A bill recently signed by Gov. Jerry Brown seeks to eliminate a two-month long delay on the state level in processing business applications.

Assembly Bill 113, authored by John Perez, D-Los Angeles, grants $2 million to the Secretary of State's office in attempt to eliminate a backlog of 122,000 business entity filings that currently take 65 calendar days to be processed, causing businesses to wait months to hire and finalize plans, according to the California Chamber of Commerce, which supported the bill. 

The bill, effective immediately, appropriates funds to support overtime and temporary workers to help get rid of the backlog.  

Speaker Perez has indicated that a trailer bill is likely that would require a five-day turnaround for business filings by November

“AB 113 sends a good message that our Legislature is resolving barriers to business formation,” Allan Zaremberg, president and CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement. "To be competitive, California must be able to finalize business filings consistent with what is the standard in other states.” 


Farella Braun + Martel LLP, with offices in St. Helena and San Francisco, announced the addition of three attorneys to its ranks.

[caption id="attachment_73351" align="alignright" width="420"] Alexis Petas, Jacqueline Swigler, Jake Storms[/caption]

Joining the firm are Alexis M. Petas as a senior associate in the tax group and Jacqueline P. Swigler as an associate in the business transactions group. Jake W. Storms joins Farella’s San Francisco and St. Helena offices as an associate in the real estate and land use department and wine industry group.

Mr. Storms’ practice focuses on environment and natural resources, land use and wine industry matters. His experience includes advising clients on land and mineral title issues, winery and vineyard regulatory and contracting issues, oil and gas law and energy development. He joins Farella from Stoel Rives’ Sacramento office. Mr. Storms received his J.D., with certificates in environmental law and public service law, from the University of California, Davis School of Law, where he was senior articles editor for the Journal of International Law and Policy.

Ms. Petas’ tax practice includes counseling publicly traded and privately held companies on mergers and acquisitions, international tax matters and corporate and partnership tax law. Her experience also includes formation and management of nonprofit organizations, federal and state tax controversy work, federal and state tax credits and tax-exempt financing. She joins Farella from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman’s Palo Alto office. Ms. Petas received her J.D. and a master of business taxation from the University of Southern California.

Ms. Swigler advises publicly traded and privately held companies in corporate transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, public and private equity transactions, technology and licensing, SEC compliance and general corporate governance matters. She joins Farella from Davis Polk & Wardwell’s Menlo Park office. Ms. Swigler received her J.D. from Harvard School of Law, where she was a senior editor of the International Law Journal.


Andrew Wolfe has joined the North Bay law firm Monty White LLP, which has offices in both San Rafael and Santa Rosa, as of counsel. Mr. Wolfe specializes in employment law on behalf of both employers and employees. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Mr. Wolfe has been named a "Northern California Super Lawyer" in employment law.  He has been lead counsel in 13 employment trials and is counsel of record in 16 employment law published court decisions.

Prior to joining Monty White, Mr. Wolfe was the senior employment lawyer at Ropers, Majeski, Kohn & Bentley, an international firm with locations in San Francisco, Redwood City, San Jose, New York City, Boston and Hong Kong. He has previously served as chair of the Marin County Bar Association's Employment Law Section. He will maintain a presence in both San Rafael and Santa Rosa.


Ron Abernethy was selected by County Executive Officer Nancy Watt as Napa County's official public defender, replacing longtime public defender Terry Davis, who retired last year.

Mr. Abernethy previously served as the chief deputy public defender for Napa County. Ms. Watt will ask the Napa County Board of Supervisors to confirm Abernethy’s appointment at its regular meeting on May 14.

Since the Public Defenders Office's inception in 1987, the office has provided criminal defense services for more than 75,000 defendants. Mr. Abernethy will oversee a staff of 23 and a $3.9 million annual budget. He joined the Public Defender’s office in 1997 and has been involved in budget preparation, hiring and discipline issues.

Before joining Napa County, he spent seven years in private practice at the firm of Harris, Perisho & Woodson in Stockton. He also spent 15 years in the San Joaquin County Public Defender’s Office, where he started his criminal defense career as a deputy public defender and rose to Assistant Public Defender.

Mr. Abernethy has tried more than 100 cases and has represented defendants in 30 homicide cases, some with special circumstances. He has appeared in several Superior Courts and in US District Courts, as well as argued cases in the State Court of Appeal. Mr. Abernethy has a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Sacramento State College and earned his J.D. from University of California Hastings College of the Law.


Submit items for this column to Staff Writer Dan Verel, dverel@busjrnl.com or 707-521-4257.