Janet Portman

Attorney

Janet Portman joined Nolo in 1994 and is the Executive Editor. She has a Bachelor’s degree (Honors Humanities, Phi Beta Kappa) and Master’s degree (Religious Studies) from Stanford University, and a law degree from Santa Clara University of Law. Her first job was with the California State Public Defender, where she handled criminal appeals for indigent clients and spent six months trying cases for the Alameda County Public Defender. She successfully argued a case before the California Supreme Court. (People v. Woodard, 23 Cal.3d 329 (1979).) Janet is an active member of the California State Bar.

Work at Nolo. After taking some time away from the law to raise her family, Janet joined Nolo as part of the team writing the company’s first national landlord-tenant book, Every Landlord’s Legal Guide. She has authored or coauthored many books since then: Every Landlord's Guide to Finding Great Tenants, Every Tenant's Legal Guide, Renters' Rights, Negotiate the Best Lease for Your Business, Leases & Rental Agreements, The California Landlord's Law Book: Rights and Responsibilities, and California Tenants' Rights.  Drawing on her days as a “PD,” Janet also contributes to the criminal law sections of Nolo’s websites.

Janet has contributed commentary to major media outlets such as MSNBC, CNN, Kiplinger’s, and The New York Times. For many years she was a nationally-syndicated columnist, writing “Rent It Right” every week.

Why Nolo? Joining Nolo was a natural next step after the public defender’s office. Janet went from helping indigent criminal defendants to educating people about everyday civil law—how to understand it, apply it, and stay away from entanglements in the court system. She takes pride in writing books for both landlords and tenants, without bias. The best compliment she ever received came from a landlord who, having read Every Tenant's Legal Guide, said, “I wish all my tenants would read this—I’d have way fewer problems!”


Articles By Janet Portman

Class D and Level Four Felonies
Here you'll find an explanation of a Class D Felony classification, crimes that are considered Class D, and sentencing and penalty information.
Class B and Level Two Felonies
All states and the federal criminal code distinguish between felony crimes (serious offenses) and misdemeanors (less serious). Some states use a classification system to further rank felonies (from severe to less so).
Class A and Level One Felonies
Felonies classified as “Class A” or “Level One” are the most serious crimes, short of death penalty crimes. They incur long prison sentences and hefty fines.
Misdemeanor Crimes: Classes and Penalties
Most states and the federal criminal code have classified their misdemeanors into classes or levels.
Indeterminate vs Determinate Prison Sentences Explained
A determinate sentence is a jail or prison sentence that has a defined length and can’t be changed by a parole board or other agency. By contrast, an indeterminate sentence is one that consists of a range of years.
Federal Sentencing Guidelines
The federal sentencing guidelines are rules that federal judges are required to consider when sentencing someone who has been convicted of a crime.
Driving on a Suspended License in Alabama
As in all states, drivers licensed in Alabama who have been convicted of certain driving violations or other offenses may have their driving privileges suspended or revoked. Suspension means that the Director of Public Safety temporarily withdraws your license to drive. (Ala. Code § 32-1-1.1.) Revocation
Driving on a Suspended License in Georgia
Like all states, Georgia may suspend or revoke your driver’s license for varied reasons. A suspension typically means a temporary withdrawal of your driving privileges.
Driving on a Suspended License in Arizona
Arizona drivers may find their licenses suspended or revoked for particular driving violations or other criminal offenses.
Qualifying for Free Legal Services
A defendant who wants a free lawyer must ask the court, and provide personal financial information Each state (or even county) has its own rules about who qualifies as indigent.