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Newsletter - November 2013
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Anne Tremblay
President - Elect
Jennifer S. Romano
First Vice President
Kimberly Arnal
Second Vice President
Stacy Horth-Neubert
Amy Brantly
Communications Officer
Heather Stern
Immediate Past President
Immediate Past President
Ruth D. Kahn
Executive Offices
Executive Administrator
Kay Burt
Administrative Assistant
Lindsay Audette
Christine Page
Business Law
Kelly Kriebs
Criminal Justice
Nina Marino
Rozella Oliver
Family Law
Maria Hamar
Robyn Crowther
 Tamar Terzian
Young Lawyers
Christina Lincoln
Julie Goulet Stromberg
Amicus Briefs
Anne Grignon
Lisa Jaskol
Annual Giving Campaign
Susan Steinhauser
Appointive Office
Julie Gerchik
Jennifer Leland
Awards & Recognitions
Susan DeWitt
Fernanda Schmid
Business Development
Kelly Hanker
Noelle Natoli-Duffy
Career Development & Life Balance
Tanya L. Forsheit
Jessica Kurzban
Career Mentoring
Cathy Ostiller
Jeanne "Gigi” Wanlass
Community Service/Special Events
Jill Piano
Conference of California Bar Associations
Shaun Dabby Jacobs
Mary McKelvey
Domestic Violence Project
Adrienne R. Hahn
Financial Development
Vanessa Adriance
Perlette Jura
Sarah Schuh Quist
Ariella Thal Simonds
History Project
Eileen Decker
In-House Counsel
Jennifer Ishiguro
Law Student Mentoring
Krysta Kauble
Paula Mitchell
Kimberly Encinas
Michelle Michaels
Linda O. Hatcher
Courtney Powers
Pro-Choice and Reproductive Rights
Tara Lundstrom
Kiran Singh
Public Interest Grant
Patricia Daza-Luu
Meehan Rasch
Sarah de Diego
Carmela Pagay
Solo & Small Firm
Jan Jensen
Members at Large
Hon. Judith C. Chirlin (Ret.)
Lorna De Bono
Helen B. Kim
Jennifer Altfeld Landau
Susan Formaker
Jessica Kronstadt
Bet Tzedek Legal Services
Elissa Barrett
Katherine M. Forster
Food From the Bar
Kathleen McDowell
Harriett Buhai
Susan Alker
Judicial/Federal Court
Hon. Sandra Klein
Judicial/State Court
Hon. Holly J. Fujie
Luci-Ellen Chun
Power Lunch Program
Hon. Nicole C. Bershon
Jessica Kronstadt
Student Liaisons
Jennifer Gordon - Pepperdine
Marisa Melero - Southwestern
Tatiana Pavlova-Coleman - UCLA
Katie Riley - UCLA
Ladan Shelechi—Loyola
Paige Smith - USC
the full
of women
lawyers and
judges in the
legal profession
principles of
fairness and
the status of
in our society
-Excerpts from





President’s Message
by Anne C. Tremblay

--Sailing to and from Byzantium

I write this month’s message while on vacation in a place that has become my second home. Today, under clear blue skies, I am with friends cruising on a yacht from Istanbul to the nearby Princes’ Islands where we will lunch dockside on mezze, freshly caught fish, and enjoy anise-flavored raki, the Turkish national drink. A week into the trip with no blackberry access and only a few WLALA emails coming my way (thank you Kay Burt and Jennifer Romano!), there is little to remind me of my office back at City Hall East or the legal profession.
I planned this much needed vacation with just a few weeks notice after deciding that I should take my own advice – given to many hard-working friends and colleagues over the years– that is, relax and take care of yourself. After several years of ‘leaning in’ professionally, caring for my aging mother before her death, and completing a year of single motherhood to two foster daughters, I needed a break. While achieving the ever-elusive work and life balance on a daily or weekly basis is a challenge, taking a long, technology-untethered vacation is one way to restore that balance. And for me, returning to Turkey, a country I fell in love with as a fifteen-year-old exchange student and a place where I am blessed to have friends who are truly like family, was an obvious choice. So for today and the remainder of my visit, I am leaning back rather than in and enjoying the voyage.
In November, as always, WLALA will present you with opportunities to both lean in toward reaching your career goals and to lean back and have some fun. We have our Westside Career Mentoring Circle on November 12th, a special Litigation Section Happy Hour on November 5th, and our regular Downtown Happy Hour on November 12th. Also, just in time for your holiday shopping we have the Criminal Justice Section sponsored Brooks Brothers event on November 14th. Please also mark your calendar for two, early December events: our annual Holiday Reception on December 4th and our December 8th Yoga Wellness/MCLE program. See the newsletter below and our website for more details on these and other upcoming bar events.
November also brings the launch of the WLALA Foundation’s Annual Giving campaign led by board member Susan Steinhauser. Please consider making a donation to fund our WLALA scholarships and the Fran Kandel Public Interest Grant. Your support in any amount will help us reach our $15,000 goal and provide educational and professional opportunities to the next generation of Los Angeles lawyers.
In closing, last night I was reminded of a lovely Turkish tradition. When a loved one is leaving for a long trip, you wish them a fond farewell by throwing water from a cup or jug behind their departing car. This act expresses the wish for travel without mishap, a journey that will flow as smoothly as water. I encourage you all to relax, take time to lean back and when you do, I wish you smooth waters.


Generational Perspectives Series

Editor's Note:  Inspired by the many speakers WLALA has presented over the years, we’ve taken notice that we can all benefit by sharing our experiences, wisdom, ideas and hopes for the future.  For the younger generation, it is easy to forget how far we’ve come and the paths those before us have paved.  For the older generation,  the focus on work-life balance and the drop-out rate among younger attorneys may seem disappointing.  In this "Generational Perspectives” series, WLALA will feature articles written by female attorneys of all ages – from those who have been practicing for more than 35 years to those who recently graduated from law school -- to share their thoughts on how far we’ve come and where we are headed. 
A Generational Perspective on Technology: 
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love my iPhone

