Murphy Austin Adams Schoenfeld LLP

Murphy Austin Adams Schoenfeld LLP

The Sacramento law firm of Murphy Austin Adams Schoenfeld LLP focuses on the core areas of business and real estate transactions, healthcare, construction, labor and employment law, and tax and commercial litigation.

Firm Overview

Every partner brings years of experience in his or her area of expertise. Our attorneys practice in a wide variety of state and federal administrative settings, in the California state trial and appellate courts, and in the United States District Courts, Court of Appeals, and Supreme Court. We are regularly asked by our clients to represent their interests in the following areas:

-Antitrust and Trade Regulation
-Business and Commercial Litigation
-Campaign and Governmental Ethics
-Construction
-Corporate and Business
-Environmental Litigation and Regulation
-Healthcare
-Intellectual Property Litigation
-Labor and Employment
-Public Contracts
-Real Estate
-Tax and Estate Planning
Main Office
Main Office
555 Capitol Mall, Suite 850
Sacramento  CA  95814
Phone
  • (916) 446-2300
Fax
  • (916) 503-4000
Websites
Business
The Business and Commercial Litigation Group of Murphy Austin Adams Schoenfeld LLP provides a full range of litigation, mediation and alternative dispute resolution services in both federal and state court.
Members of the Business Litigation Group work closely with members of the various practice groups as a team to most effectively address the needs of a particular client or case. The breadth of expertise and experience of our litigators allow us to effectively represent a variety of clients in unique and complex matters.

This group includes lawyers with particular expertise in the following areas:

COMMERCIAL LITIGATION
Contractual Disputes; Unfair Competition; Complex Commercial Litigation; Intellectual Property; Lender Liability and Bad Faith; Foreclosures; Receiverships; Covenants Not to Compete; Disputes among Shareholders, Partners, and Limited Liability Company Members; Insurance coverage.

REAL PROPERTY LITIGATION
Condemnation Actions; Land Use; Zoning; Use Permits; CEQA; Leases and Subleases; Disposition of Abandoned Property; Contracts, including Purchase and Sale Agreements with Option Agreements; Unlawful Detainer; Easements and Adverse Possession; Boundary Disputes.

J. Scott Alexander

Scott Alexander, a partner with the Construction Law Team, currently serves as the managing partner of Murphy Austin Adams Schoenfeld LLP. Scott practices business and commercial litigation throughout all California state and federal courts, with a primary emphasis in construction and real estate litigation, public contracts and complex contract disputes.

Scott routinely represents public entities, private owners, general contractors, subcontractors, and architects and engineers on a broad array of issues within the construction industry, including contractor licensing matters, bid protests, prosecution and defense of impact, delay and disruption claims, defective construction claims, complex contract disputes, negligence and tort claims, false claims, and mechanics' lien, stop notice and bond claim actions. Scott's broad experiences on public (both state and federal) and private projects have provided him with critical background in the areas of design and engineering standards, construction management, construction means and methods, and the presentation and defense of construction claims.
Education
  • University of the Pacific
    Juris Doctorate

Peter A. Austin

Peter Austin is an associate with the Business Litigation Team, the Intellectual Property Team, the Real Estate Law Team, and the Environmental Law Team. Peter assists with general civil litigation matters, covering a broad range of substantive areas, including contract disputes, eminent domain actions, corporate derivative actions, zoning disputes, intellectual property matters, and other business-oriented disputes.

While attending the University of Chicago Law School, Peter drafted legal documents and researched legal issues at the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship and at the Illinois Attorney General's Office, Welfare Litigation Bureau.

Peter received his B.A. in History, with honors, and a minor in Biology from Swarthmore College. He earned his M.A. in East Asian Studies at Yale University and was awarded his J.D. from University of Chicago.
Education
  • University of Chicago Law School
    Juris Doctorate

Russell J. Austin

Russell Austin has extensive experience in real estate and business law. He has planned, negotiated and documented a complete array of real property transactions and supporting documentation, including purchase and sale transactions, exchanges, syndications, partnership and LLC formations, and a wide variety of financing transactions for owners/developers, conservation organizations and other non-profit organizations, and public agencies.

