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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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Trump's Picks for Labor Board Could Raise Conflicts Issues

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, November 22, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January with the unusual situation of owning or co-owning companies that are involved in disputes with federal agencies such as the National Labor Relations Board, including at least two open matters at the board.

Trump also will find himself in the position of appointing members to the NLRB who could be ruling in the future on cases involving the companies.
Read the whole story at National Law Journal

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Trump Picks Sessions as U.S. Attorney General

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, November 22, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, an early supporter of Trump and one of his close advisors, as his nominee for U.S. attorney general.

Sessions brings the "law and order" background that Trump touted as part of his platform during the campaign, as well as the baggage of a judicial nomination that failed amid accusations of racism. Before he was elected to the Senate in 1997, Sessions served as U.S. attorney and attorney general in Alabama.
Read the whole story at National Law Journal

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Bay Area Minority Summer Clerkship Program (BAMSCP) seeks 2017 participating students & firms

Posted By Paula Collis, Monday, November 21, 2016

Both student participants and mentoring firms are sought for the 2017 session of the Bay Area Minority Summer Clerkship Program (BAMSCP). BAMSCP is sponsored by the Santa Clara County Bar Association (SCCBA), Alameda County Bar Association (ACBA), and the Contra Costa County Bar Association (CCCBA).

Since its founding in 1990, BAMSCP has helped law firms and other organizations recruit over 300 minority law students into their summer clerkship programs.

The purpose of BAMSCP is to introduce talented minority first year law students who might not have been selected for a traditional summer program to the firm or corporate experience, while at the same time furthering the desire of many firms in today's marketplace to  further diversity goals and provide opportunities to young  lawyers.

First-year minority students from Boalt Hall, Hastings, Golden Gate, Santa Clara, Stanford, University of San Francisco, McGeorge, and UCDavis are invited to participate.

To find out how your organization can benefit from BAMSCP, contact Irene Cortez, BAMSCP Coordinator of the Santa Clara County Bar Association, at (408) 975-2114 or email at Complete program information and applications can be found at


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November 16 Digest

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, November 16, 2016

New AG, Judicial Retirement Age for Pa.

Pennsylvania has selected its new attorney general and a new judicial retirement age, in an election that brought out a near-record-setting number of voters in the state.
Read the full story at The Legal Intelligencer 

Judge denies law prof's request for bar-exam racial data

A judge in California has denied a law professor’s request for racial data on would-be lawyers who took the state bar exam.
Read the full story at ABA Journal

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Court Selects New Chief Executive Officer

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 10, 2016

Stanislaus County Superior Court CEO, Rebecca Fleming, named to succeed David H. Yamasaki as Santa Clara County Superior Court CEO.



SAN JOSÉ, California (November 8, 2016): The Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara (Court) has selected a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to fill the vacancy created by outgoing CEO David H. Yamasaki. Rebecca Fleming, current CEO of Stanislaus County Superior Court, has been tapped to lead the operations of the largest court in Northern California. Ms. Fleming will succeed Mr. Yamasaki, who will be leaving the Court to serve as the new CEO of the Orange County Superior Court.


“Our Court feels most fortunate to have found the candidate we firmly believe will continue the transformation of our operations and guide us in our quest to ensure access to justice to residents of Santa Clara County. Ms. Fleming’s nearly 30 years of experience in trial court management will be invaluable to us, and we look forward to the energy and enthusiasm she will bring to our Court,” said Presiding Judge Risë Jones Pichon. 


A selection team – headed by Presiding Judge Risë Jones Pichon and including Assistant Presiding Judge Patricia Lucas, Assistant Presiding Judge-Elect Deborah A. Ryan, former Presiding Judge Brian C. Walsh and outgoing Chief Executive Officer David H. Yamasaki – interviewed candidates and put forth Ms. Fleming as the recommended candidate, which was ratified by the Bench at a special meeting on November 7, 2016.


Joining the branch in 1998, Ms. Fleming has served in the roles of Chief Financial Officer, Assistant Executive Officer and Court Executive Officer of the Stanislaus County Superior Court. Beyond her direct trial court management, Ms. Fleming brings with her a wealth of knowledge and relationships developed from her work at the Branch level, including serving on the Court Executive Advisory Committee, Trial Court Budget Advisory Committee, Trial Court Policy and Procedures Committee and Integrated County Justice Information System Committee. Ms. Fleming is a graduate of the Institute of Court Management’s Court Executive and Management certification programs and holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration.


