News & Publications
San Francisco Ballot Measure Rundown
Voters in San Francisco will have a crowded ballot to sort through at the upcoming City general election on November 3, 2015. In total, the fate of eleven measures will be decided at the ballot box on a variety of issues including affordable housing policies, lobbyist registration and reporting requirements, development plans, and renewable energy standards.
Legislature Considering Bills to Expand California Voting Rights Act
California cities and other jurisdictions have become familiar-some through expensive litigation-with the California Voting Rights Act (“CVRA”) and its goal of invalidating at-large electoral systems that would not be vulnerable under the federal Voting Rights Act. The voting rights landscape in California could change again, radically, if one or more bills currently pending before the Legislature become law. For example, the “safe harbor” of single-member districts could be stripped away, while at the same time cities are forced into a district-based electoral system, and adjusting district boundaries is subjected to scrutiny and final approval by the California Secretary of State.
Nielsen Merksamer Co-hosts Leading Corporate Political Compliance Events in Washington D.C. this September
On September 10 and 11, Nielsen Merksamer attorneys will again speak at the Practising Law Institute’s (PLI) annual two-day conference Corporate Political Activities 2015: Complying with Campaign Finance, Lobbying and Ethics Laws. Senior partner Chip Nielsen has co-chaired and co-organized this popular conference since 1977. Jason Kaune, who heads the firm’s political law section, has served on the PLI faculty since 2000.
Chris Skinnell Selected as One of Sacramento Magazine’s Top Lawyers of 2015
Nielsen Merksamer is pleased to announce that the publication Sacramento magazine selected Chris Skinnell for inclusion in its list of Top Lawyers of 2015. Attorneys were selected for inclusion on the list through a survey of Sacramento-area attorneys conducted for Sacramento magazine by Professional Research Services.
Nielsen Merksamer Named One of California’s Top Ranked Law Firms™ for 2015 by Martindale-Hubbell®
Nielsen Merksamer is pleased to announce that Martindale-Hubbell® has named Nielsen Merksamer as one of its Top Ranked Law Firms in California for 2015. Top Ranked Law Firms are those firms headquartered in the state with 10 or more attorneys, in which at least one out of five of their lawyers achieved the AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Ratingˢͫ. This rating indicates the rated lawyer has been deemed by his or her peers to have demonstrated the highest level of ethical standards and legal ability. Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings are driven by the confidential opinions of lawyers and members of the judiciary who provide reviews of lawyers about whom they have professional knowledge.
U.S. Supreme Court Decides Major Election, Free Speech and Property Rights Cases
Every term of the United States Supreme Court sees a number of blockbuster decisions, but few are as significant as the one just completed. As a result, the biggest of the big – landmark rulings on marriage equality, the Affordable Care Act, regulation of greenhouse cases, and housing discrimination – have somewhat overshadowed other significant decisions with significant implications for elections, free speech, voting rights and property rights. Some of the key “overshadowed” decisions from the final two months of the term include:
Steve Merksamer Selected for Inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2015
Nielsen Merksamer is pleased to announce that the publication The Best Lawyers in America© selected Steve Merksamer for inclusion in the 2015 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, an honor he has received every year since 2008. Merksamer was chosen through an exhaustive and rigorous peer-review survey in which thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluated their professional peers.
Nielsen Merksamer Attorneys Recognized As Northern California Super Lawyers/Rising Stars
Nielsen Merksamer is pleased to announce that Steve Merksamer has been named a Northern California Super Lawyer and Chris Skinnell was named a Northern California Rising Star for 2015. The lists recognize leading attorneys in the State. This is Merksamer’s fifth time being selected as a Super Lawyer, having been chosen previously in 2009-2012; it is Skinnell’s third time being selected as Rising Star, having been previously selected in 2013 and 2014.
Chris Skinnell Moderates Panel on the Future of Independent Redistricting Commissions
On April 6, 2015, Nielsen Merksamer voting rights and initiative law partner Chris Skinnell moderated a panel hosted by the Rose Institute of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College regarding the Supreme Court’s pending decision in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission and its potential implications for redistricting reform and direct democracy.
2014 COGEL Summary
A record number of federal, state and local regulators came together recently in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the 36th annual conference of the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (“COGEL”).