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SCBA 2019 Annual Meeting Sacramento Republic FC

Pro Bono Awards 2020 Membership Application Inside

2020 SCBA President

ShanÄ e Buffington Photo by Mark Long-Eleakis & Elder Photography


www.sacbar.org | Winter 2020 | SACRAMENTO LAWYER








24 Shanāe Buffington, SCBA President for 2020

FEATURE ARTICLES 8 Republic FC‘s Major League Soccer Expansion: What Does It Really Mean for Sacramento? 12 Wildfire Resilience and Recovery - Laws for a New Decade 32 Nancy Sheehan, Exceptionally Skilled, Civil, Honest, Role Model, Mentor, Down-to-Earth, and Fun 40 The ATILS Task Force Proposals: A Sea Change in the Practice of Law? SECTIONS, AFFILIATES AND DIVISIONS 14 2019 Unity Bar Dinner 22 SABA of Sacramento Hosts Its 12th Annual Diversity Law Student Reception 38 Diversity Matters - SacLegal 7th Annual Founders’ Award Honors Justice Joshua Groban EVENTS 18 SCBA Recognizes Paula Salinger for Family Law Pro Bono Work 28 2019 Annual Meeting Recap SCBA AFTER HOURS 31 2019 Family Law Section Holiday Luncheon 31 2019 IDP Holiday Party VLSP 36 A True Professional, Sarah Huchel - VLSP Pro Bono Attorney DEPARTMENTS

EDITORS Ellen Arabian-Lee Arabian-Lee Law Corporation Vicki Jacobs VLSP Kim Garner Duggan Law Corporation Editor@sacbar.org



Editor’s Message


President’s Message

PRODUCTION DESIGN Milenko Vlaisavljevic milenko@sacbar.org ADVERTISING SALES EVENTS - MEMBER CLASSIFIED ADS Danielle Laughter (916) 564-3780 dlaughter@sacbar.org

SACRAMENTO LAWYER | Winter 2020 | www.sacbar.org

SCBA OFFICERS Shanāe Buffington - President Trevor Carson - 1st Vice President Bryan Hawkins - 2nd Vice President Andi Liebenbaum - Secretary/Treasurer SCBA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Elizabeth Bacon elizabeth.bacon@sacbar.org







Sacramento Lawyer welcomes letters and article suggestions from readers. Please e-mail them to editor@sacbar.org. The Sacramento County Bar Association reserves the right to edit articles and letters submitted for publication. Please contact the SCBA at 916-564-3780 for deadline information, fax 916-564-3787, or email elizabeth.bacon@sacbar.org. Web page: www.sacbar.org. Caveat: Articles and other work submitted to Sacramento Lawyer become the copyrighted property of the Sacramento County Bar Association. Returns of tangible items such as photographs are by permission of the Executive Director only, by pickup at the SCBA office only.

Sacramento Lawyer (USPS 0981-300) is published quarterly by the Sacramento County Bar Association, 425 University Ave., Suite 120, Sacramento, CA 95825. Issn 1087-8771. Annual subscription rate: $6.00 included in membership dues, or $24.00 for nonmembers. Periodicals postage paid at Sacramento, California. Postmaster: Send address changes to Sacramento Lawyer, 425 University Ave., Suite 120, Sacramento, CA 95825. Copyright 2020 by the Sacramento County Bar Association.

www.sacbar.org | Winter 2020 | SACRAMENTO LAWYER



Changes in

2020 by Ellen Arabian-Lee

Ellen is a Co-Editor and the President of Arabian-Lee Law Corporation in Roseville. She can be contacted at ellen@arabian-leelaw.com.


love the way “2020” sounds when you say it. For the first time, it really feels like we are living in the “future.” The future of magazines is somewhat uncertain and we see fewer magazines being published as we move into the “roaring” 2020’s. Sacramento Lawyer is still going strong but you will notice some changes. Rather than having a traditional “Editor-in-Chief,” we will have several “co-editors” who work together to publish the magazine with the SCBA staff. The editors are volunteers with busy law practices and none have time to take on the “full-time” role of Editor-in-Chief. (Many thanks to those before who took this role on, but it really is too much for just one volunteer.) In addition, Sacramento Lawyer will now be published quarterly, rather than bi-monthly. Some of the information you are used to seeing in the magazine may now be located in the “This Week At The Bar” emails, so be sure to read those emails. You may also notice some changes in the appearance of the magazine and we welcome your comments, suggestions, criticisms, and ideas, since this magazine is by, and for, the SCBA community. Please help us by submitting ideas and proposed articles and photos (with captions) to editor@SacBar.org. We look forward to keeping the tradition of Sacramento Lawyer alive.


SACRAMENTO LAWYER | Winter 2020 | www.sacbar.org


DEADLINES FOR 2020 MAGAZINE ARTICLES • SPRING 2020 ISSUE Deadline - February 14, 2020 • SUMMER 2020 ISSUE Deadline - May 15, 2020 • FALL 2020 ISSUE Deadline - August 15, 2020 • WINTER 2021 ISSUE Deadline - November 15, 2020 Articles should be submitted to editor@sacbar.org For advertising deadlines contact Danielle Laughter (916) 564-3780 dlaughter@sacbar.org



Shanāe S. Buffington, President, Sacramento County Bar Association

The SCBA Pursues Collaboration to Enhance Existing Programs





s I commence my term as President of the Sacramento County Bar Association, I reflect on how blessed I am to achieve this great honor. My service on the Board has given me the opportunity to work with a supportive community of attorneys, legal secretaries, paralegals, and members of the bench. The work we do to promote inclusion within the profession and access to justice, is ever evolving, and is often coupled with a sacrifice of family or leisure time. It is because of the efforts and contributions of volunteers, that our association continues to thrive. To highlight a few of this year’s objectives, we plan to broaden the impact of Kids Law Day, a program that exposes fourth, fifth, and sixth graders to careers in the legal profession. This spring, we will present to 800 students on the campuses of nine schools located throughout the Sacramento City Unified School District. We plan to schedule more presentations that will occur in the fall. We will collaborate with community partners to develop initiatives that promote the quality of life, including mental and emotional well-being for those within the profession. We also plan to work with the Sacramento County Bar


April 10th and 17th, 2020 May 8th and 15th, 2020 June 4th and 5th, 2020

Foundation to launch its first annual fundraiser. Proceeds will benefit the Kids Law Day program, and merit-based scholarships for law students with financial need. This year, we will continue to explore options to increase the value of membership. One is to streamline our dues structure to make it more cost-effective and convenient for members. We are offering an all-inclusive annual membership which includes access to all SCBA events, and two section memberships. We are also offering lifetime membership which includes the perks of an allinclusive membership in addition to recognition as a lifetime member in the Sacramento Lawyer magazine, event promos, and the web. Please visit www.sacbar.org for information on membership pricing. We have a full year of exciting work ahead of us. I am confident that if we work together, we can build on an incredible legacy and advance our association’s goals and mission. Until the next issue, Shanāe S. Buffington

INSPIRE THE NEXT GENERATION! The Sacramento County Bar Foundation is seeking VOLUNTEERS for Kids Law Day presentations for Spring 2020. If you cannot volunteer, please consider DONATING to our backpack supply fund.

To volunteer contact Martha Fenchen at mfenchen@sacbar.org or call (916) 564-3780. To donate Visit http://foundation.sacbar.org or call (916) 564-3743. www.sacbar.org | Winter 2020 | SACRAMENTO LAWYER




EXPANSION: What Does It Really Mean for Sacramento? by Dylan W. Wiseman

Dylan W. Wiseman is a Shareholder with Buchalter, P.C. He is a resident of Sacramento and San Francisco. In 2017, he founded Buchalter’s Sacramento office. When not litigating intellectual property disputes, he plays pickup soccer matches in midtown and in Alameda.


n 2014, I took my sons to the first match at Hughes Stadium with 20,000 elated supporters. I cheered at the Capitol steps after the team won the United Soccer League championship in its inaugural season. I sang and chanted with the Tower Bridge Battalion in the summer heat at Papa Murphy’s Park. I watched the away games on YouTube, and later ESPN+. I stood in the rain at City Hall in December 2017 when it was announced that the Major League Soccer (MLS) bid, which once seemed so promising, was completely unraveling. I set a Google alert for any news about MLS ex-


pansion and watched as Minnesota, Nashville, Cincinnati, Miami, Austin and St. Louis displaced Sacramento Republic FC as the front runner. Despite this, like thousands of other Sacramentans, I trusted the relentless optimism of Kevin Nagle’s leadership and the determination of Mayor Darrell Steinberg. Nagle, and his co-founder, Warren Smith, had created more than a soccer team with a logo; they had established a following to the club’s ideology. With “Urbs Indomita” emblazoned upon the jerseys, and the California bear marching westward on the team’s crest, Sacramento Republic

