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SAN DIEGO

Volume 156, 2016 • $6.95

How to Build Your Law Practice with Dignity

Trey Ryder

7 Great Habits of the Most Successful People

Brian Tracy

Optimize Your Attorney Profiles and Gain More Authority

Rachel Harmon

Are All of Your Law Firm Marketing Efforts Working Together?

Amanda Wiebke

Law Firm of the Month

Kirby & Kirby LLP, New Beginnings

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2016 EDITION—NO.156

TABLE OF CONTENTS 6 How to Build Your Law Practice with Dignity by Trey Ryder

10 Are All of Your Law Firm Marketing Efforts Working Together? by Amanda Wiebke

6 12 COMMUNITYnews

EXECUTIVE PUBLISHER Brian Topor

EDITOR Wendy Price

LAW FIRM OF THE MONTH

16 Kirby & Kirby LLP San Diego New Beginnings

CREATIVE SERVICES Skidmutro Creative Partners

by Patricia Klier

CIRCULATION Angela Watson PHOTOGRAPHY Chris Griffiths

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STAFF WRITERS Jennifer Hadley Patricia Klier Karen Gorden CONTRIBUTING EDITORIALISTS Amanda Wiebke Trey Ryder Brian Tracy Rachel Harmon WEBMASTER Mariusz Opalka ADVERTISING INQUIRIES info@AttorneyJournal.us SUBMIT AN ARTICLE Editorial@AttorneyJournal.us OFFICE 30211 Avenida De Las Banderas Suite 200 Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688 www.AttorneyJournal.us ADDRESS CHANGES Address corrections can be made via fax, email or postal mail.

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24 7 Great Habits of the Most Successful People by Brian Tracy 28 Optimize Your Attorney Profiles and Gain More Authority by Rachel Harmon

28 Editorial material appears in Attorney Journal as an informational service for readers. Article contents are the opinions of the authors and not necessarily those of Attorney Journal. Attorney Journal makes every effort to publish credible, responsible advertisements. Inclusion of product advertisements or announcements does not imply endorsement. Attorney Journal is a trademark of Sticky Media, LLC. Not affiliated with any other trade publication or association. Copyright 2016 by Sticky Media, LLC. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced without written permission from Sticky Media, LLC. Printed in the USA


“Rick is one of the best lawyers in the country. I call him every time I have any issue in Nevada and would not hesitate to refer him any type of case of any size. We recently settled a significant case in Nevada after two days of mediation. Rick was masterful in dealing with the retired judge mediator, the defense team, and our clients, and he maximized the recovery. Whenever I need anything in Nevada, the Richard Harris Law Firm is there for me.” ~ C. Michael Alder, Esq., Alder Law

CAALA Past President and Trial Lawyer of the Year 2004 Los Angeles, California

“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. The case was expertly worked up, litigated, and masterfully mediated. Everyone I worked with on Rick’s team was outstanding. For either a referral or a co-counsel arrangement, I wholeheartedly recommend Rick and the Richard Harris Law Firm for any Nevada case.” ~ Carl Wolf, Esq., Callaway & Wolf Northern California Super Lawyer 2010 San Francisco, California

© 2015 RHLF


How to Build Your Law Practice with Dignity Here’s the only marketing plan you’ll ever need. by Trey Ryder

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any lawyers spend thousands of dollars on complex marketing plans. But then, often, other priorities seize their attention and their marketing plans gather dust. Here’s the marketing plan I use for my clients.

Step 1 Identify the niche you want to fill and the services you want to market. When prospects hear your name, you want them to associate you with a specific type of services. For example, John Wilbanks is an estate planning attorney. Karen Ambrose is a tax lawyer. Mark O’Connor is a corporate lawyer.

Step 2 Identify the type of clients you want to attract. If you expect to hit your target, you must know where to aim. Identify your prospects by:

• Demographics – These are characteristics that identify

individuals by who they are (including gender, age, marital and family status, and occupation)—and what they have (including education, income, car and home).

• Psychographics – These are characteristics that identify

individuals by what they like and how they live, such as hobbies, interests and leisure activities—anything that will connect you with the audience you want to reach.

• Geographics – These are characteristics that identify

individuals by where they live, where they work, and where you can find your prospective clients.

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Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 156, 2016

Step 3 Identify how you and your services differ from those of your competitors. Positive differences are your competitive advantages. Negative differences are your competitive disadvantages. Identify both so you’ll know your strengths and weaknesses. Competitive advantages can include (1) your education, background and experience, (2) how well you serve and meet clients’ needs, and (3) the physical environment in which you serve clients. As a rule, the greater your knowledge, skill and experience, the higher the fees you can charge. Everywhere you deliver your marketing message—in written materials, at seminars, during interviews, on your website—clearly spell out your competitive advantages.

Step 4 Identify ways you can add value to your services so prospects choose you over all other lawyers. Ask yourself how you could provide services more efficiently, effectively, completely, or faster with your client benefiting from less risk and more value. I had a problem with the dealership that services my car. I lost one hour in the morning taking the car for service, and another hour in the afternoon retrieving the car. So I explained my situation to the service manager. He said, “No problem, I’ll send someone to pick up the car.” In just ten words, he added tremendous value to his services, at a cost of almost nothing. And I added two billable hours to my day!


Step 5 Learn how to establish your credibility and interact with prospects without selling. Today’s clients want confidence in your abilities, personal attention, and value for their money. When you interview your prospect, (1) ask what problem he wants to solve or goal he wants to achieve, (2) listen carefully so you know which points he considers most important, (3) offer information about your prospect’s problem and the solution you recommend, (4) provide facts about your background and qualifications, (5) explain how you’ve helped other clients in similar situations, and (6) allow your prospect to make his own decision without pressure from you.

