Heather Cline Hoganson, Staff Editor, 2016 SCBA President, Of Counsel, Simas & Associates, Ltd. She can be contacted at

by Heather Cline Hoganson

Steve Wang, Bagram,
Afghanistan, 2011

Steve Wang, a native of Taipei, Taiwan, joined the Army right after 9/11, as a way of “giving back to our great nation as an immigrant.” He was mobilized to the Pentagon from 2007-2008 (Operation Enduring Freedom) and deployed with the 1st Cavalry Division to Afghanistan from 2011-2012. Wang recalls arriving In Afghanistan during “fighting season.” “The area of responsibility was large, and the operational tempo was high. As a result, there were a lot of casualties and deaths. Many of us attended ramp ceremonies almost on a daily basis as we were sending fallen heroes home to their families and loved ones.” Wang now serves as the City Attorney of Folsom. “I will always be grateful to my brothers and sisters-in-arms who shared the sandbox with me, especially those who did not make it home to their families and loved ones. These great patriotic American heroes are always in my mind when I’m sitting at my desk at City Hall.”

Brandon Erickson, Iraq, 2003

Ryan Wood receives the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for his work as the Battalion Intelligence Chief, Operation Iraqi Freedom, circa 2006

Brandon Erickson enlisted in the Army in 1999 and deployed to Iraq in 2003 for Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was severely wounded in combat, receiving the Purple Heart and Bronze Star with the “V” device for valor in combat. After completing his rehabilitation at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Erickson committed himself to making the most out of his “second chance” at life. He used his educational benefits as a wounded veteran to go back to school. He supports veterans’ causes including of Operation Rebound – a non-profit dedicated to getting wounded veterans back to a healthy active lifestyle. He also chairs a scholarship committee for high school students who write essays on patriotism. To Erickson patriotism means understanding the sacrifices others have made for this country. “I have been to some really bad places; we Americans have it pretty good, and we should not take this for granted.” After spending almost four years as a Deputy District Attorney in El Dorado County, Erickson opened his own firm, Erickson Law Offices, PC, in Gold River.

Ryan Wood, a partner at Stoel Rives, LLP, joined the Navy out of high school in 1993 and remained in the Navy Reserves, serving a total of 20 years. After enlisting, he served as a sonar technician on the USS Antietam. Switching to the Reserves in 1998, Wood earned his BA and JD while remaining in the enlisted ranks. He served with the Navy Seabees (the civil engineering component for the Navy and Marine Corps). In 2006, he deployed with his Seabee battalion, NMCB-18, to support the Marines in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He served there as the Battalion Intelligence Chief, responsible for threat assessment and mission planning.

Jill Thomas

Assistant US Attorney Jill Thomas had been considering the FBI as she finished law school in 1997, when a classmate mentioned that she was joining the military “to see the world.”  Although Thomas found it interesting to be a gay female in the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” era of the military, she has enjoyed and is grateful for her experience. Thomas was on active duty for over nine years, and then switched to the Air Force Reserves. She is currently with Moffett Operations Central (Southern) Command. She credits the US Attorney’s Office for being supportive of her military commitments.

Capt. Rabi David

Two Orrick lawyers, Rabindra (Rabi) David and Nick Horton, are military veterans. David earned his wings flying as an electronic warfare officer on the AC-130 gunship before becoming a logistics maintenance officer for the RC-135 “Rivet Joint.” He deployed to the Middle East for Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. After eight years in the Air Force, David went to law school. He later re-joined the Air Force as a JAG officer, separating in October 2016 to join Orrick. In addition to his white collar internal investigations practice, David provides pro bono representation to veterans seeking disability benefits. Horton served on active duty from 2001-2008 as an infantry officer in the Marine Corps. He had three deployments to Iraq three between 2003 and 2005. After settling in Sacramento, he attended Pacific McGeorge, graduating Order of the Coif in 2012. He returned to service with the Marine Corps Reserves as an infantry officer, “which is a great escape from the office and allows me to still get my boots dirty once and a while.” Both David and Horton credit Orrick for supporting the military.

Nick Horton in Ramadi, Iraq, 2005

Felix De La Torre receives the “Airman of the Quarter” for his squadron, Nellis Air Force Base, 1985

Felix De La Torre is the General Counsel of the Public Employment Relations Board. He joined the California Army National Guard while still in high school, using the summer between his junior and senior year to complete basic training. After finishing high school, he completed Combat Engineer training and transferred to the Air Force. De La Torre used his military education benefits to pay for his education. “I credit my military experience with giving me the confidence and discipline needed to attain my educational goals. … Had I not enlisted, I am fairly certain that I would not be an attorney today.“

Eric Miller, near An Nasiriyah, Iraq, 2004

For Eric Miller, his plans to attend law school while serving his “one weekend per month, two weeks per year” with the California Army National Guard changed after 9/11. He was activated and soon sent to Iraq. “I ended up filling out law school applications from my tent in southern Iraq and went to law school after I returned,” he explains. After his service in Operation Iraqi Freedom as first lieutenant, he graduated from law school in 2008, clerked for a federal judge, and wound up at Boutin Jones where he handles business and real estate litigation.

