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"End of Road” feelings of nostalgia and closure

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, December 12, 2018

By Kevin Hammon
2018 SCCBA President


“Although we’ve come to the end of the road, still I can’t let go…” Boyz II Men’s classic 1992 ballad, “End of the Road,” takes me back to the middle school auditorium, rotating disco balls, and baggy jeans.  The junior high dance is winding down. C+C Music Factory has just finished making “everybody dance now.” And Kris Kross has already made me “jump jump.” When “End of the Road” hit the speakers, it was time to finish your fruit punch, track down your Hypercolor jacket, and find that special someone to end the night with.  Since 1992, “End of the Road” has resurfaced at weddings, retirements, and graduation parties. The song marks an end to a chapter in one’s life. At face value, the song is about a man struggling to accept that his relationship has ended. But its colloquial meaning transcends its actual lyrics. For me, “End of Road” evokes feelings of nostalgia and closure.


The song comes to mind now as my term as Bar President comes to an end.  My predecessors warned me to expect the unexpected- that the events that come to define your year are rarely those you anticipate in January.  In this regard, 2018 is no exception. I identified civics engagement as the SCCBA’s theme for the year. To that end, we formalized our association’s participation in the American Constitution Society’s Lawyers in the Classroom program, we established a partnership with the Santa Clara County Office of Education, and we collaborated with the Court’s Community Outreach Committee.  Although I am proud of these accomplishments, I view them as first steps toward the larger goals of educating young people, promoting civic awareness, and expanding access to justice. 


And then, the unexpected.  In January, I learned that New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand had issued a series of tweets expressing support for the campaign to recall Judge Aaron Persky.  Inspired by our association’s strong advocacy for judicial independence, I authored an open letter to Senator Gillibrand encouraging her to oppose, or withdraw her support for the recall campaign.  Although I tend to agree with the Senator on most issues, this is a significant exception. One can wholeheartedly embrace the ideals of the #metoo movement without compromising one’s support for our legal institutions.  To the extent possible, I believe our foundational legal principles- separation of powers, due process, and judicial independence- should be above the fray of politics. Although I am disappointed by Judge Persky’s recall, I find solace in the growing national conversation about the concept of judicial independence- and our association’s critical role in galvanizing this conversation.  An important, but perhaps overlooked, silver lining to the recall election is the exceptional work of the SCCBA’s Fair Judicial Elections Practices Commission. As president, I could not be prouder of the Commission’s work in ensuring that the election to replace Judge Persky adhered to the high standards of honesty, fairness, and integrity. 


In May, many of us were shocked and appalled by the federal government’s migrant family separation policies.  I was pleased that the SCCBA’s Board of Trustees unanimously issued a statement opposing indefinite detentions, forcibly separating children from their families, and forcing children to appear in court with no right to counsel.  At a fundamental level, this issue carries profound implications for who we are as a nation. As heart-wrenching news stories continue to emerge from along our southern border, it becomes painfully apparent that the issue is far from over. Lawyers have a special role in the immigration debate.  The notion that a person can be labelled “illegal” runs afoul of our most cherished legal values- due process, justice, freedom, and equality. As lawyers, it is important that we not only stand up for these values, but that we speak up when public officials incorrectly cite to the law in order to justify cruel and inhumane policies.          


In September, our Board of Trustees voted unanimously to join the Bar Associations of San Francisco and Los Angeles in an amicus brief on behalf of the Respondent in In re Kenneth Humphrey on Habeas Corpus.  In so doing, our associations took a collective stand against a  money bail system that deprives people of their freedom based solely upon their financial means. 


