Current News and Events from the State Bar of California Business Law Section.
Here is your May News from the Business Law Section (“BLS”):
In the meantime, BLS leadership is planning for the future, taking a long-term view, reaching out to engage young lawyers who are interested in pursuing a business law career path. Both the BLS and the California Young Lawyers Association have set up liaison programs and relationships. In addition, the BLS is developing associate membership opportunities to connect new lawyers with the BLS and its 15 substantive law Standing Committees. For more information on the 15 substantive law standing committees, visit http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Attorneys/Sections/Business-Law/Standing-Committees.
Both groups are dedicated to the mission of developing strategies for increasing young lawyer involvement and participation in the Sections, and developing programs and services to assist young lawyers in their professional and leadership advancement, all to create and manage programs that benefit the public. As the Sections and CYLA separate from the public agency State Bar, both the CYLA and the BLS leadership agree that growing and enhancing our symbiotic liaison programs and opportunities for participation by young lawyers in the substantive work of the Section are essential to the future of all Sections and more importantly advances the public’s interests by improving access to competent legal counsel.
The BLS is soliciting CYLA members and other California young lawyers to join the BLS and to engage with our standing committees as associate members (given the minimum five-year practice requirements to join standing committees as full members) and thereby give young lawyers direct opportunities to participate directly in the important work of the BLS substantive law standing committees, helping to produce work product ranging from substantive law education programs, cutting edge publications and legislative analysis and proposals. The BLS has a long history of mentoring and offering opportunities to young lawyers, which will become a renewed focus in the coming year in concert with CYLA’s liaison initiative. Both the BLS and the CYLA will be collaborating going forward to expand their respective memberships through outreach programs to underrepresented communities in California, including through minority bar associations and other organizations throughout the state, to achieve a shared goal of serving California’s diverse population. For more information on the mission of the CYLA visit, http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Attorneys/Sections/CYLA#berman.
California young lawyers interested in offering their talents and energy to the BLS and its standing committees should contact BLS Young Lawyer Liaison Coordinator, Steven J. Williamson at firstname.lastname@example.org, or me, Jim Hill, BLS Chair, at email@example.com, or contact CYLA Chair, Kyle W. Nageotte, at firstname.lastname@example.org. All BLS members and CYLA members are invited to participate at the several BLS events at the Convention of State Bar Sections August 18-19, 2017 in San Diego, California, including at our annual BLS Breakfast Meeting (Saturday, August 19, 8-9 a.m.) and at our BLS Standing Committees Reception and networking event (also Saturday, August 19, 5-7 p.m.) at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina.
Jim Hill, Chair of the Business Law Section
The State Bar of California announces the launch of its new website: www.calbar.ca.gov. The website redesign and overhaul comes at a time of ongoing reforms for the State Bar, and aims to provide greater accessibility to the public, attorneys and applicants. With the agency’s primary mission focused on public protection, the new website provides easier access to attorney discipline information and legal resources. In addition, the site is mobile-optimized to reflect the reality that many Californians access the web primarily through mobile devices.
In a presentation entitled, “Pioneering San Diego’s Craft Beer Industry: Challenges and Rewards for Doing Business in California,” Cramer will be speaking on both the trials and rewards of doing business in California from an entrepreneur’s perspective. Chris Cramer is CEO and Co-Founder of the Karl Strauss Brewing Company. Chris was related to Karl M. Strauss, the company’s original Master Brewer.
Along with his business partner, Matt Rattner, Chris helped launch Karl Strauss Brewing Company in 1989. For the last 29 years, Chris has held a variety of leadership roles in the company, including serving as the company’s President from its founding in 1988 until 2004. He currently serves as CEO and is focused on defining long-term strategies for growth and identifying growth opportunities and resources for the company.
In addition to his work with Karl Strauss, Chris sits on the board for the California Craft Brewers Association and is the immediate Past Chair of the California Restaurant Association. Chris is a community activist and he personally championed many business and legislative reforms that helped pave the way for San Diego to become the world’s capital for craft beer. Chris has a Bachelor’s degree in History from Stanford University with distinction and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
On May 19, 2017, the Insolvency Law Committee (ILC) hosted a reception at the California Bankruptcy Forum’s 29th Annual Insolvency Conference in Coronado. The reception is an annual event sponsored by the ILC for members of the bench and bar attending the California Bankruptcy Forum conference. This year, well over 100 people attended the ILC’s reception, including the Hon. Alex Kozinski (United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit), Hon. Sheri Bluebond (Chief Judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, C.D. Cal), Hon. Scott Clarkson (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, C.D. Cal), Hon. Martin Barash (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, C.D. Cal) and Hon. Theodor Albert (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, C.D. Cal). The reception took place on a sun-soaked patio overlooking the water, and inside for those preferring the shade, with a tropical ensemble playing music in the background. The ILC would like to thank all of the members of the bench and bar who attended, as well as the sponsors of the reception: the State Bar of California Business Law Section, Brutzkus Gubner Rozansky Seror Weber LLP, Duane Morris, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP, Alston + Bird LLP, Macdonald Fernandez LLP, Binder & Malter LLP and Sullivan Hill Lewin Rez & Engel.
