Issuu on Google+

SAN DIEGO

Volume 160, 2016 • $6.95

Why Are You at the Office Until 10 p.m.?

Jay Harrington Leveraging Offline Activities to Boost Your Firm’s Online Results

Corrie Benfield Death of the Billable Hour: A Eulogy

Kevin Bielawski

PROFESSIONAL PROFILE OF THE MONTH

Jean-Claude Lapuyade JCL Law Firm, San Diego Advocacy for the Exploited

Attorney of the Month

Amy Rose Martel Chihak & Martel, San Diego Up to the Challenge

McIntyre’s Civil Alert: Organized Succinct Summaries

Monty A. McIntyre

5 Easy Ways to Create a Healthy, Less-Stressed Workplace

Leigh Stringer

Why Is Your Law Firm Getting Clicks but No Cases?

Robert Padgett


GOING TO TRIAL – NEED EXPERIENCED HELP?

SPECIALIZING IN BET-THE-COMPANY CASES OVER 50 YEARS OF COMBINED EXPERIENCE REFERRALS/SUBSTITUTIONS ACCEPTED AT ALL STAGES OF LITIGATION, INCLUDING TRIAL •

Antitrust/Unfair Competition

Banking Litigation

Business Litigation

Class Action

Contract Disputes

Employment Law/ Wrongful Termination

Professional Negligence Litigation

Intellectual Property Litigation

Real Estate Litigation

Libel/Defamation Litigation

Securities Litigation

Partnership Disputes

Trust and Estate/Probate Litigation

Personal Injury/Wrongful Death

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


JILIO-RYAN C O U R T

R E P O R T E R S

W W W. J I L I O R YA N . C O M

800.454.1230


2016 EDITION—NO.160

TABLE OF CONTENTS 6 McIntyre’s Civil Alert Organized Succinct Summaries

by Monty A. McIntyre

PROFESSIONAL PROFILE OF THE MONTH

8

8 Jean-Claude Lapuyade JCL Law Firm, San Diego Advocacy for the Exploited by Karen Gorden EXECUTIVE PUBLISHER Brian Topor EDITOR Wendy Price CREATIVE SERVICES Skidmutro Creative Partners CIRCULATION Angela Watson PHOTOGRAPHY Chris Griffiths STAFF WRITERS Jennifer Hadley Patricia Klier Karen Gorden CONTRIBUTING EDITORIALISTS Kevin Bielawski Corrie Benfield Robert Padgett Jay Harrington Leigh Stringer Monty McIntyre 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.

12 COMMUNITYnews

ATTORNEY OF THE MONTH

16 Amy Rose Martel Chihak & Martel, 14 Leveraging Offline Activities San Diego to Boost Your Firm’s Online Up to the Challenge by Jennifer Hadley Results

by Corrie Benfield

16

22 Death of the Billable Hour: A Eulogy by Kevin Bielawski

24 Why Are You at the Office Until 10 p.m.?

by Jay Harrington

26 Why Is Your Law Firm Getting Clicks but No Cases?

by Robert Padgett

28 5 Easy Ways to Create a Healthy, LessStressed Workplace

by Leigh Stringer

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


REFERRAL & CO-COUNSEL RELATIONSHIPS

Your

NEVADA

P E R S ON AL I N J U RY PART N E R

NEVADA’S LARGEST & HIGHEST RATED INJURY LAW FIRM Your

NEVADA

“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 R Ssize.” ON AL I N J U RY PART N E R him any type of case ofP Eany ~ C. Michael Alder, Esq., Alder Law, Los Angeles, California CAALA Past President and Former Trial Lawyer of the Year

“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

© 2016 RHLF


McIntyre’s Civil Alert Organized Succinct Summaries by Monty A. McIntyre, Esq.

Monty A. McIntyre has over 30 years of experience as a mediator and arbitrator. More than 35 years of experience as a civil trial lawyer representing both plaintiffs and defendants in business and commercial, bad faith, brain injury, construction, land use/CEQA, medical malpractice, personal injury, real property and wrongful death cases. To schedule a meeting with Monty A. McIntyre contact Kelsey Hannah at ADR Services, Inc. at 619-233-1323 or kelsey@adrservices.org

 CALIFORNIA COURTS OF APPEAL Attorneys Walker v. Apple, Inc. (2016) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2016 WL 5404080: In a putative class action by plaintiffs against their former employer, the Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order disqualifying plaintiffs’ counsel Hogue & Belong (the Firm). Automatic disqualification was required on the basis the Firm had a conflict of interest arising from its concurrent representation of the putative class in this case and the certified class in another wage-and-hour class action pending against Apple (Felczer v. Apple, Inc. (Super. Ct. San Diego County No. 37-2011-00102573-CU-OE-CTL)(Felczer)). The trial court properly concluded that to advance the interests of its clients in this case, the Firm would need to cross-examine a client in the Felczer class (the Walkers’ store manager) in a manner adverse to that client. (C.A. 4th, filed September 28, 2016, published October 28, 2016.)

Attorney Fees Alki Partners v. DB Fund Services (2016) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2016 WL 6156327: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order granting summary judgment for defendant but reversed the trial court’s order awarding defendant attorney fees in an action by plaintiffs alleging breach of contract in the administration of a hedge fund. The summary judgment was affirmed because the undisputed material facts established the administrator did not breach the applicable contract. The attorney fee award, however, was reversed because the contractual language relied upon was a third-party indemnity provision that did not create a right to prevailing party attorney fees in litigation between the parties to the contract. (C.A. 4th, October 24, 2016.)

Civil Procedure (Anti-SLAPP, Statute of Limitations) Anderson v. Fitness International (2016) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2016 WL 6302109: In a personal injury action arising from a slip and fall in a fitness club shower, the Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order granting summary judgment to defendant. 6

Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 160, 2016

Defendant’s assertion of a release of liability as a complete defense to the negligence cause of action was sufficient to shift the burden to plaintiff to produce evidence showing that a triable issue of one or more material facts existed to preclude summary judgment. Plaintiff failed to do so. (C.A. 2nd, October 27, 2016.)

Debt Collection Mealing v. Diane Harkey for Board of Equalization (2016) _ Cal.App.4th _, 2016 WL 6212457: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order denying an ex parte application by a judgment creditor requesting an order under Code of Civil Procedure section 708.240(a) to prohibit defendant from making any payments to Diane Harkey to repay a loan she made to defendant. Under section 708.240(a), a judgment creditor may apply for an order restraining a third party who is indebted to a judgment debtor from making any payments to the judgment debtor. The trial court properly denied the application because Diane Harkey was not a judgment debtor, the judgment was against her husband Dan Harkey. (C.A. 4th, October 24, 2016.)

Employment Cameron v. Sacramento Co. Employees' Retirement System (2016) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2016 WL 6472100: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment denying a writ petition seeking to overturn defendant’s denial of plaintiff’s application for a service-connected retirement. The Court of Appeal ruled that plaintiff’s application was untimely under Government Code section 31722 because he failed to show he was continuously disabled, within the meaning of Government Code sections 31722 and 31641(a), between the discontinuance of his service and the time he filed his application for serviceconnected disability retirement. (C.A. 3rd, November 2, 2016.)

