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Volume 123, 2013 • $6.95

Law Firms of the Future: Driving Intranet Evolution with Google+

Eric Hunter

McIntyre’s California Civil Law Update

Monty A. McIntyre

Commentary: Hidden Dangers that Could Lead to Malpractice

SDVLP Justice For All Celebration

Teresa Warren

From Agony to Ecstasy: Unconventional Strategies for Unhappy Lawyers

Francesco Barbera

Nancy Byerly Jones


Mitchell Lathrop

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TABLE OF CONTENTS features 6 McIntyre’s California Civil Law Update

Organized Succinct Summaries by Monty A. McIntyre MEDIATOR OF THE MONTH

10 Mitchell Lathrop by Jennifer Hadley

11 Hidden Dangers that Could Lead to Malpractice by Nancy Byerly Jones




16 Bill Naumann

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by Jennifer Hadley

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22 SDVLP Justice for All Celebration


On September 19, the Legal Community Came Together to Celebrate by Teresa Warren

24 From Agony to Ecstasy

Unconventional Strategies for Unhappy Lawyers by Francesco Barbera

26 Law Firms of the Future: Driving Intranet Evolution with Google+

What is the Future of Business Integration within Law Firms? by Eric Hunter


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 2013 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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McIntyre’s California Civil Law Update Organized Succinct Summaries By Monty A. McIntyre, Esq.

Monty A. McIntyre follows his passions for the law and serving others by serving as a mediator, arbitrator and motion referee to help individuals, businesses and lawyers obtain rapid, reasonable resolution of disputes. He is also the Publisher of McIntyre’s California Civil Law Update and can be reached at 619-990-4312 or

9th CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEAL Civil Procedure Diaz v. First American Home Buyer Protection Corporation _ F.3d _ (9th Cir. 2013): The Court of Appeal reversed the district court’s order granting a motion to dismiss. Plaintiff filed a class-action  complaint alleging that First American refused to make timely repairs, used substandard contractors and wrongfully denied claims. She asserted state law claims for unfair competition, misrepresentation, concealment, breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The district court dismissed Diaz’s unfair competition and concealment claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and later  denied class certification. First American made an offer of judgment on Diaz’s remaining individual claims pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68. When Diaz did not accept the offer, First American moved to dismiss these claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and the district court granted the motion, finding  the unaccepted offer rendered Diaz’s remaining claims moot. The Court of Appeal ruled that, even if the unaccepted Rule 68 offer would have fully satisfied plaintiff’s claims, it did render them moot and  vacated the  dismissal of Diaz’s claims for misrepresentation, breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. (October 4, 2013.)


CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT Appeal Kurwa v. Kislinger (2013) _ Cal.4th _ : The California Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeal. Under California’s “one final judgment” rule, a judgment that fails to dispose of all the causes of action pending between the parties is generally not appealable. (Code Civil Procedure, section 904.1(a).) When a judgment disposes of fewer than all the pled causes of action by dismissal with prejudice, and the parties have agreed to dismiss the remaining counts without prejudice and waive operation of the statute of limitations on those remaining causes of action, the judgment is not appealable. (October 3, 2013.)

CALIFORNIA COURTS OF APPEAL Attorneys Zimmerman v. Superior Court (People) (2013) _ Cal.App.4th _ : The Court of Appeal denied a writ of prohibition by a criminal defense attorney claiming attorney-client privilege. The trial court found Zimmerman in direct, continuing contempt for failing to answer  questions regarding the

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circumstances under which she came into possession of specific evidence (a portfolio and mail) relevant to the prosecution’s case against her client Goodwin. Zimmerman claimed the evidence was delivered to her  by Goodwin’s agent or agents, and therefore  the circumstances of the delivery and  Zimmerman’s observations regarding the delivery were protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Court of Appeal noted this was an issue of first impression. Zimmerman had the burden of proof but failed to satisfy her burden because she offered almost no evidence that would allow the court to determine the existence of agency, which is generally a question of fact. Without the existence of agency, Zimmerman’s claim of privilege necessarily failed, and the superior court’s order for Zimmerman to answer the subject questions was lawful and proper. (C.A. 4th, October 8, 2013.)