Eric Miller, near An Nasiriyah, Iraq, 2004

Roosevelt O’Neal remembers joining the military in 1960 when he was a 17-year-old high school drop-out.  Because he was not yet 18, he had to have his mother sign his paperwork. He spent eight years in the Air Force, learning teletype communications at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas, and serving with top secret military clearance in the Philippines, Japan, Oklahoma, and California, before his honorable discharge. Back in San Francisco and now married with two children, he used his GI bill benefits to enroll in City College, with the idea of becoming a doctor. However, a conversation with a local doctor convinced him that law school would be a better career path, so he enrolled at USF Law School and was admitted to the Bar in 1979. O’Neal became the first black CalTrans attorney in 1980, before he opened a private solo practice. He credits his military training, with an emphasis on loyalty and responsibility, in helping him be organized and maintain a dedication and sense to duty towards his clients.

Alejandro Mejia, near the Syrian/Iraqi border

Alejandro Mejia starts law school at Pacific McGeorge in August – quite a change from the four years he served in the Army as a combat medic. Mejia is the son of immigrant parents. “I felt the need to give something back to the country that had already given my family a shot at a better quality of life, so the added bonus of being able to help my parents [financially] helped me decide what to do.” Straight from training, Mejia deployed with the 1st Infantry Division, 1-4 Cavalry Squadron, Apache Company to FOB Sykes located outside of Tal-Afar, Iraq, serving as his platoon’s medic. He has been working as a legal assistant with the Voluntary Legal Services Program. “I think he’s a terrific young man,” say VLSP Managing Attorney Vicki Jacobs. 

Honoring Vietnam Veterans

Honoring Vietnam Veterans

Heather Cline Hoganson is a past SCBA President and of counsel with Simas & Associates, Ltd. She can be contacted at

by Heather Cline Hoganson

“Through more than a decade of conflict that tested the fabric of our Nation, the service of our men and women in uniform stood true. …Yet, in one of the war’s most profound tragedies, many of these men and women came home to be shunned or neglected — to face treatment unbefitting their courage and a welcome unworthy of their example.We must never let this happen again. Today, we reaffirm one of our most fundamental obligations:to show all who have worn the uniform of the United States the respect and dignity they deserve, and to honor their sacrifice by serving them as well as they served us.”

President Barrack Obama
Presidential Proclamation 2012-03-29 

Justice Fred Morrison (ret.)

On the 50th Anniversary of the official end of the Vietnam War, President Barrack Obama proclaimed March 29, 2012 as Vietnam Veterans Day and called “upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities…”  In 2017, Congress passed, and President Trump signed, Public Law No. 115-15 to add “National Vietnam War Veterans Day, March 29” to section 6(d) of the title 4 of the United States Code, the section that lists when flags should be displayed.1

Mike McGowan on lessons learned from being a Marine

To honor the Vietnam veterans who are lawyers in the Sacramento area, Justice Fred Morrison (ret.) – himself a Vietnam veteran – organized a luncheon on March 29, 2018, the first anniversary of the law. He called his friends Emmett Mahle and Tom Knox, also Vietnam veterans, to create a celebration on the anniversary where they could “tell war stories” and appreciate having their own recognition day. From there, “one thing led to another” with the SCBA handling logistics and the Del Paso County Club graciously donating one of its rooms. Thus, this event emerged, complete with speakers Mike McGowan and Judge David Abbott.  A slide show of in-country photos taken by Norm Hile played as an accompaniment to the event. Red Cross volunteer Barbara Haukedalen contributed P-38s, which are the openers for C-rations, as a reminder of the haute cuisine provided to soldiers by Uncle Sam and a memento of this occasion. She also brought a map of Vietnam, and attendees attached their names with pushpins to the areas of Southeast Asia where they served.  As Justice Morrison remarked, Red Cross volunteers provided a female touch of home to soldiers – in serving coffee and doughnuts to help troop morale, they were referred to affectionately as “Donut Dollys.” Tom Knox agreed and said “God bless them all.”  Present were all branches of service, with the eldest statesman in attendance being retired Brigadier General Jed “Skip” Scully, now Professor Emeritus at Pacific McGeorge.  When Justice Morrison mentioned “former Marines,” Thomas Fowler respectfully “objected” to the characterization, “there may be a dead Marine, but there is never a ‘former’ Marine.”  Semper Fi!