Earlier in the day, the ILC held an in-person meeting at the conference attended by members and advisors of the ILC from across the state. The in-person meetings foster collaboration and networking between the ILC’s members and advisors. The ILC meeting featured updates on pending and anticipated legislation, including venue reform and dissolution of insolvent corporations, updates on outreach to the community and consideration of applications of attorneys interested in serving on the ILC. The ILC holds two in-person meetings during the year, one at the California Bankruptcy Forum conference, and the other at the State Bar Annual Meeting (this year at the inaugural Section Convention in San Diego, to be held on August 18).
The ILC would also like to congratulate Tom Phinney, advisor to the Business Law Section and a former ILC co-Chair, on his role as President of the California Bankruptcy Forum and on a tremendously successful conference this year. As in past years, the ILC’s members and advisors enjoyed leadership, organizational, and speaking positions at the conference. In addition to Tom Phinney serving as President, current and past ILC members and advisors held the following positions: Mick Lauter (Conference Co-Chair), Michael Gomez (Young Insolvency Professional Co-Chair), Michael O’Halloran (Consumer Co-Chair), Corey Weber (Program Book Co-Chair), Peter Califano (moderator and tennis chair), Alan Vanderhoff (producer), Radmila Fulton (panelist), Rob Harris (golf chair) and Hon. Neil Bason (panelist).
For further information about the ILC, please contact ILC Co-Chairs Reno Fernandez (Reno@MacFern.com) and Asa Hami (email@example.com).
Financial Institutions Committee Co-Vice Chair Mike Slattery and FIC Executive Committee liaison Monique Jewett-Brewster will present a webinar on July 27. They will discuss recent California appellate cases that affect real estate secured loans. Stay tuned for more details to follow next month. In addition, Mike Slattery and Andrew Noble, Chair of the Consumer Financial Services Committee, co-authored an article on the California Finance Lenders Law which will be part of the upcoming Business Law News Annual review edition.
In recent weeks, the Corporations Law Committee circulated a number of eBulletins, which were authored by Committee members. Additionally, the Committee has submitted two comment letters to the Department of Business Oversight regarding proposed rules.
Sunna Choi wrote an eBulletin about how to determine beneficial ownership of pledgees under Section 13 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. To read the eBulletin, click here.
Evan Pickering’s eBulletin covered a recent California court decision stating that indirect purchasers of securities could assert fraud claims against a seller under the California Corporations Code. To read the eBulletin, click here.
Further, Julie Ryan, an advisor to the Committee and partner at the Acceleron Law Group LLP and Associate Professor of Lawyering Skills and Associate Director of LL.M. Legal Writing and Advocacy Program at the USC Gould School of Law, has spearheaded two comment letters sent by the Committee to the Department of Business Oversight in July 2016 and April 2017, in response to the DBO’s proposed rules implementing AB 667, codified as Section 25206.1 of the California Corporations Code, which created a new exemption from the broker-dealer requirements for certain individuals acting as finders.
On Tuesday, June 13, 2017, the Agribusiness Committee will present a free, day-long program entitled “Genetic Engineering in Agriculture—Science Policy and Law.” Lunch will be provided, as well as 5.5 hours of MCLE credit (sponsored by Downey Brand LLP). The program will take place at UC Davis from 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) - Ballroom A at 232 ARC, One Shields Avenue, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
This is a unique opportunity to learn from: (1) leading university researchers about the science and technology of genetic engineering of plants and animals, their work, and what the future may present; (2) Ag industry leaders on the issues presented in the use of this technology; (3) experts on the federal regulatory approval policies and procedures; (4) experts on the intellectual property issues presented in using the new technologies and the patenting of the products of genetic engineering; and (5) labeling experts on the new federal labeling law. The FREE program is presented in cooperation with the Departments of Animal Science, Plant Sciences, and Plant Pathology of the University of California, Davis. For questions, Contact Program Chairs Stephen Meyer at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tom Marrs at email@example.com or Dennis Albiani at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
To register, Please go to our Registration Link. Driving directions and parking information are located at the Registration Link. Program Speakers Include the following (organized by topic):
Intellectual Property Issues
Regulatory and Labeling Issues
At the All Bar Sections Convention in San Diego this August, the Partnerships and Limited Liability Companies Committee is planning to hold a social meeting for its members, and anyone else that would like to join them.
