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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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Using Your Member SCCBA Tools: Professional Development and CLE Reporting

Posted By Paula Collis, Friday, January 30, 2015

Your SCCBA Member Profile can help you organize and keep record of your CLEs, making your compliance period reporting as easy as a mouse click.

To access your information, visit SCCBA online, and click on Manage Profile at the top. In the first column under Content & Features, look for the Professional Development icon.




Once in your Professional Development tab, all of your CLE credits, past and present, will be visible, listed by date.

Adding non SCCBA courses

To add the information for a CLE you completed from a provider other than SCCBA, click Add Entry. You will see prompts to fill in the Certificate Program you are counting toward, credit type, the date and title of the course, and the credits earned.


If you received a digital certificate, you can upload that document as an attachment here. After you click submit, your entry will be visible listed in line with the other cle courses completed with SCCBA.


Using your Information

When you are ready to submit your compliance report, simply click Print Transcript from the main page, and you will see a printable report with all of your CLE Credits and the date your earned them.

Curious to see if there are any credits you still need to earn toward your requirement? Click on the Certifications/Programs tab at the top of the page to see the different credit types and whether or not you are complete in that area.

If you have any questions, contact the SCCBA at and we’ll help you along the way.

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Group 2 (H-M) reporting deadline quickly approaching. SCCBA has tools to help.

Posted By Paula Collis, Thursday, January 29, 2015
Group 2 (H-M) reporting period
ends February 2.
There's still time. 
Continuing Education
MCLE Marathon Live On-Demand
Complete all specialty credits in at one time with the podcast or webinar of the annual MCLE Marathon. This course has all 6 specialty credits including 4 Legal Ethics, 1 Recognition & Elimination of Bias, and 1 Competence Issues. 
Learn More →
Professional Development
Easily Track and Report all CLE Credits
Your SCCBA Membership Profile allows you to track all CLE credits (even from other providers), and print transcripts when you need them!
Learn More →
Online CLE
CLE Webinars and Podcasts On-Demand
Need credits quickly? Visit the SCCBA Online CLE Catalog for hundreds of hours of CLE available as podcast or recorded webinar. Watch On-Demand.
Learn More →

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S.F. public defender detained outside court; office outraged

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 29, 2015

A San Francisco deputy public defender was handcuffed and arrested at the Hall of Justice after she objected to city police officers questioning her client outside a courtroom, an incident that her office called outrageous and police officials defended as appropriate.

The Tuesday afternoon arrest of attorney Jami Tillotson as she denied police officers’ attempts to take photos of her client without explanation raised questions about police intimidation and harassment, Public Defender Jeff Adachi said at a Wednesday news conference.

But police said the five officers, led by a plainclothes sergeant, were investigating a burglary case in which Tillotson’s client and his co-defendant were considered persons of interest. Tillotson was cited for misdemeanor resisting or delaying arrest because she obstructed a police investigation, officials said.

“I was arrested for what we do as public defenders every day,” Tillotson said of the encounter, which was captured in a video that the public defender’s office posted on YouTube. “I asked questions. I talked to my client and explained to him his rights. At that point, I was told I was interfering and taken into custody.”

Read the whole story at SF Gate

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Marty Africa, 71, Pushed for a More Inclusive Profession

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 27, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO — Legal recruiter and diversity advocate Martha Fay Africa died on Wednesday of breast cancer that spread to the bones. She was 71.

Africa—known to her friends as "Marty"—joined legal search firm Major, Lindsey and Africa while it was in its infancy, and worked there until her death. She advocated extensively for the diversification of the legal profession and founded the American Bar Association's Women Rainmakers.

Africa had "a kickass-type personality, in a graceful way," said Drucilla Ramey, a former executive director of BASF and dean emerita at Golden Gate University School of Law who teamed up with Africa to start a minority scholarship program for the northern California law schools in the late 1990s.

Africa was born in Newton, Massachusetts to a family of modest means, and from childhood fed her insatiable curiosity with endless reading. She attended Chatham College in Pittsburgh, Penn., on a full scholarship and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was a leader in the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory Health Sciences team.

Read the whole story at The Recorder

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SCCBA Installs New Leadership for 2015

Posted By Paula Collis, Tuesday, January 27, 2015


San Jose, CA (January 27, 2014) - Last week, area legal leaders, judges, and practitioners gathered downtown to welcome the 2015 Santa Clara County Bar Association leaders,  and to recognize outstanding attorney members at its annual Installation Ceremony.

The installation of bar officers John L. Mlnarik (President), Matthew H. Poppe (President-Elect), Nicole Isger (Treasurer), and Kate Wilson (Secretary), was performed by Hon. Risë  J. Pichon, the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court, County of Santa Clara, State of California. Installation remarks were made by incoming President John L. Mlnarik and Hon. Franklin E. Bondonno, Superior Court, County of Santa Clara, State of California.  Also sworn in during the evening’s event were the 2015 Board of Trustees: Adam J. Davis, Joshua J. Borger, Jill E. Fox, Kevin M. Hammon, Sylvia Perez-MacDonald, Megan E. Ottoboni, Laurie M. Charrington, Christopher W. Dull, Mindy Morton, Dianne L. Sweeney, Nicole Adams-Hess, Kipp C. Davis, Kathryn S. Diemer, Troy Benson, and Eugene Flemate.

