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.

Homeless Court in San Joaquin County

Since its inception in January 2006, Judge Barbara Kronlund has had the honor of presiding over San Joaquin County's Homeless Court. Homeless Court is truly a collaborative court, as the offices of San Joaquin County's Public Defender, District Attorney, and SJCBA attorneys together with Stockton's City Attorney's Office, the Stockton Shelter for the Homeless, and St. Mary's Dining Room have worked together cooperatively to set forth criteria for cases to be heard in the specialty court. The rea...

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Under Oath: Gregg Meath and Fernanda Pereira

I met with the husband-and-wife team of Gregg Meath (full-time intellectual property lawyer, part-time rock band drummer) and Fernanda Pereira (full-time immigration lawyer, part-time beekeeper) at their office in downtown Stockton's Kress Building—the same building that houses the San Joaquin County Bar Association's office. We all sat down to interview over coffee and croissants. Q. What is your idea of perfect happiness? A. Right out the gate Gregg yelled, "No!" jokingly suggesting it was his...

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The Outstanding Jamie Bossuat

Among the highlights of 2017 was the opportunity to recognize an outstanding local attorney, Jamie Bossuat, who received the San Joaquin County Bar Association's 2016 Outstanding New Lawyer Award at the New Lawyers' Reception in February. Ms. Bossuat is the fourth recipient of the annual award, which honors an attorney who has actively practiced for seven years or less at the time of nomination and has a distinguished record of service to the legal profession, the SJCBA, and the greater communit...

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2017 Annual Meeting Recap

On November 1, 2017, members of the legal community gathered at the University Plaza Waterfront Hotel for the San Joaquin County Bar Association's 77th Annual Meeting and Luncheon. Outgoing SJCBA President Erin Guy Castillo welcomed everyone to the event and, as they ate lunch, the audience enjoyed a slideshow memorializing many of the events the Bar Association sponsored during the year. During the lunch, members were able to vote for candidates for four vacant positions on the Board of Governo...

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The First Impressions Program Expands

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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U.S. Supreme Court Adopts a Holistic Approach to Defining "Property" for Regulatory Takings Analysis

On June 23, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Murr v. Wisconsin, 137 S.Ct. 1933 (2017), that an ordinance preventing two contiguous parcels from being sold independently of one another did not result in a compensable regulatory taking of real property. The Court held that the petitioners, the owners of two adjacent lots, were not deprived of all economically beneficial use of their property through the denial of the sale of a single lot. The decision rejected a formalistic approach to ta...

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California Supreme Court Clarifies "One Day's Rest in Seven"

In Mendoza v. Nordstrom1, the California Supreme Court recently provided some guidance on what it means to have a "Seventh Day Violation."2 Former employees at the retail chain Nordstrom, Inc. alleged that on several occasions during their employment, supervisors asked them to fill in for other employees, which caused them to work more than six consecutive days. During each of these working periods some, but not all, of the employees' shifts lasted six hours or less. The employees sued their for...

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Opinion on Copyright Sampling in Madonna's “Vogue” May Change the Music Landscape

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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U.S. Supreme Court Upends More than a Century of Restrictions on Disparaging Trademarks

On June 19, 2017, the United States Supreme Court unanimously affirmed a Federal Circuit ruling that held the "Disparagement Clause" of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. § 1052(a)) unconstitutional on its face. Under the Supreme Court's decision in Matal v. Tam1, the United States Patent and Trademark Office ("PTO") can no longer refuse federal registration to trademarks that "disparage... persons... institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt or disreput...

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Public Service Opportunities for Criminal Lawyers

There are many ways that an attorney can volunteer to both grow in his or her career and enhance the profession as well. Within the profession, there is no shortage of opportunities for service and self-improvement. Among them are service on local bar boards, task forces, and committees, which help to foster good methods and ethical practices within the profession, deepen relationship with colleagues, and give valuable MCLE training. The local Inns of Court is another opportunity for bonding and...

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Stockton's New Courthouse: It's Really Happening!

Monday, July 31, 2017, will mark the culmination of more than ten years' work conceptualizing, planning, and building the first new courthouse in Stockton since the early 1960s. Most everything will be new, with the exception of Lady Justice, who stands above and to the right of the main entrance. Here are some of the things you can expect to see: First Floor A traffic counter inside the building, positioned so that people paying fines do not have to go through weapons screening in order to pay ...