Ms. Fleming will assume her new role as CEO of Santa Clara County Superior Court on December 12, 2016. Mr. Yamasaki’s last day with the Court will be December 1, 2016

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Commissioner & Immediate Past Federal Elections Committee Chair Ann M. Ravel Addressed Local Attorneys and Judges at SCCBA Annual Judges’ Night

Posted By Paula Collis, Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Outstanding Jurist of the Year Awarded to the Hon. Erica R. Yew, Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara


San Jose, CA (November 8, 2016) ‐ The Santa Clara County Bar Association, Silicon Valley’s largest lawyers’ association, held its annual Judges’ Night Dinner on November 9, 2016, at the Marriott in San Jose. This annual event hosted by the  Association honors both the state and federal judges in Santa Clara County and highlights the cooperative, close working relationships of attorneys and judges in advancing the administration of justice for the county’s citizens.


The Outstanding Jurist Award was awarded to the Honorable Erica R. Yew, Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara.  Governor Gray Davis appointed Yew, a San Jose native, to the Santa Clara County Superior Court on October 2, 2001.  Yew is the first Asian-American female to serve on this bench.  Yew was unanimously appointed by the California Supreme Court to the Commission on Judicial Performance (CJP) in December 2010 and is currently fulfilling her second term on the commission.  She also served for two years as Chair of the CJP, which is the state constitutional agency responsible for investigating complaints of judicial misconduct and disciplining bench officers.  From 2009 to 2012, Yew was a member of the California Judicial Council, which is the policymaking body of the California Courts.  Yew was appointed by the Chief Justice in July 2014 to the Judicial Council’s Advisory Committee on Providing Access and Fairness and to the California Commission on Access to Justice.  Yew served on the Council’s Task Force on Self-Represented Litigants for twelve years, as both an attorney and a judge, and was a member of the Council’s Judicial Recruitment and Retention Working Group.  She has served on the ABA Advisory Committee regarding Language Access.  That subcommittee’s recommendations for improving access for LEP (limited English proficiency) litigants were adopted by the ABA in February 2012 and are being implemented across the country.  


Nahal Iravani-Sani, District Attorney’s Office, County of Santa Clara, accepted the Diversity Award. This award was established to highlight  the critical importance of a diverse and representative legal profession in securing vigorous advocacy for clients and credibility to the justice system. The recipient of the Diversity Award demonstrates long-term commitment to promoting diversity in the profession.


The Pro Bono Award was presented  to to Ruth Silver Taube, Law Offices of Silver & Taube. The Pro Bono Award  each year recognizes a person or group who shows a sustained and extraordinary commitment to pro bono services to the indigent in Santa Clara County.


The Professional Lawyer of the Year Award was presented to Nora V. Frimann, Office of the City Attorney, City of San Jose. The recipient of this honor is an active, respected practitioner of the law who is chosen by their peers as an example of  unimpeachable character and who serves as an embodiment of  the standards set forth in the SCCBA Code of Professionalism and as a role model for other attorneys  practicing in Santa Clara County.


The Keynote Speaker addressing the  judges and guests was Ann M. Ravel.  Ms. Ravel is a Commissioner & the Immediate Past Chair of the Federal Election Commission, and formerly Santa Clara County Counsel. Commissioner Ann M. Ravel was nominated to the Federal Election Commission by President Barack Obama on June 21, 2013. After her appointment received the unanimous consent of the United States Senate, Ms. Ravel joined the Commission on October 25, 2013. She served as Chair of the Commission for 2015 and Vice Chair for 2014. From March 2011 until her appointment to the Commission, Ms. Ravel served as Chair of the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), to which Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. appointed her. At the FPPC, Ms. Ravel oversaw the regulation of campaign finance, lobbyist registration and reporting, and ethics and conflicts of interest related to officeholders and public employees. During her tenure at the FPPC, Ms. Ravel was instrumental in the creation of the States’ Unified Network (SUN) Center, a web-based center for sharing information on campaign finance.

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November 4 Digest

Posted By Administration, Friday, November 4, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, November 9, 2016

'Down-Ballot' State Court Elections Now Played Up With Spending, Obama Nod

Though the U.S. Supreme Court has been a dominant issue in this year's presidential debates, state judicial races are... READ MORE »


Supreme Court Webcast, for Scalia Memorial, Will Be a First

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a first for the institution, will live stream a portion of a memorial Friday for the late... READ MORE »


Lawyer is shot at his law office; suspect's wife and son are found dead


These law schools are tops for median starting pay exceeding student debt


Did FBI's Clinton disclosure and its search of Anthony Weiner's computer violate the law?