A substantial portion of Russell's practice is focused on conservation transactions, including both fee acquisitions and conservation easements. Russell also has substantial experience in several aspects of real estate litigation, including complex foreclosure actions for lenders and borrowers.

Russell is listed in the 1997 through 2015 editions of The Best Lawyers in America as one of the Sacramento area's outstanding real estate attorneys and from 2005 through 2014 he has been listed as a Super Lawyer in Northern California Super Lawyers. Russell was named Best Lawyers' 2010 Sacramento Real Estate Lawyer of the Year. He was named in the Sacramento Business Journal's 2013 and 2014 "Best of the Bar" list which recognizes top local attorneys who have been nominated by their peers and vetted by a panel of their peers. Since 1992, Russell has been rated "AV" by Martindale-Hubbell. He leads the firm's commercial real estate law team which was awarded "Tier One" rankings for practice excellence in the U.S. News Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" 2014 report.

Russell has served as a Visiting Professor of Law at King Hall School of Law at the University of California (Davis), teaching Real Estate Finance, has served as an Adjunct Professor in the graduate tax program at the McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, and was an Instructor at Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. Russell was a contributing editor for Real Estate Purchase and Sale Transactions and Organizing Corporations in California, both published by the California Continuing Education of the Bar. He has been a frequent panel speaker and moderator at continuing education seminars on real estate law.

Russell has been active in a number of community organizations and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Sacramento Valley Conservancy and the Board of Directors for the Sacramento Sutter Club. He was recognized by the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce as its "Volunteer of the Year" for 2001.

Russell has also been active in the Sacramento County Bar Association, has served as Chair of the Voluntary Legal Services Program and President of Legal Services of Northern California. In 1992, Russell received a President's Pro Bono Service award from the California State Bar and, in 1993, he received a Pro Bono Publico award from the American Bar Association. In 1994, Russell was recognized by the Sacramento County Bar Association as its Humanitarian of the Year.

Upon graduation from law school in 1980, Russell joined the San Francisco firm of Marron Reid, LLP and in 1982, helped open its Sacramento office. In 1999, Russell was one of the founding partners of Murphy Austin Adams Schoenfeld LLP, serving as its first Managing Partner from 1999 to 2001 and again from 2005 to 2007.

He received his B.A. with highest honors, from the University of California Santa Barbara, his J.D. from University of California, Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law, and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Order of the Coif.
Education
  • University of California, Berkeley School of Law
    Juris Doctorate

Donald E. Brodeur

Donald Brodeur is a partner in the Estate Planning, Tax Law and Corporate and Business Law Teams. His practice focuses on the representation of clients in the areas of corporate and partnership law, business and tax planning, corporate reorganizations, tax problems of corporations and partnerships, corporate acquisitions, recapitalizations and divisions, estate and gift tax matters, estate planning, and real estate tax matters.

In addition to his active practice, Don is a member of the State Bar of California, and the Sacramento County Bar Association's Tax Section. He is a former Board member of the Sacramento Estate Planning Council. He served as a Senior Adjunct Professor in the Graduate Tax Program at Golden Gate University from 1982 to 2000 where he taught Taxation of Corporations and Shareholders, and Taxation of Corporate Reorganizations. He was named the University's outstanding tax instructor in 1986 and 1990.

Don was named in the Sacramento Business Journal's 2013 "Best of the Bar" list which recognizes top local attorneys who have been nominated by their peers and vetted by a panel of their peers. Don is an AV Peer Review Rated attorney, the highest rating given by Martindale-Hubbell for legal ability and ethical standards.

Don earned his B.S. from the United States Military Academy in 1971, and his J.D. from the University of the Pacific's McGeorge School of Law in 1976. He received his LL.M. in Taxation from McGeorge School of Law in 1982.
Education
  • University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law
    LL.M.