SACRAMENTO LAWYER | Winter 2020 | www.sacbar.org

FC tapped into a rugged, authentic, and inclusive ethic that resonates with Northern Californians. I remained hopeful despite the considerable setbacks. In January 2019, news broke that billionaire Ron Burkle and his business partner, Matt Alvarez, had joined the ownership group, which marked a milestone for the Indomitable City. I remained worried, however, that Sacramento was running out of runway, as MLS announced it was going to limit the number of teams to 30, and it was approaching 28. In July, I attended SCBA’s “Meet

the Mayors” event and questioned Mayor Steinberg about MLS expansion. Checking to confirm there were no members of the media at the meeting, Mayor Steinberg smiled and whispered into the microphone that he “guaranteed MLS expansion.” He jokingly referenced how Joe Namath guaranteed a Super Bowl trophy in 1969 and invited us to call him “Broadway Darrell” when MLS expansion occurred. Following the SCBA event, I was asked to write an article about the potential MLS expansion. I pounced at the opportunity. My assignment— to address the impact of MLS expan-

sion upon the region. In September, I interviewed Ben Gumpert, Sacramento Republic FC’s President and CEO at his midtown offices. Gumpert is perfect for the role. He is a scruffy millennial with an MBA from Stanford who was previously the Chief Marketing Officer for the Sacramento Kings and who worked in New York as the VP of Business Operations for the National Basketball Association. Gumpert shone with excitement about the yetto-be announced expansion news. As part of my assignment, I also interviewed Kevin Nagle. Years earlier, in darker times after Sacramen-

to’s bid unraveled, we spoke on a few occasions because my law firm had ties to investors in the English Premier League. Even then, when Sacramento’s bid was in tatters, Nagle remained resolute he would find the right financial backers and push Sacramento into MLS. He was correct. In September, Nagle was giddy with excitement and grateful to all of those who had contributed to Sacramento’s effort to bring MLS to the capital city. Simply put, Sacramento Republic FC becoming an MLS team would never have happened without Nagle’s tireless efforts. On October 21, 2019, Mayor “Broadway Darrell” Steinberg delivered on his guarantee. MLS Commissioner Don Garber made it official. After five years of arduous waiting and rejection, Sacramento Republic FC was finally joining MLS! Even before the MLS expansion, Sacramento’s trajectory pointed skyward. After the Golden 1 Center’s development, downtown, midtown, and West Sacramento have experienced the influx of great restaurants, coffee houses, music venues, and brew pubs. Because of escalating prices in the Bay Area and Sacramento’s stable government sector, Sacramento has recently been able to attract millennials, hipsters, entrepreneurial tech jobs, a vibrant arts community, and a diverse community reflective of every color, creed and religion. So, beyond what we already have, what does MLS expansion really mean for Sacramento? Being currently pointed skyward, MLS expansion is rocket fuel to propel Sacramento upwards for generations to come. The 252 million dollar stadium is privately funded and aside from 30 million dollars in tax credits and permit waivers, the city has very little of its own equity at risk. Further, the new 22,000 seat stadium and the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center will become the anchors for the development of the Railyards. “Burkle and his investment group

www.sacbar.org | Winter 2020 | SACRAMENTO LAWYER


Dylan W. Wiseman

have purchased the land adjacent to the stadium, and are bringing restaurants and a retail district to surround the stadium as a gathering point for Sacramentans,” commented Gumpert. “The Railyards development will effectively double the size of the downtown, and provide a corridor to the river,” added Nagle. The 242-acre development project will be one of the largest urban development projects in the United States. “Because the stadium development is 90% privately funded, we expect the positive spillover effect to Sacramento’s economy will start in the first quarter of 2020,” said Nagle. “MLS expansion will enable Sacramento’s businesses to attract more talent and opportunities, and the benefit extends to all segments of our economy.” Nagle stated that the tax revenue from the Railyards development, which is built on private investment, will enable the city to better address other pressing issues, such as affordable housing, homelessness and a new courthouse. City Council candidate Katy Valenzuela, who is looking to win the council seat currently held by Steve Hansen, add-


ed, “It could be monumental. It’s a huge opportunity if done intelligently with an eye toward making certain those who work in the Railyards can live nearby.” She echoed Nagle’s comments about providing needed tax revenue for Sacramento’s key issues. “I helped to keep the Kings in Sacramento,” said Nagle. “A region’s sports teams give it a national and global identity.” MLS expansion will immediately improve Sacramento’s stature and media visibility. Sacramento was a natural fit with the other western cities with MLS teams—Los Angeles, San Jose, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Salt Lake City, Denver, and Austin. “We’ll have natural rivalries with both teams in Los Angeles, and with the [San Jose] Quakes,” added Gumpert. “I’m excited by the other West Coast rivalries.” Sacramento Republic FC, with its headquarters situated in midtown, has developed a quirky Northern California identity. For example, the team is known as “the Quails,” which actually started out in 2016 as an April Fool’s joke. In a uniquely Sacramento way, the team and its followers have adopted the state bird as their own.

SACRAMENTO LAWYER | Winter 2020 | www.sacbar.org

Gumpert commented that the community’s identity will also be embodied in the stadium. Republic FC’s thoughtfully designed stadium is a tribute to Sacramento’s culture. According to Gumpert, “[T]he stadium will be a showcase with a canopy on the top level, and its continuous roof reflects Sacramento’s urban forests.” The effect of having the sides open will operate to cool the stadium in the summer months. “The continuous roof will provide shade in the summer and keep fans dry when it rains,” he continued. When asked about the other uses for the stadium, Gumpert said, “We have an interest in adding a National Women’s Soccer League team, concerts, World Cup qualifiers, the U.S. National Team (both men and women), rugby matches, lacrosse, football, farmers’ markets, and corporate events.” The U.S. will co-host the FIFA World Cup in 2026, and Sacramento plans to host one of the teams at its basecamp. On the topic of concerts, Gumpert said, “[We] are constructing a state-of-the-art outdoor concert facility which will attract top names, much like how the Golden 1 Center has brought in top artists.” For long-term prosperity, since its inaugural season in 2014, Sacramento Republic FC has been deeply rooted to the community. The team’s motto, “It Takes a Republic,” reflects its careful stewardship in charitable and community involvement. The team has hosted forums for advancing women in business, volunteered at countless local events, and will continue to promote local initiatives. On October 21, 2019, I took my eighty-something-year-old parents, wife, and high schooler to the MLS Expansion Block Party on Capitol Mall. One of the speakers stated, “This is a great day for Sacramento. This is also a great day for MLS because MLS now has Sacramento Republic FC.” Go Quails!

Sacramento County Bar Association Presents


100 Years Later - Right to Vote But Still No Equal Rights Amendment - How Does that Impact the Law? KEYNOTE: Hon. Consuelo Callahan


425 University Ave., Suite 120 Sacramento, CA 95825 Register online at www.sacbar.org-Event Calendar. If you have any questions, please contact Cecilia Uribe at cecilia.uribe@sacbar.org or 916-564-3780.

2.0 MCLE Elimination of Bias

PANEL: Hon. Stacy Boulware Eurie Hon. Shama Mesiwala Jerilyn Paik MODERATOR: Andi Liebenbaum www.sacbar.org | Winter 2020 | SACRAMENTO LAWYER




Laws for a New Decade

Katharine S. Killeen is an Assistant Chief Counsel at the California Department of Water Resources and served as Chairperson of the Public Law Section, 2016 – 2019. Katerina Deaver is a Senior Attorney at the California Department of Water Resources, focusing on energy and climate change issues.

by Katharine S. Killeen and Katerina Deaver


ccording to a report issued by Governor Newsom’s Strike Force on April 12, 2019, climate change has created a new wildfire reality in California. In 2019, the California legislature enacted over two dozen bills addressing this new reality and framing the state’s comprehensive strategy for wildfire prevention, mitigation, safety, and recovery efforts. Regardless of what area of law you practice, you may find these new laws of interest. The new legislation reflects many of the findings and recommendations included in the April 12, 2019 Strike Force report, entitled, “Wildfires and Climate Change: California’s Energy Future.” This report outlined steps that fall into five key challenge areas: (1) Catastrophic Wildfire Prevention and Response; (2) Mitigating Climate Change through Clean Energy Policies; (3) Fair Allocation of Catastrophic Wildfire Damages; (4) A More Effective California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) with the Tools to Manage a Changing Utility Market; and (5) Holding PG&E Accountable and Building a Utility that Prioritizes Safety. On


June 21, 2019, Governor Newsom’s Strike Force issued a progress report entitled “Catastrophic Wildfires, Climate Change and Our Energy Future,” which showed the state’s progress in all these areas and outlined several recommended actions, including working collaboratively with the legislature. Several of the newly enacted bills relate to the issue of liability of the state’s investor-owned utilities for catastrophic wildfires. Under the holding in Barham v. Southern California Edison Company (1999) 74 Cal. App 4th 744, the doctrine of inverse condemnation applies to damages sustained from a wildfire caused by an electric utility’s equipment, thus making investor-owned utilities strictly liable for such wildfirerelated damages. On January 14, 2019, Pacific Gas & Electric Corporation (PG&E) reported that it faced extraordinary challenges resulting from a series of catastrophic wildfires that occurred in Northern California in 2017 and 2018. PG&E determined that it was appropriate, necessary, and in the best interests of all stakeholders, to commence