Equity (Fiduciary Duty) ZF Micro Devices v. TAT Capital Partners (2016) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2016 WL 6520137: The Court of Appeal reversed the judgment for TAT Capital Partners (TAT) after a jury found that ZF Micro Devices’ (ZF) cross-complaint was barred by the


four-year statute of limitations for breach of fiduciary duty. The Court of Appeal concluded that the tolling doctrine applies to both permissive and compulsory cross-complaints and therefore applied to ZF’s permissive cross-complaint. ZF’s cross-complaint related back to the date that TAT filed its complaint. The crosscomplaint having been timely filed, the court erred in submitting TAT’s statute of limitations defense to the jury, and the judgment for TAT was reversed. (C.A. 6th, November 3, 2016.)

Medical Malpractice (Statute of Limitations) Drexler v. Petersen (2016) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2016 WL 6407973: In a medical malpractice case alleging failure to timely diagnose and treat a brain tumor, the Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s summary judgment for defendants on the basis of the expiration of the statute of limitations under Code of Civil Procedure section 340.5. When the plaintiff in a medical malpractice action alleges the defendant health care provider misdiagnosed or failed to diagnose a preexisting disease or condition, there is no injury for purposes of section 340.5 until the plaintiff first experiences appreciable harm as a result of the misdiagnosis, which is when the plaintiff first becomes aware

that a preexisting disease or condition has developed into a more serious one. (C.A. 2nd, October 31, 2016.)

Probate Estate of Dayan (2016) _ Cal.App.4th _ , 2016 WL 6520113: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s ruling that defendant owned a one-third interest in commercial real property and its ruling denying plaintiff’s judgment on the pleadings motion claiming that defendant violated the will’s no contest clause when he opposed a Probate Code section 850(a)(2) petition regarding the commercial real property. (C.A. 2nd, November 3, 2016.)

Real Property Nellie Gail Ranch Owners Association v. McMullin (2016) _ Cal. App.4th _ , 2016 WL 5719712: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment for plaintiff, following a bench trial, quieting title and compelling defendants to remove a retaining wall and other improvements they built without plaintiff’s approval on more than 6,000 square feet of common area that plaintiff owned adjacent to defendants’ property. (C.A. 4th, filed October 3, 2016, published October 27, 2016.) n

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA’S LEADERS IN… •ESI Processing & Hosting •Data Acquisition & Forensics •Managed Document Review •Paper-based Discovery Services •Court Reporting

With offices in LA Downtown, LA Century City, Irvine and San Diego DTIGlobal.com

FREE MCLE SEMINARS! Call us for information to schedule a complimentary in-person or webinar MCLE seminar on a variety of electronic discovery topics.

501 West Broadway, Suite 400 San Diego, CA 92101 Office: (619) 234-0660

Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 160, 2016

7


ADVOCACY FOR THE EXPLOITED Jean-Claude Lapuyade is fixated on delivering results for clients wronged via construction defects, aggrieved wages and hourly employees, and low-income individuals who fall victim to unlawful housing practices. by Karen Gorden

“I

like the challenge of complex multi-party litigation and class action litigation. I know it sounds cliché, but I love the fact that what I do every day is fight for the little guys,” says Jean-Claude Lapuyade, Founder of JCL Law Firm. At first blush, Lapuyade may be appear to be of the “little guys” himself. Just 4 years after graduating from law school, Lapuyade took a leap of faith to open his own firm—a risky gamble, considering his passion for complex litigation. However, given that he authored a winning brief before the Maryland Court of Appeals, (Chmurny v. State) while he was still a law clerk; in hindsight, it’s clear that Lapuyade’s talent and tenacity was anything but ordinary. “I always planned to run my own firm, but like everyone I needed to get my feet wet before hanging out my shingle. I began out of law school working for a plaintiffs’ construction defect firm. It was my first experience in that area of law, and I enjoyed the challenge of putting together a case against 5, 10, 15, sometimes 20 or more different defendants. I also had a great mentor in Bill Naumann,” he adds. “I got terrific experience in insurance litigation, turning cookie cutter construction defect cases into true product liability cases.” By 2010, Lapuyade was ready to try his hand at running his own firm, and launched JCL Law Firm, with an initial focus on construction defect cases. However, it wasn’t long before Lapuyade expanded his practice to include employment wage and hour class action litigation, and most recently unlawful housing practices class actions.

FOCUSED ON CLIENTS IN CONSTRUCTION DEFECT CASES “In a practice area lacking passion, we love what we do,” he says. “We represent large groups of single-family homeowners, 8

Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 160, 2016

homeowners’ association and commercial property owners in construction defect litigation against builders for defective original construction. This represents approximately 60-65% of our business, and the overwhelming majority of our cases are referred by my colleagues,” he says. Lapuyade believes that there are several reasons fellow attorneys are so quick to refer these types of cases to JCL Law Firm. “We are dedicated to personalized, attentive and regular client communication. I constantly hear clients say things like, “My last attorney wouldn’t call me back,” or “We haven’t heard from our attorney in 4-5 months.” I never want a client to feel that way, so we are committed to maintaining constant communication,” he explains. In addition, Lapuyade’s passion for helping homeowners who are up against a giant insurance company, or powerful builder, shines through when he says, “We are entirely focused on the best result for our clients, and are always striving to maximize their net award, rather than maximizing attorney fees.” By way of example, in 2016 alone, JCL Law recovered more than $5.5M for clients in construction defect cases. But perhaps the referrals that mean the most to Lapuyade are those that come from the attorneys defending the “big guys” the JCL Firm has challenged. “There is no greater honor than having former opposing counsel respect the quality of my work enough to refer clients. To have attorneys I’ve gone up against send business to me is the best compliment I can receive.”

FIGHTING FOR WORKERS IN WAGE AND HOUR CLASS ACTIONS When it comes to fighting for the little guys in employment cases, Lapuyade doesn’t mince words in describing the unfair and illegal actions leveraged against wage and hourly employees.


JOURNAL

FEATURED PROFESTSHIOENMAOLNPTROFILE

© Bauman Photographers

OF

2016

H


“WE ARE DEDICATED TO PERSONALIZED, ATTENTIVE AND REGULAR CLIENT COMMUNICATION.” “The amount of wage theft that goes on continues to amaze me,” he says. “When you have several hundred employees being cheated out of thousands of dollars each year, that’s a substantial windfall for the employer.” Citing the miscalculation of overtime rates as one of the ways that hourly employees are most often wronged, Lapuyade says that the illegal activity is often apparent just by looking at the paystubs of employees. “The violations are clear to see. My job in fighting for the employees is to make it known to employers engaging in these violations, that what they are doing is not right, it’s not fair, and it’s not legal,” he explains. Likewise, Lapuyade often fights for workers who are so grossly overscheduled that it is impossible for them to be able to take the meal and rest breaks that they are legally entitled to take. “Employees don’t have to take a meal or rest break by law. However, they are certainly entitled to those breaks if they want them. But all too often, employers create impossible schedules for their employees, wherein they cannot complete their work if they take a break, yet the company does not allow for overtime. That leaves employees with two options. They can skip their breaks, or they can take their breaks, but wind up having to work for free to complete their daily workload,” he says. However, employers who choose to engage in these types of practices learn painful lessons, once Lapuyade takes on a case. This year, for example, one California retail outlet found itself on the receiving end of Lapuyade’s quest for justice, to the tune of $1.9M owed to employees and former employees.

