Attorney Journal, San Diego, Volume 183

Page 1


Volume 183, 2018 $6.95

Five Tips for Young Lawyers: How to Find Your Way in a Crowded Arena

Bill Tilley

Signs That Origination Sharing Is NOT Working

Michael Short

The Top 5 Reasons Your Law Firm Can’t Cross-Sell

How and Why to Start and Market Your Own Non-Profit Organization

Trey Ryder

The Surprising Sentence That Keeps Prospects Reading (and Buying)

Tom Trush

Ross Fishman

Attorney of the Month

Matthew W. Odgers Odgers Law Group, San Diego From Confusion to Clarity for Dentists and Physicians



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2018 EDITION—NO.183

TABLE OF CONTENTS 6 5 Tips for Young Lawyers How to Find Your Way in a Crowded Arena by Bill Tilley

8 Signs That Origination Sharing Is NOT Working by Michael Short

10 The Surprising Sentence That Keeps Prospects Reading (and Buying) EXECUTIVE PUBLISHER Brian Topor

by Tom Trush


EDITOR Wendy Price

12 Community News



CIRCULATION Angela Watson PHOTOGRAPHY Chris Griffiths STAFF WRITERS Dan Baldwin Jennifer Hadley CONTRIBUTING EDITORIALISTS Ross Fishman Bill Tilley Michael Short Tom Trush Trey Ryder WEBMASTER Mariusz Opalka ADVERTISING INQUIRIES SUBMIT AN ARTICLE OFFICE 30211 Avenida De Las Banderas Suite 200 Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688 ADDRESS CHANGES Address corrections can be made via fax, email or postal mail.


16 Matthew W. Odgers, Odgers Law Group, San Diego From Confusion to Clarity for Dentists and Physicians by Dan Baldwin

22 The Top 5 Reasons Your Law Firm Can’t Cross-Sell by Ross Fishman

26 How and Why to Start and Market Your Own Non-Profit Organization by Trey Rider


Editorial material appears in Attorney Journals as an informational service for readers. Article contents are the opinions of the authors and not necessarily those of Attorney Journals. Attorney Journals makes every effort to publish credible, responsible advertisements. Inclusion of product advertisements or announcements does not imply endorsement. Attorney Journals is a trademark of Sticky Media, LLC. Not affiliated with any other trade publication or association. Copyright 2018 by Sticky Media, LLC. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced without written permission from Sticky Media, LLC. Printed in the USA







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

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5 Tips for Young Lawyers How to Find Your Way in a Crowded Arena by Bill Tilley


oung lawyers can face some uphill battles out of law school. The dream of defending the innocent, prosecuting the guilty or triumphing for the little guy is quickly overshadowed by the crowded practice of law. Recent articles such as Huffpost’s “Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Lawyers” and CBS News’s “5 Reasons Not to Get a Law Degree” don’t help the cause. They point out the high cost of law school, low number of jobs and high level of unemployment. According to the State Bar of California, there are currently 191,334 actively practicing law in the state. That is a lot of competition for one area. So, now that you have graduated law school and passed arguably one of the hardest bar exams in the nation, what do you do when faced with these seemingly insurmountable obstacles? Easy, you buckle down, dig in your heels and fight to be the best damn lawyer you can. You take everything that you learned inside and outside of law school and apply it to becoming an irreplaceable member at your firm. You learn to network and, deep breath, sell yourself. You listen and learn from others who have been there and done that. It may seem like a daunting task, but these tips will help you get there.

1. Get an Elevator Pitch An elevator speech is a short sales pitch. In your case, the thing you are selling is you. Generally, your pitch should be around 30 seconds to two minutes. You need to be able to market yourself to other attorneys, potential clients and other networking potentials in a short amount of time. In a crowded field you need to stand out, but not sound disingenuous. Promoting yourself does not have to sound like a used car salesman. Use this technique in every aspect of your life. The ability to sell will help you persuade judges, juries, potential clients and other attorneys to agree with you. 6

Attorney Journals San Diego | Volume 183, 2018

2. Love What You Do Enthusiasm goes a long way. It may not be easy right out of law school to practice something you are passionate about. You are likely leaving with a large amount of debt and you have bills to pay. But the quicker you know what you love and start practicing something you are passionate about with clients that you truly care for, the easier it will be to set yourself apart and to sell yourself. Great salespeople know the importance of passion. Find your passion.

3. Get Invested Get invested in what you do, the people you work with and the people you work for. Get emotionally involved in every aspect of your work. It will show, and it will pay off. Find a mentor to learn from. Choose someone who truly cares and who is willing to invest in you. You want honest feedback and you need someone to help you overcome challenges and celebrate victories. Find someone who you aspire to be like, but who is also like you. Find someone who has some of the same characteristics and traits that you have, and that will champion you whenever you aren’t around.

4. Never Stop Learning The State Bar requires you to be constantly learning and growing as an attorney, but you need to do more than just the obligatory Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE). You should never stop honing your skills. You should become an expert in your field. Once you have mastered a topic, try to get on a speaking circuit. Speak at local bar associations and conferences. Seek out people who do what you do better

“So, now that you have graduated law school and passed arguably one of the hardest bar exams in the nation, what do you do when faced with these seemingly insurmountable obstacles?” and learn from them. After you have been practicing for a few years, go back to the basics and write a few motions. Work on your argument techniques. Attend training classes and webinars. Watch other attorneys. Become the best attorney that you possibly can and people will take notice. People always take notice of the athlete that is first on the field and last to leave.

