The Santa Clarita Valley Bar Association celebrated its local tradition of leadership and community outreach during a recent socially distanced swearing in ceremony for its new executive committee.
The local association for lawyers works together to support a community in the SCV that furthers professional development, networking and opportunities to give back according to business litigator Taylor Williams and criminal defense attorney Jeff Armendariz, who lead this year’s Executive Committee as president and president-elect, respectively.
This time of year, the opportunities to give back have been one of the main focuses of the SCV Bar Association for Armendariz, he said in a recent interview.
Armendariz has been a board member of the bar since becoming involved about nine years ago, and one of his proudest achievements with the bar
A toy drive inspired by the organization’s first installation dinner has become a chapter staple each year, and one of the most enjoyable aspects of joining such a group for Armendariz.
“Besides the personal relationships, we offer a breadth of opportunities for people to improve and sustain or maintain their practice,” he mentioned, referring to networking events where people can “let their hair down,” to continuing legal education opportunities for lawyers, a requirement for all lawyers, which is one of the benefits of membership.
Armendariz also noted the organization’s annual speech competition has been a source of pride for the group, as it’s allowed promising young students who are juniors and seniors in high school a chance to present arguments in front of a Los Angeles County Superior court judge.
While the toy drive is still on, the speech competition is on hold, and the networking looks to be virtual for the time being, according to Williams, which has also prompted the SCV Bar Association’s leadership to discuss new ways for how it can work to stay relevant for its leadership.
Unprecedented times have created challenges that, to the current degree, haven’t really been an issue in modern times, leading the association to look into the possibility for things like any way they might be able to help out with child care options, while attorneys deal with hours of virtual hearings, often with children who have new homeschool needs.
“The board and I have been talking about different kinds of community outreach,” Williams noted, referring to the post-COVID-19 environment as a “brave new world,” for the legal community, as in many other aspects.
At the end of the day, regardless of whether a community is coping with a global pandemic, it’s incredibly helpful to be a part of a professional group with members who support one another, Williams added.
“Our main thing is networking, so that we can get to know each other in the legal community,” Williams said, adding she can’t count the number of times that she’s had someone reach out to her and ask for a reference for an opinion on a legal matter.
“We have a lot to offer, the opportunities to get to know fellow members and to get to serve on the board,” Armendariz said, “There’s no substitute for getting to know people.”