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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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Become an SCCBA Delegate - Upcoming Organizational Meeting on February 20, 2015

Posted By Shivadev S. Shastri, Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Santa Clara County Bar Association is organizing its delegation to the 2015 Conference of California Bar Associations [otherwise known as the Conference of Delegates ( which will be held in Anaheim, October 9-11 (Friday afternoon through Sunday mid-day) at the same time as the Annual Meeting of the State Bar.  The Conference of Delegates is an annual meeting of delegations from local and specialty bar associations intended to help refine and improve California laws, including laws dealing with family, corporate, real estate, criminal, labor, and probate matters, civil procedure, courts, and attorneys.  Proposed changes are debated, and changes approved by the Conference are submitted to the legislature and lobbied by the Conference's lobbyist.  The resolutions of SCCBA delegates have been enacted into law in the recent past.


We expect to have between 10 and 15 delegates this year.  Historically, including in 2014, SCCBA’s delegation has been an active, influential group during the Conference’s deliberations.  Joining the delegation is a great way to serve the profession and the people of California while expanding your legal knowledge and getting to know other attorneys from Santa Clara County and other parts of California.


Our delegation’s work is multi-phased, involving approximately 3-4 meetings during the year prior to the Conference.  Among our activities are preparation of our own resolutions, and review of and response to other delegations’ resolutions.  We plan to have meetings in February, May, and September.


There are no specific pre-requisites for becoming a delegate.  If you wish to join the SCCBA delegation, please contact Shiv Shastri (ph.: (650)428-1768; e-mail:; or Tiffany Taubodo at the Bar Offices [


Our first meeting of the year will occur at the Bar Offices on February 20, 2015, at noon.  Lunch will not be provided.  We look forward to seeing all interested Bar Association members at that meeting.

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Lack of money leaves California courtrooms in the dark

Posted By Administration, Friday, February 13, 2015


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) —Visit the Sacramento County Courthouse on any given day and you may find empty hallways and dark courtrooms on some floors.

But the courtrooms haven't gone dark because of a lack of cases, it's because there aren't enough employees to conduct business.

"There's not a clerk to put in that courtroom, there's not a bailiff (or) an interpreter," Sacramento County Judge Steve White said. "That's what we need to fix."

White, a member of an advocacy group called the Alliance of California Judges, is critical of how the courts are managed by the judicial council, which oversees the personnel and the funding for all of California's courts.

White said he's had to sit idle in his chambers, giving extra cases to other judges, because he doesn't have the people to open his courtroom.

Nidal Albalbool is feeling the pinch of the cuts firsthand. Due to cuts in the number of bailiffs, interpreters and clerks, it will be almost a month before his civil lawsuit shows up in the court's computers.

Read the whole story at KCRA.COM


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State Bar disciplines former Yolo candidate for campaign mudslinging

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The California State Bar, in a rare decision, disciplined former Yolo County prosecutor Clinton Parish for falsely accusing a sitting judge of a corporate bribery and fraud scheme during his unsuccessful 2012 bid for the Yolo judiciary.

Ruling in what it called a “case of first impression,” the State Bar Court said Parish showed “reckless disregard for the truth” in his failed 2012 campaign. The public reproval order goes into effect Feb. 26. Parish, 43, must undergo ethics training but can still practice law.

“We find Parish’s reckless statement implicating a judge with bribery requires public discipline to maintain the integrity of the legal profession and to preserve public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary,” the State Bar Court Review Department said in a statement.

Floyd F. Feeney, a longtime UC Davis law professor who clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, said he understood the sentiment behind the State Bar’s decision.

Read the whole story at SacBee

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Volunteers Sought for 2015-16 Civil Grand Jury

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Santa Clara County residents are urged to apply for service on the Grand Jury. 

The Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara has commenced its recruitment for volunteers to serve on the 2015-2016 Civil Grand Jury. 



Those who are called to serve on the Grand Jury are part of an independent arm of the Judicial Branch. They voluntarily enter this service with interest and curiosity in learning more about the administration and operation of the government in the county in which they live, in order to function as an investigatory body. The Civil Grand Jury are citizens who are willing to give their time for the betterment of the government which, in truth, belongs to them.

As part of the Judicial Branch of government, the Civil Grand Jury serves as the county’s investigatory body, and has the independent authority to examine all aspects of county and city government, school districts, and special districts. The Grand Jury is also statutorily empowered to inspect adult and juvenile detention facilities. Service on the Grand Jury affords citizens the unique opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to the efficiency and integrity of local government. Residents who have lived in the county for one year, are United States citizens, and are 18 years of age or older may apply for service. The Court is seeking applicants of all backgrounds who are willing to make the commitment of a one-year term.



