Attorney Resources

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.

First Impressions Mock Trial Program Approaches its Twentieth Year!

civil-lit

By now, most of you have either participated in the First Impressions Mock Trial Program or at least have heard of it. It is a civics education program brought to fifth graders to teach them about the three branches of government, focusing on the judicial branch, and culminating with a mock trial in the courtroom where the students play the judge, attorneys, jurors, witnesses, courtroom clerk, and bailiff.

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Judicial Fairness Coalition Engages to Educate

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The Judicial Fairness Coalition (JFC) was established by the California Judges Association in 2018 to respond to false and unfair criticism against judges and the judiciary. The JFC’s over 75 members include judges, attorneys, law professors, and major Bar Associations like the California Lawyers Association (CLA), whose membership exceeds 100,000. The American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), with national membership, also participates in the JFC.

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Drivon School of Law Offering Course in Law and Public Policy for Lawyers and Students

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Today’s law practice requires understanding the connections between law, public policy, and legislation. This summer, the Drivon School of Law at Humphreys is offering a course entitled The Law & Public Policy, which is being taught by former State Assemblymember Greg Aghazarian and Dr. Lawrence Giventer.

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Interspousal Deeds: Are They Effective Transmutations?

transfer-certificate

Does execution of a quitclaim deed or interspousal transfer grant deed constitute a valid transmutation of property from community property into separate property of one spouse?

It is widely understood by family law attorneys that under Family Code section 760, except as otherwise provided by statute, any property acquired during the marriage is presumed to be community property. What if spouses purchase property together, but then one party executes a quitclaim or interspousal transfer grant deed during the marriage, waiving his or her interest in that property and thereby granting it to the other spouse?

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MCLE Self-Study: California Rules of Professional Conduct Overhauled

The State Bar of California's new and amended Rules of Professional Conduct took effect November 1, 2018—the first overhaul in nearly 30 years. Sixty-nine approved rules replace the 46 that previously governed the conduct of California's more than 250,000 licensed attorneys. The changes seek to align California's rules with legal standards across the country. Previously, California was the only state that did not base its rules on the American Bar Association's Model Rules of Professional Conduc...
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MCLE Self Study: Implications of E-Discovery in California

eDiscovery-Processes
E-discovery: what is it, where is it, and (if it doesn't help our case), why do we care? The California State Bar has opined that an attorney may violate ethical duties of competence by failing to understand and perform e-discovery.1 The Committee Opinion set out a list of nine e-discovery tasks that "attorneys handling e-discovery should be able to perform (either by themselves or in association with competent counsel or expert consultants)." They include:​Initially assess e-discovery needs and...
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ABLE Accounts: Five Things You Need to Know

able
President Obama signed the ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Act into law on December 19, 2014, yet ABLE accounts remain unknown and underutilized. An ABLE account is a tax-advantaged savings account for individuals with disabilities under Internal Revenue Code section 529A.Millions of individuals with disabilities and their families depend on a wide variety of public benefits for income, health care, and food and housing assistance. Eligibility for these public benefits (e.g., SSI, Medi...
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Flying Solo

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I opened my private practice after graduating law school and passing the California bar exam. I made a conscious decision to go solo at the time, and I was going to make it work no matter what. With support of my husband and family, I plunged into the world of a solo practitioner. I learned and grew a lot since that time and would like to provide some advice about choosing to go and remain solo.The Practice of Law As a solo practitioner, you do not have a senior partner or a colleague next door ...
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People v. Sanchez and Family Court

custody
One of the most landmark cases related to evidence to come down in years, People v. Sanchez (2016) 63 Cal.4th 665 established new limits on an expert's ability to testify as to hearsay statements relied on in forming his opinion. How does this affect a family law case? Many family law cases involve the use of experts, such as financial experts, pension experts, etc. This article will focus primarily, however, on how Sanchez could affect the manner in which testimony is received from a Child Cust...
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New Employment Laws for 2018