(Or, where have all the IBM Selectrics gone?) 
 by Judge Melissa N. Widdifield
FULL DISCLOSURE:  I am a Luddite. At least in terms of how the concept is popularly understood today, i.e., I am rotten with computers  (o.k. let’s face it, electronics of any kind) and despair that technology is stripping away our humanity one gigabyte at a time.  I mean, look, I still own and play my original vinyl records. (What is this docking station stuff?  Aren’t those for spacecraft?) I have not, however, resorted to the tactics of old Ned Ludd, the 19th century British teen who struck a blow for textile artisans by smashing up a bunch of new fangled power looms and stocking frames.  And, yet.
I do completely acknowledge that technology has made my life in the courtroom infinitely easier.  Jury instructions are a breeze.  No more frustrating delays resulting from corralling witnesses and lawyers.  A simple tap of a send button on a smart phone now summons the necessary folks.  No more endless telephone tag for my clerk. (Likewise, no more less than credible protestations of "sorry, Judge, I must have just missed your call”.)  And, oh the beauty of computerized exhibits!  No more unwieldy poster boards slipping out of clips that somehow don’t work right.  No more push pins popping off wheeled bulletin boards causing carefully ordered documents to spray through the well.  No more flip charts that don’t flip.  Now, there is just the soft click of a power point remote.  But, still, I miss other more sonorous clicks, as well.
I am, of course, talking about the dulcet tones of the deservedly vaunted IBM Selectric typewriter.  Yes, you younger folk (hereinafter "YF”), I said TYPEWRITER not keyboard.  Remember the lovely sound of that rapid click, click, click?  (A sound almost as evocative as the smell of mimeograph ink or Le Pages white school paste!).  And, the extraordinary clacking of those typists who managed 100+ words per minute?  I know this is hard for the YFs to believe, but some of us actually began our careers when an IBM Selectric III was the next big thing.  We then graduated to ABDicks—which, as I vaguely recall, were glorified typewriters with an electronic component that allowed it to save a line of text.  Yes, I concede that the carbons and whiteout necessitated by these warhorses probably instigated the three martini lunch.  And, still...
Computers have made all kinds of knowledge available to those who previously had no access to books—an undeniably wonderful thing.  It levels the playing field in many ways.  I can pull up a case on the bench in the blink of an eye and Shepardize it in less time than that.  I can have the testimony of witnesses right in front of me in real time and can highlight portions of significance.  But I can’t flip back and forth through the pages of a digest anymore.  And, I miss that.  (Absolutely startling to me is the fact that many lawyers are agog that I still have a library in my chambers; I fear they find me quaint.)  And, I desperately miss my bookstores!  I know, there is Amazon, blah,  blah, blah... but there is no web site that allows you to tuck yourself away in a corner of a great old bookstore and feel the heft of a cache of  books in your arms or on your lap as you perch on a stool (in a REALLY great store the books will even be dusty), and listen to the lovely crack of a brand new spine being opened. 
Some of my best memories of being a young lawyer are of events that occurred precisely because of the lack of technology—to wit, the courthouse filing run.  The shared tension and anxiety  of partners, associates, law clerks (whoever was available at 4:00) running down to the federal courthouse in tandem (one driving, one pirouetting around obstacles on the sidewalk to get to the filing window) to get an emergency brief filed just in the nick of time and the commensurate stress relieving laughter and high fives that ensued created a bond and a sense of doing something truly important that the solo push of a send button cannot replicate.  I grant you that electronic filing results in far less wasted paper and far fewer grey hairs, but still...
Another unintended consequence of the efficiency created by technology is the concomitant creation of pan-emergencies.  In other words,every project mutates into the highest priority.  Everything must be on the boss’s desk yesterday, everything must be done ASAP (or sooner).  So, we text, e-mail, fed ex, and fax (remember that curly thermal fax paper that fell in long spirals to the floor?) so we can get it there faster, faster, faster.  How do we know what a true emergency is these days when we respond to everything as though it is one.  A strained extrapolation of Descartes, perhaps?  "I have the capacity to respond to an emergency, therefore everything is one?”
And, phones.  Don’t get me started on phones.  Do you ever wonder why you can never get through to anyone anymore?  Because EVERYONE is on the phone all the time.  What in God’s name is everybody talking about???  I just don’t get it.  Are we all suddenly that much more interesting?  Not if you are gauging it by the snippets I hear as I walk around the city, "Then he went, and I mean, I’m like, and then she’s all...”  OMG.  Nor does the eyeroll provoking commentary on Facebook or Twitter convince me of our populace’s wisdom ("I just ate a banana , yummers! J”).  I mean, do I really care what Demi Moore thinks about Syria or the federal government shutdown?  Or what Miley Cyrus thinks about Liam Helmsworth’s butt (a subject as to which she at least presumably has some first hand knowledge).  WTH.  Yes, cell phones are wonderful in emergencies and they make it so much easier to meet people at large events --think Disneyland or sports arenas.  Social media is obviously an incredible tool for, among other things, allowing the disenfranchised to be heard.  But just as I’m pretty sure most folks on a cell phone aren’t arranging a hospital admission for their child or coordinating pick up times at the airport, I’m equally certain most Facebook and Twitter entries aren’t fomenting the next Arab Spring.
O.K., here is my last and biggest gripe.  No one talks to each other in public anymore.  No one speaks to a congenial stranger while grabbing a cup of coffee or a quick bite.  No one chats in the grocery store or DMV lines.  AND, did you ever notice these days, no one looks around while walking.  No one notices the  sky, or the birds, or the buds on the trees in spring because they are all talking and texting and tweeting, and, yes, twittering away.  And, they are probably trying to send something to be saved on their cloud.  Maybe we should just stop, breathe, put the phone away, and take a better look at the ones above us. 
Judge Melissa N. Widdifield is a judge of the Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles and a Past President of WLALA.  Before her appointment to the Superior Court, she was a partner in the firm of Talcott Lightfoot Vandevelde Woehrle & Sadowsky and clerked for the Hon. Consuelo B. Marshall (C.D. Cal.). She handled criminal defense and civil rights matters and currently sits in a criminal trial court. 
*If you would like to contribute to this series, please contact the WLALA Communications Officer, Heather Stern at


A Little Levity Please!

Editor’s Note: Let’s face it – the practice of law can sometimes be a little stressful.  Even if you’re the type who thrives on stress, it can still be good to crack a smile every now and again.  In this "A Little Levity Please!” series, WLALA will feature stories designed to bring a little humor to your day.  Submissions welcome from all members!

Deposition Dogpile
by Angela S. Haskins

It has been my experience that often something completely ridiculous is the only thing that will push past the bickering and get the job done.  The following is an example of how this attitude has impacted my career as a trial lawyer.
We medical malpractice defense attorneys are, generally speaking, an affable group.  In multi-party cases we end up spending an inordinate amount of time with one another, and we can get a little punch drunk when we’re together for the 8th expert deposition in a case where more than 30 experts have been designated.  In these depositions we can get a little cantankerous, or jovial, because the plaintiff is not present and everyone in the room is somewhat immune to the seriousness of the underlying facts. 
When I was brand new Associate, I was assigned to defend our client in a case involving more than a dozen defendants and pretty much every medical malpractice defense firm.  We had travelled across most of the California and even to Atlanta, taking the depositions of the multiple plaintiffs and twice as many defendants.  The handling partner had made it clear my role was simply to attend the depositions, sitting quietly in the back of the room, taking good notes, and trying to ensure nothing negative was attributed to our client.  But mostly sitting quietly
Anyone who knows me at all knows that being quiet is not my forte.
Given the overall exposure of the dozen defendants in the case, a virtual Who’s Who of trial lawyer partners attended the depositions on behalf of their clients.  I was ecstatic to be in the room with these legends, and happy for the opportunity to learn from the best of the best. 
I even managed to comport myself in fairly strict accord with the "sit quietly” directive until the deposition of a vascular surgeon expert.  Bizarre incomplete hypothetical questions from plaintiff’s counsel were met with some pretty spectacular opinions in response. 
As this went on, a pattern emerged in which the attorney most offended by the question or answer would shout out an objection, followed by grumbled utterances of "join” from a few others.  It progressed to a sort of call-and-response routine, where multiple defense counsel would chorus an objection, and all the rest would echo their joinder.   Watching the only other woman in the room (the court reporter) start to sweat made me feel very sorry for her as the men in the room shouted over one another, jockeying for position to object before questions or answers were even out of their respective speakers’ mouths.  It sounded like the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
This went on for two solid hours.  We hadn’t taken a break since the deposition began.  The tension crescendoed as cacophony filled the room.  Plaintiff’s counsel consulted his papers and readied himself to pose the next question, but before he even opened his mouth to ask it, I saw every attorney in the room stiffen and lunge forward in their chairs, poised to pounce on the question and tackle it to the ground in a barrage of thunderous objections.
It hadn’t been easy for me to sit quietly through all this, but dutiful Associate that I was, I had held my tongue.  At this point, however, I could resist no longer.  Calmly, respectfully, even cheerfully, I said one word.  "Dogpile.”
As a graduate of The Ohio State University I learned the term "dogpile” from college football.  The "pile” part is pretty self-explanatory: defensive linemen engage in the attack of the guy with the ball, taking him down to the ground, and then more members of the team pile on crushing the intended victim beneath their weight.  I am told that the "dog” origin is from the actions of a large litter of puppies as they collide and climb over one another to get at a table scrap. 
Since this was—figuratively if not literally—what the attorneys had been doing, it seemed the only relevant comment.
The entire room erupted with laughter, and even the court reporter smiled for the first time since the start of the deposition.  I believe that by humorously bringing the situation under control, I earned some stripes and a modicum of respect from those trial lawyers from whom I have since learned so much.  I know that the memory of that deposition still makes me smile nearly 13 years later. 
Angela S. Haskins served as President of WLALA (2010 – 2011) and is a litigation partner with Baker, Keener & Nahra, LLP, specializing in the defense of healthcare professionals.  Experience has taught her that laughter may not actually be the "best medicine” but claims rarely arise from its prescription or administration.  Ms. Haskins is also an Adjunct Professor at Southwestern Law School (Interviewing, Counseling & Negotiation). 
*If you would like to contribute to this series, please contact the WLALA Communications Officer, Heather Stern at


