Heather Cline Hoganson


by David Graulich 
David Graulich has served as Member-at-Large on the SCBA Board of Directors and on the board of the Sacramento Legal Foundation. He can be contacted at david@wrongedatwork.com.

After years of covering the Sacramento legal community as a writer and editor, Heather Cline Hoganson is moving to the other side of the notebook.

In January 2016, Hoganson begins a one-year term as president of the Sacramento County Bar Association (SCBA). She succeeds Angela Lai, who will continue on the SCBA Board of Directors as representative of the St. Thomas More Society of Sacramento. Hoganson brings to the president’s job a deep knowledge not only of the SCBA’s day-to-day business, but of the SCBA’s extensive network of affiliates and sections. Hoganson was the co-Editor, with Helene Friedman, of the SCBA’s magazine, Sacramento Lawyer, from 2006-2008, and served as the Editor-in-Chief from 2008-2010.

With her reporter’s notebook and camera, Hoganson was a ubiquitous figure at SCBA  mixers, annual meetings, CLE seminars, inaugurations, and retirement parties. Hoganson has worked closely with Mary Burroughs, the SCBA’s current Executive Director, since the mid-2000’s, when Burroughs was a photographer and graphics designer for Sacramento Lawyer.

Hoganson is enthusiastic about the distinctive personality the Sacramento Bar and its blend of big city influence and small town closeness. “We’re not so big, like Los Angeles, that you can oppose someone in court and then never talk with them
again. We’re small enough that you can find out about someone directly, or within one or two phone calls. There’s an incentive here to be civil. If you make a habit of conducting yourself incorrectly in Sacramento, word will get out. Yet we’re not so small as to be isolated.”

The future lawyer

After moving to Sacramento with her family from Southern California at the age of 13, Hoganson’s educational path was pure River City: Mira Loma High School, American River College, U.C. Davis undergraduate, and Pacific McGeorge School of Law. At Davis she pursued a lifetime passion in Asian art and eastern philosophy, and spent one year of foreign study in Delhi, India.

The decision to go to law school came during her senior year at Davis. “I saw the law as a way to attain equity, to fight for what is right,” she says. Hoganson did not have to look far for inspiration: her mother, Victoria S. Cline, is an attorney with a distinguished record in public service. Now retired and living in Carmichael, Cline served for many years as counsel for Kern County Legal Aid and then as an attorney with the Office of Administrative Law in Sacramento. While Cline was still practicing, she and Hoganson were one of the few mother-daughter lawyer pairs in Sacramento County history.


Heather and her husband, Christopher, at Disneyland

After passing the bar exam in 1997, Hoganson has served in several administrative law positions for the State of California. She was Staff Counsel at the Office of Administrative Hearings before moving to the California Gambling Control Commission as Staff Counsel III (Specialist). Hoganson now works as an Attorney III in the Office of Trial Counsel at the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), where she is also ABC’s Tribal Liaison.  Hoganson is former chair of the SCBA’s Administrative Law Section, and her analysis of the expungement process appeared in the May-June 2012 issue of Sacramento Lawyer (followed by her piece on “interesting facts” about the ABC, which appeared in the September-October 2015 issue).

Hoganson credits Karl Engeman and Melissa Meith, both former directors of the Office of Administrative Hearings for encouraging her to get involved in the SCBA and to take the occasional training outside of her comfort zone. “Heather has strong organizational and management skills,” says Paul M. Starkey, Special Board Counsel at the Agricultural Labor Relations Board. “As her friend and colleague, I’m delighted that she will continue to dedicate her energy and abilities for the betterment of the legal community.” “When Heather gets going on something, she is unstoppable,” says Steven L. Simas of Simas & Associates in Sacramento. “I often consult with her on areas of administrative law. Her experience and insight are invaluable, and she has excellent perspective. Throughout her career in state service, she has embraced and conquered her new posts with enthusiasm.”

Heather and her mother, Victoria Cline

Asked about her priorities in 2016, Hoganson says she is particularly excited about the SCBA’s office moving to more spacious and productive space on University Avenue. “I’d like us to host events and classes at the Bar headquarters and to be a destination for our members,” she says. She would also like to initiate a strategic plan, and to continue the SCBA’s expansion into social media and networking. “It’s all about connecting our members,” Hoganson says.

With Helene Friedman at the 2006 Bench-Bar Reception

“I’m also looking ahead to the year 2018, which will be the 100th birthday of the SCBA,” she says. “We have to start planning now for how we’re going to celebrate our centennial.” Hoganson’s friends are betting that the centennial celebration will inspire her to appear in Edwardian regalia straight from 1918 and La Belle Époque. On recent Halloweens, Hoganson has attended SCBA events in the guise of Heidi-Girl of the Alps, Cruella Deville, and Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. She and her husband, Christopher Hoganson, enjoy taking cruises and making pilgrimages to Disney resorts.

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