• Coblentz Family Wealth Recognized in 2021 Chambers High Net Worth Guide

    Coblentz Family Wealth practice and four partners are recognized in the 2021 Chambers HNW (High Net Worth) Guide in the Private Wealth Law category for Northern California. Chambers HNW, published by Chambers & Partners, ranks the top legal advisers to high net worth individuals and organizations. Practice chair Jim Mitchell and partners Phil Feldman and Jaime Mannon are again ranked as Leading Lawyers, and partner Mitchell Edwards is listed among only four Up & Coming attorneys in the category.

    Jim Mitchell is again ranked as a Leading Lawyer in Band 2. Jim advises high net worth clients on tax planning and trust and estate administration. One source noted he “is very experienced and expert in the area of estates and trusts,” adding that, “much more important to me is that he cares and is deeply personally involved. Jim is thoughtful and has the ability to put himself in his clients’ shoes.”

    Phil Feldman is again ranked as a Leading Lawyer in Band 2. Phil assists wealthy individuals and families with income, philanthropic, and gift and estate tax planning, with Chambers noting that he is also “praised for his handling of complex inter-generational succession planning.” One source commented that “Phil’s approach is detail-oriented and very current. With over 30 years of experience, he brings a lot of knowledge on how other families have handled similar situations.” Another source noted, “Phil is an excellent attorney, and an even better human being.”

    Jaime Mannon is ranked as a Leading Lawyer in Band 2. Jaime offers affluent individuals and families assistance with estate and gift tax planning and cross-border tax planning. According to one source, she “is everything you want in a lawyer for estate planning purposes.” Another commented, “Jaime’s strength is her focus; if there is a particularly complex document that needs to be drafted, she disappears into her work and her focus is incredible.” Another interviewee noted,  “She is really honest and a straight shooter, so I appreciate her candor. She is not in any way arrogant or non-transparent.”

    Mitch Edwards is listed in the Chambers HNW Up & Coming category. Mitch assists high net worth clients with estate planning, administration matters, and litigation. An industry adviser commented, “He is able to digest complex planning situations quickly. Many of the clients that I refer to him require highly sophisticated [trust and estate] solutions, and Mitch has always stepped up to the plate and delivered. He has a strong ability to listen to a family’s specific needs and deliver tailored solutions rather than standard, out-of-the-box recommendations. He communicates in a calm and reassuring way, and gives clients confidence and trust in his work.”

    The Coblentz Family Wealth practice is also listed by Chambers HNW in Band 2 for Private Wealth Law, Northern California. One client commented, “They are expert and offer both practical and legal advice. They stay current and reach out with new developments in the law that will affect us. I think they are very good.” Another noted that “one of their strengths is that they have specialists in the firm that can handle various different types of problems and situations that come up.” A wealth expert added, “If you go to an attorney there, assume they are smart and technically perfect. I cannot function without them in my life. Their strengths are they surround and support you and come with their best game.”

    Independent and objective, Chambers USA and Chambers HNW are carefully researched and widely considered to be one of the most reputable law firm directories in the world. Ranking criteria include technical legal ability, professional conduct, client service, business understanding, diligence, commitment, and other qualities most valued by legal clients.

    Additional Chambers USA Rankings

    Six additional Coblentz partners and three practices are recognized in the Chambers USA 2021 Guide, also published by Chambers & Partners. Real Estate and Land Use partners Pamela Duffy, Harry O’Brien, and Alan Gennis; Litigation partners Timothy Crudo and Rees Morgan; and Employment partner Fred Alvarez are ranked as Leading Lawyers in their respective categories. Coblentz’s Land Use, Real Estate, and White Collar Defense and Government Investigations practices are also listed. You can read more about our Chambers USA rankings here.

    Categories: News
  • San Francisco Board of Supervisors Adopts Further Commercial Tenant Relief in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

    The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the commercial real estate market, and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is pursuing relief for certain categories of commercial tenants, including adoption of an ordinance creating a rebuttable presumption that a commercial tenant’s legally required shutdown excuses rent owed for the shutdown period.

    We previously reported on San Francisco’s eviction protection for “Covered Commercial Tenants,” which are tenants (1) registered to do business in San Francisco, and (2) with combined worldwide gross receipts for tax year 2019 equal to or below $25 million. Covered Commercial Tenants do not include for-profit entities occupying space in property zoned or approved for Office Use, nor entities leasing property from the City and County of San Francisco.

