Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass LLP is pleased to announce the election of Katharine Van Dusen to the firm's partnership. This promotion is effective January 1, 2017.

“We are delighted to welcome Katharine to the Coblentz partnership,” said Alan Gennis, co-managing partner. “Katharine has been a star in our litigation group since joining us from her clerkship, and has always demonstrated extraordinary client service, legal excellence and a sincere commitment to pro bono matters. She is a prime example of the values we represent at Coblentz. We look forward to Katharine's continued growth and success at the firm.”

Katharine Van Dusen is an experienced litigator who focuses on complex business and commercial disputes in state and federal courts. Katharine represents clients in a range of matters, including consumer class actions, construction and real estate disputes, and business disputes. She has also represented pro bono clients in immigration proceedings, unlawful detainer actions and debt collection cases. Katharine earned her law degree cum laude from Northwestern University School of Law, where she was an editor of the Northwestern University Law Review. She received her A.B. in political science and German from the University of Michigan.

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Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass is recognized in BTI’s Client Service A-Team 2017, where corporate counsel ranked Coblentz in the top firms nationally for client service excellence. The annual report ranks nearly 300 law firms recognized for delivering the absolute best levels of client service, the results of in-depth interviews with legal decision makers at the world’s leading organizations. The leaders in client service earn recognition from corporate counsel on an ongoing basis, fostering and maintaining strong client relationships day-in and day-out.

The independent survey from BTI Consulting Group solicits feedback from leading legal decision makers at large organizations with $1 billion or more in revenue to determine which law firms top the charts in client service. Firms are scored on 17 client service activities including client loyalty, legal skills, understanding a client’s business and advice on business issues. No submissions, nominations or client names are accepted for the survey.

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Litigation partner Scott Hall was the featured guest on KUCI (88.9 FM)’s "Privacy Piracy" Radio Show. Host Mari Frank, a privacy consultant, interviewed Scott regarding privacy concerns and recent regulations related to drones.

In the interview, Scott discusses the rise of recent drone technology and widespread use and the privacy concerns that creates, the evolving regulatory atmosphere at both federal and state levels, and where he sees the drone industry progressing in the future. Scott notes, "the excitement of the new technology with so many potential applications as well as the safety and privacy concerns regarding misuse of drones that accompany the rapid increase in drone use have caused the current frenzy."

Listen to the podcast of the show here.

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U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers® ranked Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass LLP among its 2017 list of “Best Law Firms.” Coblentz is ranked in 13 different practice areas in both National rankings and Metropolitan San Francisco rankings. The firm was awarded  six prestigious “Tier 1” rankings in the highly competitive Metropolitan San Francisco law firm category, in the following practice areas: Commercial Litigation, Land Use & Zoning Law, Litigation – Land Use & Zoning, Real Estate Law, Tax Law and Trusts & Estates Law. Coblentz was also awarded a National “Tier 1” ranking in Land Use & Zoning Law.

Best Lawyers® names firms included in the 2017 “Best Law Firms” list as being recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.

Rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes clients’ and peers’ evaluation of firms based on expertise, professionalism and responsiveness. To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must have a lawyer listed in The Best Lawyers in America©, which recognizes the top 4 percent of practicing attorneys in the U.S. Fourteen Coblentz attorneys are recognized by The Best Lawyers in America© for 2017, and partner Tay Via was selected as the Best Lawyers® 2017 Litigation – Land Use and Zoning "Lawyer of the Year" in San Francisco.

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Coblentz congratulates DISH Network L.L.C. and Richard Patch, Jon Bass, Lauren Kowal, Rees Morgan, Katharine Van Dusen, and Mark Hejinian on the recent announcement that the Eighth Circuit unequivocally ruled in DISH Network's favor in the Stokes, et al. v. DISH Network L.L.C. and Padberg v. DISH Network L.L.C. cases. The two cases, filed in the Western District of Missouri and assigned to the same judge, involved the temporary loss of programming to customers during programmer disputes at the time of renewal of the affiliation agreements. This is the first clear appellate court decision speaking directly to the potential class-wide exposure to cable and satellite companies for these temporary interruptions.

In the 2014 Padberg matter, the firm defended DISH in a jury trial of a nationwide class action to a very favorable jury verdict which was subsequently set aside by the district court. The Stokes matter involved the same kind of takedown of programming two years after the Padberg dispute. The Eighth Circuit determined that the trial court erred in refusing to grant DISH's motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim.

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Coblentz partner Sara Finigan was named among the Top 100 Lawyers in California for 2016 by the Daily Journal. The list recognizes 100 elite lawyers across all practices in California who are making the most impact on the legal profession.

Sara is the co-chair of the firm's business practice, specializing in joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, real estate and technology. In its coverage of Sara, the Daily Journal remarks, "Few consider corporate law a cauldron of creativity. Perhaps that's what sets Finigan apart – she sees in complex business matters the opportunity for expression and the chance to help her clients find innovative approaches to managing their business." The Daily Journal also notes Sara's recent representation of Stok LLC in ownership restructuring, and Uber Technologies in its $123.5 million purchase of Uptown Station in Oakland.

Read more here.

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The St. Thomas More Society of San Francisco announced partner Steve Lanctot as the winner of its 2016 St. Thomas More Award. The St. Thomas More Society of San Francisco was founded in 1937 and is the oldest fellowship of Catholic lawyers and judges in the West. The St. Thomas More Award recognizes those who have made significant contributions to the legal community, the Catholic community, or the society and/or have dedicated themselves to public service or charitable works.

