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Volume 156, 2019 $6.95

2019 New Year’s Resolutions that Attorneys Don’t Want Their Bosses to Know About

Summer Eberhard

Pro Tip for Lawyers: 3 LinkedIn Business Development Resolutions that will Pay off in 2019

Samantha McKenna One Simple Calendar Trick High Achievers Don’t Want You to Know

Adrian Dayton California Case Summaries Monthly™

Monty A. McIntyre

Lawyers, Nail that Meeting with Your Prospective Client

Mike O’Horo What Is the Average Pay Raise?

Kirk Stange

Is Succession Planning on Your Firm’s 2019 To-Do List?

Roger Hayse

Attorney of the Month

Shawn Morris

Morris, Sullivan & Lemkul, LLP, San Diego Playing the Ultimate Game of Chess







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“I recently co-counseled a serious Las Vegas injury case with Rick Harris and his law firm. Rick’s advocacy and skills are extraordinary, and were instrumental in resolving and maximizing our client’s sizable recovery.” ~ Carl Wolf, Esq., Callaway & Wolf Northern California Super Lawyers San Francisco, California

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2019 EDITION—NO.156

TABLE OF CONTENTS 8 Lawyers, Nail that Meeting with Your Prospective Client by Mike O’Horo

10 One Simple Calendar Trick High Achievers Don’t Want You to Know


by Adrian Dayton

12 Community News

14 California Case Summaries Monthly™


by Monty A. McIntyre

EDITOR Wendy Price


16 Shawn Morris, Morris, Sullivan & Lemkul, LLP, San Diego Playing the Ultimate Game of Chess

CREATIVE SERVICES Penn Creative CIRCULATION Angela Watson PHOTOGRAPHY Chris Griffiths STAFF WRITERS Dan Baldwin Jennifer Hadley CONTRIBUTING EDITORIALISTS Adrian Dayton Mike O’Horo Kirk Stange Summer Eberhard Monty A. McIntyre Samantha McKenna Roger Hayse WEBMASTER Mariusz Opalka ADVERTISING INQUIRIES SUBMIT AN ARTICLE OFFICE 30211 Avenida De Las Banderas Suite 200 Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688 ADDRESS CHANGES Address corrections can be made via fax, email or postal mail.


22 Pro Tip for Lawyers: 3 LinkedIn Business Development Resolutions that will Pay off in 2019 by Samantha McKenna

24 What Is the Average Pay Raise? by Kirk Stange

26 2019 New Year’s Resolutions that Attorneys Don’t Want Their Bosses to Know About by Summer Eberhard

30 Is Succession Planning on Your Firm’s 2019 To-Do List? by Roger Hayse


Editorial material appears in Attorney Journals as an informational service for readers. Article contents are the opinions of the authors and not necessarily those of Attorney Journals. Attorney Journals makes every effort to publish credible, responsible advertisements. Inclusion of product advertisements or announcements does not imply endorsement. Attorney Journals is a trademark of Sticky Media, LLC. Not affiliated with any other trade publication or association. Copyright 2019 by Sticky Media, LLC. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced without written permission from Sticky Media, LLC. Printed in the USA




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Lawyers, Nail that Meeting with Your Prospective Client by Mike O’Horo


prospective client has identified three lawyers whom she believes possess the expertise and standing to solve her problem. The good news is that you’re one of them, and 10 minutes from now she’ll be sitting in your office to interview you. The less-good news? You don’t know much about her beyond whatever dry information a Google search and her LinkedIn profile revealed.

Listen carefully as she explains the tangible impacts of the problem. Don’t accept vague or abstract responses. You should be able to visualize what she’s saying. For example, “It’s making a mess of our production schedule” isn’t good enough. Can you visualize that? I can’t. Prompt for specifics.

Raise the Odds in Your Favor

She might say, “Critical materials are arriving too early, and they’re in the way of other processes that have to be completed before we can use those materials.” This, you can visualize. It’s real and concrete.

During that first meeting, how will you manage the conversation to raise the odds of being chosen? Begin with the only evidence that you have. Out of all the lawyers who work in your practice area, she’s considering you. Why? Ask her. This gets her selling you to herself. “It’s a pleasure to meet you. Thanks so much for coming in. May I ask why you thought I might be worth considering?” She’ll share her reasons for believing that you’re qualified, or a good fit for her, or any number of things that matter to her, but that you would never know to ask her. Thank her for her candor and move on to understanding her problem. “Thank you for that. Okay, let’s get to it. Please explain your problem, and what result you’re looking for.” She’ll explain the problem, and you’ll probe to make sure you understand it thoroughly. Now, it’s time for the crucial part that most salespeople (not just lawyers) don’t even know they should do, much less how to: Define the strategic and operational impact of the problem and get it translated into dollar terms. “I understand. So, how is all this affecting your business? What are the practical implications of this problem?” 8

Attorney Journals Orange County | Volume 156, 2019

“I understand but give me some examples of what you mean by ‘a mess.’”

Vague Doesn’t Motivate The whole purpose of this part of the interview is for her to reach or reinforce the conclusion that, “We must take action; it’s imperative, not optional.” Or, due to your astute help, she might realize it’s not imperative, in which case it’s time for you to be (privately) skeptical that there’s a real opportunity here and continue to qualify it rigorously. This is vital. Otherwise, you’re at risk of “no decision.”

You Aren’t Competing Against Other Lawyers Never assume that you’re competing against other lawyers. That competition only exists if she actually invests time, attention and money to solve the problem. And that will only happen if she understands all the specific consequences of not taking action and deems them unacceptable. How many times have you absolutely dazzled a prospect, only to have them go dark on you, and later learn that they never hired anyone, or did anything? There are many things we could do,

maybe even should do, but don’t. We only do what we must do, and that’s defined as the cost of doing nothing being intolerable. Okay, you’ve succeeded in eliciting from her that this problem has current consequences A, B, C and D. Wow. Those are pretty serious, right? Anyone would want to eliminate those. Remember, though, that:

“Want To” Is Insufficient You need “must.” She’s defined the current situation. It’s time to create a gap between that and the desired situation. Traversing that gap represents your value. “If you solved the problem and made A, B, C and D (you have to say the actual negative consequences represented by my letters) go away, what would things look like then?”

