Business Law Section E-News

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

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

Get Solutions for Managing a Law Practice — Register Online Today for the State Bar’s Solo & Small Firm Summit, June 16- 18, 2016 in Newport Beach

The Summit is the event of the year for California's Solo and Small Firm Practitioners and office staff! The Summit features power networking events, legal education classes, business management courses, and more – all designed to promote a thriving law practice.

Expand your network knowledge and skills, and learn key approaches to build a successful client referral network. Take away strategic solutions for the practice of law and the management of your legal business.

Earn up to 10 hours of MCLE credit in Legal Ethics, Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession, and Detection/Prevention of Substance Abuse / Competence Issues.  The State Bar of California is a State Bar of California approved MCLE provider.

Join speaker Stephen Fairley from The Rainmaker Institute as he speaks on “Top 10 Mistakes Lawyers Make That Kill Their Intake & Lead Conversion Rate…And How to Fix It”.


Save the Date: Agribusiness Committee Hosting Sacramento Government Affairs Day

The Agribusiness Committee of the California State Bar Business Law Section is coming to Sacramento for a Government Affairs Day.  On June 17, 2016, members of the Agribusiness Committee and their guests will be meeting with various administration officials and legislative experts to catch up on what is the current focus of the government on the food and production agricultural arena. 

This Agribusiness Committee “tour” will occur on June 17th, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.    The tour will occur at the California New Car Dealers offices located at 1517 L St, Sacramento, CA 95814.  Lunch from Firestone Brewery will be included.

Topics for this Governmental Affairs update include:

  • Dealing with Water Quality Regulations in Agriculture
  • What to look forward to from the legislature on food and agriculture this session
  • Regulatory actions on materials such as fertilizers, pesticides, and organics
  • Water supply issues – Will we ever get a new surface storage dam or CA water Fix? 
  • New opportunities in Ag including Marijuana, Pharming, and water marketing

Invited guest speakers include:

  • EPA Secretary Matt Rodriguez
  • CDFA Secretary Karen Ross
  • State Water Resources Control Board Chair Felicia Marcus
  • Director of Department of Water Resources Mark Cowin
  • Senate Pro Tem Ag and Environmental Staff Consultant Kip Lipper
  • Governor Brown Legislative Advisor on Food, Ag and Water Issues Martha Guzman-Aceves

For further information, including the cost for attending this Agribusiness Committee tour, contact Agribusiness Law Chair, Steve Williamson of the Wilke Fleury firm, at

Partnerships & LLCs and Opinions Committees Announce Completion of the Exposure Draft of Their Joint Report on Third-Party Closing Opinions

The Partnerships and Limited Liability Companies Committee and the Opinions Committee of the BLS are pleased to announce the completion of the “Exposure Draft” of their joint report: Third-Party Closing Opinions” Limited Liability Companies and Partnerships (the “Report”).

A copy of the Exposure Draft is available from the ABA Legal Opinion Resource Center, at under “Meetings and Other Materials.”

The Exposure Draft is the product of several years’ work of a working group of California attorneys, composed of James F. Fotenos and Richard N. Frasch, co-Chairs of the Opinions Committee; Teri L.K. Shugart, co-Chair of the Partnerships and Limited Liabilities Companies Committee; Suzanne L. Weakley, Whitney M. Skala, Neal H. Brockmeyer, Christopher Chediak, Nina L. Hong, Timothy G. Hoxie, Donald M. Scotten, Dale E. Short, and Richard G. Burt.

The Report updates and supersedes the Report on Legal Opinions Concerning California Partnerships, issued in 1998, and the Report on Legal Opinions Concerning California Limited Liability Companies, issued in 2000.  It reflects current California limited liability company and partnership law, as well as current developments in opinion practice in California and the national standards promulgated by the TriBar Opinion Committee and the ABA Section of Business Law Opinions Committee.

The Partnerships and Limited Liability Companies Committee and the Opinions Committee welcome written comments on the Exposure Draft.  Please direct comments to James F. Fotenos, at The comment period will extend to September 30, 2016.

