Congratulations to the newly installed 2012 PABA Officers and Board and PABA Awardees!

PABA celebrated their 26th Annual Installation and Awards Gala on February 16, 2012 back at the Beverly Hills Hilton where the Gala has been held in several years past.  The BHH was a gracious host as they always have been and this year prepared a special dessert for us-a delicious chocolate praline molten cake decorated with the PABA logo!

This year, PABA brought out the red carpet ensuring that no guest escaped without first getting a photo taken.  Thank you Snapshot Six for capturing our event for another year! (photos here)

We thanked and said farewell to our 2011 Officers and Board and with confidence passed the baton to President Judy Sethna, her Officers and Board of Governors.  The 2012 Officers and Board were sworn in by the Honorable Jacqueline Nguyen who will soon be sitting on the Ninth Circuit (we are confident).

We were honored to have Presiding Judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court, the Honorable Lee Smalley Edmon.  Judge Edmon acknowledged each Fil-Am Judge sitting on the bench in Los Angeles, each of whom was in attendance at the Gala.  We also heard from the Honorable Judge Rafeal Ongkeko and the Honorable Judge Holly Fujie.  Judge Fujie’s name was unfortunately mispronounced throughout the evening.  As a result, in jest, she suggested that she just be “Judge Holly.”

Finally, PABA celebrated the achievements of three of its members: Vince Verde, Serafin Tagarao and Carmina O’Campo.  Vince was recognized for his professional successes.  He is a Shareholder and founding partner of the Orange County office of Ogletree Deakins.  Serafin is currently a 3L at Loyola Law School. Not only is he a model student, but he has always been an enthusiastic contributor to PABA’s activities and work.  Carmina is an attorney at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center.  She is our non-profit “goddess” devoting her life to advocating for the rights of the API community.  PABA is proud to have them among their members.  In addition, scholarships were awarded to Jill Reyes and Scott Sia.

We also specially acknowledged long time “retiring” board members, Melvin Avanzado and Christine Gonong.  Christine will be joining Judge Nguyen in the Ninth Circuit as her clerk.  Mel will be focusing on his practice and will continue in his important work in achieving a diversified bench.

On a personal note, I am truly honored and proud to have been PABA’s 2011 president.  Thank you for trusting in me, believing in me…and to the board, allowing me to lead and tolerating my incessant middle of the night e-mails.  I am confident that 2012 will be a terrific year and that it will only bring PABA to further heights and contributions to our community.