A Message From Our ASCDC President...




Ninos Saroukhanioff
ASCDC 2023 President

The theme of our Annual Seminar for 2023 was, "Honor the Past and Celebrate the Future." As many of you are well-aware, the ASCDC was organized in 1960 by a small group of Los Angeles defense attorneys who felt it was essential for their professional interest to be independently represented. As the very humble 63rd President of the ASCDC, I want to say that our organization looks forward to a bright future ahead, but I would like to take a moment to honor the dedication and hard work of our past presidents along with all of the past board of directors. They have been instrumental in helping to shape and guide the organization throughout its journey for the past 63 years. Each of them has contributed their own unique talents and perspectives, helping shape our organization into what it is today.

The first President of the ASCDC was Mr. Forrest Betts. I tried doing some research on Mr. Betts but did not find much. I did find a case, Ervin v. City of Los Angeles (1953) 117 CA2 303 in which Mr. Betts was identified as the lead defense attorney. At the time of this case, Mr. Betts was with the firm of Betts, Ely & Loomis and he represented the City of Los Angeles. Apparently, the City was appealing a verdict from a judgment entered in favor of the plaintiff who was very seriously injured by a falling stop sign that was located on the southeast corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Sycamore Avenue. This was a "nuclear verdict" in the amount of $37,774.50 (the equivalent of $423,258.32 today). I found this case to be very interesting because a lot of the trial questioning by Mr. Betts is included in the appellate decision. Clearly, Mr. Betts was a very skilled trial lawyer. But, I suppose we, as defense lawyers, can all relate to Mr. Betts because as good as we may be we all have those cases or situations that are difficult. Such is the profession that we have chosen.

From the vision and determination of our past presidents such as Mr. Betts, we have been able to realize our goals and establish our place as leaders in the legal field. Their commitment and leadership have inspired us to reach for the stars and to strive for excellence.

Today, we stand at the threshold of a new era of growth and expansion, and we owe it to our past presidents to thank them for their invaluable contributions. We are honored to have such a distinguished lineage of leaders and look forward to honoring their legacy by continuing to achieve new successes and milestones.

Let us then celebrate the achievements of our past and together, look to the future with optimism and excitement. As our organization continues to evolve and reach greater heights, let us remember the work of our predecessors and remain ever-grateful for their efforts and guidance.

Thank you,
Ninos Saroukhanioff, ASCDC President