Attorney Fees Eden Township Healthcare District v. Eden Medical Center (2013) _ Cal.App.4th _ : The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s denial of a motion for attorney fees under Civil Code 1717. When the  Eden Township Healthcare District (District) unsuccessfully brought a cross-complaint for  declaratory  relief seeking to have two  agreements declared illegal and void under Government  Code section 1090, they put  an attorney fees clause in one agreement into play.  Having failed in its attempt  to prove that the agreements were void, the District was  liable for Eden Medical Center’s  attorney fees under section 1717. (C.A. 1st, October 9, 2013.) 

with sufficient specificity as to actual reliance, but she was entitled to amend her complaint as to those counts. She was also entitled to amend her complaint to allege a rescission of the subscription agreement to support her count for unjust enrichment. (C.A. 2nd, October 4, 2013.) Davis v. Kiewit Pacific Co. (2013) _ Cal.App.4th _ : The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order granting summary judgment for defendant on punitive damages. The Court of Appeal concluded that  the trial court erred in  granting Kiewit’s motion for summary  adjudication on plaintiff’s punitive damages claim because there was a triable issue of material fact regarding whether a managing agent of Kiewit engaged in or ratified the wrongful conduct against plaintiff. (C.A. 4th, filed September 18, 2013, published October 8, 2013.)   GetFugu, Inc. v. Patton Boggs LLP (2013) _ Cal.App.4th _ : The Court of Appeal partially reversed the trial court’s order granting an anti-SLAPP motion to strike regarding a defamation cause of action against defendants Patton Boggs LLP (Patton) and Richard J. Oparil (Oparil) related to a press

Defendants contended the press release was issued through “Investor Wire” and was directed to persons in the investment community so as to be shielded by the litigation privilege.

Civil Code Eden Township Healthcare District v. Eden Medical Center (2013) _ Cal.App.4th _ : See summary above under Attorney Fees.

Civil Procedure/Anti-SLAPP/998s Chapman v. Skype Inc. (2013) _ Cal.App.4th _ : The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order sustaining a demurrer without leave to amend to a class-action complaint alleging violation of the unfair competition law (UCL) (Business & Professions Code, section 17200 et seq.), the false advertising law (Business  & Professions Code, section 17500), the Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) (Civil Code, section 1750 et seq.), intentional and negligent misrepresentation, and unjust enrichment. Plaintiff alleged that Skype advertised its voice over Internet plans as unlimited when the  plans were actually limited as to the number of minutes per day and month and the number of calls per day.  The Court of Appeal found that plaintiff had adequately alleged  counts for violation of the UCL, the false advertising law, and the CLRA based on deceptive advertising. She failed, however, to allege her counts for intentional and negligent misrepresentation

release. Oparil issued a press release to publicize the alleged misdeeds of GetFugu and Freer. Defendants contended the press release was issued through “Investor Wire” and was directed to persons in the investment community so as to be shielded by the litigation privilege. The Court of Appeal disagreed, finding that the press release was posted on the Internet and thus was released worldwide and dissemination of the publication to a segment of the population as large as the “investment community” was essentially the same as disclosure to the general public. To defeat a special motion to strike, a plaintiff need only present sufficient evidence showing a case of minimal merit. Plaintiff’s  opposing declarations, by disputing the existence of an FBI criminal investigation of Freer, were sufficient to meet that slight threshold and enable GetFugu and Freer to proceed on the defamation claim. (C.A. 2nd, October 3, 2013.) Rouland v. Pacific Specialty Insurance Company (2013) _ Cal. App.4th _ : The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s denial of expert fees under Code of Civil Procedure section 998. The trial court erroneously denied  Pacific Specialty its expert fees because its settlement offers did not strictly

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Chapman v. Skype Inc. (2013) _ Cal.App.4th _ : See summary above under Civil Procedure.   Morrical v. Rogers (2013) _ Cal.App.4th _ : The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court judgment because plaintiff had not joined indispensable parties. An action under Corporations Code section 709  to determine the validity of an election of corporate directors may be based on an alleged breach of fiduciary duty and violation of Corporations Code section 310 which governs corporate transactions with companies in which one or more corporate directors have a material financial interest. The Court of Appeal also concluded, however, that the trial court erred in failing to require that two brother shareholders be joined in the action as indispensable parties, and therefore reversed and remanded for further proceedings. (C.A.1st, October 10, 2013.)