SACRAMENTO LAWYER | Winter 2020 | www.sacbar.org

reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and filed voluntary Chapter 11 petitions in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California on January 29, 2019. On July 12, 2019, AB 1054 (Holden) and AB 111 (Committee on Budget) were signed into law and immediately took effect. These bills establish a new governmental entity – the California Wildfire Safety Advisory Board – to develop recommendations related to wildfire safety. AB 1054 creates a Wildfire Fund for payment of eligible claims arising from a covered wildfire and specifies funding sources for this fund. AB 111 establishes a Wildfire Safety Division within the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and an Office of Energy Infrastructure Safety within the California Natural Resources Agency, which will become a successor to the CPUC’s Wildfire Safety Division, effective July 1, 2021. AB 111 also creates a California Catastrophe Response Council to oversee a new Wildfire Fund Administrator. AB 1513 (Holden), signed by the Gov-

Photo by Kimberly Melikian

ernor on October 2, 2019, made several technical and clarifying changes to the statutory provisions related to these new governmental entities, mechanisms, and the Wildfire Fund. On October 2, 2019, Governor Newsom signed a legislative package consisting of 22 bills regarding wildfire prevention, response, com-

Ann Patterson, Chief Deputy Legal Affairs Secretary in the Office of the Governor, and Alice Reynolds, Senior Advisor to the Governor on Energy, presented to the Public Law Section on California Wildfire Prevention and Recovery – New Laws and Public Entity Roles, November 18, 2019.

munications, safety, regulation of utilities, and clean energy. Among these new bills are: SB 70 (Nielsen), which requires utilities to include a description of how they considered undergrounding of electrical infrastructure in their wildfire mitigation plan that is submitted annually to the Wildfire Safety Division; SB 160 (Jackson), which requires counties to integrate cultural competence into their emergency plans and to provide a forum for community engagement in order to engage with culturally diverse communities; SB 167 (Dodd), which addresses utilities’ wildfire mitigation plans, including requiring protocols that would lessen impacts of Public Safety Power Shutoffs; SB 190 (Dodd), which relates to building standards and a model defensible space program; SB 209 (Dodd), which establishes the Wildfire Forecast and Threat Intelligence Integration Center; SB 247 (Dodd), which addresses vegetation management efforts by electrical corporations to prevent wildfires; SB 560 (McGuire), which seeks to improve communication surrounding power shutoffs; SB 632 (Galgiani), which requires the State Board of Forestry

and Fire Protection to complete its environmental review under CEQA for a vegetation treatment program; SB 670 (McGuire), which addresses emergency telecommunications and outages; AB 38 (Wood), which provides mechanisms for community-wide wildfire resilience and requires certain real property seller disclosures; AB 661 (McCarty), which requires the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District to prepare a wildfire smoke air pollution emergency plan, as an informational source for local agencies and the public; AB 836 (Wicks), which creates the Wildfire Smoke Clean Air Centers for Vulnerable Populations Incentive Pilot Program; AB 1699 (Levine), which relates to responsibilities of mobile internet service providers during emergencies; and AB 1823 (Committee on Natural Resources), which pertains to local fire protection planning. The legislative package signed by Governor Newsom on October 2, 2019, also includes several bills pertaining to the issues within CPUC’s regulatory authority, including SB 155 (Bradford), SB 255 (Bradford), SB 520 (Hertzberg), SB 550 (Hill), AB 1144 (Friedman), AB 1362 (O’Donnell), and AB 1584 (Quirk). In addition to signing these new laws, the Newsom administration provided budget support for new tools and resources related to wildfire preparedness and response, including https://response.ca.gov.

www.sacbar.org | Winter 2020 | SACRAMENTO LAWYER



2019 UNITY BAR DINNER By My Tien Doan


SACRAMENTO LAWYER | Winter 2020 | www.sacbar.org

My Tien Doan is an attorney with Downey Brand, LLP and serves on the Executive Board of the Wiley W. Manuel Bar Association. She can be reached at mdoan@downeybrand.com.

Hon. Renard Shepard (Ret.), Hon. Troy Nunley, Hon. Martin J. Jenkins, Jasmine Turner-Bond


he Wiley W. Manuel Bar Association hosted the 32nd Annual Unity Bar Dinner on October 30, 2019 at the Sheraton Grand with impressive attendance from over 400 attorneys and judges. The Unity Bar is an association of diverse attorneys that was created in 1987 to increase diversity in the Sacramento legal profession. Over the years, the affiliate organizations of the Unity Bar Association have increased in numbers and now include members from the Asian/Pacific Bar Association (ABAS), Cruz Reynoso Bar Association (CRBA), Leonard M. Friedman Bar Association (LMFBA), SacLEGAL, South Asian Bar Association (SABA), Wiley W. Manuel Bar Association (WMBA), and Women Lawyers of Sacramento (WLS). The evening was inspired by the Harlem Renaissance, which was the development of the Harlem neighborhood in New York City as a black cultural mecca and the subsequent social and artistic explosion that resulted. Lasting roughly from the 1910’s through the mid 1930’s, the period is considered a golden age in African American culture, manifesting in literature, music, stage performance and art. The Dinner included a keynote conversation between Governor Newsom's Judicial Appointments Secretary, Justice Martin J. Jenkins, United States District Judge Troy L. Nunley, and Unity Bar Association Co-Founder, Judge Renard Shepard (Ret.) regarding their varied experiences and diverse peers that positively impacted their practice and judicial ideology, as well as their belief in the power of self-pride, unity and alliances. Scholarships to local law students were also awarded for their achievements, and community organizations were recognized for their contributions. The scholarship recipients included: Cristina Tolentino, Victoria Fernandez, Amelia Evard, Viktoriya Chebotarev, Jasmine Lakhian, Les Swizer, Dorian Coston, Jeresia Ewell, Kiana Caton, and Whitney Jenkins.

The event was made possible through the collective work of the Unity Bar Co-Chairs (Jasmine Turner-Bond and My Tien Doan), the affiliate bar representatives (Chris Alvarez (ABAS), Brian Lopez (CRBA), Hollis Hulwin (LMFBA), Aparna Agnihotri (SABA), Emmanuel Salazar (SacLEGAL), and Elizabeth Dietzen Olsen (WLS)) and the Sacramento County Bar Association.

LARRY NICHOLAS, PH.D. Psychological consultation to attorneys in family law cases:

* review of EC 730/FC 3110/3111, and mediation reports * coaching and consultation to litigants and attorneys * expert witness/rebuttal witness/depositions and testimony * assistance with questioning mediators and evaluators * providing feedback to clients to help settle cases Phone (916) 448-3822 Fax (916) 448-1341 email: lmnicholas@sbcglobal.net Website: See Larry Nicholas PHD at PsychologyToday.com www.sacbar.org | Winter 2020 | SACRAMENTO LAWYER



SACRAMENTO LAWYER | Winter 2020 | www.sacbar.org



Delegation to the Conference of California Bar Associations


You work with the code every day. You know its strengths and the opportunities for improvement. By joining the Delegation, you have an opportunity to change the code and Rules of Court and share your knowledge with other practitioners throughout California. WHO CAN JOIN? Any licensed lawyer member of the Sacramento County Bar Association. HOW TO JOIN? Please contact the SCBA office and we’ll connect you with one of the leaders of of the SCBA Delegation right away. WHEN SHOULD YOU JOIN? Today! For more information, please contact Cecilia at 916-604-9667 www.sacbar.org | Winter 2020 | SACRAMENTO LAWYER





he Sacramento Bar County Association’s Pro Bono Award honors attorneys who have given their time and talent to advocate for those most in need. SCBA President Sean McCoy kicked off the annual event on October 24, 2019, recognizing the importance of pro bono work, especially for low-income individuals throughout Sacramento County.

Recognizing the important role that pro bono service plays in filling the justice gap, keynote speaker Dave Jones, Insurance Commissioner Emeritus, called attention to the legal needs of those living below the poverty line. “Pro bono service is critically important for people with no other place to go and it is how we chip away at the justice gap.” Jones, who is currently the Director of the






SACRAMENTO LAWYER | Winter 2020 | www.sacbar.org

Lisa Ryan is a Partner at Cook Brown LLP, practicing labor and employment law. She is a member of the SCBA Pro Bono Committee.

Climate Risk Initiative at UC Berkeley’s Center for Law, Energy and the Environment (CLEE) and a Senior Fellow at the ClimateWorks Foundation, shared his first-hand experience as an attorney with Legal Services of Northern California early in his career, noting that “such representations can be a two way street with a lot to learn from these clients.” In honor of such pro bono work,


1. Dave Jones , Insurance Commissioner Emeritus 2. Hon. Bunmi O. Awoniyi 3-4. Richard Silvestri presents Scholarships to Kristi K. Thielen & Candra R. Jackson, Jr. 5. Sean McCoy, Paula Salinger, Hon. James Mize and Jeff Galvin

Judge Bunmi O. Awoniyi, Supervising Family Law Judge of the Sacramento Superior Court, presented the 2019 Pro Bono Award to Paula D. Salinger, a shareholder with Woodruff, O’Hair, Posner & Salinger, Inc. Judge Awoniyi noted that as a State Bar Certified Family Law Specialist, Salinger has been a steadfast volunteer in the family court since she was first sworn in as an attorney in 2002, assisting low-income clients with all facets of family law. Judge Awoniyi praised Salinger for her willingness to “raise her hand” to fill a variety of different roles as a pro bono volunteer for the Voluntary Legal Services Program and the Family Law Pro Bono Mediation Program, as well as assisting the courts to review and attempt to resolve family law cases set for trial. Through VLSP’s new Family Law Assistance Project, Salinger also assists low income clients with such matters as filing for dissolution, establishing or changing custody and

child support orders, and establishing paternity. Salinger also has provided training for lawyers entering the field through the “Lawyers New to Family Law” program. “Paula’s commitment to justice and to those who are underrepresented provides an invaluable service to our community,” remarked Judge Awoniyi. In accepting the 2019 Pro Bono award, Salinger recalled that immediately out of law school she made a commitment to volunteer one day a month. Over her career, this simple commitment has amounted to many hours of invaluable legal aid to a variety of clients. “One of the lasting memories for me,” Salinger acknowledged, “is the appreciation from the clients I serve through my pro bono work. Helping others is a key to personal happiness.” Salinger credited the support of her family and law firm partners for the opportunity to help provide all people in our community with access to the justice system.


