Solo and Small Firm Section

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News from the Section

Message from the Chair

By Megan Zavieh

This is a very exciting time for the Solo and Small Firm Section.  Along with the other Sections of the State Bar of California, we are embarking on an adventure to form a new voluntary bar association comprised of the Sections.  The new association, the name of which is yet to be announced, will complement the public regulatory agency which will remain known as the State Bar of California.  The association’s mission will be to continue the work of the Sections outside the constraints of a public agency, while the State Bar will regulate admissions and discipline.  Operating outside the confines of a state agency is very exciting for us, as it will open up opportunities to bring you resources that previously were difficult to create for regulatory reasons. Read more.

In the Know: Updates in the Law

Real Estate and Land Use [selected case reviews]

By Nancy B Goldstein
Westlake Village

2017 Cal. LEXIS 2327                                                                               

The City of Newport Beach (the City) approved a project for the development of a parcel known as Banning Ranch.  Banning Ranch Conservancy (BRC) opposed the project and sought a writ of mandate to set aside the approval.  It alleged two grounds for relief:  (1) the environmental impact report (EIR) was inadequate, and (2) the City violated a general plan provision by failing to work with the California Coastal Commission (Coastal Commission) to identify wetlands and habitats.  The trial court found the EIR sufficient, but granted BRC relief on the ground that the general plan required the City to cooperate with the Coastal Commission before approving the project. Read more.

Update on Ethics

Obamacare, Trumpcare, Ryancare:  What Does It All Mean for Solo & Small Firm Lawyers?

President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) just a little over 7 years ago.  Ever since, Republicans in Congress have been promising to repeal—or repeal and replace—the law.  In March, Speaker Ryan introduced the American Health Care Act (“AHCA”)—the latest proposal by the GOP to revamp the ACA.   Had it passed, the AHCA would have altered the current state of health coverage for most segments of the population, including those with individual, small group, and large group coverage, as well as Medicaid recipients.  In the end, however, without sufficient votes to pass the AHCA in the House, the bill was pulled and no vote took place.  The ACA remains “the law of the land.”  Is this the end of the story, however?  Probably not. Read more.

Calling All Solo and Small Firm Attorneys!

Nominate a worthy candidate for Solo and Small Firm Section Attorney of the Year Award! The nomination deadline is June 30.

Nominate a Worthy Candidate Who Has:

• Worked diligently to increase  the public's confidence in the legal profession
• Demonstrated leadership and dedication to the legal profession
• Contributed to the betterment of the  practice of law
• Devoted significant service  to the public and legal community
• Exhibited exceptional accomplishments in the practice of law
• Contributed to the positive image  of the legal profession

Award Presented at The 2017 State Bar Section Convention, Solo Attorney of the Year Award Reception

August 19, 2017 5:00 p.m. The Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina

Nominations Deadline: June 30, 2017

For more information on eligibility requirements and to submit nominations, visit:

Interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact Sabrina L. Green at: or Angelica O. Sciencio at: angelica@scienciolaw.corp

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

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.

On-line Billing and Payment for 2017 Fees

The State Bar will be launching  a new on-line billing and payment application for 2017 fees.  Paper billing statements will not be sent to members. Instead, statements will be available online through My State Bar Profile. Individual members will continue to be able to make payments online through My State Bar Profile. Attorneys should make sure that the email they have provided for State Bar communications is up to date.

Law firms and agencies will be able to use the State Bar’s new Agency Billing system where they can calculate billing costs and make payments for a group of attorneys.

Please be sure your Section Membership Fees are included in your payment.

Once an attorney’s fees are paid, a paper bar card will be conveniently available for download through My State Bar Profile. Plastic bar cards will still be made available, but only upon request and can also be ordered through My State Bar Profile.

The online billing system makes it easier than ever for individual attorneys and agencies to help make the justice system available to everyone.  When paying your bill, please consider making a contribution in support of legal services for low income Californians.  Your support is a lifeline that can help prevent homelessness, keep kids in school, protect elders from fraud and abuse, and connect veterans to services, among other critical legal assistance.

It is anticipated that the on-line agency and billing application will be available through the State Bar’s website by mid-December.

Go to for more information, or contact Member Records and Compliance at 1-888-800-3400.

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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