Meet the Board  
Editor’s Note: Every month we will feature a few members of WLALA’s Board of Governors so you can get to know them a little better!
Hon. Nicole C. Bershon
Power Lunch Program Liaison

Tell us about your background.
  I was appointed by Governor Brown as a Judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court in July of 2013.  Prior to that, I served as a Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner, and before that, I served as the Inspector General for the Los Angeles Police Department.  I have spent the majority of my career in public service, save for three years in private practice (first at Stutman, Treister & Glatt and, later, at Irell & Manella).  I am a graduate of Princeton University, and the UCLA School of Law, where I co-founded the UCLA Women’s Law Journal.  I am a WLALA Past President, and have served on the board consecutively since 2000. 
What is your role for WLALA and how would you like to see members get more involved?  I am a liaison to the Power Lunch Program, which is run by the L.A. Superior Court in partnership with WLALA.  The program brings local high school students to courthouses throughout the county to meet lawyers, judges, and courtroom staff and learn about the justice system.  Our most recent Power Lunch occurred at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse Downtown with students from Dorsey High School.  District Attorney Jackie Lacey, a Dorsey alumna, and State Senator Holly Mitchell addressed the students.
I would hope to see members get more involved in one-on-one mentoring of law students and new lawyers. 
What are your passions and interests?  Outside of my family and my work, I enjoy my service on the WLALA Board, as well as on the Court’s Diversity and Community Outreach Committees.  I greatly enjoy mentoring new and future lawyers, as well as the high school students I meet during Power Lunches and in connection with the Teen Court Program, also run by the Los Angeles Superior Court.  I have been practicing yoga for over 16 years, and also try to stay fit by walking our dogs and playing on the Benchwarmers, the Court’s softball team.  I enjoy all sorts of music, from 70s rock to folk, pop, country, disco, and classical music. 
Patricia Daza-Luu
 Public Interest Grant

Tell us about your background.
 I handle a wide array of general business litigation. I specialize in insurance coverage disputes arising out of first party claims, third party comprehensive general liability claims, claims made coverages, umbrella and excess claims, and construction defect litigation. I also handle trademark and copyright matters for my firm’s intellectual property/entertainment practice. 
What is your role for WLALA and how would you like to see members get more involved? As co-chair of the Public Interest Grant, I publicize the Grant, review Grant applications, and ultimately work with my Co-Chair as well as the Grant Selection Committee (a group of wonderful volunteers) to choose each year's Grant recipient(s).  When the Grant winner is selected, my co-chair and I work together to ensure that the Grant project is executed and publicized to target audiences.  I hope members get involved by energizing their mentees or any law students they know to apply for the Grant!
What are your passions and interests? Apart from the law, I love to spend time with my husband, Billy, and our shih tzu, Buster Bluth.  I also enjoy spinning, hiking, cooking, and especially eating! 


Susan DeWitt
Awards and Recognition




Tell us about your background.  I am currently the Acting Executive Assistant United States Attorney, for the U.S. Attorney Office in the Central District of California – the number three person in the office, and previously was a Deputy Chief in the National Security Section.  I have been with the U.S. Attorney’s office for more than 16 years, during which time I have handled a variety of matters including:  terrorism and national security matters; violent crimes such as murder, kidnapping, and assault; and financial crimes including international money laundering, bank fraud, wire fraud, and identity theft. 

What is your role for WLALA and how would you like to see members get more involved? I am the Co-Chair of the Awards and Recognition Committee.   I would like to encourage more prosecutors to get involved in WLALA.   WLALA is a great organization and offers tremendous programs, promotes women and equality, and also provides opportunities for getting and providing support for women in the profession.
What are your passions and interests? Social passions are promoting justice, equality, and Anti-Bullying/safe school efforts.  Non-work passions are baseball, theater, wine and the Great Outdoors – scuba diving, fishing, and rafting.  
 Lorna De Bono
Lorna De Bono
Foundation Member at Large


Tell us about your background.
 I am a Southern California native and went to UCLA for both my undergraduate and law degrees.  My entire career has been focused on business immigration law, first as a paralegal after college, then as a law clerk during law school and as an attorney since being admitted to the bar in 1999.  I assist companies and individuals in varied industries, including information technology, advertising, marketing, video game, finance, engineering, sports, and entertainment, with administrative petitions and applications to the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Departments of Labor and State, and U.S. Embassies and Consulates.
What is your role for WLALA and how would you like to see members get more involved? I am currently a Member-at-Large on the Foundation Board, which means I don’t have a specific committee to head up but instead have the opportunity to support all of the Foundation’s wonderful pro bono activities.  I’m currently spearheading the Made for MADE campaign, where WLALA is partnering with downtown yarn store Gather DTLA to make and donate hand-knit accessories to the Downtown Women’s Center’s MADE by DWC retail boutique (  As a former recipient of the Fran Kandel Public Interest Grant, I know what an amazing opportunity our scholarship and grant programs can be for law students, so I’d like to see as many WLALA members support our Annual Giving campaign so that we can continue to fund the Foundation’s numerous pro bono activities.
What are your passions and interests? When not busy being an immigration law geek, I am an avid knitter and practitioner of Iyengar yoga.  I’m an adventurous eater and cook and enjoy learning about different food cultures around the world, especially if I get to travel somewhere new to try them.  My husband and I are life-long UCLA fans – Go Bruins!