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comply with section 998’s requirement that an offer “shall include… a provision that allows the accepting party to indicate acceptance of the offer by signing a statement that the offer is accepted.” The Court of Appeal concluded that Pacific Specialty’s offers satisfied this requirement by directing the Roulands to file an “’Offer and Notice of Acceptance’” with the trial court if they accepted the proposals. The statute merely requires the section 998 offer to identify a manner of acceptance that complies with the statute’s additional requirement of a signed acceptance by the party or its counsel. The Court of Appeal remanded the case to  the trial court to exercise its discretion in determining whether to allow Pacific Specialty to recover its expert witness fees. (C.A. 4th, October 7, 2013.)  Yee v. Cheung (2013) _ Cal.App.4th _ : The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order sustaining a demurrer by an attorney defendant and granting an anti-SLAP motion to strike by the remaining defendants to a complaint alleging malicious prosecution. The one-year statute of limitations in Code of Civil Procedure section 340.6 applies to all actions against attorneys including  claims for malicious prosecution. The Court of Appeal agreed with the trial court that the anti-SLAPP statute applied to the action and also agreed that plaintiff had failed to demonstrate a probability of prevailing on the lack of probable cause element. (C.A. 4th, October 4, 2013.)  

Employment/Labor American Corporate Security, Inc. v. Su (2013) _ Cal. App.4th _ : The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order sustaining a demurrer to a petition for writ of mandate. Paul Thomas filed a complaint with the Labor Commissioner claiming that he was fired from his job

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at plaintiff American Corporate Security, Inc. (ACS) in retaliation for asserting his rights under the Labor Code. Defendant Labor Commissioner investigated the complaint and found reasonable cause to believe there was a violation but did not issue her determination until over three years after Thomas filed his complaint, in violation of Labor Code section 98.7(e) which requires the Commissioner to give notice of the determination “not later than 60 days after the filing of the complaint.”  ACS petitioned for a writ of mandate to order the Labor Commissioner to retract the determination and order for remedial action, and the trial court sustained a demurrer to the petition. The Court of Appeal found that ACS had an adequate legal remedy because it could raise the timing issue as a defense to an action by the Labor Commissioner to enforce the order. (C.A. 3rd, filed September 10, 2013, published September 27, 2013.)

Evidence Zimmerman v. Superior Court (People) (2013) _ Cal.App.4th _ : See summary above under Attorneys.

Government City of Bell v. Superior Court (Rizzo) (2013) _ Cal.App.4th _ : The Court of Appeal granted a writ petition by the City of Bell challenging a trial court order striking its jury trial demand regarding issues of indemnity. Robert Rizzo’s employment contact included a clause that was  simply a third-party indemnification agreement, which did not apply to civil actions by or on behalf of the City. The Attorney General had filed an action on behalf of the City against Rizzo, and because the indemnity agreement did not apply to such actions, there was no duty to defend. The Court of Appeal also considered the statutory provisions governing public entity indemnity for criminal prosecutions. Government Code section 996.6 does not permit a public entity to provide a defense where other sections of the Tort Claims Act would prohibit such a defense. Government Code section 995.8 prevents a public entity from providing its employee a defense to a criminal action unless the public entity determines that the defense would be in the best interests of the public entity and that the public employee had acted in good faith and without malice. Absent such a finding, a public entity cannot provide a defense to a criminal action. (C.A. 2nd, October 4, 2013.) 

Insurance Reid v. Mercury Insurance Company (2013) _ Cal.App.4th _ : The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s summary judgment in favor of the insurance company. An insurer’s duty to settle is not precipitated solely by the likelihood of an excess judgment against the insured. In the absence of a settlement demand or any other manifestation the injured party is interested in settlement, when the

insurer has done nothing to foreclose the possibility of settlement, there is no liability for bad faith failure to settle. (C.A. 2nd, October 7, 2013.) 

Punitive Damages Davis v. Kiewit Pacific Co. (2013) _ Cal.App.4th _ : See summary above under Civil Procedure.

Real Property/Homeowners Associations Friars Village Homeowners Association v. Hansing (2013) _ Cal.App.4th _ : The Court of Appeal affirmed the bench trial judgment. In light of the language of the governing documents and relevant statutes, the Homeowners Association’s Board was authorized to enact a  rule  preventing a person from seeking a position on the Board if the prospective candidate was related by blood or marriage to a current Board member or to a  current candidate for such office.  (C.A.4th, filed September 20, 2013, published October 9, 2013.) 