5. Consider Your Reputation No matter who you are or where you work, you should always be networking. Burning bridges will never get you ahead in the field of law. While there are a lot of lawyers, the community is pretty close-knit. You will run into your classmates from law school. You may be opposing counsel,

you may attend the same conferences, you may even be competing for the same job. You never want to leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth because word gets around quickly. A bad reputation can ruin even a good attorney. Look at every opportunity as a networking possibility. Be the person that people think of when they want to refer a case or recommend a potential client. Be the person at the firm that is respected, not trashed behind closed doors.  Bill Tilley is a visionary in the ever-evolving field of Litigation Finance, Law Firm Management and Legal Media and is more than just an entrepreneur, he is a leader in law firm growth and risk management. As CEO of Amicus Capital Group and Amicus Media Group, Mr. Tilley manages both firms’ day-today operations. Learn more at: and

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Signs That Origination Sharing Is NOT Working by Michael Short


n the course of our Partner Compensation System work, we have seen many law firms that allow origination credits to be “shared” for purposes of both financial reporting and compensation-setting. Of course, the goal is to promote sharing, teamwork, and collaboration by allowing two or more Partners to divide the credit for the efforts and the resulting revenue generated from client services. While some firms have a culture of sharing and doing the right thing for all clients all the time, many have Partners who are so focused on their own numbers that they act in manners that put themselves ahead of the client’s and firm’s best interests—an outcome that is never appropriate. Origination sharing systems often exacerbate these behaviors. Examples of negative outcomes that can result from, or be made worse by, Origination-Splitting include:

Poorly Chosen Pitch Teams When a new client opportunity arises, the priority for the entire organization should be to bring the client into the firm. While an opportunity might come to Partner A, Partner B may have the skills, experiences, and connections to shine against the competition and win. If Partner A thinks he is good enough to give it a try and wants all the credit, he will go it alone and lose the work to a competitor that puts the best point person and supporting team in front of the potential client.

End-Arounds Partner A has a client who needs assistance in an area where Partner B works, but Partner A doesn’t want to share credit. Partner A goes to a fairly experienced Senior Associate in Partner B’s group and tells that young lawyer to do the work… and not worry about communications with Partner B because Partner A will handle that. Then Partner A oversees work with which he is not experienced. Even if the matter turns out fine, the client has not been properly served and experiences the next outcome.


Attorney Journals San Diego | Volume 183, 2018

Hidden Depth of the Organization A sophisticated buyer of legal services does not expect one Partner to handle all types of matters. This buyer expects and demands the best that the firm has to offer—not just the best that the Originating Partner has to offer. Absent exposure to the depth and breadth of the firm, the loyal client is served sub-optimally and a less loyal client is likely to leave.

Matter Bartering Partner A has a client who needs sophisticated work that Partner A cannot do. He must involve a Partner from another practice group and he knows he needs to offer some Origination credit as an incentive for the other Partner to assist. Rather than going to the most qualified Partner and striking a deal, Partner A goes to a pool of reasonably qualified Partners and chooses the one who offers to take the lowest share of the Origination credit. What would any client think if they knew their services were being bartered on a trading floor and the work went to the lowest bidder?

Impeded Succession Planning Given the demographics of the industry and within most law firms, succession planning is a hot topic right now. Unfortunately, our Partner A is within a year of retirement and is finally looking to get his clients ready for transition. Unfortunately, this is usually a multi-year process that requires patience, the involvement of the client, exposure by the client to multiple Partners so the client has a choice, and (in many firms) shared credit through the transition process. If Partner A is focused on retaining as much credit as possible, he holds onto the relationship too long and seriously reduces the odds of a successful client transition.

Siloed Partners It doesn’t take long for younger lawyers to figure out which Partners are generous and which ones don’t share. The generous ones tend to have larger books and loyal (to them) lawyers working in a team environment. The greedy ones have smaller books because they try to do all the work themselves and/or cannot find anyone to assist them in a significant manner.

From the perspective of the Compensation System, all of this has serious implications:

Misallocated Comp Dollars Based on Misleading Data—Younger Partners

Misleading Data

The young, developing Partners do not always have the ability to choose with whom they work. In instances where some must support a Partner who does not share credit, these Younger Partners may develop an unhealthy attitude toward the compensation process and their peers who support credit-sharers because the latter group will get paid more for the same relative contribution simply because they are lucky enough to work with more generous Partners.

In theory, the Origination number for both Partners in the “Siloed Partners” section, above, can be the same yet one is far more valuable to the institution than the other. Splits, when negotiated on a case-by-case basis and inconsistently across the Partnership, produce wildly inconsistent and terribly misleading data. A Compensation Committee that is not dedicated to finding the stories behind the numbers will suffer the next point.

Misallocated Comp Dollars Based On Misleading Data—Relationship Partners The proper and fair allocation of profits is a firmspecific strategic imperative for all partnerships. It is not lost on those Partners who share credit when their fellow Partners act selfishly. The point becomes insulting when these two Partners are awarded roughly the same compensation and the credit-sharer knows that his actions worked against his personal interests.

Departures The outcome of misallocated comp dollars is increasingly not a protest by the good Partner. Rather, it is his departure. There are a variety of ways to address these symptoms but the most important first step is to recognize they are harmful to client relationships and the culture of the firm. If tolerated, then you can tell lateral candidates with confidence that your culture is one of selfishness and putting the individual’s interests ahead of the client’s and the firm’s. Good luck selling that.  Michael Short is a founding Principal of LawVision. He counsels law firms around the world on strategic, management, financial, and operational issues. His client base ranges from small, “local” firms in many countries to large, multi-national operations. Learn more at:

