Carmel Valley resident sworn in as chair of American Bar Association section

Dick Semerdjian

Schwartz Semerdjian Ballard & Cauley, LLP recently announced that on Aug. 5 at the American Bar Association (ABA) annual meeting in Chicago, partner and Carmel Valley resident Dick Semerdjian was sworn in as the chair of the ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS). Semerdjian, who specializes in civil litigation and trial practice, has completed a two-year leadership track as an ABA officer with positions of chair-elect and vice-chair. Semerdjian will be the first chair ever in the 80-year history of the ABA to practice in San Diego.

The ABA is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world, boasting more than 400,000 members. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

The ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section is a national source of expertise in tort, trial and insurance law and brings lawyers together to share information and speak out on issues of importance. The section has more than 32,000 members and 34 general committees that focus on substantive and procedural matters in areas across the broad spectrum of civil law and practice.

“It’s an honor to take this position,” Semerdjian said. “I’ve enjoyed my service to the ABA, and specifically the TIPS section, for nearly two decades. I consider this an opportunity to take my leadership to the next level.”

Semerdjian has been a dedicated member of the ABA since 1986 when he first began practicing law. In 1994, he was appointed by the State Bar of California to the ABA House of Delegates where he served for nine years and gained insight into the policy and legislative arm of the association. Today, he continues as vice-chair of the Business Litigation Committee — one of the most successful committees in the TIPS section.

Over the years, Semerdjian has made positive contributions to the many TIPS General and Special Standing Committees in which he’s been involved. In addition, he has served as a faculty member for the National Trial Academy in Reno, Nevada, and in 2009 and 2012, he addressed the ABA/TIPS International Law Committee in Tsinghua University and at the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade in Beijing, China, speaking on the subjects of legal challenges to Chinese companies doing business in the United States and litigation in America. He is currently a liaison for the ABA Standing Committee on Judicial Independence and ABA American Jury Project.

On a local level, he has been on the Board of Governors for the San Diego County Bar Association, president of the San Diego Barrister’s Club, on the board of the San Diego Trial Lawyers Association (now Consumer Attorneys of San Diego), a member of the Judicial Nominations Committee for the San Diego’s Lawyers Club and acted as chairman for the San Diego International Sports Council and Foundation (now the San Diego Sports Commission/Hall of Champions trustee), chair of the UCSD Athletic Board and member of the Torrey Pines High School Foundation, Torrey Pines Pop Warner and Solana Beach Little League Board of Directors.

Respect and professional acknowledgment have been plentiful for Semerdjian throughout his career. He has been selected for inclusion in “The Best Lawyers in America,” an honor based on an extensive review by peers, including more than 2.8 million confidential evaluations by top attorneys in the United States. And in San Diego, he was named as semi-finalist for top civil litigator in San Diego County by the San Diego Transcript. The Transcript also recognized him in 2006 and 2008 as a “Top Influential” and in 2006 as one of the “Ten Best Attorneys in San Diego.” San Diego Magazine regularly names Semerdjian as one of the “Top Attorneys in San Diego County” in the area of labor and employment law. He is recognized yearly as a “Super Lawyer” in the area of business litigation.

Semerdjian says he is excited to continue his leadership commitment to TIPS: “I thoroughly enjoy helping to shape policy for our profession. And in my experience with TIPS, I have met excellent attorneys and judges throughout the country and our clients know that our firm’s reputation extends far beyond San Diego County and that judges and attorneys throughout the country recognize our name and accomplishments. I am likewise very honored to become the chair during the 80th year anniversary of ABA TIPS.”

Semerdjian’s theme as chair will focus on “relevance, professionalism, civility and excellence in the profession of law.” All of the year programs and continuing education seminars will focus around this theme and collaborate with the ABA Judicial Division to have a joint meeting in Washington DC in the spring of 2013.

“We are excited and proud of our founding partner Dick Semerdjian as he enters into this key leadership role for our profession,” said Ross Schwartz, managing partner of the firm. “Dick has always been involved with community and professional organizations and has instilled to our lawyers the importance in giving back to our community and profession. We take great pride that each of the attorneys at our firm is dedicated to this cause.”

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