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Santa Monica Bar Association - Making Waves Since 1928 High quality networking and educational events for the Southern California legal community
Mandatory Fee Arbitration Program
Mandatory Fee Arbitration Program The Santa Monica Bar Association is proud to participate in the State of California's Mandatory Fee Arbitration (MFA) Program. The MFA Program is an informal, low cost program for resolving fee disputes between people and their lawyers. Our program provides both arbitration services and mediation services for all parties. Read more.


The Santa Monica Bar Association is a volunteer organization that functions through its Board of Trustees, its officers and through its committees.  Committees offer members a means of becoming more involved in the SMBA within specific areas of focus. Here are our current roster of officers, court advisor, trustees, committees, and sections. How do you want to become more involved in the SMBA?  Join SMBA.



Sunita Popal

Sunita Popal

Ramon Lamelas

Ramon Lamelas
Past President

Matthew Baker 

Mathew Baker

Leslie Cohen

Leslie Cohen

Julia Schneider 

Julia Schneider

Alexander Gruft

Alexander Gruft

Judge Elaine Mandel



Sponsorship: Oversees sponsorship goals, outreach to new and existing sponsors and sponsorship policies, e.g. what perks are included with each sponsorship purchase. This is particularly important this year as we do not have our usual sponsorship methods available to us and the SMBA runs overwhelmingly on sponsorships dollars. We need creative ways to find sponsorship.

Events: Oversees all events including their planning, calendaring, budgeting, attendance, and goals. This is particularly important this year given that we need to have a variety of different and creative types of virtual events planned to continue to keep SMBA members engaged. We also would like to plan a virtual holiday event and need some Trustees to get involved in planning that as well as other key annual SMBA events that we need to transition online

Internet and Publicity - i.e. Website, Newsletter, Social Media - Deals with website updates and issues; promotes activities and events on website, social media, etc.; and responsible for creating and running the quarterly newsletter.

Membership: Focuses on growing membership and overseeing membership policies, e.g. membership fees, perks, discounts, etc. Again this is important this year given that the SMBA has lost much of its traditional sponsorship funding so we need to continue to think of ways to encourage new members to join.

Bylaws: Works on reviewing, analyzing, and providing proposed revisions to bylaws.