2006 - 2012
The Early Years
In 2006 a small group of Los Angeles trial lawyers for the people, consumer attorneys who fight for justice on behalf of the great people in our City of Los Angeles, embarked on a new way to serve our community beyond their roles as attorneys. Inspired by this concept of doing charitable works in our local communities, these lawyers channeled their passion for justice towards improving the conditions of the oppressed and underserved, enhancing education, safety, access to shelter and opportunities. Founded by trial lawyers who cared deeply about social justice and improving our great city, LATLC was born.
Under the care of founder Bruce Traney and a handful of supporters, soon the group grew to a hundred founding friends and even more active members. There were originally 24 Founding Friends who made sure that LATLC would survive and thrive, Mike Arias, Michael Baltaxe, Joseph Barrett, Pejman Ben-Cohen, Kevin Boyle, Donn Christensen, William Daniels, Jack Denove, Nick Ebrahimian, Ricardo Echeverria, Mayra Fornos, Victor George, Steven Glickman, Megan Green, Eric Kingsley, Lisa Maki, David Mallen, Sean Novak, Steven Pearl, Michelle Reinglass, Linda Fermoyle Rice and Doug Silverstein.
LATLC went to the heart of the problems plaguing the inner city and sought to help children be safe and have access to great education. LATLC saw the reality that Los Angeles was the home to the largest homeless community in America and committed to change that, providing relief to those who have no place to stay. LATLC sought to help survivors of abuse, pregnant teenagers, troubled youths, and make Los Angeles better and better. Lawyers – young and old, diverse in ethnicity, religion, practices and where they lived in the County – remained committed to the cause for positive change.
Fundraising took off. Through events, we began spreading the word and letting people know we are serious about changing the world for the better, beginning with Los Angeles. Children and families of trial lawyers began to participate, and then friends joined in. Soon, vendors and affiliate businesses wanted in, because the spirit of doing good works fills us all who are so blessed. To whom much is given, much is expected. Champions of justice, these trial lawyers from Los Angeles have grown in number, power and organization. Cy pres donations by generous lawyers fueled the group, along with consistent and generous donations from some who wished to remain anonymous, and others who were proud to be counted among us. From the Mayor to the people in the streets and schools, we have been noticed, recognized and honored. We have taken to the media, the businesses and the schools to spread this message of hope.
If there’s a need, we try to help. If hands are requested at a food bank, a beach clean-up, a righteous cause, we chip in. We now partner with an amazing group of charities as diverse as our members, but our goal remains consistent: we are there to help! We are your neighbors, your friends, we are role models in the community, and we are proud to be called trial lawyers who help people. Bruce Traney sought fellow leaders and found them in his partner Nick Kazandjieff, and his friends Jill McDonnell, Mike Alder, David DeRubertis, Arash Homampour, Rob Racine, and so many others. He chose Pejman Ben-Cohen to be the first President of LATLC, who was then succeeded by Joseph Barrett. Joe and Bruce then laid the foundation for an even stronger organization by seeking various expert opinions for the growth and vitality of the organization. By the close of 2012 LATLC had about 300 supporters throughout Los Angeles and we had distributed about $250,000 back to the community.
2013 - 2015
Growth of the Organization
Soon a Board was chosen, and then Robert Simon became the third President. Fundraisers and social gatherings and enhanced media have occurred and the organization has become more and more solid and helpful to the community. Now LATLC had a full Board, an Honorary Board of generous donors, and help from so many friends and supporters. Under Bob’s leadership in 2013 LATLC held its first annual Golf Tournament. In 2014, Minh Nguyen took over as President, and along with fellow leaders, the group has grown to help more people, more organizations, raise more money, and have more fun doing it! Under Minh’s presidency LATLC held its first Casino Night and Texas Hold’em Tournament at the Casa Del Mar Hotel in Santa Monica. More than 500 attorneys and their friends and family turned out to support the community. More than $600,000 was raised in 2015. LATLC had arrived!
