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California. This state, often derisively referred to as the "People's Republic of California," has a reputation as a wee-bit left-leaning. It might come as a surprise to some, then, that the state's high court is actually almost exclusively made up of Republican appointees, and is seen by many as a moderate to conservative court.

That might be changing soon, however, with Gov. Jerry Brown expected to nab a second term in the fall. Not only does he have a vacancy to fill from Justice Joyce Kennard's retirement last week, but there are a few other spots that could be opening up during the governor's second term.

Lots of California law updates this week with the 2014 State of the Judiciary, a retiring judge, and a review of laws, pending, passed, and interpreted. Let's jump in:

2014 State of the Judiciary

On March 17, 2014 Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye gave her 2014 State of the Judiciary Address before California judges, legislators and attorneys. The foundation of her statements rested on "fairness and collaboration" -- values that both the judiciary and legislature embody. She went on to honor the anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and discussed issues important to her including collaborative courts, self-help centers at the trial courts, JusticeCorps and juvenile justice. To read her remarks in full (or watch a video), click here for the 2014 State of the Judiciary Address.

The Golden State is home to Hollywood, and if we can learn anything from celebrities, it's that everyone's got something they want to sell you. California lawyers are no different -- well, sort of. Not quite selling things per se, as lawyers you're selling services, but you need to know a thing or two about marketing.

Legal marketing may not be high up on your "know how" or "to do" list, but that doesn't mean it's not important. It is. It just means you might need some help. Luckily for you, we're here.

Here are the top three things you should know about legal marketing.

Union disputes. Protests with picket signs. A labor complaint filed with the state. This has to be something big, some terrible labor law violation, right?

Nope. The San Francisco Superior Court simply decided to enforce its long-standing, laxly enforced 1996 dress code. No flip flops, no beach attire, and no gym clothes. Guys in ties, gals in something business-y.

While the rest of the country is covered in snow, the sun is shining in the Golden State, and legal controversies and news are going at a non-stop pace. There's a lot to talk about, here are some highlights.

Justice Joyce Kennard Retiring

Justice Joyce Kennard, Associate Justice on the California Supreme Court announced that she will retire, effective April 5, 2014, giving Governor Jerry Brown a second chance to fill a seat on the California Supreme Court, reports The Sacramento Bee. The longest-serving justice, aged 72, is seen as "one of the more liberal" Justices, "often siding with the underdog," and "one of the court's most vocal members during oral arguments," reports the Los Angeles Times.

"We are rationing justice, and it has become more than a fiscal problem. It is, in my view, it is now a civil rights problem. ... We know we are denying the protections of an American democracy."

The rhetoric, justified or not, is flowing hard after Gov. Jerry Brown released a budget plan that, despite a $105 million increase in court funding, will do little to keep our court system from teetering on collapse. (Existing pension and benefit costs will eat up most of the increase.) Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye's rhetorical flourish was accompanied by her own plan, the "A Three-Year Blueprint for a Fully Functioning Judicial Branch."

An early leak of Gov. Brown's budget proposal led to a sooner-than-expected unveiling of the plan. As with most political events, no one is happy.

Were you hoping for more funding for our beleaguered court system, either to reduce court crowding, or to add more prosecutor and public defender positions? The modest increase in the budget likely won't help.

The budget also addressed two other issues that have made their way through California courts this year: the state's ill-fated High Speed Rail project, and the prison overcrowding issue that has yet to be resolved.

Last week, the Center for Public Integrity released their grades for our nations' courts disclosures. And despite a recusal oversight and a "C" grade, California beat out all of the other states at the top of the rankings (though one spot below the Federal courts).

In other news, Governor Jerry Brown filled 18 vacant seats on the superior court bench, including eight in the Los Angeles area alone.

Black Friday? More like Blood Red Friday.

Late last week, California's bar results were released. By the time the scores hit the Internet, we were already a few drinks deep at the local watering hole (have to beat the nearly-half of bar takers that failed, after all), so we're just now catching up to the massacre.

And while the numbers aren't pretty, it's important to remember two facts: a lot of people failed, and even with failure, a great career is still possible.

Recently, Scott Shafer, host of KQED's The California Report, interviewed California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye about some issues facing the California justice system.

For California lawyers without the time to listen to the full discussion, here are some of her thoughts as expressed in the interview.