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The relevance of community involvement for legal professionals

Employee engagement and professional development are closely linked to community involvement. Omar Passons definitely lives that reality. Besides his work as an attorney with Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz in San Diego, Passons serves on various boards throughout the region. He is also known for founding the “Craft Brew Debates,” a speaker series focused on important civic issues.

Why do you choose to serve the community through these organizations?

This decision varies based on the organization. I feel strongly that my being in a position to help is reason to do so – because many people can't help. I also believe these organizations are useful for each other, so I can serve as a bridge between them. For example, training efforts of the San Diego Workforce Partnership and employment needs of homeless women at Rachel's Women's Center can both be served, as I can connect the two organizations. As an attorney, I bring a specific perspective and skillset to this work, because my career requires a certain type of analysis. As a member of the San Diego community, I can help more people enjoy the benefits our region has to offer.

How and when did you get started with board service?

I started in my immediate neighborhood as a way to help improve quality of life issues and to use my skills as a land use and construction attorney for developers and public entities to shape land use decisions at the local level.

How do you balance these commitments with your “day job?”

My firm has been very committed to the San Diego community for 30 years, and our attorneys embrace the ideals my service represents.

Also, I don't sleep much.

Omar Passons is an attorney with Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz and serves on various boards throughout the region. Courtesy photo

What advice would you give to other legal professionals who want to get more involved in the community?

Choose something you enjoy or care about to get involved in and it will be easier to stay with it. Business opportunities come regardless of what area you choose, as people see that you are honest, skilled and dependable.

Omar Passons was recently named the President of the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association of San Diego County. He serves on the Board of Directors for the United Way of San Diego County, the North Park Community Association and the Lambda Archives of San Diego. He is a member of the San Diego Workforce Investment Board. Passons is on the Catholic Charities Homeless Women's Services Advisory Committee and the Leadership Council of San Diego Foundation Center for Civic Engagement.

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Written by Rebecca Smith, Director of Community Engagement for The Eastridge Group of Staffing Companies.

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