DOWNEY - To Joseph "Joe" A. Lumsdaine, the senior partner at the Downey-based law firm Tredway, Lumsdaine & Doyle, LLP, helping a client with a legal problem and helping a fellow church member resolve a moral dilemma are but two sides of the same coin: both involve a salutary act of service.Thus Joe, a former seminarian whose avowed first love was philosophy and who in 1976 obtained his Juris Doctor degree from UC-Berkeley (from where he also earned his BA with double majors in philosophy and psychology in 1973), today moves seamlessly in and out of both legal and humanitarian worlds. Thus steeped in first principles - whether they be moral or philosophical or legal - he is likely to drive home his notion of service, of helping people, with a bit of Matthew, as in 25: "…when you do it to the least of my brethren, you do it unto Me." A successful and respected law practitioner whose special focus in more recent years has been on estate planning, probate, trust administration, elder law and conservatorships, he is equally at ease with the ideas of Plato, Aristotle, and St. Augustine. In other words, he is comfortable with his spirituality, and he approaches his professional, as well as his community, work with a high sense of purpose. He has logged more than 30 years of legal work, most of it out of Downey's Tredway, Lumsdaine & Doyle main offices on Paramount Boulevard, but he also works with clients from the law firm's other offices in Irvine and Long Beach. Prior to joining Tredway et al in 1979, he worked for the National Labor Relations Board in San Francisco and a labor law firm in Los Angeles. For "excellence in lawyering and his area contributions to the legal profession," he is being honored tomorrow at Rio Hondo Event Center with the Southeast District Bar Association's "2009 Lawyer of the Year" award. Sharing the spotlight at the bar association's annual dinner are two Los Angeles Superior Court judges: the Hon. Yvonne Sanchez, who will be honored as "Judge of the Year," and the Hon. Larry S. Knupp, who will get a "Lifetime Judicial Award." Scheduled installing officer and keynote speaker is California Supreme Court Justice Carlos R. Moreno. Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Mario Trujillo is Master of Ceremonies. Tredway, Lumsdaine & Doyle offers a range of services that include representation in business and securities law, real estate, litigation, credit unions and other financial institutions. A line in Joe's resume reads: "[He] has concluded more than 50 state and federal, jury and court trials to verdict, involving business disputes, personal injury, real estate and probate litigation." As his dealings with the elderly have increased, none has benefited more, he says, from his high moral ground approach than this client group. At any rate, his relationships with his clients have become symbiotic. This is fine by him. In discussions with associates, Joe avers that "if such relationships make me a better person, then this will make me a better lawyer." He has meanwhile for years, along with wife Dianne, done parish work at St. Dominic Savio in Bellflower. To better serve the parishioners, the couple (she is, as well, a lawyer and a former president of Arc, 'our dearest charity in town') got their master's degrees in pastoral ministry two years ago from St. Marty's University in Minnesota. They are currently in the fourth year of a five-year diaconate program with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. "God willing," Joe says, "I'll be ordained as deacon in June 2010." He has begun to expand the range of his pastoral ministry. Faith formation has been a mainstay from the start. He got involved with the church's bereavement ministry some seven years ago, and he has just started with prison ministry (ministering to the imprisoned, ministering to the juveniles at Los Padrinos). Over the years, his list of community involvements is, of course, a long one: with Arc, with the Y, with Downey Regional Medical Center, Kiwanis, and on and on. The youngest of 11 children, Joe was born in Shanghai, China on July 2, 1950 to his merchant American dad, Clifford Vere Lumsdaine, and his Chinese mom, Miao Ying Ho. According to family lore, his dad had to learn Cantonese to win his mom's affections. Immigrating to California in 1962, Joe quickly adapted to his new home in Ventura, where he finished high school. He and Dianne got married while both were working toward their undergraduate degrees at UC-Berkeley. Dianne, whose own story was featured in these pages in 2007, would get her Juris Doctor degree from Golden Gate University in 1977. Both of them point to each other as 'the smart one.' In any case, Joe says: "We mostly took different courses. She got a better grade in statistics, that's why she manages the money." They have resided in Downey since 1978. They have four children: the older two daughters, Jodi Anne (now Mrs. Richard Chapin) and Jennifer, are both attorneys; of the two younger boys, Paul, already has his master's in English, while Casey the youngest is in college. Joe likes to relate that when Jennifer took only three years to get her law degree, he rewarded her with a car. Instead of a business lunch, Joe goes for a business run, where he and a few associates at a time run through the streets of Downey at lunchtime for exercise. "At first, to reduce stress, I would exercise at the Y. Then I started running a marathon-length 26 miles by myself," he says. "Then I cut it to half a marathon. These days, especially in the company of one or two associates, I usually go six to seven miles. I've been doing this for several years. I enjoy it." His appreciation of the benefits of exercise took root in his seminary days, "where the 'bell' dictated our every move." "I read of course, mostly fiction, and I go fishing whenever time permits," says Joe. "And I like gardening. We watch the Lakers. But mostly I'm into running. I've come to really enjoy it." He was preaching, and practicing, the 'can do' spirit well before Obama. When Joe coached Little League baseball, he would tell the kids, "'You can hit the ball. Tell yourself you can hit the ball', and darned if they didn't. Baseball is not based on physics, it's a game of the head." "Whenever I encounter people or kids who say 'I'm not good enough' or who give up on their dreams," Joe goes on, "I show them a sheet of paper with 'NO's occupying every rank and every file. I challenge them to find the one 'YES' on the page. I want them to persevere, dream the dream. I truly believe that sooner or later they'll realize it." He proudly told me he has occupied the same office room where firm founder Harold Tredway conducted business until his death in 2005, including the original furniture. When I noticed a bust of Lincoln on his back shelf, Joe said it reminded him most of Lincoln's courage, a virtue he called on during his 25 years of trial work. "In representing a client," he said, "you've got to stand up for him, no matter how hard the case. This requires the utmost courage. I hope Obama shows it can be done." The law firm has issued this invitation: "We will be hosting a reception in honor of Joseph Lumsdaine's accomplishments at its Downey office, 10841 Paramount Blvd., on Thursday, February 12 from 5 to 7 p.m. We invite the Downey community to join us in celebrating Mr. Lumsdaine and his fine service to the profession and the community." ********** Published: January 30, 2009 - Volume 7 - Issue 41