To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel :
Members of the Southern California Chapter of ACCA are still talking about the success of our 13th Annual Gala Dinner which took place on Friday, March 7 at the Bonaventure Hotel In Los Angeles. Nearly 2,000 chapter members and guests attended, including some 40 members of California's judiciary at both the state and federal level.
The Highlight of the evening was an appearance by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who captivated his audience with a presentation that offered wide-ranging commentary on the international scene. Mr. Blair said he believes the center of power in the world's economy is shifting eastward toward India and China. He said he didn't realize how fast the change was taking place, and he suggested that those of us in the Western world must adapt quickly. He also pointed out that efforts to deal with terrorism represent a major challenge for the West, but he told his audience, "Our determination to win is greater than theirs to do evil."
In a lighter moment, Mr. Blair recalled being invited to visit Buckingham Palace after he was first elected. He said he was given specific instructions on how to bow and how to just brush his lips across the Queen's hand. On his way to greet the Queen, he tripped and, as he put it, "rather smushed" his lips against her hand.
The evening also featured the presentation of the ACCA-SoCal Diversity Award, sponsored by K&L Gates, to John Page, General Counsel of Golden State Foods in Irvine, who has made hiring diverse outside counsel a personal mission. The ACCA-SoCal Pro Bono Counsel of the Year Award, sponsored by Foley & Lardner, was presented to Naomi Kobayashi, Senior Vice President and Senior Counsel at Capital Guardian Trust Company and Capital International, Inc. in Los Angeles, who was honored for her efforts to help raise funds for the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice.
A silent auction at the dinner to benefit Public Counsel also raised more than $40,000.
I would like to personally thank Phil Maynard, chair of the 2008 Gala Committee, and committee members Renee Benjamin, Melissa Alexander, Alison Malin, Vince Gonzalez, Mark Harrington, Mike Dwyer, Stuart Pardau and Dawn Hagigigi, whose efforts helped ensure another successful event.