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The recent decision at the California Supreme Court in Sheppard, Mullin, Richter and Hampton LLP v. J-M Manufacturing, is likely to change the way business is done at large law firms.

The big issue that might be making some BigLaw partners nervous involves general advanced conflict waivers in client agreements being used to invalidate those client agreements when conflicts exist. In short, the Court held that if there is an actual conflict at the time of retention, unless that conflict is specifically disclosed, a general advanced conflict waiver is not valid.

If you're licensed to practice in the state of California, you've probably received the email notice that you need to get fingerprinted again. And if you take a look at the State Bar's announcement, you'll probably just be frustrated as the apologetic note basically explains that the bar made a mistake.

What worse than the frustration of knowing the bar goofed and now you have to waste your time is that it expects its members to bear the cost of its mistake (See California Rule of Court 9.9.5(h)(1)). The deadline to comply is April 30, 2019.

Minority Students' Literacy Lawsuit Moves Forward in California

A Los Angeles judge cleared the way for a lawsuit against California for failing to improve literacy in poor public schools.

Parents of students from Los Angeles, Inglewood and Stockton areas say their schools have some of the worst test scores in the country. They allege the state has not given them the same opportunities as students from other schools.

In Ella T. and Katie T. v State of California, a judge said the plaintiffs alleged sufficiently that the education system treats them differently because of their race and low-income status. By the time it's over, however, some kids may well have dropped out.

California Pushing Ahead for Net Neutrality

California is trying hard to bring net neutrality back from the dead, but it may take a minor miracle.

If the state's net neutrality bill passes, it could restore protections against broadband services throttling internet traffic and charging consumers more for faster lanes in California. It is not the first state to claw back from federal deregulation in the field, but it may have the biggest stake in the game with its world-ranked economy.

In the meantime, regulators and broadband providers have drawn a line in the sand against states that impose net neutrality rules. Unless there is compromise, there will be litigation.

New Rule on Disclosure of Settlements Involving Judicial Officers

Under a new rule, California courts must disclose financial settlement agreements involving judges accused of sexual harassment, discrimination, and other misconduct.

The state Judicial Council explained that courts -- when requested -- must release the records if public funds are used to pay such settlements. Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye convened a group to study and recommend a rule in April.

It's a timely rule change, given high-profile cases involving judges and others accused of misconduct. Observers praise the rule as a step in the right direction, but it could have gone further.

Law Protects Immigrants From Questions About Legal Status in Court

In the national battle over immigrant rights, the latest conflict in California was over faster than the war for the territory in 1847.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation that protects immigrants from having to disclose their legal status in court. The bill had been making its way to the governor's desk since last year, when federal agents were reportedly tracking people down in state courthouses.

With the new law, California has practically become a sanctuary state. The state, counties, and cities from Los Angeles to San Francisco have fought against Trump administration policies to deport undocumented immigrants through legislation and lawsuits.

California Sued for Poor Literacy in Schools

Dylan, 14, didn't plan to become the poster child for a lousy educational system.

An eighth-grader in Central California, Dylan reads at an early second-grade level. He tested in the bottom one percent of students his age.

That is now public knowledge, thanks to a lawsuit filed by his parents and others who complain the state has failed its students. For Dylan, it may be worse now if he reads the newspaper.

The Rutter Group's Federal Civil Procedure Before Trial, California and Ninth Circuit Edition has been updated for 2017 with new case law, statutes, and important info to help guide you through the procedural minefield that is federal litigation in California. Updates are still available for current subscribers. (Disclosure: The Rutter Group is part of Thomson Reuters, FindLaw's parent company.)

For federal litigators in California that don't have The Rutter Group's best selling guide, or that might have missed a few updates, it's never too late to start using the industry leading practice guide.

Lawyer Bills Are Not Privileged After Litigation Ends

It's taken a couple of billing cycles for California lawyers to absorb the significance of a state Supreme Court decision two months ago.

In a controversial decision, the court said that lawyers' bills are not privileged after a case has concluded.

Appeals Court Approves Plan to Build New SF Arena for Golden State Warriors

A state appeals court has given an assist to the NBA's leading basketball team for a new arena in San Francisco.

In blocking an attempt by opponents, the First District Court of Appeal said the city's plan complies with environmental standards that were challenged on appeal. The Mission Bay plan includes a 488,000-square-foot event center with a capacity of up to 18,500 seats to host games by the Golden State Warriors basketball team. Local businesses, including a medical center, had claimed that increased traffic would adversely affect them. The court rejected the argument.

"[M]ost basketball games and concerts drawing large crowds will generally occur during evening hours, 'after commercial and medical office hours of nearby uses," the court said. The unanimous panel also turned aside arguments that the construction would endanger nesting for birds and bats.