Business Law

Business Law News 2020, Issue 4

Message from the Editor

Jerome A. Grossman

Welcome to Business Law News (BLN) 2020 Issue 4! My term as Editor-in-Chief ended as of the end of the California Lawyers Association’s (CLA) Annual Meeting this past September, when I was succeeded by Daniel A. Lev, but I remain involved with the BLN as a member of the Editorial Board, and introduce this issue in that capacity.

  • First up, we welcome the inaugural column of a new regular feature of the BLN: B-LAW B-LAW B-LAW: Ethics for Business Lawyers, by Neil J Wertlieb, Founding Member and Co-Chair of the BLS’s Ethics Committee. This issue, Neil presents an introduction to the Ethics Committee, its members, its goals, and its (many) accomplishments to date. We anticipate that the column will provide useful information to Business Law Section (BLS) members on a regular basis.
  • We follow that with an article by Aigerim Dyussenova, New California Connected Devices Law Dictates Security Features for Manufacturers. That law, codified at California Civil Code sections 1798.91.04 to 1798.91.06 and operative since January 1, 2020, was the nation’s first bill regulating the Internet of Things (IoT). It requires manufacturers of IoT devices sold in California to provide reasonable security features appropriate to the nature of the device. This article provides an introduction to the applicable requirements.
  • At the BLS’s Annual Breakfast, held in conjunction with the CLA Annual Meeting, the BLS awarded its 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award to Paul "Chip" L. Lion III, of Morrison & Foerster. This article, a reprint of the handout distributed in conjunction with the conferring of his award, sets out a brief biography of Chip and describes the many reasons for which he deserved the honor. It includes his own description of how he got involved in the professional activities that led to his earning the award—a useful roadmap for younger attorneys.
  • We present a first (in a very, very long time, if not ever) book review: a review by Walter K. Oetzell, Chair of the Commercial Transactions Committee, of Comparative Commercial Contracts, by Boris Kozolcyhk. The book, says the review, does far more that simply compare different types of contracts and the legal systems in which they apply; it places contracts and their treatment in historical, philosophical, and anthropological context, and "among other things, [the book] emphasizes one important axiom: effective laws describe extant and time-tested operating systems. They are not the product of top down creations."
  • Next, tax practitioner (and frequent BLN contributor) Robert W. Wood describes how best to demonstrate that a tax position ultimately disapproved by the Internal Revenue Service was nevertheless based on reasonable cause and that the taxpayer asserted the position in good faith, so as to avoid the imposition of tax penalties.
  • Finally, we are pleased to reprint another portion of the annual commercial law update prepared by Steve Weise, Teresa Wilton Harmon, John F. Hilson, Stephen L. Sepinuck, Edwin E. Smith, and Lynn Soukup—this time, addressing sales and personal property leasing, notes and electronic funds transfers, and letters of credit.

Now, as always, the BLN is seeking articles of general interest to business law practitioners. 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. PLUS: if your article was written specifically for the BLN (and not as a work project), you can get CLE credit for the time you spend writing it! As noted in the submission guidelines available on the CLA website (, articles may range in length from approximately 2,500 to 3,500 words (about ten double-spaced pages), and should provide information that is substantive, relevant, and useful to business practitioners:

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