APRIL 2014 - Meet the Board
Meet the Board
Bet Tzedek Liaison
Tell us about your background. I am the Vice-President and General Counsel of Bet Tzedek Legal Services and serve as Project Director for the California Consumer Justice Coalition. Prior positions include co-founder of Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice and Executive Director of the Progressive Jewish Alliance, Pro Bono Director and Sydney Irmas Housing Conditions Attorney at Bet Tzedek, litigation associate at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan and at Loeb & Loeb, and law fellow with the South African Human Rights Commission and the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling. With Wendy Levine and Cristin Zeisler, I created the Holocaust Survivors Justice Network, which received the 2009 Pro Bono Publico Award from the American Bar Association. I graduated from University of Michigan Law School, have been published nationally, and have led and appeared on panels for ABA Equal Justice Conference, Pro Bono Institute, SmartGrowth America, and National Council for Jewish Women. This April, my spouse Zsa Zsa Gershick and I will receive the Perl Tzedek Justice Award from Temple Beth Chayim Chadashim.
What is your role for WLALA and how would you like to see members get more involved? As liaison for Bet Tzedek, I welcome the energy and ideas of WLALA members who would like to design a pro bono project to engage other WLALA members. In this way, members could help increase the availability of desperately needed legal services through Bet Tzedek while increasing WLALA’s visibility in our community.
What are your passions and interests? I am deeply interested in how we can reconnect broad social movements – such as current movements for closing the income gap and re-engaging around race and inequality – to the legal services field. I am also interested in the untapped potential that technology holds for expanding people’s understanding of their legal rights and for connecting attorneys to service opportunities. Outside the law, I am a passionate supporter of independent film and local theatre and believe in the cultivation of a spiritual/mindfulness practice as a key ingredient to sustaining a lifelong commitment to justice.
Jennifer Altfeld Landau
Member at Large
Tell us about your background. I am a partner of Sidley Austin LLP, with nearly 25 years of experience handling complex and high-stakes civil litigation matters for clients, through trial and appeal. I have successfully defended numerous nationwide and statewide class and collective actions in a variety of legal areas, including consumer fraud, unfair competition, mergers and acquisitions litigation, and wage and hour litigation. I am most proud of the exceptional results I obtained recently defending a professional services firm in multijurisdictional class and collective actions that challenged its alleged misclassification of tens of thousands of employees.
What is your role for WLALA and how would you like to see members get more involved? I have served on the WLALA Board for all but one of the past 14 years, including a year as WLALA’s President. My involvement with WLALA has been one of the most enriching, valuable experiences of my career. I have learned so much over the years from my fellow Board members, about the practice of law, about work-life balance, and about what matters to me as a woman, as a wife, and as a mother. During my WLALA tenure, I also made lasting professional relationships and personal friendships. This year, because of my schedule, I elected to serve as a “member at large” on the Foundation’s Board. In this role, I am responsible for sharing my experience, insight, and guidance to the current Officers and Board members. Although I have enjoyed this position, I was surprised to find that I deeply missed the camaraderie that comes with more frequent, monthly Board meetings. I would like to see more of WLALA’s members attend our programs, work on our committees, and join the Board. I am confident that they will find the experience to be rewarding.
What are your passions and interests? My children are accomplished athletes, and there are few things I enjoy more than watching their soccer and tennis matches, despite the enormous amount of driving involved. In addition, I love the theatre. Last year, I was privileged to join the Board of the Center Theatre Group, the largest non-profit theatre organization in California, which operates the Ahmanson Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum, and the Kirk Douglas Theatre. As a CTG Board member, I endeavor to support the organization by introducing my friends and colleagues to CTG, promoting its arts and educational programs and attending all (or nearly all) of its productions. Finally, my husband and I love the beach. So when we’re not at soccer, tennis, or the theatre, you can find us taking long walks along the Strand.
Conference of California Bar Associations
Tell us about your background. My early career was in finance – I began in financial planning and eventually moved into designing and funding pension plans. I attended law school to study tax law but fell in love with litigation one summer at the U.S. attorney’s office and have never looked back. I am currently a civil litigator with McKenna, Long & Aldridge. My husband and I have three grown children – all out of the house!
