NAPA — Chuck Gravett, a partner with Napa law firm Gravett + Kent, is president of the Napa County Bar Association. The firm, which works across the North Bay, specializes in several areas of law, including complex civil and commercial litigation and a broad range of business transactions, including mediation and bankruptcy services.
Mr. Gravett recently shared with the Business Journal some of his thoughts on the overall picture of the legal industry in Napa County and how the Bar Association is hoping to increase its presence in the near future. In particular, Mr. Gravett said the Bar Association hopes to engage more directly with the region’s business community.
Specifically, he said the Bar Association is committed making affordable access to the justice system more available to the public at large.
Q: As the president of the Napa County Bar association, what would you say is your biggest goal or objective for the legal community this year?
A. Mr. Gravett: Our current main goal is to increase the number of members and to assist the courts in establishing a mediation program to lessen the impact on our trial courts of the continuing budgetary crisis on the court system.
Q. How are you implementing those goals and priorities?
A. Mr. Gravett: We are continuing to encourage all members to talk to other lawyers about joining the Bar association and trying to set up committees and sections of interest to attorneys. For example, the young lawyers section is just getting off the ground. Also, we have a joint bench-bar committee working on a mediation program for the court system. In that same vein, last year we assisted in setting up a temporary judge program for small claims court.
Q. How is the bar association working to represent the county’s legal community?
A. Mr. Gravett: We have a bench/bar liaison committee set up to work with the courts administrative office and judges to resolve issues of common interest.
Q. What would you say is the biggest challenge facing the legal community as a whole in Napa County, and how is the bar association working to address those challenges?
A. Mr. Gravett: Access to the legal system for poor and middle class folks who find such access impossibly expensive. We support Napa County Legal Aid in its efforts to provide legal access to those with lower incomes. We have just started talking to Legal Aid about a “modest means” program for folks that are over Legal Aid’s limits for service.
Q. Is it difficult to attract top legal talent to the region?
A. Mr. Gravett: Don’t think so, as there seem to be plenty of lawyers in Napa County. The major question is can most folks afford them.
Q. What legal issues would you say the business community as a whole faces the biggest challenges with?
A. Mr. Gravett: The business community, just as the community at large, faces the problem of affordable legal services.
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