Attorney Journals San Diego | Volume 183, 2018


The Surprising Sentence That Keeps Prospects Reading (and Buying) by Tom Trush


ou spend time and resources writing a marketing piece. So why not make sure as many prospects as possible read it? Let me explain. You already know the importance of headlines in marketing materials. They act as attention tools for grabbing your readers’ eyes and guiding them to your copy. And although essential to every marketing piece, the headline takes a back seat to one element that determines whether your remaining text even gets read ... The first sentence. In fact, billion-dollar copywriter Ted Nicholas says 73% of the buying decision is made before the first 17 words in your marketing piece. Makes sense. After all, if your opening doesn’t cause prospects to read more, you have no chance of closing a sale. An appealing start is absolutely critical to a successful marketing piece. The best sentences pique curiosity, promise benefits, create images or evoke emotion. Here are several favorite opening lines from my swipe file collection and client work: “This letter is about information that’s ‘none of your business.’”— for a newsletter subscription “Every Monday morning, a rather unusual publication arrives at the desks of a select circle of individuals in positions of power and influence.”—for a magazine subscription “If you’ll give me the next 3-1/2 minutes, in return I’ll give you a treat that’ll open up an unbelievable new world of eating pleasure for you. Fair enough?”—for a grapefruit offer “Don’t you hate it? The prospect of walking into a room that’s packed with strangers, approaching someone you’ve never met and striking up a conversation.”—for a confident conversations program “This is an ordinary pair of shoes. They could belong to anybody, but ... suppose they were yours? Empty shoes—you no longer here.”—for a life insurance policy


Attorney Journals San Diego | Volume 183, 2018

“Don’t be surprised if what you’ve heard about the U.S. government’s best-kept secret for covering the costs of nursing home care is wrong. The decision-makers running many nursing home communities aren’t anxious to tell you the truth ... neither are many of the ‘experts’ dishing out advice about paying for long-term care.”—for a how-to guide about paying nursing home costs “You might want to start on page 45. Because on page 45 of a new groundbreaking book being printed as a special edition, you’ll learn one of the closest-held secrets for getting large lump sums of cash.” —for a book about ways to make money “If you or your spouse is a veteran who served at least 90 days in the military—and at least one of those days was during a war—you have the right to VA benefits, including opportunities for tax-free income that few people ever discover.”—for a VA benefits guide

Need Another Example to Boost Response to Your Marketing? Drive down Jefferson Street in downtown Phoenix on a summer evening and you’ll likely see snack vendors outside Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Most set up shop with just a table, umbrella and a couple of coolers. They strategically position themselves to catch fans entering the ballpark. You see, the vendors sell many of the same snacks you find at the concession stands inside. The only difference? Outside, the prices are much cheaper—and the vendors repeatedly remind you. So you might hear a pitch like ... THIRSTY?! Grab your bottle of water here for only $1. Wait until you get inside and you’ll pay $3. Please note that final sentence. Now, let’s say you need to write a marketing piece to announce your product. How do you go about the process? If you think strategically, you begin by brainstorming your product’s benefits. You then figure out what pain your product solves and come up with a motivating offer that addresses this problem and gets prospects to act.

Seem similar to your approach? If so, congratulations. Your actions go beyond what the typical entrepreneur or executive does when writing marketing copy. However, you may be overlooking a critical motivator ... The fear of loss. The fact is, to achieve the best response, you must explain what prospects lose by not taking action on your offer. Remind them that their pain and problems continue if they don’t get your solution right now. (Review the above vendor pitch again.) Let’s look at a couple examples ...

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So remember, remind prospects what they’ll lose and you’ll gain more responses.  Tom Trush is a Phoenix, Ariz.-based direct-response copywriter who helps entrepreneurs and executives craft lead-generating marketing materials. Pick up his latest book, Escape the Expected: The Secret Psychology of Selling to Today’s Skeptical Consumers, for free (just cover shipping) at:

Attorney Journals San Diego | Volume 183, 2018


COMMUNITY news  Higgs Fletcher & Mack announced

the addition of Robert W. Lincoln to the Business Litigation practice group. Prior to joining HFM, Lincoln practiced at Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, LLP. Lincoln served five years in the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, attaining the rank ROBERT W. LINCOLN of Captain. As a Judge Advocate, Lincoln served as prosecutor for the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, and subsequently defense counsel, representing soldiers throughout California, Hawaii, and Nevada. In both roles, Mr. Lincoln served as lead counsel in more than 30 felony and misdemeanor court martial actions and adverse administrative hearings. NICOLE MARTINEZ In addition, Nicole Martinez has joined the Family Law practice group at HFM. Martinez has exclusively practiced family law since she was admitted to the California Bar in 2012. Martinez has practiced in San Diego County, as well as Los Angeles County, where she specialized in high-conflict, high-asset divorce cases.  CaseyGerry has named Briana Givens

its newest associate attorney. Givens will work closely with CaseyGerry partner Frederick Schenk with a focus on serious personal injury and premises liability cases.She joined CaseyGerry as a law clerk in 2016 and began her legal career after earning a fellowship from the San Diego County Bar Association Diversity BRIANA GIVENS Program, working as a summer associate for San Diego-based Andrews Lagasse Branch & Bell LLP. While earning her J.D. from Thomas Jefferson School of Law, she worked as executive editor of Thomas Jefferson Law Review; served on the Law Student Outreach Committee; and earned numerous awards for academic excellence, including the Witkin Award for Academic Excellence, CALI Excellence for the Future Award, Earl B. Gilliam Scholarship and the 2017 National Black Law Students Association Young Women in Leadership Award. Givens is a member of the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego, Lawyers Club of San Diego, the San Diego County Bar Association and the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association. A Palm Springs native, she holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from U.C. Riverside. 12

Attorney Journals San Diego | Volume 183, 2018

 Ten attorneys from the San Diego-based

law firm of Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek have been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2019 edition. SCMV attorney Dennis J. Wickham was also recognized as “Lawyer of the Year” in San Diego for his respective practice. Each year, a single attorney is recognized by Best Lawyers as the “Lawyer of the Year” DENNIS J. WICKHAM for each specialty and metropolitan area based upon attaining the highest overall peer feedback. This is the second “Lawyer of the Year” award Wickham has received. The SCMV attorneys selected for the Best Lawyers list include: Lawrence S. Branton, Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, Tax Law; Robert Caplan, Real Estate Law; David J. Dorne, Tax Law; Daniel Eaton, Employment Law (Management); Sandra Joan Morris, Family Law; Neal P. Panish, Litigation (Real Estate); Brian T. Seltzer, Real Estate Law; Gregory A. Vega. Criminal Defense (White-Collar); Reginald A. Vitek, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation; Dennis J. Wickham, Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights, Insolvency and Reorganization Law.  Brittany Vojak has joined Klinedinst

