Contra Costa Lawyer - March 2018 - Women and the Law

Page 1

Contra Costa

Lawyer Volume 31, Number 2 | March 2018

l a u Eq ns a e M al u q E

I Got This

Women and the Law

Diplomas don’t grow on trees either With college tuition and fee hikes regularly outpacing inflation, it’s never too early to start saving for higher education costs. Together we can explore a variety of savings vehicles, including 529 plans, Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, and UGMA/UTMA accounts. Find a strategy that’s right for your family. Call when you’re ready to talk. The Novak Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors

Investment and Insurance Products: u NOT FDIC Insured u NO Bank Guarantee u MAY Lose Value Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Member SIPC, a registered broker-dealer and non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company. © 2013, 2016-2017 Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC. All rights reserved.

74025-v7 A1658

Perry A. Novak Senior Vice President - Investment Officer 2033 N. Main Street, Suite 600 Walnut Creek, CA 94596 Direct: (925) 746-7278 CA Insurance # 0A79397


Contra Costa  2018 BOARD of DIRECTORS James Wu President Wendy McGuire Coats President-Elect Oliver Greenwood Secretary Laura Ramsey Treasurer Philip Andersen Past President Gina Boer Steven Derby Mika Domingo David Erb Renée Welze Livingston David Marchiano

Ericka McKenna Nicole Mills Craig Nevin Dorian Peters Summer Selleck Qiana Washington

CCCBA   EXECUTIVE   DIRECTOR Theresa Hurley | 925.370.2548 | CCCBA main office 925.686.6900 |

Barbara Arsedo Carole Lucido

LRIS & Moderate Means Director Communications Director

Jennifer Comages Anne K. Wolf

Membership Director Education & Events Director

Emily Day

Fee Arbitration Program Director & Systems Administrator

Contra Costa Lawyer CO-EDITORS EDITORIAL BOARD Suzanne Boucher David Arietta

Lawyer Volume 31, Number 2| March 2018

The official publication of the

B   A   R        A   S   S   O   C   I   A   T   I   O   N

features There Are No Glass Ceilings When You Are the Architect, by Mika Domingo. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Show Up, Make Your Voice Heard, by Ariel B. Lee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Landmark Legislation for Women and Families Led by Women, by Mariko Yoshihara. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Moving from #metoo to #allofus: Stopping Sexual Harassment by Redefining Workplace Culture, by Wendy McGuire Coats and Sharlene Koonce. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 The Eerie Silence of #MeToo-in-the-law” The Gender Bias Impact, by Beth W. Mora. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 It’s Time to Harness the Power of your Network, by Suzette Z. Torres. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

925.933.1500 925.472.8000

Inga Miller Marcus Brown

925.402.2192 925.482.8950

BOARD LIAISON Leonard Marquez Nicole Mills 510.834.6600 925.351.3171 Beth Mora COURT LIAISON 925.820.8949 Stephen Nash Perry Novak

SPOTLIGHT – PRO BONO Lawyers for Family Justice Making a Difference for Survivors of Interpersonal Violence, by Natalie Oleas. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

925.957.5600 925.746.0245

DESIGN/ADVERTISING Samantha Sepehr Carole Lucido 925.287.3540 925.370.2542 Christina Weed PRINTING 925.953.2920 Modern Litho 800.456.5867

The Contra Costa Lawyer (ISSN 1063-4444) is published 12 times a year – six times online-only – by the Contra Costa County Bar Association (CCCBA), 2300 Clayton Road, Suite 520, Concord, CA 94520. Annual subscription of $25 is included in the membership dues. Periodical postage paid at Concord, CA. POSTMASTER: send address change to the Contra Costa Lawyer, 2300 Clayton Road, Suite 520, Concord, CA 94520. The Lawyer welcomes and encourages articles and letters from readers. Please send them to contracostalawyer@ The CCCBA reserves the right to edit articles and letters sent in for publication. All editorial material, including editorial comment, appearing herein represents the views of the respective authors and does not necessarily carry the endorsement of the CCCBA or the Board of Directors. Likewise, the publication of any advertisement is not to be construed as an endorsement of the product or service offered unless it is specifically stated in the ad that there is such approval or endorsement.

COLUMNS INSIDE: This Magazine is For You, by Beth Mora, Guest Editor . . . . . 4 FROM THE PRESIDENT: A Candid Interview with Our Newest Judge, Hon. Virginia George, by James Wu, CCCBA President. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Did You Know? by Nicole Mills and James Wu. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26


PHOTOS: CCCBA Installation Lunch


WinnERS of CCCBA Diversity Awards

27 Classifieds 28-30 Calendar 30


EVENTS 31 ANNUAL comedy Night, May 16




by Beth W. Mora, Esq., Guest Editor

Regardless of Who You Are

This Magazine is For You Equal Means Equal. An invaluable lesson I have been teaching my 9-year-old daughter since birth, a belief I encompass in my work and daily interactions. Equal Means Equal. My colleagues, regardless of who they are - male, female or gender nonconforming, Democrat, Republican, Independent or undeclared, employer or employee, etc., - instill these values in their lives as well. If our ideals are shared and our efforts joined by the majority, publishing an entire edition of Contra Costa Lawyer focusing on one sex will be unnecessary. However, we have yet to reach this point as of March 2018.

Thus, this edition of Contra Costa Lawyer gives voice to the efforts by our lawyers in Contra Costa County who are forging a future for equality and gives local context to a wider discussion in our country about barriers to gender parity. Understanding these barriers to equality is key to overcoming them. 4

MARCH 2018

The articles in this month’s magazine shine light on issues that are difficult and even perhaps controversial. They include Wendy Coats’ and Sharlene Koonce’s article “Moving from #metoo to #allofus: Stopping Sexual Harassment by Redefining Workplace Culture”, which offers guidance for identifying and addressing sexual harassment in the workplace and “Show Up, Make Your Voice Heard” by Ariel Brownell Lee who shares the personal insights of female leaders of our local legal community. Suzette Torres offers tips for those entrepreneurs in “It’s Time to Harness the Power of your Network.” Mariko Yoshihara rounds out the edition with “Landmark Legislation for Women and Families Led by Women.”

These and other powerful discussions found within the Women in the Law issue of the Contra Costa Lawyer magazine provide tools and information to our legal community, a community with power, ability and duty to work collectively toward equality. Equal Means Equal. Your participation is appreciated. Attorney Beth W. Mora owner of MORA EMPLOYMENT LAW, a law firm dedicated to representing victimized employees. Beth is a zealous and skilled advocate for those facing a range of employment law issues. Beth is committed to aggressively pursuing her clients’ best interests while treating each person she serves with integrity and compassion.

Candice E. Stoddard Personal Injury Real Estate Litigation Trust and Estate Disputes Mediation


Law Offices of Candice E. Stoddard 1350 Treat Blvd., Suite 420 Walnut Creek, CA 94597

925.942.5100 • fax 925.933.3801 Practicing law in the East Bay for over 30 years

from the

President by James Wu, CCCBA President

Candid Interview with Our Newest Judge, Hon. Virginia George On December 22, 2017, California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. announced the appointment of 33 California Superior Court Judges, including one in Contra Costa County: Virginia M. George. Judge George was officially sworn in by Presiding Judge Jill Fannin on January 29, 2018, and she began her assignment in Department 30 in the Richmond Courthouse. Judge George graciously took time to answer a few questions I asked of her for this “Women and the Law” themed Contra Costa Lawyer. Her insightful comments are as follows:

Because of this, some of the older, predominantly male attorneys did not take us seriously, and that was a little disconcerting. At the time, the office was very male dominated and although the younger female attorneys were smart and articulate, we were few and far between. I think that threw some of the older attorneys off. Gradually as time progressed, more women attorneys came through the ranks and became the norm. Also, in the beginning, very few women were elevated to supervisory positions. Now, it is quite different.

Wu: Tell us about why you became an attorney

Wu: How have opportunities for women in the law changed over the years?

Hon. Virginia George: At the time I applied for law school, I was primarily interested in becoming an attorney so that I could try a case in front of a jury. It seemed like a good fit for me as I was a musical performer (piano player) and was comfortable in front of an audience, and I enjoyed arguing a point. My passion evolved towards criminal law and although I had an internship with the Public Defender’s office through my law school at the University of San Francisco, I felt like I was more suited for being a prosecutor. I wanted to be part of the criminal justice system and enjoyed a number of my classes at law school such as criminal procedure, evidence and trial advocacy. Wu: What were some challenges you faced as a female attorney (and one of the few in your early jobs at the DA’s office)? Hon. Virginia George: I first joined the DA’s office as a law clerk in the mid-1980s. There were not a lot of women attorneys in the office at the time, and myself and my female colleagues were somewhat of an anomaly.