RIGHTING WRONGS COMMITTED BY OWNERS/ OPERATORS OF RESIDENTIAL HOTELS “We are so proud to represent low-income individuals in class action lawsuits for unlawful housing practices against owners and operators of residential hotels,” Lapuyade says of the unique third practice area he maintains. “There are very few attorneys who take these cases, but we have found a strategy that triggers insurance coverage for claims, and the work is incredibly rewarding.” In this niche field, Lapuyade stands as a beacon of justice and a voice for low-income individuals. “Individuals and families often reside in these ‘hotels’ for long periods of time, and as tenants they are afforded the same rights as those who rent from any property management company or private owner. But in these cases, the owners and operators receive government subsidies including preferential financing in exchange for providing low-income housing. Yet they continue to engage in unlawful 10

Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 160, 2016

housing practices against tenants” Lapuyade says. To make it even worse, Lapuyade says, “The rents charged by many residential hotel owners and operators are actually fairly expensive, but low-income individuals often have nowhere else to go, because of job instability or credit issues. That puts them at the mercy of the hotel operator. My first case involved a woman who had lived in a hotel for over 2 years. She had furnished her own space, and it was absolutely her home. She was one day late on rent, and the owner called the police and had her belongings unlawfully ejected,” he explains. Lapuyade begin taking more and more of these cases over the years, driven in part by a sense of community service he says was instilled in him since he was a child. “My family has always pushed us to be involved in community service. We participated in food drives, and worked in food kitchens. In college, my fraternity also volunteered with soup kitchens and performed other service work to help the poor and indigent community.” Today, victories that Lapuyade has attained against the owners and operators of residential hotels for unlawful housing practices have led to thousands of dollars of settlement funds being awarded to charities in the affordable housing space. In fact, in 2016, his work lead to nearly $80,000 awarded through the cy pres doctrine, to charities including the Alphas Project and Alpha Square. As an undisputed champion for the “little guys,” Lapuyade’s own star is on the rise, as evidenced by back-to-back Super Lawyers Rising Star Awards, and a steady stream of referrals from fellow San Diego attorneys and past clients. But Lapuyade has no plans to intentionally expand his practice, for the sake of growing a larger firm. Instead, he plans to continue his efforts in fighting for the little guys, who are up against seemingly impossible odds when it comes to construction defect, wage and hour, and unlawful housing practices. “I’m sure JCL Firm will be adding a few attorneys over the next few years, but I’m not focused on growing a big firm. I’m committed to continuing to provide exceptional legal services on a contingency fee, within a small firm environment.” n Contact Jean-Claude Lapuyade, Esq. JCL Law Firm, A.P.C. 10200 Willow Creek Road, Suite 150 San Diego, CA 92131 P: (619) 599-8292 jlapuyade@jcl-lawfirm.com jcl-lawfirm.com


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

L E I - C HAL A W ILSON BUILDING BRIDGES

A criminal defense attorney for over

25 years, Lei-Chala Wilson also serves as the Legal Advisor to the San Diego Black Police Officers Association.

As Legal Advisor -an unpaid position-

her focus includes improving relations

between law enforcement and minority

communities, educating police officers,

evaluating police practices and accountability, and community outreach.

Community service has been a corner-

stone of Lei-Chala’s professional life. In 2014, she finished six years as President of the San Diego Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of

Colored People. Her long list of service also includes leadership positions with the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, the San Diego Section of

the National Council of Negro Women, the California Civil Rights Coalition, Volunteers in Parole’s Advisory

Committee, and the San Diego County Public Law Library.

A former deputy public defender with more than 120 jury trials, Lei-Chala represents the accused in various criminal matters

Lei-Chala Wilson is 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


COMMUNITY news n Latham & Watkins LLP is pleased to announce that 27 associates have been elected to the partnership and 28 associates have been promoted to the role of counsel, effective January 1, 2017. The group includes lawyers from across the firm’s five departments who are based in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States, providing clients with a breadth of resources and experience in the world’s major OMAR NAZIF financial, business and regulatory centers. In San Diego, Omar Nazif has been promoted to Partner. Nazif is a member of the Finance Department who focuses his practice on project finance transactions in the energy and gaming and hospitality industries. He represents financial institutions, sponsors and developers in connection with all phases of the development and financing of projects, with a particular focus on the renewable energy sector. Nazif received AMANDA MOLTER his JD from Stanford Law School in 2006. Amanda L. Molter has also been promoted to Counsel. Molter is a member of the Corporate Department who represents private fund sponsors, investors and joint venture participants in forming, investing in and operating private investment vehicles. She has broad experience advising private equity sponsors operating across a wide range of industries on all aspects of the investment fund lifecycle, including global fundraising activities, investments and exits. Molter received her JD from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law in 2007. n CaseyGerry partners Thomas Penfield and Robert Francavilla have been recognized as “Outstanding Trial Lawyers” at the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego’s (CASD) annual Evening with the Trial Stars Awards Dinner held at the U.S. Grant Hotel. The award was presented to the longtime CaseyGerry partners based on their successful work on a case against American Reprographics, ROBERT FRANCAVILLA LLC, a digital reproduction firm whose truck driver hit a young Carlsbad woman crossing the street, causing a serious and permanent foot injury. Following a threeday trial, a Vista Superior Court jury ordered the San Diego company to pay $425,741.67 in damages to the plaintiff. With a practice concentrating on serious personal injury/head injury and products liability, Francavilla is now a six-time winner of CASD’s Outstanding Trial Lawyer Award and has been named one of the Top 25 Plaintiffs Lawyers in California by the Los Angeles Daily Journal. Penfield has significant experience in personal injury, products liability, class actions and civil litigation; he is an adjunct professor of law at the University of San Diego (USD) School of Law and is one of a handful of California attorneys named a Diplomate of Trial Advocacy by the American Association for Justice.

12

Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 160, 2016

n Higgs Fletcher & Mack partner and employment law and litigation attorney, Jim Peterson, has been named Chairperson of Make-AWish® (MAW) San Diego. A board member since 2013 and previously Vice Chair, Peterson aims to increase JIM PETERSON the organization’s outreach program to all eligible “wish kids” and further fundraising efforts to ensure the local chapter can sustain its unprecedented growth in the number of wishes granted in the coming year. “This organization is very near and dear to me and my family. It’s with great pleasure that I get to serve as Chair and focus on increasing awareness for MAW San Diego,” shared Peterson. “Last year, we increased our outreach to connect with more than 70 percent of those eligible for a wish (children with life-threatening illness), and increased the number of wishes granted from 175 to 225. I want to continue our efforts and spread the word about the impact MAW has on healing kids and their families struck by a health tragedy. I’m also looking forward to growing our donor base and increasing our fundraising efforts.” n The National Trial Lawyers organization has chosen attorney Curtis Quay, from Injury Trial Lawyers, APC, as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer. Quay is a personal injury attorney with over 20 years of experience handling serious accidents. Prior to CURTIS QUAY joining Injury Trial Lawyers, APC, Mr. Quay established himself by working as a personal injury defense attorney for various insurance companies. The National Trial Lawyers (NTL) is an invitationonly organization of attorneys who meet a set of stringent qualifications. NTL is based on a multiphase process that includes third-party research and peer nominations.

