When a group of 22 Westside attorneys came together to form the Beverly Hills Bar Association (BHBA) in 1931, they probably didn’t expect it to one day grow into the fifth largest bar association in California. But, they may not be surprised that the organization’s original mission continues to shine through with vigor. That mission: to serve its members, lead the legal profession and advocate for justice in the community. Past and future service to the profession and to every member of the community was a prominent theme at the BHBA annual Installation and Awards Dinner on Sept. 26 at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills.
New President and Officers Installed
Leading the evening’s programming was the installation of new officers for the BHBA. Attorney Michael R. Sohigian, of the Law Offices of Michael R. Sohigian in Beverly Hills, was formally sworn in as the new BHBA president. Sohigian, along with his fellow Board of Governors officers, and officers of the BHBA Barristers (the newer lawyers’ section of the Bar Association) and the Beverly Hills Bar Foundation (the charitable affiliate of the BHBA) were given the oath by his father, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronald M. Sohigian (Ret.). In addition, BHBA outstanding service awards were presented to several bar association members.
In addition to Sohigian, other officers sworn in at the installation were President-Elect Adam Siegler, of Greenberg Traurig in Century City; First Vice President Anthony Ross, of Tyson Mendes in Los Angeles; Second Vice- President Malcolm McNeil, of Arent Fox LLP in Los Angeles; Secretary/Treasurer Alexander Rufus-Isaacs of Rufus-Isaacs, Acland & Grantham, LLP in Beverly Hills, and Immediate Past President LaVonne Lawson, of the Law Office of LaVonne Lawson in West Los Angeles.
Barrister members of the BHBA are attorneys under the age of thirty-seven or who have been admitted to practice for ten years or fewer. Barristers officers installed at the dinner included President Nadira Imam, of the Beverly Hills law firm Lawrence H Jacobson, APC; President-Elect David Wagmeister, of The Matian Firm, APC, in Los Angeles; Treasurer Kent V. Grover, of Goldberg Segalla, Los Angeles; Secretary Jasmin Gill, of Pessah Law Group, PC in Century City; and Immediate Past President Jack McMorrow, of Harris- Ginsberg LLP in Los Angeles.
Beverly Hills Bar Foundation
Established in 1970, the Beverly Hills Bar Foundation is an IRC 501(c)(3) public entity and the charitable affiliate of the Beverly Hills Bar Association. It receives both financial and volunteer support from Association members and friends. Over the years, the Foundation has funded a number of nationally recognized and emulated legal literacy and preventive law programs as well as community service projects that educate and assist youth, adults and seniors. The Foundation is especially proud of its role in co-founding Public Counsel, conceived by the Beverly Hills Bar Association more than 40 years ago and now the nation’s largest pro bono law firm. Public Counsel’s far-reaching activities and involvement in high-profile litigation have profoundly affected the lives of those living at or below the poverty level. Recent cases involve topics ranging from DACA to homelessness and affordable housing.
The Beverly Hills Bar Foundation also awards scholarships to academically qualified, economically disadvantaged law students who demonstrate an ongoing commitment to public service and are attending the top- ranked, ABA-accredited UCLA School of Law, USC Gould School of Law, Loyola Law School, Pepperdine University School of Law and Southwestern Law School.
Additionally, the Beverly Hills Bar Association Barristers volunteer on the first Saturday of each month at Roxbury Park to provide free legal help. The program has been helping anyone with a legal question or issue for more than a quarter of a century.
Beverly Hills Bar Foundation leaders invested at the dinner included President Linda E. Spiegel, Certified Mediator, Attorney at Law of Beverly Hills; Vice President Scholarships Alan Forsley, of Fredman Lieberman Pearl LLP in Century City; Treasurer Feris M. Greenberger, of Greines, Martin, Stein & Richland, LLP, in Los Angeles; Secretary Marc A. Lieberman, of Fredman Lieberman Pearl LLP in Century City; and Immediate Past President Jim Jahant of Beverly Hills.
Honorees during the evening also included Outstanding Service award winners. Awards were presented to Brian P. Lepak (President’s Award); Natalia C. Aranovich (Board of Governors’ Award); Steven Mindel (Chief Executive Officer’s Award); Jonah A. Grossbardt (Barristers’ Lawrence J. Blake Award); and BHBA CEO Marc R. Staenberg (Louis B. Fox Award).
Proceeds from the Installation and Awards Dinner support the educational and community outreach programs of the BHBA.