The Desired Situation She’ll share correlating positive impacts 1, 2, 3 and 4 that constitute the desired situation. Now, to set up the potential return on investment and establish a dramatic comparison against your fee, you need to help her express the collective financial impact in dollars. “I understand. So, if you produced 1, 2, 3 and 4 (as before, say the actual positive impacts represented by my numbers), what economic impact would you anticipate?”

Qualitative Response Few people are in the habit of associating economic impact with practical outcomes, so most likely she’ll demur: “Oh, that’s hard to say.” What she means is, “I hadn’t thought of it in those terms.” She’s not prepared with an answer, so she’ll try to avoid it. Make answering easier by lowering the response bar. “I’m not asking for precision. What does your gut say?” You’ll get a qualitative reply. “Oh, it’s huge!” (BTW, lawyers always say “significant.”) Now, all you have to do is get her to define “huge” in dollar terms. You do that by establishing a response framework with two extreme poles, so you don’t influence the content of her answer.

Convert to Dollars “Are we talking five dollars or 5 billion dollars?” (Choose your poles in relation to the size of the business. If you’re speaking with a big NYC financial player, $5 billion probably isn’t an outlier.) Most people will peg the needle somewhere on the broad spectrum between those intentionally extreme poles: “Oh, I don’t know. Call it $3 million.” Some will resist attaching a number. Gently restate the question, reassuring her you’re not expecting mathematical precision, merely a representative figure to establish the scale of the problem. If you’re asked why that’s so important, answer simply and truthfully.

“It gives us context for which solutions and approaches make sense and which don’t. There’s no sense wasting time talking about a solution whose cost is disproportionate to the amount at risk.”

Solution Options At this point, she wants to hear how you’ll solve her problem, and you’re much better informed than most lawyers would be. You also know that your fee is dwarfed by the value that she’s declared. If you’re going to charge $100,000 to solve a $3 million problem, you’re in a pretty good position, and you’re much more confident about having “$100,000” come out of your mouth. More importantly, you’ve anchored your price in a way that few competitors will know how to. The discipline you’ve applied will make all but the best-trained competitors look sloppy and amateurish by comparison. All that remains now is for you to do the part you’re best at, which is explain her solution options, and the ramifications and cost of each, and ask her which one seems to make the most sense. She may ask your professional advice on which option to choose. You answer this way: “Given what you’ve just explained to me, and what I’ve learned about you in the time we’ve spent together, it seems like Option No. 2 makes the most sense because (give the reasons). What do you think?” Her answer should be, “I agree.”

Can She Hire You? Now it’s time to test whether or not she can hire you—not if she will, but if she can; that is, if it’s an action she can get comfortable with. First, test the practical aspects of hiring you. “We’ve talked a fair amount about how I’d approach this. Does that make sense to you?” You’ll be confident that the answer is “yes.” If it wasn’t, you’d have gotten pushback while you were discussing it. Now it’s time to address the real issue: Emotional comfort. All decisions have risk, so she’s got to reach a place where she believes that this is a smart move because you’re on her side. “As we go down this path together, there will be a time when circumstances require you to make an important decision, with imperfect information, and not enough time. Under such conditions, can you envision yourself turning to me for advice, and acting confidently on that advice?” Congratulations. You’ve just defined “comfortable with.” And that’s what it’s all about.  n For 20 years, Mike O’Horo has been known by lawyers everywhere as The Coach. He trained more than 7000 of them, generating $1.5 billion in new business. His latest innovation is Dezurve, which has cracked the code on identifying investment-worthy lawyers and eliminating training budget waste. Mike can be reached at Attorney Journals Orange County | Volume 156, 2019


Calendar Trick

One Simple High Achievers Don’t Want You to Know by Adrian Dayton


illionaires, millionaires, and the middle class all have one thing in common: 24 hours in a day. So, what is so different about exceptional performers? How do they seem to get 10x or 100x more productivity out of a single day? Of course, it comes down to habits and routines. I’ve been trying to include a couple more obvious time management principles into my routine over the past few years. But recently I learned about a third concept in Boston at Dan Martell’s intensive two-day workshop for fast-growing software companies. What he shared blew my mind. Keep reading and you’ll learn all three: 1. Repeat After Me, “I Will Stop Multi-Tasking” Seriously, give it up. Multi-tasking or “context switching” as my engineers call it, not only ruins productivity because there is a delay between and a ramp-up period between each activity, but it actually reduces the quality of all the work being completed. So, what is the alternative? It’s called batching.


Attorney Journals Orange County | Volume 156, 2019

2. Batch Similar Work Together Block out an entire afternoon or day to write, train or make videos. Stop checking your email every five minutes, instead check it every few hours. Tim Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Work Week gives the idea of adding an auto-reply to your emails stating, “I only open email twice a day, so that I can be more productive.” People will respect you for it. I know what you’re thinking: “In my business, I need to respond immediately.” Don’t kid yourself, even if you are a doctor on call with a patient bleeding to death, you don’t need to check your email every five minutes. For true emergencies, people can always contact you on the phone. Some people take this to an even further extreme. My new friend Soma Toth, co-founder of Recart in Budapest, shared with me that he changed the settings on his phone so he can only get calls from his partner, his doctor, his landlord and from his co-founder. Everything else is blocked. He says he did it a year ago and that it has changed his level of focus 100%. You don’t need to be that extreme, but stop checking your devices every five minutes, it is ruining your flow.

3. Pre-Load Your Calendar with Everything You’d Like to Accomplish this Year You can load your calendar with all types of different activities: revenue generating, personal development and personal recreation. If you’ve read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, one of the most enduring examples from that book is the mason jar. If you fill it with sand first, you can’t fit any rocks in. If you fill it with rocks, the sand, pebbles and then even water can fill in the gaps. The message: place your rocks first. Do the same thing with your calendar for 2019. Take a couple of hours and start with the activities that generate the most revenue. Block those out in your calendar first. Next, block out your monthly, quarterly and annual planning session. After that, block out your personal time, family vacations, personal days you want to take off during each week. Design the life you want, and once it is in your calendar you will do your best to live it. For example, I’ve blocked out time early each day to exercise and to blog and post to social media. For years, I’ve scheduled a date night every Friday with my wife, and now I’m adding focused time to be with my three kids each week into my calendar. I have always had success when I take a morning to reach out to my top contacts once each month—but I forget to do it most months. Never again! Now it will be loaded every month of the year, so I don’t forget, and I have time blocked off for it. Important birthdays