Step 6 Compile and keep on computer a comprehensive mailing list. Your mailing list is your most valuable business asset. Whether your list contains 20 names—or 2,000 names—these people are the core around which you build a successful firm. Your mailing list should include (1) past and present clients, (2) prospects, (3) referral sources, and (4) editors and producers at media outlets that reach your target audience. Code your mailing list so you can call up whatever names you need. The critical element in your marketing program is your ability to add prospect’s names to your mailing list at whatever rate will bring you the number of new clients you want. If you know the names of specific people or companies you would like to have as clients, add them to your firm mailing list. Most rules of professional conduct either prohibit or limit how and when you can approach consumers who have an immediate need for legal services. But time and again, I’ve heard bar counsel tell lawyers that they can add prospects’ names to their mailing lists if those prospects might need legal services at some time in the future. This opens the door so prospects can receive your educational materials, newsletters and invitations to seminars. (If you have questions about this in your jurisdiction, check your rules of professional conduct or call your bar counsel.)

Step 7 Make sure prospects and clients can reach you easily without hassle. If prospects have a hard time contacting you, they will often call another lawyer. Consider the following:

• Menu of Options – Consider a voice mail menu to route

calls quickly: “If you’d like to receive our new Consumer’s Guide for Accident Victims, press one now. If you’d like to speak with Mr. Jones, press two now.” If your menu is long, you might tell callers they can skip the menu and make their selection at any time.

• Direct-Dial Numbers – If you want prospects and clients to

call you without going through your switchboard, offer your direct dial number so they can reach you immediately.

• Toll-Free Numbers – If you are marketing to prospects who are a toll call from your office, install a toll-free number because, in many cases, prospects won’t pay to call you.

• Never-Busy Fax Numbers – Most phone companies offer a

fax backup service. It detects when your fax line is busy and reroutes a second fax into its computer. When your fax line is free, the backup service sends the fax to your fax machine.

• Voice Mail – Set up a voice mail system so you can answer

calls 24 hours a day and assure that no one gets a busy signal. During one series of radio commercials, I had a client who received 80 calls per commercial. (Do not use answering services with live operators because often, during peak hours, callers get busy signals or no one answers.)

• Pager Notification – If you want to be notified when you

have after-hours messages, you can add a pager to your system and it will page you according to your instructions.

• E-mail – Prospects often want to send you a note, but

don’t need to talk with you. Make sure you accept e-mail messages and check your mailbox often. Recently a lawyer contacted me by e-mail to set up a phone appointment. I asked why he didn’t call instead. He said he always makes his initial contacts by e-mail. We find that prospects who make their inquiries by e-mail tend to be more affluent, educated prospects.

Step 8 Compile your information and advice into your own unique educational message. Title your message so you attract the prospects you want—and so they realize that your materials will help them solve a problem or achieve a goal. A personal injury attorney might offer “5 steps to getting a fair settlement for your injuries.” A domestic relations attorney might offer “9 ways to reduce the pain and expense of divorce.” A business lawyer might offer “6 ways to reduce liability exposure and cut insurance costs.” On a sheet of paper, list each point along with your suggestions in plain English. Often, after doing nothing more than reading your materials, prospects will hire you because they trust you and believe that you know how to achieve the result they want. To increase the persuasive power of your materials, include more than one list. Start with an umbrella title, such as “guide.” For example, you might offer a Consumer’s Guide to Child Custody. Then you could offer a number of tips, secrets, mistakes to avoid, misconceptions, and more. To be effective, your educational message should (1) identify and explain your prospect’s problem, (2) prove the problem exists, (3) identify the solution, (4) prove the solution works, and (5) build you into the solution so your prospect hires you. Make sure your marketing message always explains the benefits of acting now— and what your prospects stand to lose or risk when they delay.

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Step 9 Educate your audience with written information and advice. Write your message in a form that you can send to anyone who calls your office. Then, by offering to mail copies without charge, you attract calls from genuine prospects. When prospects call, they give you their names and addresses, which you add to your mailing list. Important: The longer your materials, the better. The longer you keep your prospect’s attention—and the more information you provide—the more likely he is to hire your services. Not all prospects will read everything you send. But many will, provided your materials are well written and relevant to the person’s problem. If your prospect is willing to give you his time and attention, you’re in a much stronger marketing position when you have answered his questions and explained the many ways he benefits from hiring your services.

Step 10 Educate your audience through articles and interviews. Media publicity provides you the opportunity to educate prospects, offer your written materials, and invite prospects to seminars. When you become the center of media attention, you establish a high level of credibility and—when your program is properly designed—you attract calls from prospects. One of my news releases landed my client on the CNN Headline News. Another client received 426 requests for his written materials after offering them on a radio talk show.

Step 11 Educate your audience through paid advertising. To assure that your message appears at the times and places you desire, buy advertising time on the broadcast media and space in the print media. Your ad’s focus should be to offer prospects more information by (1) inviting prospects to call for your free written materials, (2) inviting prospects to call for a free phone consultation, (3) inviting prospects to attend your free seminar, or (4) inviting prospects to visit your website.

Step 12 Educate your audience through seminars and roundtables. Seminars save time because you present information to many prospects at once. Also, seminars enhance your credibility and allow you to talk with qualified prospects in a non-threatening educational setting. Plus, seminars give prospects the opportunity to ask questions, discuss problems and request an appointment with you.

Step 13 Educate your audience through direct mail. Direct mail gives you the opportunity to educate prospects, offer your written materials, invite prospects to seminars, and invite prospects to visit your website. You can use direct mail to 8

Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 156, 2016

communicate with prospects already on your list, or to reach new prospects if you can identify prospects by their names and mailing addresses. Make sure you review your local Bar’s ethical rules about mailing information to non-clients. Usually, these rules relate to targeted direct mailings to persons known to need legal services, such as accident victims, and do not apply to prospects who may someday need your help.

