An Evening with Legends of Advocacy
Join the SMBA for a moderated discussion with three of the greatest litigators and legal minds of our time. The event includes a reception, the talk, and a private gallery tour. The panelists will answer questions that unpack notions of advocacy and the details of their methods that elevate the critical function of their profession to an art form. Attorneys and non-attorneys alike will benefit from their experience and wisdom. These experts have donated their time to an event that will expand the minds of the audience and which supports a wonderful cause. All proceeds will benefit an arts charity that serves underrepresented communities in Los Angeles County.
Limited Seats Available
EARLY BIRD PRICE (through Aug 16)SMBA Members: $60 • Non-Members: $80
FULL PRICE (Aug 17-Sept 5)
SMBA Members: $70 • Non-Members: $95
*must register in advance, no walk-ins
The senior partner of Los Angeles-based Douglas/Hicks Law, Carl Douglas is one of the country’s most respected attorneys.
He is the former Managing Attorney at the Law Offices of Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr, best known for his work as the Coordinator of O.J. Simpson’s criminal defense team. His work as a member of O.J. Simpson’s criminal defense “Dream Team” was prominently featured in ESPN’s 30 for 30, Academy Award winning documentary, O.J.: Made In America.
While at The Cochran Firm, Mr. Douglas represented tried dozens of cases to verdict, in a wide array of personal injury, civil rights, and criminal law matters. After going out on his own in 1996, he only broadened his list of accomplishments. Mr. Douglas was the attorney for the lead plaintiff in Patricia Anderson v. General Motors Corporation, a product liability trial where the jury returned a $4.9 billion dollar verdict, which was then the largest personal injury verdict ever awarded in United States.
As lead counsel in a seven-week trial against the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, concerning the police death of an unarmed African-American man, Mr. Douglas helped the victim’s family obtain a verdict of $8,000,000.00.
In 1994 and again in 1999, Mr. Douglas was honored as the “Loren Miller Lawyer of the Year” by the John M. Langston Bar Association. He became only the second attorney in the more than 85-year history of that Association to be awarded that coveted honor more than once. In 2006, the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, the largest local association of plaintiffs’ attorneys in the United States, named Mr. Douglas its Trial Lawyer of the Year.
Prior to joining Mr. Cochran’s office, Mr. Douglas was employed from 1981 through 1987 as a trial attorney at the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Los Angeles, where he represented indigent defendants charged with various federal crimes including bank robbery, drug possession, and white-collar fraud. He began his legal career in 1980 working at the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C. analyzing tariff changes filed by various satellite companies in the Commission’s Common Carrier Bureau.
A frequent lecturer and motivational speaker and a legal commentator on various radio and television programs throughout the nation, Mr. Douglas earned his undergraduate degree at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and his law degree at the Boalt Hall School of Law of the University of California, Berkeley.
Shawn Holley is a partner at Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert LLP, a boutique entertainment and business litigation firm in Santa Monica. She began her career as a Los Angeles County Public Defender, handling hundreds of serious criminal cases from inception to trial. She was the Managing Partner of the Los Angeles office of The Cochran Firm and the head of its national Criminal Defense Section.
With more than sixty trials to her credit, Ms. Holley is the rare trial attorney who practices in the areas of both civil and criminal litigation. She was a highly visible member of the O.J. Simpson defense team and worked closely with Mr. Cochran on a number of high-profile civil and criminal cases when the firm was known as The Law Offices of Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr.
Among others, Ms. Holley has represented or currently represents Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Richie, Paris Hilton, Michelle Rodriquez, the Kardashian/Jenner family, Katt Williams, Shemar Moore, accused Symbionese Liberation Army bomber Sara Jane Olson, celebrated Black Panther leader Geronimo Pratt, Michael Jackson, Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg, The Game, Axl Rose, Mike Tyson, “Sugar” Ray Leonard, Lamar Odom and Reggie Bush.
Ms. Holley was chief legal correspondent for the E! Network and was a featured legal analyst on its nightly coverage of the Michael Jackson trial which was broadcast internationally. Ms. Holley was the on-air legal analyst for KABC Eyewitness News in Los Angeles for several years and has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, PrimeTime Live, Court TV, Fox News and CNN. She was a featured lawyer on Fox TV’s Power of Attorney for two seasons and the judge on MTV’s The Verdict.
For the past 20 years, Ms. Holley has taught trial advocacy at Cardozo Law School’s Intensive Trial Advocacy Program at Yeshiva University in New York City. She is a frequent speaker on high-profile litigation, women in the law and the representation of “celebrity” clients.
Ms. Holley was named a “Power Lawyer” in 2011 and 2012 by The Hollywood Reporter, one of the Daily Journal’s Top 100 Lawyers in 2014, one of the Daily Journal’s Top Women Lawyers in 2012, 2014 and 2017 and one of the Daily Journal’s 2015 Top Entertainment Lawyers. She was also named Southwestern Law School’s 2013 Outstanding Alumnus by the Black Law Students Association.
Ms. Holley is a Los Angeles native who attended the University of California, Los Angeles and Southwestern University School of Law. She is married to Dorian Holley, a prominent and well-known vocalist and vocal director. They have three daughters Nayanna, Sasha and Olivia. She is a lover of books, music and SoulCycle.
Laura Wasser is an attorney specializing in California Family Law. She was born in Los Angeles. She attended the University of California, Berkeley and earned a law degree from Loyola Law School.
Laura has been named one of The Hollywood Reporter’s 100 Power Lawyers three times. She has also been named one of the California Daily Journal’s Top 100 Lawyers and Southern California’s Top 50 Women Attorneys every year for the last six years (2012-2017). In June 2008, Laura received the Harriet Buhai Center for Family Law Zephyr M. Ramsey Award. In 2011, she was the recipient of the Century City Chamber of Commerce Women of Achievement Award. Laura received the Brady Center Advocate Award in May 2013 and was honored in November 2016 by A Place Called Home with their Angel of the Children Award.
Laura participates in many continuing education programs as a lecturer and panelist. She has been a guest lecturer at Loyola Law School, Southwestern Law School, UCLA, and UC Berkeley Hall School of Law. In 2013 she authored It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way: How to Divorce Without Destroying Your Family or Bankrupting Yourself. In 2017 Laura launched It’s Over Easy.com, an on-line divorce website which assists self-represented couples mediate their dissolutions.
Laura serves on the Board of Directors-Loyola Law School, Board of Trustees-Oakwood School, Advisory Council-Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law, and is a Member of the Executive Committee-Beverly Hills Bar Family Law Section and Los Angeles Bar-Family Law Section.