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News for, and by, our local legal community, curated and created by the Santa Clara County Bar. The opinions expressed in this blog are the authors' own and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of the Santa Clara County Bar Association, its members, its employees, or its governing board.

 

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January 25 Digest

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Sotomayor Joins High Court Chorus of Confirmation Criticism

"Vexing." "Broken." "Not functioning very well."

Welcome to the U.S. Supreme Court confirmation process, in the eyes of sitting justices.
Read the full story at The National Law Journal

Showdown Over Law Schools' Bar Pass Standard Set for Feb. 6

The American Bar Association is pushing forward with a bid to strengthen its bar passage requirement for law schools over fresh objections from nearly half the nation's law deans.
Read the full story at The National Law Journal


Three Things to Know About Neil Gorsuch, SCOTUS Front-Runner

Judge Neil Gorsuch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit has moved to the front of the pack among possible nominees to the Supreme Court, according to several news reports Tuesday. But he is not a household name—yet.
Read the full story at The National Law Journal

 

Suit claims arrests over social media posts and rap lyrics violated First Amendment rights

Two men arrested and detained by San Diego police because of rap lyrics and social media posts have filed a federal lawsuit for alleged violation of their First and Fourth Amendment rights.
Read the full story at ABA Journal


Public officials can't evade public records laws through personal email accounts

Although Hillary Clinton was the focus of the email-related brouhaha last year, similar controversies have been playing out in local governments across the country as other public employees use private email accounts to circumvent “sunshine laws” that mandate open meetings
Read the full story at ABA Journal

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January 19 Digest

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 19, 2017

Nonlawyer Judges? SCOTUS Doesn't Seem to Mind

A judge who is in a position to throw someone in jail has to be a lawyer, right? Well no, and the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed this anomaly of American justice to persist.
Read the full story at The National Law Journal

In 'Slants' Case, Justices Skeptical of Ban on Disparaging Trademarks

American rock band The Slants will get what it has wanted for years: a registered trademark—or as Justice Stephen Breyer put it, "a little circle with an R in it.
Read the full story at Law.com

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January 10 Digest

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Wells Fargo Reaches $35M Racial-Bias Settlement With Advisors

A $35.5 million settlement between Wells Fargo & Co. and a group of African-American brokers is set to go before a Chicago federal judge on Jan. 24.
Read the full story at The National Law Journal

 

Judge Skirts DTSA, but Orders Evidence Preserved

A San Jose federal judge has ordered a freeze on the personal email of two executives accused of misappropriating trade secrets, while instructing one to turn over a company-owned laptop and mobile phone to the court
Read the full story at The National Law Journal

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January 9 Digest

Posted By Administration, Monday, January 9, 2017

SEC Makes Exception to 'In Writing' Requirement for Whistleblower Tips

From the earliest days of its whistle blower program, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission made clear that a phone call is not enough.
Read the full story at The National Law Journal

 

How Big a Deal Are Four 9th Circuit Vacancies That Await Trump?

SAN FRANCISCO — When President-elect Donald Trump takes office later this month, he'll be greeted by four vacancies at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit—the nation's largest circuit court and, by reputation, one of its most liberal.
Read the full story at The National Law Journal 

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New ethics opinion for attorneys who blog

Posted By Administration, Friday, January 6, 2017

A new ethics opinion on blogging gives guidance to attorneys who post for fun or for profit, ensuring that they don’t violate the rules regulating attorney advertising.

Not all lawyer blogs are subject to the ethical rules, but those that offer to provide legal services, even implicitly, may be considered advertising, according to Formal Opinion No. 2016-196 (re Attorney Blogging) by the State Bar’s Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct.
Read the whole story at California Bar Journal

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January 6 Digest

Posted By Administration, Friday, January 6, 2017

DC Circuit Now Has Two Ill-Fated Supreme Court Nominees

If there is one judge who might understand Merrick Garland’s disappointment, at the expiration of his U.S. Supreme Court nomination on Tuesday, it is perhaps one of his colleagues on the federal appeals bench in Washington: Senior Judge Douglas Ginsburg.
Read the full story at The National Law Journal


Lawyers advising clients on marijuana laws may run afoul of ethics rules

Once a staple of this country’s underground economy, marijuana is steadily becoming an accepted product in the legitimate market. With more than 30 states or U.S. territories permitting marijuana for various types of medicinal uses, and a few states even legalizing its recreational use, lawyers are increasingly being called on to advise clients on their marijuana cultivation businesses.
Read the full story at ABA  Journal


Chemerinsky: Free speech on the SCOTUS docket

The January oral argument calendar includes two major cases about freedom of speech. Although they arise in quite different contexts, they each raise questions of how far the First Amendment extends to limit government regulation.
Read the full story at ABA Journal


Lawyer will have to ID dead Twitter user sued by James Woods, judge rules

Actor James Woods will learn the name of the person who called him a “cocaine addict” in a tweet, even though the Twitter user is no longer alive.
Read the full story at ABA  Journal


Could Spreading the Bar Exam Over Three Years Raise Passage Rates?

