Thoughts on the 2012 San Bernardino County Bar Association’s Annual Installation & Awards Banquet at the San Bernardino Hilton, San Bernardino County
October 19, 2012 Leave a comment
Last night, I had the good fortune of attending the San Bernardino County Bar Association’s Annual Installation & Awards Banquet. The 2012-2013 Board of Directors was sworn in by San Bernardino Superior Court Presiding Judge Marsha G. Slough. The 2012-2013 Board of Directors is President Kevin Bevins, President-Elect John Zitny, Vice President Bradley R. White, Secretary-Treasurer Jack Osborn, Immediate Past President Jennifer M. Guenther, and Directors-at-Large the Honorable Diane I. Anderson, the Honorable Khymberli S. Apaloo, Victor J. Herrera, Barbara A. Keough, Eugene Kim, John W. Short, Sandy L. Turner, and me, Michael Reiter.
I have been a member of the San Bernardino County Bar since around the time I was admitted as an attorney, and through the years I participated in many Bar-related activities, from Lawyer Referral Service to Law Day to the Resolutions Committee.
The Installation was brief, with the bulk of the night devoted to honoring three legal titans: Grover Porter, Paul Shimoff and Bruce Varner. Here is the night’s program:
When I was a Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Bernardino, I prosecuted roughly half of the code enforcement cases, along with Jolena Grider, who is now Senior Assistant City Attorney for the City of San Bernardino. During that time, we would spend a lot of time waiting for second call on our cases before bench warrants were issued to no-shows. During that time, I would get to hear stories from and about the criminal bar, which included an institutional memory at least into the 1960s. I had heard Grover Porter’s name when I worked at Legal Aid Society of San Bernardino, but it was not until I was a Deputy City Attorney that I had a chance to see how well Mr. Porter operated in the courtroom.
I have had many occasions to interact with Mr. Shimoff. As he said in his speech last night, he has never had to advertise, because he gets a constant stream of referrals from other attorneys. That is because his reputation, particularly in taxation, is unparalleled. He has been very generous with his time with me, particularly when I was an attorney for Legal Aid Society in San Bernardino. I asked him for tax advice on a transaction to convince a member of the community to donate his building to Legal Aid Society. If you have ever seen the beautiful potted plant in my office, it was a gift from Mr. Shimoff.
Bruce Varner is a legend of the Inland Empire, not just as an attorney, but as a community leader. I worked for his firm, then Gresham, Varner, Savage, Nolan & Tilden in the summer between high school and college, and the first winter break of college. Last night, he was a introduced by Jack Brown, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Stater Bros. Jack Brown lauded the expert legal work of Bruce Varner during Stater Bros. 1986 proxy fight that almost destroyed Stater Bros. Since 2006, he has been a University of California Regent, which is very impressive.
We are lucky in the Inland Empire to have such fine attorneys, and to have such a close legal community. It makes practicing law much more enjoyable.