Bien & Summers Recognized for Excellence in Appellate Practice by "Best Law Firms"


Bien & Summers was recognized in the 2015 “Best Law Firms” list by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers® in the San Francisco metropolitan area and nationally for the excellence of the firm's appellate practice.


Firms included in the 2015 “Best Law Firms” list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.


The firm has also received individual honors.  Elliot Bien was selected by his peers for inclusion in the latest edition of "Best Lawyers" in the area of Appellate Practice.  Elliot has been included on the list since 2006.


About the ranking:  The U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings, for the fifth consecutive year, are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. Clients and peers were asked to evaluate firms based on the following criteria: responsiveness, understanding of a business and its needs, cost-effectiveness, integrity and civility, as well as whether they would refer a matter to the firm and/or consider the firm a worthy competitor.

Elliot Bien Honored by "Best Lawyers" for Appellate Practice


Elliot Bien was once again selected by his peers for inclusion in the latest edition of "Best Lawyers" in the area of Appellate Practice.  Elliot has been included on the list since 2006.

State Bar considering Bien's proposed rule on plagiarism


Following up on Elliot's 2014 article on plagiarism ("Officers of a court do not plagiarize," California Litigation, Vol. 27, No. 1, 2014), he submitted a detailed proposal on that subject in June 2015 to the California State Bar Commission For Revision of the Rules of Professional Conduct.  A working group has been assigned to this proposal and will report to the full commission.

A link to the full text of Elliot's rule proposal is below.


2249bien proposal for rule 5-200 .pdf

Recent Victories


On March 9, 2016, the Ninth Circuit unanimously reversed the pretrial dismissal of our clients' "class-of-one" Equal Protection claims in a land use case, Contasti et al. v. City of Solano Beach.  Remanding for a trial, the court held there was sufficient evidence that the city's denial of a permit to construct a residence treated the clients "differently and detrimentally" under Ninth Circuit precedent.


On April 22, 2015, the California Supreme Court denied review (and two depublication requests) in Richardson v. Franc (2015) 233 Cal.App.4th 744, securing the firm's victory for its clients in the First District Court of Appeal. The opinion reaffirms and elucidates the doctrine of irrevocable parol licenses, whereby verbal or silent acquiescence in a use of one's property becomes binding if there is reasonable and substantial reliance.


On April 10, 2015, overcoming the enormous odds against writ petitions, the firm obtained a peremptory writ of mandate for our client in the First District Court of Appeal based solely on a Palma notice, opposition and reply. (Campbell v. Superior Court; case no. A144153) The case tested the extent to which a good faith settlement bars cross-actions between alleged joint tortfeasors where, as here, the cross-complaint includes tort claims for direct damages as well as indemnity for the common plaintiff's damages.