Jason Smith was recently invited to speak to students at his former Middle School about overcoming adversity and achieving dreams. Smith shared some of his life challenges with the students and gave them tips on how to overcome obstacles to accomplish their goals. The presentation was part of a career series designed to connect students with individuals who attended the same school in Cloverdale, California and went on to excel in their given professions. You can read more via the Press Democrat at the following link:
Coutinho Selected to Sacramento County Bar Association’s Board of Directors as Representative of SABA of Sacramento
Smith, McDowell & Powell attorney Brad J. Coutinho was recently sworn in to the Sacramento County Bar Association’s Board of Directors as a representative for the South Asian Bar Association of Sacramento (“SABA of Sacramento”). SABA of Sacramento promotes the professional advancement of attorneys and law students of South Asian descent and helps serve the legal needs of the South Asian community in the greater Sacramento region. SABA of Sacramento annually presents one student and one non-profit organization with a scholarship for their dedication and hard work in the community. Brad has served on the SABA of Sacramento Board for three years and looks forward to representing the organization on the Sacramento County Bar Association’s Board of Directors.
SMP Clerk, Justin Cutler, Advances to Semifinal Round in National Entertainment Law Moot Court Competition
Smith, McDowell & Powell law clerk Justin Cutler, as a member of the Pacific McGeorge Moot Court Team, recently advanced to the semifinal round in the Sixteenth Annual National Entertainment Law Moot Court Competition.
The 24 team competition was held November 9-10, 2013, at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. However, the tournament truly began much earlier than November as the teams spent weeks researching and writing a persuasive brief that was submitted to a panel of judges. After these briefs were graded, the teams gathered at Pepperdine to participate in simulated court proceedings, which involved the presentation of an oral argument to a panel of three or four judges.
Justin Cutler, along with teammates, Anastasya Uskov and Kevin Heitz, advanced to the quarterfinals after competing against Florida A&M, Texas Tech, and Thomas Jefferson School of Law in the preliminary rounds. The team continued its success against Southern Methodist University in the quarterfinals only to fall narrowly short to UC Hastings in the semifinals.
On October 11, 2013, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law that bars employment discrimination against victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The new law, effective January 1, 2014, amends California Labor Code Sections 230 and 230.1 and makes it unlawful for an employer to fire or otherwise discriminate against a worker based on the fact that he or she is a victim. It also requires employers to make reasonable efforts to protect these victims from their abuser or stalker such as changing their work telephone number, relocating their desk, or implementing a workplace safety plan.
California joins just six other states — Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, New York, Oregon, and Rhode Island — that have passed similar laws protecting victims in the workplace. In the 43 other states, victims who are fired due to their abuse may not have legal recourse. However, this soon may not be the case, as a federal law was introduced in March that would ensure that workers in every state are protected.
SMP provides counsel for businesses in fair hiring practices, independent contractor vs. employee determinations, wage and hour issues, safe work environment, and OSHA matters, and can represent clients in all California departments of employment and industrial relations. If you are an employer or employee who requires any type of assistance with an employment dispute, please contact us.
For more information, you can read ABC News’ article here: Law Protects Domestic Violence Victims’ Jobs.
Smith, McDowell & Powell attorney Jaclyn L. Powell was recently admitted to the Anthony M. Kennedy American Inn of Court. The Anthony M. Kennedy American Inn of Court was established in 1988 by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Judge Milton L. Schwartz, and former University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law Dean, Gordon D. Schaber. The Kennedy Inn was founded to offer a forum where younger and experienced attorneys and judges could meet to discuss ethical issues relating to the practice of law. The group meets monthly in Sacramento to discuss ethical matters which arise in practice and to share different perspectives. On September 17, 2013, Jaclyn’s engaging team, which consisted of judges, lawyers and law students, presented an entertaining and challenging program entitled “Ain’t Misbehavin’: Reigning in the Rogue Client” for the Inn’s membership.
You can read more about the Anthony M. Kennedy American Inn of Court here: http://www.kennedyinn.org/
Brad J. Coutinho has joined Smith, McDowell, & Powell as an associate attorney. Brad graduated with distinction from UOP-McGeorge School of Law in 2012, where he was a member of the Roger J. Traynor Honor Society, Moot Court team and served as a judicial extern under Honorable Ronald H. Sargis. He currently serves on the board of the South Asian Bar Association (SABA) and will assist Smith, McDowell, & Powell’s business and civil litigation practice.
Smith, McDowell & Powell attorneys C. Jason Smith and Brad A. McDowell have been selected as 2013 “Northern California Rising Stars” by Super Lawyers Magazine. The annual Super Lawyers list recognizes outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The patent protected selection process is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. No more than 2.5 percent of lawyers in California are named “Rising Stars” each year.
Congrats to Jason, Brad and all other attorneys appearing in the August 2013 issue of Northern California Super Lawyers Magazine for their achievements.
Smith, McDowell & Powell is pleased to announce Jaclyn Powell was elected Chair of the West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors for 2013. As a West Sacramento resident, Jaclyn is committed to the city and its ever-growing business community. She is grateful for the opportunity to continue to help the local businesses as well as serve as a liaison between those businesses and the Chamber. After spending countless hours volunteering in the community and providing representation to many West Sacramento businesses, both new and old, Jaclyn has an even stronger commitment to see the city succeed in all of its endeavors.
SMP Shareholder, Brad McDowell, is no stranger to lender and foreclosure issues. As such, he was recently asked to speak to 25 CEOs and managers of Northern California lending institutions on the topics of foreclosure, new lending concerns, and changes to California law coming with the new California Homeowner Bill of Rights. The “HBOR” is comprised of six State Senate and Assembly bills effective January 1, 2013 that, for some, drastically changes the form and function of residential foreclosures in California. In short, lenders are now required to substantively attempt to modify a distressed homeowner’s loan, and HBOR also provides an appeals process for owner occupied properties in foreclosure. The new laws have a more significant impact on large lenders that have conducted more than 175 foreclosures in a year, but new requirements exist for smaller lenders as well.
To find out more about these legislative updates, or any other questions related to foreclosure or real estate, please feel free to call Mr. McDowell at (916)569-8100. You can also read more about the new Homeowner Bill of Rights here: http://oag.ca.gov/hbor
Smith, McDowell & Powell is proud to announce that its Managing Shareholder, C. Jason Smith, has been chosen as one of the Sacramento Business Journal’s 2012 class of “40 Under 40” business and civic leaders in Sacramento. Smith and the other award recipients were chosen from a field of hundreds of nominees – touted by the Business Journal as the most competitive group in years – for their professional and philanthropic accomplishments. SMP was honored to receive the award at the annual event held at Cafeteria 15L this year on December 13, 2012. The 2012 class of “40 Under 40” is also featured in the December 14, 2012 edition of the Sacramento Business Journal.