Witkin Award 2018 Honorees
Excellence in the Adjudication of the Law
The Honorable Desirée A. Bruce-Lyle | Judge of the San Diego Superior Court
The Honorable Desirée A. Bruce-Lyle was appointed to the bench by Governor Davis in April 2001. Her assignments have included a Criminal Trial Department, Drug Court, Juvenile Delinquency, Prop 36 (PC 1210) Court, Superior Court Appellate Panel, AB 109 Post Judgment Courts and Veteran’s Treatment Court. Judge Bruce-Lyle was instrumental in implementing Reentry Court, AB 109 Post Judgment Courts as well as Veteran’s Treatment Court. More recently, Judge Bruce-Lyle’s judicial leadership has been vital to managing San Diego’s challenging AB 109 population. At this time, Judge Bruce-Lyle presides over Reentry Court, Mandatory Supervision Court and Veteran’s Treatment Court. This year, she has been given the added responsibility as Assistant Supervising Criminal Judge and serves as the Chair for the San Diego Superior Court Collaborative Courts Committee. Judge Bruce-Lyle’s pioneering efforts in collaborative courts and with the AB 109 population, have earned her statewide and international attention. We are proud to honor Judge Bruce-Lyle with this year’s Witkin Award for Excellence in the Adjudication of the law.
Excellence in the Practice of Law
David Casey, Jr., Esq. | Casey Gerry Schenk Francavilla Blatt & Penfield, LLP
David S. Casey, Jr. is the senior partner in CASEY GERRY SCHENK FRANCAVILLA BLATT & PENFIELD, LLP, a California law firm. He began his career as a prosecutor and has handled over 70 jury trials. He is a past president of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (now the American Association for Justice), the Consumer Attorneys of California, the Western Trial Lawyers Association, and the San Diego Trial Lawyers Association. He has amassed an astonishing number of honors and achievements. In 2002, he was recognized by the San Diego County Bar Association as the Lawyer of The Year. In 2004, he received the highly coveted Broderick Award for civility, integrity and professionalism in the legal profession. He has been honored with the distinguished Arthur Hughes Award by the University of San Diego Law School for his accomplishments. Moreover, the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego created the David S. Casey, Jr. Award in his honor (a Perpetual Award), recognizing consumer advocacy and leadership. In 2009, he was recognized by the American Bar Association with its “Pursuit of Justice Award” and also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Consumer Watchdog, a public interest advocacy group. The list is long and distinguished. At the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, he played a lead role in the development of the Victims Fund for those who suffered from 9/11 in both its implementation and effectuation. He was appointed in 2016 by the Federal Court to serve on the Plaintiffs’ Committee, representing victims of the Volkswagen Emissions Scandal, resulting in the largest consumer claims action in recent U.S. history. We are pleased to be able to honor him with the 2018 Award for Excellence in the Practice of Law.
Excellence in Legal Education
Margaret A. Dalton, Esq. | Associate Dean and Professor of Law, University of San Diego School of Law
Margaret Dalton is the Associate Dean and a Professor of Law at USD School of Law, having become dean in 2016. Previously, as Director of the USD Legal Clinics for twelve years (from 2004 – 2016), she doubled the number of clinics that provided training and mentoring for law students, while also serving the need for free legal services for the most vulnerable members of the San Diego community. In 2003, she created the Education & Disability Clinic with a Discretionary Award from the California Endowment. She has trained hundreds of law students, many of whom now work in the field. Margaret regularly gives educational presentations around the county, to students at UCSD and SDSU, as well as non-profit organizations such as the Foundation for Autism Research on topics ranging from special education to tips at succeeding in graduate and law school. Margaret is setting the bar among legal educators and we are proud to be able to recognize her for her accomplishments and her continuing dedication to legal education.
Changemaker: Advancing Access to Justice
The Human Trafficking Collaborative of the Lawyers Club of San Diego
In 2014 The Lawyers Club of San Diego founded The Lawyers Club of San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force which is the predecessor to what is now called The Human Trafficking Collaborative or “HTC.” The overarching goal of the HTC activities is to engage Lawyers Club’s members and provide them with the skills and tools necessary to join the fight against human trafficking in San Diego. It had done so through four primary focus areas: (i) education such that the public obtains a complete and accurate understanding of the human trafficking problem in San Diego and its impact on the community; (ii) survivor services, including training seminars on pro bono legal representation; (iii) educational advocacy aimed at educating Lawyers Club members about pending human trafficking legislation and educating government officials on the impact of this issue on the San Diego community; and (iv) providing support for local organizations engaged in the fight against human trafficking and support for survivors. The 2018 Witkin Award Honoring a Community Changemaker will be accepted on behalf of the HTC by its two co-chairs: Danica Taylor who is a Deputy District Attorney in the Human Trafficking and Internet Crimes Against Children Unit of the Juvenile Division, and Megan Walker an employment attorney with the national labor and employment law firm, Fisher Phillips.