Hon. Virginia George: There’s no question that opportunities for women have expanded significantly over the years. In my view, this is due in part to the influx of women graduating from law school, passing the bar exam and getting into the work force. Whereas before certain positions were “saved” for men, now those positions have opened up and women have been promoted and placed in more prominent, decision-making positions such as partners in private firms and supervisors in government careers. Wu: If you could time travel back to your law school days, what three tips would you give yourself about having a successful legal career? Hon. Virginia George: • Don’t worry about the bar exam. If you do the work and study hard, you’ll make it. It’s an endurance test just as much as an academic exam. • Trust your instincts in pursuing your legal career. Don’t be afraid to try something outside of the box. If it doesn’t work, go in another direction. • Build and maintain your reputation. It’s as precious as gold. Once you lose it, you can rarely get it back. Wu: What advice do you have for attorneys who may wish to become a judge one day? Continued on page 6



From the President

Continued from page 5 Hon. Virginia George: There’s no need to rush to be appointed as a judge. Develop a solid, well-rounded legal career. Maintain your knowledge of the Evidence Code, even if you don’t think you’ll ever see the inside of a courtroom. Wu: Do/did you have any women attorney “mentors” or role models, and if so, who are they? Hon. Virginia George: I was lucky enough to have many women attorney mentors and role models through the years. They consist of prosecutors, public defenders, judges, law professors and private practice attorneys. Each one of these women shaped me into who I am today and the positive impact they each had on me was invaluable. I don’t want to embarrass them by naming them outright, but I believe most, if not all of them know who they are. I remain indebted to them.

RobeRt b. Jacobs Mediator • arbitrator

Mediator | Arbitrator for Claims Involving: Business Law

ReaL estate Law

ConstRuCtion Law

Purchase or Sale of Business Breach of Contract Fraud • Nondisclosure Nonpayment Nonperformance Credit Sales Loans • Franchises Family-Owned Business Shareholder, Member or Partnership Disputes

Purchase or Sale of Real Estate Broker • Agent Nuisance • Trespass Undisclosed Defects Leases • Title Defects Partition • Boundaries Family Owned Properties Loans • Deeds of Trust Foreclosure • CC&Rs Encroachments

Contract Issues Construction Defects Early Termination Nonpayment Mechanic’s Liens Change Orders/Extras Progress Payment Disputes Delay Claims Scope of Work Construction Bonds Construction Loans

email • tel 925-847-8680

Wu: Thank you Judge George! I know you will be an incredible asset to the bench, and will serve the public well. Congratulations!

For over 21 years, James Wu has practiced employment law. He is a defense litigator for employers, and he also provides advice and counsel to reduce the risks of employment-related claims and lawsuits. Contact James at james@ or visit and jamesywu

GENERAL CONTRACTORS Ground Up Commercial and Residential; Seismic Retrofit; Foundation Repairs; Remodels;

Real Estate Solutions

925-639-0221 Brad Kettering, President

Craig Nevin, Vice President

Lic. #1028516

Learn more at 6

MARCH 2018


There is No Glass Ceiling When

You are the Architect

by Mika Domingo

Women are at an increasing rate taking on the entrepreneurial risks and rewards of founding their own law firms. In many cases, they have achieved partner status at established firms and are looking for something more. In a 2016 ABA research paper, solo firms now make up 49% of all law firms. According to the 2012 US Census, there are now 29,560 women-owned law firms. The trend of more women launching their own law firms will increase, perhaps even with the reduction of gender inequities.

Female attorneys lag behind their male counterparts when it comes to pay, equity, position and advancement in large firms. For example, female attorneys are still paid only 89.7% of men. When it comes to equity, women receive 80% of the compensation earned by men. Men are advanced four to one over women attorneys and it’s even worse for minority women. A November 2017 National Association for Law Placement (NALP) press release advised only 2.55% of partners in 2015 were minority women. Corporate law firms, law schools and judgeships outpace the percentage of women compared to the number of equity partners in large law firms according to the ABA. Source: A Current Glance at Women in the Law January 2017 – Published by the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession.

When you start your own firm, there are no glass ceilings to break through. There is a commonly shared phrase, “The Future is Female.” Women are launching their own firms for many reasons, including control of their practice, greater independence, increased financial reward, and flexibility of time and resources. In a survey I recently conducted among female California attorneys, primarily among those who practice in Contra Costa County, 67% of the respondents have started or were thinking of starting their own firm. Eighty one percent of these entrepreneurial attorneys cited increased independence as the primary reason, and 47% also stated that better financial rewards were an incentive. Other reasons included having control over business decisions, being able to tailor the practice, and being part of a smaller, focused firm. Undoubtedly there are other reasons such as having total accountability, being

able to create their own vision and having autonomy. Being a female lawyer who started her own firm, I have found starting my own firm rewarding on multiple levels: Given the increasing number of women starting their own firms, or considering starting their own firms, I find myself sharing my own story often. From the inside, I can say that the good comes with the challenges, but I am pleased every day with the choice I made and have never looked back. I am honored to share a few helpful tips. The how starts by defining your firm’s vision, setting forth a plan and then ensuring execution. It requires the mentality of a leader, an unquantifiable trait that is key to starting and maintaining a firm. Whether you want to start a solo firm or a larger one and hire associates, or even enter into a partnership, you need to be a leader, and follow your gut. There are many factors I encountered in launching my firm that had nothing to do with legal knowledge or experience. Being an entrepreneur requires different skills sets than managing your caseload, court calendar and client billing. In starting a firm, it is helpful to focus on three important areas: Customers, Skills and Resources. First, your customers aka clients, will determine how quickly your firm will become successful. In professions like medicine, accounting and law, referrals are a major source of Continued on page 8



Glass Ceiling

Continued from page 7 new business. To cultivate referrals, take great care of your clients as they will be a great source for new business. In your nonpractice time, continue to do what you love and clients will follow, such as serving on non-profit boards, volunteering with bar organizations, teaching at a law school, participating in sports and music, and meeting and building relationships with people who share similar interests. These relationships provide a tremendous amount of support and are a positive source of referrals. Second, marketing is perhaps one of the most important skills that you need to utilize. Marketing is the presentation of your firm’s image to your stakeholders – clients, vendors, associates and the community. The image that you create for your firm will help differentiate


MARCH 2018

you from your competitors. It will tell your potential client what they may expect from you and your company. The key to marketing is to communicate in several channels in a clear and consistent manner. Channels of marketing include your web presence, your collateral material (brochures, business cards, letterhead, etc.) and your publicity. Publicity can range from ads to speaking at events and conferences, to providing pro bono services. Third, do you have the amount of resources you have or will need for your practice? Do you have enough capital to launch a firm? Do you have funds to equip your office needs such as a computer, furniture, etc.? The choices you make about your business can be constrained by the resources at your disposal. One of the most important resources is having a mentor who has experienced some of the challenges you will face.

Starting a firm is certainly an adventure and one way to bypass the glass ceiling, but one I think is well worth the effort. Mika Domingo is Principal Attorney at M.S. Domingo Law, focusing on estate planning, trust and probate litigation and business law. Previously, she served as a Deputy Attorney General in the Attorney General’s Office representing the State in civil rights litigation, and worked as a finance and publishing professional. She serves on many boards including the CCCBA Board of Directors and the CCCBA Women’s Section Board. She is Chair of CCCBA Diversity Committee and Co-Chair of the Judicial Nominations Committee for the California Women Lawyers. She is also an Adjunct Professor at John F. Kennedy University College of Law.


Show Up,

Make Your Voice Heard by Ariel Brownell Lee “If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re on the menu.” This is a quote Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley has used many times, and it is always inspirational. A big factor in equality is showing up and making your voice heard. In the past, women have not had the option to just “show up” and pull up a chair. Now, with the progress women are making toward equality in the workplace animated by recent activism germinated in January 2017, it looks like the table is finally getting bigger. The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office opened in 1850, nearly 168 years ago. From 1850 to 2017, men led the office. Until the mid-to-late 1990’s, it was uncommon to even see women in the office wearing pants instead of skirts or dresses. Times are changing. In 2017, retired Judge Diana Becton became the first female to lead Contra Costa County’s District Attorney’s Office when she was appointed by the Board of Supervisors to serve out the term of Mark Peterson; Becton broke a double barrier as the first African American to lead the office. The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office began in 1853. That office did not see a woman in the top position until 2009, when Nancy O’Malley became District Attorney. While it took too long to see gender diversity in leadership in these offices, the trend is heading there now. DA Nancy O’Malley and Kristen Busby, Deputy District Attorney at the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office since February 2013, weighed in on gender equality in their respective offices.

