RSSArchive for March, 2013

January 2013 - Your Bar Association Edition

January 2013 – Your Bar Association Edition

Highlights of the January 2013 Contra Costa Lawyer edition include articles on the new CCCBA Board Members and President, plus interviews with the new Section Leaders.

December 2012 – Year in Review Edition

Highlights of the December 2012 Contra Costa Lawyer edition include articles on social media, social security benefits, growing your client base and communicating with clients.

November 2012 – Our Courts Edition

Highlights of the November 2012 Contra Costa Lawyer edition include reviews of 2012 from the perspective of our courts, civil law, criminal law, family law, probate law, juvenile law and more.

October 2012 – Best of the Web Edition

Highlights from the October 2012 Contra Costa Lawyer edition include articles on social media discovery and the law, multitasking and workplace romance issues.

Inside: Exciting Times

Inside: Exciting Times

In this issue, we looked around for someone that could answer the question “How do we fix the congressional process?” and posed the question to the chair of the California Republican Party, soon to publish a book on the subject. We also asked Perry Novak to scare us with facts about the upcoming demographic changes in our society. In our feature article, Scott Haislet explains the American Taxpayer Relief Act in detail. In a companion piece, we look at the impact when you combine the effects of ATRA with California tax rates. George Cabot reviews the corporate landscape and the debate over lowering our internationally high tax rates. Ralph Jacobson brings us up to date on the rights of domestic partners under insurance policies. Warren Peterson warns us that tax preparers no longer must be registered with the IRS.

CCCBA - It’s Your Organization

CCCBA – It’s Your Organization

This is your organization, not mine or that of the other members of the board of directors. Do not think of it as something apart from you or, as it is tempting to think about government, something you have no control over and cannot change. I and the other directors are here to serve the organization, but even more importantly, to serve you. Take control of your organization. Tell us what you want it to be.

Is Congressional Budget Gridlock Here to Stay?

Is Congressional Budget Gridlock Here to Stay?

The United States national debt is higher at $16.5 trillion than the overall size of the U.S. economy. In 2012, America faced a so-called “fiscal cliff” that wasn’t resolved so much as it was put off to another day. We also know that the U.S. Senate has not passed a budget in four years. Is this the new normal for America? Or is there some solution to this political budgetary gridlock?

The California Cliff

The California Cliff

California, the state that takes a backseat to no one, has certainly taken a backseat in the fiscal cliff debate. While all eyes were glued to the TV to watch the fight over how much the federal tax would bite the rich, California passed Proposition 30 which raised California’s top tax rates nearly one and a half times as great as our federal counterpart, and we did it retroactively to the start of 2012.

Elements of ATRA

Elements of ATRA

The American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) became law on January 2, 2013. ATRA: (1) repealed the sunset of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA); (2) increased tax rate; (3) increased the capital gains rate; (4) re-introduced the “stealth” taxes by reduction of itemized deductions and personal exemptions; (5) created “permanent” alternative minimum tax relief; and (6) extended estate and gift tax exemptions established in 2010.

Business Tax Provisions of ATRA 2012

Business Tax Provisions of ATRA 2012

When have budgetary and tax machinations in Washington generated so fertile a phrase, one so conducive to corny metaphor and other colorful figures of speech? I pledge in writing this article to avoid the use of the phrase “fiscal cliff.” Oops, I just did. Well, never again…

IRS Return Preparer Regs Derailed

IRS Return Preparer Regs Derailed

On January 18, 2013, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia decided Loving v. Internal Revenue Service, which derailed the IRS’ efforts to regulate hundreds of thousands of tax return preparers who are not attorneys, CPAs or enrolled agents with the IRS.

Domestic Partner Coverage Rights Under the California Insurance Equality Act

Domestic Partner Coverage Rights Under the California Insurance Equality Act

Under California law, registered domestic partners are “two adults who have chosen to share one another’s lives in an intimate and committed relationship.” The California Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act of 2003 required that registered domestic partners be provided the same rights, protections and benefits as spouses.

The Population Cliff

Demography, the statistical study of living human populations, is one of those detail laden subjects that just doesn’t lend itself to much excitement, but demographic change is about to have a profound impact on the U.S. economy.

Inns of Court: Electronic Discovery

On January 11, 2013, Judge Craddick’s group provided the educational presentation at the Robert G. McGrath Inns Of Court Meeting. Their presentation was about electronic discovery. It is often said (mostly by me) that discovery fights are the bane of every attorney’s existence.

Coffee Talk: How do you fix the congressional process?

I believe that our Congress members now focus almost all their efforts to re-election rather than taking care of the nation’s business. Free TV and newspaper ads and finding a way to interest the bulk of the citizens in the political process would help. A fix must really wait to make the citizens angry enough to get out and vote in large numbers.

Introducing Judge Judy Johnson

Introducing Judge Judy Johnson

Judy Johnson was inducted on February 1, 2013. She has been named as one of 20 “Women Leaders in Law” by The Recorder in 2011.

Meet Your New Commissioner: Anita Santos

Meet Your New Commissioner: Anita Santos

Anita Santos is excited to be the new child support commissioner. Prior to her appointment, Anita had a private practice in Solano County as a sole practitioner in family law since 2008.

Meet Your Local Judges, Family & Juvenile [Photos]

Meet Your Local Judges, Family & Juvenile [Photos]

On February 7, 2013, members got a change to meet Family and Juvenile Division judges on a one-to-one basis. Please see photos below.

Women's Section Powerlunch [Photos]

Women’s Section Powerlunch [Photos]

In January, the Women’s Section held their Power Networking Lunch, which was a great success! Please see photos below.

Judicial Demeanor Training [Photos]

Judicial Demeanor Training [Photos]

In January, CCCBA members responded to the call from the CCC Superior Court for Pro Tem Judges. Participants in the Judicial Demeanor training classes learned about appropriate bench conduct, demeanor and decorum. Discussing potential scenarios led to much laughter among participants!