to remember? Lock them in with a reminder the week before. Always wanted to travel to Europe with your spouse? Block it off now for September or whenever and you can even set up alerts to buy tickets when prices drop. Will programming your life this way reduce spontaneity? Absolutely not; as Dan Martell shared, it gives you a blank canvas to work with. The most important things have been scheduled, so this will free up your mind to think great thoughts and build the life you’ve always wanted. Stop using the excuse “I’m too busy” to prevent you from living the life you choose. Your calendar will never be set in stone. You can make changes on the fly, but you are now in control of your schedule, so there will be a much better chance for you to accomplish your priorities without being distracted by the priorities of others. Open your calendar, plug in the dates, take the time to put your rocks into place. It may be the most important planning you do all year.  n Adrian Dayton is an internationally recognized speaker on social media and business development. He has trained over 15,000 professionals in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia on LinkedIn and successful social media use. In the end of 2013, Adrian launched ClearView Social. ClearView Social is the first ever social sharing software designed specifically for professionals and is currently in use by more than 105 professional services firms worldwide. Learn more at

Attorney Journals Orange County | Volume 156, 2019


COMMUNITY news n Snell & Wilmer is pleased to announce that Orange County attorney Chariese R. Solorio has joined the Project Youth OCBF’s Associate Board. Project Youth OCBF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping at-risk youth in school, healthy and drug-free through education, counseling, mentoring, and family strengthening. The Associate CHARIESE SOLORIO Board is a volunteer group of successful, socially conscious, and motivated young professionals in their 20s and 30s, who support the mission of Project Youth. Through volunteer activities, social events and networking opportunities, the Associate Board assists in the cultivation of the next generation of leaders committed to Project Youth and serving those in need in our community. Solorio is an associate in the Orange County office focusing her practice on product liability litigation. She obtained her J.D. from the University of California, Irvine School of Law in 2015 and her B.A. in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2010. Solorio is licensed to practice law in California and has been a member of the Hispanic Bar Association of Orange County since 2014.

n Newmeyer & Dillion LLP is pleased to announce that nine of its Newport Beach attorneys have been selected to the 2019 Southern California Super Lawyers list. Each year, no more than 5 percent of lawyers are selected to receive this honor. Newmeyer & Dillion attorneys named to the JANE SAMSON Southern California Super Lawyers list include: Michael Cucchissi, Jeff Dennis, Greg Dillion, Joseph Ferrentino, Charles Krolikowski, John O’Hara, Jane Samson, Michael Studenka, and Paul Tetzloff. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of JEFF DENNIS peer recognition and professional achievement. The patented selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.

n California Consumer Law Firm Rizio Liberty Lipinsky has announced its inaugural $10,000 Law School Scholarship, open to current and future law students for the 2019/2020 academic year. Submissions will be accepted for the Rizio Liberty Lipinsky Law School Scholarship through May 1, 2019. To enter, current law students or those entering law school for the 2019–2020 year must submit an essay of 1,000 words or less and comply with all applicable eligibility guidelines and requirements. All eligibility rules and requirements are available on the firm’s website at According to founder Greg Rizio, the Law School Scholarship is being offered to assist with the significant financial demands of attending law school. “It is our goal that this scholarship will enable a deserving individual to maximize all opportunities to learn as much as possible about the practice of law, while in law school. We hope that with this financial support, the recipient will be able to focus on gaining hands-on legal experience, through legal clinics, internships, externships, and other opportunities, which will ultimately make them a better lawyer,” Rizio said.

n Artin Betpera has been named partner by Womble Bond Dickinson in Costa Mesa. Betpera is a trial lawyer with a national practice principally representing financial services companies in high stakes litigation in federal and state courts, involving both class and individual claims. He has ARTIN BETPERA developed a particular focus on Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) litigation, but has significant experience in traditional commercial litigation, and regularly appears on behalf of some of the country’s most significant banks and financial institutions. He also manages and supervises a litigation team serving the firm’s clients across the state of California.



Attorney Journals Orange County | Volume 156, 2019

n Founding Partner of Ulwelling Siddiqui LLP, Omar A. Siddiqui has been named to the 2019 Super Lawyers list for the fifth consecutive year. Siddiqui’s diverse practice includes corporate law, criminal defense, entertainment, sports & media law, intellectual property, labor & employment, cyber OMAR SIDDIQUI law, science & technology law, environmental law, tort & personal injury, construction law, as well as professional liability.

n Kay Anderle, managing partner of Keller/Anderle LLP in Irvine, has been named to the White Collar Criminal Defense category of the 2019 “Southern California Super Lawyers.” Ms. Anderle has been selected annually since 2015. With over two decades of experience and 100 cases to jury KAY ANDERLE verdict, Kay began her legal career over 26 years ago in the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, where she spent 12 years prosecuting criminal cases. She is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, an invitation-only organization limited to the top one-half of one percent of the nation’s attorneys. She was awarded the 2016 Thomas A. Mesereau Cup for Outstanding Criminal Defense, given by the Litigation Counsel of America. Ms. Anderle is listed in the elite “The Best Lawyers in America®” in both white collar and general practice criminal defense, and was selected as Orange County Lawyer of the Year 2014 (Criminal Defense: Non-White Collar). Other honors and awards have included: National Trial Lawyers, Top 100 Trial Lawyers in California; Los Angeles Magazine, “Southern California Super Lawyers, White Collar Criminal Defense”; and Martindale-Hubbell “AV” rated. n Founder, Senior Partner, and Shareholder at Robinson Calcagnie Robinson Shapiro Davis, Inc. Mark P. Robinson, Jr. has been named to the Top 10 Southern California Super Lawyers list for 2019. Mr. Robinson was the 2014 National President of the MARK ROBINSON American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), a national association of experienced trial lawyers and judges with chapters in all 50 states. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He is a past president of the Orange County Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates. In 2011, he was chosen to serve on the Judicial Council of California Court Case Management Internal Committee. In 2013, Mr. Robinson received the Philip Burton Lifetime Legal Achievement Award from Consumer Watchdog, a national nonprofit organization which advocates for taxpayer and consumer interests. In 2011, he was inducted by the California Bar Association Litigation Section into their Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame.