Donald Dorfman and C. Emmett Mahle

Mike McGowan spoke about the things he learned as a Marine, which included the filling of a lot of sandbags, resourcefulness to the point of larceny in obtaining food to share with his fellow Marines, the telling of tall tales (which assisted him later as a trial lawyer and politician), and the putting of service above self. He said it was his duty to make life better for others, his debt to those “that didn’t make it home.” He explained that his responsibility to make real the promise of the 58,000 lives left behind was partially based on the fact that “we left Vietnam, but Vietnam has never left us.”


A graduate of West Point, Mahle commanded Company D of the 173rd Airborne
Brigade in Vietnam. Although he was discharged from the Army as a captain, he
retired as a colonel from the U.S. Army Reserves in 1993.

William Hoover, Mike McGowan, and Thomas Knox

Judge David Abbott, who served during the Vietnam years as a Marine Corps prosecutor and defense attorney, presides over the Veterans’ Treatment Court, established in 2014 to provide an alternative to veterans who plead guilty or no contest to committing non-violent, non-felony crimes due to brain injury, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, sexual trauma, substance abuse, or mental health problems connected to their military service.2 Judge Abbott reports that Sacramento’s recidivism rate after completion of the 18-month Veterans’ Treatment Court program is “almost zero,” a win for the individual and for society. Judge Abbott thanked the mentors in this program, including Vietnam veterans Kent Wyatt and Jim Anwyl, who also attended the luncheon, and encouraged others to volunteer to be mentors as well.

Glenn and Victoria Cline

While this country loses Vietnam veterans daily (estimates are that 500 per day die), it now has an official recognition day to thank those that remain for their service and honor the sacrifices made by all who served.    

1 The others include: Armed Forces Day, third Saturday in May; Memorial Day (half-staff until noon), the last Monday in May; National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, July 27; Navy Day, October 27; and Veterans Day, November 11.

2 See Forgotten Heroes, No More, Sacramento Lawyer, vol. 118, no. 1 (Jan/Feb 2017), p. 22.


Victoria Cline Participating in field exercises at Fort Sam Texas, 1969

Sgt. Jerry Chong, USMC, Mike Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment of the First Marine Division, circa 1968. The son of Chinese immigrants, “I volunteered for the Marine Corps because I believe in the cause we were fighting for in Vietnam.”

California Lawyers Association:  The State Bar Sections Reinvented

California Lawyers Association:  The State Bar Sections Reinvented

Heather L. Rosing is the President of the California Lawyers Association. She is a shareholder at Klinedinst PC and can be contacted at

by Heather L. Rosing

The long-standing State Bar of California “Sections” are now the first statewide, all-attorney bar association in California – the California Lawyers Association (CLA). CLA came into existence pursuant to Senate Bill (SB) 36, which was signed into law by Jerry Brown in late 2017. CLA’s mission is to promote excellence, diversity, and inclusion in the legal profession, and fairness in the administration of justice and the rule of law. Because the Section members transferred over to the new entity, CLA is already 60,000 members strong. Once the ranks of the California Young Lawyers Association (CYLA) are added to this number, CLA will be the largest state bar association in the country.

A nonprofit 501(c)(6), CLA is governed by a Board of Representatives, with a representative from each Section and one from the CYLA. On January 18, 2018, CLA elected its first slate of officers: Heather L Rosing as President, Emilio Varanini as Vice-President, Jim Hill as Chairman of the Board, Chip Wilkins as Vice-Chairman of the Board, Lee Berger as Secretary, and Betty Williams as Treasurer. Pam Wilson serves as the Interim Executive Director, and Tricia Horan is the Director of Operations. CLA is currently headquartered at the State Bar in San Francisco and anticipates moving its main operation to Sacramento.


The Sections have a long history of success, activity, and high quality educational programming through the State Bar. SB 36, also known as the State Bar fee bill, separated the Sections from the State Bar effective January 1, 2018, and gave CLA a mandate to provide low-cost and no-cost legal education in return for the continued inclusion of CLA on the State Bar’s dues statement. Since the split, the State Bar has transferred other professional association functions to CLA. All members of the Sections are automatically members of CLA and can continue to maintain membership in CLA through a simple payment on the State Bar’s dues statement. Attorneys can also join CLA directly through CLA’s website at

We are extremely excited that CLA has officially launched, The State Bar is focused on its regulatory mission, and CLA can now act as a true Bar Association that engages in a variety of activities that were not possible in the State Bar context. While change is always difficult at some level, the State Bar, the Legislature, and the Sections worked very well together to effectuate the transition and separation. CLA is off and running in a very positive and exciting way.


