It’s that time of the year again! The Orange County Trial Lawyers Association (OCTLA) is now accepting nominations for its coveted Trial Lawyer of the Year Award! Each year OCTLA recognizes and honors local trial attorneys for their exceptional trial skills over the past 12 months. The winner of the award is forever known as the “Top Gun” award recipient. Past award recipients have not only shown courage and commitment to their clients, but have also demonstrated truly exceptional skill, ability, preparation, and professionalism to obtain outstanding results on behalf of their clients.
Outstanding results are not limited to the size of a verdict, but may include additional factors such as length of trial, complexity of liability or damages, the impact of the result beyond the case itself and any other unique identifying characteristics. Results can include jury verdicts, arbitration awards and bench trial awards.
Through the years, OCTLA has had award recipients, who practice in various categories ranging from personal injury, labor & employment, criminal defense, workers’ compensation and even family law. There is also a “Young Gun” award for attorneys who have been practicing for 10 years or less who consistently display a desire to try cases to conclusion, regardless of the outcome. There is also a “Distinguished Achievement” award for the attorney who has achieved an outstanding result through settlement, appeal or litigation that has a significant impact for a consumer, the community, or the civil justice system. If you or someone you know fits the bill, go ahead and make your nominations via the OCTLA website at www.octla.org. All nominations must be received by July 31, 2016, to be considered for the awards that will be given during the OCTLA Top Gun Award and Charity Dinner that will take place at the Islands Hotel in Newport Beach, California, on November 19, 2016.
In addition to honoring some fantastic trial attorneys, OCTLA will also be raising money for a very worthy charity − The Veteran’s Legal Institute (VLI). VLI is a nonprofit law firm that goes to battle for hundreds of Orange County veterans each year. Located in Santa Ana, California, VLI is the only Southern California public interest law firm exclusively devoted to low-income veterans and is only one of a handful nationwide. The work VLI does is so important because legal disputes often contribute to veterans’ homelessness and joblessness. They offer legal services to veterans ranging from immigration, labor & employment, social security disability, to landlord/tenant disputes.
At approximately 130,000 retired service members, Orange County has the fourth-largest veteran population in California. In less than VLI’s two years of existence, it has managed to handle 1,300 cases and counting with just three attorneys, a cadre of volunteers, and a shoestring budget.
OCTLA has plans to raise $150,000 for VLI. This money will help them to hire two more attorneys, an office administrator and a grant-writer. This amount of money will also help them serve more OC veterans. For those of you who cannot make the November awards dinner, then try to give what you can online now at www.octla.org.
Vincent D. Howard is the managing shareholder of Vincent Law, Anaheim. His practice focuses on individual cases and mass torts involving personal injury and consumer protection. His experience in these areas stems from his work at Lopez, Hodes, Restaino, Milman & Skikos, where he handled high-profile mass tort litigation and pharmaceutical injury cases against such companies as Wal-mart, Merck and Halliburton. He is a graduate of the University of Nevada-Reno and received his J.D. at Western State College of Law, where he was a Dean's Scholar.
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