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July Book Drive

Book Drive

Each month we will seek donors to purchase a new title for the Law Library. Here is our Wish List for the month of July. Growing our collection is about so much more than a single book—it is a living demonstration of how the Library expands the public’s access to justice and provides legal practitioners with the tools they need to represent members of our local community. Please see our Donation Guide for more ways to support the Law Library.

Guide for In-House Counsel_ Practical Resource to Cutting-Edge Issues

Guide for In-House Counsel: Practical Resource to Cutting-Edge Issues
Edited by Leslie A. Berkoff
$89.95, Paperback, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-64105-394-5

Being Heard_ Presentation Skills for Attorneys

Being Heard: Presentation Skills for Attorneys
Written by Faith Dianne Pincus
$39.95, Paperback, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-64105-187-3

California Water

California Water, 3rd ed.
Written by Arthur L. Littleworth and Eric L. Garner
$85, Paperback, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-938166-28-0

PLI Legal Guide to the Business of Marijuana_2

Legal Guide to the Business of Marijuana, 2019 ed.
Written by James T. O’Reilly
$249, Paperback, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-4024-3359-7

Thank you to author Heidi K. Brown for generously donating her two books Untangling Fear in Lawyering: A Four-Step Journey Toward Powerful Advocacy (part of the May Book Drive) and The Introverted Lawyer: A Seven-Step Journey Toward Authentically Empowered AdvocacyAnd come to our upcoming free lunchtime program on August 9th featuring the author herself!

Please take a look at our Book Drive page to see Wish List items from prior months. We are still wishing for these books!

To donate, please contact sflawlibrary@sfgov.org or call (415) 554-1791. We appreciate your contribution!

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Free ERISA MCLE July 10 at noon

Wednesday, July 10, 2019, Noon to 1:00pm
Regulation of Health Benefits under ERISA
1 Hour free General Participatory MCLE Credit
Presented by Cristina A. Collazo, Senior Benefits Advisor
United States Department of Labor
***Download Flyer Here***

This program discusses some of the protective health laws and amendments under ERISA that apply to private employer-sponsored health coverage. This program will cover the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), which provides some workers with the right to continue their health coverage due to certain life events and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which provides protections for those who might otherwise suffer discrimination in health coverage based on health factors. Other important amendments include the Newborns’ and Mothers’ Health Protection Act, the Mental Health Parity Act, the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act, the Affordable Care Act and the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.

This is the second in a series on employment benefits presented by The U.S. Department of Labor and the San Francisco Law Library.

July 10 2019 Health Benefits MCLE Flyer


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Yosemite Reading for Summer


  • Carleton Watkins in Yosemite, Weston Naef
  • Carleton Watkins: The Complete Mammoth Photographs, Weston Naef and Christine Hult-Lewis
  • Carleton Watkins: Making the West American, Tyler Green

For those of us without a reservation at the Ahwanhee (now called The Majestic Yosemite Hotel), these Carleton Watkins books are for you—a ravishing wilderness, page by page, on a scale that is truly majestic, and which, nose to our work, we can forget is only 200 miles east from downtown San Francisco. Here’s dreaming without the crowds—three books for the cool of a San Francisco July to kindle a sense of awe through magisterial pictography and the story of a pioneering artist—one of the first photographers of Yosemite in post-Civil War America.

The first book, Carleton Watkins in Yosemite, features 49 reproductions of Yosemite landscapes taken between 1861 and 1880. They are referred to as his mammoth-plate photographs because they required large, heavy glass plate negatives about 18 x 22 inches in size. These photographs were shown to President Lincoln, who was impressed enough to declare the Yosemite Valley within the public domain to protect its beauty for all.  It is also these photographs that may prompt your own recall of the very first time you arrived in Yosemite and tried to take it all in. The book itself is just the size to fit into a daypack for a day’s wandering.

The second book presents a fuller catalog. Carleton Watkins: The Complete Mammoth Photographs is a dense and completely extraordinary gift of images and history extending far beyond Yosemite—10 pounds of reproductions and cataloging notes of Watkins’ 1,273 known mammoth-plate photographs. This is likely one of the heaviest books in the San Francisco Law Library collection, but only a feather compared to the 2,000 pounds of photography-making equipment, which included a specially-made oversized-camera, the glass plates, chemistry equipment, and a dark-room tent—all of which Watkins hauled with wagon and mule to every precipice and every spot on the valley floor for each Yosemite expedition and to many other places. Organized into 10 chapters, this catalog includes not only the complete Yosemite images, but also Watkin’s lesser-known work, such as his mining photographs, the San Francisco pictures (taken when Twin Peaks was uninhabited and the Cliff House newly built), a Pacific Coast series that includes Mendocino, Oregon, other coastal areas, and other Bay Area landscapes like San Mateo and Santa Clara, a series on the Franciscan Missions, a few portraits, and even some court-evidence photography made for boundary disputes. All of which to say, it is still hard to beat Plate 1—an image of The Grizzly Giant, a giant sequoia in Yosemite’s Mariposa Grove standing 210 feet tall, with a cluster of tiny people pictured at its base like carved wooden toys, or Plate 38 of North Dome. You will find your own favorite—or many. The plates are completely absorbing: water, stone, trees, sky, dimensions, space, and history.