Kent N. Calfee

Kent Calfee is Of Counsel with Murphy Austin Adams Schoenfeld LLP and is a member of the Real Estate Law and Corporate and Securities teams. Kent has extensive experience in representing clients in real estate matters including purchase and sale, leasing, financing, real property tax, and land use matters.

Kent has handled complex transactions involving 1031 exchanges, loan restructuring, family business planning and reorganization, and large agricultural operations. Kent has a strong background in areas of agricultural law, and has represented landlords and tenants, including orchard development transactions, growers, processers, and marketers.

Kent also has experience in counseling business clients, including successful family businesses, in the formation of business entities, purchase and sale agreements, reorganization and dissolutions of business entities, and general operational business counselling. Kent is an AV Peer Review Rated attorney, the highest rating given by Martindale-Hubbell for legal ability and ethical standards.
Education
  • Hastings College of the Law
    Juris Doctorate

Keeva G. Coe

Keeva Coe is a partner with the Real Estate Law Team. She has extensive experience in commercial real estate and business law. She represents real estate owners, developers, buyers, sellers, investors, landlords and tenants in planning, negotiating, documenting and closing a wide range of commercial real estate and business transactions. Her practice focuses on real property development, large complex purchase and sale transactions, 1031 tax-deferred exchanges, and representing developers in the creation of mixed-use, condominium, and master-planned communities.

She has considerable experience representing clients in easements, pipelines, subdivisions, CC&Rs, REAs, various communications facilities transactions, and office, commercial, industrial, telecommunications and agricultural leases. She represents clients in purchases, sales and leases of environmentally contaminated properties. She provides representation on development and operation of business parks and residential subdivisions. She also advises clients in the formation, operation and dissolution of business entities.
Education
  • Hastings College of the Law
    Juris Doctorate

Jeffrey W. Curcio

Jeffrey Curcio is a partner with the Corporate and Securities Team and Chair of the Tax Law Team. Jeff served as Managing Partner of the firm from 2002 through 2004. Jeff represents clients before the Examination, Appeals and Collection Divisions of the IRS. His primary emphasis is on income tax matters for all types of taxpayers, but he also is involved with planning and controversies concerning other federal and state tax matters.

Jeff also has an active business practice, representing clients in many industries, including accounting, advertising, agriculture, architecture, consulting, construction, engineering, healthcare and law. His representation involves all phases of business counseling, including formation through dissolution of general partnerships, limited partnerships and partnerships, limited liability companies, and corporations. He has extensive experience in contract negotiation and drafting, in such areas as employment, mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations, consulting and buy-sell agreements.

In addition to his active practice, Jeff is a member of the Sacramento County Bar Association's Tax Section, serving as Chair from 1991 - 1992. He is also a member of the Healthcare and Business Sections of the County Bar. Admitted to the California State Bar in 1982, he is also admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California and the U.S. Tax Court.

Jeff served as Adjunct Professor in the School of Taxation at Golden Gate University from 1987 through 2003, and has been recognized with an "Outstanding Faculty" award. He participated in the California Chamber of Commerce's statewide presentations on the California Limited Liability Company Act. Jeff has also been a seminar presenter for many tax and business programs.

Jeff graduated from California State University at Hayward with a B.S. degree. He holds a J.D. from McGeorge School of Law, and an LL.M. in Taxation from Boston University. Jeff also attended Salzburg University and received a certificate in International Legal Studies and Jurisprudence. He is a member of the scholastic Traynor Society at McGeorge School of Law, and received The American Jurisprudence Awards for highest grades in the classes of Contracts and Business Associations. Jeff wrote for McGeorge's Pacific Law Journal, Volume 11.

Jeff is an AV Peer Review Rated attorney, the highest rating given by Martindale-Hubbell for legal ability and ethical standards.
Education
  • Boston University
    Juris Doctorate

Suzanne E. Hennessy

Suzanne Hennessy is a partner with the Real Estate Law Team and the Healthcare Law Team. Suzanne has extensive experience in general real estate matters including commercial leasing, purchases and sales and providing general real estate advice to a variety of clients from major developers to healthcare providers. She has also provided representation to a number of financial institutions and commercial lenders, in some transactions, and borrowers in other transactions, in the origination, modification and restructuring of commercial and real estate loans to borrowers within the Northern California and Central Valley areas.

