Long Beach hosts Annual Meeting

by Kathleen O. Beitiks
Staff Writer

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On Oct. 10-13, when more than 4,000 California lawyers arrive for the State Bar's Annual Meeting, Long Beach will have a chance to showcase its metamorphosis from a sleepy, oceanfront, agricultural community to a major metropolitan hub.

The four-day gathering will offer 129 MCLE courses and one non-credit workshop, giving members of the bar an opportunity to earn up to 23 hours of MCLE credit.

Meetings and educational programs will be held at the Hyatt Regency, Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center and the Long Beach Renaissance Hotel.

Kicking (or teeing) off the annual event on Thursday, Oct. 10, 11 a.m., is the State Bar Golf Tournament, co-sponsored by the Long Beach Bar Association, with proceeds going to the Legal Aid Foundation of Long Beach.

At the same time, a doubles tennis tournament will be held at the Old Ranch Tennis Club in Seal Beach.

For those less athletically inclined, the State Bar luncheon on Thursday will feature Morris Dees, well-known founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Dees is also the author of "Rebellion in the Heartland," an expose of U.S. hate organizations.

California Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quackenbush will be the guest speaker at a luncheon on Friday, co-sponsored by the bar's Business Law Section. A former state assemblyman, Quackenbush will address insurance issues affecting business clients.

On Friday afternoon, annual meeting attendees will have an opportunity to experience a little touch of Venice, Italy, with a leisurely gondola ride through the waterways of the Naples section of Long Beach.

Following the gondola excursion, local judges have extended an invitation to attorneys to join them at the president's reception for the bench and bar at 6:30 p.m. in the exhibit hall of the convention center.

Immediately following the reception, a buffet supper will be served, with entertainment provided by "The Capitol Steps," a troupe of congressional staffers who offer a humorous and irreverent look at current political issues. (See related story.)

Saturday's entertainment includes a 26-mile cruise to Catalina Island, a Long Beach Harbor "reggae" cruise and a dinner dance aboard the Queen Mary.

The annual Morrison address will be delivered at a noon luncheon by Gerald Gunther, a Stanford law professor and constitutional law expert.

Sunday's activities begin early at 7 a.m. with the State Bar 5K Run/Power Walk along Shoreline Drive to the Belmont Pier. Wrapping up the weekend's activities is a luncheon featuring Juan Williams and Linda Chavez, debating a series of hot political topics. Williams is a political analyst for the Washington Post, and Chavez is author of "Out of the Barrio: Toward a New Politics of Hispanic Assimilation."

During the Annual Meeting, the 672 members of the Conference of Delegates will meet to work on 133 proposed resolutions dealing with a variety of issues such as three strikes, HIV testing privacy, limiting depositions in civil cases and limiting change of venue options in child support cases.

The Loren Miller Legal Services Award will be presented during the weekend to Jack W. Londen, an attorney with the San Francisco firm of Morrison & Foerster.

Londen will receive the State Bar's top pro bono award in recognition of his more than 16 years of volunteer service to individual low income clients and organizations, and involvement in major legal services litigation.

Also to be honored for their pro bono activities will be Dennis and Elizabeth W. Harvey, District 1; Victoria M. Jacobs, District 2; Geoffrey L. Robinson, District 3; Kathryn Kirkland, District 4; Catherine F. Campbell, District 5; Tina L. Rasnow, District 6; Irene Mak and Marcia Scully, District 7; Diana R. Griffiths, District 8; and Dianne L. Woodcroft, District 9.

The San Francisco firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson will receive the northern California law firm pro bono award, while recipient of the southern California award is O'Melveny & Myers of Los Angeles.

A. Zettler Greely of Santa Cruz and Richard P. McManus San Diego will be presented with pro bono awards for their services as retired attorneys. Assemblywoman Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, will be presented with the bar's annual legislator of the year award.

Among the MCLE classes offered will be a Thursday afternoon training session for attorneys interested in becoming mediators, and "Intellectual Property Basics for the General Practioner." On Friday, classes include "Flirting With Disaster: How to Solicit Clients Without Chasing Ambulances," "The Art of Oral Advocacy" and "Internet Legal Research: Using the Many Free Legal Resources."

On Saturday and Sunday's agendas are "Developing An Elder Law Practice," "The Future of the California Supreme Court," "Same Gender Marriage on the Horizon" and "Profitable Practice With Paralegals."