Torts/Personal Injury/Wrongful Death Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. v. Department of Transportation (2013) _ Cal.App.4th _ : The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s summary judgment in favor of Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. (Halliburton). Although Halliburton had provided its employee with a truck to drive to and from work, the incidental benefit exception to the going and coming rule for vicarious liability did not apply to  a trip of 140 miles from the employee’s assigned workplace in Seal Beach to Bakersfield to purchase a vehicle for his wife. The purpose of that trip was entirely personal. (C.A. 5th, October 1, 2013.) Meddock v. County of Yolo (2013) _ Cal.App.4th _ : The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s  summary judgment granted in favor of defendant.  A Fremont cottonwood tree fell on plaintiff Dwight Meddock while he was in a paved parking lot located in a park along the Sacramento River owned by defendant County of Yolo. The trial court properly granted summary judgment against Meddock and his wife (collectively, Meddock) in their tort suit alleging a dangerous condition of public property, by applying a statutory immunity for injuries “caused by a natural condition of any unimproved public property[.]” (Government Code, section 831.2). Meddock’s injuries were caused by a natural condition of unimproved property where the tree grew.  And although  the tree fell on the improved portion of the public property, that fact did not eliminate the application of section 831.2. (C.A. 3rd, filed September 10, 2013, published October 3, 2013.)  Yee v. Cheung (2013) _ Cal.App.4th _ : See summary above under Civil Procedure. n

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Mitchell Lathrop: Attorney, Arbitrator, Mediator & Expert Witness by Jennifer Hadley


hen you have more than 45 years of expertise as a trial lawyer in the areas of insurance and reinsurance, not to mention the 30 years you served the California lawyer disciplinary system, culminating with serving as the Presiding Referee of the California State Bar Court, what is left to accomplish? Well, if you’re Mitchell L. Lathrop, you might consider writing a book in which you share your expertise in the highly complex field of environmental/insurance claims. Yet, he had already done that. In fact, his book Insurance Coverage for Environmental Claims, published by Matthew Bender LexisNexis, is currently in its 22nd edition. Instead, Lathrop decided to put his expertise to use in solving problems both inside and outside of the courtroom, but not in the capacity of trial lawyer. “I am a seasoned trial lawyer who is now concentrating on mediation, arbitration and expert consulting and testimony in insurance, reinsurance and lawyers’ professional responsibility matters,” he says. “I have handled cases in over 30 states and served as the national environmental coverage counsel for one of the nation’s largest insurers. I have tried dozens of court and jury cases to a verdict. Over 20 years ago, I began to recognize that alternative dispute resolution offered cheaper, faster and somewhat more reliable results than traditional litigation,” Lathrop says. “Today, virtually every international commercial contract of any significance will provide for arbitration as the means for settling disputes. That permits the parties to avoid the vagaries of foreign courts and jurisdictions, while at the same time permitting the parties to select arbitral panels of individuals with expertise in the specific issues in controversy,” he continues. 10

The decision to use his expertise as a mediator and arbitrator has literally taken him around the world. “As an arbitrator, I am on panels of AAA, ICDR, CPR and on arbitration panels in Switzerland, Australia, Japan, Egypt and Dubai. I’m a member of the London Court of International Arbitration, and am a certified mediator of the International Mediation Institute,” Lathrop says. Closer to home, Lathrop has been qualified as an expert on insurance and reinsurance in both state and federal courts. “As an expert consultant/witness, I regularly assist other lawyer clients in the preparation of their cases when insurance, reinsurance or lawyers’ professional responsibility issues are involved, thereby saving time, expense and allowing a more focused presentation for the lawyer’s clients,” Lathrop says. He chuckles when admitting that he loves the “mental jousting” which accompanies testifying in court. In fact, over the course of the last 10 years, he has provided testimony in 40 cases, though he admits he is selective about the engagements he accepts. “Unless I’m sure that I can do a good job, I’ll decline the engagement,” he says. Moreover, he continues, “Unless I feel a case is meritorious, I won’t accept the engagement.” As for future plans, Lathrop is happy to be a sole practitioner after decades with very large law firms, but is thrilled that his practice has him working alongside fellow attorneys on a daily basis. “Virtually all of my business as an expert comes from other lawyers and law firms. I have served as an expert on behalf of insurance companies, on behalf of the clients of some of the nation’s largest and most prestigious law firms, as well as on behalf of the clients of small law firms and sole practitioners,” he says. n

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Hidden Dangers

that Could Lead to Malpractice by Nancy Byerly Jones

There are a number of all-too-well-known malpractice and grievance traps at a law firm: conflicts of interest, missed deadlines, lack of competency, confidentiality/fiduciary breaches, clerical errors, failure to document adequately and poor client relations. But other, hidden dangers could be lurking right under our noses.

