November 2017
LAAC in Action
What's going on with student loan forgiveness? 

If you're wondering what is happening with the federal public service loan forgiveness (PLSF) program, you're not alone. We've compiled a list of helpful news links and helpful resources for understanding student debt. We know that hundreds of attorneys in our community are still paying off law school debt, so we want to help keep you informed. 

Thank you, Fresno!

Earlier this month LAAC held our annual Traveling Training conference in Fresno, California.  Traveling Training brings the training rural programs need right to their own city and introduces advocates to a range of Support Center expertise, with trainers from throughout California presenting workshops on diverse substantive issues, skills, and hot topics.

This year we had 12 sessions presented by 21 advocates from 13 organizations. A very special thank you to our presenters who all traveled from different parts of California to participate in these trainings!
LAAC Needs Your Help this Holiday Season

LAAC is dedicated to ensuring that people in legal crisis have access to legal help and information. To do this, LAAC provides training, legislative advocacy, support, including discounts on critical services, and,   a free legal resource for low income and pro se litigants.

However, we cannot succeed without your help! This holiday season, please consider donating to LAAC and supporting California's legal aid community. 

By supporting LAAC, you help us strengthen the whole California legal aid community.

Don't wait until January to fulfill your required CLE - we have tons of FREE upcoming webinars! 

Legal Services Ethics 101
Friday, December 1 from noon to 1 p.m.
Toby Rothschild, OneJustice
1 hour of Ethics CLE credit. Register here!

From Protest to Policy: Transforming a Grassroots Anti-Discrimination Movement into State Law
Monday, December 4 from noon to 1 p.m.
Dorsey Nunn, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
Marcus McKinney,  Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
Eva DeLair, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
1 hour of general CLE credit. Register here!

New Horizons for Students with Disabilities: Implications from the SCOTUS decision in Endrew v. Douglas County School District
Tuesday, December 5 from noon to 1 p.m.
Arlene Mayerson,  Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund 
1 hour of Elimination of Bias CLE.  Register here!

We regularly update our website with more trainings, please be sure to check out our " Upcoming Trainings" page, or find a past webinar under " Archived Trainings." If you are interested in putting on a webinar training through LAAC or have any trainings questions, please contact Jasmine at
Take advantage of LAAC's on-demand CLE credits!

MCLE reporting is coming up: don't forget to t ake advantage of LAAC's on-demand credits!

The State Bar allows up to HALF of your MCLE to come from self-study -  12.5 hours that you can earn on your own time. We have over 100 hours available on-demand on our site - and it's easy to search by topic or organization in the search bar.
All trainings are available here. Most of our specialty credits are for our current members only and need a password. Questions? Email

Reminder: When minimum wage increases next year, the standard for exempt employees changes with it. 
Will you be in compliance with overtime pay rules?

As you know, employees that are "exempt" do not qualify for overtime pay.  But are you using the correct test to determine which of your employees are exempt? With variation between the California and Federal Rules, a rollback of Obama-era changes, and the increasing minimum wage, it can get. . . tricky. Especially for smaller organizations without a dedicated HR department. 

Here's what you need to know: 
  • Professional" employees are exempt from overtime pay laws.
  • The definition of a professional employee is linked to the minimum wage. So when the minimum wage changes, don't forget that it may change which of your employees qualify! Minimum wage is about to go up - your lower-paid exempt employees will need to be paid above a higher threshold to remain exempt. 
    • A professional employee meets these requirements:
      • A person who is: 
        • Licensed by the State of California and primarily engaged in: law, medicine, dentistry, optometry, architecture, engineering, teaching, or accounting; OR 
        • Primarily engaged in a "learned or artistic profession"
      • Customarily and regularly exercised discretion and independent judgment in the performance of their duties 
      • Earns a monthly salary equivalent to no less than two times the state minimum wage for full-time employment (40 hours/week)
    • This will likely include all of the attorneys working in your office. And case law suggests it will include fellows awaiting bar results too. See, e.g. Zelasko-Barrett v. Brayton-Purcell, LLP, 2011 WL 3594015, No. A130540 (1st Dist. Aug. 17, 2011).
    • See the full definition of professional employees here.
  • California law says that the threshold is twice minimum wage.
    • In 2017, that means, at a minimum wage of $10.50 (for employers with 26 or more employees), the salary threshold is $43,680; or $10 (for employers with 25 employees or less), the threshold is $41,600.
    • On January 1, 2018, minimum wage will go up to $11.00 and $10.50, so the new threshold hold is $45,760 (26+ employees) or $43,680 (<26 employees).
    • You can keep track of California minimum wage increases here.

  • What's different under Trump?
    • Under the Obama administration, the definition of exempt employees changed, but shortly after the election, the change was blocked right before the new rules were to take effect. 
    • Under what would have been the new rules, the salary threshold below which an employee must be classified as NON-exempt increased from $23,660 to $47,476.
    • We don't know if or when any changes will be made under the Trump Administration.
    • Note that, at least for now, California's requirements are more restrictive than federal law, making the federal standards largely irrelevant in this context.