Richard Silvestri, of the Sacramento County Bar Foundation, concluded the Awards Ceremony by presenting the Access to Justice Scholarships to Candra R. Jackson, Jr. from McGeorge School of Law and Kristi K. Thielen from U.C. Davis School of Law. Both law students were recognized for their commitment to working on behalf of programs offering services to individuals without sufficient means to retain a private attorney, including low-wage workers and victims of sexual assault and human trafficking. The SCBA’s Pro Bono Committee is chaired by Jeff Galvin. Its members include: Mary-Beth Moylan, Lisa Ryan, Vicki Jacobs, Heather Tiffee, Sergio Diaz, Jenni Gomez, Sil Reggiardo, Elizabeth Bacon, Rachael Blucher, Scott Alexander, Dan Quinley, Sunny Sarkis, Meagan Bainbridge, Cynthia Larsen, Sujean Park and Jeff Nordlander.

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www.sacbar.org | Winter 2020 | SACRAMENTO LAWYER




WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 19, 2020 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.



Check-in: 11:45 a.m.



425 University Ave., Suite 120 Sacramento, CA 95825



Keith J. Staten Keith J. Staten is from Vallejo, CA. He received two AA degrees from Solano Community College and a BS from San Francisco State University. He attended UOP McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, graduating in 1992. His Criminal Defense firm specializes in handling complex criminal litigation, DUI litigation, and DMV administrative licensing issues. After serving at the Sacramento County Public Defender’s office from 1991 to 1994, he went into private practice focusing on criminal defense. From 2001 to 2007, he was a Senior Staff Counsel for the Department of Motor Vehicles. In 2007, he returned to private practice, specializing in complex criminal trials. In 2012, he was named Attorney of the Year by the Sacramento County Indigent Criminal Defense Panel for his outstanding case resolutions, which included two jury acquittals on life-offense cases. In 2014, The Hub Magazine in Sacramento recognized him as a leader in the community. In 2014, the Wiley Manuel Bar Association named him Attorney of the Year. In 2015, he received the “Judge James Long” Community Service award from the Kappa Fraternity’s Roseville Alumni Association. He was recently recognized as a Social Justice Warrior by The National Lawyer’s Guild in 2020.


Lunch provided by Noodles & Company.

$45 SCBA members $65 Non-SCBA members $25 Students

YOUR NAME:_______________________________________________________________________________________ ADDRESS: _________________________________________________________________________________________ CITY: ___________________________________________ STATE: ________ ZIP: _______________________________

Reservations must be received by 5pm February 14, 2019. Registration will not be confirmed until payment is received. After deadline date (if there is availability) and for any walk-ins pricing will increase by $10. No one will be permitted to attend without payment. You may pay by credit card or check payable to: “Sacramento County Bar Association.” Mail payment to: Sacramento County Bar Association, 425 University Ave, Suite 120, Sacramento, CA 95825 or pay online at www.sacbar. org-Event Calendar. If you have any questions, ple­­ase contact Cecilia Uribe at cecilia.uribe@sacbar.org or 916-564-3780.

EMAIL: ___________________________________________________________________ AMOUNT: $______________ CREDIT CARD NUMBER: _ _ _ _ – _ _ _ _ – _ _ _ _ – _ _ _ _ CHECK NUMBER: ____________________ EXPIRATION DATE: ___ ___ – ___ ___



CVR CODE NUMBER: ___ ___ ___

SIGNATURE: _______________________________________________________________________________________ This event is for SCBA members and invited guests. The SCBA reserves the right to refuse admission to anyone whose presence is unreasonably disruptive or who detracts from the safety, welfare, and well-being of other patrons, staff, and the establishment itself. *This is pending approval for Minimum Continuing Legal Education credit by the State Bar of California in the amount of 1.5 unit of MCLE in the Elimination of Bias Credit. The Sacramento County Bar Association provider #166 certifies that this activity conforms to the standards for approved education activities prescribed by the rules and regulations of the State Bar of California governing minimum continuing legal education.


run/ walk

FEB 8 2020

Race for Justice!




SABA OF SACRAMENTO Hosts Its 12th Annual Diversity Law Student Reception by Judge Shama H. Mesiwala


he South Asian Bar Association (SABA) of Sacramento hosted its 12th Annual Diversity Law Student Reception in Judge Shama Mesiwala’s  backyard in Davis, on September 7, 2019. The reception has grown to over 250 attendees, providing law students the opportunity to mingle with judges and attorneys in an informal setting over Indian appetizers. SABA was honored by the attendance of Chief Judge Emeritus  Morrison England  from the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, Presiding Justice  Vance Raye, Justice  Ron Robie, Justice William Murray, Jr., Justice Elena Duarte, and Justice Andrea Hoch  from the California


Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District; Judge  Steve Acquisto, Judge Bunmi Awoniyi, Judge Thadd Blizzard, Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Division  Jerilyn Borack, Referee  Marlene Clark, Judge  Stacy Boulware Eurie, Judge  Michael Bowman, Judge  Daniel Calabretta, Commissioner  Carlton Davis, Judge Joginder Dhillon, Judge Laurie Earl, Judge  Steven Gevercer, Commissioner  Scott Harman, Commissioner  Danny Haukedalen, Judge  Russell Hom, Judge  Christopher Krueger, Judge  Kristina Lindquist, Judge  Ken Mennemeier, Judge  Jim Mize, Commissioner  Kimberly Parker, Judge  Alan Perkins, Judge  Jennifer Rockwell, Judge Pete Southworth, Judge Rick

SACRAMENTO LAWYER | Winter 2020 | www.sacbar.org

Judge Shama H. Mesiwala was appointed Commissioner and assigned to the dependency court in January 2017; Gov. Brown named her Superior Court Judge at the end of 2017.

Sueyoshi, Judge Raoul Thorbourne, and Judge Emily Vasquez  from the Sacramento County Superior Court;  Judge  Sonia Cortes, Judge  Tom Dyer, Judge Pete Williams, and  Judge  Steve Basha from the Yolo County Superior Court; Presiding Judge Debra Givens  from the Yuba County Superior Court; and Judge  Monique Langhorne and Commissioner  Myrlys Stockdale Coleman  from the Napa County Superior Court.  The reception was generously underwritten by  Pacific McGeorge School of Law  (whose Dean  Michael Hunter Schwartz  attended) and  UC Davis School of Law (whose Senior Associate Dean  Afra Afsharipour attended).









1. Lilly Mohanna, Kishwer Vikaas, Rabia Reed, Aparna Agnihotri, Shilpa Girimaji, Zainab Shakoor, Hon. Shama Mesiwala 2. Melissa Harman, Hon. Emeritus Morrison England, Laura Moreno England 3. Delaine Hausner, Wilson Li, Andrew Haney, Nicholas Awakuni, Princepreet Singh 4. Hon. Russell Hom, Hon. Elena Duarte, Hon. Daniel Calabretta, Referee Marlene Clark 5. Roselyn Wu, Yana Pavlova, Hon. Stacy Boulware Eurie, Hon. Debra Givens, Dayja Tillman 6. Hon. Michael Bowman, Hon. Russell Hom, Hon. Emily Vasquez, Hon. Vance Raye 7. Jerilyn Paik, Luis Cespedes, Hon. David Brown, David Ureno 8. Commissioner Myrlys Stockdale Coleman, Carmen-Nicole Cox, Briana Bacon, SCBA Executive Director Elizabeth Bacon, Commissioner Kimberly Parker 9. Hon. Ron Robie, Hon. Rick Sueyoshi, Professor Clay Tanaka, Ismah Ahmad

9 www.sacbar.org | Winter 2020 | SACRAMENTO LAWYER



Shanāe Buffington,

SCBA PRESIDENT FOR 2020 By Samuel L. Jackson

Photo by Mark Long-Eleakis & Elder Photography


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or 2020, the SCBA is in the capable and energetic hands of Shanāe Buffington. Shanae grew up in Sacramento – a self-described “latch-key kid” due the fact that her mother, Diane Buffington, had to work two jobs to support the family. Shanāe’s volunteerism was largely influenced by seeing her grandmother and mother serve on committee and boards at Shiloh Baptist Church. Shanāe recalls her mother involuntarily signing her up to play roles in Easter and Christmas plays. Eventually, at her mother’s behest, Shanāe joined the youth usher board where she served, in various capacities, until she was a senior in high school.

