Background - News & Events (Landing) 2016
Past Events

Sonenshine Pro Bono Opportunities Reception

November 17, 2011 • Newport Beach, CA

The Sonenshine Pro Bono Opportunities Reception has been held each year over the last decade to introduce young lawyers at Orange County's 50 largest law firms and six largest professional services firms to several of the most prominent pro bono and volunteer public service organizations in our community.

Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres will be provided at the Reception on Thursday, November 17, 2011 at the Pacific Club in Newport Beach.

Guest speakers at the reception this year include:

  • William N. Hebert, Partner, Calvo Fisher & Jacob LLP
  • Hon. Ming W. Chin, California Supreme Court Associate Justice

Crowell & Moring is honored to be hosting this year's event.


Click here for the event program [PDF].

Program: 2011 Sonenshine Pro Bono Opportunities Reception

History and Purpose

Background and Purpose

Conceived by Justice Sheila Prell Sonenshine in 1994, the annual Pro Bono Reception is designed to introduce new lawyers and accountants at Orange County's larger law and professional services firms to pro bono and volunteer service opportunities in the community. By bringing together legal and accounting professionals and social service agencies, as well as arts and cultural organizations, the Pro Bono Reception provides a venue to explore opportunities and to make a pro bono commitment. Well over a thousand new Orange County attorneys and accountants have attended the Reception since its inception.

Featured Speakers

In addition to Justice Sheila Prell Sonenshine, the Reception has hosted a variety of prestigious speakers. California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald George and California Supreme Court Justices Ming Chin, Carlos Moreno, and Joyce Kennard have spoken about the importance of community service. The event has also become an annual stop for California State Bar Officers and the Orange County bar leadership.

Organizations and Groups Served

Because only three California State Bar IOLTA funded agencies serve Orange County's three million plus people, these providers partner with other county human services agencies. The Reception therefore always includes traditional pro bono providers like the Legal Aid Society of Orange County and the Public Law Center, as well as domestic violence service agencies, food and shelter groups, and health care providers. Arts and education groups who support outreach programs to the disadvantaged also regularly attend. Through the years, all these groups have benefited from hundreds of hours of donated time from professionals new to the Orange County community.

Previous Event Sponsors

Each year a major firm sponsors the Pro Bono Reception, organized entirely by a volunteer Steering Committee. Past sponsors include Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP; Troutman Sanders LLP; Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth; Irell & Manella LLP; Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP; Knobbe, Martens, Olsen & Bear LLP; Latham & Watkins LLP; Morrison & Foerster LLP; O'Melveny & Myers LLP; Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker LLP; Rutan & Tucker LLP; Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, LLP; Snell & Wilmer LLP; and Whittier Law School.


Justice Sheila Prell Sonenshine

The Honorable Sheila Sonenshine has lived her life pursuing and bringing justice to the world. After receiving a Bachelor's in Economics from the University of California at Los Angeles and a Juris Doctor from the Loyola University School of Law, she began a distinguished 35-year career in law and business. Justice Sonenshine was appointed to the Superior Court of Orange County in 1981 and in 1982 was elevated to the California Court of Appeal where she served until 1999.

Though most people would find retirement a respite from a long career, Justice Sonenshine chose to make it a new beginning. When she left the bench, she co-founded RSM EquiCo, an international investment bank that specialized in mergers and acquisitions of middle market companies. She retired from RSM in 2004 and went on to manage the Escher Fund, a private equity fund that focuses on growth-state, women-owned, and women-led businesses. Justice Sonenshine joined the JAMS Alternative Dispute Resolution Center in 2008.

Justice Sonenshine's work on the bench, as a businesswoman, and as a philanthropist has led to many awards, including the California State Bar Association Jurist of the Year, The American Bar Association Outstanding Service to Family Law, the Anti-Defamation League Marcus Kaufman Jurisprudence Award, and Temple Bat Yahm's Elie Wiesel Award for Jewish Ideals and Human Dignity.

Justice Ming W. Chin

On March 1, 1996, Justice Ming W. Chin became an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California. Governor Pete Wilson appointed him to that position on January 25, 1996. On March 1, he was confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments and sworn in by the Governor. Justice Chin previously served as the Presiding Justice of the First District Court of Appeal, Division Three, in San Francisco beginning January 2, 1995. He was appointed to that position by Governor Pete Wilson on August 17, 1994, and in November 1994 was elected to a 12-year term. Previously he was an associate justice of that court, having been appointed to that position by former Governor George Deukmejian. Prior to that appointment, he served as a judge of the Alameda County Superior Court. Before his appointment to the bench, Justice Chin was a partner in an Oakland law firm, where he specialized in business and commercial litigation.

Justice Chin obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science as well as a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the University of San Francisco and was admitted to the California State Bar in 1970; he also has been admitted to practice before the federal courts, as well as the United States Tax Court. After he graduated from law school, Justice Chin served two years as a Captain in the United States Army, including a year in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal and the Bronze Star. He then served three years as a deputy district attorney for Alameda County, where he tried numerous felony and misdemeanor jury trials and progressed to the position of felony trial deputy.

In 1973, Justice Chin was recruited by the Oakland law firm of Aiken, Kramer & Cummings, Incorporated, to head its trial department. He became a principal of the firm in 1976. His successful trials include two judgments in excess of one million dollars. The first was a $1.3 million judgment in an unfair competition/ wrongful termination case in the Alameda County Superior Court, and the second was a $1.2 million award in an arbitration of a construction dispute in Los Angeles.