Health Law and Insurance Law Committees Hold Joint Meeting Featuring Presentation on Administrative Law Issues

On May 6, 2016, the Health Law and Insurance Law Committees of the BLS held a joint meeting.  At their meeting, Rob Cerny, a partner at Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, gave an informative presentation on recent developments at the California Department of Insurance (“CDI”) that attempt to greatly expand the CDI’s regulatory authority, and the status of pending litigation that tests whether the CDI’s actions are lawful. 

Mr. Cerny’s presentation was very well received by those in attendance.  Unfortunately, due to the call-in restrictions imposed by the Bagley Keene Act, there was far less than a quorum of either committee present to hear the presentation or to conduct other committee business.

Financial Institutions Committee Hosts Meeting Discussing "TRID" and Its Recent Legislative Day in Sacramento

On May 9, 2016, the Financial Institutions Committee held its meeting at Bryan Cave’s offices in San Francisco and Santa Monica (connected by video conference). The highlight of the meeting was a presentation from Thomas Abbott of Severson & Werson on the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule, referred to as "TRID".

Mr. Abbott provided background on the rule, summarized its key issues and discussed potential traps for unwary lenders.  Meeting attendees earned 1 hour of MCLE credit. The Financial Institutions Committee also updated the meeting attendees on the Committee’s recent Legislative Day in Sacramento in which its members and guests met with legislators and had a luncheon with representatives from the Department of Business Oversight.

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

The Insolvency Law Committee meeting took place on Friday, May 20, 2016 at 9:30 a.m. in conjunction with the California Bankruptcy Forum 28th Annual Insolvency Conference in Indian Wells, CA.  The meeting included a panel presentation by Stephen Donell, President, FedReceiver, Inc., Tom Jeremiassen, Managing Director, Berkeley Research Group, LLC, and Nicholas Rubin, Senior Managing Director, GlassRatner Advisory & Capital Group, LLC. 

More information about the California Bankruptcy Forum can be found HERE.

Agribusiness Committee's 17th Annual Water Tour Attendees Get Caught In the Rain

picture of Agribusiness Committee's 17th Annual Water Tour

On April 22, 2016, the Agribusiness Committee of the BLS explored the San Joaquin Valley with a tour of the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority (the “Authority”) Service Area. The tour provided a detailed illustration of how the Authority and its members are partnering with local districts to strengthen the region’s self-funded conservation efforts and water resources programs.

The visit began at the Authority’s headquarters in Los Banos, where the Authority’s Executive Director, Steve Chedester, and Central California Irrigation District’s General Manager, Chris White, discussed the history of the Exchange Contractors and their senior water rights.

Next, the group took a narrated bus tour throughout the region where Steve Chedester and Chris White educated the group about local on-farm and in-district conservation projects, water transfers, canal projects, and reservoir operations implemented by the Exchange Contractors. The tour took the group to project sites such as the Los Banos Creek Detention Dam, Central California Irrigation District’s Ingomar Regulating Reservoir, and San Luis Canal Company’s Sack Dam, while representatives at each site explained the area’s subsidence concerns, water allocation issues, and the impacts of regulations, along with plans for regional recharge and future infrastructure. In addition to slippery situations on canal roads, San Luis Canal Company’s General Manager, Chase Hurley, and the tour attendees got caught in the rain at the Sack Dam.

The bus stopped at Chris Cardella’s farm to enjoy a locally catered lunch while Columbia Canal Company’s General Manager, Randy Houk, discussed their conservation programs and the impacts of the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement. The tour concluded with a visit to Firebaugh Canal Water District (“FCWD”) to view canal lining construction projects and where FCWD’s General Manager, Jeff Bryant, discussed FCWD’s efforts to limit water supply losses and alleviate drainage issues. A special thanks to the Authority and the Exchange Contractors for collaborating with the Agribusiness Committee and providing an informative tour on the future of the region’s water infrastructure and allocations as well as conservation efforts.

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

The Business Law News (BLN) is seeking articles of general interest to practitioners for its next publication.  With approximately 8,200 members, the BLS has a wide-ranging audience.  The BLN is not only circulated to BLS members in print every quarter, it is also available to BLS members on the internet at  Please submit your articles by July 1, 2016 to Everett L. Green,

A subscription to the BLN is one of the most significant membership benefits of the BLS.  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! 
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 (; BLS Vice-Chair of Member Services, James P. Hill (; or BLS Chair, Rob Harris (, 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 Standing Committee 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 June

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