The e-magazine of the Solo and Small Firm Section
of the California Lawyers Association
Renee N. G. Stackhouse, Chair
San Diego, CA
Happy 2019, SSF Members!
Have you set goals for the new year? Business owners need goals to keep moving forward and to increase or maintain the success of their business. Goals provide direction and a clear way to measure progress. It doesn't have to be a long, time consuming process, either. There's even a trend towards creating just one word to guide your business for the course of the year.
I'll share with you that my goal this year is HEALTH. As a solo, I am my business. And I can't run my business, practice law, care for my clients, or care for my family if I'm run down, exhausted and not taking care of myself. If I'm healthy, my business will be healthy. This is going to involve a fundamental change for me in prioritizing myself, which I have not been very good at over the past few years. I am ready to take on that challenge.
I hope you're ready for a new challenge this year, too. No matter what your word is, SSF has a value-add for you. So, if you're looking for ways to implement ideas and reach goals, think about us.
Whether it's getting the recognition you deserve as one of our Excellence in Practice or Excellence in Service honorees (deadline to nominate is January 25!) or meeting other SSF members and learning about opening, growing, managing and tech for your SSF (join us in Sacramento in March for an all day MCLE program!) or joining our work on the Executive Committee (nominations due by March 1!), we've got lots of different ways to further your practice and help you run your business.
So, here's to an HEALTHY, successful, and prosperous New Year!
Renee N. G. Stackhouse
Save the Date:
Solo and Small Firm Summit 2019
The 21st Century Law Firm
June 13-15, 2019
Hyatt Regency, Huntington Beach, CA
The California Lawyers Association is excited to announce the re-launch of the Solo & Small Firm Summit to provide several days of sought-after educational programs designed to address the needs of legal professionals who work in a solo or small firm practice — from business management and technology to substantive law updates in areas commonly practiced in a solo or small firm setting. The Summit agenda also will include networking events, mentoring circles, and a vendor showcase with products and services unique to the solo or small firm practitioner.
For updates on the Solo Summit program and registration, visit us at calawyers.org/Solo-Small-Firm.
Want to recognize an inspirational solo or small firm practice leader in your community?
Nominate a Worthy Solo or Small Firm Practitioner Who:
- Demonstrates Excellence in Practice by exhibiting leadership and dedication to the legal profession, contributing to the positive image of the legal profession, and achieving exceptional accomplishments or making a positive impact on the practice of law
- Demonstrates Excellence in Service by devoting significant service and making a meaningful and positive impact on the legal community and/or public.
Please refer to the forms for information regarding eligibility requirements. The forms can be found below:
Excellence in Service Nomination Form
Nomination Deadline: January 25, 2019
2019 Sponsorship and Advertising Opportunities
The Solo & Small Firm Section (SSF) of the California Lawyers Association’s Mission is to foster a supportive community for solo and small firm practitioners across all areas of practice, to guide our members on their path to becoming strong, competent and ethical solo and small firm business owners, and to recognize the accomplishments of solos and small firm professionals across the state.
The California Lawyers Association (CLA) is a member-driven, mission-focused organization dedicated to the professional advancement of attorneys practicing in the state of California.
We accomplish our work through our standing committees which include: Education (Programming & Webinars), Awards, Publications (the Practitioner & the e-Practitioner), Diversity Outreach, Social Media, Community Service, and Recruitment & Engagement. SSF is an invaluable resource to Solo and Small Firm practitioners in California.
The Solo & Small Firm Section of California Lawyers Association is a tax-exempt 501(c)(6) organization. For income tax purposes membership, sponsorship or event payments are not deductible as a charitable contribution but may be tax deductible as a business expense. Please consult your tax advisor should you have any questions.
Thank you to SSF’s generous sponsors who make our events possible and support us in our mission.
The SSF Gold Sponsor receives 1) logo on the SSF Section webpage; 2) recognition as Gold Sponsor and logo on the SSF Section Facebook page (pinned to top of page); 3) 5 tickets to all SSF in-person programming; 4) recognition on signage at all SSF in-person programming; 5) recognition from the podium at all SSF in-person programming; 6) recognition on signage at the SSF Awards Reception at the Annual Solo & Small Firm Summit; 7) recognition from the podium at the SSF Awards Reception at the Annual Solo & Small Firm Summit; 8) quarter (1/4) page advertisement in a full year of the Practitioner, the Section’s quarterly magazine; 9) Recognition as Statewide sponsor in the Practitioner; 10) Logo with back link and recognition on e-Practitioner.
