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Business Law Section E-News

Current News and Events from the State Bar of California Business Law Section.


Here is your April 2016 E-News from the Business Law Section ("BLS"):

Report from BLS Chair Rob Harris: Further Developments Affecting the State Bar and Business Law Section.

Rob HarrisLast month, I reported to you that the Bagley-Keene Open Government Act (the "Act") was about to become applicable to the State Bar Sections and their volunteers. I am pleased to report that, after a massive effort to change the way it conducts it day-to-day affairs and produce the good work that we do for the public and our members, the Business Law Section and its 15 standing committees are now fully compliant with the Act. I wish to thank all BLS Executive and Standing Committee members who worked tirelessly together to change their structure and operations to achieve this end. The BLS will pursue needed legislative relief from the Act and its imposed inefficiencies. Until that occurs, the good work of the BLS will continue without further interruption.

In the last E-News I also reported on efforts to have the Bar’s Sections, and perhaps other parts of the currently "unified Bar," separate from the mandatory enforcement and regulatory parts of the State Bar. The Executive Committee of the BLS and an Ad Hoc Task Force of current and former officers undertook a detailed study of the issue over several months and concluded that, on certain conditions, deunification was in the best interest of all the Sections. On April 25, 2016, I testified on behalf on BLS before the Governance in the Public Interest Task Force, a sub-group of the State Bar Board of Trustees, to explain the resolution adopted by the BLS in support of deunification on the express conditions which we believe are necessary to ensure the success of a separate voluntary bar association that will be able to fulfill the mission of serving the public interest of the current voluntary Sections of the State Bar. The BLS’s resolution can be downloaded by clicking HERE. On the very next day, the California State Legislature’s Assembly Judiciary Committee conducted its own hearing on a proposed amendment to the dues bill (AB 2878) by State Bar Board of Trustees members Denny Mangers and Joanna Mendoza that would result in the Sections and other parts of the Bar leaving  the current unified bar structure.

While seven of the ten State Legislature Judiciary Committee members expressed some level of support for splitting up the State Bar between a regulatory agency and a voluntary association, immediate change is unlikely. The proposed Mangers-Mendoza amendment calls for study of deunification for more than a year. California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, who has not taken a public position on deunification, has cautioned that any consideration of such a proposal should be deliberative and done in consultation with the state Supreme Court.

Finally, the author of State Bar dues bill, Assemblyman Mark Stone, D-Scotts Valley, said he is "agnostic" on deunification and is waiting more information from the State Bar’s task force studying the agency's organization and from a report due in May from the State Bar Auditor Elaine Howle before adding new language to AB 2878. As promised, I will keep you informed on continuing developments at the Bar as they may impact the BLS.

Attorney Spotlight: Peter C. Califano Sworn in as the 123rd President of the Commercial Law League of America

Peter CalifanoPeter C. Califano, former Co-Chair (2010-2011) and long-time advisor to the Insolvency Law Committee of the Business Law Section, and former Vice Chair (Legislation) of the Business Law Section Executive Committee, was sworn in as the 123rd president of the Commercial Law League of America (CLLA) for the 2016--2017 term during its National Convention held in Chicago, Illinois, in April 2016. The CLLA, founded in 1895, is the nation’s oldest organization of attorneys and other leaders in credit and finance and is actively engaged in the fields of commercial transactions, litigation, collection, and bankruptcy. In 2011, Mr. Califano testified before Congress as part of the CLLA’s efforts for national bankruptcy reform.

Among Mr. Califano’s many contributions to the Insolvency Law Committee (ILC) and the State Bar of California, Mr. Califano was the editor for the ILC’s publication, California Assignments for the Benefit of Creditors Desk Guide, which remains available to California lawyers and the public to assist parties navigate their way through ABC liquidation procedures. In addition, Mr. Califano has been active with other ILC members in the California Bankruptcy Forum (CBF), where in 2010 he was Co-Chair of the Annual Conference in Monterey, CA and as president of the CBF in 2013-2014, he helped to successfully launch the Pro Bono Project, an outreach designed to assist local organizations in the pressing needs of pro se bankruptcy filers. Mr. Califano also has been an active advocate of alternative dispute resolution, volunteering as a mediator for the US Bankruptcy Court (since 1997) and an early neutral evaluator for the US District Court (since 2008) in the Northern District of California. Congratulations to Mr. Califano on this outstanding accomplishment!

