Welcome to the Stanislaus County Bar Association

There are currently over 300 active members of the Stanislaus County Bar Association. As a voluntary association of attorneys in Stanislaus County we strive to:

  • Serve the welfare of the public by promoting understanding of the laws of California and the nation
  • Seek to improve the administration of justice
  • Promote professionalism among lawyers
  • Provide legal services to those in need of them
  • Assist communication between member of the Bar and the public
  • Motivate members to participate in civic/community service

Need more?  Check out our Top Ten Reasons to join the SCBA!

Lawyers Referral Service:

The Stanislaus County Bar Association offers a service to the community for those who do not have an attorney but have legal problems. Find out More >>

President’s Message

by Sally K. Chenault, SCBA President

I am honored and grateful to serve as the Stanislaus County Bar Association President this year. Stanislaus County Bar Association Presidents usually serve as a Board member and then as an Officer over a period of seven + years before being “elected” into office as President. We have the vantage point of witnessing and participating in most, if not all, of the Stanislaus County Bar Association (“SCBA”) events prior to serving as President. And what I have witnessed is that our SCBA has a focused commitment to professionalism, to Minimum Continuing Legal Education (“MCLE”), to the Lawyer Referral Program, to the building and strengthening of relationships between lawyers, the bench and the community and to member development of thriving law practices.

Four SCBA events and four MCLE events are calendared in the next two months. The New Lawyer’s Reception has been revived. It is set for April 2, 2015. New Judge Ruben Villalobos will say a few words to welcome these new attorneys to the practice of law. The Honorable Alan K. Cassidy and the Honorable Ruben Villalobos will be honored at the New Judges’ lunch on April 10. 2015. Then on May 8, 2015 the SCBA will celebrate Law Day at the Gallo Center. California Supreme Court Associate Justice Goodwin Liu is honoring us as our Keynote Speaker. The 2015 Law Day celebrates the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta with the theme of “The Magna Carta, Symbol of Freedom Under the Law.”

At the Law Day luncheon, the annual Liberty Bell Award will be presented to a lay man or woman who has promoted a better understanding of the rule of law and/or encouraged respect for the law in our county. Additionally, the SCBA will present a $1,000 scholarship each to two Stanislaus County students demonstrating an interest in the law. The Modesto 500 Lions Club generously provides the SCBA with an additional $1000 donation for a scholarship in memory of John Grisez, a local attorney. The SCBA Scholarship Committee is currently taking applications of high school students for consideration of these three scholarships. Anyone who knows of a student who might be interested in applying for these available scholarships, please have them contact the SCBA Executive Director for the scholarship information.

Last but not least on the upcoming calendar of SCBA events is the Annual SCBA Golf Tournament. Bring your clubs and sunscreen and be ready for a lot of fun and networking with lawyers, judges, associates, service providers and friends on Saturday, May 30, 2015, at Dryden Golf Course in Modesto. Sponsorships and raffle prizes are being solicited. The foursome entry fee will include green fees, a golf cart, unlimited beverages during play and lunch. For those who need assistance, a limited number of Mulligan tickets will be for sale. We always have a great raffle and barbeque immediately following the tournament at Dryden. Please log into the SCBA website/ calendar for specific times and locations for these upcoming SCBA events.

The SCBA’s Minimum Continuing Legal Education programs are offered primarily on Fridays from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Jury Room of the Stanislaus County Superior Court, 800 11th Street, Modesto, CA 95354. The programs are aimed at providing helpful tips and guidance regarding legal topics pertinent to the full spectrum of practicing attorneys. The SCBA is an approved MCLE provider by the State Bar of California. Suggestions for potential MCLEs are welcome and requested.

The achievements of the SCBA would not be possible without the daily support of our Executive Director Deana Skelton. Through the events, meetings and requests whether in planning or at a moment’s notice, Deana works diligently to deliver excellence on each occasion, while also ensuring that our budget is balanced, the bills are paid, our phones are answered and our technology is up and running.

The events provided by the SCBA would not be possible without the financial support of sponsors. Last October the SCBA brought one of the original Little Rock Nine to Modesto as a Keynote speaker. It was a wonderful event according to all reviews and one of the best attended Bench Bar Dinners in years. But it also cost money to bring this historical figure to our Bench Bar Dinner and sponsors stepped up. Sponsorship dollars (for a second year in a row from Union Bank) have allowed the Lawyer’s Referral Service (“LRS”) to continue its exposure to the public and to assist those in our community to obtain low cost initial legal guidance. We are woefully low on attorneys who have signed up to assist our community citizens, however. An occasional donation of a thirty (30) minute consultation is all that is requested. The downside is a thirty minute donation; the upside is a potential client. The LRS attorneys are prescreened for experience and are required to carry malpractice insurance.

The SCBA is also requesting that members refer the public to the Lawyers Referral Service. For the program to work, we need potential clients and the donating attorneys. We are lacking in both and are looking to our members to help bring this very important public service back to life with a goal of making the program sustainable and thriving.

Finally, the SCBA would like to welcome Sonja Bouma as our newest board member. She joins board members Jeff Mangar, Andrew Mendlin, George Rodarakis, Kristina Vaz, Stacy Speiller, Vice President Keric J. Cushing, Secretary, Robert Farrace, Treasurer Michael Dennis and myself as voting members of the SCBA. Ex- Officio Past President Jeff Bean and Executive Director Deana Skelton are non-voting members of the Board of Directors.

The SCBA continually seeks to insure its long term financial stability and growth and needs members to do this. I am asking our current members to seek out other practicing attorneys in our county who are not SCBA members to encourage them to join the SCBA. We need their enthusiasm, their ideas, their energy, and their commitment to maintain and improve our local bar association.

Thank you for your continued support. The SCBA exists because of you.