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The Bar Association of San Francisco’s Justice & Diversity Center Honors Outstanding Legal Services and Diversity Educational Program Volunteers

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye was on hand to present awards


April 16, 2013 -- San Francisco -- The Bar Association of San Francisco’s (BASF) Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) celebrated its most exceptional volunteers at its annual Appreciation Party on April 15.
More than 200 people were in attendance at the event, which was held at the Louis B. Mayer Lounge at UC Hastings College of the Law. Volunteers with JDC’s Legal Services and Diversity Educational Program were honored.

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, California Supreme Court; Judge Charlotte Walter Woolard, San Francisco Superior Court; Judge Ronald Quidachay, San Francisco Superior Court; Judge Claudia Wilken,  U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California; Judge Edward M. Chen, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California; Presiding Judge Cynthia Ming-mei Lee, San Francisco Superior Court; and BASF President Christopher Kearney, Keker & Van Nest, were on hand to pass out the awards.

The top 10 percent of JDC’s Pro Bono Legal Services Program volunteers were honored with Outstanding Volunteer in Public Service certificates. They also recognized three individual volunteers, a law firm and a corporation with special awards. The Diversity Educational Program also honored volunteers.

The James P. Preovolos Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Services in Family Law was presented to Yasmine Mehmet. Mehmet, a solo practitioner, is a certified family law specialist who has been a volunteer with the JDC since 1998 and since then has assisted clients in almost 90 cases

The 2012 Housing Justice Award was presented to Ciaran O’Sullivan. In 2012 he worked on five full scope cases and also volunteered with the JDC’s Housing Negotiation Project. 

The 2012 Outstanding Law Firm in Public Service Award was presented to Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. In 2012, the firm’s attorneys volunteered with JDC in a wide range of areas including its Housing Negotiation Project; Community Organization Representation Project (CORP); and Medical-Legal Collaborative.

In addition to its pro bono legal services work, Pillsbury also coached and financially sponsored a JDC Mock Trial team and is a supporter of JDC’s Right to Civil Counsel Pilot Program.

The AT&T Legal Department was honored with the Outstanding Corporation in Public Service Award. AT&T contributes both financially and through pro bono services to JDC’s Legal Services Program. The financial support for JDC’s eviction defense project allowed JDC to hire a law student for research and they contributed to the Bay Area Minority Law Student Scholarship program.  AT&T Legal Department attorneys have taken on business law matters for nonprofit organizations through CORP.

The Community Service Award was presented to law student Rebecca Palm for her exceptional commitment to pro bono work.  During her first year at UC Hastings College of the Law, Palm began to volunteer with Homeless Legal Services (HLS), an innovative collaboration between JDC, UC Hastings and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.   Palm is on track to log more than 400 pro bono hours before she graduates this spring, an all-time record for student pro bono at UC Hastings. 

The following volunteers were honored for their dedication and leadership in support of the JDC’s Mock Trial program. These volunteers served as the captains of the eight high school teams that participated in the Mock Trial competition: Elena Babinecz, K&L Gates; Leanne Hartmann, K&L Gates; Matthew Yan, Moscone Emblidge & Sater; Wesley Spowhn, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman; Suzanna Brickman, Morrison & Foerster; John Hamasaki, Hamasaki Law; Lauren Charneski, Jones Day; Sigrid Irias, Sedgwick LLP; Susan Soong, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit; Doris Cheng, Walkup Melodia Kelly & Schoenberger; Deborah Quick, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius; Thomas Green, United States Attorney’s Office; Clifford Yin, Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass; Adam Lauridsen, Keker & Van Nest; and Eli Ewing, Keker & Van Nest.

Marcelo Quinones of Bingham McCutchen was honored for his work with JDC’s Lawyers in the Schools program. The program developed a rigorous set of projects with the high school student in mind over the past year.

Ryan Sandrock of Sidley Austin was recognized for volunteering with JDC’s Law Academy program and because he was the Barristers Club committee chair for several years.

Terry Norbury was recognized for his more than ten years of dedication to JDC’s Day in Court program, which  provides 5th-8th grade students in the San Francisco Unified School District a rare opportunity to witness trials and ask Superior Court judges how their courts work.

Since its inception in 1998, the JDC’s Bay Area Minority Law Student Scholarship Program has awarded 80 scholarships in the amount of over $1.5 million. The following Bay Area Minority Law Student Scholarship Program Committee members were honored for providing exceptional mentoring and support for scholarship recipients:  Commissioner Ronnie Caplane, Workers Comp Appeals Board; United States District Court Judge Martin Jenkins, Amarra Lee, San Mateo District Attorney’s Office; Stuart Plunkett, Morrison & Foerster and Richard Zitrin, Carlson, Calladine & Peterson.

Marie Ma, The Gap, Inc., was honored for her JDC committee work for both the Lawyers in the Schools and Mock Trial programs. Additionally, she has volunteered hundreds of hours for the Law Academy program. She has spoken on numerous panels of JDC’s Destination Law School and recruited many of her colleagues to do the same.

The following Equality Committee Co-Chairs were honored for leading their committees to address current issues:

BASF’s Equality Committee on Women (also known as BASF’s No Glass Ceiling Initiative) Co-Chairs Patricia Gillette, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe and Erin MacLeod, WindRiver Systems.

BASF’s Equality Committee on LGBT Issues Co-Chairs Amy Todd-Gher, Valdez Noor Todd & Doyle  and Rob Depew, Employment Law Resource Group.

Equality Committee on Disability Rights Chair: Cristina Rubke, Shartsis Friese

BASF’s Equality Committee on Minorities Co-Chairs Paul Henderson, Office of the Mayor; Miriam Montesinos, Pelosi Law Group; Vid Prabhakaran, Davis Wright Tremaine and Quyen Ta, Keker & Van Nest.

Dentons US; Haight, Brown & Bonesteel; Hewlett-Packard Company; Jones Day; Morgan, Lewis & Bockius; Morrison & Foerster and Shartsis Friese were sponsors of the Volunteer Appreciation Party.

Gallo Wine and Hoogasian Flowers provided in-kind donations.

Thank you to Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. for securing an in-kind donation.

Photos from the event can be found on BASF's page on Facebook at