Through the years, the SCCBA has enjoyed an outstanding relationship with the Bench.  In 2018, nowhere has that relationship been better exemplified than the joint Working Group of Superior Court judges and SCCBA Diversity Committee members.   Their charge was to formulate an Informal Complaint Procedure for Biased Conduct in the Courtroom. The overarching purpose of this informal complaint procedure is to help preserve the integrity and impartiality of the judicial system. This includes treating all courtroom participants with respect no matter their disability, gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status.  After extensive deliberation, the Informal Complaint Procedure has been approved by both the Bench and the SCCBA. I am optimistic that the procedure will be implemented in 2019. 


As my term expires, I have the unusual experience of writing my last President’s message and chairing my last Board of Trustee meeting before my SCCBA obligations expire.  Our annual Judges’ Night event will occur on December 11, 2018 at the San Jose Marriott Hotel. In light of a labor strike at the hotel, the event was postponed from October 10, 2018 to November 1, 2018, and then to December 11, 2018. I was pleased that the San Jose strike ended in November. The SCCBA is not a political institution, and has not taken a position on any specific labor issues.  However, I believe it is important that we celebrate our accomplishments in a fashion that respects the dignity and hard work of our entire community. I look forward to an outstanding Judges’ Night.


I have thoroughly enjoyed serving as your 2018 SCCBA President.  The experience has been a privilege and an honor- arguably, the highlight of my professional career.  As the song goes, my tenure as SCCBA President has come to the “end of the road,” but unlike Boyz II Men, I can “let go.”  I am more than eager to hand over the SCCBA’s reigns to the creative and exceedingly capable Gabriel Gregg.  I hope to see you at the 2019 Installation Ceremony at 5:30 p.m. on January 30, 2019 at the SCCBA offices. Here’s to a relaxing holiday season and an outstanding 2019.  

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Make Your Hand Turkey This Holiday Season

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 15, 2018

By Kevin Hammon
2018 SCCBA President


In elementary school, I spent Novembers carefully rationing my Halloween candies and tracing my left hand over an array of autumn-colored construction paper. I was a proud artist. My hand turkey collection toured an array of classrooms and refrigerators throughout the greater south San Jose area. On each finger-sized feather, my teachers encouraged me to write an item I was thankful for. My list usually included some combination of pizza, candy bars, and toys. Although it has been many years since I have created a hand turkey, I still enjoy reflecting throughout the year on the many people and things I am thankful for.  This year is no exception.


As president of the Santa Clara County Bar Association, I am thankful for the hard work our staff, sections, and committees have devoted to three fantastic upcoming events: the Annual Women Lawyers’ Section Holiday Luncheon; Judges Night; and the Family Law Section Holiday Lunch.


·  The Women Lawyer’s Section Holiday Luncheon will take place on November 29, 2018 at the Corinthian Grand Ballroom from 11:30 a.m.- 1:30 p.m.  I am pleased to report that this year’s luncheon will include a donation raffle benefiting Community Solutions, a non-profit organization, providing services and support to children and families coping with mental health issues, substance abuse, trauma, sexual assault, domestic violence, and human trafficking.  Click here for more information and to register.


·  Judges’ Night will take place on December 11, 2018, at 5:30 p.m. at the San Jose Marriott.  Judges’ Night will feature a keynote presentation from the Honorable Jeremy Fogel, and special recognitions for the Honorable Mary Arand, Daniel Gonzales, Jenn Protas, and Constance Carpenter.  Click here for more information and to register.


·  The Family Law Holiday Lunch will take place on December 14, 2018 between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the Rotary Summit Center in San Jose.  This event will feature lively entertainment and a series of special awards. Click here for more information and to register.


I hope you are able to attend one or more of these events.