In addition to her busy practice, Suzanne has been a speaker on various real estate topics including the real estate and leasing aspects of the Americans with Disabilities Act. She has been a consultant for the California Continuing Education of the Bar and is a past member of the UCC Committee for the State Bar of California. Suzanne served on the Board of Directors of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) and has served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of Fairy Tale Town. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the American Heart Association.

Suzanne is an AV Peer Review Rated lawyer, the highest rating given by Martindale-Hubbell for legal ability and ethical standards. She graduated from UCLA with a BSN in nursing and holds a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Prior to joining Murphy Austin Adams Schoenfeld LLP, Suzanne was a partner with Diepenbrock, Wulff, Plant & Hannegan, LLP, clerked for the Alaska Court of Appeals, and worked in Anchorage, Alaska as an associate with the law firm of Perkins Coie. She is a member of both the Alaska and California Bar Associations, as well as a member of the Business and Real Property Section of the State Bar, the Real Property Section of the Sacramento County Bar, the California Society of Healthcare Attorneys, and the American Health Lawyers Association.
Education
  • Hastings College of Law
    Juris Doctorate

Steve A. Lamon

Steve Lamon is a partner with the Construction Law Team, the Business and Commercial Litigation Team, and the Real Estate Litigation Team and has significant experience in complex construction, business, and real estate litigation in all levels of California state courts. Steve has more than 25 years legal experience, including negotiating and drafting contracts for public and private sector clients, and resolving myriad types of civil disputes, including both the prosecution and defense of claims. Steve's emphasis is in handling business and contract related cases in a broad range of areas, including construction, real estate, landlord/tenant, partnership dissolution, and corporate lawsuits of all kinds.

Steve previously owned the Lamon Law Office in Yuba City, California. Before opening his own law office in 2005, Steve was an associate and later a shareholder in the prominent Sacramento firm of McDonough, Holland & Allen for over 13 years. Prior to that, he was an associate attorney in two prominent Bay Area law firms.

Steve has been involved in hundreds of cases and dozens of trials, and has been successful in both defending cases and in winning several multi-million dollar judgments.

Steve was recently selected the Best Attorney in the Yuba/Sutter area by a poll conducted by the Appeal Democrat newspaper, and was also recently listed among Northern California's Super Lawyers in a poll conducted by San Francisco Magazine.

Steve has spoken on issues concerning public and private contracting and construction for the Valley Contractors Exchange.

Steve earned his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and his J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Steve also studied for two years abroad, with a year in Amsterdam, Holland, and a second year in Cairo, Egypt.
Education
  • Hastings College of the Law
    Juris Doctorate

John G. Monley

John Monley is an associate with the Real Estate Law Team at Murphy Austin Adams Schoenfeld LLP. John's practice focuses on commercial real estate and business transactions, including purchase and sale, leasing, easements and covenants and business entity formation, management and dissolution.

John's experience prior to joining the firm includes nearly two years as an associate with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, where his practice focused on venture capital financing, private equity transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and securities.

John received his B.S. in Managerial Economics from University of California, Davis. He was awarded his J.D., cum laude, from University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where he was an editor for the Hastings Communication and Entertainment Law Journal. While in law school, John interned for Disability Rights Advocates and participated in the Community Economic Development Clinic. John received CALI Awards for Excellence in Federal Income Taxation and Moral Foundations of the Law.
Education
  • Hastings College of the Law
    Juris Doctorate

Dennis R. Murphy

Dennis Murphy is a partner in the Labor and Employment Law Team. His experience commenced in 1972 and includes the representation of employers in every aspect of labor and employment law. It includes both trial and appellate advocacy and counseling. He has appeared before the United States Supreme Court, before many state and federal appellate courts, in numerous jury trials and before most of the governmental agencies that handle labor and employment issues. Additionally he has represented employers in every aspect of union-management issues. His clients include a professional sports organization, the state legislature, soft drink bottling companies, transportation companies, construction companies, universities and law schools, insurance brokers and others.

