More than 450 members of the legal community were in attendance at the December 18 membership luncheon and installation of 2019 President Doris Cheng.
Cheng, a partner at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, is the association’s 106th president. She is widely recognized as a top litigator and, as a frequent lecturer and teacher, Cheng has trained lawyers and judges nationally and internationally.
In her installation speech, Cheng opened by acknowledging “the roots of progress” within the Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF), including “over a hundred years of pro bono service to our community, and, in the last sixteen years, a focus on advancing women in the law.”
Cheng’s presidential initiative grows from these roots and is inspired by a question she frequently encounters at trial lawyer conferences: “Where are the women trial lawyers?” Having been asked that question many times, Cheng says “it seems obvious that our profession needs to grow them. The need for diverse legal representation is ever more important in a climate where diversity, race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation are at the heart of controversy.”
“We need greater diversity in the courtroom where women and people of color will not be held back, and we need partners and peers to promote their presence in that arena,” Cheng elaborated, adding that “the sustained under-utilization of powerful voices is not progress.”
Cheng’s initiative for 2019 will therefore focus on building advocacy skills by instituting two-day trial skills training courses primarily for women and minority attorneys. The Women in Trial initiative will kick off with the first two-day training in February, with a second training to follow in July.
“We only ask that the attorneys who take the training course commit to taking on one pro bono case this year,” Cheng said in closing. “We ask that the law firms commit to supporting and promoting their female attorneys in trial. We already have support from numerous law firms and judges. Let us make a change, surge our Women in Trial, and continue our progress.”
In addition to the installation of the board of directors, five members were honored for their dedication to the organization: Teresa L. Johnson, Charles H. Jung, Nancy E. Pritikin, Hon. Christine Van Aken, and Adam Kaplan.
Read about the 2019 Board of Directors and the award recipients in the newsroom at www.sfbar.org/newsroom.
All event photos will be posted on the Bar Association of San Francisco page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/sfbar.
Learn more about Women in Trial and sign up for the February two-day training at www.sfbar.org/calendar.