employment-law
A new year brings new legislation. Below are some of the new employment laws in California that attorneys, employers, and employees may find particularly interesting. All of the laws described below went into effect January 1, 2018. S.B. 63 – California New Parent Leave Act Employers that have at least 20 employees within 75 miles of a worksite must provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of job-protected parental leave in order to bond with a new child within one year of the child's birt...
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MCLE Self Study: Legal Tools to Address Diminished Capacity in the Elderly Population

dementia
People in the United States are living longer than they ever have, and as baby boomers age, the elderly population has grown older and more populous than ever before. With a larger elderly population comes higher rates of dementia and diminished capacity.California's Legislature has recognized the inherent vulnerability of an elderly population that is reliant on others for assistance in day-to-day tasks. Coupled with a general trend in diminished capacity, the elderly population is at risk of f...
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Opinion on Copyright Sampling in Madonna's “Vogue” May Change the Music Landscape

music
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in VMG Salsoul, LLC v. Ciccone1 that a 0.23-second snippet used in Madonna's song "Vogue" was de minimis, or small enough to be trivial. In doing so, that court opened up a split between the Ninth and Sixth Circuits, which may lead the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in to clear up the subject. Plaintiff VMG Salsoul, LLC owns the rights to the sampled work, 1976's "Ohh, I Love it (Love Break)." The plaintiff alleged that Shep Pettibone, a produce...
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The First Impressions Program Expands

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The First Impressions program is not only the most unique service opportunity available to legal professionals in San Joaquin County, but perhaps its most rewarding. Spearheaded until this year by Judge Barbara Kronlund, the First Impressions has brought judges, lawyers, and court staff into fifth-grade classrooms at San Joaquin County elementary schools for several years. The professionals identify who's who in the courtroom, explain how the jury system works, distinguish the differences betwee...
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MCLE Self Study: Ethical Considerations of Disclosure of File Material to Clients in Criminal Cases

Self Study
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 Ethics 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. In California, client papers and property belo...
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Legal Marketing Do's and Don'ts: Legal Advertising Rules, Negligent Referral, and the SJCBA Lawyer Referral Service

Digital-marketing
​Legal Advertising RulesReferrals are the cornerstone of any attorney's legal marketing strategy. You might believe that if you do good work, people will automatically come to you. While that can be the case for long-established practitioners with wide word-of-mouth networks, there are plenty of attorneys who advertise themselves through practically every medium, from print media to websites to the sides of buses and billboards. Until the 1977 landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bates v. Sta...
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Flood Control Matters: Court of Appeal Applies Rule of Interpretation to Protect Funding for San Joaquin Levies

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Much of San Joaquin County lies at or below sea level. The hundreds of miles of levees maintained by reclamation districts throughout the region provide the protection from flooding that is essential to the continuing health of the local economy and the safety of the citizenry. The levee systems are funded largely by assessments against private and public lands. Private landowners have long subsidized school district property traditionally exempt from such assessments. Are school districts that ...
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New Laws Affecting Civil Litigation Practice

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Changes to the laws affecting civil litigation practice or procedure going into effect in 2017 appear in general to be less sweeping and of less significance than in recent years. The most significant changes for most local civil litigators may be the recent changes to local policy concerning the civil clerk's drop box and the hearing of discovery motions. This article summarizes many, but by no means all, of the recent changes likely to affect civil litigation practice in San Joaquin County. Ch...
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Legal Education and the Legal Profession in China: An Interview with Professor Su Xinjian

Legal Education and the Legal Profession in China: An Interview with Professor Su Xinjian
Su Xinjian is a professor and an associate dean at Zhejiang Gongshang University School of Law in Hangzhou, China. He began his teaching career in 2006 after earning a Ph.D. in constitutional and administrative law. In 2011 he entered the LL.M. program at the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento and in May 2012 he was awarded an LL.M. degree. He is currently a visiting scholar studying social science research methods at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. During ...
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Why I Mentor

