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Attorney Highlight

Michael Graham

Where did you go to school/obtain your degree?
After a four-year stint in the U.S. Navy as a Radar Air Controller, I resumed my college education and graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1974. I then went to northern California, and attended the University of California, San Francisco, Hastings College of the Law, graduating with a juris doctorate in 1977.     

What is your primary focus(es) in the practice of law?
I am a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law, under the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. I am now engaged primarily in Estate and Trust Administrations, but also continue to serve my existing client base in consulting on, planning and drafting complex estate plans. I am also licensed under both the State Bar of California (1977) and the State Bar of Nevada (1985).

What has been your most fulfilling or rewarding experience in the practice of law?
Helping families to establish solid estate plans for the benefit of the clients, their parents, children, and other relatives. A good estate plan gives stability and cohesiveness to family relationships and protects individuals. It is one of the few areas of law that, upon the conclusion of the project, all concerned feel good about the outcome.  

Where are you originally from and which MOBO Law office are you based out of?
I was born in Valparaiso, Indiana and raised my entire childhood in Salina, Kansas. In fact, I have a group of 8 friends who started kindergarten together and attended the same schools all the way through graduation from Salina High School. After the educational years at UCSB and Hastings, I practiced law in a small law firm in San Francisco for 2 years, and then ventured into a new law firm being established in Truckee, called Wood, Porter, Simon and Graham, in 1979. In 1994, I became a solo practitioner until I merged my solo practice with MOBO Law, LLP in 2019. I am based out of the High Street office of MOBO Law, LLP.

Why did you undertake the practice of law?
When I was an economics major undergrad at UCSB, I took a survey course in Business Law that touched on the various areas of law, and that sparked an interest in pursuing a legal education. I was intending to go into a financial career as a stockbroker but took the fork in the road to go to law school. At Hastings, I had a professor that wrote the book on Trusts and Estates, and he was also a guiding factor to become a Trust and Estates lawyer.  

What made you choose MOBO Law?
My primary motivation came from my meeting Erica Cooper at a law forum in San Diego. She is also a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law and I was looking to form a relationship with a younger attorney to develop my succession plan. It was also a bonus that she was working with Rich Molsby, with whom I had previous interaction on transactions involving both of our clients. I had great respect for Rich from that experience and it was a perfect fit for all of us. 

What is the best part of your job?
Building lasting friendships with clients that have endured for over 40 years. 

Changes to California Law in 2022
Minimum Wage and Notifications Regarding Unemployment Benefit Disqualification

Effective January 1, 2022, California Senate Bill No. 9 (SB-9) modifies the California Labor Code as it relates to minimum wage requirements for employers based upon number of employees. Specifically, employers who employ 26 or more employees are required to pay employees a wage of no less than fifteen dollars ($15.00) per hour. Employers who employ 25 or fewer employees are required to pay employees a wage of no less than fourteen dollars ($14.00) per hour. 
Additionally, California Assembly Bill No. 397 (AB-397) passed in October 2021, identifies revisions to the Unemployment Insurance Code that will go into effect in 2022. AB-397 requires the Employment Development Department (“EDD”) to provide notice of a proposed determination to an individual seeking unemployment benefits prior to disqualifying an individual and subjecting that person to a period of ineligibility. The required notice by the EDD will be required to provide specific information regarding the eligibility provision related to the false statement or misrepresentation on which the EDD is determining whether to disqualify the individual and the individual’s right to respond. Pursuant to AB-397, the EDD is required to implement these provisions upon completing any necessary technical changes to fulfill these requirements or by September 1, 2022, whichever is earlier. 
For further information about minimum wage or requirements related to unemployment benefit disqualification, please visit or

Modifications to Laws Regarding Housing Development Projects 

On September 28, 2021, California Senate Bill No. 478 (SB-478) was passed modifying the existing Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act. Existing law effectively prohibits or unreasonably restricts the construction or use of an accessory dwelling unit or junior accessory dwelling unit on a lot zoned for single-family residential use that meets specified standards. 
Effective January 1, 2022, SB-478 prohibits local agencies from denying a housing development project located on an existing legal parcel solely on the basis that the lot area of the proposed lot does not meet the local agency’s requirements for minimum lot size. This prohibition only applies to housing development projects that meet specific requirements, including, but not limited to, that the project must be located in a multifamily residential zone or a mixed-use zone, as specified. 
SB-478 further prohibits local agencies from imposing a floor area ratio standard that is less than 1.0 on a housing development project consisting of 3 to 7 units, or less than 1.25 on a housing development project consisting of 8 to 10 units. Local agencies are also prohibited from imposing a lot coverage requirement that would physically preclude a housing development project from achieving the floor area ratios described above. Any covenant, restriction, or condition contained in any deed, contract, security instrument, or other instrument affecting the transfer or sale of any interest in a planned development that effectively prohibits or unreasonably restricts a housing development project from using the above floor area ratio standards is now void and unenforceable. 
For further information about zoning and floor area ratio requirements related to housing development projects, please visit:

If you have questions regarding discrimination by insurance carriers or requirements for common-interest community associations, please contact MOBO LAW, LLP.

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