Italian American lawyers in Orange County
In 1977, a few enterprising young Italian American lawyers in Orange County hatched a plan to meet once a month to discuss important issues of their time over a bowl of pasta and a glass of Chianti, borrowing the brilliant idea from their colleagues in Los Angeles. They were also smart enough to realize that driving back from Los Angeles after gulping down a few bottles of red wine was not the smartest or safest way to develop their budding legal careers. Meeting in Orange County provided a less dangerous way of enjoying their camaraderie and love for the grape.
Joseph D'Antony took it upon himself to assemble the greatest legal minds of Italian American origin in Orange County to develop the association. Mr. D'Antony invited the original members of the first "proto" group of Lex Romana to his home for a delicious homemade meal prepared by his mother. Course after course of delectable Italian dishes were prepared and served by Adeline D'Antony, and accompanied by countless bottles of wine. The founding fathers of Lex Romana knew they were destined to turn this fledgling idea into a reality so all Italian American lawyers in Orange County and their family and friends could share in this gastronomic/legal endeavor.
After their heads stopped pounding the next morning, everyone was convinced the idea of mixing Italian food and wine with the legal profession was a good one. Lex Romana aka the Italian American lawyers of Orange County had their first meeting on April 26, 1978, at Mamma Coza's Italian restaurant in Anaheim. Word quickly spread throughout the county that Lex Romana was a legal and cultural coup d'e tat. Attendance at the meetings grew dramatically throughout the first year. Soon, the Italian-American bench and bar were having monthly meetings at various Italian restaurants throughout Orange County. The meetings always had a prominent guest speaker whose topics would range from legal issues to making olive oil or growing an Italian vegetable garden. Like new wave and punk rock, the group flourished in the 1980's. However, similar to the fall of the Roman Empire some 1560 years earlier, Lex Romana unofficially disbanded due to the great Italian wine-grape blight of 1992. Without adequate mind-numbing amounts of red wine to wash down their meals, the members of Lex Romana could no longer bring themselves to attend the monthly dinner meetings.
Throughout the 1990's, Joseph D'Antony was frequently approached in the courthouse hallways by former members of Lex Romana, wondering when the monthly dinner meetings would resume. After ten years of incessant badgering, coupled with several death threats, Mr. D'Antony decided the wise decision was to revive Lex Romana. In 2002, Lex Romana was officially reborn through the exhaustive efforts of Mr. D'Antony in coordinating the monthly Lex Romana dinner meetings and annual Columbus Day event. By early 2005, the group had increased its numbers to satisfy the criteria to become an affiliate bar of the Orange County Bar Association. Following months of hard work by Kari Myron, the Bar's Executive Committee invited Lex Romana to become an integral part of the second largest Bar association in the country with over 7000 members. Lex Romana continues to grow and thrive as the premiere place for lawyers to engage in exquisite legal, cultural and gastronomic delights.