraising efforts for the MCBA Legal Education Scholarship Fund. I'm proud of everyone for stepping up to contribute to the Fund to the tune of over $12,000 in less than 12 minutes. (Don't forget to send in the amounts you pledged!)

As you know, this was our major fundraising event of the year for this important program; we do not spend any part of the corpus of the Fund on fundraising efforts. Every year, after evaluating the year's contributions and financial situation, your hard-working MCBA Board decides the amount and number of the scholarships to be awarded. The more you give, the more we can distribute to this next year’s group of financially needy, but amazing scholarship recipients. Though the red envelopes have been collected, it's not too late to make an online contribution. Link

Thanks to everyone who attended our first general membership meeting of the year on February 22, featuring the entertaining stories and irreverent musings of the fearless James Brosnahan. When I read the front-page article in the Marin Independent Journal the next morning, I was unsurprised to find that Mr. Halstead had caught all his most provocative quotes. (I didn’t expect him to report the MCLE trial practice advice that Jim also delivered; those of you who did not sign up in advance missed out on the substantive written materials...) My one takeaway: as attorneys, we are all guardians and defenders of the Constitution so we must stay vigilant.

The month of March is jam-packed with events for our members:

March 8: Next week, we come together to celebrate with newly-elected Judge Sheila Shah Lichtblau, at her induction ceremony at Marin Center.

March 22: In what has become one of our best traditions, we join with Legal Aid of Marin to celebrate and honor those who have volunteered their time to provide pro bono legal services. I hope to see you at Rickey's for the Annual Pro Bono Appreciation Luncheon.

March 30: Of interest to many of our members, the 30th Anniversary Dinner celebrating the Marin Women's Hall of Fame Inductees for 2017 will be held at Peacock Gap. Congratulations to our own Past President Wanden Treanor, who is being honored this year. Link

Finally, I want to thank the nearly 40 MCBA members who volunteered Saturdays to score the Marin County High School Mock Trial Competition. This was my first year as a scorer instead of a coach and I really appreciate the new perspective it gave me; people should know that it's a rewarding experience, but it is definitely not easy to score these great students. The judges (and retired judges) again came through to preside over every round for our nine teams. Congratulations to Tamalpais High School on winning its 22nd consecutive County title, and earning the right to represent Marin at the State Competition at the end of the month!