San Diego office as an associate. Ms. Vojak focuses her practice on professional liability defense, particularly in the area of legal malpractice. Prior to joining Klinedinst, Ms. Vojak worked for the Honorable Judge Bianchini. Ms. Vojak earned her Juris Doctor degree from California Western School of Law, graduating cum laude while completing BRITTANY VOJAK the program in two years. Ms. Vojak received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Political Science from the University of California, Irvine.  Gomez Trial Attorneys Partner Ben

Coughlan recently received San Diego Metropolitan Magazine’s 18th Annual “40 Under 40” award. According to the award’s website, over his six-year career, Coughlan has recovered more than $20 million for his clients by way of settlements, and more than $2.5 million by way of jury verdicts. Coughlan is an adjunct professor at the BEN COUGHLAN University of San Diego School of Law, and also teaches trial skills and deposition skills for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. Before pursuing a career in law, Coughlan spent four years in the media relations department of the San Diego Padres.

 LMG Life Sciences has named Fish &

Richardson the 2018 General Patent Litigation Firm of the Year and the Intellectual Property Firm of the Year. LMG Life Sciences also selected Fish’s victory for Gilead in Idenix Pharmaceuticals et al. v. Gilead Sciences, Inc. as the Patent Impact Case of the Year. This is the second year in a row that LMG Life Sciences has JONATHAN SINGER recognized Fish as the General Patent Litigation Firm of the Year. Jonathan Singer, a principal in Fish’s San Diego office, was named the General Patent Litigator of the Year – California. Singer, who heads the firm’s Life Sciences Litigation Practice, co-led the Idenix v. Gilead JMOL strategy and argued the winning JMOL enablement motion. The case involved Gilead’s blockbuster drugs Sovaldi® and Harvoni®, which cure hepatitis C and are considered by many to be among the greatest medical innovations of our lifetimes. The Fish team proved that Idenix’s patent was invalid due to lack of enablement, with the judge calling Fish’s enablement evidence “devastating” to Idenix.  Hughes Marino, the award-winning commercial real estate

company that exclusively represents corporate tenants in leasing and purchasing of office space, has been named number one best small workplace in the nation by Great Place to Work and FORTUNE. Out of thousands of companies evaluated, Hughes Marino is the only commercial real estate brokerage company to make the list of top small and medium workplaces. The ranking considered more than 112,000 employee surveys from small and medium-sized companies. Great Place to Work, a global people analytics and consulting firm, evaluated more than 50 elements of team members’ experience on the job. These included the extent to which employees trust leaders, the respect with which people are treated, the fairness of workplace decisions, and how much camaraderie there is among the team. Rankings are based on employees’ feedback and reward companies who best include all employees, no matter who they are or what they do for the organization.

 Solomon Ward Seidenwurm &

Smith, LLP Partner Michael B. Lees has been named to SD Metro’s “40 Under 40” list for 2018. Lees has substantial experience in business, real estate and taxation law, representing families, individuals and businesses in personal and corporate transactional matters. MICHAEL B. LEES Lees received his B.S. in business administration with a double major in accounting and finance from the University of Arizona, his J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law and his Masters in Law (LL.M.) in taxation, with distinction, from Georgetown University Law Center. A native of San Diego, Mr. Lees is actively involved in the San Diego community. He currently sits on the Board of Jewish Family Service and the University of Arizona Alumni Association.  David P. Shapiro, Founder and

Managing Partner of the Law Offices of David P. Shapiro, has been named to SD Metro’s “40 Under 40” awards list for 2018. Shapiro has authored two books: Survival Guide for Those Accused of a Sex Crime in San Diego and Facing Charges in San Diego? Here’s What You Need to Know DAVID P. SHAPIRO to Regain Control of Your Future. Shapiro attended Tulane University Law School. While in law school, David was a studentattorney at the Tulane Criminal Law Clinic. He fought for the rights of prisoners during the chaos that followed Hurricane Katrina and was recognized for his efforts in numerous news documentaries. He further honed his skills working for the rights of older prisoners and is one of only a few students who argued successfully before the Louisiana State Board of Parole.

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From Confusion to Clarity for Dentists and Physicians San Diego’s Attorney for Dentists and Physicians Earns a Position on the Leading Edge of Two Industries by Dan Baldwin


he leading edge of any industry is occupied by “few and far between” people and organizations, yet Matthew W. Odgers has staked out a leadership position in the legal profession and as a counselor and advisor to the rapidly changing healthcare field, especially in the practice of dentistry. Although he handles transactional work for entrepreneurs and businesses in many industries, Odgers’ practice focuses intensely on healthcare professionals with an emphasis on practice transitions, associate agreements, partnerships, office leases, practice compliance, and more. “I like working with doctors. They are smart and they help people, I have a great deal of respect for the work they do. There are complex issues that regularly arise within private practice. It makes my job so much easier when I am working closely with a smart client who understands those complexities and is able to implement the solutions that I create,” Odgers says.

