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Three honored for commitments to public law, women and children

Longtime public lawyer Roderick E. Walston received the 2004 Public Lawyer of the Year Award last month in recognition of his contributions to the fields of water law, natural resources and environmental law.

  E. Walston

Walston began his public service career 43 years ago as an attorney with the California Department of Justice, where he was one of the first members of the department’s natural resources practice group and quickly became a leader in the field of water rights law. He argued many cases before the U.S. and California supreme courts and other appellate courts, winning cases that involved Indian gaming regulation and the law of public trust as well as key water rights decisions.

In 1997, he received the U. S. Supreme Court Best Brief Award from the National Association of Attorneys General.

In 2000, Walston became general counsel of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and later joined the U.S. Department of the Interior as its deputy solicitor. He currently practices at Stoel Rives in San Francisco, where he is a member of the firm’s resources, development and environment group.

Bonnie Rose Hough

Bonnie Rose Hough, an attorney dedicated to improving equal access to justice at the Administrative Office of the Courts, received the Fay Stender Award from California Women Lawyers last month. She was honored as a role model for women attorneys and for her commitment to the representation of women and disadvantaged groups.

Since 1997, Hough has been senior attorney at the AOC’s Center for Families, Children & the Courts, where she helped create family law information centers in several county courts as well as five pilot self-help centers around the state. She also has helped design and implement plans to furnish services to pro per litigants in family law and civil litigation, providing services to hundreds of thousands of Californians who otherwise would have no access to information or assistance in the courts.

Said CWL president Candace Carroll, “Bonnie Rose Hough has devoted her professional life to helping poor and moderate income people without lawyers gain access to the family courts. She is viewed as the ‘mother’ of the Family Law Facilitator program, which was begun in 1997 and has put attorneys in the family law courts in all of California’s 58 counties to help litigants without lawyers navigate their way through child support issues.”

Sarah Vesecky

Sarah Vesecky, a dependency trial attorney and education specialist with the Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles, is a recipient of the 2004 Child Advocacy Award from the ABA Young Lawyers Division.

The honor recognizes “distinguished service on behalf of children,” in particular Vesecky’s accomplishments on local education issues as well as statewide reforms, including the passage last year of legislation that creates new education rights and enhances school stability for all foster children.

An advocate for children since her undergraduate days at UCLA, Vesecky now works on behalf of abused and neglected children in the Los Angeles Dependency Court system. She recently expanded her efforts to advocate for the educational needs of youth in foster care throughout California.

“Ms. Vesecky’s dedication to improving the lives of California’s abused and neglected children through effective policymaking stands out as an example to any young advocate coming up behind her,” said Assemblyman Darrell Steinberg.

Added Children’s Law Center Executive Director Miriam Aroni Krinsky, “Although Sarah is young and not that long out of law school, she has already established a reputation among her colleagues, adversaries and the bench as an authority on the law and a zealous, principled advocate.”

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