Reeling in the Year
This has been quite a year for IABA NorCal. Along with the introduction of a new website and online membership platform, the IABA was approved by the IRS as a tax-exempt 501(c)(6) Business League, and was also approved by the State Bar of California as a Multiple Activity Provider (thereby enabling us to offer and grant MCLE credits to attendees without first submitting separate applications requesting prior approval).
The IABA took full advantage of its MCLE provider status and ran an MCLE event virtually every month, each session covering a different and interesting area of law. This year saw the first South Bay MCLE event, where Michael Moore took us through the ins and outs of patent portfolio management. Back in San Francisco, Joseph Breen (former president of the Irish American Bar Association) spoke on the topic of employment law. Our very own Jim Byrne, an original member of the IABA, presented an overview of the recent changes to immigration law impacting J1 and other visas. Tom Trombadore (owner of Trombadore Gonden Law Group LLP) spoke on the topic of non-profit law. Siegmar Pohl, Gretchen Ramos, and Philip Zender, all of the firm Squire Patton Boggs, were kind enough to present an overview of the EU's latest privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation. Alana Joyce (of the firm Strike & Techel) presented an overview of alcoholic beverage law in the United States. We look forward to continuing this trend in legal edification in the new year.
This year also saw a changing of the guard, involving the departure of a beloved board member and the induction of many new. Mr. Kevin Byrne, the Vice-Consul General of Ireland returned to Ireland to fulfill his diplomatic duties at home, and we saw the addition of several new members: Caroline Goulding, Brian O'Beirne and Jane Cunningham.
The IABA Board is exceedingly grateful for the generous support it has received over the past year. We received support in the form of a grant from the Emigrant Support Program and also from our new sponsor Leland, Parachini, Steinberg, Matzger & Melnick LLP (LPS). A big thank you to both LPS and the Emigrant Support Program from the Board of Directors! As an all volunteer board, these funds go a long way in helping build out our infrastructure and continuing the Board's activities.
The IABA was involved in many other events this year, playing the part of both host and participant. The IABA played a part in the Dublin Business and Legal Symposium that took place in Dublin and Galway from September 29 to October 1, 2016 and was hosted by the the Irish American Law Society of Cleveland in association with the National University of Ireland, Galway School of Law. The IABA also provided pro bono advice to the Board of Directors of the United Irish Cultural Center. Three volunteers, William Crean, William Murphy, and Frank Liuzzi, put their legal heads together to help the UICC.
The Board also participated in the Los Gatos-Listowel Writers' Festival, where they hosted a special literary-cum-legal event on the eve of the Festival. Los Gatos Mayor, Barbara Spector welcomed guests and speakers which included include IABA Board Member, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip Kearney. Also joining was Irish investigative journalist and playwright, Frank Shouldice. The event was a big success and hopefully something we can continue to participate in in the New Year.
Apart from many of the new events and initiatives that the Board are involved in, the Board continued some of its time-honored traditions. It showed off its athleticism in the annual Irish Italian softball match. The game was played in honor of Dennis Kavanaugh and John Riccio, two esteemed former members of our associations. We were honored to be able to commemorate these two men with this fun event, and more recently we hosted the Third Annual Irish Thanksgiving. It was a ball (no pun intended) and we would encourage everyone to attend next year.
All-in-all, the IABA has come a long way in the last year. We hope to continue our work on into the New Year, and continue to represent the Irish American Legal Community in the Bay Area.
Happy Holidays to all! And may the New Year bring you joy and fortitude!