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Law Day Award Recipient Dr. Cynthia Ostberg and the Genesis of the Pacific Legal Scholars Program

I was sitting at my desk in the District Attorney's Office in 2006 when my phone rang. It was the front desk informing me there was a Dr. Cynthia Ostberg on the phone from the University of the Pacific and she wanted to speak with me. Sometimes in life there are times you wish you did not answer the phone. This was not one of those times. Dr. Ostberg introduced herself and explained she was beginning a program at UOP for undergraduate students to prepare them for law school. She said she wanted ...

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Under Oath: Honorable William Johnson and Cheryl Jacobsen

For a new spin on an old article, we decided to interview Judge Johnson alongside his Wife Cheryl Jacobsen. We met in Department 32 Judge's chambers and enjoyed the view of the new court house as we began. Q. What is your idea of perfect happiness? A. As if on cue, they both rolled their eyes simultaneously. "I told you, Cheryl," Judge Johnson teased, "there are going to be a lot of "gotcha" questions!" Through Cheryl's laughing, he dramatically intoned, "How about walking on the beach…. discuss...

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Legal Marketing Do's and Don'ts: Legal Advertising Rules, Negligent Referral, and the SJCBA Lawyer Referral Service

​Legal Advertising Rules Referrals 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. St...

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Flood Control Matters: Court of Appeal Applies Rule of Interpretation to Protect Funding for San Joaquin Levies

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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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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San Joaquin County's Veterans Treatment Court

San Joaquin County opened its doors to its newly-minted Veterans Treatment Court on February 2, 2015, becoming one of approximately 200 such courts across the United States. Since that time, the Court has had three veterans graduate, one of whom is now a successful law student, and another who is now a valued, salaried employee of the Veterans Administration in Palo Alto. The program presently has five veterans on track to graduate on October 3, 2016.  Veterans are treated a little differen...

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Under Oath: Armando Villapudua

Armando and I decided to meet at Casa Flores following his afternoon hearing. After he mistook an innocent bystander as his afternoon host, I introduced myself and we dove into the interview. Q. What is your idea of perfect happiness? A. "A day with my wife and kids on the beach. We LOVE the beach. We went to Biarritz [France] this summer, but we typically go to Santa Cruz… a lot!" Q. What is your greatest fear? A. "My greatest fear is losing one of my kids. That's a fear I have." Q. What is the...

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Under Oath: Gene Eacret

Gene and I met shortly after his morning calendar. He came prepared; had read the previous interviews and was ready to fire with his answers. Q. What is your idea of perfect happiness? A. "What do you call it when you are out in the sticks? A rural, remote location with a rocking chair, fishing pole and a glass of wine. Now this place MUST be somewhere near the water, a river, stream or lake, but preferably all three." However, "living on a private island with an air strip fo...

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Civil Judges' Panel Brown Bag

​Those who missed the Civil Litigation Civil Judges' Panel Brown Bag in Department 13, on June 28, 2016 should mark their calendars to attend the next one. The title of the event might sound boring, but perhaps it should have read, "everything you wanted to know about judges' decisions but were afraid to ask." The Civil Litigation Section and the civil judges of the San Joaquin County Superior Court are working together to host a panel approximately every four months, and attendees stand to be r...

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Business Methods Patents: Still Searching for a Simple Test

Ever since the 1998 decision of the Federal Circuit in State Street Bank,1 the question of whether business methods and related software are eligible for patent protection has bedeviled the courts. Although the United States Patent Office has granted thousands of patents in the field since then and the courts have issued numerous decisions on the validity of those patents, clear guidance remains elusive.  Section 101 of the Patent Act provides that a patent may be issued for any "new and us...

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Under Oath: Archie Bakerink

Gail Archer Bakerink ("Archie" to friends and colleagues) and I met at Yasoo Yani after his morning court calendar in the collaborative courts program. After catching up and congratulating him on his recent nomination to the Laurence Drivon School of Law Hall of Fame, we began the questions. Q. What is your idea of perfect happiness? A. "Attending my family reunion with my kids, grandkids and great grandkids; that is the closest to perfect happiness I have ever been." Q. What is your greate...

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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 w...

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How to do Marketing, without Doing Marketing

​The problem of regulations As 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 attorney...

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Summary of 76th Annual SJCBA Meeting

The 2017 Board of Governors Executive Committee: James M. Morris, past president; Michael R. Norton, president-elect; Erin Guy Castillo, president; Heather Rubino,  secretary; and Nelson Bahler, treasurer. The San Joaquin County Bar Association met on November 2 at the Stockton Hilton for its 76th annual meeting. James M. Morris, the 2016 president of the Association, delivered the State of the Bar Address. Mr. Morris recounted highlights of the Association's activities through this ye...

