Judge and Gavel

Riverside County Bar Association

Barristers

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ABOUT

The Barristers is the Young Attorney's Division of Riverside County Bar Association (RCBA). If you are within your first 7 years of practice OR under 37 years of age, then congratulations, you are a Barrister.

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The Riverside County Barristers Association is a group of young and new attorneys in Riverside County and surrounding areas.

Join Barristers and make a difference in the lives of our members, our legal community, and our county! Members enjoy:

  • Monthly Social Events like happy hours, game nights, bowling, paint and wine nights, and much more!

  • Partnership with RCBA and other Bar Association Section in putting on meetings, mixers, and social events throughout the county.

  • Community Outreaches i.e. serve food in homeless shelters, pack food at local food banks, clothing drive, RCBA Elves Program.

  • Sections within Barristers, giving YOU the opportunity to have your voice be heard, put your ideas in motion, and make a difference in our community.

 
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BOARD MEMBERS

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Michael Ortiz

President

David Rivera

Treasurer

Goushia Farook

Immediate Past President

Alejandro Barraza

Secretary

Lauren Vogt

President-elect

Members-at-large

Braden Holly

Ankit Bhakta

Brigitte Wilcox

Kevin Collins

S. Alfonso Smith

 

DONATIONS

The Barristers Accepts donations or event sponsorships. If you are interested in donating or sponsoring, please contact us via email or the Contact Us form on this website.

 

CANDIDATE STATEMENTS

Lauren Vogt

President

Statement:

Ankit Bhakta

Member at Large

Hi everyone!

 

I've had the honor and privilege of being a part of the Barristers Board for the past few years and am hoping to keep things going during the next term with Lauren, David, Kevin, and Priscilla as likely Board members.  From mentorship opportunities, to CLEs, to community and altruistic work, to unwinding and de-stressing at happy hours, the Barristers organization has been near and dear to my heart and played a vital role in my development as an attorney and person.  I would love to have the opportunity to contribute to next year's events and programs and humbly ask for your vote at the upcoming elections (whether voting in-person or electronically).  Thank you!!

Alejandro Barraza

Member at Large

Hi Everyone,
I am running for member at large. I have been very fortunate to have been a part of the last two Barristers Boards. Each of them, equally amazing. I am hoping to be a part of the next board because, every year, Barristers provides guidance, help, and friendship to new attorneys
in the Inland Empire. This upcoming year, I am hoping to continue this tradition of helping new attorneys, providing a community for new attorneys, and connecting new attorneys to amazing opportunities that will give back to our Inland Empire community while also giving each one of us the opportunity to learn about different areas of law (expungement clinics, etc.).
Thank you, you guys are the best.

Michael Mermelstein

Member at Large

Michael Mermelstein is a first-year associate with FEM Law Group with offices in Orange and Los Angeles Counties. Mr. Mermelstein is interested in litigation and trust drafting with a special interest in financial elder abuse, trust litigation, consumer protection, and labor issues. 
 
Michael is a graduate of California State University Long Beach, where he received a Bachelor’s degree with a double major in political science and comparative world literature. He received a Masters Degree in American Politics from Claremont Graduate University. Most recently, Michael received his law degree from The Fowler School of Law at Chapman University. 


Michael is active in the local community. Mr. Mermelstein serves on the board as Vice President of the Auschwitz Study Foundation. He recently completed  the Jeremiah Fellowship through Bend the Arc and is active in the Los Angeles and Orange County chapter of the organization. He lives in long beach with his wife and two year old son.  

David Rivera

President-Elect

Hello Barristers!
I am our incumbent Treasurer, having also served in this position in the two previous administrations. I am a solo practitioner of business transactional law, building on a prior career
in accounting and auditing. I was first introduced to Barristers while participating in RCBA’s New Attorney Academy. I have found in Barristers a warm welcome and engaging membership. I have always tried to pay that welcome forward, whether to our member attorneys, other legal professionals, or law students. I am thrilled at the prospect of continuing to promote our good fellowship as President-Elect in the coming term, and as President in the next. As always, I look forward to seeing you soon!

Kevin Collins

Treasurer

Statement:

Janate Valenzuela

Member at Large

I am Janate Valenzuela and I am a special education attorney serving the Riverside and San Bernardino counties. I recently completed RCBA's New Attorney Academy and I am looking forward to remaining an active member of the Riverside County Bar Association. I ask for your vote to be a Barristers' Board Member at Large. Thank you for your consideration.

Sandra Latouf

Member at Large

It is an honor to be nominated as a member for the 2022-2023 RCBA Barristers Board of Directors and, if elected, would take my position seriously and devote the necessary time and skills to ensure another successful year for RCBA! If elected, my goal as a member of the Board of Directors would be to continue to foster and host (1) an inclusive environment to encourage higher participation from RCBA members, (2) diverse events to allow RCBA members various opportunities to network and create both personal and/or professional contacts and (3) make available resources that RCBA members may benefit for professional and personal growth. If elected, I would like to introduce more pro bono and volunteer opportunities so RCBA members can engage in opportunities to serve local and vulnerable communities in Riverside. I look forward to support the RCBA any way that I can, thank you!

Priscilla George

Secretary

Excited to be working again in the downtown Riverside area so that I can be more involved with RCBA Barristers! I had the honor of being the Barristers Secretary for 2016-2018 terms and enjoyed giving back and making a difference in the community. I love the close-knit, collegial, and supportive atmosphere of the Riverside legal community and would be honored by the opportunity to serve as the Barristers' Secretary once more! Thank you for your votes and consideration of me for this position. 

Summer DeVore

Member at Large

Statement:

Kiki Manti Engel

Member at Large

I strive to give back to the Riverside Legal Community in every way I can as I am proud and honored to be part of this legal community. I am an attorney at Reid & Hellyer, APC where I practice in the areas of business and real estate litigation. I currently serve on the board of the Leo A. Deegan Inn of Court as a Member-At-Large and am a member of the Riverside County Bar Association (RCBA). In 2020, I served as the President of the Southwest Riverside County Bar Association (SWRCBA). One of my proudest accomplishments is volunteering with the RCBA’s philanthropic program called Project Graduate, a program that collaborates with the Riverside Superior Court and Riverside County’s Department of Public Social Services to assist foster youth to graduate high school, to continue their post-high school education, and to plan for a successful future. As an RCBA Barristers Board Member, I will use my multifaceted background and experience to assist the RCBA Barristers to continue to flourish in the Riverside Legal Community. Thank you for your consideration.

Sharon Ramirez

Member at Large

I am honored to have been nominated for the 2022-2023 RCBA Barristers Member at Large position. The Riverside legal community is truly a special place. I was born and raised in the Inland Empire, and while I studied law in Los Angeles, I knew that I would return home and start my legal career here. Being part of the New Attorney Academy early in my career has not only given me the tools and confidence I need to approach the practice of law, it has also given me a newfound appreciation for the mentorships, opportunities, resources, and family atmosphere of the Riverside legal community.

 

Having been involved in community and student organizations all throughout my life has helped me understand the importance of being involved and giving back to my community. As young professionals, new attorneys need a community to connect to and grow with, and the RCBA Barristers provides that and so much more. I look forward to contributing and serving in any and every way possible, and working together with my fellow board members, in order to reach and provide support and guidance to other new attorneys and community members in the Inland Empire. My hope is to continue the legacy of the RCBA Barristers, which remains a positive legal force in Southern California and beyond.

 

Thank you all. I hope to have the privilege of serving with you.

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

No upcoming events at the moment

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