n Steven Brower, President and Trial Attorney for the Brower Law Group, has been to the Super Lawyers’ 2019 Top 50 List. Prior to founding the Brower Law Group he worked for several prestigious law firms including, most recently, over 10 years as a Shareholder in the Orange County, California office of Buchalter, a 60+ year old California-based law firm with over 200 STEVEN BROWER attorneys. His practice involves all types of civil litigation with particular emphasis on insurance coverage, computer technology, intellectual property, trade secrets, breach of contract, fraud, libel and professional liability (malpractice). n Burkhalter Kessler Clement & George LLP founding partner Alton G. Burkhalter has been named a Top 50 2019 Super Lawyer for Southern California. Burkhalter is recognized for his outstanding results in business litigation, particularly in jury trials. His notable successes include three “8 Figure” jury verdicts and multiple “7 Figure” jury verdicts, such as a jury verdict ALTON BURKHALTER of $30.4 million in a contentious eminent domain case in Nashville, Tennessee for land upon which Nashville’s new convention center was built, a jury verdict of $11.2 million against Los Angeles County in a complicated water rights case, and a $10.8 million dollar jury verdict in an executive embezzlement case in Alameda County Superior Court. His practice includes representing auto dealers in connection with disputes against manufacturers, and he holds two of the largest jury trial verdicts for dealers in California.

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Attorney Journals Orange County | Volume 156, 2019


California Case Summaries Monthly™ Organized Succinct Summaries of New California Civil Cases by Monty A. McIntyre, Esq. These recent cases summarized by Monty A. McIntyre are from his publication California Case Summaries Civil™. Monty prepares short, organized summaries of every new published California civil case that California lawyers can subscribe to on either a biweekly, quarterly or annual basis. For more information go to A California civil trial lawyer since 1980 and a member of ABOTA since 1995, Monty serves as a mediator, arbitrator and referee with ADR Services, Inc. handling cases in the areas of business, elder abuse, employment/wage & hour, insurance bad faith, legal malpractice, medical malpractice, personal injury, real property and wrongful death. To schedule a matter, contact Monty’s case manager Christopher Schuster at ADR Services, Inc. at 619-233-1323 or

CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT Landlord-Tenant Dr. Leevil, LLC v. Westlake Health Care Center (2018) _ Cal.5th _ , 2018 WL 6597341: The California Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court ruled that an owner of real property that acquires title to property under a power of sale contained in a deed of trust must perfect title by recording the trustee deed before serving a three-day written notice to quit required by Code of Civil Procedure section 1161a(b). (December 17, 2018.)

CALIFORNIA COURTS OF APPEAL Arbitration Cox v. Bonni (2018) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2018 WL 6598930: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s ruling granting a motion for reconsideration and confirming a judgment for defendant following an arbitration of a claim for medical malpractice where plaintiff alleged that defendant negligently performed a hysterectomy. Although the neutral arbitrator did not provide his disclosures regarding new defense counsel within the time required by statute, plaintiff forfeited her challenge by not objecting to the disclosures until ten months later when the arbitration award was issued. The trial court erred when it initially vacated the judgment based upon the arbitration award due to the neutral arbitrator’s untimely disclosures. It correctly granted reconsideration and affirmed the judgment because plaintiff’s objection to the late disclosure was untimely. (C.A. 2nd, December 17, 2018.) 14

Attorney Journals Orange County | Volume 156, 2019

Howard v. Goldbloom (2018) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2018 WL 6715755: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order denying a petition to compel arbitration. The Court of Appeal ruled that the lawsuit dispute did not fall within any of the four arbitration agreements, all of which related to plaintiff’s employment with Kaggle, Inc. Instead, plaintiff’s claim was rooted in, and any harm he suffered was measured by, his rights as a company stockholder. The dispute was whether defendants wrongfully diluted the value of his shares, breached their fiduciary duties to plaintiff as a minority stockholder, and unjustly enriched themselves at his expense. Defendants’ fiduciary duties to minority shareholders and alleged wrongs existed independently of any employment relationship between plaintiff and Kaggle. (C.A. 1st, December 21, 2018.) Vasquez v. San Miguel Produce, Inc. (2019) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2019 WL 364268: The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order denying a motion to compel arbitration. Plaintiffs were hired by Employer’s Depot, Inc. (EDI), a staffing agency, and they agreed in writing to arbitrate all disputes that may arise within the employment context. EDI assigned plaintiffs to pack produce for defendants San Miguel Produce, Inc. et al. Plaintiffs later sued defendants for labor law violations, and defendants cross-complained against EDI. The Court of Appeal ruled that arbitration was mandated even though plaintiffs did not name EDI as a defendant. Defendants and EDI were co-employers with an identity of interests and mutual responsibility for complying with state law governing employers in the produce packing industry. Plaintiffs agreed to arbitrate all disputes arising from their employment and at all relevant times EDI was their employer. (C.A. 2nd, filed January 3, 2019, published January 30, 2019.)

Attorney Fees

Court Reporters

Etcheson v. FCA US LLC (2018) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2018 WL 6804470: The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order awarding plaintiff attorney fees and costs of $2,636.90 in response to plaintiff’s motion requesting $89,445 in lodestar attorney fees with a 1.5 enhancement of $44,722.50 plus $5,059.05 in costs in an action brought under the SongBeverly Consumer Warranty Act (Civil Code, section 1790 et seq.) After admitting the vehicle qualified for repurchase, defendant made two offers to compromise under Code of Civil Procedure section 998 (section 998): one in March 2015, to which plaintiffs objected and the trial court found was impermissibly vague, and a second in June 2016, offering to pay plaintiffs $65,000 in exchange for the vehicle’s return. Following the second offer, the parties negotiated a settlement in which defendant agreed to pay plaintiffs $76,000 and deem them the prevailing parties for purposes of seeking an award of attorney fees. The Court of Appeal, agreeing with plaintiffs that the ultimate recovery was double the estimated value of defendant’s invalid March 2015 section 998 offer, ruled that the trial court abused its discretion and erred by cutting off all attorney fees and costs incurred after that offer. (C.A. 4th, filed December 6, 2018, published December 27, 2018.) Linton v. County of Contra Costa (2019) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2019 WL 290982: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order denying plaintiff’s request for attorney fees after defendants accepted plaintiff’s Code of Civil Procedure, section 998 offer to settle her complaint alleging violations of the California Disabled Persons Act (DPA; Civil Code, section 54 et seq.) and the Unruh Civil Rights Act (Unruh Act; Civil Code, section 51 et seq.). The 998 offer included the language “attorney’s fees allowed by law as determined by the court.” The trial court properly ruled that both the Unruh Act and the DPA require a finding of liability under the statutes for an award of attorney fees. Because the 998 offer was silent as to liability under the statutes, plaintiff was not entitled to attorney fees. (C.A. 1st, January 23, 2019.)