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Under Oath: Stephen Rosenbaum

​Stephen Rosenbaum, J.D., M.P.P. is the new Directing Attorney for California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) office in Stockton. Before joining CRLA, Stephen taught courses in social justice, civil rights litigation, and mental health law and policy at his alma mater, the University of California, Berkeley's Boalt School of Law. Stephen has had appointments at U.C. Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy, Stanford Law School and Golden Gate University.  Stephen and I met at French 25 to s...

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Five Graduate from Veterans Treatment Court

On a usual Monday, the calendar of the Honorable Barbara A. Kronlund will be smattered with the settlement conferences and status hearings typical of a civil judge. October 3, 2016, however, was different. That morning, a small crowd of gathered in her courtroom to await her rulings in five proceedings falling under section 1170.9 of the Penal Code. This hearing was unusual from the start, beginning as it did with a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Then, a moment of silence for a fallen c...

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Erin Guy Castillo Awarded the 2016 Athena Young Professional Leadership Award

On November 17, 2016 the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce presented its annual Athena awards at a luncheon held at the Stockton Golf and Country Club. This was the Chamber's thirtieth year handing out the awards, which recognize and honor outstanding business and professional women for their excellence. This year's honorees were Carol J. Ornelas, the CEO of Visionary Home Builders of California, and Erin Guy Castillo, partner at Parish Guy Castillo, PLC. Ms. Guy Castillo received the Athena ...

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California Criminal Law after the 2016 Election

Among other items of interest in the dramatic 2016 election, three ballot measures passed that will significantly affect the way we do business in California criminal courts. Proposition 57 made significant changes to parole eligibility and juvenile cases handled in adult court. Proposition 64 significantly changes the way marijuana is treated in the criminal law. Proposition 66 changes many post-trial procedures in death-penalty cases with an aim to speeding up executions. These changes follow ...

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An Interview with 2016 Law Day Award Winner John Harris

"I told you, Hemmingway stressed simplicity." That is what John Harris, the 2016 Law Day Award recipient, explained when discussing this article. Ever so humble, he was not quite sure why people would want to hear more about him after having celebrating his Law Day Award. It was evident from the size of the crowd that attended the presentation of his award at Stockton Golf and Country Club in April that he is very admired by his peers. Between the tables for his family and friends who also joine...

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Stockton’s Measure “P” Medical Marijuana Dispensaries & Cultivation Ordinance

Measure P, Stockton's newly enacted cannabis ordinance, was borne out of a privately-funded local ballot initiative supported by a signature gathering campaign which garnered the signatures of 12,000 Stocktonians open to the prospect of two additional cannabis dispensary storefronts and four legally-permitted indoor cultivation facilities in the City of Stockton. Before its passage, two dispensaries were operating and a total of three were allowed within the city, while commercial cannabis culti...

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President-Elect’s Message

"Time is your most precious gift because you only have a set amount of it. You can make more money, but you can't make more time. When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you'll never get back. Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time. It is not enough to just say relationships are important; we must prove it by investing in them. Words alone are worthless. Relationships take time and effort, and the best way ...

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Proposition 64: What Every Lawyer Needs to Know About the Adult Use of Marijuana Act

The passage of California's Proposition 64, also known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act or "AUMA," legalizing the adult recreational use of marijuana under California law makes this state the most populous state in the nation to do so. It comes six years after California voters narrowly rejected a similar measure, and it expands on Proposition 215, the law that twenty years ago made California the first state to legalize cannabis for medical use. Proposition 64 sets up a broad range of marijuan...

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Under Oath: Lisa Blanco Jimenez

"Though she be but little, she is fierce." Q. What is your idea of perfect happiness? A. She put her drink down and shook her head." I knew I should have prepared!" she laughed. "Well, I would say that 'most happy' is when it's me, [husband] Tony, and the three kids just enjoying each other. Nothing fancy. Whether we are all lying in bed watching videos or letting the kids make their own videos. The funniest part is watching their reaction to their videos, they think they are so funny!" Q. What ...

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The Honorable Judge Franklin Stephenson Scholarship 2016 Recipient, Penni McConnell

In 2016, the Young Lawyers Section of the San Joaquin County Bar Association created The Honorable Judge Franklin Stephenson Scholarship to honor the late Judge Franklin Stevenson, a longtime San Joaquin Superior Court judge and popular adjunct professor at Humphreys College Laurence Drivon School of Law. In creating this scholarship, the goal was to honor Judge Stephenson's good work by providing a scholarship to an ambitious local college student who strives to study law and use his or her leg...

