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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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Get ready to verify your MCLE compliance

Posted By Administration, Thursday, July 2, 2015

Manuel Jimenez was surprised and a little nervous when he got a notice that he was being audited for Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) compliance in 2012.

“I keep pretty good records, but it still scared the heck out of me,” said Jimenez, who happens to be a senior attorney in the State Bar’s own Office of Chief Trial Counsel. “I knew I had all the credits, but now somebody was going to go through my documents to make sure.”

About 5,200 other attorneys may face similar feelings next week when a new round of audit letters goes out.

This is the fifth year that the State Bar has conducted audits that could potentially result in disciplinary action. The sample represents about 10 percent of attorneys in MCLE group 2 (last names begin with the letters H through M) who reported compliance with MCLE requirements this cycle.

Attorneys will be asked to provide certificates of course completion or prove they are statutorily exempt by Aug. 21. The State Bar requires active attorneys to take 25 hours of continuing education courses every three years. Lawyers must keep their documentation for at least a year after their compliance is due.

Read the whole story at California Bar Journal

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For Cisco's Latest Deal, Fenwick Swaps Seats

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, July 1, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO — Fenwick & West has a long history of advising Cisco Systems Inc. on major purchases. But the firm sat on the opposite side of the table for Cisco's $635 million deal to acquire OpenDNS Inc., an online-security company. San Jose-based Cisco turned to a team from Cooley led by Palo Alto-based partner Craig Menden for the deal announced Tuesday. Menden did not immediately return a call requesting comment.

Fenwick & West's deal team for OpenDNS included Mountain View-based partners R. Gregory Roussel, Shawn Lampron and Andrew Kim and associates Stephen Fisher, Kevin Adams, James Do, Willow Yang, Michael Riskin and Jay Cosel, who no longer works with the firm. San Francisco-based partners Michael Brown and Ralph Pais provided assistance, along with foreign associate Gilad Yacubovich.

Roussel did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Read the whole story at The Recorder

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Supreme Court Sends Google-Oracle Feud Back to SF Judge

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, June 30, 2015

One of the original smartphone wars is heading back to the courtroom of U.S. District Judge William Alsup.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected Google Inc.'s petition for certiorari in its copyright dispute with Oracle Corp. over the Java application programming interface. That ruling upholds a 2014 ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that held the Java APIs copyrightable.

"Today's Supreme Court decision is a win for innovation and for the technology industry that relies on copyright protection to fuel innovation," Oracle general counsel Dorian Daley said in a written statement. Oracle was represented by E. Joshua Rosenkranz of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe at the Supreme Court and court of appeals, as well as by Kirkland & Ellis.

But Oracle can't claim a complete victory just yet. The case now returns to Alsup's courtroom for a retrial on whether Google has a fair-use defense to Oracle's charge that it copied 7,000 lines of code to its Android operating system to help app providers to write programs for it. Oracle had acquired the code when it bought Sun Microsystems in 2010 for $5.6 billion.

Read the whole story at The Recorder

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Court reporters in demand at California courthouses

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 26, 2015

Jotting down someone’s every word isn’t easy. It’s even harder when two people join the conversation. Or three. And they start arguing.

That’s life for Sonoma County’s unsung legal heroes — court reporters — a tight-knit group of professionals responsible for typing up everything that is said in trials and other proceedings to create the official record.

The 10 full-time and four part-time county court reporters are silent witnesses to both criminal and civil matters, providing real-time transcription to judges following on laptop computers.

When they’re not taking verbatim notes at more than 200 words a minute, they prepare thousands of pages of transcripts a year for private attorneys or use their unique skills to provide TV captioning.

“You can’t miss anything,” said Barrie Hart, a court reporter for 29 years. “It’s intimidating. The first couple months I worked I was scared to death. I thought I was going to throw up every day.”

A new study suggests court reporters like Hart will be in high demand in the next three years, leading to a nationwide shortage.