Kim Encinas

Tell us about your background.
 I'm an Appellate Court Attorney at the California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division Eight.  After law school, I clerked on the District Court and then spent approximately five years as a litigator at Munger, Tolles & Olson.  I've been at the court for approximately 2.5 years now. 
What is your role for WLALA and how would you like to see members get more involved? I've co-chaired the Membership Committee for the last few years.  Among other things, my co-chair and I host bimonthly happy hours in the downtown area.  I would love to see more new members come to these low-key gatherings, as I think they are a great way to meet other WLALA members and learn about the organization.
What are your passions and interests? I have a very large extended family who, for the most part, live nearby, and I spend much of my free time on the weekends with them.  My husband and I adore our two giant but sweet St. Bernards, who keep life interesting.  I also love reading fiction, going to concerts, and sampling the fruits of my husband's latest culinary experiments in the kitchen.


  Recipes for Busy Lawyers

Editor’s Note—This is a new series for our newsletter, send us the most delicious and nutritious recipes that you love to feed yourself or your family and we will share them!

Hearty Sausage, Kale and White Bean Soup

Submitted by: Lorna De Bono




48 oz chicken stock or broth
1 lb sweet Italian sausage 
2 cans Cannellini (or other white) beans
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1 can crushed tomatoes with juice
2 small can of tomato sauce
A few handfuls of torn up kale
Salt and pepper 
Olive oil
Dry white wine, if desired
Parmesan cheese

Brown the sausage links in large stock pot then put them aside to cool; slice when cool.  Add a tablespoon or so of olive oil to the sausage fat left over in the pot and then cook the onions, celery, carrots and thyme over medium-high heat for about 6 - 8 minutes, until the onion gets soft and just starts to take on a little color.  Deglaze the bottom of the pan about a cup of white wine (or some of the chicken stock) and then add the chicken stock.  Add the two cans of beans (drained), the tomatoes and sauce and the sliced sausage and let soup simmer about 15 minutes. Add the kale and simmer about 15 more.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with grated parmesan on top with a side of crusty bread for dipping.
To print out a copy of this recipe, please CLICK HERE. 

*If you would like to contribute to this series, please contact the WLALA Communications Officer, Heather Stern at
Communication and Trial Practice Tips for the Woman Lawyer 
Excuse My Back
 by Cynthia Cohen
Appearing confident, yet humble to strangers on Day 1 of jury selection, takes considerable balance. Voir dire is more conversational than the basic Q&A with witnesses. There is an art to revealing jurors’ biases. Establish rapport and get more information from them with a few simple communication techniques.
"Excuse My Back.” In developing rapport during voir dire, remember many jurors are behind the bar as you address the jurors seated in and along the jury box. A simple statement like "excuse my back” as you position yourself in front of the podium connects you to the very jurors who are next seated in the jury box. This simple technique establishes that every juror is important to you and your client.
Vary Your Style. Other techniques include varying your communication style. After asking a question, listening gives the juror a chance to respond and talk about the issues. If you respectfully allow time, you hear below surface responses. Waiting five seconds for a juror’s response may seem interminable, but in the long run allowing the juror to speak and discovering cause issues may save a costly mistrial or undesirable verdict.
Paraphrase Responses. Reflections encourage more revealing responses. Repeating or paraphrasing the jurors’ answers make them feel heard. Sometimes paraphrasing goes too far and becomes an  interpretation. An attempt to paraphrase a juror’s comment with a theme such as, "You believe that tort reform will save all of us money,” may backfire. If the interpretation misses the mark, the juror may correct with another response, "No I believe that tort reform will save doctors and hospitals money, but it won’t reduce our healthcare costs.” If the interpretation was accurate, the juror may think the questioner is brilliant and agree or offer more information.
Avoid Giving Jurors Advice. Giving advice tends to make people clam up when they don’t feel you are an authority on the subject or their life. Telling a juror, "You should not feel bad about holding Company X responsible” may diminish the juror’s motivation to vocalize true feelings about prior experiences. Avoid using "should”. (That’s good advice.) 
Conclusions. Communication is an art. Being quick on your feet is a trademark of a great trial lawyer. Stick with your style, while refining communication skills. 
WLALA Member Cynthia Cohen specializes in jury research, trial strategies, and settlement decision-making at Verdict Success. Dr. Cohen can be reached at 310-545-7914 or

Building Relationships with Corporate Counsel
by Sharon Berman

The marketing brass ring for many lawyers is connecting with that elusive general counsel or other in-house attorneys, and building a long-term relationship.  In-house counsel are inundated with requests and material from attorneys and law firms seeking an opportunity to show what they can do, and it’s a challenge to figure out how to be heard above the cacophony.

While it may seem there is a marketing code to be cracked, panel after panel of corporate counsel offers straightforward and common sense marketing advice that rarely varies.  Given how simple the steps, any law professional looking to foster better communication with in-house counsel would be remiss not to pay heed.

You must establish the relationship before you can build it, which is where your effective marketing commences.  As with all marketing, there is no single method that works across the board.  If listening to in-house lawyers over the years makes one point, it’s that different methods resonate with some, and that every tactic nay-sayed by one has worked for another. It’s essential to try a combination of different methods to diversify and strengthen your marketing strategy. Examples of different methods include: maintaining a regularly updated, substantive and well-written blog, sending client alert emails immediately on the heels of news hitting the streets, and creating podcasts and/or videos that offer your take on relevant topics.

Think creatively to brainstorm ways to make even these standard marketing strategies more targeted and thus more effective. For instance, one general counsel claimed that, while he tended to ignore client alert emails, he was far more likely to read those that offered an in-depth analysis of a decision. Another corporate counsel reported that he receives many solicitations from private-practice lawyers once the company has filed suit, but that he pays attention only to those that specify in detail how their experience aligns with the company’s needs, e.g., the law firm successfully represented a client in exactly the same issue in the same court.  Lastly, they all must offer some creative pricing strategy.

Once you have been engaged, you can set yourself apart by demonstrating that you not only think like a lawyer, but also understand the company from a business perspective. Building a great relationship with corporate counsel is in many ways dependent upon what you can do to make their life a little easier for the duration of your engagement.

Time is an extremely valuable and limited commodity for all professionals. If you know your client is facing a particular deadline, it would reflect well on you to provide the information they need early, thereby allowing them sufficient time to review and edit the work without going down to the wire.  Understand that your in-house clients are lawyers who are operating in a business environment, meaning that they or their colleagues report to business professionals who may not be fluent in legalese. Make your work clear, simple and concise, and always write for your audience in order to spare counsel the task of having to rewrite anything that is too dense, wordy or confusing to non-lawyers who may read it.

Budgetary concerns loom large in most companies and often cast quite a shadow over the legal department. Wise lawyers working with in-house counsel should always keep the interests of the company’s chief financial officer in mind, as well of those of the chief legal officer. Remember, your lawyer-client must be able to justify the budget for the legal department’s expenses at a moment’s notice; anything you can do to make this task a little easier will be greatly appreciated.