"We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." – Winston Churchill Why don't more experienced lawyers volunteer to mentor young attorneys? The San Joaquin County Bar Association has an excellent program, as does the Consuelo M. Callahan American Inn of Court. You don't need a formal organization if the mentor and protégé have found one another. But those organizations can help you find people willing to mentor in your particular field of practice and find new lawyers looking ...
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Be Mentored

Be Mentored
It's hard out there for a new lawyer. It takes approximately one day to realize that, while law school taught you to pass the Bar Exam, you know nothing about how to actually practice law, how to work with a secretary, how to dress for Court, how to interact with clients, how to…. Nope, let's not go down the rabbit hole. We all know what I'm talking about. Although my experience in the legal field is limited, I feel comfortable making the following observation: this profession is hard. The ...
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Apply Now: The Invaluable Benefits of the Bar's Mentorship Program

Apply Now: The Invaluable Benefits of the Bar's Mentorship Program
In 2012, the San Joaquin County Bar Association established a mentorship program. The program's purpose is to elevate the competence, professionalism, and success of the local Bar through engagement with each other. Mentoring is a two-way street: it allows the experienced attorney to provide professional guidance and share practical knowledge, and it provides the newer attorney with someone to ask questions of and learn from during a particularly vulnerable time in his or her career. The wo...
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How to do Marketing, without Doing Marketing

How to do Marketing, without Doing Marketing
​The problem of regulationsAs a Digital Marketing manager, I deal with clients every day in professions that are heavily regulated. Accountants, investment advisors, medical professionals, and attorneys are a few of the businesses which must be very careful to ensure that their marketing campaigns conform to the rules.Unfortunately, rather than studying and following the regulations, many attorneys give up on the idea and decide not to do any marketing at all.The marketing efforts of attorneys w...
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Title Review Basics for Litigators

Title Review Basics for Litigators
For most real property transactions, at least one party will care about the status of the title to be conveyed or affected and will want a detailed review of the title's current status and advice about what title insurance policy will be appropriate to protect their interests. Attorneys assist with this work by examining recorded liens and easements, resolving issues with insuring title, determining which title risks are acceptable to the client, and advising on what types of affirmative co...
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MCLE Self Study: Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and the Family Court: The Basics

MCLE Self Study: Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and the Family Court: The Basics
​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 General 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.The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2003 ("SCRA...
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New Laws and Rules for 2016

New Laws and Rules for 2016
Numerous changes in California statutes, statewide rules of court, and local court rules have recently gone into effect or soon will. This article summarizes several (but by no means all) of the changes likely to affect civil practitioners in San Joaquin County.Statewide Laws and Rules1. Demurrers. Prior to filing a demurrer, the demurring party must meet and confer with the plaintiff in person or by telephone. As part of that process, the demurring party must identify each c...
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Managing a Data Intensive Case: How to Find a Needle Without Drowning in a Haystack

Managing a Data Intensive Case: How to Find a
Needle Without Drowning in a Haystack
IntroductionThe practice of law continues to change, albeit slowly. Nowhere does this change impact the legal field more profoundly than the volume of data created by clients, lawyers, courts, and the public. Society has gone well beyond being "data rich" to being "data swamped." Computers, phones, cars, even household appliances generate enormous amounts of data every day. The practice of law requires attorneys to account for much of this data.They must understand not only t...
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Does the First Amendment Guarantee the Right to Register Disparaging Trademarks?

Does the First Amendment Guarantee the Right
to Register Disparaging Trademarks?
Can the government refuse to grant its blessing—and the economic benefits that go along with it—to trademarks that disparage individuals or groups? By overruling its own long-standing precedents, the Federal Circuit may have made this issue ripe for determination by the Supreme Court and may have indirectly saved the trademarks of the Washington Redskins from cancellation. At stake is the constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act1, which allows the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office...
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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 JudgmentTwo 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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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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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, 349...
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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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Thank you for your patience during this time. Please take care of yourself and those you love.
Robert E. Oakes, J.D., M.B.A.
Executive Director