Solo and Small Firm Section

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News from the Section

Message from the Chair

By Megan Zavieh

Welcome to the new bar year! It is with great excitement that I assume the role of Chair of the Solo and Small Firm Section for the coming year. I would like to thank Terry Szuczko for his leadership over the past year, through a time of great change with the State Bar, and for his mentorship as I take on this new job.

I have had the honor of serving on the Executive Committee of the Section for four years. One lesson I have learned in my time of service is that the need to reach our members in meaningful ways is of paramount importance; if you do not see the work of the Section as a benefit to you, then your membership is of little personal value. I firmly believe that membership in this Section is worth its weight in gold, so my number one goal this year is to reach each and every member in a useful way, to bring you value for your membership dollars. We will do this through programming, publications and discounts and freebies you may not have known come with your membership. Read more.

In the Know: Updates in the Law

McIntyre's Civil Alert
Monty A. McIntyre, Esq. | Relentless Optimist®
Mediator, Arbitrator & Referee
Publisher: McIntyre's Civil Alert 
McIntyre’s Civil Alert.™ California cases: 9-12-16 to 9-23-16

California Supreme Court

Real Property (CEQA)

Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo Community College District (2016) _ Cal.4th _ , 2016 WL 4978435: The California Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeal’s decision affirming the trial court’s decision granting a writ petition ordering respondent to refrain from taking further action adversely affecting the physical environment at a building complex pending respondent’s full compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Read more.

Update on Ethics

From Ethics Lawyer David Cameron Carr: Experienced Counsel and Representation In Legal Ethics and State Bar Matters.  His monthly newsletter is published once per month. Welcome to the Lawyer Ethics Newsletter for September 2016!

Legislature Adjourns Without Passing State Bar Fee Bill

The California Legislature adjourned on August 31, 2016, without passing a bill authorizing the State Bar of California to assess its fees from members for 2017.  The Assembly and the State Senate disagreed on reform measures in the Assembly Bill that were also opposed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.  Those reform measures would have changed the governance of the State Bar Board of Trustees to a majority of non-lawyer public members and created a task force to study so called “disunification” of the State Bar, separating its mandatory government regulatory functions from its voluntary trade association functions.  Following the adjournment, the State Bar announced that it would be asking the California Supreme Court to order an special assessment of fees from members to keep State Bar operations going. Read more.

Tip on Marketing and Writing

Someone once said, utilize your skill set to grow your law practice influence and clientele. Writing for blogs, journals, and websites will absolutely grow your influence, exposure, and clientele. If you can write, find ways to get your thoughts, legal insights, and words into the public sphere. Make the time and use that time to practice writing to grow your knowledge, exposure, and clientele.

Section Publications

The Practitioner (formerly known as Big News for Solo & Small Firms)

Dear Members: Our Section Magazine, The Practitioner (formerly known as Big News for Solo & Small Firms), is back as a quarterly publication. If you are a Section member, you should have been receiving our new and improved magazine. We are currently accepting articles. Please contact our new Editor-in-Chief Jeremy M. Evans at:

Jeremy M. Evans

Practice Books Available for Purchase

The California Guide to Opening and Managing a Law Office

The California Guide to Opening and Managing a Law OfficePublished by The State Bar of California

As a sole practitioner or the head of a small firm, you must act as so much more than just CEO; you also must also wear the hats of Chief Financial Officer, Human Resources Director, Chief Technology Officer, and more. READ MORE

The California Guide to Growing and Managing a Law Office

The California Guide to Growing and Managing a Law OfficePublished by The State Bar of California

Growing a law practice can be a lawyer’s most rewarding and challenging professional experience. The goal of this book, is to make it less challenging and more rewarding. READ MORE

Ongoing Opportunities for Self-Study and Participatory MCLE Credit

Webinar Replay: Top Bankruptcy Issues for Litigators

Thursday, December 15, 2016, 12 noon - 1 p.m.

This programs 1 hour participatory MCLE credit and 1 hour legal specialization credit in Bankruptcy Law. You must register in advance to participate.

This webinar will provide an overview of the following selected issues in the bankruptcy context: 

  1. Multi-party and compressed timeline aspects of bankruptcy litigation – litigation in bankruptcy litigation often involves diverse stakeholders beyond the traditional plaintiff and defendant, each with different interests and goals.  In addition, bankruptcy litigation is often conducted on a compressed timeline, with adversary proceedings (lawsuits within a bankruptcy case), including discovery, depositions, and evidentiary hearings, often being resolved within months or even weeks.  The webinar will provide an overview of these dynamics in bankruptcy and their implications. 
  2. The effect of a bankruptcy filing and the “automatic stay” injunction – when a party files for bankruptcy, the so-called “automatic stay” automatically enjoins parties from attempting to collect debts from the debtor.  This injunction extends to any pending lawsuits.  This webinar will examine the scope of the injunction and parties’ ability to seek relief from the automatic stay.
  3. Bankruptcy’s procedural and evidentiary distinctions – the webinar will als cover: (a) specific procedural rules applicable to adversary proceedings and contested matters in bankruptcy; and (b) distinctions in the application of the rules of evidence in bankruptcy. 
  4. Bankruptcy discovery and bankruptcy-specific discovery tools – the webinar will provide an overview of discovery in bankruptcy, including bankruptcy-specific Rule 2004 examinations, which give interested parties a broad right to examine “any entity” as relating to the debtor, its estate, or the debtor’s right to a discharge.
  5. The limits of bankruptcy court’s jurisdiction and authority – the constitutional authority of bankruptcy courts, as non-Article III courts, to issue final judgments with respect to certain causes of action was called into question by the Stern v. Marshall Supreme Court decision.  This webinar will also examine the developments and current status of bankruptcy courts’ jurisdiction and authority to issue final judgments in the wake of the Supreme Court’s pronouncements on the issue.

