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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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No ‘Appreciable Progress’ for Women in Partnership Ranks

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 29, 2015

It’s back to the future — and not in a good way for women seeking equity partnership in the nation’s 200 largest law firms.

Women have not made “appreciable progress” since 2006 in either attaining equity partnership or increasing their pay to be on par with their male colleagues once they grasp the brass ring, according to a study by the National Association of Women Lawyers released on Tuesday.

The results: Women represent 18 percent of equity partners, an increase of two percent since 2006, according to NAWL’s findings. Even after they’ve made it into the equity ranks, they make about 80 percent of what their male colleagues bring home. In 2006, women had made 84 percent.

“It really should be unacceptable,” says Bobbi Liebenberg, a partner at Fine, Kaplan and Black, R.P.C, in Philadelphia, a former chair of the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession.

Read the whole story at Bloomberg

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Harvard Law Library Readies Trove of Decisions for Digital Age

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 29, 2015

Shelves of law books are an august symbol of legal practice, and no place, save the Library of Congress, can match the collection at Harvard’s Law School Library. Its trove includes nearly every state, federal, territorial and tribal judicial decision since colonial times — a priceless potential resource for everyone from legal scholars to defense lawyers trying to challenge a criminal conviction.

Now, in a digital-age sacrifice intended to serve grand intentions, the Harvard librarians are slicing off the spines of all but the rarest volumes and feeding some 40 million pages through a high-speed scanner. They are taking this once unthinkable step to create a complete, searchable database of American case law that will be offered free on the Internet, allowing instant retrieval of vital records that usually must be paid for.

“Improving access to justice is a priority,” said Martha Minow, dean of Harvard Law School, explaining why Harvard has embarked on the project. “We feel an obligation and an opportunity here to open up our resources to the public.”

Read the whole story at The New York Times

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Appeals court ruling expands rights of immigrants facing possible deportation

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 29, 2015

Immigrants facing possible deportation will have more opportunities to win release on bond under a decision Wednesday by a federal appeals court.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said immigrants housed in civil detention facilities must be given bond hearings every six months. 

Judges who preside over those hearings should consider the length of time the immigrants have already served and alternatives to detention, such as electronic monitoring.

“Civil immigration detainees are treated much like criminals serving time,” Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw wrote for the court. “They are typically housed in shared jail cells with no privacy and limited access to larger spaces or the outdoors.”

Read the whole story at LA Times

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Court ruling highlights federal, state discord over medical marijuana

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 29, 2015

In 1991, amid the AIDS crisis in San Francisco, a former jazz and blues singer named Lynnette Shaw was hired as the intake officer at the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club, California’s first medical marijuana dispensary.

The modest Cannabis Buyers Club would eventually transform into a flamboyant weed emporium on Market Street that founder Dennis Peron dubbed “the five-story felony.” Shaw, who would partner with Peron in backing California’s Proposition 215 medical marijuana law, went another direction months before the initiative passed in 1996. She ventured across San Francisco Bay to establish California’s first locally permitted and regulated medical marijuana provider.

Peron eventually drew the ire of state narcotics officers, who raided his club. Shaw and her small-town marijuana dispensary, serving patients with HIV, cancer and other illnesses, drew something else: a nearly two-decade legal battle with the United States Justice Department.

Read the whole story at Sacramento Bee

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Santa Clara County Bar Association Elects 2016 Officers and Trustees

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Santa Clara County Bar Association is pleased to announce the results of its 2015/16 election. Those elected will serve with 2016 President, Matthew Poppe.

MATTHEW POPPE will serve as the Association’s President for 2016, beginning January 1, 2016.  Mr. Poppe is a patent litigator with a focus on Internet and computer networking companies. He has spent his entire career at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, where he has been in the Menlo Park office since 1996.  He has been an active member of the Bar Association since 2004, having served in recent years as President-Elect, Treasurer, and Secretary, and as a member of the Board of Trustees, Executive Committee, and Finance Committee. Over the years, he has also served as Chair of the Civil Practice Committee and Co-Chair of the Judiciary Committee, and as a member of the Professionalism Committee, the Strategic Planning Committee, the High Tech Executive Committee, and several other regular and ad hoc committees. He received pro bono awards from the Bar Association in 2009 and 2010.

Although Mr. Poppe’s office is in San Mateo County, he has strong ties to Santa Clara County. He went to Stanford University as an undergraduate, graduating in 1990. His has represented many clients who are based in Santa Clara County and has appeared often in the federal and state courts in Santa Clara County. He participates in meetings of the Small Claims Court Committee of the Santa Clara County Superior Court. He is a member and past co-chair of the board of directors of the Campaign for Legal Services, which raises funds for distribution to eight pro bono legal service providers in Silicon Valley.

“I believe the SCCBA serves a variety of important functions that include bringing together members of the local bar, offering many vital services, encouraging professionalism and public service, acting as a liaison between the bar and the local courts, and much more. I am a strong supporter of the Bar Association’s mission and look forward to serving as President in 2016 with the other elected trustees and officers,” says Matthew Poppe.