The U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment and the California Constitution call for grand juries. The Grand Jury is a part of the Judicial Branch of government, and is responsible for three main functions:

  1. Civil Watchdog
  2. Citizen Complaints
  3. Accusations



Typically, Grand Jury service requires a time commitment of a minimum of 20-25 hours per week for a period of one fiscal year. Exact days and times are determined by each Civil Grand Jury. 



Superior Court Judges seek and interview volunteers to apply to serve on the Civil Grand Jury. Thirty prospective grand jurors are nominated from the pool of applicants, divided among the county’s supervisorial districts. Nineteen members are randomly chosen, and are sworn in and given a description of their duties 
and responsibilities by the Presiding Judge. 

Click to access the 2015-16 Civil Grand Jury Application Form. 

Individuals interested in applying may contact Tamara L. Davis, Deputy Manager of Jury Services, at 408-882-2721, or visit their website at Inquiries may also be sent to

The deadline to submit an application for consideration for service is Friday, March 27, 2015. The 2015-2016 Civil Grand Jury will be selected and sworn in on Thursday, June 18, 2015 at 4 p.m. at the Old Courthouse located at 161 North First Street, San José, California.

Tags:  Grand Jury  Volunteer 

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Posted By Administration, Wednesday, February 11, 2015

John L. Mlnarik
2015 SCCBA President
The Mlnarik Law Group, Inc.


The Santa Clara County Bar Association needs you to join if you are not a member already and get acquainted with all the wonderful opportunities at the SCCBA.

Develop your practice by creating your public directory listing, joining the lawyer referral service or visiting our career center.

Members subscribe to our Code of Professionalism and are sure to keep their nose clean with access to our Center for Ethics and Professionalism.

Reference our on-line CLE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so you have enough “recognition and elimination of bias” before your reporting period and manage all of your CLE with our new CLE Management feature.

With all you can do on-line you many never need to leave your home or office again, but if you like us virtually, you’re going to love us live and in person. Attending events at the bar office allows you to meet other members and often times local judges. If you aren’t good at remembering names don’t worry. Just cruise the member directory or judicial profiles after an event to bone up on the who’s who.


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Civil Practice News: Rule 4 Early Settlement Neutrals

Posted By Amy R. Carlson, Thursday, February 5, 2015

This blog post has been cross posted from the Civil Practice Committee Blog.  

Calling All Attorneys!!

If you practice in Santa Clara County and have appeared in the Superior Court, you may have been in need of a Rule 4 neutral.

Rule 4 Neutrals are provided by the court free of charge to the parties.  I handled at least 10 early settlement conferences in 2014 and I have no doubt there could be more cases out there that could benefit from a Rule 4 neutral.  

Rule 4 is similar to mediation in the sense that the parties are there to resolve the case. The best benefit for most cases is that the Early Settlement Conference is generally early.  The defense stops incurring the costs of litigation. The plaintiffs get resolution and on with their lives.  It's usually a benefit for both sides.

For the neutral, there's an unknown benefit---getting to know attorneys in the community or simply seeing old friends.

The reason I love being a neutral is seeing old friends from my insurance defense days.  Although I solely practice employment law, I am appointed to automobile cases nearly 99% of the time.  My career started at Farmers Insurance with Rick Pedersens' office and I love seeing attorneys from that office, the adjusters, the plaintiff's counsel I used to butt heads with.  It's all very nostalgic.  In addition, I get $150 for my time, which comes in handy for the little things my kids want like dance classes or sushi.

If you would like to try your hand at being an early settlement conference neutral the application is easy and is available here:

If you have any difficulty finding the form, you can go to the court's website and in the search box type in "Rule 4 neutral" and it should take you to a list which includes the information you seek.

It's a great help to the court and it's a great way to network.  In the event you want to become a mediator in the future, it's also great practice.

By the way, I liken mediations and early settlement conferences to being a grandparent:  You get to play with the case, and then they go home at the end of the day.  

Tags:  Civil Practice  mediation 

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High Technology News: President Obama Announces New Cybersecurity Initiatives

Posted By Georgina J. Suzuki (Jones), Thursday, February 5, 2015

This blog post has been cross posted from the High Technology Section Blog.


