Continuing our theme this year of adhering to the Marin County Bar Association’s Mission Statement of encouraging and supporting bar association members, I wanted to remind you all that the MCBA sections provide meaningful and practical continuing legal education on a wide variety of topics to our membership. Our sections include ADR, Barristers, Business Law, Construction Law, Criminal Law, Diversity, Family Law, Intellectual Property, Labor and Employment Law, Probate and Estate Planning, Real Property, and Tax. This month the ADR Section has a meeting on the challenges of mediating inheritance disputes, the Family Law Section is providing an interactive panel on the role and appointment order of parenting coordinators, our Labor and Employment Section is presenting on age discrimination in the workforce and the Real Property Section is sponsoring a panel on significant recent developments in California real property law. Please make every effort to attend these and other section meetings in the coming months. Your active involvement in our sections further promotes one of the three legs of the MCBA’s Mission Statement, which is to involve, encourage and support bar association members.

Attending our monthly general membership luncheons is another way to stay involved. Following January’s riveting report on free speech on campus by Dan Moguluf, Vice Chancellor and Director of Communications at UC Berkeley, those members who attended February’s membership meeting were privileged to hear Professor Gerald Uelmen’s thoughts on whether a trial is a search for the truth, or perhaps something a bit “grayer.” Professor Uelmen’s engaging talk about his career in the law—in particular some of the tactical decisions made by the defense team in the People v. O.J. Simpson trial—was especially informative and inspiring to the litigators in the audience. It was a special treat to have Professor Uelmen address the membership and we owe a special thanks to Program Co-Chair Tom McInerney, one of Professor Uelmen’s former students at Santa Clara Law School, for coordinating the talk. Looking forward to this month, we are honored to invite all members to attend the Annual Pro Bono Luncheon on March 28.

For those of you who attended the annual mock trial championship in early February, you witnessed legal advocacy in its finest form. This event is one of the highlights of our legal community and features some of the very best of our local high school students. I observed several different competitions and was very impressed by the poise, arguments and testimony from all of the students. Deputy Public Defender Pedro Oliveros, one of the judges presiding over a competition between Tamalpais High School and Marin Catholic High School, noted that the presentations were equal to or superior to those of the law school interns he supervises and the practicing attorneys he works with on a daily basis. Based on the arguments and presentations I observed, I agree with Pedro and I actually picked up a couple pointers that I intend to weave into a trial that I am beginning this month. A special thanks to all of our judges and coaches who participated in the program.

In closing, I would like to comment briefly on the recent tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. It is extremely difficult to process how and why such violent acts continue to occur, especially on our nation’s high school and college campuses. Unfortunately, this could happen anywhere and distressingly does happen in far too many places and it is critical to support each other wherever it happens. Putting aside the challenging legal and political issues raised by this event and the other tragic school shootings that have preceded the Parkland massacre, the MCBA extends its deepest sympathies to the victims, survivors and families impacted by school shootings. For those of you who wish to provide support to the victims, there are several different options. The Broward Education Foundation established a GoFundMe account that can be found at this link. In addition, you can offer support services for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas community here. Please continue to keep the Marjory Stoneman Douglas community and all other communities affected by these horrific events in your thoughts and prayers.