SSF (only available to Solo & Small Firm* practitioners)—$1,500
The SSF Sponsor receives 1) logo on the SSF Section webpage; 2) recognition as an SSF Sponsor and logo on the SSF Section Facebook page (pinned to top of page); 3) 3 tickets to all SSF in-person programming; 4) recognition on signage at all SSF in-person programming; 5) recognition from the podium at all SSF in-person programming; 6) Recognition on signage at the SSF Awards Reception at the Annual Solo & Small Firm Summit; 7) Recognition from the podium at the SSF Awards Reception at the Annual Solo & Small Firm Summit; 8) Recognition as Statewide sponsor in the Practitioner; 9) Logo with back link and recognition on e-Practitioner.
*Small Firm is defined as a firm with five (5) or less attorneys.
SSF hosts four (4) live programs each year across the State. Two of these MCLE programs are focused on issues specific to Solo and Small Firm practitioners and two will be held in conjunction with one or more practice-area based Sections of California Lawyers Association.
Each price below reflects per program pricing. Purchase sponsorship for three programs and receive the fourth free!
You are a Champion! Recognition on all electronic and print signage related to the program; recognition from the podium; recognition on social media. 2 tickets to the program.
Thank you for your support! Recognition on all electronic and print signage related to the program; recognition from the podium; recognition on social media. 1 ticket to the program.
Held annually at the Solo & Small Firm Summit, SSF will present awards to outstanding recipients including an Attorney of the Year and Community Service Award.
Be our Honorary Host! Recognition as the Title Sponsor on all electronic and print signage related to the program; recognition from the podium; one minute welcome statement by company representative; recognition on social media.
This drink is on you! Recognition as the Wine Sponsor on all electronic and print signage related to the program; recognition from the podium; recognition on social media.
Presentation is everything! Recognition as the Award Sponsor on all electronic and print signage related to the program; recognition from the podium; recognition on social media.
Let the honorees know that you’re a big fan of their contributions! Recognition as Friend Sponsor on all electronic and print signage related to the program; recognition from the podium; recognition on social media.
Advertise in the PRACTITIONER, SSF's quarterly print magazine with a distribution of 1,600+.
Be the driving force that brings substantive and relevant articles to the SSF membership as the sponsor of the Section's magazine. The Practitioner sponsor will be included in recognition with the Section's Annual Sponsors in each issue, receive recognition on the SSF Section Facebook page, quarter (1/4) page advertisement in a full year of the Practitioner and 3 tickets to each SSF in-person program.
Buy 3 issues print rate (per issue) get one free ad- same size.
To become a sponsor, please fill out this form, or email Section Coordinator John Buelter.
A. SSF Webinars
B. Year End Summary from CEB
CEBblog’s Most Popular Posts from 2018
by Julie Brook, Esq.[Reprinted by Permission]
Before we say goodbye to 2018, take a look at some of the most popular posts from the past year.
Julie Brook, Esq. | December 28, 2018 at 7:31 am | Tags: most popular posts, top 2018 blog posts, top blog posts | Categories: Civil Litigation, Legal Topics, New Legal Developments, Practice of Law
Click Here to Read the Article
Under California Rule of Court Rule 9.9.5, all active attorneys licensed in California must be re-fingerprinted. The State Bar is requiring attorneys to resubmit fingerprints by April 30, 2019. As noted in our previous issue, the cost of the re-fingerprinting falls to the attorney. Fingerprints must be taken by a licensed Live Scan vendor.
Failure to timely resubmit your fingerprints will result in monetary penalties (ranging from $75 to $100), and can lead to the Bar changing your status to involuntary inactive.
More information, including the required forms and a list of licensed vendors, are available on the State Bar website.
eFiling seems to be the latest technology in law practice management.
While designed to make practice easier, until the “kinks” are worked out it is anything but simple.
As of now only 19 of California’s 58 counties permit eFiling in some or all case types, but
new eFiling courts are coming.
