Mt. Diablo Sponsor

January 2017 Print


By: Andrea D. Everage, MHR, PHR   

What are law firms currently doing in the area of diversity and inclusion?  Are we tired of hearing about this topic or is it still relevant?  Is the nation’s current climate driving us closer to or farther away from this topic?

There is no doubt in my mind our nation’s political Petri dish has been festering for many years, and the current political climate was ripe for the shenanigans we were all subject to in this voting cycle.  Whether your candidate won the Electoral College or the popular vote the past year has been a rough one.  Many felt jostled, bullied and unsafe leading to fear and isolationism. 

What comes next is particularly important and, I contend, where we have the chance to break up the fallow, hardened ground on inclusivity.  Diversity, while important, is the easier part of the equation; however, inclusion makes our efforts worthwhile.  Diversity is surface level stuff – inclusivity is where we dive into deeper waters to challenge our own view, and where we have the opportunity to grow.  That’s the exciting stuff!

Not sure where to start in moving yourself (and your firm) off center-point?  There are many resources to consider.  First, start with ALA’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion.  I had the opportunity to serve on this committee in 2009/2010 I can attest to the hard work they perform to keep cutting-edge resources available to the legal community.  Further, there are a plethora of articles and resources on the American Bar Association’s website, and through the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA), to name a few.  Diversity and Inclusion is not only important for you, individually, but for your firm and communities.  Take the first step by educating yourself.  Everything grows from there.

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Morning in the East Bay

 Friday, January 27, 2017
7:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.


Lafayette Park Hotel
3287 Mt. Diablo Boulevard
Lafayette, CA 94549

Click here to 
Register Online 

by January 24, 2017
Registration Fee:  $50.00


After online registration,
mail check payable to EBALA:

Joy Buchanan
c/o Miller Starr Regalia
1331 N. California Blvd., 5th Floor
Walnut Creek, CA 94596


East Bay Chapter Member
attendees are automatically entered
to win a scholarship to the
ALA Annual Conference & Expo!


April 2-5, 2017
Colorado Convention Center
Denver, CO





Mark Delgado
Senior Counsel
Donahue Fitzgerald

Mr. Delgado 
counsels and represents
employers in all areas of employment law such
as wage and hour issues, discipline and 
termination, workplace safety, recruitment 
and hiring, performance management, and 
discrimination and harassment.  


1.5 Hours - Human Resources Mgmt. (HR)
for CLM Recertification or
Functional Specialists addtl. hours



How to Get More Done Without Going Crazy!


Jonathan Robinson
Psychotherapist, Author & Professional Speaker

Mr. Robinson has reached over 100 million people 
around the world with his practical methods. His 
work has appeared in Newsweek, USA TODAY
and the Los Angeles Times, as well as dozens 
of other publications. Mr. Robinson has made 
numerous appearances on the Oprah show and 
CNN, as well as other national TV talk shows.  
He has spent more than thirty years studying 
the most practical and powerful methods 
for personal and professional development.  

1.5 Hours - Communications Skills (CM)
for CLM Recertification or
Functional Specialists addtl. hours



$50.00 Members: Mail check payable to EBALA to Joy Buchanan, Miller Starr Regalia, 1331 N. California Bl., 5th Fl., Walnut Creek, CA 94596

$0.00 Business Partners - COMPLIMENTARY (1 - Primary Contact)

$50.00 Guests: Mail check payable to EBALA to Joy Buchanan, Miller Starr Regalia, 1331 N. California Bl., 5th Fl., Walnut Creek, CA 94596


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Meet Sara Stuvland


Sara Stuvland is the Administrator of McDowell Shaw Garcia & Mizell.  The firm has several offices throughout the state of California, and Sara is located in the firm’s Walnut Creek office.

Sara began her career in the legal industry as a legal secretary and then took a break from the profession for a few years.  When her husband passed away, her brother (David McDowell) gave her the opportunity to move from Oregon to California to work with the firm.  When the firm’s office manager left, Sara moved into the position and has remained in that position for the past several years.

Sara has attended Golden Gate ALA Chapter meetings and enjoyed them.  She wanted the opportunity to network and brainstorm with other legal administrators, and she decided to join EBALA.  She appreciated it when EBALA board members reached out to her to tell her more about the chapter and what it has to offer.   

Sara has three grown children who live in the area, and she loves her 10 year old bull dog “Biggie.”  She enjoys gardening, decorating, and going to movies.  Sara likes entertaining and enjoys planning fun events for the firm.  She also likes to travel, and she visits the family home in Lake Tahoe as often as she can.