2016 BLS "Hot Topics" Webinar Series -- Sign Up Now

Register now for the 2016 "Hot Topics" webinar series! Programs start at 12 noon on the indicated date, and run for an hour with corresponding MCLE credit. Program Offerings for May are as follows (click on each link below for more details):

From BLS Insolvency Law Committee:

May 12, 2016: "The New Bankruptcy Forms -- What Both Debtors and Creditors Need to Know About the New Forms"


This program will highlight the differences between the new national bankruptcy forms applicable as of December 1, 2015 and those that had been in use for the past 20 years. There are many new questions that ask for information that was not expressly called for previously. Creditors and trustees will learn new facts and should have a more complete view of the debtor, her life and previous personal and financial activity.

Speaker: Michael T. O’Halloran, Law Office of Michael T. O’Halloran (San Diego)

From BLS Corporations Committee:

May 19, 2016: "New Developments in Regulatory Exams"


This program will address various changes in the SEC and FINRA examination processes and priorities for 2016, and recent developments in regulatory examinations. Topics will include 2016 regulatory examination initiatives, review of recent enforcement actions against investment advisers and broker-dealers, discussion of Hot Topics: Protection of Elderly Investors, Conflicts of Interest and Cybersecurity Programs, and Failure to Supervise claims, and tips for successfully navigating regulatory examinations. The program is designed as both an introduction to those who may be new to this practice area and a review of important issues for more experienced practitioners.

Speakers: Robert Conca and David Sobel of Jacko Law Group, PC (San Diego)

A Message from the Chair of the Consumer Financial Services Committee

On April 12, 2016, the Consumer Financial Services Committee ("CFSC"), in partnership with the Financial Institutions Committee ("FIC"), hosted its annual Legislative Day in Sacramento.  Commonly referred to as "Sac Day," our morning of meetings and the subsequent luncheon offered participants insight into pending and new legislation related to the financial services industry.

Featured speakers were Matthew Dababneh, Chair of the Assembly Banking and Finance Committee, Eileen Newhall, Staff Director of the Senate Banking and Finance Committee, and Kevin Gould, Senior Vice President, Director of State Government Relations, for the California Bankers’ Association.  During lunch, we heard from the California State Department of Business Oversight.  Among the "hot topics" on the minds of legislators were the following:

  • Mortgage Foreclosures in the aftermath of Dodd Frank, which heavily impacted to whom big and small lenders are providing credit.
  • Marketplace Lending (online lending).  Our speakers noted that there are a multitude of new business models and very little oversight. The struggle, it seems, is to provide short-term credit for emergencies, but at the same time protect consumers from unscrupulous lenders.
  • Access to credit for small businesses. Lawmakers want to create a balance between making credit available, but keeping consumers and businesses from "hanging" themselves with it.   Consumer protection was of paramount importance to all of the speakers.
  • Banks and loans to marijuana dispensaries. 
  • Security, Security, Security!  There was much discussion of data breaches.

On May 19, 2016, we invite you to join the Lunchtime Lecture Series provided by the CFSC for a discussion of the Fair Debt Buying Practices Act, Cal. Civ. Code Sections 1788.50, et seq. ("FDBPA"). Both consumers and debt buyers should be readily familiar with this new statute and its rigorous guidelines which apply only to consumer debts purchased on or after January 1, 2014.

We are honored to invite attorney Matt Loker to speak with us.  Mr. Loker is managing attorney for the Kazerouni Law Group, APC, which in practice, handles 100% consumer related cases.  Attendees of the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Bar will remember Mr. Loker’s valuable insights as a panel member on the program, "Debt Collection in the Age of Technology and the CFPB."  In his hour-long presentation, Mr. Loker will examine how the FDBPA has changed the requirements of written communications and collection actions that seek to collect consumer debts.  More specifically, Mr. Loker will discuss the definition of "debt buyers," the specific requirements of the FDBPA, the internal workings of a collection action, important recent case law, and what’s on everybody’s mind: damages.

We welcome you to join us, and to please bring your questions for Mr. Loker, as we will provide a hefty slot of time to address your practice concerns.  To obtain dial-in information for this free program please contact Jennifer Duncan at jduncan@restorcom.com.  This program is pending approval for one hour MCLE credit.  If accepted, the credit will be provided by Morrison Foerster, an MCLE approved activity provider.  The State Bar of California is not the provider of this MCLE credit. 