What is your role for WLALA and how would you like to see members get more involved? As a Board member, I would generally like to see more women, especially young women, join this terrific and inspiring organization. I think we all have a responsibility to promote WLALA to increase membership. In my role as Co-Chair of the CCBA, I would like to see our members proposing more legislation or changes to existing legislation that we can evaluate and support at the CCBA.
What are your passions and interests? I love exploring different areas of the law and have been involved in various pro bono activities ranging from representing foster parents in obtaining proper benefits to an appointment as habeas counsel for a death row inmate. I love running and my daughter and I recently ran a marathon in Greece – such a fabulous experience! I am most at home at the ocean – walking along it, kayaking on top or scuba diving beneath its surface.
Tell us about your background. I have been a litigator defending long-term care facilities, trucking companies, and their employees for the past 14 years. I am married and have one son. I grew up in Santa Clarita, and attended college at Sonoma State University and law school at Southwestern.What is your role for WLALA and how would you like to see members get more involved? I would love to see members take on more leadership roles in the organization, and tell us in what ways the Board can better serve them, through activities, advocacy or other means.
What are your passions and interests? I am a confessed social media addict—I read a lot of online journals and blogs about my practice areas and like to write articles (both editorial and educational) for those same publications. The rest of the time—I’m chasing my three year old!
Tell us about your background. I grew up in Los Angeles and apparently enjoy the weather so much that I attended college and law school here. I have been a bankruptcy and insolvency professional for over a decade. I am currently a partner at Levene, Neale, Bender, Yoo & Brill L.L.P.
What is your role for WLALA and how would you like to see members get more involved?This will be my fourth year as Co-Chair of the Scholarships Committee. It has been a very rewarding endeavor to recognize the demonstrated commitment of law students towards issues affecting women and children, especially in the midst of balancing work, school, and family. It is often through the application process that law students learn more about WLALA and decide to get more involved with our organization.
What are your passions and interests? In addition to my profession, I am passionate about spending time with my family (including 2 wonderful Akitas) and friends. I really enjoy trying out new restaurants and traveling with my husband, who is also a bankruptcy attorney, cooking (classes), crafts, and flower arranging.
Tell us about your background. A former litigation partner with Gilchrist & Rutter in Santa Monica, I now specialize as a mediator and arbitrator for employment, real estate, business, and FINRA-related disputes. I also provide consulting services regarding California employment law as well as legal assistance to financial advisors who are transitioning firms, including resolving disputes that may arise over compensation, Form U-5 disclosures, promissory notes, and related matters.
What is your role for WLALA and how would you like to see members get more involved? As chair of the ADR committee, my role is to coordinate great programs that help attorneys better understand all of the options for resolving disputes out of court and to get the best results through these processes. I would love to see more members take advantage of the vast array of programs offered by WLALA, and especially the many opportunities to network while using a totally different side of the brain, like golfing or learning Improv!
What are your passions and interests? After planning a second-career as a mediator/arbitrator for nearly 20 years, I am so thrilled to have officially launched Page Dispute Resolution. Helping others bring closure to their legal disputes is incredibly challenging and rewarding and so aligned with my personal values. On the personal side, I’ve always loved to travel but I particularly enjoy exploring my own back yard these days. I like to spend my weekends on an LA Conservancy walking tour, a CityRace scavenger hunt, checking out the LA River Project, or discovering a new restaurant touted by Jonathan Gold.
Tell us about your background. I am an Assistant United States Attorney in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office, and I prosecute health care fraud and money laundering cases. Prior to joining the Criminal Division, I was in the Civil Fraud Section of the U.S. Attorney's Office for 10 years.
What is your role for WLALA and how would you like to see members get more involved? As co-chair of the Career Mentoring Committee, I host the downtown mentoring circle dinners every other month (the even months) at California Pizza Kitchen in the Wells Fargo Center. These dinners bring together junior and "seasoned" women lawyers for a night of lively discussion and mentoring. I would love to see more long-time WLALA members with an interest in mentoring join us for these dinners.
What are your passions and interests? I am passionate about my work as a prosecutor and am grateful for the opportunity to provide public service and ensure that justice is done. In my free time, I enjoy traveling, seeing movies and theater, spending time with family and friends, and playing golf with the WLALA Golf League.