Step 14 Educate your audience through a printed newsletter, e-mail alert or both. Send your newsletter to prospects, clients and referral sources. Your newsletter reinforces your marketing message, continues the flow of information, and serves as an ongoing contact. It adds value to the services you provide and acts as a tangible tool to increase referrals. Your newsletter can be as short as a one-page letter—or as long as you want. Frequency is more important than length. Mail your newsletter at least monthly. If you send an e-mail alert, consider sending it every week.

Step 15 Educate your audience with recorded messages. If you want to reach people who cannot attend your seminars, record your seminar or dictate the information onto CDs or DVDs. This helps busy people who can listen whenever they have a break or when they are in their car on the way to work. Recorded messages are highly effective educational tools for your website, as well.

Step 16 Educate your audience through an internet website. When you put your educational information on your website, it’s there 24 hours a day, whenever your prospect wants to read it. In addition, you can add recorded audio and video messages to your website. In fact, you can post a video of one or more seminars on your website so prospects can digest your educational message online. Include articles, checklists and recommendations. The more you educate your prospect, the more he trusts you and the more he values your knowledge. Try to answer every question your prospect might ask. The more information you provide, the more you help your prospect qualify or disqualify himself as a candidate for your services.

Step 17 Educate your audience using new methods of communication in addition to those listed above. The only thing I can predict for the future is that we will continue to have new, more personal, more interactive ways to reach prospective clients than we have now. I suggest that you use these high-tech methods in the same ways that you


use other methods in this marketing plan. If you’re limited to short messages—or if you prefer short messages—then you can offer an educational article by its title so you seize your prospect’s attention. Then you tell him where he can find the article, such as on your website, and provide a link that will take him there. If you can use long messages, then you can deliver educational information through all forms of social media. You select methods that you think will reach and attract your most desirable prospects. Then by testing various social media, you’ll discover which methods produce the results you want, and which methods you can cross off your list. The bottom line remains the same: You offer articles that you’ve written with titles such as mistakes, misconceptions, secrets, and steps. As your prospect reads the articles, he digests your marketing message, which creates for you a very high level of credibility. In addition, you educate him about your law practice and how you can help him solve a problem or achieve a goal. Then you invite him to call you for a phone conversation, schedule an inperson meeting, register for a seminar, or take whatever action you’d like him to take.

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In Summary ... When you use several different educational methods together, they clarify and reinforce your message. This brings you more new clients than if you were to use any one method by itself. These 17 steps attract new clients, increase referrals, strengthen client loyalty and build your image as an authority without selling. What’s more, this plan gives you complete control over your marketing future. n Trey Ryder has designed Education-Based Marketing programs for professionals and businesses of all types. In 1980, he started working with lawyers who wanted dignified, upscale marketing efforts. His continuing education programs have been sponsored by local and state bar associations around the country. In addition, he served as an expert witness in a case involving lawyer advertising. Also, Trey's marketing method was cited in an article published by two psychology professors at Arizona State University.

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Are All of Your Law Firm Marketing Efforts Working Together? by Amanda Wiebke

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here is a misconception that online and offline marketing do not go hand-in-hand. The truth is the two work together and greatly affect each other. Offline Marketing – Utilizes media channels that are not associated with the Web to create brand awareness. Online Marketing – Includes strategies that utilize the Web to create brand awareness. Such as email, social media, and websites, to name a few. For any business, especially law firms, it is extremely important to maintain a level of interest and awareness for your brand both online and offline. If your marketing efforts for online and offline are managed by different people, it is important to make sure there is a shared vision. Many great ideas and strategies can go untapped if there is a lack of awareness of other aspects of your marketing campaign.

Visibility and Brand Awareness Your online visibility is just as important as your offline presence. You can reinforce brand recognition with a potential client when they find your firm during an online search and later see your TV advertisement. In order to maximize brand recognition, the firm’s message needs to be consistent and delivered in a cohesive way throughout all forms of marketing, both online and offline. If a potential client sees a statement on a firm’s website that says, “40 years of experience in personal injury law, over a million people successfully helped,” they are more likely to accept the statement and determine the firm is

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Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 156, 2016

trustworthy and honest if the same message appears in multiple media. Having consistent information throughout all aspects of your campaigns will help establish trust with your audience. In addition, regular mentions of the firm’s awards or testimonials from your clients can be used across platforms.

Lead Generation The opportunity for new client leads increases as your online and offline marketing efforts work more closely together. Every marketing campaign is different and various combinations of efforts could be the secret sauce for generating a wider range of leads, and opportunities for signed cases. Potential clients may see a printed piece with the firm’s website listed, and reach out online after searching for the site. Or perhaps a potential client first discovers the firm’s website by search and decides to contact them after later seeing a newspaper ad. The paths of leads may vary greatly, but campaigns with unified online and offline efforts can produce more leads.

Communication is Key The key to a successful law firm marketing campaign depends heavily on the communication between those responsible for the online and offline strategies. Data needs to be shared to ensure that marketing efforts are performing as they should. Also, adjustments to campaigns can be made or capitalized on when communication is seamless.


For example, the effectiveness of TV commercials targeting a specific geo may be validated by increases in website traffic after the spots air. Without considering the TV commercials, those spikes in web traffic from that geo would be unexplained. Only by coordinating efforts and sharing pertinent information can you maximize the benefit of all marketing activities.

