Katy Young's Speaking Engagement Calendar

In September, Katy will again speak at the National Cannabis Bar Association’s Cannabis Law Institute Conference. This year the event will take place in Washington, D.C. on September 7-8, 2018. The National Cannabis Bar Association is the first bar association for business attorneys focused on cannabis industry clients. Katy also ran for and was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Cannabis Bar Association. As a Board member, Katy will be involved in programming for Continuing Legal Education events, weighing in as amicus curiae, and advocating for the advancement of the cannabis industry through lawyering.

In January, Katy will return as a speaker for The Seminar Group’s conference on Medical & Recreational Marijuana in Northern California. The event will take place in San Francisco on January 17, 2019. The Seminar Group is an educational content provider for continuing legal education and business.

Ad Astra and the Jewish Bar Association: Making Things Happen

Ad Astra is pleased to announce its continuing support as a “Macher Platinum” sponsor of the Jewish Bar Association in San Francisco, since its inception.

Their biggest accomplishment last year was raising more than $160,000 for the Southern Poverty Law Center, and garnering worldwide media attention, for the “Adopt-a-Nazi” fundraiser to counter an alt-right march on Crissy Field.  The JBA also put on more than 10 events in 2017, including a Volunteer Day at the SF Marin Food Bank, mixers and happy hours with other organizations and minority bar associations; and, its Annual Gala honoring Former Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich.  For more information on the JBA and the work they do , visit www.jbasf.org.

Employment Law Updates for 2018

Thank you to everyone who attended the employment law seminar last week! In case you missed it, you can find the slides from the presentation (Employment Law Updates for 2018)  here on our website.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Ad Astra is Hosting a Free Seminar- Employment Law Update for 2018

The Employment Law Department here at Ad Astra Law Group will be hosting an informational seminar on changes to laws affecting employers in California.

The purpose of this seminar is to provide employers and professional advisors with knowledge and best practices regarding the most important recent developments in employment laws, so they can keep their businesses, or their client’s business, compliant with the changing legal landscape for employers in 2018.



Employment Law Update for 2018


January 25, 2018


5:30pm-6:00pm Refreshments

6:00pm-7:00pm Program


The Variety Preview Room, The Hobart Building (Ground Floor)

582 Market Street

San Francisco, CA 94104


Seating is limited so please reply to mravalin@astralegal.com if you wish to attend.


Ad Astra Law Group, LLP provides its clients with a full range of legal services related to employment and human resource management. Ad Astra represents businesses in the technology, cannabis, restaurant and alcohol, wholesale, retail, transportation, professional services, real estate, and insurance industries, among others, and includes among its clients businesses ranging in size from fewer than ten to more than 5,000 employees.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions. Directions to the Hobart Building can be found here.

Partner Katy Young quoted in The American Lawyer

Katy Young quoted in an article from  yesterday’s The American Lawyer!

The article, entitled “Marijuana’ Rapid Growth Could Put New Spotlight on Arbitration”, highlights her cutting edge work in the cannabis space and the importance of alternative dispute resolution for businesses in this industry. Read the article here.

A Practical Ethics Potpourri: A View From The Litigation Trenches

This Thursday, August 31, experienced trial and appellate lawyer David Nied will be presenting at the San Francisco Lawyers Network from 11:30am to 1:00pm.

The program entitled “A Practical Ethics Potpourri: A View From the Litigation Trenches” will delve into ethical issues many lawyers face when preparing for trial.

For more information and to register please visit the SFLN website. Lunch and 1.0 MCLE credit will be provided

Live MyOHR Webinar - July 2017 Employment Law Update

Trina will be presenting with Jamie Orendac in a live MyOHR webinar – July 2017 Employment Law Update.

The webinar focuses on recent changes in California employment law as of July 2017, including new transgender regulations and criminal history considerations in employment decisions.  Trina and Jamie will also address notable measures currently being considered by California including the California Fair Pay Act and the Voluntary Veterans’ Preference Employment Policy Act.

Katy Young to Speak at Cannabis Law Institute in Denver, CO

Join Ad Astra Law Group and others in the legal cannabis industry Friday, July 28 and Saturday, July 29 for a two-day seminar at the Cannabis Law Institute.

Katy will be presenting on business disputes in the cannabis space and how litigating these disputes differs from other industries. “Business Litigation for Cannabiz: Same Same, but Different” will focus success-minded litigation strategies as well as tips for dispute resolution without litigation.