The term “eFiling” is not universally used. In Los Angeles County where eFiling is in the
process of becoming mandated [January 2, 2019 for civil unlimited],
there are many providers,
but go 30 miles north to Ventura County and there is
no such thing.
they use eDelivery
directly through Journal Technologies and cut out a myriad of middle men. Similar to Los Angeles, Santa Clara County implemented mandatory eFiling earlier this year, and filers must use an electronic filing service provider to process filings with the court. (San Francisco, for its part, eliminated its four-year-old court-run e-filing portal earlier this year, and now requires practioners to process all filings through e-filing vendors.) Is this good? Time will tell - it is different.
The Ventura Superior Court will still accept paper documents for filing at the filing window or via U.S. mail. The implementation of eDelivery does not supersede any statutes, rules, and/or policies and procedures related to the filing of documents in person or via mail. Not so in Los Angeles where eFiling becomes mandatory in civil matters on January 2, 2019.
Check your County’s Local Rules regarding e-filing, as many jurisdictions have transitioned to various services over the past few years.
eFiling platforms provide more than the name would imply. Unlike Fax filing and eDelivery, eFiling populates your desktop with other information available in the court system. When you set up a case for a filing, that case line has access to previous filings, court dates, counsel of record and other information which the court stores about that case. This information is used to allow the attorney to serve the documents being filed on other parties to the case.
Not only is the process a learning experience, but the fee schedules are more complicated. For those courts using eFileCA as a case management system, the courts have mandated that technology fees be paid to the eFileCA platform. These fees vary depending on whether the court has mandated eFiling and case type, but are $3.50-$5.00. In addition, the courts will charge a 3.5% convenience fee to cover the costs of processing credit card payments.
In researching the various services available, I found that many have a 30-day free trial period where the provider’s fees are waived. This waiver does not apply to any fee due to the court - but is an excellent way to determine which provider has a service that works for you at a price you are willing to pay.
For purposes of electronic filing of documents, pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure, § 1010.6(b)(3), any document received electronically by the court between 12:00 a.m. and 11:59:59 p.m. on a court day shall be deemed filed on that court day. Any document that is received electronically on a non court day shall be deemed filed on the next court day. This provision concerns only the method and effective date of filing; any document that is electronically filed must satisfy all other legal filing deadlines and requirements. These deadlines are only applicable to electronic filings. The following counties have accepted this State Rule:
Butte; Calaveras; Fresno; Kern; Merced; Monterey; Napa; Los Angeles; Orange; San Diego; San Francisco; San Luis Obispo; San Mateo; Santa Barbara; Santa Clara; Santa Cruz; Stanislaus; Sutter; and Yuba.
To get the most recent requirements applicable to your practice, check the websites for the courts in which you practice.
December 21, 2018 / Julie Brook, Esq. [Reprinted by Permission]
The California legislature has enacted new laws that may affect your litigation practice. Here are some of the key statutory changes you need to know about. Mediation clients must be notified in writing of confidentiality restrictions. There’s a new requirement for attorneys representing clients in mediation. As soon as reasonably possible before a client agrees to participate in a mediation consultation or session (or as soon as reasonably possible after being retained by a client who has already agreed to participate in a mediation consultation or session), the attorney must provide the client with a printed disclosure that explains the confidentiality restrictions related to mediation. The attorney must also obtain a signed acknowledgment from the client stating that he or she has read and understands the confidentiality restrictions. Attorneys representing mediation participants in a class or representative action, however, are exempt from this new disclosure rule. Although failure to comply with this new law cannot be used to set aside an agreement following mediation, any document relating to an attorney’s compliance with the disclosure requirements could be used in an attorney disciplinary proceeding (so long as the document does not disclose anything said or done during the mediation). See Evid C §§1122, 1129 (amended and added by Stats 2018, ch 350, effective January 1, 2019). On mediation confidentiality, check out CEB’s California Trial Objections §32.6A.
It’s getting easier to compel further discovery responses. Good news for parties demanding more information. Courts are now authorized to permit parties seeking augmented responses to submit a concise outline consisting of each discovery request and each disputed response in lieu of a separate statement (which normally requires moving parties to include six categories of information) as part of a motion to compel further discovery responses. See CCP §§2030.290, 2030.300, and 2030.310 (amended by Stats 2018, ch 317, effective January 1, 2020. On motions to compel discovery, turn to CEB’s California Civil Discovery Practice §§15.30-15.58.
