In 2001, Kathy Burnham – now Executive Director of the Foundation – established a volunteer support group in response to input from Judge Wendy Lindley regarding the needs of participants in the Orange County Collaborative Court programs. While these programs were very effective, Judge Lindley realized that participants with substance abuse and/or mental health issues had an even better chance of success – in the program and after graduation – if there was a way to address their educational and other needs. Over time, the Courts asked the Foundation to address other needs such as housing, dental services and vision care.
In 2003 and to better address participant needs, Kathy formally established the Drug Court Foundation – a project of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. Three years later, she established the Community Courts Foundation, now named the Collaborative Courts Foundation. The Foundation now provides a wide range of support and services including housing, dental and vision care, scholarships, supplemental mental health counseling, tattoo removal, transportation, cultural programs and recreational activities that enable participants to re-establish relationships with family and friends.
As the years have passed and the first programs proved incredibly successful, the Superior Court added four mental health courts, four juvenile collaborative courts, a dependency drug court, five DUI courts, a Combat Veterans Court, a Military Diversion Court and a Homeless Outreach Court. With the addition of these new Court programs, the Foundation has had to work even harder to find resources to meet the ever increasing participant needs. The Foundation has secured funding from the Assistance League of Laguna Beach, the Orange County Bar Association and the Bureau of Justice Administration. However, these grants fall short of our financial needs and reduce the chances that participants become productive members of society.
Board of Directors
The Collaborative Courts Foundation Board of Directors are well-respected members of the community and business organizations. Each member of the Board of Directors supports the Foundation’s mission and the Collaborative Court programs.
Anthony Maurillo —
Chairman of the Board
Anthony became involved in the Collaborative Counts Foundation (CCF) as a result of his son, Anthony Jr.’s participation in Judge Wendy Lindley’s Drug Court in 2011. Anthony and his wife Lynn were very grateful for the various benefits offered by the Collaborative Courts Foundation. Anthony JR’s brightest and most promising times were a direct result of the CCF’s support. Tragically, Lynn and Anthony’s son lost his battle and passed away in 2013. So determined to prevent others from experiencing the same tragedy both Lynn and Anthony joined CCF’s Board and have dedicated themselves to continuing the work that they see as crucial in assisting their son’s recovery at that time.
Anthony is a senior Boeing 777 Captain for American Airlines at Los Angeles, flying international routes around the globe.
Deborah Schlesinger, RN
Deborah became involved with the Collaborative Courts Foundation after meeting founder, Kathy Burnham, at a dinner party in Laguna Beach in 2017. Deborah’s interest in the Collaborative Courts Foundation’s mission stems from the loss of her younger sister to an accidental prescription drug overdose in 2010. In 2018 Deborah joined the CCF board with the goal of creating public awareness of the Collaborative Courts Programs, the work of the Collaborative Courts Foundation and the public health crisis surrounding substance use disorders.
Nikki Presley Miliband concentrates her practice in the areas of probate and trust litigation, including elder abuse cases, as well as estate and trust administration. She has significant litigation experience and has handled cases in both State and Federal Courts. Collaborative Courts Foundation after meeting founder, Kathy Burnham, at a dinner party in Laguna Beach in 2017.
Nikki is the Immediate Past President of the Orange County Bar Association, having served as President in 2018, and is currently serving as President of the Orange County Bar Charitable Fund.
Nikki also served on the Orange County Bar Association’s Legislative Resolution Committee from 1995 to the present (Chair 2007). She has also served on the Lawyer Referral Information Service for the Orange County Bar Association since 2006, and was the chair of that committee from 2008 to 2015. Nikki graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1987, and received her Juris Doctor from Oklahoma City University. Nikki currently serves on the Executive Board for Oklahoma City University School of Law. Nikki has been licensed to practice law in Oklahoma since 1990, and thereafter became licensed in California in 1992.
