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President's Message

Welcome to 2014-2015!   It is with great enthusiasm that I welcome you to the 2014-2015 session of the Desert Bar Association. It is a particular honor to be installed as the President of the DBA...

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Upcoming Events

DBA Luncheon: "US Supreme Court Update"    presented by Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, UC Irvine School of Law, on Friday, August 28, 2015, at The Classic Club, Palm Desert. Check-In: 11:30am; Presentation: 12:00pm. 1 hour General MCLE credit is available.

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More events coming soon!    Be sure to check back with us.

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Save the Date

August 28, 2015   DBA Luncheon: Dean Erwin Chemerinsky to present 2015 Supreme Court Update. 11:30am @ The Classic Club, Palm Desert.

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September 18, 2015   DBA Luncheon: Substance Abuse Presentation by James Heiting, Greg Dorst and Mike Razzo. 11:30am @ The Classic Club, Palm Desert.

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October 17, 2015   64th Annual Installation of the Officers & Trustees of the Desert Bar Association

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More events to come!   Be sure to check back with us.

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Past Events

Chief Justice of California Luncheon - April 2012    Photos from the Luncheon for the Chief Justice of California, April 19, 2012

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OneJustice Bus Project - April 2012    Photos from the OneJustice Bus Project - April 2-3, 2012

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Bird Awards 2011 - Beach Blanket Indio    Photos from Beach Blanket Indio, June 3, 2011.

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2011 Court of Appeal Visit    Photos from April 2011 Court of Appeal Visit

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April 2011 Cocktail Mixer    Photos from Cocktail Mixer at Cork Tree on April 20, 2011

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59th Annual Installation of Officers & Trustees    Photos from the 59th Annual Installation of Officers & Trustees on October 23, 2010

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Bird Awards 2010 - Alice in Lawyerland!    Photos from Alice in Lawyerland, June 26, 2010.

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Senior Law Day 2010    Photos from Senior Law Day 2010

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Items of Interest


June 24, 2015, 8:30am-1:30pm @ Moreno Valley Conference & Recreation Center, 14075 Frederick Street, Moreno Valley, CA 92553. Keynote speaker is Dr. Kerry Burnight, Clinical Professor of Family Medicine in the School of Medicine at the University of California, Irvine. Dr. Burnight is the Director of the nation's first Elder Abuse Forensic Center. Her research focuses on the medical forensic aspects of elder abuse and the development of new models for understanding elder abuse. She is also the founder and President/CEO of Ageless Alliance, a national social justice movement that aims to bring together people of all ages for the dignity, autonomy, and safety of older adults. For more information, contact 800-476-7506. Register here. To download the flyer for the event, please click here.


The Other Bar is a group of lawyers, judges, law students and other legal professionals who are in recovery or who seek to get into recovery from issues with alcohol and drugs. There is a meeting in Rancho Mirage at the Betty Ford Center every Monday evening at 7:00 p.m. Contact Charley R. at 760-698-8033, for details.


The family of William Nolan Cosgrove would like to express its deep appreciation to the Board of Trustees and all of the members of the Desert Bar Association who offered their condolences, prayers and offers of personal and professional assistance following Bill's untimely death. We were overwhelmed by the attendance at Bill's funeral and the numerous flowers, gifts and telephone calls, emails, sympathy cards and donations to charities in Bill's name.


With deep appreciation,

The Family of Bill Cosgrove


Ayotte & Shackelford have released their new Court & Attorney Directory for 2015-2016. You may download a copy of the directory in PDF fomat by clicking here. (Note: the PDF file is 3MB.)


ELWOOD M. RICH (November 20, 1920 - January 29, 2015)  Retired judge Elwood M. Rich (Woody) was born in Turbot, Northumberland County 20 November 1920 to George and Helen Mary Rich, who were itinerant workers in the apple orchards. He grew up in Williamsport, Lycoming County, in north-central Pennsylvania and sometimes lived with his maternal grandfather, Attorney John Wesley Group, in Rauchtown, Clinton County. In Williamsport he lived baseball and played in locally organized groups who played teams from the surrounding area. These youths were the fore-runners of the new internationally-organized Little League, begat in Williamsport.


Woody attended Williamsport High School, from which he graduated in 1939. Woody enrolled in Duke University in 1939 where he graduated and completed his first year of law school. He passed the California and Illinois Bar Exams in 1946. He never missed a day of school from junior high through law school.


After a short stint of civil practice in Glendale, he came to Riverside in 1947 and was employed by W.O. Mackey in the District Attorney's Office, where he remained until elected judge in 1952. He married Lorna Beryl Smith Jirik, daughter of Edgar Vernon Smith and Ella Elizabeth Moe in 1948 in Hemet, CA. Lorna was born 11 February 1921 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada and passed away July 28, 2007.