    Covered Commercial Tenants are currently protected from evictions for COVID-19 related missed rent payments that came due between March 16, 2020 and September 30, 2021. After September 30, 2021, unless the Governor further extends his executive order allowing for local jurisdictions to protect commercial tenants from eviction, Covered Commercial Tenants with 50 or more full time equivalent (“FTE”) employees will be required to immediately pay any unpaid rent owed to their landlords, while smaller Covered Commercial Tenants will be entitled to a forbearance period after September 30, 2021 ranging from 12 to 24 months.

    On July 20, the Board of Supervisors took further action that would effectively forgive some past due rent from certain Covered Commercial Tenants, even after their applicable forbearance period expires. The Board of Supervisors unanimously passed an ordinance (Board File No. 210603) establishing a rebuttable presumption, for a Covered Commercial Tenant legally required to shut down due to COVID-19, that the shutdown frustrated the purpose of the lease, and that payment of rent for the shutdown period is excused. Importantly, the rebuttable presumption only applies where a generally applicable health order legally obligated a tenant to shut down, not where a tenant closed operations because of a COVID-19 outbreak or due to COVID-19 economic impacts. It does not apply if there is a contract provision or other agreement between the landlord and Covered Commercial Tenant demonstrating that the shutdown did not frustrate the purpose of the lease. Where applicable, a Covered Commercial Tenant can avail itself of this rebuttable presumption without terminating its lease.

    Recognizing that many commercial landlords and tenants negotiated site-specific agreements regarding their existing leases in response to COVID-19, and seeking to encourage such agreements, the ordinance specifically states that the presumption also does not apply where a landlord and tenant executed a valid, written agreement in response to COVID-19 to reduce, waive, or extend a deadline to pay rent.

    While the above-described contract provisions and agreements between a landlord and tenant render this presumption inapplicable, the factual circumstances that could rebut the presumption are less certain. For example, a landlord could attempt to rebut the presumption if the tenant could have operated at the premises during a shutdown in a different, legally permitted manner, such as a restaurant that was forced to close onsite dining, but still prepared or could have prepared food for pick-up or delivery from its premises without violating health orders.

    Another more incremental, but nevertheless important potential change to San Francisco’s commercial tenant relief program has been introduced, and is pending Board of Supervisors action. Supervisor Safai has introduced legislation (Board File No. 210762) to allow a 6 month forbearance period for Covered Commercial Tenants with between 50 and 99 FTE employees, who as discussed above are currently entitled to no forbearance. On July 15, Board President Walton waived the 30-day hold for this legislation and transferred it to the Budget & Finance Committee. We will provide further updates when they are available.

    Contact Real Estate attorneys Dan Gershwin at dgershwin@coblentzlaw.com and Caitlin Connell at cconnell@coblentzlaw.com for additional information.

  • As California Opens for Business, Public Hearings Allowed To Continue Remotely Through At Least September 30, 2021

    In March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-29-20, suspending open public meeting requirements under the Brown Act and Bagley-Keene Act thereby allowing state and local public agencies – including Boards of Supervisors, City Councils and Planning Commissions – to meet by teleconference without requiring a physical meeting place for members of the public to convene. Since that time, Zoom-based public meetings have become ubiquitous.

    Executive Order N-29-20 was set to expire last month on June 15, 2021 – the same date that the state of California marked its official re-opening as the Governor lifted a number of prior COVID-related public health orders and restrictions. However, in a letter to the Governor, an association of cities and other public agencies expressed concern that returning to conducting public hearings in person would require additional time and revamped logistics to ensure continued public health and safety.

    To that end, the Governor’s office announced in a June 2, 2021 response letter that public agencies would be permitted to continue holding public meetings virtually, with no expiration date set at that time. The Governor’s office also committed to providing advance notice ahead of any termination of Executive Order N-29-20 to give state and local agencies sufficient time to transition and comply with applicable open meeting legal requirements.

    On June 11, 2021, the Governor formalized this guidance through issuance of Executive Order N-08-21, extending the public meeting exceptions through September 30, 2021. Until that time, or as otherwise extended, public agencies may continue to convene remotely and, if they do so, must allow members of the public to observe and participate in meetings telephonically or electronically through that date.

    Some local public agencies across the Bay Area are anticipated to hold off on returning to in-person hearings until the expiration of the public meeting exceptions, although others are exploring earlier returns in summer 2021. As public agencies begin to navigate their own re-openings, it is likely, but not yet certain, that some jurisdictions will offer hybrid opportunities for public participation in addition to in-person attendance, including continued use of teleconference and/or online video platforms such as Zoom.

    The Coblentz Real Estate team continues to track ongoing updates related to the project approval landscape across the Bay Area in light of the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis. Please reach out to a member of our team for assistance navigating state and local COVID regulations related to land use and development.