The date and time of the social and networking opportunity are yet to be determined, but potentially the PLLC will meet before dinner on Friday night (August 18). The PLLC Chair, Teri Shugart, stated, “This would be a great opportunity for anyone who would like to know more about our committee, and especially to find out how much fun we are to work with!” Questions? Send an email to Teri Shugart, Chair, PLLC Committee (Teri@terishugart.com) or Soyeun Choi, Vice-Chair (email@example.com). The PLLC will post final information on the place and time as the Convention date approaches.
While banking tends to help people save for rainy days, water banking helps when that rain comes fewer and far between. More and more, the significance of effectively managing precious water resources in the face of expanding demand is calling for creative and innovative solutions to stretch the capacity of an overtaxed water management system.
On April 28, the Agribusiness Law Committee traveled to Kern County to get a firsthand look at the water banking capital of California, where various water management agencies are taking advantage of their unique locations to offer water storage solutions. Kern County has significant geographic advantages for water banking as it is the point at which the State Water Project’s California Aqueduct and the Central Valley Water Project’s Friant-Kern Canal converge with the Kern River. Geologically speaking, areas in Kern County also have the right combination of soils to allow for percolation and groundwater recharge. Somewhat ironically, these cutting edge solutions to California’s water storage problems are emanating from the same location where the legal aspects of California’s mixed water rights system of riparian and appropriative rights all began with the case of Lux v. Haggin (1886) 69 Cal. 255.
“Groundwater banking” refers to the practice of storing excess water primarily through in-lieu and direct ground water recharge methods. “In-lieu recharge” means storing water by utilizing surface water “in-lieu” of what would otherwise be used by pumping groundwater. This method allows an equal amount of water to be maintained in the groundwater basin for use at a later time when excess surface water is not available. “Direct recharge” means storing water using a system of ponds that allow water to percolate directly to storage in the groundwater basin.
The group first convened at Semitropic Water Storage District where Jason Gianquinto, of Semitropic, gave the group a presentation about its “in-lieu” water banking system. Established in 1958, Semitropic Water Storage District covers an area of more than 220,000 acres and started its groundwater banking project in the early 1990s. Semitropic mostly utilizes in-lieu recharge methods to store surplus water. Semitropic utilizes a complex system of canals and pumps to be able to maneuver water all across the basin and provide access to surface waters by those who need it, so that they can avoid the necessity of turning on the groundwater pumps.
The group then traveled to see the Kern Water Bank Authority (“KWBA”), which is located on a large, undeveloped section of the Kern River’s sandy alluvial fan and covers nearly 30 square miles. Along the route led by KWBA’s Jonathan Parker, it was explained that the Kern Water Bank utilizes a massive system of direct recharge percolation ponds to store water for later use.
During wet years, the KWBA project restores once prominent seasonal wetlands to the area, creating habitat as part of a nationally recognized native plant and wildlife habitat conservation program. Thousands of birds of a variety of species could be seen utilizing every part of the recharge ponds for nesting and feeding. The group was also quite impressed with the large carp wallowing and feeding in the oxygen-rich flows in the canals, which are experiencing an influx of fresh water from the Kern river for the first time since 2011. The group enjoyed a picnic lunch along the bucolic ponds and canals while listening to the legal and regulatory aspects of water banking, presented by Ernest Conant of Young Wooldridge, LLP, who is outside legal counsel for both Semitropic Water Storage District and KWBA. This story contributed by Ryan S. Commons & Daniel Stein, Baker Manock & Jensen, PC.
The Insurance Law Committee held an in-person meeting on May 4, 2017, at the offices of Greenberg Traurig in Sacramento, CA. The guest presenters, Mark Rakich, Chief Consultant to the Assembly Insurance Committee and Hugh Slayden, Consultant to the Senate Committee on Insurance spoke to the committee regarding recent developments in insurance legislation. The meeting was attended by local committee members, as well as those located in Southern California and the Bay Area. Also in attendance were the committee’s newest members: Jean O’Sullivan, Amanda Gualderama, Jason Komorsky and Beverly Brand. The Committee thanks Mr. Rakich and Mr. Slayden for their time and the offices of Greenberg Traurig for the use of their facility.
On April 17, 2017, the Insolvency Law Committee (ILC) published a judicial profile of the Honorable Maureen Tighe (U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge - Central District of California). The judicial profile is the seventh in a series of profiles of Ninth Circuit bankruptcy judges published by the ILC. Tighe’s profile includes information regarding Judge Tighe’s views on evidence, testimony through declarations, tentative rulings, practice tips and encouragement for attorneys to be “part of something larger than themselves.”