"Employment Blunders" Reception and Keynote

Employers! Join Annie Smiddy on Wednesday, August 2 for a reception and presentation addressing issues that could place your business at risk. For more information, please see the attached flyer.

2017 08 02 Employment Blunders

Ad Astra Welcomes Geoffrey Murry!

We are proud to announce a new star in our galaxy: Geoffrey Murry, an accomplished real estate litigator. Mr. Murry specializes in litigating real property matters such as easements, boundary disputes, neighbor disputes, construction matters, issues affecting title, disputes between buyers and sellers of real property, as well as homeowners associations and their members. Licensed since 2005, he has practiced law in San Francisco for over 6 years after attending law school and practicing in Southern California. He enjoys an excellent reputation among his colleagues. You can read Mr. Murry’s biography here. Welcome, Geoffrey!

Summer Special: 20% Off Estate Planning Services !

Most people drag their feet when it comes to executing an estate plan to protect their assets and plan for the worst. If you are one of those, then perhaps our summer special will spur you into action. Most of our clients are business owners or others who would benefit from having a comprehensive estate plan. We are offering a 20% discount on the full service estate plan package which includes powers of attorney for finances, an advance health care directive, a trust, and a will. Offer expires June 30th. Please contact Jazmine Capulong to get the process started and sign up by June 30 to take advantage of the savings!

Ad Astra in the News: Milpitas City Manager Threatens to Sue Mayor and City

Claire Cochran quoted in San Jose Mercury News article about our client’s claims against the Mayor of Milpitas. Read the article here.

Cannabis Speaking Engagements

Wendy Hillger has been invited to speak to California employers about cannabis issues.  The date is October 13, 2017.  More details to follow.  Katy Young also has other speaking engagements on cannabis matters. See here for a full schedule.

Wendy Hillger Prevails On Appeal - AGAIN!

Wendy Hillger can celebrate her fourth appellate victory of 2016. She argued an appeal on behalf of our client, a landlord whose tenant forced an unlawful detainer trial in Alameda County after not paying rent for 4 months. At the trial (which Ad Astra did not handle), the tenant made a habitability defense claim, but the judge ultimately ruled in favor of the landlord, granting possession and a money judgment for back rent. The tenant appealed, arguing that the reduced judgment correlated to a 25% monthly rent reduction and thus demonstrated habitability issues at the home. On appeal, Wendy Hillger argued…

Annie Smiddy Presented at an Employment Law Seminar for Businesses in Southern California

Thanks to Ad Astra’s Annie Smiddy, employers in Southern California learned about the important new laws that took effect at the start of 2017! If you’re a business owner or manager and have questions about these new laws, please contact us here.

Ad Astra Mentors Start-up Legal Cannabis Companies

We are proud to announce that Katy Young and Wendy Hillger have again been selected as mentors for legal cannabis companies participating in the Gateway Incubator.

@gtwyinc  #GTWY02

Ad Astra at WomenGrow Leadership Summit in Denver, CO

Katy Young and Wendy Hillger return to take Denver by storm again in February!  Thousands of other female leaders in the legal cannabis business will be there too.  The 2016 WomenGrow Leadership Summit was outstanding.  We expect that the @WomenGrow 2017 event will be even better.

Welcome Claire Cochran!

Ad Astra is so pleased to welcome our newest star attorney, Claire E. Cochran. Claire specializes in Plaintiff’s Labor and Employment litigation, business litigation including dissolution and termination of partnership agreements and limited liability companies, Labor and Employment counseling for employers, general counsel work for artists and small businesses.

Regina Franco Participates in Dia Ates Charity Fashion Show

Regina Franco, Managing Attorney of Ad Astra’s Family Law Department, modeled in a charity fashion show by Dia Ates which benefitted 27 different non-profits. The event was held  at The Green Room in the San Francisco War Memorial and featured community leaders from San Francisco and Dia Ates’ home town of Stockton. The models’ dresses will be for sale in a silent auction this week, proceeds to benefit the participating non-profits.

Trina Clayton Recognized as Bayview Hunters Point Community Legal “Volunteer of the Year”

Trina began volunteering with our partner BHPCL in 2015.  BHPCL’s mission is to provide universal access to legal representation, regardless of one’s ability to pay.  Since opening its doors in 2013, BHPCL has helped hundreds of clients, 80% of whom earn below $15,000 per year and would otherwise be unable to obtain help to solve their legal problems.