Dennis successfully represented the California State Assembly in two high profile sexual harassment cases - Holman vs. Connolly and Boyd vs. Conroy. He has appeared before the United States Supreme Court in Concrete Pipe and Products vs. Construction Laborers Pension Trust.

He is a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of California, the Labor Advisory Committee of the California Chamber of Commerce, and has served as a panelist and moderator for the California Continuing Education Bar Labor Law presentations.

Since 1986, Dennis has been peer rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell. He is listed in the 2014 and 2015 editions of The Best Lawyers in America and is listed as a Super Lawyer in the 2005, 2006, and 2011 through 2014 editions of Northern California Super Lawyers. He was named in the Sacramento Business Journal's 2013 and 2014 "Best of the Bar" list which recognizes top local attorneys who have been nominated by their peers and vetted by a panel of their peers.

Dennis received his B.S. and J.D. degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Education
  • University of California, Los Angeles
    Juris Doctorate

Lisa D. Nicolls

Lisa Nicolls is a partner with the Construction Law Team, the Business and Commercial Litigation Team, and the Real Estate Litigation Team. Her practice focuses on all aspects of general civil litigation with an emphasis on construction and business law, which includes the representation of contractors, subcontractors, developers, owners and design professionals. Lisa has been involved in numerous complex construction disputes and assisted in substantial trial preparation in defense of a contractor's $20+ million claim on a large wastewater treatment plant project. She also assisted in the preparation and trial of a contractor's $6+ million claim in the United States Court of Federal Claims, and has assisted in the prosecution and defense of numerous construction claims, both public and private, including mechanic's lien, stop notice, and payment bond claims. Lisa also recently represented a national homebuilder in a complex $5+ million dispute in State Court involving enforcement of an infrastructure cost-sharing agreement and represented a developer against a national home-builder in State Court involving enforcement of an option agreement.

Lisa received her B.S., with honors, in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, in 2000 and was awarded her J.D. in 2004 from the University of California, Davis. Lisa is listed in the 2013 and 2014 editions of Northern California Super Lawyers.
Education
  • University of California, Davis School of Law
    Juris Doctorate

Catherine M. Oh

Catherine Oh is a partner with the Real Estate Law Team and represents commercial real estate developers, owners, investors, landlords and tenants, including corporate real estate clients in healthcare and other industries, in a variety of commercial real estate matters. Catherine has expertise in transactions ranging from leases for retail, office and industrial properties, purchase and sales of shopping centers, office buildings and unimproved land, and loan transactions including acquisition, construction and permanent financing and related workouts and restructurings. Catherine negotiates and documents leases, purchase and sale agreements, loan documents, and an array of other real estate and business contracts, provides due diligence and title analysis, coordinates closings, and works closely with her clients in providing advice at all stages of their transactions.

Catherine received her B.A. in History from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1996 and was awarded her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 2001. While in law school, she served as a member of the Hastings Law Journal and the Asian/Pacific American Law Students Association.
Education
  • Hastings College of the Law
    Juris Doctorate

Michael O'Neil

Michael O'Neil leads the firm's Environmental Practice Team. His practice includes environmental law, and commercial and real property litigation.

Substantive practice areas in environmental law include CERCLA, RCRA, CWA, CAA, ESA, and their respective state-law counterparts. His environmental litigation practice includes representing clients in private and government cost recovery actions, federal and state civil enforcement actions, and administrative proceedings. Michael's transactional and regulatory compliance activities include negotiating, drafting, and due diligence investigations related to environmental matters in real estate and business transactions and providing counsel on compliance and permitting matters.

Michael represents businesses, individuals, shareholders, officers, directors, and public entities. Michael emphasizes identifying, at the outset, client objectives and implementing a cost-effective strategy to best achieve those goals.