In 1952 when he was thirty-two years old, he ran for the position of Municipal Court judge in Riverside Judicial District, was elected and served there for eighteen years with almost perfect attendance.


Woody founded what is now California Southern Law School in Riverside in 1971 and was dean of the law school until 2014.


Woody was appointed to the Riverside Superior Court in April 1971 by then Governor Ronald Reagan and retired there in November 1980. He worked two days a week as a mediator for Riverside Superior Court from 1984 until 2012 and privately in mediation and arbitration from 1981 until 2013. Throughout the years he and Lorna enjoyed extensive domestic and foreign travel and participated in many Elderhostel (now Road Scholar) adventures. Woody was a voracious reader and movie buff; he loved his long-time, simple yet responsible life in the Wood street area of Riverside. He and Lorna were generous financial supporters of Eden Lutheran Church.


Judge Rich passed away on January 29, 2015, at the age of 94. His remains will be interred in Riverside's Evergreen Memorial Historic Cemetery. Woody is survived by four sons, Stevan, Brian, Gregory, and Scott, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.


At Woody's request there will be no formal services.


In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory will be gratefully received by Eden Lutheran Church, 4725 Brockton Avenue, Riverside 92506; Evergreen Memorial Historic Cemetery, P.O. Box 20544, Riverside 92516 and The Community Foundation, 3700 Sixth Street, Suite 200, Riverside 92501 (Attn: Lorna B. Rich Endowment Fund).


Effective December 1, 2014, the court will begin offering private attorneys expedited access to the courthouses in Riverside County. Members of the California Bar will be given the opportunity to apply for and receive a court-issued photo identification card. Attorneys with this type of identification will be provided expedited screening at secured court entrances. Expedited screening is defined as walking through the magnetometers and not being required to have personal items go through x-ray screening. If a private attorney does not present a valid court-issued identification badge, he or she will be subject to the same screening as members of the general public.


Attorneys will be required to provide identifying documentation in order to receive a court-issued identification card. The required identifying documentation will include a current, valid State Bar card and photo identification. A minimal processing charge of $15 will be required. This access is intended to expedite screening for counsel, which will reduce delays in court hearings due to congested lines outside the courthouse.


The program is being piloted from January through June of 2015. If, at the conclusion of the pilot the court elects to continue with the program, the identification cards will be valid for a set period of time. More information is available on the court's website. To download the electronically-fillable PDF form needed to apply fora private attorney badge, please click here.


The November 2014 edition of the Desert Bar Association Family Law Section Newsletter is now available for download. To download it, please click here. (Warning: the newsletter is approximately 4MB in size and could take some time to download on a slow connection.)


Wednesday, November 12, 2014. Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced the appointment of Susanne S. Cho and James T. Latting to judgeships in the Riverside County Superior Court.


Cho, 48, of Palm Desert, has been an attorney at the Law Offices of Rodney Lee Soda since 2004. She served as a deputy public defender at the Riverside County Public Defender’s Office from 1994 to 2004. Cho earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge David B. Downing. Cho is a Democrat. Cho will be the first Korean American woman judge ever appointed to the Riverside County Superior Court.

Latting, 65, of Palm Desert, has been of counsel at Roemer and Harnik LLP since 2002. He was general counsel and managing general partner at Latting and Co. from 1996 to 2002 and from 1984 to 1988. Latting was a partner at George, Hull, Porter and Kohli P.S. from 1990 to 1996 and an associate at Bogle and Gates from 1988 to 1990, where he was an associate from 1979 to 1981. He was a partner at Bratcher, Owen, Latting, Teague and Owen from 1981 to 1984 and an associate at Crowe and Dunlevy from 1978 to 1979. Latting earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law, a Master of Science degree from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Gary B. Tranbarger. Latting is a Democrat.



The October 2014 edition of the Desert Bar Association Family Law Section Newsletter is now available for download. To download, please click here.


The September 2014 edition of the Desert Bar Association Family Law Section Newsletter is now available for download. To download, please click here.


The votes have been tallied, and we are now happy to announce your incoming Officers and Board of Trustees of the Desert Bar Association for 2014-2015:


President - Michael B. Rover
Vice President - Julie A. Rosser
Secretary - Karen J. Sloat
Treasurer - Carlos L. Campos


James T. Latting
Kimberly T. Lee
Robert J. Gilliland, Jr.
Roger K. Tansey
Christoffer J. Thomsen
Natalie S. Keller
Amir H. Afsar
Rejeanne Eyre


For anyone who missed the recent special DBA luncheon, where Dean Erwin Chemerinsky provided our members with an update on this past year's U.S. Supreme Court decisions, here is a link to it written form:


The June 2014 edition of the Desert Bar Association Family Law Section Newsletter is now available for download. To download, please click here.


