New & Revived Specialty Sections Breathing New Life into the VCBA

Among my goals this year as Ventura County Bar Association President has been encouraging more participation by those who want to get involved, but aren’t necessarily finding an existing outlet that meets their interests and needs. One way this has been accomplished is to support members interested in starting up new sections and recruiting new leaders wishing to revive dormant/inactive sections of our bar association.

 ADR Section
Earlier this year, VCBA started its search for a new chair of the alternative dispute resolution section. As luck would have it, I came across someone on Facebook – Kevin Daly (, who posted that he recently joined the VCBA and has a full-time mediation practice. Who better than Kevin to revive this section? Since April, this section has held a few steering committee meetings to discuss ideas and to strategically plan for upcoming events. Some attorneys who will assist Kevin in this effort are Catherine Inbar, Jim Lingl, Lol Sorensen, and Deborah Birenbaum. This section is planning to organize informal lunch and breakfast meetings so that members can network and discuss interesting mediation topics such as elder law and family law. Because ADR/mediation can easily cross over with other practice specialties, this section proposes having joint meetings with other VCBA sections such as the labor/employment section, Family Law Bar Association, and estate planning/probate section about every quarter, and to offer MCLE credits. The locations for any of these meetings will be fairly divided between the west and east county to encourage the most participation.

Animal Law Section
I’m sure all of you read the interesting article by Katie Hause (  in last month’s CITATIONS about “The Growing Field of Animal Law.” My curiosity was certainly piqued. What most people don’t realize is that animal law is more than just animal rights and dog bite cases, but encompasses many other fields such as civil, criminal, property, wrongfull death, custody and farming (which is still prevalent inVenturaCounty). Because this area of law is still developing, is often on the cutting edge and involves creative arguments, Katie, as the founder and chair of this section, wants to start things as a casual open forum for people to get used to the idea and to foster a discussion/ dialogue into some of the upcoming issues. Other founding members of this section are Tom Adams and Deborah Parker. To learn more, be sure to attend the section’s first speaker presentation of “Animal Law 101” on October 10 during lunch at the VCBA office. Otherwise, look for flyers in CITATIONS about quarterly meetings featuring interesting topics presented by guest speakers.

Immigration Law Section
The idea for the Immigration Law Section came about through the initiative and efforts of Matt Bromund. Jack Seal (, who used to work with Matt but is now on his own, has volunteered to be the chair of this section. Matt will continue to be an active part of making sure this section thrives. Other local attorneys who have attended meetings and have expressed interest in getting involved in this section are Lilian Jiang, Michael Pezzuto, Gabriella Navarro-Busch, Vanessa Frank Garcia, Susana Goytia-Miller, and Carmen Ramírez. This section will have regular monthly lunch meetings at Sugar Beets Restaurant inOxnard. Then, about every quarter, they plan to invite guest speakers such as prominent practicing attorneys, representatives from one of the government agencies, or even immigration law judges to speak to the group. Eventually, they would also like to host some community outreach forums so that important update d information (e.g., new government policies) can be passed along to the public and help answer any questions.

Labor & Employment Law Section
The revived labor & employment law section will have two co-chairs: Michael Lavenant (, who also serves on the VCBA Board of Directors, and Joe Herbert ( Roxanne Torabian-Bashardoust has also expressed interest in being involved. This section plans to hold MCLE meetings featuring guest speakers at the VCBA office during lunch time. In the coming months, the section is planning a joint meeting with the ADR Section. Other timely topics for future meetings include an annual update on the law as well as the impact on employers of the Supreme Court’s recent decision upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

& Small Firm Section
I met Jasmeen Ubhi ( at the beginning of this year after she was assigned to be my new mentee in the Barristers’ mentorship program. As any good mentor would do, I “encouraged” Jasmeen to resuscitate the solo/small firm section. She enthusiastically agreed to take on the role as Co-Chair. In April, CITATIONS published an article (“Bet on Yourself ”) by Jasmeen, where she describes her Simi Valley practice and why she decided to go solo. She also offered great insight and tips to others thinking about doing the same. Jasmeen’s Co-Chair of this Section will be Stephen Wood (, who has established his solo practice specializing in estate planning, elder law and probate inVentura. To start out, the section is planning to have quarterly lunch meetings at the VCBA office to network and create mentoring relationships with other solo practitioners and to discuss ideas for marketing, ways to save money and other common issues. The purpose is for attorneys in different fields of law to connect, help each other out when questions come up, and be potential sources of referral. Once more attorneys get interested and become involved, the Section may then consider having more frequent meetings with speakers and provide MCLE.

Dien Le is a partner at Westlake Village-based Sullivan Taketa LLP, where he represents clients in business litigation, employment litigation, real property litigation and appellate matters in both federal and state courts. He also assists clients with registration of trademarks and copyrights.

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