Well, the time has come for my last message to the membership. I’ll try to keep it short.

It has been an honor to serve as your president this past year. I came to the presidency with the goals of supporting our association as a vibrant community and building stronger relationships between our association and the broader Marin community, particularly in the area of pro bono legal services.

The definite high point of my presidency was the midsummer BBQ social at the Way Station in Fairfax. It was nothing more elaborate than some beer and BBQ in an open-air venue. But it was so, so nice after more than a year of Zoom meetings and responsible social distancing just to lift a glass and share some nosh with colleagues old and new. We had a turnout of more than 100 members, some of whom closed down the bar, so I think I wasn’t the only one to enjoy the familiar, yet almost-forgotten taste of old-fashioned, in-person collegiality.

On a contrasting note, the biggest disappointments of my presidency were to have to skip the second holiday party in a row and to have to postpone yet again the Lifetime Achievement Award celebration for Gary Ragghianti. No one has more friends in the Marin County legal community than Gary, for good reason. When his dinner does happen – and it has been confirmed for the Deer Park Villa in Fairfax for Wednesday, June 29th – it will be a great time.

I am grateful to the members of the MCBA Board for sticking with the program and stepping up to support our association through this second and hopefully most difficult pandemic year. Thanks to the hard work of our programs committee and section leadership, we continued to feature great speakers and lunchtime section meetings, still mostly over Zoom, but still getting strong attendance and showing that we can still maintain an enthusiastic community remotely. And both last year and this year, members of the MCBA Board stepped up to put on excellent All Bay Area MCLE conferences.

Not only has MCBA continued to offer vibrant programming, I am proud to be leaving our association in good financial condition despite the challenges of the past year. Our books are in good shape and thanks to your generosity, our scholarship fund is stronger than it has ever been before.

My presidency was made so much easier because of the teamwork of Sue Feder, our past president, Rob Rosborough, our incoming president, and the leadership and collegiality of the rest of our executive committee team: Ahtossa Fullerton, Scott Buell, and 5-year Past President, Joel Gumbiner – thanks so much to you all! I am confident to be leaving the MCBA presidency in good hands with Rob Rosborough. Rob has already done a heroic amount of work for the association as the editor and lead evangelist for the Marin Lawyer over the past five years. Under Rob, we saw the Marin Lawyer go from a monthly newsletter to a full online magazine. Rob is now leaving his editorship behind (any aspiring editors out there?) but I’m sure that he will do an excellent job as our incoming MCBA president. Most of all, I want to thank our Executive Director, Mee Mee Wong, for all of the creative thinking, leadership, and hard work that she and her staff—Denise Belli and Kiersten Ross—contribute to the association every day.

I grew up all over Marin and I have spent most of my adult life here. Over the past 15 years, I’ve run a civil law practice based in San Rafael. Over the 40 years that I’ve lived here, I’ve seen the County change in some ways that are sad. It has become harder, even nearly impossible, for ordinary folks like my parents to afford to live here, and Marin has become less and less diverse in various ways as the cost of living here goes up and up and up. The cost of legal services is also out of reach for so many, and that is one of the reasons why I believe it is so important for our association to give back to the community however we can. But Marin is still a beautiful place, and I am still proud to call it home.

I look forward to seeing you all around town and at the many fun MCBA events to come…mic drop.