CLA, its members, and its many volunteers are over four months into the work of building the organization and devising initiatives. The CLA leadership is working with Section members on enhancing the value of the organization and creating new platforms for dissemination of information. CLA, as a bar association, now has the freedom to adopt innovative ways to engage its constituents, educate them on the latest developments and trends, and attract and retain a diverse membership from across the state – including attorneys belonging to the Sacramento County Bar Association, now celebrating its 100th year.

“When we were part of the California Bar Association, we needed to ensure all of our communications between members were carefully planned and organized to comply with Bagley-Keene open meeting rules. We lost the impromptu nature of informal collaboration, email threads, and impromptu get-togethers,” said Jim Hill, Chairman of the Board. “We can freely communicate among leadership and members and have a flexible approach to our strategic plan now that we are a separate entity from the State Bar.”


The organization’s primary focus is simple: to promote the professional advancement and education of attorneys practicing in California. In today’s competitive legal landscape, CLA offers a variety of resources and networking opportunities, while strengthening fellowship throughout California’s attorney community.

CLA is proud to offer several signature events. The first is the CLA Annual Meeting, which is based on the model built by the State Bar over many decades. The first CLA Annual Meeting will be in San Diego on September 14 and 15, 2018. The second CLA Annual Meeting is anticipated to take place in Monterey in the fall of 2019. CLA’s vision is to create an environment at the Annual Meeting where all attorneys, bar leaders, bar organizations, and judicial leaders are welcome and encouraged to network and participate in high-quality educational programming. CLA is in the process of reviving the Bar Leaders Conference, which is expected to premiere at the 2019 Annual Meeting.

Another CLA signature event is the Small Firm and Solo Summit, again modeled on the successful event hosted by the State Bar for many years. Anticipated to take place in June 2019, this event will offer a variety of critical practice management tools, CLEs, mix and mingle opportunities, and more. It is a rapidly changing environment for small firms and solo practitioners, and CLA is excited to renew the Summit as a resource to this community.

In accordance with the CLA mission, the 16 Sections continue to regularly deliver high-quality programs, events, and resources. They are also continuously seeking new ways to expand its offerings – helping members maintain expertise in their fields, build contacts, and grow their practice while upholding the ideals of the legal profession and justice system.

Another priority for CLA is expanding and refining its communication tools for members, as well as the general public. already features more than 1,200 pages of resources, information on past meetings, and other valuable membership tools. Cognizant of the need to maintain a strong presence through social media, each CLA Section has developed a social media strategy designed to connect the organization with the younger generation of lawyers in particular.

Finally, CLA members should keep their eyes out for a variety of organization-wide initiatives in the areas of diversity, pro bono opportunities, bar collaboration, support of the judiciary, and advocacy at the Capitol. CLA is fortunate to have the members, volunteers, staff, and resources to make a substantial impact in California on cutting edge issues.


The CLA Board of Representatives has made working with the State Bar a priority. In particular, the State Bar and CLA have a shared interest in educating attorneys, developing young lawyers, providing the highest quality legal services, promoting diversity in the legal profession, and protecting the public.

One of CLA signature initiatives is bar collaboration, which involves bringing together bar associations, affinity organizations, and bar leaders across the state to discuss points of common interest, joint networking events, joint educational programming, and more. CLA is excited to continue to foster these relationships, including a relationship with the Sacramento County Bar Association.

CLA is also engaging in dialogue with other legally related groups and agencies across the state, in an effort to foster relationships that will assist CLA in achieving its mission and serve the profession of law.


The future of the legal profession in California is in very good hands with CYLA. All California licensed lawyers 36 years old or admitted to practice for five years or less are automatically members of CYLA. The CYLA leadership and volunteers will continue to offer younger lawyers and new practitioners the best opportunities for involvement in the legal profession, as well as participation in public service at the state and local levels.

CYLA is also developing a program to appoint liaisons to each of the CLA Sections, to enhance the dialogue between CYLA and the Section membership. The Sections are very interested in cultivating young attorneys and providing mentorship. CLA’s heavy investment in CYLA will ensure that these future leaders will have access to expanded educational programs, as well as enhanced networking and advancement opportunities.

CLA encourages all attorneys and legal professionals in California to consider joining and taking advantage of not only all of the benefits and educational opportunities, but the energy and enthusiasm inherent in building a new and influential statewide Bar Association.

You can learn more by visiting or contacting the CLA at 415.795.7029.  

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