O’Malley began working at the Alameda County DA’s Office in 1984. When O’Malley started, she estimates only about 15% of the attorneys in the office were women, with only one woman in a supervisory position. This meant a long and sometimes challenging road to rise to the top. O’Malley recalls push back when she was appointed Chief Assistant DA in 1999, and again in 2009 when she became District Attorney. O’Malley attributes the resistance to a number of factors, several tied to her gender. She has always been a strong woman with plenty of energy. Some in the office took this strength and energy as selfpromoting and overly ambitious; traits often lauded when exhibited by a man. During her time as Chief Assistant DA, O’Malley implemented trainings and procedures to address sexual harassment concerns in the office. When O’Malley started, a two-drink lunch was not uncommon, especially amongst

some of the older male staff. Those post-drinking lunch afternoons too often led to co-workers feeling put-off by the “liquid friendliness” exhibited by men towards their female colleagues. O’Malley made the decision to ban alcohol during the workday. She explained to her colleagues that what one person considers being “friendly” can come off to another person as intimidating. Many in the office appreciated this more professional approach, but not everyone. O’Malley remembers feeling that some thought she was the death of fun, and too serious to be an effective leader. However, O’Malley saw her commitment to professionalism, equality, and safety in the workplace as some of the keys to her success. Equality in the Alameda DA’s office is no longer a distant dream. Today the number of female attorneys in the office is roughly equal to the number of male attorneys.



Make Your Voice Heard Continued from page 9

Women account for roughly 40% of the people in supervisor positions. Additionally, women equally serve on the more gritty units, such as the teams prosecuting gang-related crimes and complex homicides. Things look similar in the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office where almost half of the attorneys are women. Female supervisors currently only make up a small percentage of the total supervisors; however, DA Becton is working to change that. She has a female top assistant joining the office in early February and Phyllis Redmond was just announced as Chief of Staff. This represents the first time in the history of the county that women hold the top two jobs at the District Attorney’s Office. As Deputy District Attorney Busby points out, Ruth Bader Ginsberg once said, “There will be enough women on the Supreme Court when there are nine;” however, she does not think that is the goal for the District Attorney’s Office. Equality and diversity are extremely important traits for prosecutors. Busby emphasized that prosecutors serve victims of crime and their office should be demographically representative of the community it serves; diverse perspectives and experiences lead to better service to the community. Deputy district attorneys tend to change positions every three to four years, with newer attorneys switching more often. This creates opportunity for fluid and diverse teams. With all this progress, there are still some setbacks and opportunities to improve. Busby shared her experience that many times, in trial, a jury will 10

MARCH 2018

report they found her older, male opposing counsel more credible than her, even when she objectively outperformed him in the courtroom. This is a sentiment often heard from young, female litigators. It is staggering how many women share the experiences of gender bias in the courtroom and in chambers, from facing the assumption that she is the court reporter, to being called “honey” or “sweetheart” by opposing counsel. These external biases still exist, but are being slowly eroded by the policies and practices being implemented internally in many offices, the District Attorney’s offices included. O’Malley’s examples of leadership suggest men can better support women to achieve equality by not letting their male peers get away with sexist, biased, and inappropriate comments or actions. It is not easy to call a peer out on bad behavior, but taking the uncomfortable step of doing so effects change. Writing off bad behavior as “locker room talk” or ignoring it allows a status quo to continue where women are not at the table but on the menu. We as lawyers must stand together against this status quo and report bad behavior to supervisors. Equality is a team effort. When men advocate for equality and accept nothing less from their peers, women are empowered to show up and have their voices and ideas heard. There’s room at the table for everyone, and a good meal is best when enjoyed with friends. Ariel Brownell Lee owns a boutique family law firm in Walnut Creek. She currently serves as the Section Leader for CCCBA’s Women’s Section and as an Affiliate Governor for California Women Lawyers.

Specializing in Valuations for: • Estate & Gift • Slides & Construction Defects • Diminution in Market Value • Eminent Domain • Conservation Easements • Land Trusts • Family Law • Appraisal Review

Bruce Hahn, MAI, SRA, ASA Real Estate Appraisal 3093 Citrus Cir., Suite 160, Walnut Creek, CA

(925) 932-4044


Wills/Estates Contests Conservatorships

Cases (except conservatorships) on contingent fee basis or hourly. Referral fee where appropriate. Pedder, Hesseltine, Walker & Toth, LLP oldest partnership in Contra Costa County (since 1955)

925.283-6816 •

3445 Golden Gate Way, Lafayette, CA 94549 AV Martindale-Hubbell

Contra Costa Lawyer magazine is Available Every Month Online at


Landmark Legislation for Women and Families Led by Women

By Mariko Yoshihara The new year marked the beginning of several new laws that will help improve the economic security of women and families across the state. These measures made up a package of bills that were advanced by the Stronger California Advocates Network, a coalition of over 30 organizations dedicated to promoting policy reform around four basic pillars of women’s economic security: fair pay, affordable child care, familyfriendly workplaces, and poverty reduction.1 In total, Governor Jerry Brown signed seven Stronger California priority bills, including: SB 63 by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) increases workplace protections for new parents who work for small businesses. The bill provides 12 weeks of unpaid maternity or paternity leave for Californians who work for companies with 20 to 49 employees and protects these new parents from losing their jobs and health care benefits.

AB 10 by Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) requires public schools serving lowincome students in grades 6 to 12 to provide feminine hygiene products in half of the school’s bathrooms at no charge. AB 168 by Assemblymember Susan Eggman (D-Stockton) prohibits all employers, including the Legislature, the state and local governments, from seeking salary history information about an applicant for employment and requires an employer to provide the pay scale for a position to an applicant upon reasonable request. AB 273 by Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters) expands the eligibility criteria for subsidized child care services to parents who are taking English as a second language or high school equivalency courses. AB 480 by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) provides CalWORKs welfare-to-work participants assistance with diaper costs for children under three years old. A signing message can be found here.2

AB 557 by Assemblymember Blanca E. Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) makes CalWORKs homeless benefits immediately available to applicants who are victims of domestic violence. Senate Bill 54 by Senator Kevin De León blocks use of state funds to fuel mass deportations and to separate families. This article will describe two key victories by California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA)3, in coordination with the Stronger California Advocates Network and key allies in the Legislative Women’s Caucus4. Notably, these two wins were primarily led by the women attorneys of CELA, Equal Rights Advocates (ERA)5, and Legal Aid at Work6. The first key victory was Assembly Bill 168,7 authored by Assemblymember Eggman, which now prohibits employers from asking job applicants about their salary history. In 2015, California and Massachusetts first proposed legislation that would limit employers from asking applicants about their salary history Continued on page 12



Landmark Legislation

Continued from page 11 and basing salary decisions on prior pay. Massachusetts’ version was signed into law, but the California bill was vetoed. Governor Brown opted to sign only one of three pay equity bills that made it to his desk that year – notably, the California Fair Pay Act8, a landmark piece of legislation authored by Senator Jackson that made significant improvements to our existing equal pay laws. The Governor vetoed the bill addressing prior salary and one other bill that would have required state contractors to submit pay data based on race and gender to the state. His veto messages stated he wished to see how the Fair Pay Act worked before making further changes. Two years later, after dozens of other cities and states around the country passed similar legislation to ban inquiries into prior salary, Assemblymember Eggman decided to make another pass at it in California. Assembly Bill 168, was designated as a priority bill for the Legislative Women’s Caucus and had the backing of the Stronger California Network. Assembly Bill 168 was buoyed by wins across the country, and propelled by stories like Aileen Rizo’s (a former math consultant for the Fresno County Office of Education who was paid thousands of dollars less than her male counterpart because of her prior salary, even though she had more experience and more education,), the bill sailed through the legislature and ultimately won the Governor’s approval.9 As a result of this bill, employers will no longer be able to ask applicants about their salary history information. To be clear, an employer may still ask applicants about their salary expectations – indeed, that is the 12

