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When was the last time you read your engagement letter line by line, from beginning to end? No, really, when did you do this last? Do you recall the last time you updated your engagement letter? You can answer honestly, because you’re probably reading this in the comfort of your office. Maybe updating your engagement agreement has been at the top of your to-do list for a while. Well, now is as good a time as any. My general advice to clients and friends is to read your template engagement letter from beginning to end, line by line, at least…
It was 2018, and one of Asher Waite-Jones’ clients was making minimum wage working part-time in a warehouse when he was assessed about $2000 in fines and fees for a DUI conviction. To pay those, the client, a young man in his 20s, dropped out of school so he could pick up additional work hours. But not long afterward, he was laid off. The client spent a couple of years looking for other work, but his criminal record made it hard to find steady employment. And when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, his options narrowed even more. When Congress passed the…
With over 200 languages and dialects spoken in California, court interpreters are essential to breaking down the language barriers that inhibit many Californians from accessing our courts. According to the statewide Language Access Plan Report adopted by the Judicial Council of California in 2015, approximately 40% of Californians speak a language that isn’t English at home, and approximately 20% have English language limitations. Given this significant need, the high demand for court interpreters in California family law departments comes as no surprise. But requesting and working with court interpreters in family law proceedings can be tricky, especially if you’re not…
In 2020, the California courts of appeal published several cases with useful guidance for litigators claiming or opposing statutory attorney’s fees. In Department of Fair Employment & Hous. v. Cathy’s Creations, Inc. (2020) 54 Cal.App.5th 404, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) sued a bakery that denied services to a same-sex couple, but lost its suit for injunctive relief. The court held that the prevailing defendant was not entitled to attorney’s fees under Code of Civil Procedure section 1021.5 because Government Code section 12974, a unilateral fee-shifting statute that provides fees to DFEH only, is the later…
Seyfarth Synopsis: Headlining the number of employment-related bills California legislators introduced by the February 19th deadline are those that would extend COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave and provide other leaves and accommodations. After last year’s pandemic-caused truncation of the 2020 legislative session—in which the governor signed only 372 new laws, the fewest since 1967—many expected the introduction of a large number of bills. Yet “only” 1,560 bills were introduced in the Assembly this year, the lowest number in six years—though there is no shortage of labor and employment-related bills. Below, we summarize the most significant labor and employment bills introduced,…
Three days into his term, President Biden signed executive orders and set forth plans for how employers should respond to issues brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are five of Biden’s recent actions that stand to have a major impact on employers across the U.S. 1. OSHA shall issue revised guidance to employers on workplace safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. On Jan. 21, Biden signed the Executive Order on Protecting Worker Health and Safety. The order directs OSHA to do the following: Consider whether any emergency temporary standards on COVID-19 are necessary, and if so, issue them by…
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is now 50 years old, and remains one of the most rigorous and comprehensive environmental regulatory schemes in the nation. CEQA requires all state and local agencies to seriously consider the environmental effects of public and private activities before approving them, and to disapprove projects for which feasible and environmentally superior mitigation measures or alternatives exist. Almost every year since its enactment in 1970, the California Legislature has considered proposals to amend, expand, or restrict CEQA’s reach. To date, calls for major reform have failed, but minor changes to CEQA occur annually. In 2020,…
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday signed a bill that will extend the state’s moratorium on evictions through June 30 of this year, aiming to protect Californians facing ongoing economic hardships as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. SB 91 extends a pause on evictions for tenants who declare under penalty of perjury an inability to pay all or part of their rent due to a COVID-related reason. Previously those protections were set to expire on Feb. 1 under AB 3088, which the governor signed last year. “Once again, California is leading the way by enacting the strongest eviction…
As the COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on California businesses and residents, two waves of rules have guided tenants, landlords, and their counsel through the resulting eviction crisis.The first wave involved moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures. On April 6, 2020, two emergency California Rules of Court were adopted. Emergency Rule 1 effectively halted all unlawful detainer lawsuits, except those necessary to protect public health and safety. (Cal. Rules of Court, emergency rule 1.) And Emergency Rule 2 effectively halted all pending judicial foreclosure actions, other than those involving issues of public health and safety. (Cal. Rules of Court, emergency…
Parenting plans attempt to provide stability and consistency for children and their families. A well-crafted parenting plan encourages flexibility but provides certainty for circumstances when parents disagree. In 2020, a global pandemic created extraordinary challenges, and rendered many parenting plans obsolete. The pandemic closed many courts, and left the rest with very limited calendars and unable to respond to the rapid changes the pandemic produced. No parenting plan can anticipate disruptions of this scale and duration, but there are some practical lessons emerging from the pandemic 1. Especially in the first months of the pandemic, many lawyers and judges viewed…