Lubin Olson celebrates Women’s History Month

It’s Women’s History Month. Partner Cherie Song sat down with Ellen Cirangle, former managing partner and litigation department chair at LON to ask about how she got started in law, the biggest influences on her career and her advice to younger attorneys.

  1. What is the most important lesson you’ve learned over your career?

Not to let your ego interfere with the process. Litigation is a team sport, and the client will always be better represented through a team effort, as different individuals bring different perspectives and ideas to issues. Being able to recognize and accept that someone else has a better approach than you to a problem is key to providing clients with the best representation.

  1. What’s the most important personality trait someone would need to be successful in law/litigation?

To care about the client, the case, the result.  If you do not love the law and what you are doing, you will not be a successful litigator.

  1. Can you talk about a mentor or someone who has played a significant role in your legal career?

In my first law firm job I was able to participate as part of a team of lawyers in several significant trials. There were two senior partners – Fred Bartlit and Don Scott – one an amazing writer, and one a renowned trial lawyer. They both spent significant amounts of time teaching me to advocate through writing and how to prepare for trial and how to win. I have taken those lessons with me throughout my career, and they have had a tremendous impact on my abilities, and I will always be grateful for the time they took to mentor me.

  1. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received, and how has it influenced you?

Law is a service business.  We are here to serve the clients, and we need to understand what drives them and what a “win” looks like to them, rather than litigating in a vacuum without that understanding and goal. I try with all my clients to understand their needs, and to keep communication flowing so that we are working for the same goals.

  1. What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone starting out in law?

Litigation is an incredibly rewarding job – it’s mentally challenging and stimulating, and you get a chance to interact with interesting people and situations, and to help people navigate their legal issues. If you enjoy being a litigator, it’s a great and rewarding career. Seek out mentors early on who can help you grow your skill set.

  1. What was your first legal job?

I was a law clerk for the Honorable Ann Aldrich in the United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio in Cleveland. Being able to see court in action for a year before starting in private practice gave me tremendous confidence that I could be a successful trial attorney.

  1. What’s been the most memorable moment of your career so far?

There have been so many! I have been lucky to have a lot of interesting cases and clients and high-profile cases. But one case I think of often was when I was practicing in Denver, I heard on the news that a local animal rescue group was being evicted immediately and they had no place for the dogs to go.  I stopped by their property, introduced myself and offered to help. I was able to get an injunction stopping their eviction for several months and negotiate a time frame for them to get the animals new shelter.  Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge dog lover so the fact I was able to help has always stuck with me.

I have also been very proud of the successes our team has had going against large firms with vast resources and obtaining victories against market manipulators.

  1. Who did you look up to growing up?

My mom. She worked full time as a nurse while raising three of us. At the age of 40 after my parents divorced she went back to school to obtain her Registered Nursing degree so she could better herself and her earning potential to support our family.

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Lubin Olson congratulates Bay West Group for their Real Estate Deal of the Year achievement

Lubin Olson congratulates our clients, Bay West Group and Pacific Development, Inc., for their achievements at this year’s San Francisco Business Time’s Real Estate Deals of the Year award ceremony on March 28, 2024. Their project, the Launch at Alameda Marina, is a 368 unit multifamily rental project that is the first building to deliver as part of the larger Alameda Marina Master Plan, which has been in the works for over a decade.

LAUNCH @ Alameda Marina is the first phase of a massive redevelopment of a 44 acre historic World War II Shipyard along the Oakland Estuary. The project overcame numerous challenges involving industrial site conditions, sea-level rise, a difficult political climate, initial opposition from multiple neighborhood organizations, historic and cultural sensitivities, and negotiations with multiple agencies asserting their jurisdictional authority. The project involved the rezoning from Industrial to Mixed-Use Multifamily on an island which previously prohibited multifamily (Measure A). The project sponsor worked with the City of Alameda to execute a 66-year Tidelands and Marina Lease agreement, which requires that the entire site be protected from end of century sea level rise. The master development constructed a ¾ mile long seawall at a cost of $35M. The project involved 13 different agency approvals, including approvals from the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, and the Alameda County Department of Environmental Health.