Examples of Michael's comprehensive environmental practice and the breadth of his experience in commercial and real property litigation are presented below.
Education
  • University of Wisconsin
    Juris Doctorate

D. Michael Schoenfeld

Mike Schoenfeld is a partner and head of the firm's Construction Law Team. Mike's practice actively involves all aspects of the construction industry, both federal and state, from drafting and negotiating of contract language, licensing issues, bid protests, consultation during construction and through dispute resolution. Mike's clients include public and private owners, general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, architects, engineers, construction managers and consultants. Matters frequently involve issues concerning delay, loss of productivity, liens, sureties, and other aspects calling for analysis and strategy. Mike has a particular interest and expertise in ADR processes, both as an advocate as well as an active mediator and arbitrator.

Mike has successfully acted as a mediator on more than 100 matters. Virtually all of the cases have concerned the construction industry, with many involving multiple parties (up to 24) involving delay, disruption, and extra work claims, as well as alleged defects and/or deficiencies in performance. As an advocate, virtually all of the matters for which Mike is retained as counsel resolve themselves through the mediation process. Overall, Mike has participated in well over 300 mediations and successfully negotiated several takeover agreements with sureties related to general contractor and subcontractor defaults.

In addition to his active practice, Mike is a member of the Sacramento and California Bar Associations and the Public Contract Law Section of American Bar Association. He serves as a member of the Legal Advisory and Legislative Committees of Association of General Contractors of California, and regularly drafts and/or comments upon legislation concerning the construction industry and testifies regarding same before the California legislature. Mike is listed in the 2007 through 2015 editions of The Best Lawyers in America and in the 2007 through 2014 editions of Northern California Super Lawyers, and is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell.

Mike was named Best Lawyers' 2015 Sacramento Construction Lawyer of the Year.
Education
  • Hastings College of Law
    Juris Doctorate

Kenneth I. Schumaker

Kenneth I. Schumaker is a partner with the Construction Litigation Team. His practice focuses on all aspects of general civil litigation with an emphasis on construction litigation, which includes the representation of contractors, developers, owners and design professionals, contract and real property disputes, business and commercial matters, and insurance coverage and litigation issues.

Ken is an AV Peer Review Rated lawyer, the highest rating given by Martindale-Hubbell for legal ability and ethical standards.

Ken received his J.D. from Boston University School of Law in 1995. While in law school, he served as an Articles and Book Review Editor for the Boston University Public Interest Law Journal. Ken graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1992 with Bachelors Degrees in History and Political Science. He was admitted to practice in California in 1995, and was also admitted to practice in Nevada in 2000.
Education
  • Boston University School of Law
    Juris Doctorate

V. Blair Shahbazian

Blair Shahbazian is a partner with the Construction Law Team and Real Estate Law Team and served as managing partner of Murphy Austin Adams Schoenfeld LLP from 2008 to 2012. He formerly was a partner of Diepenbrock, Wulff, Plant & Hannegan, LLP, with which he started his legal career in 1986. His practice area focuses on general civil litigation and transactions with emphasis in construction and real estate law, including negotiating and drafting contracts; public contract procurement, including bid protests; and real estate litigation. He has represented public and private property owners, developers, general contractors and subcontractors, design consultants, public entities, property management companies, receivers and suppliers of goods and services.

Blair is a member of the Sacramento County Bar Association's Construction Law Section and the American Bar Association's Public Contract Law Section and Forum on the Construction Industry. He has served as a Pro Tem Settlement Conference Judge and Arbitrator for the Sacramento County Superior Court, as well as an Early Neutral Evaluator for the United States District Court, Eastern District of California.

Blair has spoken on issues concerning public and private contracting and construction for the American Arbitration Association, the California Continuing Education of the Bar, Lorman Education Services, the Sacramento County Bar, the National Purchasing Managers Association and Sterling Education Services.

