Firm News

Looking Forward To Another Great Year With The Contra Costa County Bar Association


My employment law seminar at the Contra Costa County Bar Association was a success!

On January 25, 2013, I was installed (sworn in) for my second year as a Board Member of the Contra Costa County Bar Association (CCCBA). The CCCBA has been considered one of the premier bar associations in the nation for quite some time due to a dedicated staff, Executive Director, and an active community of attorneys and volunteers.

I also had the opportunity to kick off the new year for the CCCBA’s Employment Law Section by co-presenting an Employment Law Update seminar to other attorneys in the CCCBA. I provided information regarding changes to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the Fair Employment and Housing Act, issues with social media in the workplace, changes to various Labor Codes, and discussed steps employers should take to remain complaint with new employment laws. We had a great audience and exchange of view points and tips for practitioners.

I look forward to another great year with The Contra Costa County Bar Association!

Significant Changes To the California Fair Employment And Housing Act in 2013


Significant Changes To the California Fair Employment And Housing Act in 2013

California Department of Fair Employment and Housing

In a compromise to deal with California’ budget issues, Governor Brown signed a budget trailer bill (S.B. 1038) that significantly changes the way the employment (and housing) complaints will be handled by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). Recently, Bloomberg BNA asked me to write about and analyze some of these changes. The most significant include:

  • The elimination of the Fair Employment and Housing Commission
  • The creation of the Fair Employment and Housing Council (whose primary role is rulemaking)
  • The authorization for the DFEH to file cases directly in court, and to recover reasonable attorney’s fees and costs when it prevails in court, and
  • The establishment of mandatory dispute resolution before the DFEH proceeds to court.

My attached White Paper provides a more complete description of these changes, and analysis of what it means for California employers. This White Paper was distributed to to subscribers of Bloomberg BNA’s “HR Library” and “HR Decision Support Network,” but I have attached it to this email free of charge for clients, colleagues and friends.

White Paper: New for 2013: Significant Enforcement Changes to California’s FEHA. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have questions about how to defend your company within the new DFEH framework.


Inspiring Stories From Local High School Students


Inspiring Stories From Local High School Students

Costa County Bar Association works with high school students who participate (thrive) in their High School Law Academies.

Contra Costa

Last night, I was lucky enough to hear the personal stories of three high school students who participate (thrive) in their respective High School Law Academies here in Contra Costa County. They come from economically hard-hit areas of our county (Richmond and Antioch), yet they have blossomed into excellent, articulate students and the future leaders of our community.

I’m proud that the Contra Costa County Bar Association has supported and worked with these law academies for so long, and last night, honored them by focusing its annual Gala Reception to raise funds for the law academies at Richmond High School, DeAnza High School, and Deer Valley High School. Click on the links above to learn more about each law academy and how lawyers, judges, court personnel, law enforcement, teachers and many others are helping our community.

Helping Other Solo and Small Law Firms


Helping Other Solo and Small Law Firms

Small law firms can provide a great value to their clients.

I had the pleasure of moderating and participating on a panel yesterday regarding becoming a solo practitioner. The discussion was focused on starting out, malpractice insurance issues, fee agreements and engagement letters, client communications, and many other interesting topics and obstacles (real or perceived) to going solo.

It was a great opportunity to hear about some of the ups and downs others have faced, and to discuss resources for small firms/solos. And, it was refreshing to be reminded about how the solo network can really provide much more value to clients than the traditional large firm/large fee structure.

This panel was the fourth in a series of Law Practice Management presentations sponsored by the Contra Costa County Bar Association. The next, and final gathering is set for October 16, 2012 titled “Business Etiquette For Success” and will include wine and appetizers!

Social Media Privacy in the Workplace: Is There Any?


Social Media Privacy in the Workplace: Is There Any?

Can you expect any social media privacy in your workplace?

In my July 2012 Social Media and Employment Law contribution to Windmill Networking’s Blog, I examine the changing face of what really is a “reasonable expectation of privacy” in the workplace. I refer to recent observations made by Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit regarding how society and technology today are re-shaping what we all think of as truly private.

I also offer tips for employers and employees alike regarding workplace privacy issues regarding social media and use of employer-provided technology. For more information, please read my full post titled “Social Media Privacy in The Workplace: Is There Any?