From Taking Time Off to Taking Charge Odgers caught the “travel bug” early. After graduating from Purdue University in three years with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in Forensic Science, he spent a year in Seoul, Korea, teaching English. He also studied International Law abroad in Hangzhou, China, and attended the Rule of Law in China conference during the summer of 2011. Travel is still one of his great pleasures. Odgers says he chose to attend law school because a law degree opens many doors to a wide variety of options. “If you’re interested in high-end business, you don’t have to be the head of a corporate giant to work and prosper in that environment. If you’re interested in crime, you don’t have to be a criminal or a cop. But you can be active, involved and evolving in all areas of interest through the law,” he says. He entered law school thinking he’d eventually become an attorney at trial arguing cases all day. But during his first semester his father and brother passed away, which caused him to lose his desire for a legal career. “I just lost the fire,” he says. During that period he saw first-hand the impact of having a well-developed trust and how the pre-planning allows people to grieve without struggling 16

Attorney Journals San Diego | Volume 183, 2018

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Taking the Proactive Approach with financial stresses. “I knew I needed to help people in these situations through careful planning rather than arguing in a courtroom,” he says. He returned to law school and earned his Juris Doctor and his Certificate in Global Legal Studies from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, California. Today, Odgers has an assistant, Bronte D’Acquisto, and works with Of Counsel Attorney Ray Padilla for estate planning matters. He has plans to hire an associate in the near future. His firm has been in business five years. Odgers Law Group is solely a transactional business and estate planning law firm and outsources all litigation matters.

A dramatic experience during law school ultimately motivated Odgers into becoming a transactional lawyer. “I believe in taking a proactive approach, not a negative one. I get to think through all of the possible negative outcomes, and then craft a plan around them. I get to evaluate risk and come up with solutions to reduce or eliminate that risk,” he says. That defining experience came when he accepted a position to work as an assistant on the stand-by defense team for Radovan Karadzic, the former President of Republika Srpska. He was being tried for war crimes at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), in The Hague, Netherlands. Attorney Journals San Diego | Volume 183, 2018


© Bauman Photographers

He soon felt confident in estate planning and general corporate/business law and that’s when he was introduced to his first dental purchase transaction by CPA Wes Read with Practice CFO. He was thrilled to discover that there were many overlapping practice areas with a single client—clients who needed someone who understood the dental-specific impacts of each practice area. “From there on I started marketing to dentists, then physicians, to help with their professional corporations, purchase agreements, lease negotiations, partnerships, associate agreements, space-share contracts, and asset protection.” His clients reflect a similar confidence in his abilities. “Matthew Odgers exemplifies integrity. Planning is something both powerful and delicate, requiring a balance of directness and grace. Matthew has both of these qualities. He is able to ask the necessary questions, while holding his clients up with dignity and respect. His thoughtfulness, thoroughness and approach are phenomenal. I will be working with Matthew in the foreseeable future and will recommend him to anyone I care about for their estate planning needs.” -Kirk Hinkleman

Moving to the Leading Edge in Two Industries Ray Padilla – Of Counsel Attorney

The legal system under a United Nations court is far different from how courts operate in the United States, but Odgers found the experience worthwhile in legal and professional perspectives. “One of the lessons that I walked away with was that I’m a positive guy and I want to be a pro-active lawyer rather than being a re-active lawyer. On a defense team, everything that you handle relates to past events. There is little that can be controlled, changed, avoided, other than disputing the validity of the evidence. I prefer being in control.”

Variety Is the Spice of Entrepreneurship Odgers knew from the beginning that he would build his own firm. “I have always found joy in helping people solve problems and I was looking for a career that was going to continually mentally stimulate me. I also fell in love with the versatility in the type of work that I could do. I could try out different practice areas until I found one that sparked my interest. I’m incredibly lucky to have found that niche. Combining his desire for gaining experience in a wide variety of areas with his work ethic, he decided to master some very small legal agreements and then see if he could get hired to complete them. He began with powers of attorney, wills and trusts, then worked his way up to business formations. He was soon bringing on co-counsel attorneys to help review purchase agreements and leases and more complex business acquisitions. 18

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“The statement From Confusion to Clarity for Dentists and Physicians means we are deal makers, not deal breakers. We take the complexities of a multi-variable transaction, break them down into their simplest form, and then identify both sides’ interests to construct a deal that works. This is particularly important considering the way the dental practice world is changing these days,” Odgers says. Traditionally, dentists own and operate a single dental practice—the aquarium and magazines on the table out in the lobby operation. If a nondentist attempts to manage a dental office, they are in violation of the corporate practice of medicine. A recent trend in the dental world separates the clinical side of dentistry from the business management side so the two different sides of the business can operate together through a Dental Support Organization (DSO). DSO’s are highly regulated and must be closely monitored after being set up so that they do not violate California or Federal Law. “That’s why an experienced and up-to-date attorney is so critical these days,” Odgers says. When set up properly, the dentist is able to step away from the business side of the practice and put their full energy into what they do best, treating patients. The business management side of the practice is able to attract money from outside investors to help the practice scale and save money on overhead expenses. “Although the majority of our practice is with single dentists, the DSO trend is growing and appears to be here to stay. Dentists will inevitably have to adapt to a rapidly and wildly changing business environment. Their attorneys will face the same challenge,” he says. His clients agree. “As a new dentist/specialist and a first-time business owner, I had many questions regarding starting my corporation. Along the way, I have had many more questions that Matt has been more than willing to answer in a timely fashion. Not only have any and all of my questions been answered, he has been more than willing to go out of his way to get things done and help me understand each step of the way.” Dr. Bell.

Out of the Box Thinking A case demonstrating the success of his approach occurred when Odgers Legal Group was hired at the eleventh hour by a medical client in the final stages of selling their professional corporation. They had a close date set at the start of the following month and the contracts in place and were looking for an attorney to do a quick review and green light. After reviewing the documents,

Š Bauman Photographers

© Bauman Photographers


Odgers Law Group discovered that the buyer was not eligible to own or operate a professional corporation. “At this point, most attorneys would have advised their client to terminate the deal all together. Based on our experience, Odgers Law Group was able to propose another solution, which was to sell the non-clinical assets of the practice to a Medical Service Organization, and have the parties enter into a long-term management agreement. “That’s out of the box thinking. Our approach is to look at the transaction as a whole and from there we can usually find a way to compromise, in a different area of the transaction, to help the deal, go through. Because we are experienced in dental and medical transaction we are able to identify potential deal killers early on, and rely on our vast experience to generate a solution that works for all parties,” Odgers says.