St. Thomas More Society president Matthew Graham notes Steve “has contributed to the community so selflessly and with such great humor over the years, especially in the area of Catholic education.” Steve has been chairman of San Francisco’s Immaculate Conception Academy’s board of directors for 10 years, and was instrumental in the school’s transition to a Cristo Rey school and recently honored with ICA’s Cristo Rey Leadership Award. ICA president, Dominican Sister Diane Aruda, notes of Steve, "At the heart of his service is building community through relational leadership. We are both proud of Stephen and grateful for him.”

At the October 25th award ceremony, the following tribute was read:

“A native son of San Francisco, Stephen T. Lanctot grew up in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood where he attended nearby St. Agnes grammar school and St. Ignatius College Preparatory. He left the City to attend Santa Clara University, where he received a degree in history in 1973. After working in the maritime industry, he returned to the Hilltop where he attended the University of San Francisco School of Law while continuing to work full-time throughout his law school studies.

Steve graduated with a law degree from USF in 1978 and began his legal career as Associate Division Counsel for Sea-Land Service before moving to law firm practice at Tobin & Tobin. In 1983, he joined the firm now known as Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass, where for over 30 years he has practiced labor and employment law with creativity, humility and good humor.

A long-time parishioner of St. Philip Neri in Alameda, Steve has been a dedicated servant of the community, and particularly Catholic institutions, throughout his life. He has served as a member of the St. Philip Neri School Board, the Board of Governors of USF School of Law, the USF Alumni Board, the St. Mary’s Cathedral Board, the Board of Directors of the National Brain Tumor Society, the American Auxiliary of the Paris Foreign Missions, and the Guardsmen Board of Directors.

Steve is especially devoted to Catholic education, particularly to programs that foster Catholic education for the urban poor and underserved. Perhaps most significantly, Steve was instrumental in helping to save San Francisco’s Immaculate Conception Academy, which for over 130 year has served underprivileged young women and their families in San Francisco. During a time in which many of the City’s girls’ high schools were closing, for 10 years he worked tirelessly as the Chairman of ICA’s Board of Directors and led the school in its successful transition to a Cristo Rey school, a model that provides needy students with professional workplace skills as well as an excellent and affordable education. For his dedication and service to the school, Steve was honored with ICA’s Cristo Rey Leadership Award. He is now supporting the exploration of a Cristo Rey school to serve the residents of Oakland and the East Bay.

Steve and his wife, Mary, an educator, are proud parents of three adult children, Brendan, Madelyn, and Caitlin, and devoted grandparents to Maddock and Beatriz.

With a ready smile, Steve exemplifies St. Thomas More’s qualities of generosity, humility, faithfulness, and joy. In recognition of a lifetime of service to the church and to those in need, the St. Thomas More Society of San Francisco proudly and with great appreciation recognizes Stephen T. Lanctot with the 2016 St. Thomas More Award.”

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The Best Lawyers in America© recognized 14 Coblentz attorneys in its 2017 listing of the nation's top legal talent. The annual referral guide is based on peer review and feedback from leading attorneys in the same geographical region. Several of our ranked attorneys have been recognized annually by Best Lawyers® for over 15 years.

Clients commented that "Coblentz is extremely capable, thorough and skilled," and the litigation team "did a fantastic job, they are the best!”

Real estate partner Tay Via has also been selected as the Best Lawyers ® 2017 Litigation – Land Use and Zoning "Lawyer of the Year" in San Francisco.

Congratulations to these Coblentz attorneys for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© guide:

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Coblentz partner Philip Feldman is ranked as a leading lawyer in the Private Wealth Law – Northern California category, Band 2, in the inaugural Chambers High Net Worth guide published by Chambers & Partners.

Chambers describes Phil as having "expertise advising clients on estate gift and income tax planning, adopting wealth transfer and preservation strategies, philanthropy and trust and probate administration. He represents institutional and individual fiduciaries in trust and estate disputes and administration." Peers praise Phil as being "very highly thought of and respected" and "a nice person and an excellent attorney," and note he is "absolutely great and he really knows his stuff."

London-based Chambers and Partners conducts intensive, continuous research to identify the world's leading lawyers and law firms – individual lawyers are ranked on the basis of their legal knowledge and experience, their ability, their effectiveness, and their client-service. Chambers HNW independent research is conducted by a team of private wealth researchers, interviewing hundreds of lawyers, family offices, accountancy professionals, tax advisers, bankers, investment managers and high-end real estate agents.

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The Legal 500 United States has named Coblentz a "Recommended Firm" in the Real Estate and Construction – Land Use/Zoning category, with a National Band 2 ranking in 2016.

Described as "a go-to firm for land use and zoning matters in the Bay area," Coblentz is one of only a few Northern California firms recognized by The Legal 500 for outstanding performance in this area.

Partners Pamela Duffy, Harry O'Brien and Danna Kozerski also received individual recognition.  Pam Duffy is recognized as a "Leading Lawyer" on The Legal 500 United States 2016's guide to outstanding lawyers nationwide. Harry O'Brien and Danna Kozerski are recommended by the editorial as well.

The Legal 500 Series provides worldwide coverage on legal services providers in more than 100 countries, and highlights the practice area teams who are providing the most cutting edge and innovative advice to corporate counsel. Rankings are based on a series of criteria, including research based on feedback from more than 250,000 clients worldwide.

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