On Friday, January 25, the Alameda County Bar Association hosted its annual Board Installation and Distinguished Service Awards.  The luncheon featured the swearing-in of the 2013 Board of Directors and the presentation of awards for service to the community and the profession. In addition to swearing in this year’s Board of Directors, Presiding Judge C. Don Clay helped bestow the Distinguished Service Awards.  This year’s award recipients are:

Distinguished Service for a Judge:
Judge Stuart Hing, Superior Court of California, County of Alameda
Judge Hing participates and contributes to more than 70 community organizations, schools, churches, cultural groups and bar associations. Perhaps most notable, he was one of the founders and organizers of the Alameda County Homeless Court, a community-based court set up at service centers and church halls to assist homeless individuals with infractions, citations and misdemeanors.  Judge Hing also served as Co-Chair of the ACBA East Bay Diversity Bar Coalition.

Distinguished Service for a Lawyer:
Timothy H. Hallahan, Director, Trial Advocacy Program, Stanford Law
Tim has spent most of his career working to train lawyers to be the best that they can.  He is a long-time ACBA member and advocate of the bar association.  In addition to his promotion of the profession, Tim serves on ACBA’s Court Appointed Attorney Program Committee and serves as chair of the CAAP subcommittee on training. His “Litigation Tips” column has appeared regularly in ACBA’s The Bulletin for many years, and now appears on the ACBA blog.

Distinguished Service for a Young Lawyer:
Heather Chang, Law Office of Heather C. Chang
Heather is active on ACBA’s Lawyer Referral Service and CAAP panels, and she is a member of the Judicial Appointments Evaluation Committee.  Heather is also active in several other bar and professional associations.

Distinguished Service for a Law Firm:
Office of the Alameda County Public Defender
The Office of the Alameda County Public Defender is the second-oldest public defender’s office in the county. It has grown to seven branch locations, more than 100 attorneys, 20 investigators and support staff, and a caseload exceeding 4,500 new legal matters per month. The Office of the Alameda County Public Defender and the ACBA through its Court Appointed Attorney Program, are partners in championing the rights of individuals accused of crimes and who have no means to afford an attorney.

Distinguished Service for a Community Organization:
Fremont Family Resource Center
Fremont Family Resource Center, which is a Division of City of Fremont’s Human Services Department, is a collaboration of 27 State, County, City of Fremont and non -profit organizations which provides quality services to families in need. They help ensure that individuals and families receive support and services, such as cash aid, food stamps, child care information and referral, public health and mental health services, and more.  With ACBA’s Volunteer Legal Services Corporation, they coordinate family law clinics for low-income clients in the Fremont and tri-city area. 

“Be brave, take a chance.”  Eva Paterson

This year, a special Distinguished Service Award for Social Justice was presented to keynote speaker Eva Paterson, President and Co-Founder of the Equal Justice Society.  In her keynote address, Eva Paterson discussed race in the law.  Punctuated by moments of humor, she reminded people that the fight for civil rights is not over.  For individuals who find themselves in positions of power, like judges and lawyers, Ms. Paterson urged them to use their position for good and make an impact.  She cautioned listeners to be cognizant of prejudices that are still part of our culture. She referred to social research that marks the way in which African-American sounding names on a resume are still viewed less favorably than names such as Thomas and Elizabeth and this speaks to the structural discrimination struggle still relevant today.  Acknowledging that there will also be some form of inequality, Eva Paterson promised to keep on fighting for justice for all.

Guests enjoyed the beautiful views of Lake Merritt from the Terrace Room at the Lake Merritt Hotel while dining on a variety of entrees and visiting with friends and colleagues.  More than 130 attendees were present and the atmosphere was festive and upbeat.

To view more photos from the event, check out our Facebook gallery.

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