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Simas & Associates, Ltd. Newsletter | July 11, 2014 | Volume II, Issue 8
Firm Announcement

Simas & Associates, Ltd. Leads Specialization Effort for Administrative Law

Sacramento, CA -
Steven L. Simas, Owner and Founder of Simas & Associates, Ltd. was elected Chairperson of the Administrative Law Section of the Sacramento County Bar Association for 2014.  And one of his stated goals for this year is to successfully apply for legal specialization of the practice of Administrative Law.

"This has been an ongoing effort by past Chairs and members of the Executive Committee of the Administrative Law section," explained Mr. Simas.  "Given the complexities that often arise in the confines of executive rule making through the overlap of administrative law in action with criminal law and vehicles of civil litigation, I think it is beyond time for the State Bar of California to recognize Administrative Law as a legal practice area requiring specialized knowledge."
 

The State Bar of California's Board of Legal Specialization presently certifies specialists in 11 practice areas, including appellate law, bankruptcy law, criminal law, family law, malpractice law, taxation law, and workers compensation law, among others Specialization does not mean that the practice area will only be limited to those who met these credentialing requirements," explained Mr. Simas.  "Rather, it permits those with the appropriate credentials to distinguish themselves as being 'specialized' in that particular practice area."

Attorneys certified as specialists have taken and passed a written examination in their specialty field (only offered every 2 years), demonstrated a high level of experience in the specialty field, fulfilled ongoing education requirements and been favorably evaluated by other attorneys and judges familiar with their work.  There is also separate requirements for each specialization type.  They are also required to pay an annual fee - $350.00 - and a re-certification fee every 5 years - $360.00.  In exchange, only these attorneys can advertise or identify themselves as "certified" specialists in California in their practice.  And that is because they are the only attorneys who are certified either by The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization or an organization whose certification program has been accredited by the State Bar.

Obviously, this provides the attorney who is considered specialized an advantage over his peers in advertising his background and experience.  The State Bar's Legal Specialist Search will actually direct you to a list of specialty areas that are certified either by the State Bar or an organization accredited by the State Bar.

"But in reality, this 'advantage' is does nothing more than helping the general public," continued Mr. Simas.  "Presently, there is no way for someone to know with any certainty that someone who claims to have an extensive understanding of the APA [i.e. California Administrative Procedure Act], Writs of Administrative Mandate, or the Bid Protest regulations of the Department of General Services can stand up to their claims.  And when they crash and burn, it is often too late for the client.  No, the specialization status will help the potential clients and legal employers distinguish those with the singular focus in administrative law from those who only dabble in it."

It is about getting the matter to someone specially qualified early in the administrative law matter.  "As attorneys who regularly file writs of mandate and writs of administrative mandate," continued Mr. Simas, "we see so many cases from our clients where disaster could have been averted had the case been handled by someone experienced with administrative law.  These licensing matters are not traffic tickets; you cannot just have your lawyer-friend or lawyer-uncle show up, look the part, and expect to get good results."  

And if they do, it is doubly difficult - if not impossible - to undo their missteps.  "Sometimes, it just becomes too late," shrugged Mr. Simas.  "So, with specialization, we are hoping to take a proactive step to addressing this all-too-common problem."

Presently, the application for specialization is nearing submission stage.  "Yes, all members of the Executive Committee had contributed feedback," stated Mr. Simas.  "I am presently incorporating my own thoughts and making revisions.  The goals is to submit the application at some point this autumn."

For more information on our Issue Advocacy and Administrative Law services, please visit our website at www.simasgovlaw.com.
Staff Announcement

Richard K. Turner - From Lawyer to Photographer

Richard K. Turner is Of Counsel to Simas & Associates, Ltd.  As one of Steven L. Simas's professional mentors, he has served as Of Counsel since the law firm's founding.  And as one of the of the leading Administrative Law attorneys in the State of California, he has served a great resource for the firm's attorneys and many clients over the years.

However, in retirement, Mr. Turner has turned his perception and appreciation of nature into a second career.  He has become an accomplished photographer and poet.  As Mr. Turner himself states:

I don’t want to miss the beauty of this planet because I’m too busy. The art and science of photography has invited me to see beyond the obvious, to discover beauty in all forms and colors, and to appreciate the intricate collaboration among earth and its water, its flora and fauna and the life giving light of our sun. I believe Nature is God’s art in action. Recording this tapestry and sharing my reverence for our natural world is a delight beyond description.

His latest work, I Can't Always See My Path… but I Keep on Walking, is available for purchase. 
Client/Vendor of the Month
 
Div 15 Tech, Inc.
3437 Fitzgerald Road
Rancho Cordova, CA 95742
p: 916.853.1660
dlopez.div15tech@gmail.com
www.div15tech.com
 
Div 15 Tech, Inc. is Sacramento's premiere HVAC contractor providing expert services to customers throughout Northern and Central California.  A privately owned and operated heating and air conditioning company, Div 15 Tech offers its clients total HVAC and sheet metal fabrication services including design, manufacturing and installation.  

