9 Hours MCLE; 1.0 Wellness Competence, 1.0 Elimination of Bias; 1.0 Legal Ethics


Friday, March 8, 2024

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. | Housing Streamlining: Speeding or Speed Bumps? How the New Housing Bills Are Really Working

Since 2017, the Legislature has enacted more than 100 bills (56 in 2023 alone) intended to solve the stateā€™s housing crisis by streamlining development approvals. Streamlining provisions that avoid environmental review are included in SB 35/SB 423 for certain housing developments; in AB 2011 for housing in commercial areas; for supportive housing and navigation centers; and for sites that are rezoned to satisfy housing element obligations. Even where environmental review is required, the Legislature has made it very difficult for cities and counties to deny or reduce the density of housing developments. Under the so-called ā€œbuilderā€™s remedy,ā€ numerousĀ applications have been made that do not conform to local planning and zoning restrictions.Ā 

So how has that been working? Have all of these efforts resulted in more housing construction, or, even better, more housing affordable to low and middle income households?  Two attorneys experienced in processing housing applications will discuss how the new bills are really working in practice and some of the obstacles that developers may encounter even when able to utilize the new legislation.


  • Barbara Kautz, Esq., Goldfarb & Lipman, LLP
  • Linda Klein, Esq., Cox Castle & Nicholson

2:45 – 3:45 pm | Commercial Leasing: Basics of Tenant Representation 

This seminar will provide guidance on how to review the lease for your tenant including due diligence, lease review checklist, key issues and negotiation strategies.


  • Sam Beatty, Valence Law
  • Corinne Wessel, Valence Law

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. | Social Narratives, Economic Reality and the Outlook for Real Estate in California

Christopher Thornberg

Dr. Christopher Thornberg, renowned economist and founder of Beacon Economics, presents his highly anticipated outlook for 2024.  Cut through politically charged social narratives that flood newsfeeds, and examine the realities of commercial and residential real estate market trends in California.  Move forward into the New Year equipped with nuanced analysis and expert predictions from one of the nationā€™s most trusted economists.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Christopher Thornberg, Ph.D., Beacon Economics

5:30 p.m. ā€“ 7:30 p.m. | Welcome Reception Co-Hosted with the Desert Bar Association

Opening remarks by a representative of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.

Saturday, March 9, 2024

7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. | Morning Yoga Class with Yogi Kelli Corder

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. | Breakfast & Plenary CLE: Rewiring Your Brain for Mindful De-Stressing

Melanie Greenberg

Stress is a fact of life yet too much of it can negatively affect your physical and mental health. But there is a solution. You can rewire your brain using mindfulness and relaxation practices, and you can change your mindset, for greater stress tolerance and resilience. In this talk, Dr. Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and author of The Stress-Proof Brain and the upcoming Stress-Proof Brain Guided Journal will show you how.

10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. | Rome Wasnā€™t Built In A Day, And Neither Will Your TI’s: Tenant Build-Outs for Restaurant, Retail and Office Leases

This panel discussion will highlight both the common and disparate challenges tenants and landlords face in connection with tenant improvement projects. Experienced leasing counsel will discuss typical scenarios for each use case, and offer practical strategies for drafting to minimize the risks of party disputes, completion delays, cost overruns, among other issues.


  • Laura Drossman, Drossman Law PC
  • Judith Oheb, Esq. , The Law Offices of Judith Oheb
  • Katrina Solomatina, Esq., Goodwin Procter LLP

10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. | Establishing and Enforcing Design Professionalā€™s and Mechanicā€™s Liens and Other Payment Rights

Establishing California ā€œLienā€ rights can be tricky for design professionals, contractors, and suppliers, and enforcement always involves short statutes of limitation.  This lively seminar covers the differences between a design professionā€™s lien and a mechanicā€™s lien, including when a design professionalā€™s lien is appropriate, how to pursue a design professionalā€™s lien, and when a design professional should pursue a mechanicā€™s lien. Attendees will also gain insight into the timing for asserting lien rights, as well as when to assert stop payment notice rights and rights against a payment bond. The differences related to the availability and timing of such rights as applied to California public and private works projects, as well as federal projects, will also be explored.


  • Pam Scholefield, Esq., Scholefield Construction Law
  • John Dacey, Esq., Cauvel & Dacey, PC

10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. | Elimination of Bias in Voir Dire Using CCP 231.7

This session will focus on the historic exclusion of people of color from jury service.  The new procedure for litigating the use of a peremptory challenge under CCP 231.7.  How to navigate the pitfalls of exercising your own peremptory challenge and making your record to support a peremptory challenge if it is objected to by another party.

Speaker: Tehanita Taylor, Esq., Taylor Law Office

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Residential Unlawful Detainer Basics

This seminar will discuss the proper procedures for handling a residential unlawful detainer case from the initial notices, to filing the complaint, and getting a judgment and writ of possession.


  • Rachael Callahan, Esq., San Diego Evictions
  • Lawrence Mudgett, III, Esq., Safer Law

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Real Estate Litigation: Case Law Updates and Recent Developments

This presentation will cover real estate litigation cases and recent developments in California, ranging from purchase/sale disclosures, landlord/tenancy rights, and following through property divorce, aka partition issues!

