11/4/19 - San Diego Business Journal: Leaders in Law Awards 2019
Letter from the Publisher: The San Diego Business Journal’s inaugural Leaders in Law event honored 17 of San Diego’s top lawyers and in-house general counsel attorneys. We received more than 200 nominations. From these we selected 105 finalists. The range of our nominees’ accomplishments and community involvement was impressive. It made the process of selecting winners all the more challenging. We even had one tie, in the labor and employment category.
We revealed the winners during an October 24 gathering at the University Club Atop Symphony Towers. The event brought together 200 people, including San Diego’s best legal minds and their associates. (Read more)
Leaders in Law Recap:
Leaders in Law Awards Reflect Well on Legal Community
Recognition: Judges Narrowed 105 Finalists to 17 Winners
By Brad Graves
San Diego’s legal community converged at The University Club Atop Symphony Towers on Oct. 24 to honor the region’s brightest legal minds. The occasion was the San Diego Business Journal’s inaugural Leaders in Law Awards. One of the best views seemed to be from the lectern. Chris Olmsted — a shareholder at event sponsor Ogletree Deakins and the first person to present an award that evening — said he saw something in the crowd of 200. “Looking out, it crossed my mind what a great pool of legal talent we have here in San Diego,” he said after the event. “We have the foremost experts in the world. … It was good to see all the people in the same room.” Seventeen people accepted awards. Most awards honored the top attorney in a particular specialty. Three in-house general counsel attorneys were honored, as were three Rising Stars — attorneys early in their careers who we will likely hear more from.
Winner – Private Company: Paul Najar, General Counsel, Gafcon, Inc.
Paul Najar manages the legal, risk management and human resources departments at Gafcon, a real estate development firm. Najar does so in a way that facilitates growth while protecting his employer. He continues to play a key role in a project called Seaport San Diego, which involves the redevelopment of 70 acres of premier waterfront that is currently known as Seaport Village. Najar is “firm but fair,” said one of the people who nominated him. He also builds consensus. “I have personally witnessed Paul navigate very complex legal issues and resolve them with all parties feeling satisfied, not just at Gafcon but at two other companies as well.” Najar received his bachelor’s degree from UC Irvine and his J.D. from UC Davis. He is president of the Association of Corporate Counsels in San Diego and said he was accepting his award on behalf of the chapter.