Jenifer was introduced to the Collaborative Courts Foundation in her role as a Patroness with the Monarch Chapter of the National Charity League and joined the CCF board in 2017. Jenifer has been practicing civil defense law in the community for 22 years and jumped at the chance to take a board position to better support the men and woman who are courageously seeking a second chance through the strenuous alcohol, drug, homeless and veterans programs offered by the courts as alternatives to incarceration.
Jenifer and her daughters Ava & Mia consider it their greatest privilege to partner with the Collaborative Courts Foundation and offer their time and hearts to the hard working judges, court staff and program participants who all share a common goal: conquering substance abuse and living to one’s fullest potential.
Joseph L. Chairez
Joseph Chairez is a business trial lawyer who has litigated numerous complex business, products/technology, employment and construction defect matters. He also has a firmwide insurance coverage practice, litigating coverage on behalf of corporate policyholders, which has produced millions of dollars of insurance policy benefits for his clients. Joseph serves as the Costa Mesa Litigation Leader and is a member of the ProBono Committee for the firm. Additionally, he speaks on a variety of trial, ethics and litigation topics at CLE seminars.
Daniel S. Robinson
Daniel S. Robinson is a partner at Robinson Calcagnie, Inc., a 20-lawyer firm that represents plaintiffs in class actions, products liability, and other complex litigation. Dan has tried numerous cases to verdict and been appointed lead or co-lead counsel in over twenty mass tort and class action cases.
In 2022, Dan was selected by the Daily Journal as one of the Top 100 Attorneys in California. He has also been selected as a 2022 Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyer, as one of Daily Journal’s Top 25 and Top 30 Plaintiff Lawyers in California, and as one of Superlawyers’ Top 50 lawyers in Orange County. He’s been selected as a Best Lawyers in America every year since 2013, and in 2021, he awarded Daily Journal’s 2021 California Lawyer Attorney of the Year award for his work on the Mandalay Bay Shooting cases.
In 2022, he was named by Best Lawyers as Lawyer of the Year in the area of products liability litigation for Orange County. Before joining Robinson Calcagnie, Dan served as an Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office under the Hon. Robert M. Morgenthau, and as a litigation associate at O’Melveny & Myers, LLP.
Mr. Robinson serves as the 2022 President of the Orange County Bar Association and previously served as the 2018 President of Project Youth OCBF.
Larisa Maria Dinsmoor
Orange County Public Defender’s Office
Larisa Maria Dinsmoor has been an Orange County Public Defender for over fifteen years. She has tried complex felony cases, trained new misdemeanor attorneys, and represented clients in Orange County’s Homeless Court, Drug Court and Driving Under the Influence Court. She is an advocate for the Collaborative Courts and was interviewed by the Atlantic Magazine.
Larisa was the 2021 Orange County Bar Association (OCBA) President, an organization with over 7,000 members. Currently, she is the OCBA Charitable Fund President with the responsibility of raising money for law-related organizations. She has over twenty years of experience in public service.
Larisa spearheaded several efforts to raise awareness and assist vulnerable populations through the OCBA. She has chaired the Pro Bono Committee, Homeless Task Force, International Law Section and OC Lawyer Editorial Advisory Committee. She taught Criminal Procedure at Whittier Law School, and has published articles in the Orange County Lawyer.
In her free time, Larisa volunteers with international organizations to enhance the rule of law in developing countries. She has trained lawyers and judges in Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia. Her prior experience includes working at the United States Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Office and for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Larisa has lived in Russia, Uganda and South Africa. She has a J.D. from the Washington College of Law, Washington D.C., and a B.A. in International Studies from American University, Washington D.C.