Speaker: Christopher Peterson, Peterson Law LLP

11:30 a.m. ā€“ 12:30 p.m. | Estate Planning for Real Property in 2024: All the Bad News, Hot Tips, and Issue Spotting Guidance 

Looking for a strategy to minimize the impact of Prop. 19 – think again! Thinking about taking title to real estate directly in the name of your trust? Not so fast! Real estate attorneys beware – this program will cover some estate planning hot topics as well as other favorite issues these trust and estates attorneys deal with on a daily basis.


  • Patricia De Fonte, JD LL.M Estate Planning Attorney
  • Ben Schwefel, Murtaugh Treglia Stern & Deily LLP

12:45 p.m. ā€“ 2:00 p.m. | #Landback 

Michelle Lee

There is a current trend toward returning ancestral land to California Indian tribes, called ā€œland returnā€. Today, private, and public landowners are seeking to transfer land to California Native American Tribes, which creates new kinds of transactions that can be incredibly challenging and require creative strategies to complete. The key to successful transactions with California tribes is an understanding of the historical framework of the specific Tribe and the legal circumstances applicable to the transaction. The keynote will highlight several recent land return transactions, how each Tribe overcame obstacles to restore aboriginal lands to tribal stewardship, and how the transaction benefited the prior owner.

Michelle C. Lee is a member of the Pit River Tribe and a mother of three. She is an Indian law attorney and has owned and operated an Indian law practice since 2006. She has been practicing Indian Law for nearly 25 years and has represented tribal governments in legal matters including cultural resource protection, Indian child welfare, tribal taxation, tribal gaming regulation, cannabis regulation, tribal governance, the fee-to-trust process and real estate transactions, and general civil litigation involving tribal governments. In addition, she has published a number of law review articles, essays and non-fiction articles on topics relative to her work with California Indian tribes. Learn more at

2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. | Weathering the Looming Office Storm: Strategies to Navigate the Rough Waters Ahead

It is said that a third of all US  office leases will expire by 2026.  Office tenants are wrestling with employer issues like hybrid work arrangements, labor shortages and quiet quitters accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic which wreak havoc with office space needs.  Landlords are attempting to retain tenancies, create desirable workspaces and prevent catastrophic vacancy rates.  How can leasing lawyers address some soft topics, enforceable lease terms and covenants, and address both partiesā€™ needs and desires? This program will address strategies for flexibility available to both landlords and tenants to revise, retain and maintain existing tenancies in the current office market.  


  • Alison Geddes, Esq., Weintraub Tobin Chediak Coleman Grodin
  • Nancy Park, Esq., Best, Best & Krieger

2:15 pm to 3:15 pm | Negotiating Non-Disclosure and Misrepresentation Claims in Purchase and Sale Contracts

 The historically cutthroat nature of the California real estate market has created a watershed of failure to disclose cases in the residential purchase and sale arena. This presentation will discuss: why failure disclosure cases are rampant and thus a possible healthy pipeline of business for attorneys on both the plaintiff and defense side of the equation; how transactions (mis)happen; the standard for seller disclosures; common claims brought by buyers; real estate professionals – friend or foe?; resolving a case through mediation even if a case is in the pre-discovery phase, and the importance of the timing of a 1542 waiver.


  • Deb Graceffa, Esq., Graceffa Law, Inc.
  • Laura Campbell, Esq., Nixon Peabody, LLP

2:15 pm to 3:15 pm | Top 10 Ethical Mistakes: A Guide to Avoiding Civil Liability

What are some of the most common attorney errors or oversights that result in client disputes?  What attorney-client issues are most likely to result in potential civil liability? Will all of the State Barā€™s recent efforts to increase attorney regulation likely have an impact on civil liability?  The answers to these questions and more will be covered in this presentation discussing the top ten ethical mistakes that can lead to civil liability and how to avoid them. 

Speaker: Suzanne Burke Spencer

3:30 pm to 4:30 pm | For Here or To Go? Restaurant Leases and Liquor Licenses in a Post-Pandemic Era

Restaurant leases are an animal unto themselves with very specific considerations, including the liquor license and all the issues it brings. We will discuss issues to be aware of when negotiating restaurant leases, including how to deal with defaults and the liquor license. We will also discuss the changes in the regulations during the pandemic and the new legal considerations that came with them.


  • Katie Phetteplace, Esq., Starr Finley LLP
  • Jordan Cohen, Esq., Brick & Mortar Legal

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. | An Overview of Historical Land Transactions of the Agua Caliente Tribe

Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Legal and Realty Staff will present an overview of how real estate related matters are managed on the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation. The Reservation is within a complex urban environment and the panel will explain how, over the decades, the Tribe has established and expanded its sovereignty to simplify and improve land use and real estate transactions on the Reservation. 


  • John Plata, Esq., General Counsel, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians ā€“ Moderator
  • Rahsaan Tilford, Esq., Deputy General Counsel, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
  • Cynthia Morales, Director of Trust Services, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

4:30 p.m. ā€“ 5:30 p.m  | Specialty Cocktail Tasting

6:00 p.m. ā€“ 10:00 p.m. |  Dinner and Dancing with Live Music

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