April 24, 2020
Hello again OCAABA members, friends and allies:
I hope this email finds you well and healthy. The following is another update to help us
do what lawyers do best:
consume reliable information and convey it to others.
There have been revisions and additions to the Emergency Rules:
ORANGE COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT
I waited until today to provide this Court Update email because on 3/27/20
the court stated the court closure would extend until today. Here is the court announcement we have been waiting for: "T
he Orange County Superior Court will remain closed to the public through at least May 22, 2020, with some exceptions for time sensitive matters or matters pertaining to the safety and security of the community." Download the order here.
I learned from the Bar Community a court "soft-opening" is planned for May 26, 2020 and Jury Trials may start up in June. The court intends to have two master calendars - one for the backlog of jury trials and the other for new jury trials. Each branch court will have a dedicated jury trial courtroom but the court envisions branch courts will only be open for jury trials. The court anticipates jurors will sit in the galleries. Juror failures to appear are projected at 50% and jury selection for felonies will likely occur in C1. Deliberations are anticipated to take place in an empty courtroom.
to download a proposed jury trial work flow chart (subject to change) which has been distributed. Because of mandatory constitutional timelines, criminal matters are being prioritized. This information is subject to change so please check the court website for official announcements.
CENTRAL DISTRICT COURT
Please see the following orders/notices:
ORANGE COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION
OCBA has released Civility Guidelines:
OCBA CIVILITY :
PREAMBLE The practice of law is a noble, time-honored profession requiring and inspiring trust and confidence. Lawyers rightly take pride in seeking mutual cooperation and maintaining personal dignity. Lawyers practicing in Orange County share a commitment to civility and recognize their obligation to be professional with clients, other parties and counsel, the courts, and the public.
- Courts expect lawyers to show others respect. Lawyers are officers of the court. Each lawyer's conduct should reflect well on the judicial system, the profession, and the fair administration of justice. Judicial resources are limited and wisely conserved when lawyers avoid frivolous disputes.
- Lawyers should inspire public regard for the profession and for the judicial system. Rudeness, distrust, or abusive tactics by lawyers do not reflect well on the legal profession or inspire the public's confidence.
- Civility allows for zealous representation, reduces clients' costs, better advances clients' interests, reduces stress, increases professional satisfaction, and promotes effective conflict resolution. These guidelines foster the civility and professionalism that are hallmarks of the best traditions of the legal profession.
All OCBA members are encouraged to adopt these guidelines as their personal standards. The guidelines exceed the Rules of Professional Conduct; do not replace any statute or rule; and are not intended as an independent basis for sanctions, discipline, or more litigation. Rather, the guidelines remind us that law is best practiced with civility and that clients, courts, the public, and the fair administration of justice are best served thereby.
1. Counsel shall show civility to other counsel and self-represented litigants.
a. Communicate in a professional, businesslike manner. Respond to communications within a reasonable time, using reasonable means. Provide accurate redlines and note significant changes when exchanging drafts. Avoid personal attacks, demeaning comments, and misleading characterizations of the other side's positions, both in private communications and in court. Act civilly toward opposing counsel's staff members.
b. Extend professional courtesies. Agree to reasonable requests, including those regarding service of papers or extensions of time, whenever possible without prejudicing the client's interests or violating a court's scheduling order. Honor commitments.
ORANGE COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION CIVILITY GUIDELINES
c. Advise clients about the need for civility. Assure clients you will zealously represent them while still treating others with civility. Resist client requests to engage in abusive or disrespectful behavior.
2. Counsel shall show civility during discovery.
a. Work together to make discovery self-executing. Meet and confer in good faith to try to limit and expedite discovery - and to resolve disputes without motions. Cooperate to make discovery reasonably convenient: e.g., provide written discovery requests in electronic format, discuss search terms for electronic discovery in advance, produce written responses and responsive documents in a user-friendly manner. Avoid pursuing discovery only to harass adversaries or increase litigation costs. Respond forthrightly and timely to nonobjectionable requests.
b. Schedule depositions reasonably. Respond to inquiries for dates within a reasonable time and on reasonable terms. Make good-faith efforts to accommodate the schedules of other parties, counsel, and witnesses. Delay or cancel depositions only with good cause and as much notice as practicable.
c. Behave professionally at depositions. Avoid abusive or rude behavior, mischaracterizations of anyone's conduct, baseless instructions not to answer, and questions asked only to embarrass the witness. Make reasonable use of the allotted time, without needlessly running out the clock or requiring an additional day.
3. Counsel shall show civility to the courts.
a. Respect the court's time. Make good-faith efforts to avoid or narrow issues before raising them with the court. Plan to make witnesses available while minimizing their wait time - consider on-call agreements. Notify the court as soon as possible if a matter resolves.
b. Communicate respectfully with the court. Treat the court and its personnel with dignity. Avoid personal attacks, disrespectful familiarity, the appearance of impropriety, and improper ex parte communications.
c. Conduct yourself professionally in court. Be punctual and prepared for every appearance. Wait for your matter respectfully. Let others speak, without interrupting. Accept responsibility for your handling of the case without blaming subordinates.
d. Show this civility to all bench officers (judges, commissioners, temporary judges, referees), arbitrators, mediators, other dispute resolution providers, and their staffs.
