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business law contract signing

What Is Business Law?

Merill, Arnone & Jones has served Sonoma County businesses, and more for over 40 years. Our attorneys provide expert legal advice and services in a variety of areas, including business law. Business law deals with everything from the creation of new business to any issues that can arise while operating, such as tax law, intellectual… Continue Reading >>

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aviation law changes due to covid

How Aviation Law is Changing Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 Pandemic has changed the world. The aviation industry was affected early on by the risks associated with the virus. Although aspects of life are returning to normal, air travel has to adapt to protect their passengers, crew, and business. At Merrill, Arnone & Jones, our team has comprehensive knowledge of the Federal Aviation… Continue Reading >>

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old weird laws in California

10 Weird California Laws

California is home to sunshine, beautiful beaches, incredible scenery, and an abundance of weird, hyper-specific laws. There are numerous old laws still technically on the books, although they are rarely actually enforced. From strange to silly, these weird laws in California are guaranteed to make you scratch your head and wonder, “what was the story… Continue Reading >>

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estate planning in california

The 4 Parts of Estate Planning in California

Estate planning can feel like a very complicated and lengthy process, but at Merrill, Arnone & Jones, we want to make it easy for you, as it is a necessary thing to do to protect yourself, your family, and your finances. An estate plan is much more than a will. It is what an individual… Continue Reading >>

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become a lawyer online

Can You Become A Lawyer Online?

In recent years, the American Bar Association (ABA) has started to allow law students the opportunity to take more online courses. A growing number of law schools are expanding their curriculum, blending online classes, and on-campus learning to offer a hybrid program. While there are no fully online ABA-accredited programs yet, the educational landscape is… Continue Reading >>

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featured lawyer retainer agreement

What Is a Lawyer Retainer? A Guide for Californians

There are 1.3 million lawyers in the United States, but not all lawyers are the same. We become licensed to work in a specific state, focus on a particular area of the law, and manage our firms differently. When you begin speaking to attorneys, one topic you should always ask about is the cost. The lawyer you… Continue Reading >>

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becoming a California lawyer

4 Crucial Steps to Become a Lawyer in California

Becoming a California lawyer is one of the most prestigious and well-paid jobs sought out by millions of people all over the world. But wanting to become a lawyer and actually working towards achieving this long-term goal are two different things. So, what does it really mean to be a lawyer and which steps need… Continue Reading >>

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finra law in california

FINRA Law in California

Merrill, Arnone & Jones can help investors, brokers, and employees diligently through the process of FINRA arbitration. Our attorneys have experience in various areas of FINRA law and can provide representation in claims and defense. Below is more information on what FINRA is and how we can help. What is FINRA? FINRA is an acronym… Continue Reading >>

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Cannabis ("Pot") might be legal in California but only while you are on the ground

Cannabis (“Pot”) might be legal in California, but only while you are on the ground

The fact that marijuana is still illegal under Federal law was reinforced against an Airman, who lost his pilot’s certificate (revocation) and will not be able to reapply for a new certificate for at least 1 year (14 CFR, Sec. 61.13d (2)). Mr. Siegel had an engine malfunction and crashed landed his airplane on a… Continue Reading >>

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Top Tax Law Schools in America

Top 27 Tax Law Schools in America

Since 1861, the United States has had an assortment of federal, state, local, and special-purpose government jurisdictions that impose taxes to help fund their operations. Taxation in America is not going away, so why not consider a career in this highly-specialized field? Similar to our popular California Law Schools article, we have comprised this list of… Continue Reading >>

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California Laws affecting Small Business

New California Laws affecting Small Business

In 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed several laws that impact California’s small business owners. These bills made significant changes to employment law in California for 2020. Some of the new laws relating to paid family leave, sexual harassment training, reclassification of independent contractors / employees and more. We encourage our community’s feedback, so please call… Continue Reading >>

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top california law schools in 2020

19 Top California Law Schools

Below you will find a list of top California Law Schools approved by the American Bar Association in 2020. American Bar Association, or ABA, is the largest private organization of American lawyers. ABA is an authority in formulating guidelines for the practice of law, advising legislation, lobbying for the law as a profession, even evaluating… Continue Reading >>

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Drone flying near Airplane - Aviation Law

5 Questions to ask an Aviation Lawyer BEFORE you hire them

Whom do you call when you’re facing an issue related to aviation law? Many people contact their regular lawyer, but that would be a mistake. Always hire an experienced aviation lawyer when faced with an aviation legal issue. Aviation lawyers are more often than not, licensed pilots; some even have the experience of working as… Continue Reading >>

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California Probate

What is California Probate Code?

