Monday, January 7, 2013

Assembly Judiciary Committee Will Be Almost Totally Attorneys

Assm. Wieckowski
The Assembly Judiciary Committee has always been the hearing ground for most bills directly relating to the day-to-day practice of law, and therefore has been typically well-stocked with attorney members of the Legislature. However, never before in the committee's modern history has it been as lawyer-heavy as it is now.

Assm. Wagner
Last week, Assembly Speaker John A. PĂ©rez released the house's committee assignments for the 2013-2014 legislative session. Fully nine of the 10 members of the Judiciary Committee are lawyers, including all three Republican lawyer-lawmakers in the house, and six of the house's 11 Democrats.

As announced near the end of last session, the committee will be chaired by veteran Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski of Fremont, whose solo legal practice is focused on bankruptcy reorganizations and misdemeanor criminal matters. The vice-chair will continue to be Assemblymember Don Wagner of Irvine, a former large-firm attorney and name partner in an LLP who has held that post since his initial election to the Assembly in 2010.

Assm. Muratsuchi
The only non-attorney on the panel is Democrat Cristina Garcia of Bell Gardens, a government reformer and PhD candidate in public administration who teaches college math and statistics.

The committee will be evenly split between veterans and rookies.In addition to the chair and vice-chair, veteran (returning) members include Assemblymembers Luis Alejo (D-Salinas), Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento) and Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo). The newly-elected attorneys who will be members of the panel are:
Assm. Chau
Assemblymember Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park) - Solo practitioner focusing on representation of small business owners, helping them start their own companies, as well as handling car accidents, litigation, immigration, and real estate work.

Assemblymember Brian Maienschein (R-San Diego) - Adjunct professor of Election Law at Cal Western School of Law, formerly adjunct professor for the University of San Diego School of Law, former San Diego City Council member, most recently Commissioner of Plan to End Chronic Homelessness at United Way of San Diego

Assm. Stone
Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) - Career prosecutor. Most recently a Deputy Attorney General with the California Department of Justice for over eleven years, and before that a prosecutor with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office and the Santa Ana City Attorney's Office.

Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Scotts Valley) - Before beginning a member of the Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors in 2003, Stone was a solo practitioner whose practice involved counseling Silicon Valley high-technology companies in clients in business-related legal issues. Primary areas of practice included technology transactions, software and hardware licensing and procurement, intellectual property issues, general corporate and personnel issues.

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