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Procopio’s New Associates Bring Diverse Talents to Its Team

Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP has hired three new associates: Trent Andrews, Natalie Mueller and Juan Pablo Zaragoza. Andrews’ practice encompasses business and corporate matters, including mergers, acquisitions, venture capital and private equity financings, securities matters, leveraged buyouts, corporate governance and other complex business transactions. He works in a variety of industries, including software, technology, health care, financial services, energy and consumer products. Prior to joining Procopio, Andrews was an associate with DLA Piper.

Mueller joins as an associate on Procopio’s health care education and government team. She advises charter schools regarding school policies, Proposition 39 and special education. She also provides counseling to public and private clients on a variety of issues, including governance, the Ralph M. Brown Act, California Public Records Act and litigation. Prior to joining Procopio, Mueller represented clients in construction litigation and contract disputes. She also served as a legal intern with the California Charter Schools Association and the University of San Diego Education and Disability Clinic.

Zaragoza focuses his practice on advising domestic and foreign high-net-worth individuals and families on tax and estate planning issues. Zaragoza has experience with sophisticated domestic estate planning strategies such as sales to defective grantor trusts, family limited partnerships and grantor retained annuity trusts. He also has experience in designing and implementing income and estate planning strategies for high-net-worth clients from Mexico and other Latin American countries. Prior to joining Procopio, Zaragoza was with the Phoenix office of Polsinelli PC.

Shustak & Partners had won a $5 million arbitration against Morgan Stanley, and then saw it vacated in superior court. However, late last month, a California appellate court reinstated and confirmed the initial award. The appellate court overturned the lower court’s order on the grounds that one of the three arbitrators who heard the case failed to disclose certain connections between some of his family members and Morgan Stanley. Erwin Shustak and George Miller represented Morgan Stanley brokers Todd Vitale and John Paladino in the arbitration.

Best Best & Krieger LLP helped underprivileged students get a jump-start on the coming school year with new backpacks and school supplies. Lawyers, staff and their children assembled the backpacks last week. Seven of the firm’s offices packed 400 backpacks with supplies — pens, pencils, rulers, binders, paper and more — donated by companies and vendors in Southern California, as well as BB&K lawyers and staff. This is the fifth straight year the law firm has partnered with Volunteers of America to participate in Operation Backpack. The backpacks will be donated to residents of Palomar Apartments in Chula Vista, a program of Volunteers of America’s housing services.

Nathan Batterman has joined the San Diego law office Jassim & Associates. Prior to joining the firm, Batterman worked for local firms the Levinson Law Group and Campbell Law Offices, and clerked for San Diego firm Gallagher Krich. In his new position, Batterman expands his practice areas to include family law, contract law, legal malpractice and medical malpractice. Owner and lawyer Pajman Jassim brought Batterman to Jassim & Associates to help grow the firm. Batterman is a member of the San Diego County Bar Association, Consumer Attorneys of San Diego, Consumer Attorneys of California and Irish American Bar Association of San Diego.

Eleven lawyers from Duckor Spradling Metzger Wynne have received the highest peer rating — AV Preeminent — through Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings. DSMW is one of only a few firms where the majority of its lawyers are recognized as such. Its recognized lawyers include Gary Spradling, Scott Metzger, John Wynne, Bernard Kleinke, Li-An Leonard, K. Jill Osmars, Anna Roppo, Michael Reed, Bryn Spradling, Douglas Lytle and James Chodzko. DSMW was founded in 1977.

Law school applications continue to drop this year, according to the American Bar Association. Law schools admitted 39,675 first-year students last year, the smallest incoming class since the 1970s. That number was an 11 percent drop from the prior year and a 24 percent drop in three years. The trend appears to be continuing; the number of applicants for the first-year class in 2014 has dropped nearly 8 percent from last year, the story says, citing figures from the Law School Admission Council. Bucking the trend are Harvard Law School and students who score high on the Law School Admission Test. More high-scoring students are applying to law school, and applications to Harvard’s law school are up significantly this year, according to the story.

Brandon Barker and Elizabeth Willes, lawyers at Mintz Levin, would like to remind you that there are new laws governing limited liability companies that came into force in California at the first of the year. The California Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act, or RULLCA, superseded in its entirety the prior limited liability company act in California.

RULLCA makes substantive changes to the law governing LLCs in California. If the operating agreement of an LLC does not sufficiently address the modifications and more expansive default rules codified by RULLCA, according to the impressive young lawyers, the rights and obligations of members and managers could be altered by RULLCA in a manner that conflicts with or overrides the intentions of the operating agreement.

Randy Frisch is vice chancellor of business and administration at National University and former publisher of the San Diego Business Journal. He is licensed to practice law in California, Nevada and Idaho.

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