Public Law Section

News from the Section

Webinar: State Public Employee Discipline and Avoiding Costly Mistakes

Wednesday, January 18, 2017, 12 noon - 1 p.m.

This program offers 1 hour participatory MCLE credit. You must register in advance to participate.

Discipline of public employees actually consists of three phases with discipline hopefully being the last step.  This course will detail the process of progressive discipline which many public agencies (state as well as local) follow.  The course objective is to provide information that will assist employers in avoiding the costly situations of: (1) having to take disciplinary action and (2) having the disciplinary action rejected or modified.  The course will discuss preventative action, corrective action, and finally, adverse or disciplinary actions.  The course should be beneficial to anyone who deals with employees who work in the public sector , whether at the state or local level.  The course is interactive and participation is encouraged.

Moderator: John Appelbaum
Speaker: Mary Horst

Serve on the Pubic Law Section Executive Committee

Make a difference and network with other public law practitioners. Apply to serve on the executive committee of the Public Law Section of the State Bar of California.

The deadline to submit applications for appointment to the Public Law Section executive committee is January 27, 2017. For more information visit:

Attention Law Students -- Student Writing Competition

2016 Public Law Section Student Writing Competition Winner Announced

Congratulations to Michaela Goldstein of Loyola Law School! She is the winner of the 2016 Public Law Section’s Student Writing Competition. Ms. Goldstein’s article, The Anomalous Result: California Higher Education Student-on-Student Violence, will appear in a future edition of the Public Law Journal. Ms. Goldstein was recognized at the Public Lawyer of the Year Awards Reception at The State Bar Annual Meeting in San Diego on September 30, 2016.

2017 Public Law Section Student Writing Competition

We are seeking submissions from law students for the Public Law Section Student Writing Competition. The deadline for submissions is May 15, 2017. The winner will be presented with the award at the Public Lawyer of the Year Reception in the fall.

  • Law students can submit a 2000-3000 word article about a public law topic.
  • Law students can write about and learn about an interesting public law topic of their choice.
  • Winner gets published – great for the resume.
  • Winner gets honored at a reception.
  • Winner gets $2000!
  • Winner gets to collaborate with a public law practitioner on final editing of article – an additional great learning experience.

Full information can be found here.

Save the Date June 2, 2017 for the Use of Force and Public Liability Conference

Public Law Section is proud to present the Use of Force and Public Liability Conference on June 2, 2017 at the University of Southern California. The keynote speaker for this event will be Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the University of California Irvine, School of Law.

Need MCLE Credits?

Get instant access to high-quality public law courses by visiting the Public Law Section’s catalog of MCLEs. Self-study articles, streaming audio and video courses are available.

For more information visit: 

Thank You to Our Sponsors

The Public Law Section thanks the sponsors of our law student and new lawyer Careers in Public Law panels and receptions.

  • Best Best & Krieger
  • McDougal Love Eckis Boehmer & Foley
  • Rutan & Tucker

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Silvia Torres-Guillén, Special Counsel to Governor Brown, Named the 2016 Ronald M. George Public Lawyer of the Year

Sylvia Torres-Guillén, Special Counsel to the Office of the Governor, has been named the 2016 Ronald M. George Public Lawyer of the Year by the California State Bar’s Public Law Section.

Torres-Guillén was honored at a reception in September during the State Bar’s Annual Meeting in San Diego. The Public Lawyer of the Year Award recognizes Torres-Guillén as an exceptional attorney who has dedicated a significant portion of her career to public service.

“Sylvia Torres-Guillén is an exemplary public lawyer and wholly deserving of this award,” said Elizabeth G. Pianca, chair of the Public Law Section.  “Throughout her career, Ms. Torres-Guillén has served the public, both as a lawyer and educator, mentoring young lawyers for careers in public service.  From her early days of coaching criminal defense attorneys in trial techniques to her dedication to the protection of farm worker rights, Ms. Torres-Guillén embodies the mission of the Public Law section of the State Bar.  The Executive Committee is proud to honor her with the 2016 Public Lawyer of the Year Award.”

For a full biography of Torres-Guillén, see the press release about the award. For past recipients, see Public Lawyer of the Year.

Check out the Summer 2016 Public Law Journal

Public Law JournalThe Summer 2016 Public Law Journal, Volume 39, Number 3, is available online in the Members Only Area. Section members should have received the Journal via email.

Look for the following features:

Gary SchonsElizabeth PiancaClaire GibsonDavid KingEugene ParkJohn Appelbaum

MCLE Self-Study Article: 
Government Corruption: A Global Threat and Domestic Fear and the Supreme Court's Curb on Public Integrity Prosecution

By Gary W. Schons

Message from the Chair
By Elizabeth G. Pianca

Bid Problems Do Not Have to Be Big Problems. Part One: Avoiding Bid Protests
By Clare M. Gibson

Squirtles and Pidgeys and Eevees, Oh My!: Pokémon Go, Augmented Reality Games and Public Property
By David H. King

Litigation & Case Law Update 
By Eugene Park

Public Law Section Hosts Three Law School Panel Receptions in October
By John M. Appelbaum

Public Law Section and California Young Lawyers Association (CYLA) Mentoring Program is Recruiting

The Public Law Section and CYLA have implemented a new Mentoring Program.  If you are interested in volunteering as a mentor to a young lawyer, please contact Public Law Section Executive Committee Chair Scott Dickey at or Section Administrator Kristina Robledo at

Thank You for Being a Section Member - Here's 6 Hours MCLE in Legal Ethics!

We're very grateful for your membership in the Section. As a token of that, we're offering six hours of self-study MCLE credit in the area of Legal Ethics. The programs are posted in our Member's Only Area.

Simply watch the programs and read the accompanying materials, and keep track of having done so. You can report this to the State Bar when it's time to demonstrate your compliance with the MCLE requirements.

Online CLE & Podcasts Available for Public Law Section Programs

A growing catalog of courses from the Public Law Section is available for purchase online. The programs offer participatory CLE credits. To view current offerings, see the Public Law Online Catalog.

CEB Offers Discounts for Young Lawyers

CEB Discount Program for Section MembersGetting started in your career is exciting and challenging. CEB can help! You are eligible for all these offers if you were admitted to the State Bar of California within the last five years: (1) OnLAW® online library FREE for one year; (2) Discounts on practice books and forms; (3) Discounts on CLE programs and passports; and, (4) How-to-Guides FREE. To take advantage of these exciting offers, go to:


The State Bar of California and the Public Law Section are approved State Bar of California MCLE providers.

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The Public Law Section
The State Bar of California
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1639
FAX 415-538-2368

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