1. Sloppy hiring

4) No accountability Setting goals, adopting systems or formulating procedures is useless unless all attorneys and staff are held accountable to do what is needed and expected of them. What does accountability mean in your firm? Has leadership taken the necessary time to define different levels of accountability and the corresponding disciplinary actions? Are the rules fairly enforced across the board?

Malpractice will inevitably raise its destructive head when too little attention is given to who is hired and the quality of training and supervision. All too often, the interview process is treated as merely cursory and hiring decisions are made quickly, with more emphasis placed on pedigree than the potential fit of an applicant within the firm’s culture.

Failing to hold ourselves and others accountable is an enormous obstacle in our path to success. We want success, but when the steps toward reaching our goals are awkward or tough ones, we often shy away rather than hold folks absolutely accountable to do their part.

A go-getter may rise quickly to a supervisory position, but if he abuses his authority or has poor interpersonal skills, the fallout could be extreme. With no watchdog, the odds are greatly increased for malpractice — not to mention high employee turnover, low office morale and lower productivity.

The well-balanced, healthy lawyer wins. Ignore your health and the importance of finding a balance between your professional and personal lives and it will catch up with you, in and out of the office. Further, a failure to encourage and insist upon a healthy balance for your employees will ultimately backfire.

A multitude of problems can invade firms when monetary greed begins to outweigh compassion for clients and loyalty to the profession. When volume is too high in relation to staff capabilities, quality is severely compromised. Chronically and overly excessive caseloads may appear to be a mark of success, but stupidity is the more accurate word.

Chronic bad attitudes form the perfect breeding ground for malpractice. We all feel the sapped energy and lost productivity in the company of a chronically negative individual. The bad effects of their poor attitude far outweigh any skills they may possess. Other problem attitudes are reflected in statements such as, “It’s someone else’s job” or “I’m too busy.” If we allow that kind of environment to exist within our firms, we shouldn’t be surprised when we must pay the cost of the harm done. Lawyers need to remain acutely aware of the hidden dangers that can lurk within their firms. We may think we’re too busy to bother with such matters, but if a malpractice claim or grievance lands on our desk, the deadlines will be imposed upon us whether we have time for them or not. Add to that the other negative ramifications and costs to our client base and it’s a no-brainer. Taking steps to avoid being put in that position is an elemental decision. n

2. Greed

3) A firm in name only

Do you know by heart your billable hours and your largest clients’ golf handicaps, but don’t know the names of your coworkers one floor down? Do you share the costs and liabilities with partners, but otherwise operate as an individual practice that just happens to be under the same roof? Are regular and productive communications few and far between? Does each section of your firm follow its own systems and procedures separate and apart from the other departments? Firms in name only are ticking time bombs. Too many attorneys fail to see the negatives when their firm name is mere verbiage, for identification purposes only. Remember: Those departments that excel in implementing good policies and reaching their goals will share equally in the negative fallout from another department’s failure to do the same, so best get to know each other.

5) Poorly balanced lives

6) Lousy attitudes

Nancy Byerly Jones is an attorney and certified family financial mediator who heads up NBJ Consulting & Conflict Resolution. She can be contacted at LinkedIn Profile: Website:

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COMMUNITY news nWilson Turner Kosmo LLP is pleased to announce that the firm’s partner, Frederick Kosmo, has been appointed chair of the Federal Magistrate Judge Selection Committee for the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. The panel, composed of attorneys and other members of the community, will FREDERICK KOSMO assist in the selection of a new federal magistrate judge to replace Magistrate Judge William McCurine, Jr., who will retire in February 2014. Kosmo has practiced law for 25 years and joined Wilson Turner in 1992. His practice focuses primarily on business, product liability, employment, contract, real estate, health care and trust litigation. He has been active in many local organizations, including Association of Business Trial Lawyers, American Inns of Court and the San Diego County Bar Association. As chair of the merit selection panel, Kosmo will oversee the process of selecting the next federal magistrate. His panel will conduct thorough interviews on all applicants in search of the most qualified. The process is completely confidential and the names of the five most qualified candidates will be forwarded to the District Court for consideration and final approval. nFish & Richardson principal Juanita Brooks has been named one of California’s 2013 Top 100 Lawyers by the Daily Journal, the largest legal industry publication in California. As one of California’s 2013 Top 100 Lawyers, Brooks was recognized for her major win in June for Fresenius Medical Care Holdings Inc. which was closely watched by the legal industry and held that that JUANITA BROOKS federal trial and appellate courts are required by statute to dismiss pending patent cases if the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has cancelled the asserted claims through reexamination. The Daily Journal also noted Brooks’ December 2012 defense win in a patent infringement case regarding three video compression patents involving Apple’s iPod, iPhone and MacBook. Brooks received her B.A. from San Diego State University in 1974 and her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1977. She joined Fish & Richardson in 2000 after a successful career in white collar crime to focus solely on intellectual property litigation.

