Estate Planning New Legal Developments

Are You Ready for Roth IRA Conversions?

By Michael J. Jones

As of January 1, 2010, the well-to-do can take advantage of Roth IRA conversions.  The Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 (Pub L 109-222, 120 Stat 345)  §512 eliminates the IRC §408A(c)(3)(B) provision prohibiting such conversions by taxpayers having adjusted gross income in excess of $100,000. Estate planners have a great deal to offer clients who wish to consider the move. After being funded with after-tax dollars, Roth IRAs offer tax-free, as opposed to tax-deferred, returns on investment.

Appeals/Post-Trial Matters Litigation Strategy

Oops! Missing a Party in the Notice of Appeal

A notice of appeal is one of the simplest documents to prepare, yet human nature ensures that careless mistakes will occur.

A notice of appeal is “sufficient” if it “identifies the particular judgment or order being appealed” and is signed. Cal Rules of Ct 8.100.  But what happens when a notice of appeal neglects to name a party that intended to appeal?

One can easily imagine the harried lawyer who represents eight parties filing a notice of appeal that inadvertently names only seven of them, when the intent was for all eight to appeal. California’s rules require that a “notice of appeal must be liberally construed” (Cal Rules of Ct 8.100(a)(2)), but does that liberality extend to allowing an appeal by a party not named in the notice of appeal?

Criminal Law Employment Law

How Changes to the DSM Could Affect Your Practice

The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — the listing of all recognized mental disorders — is set to have a new (fifth) edition published in 2013. A draft of the document was just released and displayed for public comment. This document clearly affects those in the mental health profession, but you may wonder what it has to do with lawyers. It seems predictable that the effects on the legal community will be felt in the criminal and employment areas and possibly in other areas as well.         

Proposed changes include new designations of gambling addiction and binge eating as recognized mental disorders.         

The proposed change creating a new category for gambling addiction could lead to the disorder being used as a defense to an employee’s embezzlement to pay gambling debts, or by an employee fired for excessive absences from work due to visits to the race track. The proposed change recognizing binge eating as a disorder may lead to more overweight employees claiming a disability.         

What do you think these changes will mean for your practice or the law generally? Do you think lawyers should provide their input to the proposed changes in an organized way? Tell us what you think!     

 © The Regents of the University of California, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


Litigation Strategy Settlement Negotiation

Something to Chew on Before Biting into a Settlement

Before negotiating a settlement, it is worthwhile to think about the client’s purpose in settling. Is it to right a wrong? To avoid litigation at whatever expense? To protect the client’s reputation or ensure confidentiality? Is it a combination of purposes? There are many valid reasons to settle a case, but they should be pursued only after counsel and client have considered a more fundamental purpose.

Practice of Law

Governor signs bar dues bill

In case you did not read your email, governor Schwarzenegger signed the bar dues bill on Monday, January 25, 2010. The State Bar announced that the dues would be due on March 1, 2010 and would be $410 for active members and $125 for inactive members. The governor vetoed the fee bill in October because, for one reason, someone had leaked an unfavorable rating from the Committee on Judicial Nominees Evaluation (JNE) for one of the governor’s judicial nominees, former State Sen. Chuck Poochigian. (Poochigan was later confirmed as an appellate court judge.)  

State Bar president, Howard Miller, created a task force to investigate the leak, but the task force has concluded that “despite an extensive investigation, it could not identify who leaked the information.” The bill was resubmitted in early January after the task force finding and after internal financial controls were put in place. (LA Times.)  

Get out your checkbooks. 


© The Regents of the University of California, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

New Legal Developments Real Property Law

FDIC Issues Guidelines on Real Estate Loan Workouts

On October 30, 2009, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) published its Policy Statement on Prudent Commercial Real Estate Loan Workouts. These guidelines were created by FDIC to assist institutional lenders facing significant challenges on loans secured by commercial real estate when borrowers experience diminished operating cash flows, depreciated security values, or prolonged sales and rental absorption periods.