Blair is listed in the 2013 and 2014 editions of Northern California Super Lawyers, and is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell. He graduated from the University of California, Davis with a B.A. in Political Science in1982 and earned his J.D. from Hastings College of the Law in 1986.
Education
  • Hastings College of Law
    Juris Doctorate

Aaron B. Silva

Aaron B. Silva is an attorney with the Labor and Employment Law Team at Murphy Austin Adams Schoenfeld LLP. Aaron has an extensive background defending employers before state and federal courts, the National Labor Relations Board, the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, the California Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board and Cal/OSH Appeals Board. He has prepared numerous cases for trial and arbitration, in addition to having served as assistant trial counsel in a multi-week trial before the Eastern District Court of California.

In his litigation practice, Aaron defends depositions and serves as lead author for many of the Department's principal matters, including dispositive motions and appeal briefs. In addition, he is one of just a few California attorneys with expertise in occupational safety and health law, having formally served in the Cal/OSH Appeals Board legal department. His prior experience with the California Public Employment Relations Board is also a valuable asset when assisting businesses faced with union organizing campaigns, unfair labor practice charges, and federal injunctions sought by the General Counsel of the NLRB.

In his counseling practice, Aaron advises companies in all areas of employment law including employment classification, employee termination, leave decisions, union matters and drafting effective and enforceable employment policies. He frequently speaks on labor and employment issues for businesses, employers, and human resources groups. He also performs management training in the areas of avoiding discrimination and other public policy violations as well as required sexual harassment training for supervisors and managers.

Aaron was awarded his J.D. from the University of California, Davis School of Law. Prior to joining Murphy Austin Adams Schoenfeld LLP, he worked for both the Cal/OSH Appeals Board and the California Public Employment Relations Board.

Aaron is a member of the Rotary Club of Folsom, the Sacramento Area Human Resource Association, and the Folsom Chamber of Commerce. He was named a Rising Star by Northern California Super Lawyers magazine in 2013 and 2014.
Education
  • Davis School of Law
    Juris Doctorate

Henry W. Chu

Henry Chu's practice focuses on commercial real estate, including purchase and sales, leasing, easements and CC&Rs.

Henry received his J.D. in 2013 from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where he was the Senior Development editor of the Hastings Law Journal. In 2008, he received his B.A., with honors, in Political Science from the University of California, Davis. Prior to joining Murphy Austin, he worked as an associate at a Roseville law firm that represents large developers and general contractors in California.

Shawn M. Joost

Shawn Joost's practice focuses on business and commercial litigation with an emphasis on construction and employment law. Shawn has more than ten years of experience in complex litigation, including business contracts, real estate matters, trade secrets, construction disputes, securities, employment, and mass torts. She is experienced in both the prosecution and defense of claims.

In addition to her extensive legal career with highly-respected California firms, Shawn brings several years of experience as an Executive Director and Senior Manager with non-profit organizations, spanning the fields of legal services, education, and health. Her experience directing these organizations provides a unique and valuable perspective on the real-world business issues faced by her clients.

Shawn received her Juris Doctor degree, magna cum laude, from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. During law school, she was awarded the Order of the Coif as well as American Jurisprudence Awards in Civil and Criminal Procedure. She also served as a Note Editor on the Hastings Law Journal. Shawn graduated with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.

Active in the community, Shawn currently serves on the UC Davis Children's Hospital Children's Miracle Network Business Advisory Council and volunteers as a classroom facilitator for Operation Protect & Defend, which provides civic education in public schools.

Jonathan T. Kendrick

Jon Kendrick's practice focuses on commercial real estate transactions, including commercial leasing and purchases and sales with a special focus on providing real estate counsel to healthcare providers and developers. Jon also advises and represents clients in matters related to California's Proposition 65 warning requirements.

Jon was previously with Locke Lord LLP where he advised clients in real estate, business and environmental matters, including representing clients before administrative agencies such as the California Energy Commission and the California Environmental Protection Agency.

Jon received his B.A in International Political Economy from University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. He was awarded his J.D. from the University of California, Davis School of Law, where he was a senior article editor for the Journal of International Law & Policy and the fundraising chair for the Humanitarian Aid Legal Organization.