The best approach to dealing with the question of cost and expense is for outside counsel to delineate what they will do and how much it will cost at the beginning of the engagement, including any necessary supporting services such as litigation support, appraisals and so on. If it looks like the actual cost is going to exceed the budget, it’s critical to inform your client of this fact as soon as possible. One corporate counsel suggested that if the invoice amounts will be uneven, e.g., lower invoices for less work in the first few months and then higher ones down the road as the amount of work heats up, discuss the possibility of sending an invoice for the average amount.  This can help sidestep an unpleasant situation, such as the finance department using the lower expenditures for their annual budgeting and then chastising the legal department when the actual cost exceeds their projections.

As the engagement is coming to an end, use your current experience with their company to further assist in-house counsel by recommending ways in which costs can be reduced in the future. After the engagement is over, keep in touch with the attorneys – particularly if you offer valuable information on new legal issues for which he or she may need your assistance again.

In all relationships, respect is key. Make sure to maintain a respectful rapport not only with the company’s top counsel, but with the younger in-house counsel as well. Finally, always make it a point to treat corporate counsel as the full-fledged fellow lawyers they are. Several in-house counsel mentioned that outside attorneys seem to think that they have more "lawyer clout” than those attorneys who work in-house. Such elitism is not only false, but it can do a great deal of damage to an otherwise healthy working relationship.

Shining through all of the clutter that comes at in-house counsel on a regular basis is no easy task, but it can be accomplished by paying attention to the "little things,” including personal and professional conduct, respect, and keeping an eye on practical concerns such as deadlines and budget. By proving yourself as a dynamic and considerate member of the team and the company, you can count on building a strong and enduring relationship with corporate counsel.

WLALA Member Sharon Berman is principal of Berbay Corp., a marketing and public relations firm, which specializes in working with law firms.  She can be reached

Outcome of the 2013 Conference of California Bar Associations: A Report from the WLALA Delegation
by Shaun Dabby Jacobs and Mary McKelvey 
Mary McKelvey receives token of recognition on behalf of WLALA for WLALA-sponsored resolution recently signed into law.

Have you ever thought, "this law should be changed or amended,” or "it should not exist at all?”  Have you ever thought "there ought to be a law about this” but when you researched the appropriate legal authorities, you found no law existed that addressed the topic you researched?  Do you enjoy debating policy and the law as well as meeting interesting people from across the state?  WLALA’s delegation to the Conference of California Bar Associations had an opportunity to participate in all of these activities and more at the state-wide Conference of California Bar Associations ("CCBA” or "Conference”) two weeks ago and had a lot of fun in the process. 

The CCBA is a group of attorneys from local, specialty, and minority bar associations across the state, that are focused on improving California’s laws.  This year, CCBA met during the same weekend the State Bar Convention was held in San Jose.  During the Conference, the various bar associations debated revisions and amendments to California law called "resolutions,” including a resolution proposed by WLALA to amend the California Rules of Court Rule 3.1345 to require an electronic exchange of separate statements in support of motions to compel further responses to discovery.  Once a resolution is passed by the Conference, as WLALA’s resolution was, CCBA’s lobbyist takes the resolution to the State Legislature or California Judicial Council to find a sponsor and hopefully get the resolution passed into law.  The success rate of the CCBA lobbyist, Larry Doyle, has been impressive with many of the last few year’s resolutions enacted into law. 

It bears noting that two resolutions sponsored or supported by WLALA which passed through the Conference in previous years became enacted into law this year.  The first, which WLALA sponsored, was a resolution for the Conference to support the Open Courts Coalition to adequately fund the state courts.  This resolution became enacted into law through Senate Bill no. 75.  The second, which WLALA supported, was a resolution to amend the domestic violence statute, Penal Code section 273.5 to expand the class of victims protected by the statute.  This resolution became enacted into law through Assembly Bill No. 16. 

We encourage anyone who has ever had an idea for how the law may be improved, as well as people curious about the process to talk to WLALA Board Members Shaun Dabby Jacobs ( and Mary McKelvey (, who serve as WLALA’s delegation chairs, and also to consider getting more involved by joining the WLALA delegation.  Topics of law addressed at the conference encompass a wide range, including uninsured motorists, solicitation of child prostitution, probate law, electronic reporting for unlimited civil cases, and amending the Education Code to address the problem of snack foods at K-12 schools.  The process is exciting and interesting.  Resolutions considered at the October 11-13, 2013 Conference are posted at the Conference website,, along with resolutions from prior years.  Next year’s Conference will take place in the fall of 2014, in San Diego.  Resolutions for next year’s Conference are due in late winter or early spring of 2014. 

Shaun Dabby Jacobs is a deputy city attorney with the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office in the Police Employment Litigation Section.  Mary McKelvey is an experienced litigator in the Los Angeles office of McKenna, Long & Aldridge.  Ms. Jacobs and Ms. McKelvey are Co-Chairs of WLALA's delegation to CCBA.

WLALA Members Speak to Law Students About Externship Opportunities in the Federal Courts
by Wendy Chan, Extern to the Honorable Sandra R. Klein

On October 21, 2013, more than one hundred eager law students attended a Federal Judicial Externship Panel (Panel) hosted by Loyola Law School (LLS). The Panel featured three federal judges from the Central District of California: WLALA Board member Hon. Sandra R. Klein of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, former WLALA Board and Executive Committee member, Hon. Beverly Reid O’Connell of the U.S. District Court, and WLALA member Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Hon. Suzanne H. Segal. The judges were joined by Angella D. Yates, Law Clerk to the Honorable Neil W. Bason of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, who is involved in LLS’s externship program and serves as a mentor to LLS students seeking judicial externships and clerkships.

The panelists discussed a wide-range of topics, including judges’ selection criteria for externs, the "do’s and don’ts” of interviewing, and the type of work assigned to externs in their respective courts. They also emphasized that externs have the opportunity to observe many different court proceedings.
Judge Segal advised students that the most important thing to get out of their externship is to improve their legal research and writing skills. "It is how lawyers communicate, and it is the most important thing you will do in your career,” she said. Judge O’Connell added, "An externship will teach you to succinctly and persuasively get the attention of the judge.”
In addition to discussing how valuable the experience can be for law students, the panelists also noted that the "fresh perspective” from externs and their enthusiasm for learning are highly appreciated in chambers. Judge Klein, who moderated the event, said that she uses the externship program as a chance to both teach and learn from the students. She also described the high level of staff interaction within chambers and referred to her law clerks and externs as "family.” 
The benefits of the externship program were strongly echoed when former externs at the event talked about their own experiences. When asked which aspect of his externship surprised him the most, Joshua Aberman, former extern to Judge O’Connell, replied, "The level of responsibility you get at the start.” Ahree Song, former extern to Judge Klein, said that she was most surprised by how accessible and approachable the judge was. Angella Yates mentioned that externing for a judge can be the first step to a post-graduate judicial clerkship. 
The event had a great turnout and was an overwhelming success. It was a truly unique opportunity for law students to hear firsthand how a judicial externship can supplement and enrich their legal education and their legal career.


From left to right: Angella D. Yates, Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Suzanne Segal, Hon. Sandra R. Klein of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, and Hon. Beverly Reid O’Connell of the U.S. District Court.

Yoga Wellness Program
by Nancy Yaffe

 Are you looking for a little inspiration?  A fun way to jump start your workouts and a healthy outlet to burn off some stress?  A motivating way to get Substance Abuse CLE credit before the January deadline?  If so, then please join me for a very special CLE at YAS Venice on Saturday afternoon, December 8th, from 1:00 – 3:00 pm.  There will be an hour of inspiration followed by an hour of yoga, both featuring YAS founder, Kimberly Fowler. 