Recognized during the event were Dianne L. Sweeney, recipient of the President’s Award, and  the recipient of this year’s Salsman Award, Martin Snitow. The Salsman Award is presented annually at the SCCBA Installation Event, and is named for Justice Bryl R. Salsman who was a Santa Clara County appellate court judge and superior court judge from 1949-61, and who made a significant contribution to the SCCBA. The award is given each year to an SCCBA member who has contributed significantly to the Association over a period of time without receiving other recognition. This year’s recipient, Mr. Snitow, is representative of many SCCBA members who contribute to the Association, without expectation of acknowledgment,  but rather simply to contribute to the well-being of the local legal community.

The SCCBA’s Chief Executive Officer and General Counsel, Christine Burdick, was also presented with a 25 year service award for her contributions and service to the Association of 25 years.  The award was presented to Ms. Burdick by the Hon. James Towery, who was president of the SCCBA when Ms. Burdick was hired.  Judge Towery noted that the high level of professionalism of the Santa Clara County legal community was due in large measure to Ms. Burdick’s efforts and dedication to ethics and professionalism over the course of her tenure.

Tags:  Board of Trustees  Mlnarik  Officers  Pichon 

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OMG! Bay Area federal judge joins Twitter

Posted By Administration, Monday, January 26, 2015

Joining a Twitterverse filled with rock stars, actors, politicians and athletes, one Bay Area judge has decided to break ranks with most of his black-robed peers who are worried about the ethical and practical trap doors of social media.

Adding an @ to his resume at a time when the law and social media are colliding more than ever, Paul Grewal, a U.S. magistrate judge in San Jose, rang in the New Year by becoming the region's first federal judge -- and one of few in the country -- to start a public Twitter account. For the past few weeks, "iampaulgrewal" has debuted on Twitter, where he's closing in on 300 followers.


"Would you want a traffic court judge who's never driven a car?" he explained on his Twitter profile. "Why should magistrate judges be any different when it comes to tech?"


In dabbling so publicly in social media, the 43-year-old Grewal, who has had a hand in such major cases as the Apple v. Samsung smartphone feud, is unlike most state and federal judges who tend to be far more comfortable writing thick legal opinions than 140-character tweets -- and who also prefer to remain outside the instantaneous spotlight of a public platform such as Twitter.


In some instances, judges do not want to risk the ethical fallout from a wayward tweet about a case or issue, or expose so much about themselves to the public it rises to a security threat.


Read the whole story at Inside Bay Area News 

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Court: Judges can’t belong to Scouts due to gay ban

Posted By Administration, Monday, January 26, 2015

The state Supreme Court has voted to prohibit judges in California from belonging to the Boy Scouts because the 2.7 million-member youth organization bars gays and lesbians from becoming troop leaders.

The court announced Friday that its seven justices had voted unanimously to accept a February 2014 recommendation from its ethics advisory committee to ban Boy Scout membership. As of Jan. 21, 2016, judges affiliated with the Scouts will be in violation of the state Code of Judicial Ethics, which the court oversees, and could face removal from office.

California has been among 23 states with an ethical code that prohibits judges from belonging to organizations that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. But the state’s Supreme Court in 1996 approved an exemption, unique to California, for “nonprofit youth organizations” to accommodate judges affiliated with the Boy Scouts.

Read the whole story at SFGate 


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CA Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye Discusses State of Courts

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 20, 2015

California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye offered a strong defense of her administration of the courts, saying she has instituted reforms that are making the state's judicial system more efficient.

"During the time that I have been chief we have cut the AOC (Administrative Office of the Courts) by 30 percent. We have made radical changes and we are continuing to do that," she said.

The leader of the state's judiciary was interviewed on NBC4's "News Conference" program.

Cantil-Sakauye has been criticized by a group of lower-court judges for not doing enough to send resources to Superior Courts in the state's 58 counties. The Alliance of California Judges seized on a recent audit which questioned nearly $30 million in court staff spending. The audit noted the use of 66 state cars by staff, that some court administrators made more than the governor and had offices in three cities instead of one.