MARCH 2018

more appropriate question. Applicants may also, on their own, offer their prior wages to try to negotiate a higher salary with a new employer, but that salary history information still cannot be relied on if it would result in paying an employee of the opposite sex less for doing substantially similar work. The upshot is, women in particular will now no longer be held down by historical wage inequities when the work they are performing or their job qualifications justify paying them more. Another significant victory for the Stronger California Advocates Network was the signing of the New Parent Leave Act, Senate Bill 63,10 authored by Senator Jackson. This bill was also a reintroduction of a previously vetoed bill by Governor Brown. In 2016, Senator Jackson introduced a bill to provide more parents with job-protected parental leave to bond with their new babies, but Governor Brown vetoed the bill because of business opposition and concerns

Elder Law is

over litigation. This following year, Senator Jackson reintroduced the New Parent Leave Act, offering 12 weeks of job-protected parental leave for workers at companies with 20-49 employees. The New Parent Leave Act helps fill a gap in our existing state and federal family leave laws (the Family Medical Leave Act and the California Family Rights Act), which grant parental leave rights only to workers at companies with 50 or more employees. This meant nearly half of the workforce had no job-protection rights at all to bond with a new baby. Significantly, this also meant that half of the workforce risked losing their job if they took advantage of California’s Paid Family Leave Program, which offers wage-replacement benefits for baby-bonding leave, but no jobprotection. The limitations in our parental leave laws have placed a significant The average survival rate is eight years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s — some live as few as three years after diagnosis, while others live as long as 20. Most people with Alzheimer’s don’t die from the disease itself, but from pneumonia, a urinary tract infection or complications from a fall. Until there’s a cure, people with the disease will need caregiving and legal advice. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 10% of the population age 65 and older has Alzheimer’s disease. Of the 5.5 million people living in the U.S. with Alzheimer’s disease, the majority live at home — often receiving care from family members.

Protect your loved ones, home and independence, call elder law attorney

Michael J. Young Estate Planning, Asset Protection, Medi-Cal, Long-term Care & VA Planning

Alzheimer’s Planning

925.256.0298 1931 San Miguel Drive, Suite 220 Walnut Creek, California 94596

burden on women in particular, who are often the ones forced out of the job market or lose job opportunities or pay when job-protected parental leave is not available. In addition, when women have to go back to work early or men cannot take time off to bond and help with the new baby, it takes a significant toll on the health of the mother and the development of the child11 and can also have a long-term impact on gender roles12 within the family. The Stronger California Network, along with women and family groups, workers’ rights advocates, the health community, and even some small businesses rallied behind the New Parent Leave Act, picking up from the momentum of the prior year’s bill. In fact, soon after the bill was reintroduced, Small Business Majority released a poll showing that over 70% of its small business members supported providing job protection for companies with at least 20 employees.13 In addition, prominent health practi-

tioners joined the lobbying efforts with compelling studies and reports on the short- and long-term health benefits of baby bonding leave. To address the Governor’s veto message from the previous year, the new bill added a mediation pilot program that would allow the parties to mediate a dispute under the new law through the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, as an option before going to court. Ultimately, even though the bill still had significant opposition from the Chamber of Commerce and other business groups, the Governor signed the New Parent Leave Act into law. With the enactment of this new law, 2.7 million more California workers will have job-protection rights to take parental leave after the birth or adoption of a baby. The Governor signed the New Parental Leave Act, along with the six other bills on the Stronger Cali-

fornia priority agenda, at a signing ceremony at Women’s Empowerment in Sacramento last October, joined by the California Legislative Women’s Caucus and many of the Stronger California advocates.14 These wins reflect the power of the community and network of women advocates, and the ability of our state to continue making progress, despite federal regression, on important issues facing women, children and families. Mariko Yoshihara has been the Legislative Counsel & Policy Director for the California Employment Lawyers Association since 2010. She helped pass the landmark Fair Pay Act in 2015, giving California the strongest equal pay laws in the nation. She has analyzed labor and employment law bills for the state legislature and has also worked for Assembly Member Swanson and Assembly Member Fuentes as a legislative assistant. Mariko is the director of the CELA Voice, a blog dedicated to promoting the voice of workers and worker advocates. She is also the board chair of a new non-profit in Sacramento, the Center for Workers’ Rights. 1 2 uploads/2017/11/AB_480_Signing_Message_2017.pdf 3 4 5 6 7 billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB168 8 billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160SB358 9 10 billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB63 11 PMC4934583/ 12 paternityBrief.pdf 13 default/files/research-reports/033017-paid-leavepoll.pdf 14 news20013/




Moving from #metoo to #allofus:

Stopping Sexual Harassment by Redefining Workplace Culture by Wendy Coats and Sharlene Koonce Harvey. Roger. Kevin. Charlie. Mario. Matt. Garrison. Alex. Lurking in the shadows of these famous accused harassers are the countless unnamed responsible for the tsunami of #metoo postings. According to a 2016 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) report, as many as 85 percent of women have experienced some form of sexual harassment at work. Between 2010 and 2015, the EEOC received 162,872 complaints, and filed charges in more than 6,700 cases alleging sex-based harassment in 2016. But the #metoo movement illustrates there is a drastic underreporting of sexual harassment and sexual assault across industries.

Prohibitions and Penalties are #NotEnough America has a sexual harassment problem even though sexual harassment has been illegal for half a century. At the federal level, sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.1 Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments.2 It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations, as well as to the federal government.3 California has adopted the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), which expressly prohibits sexual harassment.4 California defines sexual harassment as unwanted sexual advances, or visual, verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment may take 14

MARCH 2018

many forms, but in the workplace it usually falls into two categories: Quid Pro Quo and Hostile Environment.5 Quid Pro Quo occurs when a term of employment is conditioned on the submission to unwelcome sexual advances.6 Hostile work environment sexual harassment occurs when an employee’s work environment is made hostile, offensive, oppressive, intimidating, or abusive due to pervasive sexual harassment.7 Regardless of its form, in California the FEHA requires employers to take “all reasonable steps necessary to prevent discrimination and harassment from occurring.”8 And importantly, all genders and gender identities receive protections from sexual harassment in California. California courts have noted, “the Legislature intended to prohibit sexual harassment in all cases,” not just women and not just oppositesex harassment.9 And finally, California Government Code section 12940(j) provides that it is “unlawful if the entity, or its agents or supervisors, knows or should have known of this conduct and fails to take immediate and appropriate corrective action.” Even with these laws in place, however, the #metoo movement shows a systemic problem exists.

Robust Policies and Protocols are Just the Beginning Organizations need effective policies concerning sexual harassment.

These policies must: define what sexual harassment is, provide clear examples of sexually harassing conduct, establish a “zero-tolerance” policy, and clearly state consequences for violations. Workplace leaders must exemplify conduct consistent with these policies and violators must be held accountable. EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum, who co-authored a review of harassment in the workplace in 2016, explained that perception is key—“people feel free to come forward to report inappropriate advances if they know complaints are taken seriously, investigated, and lead to action.”10 California already mandates two hours of sexual harassment prevention training to all supervisors within six months of hire or promotion, and every two years thereafter for companies with 50 or more employees.11 But, this is a baseline minimum. To truly be effective, organizational leaders must actively participate in sexual harassment training. Eden King, an associate professor at Rice University and sexual harassment training researcher, determined that, “It’s crucial, too, that leaders across every stratum of a company attend training with their employees: not only does this underline the fact that people in power are not immune from disciplinary action if they fail to behave respectfully toward colleagues,” according to King, but it also “conveys the seriousness with which they take the topic and the subject matter.”12 King posits the most effective training is face-toface, lasts more than four hours, and includes active participation with a supervisor.