From initial planning and specification to detailed forcasting and scheduling, the Div 15 team makes every effort to ensure that its jobs run smoothly and efficiently.  Div 15 Tech understands that the client's needs come first.  And Div 15 Tech will treat you and your customers with professionalism and respect.

Simas & Associates, Ltd. appreciates serving as Div 15 Tech, Inc.'s general counsel since the beginning of this year.  If you would like to be featured as our law firm’s “Client/Vendor of the Month,” please contact us at info@simasgovlaw.com
Featured Agency Announcement

DMHC and Blue Shield Announce Data Breach Affecting Over 18,000 California Doctors

Sacramento, CA
Social Security numbers of about 18,000 California physicians were accidentally released with other data by Blue Shield of California and the state Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC). The incident occurred after Blue Shield of California included doctors' Social Security numbers in required monthly filings to the state Department of Managed Health Care at the conclusion of June 2014.

The filings included doctors':
  • Social Security Numbers;
  • Business addresses;
  • Business phone numbers;
  • Medical group names;
  • Names; and
  • Practice areas.
Those records then were available to the public under the state's public records law. DMHC distributed the filings in response to 10 public records requests without reviewing and removing the doctors' Social Security numbers.

In a letter to affected doctors, Sarah Ream with DMHC wrote, "As a result of this incident, the DMHC and Blue Shield have instituted additional protections to safeguard against future inadvertent disclosure of confidential personal information."

Ream said there is no evidence that the data have been used for identity theft, but the agency is offering a no-cost subscription to a fraud-alert service. In addition, DMHC is implementing software to scan files for private data and issuing reminders to insurers about not including Social Security numbers in monthly filings.
Featured Blog Entry
 
Savvy Social Media Policies: The Role of Social Media in High-powered Recruiting 
 
The days of posting an ad in the local paper’s classified section to find potential employees are quickly becoming ancient history. As the landscape in HR and recruitment shudders and shifts, even sites like Craigslist, Monster and CareerBuilder are starting to lose potency. Many employers already use social media in their recruitment efforts to a significant degree of success, but talking to the pros never hurts. To that end, we picked the brains of three renowned HR professionals and got their take on the role of social media in high-powered recruiting.

Whether you’re cultivating your company’s brand, trying to get your recruitment efforts to go viral or engaging your current staff in the search for new staff, the boost that social media can add is undeniable. If you’re already using an effective portfolio of social media profiles, then you’re a step ahead right out of the gate, but there is always something new right around the corner.

To keep reading this entry, please click here: Savvy Social Media Policies: The Role of Social Media in High-powered Recruiting.  For more blog entries from our attorneys and legal staff, please visit our law firm’s official blog –Wit of Mandate.
Word of the Month
 

Malice


Deliberate wish, deep seated desire, for another’s suffering, instigated by doing a wrongful act with no legal justification as a just cause or excuse, with deliberate intent of causing injury or harm. Defamation with malicious intent invalidates fair comment defense or qualified privilege defense. Wanton or reckless violence done by one knowing to cause injury or harm.

For more terms related to our practice areas, please visit our law firm’s glossary at SimasGovLaw.com - Glossary.
Congratulations!
 
Simas & Associates, Ltd. is happy to congratulate former independent paralegal, Karen Chilina, on joining a new law firm - as an Attorney!

 

While never an employee at Simas & Associates, Ltd., Karen did assist the law firm quite a bit as it began to build a consistent practice out of our San Luis Obispo office.  This included regularly assisting the Sacramento office in preparing for civil litigation in Southern California.  And now, with her joining Chilina Law Offices in Atascadero, she will be another shark in the water.

All sarcasm aside, we wish nothing but the best for Karen in her new career.  We know that she will be an asset to the San Luis Obispo County legal community for years to come.  
Upcoming Calendar

July 11 - California State Fair Opens.

July 12 - Pecan Pie Day.

July 13 -
World Cup, Finals.

July 14 - Bastille Day - Bonne fête!

July 15 -
85th MLB All Star Game.

July 16 - 
The Barrister's Club of Sacramento - Law and Motion Seminar

July 17 - The Open Championship begins.  Also, the
SLO County Bar Association Summer Social.

July 20 - 45th Anniversary of Man Walking on Moon.  Also, National Ice Cream Day.

July 22 - Hammock Day.

July 23 - National Hot Dog Day.

July 24 - 
Metro Chamber & SCBA  Business + Law Mixer

July 27 - Le Tour de France, Final Stage. Also, Happy Parents' Day.

And a big happy birthday month to our owner, founder, and leader, Steven L. Simas.
 
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