Market analysts Ducker Worldwide said 5,500 new court reporter jobs will be available by 2018 as older workers retire and leave the field. Seventy percent of the nation’s 32,000 court reporters are older than 45, the report said.

Demand is expected to be greatest in California and three other states.

Read the whole story at The Press Democrat

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Female lawyers take a firmer stand

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 26, 2015


Sitting in her attorney's conference room the other day, Lynne Coates had a strained look on her face. A trial lawyer who used to work for Farmers Insurance, Coates was pressed for time because she was due in court.

Also, the story she was about to tell me was painful to recount.

In 1993, Coates was hired by Farmers Insurance, which employs hundreds of attorneys to battle claims. She spent five years there before leaving for another job. In 2010, she returned to Farmers, and spent four happy years in its San Jose office.

Her job satisfaction changed abruptly one day when she discovered by accident that she was earning less money than a male attorney in her office with less experience.

“It was just sort of an off-the-cuff remark that one of my male colleagues made one day when we found out there was going to be a management change in my office,” Coates, 49, said. “He said, ‘Oh, yeah, I could stay here and continue to make X every year.' At that point, my head started spinning.”

She earned $99,000. His pay was $102,000. Not a huge difference, until you take into account that Coates had many years more experience.

“After that,” she said, “I got nosy.”

Read the whole story at LA Times

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U.S. Supreme Court grants constitutional right to same-sex marriage

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 26, 2015

In a historic victory for gay rights, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Friday that gays and lesbians have the constitutional right to marry their chosen partner.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, author of the court’s three previous gay-rights rulings, said extending marital rights to same-sex couples will not alter or degrade the institution of marriage, as opponents claimed.

“Far from seeking to devalue marriage, the (couples) seek it for themselves because of their respect and need — for its privileges and responsibilities,” Kennedy wrote. “And their immutable nature dictates that same-sex marriage is their only real path to this profound commitment.

“Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions,” Kennedy concluded. “They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution gives them that right.”

Read the whole story at SF Gate

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Women Lawyers' Section News: The SCCBA Women’s Lawyer Section’s “From Having it All to Leaning-In” Seminar Was A Resounding Success and Evidenced a Need for More Such Events in the Future

Posted By Linda MacLeod, Friday, June 26, 2015
Updated: Monday, June 29, 2015

On Wednesday, June 10, 2015, the SCCBA held its 3rd Annual “From Having it All to Leaning In” Seminar. The event was a wonderful success, with 82 female and 1 pioneering male attendees.  The networking cocktail reception, sponsored by host Pillsbury, Winthrop, Shaw & Pittman, LLP, got the event off to a roaring start, with plenty of food, drink and company to keep the early arrivals occupied.  The panel discussion on the Pao v. Kleiner, Perkins trial came next, led by moderator Anne Martin.  San Jose Mercury News Tech Reporter Heather Somerville, who personally attended the trial, provided thoughtful insights on the testimony of the witnesses and the skills of the parties’ lawyers.  Jennifer Reisch, of Equal Rights Attorneys reminded us that sometimes “less is more” – and concentrating more on the defendant’s actions rather than overwhelming a jury with discriminatory minutae--might be the best approach when presenting a retaliation claim in the courtroom.  Finally, Anne Capella of Weil, Gotshal provided her perspective on ways that Kleiner and other companies can avoid such claims. 

After the panel presentation, the attorneys broke out into groups where topics of interest could be discussed in intimate settings.  The Confidence Gap Group, led by Anne Martin and Linda MacLeod, was attended by a mix of lawyers from different experience levels-- which not only allowed a critical transfer of information about risk taking and confidence building tactics, but provided advice and support to those still struggling with self-doubt.  The Leadership Group, led by Catherine Lego, Allison Leopold Tilley and Nora Frimann, provided concrete suggestions for expanding female influence on boards.  They taught us that concentrating on one’s passions when joining Boards makes this endeavor meaningful and authentic.   The Work-Life Balance Group, led by Hon. Roberta Hayashi and Laurie Charrington, discussed how taking care of oneself is one of the most important ways to achieve that critical “sweet spot” to making it all work.   And finally, the Marketing Group, led by Martha Sullivan and Heidi Keefe, taught us that networking is not about going to events and feeling pressured to “get business” but a way of being and connecting with all people you meet on a personal and professional level. 

