We are pleased to honor California Sen. Thomas J. Umberg as 2022 Legislator of the Year and acknowledge his distinguished service as a retired U.S. Army Colonel, former federal prosecutor, three term state legislator, small business owner, and Deputy Drug Czar for President Bill Clinton.
CLA is a member-driven, mission-focused organization dedicated to the professional advancement of attorneys practicing in the state of California. CLA will present the award to Sen. Umberg (D-Santa Ana) on April 6 at its fourth annual Legislative Day, which brings CLA members together with key decision-makers to explore legislative issues that could have a significant impact in California and how CLA can make a difference.
As Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Umberg has taken the lead on passing legislation that is integral to the daily practice of CLA members and improves the lives of all Californians. He also served three terms as central Orange County’s State Assembly Member, authoring 76 laws and forging ties across party lines.
He also founded a successful boutique law firm, and is a strong advocate for small business owners, helping them cut red tape and streamline unnecessary regulation.
He served three overseas tours in Korea and Afghanistan and was awarded a Bronze Star for meritorious service in a combat zone for leading the U.S. military effort to attack corruption in partnership with the Afghan Army and Police. In addition to being a former federal criminal prosecutor, he served as Deputy Drug Czar for President Bill Clinton, where he was responsible for foreign drug interdiction, counter-drug intelligence, and international drug policy.
“With this impressive track record, Senator Umberg has shown himself to be an incredibly effective advocate and we look forward to continuing to work with him and his colleagues in the Legislature,” CLA Executive Director and CEO Oyango A. Snell said. “Advocacy is a key pillar of CLA’s mission. We are proud to speak for the legal profession in recognizing Senator Umberg for his achievements.”
CLA President Jeremy M. Evans said CLA is grateful for the ability to work with Sen. Umberg and other justice system partners to enact laws that advance the administration of justice and improve the practice of law.
“Senator Umberg is an essential advocate in these efforts of balancing the sacred relationship between attorneys and clients,” Evans said. “We applaud him for his efforts and congratulate him for being a tremendous collaborator.”
Umberg said of the award: “As Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I am grateful to the California Lawyers Association for advancing the best values of our profession – excellence, diversity, inclusion in the legal profession and fairness in the administration of justice and the rule of law – and humbled by this recognition.”