In January, the annual Santa Clara County High School Mock Trial Tournament will take place at the Downtown Superior Courthouse on January 22, 24, 29, and 31, 2019 between 5:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m. This experience is profoundly rewarding.  Volunteer attorney scorers often leave the courtrooms impressed and inspired by our local high school students. Moreover, mock trial provides an opportunity to interact with judges and lawyers outside of your practice area.  To volunteer to be a scoring judge, contact SCCBA Staff Deb Miguel at 408-975-2101 or 


In my capacity as SCCBA President, I am thankful for the opportunity to work with an outstanding group of people.  I am thankful for our C.E.O., Chris Burdick, for her wisdom, patience, humility, and humor. Chris is the heart and soul of the SCCBA.  Her hard work has shaped and improved not just our association, but the legal profession itself. I am thankful for the SCCBA’s exceptional staff: Irene Cortez, Ryker Heberle, Kimberly Schuster and our newest staff members, Deb Miguel, Senior Manager for Programs and Marketing and Tanwi Negi, Marketing Assistant.  They have cultivated a bar association that is both functional and sustainable. I am grateful for the SCCBA’s 2018 officers: Gabriel Gregg, 2019 President;  Michael Lee, Treasurer;  and Lauren Jones, Secretary.  I am grateful for the SCCBA’s trustees: Richard Schramm, B J Fadem, Bruce MacLeod, Elise Mitchell, Joshua Borger, Susana Inda, Katie Diemer, Jil Dalesandro, Sue Saign, Golnesa Monazamfar, Lori Costanzo, Shannon Smyth-Mendoza, and Kate Wilson. They have displayed remarkable insight and creativity, portending a thriving future for the association.     


Thirty years removed from the elementary school hand turkeys, I like to think I have matured. My grateful list now consistently includes family, friendships, and health. It is easy to take for granted the people and things most important to us.  Those who do the most often expect the least in return. My wife and parents immediately come to mind. There is tremendous value in regularly conveying appreciation, respect, and love. Here’s to a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season.


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Revised Rules of Professional Conduct--Are You Ready?

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, October 10, 2018
  Guest Message By

Alison Buchanan
Chair, Business Litigation


It is my pleasure to guest author this month’s President’s Message.

It is finally fall, and change is in the air.  Kids are back in school, the leaves are changing, and the holidays are right around the corner.

One big change this fall, as you are (hopefully) aware, is the impending implementation of the revised Rules that govern the professional conduct of all California lawyers.  On May 10, 2018, the California Supreme Court approved the new Rules by Administrative Order 2018-05-09.  In less than a month, on November 1, the revised Rules of Professional Conduct become effective. 

What are the Rules and Why Should You Care?

The Rules of Professional Conduct govern the conduct of every California lawyer (referred to in the Rules as “members”).  Both the current and revised Rules regulate professional conduct of lawyers through discipline.  The Rules aim “to protect the public, the courts, and the legal profession; protect the integrity of the legal system; and promote the administration of justice and confidence in the legal profession.”  (See Rule 1.0).  While the Rules establish a basis for discipline and are not intended to be a basis for civil liability, “a lawyer’s violation of a rule may be evidence of breach of a lawyer’s fiduciary or other substantive legal duty in a non-disciplinary context.”  (See Comment 1 to Rule 1.0).

Structural and Substantive Changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct

The current revisions to the California Rules of Professional Conduct have a long and interesting history, dating back to the early 2000s.  Significant amounts of time and effort went into developing these new Rules.  After two full rounds of revisions, the California Supreme Court has approved the revised set to become effective November 1.

The revised Rules look very different, having transitioned to the ABA Model Rules numbering and organizational structure.  For some rules, the numbering change is the only change and we retain our unique California approach (like our new Rule 1.6 on confidentiality, which now shares the ABA number only and keeps California’s very strict approach to confidentiality).

On the other hand, many Rules have changed substantively, too, adopting the ABA approach (like the Rule relating to sex with clients).  And still other Rules are brand new to the California Rules, where before only case law provided guidance (for example, Rule 4.4, which essentially adopts the rule for handling inadvertent disclosures, previously addressed by Rico v. Mitsubishi Motors (2007) 42 Cal.4th 807).