Read the whole story at NBC Los Angeles


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Ethics Commission (formerly the Elections Commission) Vacancy

Posted By Paula Collis, Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Updated: Thursday, January 15, 2015

Applications are now being accepted to fill vacancies on the Ethics Commission (formerly the Elections Commission). The following vacancies are available:
Three (3) Vacancies for Terms Ending March 1, 2019 

About the Commission: The San José Ethics Commission (Commission) monitors compliance with all campaign and ethics ordinances in the San José Municipal Code. The Commission reviews and investigates allegations of violations of the Code and makes recommendations for enforcement action where appropriate. The Commission also makes recommendations to the Council with regard to campaign and ethics regulations and policies. The Commission is charged under Chapter 12.04 of the San José Municipal Code to investigate complaints alleging violations of Title 12 of the San José Municipal Code and take enforcement action. Formal regulations are adopted by the City Council to ensure that all interested parties are apprised of and understand the procedures by which a fair hearing will be conducted. 
For more information regarding the Ethics Commission, please contact the City Clerk’s Office at (408) 535-1260 or via e-email at 


Applicant Qualifications: In order to be considered for appointment to the City of San Jose Ethics Commission, applicants must meet the following three criteria: 

  1. Be a registered voter in the City of San José at the time of appointment and, if appointed, must remain so throughout the term of office; 
  2. While serving on the Commission, no member can hold any other public office or publicly endorse any candidate for City office or engage in any political or campaign activity on behalf of any candidate for City office; and 
  3. Further, no member can participate as candidate in any election to public office for a period of one year before and after tenure on the Commission.

Applications may be obtained from the Office of the City Clerk, City Hall, 200 East Santa Clara Street, Wing Building, 2nd Floor, San Jose, CA 95113, or you may apply online at: Applications are due no later than Friday, January 30, 2015 at 5:00 p.m.

For questions regarding the application process, please call the Office of the City Clerk at (408) 535-1260 or e-mail at

Appointment Process: All qualified applications received by the deadline will be submitted to the Mayor and Council Members who, in turn, will notify the City Clerk as to whom they would like to interview. Applicants receiving four or more such indications of interest will be notified and asked to appear during a regular or special Council Meeting to be interviewed by the Mayor and Council. Applicants must receive a two-thirds vote of Council (8 votes) to be appointed to serve on the Commission. The tentative date scheduled for interviews is on Tuesday, February 24, 2015. 


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PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE: Moving Forward in 2015

Posted By John Mlnarik, Monday, January 12, 2015

by John L. Mlnarik

The Mlnarik Law Group, Inc.

2015 SCCBA President


Happy New Year! 

It has been my honor to serve alongside so many wonderful professionals at the Santa Clara County Bar Association (SCCBA).  As your 2015 president, I look forward to inspiring opportunities, meaningful connections and the continued sharing of all our skills and talents for the betterment of our profession.

Challenges with court funding are far from over. As the landscape of legal services changes, so must the professionals who service clients in the judicial system. As greater demands are placed on lawyers, as lawyers continue to be busy, not just with their jobs, but with their communities, their families, and their friends, time is at a premium. No matter what area of law you practice you still have less time to do more work than you used to and no doubt need know how to work more efficiently to remain competitive and relevant in the marketplace. 

At the Santa Clara County Bar Association, we know how valuable your time has become and we want to enable you to share your talents to make our profession even better. Our new website has many new features to maximize your time and remain involved in the legal community.  For example,  you can personalize and customize your online profile that is available to all members through the online member directory, you more easily reach out to other SCCBA members through the online messaging system, quickly join committees and sections by one click, participate in committee and section forums and blogs, opening up the free flow of information among SCCBA members. You can set up your own communication groups within the membership to exchange information.  On your profile page, you can also click on the Professional Development feature where you will find a list of all the SCCBA continuing legal education programs you have attended, along with the certificate of attendance and a printable transcript.  You can add non-SCCBA CLE programs and keep track of all your MCLE credits in one place.  You will never need to fear a State Bar MCLE audit.

Whether it is a particular practice area, development of your law practice or in our Center for Ethics and Professionalism, the SCCBA has and will continue to create an environment where your talents take shape, are nurtured and flourish.  In 2015, we will be focusing on bringing together resources to enhance our members’  practice development and innovation.  That will be the primary focus of the SCCBA Board’s strategic planning this year.

In the past 97 years, the SCCBA has been made possible by countless volunteers, attorneys, and judges.  I would like to thank all of those who served the Bar in 2014 and congratulate the 2014 officers, Dianne Sweeney, Matt Poppe and Nicole Isger, the Board of Trustees, Committee and Section chairs, all the Bar staff and our CEO, Chris Burdick for a job well done. We accomplished a great deal this past year and made a difference in one another’s lives in a way that, without the SCCBA, would not have been possible.

I invite all of you to attend the installation of the 2015 SCCBA Offices and newly elected trustees as well as meet the 2015 Chairs of our nearly 25 committees and sections. The Installation Ceremony and Reception will be held January 21st from 5:30 to 7:00 at the SCCBA Seminar and Conference Center.  Our newly installed Presiding Judge of the Superior Court, Judge Risë Pichon, will officiate the swearing in ceremony and give some brief remarks.  In addition, Superior Court Judge Franklin Bondonno graciously agreed to address us, and I will make some brief remarks regarding the challenges facing us in 2015.

Thank you for the opportunity to continue to serve. Together we will go places our profession could never go alone.


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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
Hon. Julie A. Emede2017 Outstanding Jurist of the Year

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