News & Events

News & Events


July 21, 2015


Burke’s attorneys and staff mourn the recent passing of former long-time partner, owner, of counsel, and friend, Carl K. Newton. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.

July 17, 2015


Congratulations to Burke partner Ronald F. Frank who was appointed to a judgeship in the Los Angeles County Superior Court by Governor Brown on July 16, 2015.  Ron joined Burke as a partner in 2008 serving as chair of the firm’s Litigation Practice Group. 

June 15, 2015

Developers Can Be Required to Include Affordable Housing, California High Court Rules

The Los Angeles Times, by Maura Dolan

In a case in which Burke partner Thomas Brown wrote a friend of the court brief on behalf of the League of California Cities and the California State Association of Counties, the California Supreme Court has issued a landmark decision that is a major victory for California cities seeking to address what the State legislature has repeatedly called a housing crisis. In the case, entitled California Building Industry Association v. City of San Jose, a building trade association (CBIA) challenged the facial validity of San Jose’s “inclusionary zoning” ordinance, which requires developers of market rate housing to set aside 15% of a project’s units at prices affordable to low and moderate income purchasers, as an unconstitutional “taking” of property. In making its claim, CBIA argued the ordinance constituted an “exaction” whose validity was required to be reviewed by courts under a rigorous “heightened scrutiny.”  Affirming a Court of Appeal ruling in favor of San Jose, and instead accepting the arguments presented by the League and others, the Supreme Court disagreed with the CBIA, ruling that San Jose’s inclusionary ordinance was a form of land use regulation, not an exaction, and that as such it was entitled to the most deferential standard of judicial review applicable to elected City Councils’ legislative policy judgments about appropriate land uses.

June 2015

Safe Haven

Benjamin L. Stock

Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP is proud to announce that Benjamin L. Stock, a partner in our San Rafael office, recently worked pro bono with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights in securing asylum for a young unaccompanied minor who fled to the United States from Guatemala, where she and her family suffered violence, abuse, and persecution.


September 15, 2015

Boundary Issues and Easement Law

Alan A. Sozio

This informative program will review the fundamentals of easements from an expert attorney's view so you can remain up to date. Learn how to evaluate and resolve boundary related disputes using remedies and strategies that will provide your clients with the best outcome.

May 15, 2015

The Challenges in Implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

Gregory J. Patterson

Burke Partner Greg Patterson will be speaking at the annual American Ground Water Trust Conference on the challenges arising from the application of Proposition 218 in funding groundwater management plans under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

April 1, 2015

Using Personnel Investigations to Reduce Risk and Maintain Staff Relations

John R. Yeh

In this interactive presentation, attendees will analyze and discuss issues implicated in personnel investigations that districts must conduct in response to allegations of harassment, discrimination and other personnel issues, as well as complaints regarding students and materials. The presenters will provide the best practices for handling investigations in a manner that reduces districts’ risk exposure
and increases employees’ confidence in the district’s handling of personnel matters.

February 13, 2015

Promoting Student Safety: Child Abuse Reporting and Safe Personnel Practices for Public School District Personnel

John R. Yeh

This session will address the new child abuse prevention training requirements and cover the fundamental legal requirements for child abuse reporting as well as personnel laws that help promote student safety.

February 12, 2015

Update on Post-Redevelopment Legislation and Litigation

Susan E. Bloch

Burke partner, Susan Bloch, will be a speaker at the California Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (Cal-ALHFA) regional meeting.

February 11, 2015

Local Public Employee Discipline, Discharge, and Procedure: Avoiding Costly Mistakes

Samantha W. Zutler

Sloppy disciplinary practices can have disastrous consequences. This program will provide a procedural overview of local public agency progressive discipline and discharge, along with practical advice for avoiding common mistakes that lead to costly litigation.

January 14, 2015

Employee Compensation: The Shifting Paradigm

John R. Yeh, Jaime L. Bodiford

"How much do you pay your employees?"  What appears to be a simple question is anything but.  With employee salaries used as a common measuring stick for employee satisfaction, school districts must craft and present their compensation proposals in a way that captures their full economic benefit.   We will explore the financial impact of salary schedule movement, STRS/PERS contributions, health benefits, Cost-of-Living and pension costs, the Consumer Price Index, and the new Local Control Funding Formula on total compensation, and also cover bargaining strategies for how to craft and present compensation proposals that highlight their true economic benefit to your school district employees.