NICOLE ISGER, will serve as the Association’s President-Elect for 2016 and will automatically assume the office of President in 2017. She is an active member of the SCCBA, currently serving as the SCCBA Treasurer, as well as a member of the Board of Trustees, the Executive Committee, the Finance Committee, and the Professionalism Committee.  Outside of the legal community, she is active in my children’s local elementary school, provide volunteer services to the nonprofit FLY (Fresh Lifelines for Youth), and will remain active with the UC Davis School of Law. Her family also enjoys supporting the SF Giants.

She has been in private practice since 2004, focusing on criminal defense.  Prior to private practice, she worked as a county attorney, serving the public as a public defender for Santa Clara County.  Ms. Isger started her legal career as a public defender for Contra Costa County, prior to moving to the South Bay.  She has extensive experience within the Santa Clara County courts, having handled felonies and misdemeanors for adults and juveniles, as well as matters of drug court, mental health court, domestic violence, and family court.

She values the level of dedication and community spirit found within the SCCBA.  “I support the services that the SCCBA provides to the legal community in Santa Clara County and would like to see the SCCBA continue to thrive,” notes President-Elect Nicole Isger

KEVIN HAMMON will serve as the Association’s Secretary for 2016. Mr. Hammon enjoyed serving as a Member of the Board of Trustees since 2011, Chair of the Lawyer Referral Service Committee since 2014, Member of the SCCBA’s Executive Committee between 2011 and 2012, and the Chair of the Law Related Education Committee in 2010.  Through the years, Mr. Hammon notes that he “has had the pleasure of working with SCCBA C.E.O. Chris Burdick, SCCBA staff, and a variety of current and former SCCBA Officers and Trustees.  Without exception, they have been kind, insightful, and professional.  It is indeed a privilege to be in their company.”

“As our personal and professional lives become increasingly impacted, we are often left with little time to participate in community service and professional organizations.  I do not take your involvement in the Santa Clara County Bar Association for granted,”   says Kevin Hammon as he looks forward to serving in 2016.


Since 2004, Mr. Hammon has been involved in Santa Clara County’s annual High School Mock Trial Tournament.  I have served as the Tournament Administrator for the past three years.  The Tournament represents a partnership between the SCCBA, the Santa Clara County Office of Education, and the Santa Clara County Superior Court. Over 100 attorneys volunteer their time as scorers.  The Bench provides courtrooms and judges.  Over 400 students participate in the program, serving as attorneys, witnesses, bailiffs, and court clerks. The reviews from teachers, attorneys, students, and staff have been overwhelmingly positive.  Kevin believes “this Tournament exemplifies the SCCBA’s commitment to collaboration, member service, and community impact.”

Since 2008, Kevin has been a lawyer in the Santa Clara County Counsel’s Child Dependency Unit.  He worked in the County Counsel’s Litigation Unit between 2007 and 2008.  Between 2004 and 2007, he was a litigation attorney at McManis Faulkner.

KATE WILSON will serve as the Association’s secretary in 2016. Kate told us that “she believes my experience will be a valuable asset to our association.  I am an active member of the SCCBA having served as the association’s Secretary in 2015 as well as a Trustee and a member of the Finance Committee for the past six years and a member of the Executive Committee in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015.  In addition, I have previously served as the Chair of the Civil Practice Committee, Chair of the Barristers Committee, a member of the Strategic Planning Committee, a member of the E-Discovery Task Force, and a member of the Professional Rules Revisions Task Force.”

Ms. Wilson is currently the Director and Corporate Counsel of Global Employment Law and Commercial Litigation for Extreme Networks, Inc. where her in-house practice focuses on employment law, commercial litigation and general corporate matters. She regularly presents on a wide variety of legal topics such as recognizing and preventing sexual harassment, employment law updates for employers, document retention, electronic discovery and electronic media in the workplace.  She also volunteers my time as a guest lecturer at SCU for classes including Pre-Trial Litigation Techniques, Law Practice Management and Patent Litigation.


San Jose Trustees elected:  Eugene Flemate, Bernard S. Greenfield and Bruce D. MacLeod.  They join Joshua Borger, Megan Ottoboni, Gabriel Gregg,  and Sylvia Perez McDonald.

Palo Alto/Mt. View Trustee elected:  Suchitra Narayen.

Los Gatos/Campbell/ Saratoga Trustee elected:  Richard D. Schramm.

At Large Trustee elected:  Mindy Morton.

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East San Jose becomes home to newest Family Justice Center serving domestic-violence victims

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 23, 2015

Domestic violence victims in Santa Clara County got another lifeline Thursday with the launching of a Family Justice Center in East San Jose, giving residents a readily accessible respite from abusive lives.

It's the county's third center, joining locations in Morgan Hill and Sunnyvale, providing one-stop access to legal advice -- including help filing restraining orders -- shelter, food, and other amenities aimed in part at emboldening victims to leave their batterers.