Successfully Integrate Offline and Online Marketing Strategies One of the ways we law firms can help increase leads is through effectively integrating a client’s online and offline marketing efforts. Below is an example of a firm that has seen an increase in leads by ensuring that their marketing efforts are working together: • The firm advertised on a billboard along a main highway using a team photo and listing their firm’s Web address. • Through coordination of efforts, the same photo was added to their website. • Prospective clients saw the billboard, searched for the firm’s site on mobile, and after seeing the familiar image, contacted the firm via the website while traveling. Providing easy, accessible offline information about the firm and having an online presence that carried their brand across platforms proved effective for this firm. This is a great example of online and offline marketing working together: • A creative asset for distracted driving awareness was developed as an online marketing effort to communicate the firm’s message, and the importance of not driving while distracted to avoid injury. • A  TV commercial was also created to focus on this same important message. The commercial included the firm’s URL and directed viewers to the site to promote awareness and learn more about distracted driving. • Th  e commercial was also available to view online and created a strong message that the law firm is trustworthy and cares about the community. High-quality marketing efforts that work together both online and offline prove to be effective in gaining exposure, brand awareness and overall lead opportunities for law firms. n Amanda Wiebke serves as an analyst and consultant with Consultwebs.com, working with consultants to ensure clients’ websites are running as smoothly as possible. Consultwebs.com provides a laser-focused, unique approach to marketing each law firm’s brand to their communities.

IS YOUR LAW FIRM MAKING THE BEST IMPRESSION?

We’ll help you put your best foot forward. From logos and brochures to websites, strategy, writing and beyond, we’ve got you covered! Jenny Strauss, Partner (215) 460-0835 jenny@skidmutro.com

View our portfolio at skidmutro.com Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 156, 2016

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COMMUNITY news n Best Best & Krieger LLP has appointed James Gilpin to serve as office managing partner of the San Diego office. Gilpin will oversee general operations and business development for the office. The San Diego office has 32 attorneys practicing in various areas of public and private sector law. Gilpin helped open the BB&K’s San Diego office in 1993 and previously served as the local JAMES GILPIN office managing partner from 1999–2002. He served on the firm’s Executive Committee from 2001–2012. “We are pleased Jim has accepted this leadership position,” stated Eric Garner, BB&K’s firm-wide managing partner. “His management skills, energy and experience make him the right person to lead the San Diego office at this time.” The lawyers in BB&K’s San Diego office practice in a wide range of areas, including environmental, municipal, business and labor and employment law. Gilpin’s practice focuses on helping public agencies in connection with complex litigation arising from the construction of projects and public contracts. He also serves as general counsel to the Rancho California Water District. n After successfully helming their own family law practices in San Diego, divorce and family law attorneys Kim Marie Staron and Bonnie Rabinovitch-Mantel are merging their individual firms to better serve the San Diego County community under the umbrella of Primus Family Law Group, LLP. “We’re thrilled to announce that our separate firms have formed an alliance under the Primus BONNIE MANTEL Family Law Group brand. Bonnie and I are excited to partner together for the best interests of our fellow San Diegans needing zealous advocates who will put their clients first,” Attorney Staron said. According to Bonnie Rabinovitch-Mantel, founder of Families 1st Law & Mediation, which is merging with Staron’s practice, “At Primus Family Law Group, we put our clients first. Kim and I have always shared the same goals when representing individuals during highly emotional times in their lives: to make sure that our clients understand the process, understand their rights, and know that their attorney will do everything possible to exceed their expectations. Our clients come first, period.”

Have a Press Release you would like to submit for our Community News? Email it to PR@AttorneyJournal.us

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Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 156, 2016

n The law firm of Balestri Potocki & Holmes is pleased to announce that Lorenzo Morales joined the firm as an associate. Morales focuses his practice in the area of construction law, LORENZO MORALES representing developers, general contractors, property owners, and subcontractors in a variety of civil litigation and transactional matters. Morales received his Bachelor of Arts from Colorado Mesa University in 2011 and his Juris Doctor, summa cum laude¸ from California Western School of Law in 2016. A recipient of the Justice Anthony Kennedy Full-Tuition Scholarship, Morales graduated top of his class at California Western School of Law. He was senior editor and associate writer for the California Western Law Review and International Law Journal and was copy editor for The Commentary. Mr. Morales also received the Trustees’ Award, one of California Western’s highest honors, for his outstanding academic performance and service to the school. The McClellan Law Firm is pleased to announce that attorney Conor J. Hulburt has joined the firm. Hulburt has nearly a decade of experience representing individuals and businesses in cases CONOR J. HULBURT involving major personal injury, wrongful death, product defect, bad faith, and business disputes. He spent the first part of his career representing defendants, affording him an inside understanding of the insurance defense mindset. In 2015 and 2016, he was recognized by the San Diego Business Journal as the “Best of the Bar” in personal injury. Hulburt is a member of the San Diego County Bar Association Civil Litigation section leadership, and the founder of SDCBA WetSuits, a group of surfing lawyers. He volunteers with the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program, handling issues ranging from employment to property disputes.


COMMUNITY news n Christopher Walton, founder of Walton Law, APC was recently recognized by the San Diego Business Journal for his successful advocacy in securing legal victories for elders and their families, by being named to the San Diego Business Journal’s 2016 Best of the Bar list. Those included in the Best of the CHRIS WALTON Bar list throughout the greater San Diego region were nominated by colleagues inside and outside of their respective firms. However, no attorney made the list based solely on votes from others at the same firm, according to the San Diego Business Journal. This is the second honor Walton has received this year. Earlier in 2016, his dedication, devotion and victories for clients earned him the honor of being named a 2016 San Diego Super Lawyer for the third consecutive year. Only five percent of the lawyers in each state are included amongst this elite list. Walton said of the honors, “I maintain a small caseload, which affords me the ability to custom tailor a strategy to fit the individualized needs of my clients. My sole aim and objective is to exceed my clients’ expectations by actively listening, presenting them with the most viable options for recourse, and most importantly, providing each client and their family with the best possible representation to ensure that they receive the justice they deserve as a victim.” n Wilson Turner Kosmo LLP is pleased to announce that Loleena Ansari May has joined the firm as an associate. May joins the firm’s Business Litigation, Employment Law and Product Liability practice groups. Prior to joining Wilson Turner Kosmo, May was a staff attorney at Appellate Defenders, Inc. where she LOLEENA ANSARI MAY conducted legal research and complex analysis, and authored briefs on more than 30 direct appeals before the California Courts of Appeal and petitions to the California Supreme Court. While in law school, May worked as a law clerk in the United States Attorney’s Office Criminal Division and the US District Court for the Southern District of California for the Honorable Judge Anthony J. Battaglia. A community volunteer, May is a district activist leader for the National Sclerosis Society, a volunteer attorney at the San Diego County Bar Association’s Civil Appellate Self Help Clinic and a volunteer conflict teacher for Children At Risk. May received her J.D., with honors, from the University of San Diego School of Law in 2013, her M.A. in IndustrialOrganizational Psychology from Hofstra University in 2009 and her B.A., with honors, from the University of California, San Diego in 2007.