Dogan v. Comanche Hills Apartments (2019) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2019 WL 275564: The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order granting defendant’s motion for nonsuit in a personal injury/premises liability action. Plaintiff was granted a fee waiver on grounds of indigency. Based upon then-existing court policy, plaintiff’s later request for a waiver of court reporter fees was denied. Based upon the California Supreme Court decision in Jameson v. Desta (2018) 5 Cal.5th 594, holding that the San Diego Superior Court’s policy on providing court reporters was invalid as applied to fee waiver recipients, the Court of Appeal reversed and remanded for a new trial at which an official court reporter is to be provided. (C.A. 4th, January 22, 2019.)

Civil Procedure Berkeley Cement, Inc. v. Regents of the Univ. of Cal. (2019) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2019 WL 117310: The Court of Appeal affirmed a judgment, following a lengthy jury trial, finding for defendant on plaintiff’s complaint for breach of contract because defendant did not breach the contract or any implied covenant, and finding for defendant on its cross-complaint but holding that defendant was not harmed by plaintiff’s breach. However, the Court of Appeal ruled that the trial court erred in awarding defendant, as costs, $6,486.25 for deposition fees paid to plaintiff’s expert witnesses. California Code of Civil Procedure, section 1033.5 (b)(1) clearly provides that fees of experts not ordered by the court are not allowable costs, “except when expressly authorized by law.” (C.A. 5th, January 7, 2019.)

Employment Furry v. East Bay Publishing (2019) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2018 WL 6930903: The Court of Appeal affirmed in part and reversed in part the trial court’s judgment, after a bench trial, concluding that plaintiff was not entitled to damages in a wage and hour action because his testimony was too uncertain to support a just and reasonable inference that he performed work for which he was not paid, and finding that plaintiff was provided with uninterrupted meal and rest breaks as required by law. The Court of Appeal held it was error to completely deny plaintiff relief on his overtime claim because imprecise evidence by an employee can provide a sufficient basis for damages when the employer fails to keep accurate records of the employee’s work hours. It ruled that plaintiff was not entitled to premium or regular pay for missed meal breaks because he failed to demonstrate that defendants reasonably should have known he was working through authorized meal breaks. (C.A. 1st, filed December 12, 2018, published January 4, 2019.)

Torts Moreno v. Visser Ranch, Inc. (2018) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2018 WL 6696021: The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of two corporation defendants in a personal injury action. Plaintiff was injured while a passenger in a pickup truck involved in a single vehicle, rollover accident. He sued the driver (his father), the corporation that employed the driver, and an affiliated corporation that owned the vehicle. The evidence showed defendants required the driver to be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond immediately to cell phone calls for repairs and maintenance needed at the ranches, farms and dairies operated by defendants. There was also conflicting evidence about whether the driver was required to use the company-owned vehicle, which contained tools and spare parts, at all times so he could respond quickly to call for repairs at defendants’ various locations. Based on this evidence and other details about the driver’s job, the Court of Appeal ruled that a reasonable trier of fact could find the driver was acting within the scope of his employment when the accident occurred. (C.A. 5th, December 20, 2018.)  n

Attorney Journals Orange County | Volume 156, 2019


Playing the Ultimate

Game of Chess Putting All the Pieces Together Before Trial Brings Attorney and Client to “Checkmate.” “Trial work in our practice areas is very complicated and there are a million angles. The lawyers on the other side are very good, so the process is very much like a chess match. I truly love the mental challenge of figuring out the strategy of your opponent and checkmate them before they get there. When you can put all the pieces together properly, the case can be won before you even walk into court,” says Shawn Morris, Founder and Managing Partner of Morris, Sullivan & Lemkul. This strategy and attitude is reflected in the firm’s motto: We do not lose. “If we take a case to trial, we will win it. We have never lost any trial. This includes the other partners of my firm. We take ultimate pride in our success rate and this success is directly attributed to hard work—in preparation and then at trial. If you work a case up, you know how to get out of the way of the bad ones and you know how to win the marginal ones. The good or ‘easy’ case is rarely out there,” Morris says. He says one of the key advantages he and the members of his firm have is their work effort. “We are extremely hard workers. We like to think that we may not be the smartest people on the planet, but we’ll always outwork you. When it comes to figuring out the evidence and putting things together, that’s what we do.”


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A Record Breaking Settlement in a Heart Breaking Case Just how well all that hard work and preparation pays off was demonstrated by the results of a case involving the death of a young man named Mark Lovett, a case so heart-rending that it became personal for Morris. Lovett, age 26, lost his life unnecessarily in an industrial accident. He was a certified building inspector with all the prospects of a successful future in his chosen field. He was recruited in 2012 by a large corporation and on the first day of his new job he was sent to inspect a high rise building. Prior to the inspection, the demolition contractor on the project had cut underneath part of the metal sheeting used in construction. “He cut it like someone cutting a can of tuna, but he did not block it off or set up a warning,” Morris says. During the inspection of the second floor, Lovett fell through this unmarked cut and fell 22 feet. He died a painful death, suffering horribly for about 20 minutes. Typically, Morris says, all of the contractors started pointing fingers at everyone else. The demolition contractor did not have a lot of insurance and the general contractor knew the demolition contractor




© Bauman Photographers


Š Bauman Photographers

had a history of violating safety codes and not working safely. During the punitive damages portion of the suit, the general contractor claimed they had no knowledge that the demolition contractor was even working in the area. “Here’s where I get back to where hard work gets you,” Morris says. The opposing firm turned over an enormous amount of documentation, essentially burying key information. Hard work on the firm’s part turned up a photograph taken by the general’s own chief inspector showing the demolition taking place. When the opposing attorney finished his argument against punitive damages, Morris presented the judge with a photograph taken one hour before the tragic incident. The photo showed the demolition taking place. “I said, ‘Oh, and you might ask a question, Your Honor. Who took this photograph?’” The time of the photograph showed it was taken one hour before their client fell and that it was taken by their chief inspector contrary to what they all testified in their depositions. That was the end of their argument. The settlement is confidential, but Morris was told that the firm paid the largest amount for a wrongful death for a single person in the State of Nevada. Morris says, “I love working with juries and being in trial. This allows me to get into almost anything. I have done personal injury trials, trademark infringement trials, easement disputes, property line disputes, you name it. I have secured more than forty million dollars for clients in various trials over the last 30 years. There is nothing more rewarding that hearing a juror hand down justice for a client you have fought so hard for. It’s checkmate.”

