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President’s Message

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August 2021


By: Michael A. Scafiddi, Esq.

Save the Date!

You are all invited to our first in person Western San Bernardino County Bar Association event since the Covid pandemic started which will be held on November 4, 2021.  Please join myself and all of the Board of Directors for our installation dinner as we honor our Jennifer Brooks Lawyer of the Year recipient Marbi Burnette, Esq., our Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, William Shernoff, Esq., and Legal Assistant of the Year recipient, Myrna Thomas.  We are also excited to announce that the Lifetime Achievement Award has now been officially renamed by a unanimous vote by the Board of Directors, as the Charles Althouse Lifetime Achievement Award.

This event will be held at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel, located at 222 N. Vineyard Avenue, Ontario, California.  The social gathering will begin at 5:00 p.m., and the dinner and program will begin at 6:00 p.m.  Please join us as we honor our wonderful recipients and Charles Althouse, which undoubtedly will be a wonderful evening in sharing stories, experiences and memories with colleagues and friends in person while you enjoy a glass of wine and a great dinner.

Our Jennifer Brooks Lawyer of the Year, Marbi Burnette, is a recently retired deputy district attorney from San Bernardino County.  Marbi, as she was known around the courthouse, worked at the district attorney’s office for thirty-three years and was one of those deputy district attorneys that you could always count on when speaking with her to get a fair result for your client.  Marbi had a passion to represent victims of crimes, but also had a passion for what was true and just.  Marbi was actually a good friend of Jennifer Brooks, which always makes it more special when our recipient was a friend and colleague of Jennifer Brooks.

What can I say about William Shernoff that hasn’t already been written?  Mr. Shernoff is one of the iconic lawyers in our legal community and well known throughout our country as a leader and pioneer of bad faith insurance law.  Mr. Shernoff has received awards as Trial Lawyer of the Year with the Los Angeles Trial Lawyers Association and Trial Lawyer of the Year with Consumer Attorneys of California and Consumer Attorneys of the Inland Empire, to name a few.  I am looking forward to hearing Bill speak as he receives this award as the first recipient of the Charles Althouse Lifetime Achievement Award.

Our other recipient is Legal Assistant of the Year, Myrna Thomas.  Ms. Thomas began her career in 1999 as a Clerk III.  In 2002, she was promoted to Legal Processing Assistant II, and was then promoted in 2004 as a Court Attendant.  In 2006 she was promoted to Judicial Assistant I and then promoted once more to her current position of Judicial Assistant II in 2007.  Ms. Thomas is currently assigned to the San Bernardino Family Law District.  Everyone who knows Ms. Thomas talks about her professionalism, her pleasant demeanor, and no matter how stressful the situation may be, she is always polite, courteous, and fair.

I cannot wait to see Charles Althouse who is quite frankly a gentleman lawyer.  His dedication of service to clients in the west end of San Bernardino County has been nothing short of amazing.  Charles was admitted to practice law in 1959 and has served our legal community for over sixty-two years, which has included as President of the San Bernardino County Bar Association in 1979-1980 and as a member of the Estate Planning Council of Pomona Valley.  Mr. Althouse is also a prior recipient of the WSBCBA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015-2016, and the Jennifer Brooks Lawyer of the Year Award in 2003-2004.

This will truly be a great evening in honoring our three wonderful recipients and our amazing Charles Althouse.

We ask everyone to invite their family, friends, and colleagues so that we can make this in person event a memorable evening, as Dean McVay and I affectionately call, “prom season for lawyers.”

In shifting gears slightly, I want to thank everyone who either called, sent texts, or e-mailed me their kind words, thoughts, and comments on my last two articles, “It Was The Best of Times and The Worst of Times.”  I was especially touched by an emotional e-mail by a local lawyer whose brother served in Vietnam.  It was very humbling to me in realizing that I could write something that would touch someone’s heart in recalling their memories.

I tell everyone as I travel throughout the state in handling matters for my clients in the courts that there is no better place to practice law than San Bernardino County where lawyers are professional, collegial, and our judges, who are bench officers, are some of the best in the state.

I look forward to seeing everyone at our installation dinner.  Until next month and as always, stay safe and healthy, and always work well and care.

Michael A. Scafiddi, Esq.

WSBCBA President