The Beverly Hills Bar Association (BHBA), heralded for championing access to justice, an independent judiciary and the Rule of Law, honors two legal stalwarts, Justice Laurie D. Zelon of the California Court of Appeal, 2nd District, Division Seven, and leading trial lawyer William M. Shernoff, a longtime consumer advocate who is the pioneer of bad faith insurance law, at the Seventh Annual "BHBA Litigation Awards Dinner" on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 at 5:30 pm at Montage, Beverly Hills. Justice Zelon, noted for her exemplary pro bono service, receives the "Ronald M. George Award for Judicial Excellence," named for the former California Supreme Court Chief Justice who retired in 2011 and was its first recipient. Shernoff, founding partner of Shernoff Bidart Echeverria LLP, a law firm specializing in insurance bad faith litigation, receives the "Excellence in Advocacy Award," which honors a trial lawyer whose case successes have resulted from expert legal skills, unique trial strategy and courtroom teamwork, and who also gives back to the community. Noted consumer advocate Ralph Nader, cited by The Atlantic as one of the 100 most influential figures in American history, is the honorary chair and key speaker.
"The Beverly Hills Bar Association is proud to recognize Justice Zelon and William Shernoff for their meaningful and far reaching impact on the community and the legal field," says BHBA President Howard Fisher.
"Their commitment to fairness and access to justice are truly exemplary," adds Jonathan Stein, chair of the Litigation Awards Dinner.
Justice Laurie D. Zelon, one of the originators of the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®, serves as an associate justice of the California Court of Appeal. She received a B.A. from Cornell University with distinction in all subjects, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School and was admitted to the California Bar in 1977. She joined Morrison & Foerster as a partner in 1991 where, prior to her appointment to the Superior Court in 2000, she had an active litigation practice. Prior to joining Morrison & Foerster she was a partner at Hufstedler, Kaus & Ettinger. Noted for her commitment to serving the community and promoting access to justice, Justice Zelon is past President of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and a past member of its Board of Trustees, and chaired numerous committees. She is past Chair of the Lawyer Representatives from the Central District of California to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. In the American Bar Association, she served as Chair of the Standing Committee on Lawyers' Public Service Responsibility, the national Law Firm Pro Bono Project, and the Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants, and as a member of the Consortium on Law and the Public and the Ethics 2000 Commission. She was the California State Delegate to the House of Delegates, and a member of the Board of Governors. She is also past Chair of the California Commission on Access to Justice. Justice Zelon has spoken widely concerning pro bono, public services, and legal and judicial education. She received the William Reece Smith, Jr. Special Services To Pro Bono Award (1993), the Charles Dorsey Award (National Legal Aid & Defenders Association) (1999), the Loren Miller Legal Services Award (State Bar of California) (2000), the Benjamin Aranda Award(2010), and the Maynard Toll Award (2014). She was the first recipient, in February 2000, of the Laurie D. Zelon Pro Bono Award, given by the Pro Bono Institute of Washington, D.C.
William M. Shernoff has made a career of representing insurance consumers in their cases against insurance companies. In 1979, he persuaded the California Supreme Court to establish new case law that permits policyholders to sue insurance companies for bad faith seeking both compensatory and punitive damages when they unreasonably handle a policyholder's claim thereby creating the new tort of "insurance bad faith." Shernoff is a nationally recognized authority in the field with decades of experience representing individual and business insurance consumers. A frequent lecturer and writer, Shernoff co-authored the legal textbook, "Insurance bad Faith Litigation," which has become the field's definitive treatise, as well as "How to Make Insurance Companies Pay Your Claims . . . . And What To Do If They Don't," "Payment Refused" and "Fight Back and Win – And How To Make Your HMO Pay Up." He has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, and on "60 Minutes," and has authored over 50 articles on insurance issues and is featured in the Rutter Group Seminar entitled "The Shernoff Insurance Bad Faith Seminar." Shernoff handled the Holocaust life insurance cases that spawned a $5 billion settlement for Holocaust survivors (Stern v. Generali). He is currently handling lawsuits accusing health insurance carriers of routinely and illegally denying patients' medical claims on the grounds that such treatments were not medically necessary even when recommended by treating doctors. He is also involved in fighting on behalf of seniors who have suffered financial elder abuse by insurance companies who are denying legitimate insurance claims of seniors. He maintains offices in Beverly Hills and Claremont California.
Dinner Committee Members include Cotchtett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP; Donahue & Horrow LLP; Girardi Keese; Glaser Weil LLP; Rizio Law Firm; Law Offices of William D. Shapiro; and Shernoff Bidart Echeverria LLP.
The Beverly Hills Bar Association, founded in 1931, is the fifth largest bar association in California with nearly 6,000 members. Its mission is to serve its members, to lead the legal profession and to advocate for justice in the community. Previous Beverly Hills Bar Association Litigation Dinner honorees include Former Chief Justice of California Ronald M. George; Presiding Justice Norman Epstein; The Hon. Christina A. Snyder; Judge Michael Nash; The Hon. Arthur Gilbert; The Hon. Stephen Reinhardt; Roman Silberfeld; Tom Girardi; Marshall B. Grossman; Browne Greene; Thomas J. Nolan; and Morgan Chu.
Tickets for the "Beverly Hills Bar Association Litigation Awards Dinner" are $300 per person ($325 after February 10). Montage Beverly Hills is located at 225 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210. For tickets and information call (310) 601-2422 or visit www.bhba.org.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Montage Beverly Hills 225 North Canon Drive Beverly Hills, CA 90210