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


COMMUNITY news n Fish & Richardson principals Juanita Brooks and Roger Denning were recognized alongside San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer as well as various local government officials and professionals in the real estate, construction, design and financial industries who are positively impacting the region on ROGER DENNING The Daily Transcript’s list of “100 Influential Leaders in San Diego.” “Being able to teach technology to a jury for the relatively short time that you’ve got them in the courtroom — at least enough to help them understand the technologies underlying the case — can be crucial to winning a trial,” Denning said in The Daily Transcript interview. To demonstrate his track record of success, The Transcript showcased Denning’s recent case regarding the world’s leading kidney dialysis care provider, Fresenius, in a product liability suit. Denning’s education in electrical engineering may not seem like it would lend itself to a career in corporate litigation, the publication noted, but it has proved pivotal in his ability to protect clients in patent infringement and 2015 Fragomen SD Attorney Journal - 1st Proof.pdf 1 10/6/2015 7:45:44 PM product liability cases involving medical devices, computer software and sporting goods.

n For the first time, Hecht Solberg Robinson Goldberg & Bagley LLP (HechtSolberg) has been honored as a National Tier 2 law firm in the area of Land Use and Zoning Law in the U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers 2017 rankings. “As a real estate and business MICKEY MAHER boutique with 16 lawyers, we are gratified to be propelled to the national stage in these rankings,” said Mickey Maher, managing partner at HechtSolberg. “Many of the firms ranked nationally are global firms with multiple offices. This ranking recognizes that despite our size, our depth of knowledge and team approach allow us to deliver solutions that accomplish clients’ real estate and business goals,” he said. HechtSolberg was also designated a Metropolitan San Diego Tier 1 law firm in Real Estate Law and Land Use and Zoning Law, as well as a Tier 2 law firm for San Diego in the area of Corporate Law.

Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 160, 2016

13


Leveraging Offline Activities to Boost Your Firm's Online Results

by Corrie Benfield

It’s

no secret that having a strong online marketing strategy is essential for any law firm these days. What many lawyers need to know, though, is how you can leverage your offline activities to give you a leg up online. As an active professional and dedicated member of your community, you are likely already involved in plenty of endeavors that could improve your online presence. Now, you just need to take that extra step to tie those into your online marketing campaign.

HOW CAN THESE EVERYDAY PURSUITS AFFECT YOUR FIRM'S ONLINE RESULTS? Focusing on great client service. Of course, most law firms strive to provide excellent client service, especially since many new clients will come to you through referrals. However, you may not always be thinking about how those in-person relationships with clients can translate to online referrals. Make sure you have a process in place to help your satisfied clients leave you positive reviews on Google, Yelp, and other trusted ratings sites. On the flip side, take a hard look at your intake process to ensure you are leaving a friendly and positive impression even with people who don’t end up as clients. Research has shown that customers who have a bad experience are more than 50 percent more likely to leave a review online than those who have a positive experience. Taking an active role in your community. Many attorneys are happy to give back to the communities they serve, either by volunteering, sponsoring events, or donating to local charities. Whether these efforts benefit causes near and dear to your heart or causes that support your clients’ interests, these types of activities can add depth to your brand online. When volunteering at an event, take photos and videos 14

Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 160, 2016

to post to your site and share on social media, tagging the organization to further your reach. And remember to ask charities that you support or organizations that you sponsor to link from their site to yours in return. Participating in social clubs or pursuing your passion for hobbies. Not only do these types of activities improve your work-life balance, they provide an opportunity for website content that encourages potential clients to connect with you on a personal level. For example: Are you an avid motorcyclist? Do you enjoy Sunday rides with your bicycle club? Do you spend your weekends rebuilding old cars? Are you a culinary mastermind? Or are you adept at all things DIY? Reading about your professional experience online may give clients confidence in your legal abilities, but learning that you have hobbies in common may sway them to choose you over the competition. Building relationships with media outlets. Make an effort to connect with local reporters to establish yourself as the go-to resource for commentary on hot topics in your practice area. In addition to issuing news releases on the awards you receive and accomplishments you achieve, consider making yourself available to write op-eds on controversial laws, comment on the legal issues surrounding trending topics, and share insightful analysis on pending cases that other attorneys can’t discuss. Every press release you send out will garner links back to your site. And links to every media appearance or article you are quoted in help establish you as an attorney who is at the top of his/her game. Booking speaking engagements. Whether you are leading an educational seminar for other attorneys or hosting a Q&A on a hot topic for potential clients, you are likely to make some good in-person connections through speaking engagements. However, you should also make sure that all online and


email promotions for your speaking engagements link back to your website, and consider giving the audience a reason to visit your site after your talk. Perhaps they could download a copy of your PowerPoint, a free copy of an ebook you’ve written, a useful checklist, or a list of additional resources. Writing guest articles. Look for opportunities to be a guest author, whether it’s for a local newspaper, a bar publication, or a law review. Because a majority of publications also have online versions, linking to your articles from your website can establish you as an authority on certain subjects. And that’s something that will resonate with both referring attorneys and potential clients. Staying active in professional organizations. Your involvement in local bar associations, civic organizations, and other professional networking groups provides obvious opportunities to make new connections. Showing your involvement in those organizations on your website establishes credibility with clients, especially when comparing you to another lawyer who doesn't have that long list of credentials. Sharing news of your awards and honors. You should be proud of the awards, honors, and rankings you receive. They provide social proof of how much clients and peers appreciate the work you do. Include information about awards and recognition, in the form of logos such as Super Lawyers or the Better Business Bureau, on your website to build credibility among visitors.

Specialization matters. Having represented more law firms over the last 25 years than any other broker in the region, no one understands their real estate needs better than I do. — Jason Hughes President & CEO, Hughes Marino

hughesmarino.com (619) 238-2111

Being the successful lawyer you are. Just doing your job and winning cases plays a huge part in building your reputation both offline and online. Highlighting your prominent cases and subsequent results on your website shows potential clients that you have a strong record of success and the capacity to take on complex, large cases.

ROUND OUT YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE There's no denying the power of a personal referral, but there's also no way to ignore the increasing power of online searches. A recent survey from FindLaw, for example, showed that 38 percent of people found lawyers through online searches, versus 29 percent who asked a friend or relative. That's a massive jump from the 7 percent who hired a lawyer from online searches in 2005. Although the way people are finding a lawyer may be changing, the qualities they're looking for haven't. Your online presence should reflect your character, your personality, and your professionalism. That way potential clients can see you as the wellrounded lawyer that you are. n Corrie Benfield brings a deep background in journalism and legal writing to her role as a Web Content Editor with Consultwebs, where she edits and writes a wide array of content that is search engineoptimized and informative to those in need of legal help.

Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 160, 2016

15


Up To The Challenge

Complexities and Complications Inherent in Medical Malpractice Cases Are No Match for Chihak & Martel Partner Amy Rose Martel by Jennifer Hadley

“My

mom worked as a paralegal for a plaintiff’s medical malpractice lawyer in Orange County, when I was growing up. She would tell me about the cases that they were working on and I was always fascinated. What made the greatest impression on me was how hard they fought for their clients and how their efforts could make a huge impact on their clients’ lives. I knew in the 1st grade that I wanted to be a lawyer. Of course, what I did not understand when I was growing up, were the challenges that MICRA presents,” says Amy Rose Martel, who made Partner at Chihak & Martel in early 2016. After growing up in Norco, CA, and earning her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Washington, Martel moved to America’s Finest City in 2001 to attend the University of San Diego School of Law where she was a member of the Mock Trial team, and chair of the Pro Bono Legal Society. After graduation, Martel accepted a position with the defense firm she had clerked for while in law school. “I loved my job at Lincoln, Gustafson, & Cercos and could not have asked for a better group of people to work with. However, I knew that defending insurance companies was not my calling. I have been extremely fortunate throughout my life, and have been given so many amazing opportunities. I recognize that others are not as fortunate as I have been, and it is why I feel the need to help others and to give back to my community,” she explains.