Elizabeth Pappy led the final audience wrap up that included not only lessons from each of the individual groups, but a discussion of how the SCCBA can involve men in future events on the important topic of unconscious bias and women’s success.  All in all, it was an educational and uplifting conference that, given the level of enthusiasm and interest in the topic, promises to continue in the future.



Tags:  WLS  Women Lawyers Section 

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Affordable Care Act survives Supreme Court challenge

Posted By Administration, Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a key provision of the Affordable Care Act and agreed with the Obama administration that government subsidies that make health insurance affordable for millions of Americans should be available to all.

By a 6-3 vote, a divided court affirmed an Internal Revenue Service ruling that subsidies should be available not only in states that have set up their own health insurance exchanges, but also in those where consumers rely on the federal government exchange.

The decision for the second time defused a potential conflict between President Obama and the Supreme Court over his most notable domestic achievement. While there are more challenges to come, an adverse ruling in this case would have been close to a mortal blow to the act that continues to divide the nation and its political conversation.

The court was interpreting a passage in the law that said the tax credits are authorized for those who buy health insurance on marketplaces that are “established by the state.” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said that while the law’s wording was problematic, Congress’s intent was clear.

Read the whole story at The Washington Post

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Calif. judge throws out kill-gays ballot measure

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A California judge has thrown out a proposed ballot initiative that advocated killing anyone who engages in gay sex, calling the measure "patently unconstitutional."

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Raymond Cadei relieved California's attorney general late Monday of the duty to clear the so-called Sodomite Suppression Act for signature-gathering. Cadei said it would be "inappropriate, waste public resources, generate unnecessary divisions among the public, and tend to mislead the electorate" for Attorney General Kamala Harris to process the proposal.

Harris had asked for a judge's permission in March to reject the initiative through a legal complaint against its sponsor, Orange County lawyer Matthew McLaughlin. After McLaughlin did not attempt to defend the measure in court, the attorney general last week sought a default ruling in her favor, a request Cadei granted.

Read the whole story at USA Today

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Brown’s latest nominee another young, judicially inexperienced Obama lawyer

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Like his last state Supreme Court appointee, one of Gov. Jerry Brown’s latest appellate court nominees is a young Obama administration lawyer with no judicial experience. The current pick, Lamar Baker, is stirring up a certain amount of controversy.

Brown named Baker, 37, to one of three vacancies on the Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles last month. Baker, a Bay Area native and like Brown a Yale Law School graduate, practiced law in Southern California from 2002 to 2005, then spent five years as a federal prosecutor in Los Angeles before joining the Obama administration. He moved up the ranks to become chief of staff in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy, then joined the White House counsel’s office in 2013 and has served as special assistant and associate counsel to the president for the last year.

Baker might be an unusual choice for other governors but not for Brown, whose three current state Supreme Court appointees had never previously served as judges. The most recent, Justice Leondra Kruger, was a 38-year-old attorney in Obama’s Justice Department with a sparkling reputation but no judicial record before Brown swore her into office in January.

Baker faces a confirmation hearing July 23 before the Commission on Judicial Appointments, whose members include Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and Attorney General Kamala Harris. The third member, Paul Turner, the Second District’s senior presiding justice, told the Los Angeles Daily Journal last week that he hadn’t decided whether to support Baker.

Read the whole story at SF Gate

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more Calendar

Diversity Happy Hour

Fourth Annual Law Day Mixer

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

Recent Recognitions
Steven B. Haley2017 Professional Lawyer of the Year
Hon. Edward J. Davila2017 Diversity of the Year

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