Hispanic Bar Association of Orange County

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Vol. 2011, No. 3
In this issue...
Community Calendar & News
Job/Volunteer Opportunities
March 11, 2011

A "Thank You" Note From The President

By: Genoveva Meza Talbott

Genoveva Meza Talbott
As many of you know, last Saturday, March 5th, the HBA celebrated its 33rd Annual Installation Dinner & Scholarship Fundraiser at the Fairmont Newport Beach.  To those that joined in the evening's festivities or supported the dinner in any way, THANK YOU again for "Investing in Tomorrow."  By my account, it was a success and a great time was had by all.  If you haven't visited the website since the dinner, photographs from the dinner can be found in our Photo Gallery.  

I also want to THANK everyone that attended the 65th Anniversary Commemoration Session of the landmark Orange County civil rights case, Mendez, et al vs. Westminster School District, et al at the US District Court on February 18th.  It was a proud moment for the HBA.

I look forward to the next 10 months. Stay tuned for information about upcoming events, including our "sold out" CLE Trip to Belize in May, and our new Mentoring Program, which we announced at the Dinner.
THANK YOU again for your support.

Annual Dinner Hailed As A Success

The HBA's 33rd Annual Installation Dinner & Scholarship Fundraiser was held on Saturday, March 5, 2011 at the Fairmont in Newport Beach. "We showed our community that we're investing in the future and that future is today," said HBA President Genoveva Meza Talbott, repeating the dinner's slogan, whose commitments were mirrored by the evening's installations and awards.

After U.S. District Court Andrew Guilford swore-in the 2011 HBA Board, 2008 President Norma Garcia Guillen, of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, introduced President Talbott, who took the stage and spoke about the group's commitment to education. That commitment was reflected first and foremost in the three $5,000 law school Wally Davis Scholarships presented to Francisco Balderrama of UCI School of Law; and Rosa Noyola and Leticia Ramirez of the UCLA School of Law.

The commitment also was reflected in the choice of honorees for the Guardián de Justicia Award, which was given to the legal team that defeated a challenge to a state law that makes it easier for undocumented students to attend public colleges and universities in California. That team includes include Julie Weng-Gutierrez, supervising deputy attorney general; Andrea M. Gunn, Office of General Counsel, California State University; and Ethan P. Schulman, Crowell & Moring LLP. "Just as the Mendez decision knocked down legal barriers to allow marginalized Latinos to pursue their educations 65 years ago, the Martinez decision is safeguarding opportunity today," said Pres. Talbott.

Everyone in attendance in the Bay Laurel Ballroom leapt to their feet when Dolores Huerta took to the stage to accept the Hon. Francisco Briseńo Lifetime Achievement Award. Ms. Huerta, of course, is the co-founder of the United Farm Workers (along with the legendary Cesar Chávez) and local luminary Federico Sayre was honored as attorney of the year this weekend by the Orange County Hispanic Bar Association. Google was honored for corporate citizenship.

The dinner format was different this year and included not only a silent auction, but also a live rowdy live auction, which brought up the energy level. The festivities were preceded with the traditional VIP reception and were followed by a Post-Dinner Reception sponsored by American Honda Motor Company. A honoree luncheon was hosted the day before the dinner by the Napa Rose Restaurant in Disney's Grand California Hotel.

"The HBA is very grateful to the generous support of our sponsors," said Pres. Talbott. This year's supporters were the following sponsors. Gold: Crowell & Moring. Silver: Jones Day. Post Dinner Reception: Honda Motor Company. Bronze: Aitken Aitken & Cohn, Alvarado Smith, Berman More González, The Irvine Company, Latham & Watkins, Sedgwick Detert Moran & Arnold, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, The Walt Disney Co./Disneyland Resort, Trinity International University, Waldron & Bragg, and Western State University College of Law. Supporters: Aon, Banco Popular North America, Chapman University School of Law, Judicate West, Law Office of Martin Fontes/Law Office of Lyo Figueroa, Malcolm & Cisneros, Sayre & Levitt, Snell & Wilmer, Talbott + Kim and Troutman Sanders.

Table Sponsors: Hispanic Education Endowment Fund, Mexican American Bar Association, and City of Santa Ana. Flowers: JAMS - The Resolution Experts. Tequila: President-Elect José González.
The Post-Dinner Reception was sponsored by American Honda Motor Company
Silent auction
Many contributed to the event's silent auction
Annual MCLE Trip To Belize  - SOLD OUT! -

Belize The HBA's 2011 Annual Memorial Day MCLE Travel Seminar to Ambergris Caye, Belize, has officially sold out, according to trip committee vice chairs José González and Carlos X. Colorado. Festival Travel, which has successfully organized the HBA's annual trips for many years, scrambled to find additional space to accommodate the demand. "We can probably make room for one or two more if they're interested," said González.