16

Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 160, 2016

Competitive Spirit

Fortunately, Martel is incredibly competitive by nature. An avid runner, she was the team captain of the cross country and track teams in college, she has completed marathons, half iron-man triathlons and she recently took up mountain biking. So, when a chance encounter as an associate pitted her against Cynthia Chihak, one of San Diego’s most respected and revered plaintiff’s medical malpractice attorneys, Martel did what she has always done. She geared up to compete. “In 2007 I was working on a large auto wrongful death case and Cynthia was the opposing counsel. She is straight up intimidating in deposition. I was immediately impressed with her, and worked ten times harder on that case, because I knew that unless I wanted to get crushed, I needed to be on my A game,” Martel recalls. Continuing she says, “While working on that case, I remember saying to my husband, as we drove past her office, “I am going to work for Cynthia Chihak someday.” I knew I wanted to work for her because she exemplifies everything I love about being a trial lawyer: she is hard working, smart, prepared and she is not afraid to fight for her clients. A year later we settled the case, and she offered me a job,” Martel says. Thus, in 2008, Martel joined Chihak’s established firm, and began cutting her teeth in the field of medical malpractice. Suffice it to say, the opportunity to finally fight for the victims of medical malpractice was incredibly rewarding, eyeopening and emotional for Martel, who had long dreamed


ATTORNEY

OF THE MONTH

© Bauman Photographers

2016 2014


© Bauman Photographers

of helping others through catastrophic injuries. She recalls, “During my first year working with Cynthia, we arbitrated a failure to diagnose case. Unfortunately, by the time our client’s cancer was diagnosed it was terminal. We won the arbitration and when we got the award of $2.3 million, we called him. I’ll never forget what he said as he cried and thanked us. He said “now I can die peacefully because I know my kids will be taken care of.” He did pass away a few days later. I had always known I wanted to be a plaintiff’s lawyer but his words validated every step I took to get here.” Regarding the challenges she now relishes, Martel comments, “Medical malpractice is very much a David & Goliath area of law. It’s a tough practice area. The cap on general damages and attorneys’ fees discourages a lot of people. Medical insurers fight hard and put a lot of resources into not paying victims. You’re also always opposing some of the best defense attorneys out there. There is no such thing as an easy medical malpractice case.” Although the odds are stacked against plaintiffs, Martel says that the firm welcomes the fight. “Cynthia and I are both very competitive and neither one of us are afraid to put in the hard work that it takes to succeed. There is no substitute for working hard and being good at your craft.” Plus, she explains, although

18

Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 160, 2016

the partners are both competitive, they aren’t competitive with each other. Instead, when it comes to fighting for a client, the entire team works on the case, and all attorneys in the firm know exactly where the case stands. “We maintain a small caseload which allows us to give each case the attention it deserves,” she says. “We are fortunate to have big firm resources, and we refuse to cut corners, but we also don’t waste 8 hours in a deposition, when it can be handled in 2 hours.” Although Martel and Chihak are always representing the “underdog” in medical malpractice, or in select premises liability, product defect and personal injury cases, their reputation for civility in working with opposing counsel is well established. “Thanks to Cynthia’s years of dedication and success, our firm has an excellent reputation. I believe people know that we are honest, aggressive and not afraid to stand up for our clients. We are trial lawyers, not settlement lawyers. Every case we take, we prepare it like we will try it. We will not sell our clients short to avoid trial,” she says. In spite of their reputation for going to trial, Martel explains that the firm has not only managed to build civil relationships with the defense attorneys they are opposing, but that she has become friends with many of the medical malpractice defense lawyers she routinely challenge. “We do see the same attorneys


a lot, and we believe in civility. Of course, there are times when things become contentious, but overall we have excellent relationships with attorneys we oppose. In fact, when I made Partner earlier this year, several defense lawyers came to our party,” she says.

Curious Mind

Much of Martel’s passion for plaintiff’s work lies in the fact that there is frankly never a dull moment. In other words, the fact that she continues to be challenged to learn something new on a daily basis is exhilarating. “Medical malpractice is a tough field; you must be prepared to go toe-to-toe with a doctor in their field of expertise, which is not easy for someone with no medical background. But I would rather work until midnight than show up unprepared,” she says. “If I am going to be taking the deposition of a surgeon, I need to understand the medicine, the indications for the surgery, the surgical procedure itself and the potential complications, and be able to speak intelligently about it. I spend a lot of time doing medical research and I enjoy it. We also have terrific medical experts we have built relationships with, who we can call and ask questions about a particular procedure or aspect of the case,” Martel explains. In fact, the reputation of Chihak and Martel is so favorable, that Martel says that many of the firm’s cases are referred by physicians. “We have sued a doctor, and then had him refer us a case, and serve as the medical expert,” she says. Likewise, the firm also receives plenty of referrals from colleagues in other

practice areas. “In some regards we are lucky, because there are not a lot of attorneys who do medical malpractice cases. We have earned the referrals, and the referrals that come to us are generally very good cases,” Martel says. In fact, referrals to Chihak & Martel from other attorneys, judges and doctors account for roughly 80% of the firm’s business.

Compassionate Leader

As a trial lawyer and a mother to two young sons, Martel is admittedly aggressive and competitive, but says her role as a mother has taught her a great deal about patience and empathy when it comes to helping her clients to cope with their injuries or loss. “Clients can contact me anytime. I am here to fight, but I am also here to listen to them and offer a compassionate ear,” she says. “It is important for me to not only be a great trial lawyer, but to have compassion.” “I am beyond lucky that my husband is a stay-at-home dad, which allows me the time and opportunity to be a trial lawyer, which often requires long hours and time away from home. Being a trial lawyer is my dream job. But being a mom to Waylon and Charlie is what defines me, challenges me, and inspires me,” she says. “Having two little boys means we are always on the go, I do not have any down time. It is important for me to not only be a good lawyer but to be a good mom. But it is hard to do both, sometimes I have to miss the kids’ events and sometimes I have to miss work-related events. There is always “mom” guilt, but I do my best to be efficient, and present with whatever I am doing.”


Contact Amy Rose Martel Chihak & Martel 12555 High Bluff Drive, Suite 150 20

Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 160, 2016

© Bauman Photographers

EXPERIENCE

As such, cases involving children strike a chord with her, while providing her with an opportunity to give back. By way of example, Martel recalls a case from several years ago in which the firm had an 8-year-old client, who had a tumor on her neck which was misdiagnosed. “I remember reading her discovery responses, which she wrote herself. In describing how this tumor impacted her life, she wrote that she just wanted to feel normal, and that she was sad she would never have a boyfriend and never get married. She wrote that she had never been around anyone who looked like her.” “Reading this in her own handwritten words brought me to tears. I wanted to do something for this little girl, other than just resolve her case. As it happened, my uncle had started a camp for seriously ill children in Carnation, Washington, in honor of my cousin who died from cancer. Today Camp Korey is part of Paul Newman’s SeriousFun Network of camps which help children who are ill to experience the simple joy of camp, the thrill of just being a kid, free of charge. I was able to get her a spot in the camp. For 7 days, she laughed, danced and most importantly, she felt like a normal kid. I got a picture of her from Camp Korey dressed up in a lion’s costume for a play she was in, and her smile was worth more than any verdict,” Martel says. In addition to supporting children’s causes, Martel is dedicated to helping those less fortunate in San Diego, through her role on the Board of Directors of Traveler’s Aid Society, a position she has held for more than a decade. “Traveler’s Aid is a private, nonprofit agency that provides crisis and short-term assistance for food, shelter, and transportation, for San Diegans in need. Our mobile mom’s program, for example, provides transportation to low-income pregnant women so that they can get to their pre- and post-natal appointments. We also provide rides to veterans and seniors to help them get to doctor’s appointments. Transportation is an often forgotten aspect of social services and we fill that gap,” Martel says. As far as the future is concerned for Martel, her game plan is firmly in place. In addition to continuing to provide unparalleled advocacy for clients who have been harmed through no fault of their own, or through her commitment to giving back to the legal community, and the San Diego community at large, Martel is very clear about what she hopes to accomplish in the future. “My mom always inspired me to work hard. She set the bar for having strong morals and integrity. Cynthia shaped my career into what it is today. I will be forever humbled that she chose to put my name next to hers. By taking on additional leadership roles in the legal field, such as serving as the Secretary of Consumer Attorneys of San Diego in 2017, I want to pay this forward by trying to be an example to younger women who want to be trial lawyers.” n

