By Nadira T. Imam, President, Barristers
I am excited and privileged to serve as your 2020 Beverly Hills Bar Association (BHBA) Barristers President. The BHBA has been on the forefront of Bar Associations responding to the under-represented members of the community, protecting individual liberties and promoting legal education. Our Barristers Board has been a flagship, representing the only Barristers in Southern California ever selected by the American Bar Association as the premier Bar Association Barristers out of their 330 affiliates. I am proud to continue our Board’s well-known community service outreach, not only in Beverly Hills but with recognition throughout the world.
Our Roxbury Park Legal Clinic, serves members of our community who would not otherwise know where to go with their legal needs. As a committee that was primarily formed to serve elderly members of the public, it has developed into a clinic covering all areas of legal issues faced by the general public. Recently, we presented a timely and informative Landlord/Tenant Program at Roxbury Park with a panel of speakers covering topics relevant to both residents and landlords needing help with application of new laws this January. We thank County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl for her contribution to making this program possible.
The Barristers also volunteer at Santa Monica Homeless Shelter (SAMOSHEL) to prepare meals for the community’s homeless. Our Barrister team provides volunteers monthly to prepare hot, freshly cooked meals for over sixty of our community’s homeless. I’ve observed my fellow volunteer staff of chefs make a difference to those made temporarily homeless by creating menus and serving meals that often gained applause from those receiving them, while receiving requests from other organizations battling homelessness wanting our Barristers to join those efforts.
This year the Barristers will once again be involved with Teen Court, a diversionary program for middle and high school students. Teen Court offers life changing influences to non-violent first offenders by giving second chances to young adults with sentencing designed to offer counseling, structure, and guidance where there was previously none. This diversionary program benefits everyone in society by lessening case-loads and allowing minors to clear their records while still being held accountable for their actions.
While we are heavily involved with community service, the Barristers aspire to make a difference with young lawyers and those new to the profession as well. Recently the New York Law Journal published an article about how millennial lawyers are much less likely to show up at bar association events than lawyers in their 50s or older. One young lawyer in New York City, said that attending a bar association function is a lot like visiting the doctor…you dread going, but you know it’s good for you. To help create a welcoming environment for those new members of the Bar, we provide Law School Outreach and our social and networking events like the monthly Happy Hours and our Hollywood Bowl Friends and Family event which allow fun ways for newer attorneys to continually connect with each other, and with other members of the Association.
On the horizon, our signature event this year is slated to be a New Admittees Swearing-In and Reception. This is certain to be an event worthy of our honorable Barristers, and one that we expect will become an annual occurrence. Please alert all of your newly graduating friends and colleagues to join us In celebrating their accomplishments.
All of this is possible only through the dedication and self-sacrificing efforts of our volunteer Board. It is my intention this year to build on the comradery we now enjoy, so that these programs are able to flourish and grow. I intend to use my term as President to continue to make the Barristers and our Board of Governors promote collegiality, fun, and professionalism. I look forward to continuing to lead in the great work of our Board, and nurturing the interests of our fellow Barrister members. Together, as Barristers, we will take on to advance new and innovative projects, with continual growth and success in 2020. The New Year brings new opportunities. May you discover many this coming year, and may each hour, each day, and each month be filled with achievements that make your life full of joy.
Happy New Year!