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The 2022 Riverside County Bar Association awarded its first Attorney of the Year honors at its annual installation dinner Sept. 22 at the Mission Inn in Riverside.

RCBA’s inaugural Attorney of the Year Awards

Attorneys were selected for demonstrating extraordinary legal ability and commitment to their field of law. Chairs of RCBA sections made the nominations and members voted online.

  • Appellate law: Brian Unitt
  • Civil litigation: Greg Rizio
  • Criminal Law: Steven Harmon
  • Estate planning: Herb Chavers
  • Family Law: Michael Razo
  • Juvenile Law: Jessica Munoz
  • Labor and employment law: Daren Lipinsky
  • Landlord and tenant law: Barry Swan

Incoming president Lori Myers initiated the program, which recognizes attorneys for demonstrating extraordinary legal ability and commitment to their field of law. 

The spirit of the recognition fit with the sentiment master of ceremonies Steven Harmon, Riverside County Public Defender, shared as he introduced the annual event.

“All year we as attorneys work hard taking care of others,” he said. “Tonight is the one night for us to … celebrate ourselves.”

Gold members recognized

Chris Jensen honored Harmon and Riverside Superior Judges Stephen Cunnison and Jeffrey Prevost for their 50 years of membership in the State Bar.

For perspective, Jensen said they joined during the Vietnam War. Also the year they joined, the Beatles disbanded, the voting age was lowered to 18 and gas was 36 cents a gallon.

Service award presented

This year’s E. Aurora Hughes Meritorious Award for Service went to Jacqueline Carey-Wilson, who is “graceful, accomplished, intelligent and compassionate,” according to Stephen Larson, who presented the honor. He continued, “She is also tenacious, determined and uncompromising in principle.”

He shared a story from Carey-Wilson’s time at California State University, Fullerton. She was in a car accident and suffered multiple injuries, including internal. She was in a coma for two weeks and at the hospital for two months. She had to relearn how to walk and talk.

“Character is defined by how we respond to challenges,” Larson said. When Carey-Wilson was back at school, she returned to being active.

She is quoted in a news article from the time regarding her engagement in an anti-apartheid rally, which Larson read: “I knew I couldn’t be depressed. If I were depressed, my family would’ve been worried, and I couldn’t have that.”

“She sees injustice, she sees wrongdoing, she sees things that shouldn’t be, and her response is, ‘I can’t have that,’” he said. “This is someone who epitomizes service.”

New president installed

Harmon introduced newly installed RCBA President Lori Myers to wrap up the event.

“What is so wonderful in Lori is she works so hard for her clients, but she also works hard for other lawyers,” he said. “She never lets them down…As a mentor, she is building a legacy of greatness.”

Myers said she holds a policy of paying it forward, and urges others to share it.

“If you’re not mentoring someone, I recommend you do,” she said in her president’s remarks. “There’s a lot of lawyers out there trying to find their way in this complicated legal system.”


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