Speaker: Jose Raul Alcantar Villagran

Webinar Replay: The Ethical and Practical Considerations of Co-Counsel Relationships

Tuesday, December 20, 2016, 12 noon - 1 p.m.

This programs 1 hour participatory MCLE credit in Legal Ethics. You must register in advance to participate.

This presentation will detail the practical and legal issues with co-counseling relationships, including:

  • The practical benefits and drawbacks of co-counseling relationships;
  • Duties to clients before and during co-counseling relationship;
  • Requirements when dividing fees among co-counsel; and
  •  “Of Counsel” relationships.

Speaker: Mark Punzalan

Webinar Reply: Substance Abuse and Solo Practice: Tools, Resources, and Strategies to Help You Avoid the Cycle of Substance Abuse

Thursday, January 5, 2017, 12 noon - 1:05 p.m.

This programs 1 hour participatory MCLE credit in Competency Issues. You must register in advance to participate.

Solo practitioners are superbly situated to develop, maintain, and for a time to hide alcohol and substance abuse.  Working in isolation on a project basis affords the solo attorney both the time and camouflage necessary to engage in the strongly repetitive cycle that begins with a bender, leads to brief recovery, then to a mad dash to meet looming deadlines, and begins again with another bender.  California attorneys are fortunate to have a number of resources designed to help them end this cycle.  This course will discuss resources, tools, and practices that can help you to avoid being trapped in the cycle of substance abuse.

Speaker: Michael Dillingham

Webinar Replay: Recognition and Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession

Thursday, January 19, 2017, 12 noon - 1 p.m.

This programs 1 hour participatory MCLE credit in Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession and Society. You must register in advance to participate.

Are you ever frustrated with opposing counsel for unethical practices in negotiation or mediation? This program will cover the ethical responsibilities when engaging in negotiations and mediations to achieve a fair settlement.

Speakers: Christine Goodman and Myer Sankary

Webinar Replay: Attorney-Client Privilege & Work Product Doctrine - Refresher

Monday, January 23, 2017, 12 noon - 1 p.m.

This programs 1 hour participatory MCLE credit in Legal Ethics. You must register in advance to participate.

Dedicate an hour to a refresher discussing attorney-client privilege and the work product doctrine, including practice tips to preserve these protections for your clients.  Not just for litigators.

Speaker: Carolyn M. Lee

Webinar Replay: Bias in the Legal Profession

Wednesday, January 25, 2017, 12 noon - 1:05 p.m.

This programs 1 hour participatory MCLE credit in Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession and Society. You must register in advance to participate.

Learn how to avoid bias for yourself, your firm and your clients This CLE will help you and your firm learn to make employment decisions in an unbiased manner. This CLE course will teach how bias can translate into legal causes of action and show how these lawsuits have affected law firms. Learn what to avoid, what actions to take, and how to make sure that our profession creates a fair and just playing field for all.

Speaker: Beth K. Whittenbury

Webinar Replay: Lawyering with Skill & Perspective While Surrounded by Conflict: Avoiding Substance Abuse in the Law

Monday, January 30, 2017, 12 noon - 1 p.m.

This program offers 1 hour participatory MCLE credit in Competency Issues. You must register in advance to participate.

Lawyers are more likely than many other professionals to engage in substance abuse. This webinar looks at the suffering inherent in practicing law and that drives us to abuse drugs, alcohol and other substances, and then offers concrete tools for successfully managing that suffering without resorting to substance abuse.

Speaker: Judi Cohen

CLE CalendarCalendar of Upcoming Events

A good source for webinars is the CLE Calendar in the California Bar Journal, showing all of the upcoming webinars from all of the Sections, as well as in-person programs.

Thank You for Being a Section Member - Here's 6 Hours MCLE in Legal Ethics!

We're very grateful for your membership in the Section. As a token of that, we're offering six hours of self-study MCLE credit in the area of Legal Ethics. The programs are posted in our Member's Only Area.

Simply watch the programs and read the accompanying materials, and keep track of having done so. You can report this to the State Bar when it's time to demonstrate your compliance with the MCLE requirements.

Online CLE for Participatory Credit

Online CLEView Solo and Small Firm Section programs over the internet for participatory MCLE credit. Choose from hundreds of hours of official State Bar of California MCLE programs. To See Solo and Small Firm Section programs.

Self-Study CLE

Self-Study ArticlesOnline articles from Section publications are available for self-study MCLE credit. Each article is worth 1 hour of self-study credit. It's easy ... read an article and then take a 20 question quiz. The answers and justifications are available immediately upon submitting the quiz. You can earn up to 12.5 hours of self-study credit per reporting period. See Solo and Small Firm Section self-study articles.

Section Member Benefits from CEB!

As dues-paying members of the Solo & Small Firm Section, you are entitled to some special benefits from CEB. They include: READ MORE

Contact Us

Solo and Small Firm Section
The State Bar of California
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1639
FAX 415-538-2368

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