Meet Michael Hughes

Michael Hughes is the Director of Human Resources at Meyers Nave, working in the firm’s Oakland office.  Meyers Nave also has offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Rosa, Sacramento and San Diego. 

Mike is a licensed attorney.  Prior to attending law school, Mike was a middle school teacher.  He began his legal career as an associate with the firm of Thelen Reid, then worked as a union lawyer for a small firm in San Francisco, and ultimately joined Meyers Nave in 2001 to specialize in employment law.  He found he enjoyed giving advice and working with Human Resources.  When the Director of Human Resources position became available at Meyers Nave, he decided to take the opportunity to transition into a new role.

Mike learned about ALA through his firm leadership.  He indicated that while he knows the legal side of the HR world, there are other areas (i.e., administrative, benefits) where he would like to learn more.  Mike recently attended a roundtable meeting and enjoyed sitting down to talk with others in the profession. 

Mike is married and the proud father of 3 ½ year old daughter, Sonja.  He enjoys skiing and looks forward to taking his daughter to Tahoe.  He also shared that he used to be a runner and would like to get back to running again!

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ALA Regional Conference: Phoenix, Arizona 

By: Tammy Bland

I was lucky enough to win a scholarship to the ALA Regional Conference this year, which was held in Phoenix, Arizona.  The class sessions were diversified and covered all categories that are required for the Certified Legal Manager (CLM) certification; which is valuable to those who are working on their certification. 

Although I have attended several conferences in the past, my approach was different this time.  Instead of attending only the Finance-related topics, I attended sessions for HR and IT, as well, and found these sessions to be interesting.

“Take This Job and Love It” identified characteristics and behaviors of four types of employees and provided methods to better understand how to motivate and energize people. The speaker kept it interesting by adding an element of humor.

“Gray Area Thinking” was about understanding diverse humans.  This session engaged the audience and showed how others perceive how they fit into society.  The Speaker was compassionate and the session was very enlightening; and I left with a book autographed by the Speaker.

“60 Legal Tech Tips, Gadgets and Websites” provided a lot of helpful information which can be used at work and in my personal enrichment.  I left with a list of websites that I have been exploring.

In addition to the conference sessions, there were various networking opportunities.  Both the Vendor Hall and the Business Partner luncheon enabled the Vendors to share their products and services and network with the attendees.  In addition, some of the vendors hosted events, which encouraged more networking in a fun environment.  I always learn about new innovative products when participating in discussions with the Vendors; and I enjoy meeting new people. 

A new feature of the conference was the ALA app that I downloaded onto my phone.  This was helpful in navigating the time and location of the sessions and events, as well as other information about the sessions.  The conference was well-done and I’m thankful I had the opportunity to attend.

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By: City National Private Client Services

November 8, 2016 marked a seismic shift in short-term American politics. Polls were all but universally off-mark, with a few notable exceptions such as the LA Times poll. Most voters and commentators were completely surprised when Donald J. Trump emerged as the President-Elect.

You may be wondering how this election will affect your financial plan and estate plan. You aren’t alone. With year-end tax planning already underway for most of us, taking into account what just happened may have you scratching your head trying to figure out what to do next.

Your tax situation is unique. Only your accountant and tax attorney are in a position to provide you with actionable advice. What follows are some observations we have made that might be issues to consider as you and your advisors conduct your year-end tax planning.¹

President-Elect Trump has a tax plan on his campaign’s website, but like most “plans” the final version may bear little resemblance to it. Anything that is proposed by the President in his State of the Union Address in January must be presented to Congress and must be accepted by both the House of Representatives and the Senate before it can be signed into law. This takes time, but in the meantime, City National Wealth Planning has some thoughts and ideas to share with you.

First, remember to focus on “what is” rather than “what may be.” Focusing on what someone thinks may happen can often lead to mistakes that are hard to fix. Sometimes it is important to think ahead and make your best prediction about something that may happen, but this year’s election results do not appear to offer any pressing issues to deal with prior to the end of the year.

Transfer Tax Planning: President-Elect Trump has proposed repealing the federal estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer taxes. He has proposed replacing the federal estate tax with a modified tax on “capital gains” that would be payable when appreciated inherited assets are sold in the future by the beneficiaries of an estate. Remember, none of what President- Elect Trump has proposed will become law in 2016, so you probably don’t need to worry about making any major changes to your existing estate plan before the end of 2016.¹

As with all things in life, there is always an exception. There is one estate planning strategy that may need to be looked at before the end of 2016. Earlier this year the IRS announced it was eliminating a powerful estate planning strategy for families who own closely-held businesses. In the past, if you owned a company and wanted to gift it to your children while paying little or no gift-tax, you could use a legal tax code provision to artificially reduce the value of the business for transfer tax purposes. What it allowed was the ability to give away more value to family members, but the value of the gift would be discounted (i.e., reduced) so that you paid less federal gift tax. The IRS has never liked how that rule has been utilized and wrote proposed regulations in 2016 to limit it. However, the IRS may not have the authority to implement those regulations.