Taking a Step Back to Keep Moving Forward Odgers leads a life balanced between work and a personal life. “Achieving and living a balanced life takes directness, grace, and creativity. It requires taking a step back and looking at the big picture and that means balancing work with a good life outside of the office,” he says. When not working, he loves fishing and traveling. He spends a lot of weekends down in Baja California fishing off of the Coronado islands trying to catch yellowtail, bluefin and Bonita. He has two dogs: a Great Dane named Nixon and a mini dachshund named Woodson. He enjoys traveling and spent a year teaching English in Korea, three months studying in Hangzhou China, and that year working in The Hague Netherlands. Odgers founded “Protecting Those Who Protect,” which provides pro bono estate planning services for active duty and retired military members. That balance gives him the peace of mind and drive to keep moving forward in a dramatically changing legal environment. “Now I get to spend the majority of my time just concentrating on the more complex issues faced on the business side of the heath care field. I have found my calling,” he says.  n Contact Main Office: 2061 San Elijo Avenue Cardiff by the Sea, CA 92007 858-869-1114 Satellite Office: 13400 Sabre Springs Pkwy, 275 San Diego, CA 92128


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• Juris Doctorate – Thomas Jefferson School of Law • Bachelor of Arts – Purdue University, West Lafayette


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Your Law Firm Can’t Cross-Sell by Ross Fishman


any years ago, as a young marketer at a 500-lawyer firm, the managing partner tasked me with developing a firm-wide cross-selling project, with the goal of institutionalizing more of our big clients. I did exhaustive research. Of course, every marketer knew that “getting business from existing clients is five times easier than getting a new client” (although I don’t know who first proclaimed that misleading platitude). I devised a step-by-step, bulletproof process in extraordinary depth and detail.

The design was, if I may say, pure genius. The gleeful managing partner agreed that it was a sure-fire winner. It was guaranteed to bring in millions of dollars of new business. He rolled out cross-selling initiative firm-wide in all offices. I planned to receive an enormous year-end bonus.

Unfortunately, of course, it turned out to be a total catastrophe. It was a complete and utter failure, the Hindenburg of marketing efforts—by far the biggest disaster in my entire career. Not a single lawyer tried it. WTF? I was so sure this was going to work. I interviewed my favorite partners to determine what went wrong. They confidentially told me that there was “no way in hell [they] were going to do any of it.” I was dumbfounded. Why not? Actually, in retrospect it was pretty obvious. The whole program was premised on the absurd belief that the lawyers would do what was good for the firm, rather than what was in the lawyers’ personal financial interest. 22

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I was young and naïve. I’d made a total rookie mistake. There were countless issues I wasn’t experienced enough to consider: (1) They liked keeping their clients portable, so they could pick up their ball and leave if the firm didn’t pay them what they wanted. (2) The compensation system didn’t reward this behavior at all. (3) The firm’s culture and leadership didn’t demand that they put their critical client relationships in their fellow partners’ hands. (4) The partners didn’t trust each other’s legal skills and client service. What if they screwed up the relationship? One said, “I’d lose control of the relationship, and risk losing the client that’s putting food in my children’s mouths.” Another partner said, “I’d rather send the work to another firm where I can’t be blamed if it gets screwed up.” One called his clients “hot-house orchids.” Plus, (5) they were doing just fine already. They were busy, and there was no penalty if they ignored the cross-selling initiative, went back to work, and maintained the status quo. And this was just the start of the objections. Of course, the lawyers were right to behave as they did. At that firm, they didn’t trust the firm, its management, or each other to do the right thing, so it would be unreasonable for them to even try. As long as they could control every aspect of their client relationships, they were safe. No lawyer had so many clients that they were willing to risk putting them in the hands of partners in other practice areas whom they didn’t trust immensely.

The point is, most firms think everyone else is cross-selling better than they are. Most

BTW, many untrained lawyers try to sell additional practice areas via sneak attack:

commentators are still writing about how simple and efficient cross-selling is. Sure, it’s easier to get another similar deal from a current transactional client where the same team has already done good work. But it’s not easier to get that first piece of litigation work from that same corporate client. (In fact, I’d argue that it can be TWICE as difficult because you not only have to sell the client on your skills and service, you must first sell the partner at your firm who controls that relationship to let you anywhere near them.) That’s not to say that some firms aren’t cross-selling effectively. Some are. But in my experience, they’re the exception. What’s the odds that your firm is?

Lawyer: Hi [Corporate Client], I haven’t seen you in a while; let me buy you lunch!

The 5 Traits of Successful Cross-Selling Firms If you are confident that your firm possesses all 5 of the characteristics listed below, then you might have a shot at selling additional services to your existing single-practice clients. If you don’t, then it’s unlikely that you’ll be successful over time, and I would suggest that you either (1) work to gradually change your culture to become more equitable and teamoriented, or (2) reduce your cross-selling efforts in favor of the many other marketing activities that can prove effective at all types of firms.

Client: Sure, that’d be great, thanks. Lawyer: I’m going to bring along Tiffany, a litigator I’d like to introduce you to. Client [realizes he’s just been tricked into agreeing to sit through a 90-minute sales pitch]: Ugh. OK, fine.