CLE and Other Opportunities to Familiarize Yourself with the New Rules

First, do not worry.  While it may feel daunting that the Rules that subject lawyers to discipline are changing, you’re closer to being ready than you think you are.  Odds are, if you’re a practicing lawyer, at some point you took and passed the MPRE (Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam).  The MPRE is based on the ABA’s Model Rules so, even if it was years ago, there was a time when you were familiar with the organizational structure of ABA Model Rules.  You can do it again.

Second, don’t try to wing it, as there are some specific and nuanced changes that could create traps for the unwary.  Fortunately, there are many resources and opportunities available to lawyers who want formal instruction on the new Rules.  The SCCBA is offering two different opportunities to learn the new Rules.

John Steele and I will be presenting a two and a half hour “deep dive” into the New Rules on October 25

Then, I’ll spend the ethics hour of the Women Lawyers upcoming 3-in-1 on November 7 giving a shorter “crash course” on the new Rules.  You may even want to attend both.

Of course, there are many other opportunities to learn the new Rules, including State Bar sponsored programming in both Los Angeles and San Francisco.  Countless of us in the legal ethics community have written articles on the new Rules, most of which can be found online.  Spend some time browsing those articles to get acquainted with the new Rules.

Finally, there is no substitute for spending the time to read through the Rules, even if just once.  There is no better time of year than now to get cozy by the fire with a complete set of the revised Rules (available on the State Bar’s website) and a nice warm cup of cocoa.

You are your own keeper when it comes to learning the new Rules.  Ignorance will not be an effective defense to State Bar charges.  Take some time now to familiarize yourself, while there are plenty of opportunities to do so.  You (and your clients) will be glad you did.

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Introducing the 2019 SCCBA Officers and New Trustees

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Santa Clara County Bar Association is pleased to announce the results of the selection of 2019 Officer and Trustees. Those selected will serve with 2019 President, Gabriel Gregg.

The 2019 Officers and Trustees will be the first Board of Trustees to serve since the Association amended its By-Laws in January 2017 that reduced the size of the Board to 17 trustees. Other amendments included a number of substantive changes to the governance structure of the Association, including a decrease in the size of the Board, a revised selection/election process for officers and trustees and designating the Immediate Past-President an Ex Officio, non-voting member of the Board.

The Board of Trustees, including Officers, totaled 21 members in 2018, reduced from 29 members in previous years.  In 2019 and going forward, the Board will be comprised of 16 voting members with the Immediate Past-President serving as an ex-officio trustee.  The Board adopted these changes after a three-year strategic planning process to review how the Association could best be responsive to the needs of the membership.

We are pleased to announce that the following newly selected Officers and Trustees will serve in 2019 along with the three remaining at-large trustees:  Jil Dalesandro, Bruce MacLeod, and Richard Schramm.  Below you will find a brief bio of each new officer and the 3 new at-large trustees.

Gabriel Gregg:     President

S. Michael Lee:    President-Elect

Lauren Jones:      Treasurer

Susan Inda:          Secretary

Adam Davis:         Trustee

Cory Hammon:     Trustee

Jonathan Gentin:  Trustee


Gabriel Gregg
2019 President 

GABRIEL GREGG will serve as the Association's President for 2019. Mr. Gregg is currently President-Elect and prior to that he was the SCCBA Treasurer and has served on the Executive Committee for four years.  He was previously the Chair for the Business Law & Litigation Section.  He also served a term on the SCCBA Fair Election Commission. Mr. Gregg is a partner with Rimon Law in their Palo Alto office, one of 17 offices located throughout the United States and Rome, Italy.  He previously practiced at other law firms, including Robinson & Wood, San Jose and at Latham & Watkins in Los Angeles and San Francisco where he began his career after graduating from the UCLA School of Law and completing a federal judicial clerkship.