By Megan Baca, CIPP/US, and Georgina Jones Suzuki, CIPP/US

Ropes & Gray LLP


Last Tuesday in his State of the Union address, President Obama indicated that one of his priorities this year will be cybersecurity – in particular, legislation to meet the evolving threat of cyber-attacks, combat identity theft, and protect children’s privacy. The President intends to introduce a Personal Data Notification & Protection Act, to replace the patchwork of state laws governing data breach notification with a national standard that would require companies to report a data breach to customers within 30 days. The legislation would also criminalize overseas trade in stolen identities. The White House will also introduce a revised Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, building on its 2012 proposal which has since received input from the Department of Commerce. Another key legislative goal will be a Student Digital Privacy Act, aimed at preventing companies from selling student data to third parties for purposes unrelated to education, such as targeted advertising. This bill will be modeled after a California statute enacted last year, the Student Online Personal Information Act. In addition, the White House has updated a legislative proposal to promote the sharing of cyber threat information between the private sector and government.


Cybersecurity laws are more likely to see bipartisan support in Congress, especially compared to other polarizing issues. However, the specific form of any legislative proposal will affect such bill’s prospect for Congressional passage. We may have a glimpse very soon into what such legislation may look like, as a House Energy & Commerce subcommittee will hold a hearing on data breach legislation on January 27. More information about these White House proposals is available here and here.


Tags:  Cybersecurity  High Technology 

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Engage new clients - become a Lawyer Referral Service attorney

Posted By Paula Collis, Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Engage new clients already seeking assistance in your practice area. 

The SCCBA Lawyer Referral Service is actively seeking Landlord/TenantPersonal Injury, and Immigration Attorneys to serve on the leading Lawyer Referral Service in Santa Clara County. Bilingual? Your talents are particularly in demand. 

By participating with the Lawyer Referral Service, you will also receive a complimentary listing on the SCCBA Public Directory of Attorneys.

If you are an attorney, either SCCBA member or non-member, interested in joining our Lawyer Referral Program, please contact us at 408.971.6822 or submit our Attorney Application Form.

Join a Lawyer Referral Service Panel

To be approved as an LRS Panel Attorney, you must meet certain minimum qualifications required by state statute and California State Bar Rules and Regulations.Read more


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Judge Furious Over California Supreme Court Ban On Judges Serving As Boy Scout Leaders

Posted By Paula Collis, Friday, January 30, 2015
Updated: Thursday, February 5, 2015

SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY (CBS13) — A local judge is furious about a California Supreme Court ruling banning all judges in the state from belonging to the Boy Scouts.

The ruling is tied to the Boy Scouts’ police that does not allow gay leaders.

San Joaquin County Judge Barbara Kronlund launched her vigorous opposition to the Boy Scout ban with a letter to the state’s highest court.

Writing as a mom of a 13-year-old Boy Scout, she said she’s willingly given up many personal freedoms to become a judge, but called this “a slippery and really dangerous slope” that would lead to “the infringement of my right to free exercise of religion.”But that powerful plea fell flat.California’s Supreme Court justices unanimously banned Kronlund and all state judges from Boy Scout leadership roles as long as the scouts continue to prohibit gays from becoming scout leaders.

Law professor John Myers says Kronlund gave up many of her rights, including freedom of expression, when she chose to take office.


Read the whole story at CBS Sacramento

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Using Your Member SCCBA Tools: Professional Development and CLE Reporting

Posted By Paula Collis, Friday, January 30, 2015

Your SCCBA Member Profile can help you organize and keep record of your CLEs, making your compliance period reporting as easy as a mouse click.

To access your information, visit SCCBA online, and click on Manage Profile at the top. In the first column under Content & Features, look for the Professional Development icon.




Once in your Professional Development tab, all of your CLE credits, past and present, will be visible, listed by date.

Adding non SCCBA courses

To add the information for a CLE you completed from a provider other than SCCBA, click Add Entry. You will see prompts to fill in the Certificate Program you are counting toward, credit type, the date and title of the course, and the credits earned.


If you received a digital certificate, you can upload that document as an attachment here. After you click submit, your entry will be visible listed in line with the other cle courses completed with SCCBA.


Using your Information

When you are ready to submit your compliance report, simply click Print Transcript from the main page, and you will see a printable report with all of your CLE Credits and the date your earned them.

Curious to see if there are any credits you still need to earn toward your requirement? Click on the Certifications/Programs tab at the top of the page to see the different credit types and whether or not you are complete in that area.

If you have any questions, contact the SCCBA at and we’ll help you along the way.

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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
Golnesa MonazamfarBarrister of the Year 2017

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