That doesn’t work. It’s not enough to simply share a logo with Tiffany. (1) The client hadn’t expressed a need for another litigator, and (2) The lawyer hadn’t established why Tiffany is a much better option than the skilled litigators the client already uses. Yes, many global companies have been streamlining their administration by seeking one-stop shopping at fewer law firms, making successful cross-selling more likely. But those firms must still compete for this work against the other international law firms where the internal barriers might be lower. Obviously, there’s much more to this complex topic. But this is a start.  Ross Fishman is a former litigator, big-firm Marketing Director, and Marketing Partner. Ross has conducted more than 300 law firm retreats, CLE and Ethics presentations, and marketing-training programs on six continents, from New Mexico to New Zealand, and California to Croatia. Ross is also the Founder of Fishman Marketing, a one-stop solution for strategy, marketing, branding, and leading-edge websites. Learn more at:

Firms that excel in cross-selling tend to have the following attributes: 1. Strong leadership that supports and rewards sharing. 2. A firm-wide culture of trust and friendship among the partners. 3. A fair compensation system that (a) acknowledges the risk to the partner controlling the relationship, and (b) rewards the efforts of the support partners for helping bring in the new work. 4. Effective internal communications that inform everyone regarding the nature of the firm’s practices and clients. 5. Marketing training that teaches the lawyers how to cross-sell.

Attorney Journals San Diego | Volume 183, 2018


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How and Why to Start and Market Your Own Non-Profit Organization by Trey Ryder


ere’s one of the best-kept secrets in lawyer marketing. Few attorneys take advantage of it. But those who actively pursue it can gain significant competitive advantages most attorneys only dream about. Plus, they provide much-needed help to people in their community. If you see lawyers making key contacts by working in non-profit organizations—and if competing lawyers have established themselves with existing groups—you can set up your own non-profit organization and gain a big marketing advantage. As founder and spokesperson for your group, you benefit in at least four ways: Benefit #1: You gain high media visibility because publication editors and broadcast producers write more articles to benefit non-profit causes than to help lawyers attract clients. Benefit #2: You improve your image in the community. Rather than being perceived as a lawyer in search of new clients, you become known as the lawyer who is working hard to benefit the people you want to help. Benefit #3: You gain referrals from allied professionals, including those you have invited into your organization and those who know you through the media. Outside referral sources send you clients because you are earnestly working to help people. Inside referral sources—those on your advisory board—send clients to you because they recognize your skill, they respect your desire to help people, and they benefit from the publicity they gain through your mailings and meetings. Benefit #4: Because you founded the non-profit organization, you are the gate-keeper. This means you invite into your group only those professionals you believe 26

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will benefit your group. You can invite competing attorneys to join you, or screen them out, as you wish. One key to attracting clients is to market the non-profit group, instead of—or in addition to—your law practice. As your group grows, you’ll meet qualified prospects through media publicity, through your group’s website and at monthly meetings. When you find prospects who want to better understand their legal rights, you invite them to your law office, which is a separate entity from the non-profit organization. In a moment, I’ll walk you through the steps I recommend for starting your own non-profit. But first, let me tell you about a non-profit organization—and introduce you to my friend Don Keenan, a personal injury trial attorney based in Atlanta. In 1993, Don established the Keenan’s Kids Foundation. You’ll see it featured on his website www.keenanlawfirm. com under the tab “our giving back.” Don has achieved extraordinary visibility not only through his law practice, but also through his remarkable work with children. Please take a moment to visit Don’s website at This will help you see how you might use a non-profit organization in conjunction with your law practice. No question, Don is a gifted attorney. Even without this non-profit organization, he would be highly successful. His Keenan’s Kids Foundation gives him another way to actively support causes that are important to him. Plus, his ongoing visibility builds momentum that benefits both his foundation and his law firm. Now, here are steps you can take to start your own nonprofit organization.

Where To Start 1. Identify the type of prospective clients you want to attract to your law practice. List the problems they face and how your non-profit organization could help them find solutions.

2. Identify referral sources who can direct people to your group. For example, neurosurgeons could refer clients with spinal injuries, psychologists could refer family law clients, and CPAs could refer cases of securities fraud. If you focus on business clients, you might invite management consultants, chamber of commerce executives, and business-related professionals into your group.

3. Ask your referring professionals for the names of existing groups, if any, that currently help your target audience. Then call and ask for their information. Don’t be discouraged if groups already exist. This proves that people want these services. Metropolitan areas often have several non-profit groups that relate to the same subject.

4. Go to other group meetings to see if they are well attended. Identify subjects the group doesn’t cover and services it doesn’t offer. These are opportunities for you. And if a large number of people need help, you could even duplicate the other groups’ efforts and services and reach more people in your community.

Forming Your Own Group 5. Create a name for your organization that clearly describes your subject. The Sacramento Foundation for Dangerous Products. The Philadelphia Center for Traumatic Brain Injuries. The Denver Alliance Against Insurance Bad Faith. Don’t gloss over this point. The name you choose has more importance and lasting value than any other decision you’ll make.

6. Create whichever non-profit entity fits your needs. A simple non-profit corporation may be enough. Or, you might pursue non-profit status with the IRS if you want to accept tax-deductible donations. If the non-profit group sponsors your law firm’s seminars or activities, you might benefit from non-profit postage rates and non-profit advertising rates. Also, charitable groups sometimes get reduced rates for meeting and seminar rooms—and are invited to take part in activities where for-profit entities are barred.

7. Invite key professionals who have an interest in your group’s purpose—or who could be referral sources—to sit on your organization’s advisory board. Then invite these people to speak at your monthly meetings, submit articles for your group’s website, and take part in other group activities.

8. Compile a comprehensive mailing list of your organization’s referral sources, advisors, members and prospects. If you attract prospects who are comfortable with email, compile a list of email addresses.

9. Compile a mailing list of local media. These include news directors at radio and TV stations, producers of radio and TV talk shows, and editors at print and online publications.

10. Create written materials that offer advice to the people you want to reach. Ask your referring professionals and members of your advisory board to contribute information to your written materials. For example, an accident victim might need help with the medical, legal, financial and psychological aspects of his case. Keep your written materials broad-based so you address all the person’s needs. You can narrow in on their legal/medical concerns when you meet them at your next monthly meeting.

11. Create a list of resources for people who have problems. You might also include names and phone numbers of professionals on your advisory board so they attract new clients as well.