School of Law. When asked why she chose Spelman and why she decided to go to law school, Shanāe gave an unexpected answer. While her mother was working, Shanāe watched a lot of television, after she finished her homework, of course. “I always wanted to be like Clair Huxtable on ‘The Cosby Show.’ She had it all, a great family and a successful career as a lawyer. I selected Spelman for undergraduate studies because of its renowned student leadership development programs, and I wanted to learn more about my culture.” Moving down south to attend college was not a difficult choice for Shanāe to make since her grandmother was born and reared in Atlanta. “My extended family resides in Atlanta so I had a support system already in place which made Atlanta feel more like home.” Shanāe’s mother proudly recalls that Shanāe was a serious, focused, and disciplined student. Attorney members of the Shiloh Baptist congregation (including your author) recall Shanāe’s insatiable appetite for information on a career in the law and about undergraduate studies to prepare for law school. Shanāe comes to the position of SCBA President very well prepared. She is entering her seventh year on the SCBA board, having served three years as a member-at-large and one-year terms as secretary/

Eugene W. Buffington, Sr., Shanāe, Diane Buffington at college graduation

Samuel L. Jackson, retired Sacramento City Attorney, former SCBA President, former member of the State Bar Board of Directors, former Chair of the Committee of Bar Examiners and currently a minister at Shiloh Baptist Church. He can be contacted at the Law Offices of Jackson & Jackson; 916-806-8359.

After she graduated from C.K. McClatchy High School, Shanāe chose to attend Spelman College, a historically black college in Atlanta, Georgia. With her political science degree in hand, Shanāe interned for California State Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson and then relocated to the East Coast and attended the University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke

Dr. Cornel West and Shanāe while interning for the California State Assembly

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Top left to right: Shanāe Buffington, Connie Chan Robison (Executive Director, Center for Collaborative Planning), Sandie Burgess (Project Assistant, CCP) Michelle Garibay (Sacramento Children's Home), Marlon Maroney. Bottom left to right: Michelle Garcia, Auviyonti Jefferson, Corey Burgess, Sarah Newton-Scott (Program Manager, CCP)

treasurer, second vice president, and first vice president. She joined the Wiley W. Manuel Bar Association as soon as she was admitted to the bar in 2009 and served as its president in 2014. Since 2017, Shanāe has served as treasurer for the California Association of Black Lawyers. She is the current chair of the Client Security Fund Commission, on which she has served since 2016. The Client Security Fund reimburses clients who have lost money or property due to theft or dishonest conduct committed by an attorney acting in a professional capacity. And, in 2018, the California Supreme Court appointed Shanāe to participate on California’s first Attorney Practice Analysis Working Group, formed to re-examine the content and format of the bar exam. Of all her bar and community service, Shanāe is most proud of her work with My Future Initiative, an organization that seeks, through educational outreach, to prevent drug and alcohol abuse among teens. She mentions that, growing up in Curtis Park/Oak Park, she had friends who “did not make it past age 20.” Shanāe’s first legal job was with the law firm of Randolph, Cregger, & Chalfant, LLP, where she assisted


senior attorneys on employment and discrimination matters. Former managing partner, Thomas A. Cregger, observes that “Ms. Buffington was reliable, disciplined, and practical. I was impressed by her work ethic as a young lawyer. I am sure these traits remain and will serve her well as [SCBA] president.” Shanāe next worked at the Yolo County Public Defender’s Office where she represented clients charged with a variety of misdemeanors. Ron Johnson, Assistant Chief Deputy Public Defender, shares, “I remember Ms. Buffington as reserved, serious, and focused on her work. I expect she will employ the same work ethic as bar president.” Currently, Shanāe serves as an attorney with the Employment Development Department (EDD), representing the State in administrative tax proceedings. EDD’s General Counsel, Sandra V. Clifton, proudly said, “I knew when I hired Shanāe that she would not only become an excellent attorney, but her professionalism and commitment would serve the people of the State of California proudly. I am confident that her dedication and commitment to public service will be part of her success in serving the County Bar as its incoming president.” Your author, who has

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known Shanāe since she was a child, says that “Shanāe has developed into one of the more calm and confident lawyers under fire whom I have encountered since the ‘80s.” As Shanāe takes the helm of the SCBA, she plans to broaden the impact of Kids Law Day by increasing the number of presentations in the Sacramento Unified School District. Kids Law Day is largely run with the help of attorneys, legal secretaries, and paralegals who visit elementary schools to share their education and work experience with children who are interested in pursuing legal careers. Last year, knapsacks, pencils, paper, and other school supplies were provided which Shanāe wishes to continue with the help of the Sacramento County Bar Foundation through donors and sponsors. Shanāe also plans to work with bar leadership to identify effective methods of communication between the SCBA and its members. “As technology continues to evolve,” she says, “so will the needs of our members. We will strive to seek a happy medium between electronic mail communication and social media. Also, the SCBA website will be redesigned with the goal of making it easier and faster for members to register for continuing legal education, meetings, and other events.” In her free time, Shanāe enjoys gardening, reading, and traveling.

Shanāe at the Flame of Liberty in Paris, France

Sacramento County Bar Association Presents

VIETNAM VETERANS DAY FRIDAY MARCH 27, 2020 11:00am – 1:30pm

DEL PASO COUNTRY CLUB 3333 Marconi Avenue Sacramento, CA 95821

FREE for Veterans – Must RSVP $45 SCBA Members (non-veterans) $55 Non-Members (non-veterans) You may pay by credit card or check payable to: “Sacramento County Bar Association”. Mail payment to: Sacramento County Bar Association, 425 University Ave, Suite 120, Sacramento, CA 95825, or pay online at www.sacbar.org-Event Calendar. If you have any questions, please contact Cecilia Uribe at cecilia.uribe@sacbar.org or 916-564-3780.


www.sacbar.org | Winter 2020 | SACRAMENTO LAWYER



2019 ANNUAL MEETING RECAP by Andi Liebenbaum


embers of the Sacramento County Bar Association (SCBA) have a great deal to be proud of. The SCBA is made up of law firms (many with 100% membership in SCBA), accomplished solo and small practice attorneys, and a significant number of public service and government attorneys from all branches of government and public interest. What makes the SCBA even more impressive is that nearly 400 of these attorneys, from large and small firms, from every practice area, and from all parts of the County, came together on December 2, 2019 to attend the SCBA’s Annual Meeting, where SCBA’s new directors were sworn into office, and the 2019 SCBA Distinguished Attorney of the Year, Andrew Stroud, was honored. Stroud


was recognized for his exemplary attitude, tenacious litigation skills, and commitment to integrity. During his remarks introducing Stroud, Judge Raul Ramirez (Ret.) said that he could find no clever way to joke about Stroud, who he considers a mentee and a colleague. He emphasized that Stroud’s commitment to the law was second only to his commitment to his family. In his acceptance remarks, Stroud said that he was humbled by the award and by the support of the Sacramento legal community. Judge David De Alba, Presiding Judge of the Sacramento County Superior Court, introduced the day’s keynote speaker, Leah Wilson, Executive Director of the State Bar of California.*  Wilson presented the Bar’s multipronged efforts

SACRAMENTO LAWYER | Winter 2020 | www.sacbar.org

Andi Liebenbaum is an attorney for the Judicial Council of California. She can be reached at andi.liebenbaum@jud.ca.gov.

to address service to the people of California through a variety of initiatives, including efforts related to attorney education and discipline. She emphasized the need for the State Bar to focus on its obligations to litigants and members of the public. Wilson explained that these focused obligations were at the core of the new, higher attorney license fees for 2020 authorized by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor. The event also included remarks by outgoing SCBA Board President Sean McCoy. McCoy focused on the SCBA’s 2019 accomplishments, including hiring SCBA Executive Director, Elizabeth Bacon, correcting some outstanding fiscal management issues, and planning for the



separation of the Indigent Defense Panel from SCBA management. The incoming SCBA directors and board members were sworn in by Judge Kimberly Mueller of the U.S. Eastern District Court. The new SCBA directors for 2020 are: · Shanāe Buffington, President · Trevor Carson, 1st Vice President · Bryan Hawkins, 2nd Vice President · Andi Liebenbaum, Secretary/Treasurer Receiving this year’s President’s Awards, as recognized by McCoy for outstanding service to the Association and the people of Sacramento, were former SCBA President, Heather Hoganson, and



long-standing SCBA Director and Managing Attorney for Voluntary Legal Services Program (VLSP) of Northern California, Vicki Jacobs. McCoy also recognized SCBA staff member, Cecilia Uribe, for her outstanding service to SCBA sections and programs. Also announced at the Annual Meeting was the 2019 VLSP June Black Pro Bono Award, which was bestowed upon Sarah Huchel for her dedicated volunteer service to VLSP’s Debt Collection Defense/Bankruptcy Clinic clients and VLSP’s Advisory Committee for the last 13 years. The event concluded with the acceptance speech of newly swornin SCBA President Shanāe Buffington, who closed the meeting with

brief comments of inspiration for the coming year and thanks to the many attorneys, judges, and community members in attendance. *At the time of publication of this issue, Wilson had just announced that she was stepping down as the Executive Director of the State Bar of California.

