Cathie Anderson

Cathie Anderson: Legal community missing generosity of colleague Jean McEvoy

Published: Tuesday, Apr. 16, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Tuesday, Apr. 16, 2013 - 9:32 am

Sacramento attorney Jean McEvoy gave sympathetic, helpful and pointed advice not only to her clients, but also to her colleagues, students and friends.

She died Sunday at age 69.

Karen M. Goodman, a governor of the California State Bar, credits McEvoy with inspiring her.

"I thought she was crazy when years ago she said I should become president of California Women Lawyers," Goodman wrote of McEvoy. "She made me believe that this was a realistic dream. She helped me see myself as a leader and was instrumental in my decision to run for State Bar governor."

McEvoy, whose fields included estates, trusts and conservatorship, received the highest rating for her skills and integrity from the attorney-rating firm Martindale-Hubbell.

And when she heard that U.S. District Court Judge Frank C. Damrell wanted to start an essay contest that would have high school students explore constitutional rights, she volunteered to find essay screeners and do any other thankless task to make it a reality. Operation Protect and Defend names essay winners – and now visual arts winners – every year on Law Day, May 1, also McEvoy's birthday.

Attorney Carlena Tapella described her friend as a vocal and graceful court-appointed counsel for conservatees and minors, but not so lawyerly when it came to billing.

"I don't know how many people Jean has represented, and even though she could get paid from that person's estate or from the county, she would just put it off," Tapella told me.

To no avail, McEvoy's assistants lectured her about her habit of never billing or billing at discounted rates, even with clients who had the wherewithal to pay.

Sacramento Bishop Emeritus William Weigand recalls conceding defeat to McEvoy: "I remember the last time she updated my papers around the time I retired, I got a bill from her. It was just symbolic, and I tried to give her something beyond that, and she simply refused."

Weigand said he prayed over McEvoy just after her death at Sacramento's Mercy General Hospital, and that his successor, Bishop Jaime Soto, prayed with her before she died. McEvoy counseled the local Catholic diocese for many years, and in the last four years chaired an independent review board for allegations of sexual abuse against minors.

"She would not put up with any nonsense," Weigand said. "She gave us very good advice and encouraged us to take quick and appropriate action immediately."

'Go Deep Inside Business'

You could say that Karin Sinclair let her kids' 4-H projects get slightly out of hand, but the growth seems natural and right when you visit Sinclair Family Farm's 140-plus acres in Penryn and Newcastle.

Back in 1998, Sinclair and her husband, Keith, had 3 acres and a daughter old enough for her first 4-H project: "I gave her this book and she browsed through it, and she said she wanted to work with sheep.

"My husband and I didn't know a doggone thing about sheep, but that's what she wanted to do, and we said, 'OK.' So we searched around and found her a ewe, a female sheep, and she happened to be pregnant."

Sinclair is now scaling down on the number of sheep, so she has just 100 ewes.

She also has 23 beef cattle, hundreds of meat chickens and layer hens, and, oh yeah, two dairy cows.

All the hogs have gone to slaughter.

Now that Sinclair knows the choices that a producer can make before an animal goes to market, she said she finds it impossible to shop at a grocery and pick up a pork chop as if it were a can of green beans.

Although she has many layer hens, eggs are a bit of a loss leader for Sinclair. That is, they help her get her foot in the door but don't produce much profit. Meat sales pay, especially those from a buyers' club started with the aid of UC Davis Agricultural Extension.

If you like, you can learn more about the Sinclair Family Farm during a Go Deep Inside Business tour with this columnist and Sinclair at 9 a.m. May 18.

Starting at 11 a.m., Farm Day kicks off with wool spinning, sheep shearing and more.

Register for the tour or Farm Day by emailing Tour space is limited.

Call The Bee's Cathie Anderson, (916) 321-1193.

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