California Western was well represented in the recently announced San Diego County Bar Association’s (SDCBA) 2020 Service Awards.
The annual awards celebrate the contributions and commitment of distinguished individuals and organizations serving both the San Diego legal community and the public. Winners are nominated by their peers and reviewed and selected by the SDCBA’s Awards Committee, with approval of the Association’s Board of Directors.
Rosalina Spencer Leon ’08 of the Legal Aid Society of San Diego received the Service by a Public Attorney Award. Leon was recognized as an individual who demonstrates a combination of excellence in the practice of law in the public sector with significant service to the community, to mentoring, to the legal profession, to the SDCBA, or to legal education.
California Western Adjunct Professor Valerie Garcia Hong, the founder of Garcia Hong Law received the Service to the Legal Community Award which recognizes outstanding long-term or significant contributions to furthering the goals of the legal profession. Professor Garcia Hong teaches STEPPS at Cal Western.
Klinedinst Associate Attorney Catherine Asuncion ’15 received the Outstanding Service by a New Lawyer Award, which recognizes a new lawyer who has demonstrated a significant commitment to serving the legal profession via legal education, mentoring, or community service. Asuncion focuses her practice on representing attorneys in professional liability matters.
Jewish Family Service received the Distinguished Organization Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions by a group not composed primarily of lawyers or judges whose contributions over a period of time have had significant favorable impacts on some facet of the legal system, legal community, or civics education. Kate Clark ’10, senior director of immigration services for Jewish Family Service, together with her immigration services team—Leah Chavarria ‘14, Luis Gonzalez ‘16, Jairo Castaneda ‘17, Daria Craig ‘15, Vanessa Dojaquez-Torres ‘15 and former Cal Western employee Veronica Ayesta—received the award on behalf of Jewish Family Service.
“Community is one of the San Diego County Bar Association’s core values, and serving the community is central to that commitment,” said SDCBA President Johanna Schiavoni. “We are honored to recognize this year’s award recipients for exemplifying what it means to serve others. They are creative, innovative thinkers who are focused on lifting others up through tireless service to the community, and they are an inspiration to us all.”
Award recipients will be recognized at the SDCBA’s Annual Awards Ceremony & Celebration of Community Service on Sept. 30. The virtual event takes place during SDCBA’s celebration of Law Week, which will focus this year on the Centennial Anniversary of the 19th Amendment, and also will highlight the Association’s public service and community outreach initiatives over the past year.
Congratulations to all award recipients.
For a complete list of SDCBA 2020 Service Award recipients and more information, click here.