I am proud to have served such a wonderful group of trial lawyers
I write this as I prepare to “bid farewell” to my leadership position with the Orange County Trial Lawyer Association (OCTLA). It was certainly an interesting year to be president of the organization. Despite the challenges, forced changes, and unexpected circumstances, I will cherish my year as president of this wonderful organization for the rest of my life.
Our ability to overcome the hurdles of 2020 was only possible because of a wonderful team of people. I have had the privilege of working with, and alongside, incredibly talented and hard-working board members this year. Each has brought their own ideas about how to handle the unforeseen circumstances and moving our organization forward. I am proud to have served with such an incredible group. As I leave my presidency with the organization, I rest assured that OCTLA is in the hands of an exceptional board of directors.
Our executive board members deserve specific recognition: Cynthia Craig, Doug Vanderpool, Gabe Houston, Lindsey Aitken, Whit Bertch, Aaron Hicks, and Clare Lucich. Thank you for the time you took away from your families to make sure that this organization continued to serve its members. I am forever indebted for your commitment to OCTLA, and for making this year the best possible year the circumstances allowed.
OCTLA is proud to announce that Michael Jeandron was elected to the executive office, and I know he brings with him the same work ethic and fortitude that our leadership demonstrated this year. I wish you all the best moving forward towards your presidency.
There were many past-presidents who offered me guidance and support this year. While it would be impossible for me to mention all of them, there are several that I would like to specifically acknowledge. Thank you, Keith More, for your and your firm’s support this year. You have always been somebody I held in high regard, and I really appreciate your friendship in my year as president. Thank you, Casey Johnson. You are one of the great institutional leaders I have met in my life. I cannot thank you enough for always taking my calls and helping me address questions for which I had no answer. Thank you, Geraldine Ly. You have been a wonderful friend and support system the entire time I have been a member of this organization. Simply put, you are the best. Thanks for everything.
A big thank you to our Executive Director, Janet Thornton. Janet is an institutional rock for OCTLA. I really appreciate all the help navigating through this year. Thank you for helping me with every aspect of my presidency. There are not enough words for me to truly express my gratitude. Despite what this year became, you helped us stay the course. OCTLA is a better organization because we have you.
Finally, thank you to the many sponsors that helped our organization continue to serve our members during this critical time. I will always hold my head high that OCTLA did not succumb to the challenges forced by the COVID pandemic, but rather, we worked harder to provide more benefits to our members. This was only made possible because of the many sponsors that supported us through the year. In particular, thank you to ChartSquad, our Premier Affiliate Partner for your continuous and generous support this year.
Last month we finished off our year with the OCTLA Top Gun award presentation. With the implemented restrictions forced by COVID, we had a much smaller event than usual. The award recipients and their families attended a private and intimate celebration at the Water Grill, South Coast Plaza. The event was broadcast virtually, and a recording can be viewed at www.octla.org. Each of the award recipients spoke with me about how grateful they were that we would honor them with an event, in a year where live events seemed almost impossible. In response, I told each award recipient that it was our honor to do so. Our organization is only as strong as our members. They deserved recognition for their accomplishments. We delivered the best we could.
So that is it. I will pass the presidency on to Cynthia Craig (of Kubota Craig). I wish her continued success. She moves forward with a wonderful board, an incredible Executive Director, and a group of past presidents, including myself, who are willing to help however we can.
It was a crazy, intense, confusing, and, in its own way, wonderful year.
Thank you, and farewell.
Jonathan Dwork is a trial attorney at the Law Offices of Jonathan Dwork, APLC, where he handles personal injury and property damage claims. He is the current president of the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association (OCTLA) and was named Top Young Trial Attorney in 2011. He is also a member of ABOTA.
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