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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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Lawyers reflect on 50 years of practice

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 7, 2016

More than 800 attorneys marked their half-century of membership in the State Bar of California last year. The list included two especially notable names – former Chief Justice Ronald M. George and Gov. Jerry Brown. The California Bar Journal sought the observations of these bar veterans on significant changes in the profession over the last 50 years. Here’s a selection of the more than 50 responses we received. Thanks to all who took the time to share their thoughts.

Ronald George
George

“A major change in the practice of law that has taken place in California during the past 50 years is the widespread recognition of a professional obligation to encourage, support, and engage in pro bono efforts on behalf of the increasing number of Californians who are unable to afford legal representation in civil matters that may affect their most vital interests. In the 1960s, when I entered the legal profession, the managing partners of most law firms would at best grudgingly tolerate such efforts undertaken by newly hired associates. But today, law firm culture has evolved to where pro bono activity is widely embraced with enthusiasm by the majority of law firms and engaged in by their most senior partners.” – retired Chief Justice Ronald M. George

 

Read the whole story at California Bar Journal

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Assisted death opponents concede defeat in referendum drive

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 7, 2016

A group aiming to overturn California’s new law allowing terminally-ill patients to obtain lethal drugs said Monday that it did not collect enough signatures to qualify a referendum for the November ballot.

“Submissions are being made in each county today, but it does not appear that we will have sufficient signatures,” proponent Dr. Mark Hoffman said in a statement released by Seniors Against Suicide.

A spokesman for the group said they were able to gather several hundred thousand signatures from people opposed to the law, but were still short of the 365,880 needed to bring the issue before voters.

Read the whole story at SacBee

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'Failure of leadership' at the Orange County D.A.'s office led to informant issues, report says

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 7, 2016

A 'failure of leadership” at the Orange County district attorney's office led to repeated problems with the handling of jailhouse informants and helped erode confidence in criminal cases that rely on their testimony, according to a report made public Monday.

The findings, presented by legal experts on a special committee established by Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas, described the office as functioning “as a ship without a rudder” and faulted some of its prosecutors for adopting a “win-at-all-costs mentality.”

The committee called on the office to improve oversight of cases and promote prosecutors who place justice ahead of legal victories.

Within the office, there is a “palpable hesitation” to bring negative information to Rackauckas, who was unaware of “many of the problematic issues that led to the jailhouse informant controversy,” the report said. The report also highlighted problems in the Orange County Sheriff's Department, where the committee concluded that deputies in some jail units lacked training on state and federal laws about using inmate informants.

Read the whole story at LA Times

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California high court OKs advisory vote on Citizens United

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 7, 2016

The California Supreme Court cleared the way Monday for a non-binding state ballot measure asking voters for their opinions on corporate donations in political campaigns.

The court upheld the legality of Proposition 49, a measure backed by the state Legislature that had been slated for the 2014 ballot.

It would have asked voters whether Congress should propose an amendment overturning a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision known as Citizens United that lifted many restrictions on corporate spending in elections.

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association had challenged the legality of Proposition 49, calling it a glorified public opinion poll aimed at influencing voter turnout.

Read the whole story at Lompoc Record

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Register for Temporary Judge Course on Tuesday, February 11, 2016

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Santa Clara County Superior Court is offering a traffic training class on Tuesday February 11, 2016  1:30 – 4:30PM available to both new and prospective temporary judges, as well as for veterans who are interested in maintaining current certification. The training will cover traffic matters from arraignment to appeal and will satisfy the three hour course requirement.  This course provides a unique opportunity to ask questions of Traffic Commissioners and Judges. 

Further information can be found at the following link:  http://www.scscourt.org/general_info/jo/temp_judges.shtml.

Traffic Court A - Z
Everything You Need to Know to Preside as a Traffic Court Temporary Judge

February 11, 2016 • 1:30 p.m. -4:30 p.m.

111 N. Market, Ste. 950, San Jose, CA 95113

To register please send an email to:
tjp@scscourt.org

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Publication Notice: New State Bar Ethics Opinion

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The State Bar Board of Trustees has approved the publication of the following ethics opinion written by the State Bar of California's Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct (COPRAC):

 

Formal Opinion No. 2015-194 (re Puffing in Negotiations)

When an attorney is engaged in negotiations on behalf of a client, are there ethical limitations on the statements the attorney may make to third parties, including statements that may be considered “puffing” or posturing?

 

The full text of this opinion is posted at the State Bar's website (www.calbar.ca.gov/ethics).  From the "Ethics Information" page, select the link to "Opinions" and the most recent group of opinions at the top of the drop down list.