n Umberg Zipser LLP is pleased to announce that Patrick R. Gutierrez has joined the firm as a litigation associate. Mr. Gutierrez received a J.D. from Stanford Law School in 2014, where he was a senior editor of Stanford Law Review and an associate editor of Stanford Law & Policy Review, and a B.A., magna cum laude, from PATRICK R. GUTIERREZ Georgetown University in 2011. He was previously a litigation associate with Robinson Calcagnie Robinson Shapiro Davis, Inc. in Newport Beach. “We are very pleased to welcome Patrick to the U/Z litigation team,” said Dean Zipser, co-founding partner of Umberg Zipser. “Patrick is off to a great start as a litigator and will add depth to our growing litigation practice,” added co-founder Tom Umberg.

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New Beginnings

LAW FIRM

OF THE MONTH

 

Michael L. Kirby and Jason M. Kirby usher in a new era with Kirby & Kirby LLP—built on decades of success in San Diego. by Patricia Klier

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mong legal circles in Southern California, it’s impossible to speak of successful trial lawyers without mentioning the name Kirby. Michael Kirby has been one of the most recognized names in the San Diego legal community since his arrival and has been a constant presence in courtrooms throughout Southern California. Just over 15 years ago, he and his oldest son, Jason Kirby, started practicing law together. With over 50 years of courtroom experience between them, this father and son team have prevailed for their clients time and again in countless bet-the-company cases, business disputes, real estate disputes, and most every kind of complex litigation case in between. Indeed, when it comes to civil litigation, the Kirby name has been synonymous with success for both plaintis and defendants in San Diego for more than four decades. “We are often brought into cases when other attorneys need an ally who has substantial trial experience, particularly in business litigationâ€? says Michael, who has been trying and winning cases in San Diego since his early years of practice at Luce Forward. In just the ďŹ rst half of 2016, “I’ve been in trials in ďŹ ve dierent cities across the U.S.; going to trial is deďŹ nitely one of my favorite aspects of being a lawyer,â€? he says. Likewise, Jason inherited his father’s passion and has spent years developing his skills. “It’s deďŹ nitely a dierent world for getting trial experience than it used to be, but it’s the one thing that delivers the highest job satisfaction,â€? says Jason, co-founder and managing partner at the newly launched KIRBY & KIRBY LLP.

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Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 156, 2016

New Lease on Law Though neither Michael nor Jason are strangers to the courtroom, they are technically venturing into new territory, with the launch of their new ďŹ rm. Jason explains, “We had operated internally as a team for years within Kirby Noonan Lance & Hoge, LLP. But as the ďŹ rm’s lease approached its end, the ďŹ rm amicably decided to split into ďŹ ve new ďŹ rms and we are one of them.â€? “We wanted to start our own ďŹ rm where we alone would be responsible for hiring new associates who we think will become great trial lawyers,â€? Michael adds. “We also brought invaluable members of our team with us, as we have all worked together for many years. We are continuing with our same team approach we’ve found to work to the beneďŹ t of our clients, and we are continuing to focus on our favorite aspect of law: being in the courtroom.â€? That team includes associate Heather Schallhorn, longtime paralegals, Katherine Dillon and Susan O’Keefe Head. Michael said, “When we win, we win as a team. And we are going to keep doing the same thing going forward.â€? In addition, the powerhouse duo moved into a new oďŹƒce on West Broadway, close to the courthouses, which has infused their team with a renewed zest for their work. “There is an energy and vibrancy here. We are all enjoying the new oďŹƒce and being back by the courthouses; it has injected new life into everybody,â€? Jason says. In spite of launching a new ďŹ rm, in a new location, neither Michael nor Jason plan to adhere to any kind of ‘out-withthe-old-in-with-the-newâ€? ďŹ rm philosophy. If anything, they are more committed than ever to staying the course of what has proven so successful for both of them—that is, working hard to win.


© Bauman Photographers

Foundation of the New Firm: Experience as Building Blocks For his part, Michael began building his reputation as one of the best trial lawyers in the country more than 40 years ago, due to his dedication to clients and the legal community, his willingness to try new things (including cases others wouldn’t), and unmatched trial skills. In fact, after just four years cutting his teeth at Luce Forward, in 1976 he and three others founded a trial-focused firm, Post Kirby, Noonan & Sweat, where he would remain a partner for over 35 years. Michael has obtained total recoveries valued in excess of $275 million as lead counsel in a multitude of practice areas. He has also made a marked impact on the San Diego legal community through being one of the founders of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers of San Diego, and serving four years as a Southern District of California Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit. He’s been

an active member of ABOTA for more than 20 years, serving on its national board of directors. Similarly, he is a master in the American Inns of Court—William B. Enright Chapter. As the result of his involvement and successes, Michael has been the recipient of a slew of awards and accolades over the years, including multiple Outstanding Trial Lawyer awards from Consumer Attorneys of San Diego. He is also listed in Best Lawyers®—the leading rating of U.S. lawyers—for Bet The Company Litigation (San Diego Lawyer of the Year 2015), Commercial Litigation and Securities Litigation for multiple years. He has been listed as a Super Lawyer for nearly a decade—an honor given to no more than 5% of attorneys. Michael was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Attorneys in all of Southern California. Interestingly, despite his enviable victories in trial, Michael wasn’t always so sure of his career path. After growing up in a small Iowa town, he graduated from the University of Iowa with both his B.A. and law degree yet