Judge Tighe has dedicated significant time on issues involving pro se litigants. In particular, she focuses on combatting consumer bankruptcy fraud, such as the malfeasance of “petition preparers” or other individuals who claim to help pro se litigants, and then charge substantial sums for claimed services, but provide little to no actual value. As the Judge explains, “I wanted to be transparent and provide access to all, and I wanted to approach the problem creatively. Access to the court means stopping fraud. The amount of consumer fraud is ridiculous, such as people taking money to do nothing meaningful.” She sees scams marketed to stop foreclosure, identity theft, and people taking advantage of non-English speaking communities.
The issues involving pro se litigants are issues that involve not only the individuals, but also the court system as a whole. Those attorneys interested in volunteering to assist pro se litigants can find out more on the Bankruptcy Court’s website: http://www.cacb.uscourts.gov/pro-bono-opportunities.
CEB is currently offering discounts to BLS Members, including 10% off the price of a wide selection of CEB print and OnLAW publications as well as savings on section dues. For more information on these and other CEB discounts, click HERE.
The Business Law News (BLN) is seeking articles of general interest to business law practitioners for its next publication. With approximately 8,200 members, the BLS has a wide-ranging audience. The BLN is not only circulated to BLS members in print every quarter, it is also available to BLS members on the internet at www.calbar.ca.gov. Please submit your articles to the new editor-in-chief, Kenneth Minesinger (firstname.lastname@example.org).
A subscription to the BLN is one of the most significant membership benefits of the BLS. Publishing in the BLN is a terrific opportunity both to influence the discourse in the areas in which you practice and to market yourself and your skill set. Now is your chance to participate!
You can find the BLN’s submission guidelines HERE. Finally, have you been interested in getting involved in the BLS but don’t know where to start? BLN is now seeking enthusiastic section members to join its Editorial Board. You can find more information about the BLN Editorial Board HERE and the application to join BLN HERE.
The 15 BLS Standing Committees publish eBulletins announcing developments in their respective areas of law and upcoming events open to BLS members. Click HERE to sign up to receive eBulletins from any BLS Standing Committee completely free of charge.
We all know that social media can help drive new business. Did you know that the BLS maintains a presence on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook where it posts regular updates about new cases, new regulations, key legislative developments, and news and events from the BLS’s Standing Committees? What you may not know is that you can not only send items to the BLS to post or tweet, but also suggest items from your own social media pages for the BLS to re-post, re-tweet, or like. Doing so expands the reach of what you have to say to everyone who likes or follows the BLS on its various social media platforms, and may result in the BLS following you! Please submit your suggested items for consideration or direct any questions to BLS Social Media Coordinator, Dennis J. Wickham (email@example.com); BLS Vice-Chair of Member Services, Uzzi O. Raanan (firstname.lastname@example.org); or BLS Chair, James P. Hill (email@example.com), and join the ever expanding discussion!
Standing Committees continue to accept applications to fill vacant seats. Practitioners and other legal professionals who are members of the BLS and who have at least five years of experience are eligible to apply. Membership on a committee affords unique opportunities to participate in the creation of law in your practice area, to get to know and be known by other practitioners, to work with the recognized leaders in your field, and to stay on the cutting edge of developments and practice techniques. Membership is a rewarding experience that keeps one ahead of, and in touch with, business law developments. Most committees meet once a month, often by phone. A full list of the Standing Committee meeting dates for March are listed below. A description of the required commitment and application process, along with a link to the application, can be found HERE.
The BLS achieves its goals through the work of its 15 Standing Committees. You are invited to attend the regular monthly meeting of any BLS Standing Committees (see below for meeting dates). These monthly meetings provide attendees an excellent opportunity to chat with committee members and other lawyers with a similar expertise. Some committees even offer free MCLE credit! Please see the contact person listed below to RSVP or request more information. Follow us on Twitter @calbarbuslaw. Use a Standing Committee’s hashtag to search for tweets by that committee in its designated field and to re-tweet.
For a list of upcoming meeting dates and contact persons, see Standing Committee Meetings HERE.
Jennifer Duncan, Editor-in-Chief
Kristina Del Vecchio, Contributing Editor
Corey R. Weber, Contributing Editor
Dennis J. Wickham, Contributing Editor
Uzzi O. Raanan, BLS Vice Chair, Member Services
James P. Hill, BLS Chair
For contact information, see the Executive Committee Roster HERE.
To join the BLS and receive membership benefits (including an opportunity to earn 6 FREE MCLE Ethics Credits)