Across the Bar

Across the Bar is a publication of the San Joaquin County Bar Association, providing local legal news, educational content, and information about Bar Association events.

MCLE Self Study: Frazzle or Focus: How to Cope with the Unique Challenges of Legal Practice

MCLE Self Study: Frazzle or Focus: How to Cope with the Unique Challenges of Legal Practice
This activity has been approved for Minimum Continuing Legal Education self-study credit by the State Bar of California in the amount of one (1) hour of Competence Credit for Attorneys and Paralegal Staff. The San Joaquin County Bar Association certifies that these activities conform to the standards for approved education activities prescribed by the rules and regulations of the State Bar of California governing minimum continuing legal education. To receive one (1) hour of MCLE credit, please ...
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Recap: MCLE on Damages in Personal Injury Cases

About 50 attorneys attended a presentation on August 19, 2015, by Robert Buccola of Dreyer Babich Buccola Wood Campora, LLP on general damages in personal injury cases. Mr. Buccola has been recognized with numerous awards and has won some of the largest jury awards in the state. His presentation illustrated his skill at communicating with juries. Mr. Buccola began his presentation with advice on developing a "theme" of the case, keeping in mind that all members of the jury are judgmental. An adv...
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Civility in Lawyers' Writing

Civility in Lawyers' Writing
A few years ago, American Bar Association President Stephen N. Zack decried the legal profession's "continuing slide into the gutter of incivility."1 An ABA resolution "affirm[ed] the principle of civility as a foundation for democracy and the rule of law, and urge[d] lawyers to set a high standard for civil discourse."2 The ABA initiative echoes federal and state courts that call civility "a linchpin of our legal system,"3 a "bedrock principle,"4 and "a hallmark of professionalism."5 Justice An...
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The Uber-Important Question: Independent Contractor or Employee?

The Uber-Important Question: Independent 
Contractor or Employee?
The California State Labor Commissioner's Office recently issued a ruling that is likely to be an Uber-headache for the industry's employers (while possibly providing a *Lyft* to the industry's drivers). What industry is that? It depends whom you ask. On the one hand, companies like Uber say they are a software company—the developer of a popular app that matches people who need transportation with drivers who are available to give rides. But if you ask some of the drivers, like Barbara Ann Berwi...
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Under Oath: Cathy Huston

Cathy and I met in her office on a busy Friday afternoon. Amongst flying files and ringing phones we sat in her office to enjoy our lunch. Q. What is your idea of perfect happiness? A. "Honestly, its going home from work after a good day where I won all my cases, the kids' homework is done and I had time to work out. Just knowing that we are on the status quo. As long as all my loved ones are doing well and we are all healthy… that is happiness." Q. What is your greatest fear? A. "Right now it's...
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Mushel Kazmi Awarded the Young Lawyers Section's Scholarship

Mushel Kazmi Awarded the Young Lawyers Section's Scholarship
The San Joaquin County Bar Association's Young Lawyers Section has awarded its annual scholarship to Pacific Legal Scholar Mushel Kazmi. Ms. Kazmi is a junior at the University of the Pacific who intends to practice law. She is a business marketing major and a pre-law minor. She has maintained a 4.0 grade point average. To get a jump start on her legal career, Ms. Kazmi has attended the "Final Four" of the Oral Advocate Competition at McGeorge School of Law, attended a criminal law class at McGe...
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A Child Divided: Healing the Psychological Wound of Divorce

A Child Divided: Healing the Psychological Wound of Divorce
The King's Judgment Two women stood before the king, both stating their claim to a child they believed to be their own. Both had their child only three days apart, and after falling asleep one had awakened to the unfortunate sight of her baby lying dead next to her in bed. Having wept over the loss of her son, she soon realized that the child who lay next to her was not her own.She then brought charges against the other mother for switching the infants during their sleep; the trial was...
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New Courthouse Progress

New Courthouse Progress
If you have driven on I-5 or the Crosstown Freeway, you have certainly seen the new Stockton Courthouse. To date, the building is approximately 60% complete. The "skin" or exterior was completed in October 2015 when the building was made water tight for the winter. The entire project is scheduled to be completed by November or December 2016. Judge Appel and I have been busy every week meeting with the various furniture vendors. We hope to finalize all the decisions regarding furnishings by the e...
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Under Oath: Moses Zapien

Under Oath: Moses Zapien
Moses and I met at a Starbucks coffee shop where he is a regular. The baristas all know him well. We settled in and the questions began. Q. What is your idea of perfect happiness? A. “What comes to mind is: having dinner with my family; a nice evening out with friends; relaxing on a patio, having a good conversation and watching a beautiful sunset; and doing work that I am passionate about that makes a difference in people’s lives. Q. What is your greatest fear? A. “I think, not living up to my ...
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China’s FOIA: The Regulation on Open Government Information

