Santa Cruz County
Trial Lawyers Association

Supporting Local Trial Lawyers for Over 30 Years

Group of people working together at a table with laptops and documents.

SCCTLA provides members with continuing legal education, social and professional networking opportunities and assistance to improve the administration of justice.

Five people joining hands in the middle of a work table with documents and a computer.

Our members are trial lawyers, students, paralegals and support staff with a commitment to trial work and to our community. 

Young professionals toasting at a dinner table.

SCCTLA supports our community and local trial lawyers with continuing education, camaraderie, and networking and community outreach opportunities.

“”This year is about community! Let’s reconnect, rub elbows, learn together, and solve some puzzles. Join us this year for social and learning events designed for trial lawyers–designed for us.”

~ Lisa Peck, Co-President

What We Do

COOKIE COURT.  With SCCTLA’s support, Santa Cruz County 5th graders continue to benefit from volunteer trial attorneys who help students put on a “Cookie Trial” inside the courthouse.

MOCK TRIAL. SCCTLA works hard to ensure that Santa Cruz County high school students have the opportunity to participate in the statewide Mock Trial program. This next generation of trial lawyers benefits from our members’ expertise, mentorship and support.

ELBOW RUB.  Our annual Elbow Rub gives members and guests the opportunity to enjoy food, drinks, and fun, while honoring someone who has made a unique contribution to our trial lawyer community.

MCLEs.  SCCTLA offers regular MCLE courses during the lunch hour at the courthouse, designed specifically for civil and criminal trial lawyers. Earn your MCLE credits while mingling with friends.

ONLINE DISCUSSION GROUP.  SCCTLA members have exclusive access to our online discussion group geared at keeping local trial lawyers connected and informed.

TRIAL RESULTS.  SCCTLA tracks and analyzes local civil trials to provide members with regular updates.

CIVILITY & DECORUM COMMITTEE. SCCTLA offers members a forum to anonymously share concerns regarding civility and decorum in local practice.  The Committee offers candid advice and proposes solutions.

LITIGATION TRENDS. SCCTLA monitors local and statewide litigation trends and creates partnerships with trial lawyers in other counties to offer members access to cutting edge information relevant to their practice.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH. SCCTLA brings trial lawyers together to support our community. Whether it’s coming up with ways to support members who have been affected by natural disasters or personal hardships, organizing wellness and social activities to bring balance to busy lives or spreading the word about volunteer opportunities, SCCTLA nurtures a community of trial lawyers who are actively engaged in the community as a whole.

Donation Dues Model Continues Through 2023: JOIN US!

As we emerge from the Covid pandemic, fires, and an epic storm, SCCTLA remains committed to bringing us back together. How do we hone our rusty trial skills after several years of ZOOM appearances? How do we reconnect with our existing networks and build new social ties? How do we continue to move forward?

We get it. At tonight’s Board meeting, the SCCTLA board grappled with these questions for the third year in a row, as we considered how to grow and support our membership, while still raising enough money to support the programming that has made SCCTLA an integral part of the Santa Cruz County trial community for over 30 years–signature events like Mock Trial, Cookie Court and the Elbow Rub. Once again, we decided to leave your dues up to you.

Some folks are thriving as the economy rebounds. Others are struggling, as we face unprecedented personal and professional challenges. Wherever you fall on that spectrum, we are here for you. The point is to stay connected to each other, share ideas, and grow. If you are committed to trial work in this community, we welcome you.

This year, like last year and the year before, we will have a donation-based membership model, with suggested donations depending on where you’re at in your career. But, it’s also okay to donate less. Or more. Or nothing. The most important thing is that we stick together and support each other. So, please join us!

Mock Trial and Cookie Court to be back to “normal” this year, with in-person programming, and we are already planning MCLEs that bring you fresh content and an opportunity to connect. This year’s Elbow Rub will be better than ever, with a family-friendly venue, live entertainment, and delicious, local food.

