Opting Out of Marriage? Watch out for Marvin!

I am a millennial family law attorney. I married late in life, and I have a lot of friends who are either taking their time getting to the altar or opting out of marriage altogether. I hear it often: the community property laws are oppressive, divorce is expensive, prenups aren’t romantic, and why does my love need a label? Conventional wisdom says that you are saving yourself stress, money, and potentially an emotional court case by opting out of marriage. We’ll just stay together as long as it feels right and then, if it ends, we will peacefully go our separate ways.

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Respecting Gender Identity in the Workplace

Each of us has a gender identity—deeply held internal sense of being male, female, or something in between. A transgender person is someone whose sex assigned to them at birth is different from their gender identity.1 Today, transgender people may undergo a “transition” process whereby they align their sex and gender identity through a series of social, legal, and medical steps. Medical professionals and associations like the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) widely agree that a person’s gender status is innate and biological, and that transitioning is often medically necessary to achieve healthy outcomes.

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Federal Overtime Regulations to be Updated in 2020

Employers across the country were preparing for a big change to Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) regulations regarding employee exemption in December 2016. The new rule would have increased the minimum salary employers must pay to exempt employees—those who perform primary duties that classify them as “executive,” “administrative,” “professional,” “outside sales,” or “computer”—from $455 per week ($23,660 per year for full-time employees) to $913 per week ($47,476 per year for full-time employees).

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Transfer on Death Deeds in California

The most common means of transferring real property upon death of the owner are three well-known methods: (1) holding property in joint tenancy or as community property with right of survivorship, (2) a living trust, or (3) a will. However, in 2016, a lesser-known alternative to keep a decedent's home out of probate became available to Californians: the revocable transfer on death or "TOD" deed, a simple and inexpensive way to transfer real property to a beneficiary in California. Including Cali...

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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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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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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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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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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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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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