S. Michael Lee 
2019 President-Elect

S. MICHAEL LEE is an IP litigation attorney at the law firm of Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves, and Savitch, located in Palo Alto.  He received his BA from UC Berkeley, with Honors, in 1994 and graduated from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1998.  He served on the Santa Clara Bar Association's Judiciary and Diversity Committees was Chair of the Diversity Committee, and served on the Executive Committee, the Strategic Planning Committee, and the Board of Trustees.  He is the former SCCBA Secretary and currently serves as Treasurer.  He will become President-Elect in 2019 and automatically succeed to be President in 2020.



Lauren Jones 
2019 Treasurer

LAUREN JONES received her Juris Doctorate from Santa Clara University School of Law in 2013. She maintains a general practice at Gallagher, Reedy and Jones emphasizing estate planning, real estate, mechanic's liens, unlawful detainer, business formation and transactions, family law, personal injury, and general civil litigation. She is active in the Santa Clara County Bar Association and has served on the Executive Committee, Finance Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, and has been a Board of Trustee member for the past five years.  This year she was the Secretary for the SCCBA and in 2019 she will be the Treasurer. 



Susana Inda
2019 Secretary

SUSANA INDA graduated from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in 2013.  She is currently a Staff Attorney for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) and has been with VTA since 2014.  Susana has served on the Board of Trustees for the SCCBA since 2016 as the representative of La Raza Lawyers of Santa Clara County and as an SCCBA Executive Committee Member since 2017.  She has been President of La Raza Lawyers for the past two years.



ADAM DAVIS is an associate at Davis & Young, APLC in San Jose. Since graduating Santa Clara University School of Law in 2010, Adam has served two terms as the Co-Chair of the SCCBA's Barristers' Committee and two previous terms as a member of its Board of Trustees. He is a frequent lecturer at Santa Clara University and Lincoln Law School and presents regularly to attorneys and other professional groups regarding emerging legal issues and topics.  Adam will serve a two-year term as trustee beginning January 1, 2019, and ending December 31, 2020.

JONATHAN GENTIN currently serves on the SCCBA's Civil Practice Committee, as a Judge Pro Tem in Santa Clara Superior Court (Small Claims) and as a Hearing Officer for Santa Clara County. He recently returned to a wide-ranging solo practice in Mountain View after holding leadership positions in Silicon Valley with global public companies and with the Association of Corporate Counsel's Bay Area chapter. Originally from Durban, South Africa, Jonathan moved to the Bay Area in 1996 to join Keker and Van Nest in San Francisco where he focused on complex commercial litigation.  Jonathan received his J.D. from Emory University School of Law in 1992 and his undergraduate degree from Brown University. Jonathan will serve a two-year term as trustee beginning January 1, 2019, and ending December 31, 2020.

CORY HAMMON completed his undergraduate education at UC Berkeley before attending UC Hastings College of the Law. After graduating from law school in May of 2013, Cory began practicing Family Law in Santa Clara County with the Law Offices of Walter Pierce Hammon. Since joining the Santa Clara County Bar Association, Cory has been a member of the Law Related Education Committee and has served as an attorney coach and as a member of the Steering Committee for the Santa Clara County Mock Trial Tournament. He will be the Co-Tournament Administrator for the 2019 Mock Trial Tournament. Cory will serve a two- year term as trustee beginning January 1, 2019, and ending December 31, 2020.

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The Constitution: A Judicial Toolbelt

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Guest Message By

Hon. Julia Alloggiament
Superior Court of California,
County of Santa Clara


Some years ago, after speaking at a community event, I headed out to my car to load up my materials with the assistance of a SJPD officer who had also attended the event.  When I opened my trunk, she laughed out loud.  There in my trunk was a poster sized version of the United States Constitution including the preamble and a summary of the first three Articles.  On the back side was a blown up version of the Bill of Rights.  “Seriously?!,” she asked me, “You carry a giant version of the Constitution with you everywhere you go?”  I answered, “You have your tools, we have ours.”


Most people in the community do not necessarily realize that in the legal profession we use that tool, the Constitution - a document created over 230 years ago - every day.  We rely on it to uphold the principles our country was founded on, to protect the rights of our citizens, and to embrace the separation of powers.