Kimberly Fowler is a lawyer, survivor, entrepreneur, athlete, business owner, author and most important to me, a friend.  She founded YAS 12 years ago, the first studio to combine indoor cycling and yoga.  She now runs a fitness empire, including a clothing line, accessories (including super cool skull yoga mats), DVDs and books (her most recent book, Flat Belly Yoga, was just published).  As a reformed  COO and lawyer, she knows a thing or two about the rigors of law practice and business, and how to work off that stress in a productive way.  While so many lawyers turn to substances to "numb out” Kimberly will inspire you instead to take some time for you, to honor yourself.  As she likes to say "I’m not your guru, you are.”   YAS yoga is "no chanting, no granola, and no Sanskirt.”  Unlike everything else we do, there is no competition in yoga.   There is just acceptance, breath, and getting in tune with your body.  Yes, we all like wine, but we need positive outlets too.

Come hear Kimberly tell you about her own amazing life, and be inspired by the obstacles she has overcome (including growing up in a family suffering the perils of addiction, being the first in her family to go to college, and surviving a brain tumor, to name a few).  Kimberly’s life has been far from charmed or easy, yet she surpasses each challenge with grace, and keeps pushing herself to achieve new goals.  She opened YAS when Venice was a gang infested war zone, because she had a vision.  She decided she wanted to write books, and she has.  There is nothing Kimberly can’t do, and she will inspire you to be the best you can be.

Come join us on December 8th to hear about the benefits of yoga as a way to give back to yourself and then to try an hour yoga class.   Be ready, this is a real work out, but you don’t have to be fit, thin, or even to like yoga – this class is different.  And then maybe, like me, you will become a YAS devotee and find yourself making time in your super busy schedule for fitness, and most importantly, for yourself.   I hope to see you there!

Nancy Yaffe is a WLALA Member and an attorney with Fox Rothschild LLP.


Yoga Wellness Program

December 8, 2013
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

1101 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291

To register for this program, please CLICK HERE.


Meltdown in the Courts: Is Arbitration the Answer?
by Christine Page

Distinguished neutrals Hon. Joe Hilberman (Ret.), Deborah Rothman and Deborah Saxe presented a highly informative program on October 2 at the Century City office of ADR Services on the many benefits of arbitration, particularly in light of the new world order in California civil courts as a result of severe budget cuts.  Of particular interest was a  novel "dual track” suggestion whereby litigants could "maintain their  place in line” at the courthouse but submit discrete disputes to a private arbitrator, who could manage as much or as little of the case as the parties choose.

The drastic measures taken over the past three years due to extraordinary budget cuts, resulting in the closure of eight courthouses and reduction of over 750 staff positions in Los Angeles County alone, are now having a dramatic effect on the speed, efficiency, and cost of civil litigation.  Even before the budget cuts, the case management process in LASC courtrooms – except for designated complex cases – was perfunctory.  Today, judges have virtually no time to help counsel coordinate discovery or influence the timing of substantive motions or settlement discussions.  The consolidation of personal injury, collections, and other less-complex cases in a few satellite courthouse locations has left the main courthouses to handle significantly increased caseloads of high stakes, motion-intense litigation.  If the old maxim "justice delayed is justice denied” holds true, this is an excellent time for litigants to consider whether arbitration might be the better alternative for their clients.

In stark contrast to the situation in courts across California, arbitrators can devote as much time to case management as is needed at the outset of a case and at critical points along the way.  Ms. Rothman, who arbitrates through AAA, explained that "a seasoned arbitrator helps to create the blueprint for a successful resolution, whether it be in arbitration or in litigation.”  In addition to relative speed and efficiency, AAA arbitrator Deborah Saxe explained that arbitration offers decision makers with subject matter expertise, scheduling flexibility, and the opportunity for a well-managed process utilizing whatever provider rules, or combination of rules, the parties choose.

The flexibility of arbitration also allows counsel to access the arbitrator on an as-needed, when-needed basis.  Judge Hilberman, who arbitrates through ADR Services, relishes the opportunity to resolve small discovery disputes over the telephone and in real time.  Because the arbitration rules of virtually all providers do not allow wholesale discovery, arbitrators can take a more active role in helping counsel identify and prioritize critical depositions.  Ms. Saxe, who specializes in employment disputes, pointed out that even when discovery rights are guaranteed under Armendariz, arbitrators can provide great value by overseeing a discovery plan that focuses on the key issues in the dispute.

For litigants who are not operating under a pre-dispute arbitration clause, the court crisis should at least prompt consideration whether to voluntarily submit a matter to arbitration after a claim is asserted.  Counsel have the opportunity in this context to customize the arbitration rules to fit the dispute.  As Ms. Rothman pointed out, counsel can also creatively assign to arbitration discrete issues in a pending civil action in order to get a ruling on time-sensitive discovery or substantive motions or, in more complex cases, obtain case management services from a neutral who possesses both case management and subject matter expertise.  Litigants can remove the roadblocks to settlement—whether they be questions of fact or of law—by agreeing to submit a particular issue for a binding determination, followed by settlement discussions.  If they fail, the parties still have their day in court. 

Unlike the reference process which has statutory limitations and is also suffering delays due to the gate keeping responsibilities of the court, Ms. Rothman contends that the parties can set the terms and timing of their delegation to an arbitrator by simply submitting a stipulation vesting limited authority in the arbitrator, and a proposed order.  While a new concept, the idea of contracting for "concierge services” that can lighten the courts’ caseloads and provide greater efficiency is a compelling one.

Besides being an eminently flexible process, the informality of arbitration encourages congeniality among counsel, less wasteful posturing, and more focused cross-examination.  Ms. Saxe observes that litigants realize that they do not have to make tiresome objections or browbeat opposing witnesses and can trust the arbitrator to give evidence the weight it deserves.  Judge Hilberman cautioned, however, that some counsel can become too informal and relayed an extremely amusing story about an attorney who delivered a closing argument while spitting tobacco into a paper cup!

Of course, arbitration has its tradeoffs.  In return for speed and efficiency, parties give up their right to a jury trial and most grounds for appeal.  Judge Hilberman added that some counsel and parties continue to fear that arbitrators will "split the baby” or favor a repeat client. Ms. Rothman, however, referenced two statistical studies by AAA in 2001 and 2007 which disprove the myth that arbitrators routinely compromise the merits by dividing monetary awards down the middle.  As for favoring a repeat client, Judge Hilberman emphasized that neutrality is an arbitrator’s greatest value and they must make the tough decisions regardless of whether counsel or parties recommend them for the next dispute or place them on a "no hire” list circulated within a firm or other online group.  

