Jack Berman Award of Achievement
The Annual California Young Lawyers Association (CYLA) Individual Award of Achievement for Distinguished Service to the Profession and the Public was established in 1992 to recognize the substantial achievements of a young lawyer. In 1993, the CYLA Board of Directors renamed the award in memory of Jack Berman who was killed in the 101 California Street (San Francisco) shooting earlier that year. Mr. Berman was a young lawyer who demonstrated outstanding service to the profession and the public, and was dedicated to issues of concern to the profession, especially its young lawyers.
The Nominations Process for the 2013 Award
The Annual California Young Lawyers Association (CYLA) Individual Award of Achievement for Distinguished Service to the Profession and the Public was established in 1992 to recognize the substantial achievements of a young lawyer. The 2013 Guidelines and 2013 Nomination Form are now posted! The deadline for nominations is February 25, 2013.
The 2012 Award
We're pleased to have presented 2012 Jack Berman Award of Achievement to Ana de Alba
To say Ana de Alba is zealous about workers’ rights is an understatement. Starting at the age of six, Ana spent her summers toiling alongside her family picking tomatoes in California’s Central Valley. When she and other field workers complained about the grimy, brackish water provided in the fields that summer, they were threatened with a raid from Immigration and Naturalization Services. Understandably, no one dared complain about the water again. A few years later when she was nine, Ana’s mother spent an entire summer working on a cucumber farm while being promised she would be paid “next week.” Unfortunately for Ana’s family, “next week” never came.
Because Ana was so indignant about this maltreatment, her oldest brother, whose wisdom belied his age, encouraged her to become an attorney to fight for the rights of other workers. With the single-mindedness of a child, Ana did just that. She excelled academically and graduated from UC Berkeley and UC Berkeley School of Law, Boalt Hall. Ana then returned to the Central Valley to begin her legal career at Lang, Richert & Patch. Although she has only been practicing for five years, Ana has already made her mark in the pro bono community. Locally, she serves on the Board of Directors for Central California Legal Services, Inc. (“CCLS”) and is a member of the Fresno County Bar Association’s Pro Bono Services Section. In 2009 she was appointed to a three year term on the California State Bar Standing Committee for the Delivery of Legal Services and in 2010 she joined the California State Bar Pro Bono Coordination Committee.
In addition to sitting on committees, Ana has taken a leadership role in designing and implementing the Central Valley Pro Bono Challenge, launched in 2009 by then California Supreme Court Justice Ronald George. The Challenge encourages attorneys in the Central Valley to provide pro bono assistance to the underserved. Most recently, Ana has served as a driving force behind the Workers’ Rights Clinic in Fresno. The Clinic is sponsored by CCLS, Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center, and the Consulate of Mexico in Fresno. It is the largest project Ana has spearheaded to date and is one that she hopes will change the landscape of pro bono in the Central Valley. The Clinic assists low-wage workers every month with a myriad of employment issues. In addition to meeting the demands of raising a family and being an associate with billable hour requirements, Ana still fervently takes part in weekly telephone conferences, numerous meetings, and several television and radio appearances to promote the Clinic.
“I could not have accomplished any of this without the support of my family, law firm, and the mentorship of some of its most senior partners,” she says. “The collaborations that I have been able to form with local organizations are a direct result of the goodwill Lang, Richert & Patch has built in the legal community. I am honored to be able to utilize that to try to make justice more accessible for all.”
This award was presented at the 2012 Annual Meeting.
The 2011 Award
The CYLA Jack Berman Award of Achievement was presented to Emily Arnold-Fernandez, the founder and executive director of Asylum Access. A lawyer who has advocated nationally and internationally for the human rights of women, children, and other vulnerable individuals, Emily first became involved in refugee rights in 2002, when she represented refugees in United Nations proceedings in Cairo, Egypt. Among many honors for her innovative approach to the global refugee crisis, Emily was honored by the Dalai Lama as one of 50 "Unsung Heroes of Compassion" from around the world (2009). The award was presented at the Annual Meeting on Friday, September 16 from 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach. For more information, see 2011 Award.
Photos from the 2010 Awards Ceremony
And congratulations again to Sonia Fernandes, Staff Counsel to the State Department of Managed Health Care, who received CYLA’s Jack Berman Award of Achievement for pro bono and public service work. The award was given in September 2010 at the State Bar of California Annual Meeting.
At right, Ms. Fernandes stands with 2009-2010 State Bar President Howard Miller, 2009-2010 CYLA President Brett Jolley, and Chief Justice Ronald M. George
For more information, see 2010 Jack Berman Award. More photos from CYLA's participation at the Annual Meeting are posted on the Facebook page for The State Bar of California Sections and CYLA..
For information about recipients prior to 2010, see the Awards page for the Jack Berman Award.