The HBA is taking in the English-speaking Central American for a 5 day/4 night excursion from May 26 - 30, 2011. The initial block provided for 60 travelers, but with those seats sold out, Robert White of Festival Travel is securing an additional ten spots, González explained. Popular with divers for its pristine waters, including its quarter mile diameter "Blue Hole," its official English language and peaceful history, Belize was chosen after an HBA survey revealed it to be the preferred destination from among various options. "Belize was the preferred choice, so we are only giving our members what they asked for," said González.

Having successfully completed the marketing phase of the trip planning, the trip committee turns its attention next to putting together the discussion panels that will provide trip attendees eight hours of MCLE credit. "In all of our trips, which have included destinations such as Huatulco, Mexico and Quepos, Costa Rica, we pride ourselves in providing seminars that match the mesmerizing qualities of our destinations," González said, "and this year is no different, as we have lined up retiring California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno to be our headline panelist, followed by many other exciting speakers and topics." González explained that the organization of the panels is a work in progress whose details will be revealed in the near future. "We are extremely excited about our trip."

Meet The HBA Board: Lyo Figueroa
Lyo Figueroa

By Kristen Lara Myers *


With the departure of several directors whose terms had expired, Lyo Figueroa was recently elected to the board of the HBA. He brings with him great enthusiasm for advancing the HBA's role as a leader in promoting diversity within the legal community and as a resource for Hispanic youth to learn more about the practice of law.

"As co-chair of the mentorship committee, I am working on re-launching a mentoring program that would help connect Hispanic high school, college, and law students to the HBA. The mentoring program will be a great opportunity for HBA members to inspire and encourage Hispanic youth and aspiring attorneys."

Prior to his appointment, Figueroa attended numerous HBA functions and assisted the program committee in planning last year's end of summer mixer. He has been a member of the HBA since law school. This year, he co-chairs the mentorship committee and serves on the program committee as well as the social issues committee. "I am really proud that I am now part of the HBA Board to help contribute to the continued success and implementation of various programs throughout the year."

Figueroa is a sole practitioner whose offices are located in Santa Ana, CA. His practice centers on business litigation, corporate transactional work, and labor and employment matters.

He received his Bachelors of Arts degree from the University of California at Irvine. He received his Juris Doctor from Whittier Law School. He serves on the Public Law Center's Eviction Defense Panel to help low income Orange County residents defend against unlawful detainers. He also serves on the Orange County Bar Association's community outreach committee.

In addition to running his law practice, participating in pro bono legal work, and serving on the HBA board, he and his wife are raising their three-year-old son, Brandon, and are expecting their second child, a daughter, in May.

He will be officially installed as a board member at the HBA's annual scholarship fundraising dinner on March 5, 2011. "I have gone to the HBA's installation dinners for the last couple of years. I have always been impressed with the way the HBA has organized the event. Last year's dinner was no exception-it was a perfect blend of elegance and entertainment while raising money for a great cause. I am really looking forward to this year's event."

The HBA proudly welcomes Lyo Figueroa to the board of directors.

* Kristen Lara Myers is a Housing & Homelessness Attorney for the Public Law Center, and a member of the HBA board of directors. Ms. Myers received her JD from Loyola Law School.
HBA Co-Sponsors Historic 65th Anniversary Mendez Commemoration
By Kristen Zierhut *

"A paramount requisite in the American system of public education is social equality. Separate but equal has no place in education." These words resonated in the courtroom while hundreds of people watched a rousing panel discussion on the 65th anniversary of the landmark case Mendez Et Al Vs. Westminster School District, Et Al on Friday, February 18, 2011. Judge Frederick Aguirre, and Dean Erwin Chemerinsky were among the 357 people who attended the commemoration of the historic decision at the Ronald Reagan Federal Building, filling three courtrooms and a staff break room of the Santa Ana facilities, as well as live feeds in the downtown L.A. and Riverside court houses.

The day started with friendly banter, and a great opportunity to rub shoulders with luminaries from the Orange County legal community and discuss the historical significance of this case.

Once everyone was seated the crowd recited the pledge of allegiance followed by a rousing rendition of our National Anthem. There was a sense of patriotism and real tradition in the courtroom. People of all nationalities and ages were represented at the event. It was easy to see how this decision profoundly affected the lives of many, coming together to celebrate a moment in the nation's history that reflected the principles of justice that founded this country being carried out.

The Mendez decision held that the segregation of Mexicans and Mexican American students into separate "Mexican Schools" was unconstitutional. Governor Earl Warren who later became Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court signed into law the repeal of the remaining statutes in California that promoted segregation, including segregation that affected persons of Chinese, Japanese, or Mongolian parentage. This case paved the way for decisions such as Brown vs. Board of Education, where CJ Warren wrote that "separate but equal" schools were unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause within the 14th Amendment.