You are probably familiar with the California Probate Code, and the hassles that can come with it if someone you love has passed away. The California Probate Code governs what happens to the property of a person after they die or become incapacitated. This code provides provisions that regulate wills and other estate planning instruments,… Continue Reading >>

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Business Law Tips

California Business Law – Where do I start with my business?

If you are considering becoming an entrepreneur, you need to understand California business law before you start working on your winning business plan. After all, failing to comply with business and tax laws is a common reason that promising businesses fail. You need to get off on the right foot by understanding the business law… Continue Reading >>

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Estate Planning

Estate Planning 101: Here’s some basics you should know

Smart people understand the need to plan for the future, including a future for your loved ones after you pass away. Your family needs to be taken care of and have a clear understanding of your desires. Estate planning provides a way for you to ensure that the people you care are provided for during… Continue Reading >>

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Courtroom Litigation

What is Complex Litigation?

Every company faces litigation at some point. Many of these are fairly standard lawsuits related to real estate or disputes with vendors. Almost any experienced business lawyer can help you resolve these matters with the best possible outcome. Not so with complex litigation. Understanding Complex Litigation So, what is litigation anyway? Litigation is the process… Continue Reading >>

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Business Assets

How to Protect Your Business Assets

As a business owner, you know how important your assets are to your company’s success. That’s why it is vital to protect your business assets the best way possible from day one. Knowing exactly how to protect your business assets most effectively will depend in large part on the unique details that make your company… Continue Reading >>

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Medical Reform

Third-Class Medical Reform – What does it mean for you?

On July 15, 2016, as part of the Budgeting Act to fund the FAA, legislation was passed that included the Pilot’s Bill of Rights II. This included medical reform for certain private pilots, an alternative to the third-class medical exam. This legislation was due to the efforts of the AOPA and EAA. I hope to… Continue Reading >>

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Arbitration Agreement

The “nittie-gritties” of the Sonoma County Bar Association Mandatory Fee Arbitration Program

by Michael J. Fish Chair, SCBA Mandatory Fee Arbitration Committee Occasionally, a client or in propia persona litigant may ask other attorneys, court personnel or family law advisors for information about how to deal with a fee dispute with his or her own attorney. The purpose of this article is to provide a summary of the… Continue Reading >>

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Gender Discrimination

Gender Discrimination in Employment – A New Focus

Gender discrimination comes to the forefront this year in confirming that an employer shall not pay any of its employees at wage rates less than the rates paid to employees of the opposite sex for substantially similar work, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility, and performed under similar working conditions, except… Continue Reading >>

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Supreme Court

Lengthy Fee Fight Settles In $6 Million Harass Case

The Supreme Court ruled that lawyers splitting fees need the client’s written consent. By Michael Fish Vice Chair of the State Bar Mandatory Fee Arbitration Committee And Chair of the MCBA Client Relation’s Committee A ten-year fee fight, which prompted the state Supreme Court to provide strict rules governing attorneys’ fee-sharing agreements, has been settled…. Continue Reading >>

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Retainer Fees

Non-Refundable Retainer Provisions in Fee Agreements – Are they proper?

Submitted by Michael Fish Based in large part on STATE BAR MANDATORY FEE COMMITTEE ARBITRATION ADVISORY 2011-01 As a former Chair and former member of the State Bar Mandatory Fee Arbitration Committee, I was often called upon to review and evaluate the provisions of a fee agreement that characterizes a payment by the client as… Continue Reading >>

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Arbitration Program

What is this thing called “The Mandatory Fee Arbitration Program”?

On occasion, a client or litigant in propia persona may decide that they do not want to pay their attorney’s bill and may ask for information about their rights and responsibilities regarding a fee dispute. We have all heard it. “I could have done that myself!” “That Shyster! What did I pay him for?” “I… Continue Reading >>

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Reasonable Fees

What is a Reasonable Attorney Fee?

As summarized by Michael J. Fish from the State Bar Mandatory Fee Arbitration, Arbitration Advisory 98-03, Determination of a “Reasonable” Fee, dated June 23, 1998. As attorneys we are often called upon to look at the reasonableness of our own fees charged for the legal services we rendered—if not by our clients, then by our… Continue Reading >>

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