California Lawyers Association

Attorneys and Organizations Recognized at California Lawyers Association’s and California Judges Association Presidents Gala

Please share:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (September 14, 2023): The California Lawyers Association (CLA) is pleased to announce the attorney influencers who will be honored during the closing ceremony of the Annual Meeting at the President’s Gala on September 23, 2023.

Each year, the California Lawyers Association takes inventory of the incredible service of attorney influencers, judges, and legal leaders who have gone above and beyond to represent the underserved, advocate for underrepresented communities, and individuals. 

The honorees that will be recognized this year include:

  • Chris Passarelli, Chair of the Business Law Section will receive the California Lawyers Association Excellence in Leadership Award. This award is presented to a CLA volunteer who demonstrates a commitment to the Association’s mission and represents outstanding leadership in the practice of law.
  • The Labor and Employment Law and International Law and Immigration Sections of California Lawyers Association will receive the Section Innovation Award. This award is presented to a Section that demonstrates a commitment to promoting excellence in the Section’s field of practice.
  • San Joaquin County Bar Association will receive the California Lawyers Association Exceptional Organization of the Year Award. This award is presented to an organization that exemplifies leadership, dedication, and a collaborative spirit that mirrors CLA’s mission to promote excellence, diversity, and inclusion in the California legal profession, as well as a commitment to seeking a fair administration of justice and rule of law.
  • ThreeDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion awards are given annually to a Bar Association, a firm and a nonprofit organization.  This year The Filipino Bar Association of Northern California will receive the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Association Award, California Law Pathways the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Organization Award for their work creating law school pathways and Morrison Foerster the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Law Firm Award. These individuals and organizations have made outstanding contributions in promoting diversity in the legal profession, in their organization and peers.
  • Tiela Chalmers, Chief Executive Officer and General Counsel of the Alameda County Bar Association and Legal Access Alameda, and Gregory Knoll, Chief Executive Officer, Legal Aid Society of San Diego (in memoriam) will receive the Loren Miller Award. The Loren Miller Legal Services Award, named after the late Loren Miller, an African American lawyer and judge who was a leader in the civil rights movement, was established in 1977 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the State Bar of California. It is considered a lifetime achievement award and is given annually to a lawyer admitted to practice in California who has demonstrated long-term commitment to legal services and who has personally done significant work in extending legal services to the poor. 
  • Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of California (retired) will receive the Bernard Witkin Medal. This award honors attorneys and non-attorneys who, through a career of extraordinary service, have made significant contributions to the quality of justice and legal scholarship in California.  

“Each of the honorees represent what all attorneys strive to be – one that uses their influence for the better,” said Jeremy M. Evans, President, California Lawyers Association. “Honoring these individuals will elevate the expectation amongst all attorneys and legal professionals, that there simply is no limit to the impact we can have to make our communities stronger, brighter, and reflect the uniqueness of our great state.”

The Presidents Gala is a red-carpet, black-tie affair hosted in partnership with the California Judges Association. The Presidents Gala is open to members, non-members, committee members, law students, and interested media (upon advance request and registration). Space is limited and registration is now open. For tickets and details, please click here.  

About California Lawyers Association

Established in 2018 and headquartered in Sacramento, California Lawyers Association is the statewide voluntary bar association for all California attorneys. CLA’s mission is to promote excellence, diversity, and inclusion in the legal profession and fairness in the administration of justice and the rule of law. Visit us at to learn more about CLA or follow us on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter.

#  #  #

Media Contact: Traci Rockefeller Cusack at 916-213-4373 or

Forgot Password

Enter the email associated with you account. You will then receive a link in your inbox to reset your password.

Personal Information

Select Section(s)

CLA Membership is $99 and includes one section. Additional sections are $99 each.