The OCBA COVID-19 Task Force continues to have
on Wednesdays and Fridays. Today, over 300 viewers participated in
Unity in a Time of COVID-19: A Global Community Against a Global Threat, Part 1
- A replay is available here:
Every Tuesday, OCBA hosts a teleconference with Affiliate Leaders. On 4/21/20, updates were provided. Below is a summary of my notes from the call and
please be advised that I did my best to take notes as quickly and accurately as I could but with information coming quickly, please feel free to double-check anything you find inconsistent.
- Court Update: Last Thursday call (935 people on the call) with J. Nakamura, J. Hernandez and Yamasaki. Court is only set to be closed through Friday but it seems unlikely the court will open on 4/24. J. Nakamura's presentation is linked on the OCBA website. Unclear when civil motions and civil jury trials will be heard and may be months away. The issue with civil jury trials is that jurors will be prioritized for criminal matters.
- COVID-19 Task Force: How to Take a Deposition Virtually this week and Friday, Unity in the Time of Covid. If you miss a webinar, they are available for replay on the OCBA website. There are many webinars being organized but not yet posted so stay tuned. The webinars are free but there is an extra step for non-members. If your name is in the system, you should be able to get on for the webinars whether you are a member or not. When you get to the registration screen, you can click on retrieve password and you can update your information and participate. If you are not in the system, reach out via email or call OCBA. Capacity for webinars is 1000. For CLE credit, you should receive an email after the webinar. Registration must occur at least 30 minutes in advance.
- State Bar Update: At their last Board of Trustees Meeting, some of the ATILS recommendations were moved forward and sent out for public comment. The OCBA will be drafting a response. Creating the Sandbox has been tabled to May to allow the stakeholders to chime in. A lot of articles and organizations have been opining that using the COVID-19 circumstances is the perfect time to move the ATILS agenda forward... OCBA will be making a formal comment. CA State Bar Task Force is active and responding.
- State Bar and Students: CA State Bar met last week and made a recommendation to the Chief and she will be making a decision tomorrow about whether the Bar can be postponed until September or just cancelled for 2020. If cancelled, there were several options including temporary licenses, licensed under supervision, and some have even suggested 2020 grads should not have to take the bar at all and just get their license.
- Diversity Committee: Brainstorming now and working with affiliates for ideas and implementation. Webinar series is underway with the first program Friday 4/24.
- Business & Corporate Law Section: Webinar 4/30/20 @ 12:30 COVID-19 and The Legal "Vaccine" will discuss contracts, defenses, strategies, amendments to the bankruptcy code. 5/8/20 @ 2PM webinar related to jury trial strategies & Judge Nakamura will speak on civil matters.
- Trust & Estates Section: Probate Court will coordinate with all of the other court functions to get back up and running again but some of their staff will be redirected to criminal. After criminal is caught up, elder abuse, conservatorship and guardianship will be prioritized. The latest information they have is that they are still set to open as scheduled. The Probate Court is setting up voluntary settlement conferences to help with the looming backlog. Court continues to administer emergency orders only.
- Appellate Section: Webinar RE: Appellate matters, Oral Argument. J. Ikola and others will speak.
- Criminal Law Section: Calendars are coming out morning and afternoon and individuals are being released regularly from the jail. Calendars are running smoothly.
- International Law Section: Speaker for the next webinar is 5/18/20 on Immigration Law. After, the section will be working on their programming.
- Federal Bar: Putting things off while they can, trying to convert their programming to webinars.
Judge Nakamura requests court concerns go through the COVID-19 task force.
You may send information, suggestions or questions for the task force to
and I will convey.
NAPABA and National Advocacy to PROTECT APIs
As reports of Anti-Asian sentiment and violence against APIs have increased, legislation is being introduced in both the House and the Senate. OCAABA voted to join a Statement of Support:
Statement of Support for Resolutions Opposing Anti-Asian Sentiment
"The undersigned Asian American and Pacific Islander bar associations support H. Res. 908, introduced by Congresswoman Grace Meng, and S. Res. [Number To Be Assigned], introduced by Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Tammy Duckworth, and Senator Mazie Hirono, titled 'Condemning all forms of anti-Asian sentiment as related to COVID-19'. The Asian American and Pacific Islander community has been the target of increasing acts of bias, racism, and xenophobia related to the coronavirus. Our organizations stand against racism and discrimination and welcome efforts to acknowledge and address the experiences of our communities."
- The 2020 NAPABA convention scheduled for 11/5/20 in Los Angeles remains on the NAPABA calendar. https://www.napaba.org/
COOK COUNTY STATE'S ATTORNEY KIMBERLY FOXX STANDS WITH ASIAN AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATIONS IN CONDEMNING SURGE OF DISCRIMINATION AND HATE CRIMES DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
OCAABA will continue to monitor at the local, state and federal level to do what we can to protect APIs at home and across the county.
LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL LINKS
KEEPING YOU AND YOUR FAMILY SAFE
Testing, testing, testing