Now that the election is over, it is unclear what the IRS will do next. It may move forward quickly to implement the proposed regulations and make them “final.” Or, the IRS may do nothing and let President Trump decide what to do. Either way, if you own a business and want to pass it to your children, it may be a good idea to contact your attorney for an immediate consultation to see whether you should take advantage of “valuation adjustments” before the year is over.

Income Tax Planning: President-Elect Trump has proposed reducing the number of individual income tax brackets to three (12%, 25% and 33%) and maintaining capital gains rates at 0%, 15% and 20%. He has proposed increasing the standard deduction for both individuals and married couples, capping itemized deductions, repealing the individual alternative minimum tax (AMT), and repealing the 0.9% and 3.8% Affordable Care Act surtaxes. With a Republican President, House and Senate, it is probable for tax year 2017 that federal income tax rates will drop, but the extent to which is unknown. The platforms of both the President-Elect and Congress seemingly coalesce around a desire to lower and/or compress marginal rates.

If you can, you may want to hold off on the receipt of taxable income until 2017 when income tax rates may be lower. If you are a salary earner and can’t control your income flow, there is most likely nothing for you to do. But, if you can control your income receipts (e.g., bonuses, deferred compensation), deferring your remaining income until 2017 may be wise. If you were contemplating a Roth IRA conversion in 2016, you may want to postpone that conversion until 2017. It always makes sense to meet with your tax advisor about your year-end income tax planning before the end of the year¹.

Business Income Tax Planning: President-Elect Trump has proposed reducing the corporate income tax rate from 35% to 15%. It is unclear whether this means the income tax rate will be lowered for all business entities (i.e., S corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, sole practitioners) or only C corporations. Until there is more clarity, business owners may want to wait before making a decision to create or change the way they structure their business ownership.

Conclusions? As we have pointed out, there may be short-term opportunities to consider that have arisen as a result of the election. The best advice is to schedule a meeting with your attorney and/or accountant to discuss your particular situation and map out your year-end tax planning as soon as you can.

¹ City National Bank its affiliates and subsidiaries, as a matter of policy, does not give tax, accounting, regulatory or legal advice. Rules in the areas of law, tax, and accounting are subject to change and open to varying interpretations. You should consult with your other advisors on the tax, accounting and legal implications of actions you may take based on any strategies presented taking into account your own particular circumstances.

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Understanding Generation Z Lawyers and Legal Interns

 By: Special Counsel 

The youngest Millennials have been practicing law for about five years now. Some may even be on their way to making partner or serving in leadership roles in-house. Known as the generation born between 1981 and 1995, a Pew Research Center survey reports that Millennials now make up more than a third of the U.S. workforce. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 21.5 percent of lawyers in the U.S are Millennials.

By now, most “seasoned” managers and senior partners understand how to nurture and support Millennial lawyers to do well in practice. Most have embraced the cultural shifts of the workforce unfavorably known to expect rewards and feedback on their work product.

But are the more seasoned attorneys ready for the next generation of lawyers- Generation Z? Although most Gen Z-ers are not yet practicing law, they may be serving as summer associates or legal interns in just a few weeks. Generation Z are those people born after 1995. This year, they will have turned 21. In just a few years, they will soon be handling legal matters and serving clients.

What do managing partners and senior attorneys need to know about Generation Z to onboard them onto your legal team? How is Generation Z different from Millennials? Read the infographic below to get you prepared for this summer’s legal interns.

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ALA CALENDAR - Upcoming Deadlines and Events


January 27, 2017
7:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Lafayette Park Hotel, Independence Room 
3287 Mt. Diablo Blvd.
Lafayette, CA 94549


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East Bay Chapter Board Meeting

February 16, 2017
12:30 PM to 1:30 PM

Archer Norris
2033 N. Main Street, Suite 800
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Board Meeting

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East Bay Chapter Book Club

February 23, 2017
5:30 PM to 7:00 PM

Scott's Seafood Restaurant
1333 North California Boulevard
Walnut Creek,, CA 94596

Excited to announce our second book selection

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Rescheduled: Wine, Cheese & Millennials!

February 28, 2017
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Donahue Fitzgerald LLP
1999 Harrison Street, 25th Floor
Oakland, CA 94612

By 2020, Millennials will make up nearly 50% of the workforce. Your firm's future is in their hands. Are you ready?

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