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Under Oath: Sean Geddes

"I actually wake up thinking, 'How am I going to make a difference today?' It's wonderful that I can do that." Sean Geddes and I met down town and began discussing the challenges of his work in juvenile court. Q. What is your idea of perfect happiness? A. "I guess it would be… a family, a dog that behaves and seeing more people do good deeds and treat people with respect. I don't see that enough." Q. What is your greatest fear? A. Softly he responded, "Being alone. Old and alone." Q. What is the...

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New Laws Affecting Civil Litigation Practice

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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A Call to Action: Threats to Judicial Independence Place Judicial Fairness and Impartiality at Risk

The United States Constitution and California Constitution establish three separate-but-equal branches of government, which make up America's democracy. The legislative branch makes laws, the executive branch enforces the law, and the judicial branch interprets the law. The point of creating three separate-but-equal branches is a separation of powers, so one branch does not get too powerful and become oppressive. Judges are under a legal duty to follow the rule of law. A judge must be free from ...

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California Bar Proposes to Ban Sex with Clients

Lawyers in California may face disciplinary measures for having sex with their clients if a new revision to the State Bar's ethics rules passes. California lawyers are split over these proposed revisions. Those supporting the blanket ban said that any sexual contact between an attorney and a client is potentially coercive due to the inherently unequal nature of relations between the two. However, opponents of the initiative say it is uncalled-for and an unconstitutional invasion of their privacy...

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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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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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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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SJC Court Reporters to Provide All Attorney Transcripts Electronically -
Email Addresses Needed

San Joaquin County's official court reporters have partnered with YesLaw Online http://www.yeslaw.net/ to upload their transcripts to YesLaw Online's secure transcript depository. Beginning February 1, 2016, attorneys will be notified by the reporter via email that their transcripts have been uploaded and are available for download. The attorney, or his or her staff, can then log onto the site, using his or her credentials, which will be provided the first time the attorney is notified of an upl...

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Three Things Every Attorney Needs to be
Doing Online

Once upon a time, if you wanted to market your law firm, you put an ad in the yellow pages, maybe bought a few billboards, and waited for the phone to ring. Things are different today; consumers find their information online and unless you're running a well-established firm with no need for new clients (or keeping your existing ones), you need to make sure you're visible on the web. In our experience with helping hundreds of businesses from small one-person law firms to large statewide and natio...

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2015 Law Day Award Recipient Helen Ellis

Helen Ellis is the 2015 recipient of the prestigious Law Day Award. She has worked for San Joaquin County, providing services for those who struggle with substance abuse, for over forty years and is the first and current manager of the San Joaquin County Collaborative Courts, established in 2006. When Helen came to work for the courts, there was only one collaborative court—the Felony Drug Court. Under her leadership, what began as a few basement offices and one program evolved into a program wi...

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New Requirements for Demurrers
Effective January 1, 2016

Beginning January 1, 2016, parties will be required to meet and confer prior to filing a demurrer due to the recent passing of Senate Bill 383. The bill enacts a new section of the Code of Civil Procedure, section 430.41, and amends section 472. The main feature of the new law is a requirement that, at least five (5) days before a responsive pleading is due, the parties meet and confer to see if an agreement can be reached that would avoid the need for a demurrer. During the meet-and-confer proc...

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California's New Estate Planning Tool:
The Revocable Transfer on Death (TOD) Deed

Estate planning attorneys likely have encountered the following scenario: a single client contacts you to set up an estate plan. He wants to ensure that his main asset—his personal residence—will pass to his children upon death without the need for a costly and time-consuming probate proceeding, but he does not want to spend a lot of money. As his attorney, you run through the potential nonprobate transfer devices that might be available to him. One option you consider is creating a revocable li...

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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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U.S. v. Texas - The future of President Obama's
Immigration Executive Orders after Justice
Scalia's Passing

United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Gregory Scalia passed away on February 13, 2016. Responsible for the rebirth of originalism, Justice Scalia was highly intellectual, fiercely conservative, and sometimes combative in the language of his dissenting opinions. His passing leaves a large void on the "conservative side" of the Court that will undoubtedly affect many pending cases, including this term's most significant immigration case, United States v. Texas. Perhaps more than an...

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Managing a Data Intensive Case: How to Find a
Needle Without Drowning in a Haystack

Introduction The 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 ...

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