The Right Attitude Shows the Right Way to Success Morris received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from San Diego State University in 1985. In 1988 he earned his Juris Doctorate from the California Western School of Law, where he served as the law school’s lead articles editor. “I was the first one in my family to go to law school. My family did not have the money to pay for my college and post graduate studies. I had to work many jobs and handle many long nights to get my law degree. But if you have the right attitude, it is part of the fun,” he says. Morris and partner Mike Sullivan were partners of Wingert Grebing, one of San Diego’s oldest and most respected law firms, before creating Morris, Sullivan and Lemkul, and it was at this firm where Morris met Charlie Grebing, who became his mentor. This is also where he developed his interest and early experience in his firm’s current practice areas. There he found the opportunity to try a variety of cases so that didn’t fall into any particular legal niche. “I got involved with construction and that was because when I was working with Charlie there were rooms of boxes of documents and nobody wanted to take the time to go through them and work up the case. I volunteered and started doing some of those big complex cases.

That experience has paid off ever since. When you have a pretty broad base of trials, you have a lot of opportunities to have a lot of clients from different businesses and industries come to you,” he says. “I had a feeling that my ideas for running a law firm would not be fully realized unless I was on my own. Fortunately, I have found a large, like-minded group,” Morris says. The auspicious start of his own firm (with Mike Sullivan) took a very inauspicious downturn when ten days later 9/11 occurred. The firm had a number of institutional clients in New York and needed those clients to keep the new doors open for new business. “I had two junior partners and I brought in a couple of associates and a staff of six people. It was financially challenging. It was challenging to hold our existing business, to find new business and, as a new business owner, understand just how to run a business. I had to work hard to get over that inevitable learning curve.” Again, the work ethic paid off. Today the firm employs 40 people and is expanding. They now have offices in San Diego, the Bay Area, Las Vegas, Hawaii, Austin, TX and are opening a new branch operation in South Carolina. Morris is admitted to practice in the State of California and the State of Texas. “We never planned to expand to such diverse economies, but we responded and are responding to the needs of our clients who require a local presence,” Morris says. Today the firm provides a full range of legal services, representing and advising clients in the areas of civil litigation, construction and insurance litigation, personal injury, commercial litigation, as well as trademark and trade secret claims. Morris is responsible for shaping many current aspects of California’s construction defect laws. In addition to construction claims, he handles a wide range of litigation involving product defect, personal injury, trademark disputes and insurance related claims. He is a frequent lecturer and author on litigation-related topics ranging from WRAP insurance policies to indemnity and builder risk management. He has been involved in numerous high-profile cases. The firm defended the world’s largest candle manufacturer; represented WalMart; and defended celebrity Chef Paula Deen in a case involving just under $200,000,000.00. “That case was sought after by many firms but we were very lucky to secure the client and ultimately a defense dismissal. We paid zero dollars and actually made money back on the case after being awarded attorney fees. Again, that’s what I like to call ‘checkmate.’” The firm’s practice areas are: Litigation, Mechanics Liens/ Surety, Davis-Stirling Common Interest Law, Mass Torts, Class Actions, Personal Injury, Trademark Infringement Claims, Construction, Insurance Law, Business Litigation, and Civil Litigation.

Attorney Journals Orange County | Volume 156, 2019


© Bauman Photographers

Open Doors, Open Communication Morris believes that one of the best ways to keep the doors open to the business is open communication with the firm’s clients. He says, “If you are communicating to them and explained as much of the process that you can, it allows the business process of the firm to go much more smoothly. I think a lot of firms and lawyers in my experience are too anxious to get a case in the door and they are not as forthright in explaining to their client what it’s going to mean from a cost standpoint and that can create issues later on. I try to avoid those as much as possible. It’s not 100 percent foolproof, but when you do have a conflict you can remind the client of those conversations. And that helps in calming the situation.” The firm’s attorneys are conscientious about informing individual clients, families and businesses of exactly what the legal process they’re contemplating may entail in terms of not only financial, but emotional costs. Ongoing and two-way communication is a key element in every case. Morris says, “My partners and I have always had the philosophy that our clients have our cell phone numbers and we can be reached 24/7. I have had clients who have awakened with an anxiety attack, either very late at night or very early in the morning, and my phone rings and they want to talk. You have to take that phone call. You have to talk them off that ledge and explain to them that whatever is happening at the moment is just part of the process.” 20

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That open communication policy extends to the firm’s employees, especially the younger attorneys. Morris seeks to motivate, train and instill in them his own commitment to the work ethic. “In the practice of law, the harder you work the faster you’re going to get past your peers. You’re going to get desired results quicker and find the rewards quicker. When you’re practicing law, you don’t even know much about what you’re doing for the first five years. Get people to see beyond themselves and not just the lawyers, but the paralegals and staff. To instill in them that the rewards are there for those who seek them and those who really work hard.” After nearly 30 years as an attorney, he still enjoys the competitive environment of a trial. “It’s great to work with a jury and watch the hard work we put into a case unfold before people that are new to whatever the dispute may be. I feel very fortunate to have worked at a high level for so long but I am most proud of the law firm I have created with my partners. I am really excited to see what lies ahead over our next 20 years.  ■ Contact Shawn D. Morris Morris, Sullivan & Lemkul, LLP 9915 Mira Mesa Boulevard, Suite 300 San Diego, CA 92131 858-566-7600

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Pro Tip for Lawyers: 3 LinkedIn Business Development Resolutions that will Pay off in 2019 by Samantha McKenna


ike me, you probably have a list of goals that will help you achieve your personal and professional objectives in 2019. However, studies show that by February more than 80% of us have already given up on achieving our resolutions. And so, as we race through the first quarter of 2019, here are three achievable LinkedIn activities that you can easily manage, that are sure to pay off throughout the year:

1. Once a Week, Save at Least One Lead Suggested by LinkedIn Navigator I’ve said it before: with more than 600 million users, LinkedIn allows you to connect with virtually any business executive in the world on the platform. Navigator’s excellent “Discover” feature provides you, at any given time, with 200 recommended leads: people who meet qualifications you’ve identified in your sales preferences, like industry, seniority level, and role/function.