Lubin Olson attorneys Charles Olson and Carolyn Lee provided their advice and counsel throughout the entitlement process of this multi-phase project. Mark Lubin, Beth Anderson, Lorraine Madera, Audrey Baker and Leon Tuan advised our clients in matters related to the project’s acquisition, financing, commercial leasing and joint venture formation.

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Sweeping victory for Lubin Olson Land Use Group

In a sweeping victory for the University of California, San Francisco, the California Supreme Court has denied the petition for review filed by appellants in Yerba Buena Neighborhood Consortium, LLC, et al v. Regents of the University of California/San Franciscans for Balanced and Livable Communities v. Regents of the University of California (2023) 95 Cal.App.5th 779, a partially published opinion of the First District Court of Appeal, which upholds the University’s Environmental Impact Report for the
Comprehensive Parnassus Heights Plan (the “CPHP”).

The CPHP is a planning proposal for a set of individual projects and goals to be completed at the Parnassus Heights campus over the next thirty years, including as its centerpiece the construction of a new state-of-the-art hospital. By denying the petition for review, the Supreme Court has affirmed the First District’s decision in full, which upholds the trial court’s denial of all issues alleged under CEQA by Petitioners.

Lubin Olson attorneys Charles Olson, Carolyn Lee, and Philip
Sciranka represented the University in the preparation of the EIR, trial court litigation, and appeal.

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Client Alert Regarding the Corporate Transparency Act

On January 1, 2024, a new law went into effect that requires the attention of every corporation, limited liability company, limited partnership, or other legal entity formed in the United States.  Unless an exemption applies, the Corporate Transparency Act (the “CTA”) will require entities that register with any Secretary of State in the United States to file personal ownership information with the US Department of Treasury –Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

For each affected entity, the CTA requires a separate federal filing disclosing personal information of every individual who is considered a “beneficial owner” of the entity, meaning those persons who directly or indirectly own (or have the right to receive) 25% or more of the entity or who have significant authority or influence over important business decisions – board members, and senior officers and other persons or entities who are important decision makers.   For many entities, the determination of who would be considered a “beneficial owner” of the entity under the CTA is not obvious and may require detailed analysis.

The new law also requires new entities to provide personal information for “company applicants,” meaning (a) the individual who is responsible for filing the documents that created the entity or (b) the individual who is primarily responsible for directing or controlling the filing of the relevant formation or registration document by another. Legal counsel can be considered a company applicant if they meet these criteria.

Entities formed prior to 2024 will have until January 1, 2025 to make their initial filing.  Entities formed in 2024 must make their initial filing within 90 days after formation.  Entities formed in 2025 and after will have only 30 days after formation to make the filing.  Filers must report changes to information for an entity within 30 days after a change.  Willful failure to comply with the filing requirements can result in civil and criminal penalties, and those penalties can flow to individual senior officers of an entity.

We can assist in determining whether exemptions from the new filing requirement apply.  The broadest exemption will be for entities that employ 21 or more full time employees, have a physical office and have annual gross receipts or sales of at least $5,000,000.  Other exemptions exclude public companies, banks, insurers and certain individuals or entities that already report personal information, such as nonprofits, insurance brokers, accountants, venture fund advisors and securities advisors.  Each entity, including subsidiaries and affiliates, must register or qualify for an exemption.

We recommend that each of our clients adopt provisions for company bylaws, operating agreements, limited partnership agreements and/or equity issuance agreements, as applicable, authorizing the collection and reporting of personal information.  Amendments should be broad enough to allow the entity to make necessary FinCEN filings while still remaining in compliance with applicable privacy laws.  The firm has forms of amendments ready for our clients’ use that also obligate beneficial owners to report any changes to required information so that the entity can inform FinCEN of any changes within the 30-day window to report any changes.

The provisions of the CTA are detailed and the registration process itself can be confusing, as evidenced by FinCEN’s own 57-page compliance guide.  We are happy to provide advice to determine whether the filing requirement applies, to answer questions on how to file and to advise on any other questions relating to the new law.

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