Riverside County Bar Association Mission Statement
To serve our members, our communities, and our legal system.
2013-2014 President of the Riverside County Bar Association - Jacqueline Carey-Wilson
In 1993, the RCBA Board of Directors voted to purchase the building located at 4129 Main Street in Riverside. Dan McKinney was the president of the RCBA at that time. The building is in an ideal location – across the street from the Hall of Justice and the Historic Courthouse. Dan had the foresight to understand that this structure would serve as the foundation for building an economically strong association to serve our members, our legal system, and our communities.
The RCBA has since flourished. The bar building is now home to the many programs under the umbrella of the RCBA, like the following:
Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) is a nonprofit organization that offers low-cost mediation services to the court and to the public. Each attorney serving as a mediator has been in practice for ten years or more and has met other experience requirements set by the DRS Board of Directors. DRS has been an invaluable resource for resolving cases without trial, lightening the courts’ load and serving the entire legal community.
Riverside Legal Aid (RLA) is a nonprofit organization that provides free legal services to qualified individuals in family law, eviction, guardianship and conservatorship, debtor and creditor collection, and bankruptcy cases, as well as cases in federal court. There are three clinics: one is located at the RCBA building, one is in the George E. Brown, Jr. Courthouse, and the other is in Indio. Approximately 3,044 individuals were assisted by RLA last year.
Fee Arbitration is a service of the RCBA that an individual can use if the client and lawyer or law firm disagree about fees owed and legal services rendered. No lawyer wants a client to dispute a fee. However, if there is a fee dispute, it is comforting to know that the dispute will be handled professionally and confidentially. The RCBA provides a neutral third party to listen to both sides and render an award.
The Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) is a program of the RCBA that an individual in the community can call to obtain a referral to an attorney who is a member of the RCBA, has experience in a certain area, and has errors and omissions insurance. The consultation fee is $40. There is no consultation fee for personal injury cases, social security cases, and workers’ compensation cases. Last year, 4,839 referrals were made to attorneys signed up with LRS. These referrals generated fees to LRS participating attorneys totaling over $1.5 million.
The Mentoring Program teams up an attorney mentor who has been in practice five years or more with a protégé for one year. Throughout my 18 years of practice as an attorney, I have been fortunate enough to have attorneys mentor me in a variety of areas: Dan Hantman in social security disability law, George Theios in civil law and civil procedure, Grover Porter in criminal defense, Don Davio in appellate law, Regina Coleman in dependency advocacy, and Scott Runyan in probate and Lanterman-Petris-Short conservatorships. Not all attorneys have that kind of friendship and mentoring in their careers, especially if they are solo practitioners. The Mentoring Program of the RCBA is designed to connect attorneys in the same practice area. The attorneys meet and the mentor encourages and, if needed, gently guides the protégé throughout the year.
The Leo A. Deegan Inn of Court is a program in which lawyers and judges meet monthly from September to May and work in teams to tackle various legal and ethical issues. The Inn is by invitation only and all RCBA members are encouraged to apply for this exceptional program.
The State Bar Conference of Delegates meets at the annual meeting of the State Bar each year to pass resolutions to support the adoption of new laws or to amend existing laws. The RCBA sends a delegation to the conference. However, in the last several years, the number of delegates attending the conference has decreased. We hope to reverse this trend and send a strong delegation of RCBA delegates to San Diego next fall.
The Publications Committee is responsible for the Riverside Lawyer magazine, which is published by the RCBA 11 times a year. The committee members develop each month’s theme and either write the articles or recruit writers for the issue. This fun and interesting committee always welcomes new members.
Ownership of the building that houses these incredible programs is one reason why the RCBA is a strong organization. In addition to the RCBA’s many programs, the 15 sections of the association offer many free continuing legal education programs to the members. Most of those section meetings are held in the Gabbert Gallery, on the third floor of the RCBA building.
Many law firms and other business rent office space in the RCBA building. The building was originally built in the early 1920s as a Montgomery Ward’s department store. It was renovated into offices years ago, but now it needs a facelift. Last year, the RCBA Board voted to renovate the bar building, and we are looking to start renovations in the spring.
The first renovation will be to the outside of the building; then we will turn to the inside. We will move the Gabbert Gallery to the basement. In the Gabbert Galley, we will continue to hold the monthly general membership meetings and section meetings; we will also rent it to others in the community to use. Also included in the renovation will be an attorney lounge, where members will be welcome to go and relax between court appearances. One of the floors will be devoted to executive suites, where the officers would share a secretary, copier, fax machine, and meeting room. We are still in the planning stages.
The initial drawings were on display at the November RCBA general membership meeting and can be reviewed by members. Please contact Charlene Nelson at the RCBA if you would like to review the drawings or if you are interested in leasing space in the renovated building.
At this time of the year, especially with the death and devastation from Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines last month, it is important to remember the blessings we have in our lives. One of the blessings I have in my life is to be practicing in this legal community with so many dear friends and colleagues. I wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and only peace and happiness in the New Year.
Jacqueline Carey-Wilson is a deputy county counsel with San Bernardino County, editor of the Riverside Lawyer, and past president of the Federal Bar Association, Inland Empire Chapter.