DISCOVER Recommended leads Recommended accounts Edit your sales preferences For example, one of our lawyers has hers set to “discover” corporate counsel that work for companies of over 10,000 employees who reside in four specific major cities. Resolve to save one recommended lead per week to include that person’s activity in your feed, to provide additional insight into the challenges of an industry or a company, and maybe even to generate an opportunity to connect with a valuable new prospect.


Attorney Journals Orange County | Volume 156, 2019

2. Congratulate One Connection Who Changed Jobs It’s always a good idea to monitor the career changes of your existing contacts, and nothing could be easier with Navigator. Simply go to the homepage, then place your cursor over the “Lists” menu and click “My network.” When the list of your connections loads, you’ll see on the top row how many of them have changed jobs in the past 90 days.

LISTS My network Lead Lists Account Lists


Changed jobs in past 90 days

Click on that number, then scroll through the list to identify someone you’d like to congratulate for their new job. Roll over the ellipsis next to their name, and a menu will drop down giving you the option to send a message.

… View profile View similar Message You can also send a message through their Navigator profile (click on “Message”), which has the added bonus of generating a list of “recommended leads” at their new employer! Keep in mind that, when individuals move jobs, we know that they are looking to make an impact as soon as they arrive. So, often, this is the best time to connect, as they will likely be looking to bring in their own counsel to the new organization.

Further, if that individual received a promotion and an increase in responsibilities, there’s even more at stake for them to prove. By reaching out and making it clear you’re monitoring their progress, their achievements, you’re making it clear that you are available for any work they may have.

3. Comment on One LinkedIn Post by a Contact Each Week You already know that networking is a contact sport. A good way to gain traction in that sport: regularly comment on LinkedIn posts made by connections.


Posted on LinkedIn in past 30 days As above, navigate to the list of connections in your network, then click on the number of people who have “posted on LinkedIn in the past 30 days.” You’ll then want to scan through the list to identify someone you’d like to engage with, for

example an important prospect or an industry influencer. Click on their name, then scroll down to the “Highlights” section of their Navigator profile to see their recent activity on LinkedIn. Clicking on the highlighted post (or any of those in the “see more” section) will open a new window, with the post included, where you can add your comment. A single comment per week may not seem like much, but it adds up: at the end of 2019 you’ll have initiated 50 new conversations with clients, potential clients, and influencers. Further, connections (yours and those of the people you’re engaging) will also see you and what you add to the conversation. One comment can lead to hundreds of impressions and is an excellent opportunity to brand yourself, as well as engage with people who’ll play a part in your year of business development success.  n Samantha McKenna is Head of Sales, Enterprise, NYC at LinkedIn. Follow her for her latest writings on law firm BD on JD Supra. Connect with her on LinkedIn to see how Navigator can transform your firm’s growth efforts. Visit

Attorney Journals Orange County | Volume 156, 2019


What Is the Average Pay Raise? by Kirk Stange


hen you employ law firm employees, the question often arises about what is the kind of raise employees should be given. Oftentimes, the question can arise at the end of the year because many employees expect yearly raises. The question of “what is the average raise?” is problematic. Law employees often have expectations. Many of these expectations are not realistic when looking at national data and the finances of the firm. It is true as well that while clients want to pay less in fees, employees want to make more. This is a catch-22 that is almost impossible to resolve. Many of these employees who also want raises do not meet their billable hour or accounts receivables numbers, either. Still, if they do not get what they seek, many will be upset. Some will just grovel about it. Others may leave. To know whether your raises are within the norm, looking at national averages can be helpful. Recent studies show that the average raise is in the 2.6 to 4.7 percent range. While this might not warm the hearts of some employees, the numbers make sense when you really think about it. After all, how does a company generate more money to pay raises larger than that? To pay even 2.6 to 4.7 percent raises, they have to minimally increase the company’s net income by the same 2.6 to 4.7 percent. That’s not easy for most law firms. Some law firms might have net income that is steady (versus increasing). Some law firms could even


Attorney Journals Orange County | Volume 156, 2019

have down years when it drops. For those firms, how do they give any raises? Expenses also go up yearly in most law firms. For example, rent can increase. Overhead can go up as other outside vendors raise their rates and charge more on a yearly basis. Thus, to give a 2.6 to 4.7 percent raise, the net income of the firm probably needs to exceed 2.6 to 4.7 percent growth. To give bigger raises than 2.6 to 4.7 percent, the net income of the firm would need to follow the growth of the increased salaries (at the same rate at least). In the end, you have to try to set reasonable expectations within your law firm. You also cannot raise salaries above a number where the firm will not be able to or will struggle to pay it. If you do, you will put the firm in a bad financial footing that can ultimately impact all the employees if the firm’s obligations cannot be met. If some employees choose to leave, or grovel about it, it sort of goes with the territory of having a law firm. Try as you may, this is an area where it’s almost impossible to make everybody happy.  n Kirk Stange founded Stange Law Firm, PC in 2007 with his wife Paola and has worked diligently to grow the firm to what it is today. In addition to practicing law, Kirk spends time educating attorneys and other law professionals at CLE Seminars through the Missouri Bar, myLawCLE, the National Business Institute and other organizations.


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2019 New Year’s Resolutions Attorneys Don’t Want Their Bosses to Know About by Summer Eberhard

2018 was a crazy year in the law firm universe, filled with associate raises, summer and year-end bonuses and the most associate hiring in almost a decade. After talking with countless attorneys, there are some common themes as to why some have already started working toward their New Year’s resolution of finding a new job; they include:

To Increase Partnership Prospects Many associates realize that not all law firms are created equal when it comes to the possibility of making partner. There are many factors at play when identifying whether there is a realistic path to partnership and whether their firm is the right one to bet on once they do. Firms that offer the best path to partnership empower associates to take the lead on cases/deals; offer formal business development training; provide exposure to clients; and offer mentorship and possibly even advocates for associates once they are up for partner.

