The Board of Trustees of the State Bar of California charged the Task Force on Admissions Regulation Reform with examining whether the State Bar of California should develop a regulatory requirement for a pre-admission practical skills training program and, if so, proposing such a program for submission to the Supreme Court.
The California judicial system is in dire financial straits. A silver lining of the court funding crisis is that it has fostered greater collaboration between the bench and bar, as well as by attorneys on opposite sides of the ”v.,” to discover novel solutions to the formidable challenges created by the underfunded judiciary.
Perhaps the single most significant effect of the statewide reductions to court budgets, as they apply to civil, family and probate cases, is the inability of the courts to continue to maintain a court reporter staff for those categories of cases.
More demanding clients, new technologies and globalization are taking an irreversible toll on the traditional law firm business model. Consequently, newer business models are cropping up, a development which offers more opportunities but also more risks for lawyers willing to conduct business differently. This article explores some of the trends in the profession and how they have affected our strategies for our law practice.
The agent of change is the cost of legal advice and representation. The practice of law is going to change. We need to develop practices where clients seek the advice, experience or expertise that they cannot find online.
Virtual law practice is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to the traditional physical law office. It is clear, however, that lawyers practicing in a virtual law office need to comply with employment laws and the rules of professional conduct.
As advisors to business clients and in many instances employers themselves, attorneys face the daunting task of keeping current with numerous employment laws and regulations. The last session of the California legislature added to the mix. What follows is a summary of some newly enacted employment legislation that may affect attorneys and their clients.
Litigation arising out of employment is a fact of life. When those cases conclude with payment, there are tax consequences that have to be addressed. This article provides a short primer on common tax issues associated with these cases.
Most employment lawyers have been trained to advise employees to refrain from talking to their co-workers about a workplace investigation during the pendency of the investigation. The best witness testimony is that which is raw, uncensored and unrehearsed. A conscientious investigator not only wants to guard against collusion among witnesses but also the tendency to have one’s own recollection of events be influenced by listening to others.
The Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) offer only a few instructions in employment law. More often than not, to address the different nuances common in employment claims, practitioners must request special jury instructions which most judges are hesitant to apply. Two instructions that are found in CACI, however, are No. 2500 (that a plaintiff’s protected characteristic was a “motivating reason” for the adverse employment action) and 2507 (defining a motivating reason as “a reason that contributed to the decision to take certain action, even though other reasons also may have contributed to the decision”).
Although most California employment attorneys are no doubt familiar with the Private Attorney General Act of 2004 (PAGA), they may not fully understand what the PAGA is or grasp how it works. This article summarizes what every California employment attorney should know about PAGA, regardless of whether they are actively litigating such claims.
As a result of the loss of Commissioner Sanders, the civil and probate departments have been scrambling to find a way to cope with the added burden of discovery motions. In conjunction with leadership from the Bar Association, Contra Costa Superior Court elected to implement a Discovery Facilitator Program.
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?
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
Many people think elder law is a stand-alone set of laws that pertain only to probate. Not true. Elder financial abuse cases often cross over into other areas of the law in interesting ways. Below are some examples of matters successfully handled by Elder Law Center attorneys.
As of January 1, 2013, new senior protection statutes came into effect. These statutes outlaw certain practices of insurance agents who have been plying the senior annuity market. The new laws make it illegal for an insurance agent to use the delivery of legal documents as a means for gaining entrance into a senior’s home.