(Photo L-R: Tamie Cummins, George Rodarakis, Betty Julian, Mike Dennis, Andrea Leavy, Colleen Van Egmond, and Jeff Mangar)
by Michael R. Dennis, 2018 SCBA President
Well, my humble readers, its November and the year is starting to wind down. When I started my reign as President, I knew we were building something special. Although still under construction, (but much further along than that urban myth we call our new courthouse), through the hard work of our Board, our Executive Director, Deana Skelton, and everyone who has volunteered their time, like Renee Brush, our organization is proudly moving into the future.
At the beginning of the year, the SCBA’s Board was at a transition point, made up of people who, like me, were once the fresh faces in town. Although still young, we had all reached the point where we wanted to give back to the legal community that had shaped us. It’s sort of like when you think you see someone through a window and say, “Who is that old person,” and then realize it’s not a window, it’s a mirror. That is us. We have the energy of youth, but the wisdom of experience, i.e., something special.
For those of you who still wonder why you should join the SCBA, first, stop asking silly questions. Although there are no stupid questions, there are stupid people who ask questions. Second, this year alone our members witnessed a lively debate between the candidates for District Attorney; became better attorneys through a vast array of MCLE programs covering everything from Laura’s Law to the new e-filing requirements; cemented professional alliances at social events hosted by three of the finest law firms in town (Arata, Swingle, Van Egmond & Goodwin; Rodarakis & Sousa; and Damrell, Nelson, Schrimp, Pallios, Pacher & Silva), and gave back to the community by successfully eradicating the gophers from Dryden Golf Course during our annual golf tournament. (Thank you, Colleen for your tireless work putting it together). Also, let’s not forget Law Day held at the Gallo Center, where we honored John and June Rogers with the Liberty Bell Award, learned from our speaker, Associate Justice Ronald Robie of the Third DCA, and insured our future by giving away scholarships. I feel like I should be yelling from the arena floor, “Are you not entertained!”
To put it into even greater perspective, my MCLE compliance group is this coming February. Over the past three years, I have done not anything besides attend programs put on by the SCBA and the Wray Ladine American Inn of Court. Currently, I have over double the required hours, in every subject. At the programs, I sat with my peers and learned from my mentors, regarding subjects I was actually interested in, irregardless of my practice areas. This is far better than sitting in front of your computer pretending to pay attention to a video, learning nothing about a subject you don’t care about, and missing out on the opportunity to learn from the brightest minds in the Central Valley.
And to think, the year’s still not over. On December 14th, the SCBA’s Holiday-Judicial Calendar Luncheon will take place. Betty Julian is in charge, so you know it will be excellent. For those of you who are delinquent in paying your tribute to the foot of my throne, this will be your final opportunity because the SCBA will also be conducting its election for next year’s Board. If you’re tired of being average, want to rise up, and want your name on the ballot, give us a call.
Once I’m off the Board, I guess I’ll finally have the time to resubmit my finger prints to the State Bar per the new requirements. Then, once they have my prints, they will most likely have the evidence to finally solve American’s oldest cold case: Who stole the hearts of the Stanislaus County legal community?