How To Market Your Non-Profit Organization 12. Offer to mail or email written information about your subject to anyone who contacts your office. This helps you identify potential members and build your mailing list. You can offer these materials through public service announcements, advertising, newspapers and online publications, interviews on the TV news and radio talk shows, direct mail to interested parties and referral sources, and your website.

13. Offer seminars presented by respected authorities and include fliers about your seminars in the packets you mail. Start by inviting your advisory board members and referring professionals to speak. If the geographical area you serve is large, then offer webinars for people who cannot attend your meetings in person.

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14. Make sure you, as the group’s legal advisor and founder, take the opportunity to speak on legal issues affecting your group. Also, announce that you’re always available to discuss legal matters, even if you are not the featured speaker at that meeting.

15. Start a telephone answer-line staffed by volunteers to offer advice and resources to people who need help. The answer-line could be available only a few hours each week or 24-hours a day. Then promote the answer-line so you receive calls from your target audience. If the person calls another group, you may lose a prospective client. So you have a lot to gain by attracting the call before anybody else.

16. Send a free monthly newsletter by hard-copy or email to everyone on your mailing list. Your newsletter could include a president’s message, articles by referring professionals, a question/answer column, and notices of meetings and events. Also, you can offer your free educational materials and ask for volunteers to help with your mailings and answer-line.

17. Register your group with information and referral agencies, chambers of commerce, libraries, and other places where people go for information. Tell them the resources you have available, including your written materials, monthly speakers, support groups and newsletter.

18. Set up information booths at malls and trade shows. A booth for a non-profit group that helps people solve problems creates a much better appearance than a booth for an attorney in search of new clients.

19. Send a memo of expertise to the media. Invite inquiries about your organization. Offer your group and its professionals as resources when editors have questions. Ask editors to refer people who need information and services.

20. Mail and email news releases to the media at least monthly. Enlist the media’s help to educate the public, invite people to meetings, quote upcoming speakers, introduce your answer-line, offer your free newsletter and announce future events. Invite reporters to attend your monthly meetings so they can write articles about the speaker’s subject. The more exposure you get, the more prospective clients you attract, and the more value you provide to people in the community.


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21. Set up a website, where you post information and resources available to your target audience, announce monthly meetings, and introduce members of your advisory board with their biographies and photos. Also, post articles written by advisory board members, news releases that you’ve sent to the media, and back issues of your newsletter. In most cases, the more information you have on your website, the higher search engine rankings you’ll get. Also, make search engines aware of your website through their submission procedures.

22. Contact organizations and professionals who have an interest in your subject and ask them to include a link on their website that takes people to your group’s website. The more links you have coming back to your site from other respected websites, the higher your search engine ranking. The list of marketing ideas is nearly endless. The point is to offer as much as you can in helpful, charitable ways so the media supports your efforts and gives you publicity. And the more people you help, the more pleasure you get from assisting persons with problems. In practice, here’s one example of how this might work: You want to attract clients with brain and spinal injuries. You form the Kansas City Foundation for Brain and Spinal Injuries, with you as the founder and chairperson. Next, you form an advisory board, so you invite as members prominent physicians, psychologists, and anyone else you believe has contact with the patients you want to reach. Then you send news releases to all local media (print and broadcast) announcing the formation of your group and offering information to people you can help. As a result, you gain publicity throughout the geographical area you serve. Next, schedule monthly meetings, asking one member of your advisory board to speak at each meeting. Two weeks before each meeting, send news releases to the media announcing the meeting, inviting interested persons to attend, and going into detail about the speaker and what he or she will present. It’s likely your news release or an announcement will wind up in print, perhaps in a few publications. Naturally, your speaker is thrilled to be the subject of an article in the newspaper and, perhaps, interviews on radio and TV. When the meeting begins, you’re the host. You open with remarks, introduce new members and visitors, conduct business and introduce this month’s speaker. Even when you aren’t the guest speaker, you play a prominent role at each monthly meeting because you are the chairperson.

Each month, as a result of your news releases, your advisory board gets publicity because of their knowledge, skill, judgment and experience. And, occasionally, you are the monthly speaker, addressing legal topics of interest to the families and friends of victims with head, brain or spinal injuries. Bottom line: You are the person with the highest profile because you are the group’s founder and spokesperson. You surround yourself with professionals who can help the people you want to reach. You invite onto your advisory board professionals who can refer clients to you. And, if you wish, you can include on your advisory board other attorneys who practice in your area of law. From then on, it’s all marketing. The higher your group’s profile, the more people you can help and the more new members you’ll attract. At least some of those new members will be qualified prospects for your legal services. I’m not suggesting that you use the non-profit organization as a “front” for your law practice. Instead, I’m suggesting that you form and operate an honest-to-goodness non-profit organization that benefits a specific group of people. The fact that you are a key player in the non-profit group— since you are founder and president—means you benefit from building relationships with everyone you meet. This includes the professionals you invite onto your advisory board and the relationships you build with the people you

help, which can lead to lawyer/client relationships. I can count on one hand the number of lawyers I know who have started their own non-profit organizations. This certainly doesn’t mean they don’t work. Instead, it emphasizes the number of opportunities available for you. A legitimate non-profit organization can easily gain ongoing media publicity. All you do is maintain an education-based marketing program that attracts members and recognized professionals to your organization. And send out news releases and newsletters so your group maintains a high local, statewide or nationwide profile. So... if you want to attract a specific type of prospects— and if you want to help those people solve their problems— start your own non-profit group. With good marketing, your group could attract new clients from the many prospects you meet and the referral relationships you build. Plus, you’ll make a substantial difference in people’s lives, a feeling that you’ll enjoy for a lifetime.  Trey Ryder shares his marketing method with lawyers through a wide range of publications. In addition, he writes and publishes his free e-zine, The Ryder Method™ of Education-Based Marketing. And he maintains the Lawyer Marketing Advisor at He can be reached at:

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