Mikhail Parnes

Mike Parnes' practice focuses on providing litigation and counseling services to owners, developers, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, sureties and public entities in all aspects of construction law. He advises clients regarding state and local tax matters. Mike also counsels entrepreneurs, investors, and managers seeking opportunities in California's emerging cannabis industry.

Mike was previously with Barth Daly LLP where he represented clients in real estate, creditor-debtor, employment, and trust disputes as well as advising multistate businesses on state and local tax matters. Before Barth Daly LLP, Mike worked as a senior tax specialist at Avalara, Inc., where he advised multistate businesses on sales and tax matters on the Tax Advisory Services team.

Mike received his B.A., magna cum laude, in philosophy from San Diego State University. He was awarded his J.D. from the University of California, Davis School of Law, where he was the external vice president of the law students association and a research assistant to Professor Darien Shanske in state and local tax issues.

Jonah I. Trotz

Jonah Trotz's practice focuses on various commercial real estate and business transactions, including purchase and sales, and leasing.

Jonah received his J.D. in 2015 from the University of Michigan Law School where he was the recipient of the Dean's Scholarship Award. He earned a B.A. in Political Science from University of California, Los Angeles in 2012 and was admitted into the State Bar of California in 2015.

Prior to joining Murphy Austin, Jonah worked at the Michigan Law School's Entrepreneurship Clinic, drafting contracts, operating agreements, restricted unit agreements, and IP assignment documents for clients. He also worked as a summer law clerk at the San Francisco City Attorney's office.

R. Brooks Whitehead

Brooks Whitehead's practice focuses on commercial real estate, corporate and business law, and matters of taxation. His commercial real estate practice includes purchase and sale agreements, commercial leasing, and easements and covenants.

Brooks's transactional business practice includes matters such as choice of entity, formation, governance, dissolution, buy-sell agreements, mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations, contract review and drafting, and the like. He has advised and represented entities of all forms and types, including for-profit and nonprofit, domestic and international, corporate and pass-through.

Brooks's tax practice includes tax planning and tax controversy for both businesses and individuals, including matters of corporate, partnership, income, international, sales and use, employment, estate and gift, and property tax. Additionally, Brooks has experience in basic and complex estate planning and asset protections matters.

He is a former Chair and multi-year board member of the Tax Section of the Sacramento County Bar Association. His other professional associations include the Business and Real Property Sections of the SCBA and the Sacramento Estate Planning Council.

Brooks received his J.D. from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, where he was named a member of the Roger J. Traynor Honor Society. He also holds a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Transnational Business Practice from McGeorge, where his coursework emphasized taxation. Brooks also obtained a Master's Degree in Business Administration from California State University, Sacramento, and double-majored in Economics and Political Science while at the University of California, Davis.

Brooks was named a Rising Star by Northern California Super Lawyers in 2015 and 2016, which is awarded to the top 2.5% of practitioners under the age of 40. He also maintains an AVVO attorney rating of 10.0 Superb.

John Michael Stusiak

Michael Stusiak's practice focuses on complex commercial and financial services litigation concerning contract and tort claims involving commercial enterprises. In addition to serving Murphy Austin's clients, Michael also serves as general counsel to the firm.

Prior to joining Murphy Austin, Michael practiced for 26 years with the international law firm Morrison Foerster. Michael has represented parties in real property, contract, and consumer rights disputes, as well as land use and environmental matters, and class actions and mass-tort products liability litigation. He has extensive experience litigating commercial contract disputes and disputes concerning distressed commercial and residential real estate and related lender liability claims. Michael has represented parties in the resolution of matters through trial, appellate, and alternative dispute resolution procedures. Michael has also provided organization and risk management counsel and litigation support for nonprofits and other charities. Michael is listed in the 2009 edition of Northern California Super Lawyers. He graduated from California State University, Fresno with a B.A. in Political Science/Russian Area Studies in 1985 and earned his J.D. from University of California, Davis, School of Law in 1989.
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