Lawyers Club established the Belva Lockwood Award in 1985 to recognize members whose contributions to the organization are outstanding. The award is named for Belva Anne Lockwood (1830-1917), who devoted her life to improving the social, economic and political status of women and to advocating equality for all.
About Belva Ann Lockwood
A native of Los Angeles, Dynes earned her undergraduate degree at Pomona College in American Studies. As she faced graduation in 1968, women had limited non-traditional career options and she was not ready to settle down and have a family. Although the only attorney she “knew” was Perry Mason, she decided to take the LSAT and attend law school if she were admitted.
Dynes attended the University of California, Los Angeles because she was able to afford it. Dynes flourished in law school, saying that it “just fit my strong sense of organization and how my mind works.” Although she worked her way through law school, Dynes took the time to volunteer for the Legal Aid Society and do draft counseling for low-income recruits, experiences which profoundly impacted her. She discovered that her law training and problem-solving skills could help resolve crisis situations.
Dynes received her J.D. Order of the Coif in 1971. Under social pressure, law firms and public agencies were beginning to hire female graduates. She began interviewing in the spring of 1970 when one attorney recruiting for a very prominent firm informed her that it would not be hiring her because “we already have a female attorney.” Dynes’ self-proclaimed thick skin did not let such comments deter her and she was fortunate to obtain other interviews such as with Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps in San Diego. Following a successful summer clerkship there in 1970, Dynes was hired as the firm’s first female associate, passing the California Bar in January, 1972. Dynes enjoyed the firm’s rotating departmental system which gave her exposure to a full general practice. She found herself drawn to commercial law and ultimately focused on work for client San Diego Trust & Savings Bank. In 1975 with the endorsement of her supervising partner, Dynes reached out to the Bank with a proposal to hire her directly to do the same work for the fraction of her cost at the firm. Dynes served as the Bank’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel for 20 years. After the Bank was sold, Dynes completed her career as Campus Counsel at University of California San Diego from 1997 to 2007, another position she loved.
Dynes joined Lawyers Club in 1972 and continues to contribute to the organization nearly fifty years later. She served on the Board of Directors from 1975 to 1977 and as President from 1977 to 1978. Dynes is proud of her work establishing the Fund for Justice, starting the organization’s newsletter, and helping to launch the springboard from Lawyers Club leadership to female membership on the San Diego bench and Bar. She was an early advocate and member of The Bradley Bunch. Lawyers Club was instrumental in the development of some of her most longtime and meaningful friendships, friends whose own careers blazed a trail for feminist attorneys navigating the San Diego legal community.
Outside of her commitment to Lawyers Club, Dynes feels that her greatest legacies are founding the San Diego County Bar Foundation in 1979 and the San Diego Parks Foundation in 2018. She has also been on numerous social service nonprofits and advisory groups. Dynes’ other recognitions from the legal community include the San Diego County Bar Association’s Award for Outstanding Community Service and Legends of the Bar video, and the Law Library Justice Foundation’s Attorney of the Year.
In retirement, Dynes continues to be very active in her community and hopes to return soon to bicycling and playing golf around the world with her husband. She also continues to choose options which aim to make San Diego a better place for women than when she found it in 1970.
2020 Christina Dyer
2000 Candace M. Carroll