Workplace Leaders Must Aim Higher and Expect Better

A natural response to the continuous wave of #metoo revelations is the call to shore up existing laws and a call for more training. But it

would be a missed opportunity if the conversation focused solely on legal regulation, punishment, and trainings. Sexual harassment is not a male or female problem, it is an #allofus problem. It is a workplace culture problem. To that end, it is partially a leadership problem. Our workplaces need strong leaders equipped and committed to eradicating sexual harassment and the abusive power dynamics that permit sexual harassment to persist. In many respects, the necessary cultural shift goes beyond sexual harassment and calls for a changed mindset around workplace values, gender bias, and power. During a recent panel of California state Senate and Assembly lawmakers, University of Southern California expert on organizational behavior Janet Denhardt commented, “You can change all of the formal procedures, you can change the structure. That won’t change anything until you change the underlying culture as well.” From the top down, we must all take responsibility for our workplace cultures and, “If you see something, say something.” With the statistically high percentage of sexual harassment victims being female, to truly transform our workplaces, brave men who find themselves in rooms with other men must call out and halt the “locker room talk” that demeans and devalues women and trends towards sexual violence. These holdover habits should garner a swift rebuke (suggested response: “#dudenotcool.”) While creating pipelines to power that move more women into male-only and maledominated workplaces, we should reject the notion that a woman’s presence is required to prohibit and police bad adult behavior. Instead, we should all aim higher to create more civilized workplaces. As an antidote to sexual harassment and other toxic work cultures,

leaders should consider Stanford University professor Robert I. Sutton’s The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One that Isn’t. Sutton’s New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Businessweek best selling book (following his 2005 Harvard Business Review article) fits squarely in the movement to halt sexual harassment in the workplace. Sutton is not addressing his rule to the person having a bad day or someone with a sour demeanor but instead defines a “certified-asshole” is someone with “a persistent pattern” or “history of episodes” that result with “one ‘target’ after another feeling belittled, put down, humiliated, disrespected, oppressed, de-energized, and generally worse about themselves.”13 Sutton provides two tests that help determine whether an organization has a rule violator:14

Test One: After talking to the alleged asshole, does the “target” feel oppressed, humiliated, de-energized, or belittled by the person? In particular, does the target feel worse about him or herself? Test Two: Does the alleged asshole air his or her venom at people who are less powerful rather than at those who are more powerful?

One cannot miss that a sexual harasser’s conduct falls squarely within Sutton’s definition, as a specific and identifiable subset of the broader problem. According to Sutton, “if someone consistently takes actions that leave a trail of victims in their wake, they deserve to be branded” and removed. In addition, Sutton lists 12 characteristics that certified offenders use to demean, deflate, Continued on page 16



Wendy McGuire Coats is a partner and appellate counsel at Fisher & Phillips LLP (San Francisco) at

Stopping Sexual Harassment Continued from page 15

and dehumanize their victims, consistent with the habits of a sexual harasser. According to Sutton, organizations should immediately ban their resident jerks from the hiring process and purge them as employees. Once identified, Sutton explains that effective management will should fuel “a virtuous, self-reinforcing cycle between “big” things that organizations do – the stated philosophies; the written policies; the training; and official hiring, firing, and reward practices – and the smaller ways in which people actually treat each other.”15 Establishing a culture of openness, intervention, and accountability is crucial to eliminating sexual harassment in the workplace. Organizations instituting Sutton’s Rule will not only elevate their workplace culture and begin to cull their ranks of those but will also guard against potential sexual harassment activity by sweeping up and sweeping out the sexual harassers in the bunch.

Sutton’s Dirty Dozen 1. Personal insults 2. Invading one’s “personal territory” 3. Uninvited physical contact 4. Threats and intimidation, both verbal and nonverbal 5. “Sarcastic jokes” and “teasing” used as insult delivery systems 6. Withering email flames 7. Status slaps intended to humiliate their victims 8. Public shaming or “status degradation” rituals 9. Rude interruptions 10. Two-faced attacks 11. Dirty looks 12. Treating people as if they are invisible 16

MARCH 2018

. Sharlene Koonce is an associate at Fisher & Phillips LLP (San Francisco) at skoonce@ This article is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice. 1 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000 et seq. 2 3 4 Gov’t Code §§ 12900-12996; specifically Gov’t Code § 12940(j)(4)(C). 5 Beyda v. City of Los Angeles (1998) 65 Cal.App.4th 511, 516-517. 6 Fisher v. San Pedro Peninsula Hospital (1989) 214 Cal.App.3d 590. 7 Accardi v. Superior Court (1993) 17 Cal.App.4th 341, 348–349. 8 Gov. Code § 12940(k). 9 Mogilefsky v. Superior Court (1993) 20 Cal.App.4th 1409, 1416. 10 11 Cal. Gov. Code § 12950.1. 12 13 Sutton, p. 11. 14 Sutton, p.. 11-12. 15 Sutton at p. 87.


Estate Litigation Association Our firm has handled estate contests through trial very successfully since the mid-60s. AV Rated. Often attorneys in other fields call upon us to associate with them when they receive an estate litigation matter to ensure it gets handled properly, and they can spend their time on their regular case load. This results in a win/win for the client and counsel. Contingent fee cases welcome.

Pedder, Hesseltine, Walker & Toth, LLP (925) 283-6816 3445 Golden Gate Way, Lafayette, CA 94549

The Eerie Silence of “#MeToo” In The Law

The Gender Bias Impact by Beth W. Mora of Mora Employment Law “Me Too” or “#metoo” spread virally in October 2017 on social media demonstrating the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace, which followed soon after public revelations of egregious sexual misconduct allegations against powerful movie producer Harvey Weinstein. On January 17, 2018, the Contra Costa County Bar Association invited members of the Bar to participate in a “#metoo-inthe-law.” However, only a small handful of people responded. Though anonymity was offered, a good many female attorneys noted concern of retaliation should they contribute. Female attorneys from the entry level associate to senior partner confirm a concern of retaliation hence reasonably believe the legal industry will not likely experience a similar “Weinstein” triggered “me too” moment.

What causes this eerie silence in the law? There are many complicated factors which require far more analysis than can be accomplished here, though a powerful motivating element is gender bias which seeps into nearly all elements of a legal workplace. Gender bias is an “inclination towards or prejudice against one’s

gender.” Further, a subconscious gender bias is “an implicit association or attitude about ... gender that operates beyond our control and awareness, informs our perception of a person or social group, and can influence our decision-making and behavior toward the target of the bias.” Female attorneys must overcome significant gender bias to be seen as equals to their male counterparts within the legal community. We all know girls are made of “sugar and spice, and everything nice” while boys are made of “snips and sails, and puppy-dogs’ tails.” This popular nursery rhyme is one of the many foundations of gender bias taught at a young age. As we mature into young professionals, these apparently innocent stereotypes develop into social and professional expectations which do not support women in positions of authority or leadership. Who wants to engage a “nice” attorney? In contrast, a female is often attacked for failing to be “nice.” Female attorneys anticipate gender bias, however do not find bias acceptable, facing this challenge through minor to major battles on a daily basis. Strong, smart, committed, and articulate. These are just a few of the attributes which describe a female attorney. Now envision the same female attorney as a victim of sexual harassment or gender discrimina-

tion. Does she still appear the same? Is she now weak, daft, emotional and challenging? A disturbing notion impacted by gender bias is gripping the legal profession; that when one is smart and strong they will be insulated from sexual harassment or gender discrimination, thus shifting the blame onto professional women for not being good enough to rise above or allowing herself to be victimized. In other words, making a complaint is an admission by the female of failure. Though the truth of the matter is simple when gender bias is absent, being an attorney does not insulate one from sexual harassment or discrimination nor does one’s abilities preclude them from abuse of any kind.

Contrary to any belief otherwise, it takes immeasurable strength to make a complaint of harassment and discrimination in any setting, compounded by the legal setting itself. Thus a female attorney who brings Continued on page 18



The Gender Bias Impact

Continued from page 17 a complaint is by no means less than, far from it, she is a super-hero. Though it is understandably hard for anyone to appreciate their hero status when facing harassment and discrimination, a complaint and concerns of retaliation. One of the most difficult elements of gender bias is that a great many people are unaware they are engaging in bias, it is subconscious. The legal community is not rife with evil monsters intentionally engaging in harassing, discrimination, retaliation and failure to properly respond to complaints, the large majority of attorneys are not consciously trying to harm their peers. Never-

theless, sadly, gender bias has a significant grip on our legal community which may be just one explanation as to why there has not been a significant national “#metoo-inthe-law” movement as of yet. Even so, there are steps taken every day by courageous males and females throughout the legal industry to right these wrongs. One way we can all participate regardless of our gender is to take time to understand gender bias, learn to recognize and address it in ourselves and others. Ultimately, as the enforcers of the law, the goal would be that we would not have a need for a “metooin-the-law.” Attorney Beth W. Mora, of MORA EMPLOYMENT LAW, is a zealous and skilled advocate for those facing a range of employment law issues.

Thinking of

Conservatorships? think

Matt Toth as in:

Pedder, hesseltine, Walker & Toth, LLP oldest partnership in Contra Costa County (since 1955)

925.283-6816 •

3445 Golden Gate Way, Lafayette, CA 94549 AV Martindale-hubbell

Advertise in the award-winning Contra Costa Lawyer magazine For rates and a media kit, contact Communications Director Carole Lucido at clucido@cccba. org or (925) 370-2542,or visit h

Depositions – Court Trials, Motions, Hearings – Arbitrations – Statements/EUOs – AudioTranscriptions –Mediations


Video & Interpreted Depositions


Realtime / LiveNote Reporting


Video Depositions




Online Scheduling of Depositions


Complimentary Deposition Suites, Wifi and Parking


Document Depository


Subpoena for Production of Business Records Preparation and Service


Complete Document Copying Service (on-site and off-site)

Fax 925-685-3829


Scanning (on-site and off-site), Bates Stamping

“Yes, we can. No problem!”