In the coming months, the CFSC will continue to distribute e-bulletins to its constituency on topics of interest to members of the Business Law Section.  We welcome topic suggestions for both the e-bulletins and the Lunchtime Lecture Series alike—what financial services practice issues are you running into?  Recent e-bulletins include: "The FTC Issues Data on 2015 Criminal Enforcement Activity;" "CFPB’s Director Opines on Results of Its 18-month Online Lenders Study"; and "Phantom Debt Collection, Phantom Payday Loans Halted by FTC, Illinois AG."  Contact Jennifer Duncan at jduncan@resortcom.com.

In other news, the CFSC has two vacancies: please contact Jennifer Duncan at jduncan@resortcom.com if you have been practicing for five years and are interested in joining a dynamic, supportive, and expert group of individuals.

Financial Institutions Committee to Discuss TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule

The Financial Institutions Committee will hold a meeting on May 10, 2016 from 9:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. The meeting will feature a presentation by Tom Abbott of Severson & Werson regarding the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule. Three quarters of an hour of MCLE credit will be provided through Severson & Werson, a State Bar of California approved MCLE provider. The State Bar of California is not the provider of this MCLE.

The meeting will take place at the offices of Bryan Cave at 560 Mission, 25th Floor, San Francisco, and also may be attended by video conference at 120 Broadway, Suite 300, Santa Monica. Those interested can also participate in the meeting by telephone from locations listed in the Notice and Agenda posted on the BLS website HERE. The call in number is 855-520-7605, and the conference code is 4190572853#.

For more information on the Financial Institutions Committee and its programs, please contact Steven Bloom (sbloom@frandzel.com).

Health Law and Insurance Law Committees to Discuss Administrative Law Issues

The Health Law Committee and the Insurance Law Committee will hold a joint meeting on May 6, 2016 from 9 a.m. until 10 a.m. The meeting will feature a presentation by Rob Cerny, a partner at Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, regarding administrative law issues germane to both the Health Law and the Insurance Law Committees.

One hour of MCLE credit will be provided through Hinshaw & Culbertson, a State Bar of California approved MCLE provider (#10359). The State Bar of California is not the provider of this MCLE.

The meeting will take place at the offices of Hinshaw & Culbertson at 1875 Century Park East, Suite 1600, Los Angeles, and also may be attended by video conference at the following locations: 101 W Broadway, Suite 1200, San Diego; and 575 Market Street, Suite 2300, San Francisco. Those interested can also participate in the meeting by telephone from locations listed in the Notice and Agenda posted on the BLS website HERE. The call in number is 855-520-7605, and the conference code is 5533707198#.  Please email Maureen Houlihan (mhoulihan@HEALTH-LAW.COM) if you plan to attend the meeting in person and the location where you will attend so that she can notify the appropriate building security.

Health Law Committee Cosponsors Health Law Career Day

On April 20, 2016, the Health Law Committee joined Loyola Law School’s Health Law and Bioethics Association for a health law career panel and opportunity to network with health law attorneys. The event was open to students interested in health law from all law schools and provided students with information about different practice areas within the field of health law and an opportunity to receive mentoring from experienced attorneys.

For more information on the Health Law Committee and its programs, please contact H. Thomas Watson (hwatson@horvitzlevy.com).

Insolvency Law Committee to Meet at the California Bankruptcy Forum 28th Annual Insolvency Conference

The next meeting of the Insolvency Law Committee will take place on Friday, May 20, 2016 in conjunction with the California Bankruptcy Forum 28th Annual Insolvency Conference in Indian Wells. Members of the public and anyone attending the conference are welcome to attend the meeting of the ILC and learn more about the ILC’s work.

More information on the Insolvency Conference can be found HERE.

Non Profit Organizations Committee to Discuss Issues Affecting CA Nonprofit Organizations

The Non Profit Organizations Committee of the BLS will hold a joint meeting with the Tax Exempt Organizations Committee of the Taxation Section on May 19, 2016. The meeting will feature staff and analysts from the California Association of Nonprofits and will provide an overview of current and anticipated policy and legislative issues affecting California nonprofit organizations.

One hour of MCLE credit will be provided through the generosity of the California Community Foundation, a State Bar of California approved MCLE provider (#177).  The State Bar of California is not the provider of this MCLE.