The May 2014 edition of the Desert Bar Association Family Law Section Newsletter is now available for download. To download, please click here.


Ron (11/4/1930-1/23/2014) was born in New York City, N.Y. His parents were Louise E. Golan and Sylvia (Weinstein) Golan. Ron was an Attorney at Law for over 50 years and a member of the Desert Bar Association. Previous occupations include Trans World Airline Pilot, President of Golan Imports Company, and Commissioner of Palm Springs International Airport. As a young man he managed a water company that was on the site of what is now Sunnylands. He was also an entrepreneur and Real Estate Broker. Ron was a founding member of the NTSB Bar Association. He served his country as a U.S. Air force fighter pilot from 1951 - 1955. He was active duty during the Korean War. Ron attend The University of Southern California for both Undergraduate Studies and Law School. He was a graduate of Beverly Hills High School. Ron is survived by his companion Cheryl Parker of Palm Desert, Calif., daughter Terri Ann Dickson of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., sons Jon Eric Golan of Long Beach, Calif., Peter Louis Golan of Vista, Calif., and sister Barbara "Joy" Escoe of Costa Mesa, Calif. He also has three grandchildren. Ron loved animals and leaves behind two dogs and three cats. He was a proud lifetime member of The Living Desert and always supported military organizations such as the Wounded Warrior Project and the American Legion. Ron will be buried at Riverside National Cemetery. If you would like to honor his passing with a gift, the family asks that you please make a donation on Ronald Golan's behalf to Wounded Warrior Project at


Anthony E. Shafton, 72, of Palm Desert, California, passed away on July 17, 2013 in Rancho Mirage. He was born July 17, 1941 to Ellis Shafton and Edythe Brown in St. Louis, Missouri. He married Sandra Loos on September 2, 1990 in Los Angeles. He was a lawyer for 47 years and practiced at Berger Kahn Shafton Moss Figler Simon and Gladstone from 1975 to 2001. Thereafter he practiced law in Palm Desert. He was a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He served in the U.S. Army from 1959-1960 as a PVT E-2. He is survived by his wife, Sandra Shafton of Palm Desert; daughter, Dr. Elizabeth (Jeffery) Shafton Bias of San Ramon, California; son, Brian (Jennifer) Shafton of Sherman Oaks, California; sister, Randy (Jiggs) Gallager of Palm Springs, California; grandchildren, Mitchell and Hallie of San Ramon. A Memorial Service will be held in Los Angeles at a later date. Forest Lawn Memorial-Parks & Mortuaries.


Here is a link to download the U.S. Supreme Court's opinion in Hollingsworth v. Perry:


Here is a link to download the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in U.S. v. Windsor:


Since 1994, the Litigation Section of the State Bar of California has inducted one or more attorneys into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. This award is given to professionals who have excelled as trial lawyers and whose careers exemplify the highest of values and professional attainment.


The Litigation Section is pleased to announce that Thomas J. McDermott, Jr., will be inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. The reception and dinner in his honor and presentation of the award took place in Hollywood on June 22, 2013.


Tom McDermott has been practicing business law for 52 years, from the Los Angeles area, to New York, Washington DC and currently, in Palm Desert. He has litigated in state and federal courts in California, Nevada, Arizona, Michigan, Massachusetts, Illinois, Iowa, Florida, Wisconsin, and Indiana. During that time he has represented many diverse clients, including major corporations and diverse industries, government entities and prominent entertainers.


Tom helped found and was president of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers (ABTL); he was the first editor of its Bulletin, president of the UCLA Law Alumni Association, chair of the Litigation Section of the State Bar of California, chair of the Lawyer Representatives Coordinating Committee of the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, chair of the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, and chair of the Ninth Circuit Advisory Board. He has received the John Frank Award, given once a year by the Ninth Circuit to a lawyer for outstanding service to the federal courts. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Tom has written extensively for California Litigation, the publication of the Litigation Section of the State Bar of California. Mr. McDermott was one of the founders of the Los Angeles Opera Company and represented it for many years. He served on the board of the Los Angeles Music Center Performing Arts Council.


Outside the law, he served in the Army in Korea, was the Barbeque Champion of the World, was an amateur magician, and he met his wife when both were taken hostage in a coup d'etat in the Philippines.



Victoria Williamson has been selected as the new Director for the Riverside County Law Library. Victoria began her career in Riverside with Best, Best & Krieger LLP where she ultimately became Director of Library Services. She went on to acquire positions as a Reference Librarian at the University of LaVerne College of Law, Assistant Director of Public Services, and later Assistant Director of Strategic Directions & Development at the San Diego Law Library. With over 22 years of experience, she has returned to Riverside ready to lead the Law Library in living up to its mission of providing free and open access to the law for all in the County. To read the entire announcement, please click here.

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