Public Law and Public Finance
We serve as Special Counsel to public entities in land use, planning, code enforcement, economic development, and public finance; as needed, we also serve as Elections Official. We attend regular and special meetings, draft and review ordinances, resolutions, minutes of the governing board, and meet with constituents in seeking to resolve issues related to land use, planning, and code enforcement, where we issue citations and file criminal complaints on behalf of municipalities to enforce the applicable municipal code provisions. Also, we are certified trainers for public officials in all matters related to governance: Ethics, the Brown Act, the Public Records Act, and the Political Reform Act. As an expert in local government Elections Law matters, she serves as Elections Official, as needed, in recalls, referendum, and initiatives. Ms. Sylva is a frequent speaker on local governance matters: The Brown Act and The Public Records Act (Lorman Continuing Education, Speaker Series); she is also a published author: Eminent Domain, A More Necessary Public Use (The Power of Kings).
In public finance, we serve as disclosure counsel, trustee’s counsel, and issuer’s counsel. We prepare and review all transactional, disclosure, and related closing documents. As transactional attorneys, we draft and negotiate complex documents such as trust agreements, leases, technology, employment, disposition and development, and owner participation agreements.
Real Estate / Economic Development
We represent private parties and developers in land use entitlement matters and any related matters before public agencies; we draft and negotiate all relevant documents including, but not limited to, owner participation agreements, disposition and development agreements, exclusive negotiation agreements, and tax sharing agreements. We advise in matters relating to annexations and land use and planning. Additionally, we represent parties in the resolution of disputes related to purchase and sale agreements, lease agreements, boundary line disputes, and defects to title/quite title matters.
Most recently, Julia Sylva, the founder of the Firm, has acquired expertise in the federal, state, and local regulation of commercial cannabis business entities. She is retained as
Special Counsel for public entity clients to assist with drafting resolutions, zoning ordinances, public policy, and application permits for the regulation of cannabis by local government. Also, she assists applicants in seeking cannabis business permits and land-use entitlements for commercial cannabis business; she has represented dispensaries, cultivators, transportation and development, manufacturers, and research and development companies. She is a published author on the subject (see Julia Sylva, High Time: Continuation of the Obama Administration’s ‘Hands-Off’ Policy Toward California’s Regime under the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act is Not Guaranteed, Los Angeles Lawyer at p. 15 (Mar. 2017). She is slated to teach “Cannabis Law 101,” at an accredited law school, the first in the State of California (Southwestern School of Law, Los Angeles, CA).
Corporate and Business Law
We serve as general counsel to corporate and business clients serving all of their transactional, regulatory, and litigation needs including, but not limited to, formation, governance, business, and strategic plans, bylaws, finance, issuance of stock, ethics, and conflict of interest, compliance (including nonprofit organizations), stock option plans, confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements, buy-sell agreements, and negotiate equity and non-equity agreements between venture capital and other financing sources. We also negotiate and draft vendor, executive employment agreements, and real estate and technology contracts. Our focus is toward minimizing the risk of liability, with a special emphasis on the reduction of contractual liability. Ms. Sylva is a published author on the start-up of a law practice as a small business; namely, The Road to Independence, published by the American Bar Association (2011).
We are intimately familiar with the start-up and formation of nonprofit organizations; we assist in initial filings, compliance, and federal and state tax-exempt applications. We advise the board of directors as to the implementation of a strategic plan and provide training as to governance, grant writing, and fundraising. We provide pro-bono services to many nonprofit organizations and are long-term members of various nonprofit organizations that seek to empower the underprivileged.
Trust, Wills & Probate
The Firm handles conservatorships decedent’s estates and guardianships.
The Firm represents private parties in the preparation of estate plans (family trusts, wills, health care directives, power of attorney, etc.). We file probate petitions for guardianship, conservatorships, and administration of special needs trusts; we represent probates clients in uncontested and contested litigation matters. We represent administrators, fiduciaries, and beneficiaries in the resolution of disputes related to estate plans and probate matters. Most estate planning and probate disputes related to entitlement or defects in title to real property, which real estate matters the Firm is expert in.