The meeting will take place at the State Bar Offices at 180 Howard St., San Francisco. The meeting will start at 10 a.m. and end at noon. Lunch will be provided at noon.  Those interested can also participate in the meeting by telephone from locations listed in the Notice and Agenda posted on the BLS website HERE. The call in number is 855-520-7605, and the conference code is 7547908615#. For more information, please contact Carol Bradford (cbradford@calfund.org).

Non Profit Organizations Committee Presents Program on Unincorporated Associations

The Non Profit Organizations Committee held a telephonic meeting on April 21, 2016.  As part of the meeting, committee member and Northridge based nonprofit attorney Lisa Runquist gave a presentation entitled "What is an unincorporated association and why would you use it?"  MCLE credit was provided by The California Community Foundation, a State Bar of California approved MCLE provider (#177). 

For more information on the NPO Committee and its programs, please contact Carol Bradford (cbradford@calfund.org).

Reach a State-Wide Audience by Publishing in the Business Law News

A subscription to the Business Law News (BLN) is one of the most significant membership benefits of the BLS. Published quarterly, the BLN reaches the entire section, over 8,800 members. Publishing in the BLN is a terrific opportunity both to influence the discourse in the areas in which you practice and to market yourself and your skill set. Now is your chance to participate!

Please contact Editor-in-Chief Everett Green (everett.l.green@usdoj.gov) for more information. You can find the BLN’s submission guidelines HERE. Finally, have you been interested in getting involved in the BLS but don’t know where to start?  BLN is now seeking enthusiastic section members to join its Editorial Board.  You can find more information about the BLN Editorial Board HERE and the application to join BLN HERE.

Keep Up With Current Legal Developments by Receiving E-Bulletins Specifically Tailored for Your Field

The 15 BLS Standing Committees publish E-Bulletins announcing developments in their area of law and upcoming events open to BLS members. Click HERE to sign up to receive these E-Bulletins from any BLS Standing Committee completely free of charge.

Showcase Your Knowledge:  Follow the BLS on Social Media and Contribute to Discussions

We all know that social media can help drive new business. Did you know that the BLS maintains a presence on LinkedInTwitter and Facebook where it posts regular updates about new cases, new regulations, key legislative developments, and news and events from the BLS’s Standing Committees? What you may not know is that you can not only send items to the BLS to post or tweet, but also suggest items from your own social media pages for the BLS to re-post, re-tweet, or like. Doing so expands the reach of what you have to say to everyone who likes or follows the BLS on its various social media platforms, and may result in the BLS following you! Please submit your suggested items for consideration or direct any questions to BLS Social Media Subcommittee Chair, Sarah DeDiego (sarah@dediegolaw.net); BLS Vice-Chair of Member Services, James P. Hill (hill@sullivanhill.com); or BLS Chair, Rob Harris (rob@bindermalter.com), and join the ever expanding discussion!

Amplify Your Professional Reputation by Joining a Standing Committee

Standing Committees continue to accept applications to fill vacant seats. Practitioners and other legal professionals who are members of the BLS and who have at least five years of experience are eligible to apply. Membership on a committee affords unique opportunities to participate in the creation of law in your practice area, to get to know and be known by other practitioners, to work with the recognized leaders in your field, and to stay on the cutting edge of developments and practice techniques. Membership is a rewarding experience that keeps one ahead of, and in touch with, business law developments.  Most committees meet once a month, often by phone. A full list of the Standing Committee meeting dates for May are listed below. A description of the required commitment and application process, along with a link to the application, can be found HERE.

Attend a Meeting and Participate in Your BLS

The BLS achieves its goals through the work of its 15 Standing Committees. You are invited to attend the regular monthly meeting of any BLS Standing Committees (see below for meeting dates). These monthly meetings provide attendees an excellent opportunity to chat with committee members and other lawyers with a similar expertise.  Some committees even offer free MCLE credit! Please see the contact person listed below to RSVP or request more information. Follow us on Twitter @calbarbuslaw. Use a Standing Committee’s hashtag to search for tweets by that committee in its designated field and to re-tweet.

Standing Committee Meeting Dates for May

For a list of upcoming meeting dates and contact persons, see Standing Committee Meetings HERE.


Diana D. Herman, Editor-in-Chief
Monique Jewett-Brewster
Peter Menard
Kristina Del Vecchio
Jim Hill
Rob Harris

For contact information, see the Executive Committee Roster HERE