1. Top Row Left to Right: Rhonda Harrigan, Toby Magarian, Hon. Alberto Rosas, Ed Brooks, Richard Silvestri. Bottom Row Left to Right: Dawn Willis, Lexi Howard, Vicki Jacobs, Sean McCoy, Shanāe Buffington, Priscilla Parker, Dustin Amrein, Trevor Carson 2. Philliip Cunningham, Ken Bacon 3. Andrew Stroud, Hon. Christopher Krueger 4. Shanāe Buffington and Leah Wilson

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In Memoriam

Peter Needham Mering (1930-2020) The Sacramento County Bar Association notes with regret the passing of retired Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Peter Mering. 30

SACRAMENTO LAWYER | Winter 2020 | www.sacbar.org

Photo by Anne Chadwick Williams, Sacramento Bee











2019 FAMILY LAW SECTION HOLIDAY LUNCHEON 1. Back Row: Heather Tiffee, Stephanie Williams, Jaya Badiga, Hon. James Mize. Front Row: Hon. Russell Hom, Vicki Jacobs, Hon. Lauri Damrell, Hon. Bunmi Awoniyi, Camille Hemmer, Rick Cohen, John O’Malley, Jennifer Hemmer 2. Hon. James Mize, Camille Hemmer, Hon. Jerilyn Borack


2019 IDP HOLIDAY PARTY 3. John Sims, Michelle Bowman, Chelsea Dayle 4. Commissioner Kenneth Brody, Hon. Michael Bowman 5. Teresa Huff, Sharon Camissa 6. Keith Staten, Jerry Shapiro 7. Joseph Farina 8. Keith Staten, Alin Cintean www.sacbar.org | Winter 2020 | SACRAMENTO LAWYER




Exceptionally Skilled, Civil, Honest, Role Model, Mentor, Down-to-Earth, and Fun by Art Scotland, Susan Schoenig, and Dominique Pollara

Art Scotland is a retired Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District, and now a government law attorney at Nielsen Merksamer. He can be contacted at ascotland@sbcglobal.net.

Susan Schoening is an employment law attorney at Kennaday Leavitt Owensby. She can be contacted at sschoenig@ kennadayleavitt.com.

Dominique Pollara is a medical malpractice trial lawyer at Pollara Law Group. She can be contacted at dp@pollara-law.com.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: After Nancy Sheehan was honored by the Sacramento County Bar Association, she succumbed to cancer at the age of 62. The authors decided to leave the article in the present tense because Nancy will live on in the positive influences she had on colleagues, friends, and family. She will be missed, but not forgotten.


ince 1994, the Sacramento County Bar Association annually presents its Distinguished Attorney of the Year Award to a member who exemplifies the best qualities in the legal profession and, through the practice of law, has made Sacramento a better place to live and work. On November 20, 2019, the SCBA Board of Directors decided to henceforth, in perpetuity, rename the


award as its “Nancy Sheehan Distinguished Attorney of the Year Award” in honor of her distinguished career as a trailblazing woman lawyer who epitomizes the qualities and highest standards of skill, integrity, civility and professionalism in the practice of law and devotion to community service, and an inspiring mentor and role model for many. A longtime member of the SCBA, Nancy is held in high regard by

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the bar. Nancy is one of only 500 lawyers nationwide invited to be a fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. Nancy is also a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). She served as President of its Sacramento Valley Chapter and she was the recipient of its Civility Award for professionalism in dealing with counsel and the courts. She was also the first woman honored as ABOTA’s Trial Lawyer of

the Year (in 2014). In addition, Nancy is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and is asked often to be on the faculty of programs promoting the highest standards of advocacy with integrity. Nancy is also held in high esteem by judicial officers. Nancy is an original member of the Sacramento County Superior Court Civil Advisory Committee, a mediator for the U.S. District Court Voluntary Dispute Resolution Program, and Chair of an Eastern District magistrate search committee. At an ABAS dinner, the keynote speaker, Magistrate Judge Donna Ryu, talked of the need for ethics and civility in the practice of law, and identified Nancy as the example of what attorneys should strive to emulate. Nancy’s commitment to enhance our community included being on the Board of a local foundation helping children in need, serving on IATL’s Diversity Task Force, and promoting its initiative against human trafficking. But these accolades do not fully reveal the personal side of Nancy which endears her to so many in our community and nationwide. Loving Daughter, Sibling, Wife and Friend With her parents and three siblings, Nancy grew up in a small town on Long Island. Her sister, Caryl Sheehan, describes Nancy as “the glue that held our family together” – not only immediate family but extended family as  well. Famous for her handwritten task lists, Nancy organized many family and friends’ events. “We feel Nancy’s kindness and personality far eclipses her legal successes,” said Caryl. “The simplest of things are so special when done by Nancy.” Later in life, her childhood on “Lawn Guyland” is a source of entertainment when Nancy regales friends with hilarious stories of childhood adventures and going to summer camp at Our Lady of Lourdes Camp for Girls.

After graduating from C.W. Post University in Greenville, New York, Nancy left the East Coast for the warmer climate out west – first to Hawaii, where she was a private investigator for a year, and then to McGeorge School of Law to pursue a career in the law, and ultimately to join the Porter Scott law firm. Becoming a trial lawyer also led to Nancy meeting and marrying her husband of 24 years, Rich Simpson, whom she met while he was testifying as an expert witness in a case. In addition to each other, they shared a love of travel, bicycling, cross-country skiing, and many other pleasures. In the words of her close friend Sue Schoenig, “Nancy is an amazing friend to many.  She can be counted on no matter what is needed.  Those near and dear to her experience her kindness, selflessness, and humor leaving you laughing until your sides hurt. If you are struggling with health issues or just life in general, she leaves a present on your porch that she either bought or made for you. Nancy is one of those rare people who touches all who know her in small and big ways.” Superlatives flowed freely when judges and attorneys described Nancy during her life lived well. Below is a summary of the many comments we received about Nancy from her colleagues: Role Model and Mentor In the words of Karen Jacobsen, Nancy is “a dedicated, exceptional and ethical attorney, known as a trailblazer and mentor to so many and, most important, an amazing person with an incredible sense of humor, humility and warmth.” To Karen Goodman, Nancy has been “a role model for me since the 1980’s”; and Mary-Beth Moylan noted that Nancy “is a guidepost for success for many women attorneys in Sacramento.” Said Judge Morrison England, “with skill, professionalism, ethics, and grace, Nancy is what all

young attorneys should look to as the gold standard in the legal profession.” Skill, Civility, Integrity, and Dignity “Civil, professional, hardworking, fearless, and extremely witty, Nancy treats all within the profession with respect, whether you are a young associate of a small firm or the managing partner of the elite. I call her the ‘cleaner’ because she is brought into very difficult and contentious cases after others have failed to resolve them. She finds common ground and gets to the heart of the matter. She is one of a kind who brings out the best in her adversaries and friends alike. She accepts victory and defeat the same, always with a smile and a handshake.” – Jill Telfer. “In everything she does, Nancy brings honor to our profession. She treats all, whether adversaries or not, with respect and collegiality. That said, there is no one tougher. Her cross-examination skills are brilliant, and her ability to conduct a direct exam in very difficult situations is the stuff of legends.” – Parker White. “Nancy is a true leader in the legal community and a role model of civility. Many attorneys talk about civility, but Nancy achieves it.” – Hank Greenblatt. “She is a lawyer who epitomizes the true meaning of civility and professionalism.” – Jesse Rivera. “Always diligent, prepared and professional, Nancy is an exceptional advocate whose word can be trusted.” – Judge Gerrit Wood. “A refreshing opponent who provides her client with excellent advocacy while being courteous to opposing counsel and the other party, Nancy brings dignity to the practice of law.” – Letty Litchfield. “An accomplished trial attorney and brilliant legal scholar, Nancy is respected by her contemporaries both plaintiff and defense attorneys as well as judges, for her civility, compassion, sense of fairness and professionalism. Her word is her bond.” – Carol Wieckowski.

