I begin this month’s message with an expression of sincere thanks to all who contributed to the annual Installation Dinner & Gala Event held on January 20, 2018 at the Marin Country Club. I was honored and deeply humbled by the kind words from my good friend Andy Perez of the Marin County District Attorney’s Office, Presiding Judge Paul M. Haakenson who also administered the oath of office, and from our outgoing President, Dorothy Chou Proudfoot. A special thank you to the tireless efforts of Executive Director Mee Mee Wong and our newest employee, Kiersten Ross, for organizing such a successful event. I also want to acknowledge our table and wine sponsors whose financial support underwrote the dinner. The Officers for 2018, Charles Dresow (President-Elect), Caroline Joachim (Treasurer), Susan Feder (Secretary), and Jessica Karner (Past-President), and I look forward to serving the membership this year. Finally, both Joel Gumbiner and Andrew Giacomini deserve special acknowledgement for their prowess on the dance floor in front of The 85s, the local band who provided such fun entertainment.

I would like to send a special thank you to all who contributed at the Gala to MCBA’s scholarship fund, which provides much needed financial support to several deserving law students with ties to Marin County each year. In order to provide the same level of support to next year’s awardees, we need the help of all of our members. If you have not yet donated to the scholarship fund this year, please take a moment to do so by donating online through the MCBA website or writing a check made out to 10000 Degrees with “MCBA Legal Scholarship Fund” on the memo line and send to the MCBA’s address at 101 Lucas Valley Road in San Rafael. Also, pledge cards will be available at the membership meeting this month. Thank you for your continued support of this important scholarship fund.

As those in attendance at the Installation Dinner can attest, we have some extraordinary scholarship recipients, one of whom candidly shared an extremely personal time in her life when she struggled with mental illness. In reflecting on her comments, I am reminded that the legal profession constantly poses mental health challenges to lawyers, judicial officers, adjunct professionals, and clients. We can all agree that the practice of law can be stressful and unrelenting and we are exposed to stress throughout our careers. The competition in the first semester of law school, studying for the bar exam and waiting for the results with fingers crossed, interviewing for my first job, selecting a jury for the first time, representing a client facing multiple life sentences, and waiting for a verdict on a murder case are just a handful of the emotional challenges I have faced as a lawyer. No doubt you, our members, have experienced similar and more stressful events in your collective practices. These events take their toll on our mental health and it is important to remember the need to address these challenges to our mental (and physical) health. Many of you who were present at the Installation have already reached out to me, asking the MCBA to offer programs and speakers on the topic of mental health in the legal profession, which we will surely endeavor to do this year. To start your year off on the right foot, look to Andy Wolfe and Barbara Monty’s article in this issue of the Marin Lawyer on different options for stress relief.

As I mentioned in my remarks at the Installation, one of our goals this year is to continue to offer practical and informative programs to the general membership of the bar. To that end, the members who attended Dan Mogulof’s presentation on January 24, 2018 at McInnis Restaurant were treated to an excellent presentation. Dan discussed in detail the legal and political challenges he faces on a daily basis in his role as Vice Chancellor and spokesperson for the University of California, Berkeley. His recounting of the behind the scenes work that was involved in the visits of Milo Yiannopoulos and Ben Shapiro, and the Free Speech Week at UC Berkeley was fascinating and provided the membership with a true in-depth view of the disturbing change in the relationship between the media and those in the court of public opinion. Building on the energy from Dan’s presentation, this month we will feature Gerald Uelmen, one of the members of the “Dream Team” who represented O.J. Simpson in the murder trial of the century brought by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Be sure to mark February 24, 2018 on your calendar to hear Professor Uelmen’s presentation.

In closing, I wish to send a special note of appreciation and gratitude to Barry G. Borden, who recently retired from the Marin County District Attorney’s Office after providing over 30 years of public service to the County of Marin as a prosecutor. As the Assistant District Attorney, Barry presided over the daily operations of the largest law firm in the County, the Marin County District Attorney’s Office. Thanks again, Barry, for your service to the County.

As always, feel free to reach out to me directly with comments or suggestions about ways the Marin County Bar Association can continue to support your practice.

Best,
Tom