President Julie McCoy, Vice President Darren Aitken, and Secretary/Treasurer Aaron Malo share their goals for their tenure and beyond

We recently sat down with PLC’s board leadership to talk about their goals for PLC. Not surprisingly, the three spoke of similar issues.

Goal #1: Sustainable Growth

PLC does important work throughout Orange County – playing critical and significant roles in fighting homelessness, advancing the rights of veterans, advocating for immigrants, and working with the ill, indigent and under-represented populations within our community. To keep up with the growing demand for free civil legal aid, PLC needs to add to the ranks of its talented staff and dedicated volunteer attorneys.

Goal #2: Strategic Partnerships

PLC has important and productive relationships with many Orange County institutions, including the courts, CHOC Children’s, and the OCBA. PLC has the opportunity to develop even more partnerships and strengthen existing collaborations to bring people and resources together to improve the quality of life for people in need.

Goal #3: Sound Finances and Strengthened Infrastructure

As Orange County and the nation struggled to survive and overcome the Great Recession, PLC made the decision to devote as much of its resources toward fulfilling the heightened need for pro bono legal services. The positive impact of this infusion of legal aid is evident in the recovery at the County, community, and individual level. However, the cost of investing in Orange County borne by PLC meant deferring maintenance and upgrades to our own aging (many would even call antiquated) facilities and technology infrastructure. In order to provide a proper environment to house our dedicated professionals and the many volunteers who spend time in our offices, PLC will need a significant investment from the Orange County community.

While PLC’s officers have similar thoughts regarding PLC’s future, they have different backgrounds and came to join PLC’s leadership in different ways. Here’s a quick look at the three at the top.

Julie M. McCoy, President
“My first involvement with PLC was as a volunteer, working primarily with women who were survivors of domestic violence. I became involved with the leadership of PLC after my tenure as President of the OCBA. The mission statement of PLC dovetails perfectly with the mission of the OCBA, which is to ‘Enhance the System of Justice, To Support the Lawyers Who Serve It, and To Assist the Community Served By It’. I believed then and even more strongly now that the work of PLC enhances and expands upon the mission of the OCBA.”

Julie is a highly experienced civil trial and appellate attorney with over 30 years experience in business litigation. Before founding her own firm in 2003, Julie was a partner at the Newport Beach firm Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth, where she practiced for almost 20 years. Prior to joining Stradling, Julie was an associate with the Dallas firm Locke, Purnell, Boren, Laney & Neely.

Julie served as President of the OCBA in 2006 and as President of the OCBA Charitable Fund in 2007. Julie is a long-time volunteer with Liga International, The Flying Doctors of Mercy, a charitable organization that provides free medical and dental care in remote, impoverished regions of Mexico. Julie was President of that organization in 2001-2002, and she continues to volunteer her time as a pilot, regularly flying doctors, nurses, dentists, and provisions to Liga’s clinics in Sinaloa, Mexico.

Darren O. Aitken, Vice President
“I joined the PLC board in 1998 after serving as a volunteer and donor for many years. Our firm and our family has a long history of giving back to the community, particularly through getting involved in the leadership of the groups we support. My participation on PLC’s board is an important part of that long-standing tradition.”

Darren O’Leary Aitken, a partner with Aitken Aitken Cohn in Santa Ana, California, practices civil litigation in the areas of insurance bad faith, personal injury, product liability and commercial torts. During his career, he has concluded numerous seven and eight figure verdicts and settlements on behalf of his clients.

Darren has lectured extensively before many organizations, and has been published in several professional journals. He was voted a Southern California Rising Star, a Southern California Super Lawyer, and named by Super Lawyers as one of the “Top 50″ Orange County Lawyers. Darren serves on the Board of the Consumer Attorneys of California, and is a former President of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers (Orange County Chapter), the Constitutional Rights Foundation of Orange County, the Celtic Bar Association and the Hispanic Bar Association of Orange County.

Aaron J. Malo, Secretary/Treasurer
“I was led to join the PLC Board by one of my mentors, Andy Guilford. As he was leaving Sheppard Mullin to become a district court judge in 2006, Judge Guilford–who was a longtime PLC Board member and former Board President–wanted to make sure our firm maintained a strong relationship with PLC.”

Aaron is a partner working in the Finance and Bankruptcy Practice Group of Sheppard Mullin’s Orange County office. He primarily represents lending institutions, equity groups, financial services corporations, equipment lessors, landlords, real estate developers, and other creditors. Aaron developed a specialized practice counseling clients on all aspects of high stakes landlord/tenant issues, taking many such matters to trial.

Aaron recently completed a four-year term as a lawyer representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference (2010-2014). He also frequently writes, teaches and lectures on bankruptcy, litigation and creditors’ rights issues. He previously taught bankruptcy law at the Orange County campus of Golden Gate University’s Graduate School of Taxation. Aaron leads the Orange County office’s pro bono efforts, most recently pioneering a new collaboration between Sheppard Mullin, CHOC Children’s, and PLC that serves the families of ill children seeking treatment at CHOC.