Justice Chin has served on many committees of the state and local bar associations and was the first Asian-American to serve as President of the Alameda County Bar Association in its more than 100-year history. He was a member of the Judicial Council Appellate Advisory Committee and the Advisory Committee on Racial and Ethnic Bias. He served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of San Francisco, where he was a member of the Executive Committee and chaired the Academic Affairs Committee. He was also a member of the USF Law School Board of Counselors and an Adjunct Professor of Law. The USF Alumni Association presented him a distinguished service award in 1985 for his work as a past president of that organization. In 1988, he was selected as the USF Alumnus of the Year; in 1993, he was named USF Law School Alumnus of the Year; and in 1996 USF Law School presented him with the St. Thomas More Award. Justice Chin was selected as the Outstanding Judge of the Year in 1989 by the Southern Alameda County Bar Association. The San Francisco Bay Chapter of the American Jewish Committee named him recipient of the 1997 Learned Hand Award. In 1998 he served as President of the Commonwealth Club of California.

Justice Chin has authored landmark decisions in areas such as DNA, toxic tort insurance coverage, surrogate parents, and hate crimes. He has frequently lectured on DNA, genetics, and the courts, to groups including the American Bar Association's Judicial Division, the State of California's Center for Judicial Education and Research (CJER), the National College of Probate Judges, the Wisconsin Supreme Court Judicial Education Committee, and the Chulabhorn International Science Congress, Bangkok, Thailand. He is a frequent lecturer in judicial education and has delivered the Traynor Lecture at the Witkin Judicial College on three occasions, most recently in June 2008. He also spoke on behalf of the California Supreme Court in December 1996 at its memorial session honoring the late Bernard E. Witkin. He is an author of California Practice Guide: Employment Litigation (The Rutter Group 2009).

William N. Hebert

William N. Hebert is a partner in the San Francisco office of Calvo Fisher & Jacob. Mr. Hebert represents clients in business litigation, including class action defense, business torts (such as antitrust, trade secret litigation, and interference with economic advantage), patent and trademark infringement, false advertising and California's Unfair Competition Law.

He has tried a dozen cases in state and federal court, and has litigated numerous arbitrations, including hearings before the National Association of Securities Dealers and the American Arbitration Association. Mr. Hebert was named by the Daily Journal as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in California for 2011.

Mr. Hebert was President of the State Bar of California for the 2010/2011 term. He was a member of the State Bar Board of Governors, 2007-2010, serving as Vice President for 2009-2010. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Legal Aid Society and of the Board of Directors of the Public Interest Law Project, as well as a member of the Board of Trustees of Prospect Sierra School. Mr. Hebert is a panel mediator for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

He received his J.D. for the University of California, Boalt Hall School of Law in 1988 and an A.B. from Stanford University in 1983 (with distinction).

Mr. Hebert is a contributing author of California Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law (Lexis Nexis, 2010), published by the California State Bar Section on Antitrust and Unfair Competition. He contributed chapters on the subjects of expert witnesses, injunctions, treble damages and void contracts.

2011 Participating Organizations

  • Alzheimer's Association Orange County Chapter
  • Anti-Defamation League
  • Asian Pacific American Legal Center
  • Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Orange County
  • Boys Hope Girls Hope
  • Breast Cancer Solutions
  • Camp Fire USA Orange County Council
  • CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates)
  • Families Forward
  • Girls, Inc.
  • Human Options
  • Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
  • Laura's House
  • Legal Aid Society of Orange County
  • Mariposa Women & Family Center
  • Mercy House Living Centers, Inc.
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • Public Law Center
  • Red Cross of Orange County
  • School of Law University of California – Irvine
  • Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County
  • Share Our Selves
  • SPIN (Serving People In Need)
  • Women Helping Women
  • Working Wardrobes
  • YWCA Central Orange County

Event Raffles

The Sonenshine Pro Bono Opportunities Reception traditionally features two prize raffles, one for all participating pro bono organizations and one for participating attorney attendees. Crowell & Moring thanks the following local businesses for their generous donations:

Pro Bono Organization Raffle Prize

  • $750 Charitable donation to winning pro bono organization donated by Advanced Discovery
  • $750 Charitable donation to winning pro bono organization donated by Sarnoff, A Veritext Company

Participant Raffle Prizes

  • $1,000 Gift certificate towards a catered event donated by 24 Carrots Catering and Events
  • $250 South Coast Plaza gift certificate and annual valet parking pass donated by South Coast Plaza
  • Eight $25 Wells Fargo gift cards donated by CBE- Sharp/Ricoh/Canon (Cell Business Equipment)
  • $100 Apple Store gift card donated by Ideal Transportation Service
  • "Night Out" gift basket donated by First Legal Network
  • Two $50 McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant gift cards donated by Davidson Staffing
  • $100 Sears gift card donated by IKON Office Solutions, Inc.
  • $50 Claim Jumper Restaurant gift card donated by CBM Services, Inc.
  • Gift certificate for dinner for two donated by Plums Café and Catering
  • Six Gift certificates for yoga classes donated by Ra Yoga
  • $25 Target gift card donated by Alta FoodCraft
  • Three Gift certificates for chair massages donated by Hit The Spot
  • Three $100 Gift certificates for printing services donated by SABP Reprographics
  • Orchid donated by Ambius