Alameda County
Bar Association

Spotlight: Distinguished Service Award Recipients 

Thank you to everyone who joined us at the Berkeley City Club Friday January 10, 2014. The festive atmosphere was punctuated by calls to service and reminders of our shared responsibility to ensure equal access to justice by State Senator Holly Mitchell and our Distinguished Service Award recipients. 

Congratulations again to the award recipients, and a big thank you to Presiding Judge Winifred Smith, Richard Rahm of Littler, and State Senator Holly Mitchell for lending their time and talents!
Pictures from the 2014 ACBA Installation and Distinguished Service Awards Luncheon can be found on our website:

2014 Distinguished Service Award Recipients:

Judge C. Don Clay

JUDGE: Judge C. Don Clay, Superior Court of California, County of Alameda

A member of the Alameda County Bar Association for more than 30 years, Judge C. Don Clay practiced law in Alameda County for more than twenty years focusing on civil litigation, sports and entertainment law and complex white collar criminal defense. In 2002, he became first assistant attorney for the  US Attorney’s office, managing all public corruption and civil rights cases. He was appointed to the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda in 2003  and was elected to serve as Assistant Presiding Judge in 2010 and Presiding Judge in 2012. Judge Clay has been an fervent advocate for court funding and has served on many boards and commissions representing civil and community interests in the Bay Area.

Christine Noma

LAWYER: Christine Noma, Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP

Chris’ practice is focused on all aspects of environmental law. She represents clients in environmental litigation involving cost recovery claims, CERCLA, Clean Water Act, strict liability, negligence and nuisance causes of action and real estate toxic tort cases.  Her long standing involvement with the Alameda County Bar Association includes serving on the Board of Directors of the Alameda County Bar Foundation, as a co-chair of the East Bay Diversity Bar Coalition, and as Chair of the Environmental, Land Use and Sustainability Section. Chris  is also an enthusiastic and generous supporter of the ACBA Volunteer Legal Services Corporation.

Michael Makdisi

YOUNG LAWYER: Michael Makdisi, Law Office of Michael Makdisi

Michael is a solo civil litigator and transactional lawyer in Oakland, working in many areas of law and focusing on matters that involve property such as landlord-tenant disputes, easements and boundaries, and contractual issues. He has served on the ACBA Real Estate Section Executive Committee, and was the 2013 Chair of the ACBA Barristers Section.


LAW FIRM: Donahue Gallagher Woods LLP

Founded in 1918,  Donahue Gallagher Woods LLP is an interdependent group of law practices that include commercial real estate services, litigation, business counseling and formation, mergers and acquisitions, labor and employment matters, collections, immigration, and will and estate planning, among various other practice areas. Donahue Gallagher Woods LLP attorneys have sat on both the ACBA and VLSC boards, helping direct the course of the legal community in Alameda County. In addition to its active participation in the ACBA, Donahue Gallagher Woods LLP is an ardent supporter of pro bono work, going so far as to adopt a policy of providing full billable hour credit to its attorneys for pro bono legal services to the poor and underserved, creating a culture of supporting meaningful pro bono work. In fact, Donahue Gallagher Woods LLP’s unparalleled support and generosity led VLSC to create a new major donor category in 2013: Pillar of Justice.


ED Richard Winefield with Senator Mitchell and Bob Frassetto

Bananas Incorporated was founded in 1973 as a volunteer-run organization comprised of local mothers seeking playmates for their children. As mothers increasingly entered the workforce, Bananas Inc. has evolved from a place for children and mothers to socialize to a critical network of information and resources that enable parents to work without compromising their children’s welfare. Bananas Inc. provides critical child care information and support to the child care communities of Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, Albany, Emeryville, and Piedmont. Offering its services in ten languages and dialects, Bananas Inc. provides referrals to child care providers, workshops and support groups for parents, and emergency child care support for families in crisis, serving an average of 141,000 individuals annually.