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BASF Announces Awards of Merit and Barristers of the Year Recipients

Awards to be presented at Annual Luncheon on December 19

December 4, 2007
-- The Bar Association of San Francisco will honor nine of its members who have made significant contributions to BASF, its Barristers Club and the legal community at its Annual Luncheon on December 19.

Michael A. Kelly , Walkup, Melodia, Kelly, Wecht & Schoenberger LLP , orchestrated a 2½ day Juvenile Trial Advocacy Clinic for 32 juvenile practitioners. The National Institute of Trial Advocacy co-sponsored the event and provided invaluable assistance and materials.

Kathi Pugh , Morrison & Foerster, LLP and Betsy Johnsen , Law Offices of Betsy Johnsen, are co-chairs of the Disability Rights Subcommittee of the Equality Committee. Pugh and Johnsen spent hours configuring a well-attended conference on Hiring and Retaining Lawyers with Disabilities. The program was videotaped and will be distributed to firms in San Francisco and nationally.

Jim Fowler , Bingham McCutchen, LLP, represented BASF in lease negotiations that resulted in a significant cost-savings for the  organization in addition to a very generous move package. This is a second award for Fowler who negotiated BASF's lease ten years ago.

Kelly Dermody , Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein , LLP , and L. Julius M. Turman , Morgan Lewis & Bockius, LLP, brought together leaders in the LGBT legal community to forge a comprehensive policy that will guide legal employers in their hiring and retention practices for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender attorneys and legal professionals.

Amitai Schwartz , Law Offices of Amitai Schwartz, is a three-time recipient of the Award of Merit. He has co-chaired the Amicus Curiae Committee with Fred Altshuler for over 15 years. This year he filed an amicus brief with the California Supreme Court on behalf of BASF to assist in their discussion of gay marriage.

Sara G. Noel , Akin Gump Strauss Hauer Feld LLP, and Rachel A. Catt , The Law Office of Rachel A. Catt, will both be honored with the Barrister of the Year award for their dedication to the Club.

Noel is active in the Law Academy Mentoring Committee, she currently serves as Vice Chair and she also participated in the 2007 Conference of Delegates.

Catt has been active in the Barristers Family Law section for a number of years and recently completed her term as chair. In that capacity she completely revitalized the section in just one year.

The awards will be presented at the Annual Luncheon on December 19 at the St. Francis Hotel.

Registration is available online at

The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) is a nonprofit voluntary membership organization of over 8,000 attorneys, law students and legal professionals in the Bay Area. Founded in 1872, BASF is one of the largest and most dynamic metropolitan bar associations in the U.S., with a long and distinguished record of community action, public service and service to the legal profession.

Questions about media relations, BASF issues currently in the news, San Francisco Attorney magazine, marketing and communications:

Ann Murphy, Director of Communications & Public Relations
(415) 782-9000 x8792

For general communications inquiries:

Sayre Happich, Assistant Director of Communications & Public Relations
(415) 782-9000 x8104