California Contractors Can Soon Do Business as LLCs

Newly chaptered SB 392 authorizes the issuance of a contractor’s license to a limited liability company (LLC), mirroring the provisions regulating contractor’s licenses issued to a corporation. This brings California into conformity with most states, which allow a LLC to hold a contractor’s license. Continue reading

Chelsea’s Law Goes Into Effect: Coming Down Hard on the Worst Child Molesters

As it says in his press release, Governor Schwarzenegger signed Chelsea’s Law, effective immediately, “to better protect California children from violent sexual predators.” Continue reading

Profile in Practice: Alexander H. Lubarsky

As part of CEB’s commitment to bringing together California’s legal community, our blog will post a short interview with one of your fellow attorneys.

This week, we profile Alex Lubarsky:

CEB: What is your practice area and how did you choose it?

Alex: My firm started as an immigration firm handling deportation defense because I had lived for a period of time in Northern Argentina and learned Spanish. We now offer criminal defense and debtor-side bankruptcy and have grown in the Asian and Russian communities due to attorneys and paralegals who are natives from those areas climbing aboard with us. I am a tech geek and have a concurrent career as an electronic discovery consultant.

CEB: What CEB book or program have you found most helpful in your practice and why?

Alex: California Criminal Law and Procedure – it has clarified what was a new and nebulous area of law. I study it before almost every appearance in the criminal courts. The forms manual companion has saved me (and my client) more than once. Continue reading

Don’t Check Your Ethics at the Virtual Door

Law firm and solo attorney websites can be effective ways to reach potential clients, but they also carry risks of ethical violations. To avoid these risks, California attorneys should consider both national and state ethics rules (i.e., Cal Rules of Prof Cond 1-400 and Bus & P C §§6157-6159.2) when designing their websites and corresponding with clients or prospective clients online. Continue reading

Privacy for Employees’ Personal Emails — It’s All in the Policy

Do you or your employees check personal email from work computers? Probably so, as most of us do it at least occasionally. Are those personal emails actually private? The law in California is clear that employers can limit or even completely prohibit personal and Internet use on company computers. See TBG Ins. Servs. Corp. v Superior Court (2002) 96 CA4th 443, 452, 117 CR2d 155. But what if the employer does not prohibit employees from making personal use of its computers — does the employee have any expectation of privacy in emails sent from his or her personal email account while on the company computer? Continue reading

Good News, Bad News for Foreclosed Homeowners

Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law a bill with new antideficiency protection for foreclosed homeowners, but vetoed another. Interestingly, the governor acted contrary to expectations — the bill he vetoed was widely expected to pass, while the one he signed was considered a sleeper. Continue reading

Expert Advice: An Expert’s Tips on What to Look for in an Expert Witness

Consciously or not, attorneys hold informal expectations of the experts they work with; these expectations concern both the expert witness’ professional approach and personality. Although informal expectations are not included in retainer agreements, they can significantly impact both the quality of the relationship attorneys develop with their experts as well as the outcome of the case. Continue reading

Profile in Practice: James C. Martin

As part of CEB’s commitment to bringing together California’s legal community, our blog will post a short interview with one of your fellow attorneys.

This week, we profile Jim Martin:

CEB: What is your practice area and how did you choose it?

Jim: My principal practice area involves all aspects of civil appeals and writs in both state and federal courts. I also regularly participate in the strategy, briefing, and argument on the procedural and substantive issues that arise in complex litigation, including class actions. I embraced the appellate specialty because it emphasized research, writing, analysis, and argument and because it gave me the opportunity to work with some very bright and creative lawyers in my firm, each of whom taught me a lot. Continue reading

10 Tips for Exercising Peremptory Challenges

Sadly, there is no strategy that can ensure selection of the best possible jury for a client. Because so many uncertainties exist, some attorneys may be tempted to accept the first 12 jurors without exercising a single peremptory challenge. On the other hand, other attorneys might exercise peremptory challenges based on intuition or a “hunch.” Here are ten suggestions to help you navigate the tricky area of exercising peremptory challenges. Continue reading

Limited Liability Partnerships Take Note: The Forms They Are A-Changin’

Governor Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 1008 on September 30, 2010 (effective immediately), which adds to the short list of licensed professionals allowed to form limited liability partnerships (LLPs) in California. Licensed engineers and land surveyors are now authorized to form/register a LLP (until January 1, 2016). The relevant LLP forms were revised to include these professions.

In addition, California’s Secretary of State has revised several LLP forms effective October 2010 to be single-sided and include simplified language, minimal filing instructions, and a link to a new Limited Liability Partnership Filing Tips webpage

For more information on LLPs, check out Advising California Partnerships, chaps 9-10 (3d ed Cal CEB 1999) and Selecting and Forming Business Entities, chap 7 (2d ed Cal CEB 2007). On licensing of engineers and land surveyors, go to Professional Licensing: Disciplinary Practice in California, chap 14 (Cal CEB 2008).

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