California Bar Journal
OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 2001
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California Bar Journal

The State Bar of California


REGULARS

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Front Page - August 2001
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News / News Briefs
MCLE deadline for Group 3 (last names N-Z) is Feb. 1
Judicial Council launches online self-help center
California lawyers honored for work for homeless, minorities and children
Coy about her future, Reno focuses on women's issues
No bias found against solos
Governor signs two-year fee bill
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Ethics update...
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Trials Digest
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Opinion
From the President - Bar targets unauthorized practice
Microsoft ruling: Foundation to settle
MJP is more than alphabet soup
Letters to the Editor
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Legal Tech - A look back at six years of technology news
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You Need to Know
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MCLE Self-Study
A word from our sponsors
Self-Assessment Test
MCLE Calendar of Events
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Discipline
Ethics Byte - Let's go surfin' now, everybody's learnin' how
Recovering alcoholic may get to recover his license
Attorney Discipline
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Public Comment
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California lawyers honored for work for homeless, minorities and children
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In recognition of its efforts to establish the nation's first homeless court, the San Diego Public Defenders Office will be honored by the American Bar Association this month, joining two women lawyers from California receiving awards for outstanding work in their fields.

Irma Herrera, executive director of the San Francisco-based Equal Rights Advocates, is one of five women to receive the 2001 Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, which honors women who have paved the way to success for other women lawyers.

Ann M. Durst of San Diego, founder of Casa Cornelia Legal Services, received the John Minor Public Service and Professionalism Award from the ABA in recognition of her extensive pro bono work.

The San Diego Public Defenders Office will receive the 2001 Hodson Award, given by the ABA's public sector lawyers division, for establishing the nation's first homeless court in 1989 under the leadership of deputy public defender Steven Binder.

Meeting at local homeless shelters and agencies and ruling on outstanding misdemeanor offenses and warrants, most arising from the condition of homelessness, the court provides a non-threatening forum where the homeless can clear their records and begin their reintegration into society.

The Hodson Award cites the court as a model for other jurisdictions, showing how to reduce court and jail costs, increase community collaboration and assist the homeless in obtaining services and jobs.

Herrera, 50, has a long history of nonprofit work focused on helping women, children and minorities, particularly in the field of education. After earning her law degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1978, she worked as a public interest lawyer representing Spanish-speaking migrant farm workers in Washington state.

Irma HerreraShe worked for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund on education laws and voting rights issues and later for Multicultural Education and Training Advocacy, a non-profit legal advocacy firm representing minority and poor children on education-related issues.

She has headed Equal Rights Advocates since 1995, tutors minority candidates for the bar exam and volunteers with a girls' mentorship program.

"Irma has spent more than a quarter of a century working to promote equal opportunities for women and minorities," said Deborah L. Rhode, chair of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession. "Her career demonstrates the highest commitment to the pursuit of equal justice."

The Margaret Brent awards were to be given early this month at the ABA's annual meeting in Chicago.

Durst, 63, was honored for her work as executive director and staff attorney of Casa Cornelia, a public-interest law firm she founded to serve the San Diego area's immigrant community.

After spending 23 years in education, Durst received her law degree from Georgetown University and began her legal career in the not-for-profit sector.

Casa Cornelia provides representation to those with credible fear of returning to their homelands and those seeking asylum, gives advice and counsel to legal residents seeking naturalization, and represents battered immigrant women and children. It is currently expanding its program to provide legal services to unaccompanied children detained by the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

In addition to providing direct client services, Durst recruits, trains and mentors the agency's volunteers.

The public service award was given by the ABA's litigation section.

Johnny GriggsThe ABA's family law section chose psychologist Dr. Judith S. Wallerstein for the 2001 Friend of the Family award for her 30 years of pioneering studies of the effects of divorce. The 80-year-old San Francisco resident co-authored several books, including The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25 Year Landmark Study; The Good Marriage: How and Why Love Lasts; How Children and Parents Cope with Divorce; and Second Chances: Men, Women and Children a Decade After Divorce.

Also honored recently was Johnny Griggs of Los Angeles' Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, who received the ACLU's 2001 Pro Bono Civil Rights Award for his work on a racial profiling case.

Griggs and the ACLU represented the plaintiffs in Gonzalez et al v. City of Los Angeles who were involved in traffic stops due to racial profiling. As a result of the case, racial profiling was added to the LAPD's consent decree as a prohibited practice.

Griggs is active in the nonprofit community and is known for his dedication to civil justice.