On February 15,2011 President Barack Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Sylvia Mendez the daughter of Gonzolo Mendez a Plaintiff in the historic case. Sylvia Mendez was the pupil who was denied admission who formed the basis for the suit to be filed. Sylvia is an active participate in the OCHBA and an inspiration.

Among those in attendance were U.S. District Court Judges Jay C. Ghandi, Robert N. Block, Cormac J. Carney, David O. Carter, Andrew J. Guilford, Philip S. Gutierrez, Terry J. Hatter Jr., James V. Selna, Josephine Staton Tucker, Alicemarie H. Stotler; Justices Richard Aronson and John Zebrowski; California Court of Appeals Judges William W. Bedsworth, Richard D. Fybel, Eileen C. Moore, Kathleen R. O'Leary, and Manuel A. Ramirez; Chief Judge Audrey B. Collins; Superior Court of California Judges Frederick P. Aguirre, Deborah J. Chuang, Jorge C. Hernandez, James P. Marion, Loren Miler Jr., Robin Miller Sloan, Eleanor M. Palk, James O. Perez, Gregory Munoz, Salvador Sarmiento, Scott C. Clarkson, Robert Kwan, Patricia Collins, James P. Gray, Gale P. Hickman, and John C. Woolley.

* Kristen Zierhut is a May 2012 Juris Doctor Candidate at Western State University College of Law.
Community Calendar & News
'Community Calendar & News' is a courtesy bulletin board service provided by the HBA to its community partners.  The posters of these bulletins, not the HBA, are solely responsible for their content.  Unless otherwise noted, by publishing these billboard posts, the HBA does not endorse the views, services, products, causes, or candidates referenced therein.
OCAABA Courtroon Series
April 6, 2011 at 12 noon
Department CX-105, 751 W. Santa Ana Boulevard, Santa Ana

OCAABA is sponsoring a Brown Bag Program with Complex Civil Judges Gail Andler, Ronald Bauer, Kim G. Dunning, Nancy Wieben Stock and David Velasquez. Come and meet the five complex civil judges and ask questions about the Court and its procedures. Feel free to bring your own lunch RSVP to ocaaba@gmail.com
OCJBA MCLE: "Legal Barbarism In Nazi Germany: Lessons For Today" 
Thursday March 10, 2011 starting at 5:30 p.m.
The Hyatt Irvine, 17900 Jamboree Road

Speakers: Joe Dunn, Executive Director Of The California State Bar And Former State Senator. Justice Richard D. Fybel, Court Of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District. Professor Michael J. Bazyler, Professor Of Law And The "1939" Club Law Scholar In Holocaust And Human Rights Studies Chapman University School Of Law. Event Qualifies For 1 Mcle Credit For Bias. $95.00 General Admission* $55.00 Active and Retired Judicial Officers $55.00 Law Students. Tickets are only sold in advance.

For information, please contact Jordon P. Steinber: jsteinberg@minyardmorris.com or (949) 724-1111.
DRI Law Student Diversity Scholarship

DRI announces its annual Law Student Diversity Scholarship program open to incoming second- and third-year African American, Hispanic, Asian, Pan Asian and Native American students. Incoming second- and third-year female law students are also eligible, regardless of race or ethnicity. Incoming second- and third-year law students who also come from backgrounds that would add to the cause of diversity, regardless of race or gender are eligible to apply. Students who are members of the American Association for Justice (AAJ), law school or law student members of AAJ or students otherwise affiliated with or employed by AAJ are not eligible for DRI Law Student Diversity Scholarships. To qualify for this scholarship, a candidate must be a full-time student or evening student who has completed two-thirds or more of the total credit hours requirement for a degree by the applicant's law school. The goal of these scholarships is to provide financial assistance to two worthy law students from ABA accredited law schools in order to promote, in a tangible way, the DRI Diversity Statement of Principle.

Two scholarships in the amount of $10,000 each will be awarded to applicants who best meet the following criteria:
  • Demonstrated academic excellence
  • Service to the profession
  • Service to the community
  • Service to the cause of diversity
Download the Law Student Diversity Application for complete details.
Legal Aid Society of Orange County (LASOC) is hosting a weekly clinic every Thursday afternoon for Legal Genie

Legal Aid Society of Orange County (LASOC) is hosting a weekly clinic every Thursday afternoon for Legal Genie, a simple, affordable, and reliable online legal document preparation service for self-represented middle-income litigants who do not qualify for legal aid but cannot afford to hire an attorney. Legal Genie not only asks questions in a straightforward manner and completes the necessary legal documents about Family Law and Bankruptcy/Chapter 7 based on the client's answers, but also connects the client to LASOC's panel of attorneys who will review the documents and give one-on-one consultations by telephone.
Clients are invited to use Legal Genie on LASOC computers during the clinic, and staff will be available to assist with any questions about the service.  For more information, visit www.legalgenie.com or call (714) 489-2719.  By appointment only.
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Snell & WilmerTalbott + KimTroutman Sanders LLP