The San Luis Obispo County Bar Association presented the John L. Seitz Community Service Award to Patricia Ashbaugh and the Frank T. Pentangelo Award to Kara Stein-Conaway.
The Seitz Award recognizes those lawyers whose community contributions exemplify the best attributes of the legal profession. The award is generously funded by the Seitz family, and is named for John L. Seitz, a long-time San Luis Obispo County Attorney. The award, which has been annually presented since 1989, was given to Ashbaugh.
Patricia Ashbaugh has been practicing in San Luis Obispo since 1977. She was the primary public defender for the county since 1980. Ashbaugh’s community service began as soon as she arrived in the county. In 1979, she co-founded the Women’s Network. This organization was meant to fill the need caused by the discriminatory practices of male-only business and service clubs. In 1981, she co-founded the Woman Lawyers Association. She has served on the Board of Directors of the San Luis Obispo Symphony Association. She has mentored hundreds of students as a former San Luis Obispo Mock Trial team attorney coach. She currently volunteers to help at the Performing Arts Center and with the Transitions Mental Health Association.
Recently, the awards have started to catch up with her achievements. In 2016, the WLA named her the Outstanding Woman Lawyer. Earlier this year, Ashbaugh was awarded the Community and Public Service Award by The Community Foundation of San Luis Obispo. Now she adds the prestigious Seitz Award to her mantle.
The Pentangelo Award, named in honor of Frank J. Pentangelo who was a longtime contributor to the Bar Bulletin, recognizes the creative contributions published in the Bar Bulletin. Kara Stein-Conaway, who practices criminal defense at her eponymous firm, won this annual award. This year, there were numerous worthy recipients of the Pentangelo Award. However, Stein-Conaway was committed to sharing a voice not often heard in a professional journal. She opened up about her feelings of inadequacy as she juggled the demands of career, family, and motherhood. She wrote heart-breakingly about the loss of her grandfather. She provided tips on spiritual and emotional growth. And she admitted that sometimes we must breakdown to rebuild to a better place. As the sixteenth Pentangelo Award recipient, Stein-Conaway shall have her name appear on the Pentangelo Award’s legacy plaque and she will receive a gift certificate to Buona Tavola.
Congratulations to both Patricia Ashbaugh and Kara Stein-Conaway!