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MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT

May 2021

Jeff Braun headshot Any day now you should be receiving your invitations to the Installation Gala scheduled for Friday, July 9, 2021 at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club.

The Executive Board is excited to host the event where it will present its annual award for the Joseph McNeil Civility Award to Geoff Gray, as well as its annual Volunteer of the Year Award to Pete Callahan. The night will also be filled with music and dance courtesy of Vanity Fair. Get ready to celebrate!

Our chapter golf tournament is back. It will take place on Monday, August 30, 2021 at the Mission Viejo Country Club with dinner and awards to follow. Please save the date and look out for a registration email soon.

Judge's Night is also returning. One of the most important nights of the year where we get to interact with our judiciary has been scheduled for October 13, 2021 at the Center Club.

Lastly, returning in 2021, is our Holiday Dinner at Muldoon's on November 29, 2021.

Mark your calendars for these in person events as we return to normalcy.

The ABOTA Foundation is presenting a National Teachers Law School on July 28-29, 2021. This will be the second National Teachers Law School; the first having been held in 2016. This will be an excellent program for teachers, especially those in civics education. As the Foundation's theme this year is Social Justice, the program is focused on this issue in a variety of ways through presentations by constitutional scholars, historians and other prominent individuals. The goal of the program is to provide information and lesson plans to assist teachers in navigating discussions with their students on these issues - both inside and outside the classroom. This event is virtual and therefore does not have a maximum capacity. Teachers of all grade levels are welcome and the need not be Civics Education teachers. We want to encourage as many educators as possible to attend this program.

Please help spread the word! Registration is now open at www.abotacivics.org.

Taping of our Masters in Trial program is complete. The program will be presented for MCLE credit to anyone interested at no cost with funding coming from our generous sponsors. The release date of the program will soon be published.

Finally, I wanted to call your attention to excerpts of the CAL-ABOTA position paper recently sent on the topic of remote civil jury trials. Last year CAL-ABOTA issued its call to improve accessibility to the courts during the pandemic. We encouraged those courts in the State who were not employing reasonable remote working methods to do so immediately, as lawyers and clients were suffering from the shutdown of our courts.

We recommended and endorsed best practices to handle case management conferences, informal discovery conferences, settlement conferences, and other court hearings, via remote means. It did not, however, endorse forced remote civil jury trials.

As we are now witnessing some trial courts institute remote civil jury trials, CAL-ABOTA was compelled to express its concerns about court orders that force parties to participate in remote civil jury trials, as it believes such is inconsistent with the obligations of civil advocacy for our clients.

There is even concern that some courts will institutionalize remote practices in the future, irrespective of whether there exists any health and safety concerns to justify such. In- person oral advocacy is at the heart of what trial lawyers do and it is fundamental to our civil jury system.

Having a one size fits all philosophy in implementing remote jury trials interferes with, and is a denial to, access to civil justice. It promotes a less than human interaction that contravenes the foundation of our judicial system. It also interferes with attorney's ability to advocate zealously for their clients as required by the rules of professional conduct.

To those courts who have instituted forced remote jury trials, CAL-ABOTA has asked for them to shift their focus to safely reopen our courtrooms.

Jeff Braun
Orange County ABOTA
2021 President


 
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