To Find a More Attractive Platform to Build a Book of Business While not all associates want to make partner, there are still a significant number of associates that do or at least want to keep that option open. In today’s law firm world, building a book of business is imperative to becoming a valued member of the firm. In addition to being a fantastic networker, having the right platform simply makes this goal more attainable. Winning client pitches in a competitive legal market becomes more likely when an associate is in an office that has a strong local reputation and is being invested in by the firm as a whole.

To Find a Better Springboard to In-House Positions Many associates are not interested in making a move to another firm but are only looking to go in-house. Consequently, in-house 26

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opportunities have become increasingly competitive and it has become vital that associates set themselves up for success by finding the right springboard firm. This means joining a firm that has a strong practice with local clients who are in the industry they see themselves working in, has a strong alumni network in-house and outwardly markets themselves as offering an easier path to in-house positions. Many law firms have come to realize that they can set themselves and their associates up for success by giving their associates the opportunity to join their client’s inhouse teams.

To Broaden, Narrow or Change Picking the “perfect” practice to devote your career to is not an easy task and there are times when an associate ends up in a practice that is not the best fit. Transitioning practices is definitely one of the most difficult types of moves, as more and more firms are unwilling to retool associates. Consequently, this move is most effectively accomplished as a junior associate with one or two years of experience, as firms prefer not to retrain more senior associates. That said, it is much easier for an associate to broaden or narrow their current practice. While it is ideal to do before an associate is in their fourth year of practice, it is still possible throughout an attorney’s career.

To Identify a Better Culture Fit Culture fit is one of the biggest reasons that an associate should move. It is common for an associate to not even realize that

what they have been “dealing with” can be changed. As many associates spend a significant amount of time at work, it is important that it is a place that makes them happy and provides them with what is necessary to achieve their long-term goals. There are a variety of reasons why a firm may not be the best culture fit. This can include everything from there not being many associates in a group or being a part of a satellite office that doesn’t provide opportunities for partnership or simply that you are working an obscene number of hours or there is a lack of mentorship. Attorneys are generally risk adverse and the idea of making a change can be daunting, especially when they are “mostly” happy. It is important to assess whether there is anything that could be changed that can make a difference in achieving your long-term goals or simply enjoying your job.

To Work with Local Clients/Originated Work Having too many clients outside of the local market/industry or having work originated primarily by another office has a lasting effect on whether an associate can ultimately reach his or her long-term goals. As either path of going in-house or making partner is already challenging, having a strong network of local clients provides more opportunities to achieve these goals.

To Relocate to a New Geography More and more associates are relocating to be closer to family or a significant other, to have the opportunity to work with a different industry of clients, to find better work-life balance or to have a more family friendly community. The most important part of the relocation process is to make sure you are working with someone who is an expert in the market to set you up for success in finding the right opportunity. Relocating gives an associate the opportunity to evaluate their current situation and to look for options that may resolve any unhappiness they may have in their current role. Relocating also allows an associate to start fresh in a firm that gives them a better opportunity to meet their long-term goals. With 2018 gone and bonuses already paid out, it is important to let it all sink in. As you start to work your 2019 plan for success, think about whether any of these themes ring true with you.  n Summer Eberhard is a Managing Director at Major, Lindsey & Africa in the Associate Practice Group, where she focuses on the Northern California, Seattle and Portland markets. She represents associate candidates in the marketplace and works closely with them to help them achieve their long-term career goals. Summer spent most of her legal practice at a boutique bankruptcy firm representing large financial institutions.

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Is Succession Planning on Your Firm’s 2019 To-Do List? by Roger Hayse


uccession and succession planning are hot topics in the legal profession. One statistic explains the focus on the topic—only about 30% of law firms make it beyond the first generation.

Step 2

• Few goals are realized by happenstance;

Engage your colleagues in a series of discussions intended to yield a plan for succession. Inclusion is essential to obtaining the buy-in necessary for a plan to succeed. Conversations with those impacted (clients as well as lawyers) that focus on long-term benefits, continuity of representation for clients, and the value of legacy are critical pieces of the puzzle. Some of these conversations may not be easy; but without them you are reverting to a strategy of hope.

• The greater the objective, the less likely it will be realized without serious intent;

Step 3

Why Do So Many Law Firms Fail? Why do so few law firms make it to the second generation? Consider this progression of logic:

• A written succession plan is a reflection of serious intent; • 95% of law firms have no written succession plan; • For a majority of law firms, 25% or more of revenue is generated by or closely associated with lawyers that are 60 or older; • Few firms will survive the loss of 25% of revenue in a short period of time. • So What? If you are a law firm leader, this reality does not surprise you. We regularly visit with managing partners and governing bodies that see the writing on the wall. With the exception of those who choose to bury their head in the sand, most agree succession must be addressed. A comprehensive and workable succession plan is essential if a law firm hopes to survive beyond the current generation.

A 3-Step Path to Survival Step 1 Start now. As simplistic as this may sound, it may be the single toughest part of developing a plan. The day-to-day demands of managing a practice make it difficult to step back and consider the future. This reality is one of the biggest reasons many firms find themselves in the current predicament—years of not having time to address relationship continuity and succession. The first step is to be done with hand wringing and more talk.


“To think too long about doing a thing often becomes its undoing” –Eva Young

Attorney Journals Orange County | Volume 156, 2019

Execute and monitor the plan. Very few plans roll out exactly as intended, but the routine monitoring of performance to the plan provides a means of adjusting as necessary to achieve the objective. Succession is about the future—and any conversation about the future must be on-going. Inside a successful firm, a good plan must be able to evolve. A successful succession plan doesn’t necessarily mean future leadership comes from within your firm. The plan may include the recruitment of new talent in the areas of leadership, and/ or client generation and servicing. It may mean that the core of your firm survives a part of a bigger organization. The real key is that the result your firm ends up with is the result you desire. Without planning, the desired result is highly unlikely. One additional note that many firms miss when it comes to the issue of succession planning—succession is likely on the mind of your clients. The issues of experience and continuity are likely being dealt with inside your client’s organization. A thoughtful collaboration between relationship partner, the client and firm leadership is an opportunity to demonstrate that level of client-centeredness all law firms proudly tout. Our experience is that most firms wait too long and suffer the consequence of fewer or no options. Don’t let that happen to your firm! n Roger Hayse has spent more than 30 years closely advising law firm management and legal industry service providers. His career is highlighted by consistently providing the counsel and leadership critical to successful law firm transitions. Learn more at



Post Falls, ID PERMIT NO. 32