Dean J. Zipser
Dean J. Zipser is a recognized leader in the Orange County legal community. He has served as President of the Orange County Bar Association (OCBA) and the Orange County Chapter of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers, and as chairperson of the OCBA’s Masters Division (serving those in practice 25 years or more), among many professional leadership positions. Dean was named as the 2017 recipient of the OCBA’s Franklin G. West Award – presented annually to an outstanding attorney or judge whose lifetime achievements have advanced justice and the law. In 2003, Dean received the Jurisprudence Award given by the Anti-Defamation League, which recognizes individual commitment to the highest ideals of the legal profession and dedicated service to the community. He has been listed for several years as one of the “Best Lawyers in America®” in the fields of Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Intellectual Property Litigation, Banking and Finance Litigation, and Real Estate Litigation. Dean was named Best Lawyers’ Orange County Bet-the-Company Litigation “Lawyer of the Year” in 2022 and 2014, and Orange County Intellectual Litigation “Lawyer of the Year” in 2017. In addition, he has been chosen as a “Super Lawyer” since 2005, an honor limited to only 5% of Southern California lawyers. Dean also has been named to Super Lawyers’ Top 50 Orange County lawyers and Top 100 Southern California lawyers.
Dean is known for his handling of large, complex, and “bet-the-company” cases, from pre-trial consulting, through pre-trial, trial, and appeal. His civil business litigation practice includes complex matters in intellectual property, consumer class actions, contract, business torts, fiduciary duty, real estate, construction, and lender liability. He also advises clients on techniques to avoid or minimize the risks of litigation and has extensive experience in alternative dispute resolution procedures. In addition, Dean has been trained as a mediator, and has been called upon to assist parties in settling disputes.
Dean serves a list of premier industry leaders and Fortune 1000 companies, as well as a host of other companies and individuals. Some of his cases have included: representing leading computer manufacturers in various consumer class actions; commercial litigation matters for national retailers; handling disputes involving real estate, construction, contract, and class-actions on behalf of large residential real estate developers; and litigating intellectual property matters for a variety of clients in a host of different industries, including retail, restaurants, toy manufacturing, and charitable organizations.
Dean was honored to be named as one of the 176 lawyers nationwide on the BTI Consulting 2009 Client All-Star Team. The survey was the result of interviews with more than 270 general counsels at Fortune 1000 and other companies. BTI sought the attorneys who stand for leveraging knowledge of their clients’ businesses to deliver strategic advice, who keep their clients’ interests top of mind through the efficient use of time and resources, and who provide responsive and timely answers to clients’ most precious needs.
A committed advocate for those who are less fortunate, Dean regularly works on cases on a pro bono basis and has served on the Board of the Public Law Center. Prior to joining Umberg/Zipser, Dean was a partner with Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP (co-chair of the firm’s Class Actions and Financial Services Litigation practice groups), and before that was the managing partner and head of the Litigation Department at the Orange County office of Morrison & Foerster LLP.
Michael L. Fell
Michael Fell is a former Senior Deputy District Attorney of Orange County. While a prosecutor from 1989 – 2008, Mr. Fell handled many high profile cases and prosecuted various criminal offenses including, but not limited to: Murder, Arson, Gang cases, Sexual Offenses, and Organized Crime. While with the DA’s Office, Mr. Fell was committed to protecting victims of crime and was recognized for his efforts in receiving the prestigious Ambassador of Peace Award from the Violence Prevention Coalition of Orange County in 2003. Mr. Fell has also received accolades and awards from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Community Services Program (CSP)/Victim Witness of Orange County and the Constitutional Rights Foundation of Orange County.
In 2009, Mike opened his own practice – Law Office of Michael L. Fell, A Professional Corporation where he concentrates on criminal defense. He is a Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist who has been named one of Orange County’s Top Criminal Defense Attorneys by OC Metro Magazine for many years. He also handles many domestic violence and civil restraining orders cases.
In addition to his criminal defense practice, Mr. Fell is one of the top victims’ rights attorney’s in California. Through the use of Marsy’s Law, Mr. Fell has represented a multitude of clients, including the nationally recognized cases involving 17 year old rape and murder victim Chelsea King in San Diego and the DUI murder of Major League Baseball player Nick Adenhart in Orange County. In 2013 Mr. Fell was named the United States Attorney of the Year for his pro bono services to crime victims by the National Crime Victims Law Institute in Oregon.
He is further pleased to have three experienced family law attorneys who also work for the firm and who handle all aspects of dissolution, child custody, restraining orders and other various legally-related family law issues.
Fun Fact: You may have seen Mike on several seasons of Real Housewives of Orange County representing a cast member!