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Free Estate Planning Seminar July 11

Thursday, July 11, 2019, Noon to 1:00pm
Free Estate Planning Seminar
Presented by Attorney Alan Khalfin
Vaksman & Khalfin
***Download Flyer Here***

  • What is Estate Planning?
  • Will v. Revocable Living Trust
  • How to Avoid Probate and Plan for Incapacity
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Free MCLE June 26 – Ca. Supreme Court Update

Wednesday, June 26, 2019, Noon to 1:00
California Supreme Court: Significant 2018-2019 Civil Cases
1 Hour of free General Participatory MCLE Credit
Presented by John Wierzbicki
Director, Witkin Legal Institute 
***Download Flyer Here*** 

John Wierzbicki, a California lawyer and Witkin Legal Institute director, will present on the most significant civil cases decided by the California Supreme Court over the past year, as selected by the Institute’s legal editors. He will discuss the cases’ impact on such topics as independent contractors, local permits and zoning, contracts, insurance, SLAPP suits, local taxes and utility fees, torts and workers’ compensation.

John heads up the legal educational activities of the Institute, which creates and sponsors legal programs and professional activities throughout California. He also manages a team of attorneys and other professionals responsible for the writing and publication of Witkin’s California Library: Summary of California Law, 11th ed., California Procedure, 5th ed., California Evidence, 5th ed., and California Criminal Law, 4th ed. John is responsible for, and writes on, constitutional law, contracts, civil trials and taxation.

Before his appointment with the Institute, John was editorial director for some of Thomson Reuters’ most prestigious U.S. legal publications, including Black’s Law Dictionary, American Law Reports (ALR), American Jurisprudence, and Corpus Juris Secundum. He also managed its author contracts and relationships group. Prior to that, John was an associate with Berliner Cohen in San Jose. He is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley (B.A.), Georgetown University (J.D.), and the University of Virginia (M.A.).

The Witkin Legal Institute was founded by Bernie E. Witkin before his death to carry forward his legacy of outstanding scholarship and service to the California bench and bar. It is dedicated to helping make the law understandable for lawyers and those whom they serve.

The materials accompanying the program contain case analysis created by the Institute’s editors, which has been schemed according to the Witkin publications’ taxonomy for ease of reference.


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June 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 June. 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.

This month we are hoping to replace two popular resources that have gone missing from our collection:

CEB Construction Contracts Defects and LitigationCalifornia Construction Contracts, Defects, and Litigation, 4th ed.
Written by James Acret et al.
$415, Loose-leaf, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-76262-599-4

California Construction Law ManualCalifornia Construction Law Manual, 2018–2019 ed.
Written by James Acret
$307, Paperback, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-53922-973-5


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 Advocacy.


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


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Free Deposition Tips MCLE May 21

Tuesday, May 21, Noon to 1:30pm
​Tips for Taking an Effective Deposition
1.5 Hours free general participatory MCLE credit to those attending at the SF Law Library
Presented by Richard Koskoff, of Booth and Koskoff
ceb logo Co-sponsored with CEB

***Download Flyer Here***

Join veteran trial attorney Richard Koskoff for a practical and informative program about how to take an effective deposition. He will share with you a variety of tips and strategies for how to set the stage for a meaningful deposition and how to approach and handle critical areas of a deposition. Richard will demonstrate some of his teaching points:

  • Obtaining and preserving evidence, including reports and other documents
  • Identifying key players to depose and what to cover in the depositions
  • When to hire an expert
  • Questioning adverse lay witnesses, with examples
  • How to depose expert witnesses, with examples
  • How to approach critical areas of testimony and ask key questions, with examples
  • How to handle objections, and which ones to make, with examples
  • When to continue/terminate the deposition
  • This program is appropriate for all experience levels.

Richard B. Koskoff is with the firm of Booth & Koskoff, in Torrance, California. Mr. Koskoff has more than 150 jury trials as a prosecutor, criminal defense lawyer, and plaintiff’s attorney. He has recovered over $100,000,000 on behalf of his clients as a civil litigator. He represents plaintiffs in wrongful death and major personal injury lawsuits involving catastrophic injuries. He handles products liability, construction, automobile accident, abused children, and general negligence cases. He has been selected to Super Lawyers for the past 15 years, consecutively, and has been nominated as a CAALA Trial Lawyer of the Year. Mr. Koskoff is active in both legal and community-based organizations. He has been a speaker and lecturer for CEB, CAALA, and CAOC. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his J.D. degree from the University of California, Davis, School of Law.

May 21 2019 Deposition MCLE Flyer


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Free Westlaw MCLE May 15 at Noon

Wednesday, May 15, Noon to 1:00pm
Litigation Research with Westlaw
1 Hour Free Participatory MCLE

Presented by Jonathan Dorsey, Esq.
Client Representative, Government, Thomson Reuters
An email address is required to receive the MCLE certificate from Thomson
***Download Flyer Here***

During this course, you will learn how to most efficiently locate and use Westlaw’s litigation resources. We hope that you are able to attend!

May 15 2019 Litigation Research With Westlaw MCLE Flyer

 


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The Serial Set, Part 3: Supreme Court Nominations

Serial Set SCtOur first two Serial Set Posts discussed HeinOnline’s new database content of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set, and the differences in the online offerings of Hein and Lexis. Now, for the last installment of our series, we dive into the documents themselves, since none of this would be worth the bother at all if the Serial Set didn’t offer the most vivid view of the history of the nation.

