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Awards Presented at Annual Membership Luncheon on December 15

December 15, 2011 – San Francisco The following awards were presented at The Bar Association of San Francisco’s Annual Membership Luncheon and Installation of Officers on December 15. Awards were presented to members who have made significant contributions to BASF and its new attorney division, the Barristers Club. BASF’s 2012 President Kelly Dermody was installed as the association’s 99th President at the luncheon.

The following 2011 BASF Award of Merit recipients all made unique and critical contributions to BASF’s efforts to address the crisis in court funding for the San Francisco Superior Court and for all courts in our state.  As a part of that effort, BASF issued a call to action to the members of our bar and created a court funding task force, consisting of three separate working groups in the areas of Judicial Council, Legislative Action, and Litigation, to harness the talent and energy of the hundreds of BASF members — including over 70 managing partners within our BASF law firm community — who immediately expressed a desire to help. While many members of BASF participated actively in this effort, the following task force members were among our most active members working to ensure that our courts receive adequate funding for all critical services and that this third branch of government remain strong and independent: 

Stuart Gordon, Gordon & Rees LLP
Stuart Gordon was instrumental in bringing together the attorneys who practice regularly in the complex departments to raise awareness of the dire consequences to San Francisco and California as a whole of the dismantling of complex services in our courts due to funding cuts.  Stu’s unique and trusted relationship among judges and court personnel across the court system, and his very active participation in all strategy sessions with BASF, facilitated forward momentum to a solution throughout the process.

Clothilde Hewlett, Nossaman LLP
As the court funding task force member most knowledgeable about Sacramento politics, Cloey Hewlett was instrumental in assisting BASF in understanding the legislative challenges and realities in the current funding crisis.  Leveraging her critical insider knowledge of Sacramento, Cloey also spearheaded meetings between BASF and key legislators to discuss strategies to assist the courts with funding going forward.

Niall McCarthy, Cotchett Pitre & McCarthy LLP
Niall McCarthy was a critical player in the court funding process, and was instrumental in bringing together sister bar associations to work collaboratively with BASF in securing a proposed financial solution to the immediate court funding crisis in San Francisco. Niall’s longstanding experience in statewide court funding battles and his think-outside-the-box approach were essential to identifying a compromise proposal.

Blanca Young, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP
Blanca Young was instrumental in developing the research and providing the analysis on revenue generation that BASF advocated before the California Judicial Council. She provided clear and concise guidance on a complicated revenue proposal whereby local courts could generate fees in fiscal emergency situations with the Judicial Council’s consent.  While the council did not reach consensus in favor of this specific proposal, the dialogue it generated set the stage for a court funding resolution for San Francisco.

The following 2011 BASF Award of Merit recipients were immensely helpful in providing leadership, guidance, and/or pro bono legal services to assist us through the process of merging BASF’s two 501(c)(3) charitable organizations, the BASF Foundation and the Volunteer Legal Services Program:

Barry Abbott, Arnold & Porter
A mainstay pro bono counsel to The Bar Association of San Francisco, Barry Abbott has provided hundreds of hours assisting the bar’s current leadership and the Blue Ribbon Committee of former bar leaders in assessing the strategic positioning of the bar’s structure.  Barry also provided critical pro bono legal services to assist our charitable organizations in completing their merger in November of this year. He was also a key participant in BASF’s plebiscite vote for San Francisco District Attorney.

Rob Wexler, Adler & Colvin
Rob Wexler likewise has been a mainstay pro bono counsel to the Volunteer Legal Services Program (VLSP) and has provided substantial pro bono hours this year, as well as in previous years, assisting VLSP in its efforts to ensure the longevity of all VLSP programs. Rob carefully vetted the merger between VLSP and the BASF Foundation to ensure the merger would not threaten VLSP’s proud mission of providing direct legal services to low income San Franciscans, to which VLSP is 100% committed to continuing.

Richard Zitrin, Carlson, Calladine & Peterson LLP
Richard Zitrin was an invaluable resource in assisting BASF, VLSP, and the Blue Ribbon Committee in their efforts to ensure the longevity of all Volunteer Legal Services Programs during this time of financial strain across all nonprofits. In particular, Richard brought his experience as a longstanding volunteer and funder of the Homeless Advocacy Project to assist the strategic analysis and ensure that support for the most vulnerable of our residents continues to be a central focus of the bar.

BASF’s final Award of Merit went to a member of our bar whose commitment to our diversity pipeline programs inspired many others, including in-house counsel, to participate actively in diversity fundraising:

Ted Borromeo, McKesson Corporation
Ted Borromeo served on the BASF Putting for the Pipeline golf tournament committee this year and was very proactive in helping to publicize the event and in getting other in-house counsel to play in and/or attend the event.  Ted’s efforts have had a great impact on this year’s tournament resulting in BASF having the largest number of players than ever before and in BASF exceeding its revenue goal for this tournament with an increased number of corporate counsel involved. 

The Barrister of the Year award is given to members in recognition of outstanding contributions to the life of the club, commitment to the ideals of legal justice and professional excellence, promotion of the club’s role in the legal community, leadership within the organization and motivation of other volunteers.

Kaelyn Romey, Office of Chief Counsel for IRS
Kaelyn Romey, an attorney with the Treasury Department, is being recognized by the Barristers Club for her outstanding leadership and service in 2011, as well as her long history of exceptional service to the club.  Kaelyn is a former Barristers board member and officer (serving an extra year of her term as Treasurer), chaired  the Taxation Section and the Social Events and Networking Committee, and created the Barristers’ Crystal Ball. Kaelyn also coaches for the Mock Trial Program and serves on the annual charity golf tournament committee.

The Community Partner Award was presented to Revolution Prep.

Revolution Prep was started with a vision to transform education and provide the highest quality instruction to all students, regardless of their ability to pay. Revolution Prep has been a critically important partner with the School-To-College program since 2006. During that time, more than 200 students have taken advantage of deeply discounted rates for their six-week SAT prep course.

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