More time for court to rule on motions for new trial or to vacate. The time for a court to rule on a motion for new trial or motion to vacate was extended from 60 to 75 days after notice of entry of judgment is mailed by the clerk or served by the moving party, whichever is earlier. Litigators take note: If the trial judge fails to rule on the motion within the new 75-day period, the motion is deemed denied. See CCP §§660, 663a (amended by Stats 2018 ch 317, effective January 1, 2019). Once such a motion is deemed denied, the court has no further jurisdiction to grant the motion. See Garibotti v Hinkle (2015) 243 CA4th 470, 480. For more on these motions, see California Trial Practice: Civil Procedure During Trial §§25.56, 25.77.
New evening hours for personal service. Personal service can now interrupt dinnertime. The hours during which a notice or other paper in a civil action may be personally served on a party, attorney, or person 18 years or older at the party’s residence have been expanded from 8 a.m. to 6 pm to 8 am to 8 pm. See CCP §1011 (amended by Stats 2018, ch 212, effective January 1, 2019).
Get more of these key legislative updates in CEB’s free 2018 NewsFlash! Key Statutory Developments for Civil Litigators. To keep up with all developments in civil litigation, subscribe to CEB’s OnLAW® Litigation Library—a virtual encyclopedia for litigation, full of commentary, practice advice, and sample documents.
© Megan Zavieh and Attorney at Work. All rights reserved. (Reprinted with permission)
The end of the year is a great time to run through your firm’s systems to evaluate which ones may be ethics risks, and where you can improve your business practices. This process will help you zero in on your biggest risks or concerns — and plan how to fix them. To begin, list the key components of your practice. Here are suggestions for areas to include (you may not have all of these in your practice, or may have some that are not listed here):
2. Client intake
3. Calendaring of key dates
4. Maintenance of client files
5. Closing/destroying client files
6. Trust accounting
7. Operating account bookkeeping
8. Continuing Legal Education
a. Email syncing
b. Email filing
c. Cloud-based file storage
d. Outdated systems (i.e., fax)
e. Password security
12. Time tracking
13. Client communication
a. Systems for ensuring communication takes place
b. Technology for actual communication (i.e., texting)
c. Maintenance of records of communication
14. Office space/sharing
17. Virtual assistance (receptionists, assistants, paralegals)
To see full article and sample chart. Go to:
In December, the State Bar sent a message to attorneys assigned to MCLE Compliance Group 1 (last names A-G), that they are due to report MCLE compliance by February 1, 2019. Attorneys are instructed to use My State Bar Profile to report compliance (or claim a qualifying exemption) for the current compliance period (02/01/16 – 01/31/19) as soon as possible.
Please note that even if you are exempt from the MCLE requirement, you are required to submit the online attestation in order to claim your exempt status for this period. Please do so by February 1 to avoid a penalty.
On the State Bar’s website at mcle.calbar.ca.gov you’ll find links to MCLE education options and information on the State Bar MCLE Pages
Please visit calbar.ca.gov for more information, or contact the State Bar by calling 888-800-3400.
Information provided by:
Attorney Regulation & Consumer Resources
The State Bar of California | 180 Howard St. | San Francisco, CA 94105
888.800.3400 | AttorneyRegulation@calbar.ca.gov
Annual fees for active attorneys ($430.00) are due: February 1, 2019.
For more information on dues for 2019,
please click here.
Please remember to renew your Small and Solo Firm section membership as part of your State Bar renewal.
As we previously announced,
all active attorneys licensed in California must be re-fingerprinted by April 30, 2019.
Fingerprints must be taken by a licensed Live Scan vendor.
Locations for this service can be found here.
Follow the link to find places in your area where Live Scan is available. These locations provide the required service but they do not all charge the same price. For example, you may find that Live Scan at a local police station is available, by appointment, at a nominal fee, whereas the same service at a private establishment will cost much more. So check. . . .
Failure to timely resubmit your fingerprints will result in monetary penalties (ranging from $75 to $100), and can lead to the Bar changing your status to involuntary inactive.
Solo and Small Firm Section
California Lawyers Association
180 Howard Street, Suite 410
San Francisco, CA 94105