With the sting of Supreme Court nominations so recently in mind, the Year-End Report, 1st session of 97th Congress (1981) [Report of Senate Comm on the Judiciary, Nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor. Executive Report No. 97-22.], regarding the nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor, reminds us that consensus was once easier to achieve. Speaking about the recommendation to the full Senate (17 aye, one present), Senator Thurmond, then Chair of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, summarized those hearings [at p. 147]:

…The Committee recommended the approval of the first woman to be nominated to the United States Supreme Court. In providing the background and recommendation on which the Senate could fulfill its Constitutional duties, the Committee held three days of hearings and considered the views of a wide range of witnesses. On the recommendation of the Committee, the Senate unanimously confirmed the nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court

Twelve years later, in 1993, the nomination of Ruth Bader Ginsburg was sent to the Senate Floor with a unanimous recommendation to confirm, with a final Senate vote of  93-3. [Nomination of Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Supreme Court, Report from Senate Comm on the Judiciary, Aug 5, 1993]

Serial set 3

And in-between, in 1991, was the highly charged hearing on the nomination of Clarence Thomas as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, with testimony given by Anita Hill of a pattern of sexual harassment by the nominee. With contemporary articles pointing out the all-but-too-close parallels to the conduct of the Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh hearings, the Serial Set refreshes history, and our memory, with the report of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which ultimately made no recommendation on the nominee, and with the Committee vote tied at 7 to 7. [Nomination of Clarence Thomas, Report of Comm of Judiciary, no recommendation 7-7. Sept 19, 1991]

Serial set 3a

Among the many speeches by Senators who rose to explain their vote, Senator Robert Byrd took to the floor with a singular and powerful eloquence, explaining why, in the end, he could not vote to confirm Clarence Thomas — ultimately rejecting the nomination in favor of the grace of the Court itself. [Senator Robert C. Byrd on the nomination of Clarence Thomas]

Even after the final vote, 52-48, the narrative continued, with a potent shift to the another part of the story.  A Temporary Independent Counsel was immediately appointed to investigate the leak of the confidential Anita Hill information, the disclosure of which triggered the public airing of the sexual harassment she detailed, and the hyper-charged televised hearings that followed.

Serial set 3b

The subsequent Report of the Temporary Independent Counsel summarized all the key players, and yet in the end concluded that it was unable to identify the source of the disclosures. [Independent Counsel after Clarence Thomas hearings, part 1]

This report of the Temporary Independent Counsel was accompanied by a 172-page collection of exhibits. Among other materials, it included the Anita Hill statement, photographs of Anita Hill arriving at the Senate hearings, deposition testimony from the NPR legal affairs correspondent, Nina Totenberg, editorial cartoons, and press reports and newspaper articles on colleagues of Anita Hill supporting her veracity. [Exhibits to Report by Temporary Independent Counsel.May 1992]

The Serial Set has all this and more.

As the 116th Congress, convened on January 3, 2019, begins its work, all the records of whatever comes across Congressional sightlines will be also eventually be added and indexed and become a part of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set.


Databases at the San Francisco Law Library, including HeinOnline and the Lexis are open to the public for free access at the San Francisco Law Library.

For more questions about research in the U.S. Congressional Serial Set or about the scope of other San Francisco Law Library resources, please contact the Reference Team at sfll.reference@sfgov.org   or 415:554-1772.


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May Book of the Month: Closing the Courthouse Door

51o5FtK+zsL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Closing the Courthouse Door: How Your Constitutional Rights Became Unenforceable
By Erwin Chemerinsky
Reviewed by Andrea Woods, Reference Librarian

Esteemed constitutional law scholar Erwin Chemerinsky wrote Closing the Courthouse Door: How Your Constitutional Rights Became Unenforceable after decades of mounting frustration over how Supreme Court jurisprudence has chipped away at the ability of the federal courts to perform their most important and basic task—to enforce the Constitution. He examines how the Court has limited the ability of a plaintiff to sue state and local governments for constitutional violations, expanded immunity protection for government officers, narrowed the instances where the court will find standing for injured parties, restricted access to habeas corpus, thwarted plaintiffs from suing in class actions, and increased abstention by finding more and more cases are nonjusticiable political questions. The result of the Court’s expansion of these procedural doctrines is that many citizens are left with no remedy when their constitutional rights are violated. Chemerinsky eloquently and passionately argues that the role of the Constitution is to hold the government and its officers accountable to those whose constitutional rights have been infringed upon, and if the federal courts are not able to enforce the Constitution, then it is as if those rights did not exist at all.

Most disturbing in this snowballing trend is that the procedural doctrines the Court has expanded are entirely the Court’s own creation—they are not based on the Constitution, and they are not founded on federal statutes. For example, the defense of immunity for government officers is not found in the language of section 1983, which creates a private right of action against government officials who deprive a person of a constitutional right. Not only did the Court create this defense, but it found that some tasks warrant absolute immunity, even for the most egregious violations of a constitutional right, and even when officials act in a way that clearly exceeded their authority. Chemerinsky maintains that there is no need for absolute immunity at all because all officials have qualified immunity, but even here, the Court has made it increasingly difficult for plaintiffs to recover for their injuries by continually expanding the scope and availability of the defense.

Throughout Closing the Courthouse Door, Chemerinsky cites example after heartbreaking example where a person was left with no recourse after their constitutional rights were trampled. Because of one procedural doctrine or another, the federal courts were left unable to enforce the Constitution. Chemerinsky notes that this should be a bipartisan issue, and in fact, he surmises that many conservatives should theoretically welcome the idea of holding the government accountable for its actions. He optimistically concludes each chapter with a suggested path forward, where either the Court itself or Congress could act to rectify these erroneous doctrines. In many cases, the changes he presses for would only restore the law to what it was several years ago, before more restrictive holdings were announced. Chemerinsky posits that the federal courts have been diminished as a co-equal branch of government as a result of abstaining from hearing many types of cases, and that we as a nation should want our courts to be able to ensure that constitutional wrongs can be righted.