Summer 2019 Defense Comment 33 President's Message – continued from page 2 Summer also means vacation. I am a firm believer that vacations make you a better lawyer. It is the season where I find time to relax, recharge, and “reboot” my brain. This summer, like nearly all for the past 25 years, we will go to Greece for vacation. It is a hard life, but someone has to do it. I insist that our vacation be no less than three weeks, after reading a study that says the brain needs eight days of being away from work to stop thinking about work. Life is good for me there. My wife’s great grandfather settled the village, Mavrothalassa, after being expelled from Bulgaria in the 1800s. It is a calm, simple farming village of about 4000 people. Others call it dead boring. It is a place where I sit at a cousin’s café talking with the friends I have made over the quarter century visiting, and my boys play hide and seek in the streets until 3 am. Not a single worry. We visit the Aegean Sea at all kinds of magnificent beaches, with crystal clear, 75 degree salt water, you can spend hours in. (And I do!) We visit ancient sites – Vergina, Meteora, Athens – and islands – Thasos, Skiathos. We eat fresh sea fish, Greek salad, feta cheese, stuffed peppers and eggplants, and of course drink ouzo. We dance and we laugh. The best part of enjoying all of this is ... are you ready ... I shut completely off from the office. My team is trained to operate the business in my absence. They are well trained. I know, I trained them. I trust them 100%. My clients’ expectations are properly set long before I leave. I protect my trial calendar by blocking out the target dates a year in advance, and slowly release the time as plans become firmer. This way I can advise the court when I am not available for trial. Once I get to SFO, I disconnect the server from my phone and iPad. My team has a phone number for me, but there are still some impediments: a ten- hour time difference and a receptionist, my mother in law, who does not speak any English. When the office has had to find me, they have. I bring my computer, CDC Report – continued from page 3 has caused hundreds of occupational groups to ask the Legislature for clarification or relief. AB 5 (Gonzalez) would codify the Dynamex “ABC” test, but create various exemptions for certain occupations. Already, lawyers, accountants, architects, engineers, direct sellers, insurance agents, securities dealers, hair stylists and others have been exempted. More exemptions are likely, including some form of “business to business” exemption. The hardest questions relate to companies in the “gig” economy, such as Uber and Lyft. Under the pressure of Dynamex, is it possible to craft some “third path,” where workers can be independent contractors with benefits? Expect to hear discussions of “dependent contractors.” Wildfire: California now seems to have entered a “new normal,” with virtually year-round wildfires. The human and financial costs of wildfires are obviously enormous, and the very existence of major public utilities is at risk. Very intensive discussions are occurring about how to allocate the risks, costs, and liability for wildfires, so that Californians can continue to receive power and buy homeowners insurance. At some level, of course, consumers will pay for wildfire costs, whether by taxes, insurance premiums, power bills or otherwise, but the Legislature and Governor are attempting to fairly allocate the costs. One of the areas of reform being discussed is to eliminate the doctrine of inverse condemnation from the wildfire liability equation, in favor of a more fault-based approach. The Legislature will recess for the fall on Friday, September 13, so there is not much time left to resolve these huge issues. but I force myself not to go to e-mails. It is there for surfing the internet for more great beaches and for emergencies. After three weeks of complete disconnect, the plane departs from Thessaloniki Airport. I look out the window and watch the checker patch of olive orchards, sunflower fields and wheat pass below and I watch Mount Olympus pass to the tail of the plane. We are northbound; we head toward the Alps, and into Germany. Time to get home. I am relaxed. My brain, the only product I can offer my clients, has had a reboot. Vacation, destination CLE, relaxation in the wine country – here’s to becoming a better lawyer. If you are involved in a case that has implicationsforotherdefensepractitioners, or otherwise become aware of such a case, or if you would like to get involved on the amicus committee, contact any or all of your amicus committee: Don Willenburg at dwillenburg@gordonrees.com; Patrick Deedon at pdeedon@maire-law.com; Jill Lifter at jlifter@rallaw.com; Jim Ostertag at jostertag@lclaw.com; Bina Ghanaat at bghannat@lclaw.com;AlexandriaCarraher at alexandria.carraher@rmkb.com; Nicole Whatley at nw@pollara-law.com. Don Willenburg Don is Chair of the Amicus Committee of ADCNCN, and chair of the appellate department at Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, LLP in Oakland. Amicus Corner – continued from page 21