REMARKS FROM THE PRESIDENT’S DESK
By: Michael A. Scafiddi, Esq.
TRIBUTE TO MITCHELL IRA ROTH
In loving memory of Mitchell Ira Roth
December 20, 1961 – December 2, 2020
This past month, our local legal community lost a great lawyer and friend to all. Mitch lived an amazing life growing up in Manalapan, New Jersey. He was the son of a lawyer and loved growing up in New Jersey. His family had season tickets to the New York Giants and Mitch was a lifelong fan. Mitch loved Bruce Springsteen and attended well over four hundred Bruce Springsteen concerts, most of them right up on the rail by the stage. This bigger than life man, attended thousands of concerts and sporting events, including World Series games, Super Bowls, and All Star games in all of the major league sports. He was an encyclopedia of knowledge in all things related to music, law, and sports. Mitch always willingly gave of his time and money to local non for profit charities. He served for twenty years as a member of the Board of Directors of the Western San Bernardino County Bar Association, and also served as a Board member for the Legal Aid Society of San Bernardino. Mitch’s sardonic humor was known throughout the courthouses in the Inland Empire, and his wit, intelligence and easy bantor made all of us who knew him feel like he was a dear friend. It is almost impossible for me to think about having to write these words about Mitch, never believing that he would leave us so soon. I, like many others, who have expressed kind words and thoughts for Mitch over these past few weeks since his passing, will miss our late night phone calls where we would talk about sports, music, and law, and for me personally, he would always ask and debate with me at to which was the worst football team, the New York Jets or the New York Giants.
I truly did not know the impact that Mitch had on so many lives until I was able to attend the December 12, 2020 virtual memorial, attended by approximately 175 people. Those three hours of listening to the many speakers who talked about Mitch was healing for me and has made his passing a little more tolerable. The kind words from his childhood friends and their escapades together in New Jersey from selling tickets to concert events to Mitch always wanting to make deals in college, and to all of the lawyers and judges who spoke about his great lawyering skills, his wonderful and outstanding capacity of kindness for everyone was heartwarming.
Joyce Holcomb, a local family law attorney, at the memorial for Mitch, spoke about her best friend and said that:
We all affectionately called him “Mitch” and he was everyone’s “Best Friend;” he managed to keep in contact with so many people on a weekly, if not daily basis, thus making everyone feel as though they were truly special. He had the ability to make us all feel connected. He was the conduit between the Court and the Bar Members; he always knew the latest “gossip.” He was the person that everyone called to find out the latest intel from the Court; if he did not know the answer, he knew how to get the answer. Mitch would always call and give me “brain drills” on a regular basis to test my trivia knowledge. He had a wealth of knowledge on so many topics. He was a man of integrity and morality. He loved sports, Bruce Springsteen, the New York Giants and his family. He lived his life to the fullest and I can honestly say that the last year he was the happiest I had ever seen him. ~ Joyce Holcomb
As a member of the Western San Bernardino County Bar Association, and having known Mitch for several years, the personal loss will remain for the rest of my life. The professional loss to his clients and our legal community will also be felt for many years to come. Mitchell was truly a great, kind, and caring lawyer. I have spoken to many of his clients since his passing and almost all of them spoke through their tears as they talked about their relationship with Mitch.
Several years ago, in 2016, when Mitch was sitting on the Board of Directors of the Western San Bernardino County Bar Association, he along with Angelique Bonanno brought a motion before the Board to honor those in our legal community who go above and beyond in the giving of their time and service. Due to the recommendation of both Mitch and Angelique, the Service Award was instituted by recognizing an individual in our justice system and was first awarded in 2016. Since that time, this award has been given in honor of a person who works in our justice system who gives extraordinary efforts to everyone they meet and deal with in providing comfort, compassion, and true justice.
Recently, the Board of Directors of the Western San Bernardino County Bar Association voted unanimously to rename the Service Award as the Mitchell Roth Service Award. It is somewhat ironic to name an award after this wonderful man who never sought personal praise. He liked doing his job and working in the background and never sought attention or any honor. Mitch’s life had such an impact in our legal community and was so exceptional that he deserves the recognition as being one of the best lawyers in generations in our legal community. Mitch will posthumously receive the newly named Mitchell Roth Service Award this year at our Judicial Awards Ceremony. I know that Mitch would be humbled, honored, and deeply proud to know that his impact on his clients, other lawyers, and judges in our system of justice was so great that his name will now be synonymous with a lifetime of doing good deeds for those in our legal community.
To Mitchell’s family, we cannot thank you enough for sharing Mitchell with us. He lived a great life but left us way too early. Rest well, Mitch, we love you dearly.
Michael A. Scafiddi, Esq.