Another concern with arbitration is the tendency of counsel to insert into the process many of the trappings of litigation so that it is no longer fast or comparatively inexpensive.  To combat this trend, the College of Commercial Arbitrators issued in 2010 written "Protocols for Expeditious, Cost-Effective Commercial Arbitration.”  Ms. Rothman, a Co-Associate Editor of the publication, explained that representatives of business, counsel, arbitrators and arbitration provider institutions joined together to evaluate the role of each stakeholder in preventing arbitration from becoming "too much like litigation.”  The Protocols set forth pragmatic guidelines for keeping the process expeditious and cost-effective.  A key component is the role of the arbitrator in actively managing and shaping the arbitration process through comprehensive case management orders, streamlined discovery, supervised pre-hearing activities, and ready availability to counsel.  These very attributes are precisely what judges are largely no longer able to provide under current budgetary constraints, and what well-trained arbitrators can do to add enormous value to counsel and parties.

In conclusion, the current court gridlock should cause litigators to reweigh the pros and cons of arbitration versus court and to explore the possibility of post-dispute agreements to send all or a portion of a dispute to arbitration.

Christine Page is Chair of WLALA’s ADR Section and an attorney, mediator, and arbitrator at Page Dispute Resolution.


Power Lunch Hosts Students from Dorsey High, Featuring District Attorney Jackie Lacey and State Senator Holly Mitchell

On September 27, 2013, WLALA and the Los Angeles Superior Court hosted a Power Lunch at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse with approximately 60 students from Dorsey High School in Southwest Los Angeles.  Many of the students in attendance had previously participated in the Court’s Teen Court Program which provides an opportunity for young people who commit non-serious crimes to be questioned, judged, and sentenced by a jury of their high school peers.  After mingling and eating lunch with the lawyers and judges in attendance, the students heard remarks from Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, a Dorsey High School alumna, as well as newly-elected State Senator Holly Mitchell, who had taken the oath of office the previous day and whose Senate District includes Dorsey High.  These political leaders spoke to the students about their professional and political journeys, the biggest challenges they faced, and the things they learned along the way.  At the conclusion of each speaker’s remarks, they each took questions from the students.  The program ended with brief remarks by each of the attorney and judicial volunteers in the audience, who provided additional wisdom and insight to the students about the judicial system and their respective career paths. 

WLALA Fall Golf League - October 5, 2013


Improv for Lawyers Program

On October 8, 2013, WLALA Administrative Assistant Lindsay Audette and guest instructor, Brett Herman, taught a workshop about the basics of improv and comedy and how to apply them to your career.  A wide variety of ladies came out to participate from all ages and practice areas, including several ladies new to WLALA!  Throughout the night, Lindsay and Brett took the group through several exercises and games to help them to get out of their heads and think outside the box.  The progress made in just two hours was outstanding; some ladies came out of their shell and overcame their shyness, some found talents they didn’t know they had, others found their funny bone, and everyone learned how to apply the basic laws of improv to their law career:  Most importantly it was a BLAST! 

Stay tuned for the date of the next Improv for Lawyers event!



SCGA’s Youth on Course and WLALA’s Golf League

On October 19th, WLALA’s Golf League met with girls from SCGA’s Youth on Course to play golf together followed by lunch and an hour program about careers in the legal field.  The event was a huge success and the girls had a marvelous time!



Downtown Career Mentoring Circle Dinner - October 9, 2013

WLALA’s October 9, 2013 mentoring circle dinner for lawyers was a fabulous success for mentors and mentees alike.  For more information, contact the Career Mentoring Committee Co-Chairs Jeanne "Gigi” Wanlass (Westside dinners) at and Cathy Ostiller (downtown dinners) at


2013 CWL Annual Dinner 

DWC Gala - October 3, 2013

"Dinner with a Cause” 

WLALA President Anne Tremblay, WLALA Past President and
Board Member Kathy Forster, WLALA Past President Angela S. Haskins,
Christine Smith, and WLALA Past President Judith Seeds Miller.



WLALA Litigation Section Happy Hour

November 5, 2013
5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Library Bar
630 W. 6th Street, Suite 116-A
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Casual gathering for those interesting in networking with other section members.

For more information, please CLICK HERE.


Brooks Brothers Event to Benefit WLALA

November 14, 2013
6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Brooks Brothers Beverly Hills
468 North Rodeo Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Join us for an evening of cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and shopping to benefit WLALA.

Enjoy 15% off all purchases!  10% of all sales will benefit WLALA!!

For more information or to register for this event, please CLICK HERE.


WLALA Holiday Reception Save the Date!

December 4, 2013

City Club
555 Flower, 51st Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90071 


Third Annual Jewish Women’s Conference - Southern California

November 3, 2013

Covel Commons
Los Angeles, CA

Keynote Speakers are Sandra Fluke and Dr. Cheryl Saban

For more information or to register, please CLICK HERE.


The National Association of Women Lawyers'
9th Annual General Counsel Institute (GCI)  

November 7-8, 2013

Intercontinental New York
Times Square
New York, NY

GCI is a cutting edge program for in-house counsel from across the nation and from diverse employers - corporations, non-profits, government, academia and the military.  It provides a unique opportunity for in-house attorneys to share experiences in an intimate and collegial atmosphere, and to continue to learn through select topics relevant to in-house counsel. 

This year‘s theme is Resilience: Thriving as In-House Counsel in Changing Legal and Business Landscapes and is focused on the legal and management challenges that women in-house lawyers face.   Your members will hear from extraordinary Keynote Speakers -- Michelle Banks, the current Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Chief Compliance Officer of Gap Inc. -- and Liz Murray, author of the New York Times bestseller Breaking Night:  A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from  Homeless to Harvard.  A number of CLE break-out sessions will also be available, dealing with such topics as understanding the implications of technology and the digital age on the workplace, bullying in the workplace, becoming an expert generalist and navigating the practice of law in a multijurisdictional world. 

WLALA members will receive a 10% discount on registration.  Enter code GCI9COSPONSOR when registering to apply the discount.

For more information or to register, please CLICK HERE.


"Run For Her" 5K

For the first year, the Women's Law Association of USC is bringing a team to the November 10 "Run For Her" 5K in Beverly Hills.  We would be thrilled for anyone with WLALA to come, walk, walk/run, or even race with us for this benefit towards ovarian cancer research!  To make it interesting, were are holding a competition between LLMs, 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls, faculty/staff, and local firms to see who can bring the most runners and raise the most funds.  What a great way to get rid of your stress!  Couch to 5Kers, sleep-walkers (who cannot attend the event that day), friends, and family are all welcome!  

To register, sign up on our page at  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact WLALA’s USC Student Liaison, Paige Smith ( Although you may register the day-of, we ask that you register as soon as possible so that we can help coordinate transportation.


Working to Help Women

November 13, 2013

USC Gould School of Law
Room 1
699 Exposition Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90069

WLA and PILF are co-hosting an important panel featuring devoted public interest attorneys who work on legal issues that primarily or solely affect women. These talented attorneys have dedicated their legal careers to advocating for women, and will be providing insight into the legal issues that women encounter, as well as the work they and their agencies have done to protect and enforce women's rights. 

The panel will feature:
Vicky Barker, Legal Director of the California Women's Law Center

Melissa Tyner, Senior Staff Attorney at Inner City Law Center

Sara Van Hofwegen, Staff Attorney at The Coalition to Abolish Slavery &

Trafficking (CAST) 

Lunch will be served.  Please RSVP to


Community Threads

November 14, 2013
4:00 — 6:00 p.m.

MADE by DWC Resale Boutique
325 Los Angeles Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Join the Downtown Women's Center and Yarn Bombing Los Angeles for a special private reception at the MADE by DWC Resale Boutique.