Briefs – Copying, Binding & Filing


Online Requests - Transcripts, Depository Documents, Subpoena Preparation, Authorizations

Certified Shorthand Reporters Independently Owned and Operated

Serving the Entire Bay Area since 1958 Contra Costa, Solano, Alameda & San Francisco Counties 2321 Stanwell Drive Concord, CA 94520-4808 email:

925-685-6222 -John A. Zandonella

Just 1/4 mile from Buchanan Airport and near BART. JuST CAll AnD We Will PiCk you uP!


MARCH 2018

“I refinanced my student loans with First Republic and the financial impact cannot be overstated.” YA S M I N N AG H A S H


(855) 886-4824 | | New York Stock Exchange symbol: FRC MEMBER FDIC AND EQUAL HOUSING LENDER

Searching for New Business? Sign up for CCCBA’s

Lawyer Referral & Information Service Grow your practice with the CCCBA’s LRIS. We schedule over 5,500 client consultations with paying clients every year. We have immediate need for attorneys: • Who specialize in Tenant Rights or Juvenile Dependency • Spanish Speaking Attorneys (all specialties) • Moderate Means Attorneys Contact LRIS & Moderate Means Director Barbara Arsedo, at (925) 370-2544, or visit





MARCH 2018



It’s Time to Harness

the Power of your Network By Suzette Z. Torres Being a woman in the legal profession is not easy, though I doubt this needs to be said twice. Personally, I’ve been mistaken as the “court reporter,” “receptionist,” or “client” more times than I’ve ever been mistaken for being an attorney. Over the years, even though I graduated law school, passed the bar, and have been successful in my career alongside my peers, I’ve felt as if I had to continuously prove myself to others that I was not only an attorney, but a great one. I’m now at the point where I’m comfortable in my skin. I know who I am, what I can do, and when applicable…I am a force to be reckoned with. This confidence came with time, experience, and with the invaluable support of my network. For anyone in our profession who may dread the thought of networking, especially female attorneys, you may want to change your perspective and understand the Power of your Network. Start with the basics: your network is a group or system of people who are connected to you, and you ultimately network every day. Every time you send out an email, post a photo online, make a phone call, tweet, or “Like” a Facebook post, you are networking. Every time you visit your relatives, see your doctor, or drive during rush hour traffic, you are networking. To enjoy the benefits of networking, it is wise to keep a healthy mantra. Here is one that continues to inspire me:

“I come as one, but stand as ten thousand” -Maya Angelou Does this sound familiar? Oprah Winfrey recites this mantra and embodies its message daily (check out Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations podcast!) As female attorneys, it is helpful to recognize that we gain strength and confidence from those who came before us. Their triumphs and struggles paved the way for us and many other women in our field. We are not alone in this profession; as such, we should feel empowered when we connect with people who are willing to participate in and support our network. Being an active participant in networking is the key. A network is a great source for referrals in different practice areas, to assist with projects and to help support other women in our community.

For example, I am an active participant and Board Governor with the California Women Lawyers (CWL) association. The mission of CWL is to “advance women in the profession of law; to improve the administration of justice; to better the position of women in society; to eliminate all inequities based on sex; and to provide an organization for collective action and expression germane to the aforesaid purposes.” CWL puts these words into action, and through the hard work of its many participants, CWL is able to provide various programs to its members and to our legal community statewide (See http://www.cwl. org/page/Programs) CWL is just one example of the many legal organizations which support networking amongst female attorneys. You can be an active participant in many ways. It’s worth vetting out organizations to find one that speaks to your heart and you can feel passionate about it. Your active participation comes in many forms such as joining a committee, planning or sponsoring an event, and



HUBERT LENCZOWSKI 1615 Bonanza Street #212 Walnut Creek, CA 94596 (925) 280-7788

Attorney At Law A Professional Corporation

Planning Exits and Growth Acquisition for Business Owners



Power of Your Network

Continued from page 21 promoting events. An active participant also includes those who just show up at an event to say hello (see and be seen!) It’s important to “follow-up” with people you just met as well as people you have known for years. People appreciate and are more receptive in an informal setting, so go and ask people out for coffee and lunch. Learn how you and your network can be resource for each other. Maya Angelou said it best: “People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.” When you become an active participant in your network, you become part of the narrative and your presence will be always be appreciated by someone.


MARCH 2018

Once you have harnessed this power, you will see that there is no such thing as a “cold call” within a network of trusted advisors. Start off as one person, and with a good network you will stand as ten thousand. You will have paved the way for yourself and other women in our field. It’s time to harness the Power of your Network, and I stand here looking forward to meeting you. Suzette Torres is the VP Regional Counsel of North American Title Company and provides legal and underwriting support to North American Title Insurance Company agents. Prior to joining NATC, Ms. Torres was with another national underwriter, first as vice president/trial counsel and most recently as vice president/underwriting counsel based in San Fran-

cisco. Before going in-house, she was in private practice for over 10 years and was the only female partner at Bardellini, Straw, Cavin & Bupp LLP, where her practice included resolving title and escrow claims, negotiating business disputes, managing contract negotiations, trials and handling several adversary proceedings in bankruptcy. Ms. Torres currently serves as the District 4 Governor of the California Women Lawyers association and an active member of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area’s In-House Counsel Committee and the CREW (California Real Estate Women) Network.

Lawyers for Family Justice Making a Difference for Survivors of Interpersonal Violence by Natalie Oleas, J.D. The Contra Costa Family Justice Center is an invaluable onestop center for families affected by domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, child abuse, and human trafficking. In 2017, the Family Justice Center served 2,440 survivors of interpersonal violence. Over 80% of Family Justice Center clients have at least one pressing legal need.

Legal assistance is the most highly sought-after service the Family Justice Center offers, however it is a challenge to find pro bono and low bono legal assistance for clients within Contra Costa County. Thanks to the Contra Costa County Bar Association Fund, we established the “Lawyers for Family Justice” in 2016 with seven incubator attorneys. Recognizing the substantial need, Lawyers for Family Justice was created to fill the legal services gap for practice areas focusing on

family, immigration and civil law. Currently, there are nine attorneys in the program that practice out of our Richmond and Concord offices. Lawyers for Family Justice is for incubator attorneys new or transitioning into their own solo practice. Incubator attorneys engage an 18-month agreement to provide pro bono services to clients of the Family Justice Center in exchange for training and the incubation of their practice. Incubator attorneys are also available to represent clients on a low bono scale set by the Contra Costa County Bar Association’s Moderate Means Program. The Family Justice Center provides a work environment where the incubator attorneys gain experience in the practice of law and knowledge about how to manage a law practice while being mentored, supervised, and taught by experienced attorneys. In 2017, the Lawyers for Family Justice provided legal services for 378 clients of the Family Justice Center. Some of the highlights of the 2017 program are: • 31 Pro Bono cases (limited or full scope representation) including: - 6 restraining order hearings - 1 sexual assault civil suit - 1 Ex Parte child custody order - 1 Hague case • 27 low bono cases (limited or full scope representation)

As part of the Lawyers for Family Justice program, we also offer multiple trainings for our incubator attorneys as well as attorneys from our partner agencies. Some of the trainings have included Interpersonal Violence 101, Working with Low Income Clients, a QDRO Workshop presented by Ann Fallon, Esq. and Property Division within Divorce presented by Brigeda Bank, Esq. The Family Justice Center works in partnership with 40 on-site partner agencies to connect survivors of interpersonal violence to as many resources as possible within Contra Costa County. For more information about the Family Justice Center, the Lawyers for Family Justice or to apply to the program, please visit lawyers/. Natalie Oleas serves as a Navigator with the Contra Costa Family Justice Center. A California native, she has worked as a survivor advocate for over a decade. She graduated from Northeastern University School of Law in 2011, where her studies centered around victim advocacy, criminal procedure, and civil rights. She is proud to be the coordinator for the Family Justice Center’s WINGS Program, the Domestic Violence Multidisciplinary Team (DV MDT) and the Lawyers for Family Justice.