With bar passage rates dropping nationwide, it's clear that aspects of the process for testing would-be lawyers could use some first aid. At an Association of American Law Schools panel Wednesday, several legal professors suggested that the industry could literally look to medicine for a solution — specifically, to medical schools and the structure of medical licensing exams.
Read the full story at The National Law Journal


Obama Publishes Piece in Harvard Law Review, a Presidential First

President Barack Obama has taken to the pages of the Harvard Law Review — which he edited as a student — to defend his record of criminal justice reform.
Read the full story at The National Law Journal


California's Anti-Trump Strategy, Featuring Eric Holder, Will Cost $25K Monthly

SACRAMENTO—California legislative leaders on Wednesday said they have retained a team of Covington & Burling attorneys led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to help fend off “potential challenges” from the incoming Trump administration.
Read the full story at The National Law Journal


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January 4 Digest

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 4, 2017

SCOTUS Bar Warms Up to Wachtell Lawyer as Possible Trump SG

George Conway III has argued only once before the U.S. Supreme Court, and as a New York lawyer he is not a household name among some members of the Washington-centric Supreme Court bar.
Read the full story at The National Law Journal

Harvard Dean Martha Minow to Step Down

Martha Minow, dean of Harvard Law School, will step down at the end of the academic year, the school announced Tuesday.
Read the full story at The National Law Journal

 

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Court Lauds Outgoing Presiding Judge Risë Jones Pichon for Her Steady Leadership

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 3, 2017

On New Year’s Day, Hon. Patricia M. Lucas assumed helm as Presiding Judge and Hon. Deborah A. Ryan assumed role as Assistant Presiding Judge.

SAN JOSÉ, Calif. (January 3, 2017): On January 1, 2017, Hon. Patricia M. Lucas began her two-year term as Presiding Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara. Judge Lucas shoulders the responsibilities passed to her by outgoing Presiding Judge, Hon. Risë Jones Pichon, who served as the Court’s judicial leader from January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2016.

Also effective on this day, Hon. Deborah A. Ryan took on her role as the Court’s new Assistant Presiding Judge, in addition to her duties as the Supervising Judge of the Criminal and Traffic Divisions. The Court’s judicial leadership rotates on a two-year cycle: Presiding Judge Lucas will serve in this capacity until December 31, 2018, when Judge Ryan is expected to step into the role of Presiding Judge.

“Judge Pichon certainly deserves our enduring gratitude for all that she achieved during her time as Presiding Judge. From the implementation of our new computerized case management system to the completion and opening of our new Family Justice Center Courthouse, Judge Pichon has helped steer our Court through difficult economic times with her trademark grace and dignity,” said Presiding Judge Lucas. 

Judge Lucas continued, “Certainly, we have tremendous challenges ahead, but our commitment to the residents of Santa Clara County and those we serve has never been stronger. I am confident that we will continue to build on the advances made during Judge Pichon’s tenure and will find innovative ways to deliver services despite substantially reduced court funding.” 

Judge Pichon will remain on the Bench and preside over the Court’s probate calendars.  She will also continue to serve on the Court’s Executive Committee, in her capacity as Immediate Past Presiding Judge.

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Bay Area Minority Summer Clerkship Program (BAMSCP) Seeks 2018 Participating Firms

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Mentoring firms are sought for the 2018 session of the Bay Area Minority Summer Clerkship Program (BAMSCP). BAMSCP is sponsored by the Santa Clara County Bar Association (SCCBA), Alameda County Bar Association (ACBA), and the Contra Costa County Bar Association (CCCBA).


Since its founding in 1990, BAMSCP has helped law firms and other organizations recruit over 300 minority law students into their summer clerkship programs.


The purpose of BAMSCP is to introduce talented minority first year law students who might not have been selected for a traditional summer program to the firm or corporate experience, while at the same time furthering the desire of many firms in today's marketplace to  further diversity goals and provide opportunities to young  lawyers.


To find out how your organization can benefit from BAMSCP, contact Irene Cortez, BAMSCP Coordinator of the Santa Clara County Bar Association, at (408) 975-2114 or email at irenec@sccba.com. Complete program information and applications can be found at sccba.com/bamscp.

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December 27 Digest

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Women outnumber men in law schools for first time, newly updated data show

Although 80 percent of ABA-accredited law schools had double-digit percentage decreases for students admitted, bloggers observed following Thursday’s annual release of Standard 509 Information Reports data, this year marked the first time that women outnumber men as JD students.
Read the full story at ABA Journal



Lawyers for Trump University plaintiffs reveal how they got the case and why they're forgoing a fee

The small San Diego plaintiffs’ firm behind the Trump University lawsuit wasn’t expecting to end up enmeshed in presidential politics.
Read the full story at ABA Journal

 

ATM Plaintiffs May Proceed to Uncertain Results

The payments card networks have been embroiled in nearly constant antitrust litigation for decades. Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. thought they might avoid another lengthy litigation battle when the U.S. Supreme Court in June agreed to hear Visa v. Osborn, a case alleging that Visa and MasterCard blocked competition from rival ATM networks and forced consumers to pay higher ATM access fees
Read the full story at The National Law Journal

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more Latest News
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1/22/2018
IP Year in Review

Recent Recognitions
Mariel BlockBarrister of the Year 2016
Nora V. Frimann2016 Professional Lawyer of the Year

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