Under Aimee Kirby’s presidency, LATLC was able to increase the scope of our organization in all respects. Our membership grew to nearly 3,000 supporters. Our second Annual Casino Night and Texas Hold’em Tournament and our third Annual Golf Tournament were both wildly successful. Thanks to the success of these event and our generous donors throughout the year, LATLC was proud to give back more than $750,000 to the community through our 45 partner charities! Additionally, thanks to Diamond LATLC Honorary Board Member Pejman Javaheri’s generous donation of $235,000 worth of food (55,000 pounds), we were able to provide meals to more than 110,000 hungry members of our community in 2015. The California State Assembly honored LATLC on May 11, 2015, recognizing the outstanding service we have done in the Los Angeles area. We were also pleased to announce that in 2015, we broadened the scope of our Mission Statement to include providing assistance to persons with disabilities. Under Aimee’s presidency LATLC established a program of formal volunteer events with our now 30 partner charities. In 2015 we held six volunteer events in the community.
2016 - 2017
Expansion and Recognition of the Organization
In 2016, under Scott Corwin’s presidency, LATLC celebrated its Tenth Anniversary with unprecedented levels of growth and giving. LATLC raised $1.6 Million in 2016 alone! Our 3rd Annual Casino Night and Texas Hold’em Tournament was the biggest yet, with over 1,000 people in attendance, raising more than $750,000 to support our charitable works. The 4th Annual Golf Tournament also shattered all previous records with more than $250,000 in gross revenue. Through the partner charities grant program, we awarded grants ranging from $2,500 to $20,000 to our 45 partner charities, continuing to support the good works that they do. We grew our Youth Sports Sponsorship Program to support 50 Little Leagues and youth sports teams in primarily low income neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Our college sponsorship program was able to make even more of an impact on each student’s higher education this year, awarding scholarships of $5,000 each to 11 underserved, yet deserving high school seniors. In all, LATLC was able to give back more than $1 Million in grants and goods to the community in 2016-an all-time record.
Financial milestones aside, 2016 was a huge year for LATLC as an organization. In addition to the 16 partner charity volunteer events that our volunteers participated in throughout the year, LATLC hosted its first ever independent service project, the First Annual Holiday Turkey and Toy Giveaway. Through the support of the New Prospect Baptist Church in Compton, CA, LAPD, and Los Angeles City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson of the 8th District, in addition to other community leaders and over 90 LATLC volunteers, we were able to distribute frozen turkeys, meal supplies, and holiday gifts to 500 families in need. In 2016, we were also able to hire our first ever executive director, Lissa Mozur Zanville, to aide us as we continue to increase our impact in the community. We are so lucky to have her on board, as LATLC embarks on its second decade of justice in the courtroom and service in the community. The California State Senate honored LATLC on June 1, 2016, again recognizing the outstanding service we have done in the Los Angeles area. Administrative and organizational changes and improvements were implemented including the trademark of our intellectual property, creation of a Legacy & Leadership Council so that our Past Presidents and Emeritus Directors could provide advice and counsel to the new leaders and provide institutional memory for our organization. Our computer systems were updated and we secured a new relational data base to help with management of the organization. The practice of inviting our Partner Charities to our board of director meetings was instituted so our directors could learn more about the organizations we help.
A new motto, “We are LATLC,” set the stage for 2017. Under Mike Alder’s presidency, LATLC reaffirmed its commitment to serving Los Angeles, with a focus on hands-on involvement with the community. We added ten new partner charities to the long list of organizations that we support, and expanded all of our giving programs. At this year’s CAALA Convention, we engaged hundreds of attorneys in community service, packaging 500 toiletry kits for the homeless. This project resulted in the single largest donation that People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) had ever received. LATLC was also featured on KCBS for its first ever Great Tryke Giveaway, what is sure to be an annual event, in which LATLC partnered with SoCal Trykers and Red Star Riders to build and custom-fit 30 adaptive trykes for children with disabilities. Our 2nd Annual Holiday Turkey and Toy Giveaway was a huge success with more than 120 volunteers helping over 2,500 members of the community. This was a year dedicated to showing the world that we are trial lawyers that engage with the community. We get our hands dirty to make a difference and enact positive change. We are trial lawyers that care. We are LATLC.