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initially, he had no idea what kind of law he wanted to practice. “The joke has been that I didn’t take the trial practice class in my law school, but I’ve overcome that,” Michael says with a laugh Jason Kirby appears to be following the example set by his father quite closely. However, that wasn’t always the case. “I was convinced I was going to do something different,” Jason admits. Instead, he completed his business degree at the University of Arizona and went to work in business after college. “After working for three years in Los Angeles and San Francisco, I was contemplating going back and getting my MBA but I still didn’t have a clear direction on whether I wanted to focus on accounting or finance, and so I thought, why don’t I go to law school? At the time, I figured that a legal education would serve me well even if I later decided that I did not want to be a lawyer. But as soon as law school started, I loved it. It had real substance. I went down the rabbit hole and I’ve never looked back,” he jokes. While in law school, Jason took the trial classes and then served as a full-time law clerk for the Honorable J. Richard Haden, which cemented his choice to follow his father into civil litigation. “Before that, civil litigation was still kind of a mystery. As I came to understand better what my father actually did and how the Court process worked behind the scenes, I saw that it really appealed to me. I could not have asked for a better first mentor than Judge Haden,” he says. After graduating from California Western School of Law, Jason was able to gain valuable trial experience early on. He joined Post Kirby in 2001, and says much of his success as a trial lawyer can be directly attributed to working with his father and a firm full of exceptional trial lawyers. Some of his first solo civil jury trials were the result of Michael being double booked for trial. Jason recognizes the gift of experience he was given, which he explains, KIRBY & KIRBY LLP will continue to offer its associates. Associate Heather Schallhorn already benefitted substantially from serving as second chair for Michael’s three-week jury trial earlier this year in San Diego. More than 15 years later, Jason has certainly earned his own stripes in Southern California as an outstanding lawyer. He has obtained millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for his plaintiff clients, including a $2.3 million jury verdict that included over $1 million in punitive damages. In addition, Jason has successfully defended his defendant clients against millions of dollars in damage claims, including multiple complete defense verdicts. All told, Jason has at one time or another been involved in almost every type of civil case. His clients have included Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions, banks,

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Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 156, 2016

utilities, partnerships, corporations, officers, directors, trustees, and individuals. He is rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbel®, and has been consistently listed as one of the Top Lawyers for Business Litigation by San Diego Magazine. Together their varied experience allows KIRBY & KIRBY LLP to take on all types of cases in different areas of civil litigation. Michael explains that this is actually one of the most interesting aspects of their practice. “Every client and case is unique. The only thing that our clients have in common is that they need a lawyer that has successfully tried cases.”

Forging a Formidable Firm for the Future Even with their years of courtroom trial experience, and an enviable record of success, Michael and Jason know one thing to be absolutely true: trial attorneys cannot afford to rest on their laurels. “I’ve never won a case based on my reputation; it’s based on hard work and the team working together,” Michael explains. According to Jason, over 50 percent of their cases have always come from referrals from fellow attorneys. The volume of referrals makes sense, when considering the victories Michael and Jason have secured for their clients. For example, one of their notable cases involved a national real estate developer and an easement dispute. The developer had an option to purchase property in Sorrento Valley to build the new FBI building. However, the parcel upon which the building would be built had a long-time easement running through it that was held by the neighbor who was less than thrilled to have the FBI as his new neighbor. “Through the litigation, we were able to convince the neighbor to abandon the easement. We were invited to attend the grand opening of the FBI facility and were publicly thanked by our client for clearing the way,” Michael says. An example of the type of trial victories secured by Michael include substituting into a defamation case where a prominent San Diego physician was sued for $3 million in damages. He was able to secure a defense verdict for her, and recovered a verdict for the physician on a defamation cross-claim for $250,000 in compensatory damages and $2.5 million in punitive damages. A more recent example is coming into a case in Los Angeles representing a bank, replacing a prior law firm for the bank. His team was successful in getting a $21 million cross-complaint dismissed on summary judgment, and then prevailing on the bank’s damages claims at trial, including a finding of fraud against the borrowers/guarantors.


© Bauman Photographers

Left to right: Maria Arreola, Tho Pham, Susan O’Keefe Head, Ashley Suarez, Jason Kirby, Michael Kirby, Katherine Dillon, Heather Schallhorn, Carfelyn (“Lyn”) Asanas

In addition to their trial experience, another cornerstone of the firm’s foundation is rooted in Michael and Jason’s willingness to go above and beyond, including taking over cases at the eleventh hour when their expertise is requested. Jason explains, “We will take on a case at any stage of litigation, even on the verge of trial or an arbitration hearing. We have achieved remarkable results for our clients when doing so.” Continuing he says, “On multiple occasions, Michael has stepped in to take over a case as lead trial counsel within days of trial (once 7 days before a jury trial in Florida), having never worked on the case before— and he prevailed in those cases.” Likewise, Jason has had similar experiences. He and his former partner, Greg Post, stepped in to defend a multimillion wrongful death case just days before the trial readiness conference in a case where years of litigation had

preceded their arrival and the trial court had refused any further trial extension. He and Post achieved a complete defense verdict from the jury for their client. “I’ve never been so challenged,” Jason says. In addition to tackling cases on a tight timeframe, Michael and Jason take pride in seeing their clients’ cases all the way through. “We have represented our clients and taken their cases forward even when they have lost the financial ability to continue with litigation because we believe the client had a meritorious claim or defense,” Michael says. Jason concurs, saying “Civil litigation can become cost prohibitive for clients and sometimes that’s the defense strategy. I have taken great pride in the ability to tell clients that I would not let the other side crush them financially and that we are in this together.” This willingness to go to extra lengths to help others