Through Ad Astra’s pro bono program, Trina continues to provide pro bono assistance for BHPCL, assisting their in-staff attorneys with a variety of legal issues involving contract and housing cases, employment disputes and other civil litigation matters.

Welcome Trina Clayton!

Ad Astra is extremely happy to welcome the newest member of our all-star team, Senior Counsel Trina Clayton! Trina is a seasoned civil litigation attorney with a history of representing both plaintiffs and defendants in a variety of matters including product liability, employment, personal injury, family law and complex litigation.  She has represented individual litigants as well as small businesses and multi-million dollar corporations.  Ms. Clayton is an experienced courtroom litigator and frequently appears in both state and federal court.  Always mindful of the economic risks and realities of trial, however, she actively strives for early resolution of cases whenever practicable through mediation, negotiation and other avenues of pre-trial settlement in order to obtain the best result for her clients.

Brian Worthington Recognized on the National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 Directory for Criminal Cases

Brian M. Worthington, Managing Attorney of Ad Astra’s Criminal Law Division, was recognized this month by the BASF Bulletin for having made The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 Directory for Civil and Criminal Law Cases.

Wendy Hillger Goes Two for Two in the California Appellate Courts this Month

On behalf of an Ad Astra client, Ms. Hillger brought home two appellate wins within a span of two weeks.  In the first matter, the First Appellate District of California upheld the trial court’s decision granting judgment in favor of an automobile supply distributor client.  The plaintiff (a competitor) filed suit against the client under the “Secret Rebate” and Unfair Competition statutes.  [Cal. Business and Professions code sections 17045 and 17200 et seq.]   A secret rebate is a ‘kick-back’ that is made available to some customers but concealed from others, to the detriment of competition.  Here, the Court of Appeal agreed with Ms. Hillger that there were no unlawful acts, as the client gave only standard industry discounts and it was not a secret.  You can read the opinion here.

The second case involved the same client, who had been sued by the same competitor…

Ad Astra in the News: Successfully Defending First Impression Fraud Allegations in the Cannabis Industry

On the front page of the Sunday morning edition of The Oregonian, reporter Noelle Crombie ran a story about the State of Oregon’s Department of Consumer and Business Services investigation of Cannacea, LLC and its owner Tisha Siler for fraud in connection with fundraising for a cannabis company that violated securities laws.
One of Ad Astra’s clients had provided consulting services to Siler and Cannacea and unwittingly became involved in Siler’s fraudulent scheme to raise capital that began with a fake letter from Oregon authorities stating that Siler had been “green lighted” for seven cannabis dispensary licenses. Crombie’s story ran before the investigation had been completed. In a follow-up story

Welcome Sean Gentry!

Ad Astra welcomes all-star attorney Sean B. Gentry. Sean is a top rated business litigation attorney, having been selected for inclusion in Northern California SuperLawyers as a “Rising Star” in 2016. He also specializes in advising employers, along with real estate matters, especially commercial real estate disputes.

Sean earned his law degree from the University of California Hastings College of the Law. While in law school, Mr. Gentry excelled at several competitions in Moot Court and Negotiations.

Sean now volunteers with the U.C. Hastings’ Center for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution, and its Moot Court Program, as well as with “We The People” high school civics team competitions. We are excited to welcome him to provide clients the best representation possible.


Maddisen Ravalin Volunteered with our Partners at Bayview Hunters Point Community Legal

Good legal help can be extremely difficult to find. Most low and moderate income families are unable to get any help solving their legal problems.  Not everyone benefits from the rights they are afforded by law, because they can’t afford to secure them. The goal of Bayview Hunters Point Community Legal (BHP CL) is to make civil legal aid a universal social resource in the area, one accessible to anyone in need of assistance regardless of income or social status. BHP CL serves just three zip codes in San Francisco (94124, 94134, and 94107) but these areas contain about 14% of people living under the poverty line in the city, creating a tremendous need for groups such as BHP CL who are dedicated to serving their community via the provision of free legal services…

Herman Hoying Attends the Northern District of California Judicial Conference

Every year the judges of the Unites States District Court for the Northern District of California hold a conference to discuss emerging issues in the legal profession and invite select members of the federal bar to attend.  This year, Senior Counsel Herman Hoying was invited and attended the three-day conference held in Napa.  The conference included panels on litigation funding, voir dire and jury selection practices in the Norther District and a lively discussion of the cases pending before the Supreme Court.  In addition to the educational opportunity, the conference provides the unique opportunity to interact with judges and other federal practitioners in a collegial setting outside of the courtroom.



