With mid-term elections just over a month away, it seems fitting that our October issue of the Marin Lawyer has several articles that touch on politics. For his President’s Message this month, Tom Brown chatted with outgoing District Attorney Ed Berberian, who reflects on his time in office and the challenges and pleasures of that role. Many thanks to our Guest Editor this month, Greg Brockbank, himself a (former) politician and eternal political activist, who profiles fellow activist Dotty LeMieux. I know Dotty from our overlapping service as board members of MCBA, not as an activist, and I found it fascinating that her experience as a politician (one in particular) is what inspired her to become a lawyer. Greg also authored his bi-monthly political column. If you haven’t reviewed all of the propositions we’ll be voting on next month, Greg’s column is a great place to start. He also opines about Congress and which way each house might go. And of course, he takes a look at the local Marin races, noting the (large) cast of characters and offering insight and opinion when he has them. I want to reiterate that any and all of those opinions are his own, not those of MCBA or anyone else associated with MCBA, and MCBA does not endorse candidates for any office. Even if I disagree with an opinion, I find I come away better informed.

As for content unrelated to politics, the prolific Mr. Brockbank has also authored a useful primer on handling a residential eviction case. Even though landlord-tenant law is not my practice area, I am still asked about landlord-tenant law with some regularity, as I’m sure many of you are as well. I find it helpful to at least know the basics of how it works in the real world. Reading Greg’s article has the added bonus that if you had any hesitation before, you might now feel confident in volunteering, whether through Lawyers in the Library, Legal Aid of Marin, the Canal Alliance or elsewhere, where landlord-tenant advice is needed. And if you aren’t sure where to volunteer, I’d like to remind you of the still new Marin Pro Bono Network. A collaborative effort of volunteer legal services organizations in Marin in partnership with the Marin Community Foundation, the Network helps match volunteers with volunteer opportunities. You can learn more about it here.

Arthur Harris and Kavin Williams authored a useful primer on preparing a certificate of independent review. For our non-trusts and estate members, probate law raises a presumption of fraud or undue influence when people make certain gifts, such as to their caregivers (or lawyers). A certificate of independent review is supposed to eliminate that presumption (in other words, it shifts the burden of proof back to someone claiming fraud or undue influence.) But while the law sets out what the certificate says, it says nothing about what is required to support it. Harris and Williams offer detailed guidance, much of it gained from their own litigation experience, on what an attorney preparing a certificate really needs to do.

Finally, I want to mention lawyer wellness. I attended the Joy in the Law Conference last Friday along with well over 100 others. Clearly wellness is a significant concern for us. The Marin Lawyer has run occasional articles on wellness and I invite our readers to submit more articles on the topic or to get in touch with me about what you’d like to read. On a broader level, MCBA is working on incorporating wellness programs into the benefits of membership. It’s possible you might encounter me in my role as a meditation teacher before too long. In the meantime, I’ll continue editing the Marin Lawyer and I always welcome your feedback.