Public Law Section

News from the Section

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 will be 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.

21st Century Public Surveillance and Privacy Conference

Presented by the Public Law Section and co-sponsored with the Criminal Law Section

Thursday, June 30, 2016
UC Hastings College of the Law
198 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Earn 7.25 Hours MCLE Credit

You can now REGISTER ONLINE for this program. Online registration will close on June 23, 2016.

New attorney? We're offering 25% off registration!

Sponsors | Program Schedule | Essential Information |
Printable Brochure | Mail / Fax Reg. Form | Register Online

Dean Erwin ChemerinskyFeatured speaker Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, founding Dean of the University of California, Irvine School of Law and renowned constitutional law scholar will discuss the constitutional privacy concerns posed by high-tech surveillance, as well as concerns all individuals should have concerning the proliferation of private information about ourselves.

For more information, see 21st Century Public Surveillance and Privacy Conference.

Webinar: Smooth Sailing for Public Acquisitions in California: Navigating the Legal Process from Pre-Acquisition to Order for Possession

Thursday, July 28, 2016, 12 noon - 1 p.m.

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

The process for acquiring property interests in California is complex, nuanced and fraught with hurdles and obstacles, both legal and practical (for example, recalcitrant property owners determined to thwart or delay an acquisition). While eminent domain is best handled by specialists who know and understand the law and process, many public lawyers encounter condemnation issues or questions in their jobs, or they supervise outside counsel handling such cases.  This program provides a brief yet comprehensive overview of the acquisition process in California and contains many practical tips and guidance on how to avoid common pitfalls and also how to efficiently acquire property in California for public purposes.

Moderator: Christopher J. Diaz
Speaker: Les A. Hausrath

The 2016 Public Law Section Student Writing Competition

Win a $2,000 cash prize, get published in the Public Law Journal, and win a trip to the 2016 State Bar Annual Meeting!

Deadline: May 13, 2016

The California State Bar Public Law Section seeks entries for its annual Student Writing Competition.  The competition is open to students at all California-accredited law schools, and the winner receives a $2,000 cash prize; transportation and hotel expenses for two nights at the State Bar Annual Meeting in San Diego in the fall of 2016 where the winner will be recognized at an awards reception; and publication in the Public Law Journal. See 2016 Public Law Section Student Writing Competition for more information.

Public Law JournalCheck out the Spring 2016 Public Law Journal

The Spring 2016 Public Law Journal, Volume 39, Number 2, is available online in the Members Only Area. Section members should have received the Journal via email.

Look for the following features:

Gideon KrakovJordan R. SissonElizabeth PiancaCheryl A. LeanzaJoseph Van EatonLeonie Mulvihill with Dennis D. O'NeilJohn AppelbaumBonnie MalyEugene Park

MCLE Self-Study Article:
A Tax by Another Name: Beware of Excessive Fees Included in Exclusive Waste Hauling Franchise Contracts
By Gideon Kracov and Jordan R. Sisson

Message from the Chair
By Elizabeth G. Pianca

Weaving Together the Strands of Big Data Policy and Practice in Local Government
By Cheryl A. Leanza* and Joseph Van Eaton

Profiles in Public Law: An Interview With Dennis D. O’Neil
By Leonie Mulvihill

The Public Law Section Hosts Two Dynamic Conferences
By John M. Appelbaum

Kirby v. County of Fresno: Can a City or County Make It a Crime to Cultivate or Use Medical Marijuana?
By Bonnie C. Maly

Litigation & Case Law Update
By Eugene Park

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.

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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.

Contact Us

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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