2018 - Beyond
The Present and the Future
2018 began with Dena Weiss as our new President. We expanded our Board of Directors to 41 members. LATLC provided 66 grants that year for a total of $426,585, adding 23 new partner charities. LATLC also expanded its volunteer activities, participating in 18 service projects for a total of 1,482 community hours. A favorite was the “mulching” of the outdoor area at the Exceptional Children’s Foundation Head Start school. LATLC volunteers worked all day, adding safe, rubber mulch (the first improvement in 20 years), creating vegetable gardens and adding new play equipment.The third Turkey and Toy Giveaway was held again at the New Prospect Baptist Church, with more than 2,000 participants celebrating in a full holiday village with games, crafts, and, of course, Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus.
The following year, Gerald L. Marcus became President. In 2019 LATLC added 14 new partner charities and provided 67 grants for a total of $300,593.96. Volunteer service hours jumped to 1,482, with projects set each month. We created our third signature event – the Day of Dignity. Attendees of the CAALA convention in Las Vegas helped assemble 500 toiletry kits which were distributed to those experiencing homelessness. Partnering with the Venice Family Clinic, local non-profits, and government agencies, more than 250 individuals received showers, clothes, hot food, medical and dental exams, chiropractic services, and manicures. Even pets were provided food a little care.
“Comfort and Joy” – the new name for the annual holiday food and toy giveaway – proved to be bittersweet. For three years, Pastor E.L. Williams spearheaded the community event. However, he suffered a major stroke that spring. Reluctantly LATLC moved the event from Pastor Williams’ beloved church to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church across the street from the LAPD’s Newton Division. A few days before the holiday event was to be held, Pastor Williams passed away. LATLC now dedicates the annual event in his memory.
2020 appeared to be on its way to a record-breaking year for LATLC. Under Alyssa Schabloski’s presidency monthly volunteer projects were already scheduled through December, ending the year with “Comfort and Joy.” The annual fundraisers – Casino Night and Texas Hold ‘Em tournament and the Golf Tournament – were set with planning underway. Early events like Buddy Ball and the Great Tryke Giveaway were huge successes already. LATLC was in serious discussions with attorneys in Orange County to expand and create their own OCTLC non-profit organization.
And then COVID-19 hit.
Immediately, LATLC activated its Emergency Community Committee. We funded “grab and go” meals for students in need at the Alliance College Ready Schools. We raised funds for fresh meals for at-risk seniors in Pasadena. But programs like college scholarships and holiday giving were in jeopardy. The Board created two Virtual Poker Tournaments – so successful that 12 college scholarships (not the usual 10) were presented, and LATLC raised $50,000 toward holiday meals, toys, and household items.
It looked as if a modified “Comfort and Joy” was possible, with families receiving bags of toys and goods along 34th Street, decorated with holiday “inflatables” and tents, in front of the Newton Police Department. Then another lock-down was ordered as COVID spread faster than before. LATLC had already purchased thousands of food and toy items, but our volunteers were not allowed at the station. “Patrol Car Santas” came to the rescue. LAPD officers personally assembled and delivered everything to 500 families in South L.A. All in the middle of the worst weeks of the pandemic.
Without our in-person fundraisers, we did not believe we could provide partner charity grants in 2020. However, LATLC was about to celebrate its 15th Anniversary. By publishing a “Tribute Book” with our history and impact on the community, and with the help of generous advertisers, LATLC raised enough to fund $253,000 in direct grants to existing partners.
LATLC continues to grow and thrive. We have expanded the mission of Los Angeles Trial Lawyers’ Charities, both geographically and with affiliate groups. In 2020, two teens, Brynn and Eva Coleman, who had volunteered with their mother for many years, started “Youth Ambassadors” for 6th through 12th graders. They are creating their own volunteer events and joining LATLC projects. For more information contact Brynn and Eva Coleman at [email protected]. The new Orange County Trial Lawyers’ Charities (OCTLC) has officially kicked off, and we are planning joint projects as we help them get established. (If you are interested in starting a “TLC” in your community, contact Lissa Zanville, at [email protected]). A new Law Student group was initiated also, joining the Youth Ambassadors as an associate group.
Under Daniel Kramer’s presidency, LATLC introduced a new logo in 2021, held both virtual events (a fun St. Patrick’s Day project with our Youth Ambassadors, LATLC volunteers, and a camp for adults with limited abilities) and our first in-person volunteer service project in over a year (a Spring event with El Nido Family Centers, which local news covered).
Our website was redesigned and is now LIVE.
Los Angeles Trial Lawyers’ Charities continues to serve our community – through financial support and volunteer activities. Join us!