"These are tangible, viable, lifesaving services," District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. "To anyone in an abusive relationship: There is a team of professionals waiting to help you. All you have to do is open the door."

Read the whole story at San Jose Mercury News

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High School Mock Trial Coaches Needed

Posted By Mark Shem, Thursday, October 22, 2015

The annual Santa Clara County High School Mock Trial program is in need of volunteer attorney coaches to help students from across Santa Clara County learn about trial techniques, the law, and critical thinking using a hypothetical criminal case.  No prior experience is needed and the amount of time you volunteer is up to you and the school. 

At a minimum, attorney coaches help students draft opening statements, direct and cross-examinations, and closing arguments.  Additionally, they help students understand simplified rules of evidence closely patterned on California’s Rules of Evidence.  Volunteer coaches will be matched with schools in need of coaches.  Currently, the following schools need an attorney coach: 

Basis Independent

Castelleja High

DCP Alum Rock

Saratoga High

Wilcox High 

The students will be testing their legal skills in a four round tournament in February, 2016.  There are three further elimination rounds culminating in the final round set for February 23, 2016.   

If you can find to help our youth, please contact the Chair of the Law Related Education Committee at  

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Court lets stand a ruling that a 10-year-old can validly waive Miranda rights

Posted By Administration, Monday, October 19, 2015
Updated: Monday, October 19, 2015

The California Supreme Court refused Friday to review the conviction of a Riverside County boy who at age 10 killed his neo-Nazi father, letting stand a ruling that said someone that young can knowingly waive their legal right to remain silent.


The court, meeting in closed session, voted 4 to 3 against hearing the case, with the three justices appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown dissenting, according to an order issued Friday.


The boy, identified as Joseph H., shot and killed his father while the man was sleeping on the couch. There was evidence that the father, a drug addict, had repeatedly physically abused the boy and his stepmother and had threatened to burn down their home with the family inside.


Court records said Joseph was of low-average intelligence, suffered from attention deficit disorder, had been exposed to many illicit drugs when his mother was pregnant and had been kicked out of several schools for violent behavior.


The issue before the court was whether Joseph validly waived his Miranda rights when he confessed to police. Two lower courts upheld the waiver.

Read the whole story at The Los Angeles Times

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In California, free speech meets abortion

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 16, 2015
Updated: Friday, October 16, 2015

Is merely requiring clinics to inform women of the availability of free or low-cost abortions an unconstitutional infringement of religious liberty? That seems to be the latest contention in the reproductive culture wars.

Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed into law the Reproductive FACT Act, which is quite straightforward: Licensed healthcare facilities must post or distribute a notice that states,"California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services (including all FDA-approved methods of contraception), prenatal care, and abortion for eligible women. To determine whether you qualify, contact the county social services office at [insert the telephone number]." That's it.

An unlicensed facility, meanwhile, must disseminate a notice to all clients acknowledging that it is not licensed as a medical facility by the state of California.

The law goes into effect Jan. 1. But now two religious nonprofits — so-called crisis pregnancy centers in Marysville and Redding — are claiming the law violates their 1st Amendment right to free exercise of religion and freedom of speech, and are seeking an injunction against it.

Their argument has no merit.

No doctor, other healthcare professional or facility is required to provide contraceptives or abortions, or even provide referrals for these services. The new law simply ensures that clinics expose their patients to additional, accurate information.

Read the whole story at source Los Angeles Times


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San Jose Opens Doors to New PTO Branch

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 16, 2015

The ribbon was several sheets of metal. The scissors, bolt cutters. And when the ribbon hit the floor Thursday, Silicon Valley finally had a permanent regional shop for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The regional office, set inside San Jose City Hall, covers three floors. It will employ 80 patent examiners and has 21 judges as of now. Twenty examiners are starting on Monday and, after a four-month training process, plus a six-week trial run with real patents, several more will be added. "With the passing of the patent bill, we were excited to get [the patent process] out of Alexandria, closer to the inventors," said Representative Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, referring to the America Invents Act that President Obama signed into law in 2011. "I was kind of surprised that the first office went to Detroit. Go figure."

Until now, the local office, which is to serve California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii, had been in temporary quarters in Menlo Park.

Michelle Lee, director of the U.S. PTO, provided a tour of the premises on Thursday. "This is our Nevada room, named because it kind of looks like Nevada," Lee said. "And this is our Alaska room, which looks nothing like Alaska." The rooms are meant to pair patent examiners with local technology experts to better educate and inform the patent review process.

McDermott, Will & Emery partner Fabio Marino said that, by putting an office in Silicon Valley, top tech talent will be able to better inform judges and examiners on their inventions and on other inventions in the region. That, in turn, will bring better examiners who are excited to work more closely with technology, he said.

Read the whole story at The Recorder

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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
Hon. Edward J. Davila2017 Diversity of the Year
Hon. Julie A. Emede2017 Outstanding Jurist of the Year

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