CCCBA Installation Lunch This year’s installation lunch on January 26 was a festive affair with judges and attorneys socializing and enjoying the unseasonably warm day. Pictured left, James Wu was installed as 2018 CCCBA President taking over from 2017 President Phil Andersen. Below left, Hon. Terence Bruiniers, with Candace and Phil Andersen and Hon. Jill Fannin. Below right, The Board members and Section leaders took their oaths of office.

Wendy Coats and Dorian Peters

Kate Mignani and Dean Barbieri


MARCH 2018

Bill Vencil and Hon. Richard Flier

Justin Aguilera and Joseph Tully

Melissa Ignacio and Rachel Margolis

Eric Tuy and Dominic Watkins

CCCBA Diversity Award Winners Platinum Level (45+) Archer Norris Pearson & Schachter Law Gold Level (35+) Cooper, White & Cooper LLP Littler Mendelson Miller Starr Regalia M.S. Domingo Law Silver Level (25+) Law Office of Marjorie Wallace Leoni Law Livingston Law Firm Wu Castillo, P.C.

The CCCBA Diversity Awards were presented on January 26 to ten CCCBA member firms that achieved three levels of Diversity goals. Pictured left to right, Nandor Krause of Archer Norris, Kristen Thall Peters of Cooper White & Cooper, Mika Domingo of M.S. Domingo Law, Ella Gower of Miller Starr Regalia, Joanna Brooks of Littler Mendelson, Crystal Van Der Putten of Livingston Law Firm, Terry Leoni of Leoni Law, Marjorie Wallace of the Law Office of Marjorie Wallace, and Robin Pearson of Pearson & Schachter Law

Your firm could be on this list next year. Get the recognition you deserve! Download the new 2018 Diversity Checklist from the CCCBA website on the Diversity Committee page. Complete and return it by the deadline. There are four levels: Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze.

Archer Norris

Pearson & Schachter Law



Did You Know? By Nicole Mills and James Wu

Did you know that on January 26, 2018, the CCCBA honored Robin Pearson for her years of service as a founding member and Chair of the CCCBA Diversity Committee? It’s true! At this year’s Installation Lunch, which also included the first-ever CCCBA Diversity Awards, James Wu took time to honor Robin for all of her work and present her with an award from the bar association. For those who may not know Robin, she has been an active member of the CCCBA for many years, and was CCCBA President in 2008. She was the CCCBA’s 5th woman to serve as president and the first person of color to do so. Fourteen years ago, Robin founded the CCCBA Diversity Committee, along with Dick Frankel, Larry Cook and Lisa Roberts and then served as chair of the


MARCH 2018

committee for all of those 14 years! This year, Robin is stepping down as chair. You might think that serving as CCCBA President, founding a committee and leading it for 14 years would be enough but Robin’s commitment to service extends far beyond the bar association. She has served on the Board of Family Support Services of the Bay Area; she serves on the CASA Contra Costa Board of Directors, she is on the Board of the National Kidney Foundation, and she is a Past President of Black Women Lawyers of Northern California. Last year she was chair of the State Bar Council on Access & Fairness (a Council on which she has served for many years). The CCCBA would like to thank Robin Pearson for her many years of service to the Bar Association, for her commitment to Diversity, and for her commitment to her larger community.

Classifieds Great office space in existing attorney law office

Available in Walnut Creek, walkable to Pleasant Hill BART. Spacious suite appropriate for 1-2 attorneys and staff, or stand alone office with administrative space optional. Comes with free parking, use of conference rooms, kitchen and reception services. Contact Patty at (925) 280-1700.

Office Suite in Downtown Lafayette Office suite available on ground floor of a prominent legal firm (since 1955) in Lafayette. Two adjoining office rooms, lots of light. Free parking. Access to common kitchen area, conference room, law library, copy & postage machine. Beautiful Creekside setting $1,800/mo. Possible to divide space into 2 offices and rent separately, your choice. To view, ask for Janelle (925) 283-6816.

30 years experience in Probate & Trust Administration 3445 Golden Gate Way Lafayette, CA 94549 (925) 283-6998

SINGLE LARGE OFFICE-WALNUT CREEK Single large office for sublet; Class A Building; Downtown Walnut Creek; 6th Floor view with balcony; Secretarial Setup; Furnished or not; Indoor Parking available; Conference Room in building; easy freeway access; Lease or Monthto-Month available; 925-938-5880 Info: - $1,800 per month (first & last month’s rent) - $20 per month DSL service - comes with 2 reserved, underground parking spaces - photocopy and scanning available for nominal charge - month-to-month for first 4 months - secretarial space comes with desk and phone - in-office telephone also available

Probate paralegal to attorneys Joanne C. McCarthy. 2204 Concord Blvd. Concord, CA 94520. Call (925) 689-9244.

BUILD A STRONGER DEFENSE AGAINST PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY RISK. RELY ON MITCHELL & MITCHELL AND CNA. With experience serving three generations of California businesses, and insurance from a carrier rated “A” by A.M. Best, when it comes to helping professionals in the Golden State … we can show you more.®

At Mitchell & Mitchell, we’re with you every step of the way. Call 888-512-8878 to speak with an agent, or visit to learn more.

CNA is a service mark registered by CNA Financial Corporation with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Certain CNA Financial Corporation subsidiaries use the “CNA” service mark in connection with insurance underwriting and claims activities. Copyright © 2016 CNA. All rights reserved.




Upcoming Events | Overview March 13 | Litigation Section In the Trenches: Tips and Tricks from the Civil Clerks more details below

March 13 | Women’s Section Women’s Power Lunch more details below

March 14 | Family Law Section BONVINO - The Antidote to 2640 more details below

March 15 | Intellectual Property


A Tale of Tribal Patent Shield more details on page 29

March 22 | CCCBA CCCBA Happy Hour Gathering at MoMo’s,Walnut Creek more details on page 29

April 11 | Family Law Section The New Federal Tax Act: Five Changes that Will Impact Your Clients & Five Changes that Will Impact Your Law Practice more details on page 29

April 12 | Litigation Section Effective Use of Paralegals in Civil Litigation more details on page 29

Current Law of Patent Eligible Subject Matter, Obviousness, and Obviousness-type Double Patenting more details on page 29

April 19 | Women’s Section Women’s Section Annual Wine Tasting Silent Auction Fundraiser more details on page 29

May 7-18 | CCCBA

27th Annual Food from the Bar-2018 more details on page 30

May 8 | Women’s Section Women’s Section Happy Hour more details on page 30

May 8 | Estate Planning & Probate Section 25th Annual Estate Planning Symposium more details on page 30

May 16 | CCCBA Res Ipsa Jokuitor XXIII - Comedy Night & Celebration for Food from the Bar 2018 more details on pages 30 and 31

The Contra Costa County Bar Association certifies that the MCLE activities listed on pages 28-30 have been approved for the specific MCLE credit indicated, by the State Bar of California, Provider #393.

March 13 | Litigation Section

March 13 | Women’s Section

March 14 | Family Law Section

In the Trenches: Tips and Tricks from the Civil Clerks

Women’s Power Lunch

BONVINO - The Antidote to 2640

Think LinkedIn but over lunch. This is an opportunity to meet and build professional relationships.

Meal choices are beef, salmon or vegetarian

Hear directly from civil clerks and Judge Weil for inside perspectives and “on the ground” tips about civil procedure. Time: 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm Location: Martinez Event Center, 524 Main St., Martinez MCLE: 1 hr. General MCLE credit Cost: $35 for section members and law students, $45 CCCBA members, $50 nonmembers Register: Online at calendar


April 17 | Intellectual Property Section

MARCH 2018

Time: 11:30 am – 1:00 pm Location: Tender Greens 1352 Locust St., Walnut Creek Register: Please email Ariel Brownell Lee at More Info: Contact Anne K. Wolf at (925) 370-2540 or

Speaker: Garrett Dailey, Esq.– CFLS, AAML Time: 12 Noon – 1:15 pm Location: Scott’s Seafood, 1333 N. California Blvd., Walnut Creek MCLE: 1 hr. Family Law MCLE credit Cost: $60 for section members, $85 CCCBA members, $110 non-members. Add $10 per person if registering after March 7, 2018. Registration: Please send payment to FLS, P.O. Box 5818, Concord, CA 94524 More Info: Contact Therese Bruce at (925) 930-6789 or

March 15 | Intellectual Property

March 22 | CCCBA

April 11 | Family Law Section

A Tale of Tribal Patent Shield

CCCBA Happy Hour Gathering at MoMo’s in Walnut Creek

The New Federal Tax Act: Five Changes that Will Impact Your Clients and Five Changes that Will Impact Your Law Practice