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VIDEO: Deaf-blind Harvard-trained lawyer who made waves now rides them, too

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Eritrean American Haben Girma is used to pushing boundaries. She made waves as the first-ever deaf-blind graduate of Harvard Law School, and quickly joined Disability Rights Advocates after her graduation in 2013 to work for increased accessibility and acceptance for disabled Americans.

She was honored by the White House and gave a moving speech at the 25th anniversary celebration of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

And now she’s riding waves in California.

“It’s symbolic of all the possibilities that are out there,” Girma said. “Success comes about through lots of failure and I’m not afraid to fall. I’m not afraid to get in the water, try something new, look silly for a little bit.” She took a lesson with coach Matt Allen of the Maui Surf Academy, and had to communicate with body language and physical cues because her normal communication technology doesn’t work in the water.

Read the whole story at The Washington Post

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The Most Important New California Laws of 2016

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 5, 2016

It was a big year, legislatively, in Sacramento: With the budget wrapped up in June, lawmakers passed hundreds of laws dealing with everything from climate change to workers rights. Here’s KQED’s annual roundup of highlights.

All of these bills take effect Jan. 1, unless we note otherwise. 

Climate Change and the Environment

Addressing global warming loomed large in Sacramento, after Gov. Jerry Brown and Senate President pro tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), both made the issue their top priority in 2015. The state’s drought also received some attention, though most of the rules around water use were handled administratively by the state’s water board.

Read the whole story at KQED

 

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Superior Court is in need of Temporary Judges

Posted By Mark Shem, Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Santa Clara County Superior Court is offering a traffic training class on Tuesday February 11, 2016  1:30 – 4:30PM available to both new and prospective temporary judges, as well as for veterans who are interested in maintaining current certification. The training will cover traffic matters from arraignment to appeal and will satisfy the three hour course requirement.  This course provides a unique opportunity to ask questions of Traffic Commissioners and Judges. 

Further information can be found at the following link:  http://www.scscourt.org/general_info/jo/temp_judges.shtml.

Traffic Court A - Z
Everything You Need to Know to Preside as a Traffic Court Temporary Judge

February 11, 2016 • 1:30 p.m. -4:30 p.m.

111 N. Market, Ste. 950, San Jose, CA 95113

To register please send an email to:
tjp@scscourt.org

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Volunteer as a scoring attorney for the 2015 Mock Trials

Posted By Mark Shem, Monday, December 14, 2015
The SCCBA Law-Related Education Committee once again cordially invites you to participate as a scoring attorney for the 2016 Santa Clara County High School Mock Trial Tournament. We expect 26 area high schools to participate. Attorney participation in the past has made this program a great success. If you are interested in participating, please sign up online at the Mock Trial Form.

This year’s case involves the death of campus security guard Lee Valdez. Defendant Jamie Hayes is accused of striking Lee Valdez in the head on May 15, 2014. Jamie Hayes will allege Lee Valdez was killing a fellow track team member, Casey Barns, and had to strike Lee Valdez in order to save Casey Barns. The pre-trial argument involves the Fifth Amendment Right against self-incrimination.

All trials will be held at the Santa Clara County Superior Court, 191 North First Street in San Jose from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., on the evenings listed in the link. Once you register, you will receive a link to the case materials. We encourage you to volunteer for more than one round. A brief orientation meeting will be conducted prior to assigning volunteers to the trials.

Volunteers who have past Mock Trial scoring experience and volunteer for one of the four preliminary rounds are eligible to score the quarterfinal rounds to be held on February 16, 2016.

If you have any questions, please contact the LRE Chair at LRE@sccba.com. Thank you for your participation in this valuable program.


Mark Shem

Mark W. Shem
BORTON PETRINI, LLP
95 South Market St., Suite 400
San Jose, CA 95113
(408) 535-0870
(408) 535-0878 FAX
mshem@bortonpetrini.com

Law Related Education Committee
2016 Santa Clara County Mock Trial Tournament
Participate as a scoring attorney. Click the link to see available dates.
VOLUNTEER ONLINE →

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more Calendar

4/26/2018
Diversity Happy Hour

5/2/2018
Fourth Annual Law Day Mixer

5/3/2018
How the DA Office's Real Estate Fraud Unit Prosecutes and Can Clear Title on Forged Instrument Cases

Recent Recognitions
Golnesa MonazamfarBarrister of the Year 2017
Steven B. Haley2017 Professional Lawyer of the Year

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