Roman Darmer From Jones Day Named President of The Legal Aid Society of Orange County – Community Legal Services of Southeast LA, along with new Executive Leadership for 2018-2019. 

At its July Board of Directors meeting, the Legal Aid Society of Orange County – Community Legal Services of Southeast Los Angeles County (LASOC-CLS) welcomed its new executive leadership for 2018-2019: Roman Darmer, Brian Berggren, Debora Rodriguez, Douglas B. Davidson, Alan Slater, Adriana Moreno, Esther Morales and Lei Lei Wang Ekvall.

This announcement comes as LASOC-CLS celebrates its 60th year anniversary. “Our Executive Board Members are experienced, passionate leaders and advocates for our most vulnerable communities in Orange and Los Angeles Counties,” said Kate Marr, Executive Director. “Their broad range of expertise will help our organization to grow and provide holistic legal services. I look forward in working with our Executive Board as we continue to promote equal access to the justice system for all.”

About the Executive Leadership 

Roman Darmer, President

For more than 20 years, Roman Darmer has defended clients facing civil, criminal, and regulatory investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and other federal and state enforcement agencies. As a former federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York, Mr. Darmer leads internal investigations on behalf of companies, boards, and board committees. He advises public and private companies on anticorruption and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act programs and compliance. Mr. Darmer is the pro bono partner in the Irvine office of Jones Day and maintains an active pro bono practice.  In 2017 he received the CLAY Award (California Lawyer of the Year) from the Daily Journal for extraordinary achievement in 2016. The award recognized his work as part of a litigation team to successfully challenge an effort by the City of Huntington Beach (CA) to amend its housing element that would effectively limit available affordable housing for U.S. veterans in the city. Co-counsel for this victory was provided by LASOC-CLS.

Brian Berggren, President-Elect

Mr. Berggren is a member of Rutan & Tucker’s Trial Department. His practice is focused on complex commercial litigation, sensitive internal investigations, and government investigations and inquiries. Mr. Berggren has litigated a wide array of commercial disputes for clients in the medical device, pharmaceutical, technology, financial services, and real estate industries. In 2017, Mr. Berggren was recognized by his peers and named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers magazine. In addition to his legal practice, Mr. Berggren is an active member of legal and civic organizations that help underserved populations

Debora Rodriguez, Secretary

Debora Rodriguez is of Counsel at Hueston Hennigan LLP.  As an accomplished trial lawyer and former federal prosecutor, her practice focuses on white-collar criminal defense, internal investigations, parallel regulatory matters and high stakes civil litigation. Ms. Rodriguez is a graduate of the Columbia School of Law, where she was named a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar.  At Columbia, she served as an editor of both the Human Rights Law Review and the Jailhouse Lawyers’ Manual.  Ms. Rodriguez also earned a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

Douglas B. Davidson, Chief Financial Officer

Douglas B. Davidson began practicing law in 1973 after graduating from UC Hastings Law School; he retired in 2013. During his career, he practiced with several firms and corporations, focusing primarily on corporate and real estate business matters and on business litigation. In 2015, Mr. Davidson began volunteering with LASOC-CLS as a mentor for new attorneys. In 2016, Mr. Davidson was honored with LASOC-CLS’s first Patricia Herzog Pro Bono Award.

In addition to his involvement with LASOC-CLS, Mr. Davidson is an avid supporter of UC Irvine where he was part of the opening class of students in 1965.  Mr. Davidson has served as President of the UCI Alumni Association and the Chancellor’s Club.

Alan Slater, Vice President

Alan Slater was appointed to the LASOC-CLS Board of Directors by the Orange County Bar Association.  Mr. Slater is the retired Chief Executive Officer/Clerk of the Court and Jury Commissioner for the Superior Court of California, County of Orange. The Court is a unified trial court, consisting of 143 judicial officers and 1,600 employees.

Adriana Moreno, Vice President

Adriana Moreno graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Literature from the University of California, Irvine and later obtained a Master’s degree in public health from California State University of Fullerton. Adriana has more than 18 years of experience in the Healthcare industry, and has expertise in the Outreach, Enrollment, Retention and Utilization (OERU) strategies.  In 2011, Ms. Moreno was promoted to Director of Operations and Programs for Community Health Initiative of Orange County (CHIOC).  Ms. Moreno led the mission of CHIOC to connect all children and families to affordable and quality health care and social services.

Esther Morales, Vice President

Esther Morales was appointed to the LASOC-CLS Board by our partner, Justice in Education (JIE)., Ms. Morales shares a strong interest in LASOC-CLS’s mission to empower the poor to identify and defeat the causes and effects of poverty in our community. She is an articulate, measured and forceful advocate with valuable work and volunteer experiences. Ms. Morales has assumed increasingly responsible positions with JIE. She also has held important volunteer positions with the Garden Grove Unified School District’s Community Advisory Council, which represents parents who have children with special needs like herself.

Lei Lei Wang Ekvall, Past-President

Lei Lei Wang Ekvall is a partner of Smiley Wang-Ekvall, LLP.  She received her undergraduate degree in information and computer science in 1988 from the University of California, Irvine and her law degree in 1992 from the University of Southern California. Ms. Wang Ekvall served as LASOC-CLS’ president from January – June, 2018.