» EDUCATION • University of San Diego School of Law, San Diego, California – 2003 • Honors: Chair, The Pro Bono Legal Society • Honors: Member, Mock Trial Team • University of Washington – 1999 • Honors: Member, The Cross Country and Track Teams

» PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS AND MEMBERSHIPS • California State Bar, Member • Consumer Attorneys of San Diego, Member • Consumer Attorneys of San Diego, Board of Directors, 2014–Present • San Diego County Bar Association, Member • Nevada State Bar Association, Member • Traveler’s Aid Society, Board of Directors, 2003–Present • American Inns of Court, J. Clifford Wallace, Barrister • Named one of San Diego’s Top Attorneys by Super Lawyer Magazine, 2015–Present • San Diego Business Journal Best of the Bar, 2015–Present


J. DANIEL HOLSENBACK, ESQ. MEDIATOR

• Over 25 years as a civil trial lawyer and general counsel • Unique insight into resolution brought by extensive trial experience • Steadfast and tenacious in his approach to settling disputes

AREAS OF PRACTICE: Business Real Estate Intellectual Property Personal Injury

225 Broadway, Suite 1400

San Diego, California 92101

Tel. (619) 233-1323 Fax (619) 233-1324

adrservices.org


Death of the Billable Hour: A Eulogy by Kevin Bielawski

L

ast month, I participated on a panel at the 2016 Futures Conference. My assigned task was to discuss whether the billable hour would finally be dead by 2026. That got me thinking about the future event that would mark the passing of the billable hour as we know it. Would there be a final hourly invoice, billed and paid by a client, signifying the system's demise? Would there be a funeral for the billable hour? And if so, who would be there to eulogize it and what would that sound like? The eulogy might sound something like this: We are gathered here today to honor and pay our respects to William "Able" Hour, or "Bill" as many of us came to know him. Bill Hour had a long career, providing many with joy and others with hand-wringing over the intended and unintended negative consequences he created. Bill would regularly and effortlessly put the client’s interests in conflict with those of lawyers. He was very adept at hiding the true cost of a project and shunned providing clients with any level of predictability. Bill Hour would take great pride in promoting redundancy and over-lawyering. His knack for having clients pick up the tab for process inefficiencies, bill padding and training was unmatched. I recall a time when Bill and I were returning from a client’s office. We had just landed a very important project, and I asked Bill if we should develop a budget, project plan or timeline that would identify key milestones. Bill assured me, with a wink and a smile, there was no need as he “had it covered.”

ALAS, THE DEATH OF THE BILLABLE HOUR IS NOT TO BE I believe the billable hour will still be alive in 2026. How so? A few drivers are keeping the billable hour alive, including:

22

Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 160, 2016

• An unwillingness by some law firms (or partners within firms) to offer pricing alternatives. • A law firm dependence on billable hour targets. • Cost accounting that typically drives law firm profitability calculations. • Clients that are still more comfortable with billable hour arrangements. • Clients addicted to the billable hour data they mine internally or receive from their e-billing vendors, allowing for simple quantitative comparisons. • Sophisticated or complex legal work that warrants an hourly billing arrangement. But there are some changes we should see over the next 10 years: • An increase in legal services and products as subscriptions. • Less emphasis on billable hour targets at firms. • Law firm business models that don't rely on the billable hour to calculate profitability. • A growing number of clients that favor outcome or valuebased metrics and rely less on some quantitative metrics like hourly billing rates. n Kevin Bielawski has 20 years of experience in the legal industry in various financial roles. As director of Legal Project Management & Strategic Pricing at Husch Blackwell, he consults with firm partners and clients to identify business objectives, value perspective, process inefficiencies and assist with solution development and implementation. He regularly leads the execution of fee arrangements that meet clients' budget demands. Kevin is a Certified Project Management Professional and a Legal Lean Sigma White Belt. Previously published in Attorney at Work.


Why Are You at the Office Until 10 p.m.? T

he early days of my legal career at a big firm involved lots of late nights at the office. It seemed like I was routinely getting home around 11 p.m.—often later. It was a busy time, so late nights were required. But not always. Looking back, staying late all the time could have been avoided. My nocturnal schedule was a choice­—a result of my failure to make the necessary choices that could have helped me avoid exhaustion and burnout.

Staying Late at the Office is a Vicious Cycle You stay late, you get to bed late, then you get to the office late the next morning, at a time when the emails and phone calls start pouring in. You never give yourself a chance to get ahead, get organized, and get the work done when you should. Instead, you do those things when you can—typically at the end of the day when “it’s quiet,” after your clients have gone home, and all the inputs have stopped. The biggest problem is that the end of the day is the worst time to do the deep work that’s required to get ahead in your career. Instead of doing what’s most important, your day is spent doing what’s most urgent. Rather than playing golf, it’s like playing tennis, where all you do is return volleys, only to have them fired right back at you. The truth is, for most people, early morning is the best time to get deep work done. You may not consider yourself a morning person, and the idea of getting in the office at 7 a.m. is anathema. But have you pondered the possibility that the reason the morning is such a drag is that you’re exhausted from all the late nights? You can’t burn both ends of the candle. It’s unsustainable. So you need to make a choice. 24

Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 160, 2016

by Jay Harrington

Do You Want a Life, or Do You Want to Spend Your Life at the Office? It wasn’t until I stepped away from my legal career that I came to appreciate the benefits of starting early. Keep in mind that change like this doesn’t happen all at once. I used to start working around 9 a.m. When I decided to make a change, I slowly started setting my alarm a bit earlier. Every month I moved my wake-up call back by 15 minutes. It wasn’t long before I was starting my workday at 8 a.m., then 7 a.m. Now I get up most days around 4:45 a.m., get a workout in, and sit down with a cup of coffee at my iPad around 6 a.m. I’ve found that I can get more substantive work done from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. than I can from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. The fact that it’s better to do important work in the morning is a no-brainer. Literally. If you’ve been working all day in a stressful profession such as the law, by the evening your brain is likely fried, productivity sags, and it’s almost certain that you won’t be doing your best work.

Start Your Day with a Sprint Perhaps more important than when you start working is what you start working on. To borrow from Mark Twain, you’ve got to eat that frog. Work is like fitness—it’s best done in short bursts of intensity, followed by periods of rest and recovery. So start the day with a sprint. Working in this manner has an added benefit. If you’re like most people, your best ideas (just like building muscle) come during periods of recovery, when your mind is free to wander, and not in the midst of an intense work session. By taking the time to recover, you can then apply these “free range” ideas during your next period of work.