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October 28 Digest

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 28, 2016
Updated: Monday, October 31, 2016

Judge Kreep says judicial watchdog agency targeted him, wants him to quit

San Diego Superior Court Judge Gary Kreep says the state’s judicial discipline agency has been on a “campaign of harassment and intimidation” against him in hopes he will quit the bench. By Greg Moran — San Diego Union-Tribune



Young scholar, now lawyer, says Clarence Thomas groped her in 1999

The anticipation of meeting a U.S. Supreme Court justice for the first time turned to shock and distress for a young Truman Foundation scholar in 1999 when, she says, Justice Clarence Thomas grabbed and squeezed her on the buttocks several times at a dinner party. On Oct. 7, a night dominated by the disclosure of Donald Trump’s audio-recorded boasts about grabbing women, Moira Smith posted on Facebook a memory of her encounter with Thomas. By Marcia Coyle — The National Law Journal (sub. req.)

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October 27 Digest

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 27, 2016

Why Gov. Jerry Brown is staking so much on Proposition 57 and prison sentences

Few California voters likely know much, if anything, about the state Board of Parole Hearings — from the qualifications of the 12 commissioners to their success in opening the prison gates for only those who can safely return to the streets. And yet Gov. Jerry Brown’s sweeping overhaul of prison parole, Proposition 57, is squarely a question of whether those parole officials should be given additional latitude to offer early release to potentially thousands of prisoners over the next few years. By John Myers — Los Angeles Times


California prosecutors turn to YouTube to re-argue case against convicted murderer seeking re-trial

It’s a standard line in almost any Hollywood legal drama: A prosecutor tells a herd of reporters he won’t answer a question because “I don’t want to try this case in the court of public opinion.” In real life, that premise might be changing.’ By Tony Saavedra — The Orange County Register


San Diego federal judges OK 99% of requests to cut drug sentences

New data shows federal judges in San Diego have granted all but one request in recent years to cut prison terms from inmates serving time for drug crimes. The data from the U.S. Sentencing Commission shows that since 2014, when a new sentencing rule went into effect that changed the calculation judges make when handing out sentences in certain drug cases, San Diego federal judges have granted 317 out of 318 requests for a reduced sentence. By Greg Moran — Los Angeles Times


Cruz says there’s precedent for keeping ninth Supreme Court seat empty

Speaking to reporters after a campaign rally for a Republican U.S. Senate candidate here, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said that there was “precedent” for a Supreme Court with fewer than nine justices — appearing to suggest that the blockade on nominee Merrick Garland could last past the election. “You know, I think there will be plenty of time for debate on that issue,” said Cruz, when he was asked whether a Republican-controlled Senate should hold votes on a President Hillary Clinton’s nominees. By David Weigel — The Washington Post


It’s the Supreme Court, not the Senate, that needs to do its job right now

The U.S. Supreme Court released its December calendar of oral arguments last week. Normally, the justices hear 12 or more cases during this sitting, but this year, they have scheduled only eight — a calendar court commentators have called “bare-boned” and “anemic.” By Eric J. Segall — Los Angeles Times

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October 26 Digest

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Suit: Suspending licenses of poor who can’t pay tickets illegal

California has illegally suspended the licenses of more than 600,000 drivers who can’t afford to pay their increasingly expensive traffic tickets, despite an amnesty program that was supposed to address the problem, advocates for the poor charged in a lawsuit Tuesday. Reports that millions of cash-strapped Californians had lost their licenses since 2006 prompted Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers last year to reduce fees for tickets issued before 2013 and allow many drivers back on the road.By Bob Egelko — San Francisco Chronicle


Genis pleads guilty to tax fraud, is admonished for lying to judge

It’s been an especially rough month for Darryl Genis, one of Santa Barbara County’s best known and most embattled attorneys. First, he pled guilty to multiple counts of tax fraud between the years 2005 and 2012, admitting that he shortchanged the IRS $679,958. By Nick Welsh— Santa Barbara Independent


California’s death penalty is beyond repair and should be repealed

Almost 40 years ago, I wrote California’s current death penalty law. I attempted to write a constitutionally sound law that would be fair and equitable. By Donald Heller — The Sacramento Bee


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more Calendar

Barristers' Annual Judges Luncheon

Knowing When To Accept A Case and When It's Time To Say Goodbye.

Disability and ERISA Issue Spotting for Labor Law Attorneys

Recent Recognitions
Steven B. Haley2017 Professional Lawyer of the Year
Susana Inda2018 Barrister of the Year

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