Finally, Carleton Watkins: Making the West American offers a broader view. It contains not just the images, but a different perspective across the grain of art, culture, and history—what the author calls a horizontal history: “…the impact artists have outside art, such as on their world and on events that continue after their careers and lives…an artist’s impact on a nation.” It’s just the kind of book that requires a hammock—a well-written narrative, illustrated along the way, that shows how Watkins’ work embodied not only beauty, but also power and import, and become a prime influence on making the West as important as the East. This is the story of how Watkins and his art saw the West and gave it to the nation.

In 1906, the San Francisco earthquake and fire destroyed a vast amount of Carleton Watkin’s negatives and archives. These books survive to collect what’s left and offer these images for fresh appreciation and delight.

All three Carleton Watkins book are available at the San Francisco Law Library.

If you are still unsure where to start, start here:

Peaks & Perils: the Life of Carleton Watkins, a four-minute animated biography of the artist and his work, from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which has 25 Carleton Watkins photographs  in their collection, but none currently on view.

A podcast with the author, Tyler Green, about his work, Carleton Watkins: Making the West American is available at: https://manpodcast.com/portfolio/no-364-tyler-green-on-carleton-watkins/.

Images from the Getty Collection of Carleton Watkins photographs can be viewed on a smaller scale on their website, and downloaded, with some restrictions.

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Book of the Month: John Lennon vs. The USA

The name and enduring fame of John Lennon is a luminous star in the realm of music and culture: but another story to be told is the spear that he and Yoko Ono—partners in art, music, and love—sent to the heart of political abuse of the immigration system by Nixon and his administration. John Lennon v. The USA, aptly subtitled The Inside Story of the Most Bitterly Contested and Influential Deportation Case in United States History, digs deep into the five-year immigration fight against the deportation ordered by Nixon and put into play by all who kowtowed to that secret executive directive.

The author, Leon Wildes, counsel for Lennon and Ono, was a buttoned-up kind of lawyer and highly respected in the field of immigration law for being thorough and thoughtful. He admits toward the end of the saga that this representation not only opened his eyes to a kind of constitutional abuse he had never thought possible under the American system, but to his equal surprise, exposed him to a creative and original spirit that took off some of his own “square edges.” When first asked to represent Lennon and Ono, he didn’t actually know who they were, and he had only vaguely heard of The Beatles. He knew only that Lennon had earlier pleaded guilty to a hashish possession charge in the U.K., and the U.S. government asserted this as sufficient cause for deportation.

To then President Nixon, one year before the next Presidential election, Lennon and Ono qualified as political enemies. Nixon, who had squeaked by on a thin majority in the 1968 election, particularly feared the impact of the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 just in time for the 1972 election. Nixon saw Lennon’s and Ono’s anthems of love and peace and their overt support for the Left as a call to this potential voting base, which was already ignited by the rising tide of anti-Vietnam War protests and an incipient “dump Nixon” campaign.

Wildes tells a resonant story, harkening backward to the thick of things in the Nixon period, the special qualities of Lennon and Ono and their relationship to each other, all while explaining well the labyrinthine ways and means of the immigration legal system—a vocabulary to itself. A dazzle of artistic and cultural celebrities, including Fred Astaire, vied to support Lennon’s and Ono’s petitions to stay, with letters of support and testimony as to their exceptional artistic merit. Testimony also demonstrated their economic benefit to the U.S. economy, including gross American proceeds of $237 million from Lennon’s work through September 1971, and $4.5 million from Ono’s work since 1969, supporting a significant industry workforce.

It took five years of litigation, losses, delays, and appeals—which continued even after the Watergate scandal broke in 1972 and Nixon resigned in 1974—to be able expose what was best guessed at but could not then be proved: the political appropriation of the process, from Nixon’s plain desire to dilute their influence by finding a way to deport them from the country, to the immigration officials who masked this goal with an administrative opacity of inflexibility. Wildes credits the Freedom of Information Act as a mighty strategic force for slowly but ultimately yielding the secrets behind the curtain of immigration filings and appeals, demonstrating the vital use of FOIA in immigration defense cases. A major revelation included the release of INS Operation Instructions, rumored but not previously seen, that required the exercise of administrative discretion in ineligibility cases with clear equitable and humanitarian factors—a door that opened wide as far as the future, including its application to DACA.

In 1975, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Wildes’ argument that, after all, Lennon’s drug conviction did not qualify as cause for deportation or disqualify him from applying for permanent U.S. residence—and took sharp notice of the facts collected under FOIA. As back-up to its review of the case and the appropriate standards to be applied in a deportation proceeding, the court also sent a pointed message to the immigration officials in charge, as the case was remanded for reconsideration, that “[t]he courts will not condone selective deportation based upon secret political grounds.” Lennon v. Immigration & Naturalization Service, 527 F.2d 187, 195.

The Wildes book is not only a well-written narrative of famous clients and the tenacious advocacy required for a hard-won and joyous result, but also a cautionary tale, as the book’s foreword makes clear: “…beneath it all, like a snake in the grass, lies the uncomfortable, intractable fact—the immigration system is still as subject to abuse by any incumbent administration as it was in 1972.”

Asked what had kept him and Ono going during this five-year legal battle, Lennon replied: “We’re artists. We have to tell it like it is.”

Five years after being granted legal status in the U.S., Lennon was killed outside the Dakota apartments in New York. Ono, a legal resident, and their son, Sean, born in the U.S., continue their work as artists and musicians.


More information on the case and its impact on immigration law is at the author’s website:


The original INS files on John Lennon are archived at:  https://www.uscis.gov/archive/john-lennon; and the FBI files on John Lennon are viewable at: https://vault.fbi.gov/john-winston-lennon.

To hear John Lennon himself, try this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HybcK892uBY.