Record of Public Service
The firm is proud of its outstanding record of public service not only to our country but to this state and the local community as well. In addition to the firm's long, distinguished record of local community service, two of the firm's former litigation partners left to become Superior Court Judges in Sonoma County. The Honorable Laurence K. Sawyer, one of the firm's founders, was appointed to the bench by the Governor and sworn in on April 3, 1985. The firm's first woman partner and first woman name partner, The Honorable Elaine Malisch Watters (now Judge Elaine Rushing), became Sonoma County's first woman Superior Court Judge when she was appointed to the bench by the Governor and was sworn in on January 24, 1992. Judge Rushing is also the first woman from her large law school class to become a Superior Court Judge.
Most recently, former litigation partner Dana Beernink Simonds was appointed to the Superior Court bench by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and was sworn in on September 18, 2007. Former partner Noreen M. Evans served on the Santa Rosa City Council and now is a California State Assemblywoman and Chairwoman of the Assembly Budget Committee. Former partner Patrick M. Broderick left the firm to continue his teaching career at Empire College School of Law and Santa Rosa Junior College. He became the Dean of Empire College Law School in 1997.
Four of the firm’s partners served our country as officers in the military service. John R. O’Brien served in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps (1969-1973); Michael G. Watters, U.S. Marine Corps (active duty 1969-1971; reserves through 1991); Daniel E. Davis, U.S. Army Finance Corps; and Joseph A. Piasta II, U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps (active duty 1977-1981; reserves through 2007).
The firm is listed in various professional directories, including the Martindale Hubbell® Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers™ (the firm and all of the firm's name partners hold the “AV” rating) and Best's Directory of Recommended Insurance Attorneys. In 2004, the readers of NorthBay biz voted to award the firm the title “North Bay's Best Law Firm.” The award covers law firms in Marin, Napa and Sonoma Counties. Other references and a list of representative clients are available upon request.