China’s FOIA: The Regulation on Open Government Information
The People’s Republic of China’s (“PRC”) Regulation on Open Government Information (“OGIR”) was enacted in January 2007 by the State Council. As the first national administrative regulation, it was a milestone in enhancing government transparency and safeguarding citizens’ right of access to government-held information. 1 After 13 long months of preparation, the regulation was implemented on May 1, 2008. Since then, the government, the public and the people’s courts have engaged in the practice ...
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The Fledgling Practitioner

The Fledgling Practitioner
I lie in bed, eyes wide open staring at the ceiling like a twelve-year-old the night before summer camp. I had so diligently planned for eight hours of sleep, and now I am rolled on my side, staring into my hand at the blue glow of my cell phone staring back at me: 1:21 a.m. I select the clock icon and scroll another 10 minutes on the alarm wake-up time. I fall back into my pillow. I close my eyes. It feels like as soon as I set my phone down, I am picking it back up and turning off the alarm. I...
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Historian Barbara W. Tuchman on the “Art of Writing”

Historian Barbara W. Tuchman on the 
“Art of Writing”
In October of 1962, the world stood on the brink of war as the United States demanded dismantling of offensive medium-range nuclear missile sites that the Soviet Union was constructing in Cuba, potentially within striking range of American cities. From behind-the-scenes accounts, we know that a new book by historian Barbara W. Tuchman, a private citizen who held no government position, contributed directly to the negotiated outcome of the Cuban Missile Crisis as the world watched and waited. Aft...
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Warnings, Hope for the Future at Law Day Luncheon 2015

At the 2015 Law Day Luncheon, presented by the San Joaquin County Bar Association and Bar Foundation, Dr. Bennet Omalu warned of the hidden dangers to the health and lives of professional football players, and Law Day Award recipient Hellen Ellis praised the efforts of those involved in the collaborative courts. Instituted in 1958 by President Dwight Eisenhower, Law Day celebrates the role of law in American Society. At this year’s luncheon, San Joaquin County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Bennet O...
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Family Law Attorney’s Real Property Liens: Should You or Shouldn’t You?

Family Law Attorney’s Real Property Liens: 
Should You or Shouldn’t You?
The client must be given a reasonable opportunity to seek the advice of an independent lawyer and, thereafter, the client must consent in writing to the terms of the real property lien. In a recent appellate case, the husband that was awarded the community real property residence in the judgment successfully moved to expunge the wife’s first attorney’s FLARPL from the property without joining the attorneys who filed the FLARPL. (In re Marriage of Turkanis and Price (2013) 213 Cal.App.4th 332, 34...
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Recent Changes Expand Availability of Sheriff’s Alternative Work Program for “Low-Risk” Defendants

Recent Changes Expand Availability of Sheriff’s Alternative Work Program for “Low-Risk” Defendants
As many readers of Across the Bar know, the Sheriff’s Alternative Work Project has undergone changes in the past year. As part of an effort to reduce jail overcrowding in response to the so-called “realignment” that occurred in 2010-11, the Sheriff has expanded the programs and options available to those defendants who are deemed “low risk” and are not precluded by the Court from applying. Overall, the Sheriff still offers the same three alternatives to traditional jail sentences: (1) the Altern...
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Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: Is “Proportionality” the Cure for Discovery Abuse?

Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: Is “Proportionality” the Cure for Discovery Abuse?
Since before 1980, the drafters of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have been trying to devise procedures and standards that would reduce discovery abuse in federal civil litigation. Yet, despite amendments in 1980, 1983, 1993, 2000, and 2006, surveys and studies continue to show pervasive concern about discovery abuse. Although the Rules have long empowered and encouraged the courts to limit excessive discovery and to impose sanctions for discovery abuse, lawyers have been reluctant to ask ...
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The Justice Bus Comes to Stockton for Veterans’ Criminal Record Expungement Clinic

The Justice Bus Comes to Stockton for Veterans’ Criminal Record Expungement Clinic
O n May 9, 2015, OneJustice's "Justice Bus Project" was in Stockton with six Stanford Law School students to deliver legal services to veterans.The students, Desley Horton, Jeffrey Lash, Ju-Ching Huang, Amy Tannenbaum, Carl Hudson, and Viveca Fallenius, met with 20 veterans who needed help with expunging their criminal records.Supervising the law students were local attorneys Leah Gillis and Adam Grace and attorneys Sarah Williams and Pat Kaspar with Rubicon Legal Services.Each attorney spent ap...
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Newly Formed Veterans Court Seeks Mentors

Newly Formed Veterans Court Seeks Mentors
February 2, 2015 marked the commencement of San Joaquin County's first Veterans Treatment Court. For about five years, Judges Barbara Kronlund and Richard Vlavianos pondered how a veterans' court could be added to the list of collaborative courts that are presently being operated in San Joaquin County. There was always a basic problem—where to hold court? There was simply no room within the criminal departments to add another calendar. After about a year of meetings with the court's collaborativ...
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