Herman Hoying Co-Teaches Class at UC Davis Law School

Recently, Senior Counsel Herman Hoying co-taught a class regarding his pro bono work representing transgender inmates seeking access to adequate medical care at UC Davis Law School.  Herman led a lively discussion of students in Professor Lisa Pruitt’s Feminist Legal Theory class regarding the emerging legal issues and strategy questions posed by the litigation.


Welcome Brian Worthington!

We ventured to another new galaxy: criminal law! Ad Astra welcomes all-star criminal law attorney Brian M. Worthington.   Brian joins us to offer legal services for felonies and misdemeanors in adult and juvenile courts in all the Bay Area counties and beyond (San Francisco, Alameda, Marin, Napa, Sonoma, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Clara.)  Brian was selected for inclusion in Northern California SuperLawyers as a “Rising Star” in every year from 2013-2016. He has also been selected as a National Trial Lawyers Association “Top 100 Trial Lawyer” in every year from 2013-2016. Brian comes to us from The Worthington Law Centre, a boutique Criminal Defense firm that has been selected as a US News and World Report’s “Best Law Firm” every year from 2010-2016. Brian’s roster of past clients is deep and colorful, including a former Chief of Police, several prison guards, and even a V.P. at a Fortune 500 company! We are excited to welcome him and add another area where we can provide clients the best representation possible.

Partner David Nied Presents Oral Argument to Ninth Circuit in Beth Bodi v. Shingle Springs Band of Miwok

On Thursday, May 12, 2016, David Nied appeared in the 9th Circuit to argue on behalf of Ad Astra client Beth Bodi. Ms. Bodi successfully convinced the trial court not dismiss her employment discrimination complaint. The appellate court will consider whether to affirm that ruling.


Watch it here!

David Nied and Doug Bend Featured by Forbes Legal Council

Six legal experts and executives from Forbes Legal Council, including David Nied of Ad Astra Law Group and Doug Bend of Bend Law Group, were recently featured to discuss the best ways you can protect yourself and your business from a lawsuit. Both attorneys advise to think ahead and find good legal counsel before litigation becomes necessary. To see what else these experts have to say about preparing against threats and business litigation, read the article here:

Herman Hoying Recognized in the Bar Association of San Francisco Bulletin

Following Ad Astra Senior Counsel Herman Hoying’s work with the Justice & Diversity Center’s Federal Pro Bono Project, California became the first state to issue policy on the provision of appropriate medical care for transgender inmates. The article discusses the results of the settlement, including the criteria laid out on what constitutes safe and appropriate care for incarcerated transgender persons. To read more about this case and the work of the Justice & Diversity Center, please subscribe to the Bulletin or read the article online at blog.sfbar.org.

Welcome Regina and Taliah!

We ventured to an entirely new galaxy: family law! Ad Astra welcomes all-star family law attorney Regina Franco and paralegal Taliah Baatin. Our team is excited to welcome these two professionals and proud to offer our legal services for pre- and post-nuptial agreements, marital dissolutions, custody matters, domestic violence restraining orders, and anything in between.


The most bizarre, outrageous Airbnb feud story you’ll ever read

Wendy Hillger and her client Sandeep Hingorani were recently interviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle regarding their defense of a Complaint for fraud, trespass, ejectment and other claims related to an Airbnb rental and TIC neighbor dispute. Twice the Rent Board has found Ad Astra’s clients to be tenants under the S.F. Rent Ordinance.   Read about it here.


California Prison System Issues First of its Kind Policy in Response to Ad Astra Litagation

In response to pro bono litigation handled by Ad Astra Senior Counsel Herman Hoying, the California prison system became the first in the country to issue a policy providing guidelines for sex reassignment surgery as a treatment option for transgender inmates.  Ad Astra, along with co-counsel the Transgender Law Center and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, represent two transgender inmates, Michelle-Lael Norsworthy and Shiloh Quine, seeking access to adequate medical care and equitable treatment under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Mike Dorsi Quoted in Daily Journal on Ninth Circuit Oral Argument in U.S. v. Nosal

Following Ad Astra’s work on the NovelPoster v. Javitch Canfield Group matter, David Nied and Mike Dorsi filed an amicus curiae brief in the Ninth Circuit to provide the Court with input on how their decision in U.S. v. Nosal could affect civil litigants. Shortly before the hearing, a reporter reached out to Mike and David.