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© Bauman Photographers

EXPERIENCE MICHAEL KIRBY

» EDUCATION • University of Iowa, J.D. – 1970 • University of Iowa, B.A.­

» AWARDS • SuperLawyers, 2007-2016 • San Diego Metro – Best Attorneys – 2009-2016 • Best Lawyers – 3 Categories – 2007-2016 • Best Lawyers – Lawyer of the Year – 2015 • Consumer Attorneys of San Diego –Multiple Outstanding Trial Lawyer Awards • San Diego Source – Top Attorney Finalist – 2014

» PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS AND ACTIVITIES • American Board of Trial Advocates • State Bar of California, Litigation Section • The Association of Trial Lawyers of America • Consumer Attorneys of San Diego • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America

© Bauman Photographers

extends to KIRBY & KIRBY’s dedication to and involvement with the community of San Diego as well. They will continue to do work with wounded veterans associated with the Purple Heart Foundation of the Marine Parents Organization. “When I first got involved in helping injured soldiers and marines, we started discussing how to pay for their meals; I presented the idea to other San Diego attorneys, and what started off as an effort to get enough funds for one meal a month expanded to 36 meals in one year through an endeavor we called ‘Lawyers Care.’ It was such a generous response from the San Diego legal community,” Michael says. As KIRBY & KIRBY forges ahead with their new firm and their new office location, one thing remains the same. “Being a trial lawyer is one of the few professions where somebody wins and somebody loses. We hate to lose and rarely do. Any client that comes to us on their own, or is referred here by one of our peers, will be in excellent hands,” Jason says. As far as specific plans for growing the firm, Michael says there is no plan to grow just for the sake of growing, but he expects it to happen as the result of a need for additional attorneys. “Our goal is to keep turnover low, but bringing in new attorneys is exciting. Watching them develop into outstanding trial lawyers brings a lot of energy into a firm. We both enjoy mentoring, and are looking forward to adding to our team.” n

Contact: KIRBY & KIRBY LLP Michael L. Kirby Mike@kirbyandkirbylaw.com Jason Kirby Jason@kirbyandkirbylaw.com

JASON KIRBY

» EDUCATION • California Western School of Law, J.D. – 2001 • University of Arizona, B.S.

501 West Broadway Suite 1720 San Diego, CA 92101 Telephone: 619-487-1500 www.kirbyandkirbylaw.com

» AWARDS • Martindale-Hubbell – AV® Preeminent™ rated

» PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS AND ACTIVITIES • Consumer Attorneys of San Diego • San Diego County Bar Association • American Inns of Court • Association of Business Trial Lawyers

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• Federal Bar Association, San Diego Chapter


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Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 156, 2016


L AW Y E RS H E L P I N G OT H E RS

DAVID STONE P AY I N G I T F O R W A R D

While growing up in San Diego,

David Stone spent countless hours at the Lawrence Family Jewish

Community Center of San Diego.

“The JCC has so much to offer and provided a positive and enriching

place to go. This is my opportunity

to pay it forward for the children and families who will come after me.”

David now serves on the JCC’s Board of Directors, Executive Committee, Budget & Finance Committee, and

other committees. The JCC provides more than 300 social, cultural,

educational, and recreational programs and services to San Diego’s Jewish community and to people of

all religions and backgrounds. Visit www.lfjcc.org to get involved, donate, and learn more.

At Duane Morris LLP, David advises

clients nationwide in real estate, finance, land use, and corporate transactional

matters. He particularly enjoys working with his clients on projects from concept through completion.

David Stone and Duane Morris LLP are not affiliated with the Law Office of Steven C. Vosseller.

Help us celebrate lawyers helping others. Please let us know of other San Diego County attorneys doing great community service.

Plaintiff Personal Injury (858) 429-4062 www.vosslawyer.com

L AW O F F I C E O F

STEVEN C. VOSSELLER


7 Great Habits of the Most Successful People by Brian Tracy

M

any people wonder how they can become highly successful, not realizing that they hold within them everything they need to achieve all of the success they desire. Successful people are where they are today because of their habits. Habits determine 95% of a person’s behavior. Everything that you are today, and everything that you will ever accomplish, is determined by the quality of the habits that you form. By creating good habits and adopting a positive behavior, you too can become successful and live a prosperous life.

Successful People Maintain 7 Good Habits For thousands of years, success in human life has been studied by great thinkers and philosophers. I have personally studied the subject for more than 30 years. What I have found is that the very best people have developed good habits. I have identified seven valuable habits that you need to develop if you want to perform at your very maximum in everything you do. Register today for my first live online event and unlock the secrets of using powerful habits to achieve your goals.

1. They are Goal Oriented The first habit is to become goal oriented. You need to be a habitual goal setter, and dedicate yourself to working from clear, written goals every day of your life. All highly successful people are intensely goal oriented. They know exactly what they want, they have it written down, they have written plans to accomplish it, and they both review and work on their plans every single day.

2. They are Results Driven The second habit of highly successful people is being results driven. This is made up of two practices.

24 Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 156, 2016

1. The first is the practice of continuously learning so that you become better at what you do. 2.  The second practice is that of time management. This means setting very clear priorities on what you do and then concentrating single-mindedly on the most valuable use of your time. All really successful people are intensely result oriented.

3. They are Action Oriented The third major habit you need to develop is that of continually taking action. This is really the most important habit for material success. It is the ability to get on with the job and get it done fast. It is your ability to develop and maintain a sense of urgency, and a bias for action. Fast tempo in whatever you do is essential to your success. You need to overcome procrastination, push aside your fears and launch 100% toward the achievement of your most important goals. The combination of goal orientation, result orientation and action orientation, in themselves, will virtually assure great success.