According to psychologist Ron Friedman, the key to productivity is leveraging the first three hours of your day. Friedman was quoted in the Harvard Business Review about this point: “Typically, we have a window of about three hours where we’re really, really focused. We’re able to have some strong contributions in terms of planning, in terms of thinking, in terms of speaking well.” Don’t save your most important work for the end of the day, whether that’s writing a brief, practicing a presentation, or strategizing a transaction. Do it first when your mind and body are fresh. Then get up, take a walk and have something to eat. Reserve your afternoons for meetings, phone calls and email. The perfect way to wrap up the day — hopefully by 6 p.m. — is by spending 15 minutes planning the next morning’s to-do list. That way you can head home with a clear head and your next day already mapped out.

Peterson Reporting. Providing nationwide service since 1986.

The “Face Time Myth” If you’re a young lawyer you might be thinking: “Yeah, right. There’s no way I can leave that early every day. I’m expected to put in face time.” Trust me, I understand this mindset. It’s what I thought for most of my career as an associate. Only later did I learn that for most senior lawyers, the concept of face time is an irrelevancy. All that matters is results. If the lawyers who assign you work find you reliable, and have confidence that you’ll ask the right questions, exercise good judgment, and meet deadlines, then no one (at least no one that matters) will bat an eye if you’re heading for the elevators before the sun sets on a consistent basis.

Now Let's Get Real It’s foolhardy to think that you won’t have to work late once in awhile. Of course, the best-laid plans will go awry, and some days will be nothing but a chaotic mess. To paraphrase Cus D’Amato, who was one of Mike Tyson’s boxing managers and trainers, plans are great … until you get punched in the mouth. I urge you, though, not to make it a habit. No lawyer should accept that each day in a law firm must end in a conference room littered with carry-out containers of half-eaten Thai food. A legal career is hard. The work is stressful. Adversaries quadruple normal levels of anxiety. Don’t make things harder on yourself by working in a way that is unhealthy and unsustainable. Get up a little earlier. Get your work done. Then get out of the office and into the world. You’ll be a better lawyer—and person—for it. n Jay Harrington is co-founder of Harrington Communications, where he leads the Brand Strategy, Content Creation and Client Service teams. He is author of the book “One of a Kind: A Proven Path to a Profitable Practice,” as well as the e-book “How to Start Fast as a Law Firm Associate.” Previously, Jay was a commercial litigator and corporate bankruptcy attorney at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Foley & Lardner. He has an undergraduate degree in journalism and earned his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School. He writes regularly for Attorney at Work. Follow him on Twitter @harringj75. Previously published in Attorney at Work.

From day one of your

Reporting

deposition to the last day

Videography

of your trial, Peterson Reporting

Trial Presentation

is an indispensable member of your trial team. Proven professionalism and proficiency

Free Conference Rooms Live Streaming Services Video Conferencing Services

for more than 25 years. Locally owned, globally known.

Global Reach Complex Cases Accurate, Fast

530 B Street, Suite 350 San Diego, CA 92101

619 260 1069

Since 1986 petersonreporting.com Call to request green delivery of your transcripts and receive a discount.

Peterson AttJrnl HPV.indd 1

7/12/13 5:04 PM


Why Is Your Law Firm Getting Clicks but No Cases?

by Robert Padgett

It’s

a common story. Your firm has invested in its website and digital marketing efforts, either in-house or with a vendor. Reports show an increase in visibility, traffic, clicks, impressions, and other metrics, but you can’t attribute much, or any, new business to your online marketing. There is a serious issue with the lack of attention that some digital marketing agencies, and law firms, place on ROI. They instead choose to focus on visibility, impressions, traffic and clicks. With the steady growth of Facebook Ads and the importance of online advertising in general, many savvy law firms are increasing their investments in digital marketing. As with any marketing investment, it is important to know what to measure and how. At the end of any analysis, it should all come back around to ROI. If the reports that you are getting about your website, and its performance, are showing solid traffic and clicks, but very little in the way of conversions (contacts), there may be some issues with content, design, or conversion methods. In addition to onsite factors, one of the many potential explanations has to do with growing issues related to bot visits, ad reporting and click fraud. Lately there have been several articles addressing issues with ad reporting and fraud: • The Economist: The article discusses Dentsu, a large agency that admitted overbilling by its digital-ad division in Japan; it also states that Facebook says it had inflated the average time that people spent watching video ads. These and other reports have contributed to an increasing concern among online advertisers that their ad dollars are not being spent efficiently. There are growing doubts about the trust that can be placed in some agencies and online media investments. • MIT Technology Review: This article talks about bots, and their ubiquity on the web. They perform lots of functions and tasks at varying levels of helpfulness to humans. As the article states, “They gather data about Web pages, they correct vandalism on Wikipedia, they generate spam and even emulate humans. And their impact is growing. By some measures, bots account for 49 percent of visits to Web pages and are responsible for over 50 percent of clicks on ads.” But what is the value of a bot clicking your law firm’s ad? • Ad Week: The post, “Bots Will Cost Digital Advertisers $7.2 Billion in 2016, says ANA study” further explores issues that bots bring into play with digital advertising.

26

Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 160, 2016

Law Firms Should Keep the Focus on ROI To help protect your firm against wasting money on marketing efforts that aren't paying off, it is beneficial to consider doing the following: • Share Case Data. Sharing case data with your vendor will provide necessary information to determine if the leads generated by the campaigns are good quality. It will also assist in the decision-making process of whether to continue with the same strategy or make changes. • Request or Compile Better Data. Don’t solely rely on clicks, visits, impressions and click-through rates. Look at leads, cost per case, cases signed for each traffic source, and of course return on investment (ROI). • Watch Carefully When Using Cost-Per-Impression (CPI or CPM) Campaigns. CPM buying using programmatic or interest-based targeting methods across networks can be particularly suspect and may not be very effective. Watch your results closely and track as much data as you can. With Pay-Per-Click advertising, like with Google AdWords, you only pay when an ad is clicked. Although you may still get fraudulent clicks, Google has a decent filter to protect against this and minimize damage. • Ask Questions. When dealing directly with ad networks, ask for information on how they are combating bot activity and fraudulent behavior. If you are given vague answers or someone disparages such questions, that is a red flag. • Focus Your Campaign. If you focus your campaign so that ads only show in your geographic area of interest, it will provide better results for your campaign and will avoid spam or suspicious traffic coming from other countries. If you have an in-house marketing team or work with an online advertisement agency, make sure that they are data-driven and measure results that matter. This will allow you to make better investment decisions as well as provide better marketing results. n Robert Padgett serves as a Senior Marketing Consultant at Consultwebs.com. In his role, he develops, plans and carries out online marketing strategies for our law firm clients.


& DD

Dunne & Dunne, llp D I V O R C E & F A M I LY L A W

San Diego Divorce & Family Trial Attorneys for a New Generation

DIVORCE EXPERTS DEALING WITH:

Reproductive issues IVF issues Surrogacy issues Same sex marriage with children issues Biological and non-biological parent’s rights issues Transgender parent’s rights issues

ALSO SPECIALISTS IN: Annulments Property division Child custody Child visitation Child support Restraining orders Domestic violence Grandparents’ rights

Anthony Dunne Dunne & Dunne, LLP 701 B Street, Suite 955 San Diego, CA 92101

WE PAY REFERRAL FEES 619-232-9260

dunnefamilylaw.com


Five Easy Ways to Create a Healthy, Less-Stressed Workplace S

by Leigh Stringer

tress is a natural part of any good lawyer’s life. Recently, however, it’s been a bit much, no? Little wonder that soothing GIF that helps sync your breathing has gone viral again. And it works, for a while. But, between baseball, the U.S. elections, end-of-year deadlines and the impending holiday onslaught, you may need more robust advice than “Stay Calm and Carry On.” For this week’s five, we turned to workplace strategy expert and researcher Leigh Stringer, author of the new book, “The Healthy Workplace: How to Improve the Well-Being of Your Employees—and Boost Your Company’s Bottom Line.”