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Well-Respected Problem Solver with a Sense of Humor “Exceptionally well-regarded by our bench, Nancy is a wise, caring and contemplative problem solver who is never too busy to pick up the phone and lend her time and talents to the resolution of an issue.” – Judge Kevin Culhane. “A bright, articulate, ethical and extraordinarily knowledgeable and skilled lawyer, Nancy is easy to get along with, has a quick sense of humor, and is well liked by her peers.” – Dan Wilcoxen. “For decades, Nancy has been an inspiration to new attorneys to practice law with civility, patience, courtesy, and humor. She never takes herself too seriously. She always looks at the bright side of a situation, appreciating the reality and the irony. She is truly an example of all that is good and right and just in our profession.” – Carolee Kilduff. “A first-rate attorney and first-rate representative of our profession, Nancy is fiercely intelligent, incredibly hardworking and selflessly dedicated to the needs of her clients. She upholds the highest standards of civility and ethics, and possesses one of the keenest and funniest wits in town.” – Tom Knox.

ney should be. She is smart, diligent, honest, thorough, communicates well, and reflects all the values we should strive to have in this profession. She promotes the well-being of others and does not put others down to make herself look good. Whenever I interact with Nancy, I am happy and always feel better after any time spent with her.” – Lindy Scoffield. Legacy Worthy of Lasting Honor Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and Ninth Circuit Judge Connie Callahan described Nancy as “a vibrant and caring person” and “a pillar of professional and personal excellence.” According to Courtney Lee, Nancy is “a shining light illuminating the high road for our legal community.” “Nancy is a class act by any definition,” said Matt Jaime, and she is “deserving of lasting recognition,” attests Judge Kimberly Mueller. Judge Lawrence Brown notes,

Compassion “Committed to using her talents and resources to help those less fortunate by investing in their education and personal development, Nancy has created a legacy not only as an exceptional attorney, but as a compassionate and kind person who cares deeply about the success of future generations.” – Linda Sharpe. “Nancy is a noteworthy example of how to practice tenaciously but with civility, wit, style, and compassion. She also is plain spoken about the fact that people should step up and be engaged.  ‘Don’t be a plaquer’ she would say … and she never was.” – Dominique Pollara. “With the ability to be both a good person and a good lawyer, Nancy is the perfect example of what an attor-


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“Named in Nancy’s honor, the Distinguished Attorney of the Year Award will mean all that much more for those receiving it in the future.” Judge David Abbott agrees that this award is a “well-deserved and lasting tribute to Nancy and her contributions to our profession and this community.” Kudos SCBA Simply stated, because of her exceptional legal skills, integrity, civility, compassion, mentoring, community service, friendly down-to-earth manner, wit, and sense of humor, Nancy Sheehan earned the honor of becoming the namesake of the SCBA’s annual Distinguished Attorney of the Year Award. We applaud the SCBA for so naming this prestigious award to honor Nancy Sheehan forever as the  example of what all attorneys and jurists should strive to be.

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Vicki Jacobs is the Managing

Attorney of the Voluntary Legal Services Program. She can be contacted at vjacobs@vlsp.org.

Sarah Huchel and Heather Tiffee, VLSP’s Assistant Program Manager


VLSP Pro Bono Attorney by Vicki Jacobs

“If you want to be a true professional, you will do something outside yourself. Something to repair tears in your community. Something to make life a little better for people less fortunate than you. That’s what I think a meaningful life is – not living for oneself, but for one’s community." -Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg


hree days after she was admitted to the California Bar in 2006, Sarah Huchel signed up to volunteer at the Voluntary Legal Services Program, the SCBA sponsored pro bono program. Sarah wasted no time in using her legal education to benefit our community. She quickly joined the volunteer ranks at our Debt Collection Defense and Bankruptcy Clinic and has assisted over 230 clients over the last 13 years and has contributed over 400 pro bono hours to VLSP’s indigent clients. The indigent clients at VLSP’s Debt Collection Defense and Bankruptcy Clinic are very anxious and upset from their long struggles to


maintain their households and keep creditors at bay. They have been inundated with letters, phone calls and, sometimes, lawsuits, seeking money that our clients do not have to pay their creditors. The client interviews at the clinic can be quite stressful for all concerned. In Sarah, the clients find an attorney with empathy and compassion who is eager to provide the best legal advice and assistance possible. Sarah has a willing ear and gives each client the time needed to explain, and vent about, their financial problems. Debt Clinic volunteer attorney Helen Geoffroy, who has been honored for her own extensive pro bono work, says about Sarah:

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“Sarah is a wonderful volunteer! She has an infectious, upbeat attitude about spending time after work to help others, and is compassionate and informative with the clients.” Heather Tiffee, VLSP’s Assistant Program Manager and Staff Attorney for the Debt Collection Defense and Bankruptcy Clinic, says about Sarah: “In the over 12 years I have known Sarah, she has consistently brought a sense of levity and sincerity to her volunteer work through our program. Whether sporting a sassy new haircut or color, or showing off her newest furry family member, her smile and positive attitude lights up the office. Our clients always leave feeling listened to, cared about, and empowered by Sarah’s legal knowledge and kind demeanor.” Each year, the Staff and Advisory Committee of the VLSP are pleased to award the annual June Black Pro Bono Award to one of VLSP's indispensable volunteers. At the December Annual Meeting of the Sacramento County Bar Association, Sarah Huchel was presented the 2019 award that is named in memory of June Black, VLSP’s founding Program Coordinator who spent 17 years working to assure that Sacramento area low-income clients received free legal services from volunteer attorneys. Sarah finds her pro bono work to be gratifying and enjoys being part of the team at VLSP. When told she was to be the recipient of the June Black Pro Bono Award, Sarah said: “I’m thrilled! I’m totally honored to be recognized by those I admire so

much. VLSP has been, and continues to be, such a highlight of my life. I am certainly grateful I am even in a position to offer legal assistance, and every person who thanks me for the opportunity to be heard and helped owes the real gratitude to the incredible staff and legal community who make this program possible.” Sarah’s involvement with VLSP has not been limited to her considerable time assisting clients. For a decade, Sarah has been a member of VLSP’s Advisory Committee, a group of local attorneys who advises and oversees the operation of our program. Mark Eggleston, the Chair of the VLSP Advisory Committee (and himself a member since the 1980’s) says about Sarah: “I’ve been on the VLSP Advisory Committee for years. Sarah’s so committed to the Committee that, once a volunteer is requested for a Committee task, she’s already stepped forward while I’m still pondering if I should take a step back! She’s a joy

to work with---thoughtful, insightful, and fun!” Sarah also is a stalwart fundraiser at VLSP’s annual fundraising Phoneathon. She reaches far and wide, and out of state to her generous Mom, to help raise funds for the program. Sarah’s legal career has been with several governmental entities. She currently is the Legislative Director for the Office of the President of the University of California. She has served previously as a Principal Consultant to the California State Senate Committee on Business, Professions, and Economic Development, the Assembly Business, Professions, and Consumer Protection Committee, the California Assembly Joint Sunset/Accountability and Administrative Review Committee, among other public entities at the Capitol. Sarah is a graduate of the University of California, Hastings College of the Law where she was a Founding Member of the Hastings Health

Law Organization. Sarah was also a member of the Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of California, San Diego. During college, she was a member of UCSD’s Cycling Team, a sport she continues by riding to VLSP’s office on her bicycle for every clinic or meeting. Sarah is currently a member of the Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates. Sarah also gives back to her community by volunteering at Sacramento CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), assisting children in the foster care system. She also is a foster volunteer with Love and Second Chances, a dog rescue organization. VLSP is grateful to Sarah Huchel for her ongoing commitment to access to justice for the indigent in the community and her dedicated efforts “to repair the tears in our community.” Congratulations, Sarah, on your well-deserved award.

Seeks your referrals of low income Sacramento area clients with the following legal matters: • Employment Law: wrongful termination, discrimination, Unemployment Insurance appeals, wage and hour disputes • Chapter 7 bankruptcy and general debt defense advice, help with correcting credit reports and dealing with identity theft • Family Law (Divorce, Custody, Support) in Sacramento County only • Estate planning (Wills, Advance Health Care Directives and Financial Powers of Attorney), probate guardianships of the person, small probate matters. All services are free of charge to eligible clients. VLSP is a 39 year old nonprofit legal aid corporation with the mission of assisting low income clients with their legal problems. All assistance is by appointment only. Our client intake number is (916) 551-2102 www.sacbar.org | Winter 2020 | SACRAMENTO LAWYER




SacLegal 7th Annual Founders’ Award Honors Justice Joshua Groban by Lexi Purich Howard

Hon. Joshua Groban, center, recipient of the SacLegal Founders’ Award, with Back row, left to right: Emmanuel Salazar, Heather Thomas, Lexi Purich Howard, Hon. David De Alba, Hon. Dan Calabretta, Andi Mudryk, Michael Rhoads, Les Swizer, James Tiehm, and John Tan. Front row, left to right: Kathi Finnerty, Ashley Harvey, and Gerry Latasa


n November 5, 2019, Sacramento area lawyers, judicial officers, and colleagues honored Associate Justice Joshua Groban for his contributions to judicial diversity. In his role as senior advisor

for judicial appointments to Governor Jerry Brown, Justice Groban vetted and oversaw the appointments of hundreds of diverse judges and justices to our state courts. Of the 644 judges chosen by Governor Brown


since 2011, records for the state were set – nearly 6% identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, nearly 40% identified as non-white, and about 44% were women. SacLegal Co-Chairs Ashley Harvey and Lexi Purich Howard welcomed attendees and presented the award. Sacramento Superior Court Judge Dan Calabretta introduced Justice Groban, who thanked SacLegal and provided thoughtful comments to those in attendance. Justice Groban emphasized the importance of diversity on the bench, noting that such diversity begins with and requires a broad range of applicants. Sacramento County Superior Court Presiding Judge David De Alba provided additional remarks. SacLegal also recognized past recipients Judge Laurie Earl, Judge




Lexi Purich Howard is Co-Chair of SacLegal, Sacramento’s LGBTQ+ Bar Association and an attorney at Murphy Austin Adams Schoenfeld LLP. She can be contacted at lhoward@murphyaustin.com.