4. They are People Oriented The fourth habit you need is people orientation. This is where you put relationships in the center of your life. This is your decision to cultivate within yourself the habits of patience, kindness, compassion, and understanding. Virtually all of your happiness in life will come from your ability to get along well with other people. The good news is that you can become a wonderful human being in your relationships with others when you decide to. As Aristotle said, the only way that you can learn any habit is by practicing it on a regular basis. The more you practice being a truly excellent person in your relationships with others, the more you will internalize those qualities and actually become that person. continues on page 26 ...


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5. They are Health Conscious The fifth habit that highly successful people develop is health consciousness. This means that you must fastidiously watch your diet, and always eat the right foods in the right portions. You must exercise on a regular basis, continually using every muscle and joint of your body to keep it limber and fit. And finally, you must have good habits of rest and recreation that will enable you, in combination with diet and exercise, to live out your years in a healthy state. Remember, your health is the most important single thing you have, and it is completely subject to the habits that you develop with regard to the way you live.

6. They are Honest The sixth habit is that of honesty and integrity. In the final analysis, the character you develop as you go through life is more important than virtually anything else. Honesty means that you practice the “reality principle� in everything you do. You are completely objective with yourself and with the world around you. You set very clear values for yourself and you organize yourself around your values. You develop a vision for yourself and then you live your life consistent with your highest ideals. You never compromise your integrity or peace of mind for anyone or anything. This attitude of honesty is critical to your enjoying all of the other good habits that you are developing.

7. They are Self-Disciplined The seventh habit, and the one habit that guarantees all the others, is that of self-discipline. Your ability to discipline yourself, to master yourself, to control yourself, is the most important single quality that you can develop as a person. The habit of self-discipline goes hand in hand with success in every area of life. Every one of these habits, being goal oriented, results driven, action orientated, people orientated, health conscious, honest and selfdisciplined, can be developed. You are where you are and what you are today because of your habits. Your habits have been developing, mostly accidentally, from the time you were an infant. Today you can take complete control over the shaping of your character and personality, and everything that happens to you in the future, by making the decision, right now, to define and develop the habits that will lead you to great success. And when you develop the same good habits possessed by other successful people, you will enjoy their success as well. Your future will become unlimited. n Brian Tracy is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian’s goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Youtube. 26

Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 156, 2016


11

The number of CaseyGerry attorneys selected to the 2016 San Diego Super Lawyers list.

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Optimize Your Attorney Profiles and Gain More Authority by Rachel Harmon

W

hether you work for a large international or small boutique law firm, keeping local business information up to date is imperative to your brand’s health, but what about individual attorney profiles? When attorney profiles are properly optimized they can be very valuable, but they can also be a hassle, especially when dealing with a large firm that has many attorneys. Keeping up with all of the information needed to verify personal profiles and walking through the verification steps is time-consuming and often ends up at the bottom of a to-do list.

Why Does It Matter? There are many benefits for optimizing your online legal profiles. There is an obvious benefit to being listed on a directory site that ranks high in search results for the same keywords you would like your firm’s site to rank for. This is particularly helpful if your firm has just begun SEO (search engine optimization), which can be a long yet profitable process. Creating and maintaining a profile on major legal directories can boost brand recognition and firm awareness. If a potential client sees your information listed on an authoritative legal directory, the trust they may feel toward that particular platform has the potential to transfer to your brand. Another important yet more abstract benefit is link

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Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 156, 2016

authority. There seems to be a never-ending chain of possibilities for building your site’s authority through links. Directories typically allow you to add a link back to your own website from your online profile. Gaining free links from a high-authority website allows you to transfer some site authority to your site. In addition to a backlink to your own website, directories will often allow you to link to other social profiles for your firm, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, also known as barnacle link building. In addition, some of the websites you are linking to are considered aggregators, and the information contained on those sites is also used on other websites, which can mean even more links!

Optimize—Who and How The landscape of legal listing sites is vast, and some do not live up to the hype, so how do you know which websites to spend your time on? Below we will cover two sites that we feel are valuable and also briefly touch on a few free individual attorney listing options you should claim and optimize.

Justia Why we like it: Justia uses information from bar associations to populate their site with skeleton profiles which then


need to be claimed and verified by a quick automated phone call before you can start optimizing. It is particularly valuable because the links built on your profile are followed and can boost the ranking of the linked-to sites. Justia also allows you to add links to other social profiles, including some that are legal-specific. In addition, Justia is an aggregator for Cornell.edu. When you create a Justia profile you will automatically generate a profile on https://lawyers.law.cornell.edu. All of the links you specify on Justia will also appear on your Cornell profile.

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Avvo Why we like it: Avvo consistently ranks well for many personalinjury-related terms and has quickly become a trusted name for legal searches. Avvo also pulls information from bar associations, and a profile can be claimed and verified a variety of ways. With a free account you are limited to four total nofollowed links back to your site and/or other social sites. Unlike Justia, Avvo allows you to gain reviews from clients and your legal peers. How to optimize: The key to optimizing your Avvo profile is to be very thorough. Avvo assigns a rating, which is a number that is based on how optimized your profile is. The best way to increase your Avvo rating is to thoroughly complete all information, then ask your peers for reviews. Client reviews are not calculated into the rating, but we highly recommend client reviews on Avvo since the site ranks very high for many key legal terms.

Other Free Profiles to Claim and Optimize Below is a very condensed list of niche sites available where attorneys can list their services. Be aware that not all websites are created equal and there are many directory sites on the web that you should avoid. The following list includes some free sites to use to gain listings. Note that some of these sites are geared toward firms and not individual attorneys. • Lawyerlegion.com • Lawyerland.com • Leadcounsel.org • Bestlawyers.com • Morelaw.com

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Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 156, 2016

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Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 154, 2016


MONDER LAW GROUP FEATURED ON:

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Attorney Journal, San Diego, Volume 156  
Attorney Journal, San Diego, Volume 156  

Attorney Journal, San Diego, Volume 156