Guests will have a first look at the collaborative art installation adorning our Residence and hear about our new Jobs Partners Circle!

Learn about DWC's job-readiness programs for homeless women, offered through our unique social enterprises. Learn more about how our community of supporters empowers women on Skid Row -- and how you can get involved.

To register, please CLICK HERE.


The Breakfast Club


November 15, 2013
8:00 — 9:00 a.m.

Occidental College
1600 Campus Road, Lower Herrick (Herrick Chapel)
Los Angeles, CA 90041

Please join Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez for a continental breakfast and torelax, dine, and talk about issues impacting California from an insider’sperspective with Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, California Supreme Court.

To RSVP, please call Aaron Keshishian at (213) 483-5151 or email


Pepperdine University School of Law
Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution 

November 15-16, 2013

Pepperdine University
24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263

Women in Hollywood: 100 Years of Negotiating the System is intended to focus on the special issues and challenges facing women individually and collectively in the entertainment industry.

The program will:

  • Underline and draw lessons from the lives of women like Mary Pickford,  Frances Marion, Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland and others who successfully "negotiated the system," or strove to improve opportunities for themselves and others;
  • Provide critical guidance for women in managing conflicts and relationships in their careers and personal lives;
  • Help identify sources of resistance to greater opportunities for women and set a collective action agenda aimed at altering the landscape for the next wave of women in the entertainment industry.

Approved for 12 hours of MCLE credit

WLALA members get $75 off the ticket price!

For more information please visit: or contact Lori Rushford at


California Women Law Center
Distinguished Speaker Series

November 19, 2013
5:30p.m. - Reception
6:30p.m. - Program followed by Q&A

Gensler Architects
500 S. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Erwin Chemerinsky

"Women’s Rights and the Robert’s Court”

CWLC is excited to welcome constitutional law and civil rights expert Erwin Chemerinsky to Gensler's downtown Los Angeles headquarters.  Chemerinsky is founding Dean and Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law, at the University of California, Irvine School of Law.  

For more information or to register, please CLICK HERE.


Institute for Corporate Counsel

December 3, 2013

California Club
538 S. Flower Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Speakers include former Governor Pete Wilson, California Speaker of the Assembly John Perez, LA City Attorney Mike Feuer, the Hon. William Highberger, former members of the U.S. Solicitor General’s office and the general counsel of  USC, Occidental Petroleum, Toyota Motor Sales and Sourcefire. 

5.5 MCLE and CPE credit hours available.

To register or sign up to sponsor, CLICK HERE.  



WLALA Membership is FREE for Law Students and New Admittees!



 Of Interest

"Moms More Exhausted Than Dads At Work, study says” - LA Times 

" Four Executives on Succeeding in Business as a Woman” - NY Times


Member News  

WLALA Members Christine Masters, Hon. Patricia L. Collins (Ret.), Jan Frankel Schau, Janet Rubin Fields, Hon. Joe Hilberman (Ret.), Jeff Kichaven and Hon. Arnold Gold (Ret.) were named in the Los Angeles Daily Journal’s Top 50 Neutrals List for 2013.  Congratulations! 

On October 21, 2013, WLALA Board member, Hon. Sandra R. Klein, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge, WLALA Board member, Hon. Beverly Reid O'Connell, U.S. District Judge, and WLALA member, Hon. Suzanne Segal, U.S. Magistrate Judge, spoke at Loyola Law School about the benefits of externing in a judge's chambers. Thank you to our esteemed judiciary members!

WLALA Secretary and Treasurer Amy Brantly to lead Goldberg Lowenstein & Weatherwax LLP’s Antitrust and Unfair Competition Group along with Trevor Stockinger and David Kesselman.  Congratulations, Amy!

WLALA Foundation Board Member, Sarah de Diego was recently installed as chair of the CA State Bar's Cyberspace Law Committee. Congratulations, Sarah!

WLALA Board Member Noelle Natoli-Duffy, chair of Foley & Mansfield's Transportation Law Group, will be a panelist at the November 8, 2013 Transportation Law Institute. Her panel’s program, entitled "Do You Wanna Dance?: Waltzing Around Ethical Obligations to the Driver, the Company, and the Carrier" will address the balancing act attorneys face in handling scenarios in which the driver or the company allegedly committed criminal acts or regulatory violations, the ethical considerations attorneys face in communicating with the clients and the carriers, and achieving resolutions. Congratulations, Noelle!

WLALA Board Member Kelly Hanker has recently changed firms.  She is now an attorney with Littler Mendelson.  Congratulations, Kelly!

In October, WLALA Board Member Jessica Kronstadt joined the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office as a Deputy District Attorney.

WLALA Member and frequent newsletter contributor Cynthia R. Cohen, Ph.D attended the ABA Section of Litigation’s leadership conference September 26-28 in Chicago, IL.  Dr. Cohen is Vice Chair of the Section’s Trial Practice Committee where she assists in developing CLE programs, increasing committee membership, and publishing articles.  Congratulations, Cynthia!

WLALA Member Jan Frankel Schau's article, "Explore the subtleties and styles of mediation," was published in the Los Angeles Daily Journal on September 27, 2013.  Congratulations, Jan!


New Members

Nicole Aaronson, Sabira Abdulhameed, Karen Aguilar, Karin Borzakian, Christina Campbell, Dorothy Chang, Allison Cheung, Karen Cynn, Pamela Dansby-Darden, Chanel DiBlasi, Gina Marie Durham, Lisa Freeman, Sarah Goldgar, Xinia Guerra, Andrea Gunadi, Madison Hamile, Vanessa Herzog, Shoshee Jau, Priscila Kasha, Jennifer Kim, Susanna Kim, Jennifer Klem, Kristen Lee, Capri Maddox, Jenecia Martinez, Susan Mavian, Sadara Mayhan, Molly McKibben, Michelle Miller, April Navarro, Ann O’Brien, Dorsa Peykar, Lacey Rainwater, Sandhya Ramadas, Alice Reeb, Armelle Rose, Michelle Rosenberg, Yvonne Schulte, Cortni Shipley, Anne Stewart, Elizabeth Waller, Cecilia Wang, Amy Williams, Kristy Wong, Lauren Youngman


WLALA Job Bank 

Did you know that your WLALA membership allows you to access the WLALA Job Bank? The Job Bank has employment opportunities from different non-profit organizations and law firms. To view the WLALA Job Bank, please CLICK HERE.
WLALA Member Discounts
Did you know your WLALA membership comes with opportunities for discounts on everything from deposition services to dry cleaning? To view our current member discounts, please CLICK HERE.

WLALA Calendar of Events
To view the WLALA’s Calendar, please CLICK HERE.
Local Bar Calendar of Events
To view the Calendar of Events for local bar organizations, please CLICK HERE.

Thank You To This Month’s Sponsor


 The WLALA newsletter is a publication of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles.  Contents do not necessarily reflect the views of WLALA. To advertise and for rates, contact the WLALA Office at (213) 892-8982. The newsletter welcomes articles, submissions and information about our members’ activities. For information about submissions to the WLALA newsletter, please contact Heather E. Stern at

Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles
634 South Spring Street, Suite 617
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Phone: (213) 892-8982