January 14, 2015

Legal Trends in Negotiations

M. Carol Stevens

A popular ACSA tradition, M. Carol Stevens’ Legal Trends session is a substantive analysis of the past year’s arbitration, PERB, and court decisions impacting school management, and a road map to legal and negotiation trends for the coming year.  Carol will include practical solutions for implementing the new legal standards, and will identify risks to help you avoid the mistakes others have made.

January 14, 2015

Hot Topics

Janae H. Novotny, Janet Cory Sommer

A popular ACSA tradition, Hot Topics identifies the cutting edge negotiations issues school districts will face in the coming year, and provides practical advice for resolving the most difficult problems so that your bargaining team will continue to shine.  This year’s topics include:  negotiating LCFF, responding to demands to bargain Common Core, and managing employee and union expectations as we emerge from the Great Recession.

November 20, 2014

Rising Tides and Shifting Sands: Legal Trends 2014

M. Carol Stevens

A popular CALPELRA tradition, M. Carol Stevens’ Legal Trends session is a substantive analysis of the 2014 arbitration and court decisions impacting California’s public agencies and a road map to legal and negotiation trends for the coming year. Carol will include practical solutions for implementing the new legal standards, and will identify risks to help you avoid the mistakes others have made.

November 20, 2014

Going With The Flow: Managing Multiple Bargaining Units To Obtain Optimal Settlements

Timothy L. Davis, Samantha W. Zutler

Negotiating with multiple bargaining units requires sophisticated management skills and substantial advanced planning. Starting bargaining with a single unit before developing a comprehensive strategy for all units can allow the union to control the settlement pattern and leave the agency in a reactive bargaining posture. In this session you’ll get the tools and strategies you need to effectively manage multiple bargaining units to establish a settlement pattern that will meet your agency’s needs with all units. 

November 20, 2014

Moving Your Mooring: Best Practices For Guiding And Defending Your Agency Through Contracting Out Decisions

Daphne M. Anneet

The highly political and controversial process of contracting out has many landmines and carries high stakes if not done properly. This session provides a general overview of the legal requirements for contracting out and a step-by-step guide for the contracting out process, from the initial phase of evaluating what services may be contracted out, through the meet and confer process, to reaching a final agreement or impasse. As the presenter draws upon recent case studies, you’ll learn common areas of mis-step and identify best practices.

November 20, 2014

Avoiding Wipeouts On The Wave Of Social Media

Kelly A. Trainer, Traci I. Park

The impact of social media in the public workplace continues to raise questions more rapidly than courts can provide answers. As one question is answered, new legal issues and forms of social media emerge to raise new questions. This cutting-edge session will cover the most current developments related to social media in the public workplace, including cyber-vetting of employees, recent litigation, and legislation related to social media at work, and new forms of social media specific to public employees. 

November 19, 2014

How Far Have the Sands Shifted? Update of Key Labor Relations Decisions from PERB and the Courts

William F. Kay, Janet Cory Sommer

This presentation addresses the year’s most important PERB cases, court decisions, and key new laws affecting public sector labor relations. This one-stop program provides a comprehensive update of this year’s labor relations developments. 

November 19, 2014

Riptide Ahead: Preventing and Responding to Dangerous Workplace Conduct

Kelly A. Trainer, Traci I. Park

Violence in the workplace is an increasing cause of concern for public agencies. A safe and positive workplace is a goal that all employers share. In addition to acts of violence in our workplaces, issues involving conflicts between employees and with the public, bullying, and hazing are growing, and often lead to violence. In this session you’ll learn the warning signs of these issues, and how to prepare your workforce to prevent and respond to an imminent threat of workplace violence.

November 19, 2014

Explaining Tidal Surges And Shifting Sands: Communicating Effectively With Employees And The Public During Negotiations

Janae H. Novotny, M. Carol Stevens

Many agencies are communicating directly with their employees and the public about negotiations. In this session, presented by experienced labor negotiators and a skilled public relations and media strategist, you’ll learn the essential components of an effective public communications strategy about negotiations and a plan to implement the strategy successfully. 

Learn how to help your agency maintain the momentum and advantage in the public debate about your employees’ salaries and benefits and the merits of your agency’s bargaining goals.

November 13, 2014

California Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (Cal-ALHFA) Annual Conference: “How to Build a Winning Team for Affordable Housing Development”

Susan E. Bloch

Burke, Williams & Sorensen is pleased to be a sponsor of the California Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (Cal-ALHFA) annual conference:  “How to Build a Winning Team for Affordable Housing Development”  November 13, 2014 in Sacramento.     Partner, Susan Bloch, will co-chair a panel discussion on legislative initiatives addressing infrastructure financing districts, land use and planning issues, and  post-redevelopment matters.