SACRAMENTO LAWYER | Winter 2020 | www.sacbar.org

Alison Claire, Larry Levine, Justice Art Scotland (Ret.), Rosemary Metrailer, and Denny Mangers, many of whom were in attendance. Other attendees included high school and law school students, attorneys, members of the federal bench, and judges and justices from the California Superior, Appellate, and Supreme Courts, including Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye. As in the prior year, the event was held at the beautiful Casa Garden venue, which supports the Sacramento Children’s Home. Following the recent Unity Bar of Sacramento scholarship and community awards, the Founders’ Award event was another reminder of the Sacramento legal community’s commitment to diversity. Founded in 1997, SacLegal is an affiliate organization of the Sacramento County Bar Association. SacLegal supports the professional development of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, non-binary, and intersex law students, lawyers, and judges. It also encourages members of the LGBTQIA+ community to enter the legal profession, and promotes unity, cooperation, and the exchange of ideas in the legal profession and in our community. SacLegal is grateful to all attendees and sponsors of the Founders’ Award, to those organizations that comprise the Unity Bar of Sacramento, and to all who support diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. As Langston Hughes so aptly wrote: “To save the dream for one it must be saved for all.”


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THE ATILS TASK FORCE PROPOSALS: A Sea Change in the Practice of Law? By Larry Doyle


ncreased opportunities for nonlawyers – and non-humans – to practice law? Permitting non-lawyers to own law firms? Allowing lawyers to pay for-profit enterprises for referrals? These proposals – illegal under current law - are some of the ideas that will soon be presented to the State Bar of California’s Board of Trustees for endorsement, and from there to the Supreme Court and Legislature for possible adoption. The proposals have a long way to go before implementation. But since the implementation of any of the proposals will have a profound impact on the practice of law, both in terms of the business of law and client protection, it is good to know they are coming. The proposals are the product of a Task Force on Access Through Innovation in Legal Services (“ATILS Task Force”) that was created by the Bar’s Board of Trustees in July of 2018 and charged with “identifying possible regulatory changes to enhance the delivery of, and access to, legal services through the use of technology, including artificial intelligence and online legal service delivery models.” The Task Force’s creation was inspired by a “Legal Market Landscape Report” commissioned by the Board of Trustees the year before, which made a powerful argument to the Board that the legal


needs of California’s poor and middle class are woefully unmet – and suggested current rules and statutes prohibiting the unauthorized practice of law (UPL) and preventing entrepreneurial businesses from providing legal services were among the chief culprits. The report contends that the one lawyer/one client model which has been the standard for the legal profession since its inception is too complex and costly for average consumers, who elect instead either to handle their legal problems on their own (in a recent study conducted by the National Center for State Courts, 76% of civil cases involved at least one party who was self-represented) or to do nothing. The gravity of this problem will be reaffirmed by the “2019 California Justice Gap Study” being developed by the State Bar in conjunction with the NORC at the University of Chicago. The preliminary Technical Report was just released and the full study is due at the end of the year. To address these needs, the ATILS Task Force was directed to review and assess the impact of current prohibitions against the unauthorized practice of law (UPL), both by non-lawyer humans and on the use of artificial intelligence and other technology driven delivery systems, “including online

SACRAMENTO LAWYER | Winter 2020 | www.sacbar.org

Larry Doyle is a Sacramento-based attorney, lobbyist and writer. He is the former long-time Chief Legislative Counsel for the State Bar of California and Legislative Representative for the Conference of California Bar Associations (CCBA).

consumer self-help legal research and information services, matching services, document production and dispute resolution.” The Task Force also was asked to “evaluate existing rules, statutes and ethics opinions on lawyer advertising and solicitation, partnerships with nonlawyers, fee splitting (including compensation for client referrals) and other relevant rules” with the objective of devising changes that might foster innovation in, and expansion of, the delivery of legal services and law related services while still protecting the public. The membership of the Task Force is consistent with its charge. The Task Force consists of 23 members, including 11 non-lawyers, 10 lawyers and two judges. The non-lawyers are not of the “jury of one’s peers”

variety but are mostly drawn from ified legal advice and services. The cause of serious concerns about conproviders of alternative legal servicproposal does not identify in which sumer protection. es, including tech entrepreneurs in areas of law the nonlawyers should Nearly as much concern was exthe development of artificial intellibe permitted to practice, which was pressed regarding the two competgence programs and online dispute a concern for many. Although other ing recommendations (3.1 and 3.2) resolution and legal marketing exjurisdictions and nations – and the to amend Rule of Professional Conperts. Many of the lawyer committee medical profession – have adopted duct 5.4, which prohibits non-lawCOUNTY BARmodel, ASSOCIATION MAGAZINE members and staff, SACRAMENTO plus both judges, this California’s experience yer ownership of law firms. The are well-respected legal ethicists. to date has been spotty at best, and first variation (3.1) would permit 1329 Howe Ave., #100120 • Sacramento, 425 University Ave., Suite • Sacramento,CA CA95825 95825 True to its charge, the Task Force the Legislature came very near last a lawyer to be a part of a firm in developed 17 “tentative recommenyear to eliminating one of the curwhich a nonlawyer holds a finandations” during its first year and rent authorized exceptions to UPL cial interest, provided that the submitted them to the Board of Truslaws, Immigration Consultants, befirm’s sole purpose is providing tees, requesting they be sent out for public comment. The proposals span a range of actions and non-actions (e.g., not to define the “practice of law” in rule or statute) to be taken, including two proposals relating to Superior Court of CA, County of Sacramento (Ret.) non-lawyer ownership of law firms that are intentionally inconsistent. • Business & Commercial Most of the tentative recommendations are highly conceptual and lack• Real Estate ing in detail, let alone proposed rule • or statutory language. Most recommended major changes in existing • Partnership & Shareholder rules and statutes by recommending Disputes new exceptions to the restrictions on the practice of law by non-lawyers • and removing impediments to busi• ness arrangements between lawyers and non-lawyers. The tentative recommendations were sent out for 60-day public comment, which ended September 23, 2019. As public comment periods go, this one was incredibly successful: State Commissioner of Corporations - Three years 1,386 individuals and organizations submitted a total of 2,865 comments during the official period. Employment & Labor Member, AAA Panels on: Not surprisingly, most of the Commercial & Complex Civil public comment came from lawyers, bar associations and organizations of lawyers. Even less surprisingly, most of the comments (73%) were negative. Only 18% of FREE for SCBA Members the comments were supportive of one or more of the proposals; the re$100 for Non-Members mainder stated no preference or did 1 Hour Ethics - Topic: “Attorney Fees, not state a position. Practically and Ethically” The proposal that received the most comments was Recommendation 2.0, which proposes that nonof Mastagni Holstedt lawyers (with appropriate regulation) be authorized to provide spec-

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legal services to clients; the nonlawyers provide services that assist the lawyer or law firm in providing legal services to clients; and the nonlawyers have no power to direct or control the professional judgment of a lawyer. The second variation (3.2) would basically permit any ownership arrangement or fee sharing, so long as the lawyer’s client gives informed written consent. Objections to these proposals focused on two issues: First, the lack of a clear connection between allowing non-lawyers to run law firms or other businesses providing legal services and the problem of getting people the legal representation they need. And second, the conflict between the attorney’s paramount duty to the interest of their client (“independence of judgment”) and the paramount duty of non-lawyer business entities to their investors. The overwhelming objection of


lawyers to the tentative recommendations (most, at least) is in no way dispositive. Public comment is not a democratic vote on the proposals, whose fate lies in other hands. Nor does it seem to have had much impact on the proposers, who unofficially seem to be dismissing the concerns as expressions of self-interest by lawyers who sense a threat to the protectionist rules of professional conduct they have created – a system developed by lawyers, for lawyers, some allege. At bottom lies the real issue: Public protection. Do the tentative recommendations threaten public protection? If so, is the threat worse than the current system, which may provide excellent protection – but only for those who can access legal services? Is reduced public protection for more people an acceptable balance? The ATILS Task Force was supposed to finish its work and submit a final recommendation and report

SACRAMENTO LAWYER | Winter 2020 | www.sacbar.org

to the Bar’s Board of Trustees by the end of the year. The extent of public comment and the greater need to provide more specifics to a number of the more conceptual proposals impelled the Task Force to request a 3-month extension from the Board of Trustees. Currently, the final report is due March 31, 2020. Even if the Board of Trustees accepts and approves the final report, there still will be much to do, because implementation of almost all the proposals will require either amendment to the California Rules of Professional Conduct, which requires the approval of the California Supreme Court, or amendment to the State Bar Act in the Business and Professions Code, which requires approval of the Legislature and the Governor. This overview is the first of a series. Future articles will discuss key ATILS Task Force proposals and their implications in greater detail.




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Elizabeth “Eli� N. Bacon, Executive Director Sacramento County Bar Association & Foundation 916-604-9710 (direct) elizabeth.bacon@sacbar.org

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Profile for Sacramento County Bar Association

Sacramento Lawyer Magazine - Winter 2020  

Sacramento County Bar Association Magazine

Sacramento Lawyer Magazine - Winter 2020  

Sacramento County Bar Association Magazine