Speaker: Yifan Mao, Esq.– Kilpatrick Townsend The presentation will discuss using tribal sovereign immunity as a defense in patent cases as in Allegan v. Teva. The role of state sovereign immunity in patent cases will also be discussed to a lesser degree. Time: 12 Noon – 1:15 pm Location: Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, 2175 N. California Blvd., Suite 600, Walnut Creek MCLE: 1 hr. General MCLE credit Cost: $15 Members of the Intellectual Property section, $20 CCCBA members, $25 non-members Register: Online at calendar

Join your CCCBA friends for a casual, no-host event, where CCCBA Board Members and Section Leaders gather together with CCCBA members in a relaxed happy hour setting to socialize. Don’t expect anything formal like name tags or check-in tables. Instead come when you can, grab a beverage, and find us on the patio or in the bar area. A gathering of the CCCBA big or small, is typically hard to miss. Time: 4:30 pm – 7:00 pm Location: MoMo’s Walnut Creek, 1444 N. California Blvd., Walnut Creek Don’t miss the next upcoming Happy Hour... Calendar now! Wednesday, May 9 Salute Vita Ristorante

More Info: Contact Anne K. Wolf at (925) 370-2540 or

1900 Esplanade Dr., Richmond

April 12 | Litigation Section

April 17 | Intellectual Property

Effective Use of Paralegals in Civil Litigation Speakers: William Coggshall – Partner, Archer Norris Juliet Jonas – Core Faculty, John F. Kennedy University Monica McCallister – Paralegal, Shearman & Sterling Look forward to an evening learning about how you can best use your paralegal in a civil ligation matter. The ethical implications/limitations of assigning and supervising a paralegal will be explored. Appetizers included.


Current Law of Patent Eligible Subject Matter, Obviousness, and Obviousness-type Double Patenting Speaker: Dr. D. Benjamin Borson – Borson Law Group, PC This presentation focuses upon the current law of patent eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. §101, obviousness under 35 U.S.C. §103 and obviousness-type double patenting (ODP). Time: 12 Noon – 1:15 pm Location: Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP 2175 N. California, Suite 600, Walnut Creek

Time: 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm

MCLE: 1 hr. General MCLE credit

Location: 1515 Restaurant, 1515 N. Main St., Walnut Creek

Cost: $15 Members of the Intellectual Property section, $20 CCCBA members, $25 non-members

MCLE: 0.5 hrs. General and 0.5 hrs. Legal Ethics MCLE credit Cost: TBA

Register: Online at calendar

Register: Online at calendar

More Info: Contact Anne K. Wolf at (925) 370-2540 or

Meal choices are chicken, salmon or vegetarian Speaker: Christina Weed, Esq. Time: 12 Noon – 1:15 pm Location: Scott’s Seafood, 1333 N. California Blvd., Walnut Creek MCLE: 1 hr. Family Law MCLE credit Cost: $60 for section members, $85 CCCBA members, $110 non-members. Add $10 per person if registering after April 4, 2018. Registration: Please send payment to FLS, P.O. Box 5818, Concord, CA 94524 More Info: Contact Therese Bruce at (925) 930-6789 or

April 19 | Women’s Section Women’s Section Annual Wine Tasting and Silent Auction Fundraiser - 2018 Proceeds from this festive event benefit the Hon. Patricia Herron & Hon. Ellen James Scholarship, awarded annually to deserving law students who have shown leadership potential, achieved academic success, and helped to advance women’s issues. If you would like to sponsor this event, please contact Sterling Elmore at Time: 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm Location: Crowne Plaza, 45 John Glenn Dr., Concord Cost: TBA Register: Online at calendar



May 8 | Estate Planning & Probate

May 7-18 | CCCBA

May 8 | Women’s Section

27th Annual Food from the Bar-2018

Women’s Section Happy Hour

Make a difference to the hungry people in Contra Costa County (and show those other law firms how generous your firm really is)!

Think LinkedIn but over drinks. This Happy Hour is an opportunity to meet and build professional relationships.

This year marks the 27th Annual Food From the Bar drive benefitting the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano.

Time: 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm Location: MoMo’s Walnut Creek, 1444 N. California Blvd., Walnut Creek

Program details available online.

Currently in its 43rd year, the Food Bank provides food to over 132,000 people every month in Contra Costa and Solano Counties. All monetary donations are tax-deductible and will be acknowledged.

Register: Please email Ariel Brownell Lee at

Location: Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek

May 16 | CCCBA Res Ipsa Jokuitor XXIII - Comedy Night & Celebration for Food from the Bar 2018 Spend an evening with political satirist Will Durst. Thank you to Justice James Marchiano who has agreed to act as emcee for the evening.

6:00 pm Doors Open 6:30 pm Buffet 8:00 pm Show Begins

Location: Back Forty BBQ, 100 Coggins Dr., Pleasant Hill (Vegetarian option available.)

Cosponsored by Wealth Management at Mechanics Bank Time: 1:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Cost: $75 for EP&P Section members, $65 Law Student Section members, $90 CCCBA members, $95 non-members Register: Online at calendar

advertisers index ADR Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

Lenczowski Law Offices . . . . . . . . . . 21

All-Cal Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Mitchell & Mitchell Insurance . . . . . . 27

Barr & Young Attorneys . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Morrill Law Firm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

Law Offices of Oliver W. Bray . . . . . 13

Novak Wealth Management . . . . . . . . 2

Diablo Valley Reporting Services . . . 32

Pedder, Hesseltine, Walker & Toth, LLP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10, 16, 18

First Republic Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Robert B. Jacobs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 JAMS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Landmark Valuation . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Bring a can of protein (tuna, beef stew, etc.) for a chance to win valuable prizes! For sponsorships, contact Theresa Hurley, (925) 370-2548. Time:

25th Annual Estate Planning Symposium

MCLE: 3 hrs. Estate Planning & Trust Specialization MCLE credits

The firm in each category with the highest per capita figures in each category will receive an individual award for permanent display in their office. Do your part to feed the hungry in your area. Participate in Food From the Bar! To donate or for more info, go to www.foodbankccs. org/fftbcc.


Candice Stoddard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Lisa M. West . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Michael J. Young . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Youngman Ericsson Scott . . . . . . . . . 30 Zandonella Reporting Service . . . . . 18

Youngman Ericsson Scott, LLP 1981 North Broadway • Suite 300 Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Cost: $70 each, $650 for a table of ten Tickets: Online at For information on sponsoring this event please contact Theresa Hurley at (925) 370-2548 or

Tax attorneys


MARCH 2018

(925) 930-6000





KicKoff for food from the Bar 2018 Benefitting the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano

Wednesday, May 16 Doors open at 6 pm Show starts at 8 pm Back forty Texas BBQ 100 Coggins Drive Pleasant Hill Tickets: $70 each $650 for table of ten BBQ Buffet: 6:30 - 7:30 pm Vegetarian option available upon request, contact Renee by May 10 at (925) 771-1310.

Bring a can of protein

(tuna, peanut butter, chicken) to enter for a chance for valuable prizes! benefitting:

BenefacTorS Contra Costa County Bar Association PaTronS Archer Norris Gizzi Reep Foley McNamara, Ney Beatty, Slattery, Borges & Ambacher Newmeyer & Dillon

An Evening with

Will Durst “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!”

conTriBUTorS 3D-Forensic Aiken Welch Court Reporters Aptus Court Reporting Brown, Gee & Wenger Buchman, Provine Brothers Smith Certified Reporting Services Express Network Ferber Law Flicker, Kerin, Kruger & Bissada, LLP Gagen McCoy, APC Law Office of Suzanne Boucher Miller Starr Regalia Nationwide Legal

GeT yoUr TicKeTS Today! For tickets, scan the QR code or go to

For sponsorship opportunities, contact Theresa Hurley at (925) 370-2548 or 2018_02-12

Deposition Reporting in Contra Costa County since 1986

Trusted with the Bay Area’s most complex cases, Diablo Valley Reporting Services has been part of the legal landscape for more than 30 years. Contra Costa County attorneys have come to rely on DVRS as a firm that is large enough to handle the most challenging cases, but small enough to provide the utmost in personal and professional service. • • • • • •

Proud to Partner with Some of the Area’s Best Certified Shorthand Reporters Leading Technology Personal Service and Delivery Deposition Suites and Conference Rooms Available Centrally Located in Downtown Walnut Creek, near BART A Loyal Supporter of the Contra Costa County Bar Association for Three Decades

2121 N. California Blvd., Suite 290, Walnut Creek, CA 94596 •



MARCH 2018


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.