As a judge, I took an oath swearing that I “will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic.  That I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California.  That I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.  And that I will well and faithful discharges [these] duties…”


I know that my colleagues and I take that oath and our obligations seriously and are committed to upholding and applying the basic foundations of the Constitution.  Daily we are asked to rule on many matters whose outcomes are driven by the Constitution, including (to name just a few) issues related to search and seizure, the right to a trial, the right to counsel, and the right to confront witnesses.  Fundamentally, a judge’s role is to ensure, for everyone who walks through the courtroom doors, that they are guaranteed equal protection and due process of law. 


The day designated to recognize and celebrate this historic document is quickly approaching:  September 17 is designated as “Constitution Day,” commemorating the signing of the United States Constitution.  Federal law mandates that all publicly funded educational institutions provide educational programming on September 17th about the history of the American Constitution.  Who better to do this than the judges who use this tool in their job every day? So, every year, over 30 judicial officers from the Santa Clara County Superior Court reach out to more than 3,200 students from approximately 40 schools to honor and celebrate Constitution Day.  Judges, donning their black robes, go into the schools and teach a grade-level appropriate lesson complete with a fun quiz game followed by an open Q & A with the judge.  


This is only one of the many programs organized by the Court Community Outreach Committee to help educate students and the community as a whole about the justice system.  The Court Community Outreach Committee is comprised of judges along with numerous law and education partners with whom we collaborate - including the Santa Clara County Bar Association, the Santa Clara County Office of Education, San Jose Unified School District, the Offices of the District Attorney and Public Defender, Probation, LACY, the Self-Help Center, and more. 


As the court strengthens its connections with the schools, we hope to increase participation in these types of programs, especially with an eye to expanding outreach efforts into some of the more underrepresented areas of our county.  As the number of judges countywide is limited, our ability to reach more students will rest on the participation of our partners, including lawyers in the community.  That is why we are thrilled to see the SCCBA training lawyers through the American Constitutional Society’s (ACS) “Constitution in the Classroom Program” as well as the SCCBA’s general call for lawyers to get involved. (See SCCBA President’s Messages from 3/2/18 and 4/2/18). 


In addition to Constitution Day, the Court Community Outreach Committee organizes numerous other programs: Educators Day (educating our educators about issues intersecting the legal and education systems), Clergy Day (giving clergy insight and understanding of legal issues as well as court services), Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties (with a community event and a court event for the legal community), Read Across America, Law Day (designated to celebrate the Rule of Law which includes Poster Contests, Law Day Essay and Poetry Contests, Panel Presentations, Speaking Engagements, and the infamous rivalry between the bar and the court on who can get the most attendees at the Law Day Mixer), Speakers Bureau, Court Tours, Mock Trials, and more.  We are also happy to join forces with our partners in their programs, such as presiding over the trials in the annual Mock Trial Competition run by the SCCBA and the Santa Clara County Office of Education.  Anyone can request a court tour, mock trial at the courthouse, or a judicial officer for a speaking engagement on the Superior Court website:


As Ben Franklin himself said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”  By connecting with our young students today, we are educating our future jurors, lawyers, judges, legislators, and leaders on the importance of the rule of law.  Moreover, our outreach programs have the added benefit of demonstrating to children and adults alike that the judges in our county encompass a diverse group, representing many different backgrounds, genders, ages, races, and ethnicities but all of whom share a common goal of supporting and defending the Constitution and guaranteeing equal rights and due process for all.  As we approach our celebration of the Constitution on September 17, I encourage all members of the legal community to participate, get involved, and educate.  If you are interested in getting involved in law-related education efforts, please contact Melanie Griswold, the SCCBA’s Law Related Education Chair, at mgriswold@DAO.SCCGOV.ORG.  I guarantee you will find the experience to be enlightening and rewarding 

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