Ad Astra’s CFAA and CDAFA Claims Survive Demurrer in Law Firm Hacking Suit

Ad Astra is proud to represent Los Angeles based workers’ compensation law firm Reyes & Barsoum, LLP in a lawsuit involving claims that insurance defense law firm Knox Ricksen obtained thousands of privileged documents from Reyes & Barsoum’s third party cloud storage portal in violation of the CFAA, CDAFA, and Stored Communications Act (SCA).

David and Wendy are Hosting an Informational Webinar on Pitfall Employment Issues

David Nied and Wendy Hillger are presenting the second installment in a series of webinars regarding Employer-side issues. This 60 minute webinar will take place on July 7, 2015 at 10:00 am.  We will discuss “wage and hour” and employee classification.

Ad Astra Provides Free Continuing Education for Lawyers on May 1, 2015

David Nied and Wendy Hillger of Ad Astra are hosting an MCLE event, “How to Take an Effective Adverse-party Deposition.” This free event will take place on Friday, May 1, 2015 from 11:45am-1:00p.m. in downtown San Francisco.  The practice case facts will be distributed before the event so that participants can try their deposition questions on a live witness.  We also will be discussing how to deal with disruptive opposing counsel and witnesses.

David Nied Successfully Resolves Email Defamation Lawsuit in San Francisco

David Nied resolved a claim for defamation on behalf of a catering manager.  The firm’s client was the subject of an email sent to over 200 people which falsely asserted that she was convicted of financial fraud.  The email was sent by her former employer, a San Francisco eatery.  As a result, the client was unable to get a restful night of sleep thinking of the email’s contents and the false statements had a detrimental effect on her reputation and earnings at her new commission-based job.  The matter resolved in a mediation 4 weeks before trial.

David Nied and Wendy Hillger on Ways to Mitigate the Risks of Discrimination and Retaliation Lawsuits

David Nied and Wendy Hillger conducted a webinar regarding, “Mitigating the Risks of Discrimination and Retaliation Lawsuits.”  One of the most expensive threats to any business is a lawsuit for discrimination or retaliation.  These kinds of lawsuits strike at the emotions of those involved, and can attract a lot of negative publicity that can result in further harm to a business.   While the burden of proof on plaintiffs is great, California law provides a prevailing plaintiff with significant damages and other remedies.  This 50 minute webinar provided guidance about employment practices to help companies avoid these kinds of lawsuits and, in worst case scenarios, how to navigate a lawsuit most effectively.

The Ad Astra Law Group Trial Team Wins A Jury Verdict

On October 31, 2014, the Ad Astra Law Group trial team of David Nied and Wendy Hillger won a substantial jury verdict in a plaintiff’s employment retaliation/discrimination case. Following a two week trial in San Mateo County Superior Court, the jury found that the employee’s supervisor retaliated against her for filing complaints about the supervisor with the company’s HR department. An Executive Committee of the employer terminated the plaintiff’s employment on charges of workplace violence and insubordination, and the employer argued that the Executive Committee was insulated from the supervisor’s retaliatory intent. The jury disagreed, however, and found that the supervisor’s retaliatory acts set in motion the series of events that led to the Executive Committee’s decision. The jury also found that the employer had failed to protect the employee from the supervisor’s retaliatory acts. The jury awarded the employee all of her economic damages plus and additional amount for her non-economic losses.

California Assignments for the Benefit of Creditors Desk Guide

The fruits of many years of hard work and dedication on the part of California’s finest insolvency law practitioners. This convenient desk reference gathers together and outlines the provisions of each of the relevant statutes affecting the operation of assignments for the benefit of creditors under California law. This is a must-have for California business practitioners

Bain-Funded MedeAnalytics Sued by 10-Year Partner

Ad Astra Law Group,  LLP of San Francisco is representing Stella Systems in the complaint filed on February 26, 2014 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Be Ready to Try Your Case When it’s Called

Moreover, in late April the Judicial Council approved a new trial court funding methodology that will further deplete San Francisco Superior Court’s funding by another $7.8 million over the next five years.