Steps to Improve Your Health and Beat Back Stress at Work Over the years, says Stringer, we’ve all developed work styles that are not always good for our physical, mental or emotional health. “It’s not that we’re bad people, or that we aren’t working hard. The problem is we are so focused on work, that we’ve changed the way we eat, move and sleep in a way that is actually counter-productive.” Here are five ways to be healthier at work, add a little more zen, and get more done while you’re at it.

1. Build Flexibility into How, When and Where You Work

technology and the right protocols (so everyone knows how to reach you), but it can be incredibly empowering.

Adopt a more flexible work schedule. Vary your arrival and departure times, or try a compressed work week.

Move more. Are you sitting in one position all day? Change your position often and move around frequently—stand at a table in the break room, walk during conference calls.

Adjust your work environment. Even if you don’t have a desk that moves up and down, making small adjustments, like moving or adding a computer monitor, turning on a task light or re-orienting furniture can make a major difference in your posture and productivity.

2. Nurture “Biophilia” Humans have a strong desire to be in and among nature, says Stringer. This preference, often referred to as biophilia, was introduced by E.O. Wilson, who suggests there is an instinctive bond between human beings and other living systems. Nurturing that bond at work can decrease stress: •

Add natural elements. Small plants or a water feature on your desk, or nearby, are soothing and reduce stress.

Move your desk next to a window. More natural light will decrease eye strain and improve well-being. Sitting close to a window can even help reset your circadian rhythm and sleep cycle. No windows? Install a circadian lighting system designed to trigger wakefulness. Or, try screwing a “daylight” LED bulb into your office task light. You will be shocked by how much better you feel, says Stringer, and you will likely sleep better at night!

Add features that mimic nature. Pictures of trees and

Studies show people who feel more “in control” of their work and work environment are less likely to suffer from stress and illness and to see increases in productivity. Stringer suggests these options: •

28

Change where you work. Many people work more effectively at home, in a satellite office, co-working facility, a park or a coffee shop. Obviously this requires good Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 160, 2016


water, furniture with organic rather than geometric shapes, and wood with a visible wood grain can serve as “natural analogues” and have the same biophilic impact as the real thing.

Pay attention to your sleep cycle. Stop sending your team texts at 10 p.m.

Teach a meditation or exercise class. Stringer says she met one leader who took the furniture out of a conference room and put in spin bikes so he could lead spin classes once a week.

Take the stairs. It’s good for cholesterol levels, for burning calories and for increasing collaboration at work. If you are in charge, make sure stairwells are safe, well-lit and inviting. Studies show that by simply putting up signs that explain the health benefits (i.e., a sign near the elevator that shows how many calories you can burn), stair usage increases by 54 percent.

Stay home when you are sick. People who come to work sick are very likely spreading their diseases to colleagues— and that reduces productivity. As tempting as it is for you to “power through” and minimize sick days, the overall health risk is not worth it.

3. Banish Distracting, Noisy Behavior To reduce noise distractions office-wide, separate energetic spaces from quiet areas, says Stringer. It’s important to put in a “buffer” between conference spaces or kitchenettes (where people are likely to mill around and talk) and individual workspaces. Also, define policies for space use (i.e., only use speaker phones in enclosed rooms or designate some rooms as “quiet” spaces). As for your personal space: •

Post warnings. Establish a “do not disturb” policy so your colleagues know when they can approach you.

Use technology to hush. Use noise-cancelling headphones or earbuds, or try one of the “white, brown or pink noise” phone apps on your phone with a set of earbuds.

Silence the warnings. Turn off the sounds on phones or devices that beep, chirp or buzz when you receive texts, emails or messages from social media.

4. Bring Your Pet to Work It’s true, pets in the office can have health benefits, improve morale, and even increase collaboration. Pet owners may even work longer hours if they don't feel they have to rush home to care for their pets. Can’t convince your colleagues to allow pets every day? Stringer has some alternatives: •

Introduce animal babies. Bring in puppies or kittens to work for a few hours. Sam Whiteside, Chief Wellness Officer at The Motley Fool, will bring in puppies when she knows a team is working hard on a deadline, to lighten things up.

Limit it to a day. Create a “bring your pet to work day.”

Take it outside. Allow pets to come to family picnics or events. Get a mascot. If you’ve ever been to the Hotel Algonquin in New York (or read “The Algonquin Cat”), you know this can be a competitive advantage.

5. Lead by Example One of the most influential tools to encourage healthy behavior at work is you. Stringer says injecting healthy changes into your own life will give you the knowledge you need to convince others to change. For example, you can: •

Eat better and bring in good, healthy foods to share when appropriate.

Integrate movement into your day. Organize a stand-up meeting, walk while you take a conference call, or try out an exercise desk.

By working changes like these into your own life, says Stringer, you will have more energy and you will understand the changes required to behave and work differently. That means you are more likely to be listened to by the people you are trying to convince. (After all, it’s really hard to take advice from someone who isn’t actually drinking the Kombucha.)

Location, Location, Location Finally, if you are relocating, consider moving near a park or public transportation. The proximity of your home or office to parks and other recreational facilities is consistently associated with higher levels of physical activity and healthier weight status, says Stringer. The same goes for proximity to public transit. In one study, train commuters walked an average of 30 percent more steps per day and were four times more likely to walk 10,000 steps per day than car commuters. Even if you can’t control the location of your home or office, keep this in mind when planning your commute. Less time in the car translates to more time on your feet. n Leigh Stringer, LEED AP, works for EYP, an architecture, engineering and building technology firm. She is currently collaborating with Harvard University’s School of Public Health, the Center for Active Design in New York, the International Facility Management Association and the AIA DC Chapter on Health and Well-being to create new tools to connect like minds and to blur the boundaries across industries to advance and improve our wellbeing at work. She is a regular contributor to Susan Cain's Quiet Revolution Blog and Work Design Magazine. In addition to “The Healthy Workplace,” she is the author of “The Green Workplace: Sustainable Strategies that Benefit Employees, the Environment and the Bottom Line.” Find her on Twitter @string0820. Previously published in Attorney at Work. Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 160, 2016

29


30

Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 154, 2016


Congratulations to our managing partner, David S. Casey, Jr., for being named to the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego’s Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame and for his recognition by the L.A. Daily Journal as a “Top Plaintiff Attorney,” and as one of “100 Leading Lawyers in California.” With the dedication and commitment of the entire CaseyGerry team, we have helped resolve some of the region’s most high profile cases. Knowledge, experience and a commitment to justice have helped our dedicated legal professionals achieve outstanding results for 70 years.

www.caseygerry.com Dedicated to the Pursuit of Justice since 1947 SERIOUS PERSONAL INJURY, MARITIME, AVIATION, PRODUCT LIABILITY, CLASS ACTION, MASS TORTS AND PHARMACEUTICAL LITIGATION

San Diego | North San Diego County | 619-238-1811 | 800-292-5865


PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE

PAID

Post Falls, ID PERMIT NO. 32

UNRIVALED JURY VERDICTS SET T L EM E N TS PERSONAL SERVICE REFERRAL FEES

PANISH SHEA & BOYLE is happy to discuss how

we may assist you in your case. Please contact

the Honorable Judge Peter Polos (Ret.) for more information at polos@psblaw.com.

WWW.PSBLAW.COM

310.477.1700

1.877.800.1700


Attorney Journal, San Diego, Volume 160