Membership runs from January 1, 2023, to December 31, 2023. For those of you who donate dues, you’ll have the option of applying your donation toward event fees. Join or renew your membership now!

Events Calendar

The Events Calendar tracks volunteer, networking and social opportunities, trials and evidentiary hearings, local court holidays, and other dates of interest to our members. To add an event to the calendar, send a request to scctla@gmail.com.

Trial Lawyer News

Stay tuned for information about events designed for trial lawyers, including virtual happy hours, MCLEs, and opportunities to volunteer and network with our trial lawyer community.

Pacific Collegiate School Wins 2023 Mock Trial

Congratulations to the 2023 Pacific Collegiate School Mock Trial Team, winners of the Santa Cruz County competition. And a shoutout to all the SCCTLA members and others who volunteered as coaches and scorers and supported our teams. In 1980, Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF) introduced the Mock Trial program to help students acquire a working knowledge of our judicial system, develop analytical abilities and communication skills, and gain an understanding of their obligations and responsibilities as participating members of our society. Mock Trial students prepare for trial. The program currently involves 38 California counties. In Santa Cruz County, Mock Trial is…

Keep reading

May 4, 2023, Elbow Rub Honored the Legacy of the Hon. Paul Marigonda & Service of the Hon. Paul Burdick

Our 2023 Elbow Rub honored the legacy of the Honorable Paul Marigonda and the service of the Honorable Paul Burdick, who retired this year after a lifetime of service to our community. This donation-based event was a chance for trial lawyers, friends, and family to connect in a casual, comfortable venue with live music by local rock band Wonderstill and Mexican food by Taquitos Nayarit. Thanks to everyone who turned out to support SCCTLA and celebrate our trial lawyer community.

Keep reading

2022 Elbow Rub on May 5 Honored Judge Heather Morse with an In-Person Event Enjoyed by All

On May 5, 2022, the trial lawyer community came together to honor Judge Heather Morse at SCCTLA’s first Elbow Rub since the onset of the pandemic. Members and guest enjoyed tacos, live music, and camaraderie at Harvey West Park. Thank you to our generous sponsors and donors who raised over $2,000 to support SCCTLA’s programming, including High School Mock Trial, Elementary School Cookie Court and MCLEs designed to elevate the practice of trial law in Santa Cruz County.

Meet Us

Meet our Officers and Board.

Support Us

Support our programs by volunteering to help out with high school Mock Trial or 5th Grade Cookie Court.

Join Us

Join us or renew your membership to support our growing trial lawyer community.

About Us

SCCTLA has been supporting local trial lawyers and building community for over 30 years. In 1989, local trial lawyers Bob Katz and Robert Yonts saw a need for an organization dedicated to providing programs, events and services designed specifically for local trial lawyers. SCCTLA continues to fill this niche.

Get In Touch


P.O. Box 7294
Santa Cruz, CA

Members Only

For premium content available only to members, including a compilation and analysis of local civil trial results, access to the online discussion group, and a confidential form for submitting issues to the Civility & Decorum Committee, enter your Member Password here. SCCTLA membership for 2021-2022 is completely free. To join and get a Member Password, fill out a simple form here.

Support Our Sponsors

Our sponsors make it possible for SCCTLA to consistently provide quality programs, events, and services to our members and community. If you would like to support SCCTLA with a tax-deductible sponsorship of $250, get in touch. You can pay for your sponsorship now at our online store, or by sending a check to SCCTLA, 716 Ocean Street, Ste. 100, Santa Cruz, CA 95061. If you would like to make a lasting contribution to the growth and future of SCCTLA, consider making a sustaining monthly or yearly donation to support SCCTLA or the 5th Grade Cookie Court or high school Mock Trial programs.

Gerard Chambers Psy.D., Ph.D.
Clinical Neuropsychologist

PECK-LAW, Employment
Elizabeth (“Lisa”) M. Peck, Esq.