Highlights of the July 2012 Contra Costa Lawyer edition include law practice management tips – from office systems to marketing, this edition includes everything a Solo or Small Firm needs to run an effective practice.
In our June issue, our Presiding Judge, Diana Becton, wrote a sobering article entitled “Access to Justice in the Wake of Budget Cutbacks.” We all know that the budget crisis is not going away any time soon- and in fact has the very real potential to become a lot worse. Judge Becton’s article gave us a peek of where we stand- permanent budget cuts of $8.4 Million over the last 3 fiscal years with an additional 4.1 million in permanent cuts due to hit next year and, as Judge Becton tells us, “[i]f the temporary taxes proposed by the Governor are rejected by the voters, then there will be another $125 million cut to the Judicial Branch” which translates into at east an additional $2.1 million in cuts to the Contra Costa Courts.
What do civil litigators tell their clients about the significant cuts by the Governor’s “spending plan”? What can they really say other than “this is no spending plan at all.” Are we back to the 1980′s with the only civil cases getting to trial being those butting up to the 5-year statute (and looking for ways around that), or having a statutory preference? Maybe it is not that bad yet, but who knows when it will turn around.This article will attempt to address alternatives for managing and trying cases while still preserving the right to appeal, with some practice points on these alternatives
The current under-funding of our courts can produce substantial disadvantages for parties wishing to assert their legal rights against those that violate them- and it looks like it is only going to get worse, with increasing delays in obtaining court dates, more issues that are resolved on the pleadings, and increased reliance upon Alternative Dispute Resolutions (ADR) methods, such as mediation and arbitration. Even though ADR methods have helped parties resolve disputes without long and costly litigation, costs associated with conventional ADR approaches can still inhibit parties from asserting their rights.
In joint session, the plaintiff listens to his lawyer’s blistering opening presentation. One might expect him to be elated and emboldened, yet he looks down sheepishly avoiding the incredulous gaze of others in the room and hurriedly scribbles notes. He shakes his head, almost imperceptibly, looking at the mediator as if to say, “save me from what my lawyer is doing.”
Regardless of your news source, it would be difficult not to know that the California economy is down. Whatever your indicator – the Dow, S&P 500, your own portfolio, or your business – reduced public services are an inescapable truth.
Your client is leasing her building and giving the tenant an option to buy it. The purchase price upon exercise of the option is the then-fair market value of the property.
California courts face an extremely challenging budget situation that may significantly slow the resolution of employment law related (and other civil) claims. For attorneys handling, or litigants dealing with, employment law claims, there are some alternatives to resorting to court to get claims resolved. These include the California Labor Commissioner’s Office (for wage and hour claims), and for harassment/discrimination claims: the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). As access to the Courts becomes increasingly limited, attorneys handling employment claims will need to become well versed in the array of alternatives that exist.
Most attorneys who practice in Contra Costa County are generally familiar with the Court’s several Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) programs. There are specific requirements which all ADR panel members must meet …
Family Law Litigants in Contra Costa County get Meaningful Alternative Dispute Resolution Opportunity Through the Double Pro Per Settlement Conference Calendar
Judge Mockler’s induction took place on June 22, 2012. After the court convened en banc, Master of Ceremonies, Charles James, former Contra Costa Public Defender, introduced the speakers: Karen Moghtader, Deputy Public Defender; Julie Hast, Deputy District Attorney, Hon. Richard Flier (ret.), and Robert Rich of Beltzer, Hulchiy & Murray.
I will admit to a shameful, dirty secret. I like Waikiki. Yes, I know there are innumerable places the world over to which I should travel while I am able and before I die. There are countless temples, pristine nature preserves, delicious foods, parks, national treasures, amazing architecture and fine works of art that need to be experienced if one can truly be said to have lived a full life.
Adequate court funding is essential because courts exist to serve the public and support democracy. Year after year, however, budget cuts force our courts to do more with less, threaten to close courthouse doors and …