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.


January 20, 2016

Your Legal Powers & Obligations

Thomas B. Brown

You were elected to make things happen in your city.  Learn the breadth, as well as the limitations, of your powers as a city official. Acquire a basic understanding of the legal authorities and restrictions under which cities and city officials operate with a focus on the Brown Act.

November 19, 2015

Marijuana Legal Update and Municipal Regulation Webinar

Thomas B. Brown

As California law regarding recreational and medical marijuana evolves, cities and counties face the challenge of whether to and how to regulate it.  This webinar provides information from two municipal attorneys, Thomas B. Brown or Burke, Wiliams & Sorensen and Arthur Wylene of Tehama County Counsel.  Mr. Brown and Mr. Wylene have been involved with medical marijuana regulation at the local government level and provide an update to California initiatives, legislation, and case law. 

November 16, 2015

Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act

Stephen A. McEwen

The League of California Cities is hosting an informational briefing on the Medical Marijuana Regulation & Safety Act for its members. 

November 12, 2015

State Housing Programs

Susan E. Bloch

Burke is proud to sponsor the California Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (Cal-ALHFA) annual conference. Burke partner, Susan Bloch, will moderate a panel discussion on State legislative and regulatory updates with representatives from CDLAC, CTCAC, HCD and CalHFA. Additional speakers will discuss Rent Control, Fair Housing, and other affordable housing issues.

November 9, 2015

Informational Briefing on the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act

Stephen A. McEwen

The League of California Cities is hosting an informational briefing on the Medical Marijuana Regulation & Safety Act for its members.  

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

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.

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.