nAndrea Nelson Myers, an attorney with the San Diego-based law firm of Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, has been named a San Diego Magazine Woman Who Moves the City and finalist for Woman of the Year. The awards “spotlight the dynamic and esteemed women who fuel San Diego’s successful businesses, support its charitable nonprofits and elevate the intellectual ANDREA NELSON MYERS and cultural landscape” of the city. Myers was recognized for her successful civil litigation practice and tireless dedication to the Junior League. She re-launched the Junior League of San Diego Food & Wine Festival into a successful signature fundraiser and raised critical funds to support the Junior League’s mission and community projects, including its efforts to support foster youth. In addition to the Junior League, Myers is active in the Bishop’s School Alumni Association, the Association of Business Trial Lawyers and American Inns of Court, Louis M. Welsh San Diego Chapter. Myers’ legal practice at Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek emphasizes complex business disputes involving a range of clients from Fortune 500 companies to private commercial clients. nCaseyGerry partner Frederick Schenk has been selected by his peers as San Diego “Lawyer of the Year” for Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions in the 2014 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, a prestigious national ranking of attorneys selected through an exhaustive annual peerreview process. According to Best Lawyers, those honored as “Lawyer of the Year” are selected based on particularly FREDERICK SCHENK impressive voting averages received during the peer-review assessments conducted with thousands of leading lawyers each year. The honor reflects the highest level of respect a lawyer has earned among other attorneys based on his or her abilities, professionalism and integrity. “Only a single lawyer in each practice area and designated metropolitan area is honored as the Lawyer of the Year,” said the firm’s managing partner David S. Casey, Jr. “The fact that this honor is given by peers makes this accolade particularly significant.

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COMMUNITY news nHiggs Fletcher & Mack recently added Sandra J. Brower as a partner. Brower specializes in eminent domain litigation for both public entities and private owners and prior to joining Higgs was with the law firm of Sullivan & Hill. Brower served as an attorney for San Diego County, representing the County, special districts and the SANDRA J. BROWER Department of Planning and Land Use in litigation and real estate matters. Brower also served as a mediator in eminent domain and related real estate matters and is frequently called upon to lecture organizations throughout California on real estate issues. Brower is a member of Lawyers Club of San Diego and the Real Property and Civil Litigation Sections of the San Diego County Bar Association. She was named to the San Diego Daily Transcript’s Top Attorneys in Real Estate & Construction Litigation in 2012 as well as in Municipal/ Government in 2013. In addition, Brower was named a 2012 Top Rated Lawyer for Real Estate, Eminent Domain and Litigation by Martindale-Hubbell and American Lawyer Media. She is recognized as a San Diego Super Lawyer in the field of real estate (2007-2013). nDuckor Spradling Metzger & Wynne is pleased to announce that John C. Wynne has been inducted into the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). Membership is granted by invitation only to experienced trial attorneys who meet the organization’s requirements for high personal character and honorable reputation. He joins DSMW attorneys Scott L. JOHN C. WYNNE Metzger and James E. Chodzko as ABOTA members. Mr. Wynne is a senior lawyer in the firm’s litigation department. He co-chairs that department and heads the employment practice group. He has practiced employment law for over 25 years, has extensive trial experience in that area and has long been recognized as a top San Diego employment defense attorney. In addition, Mr. Wynne has litigated and/or tried or arbitrated numerous real estate, business/corporate, intellectual property (including four patent jury trials to verdict), and trust and estate cases. Mr. Wynne earned a B.A. from the University of California Berkeley and a J.D. from the University of California Los Angeles.


nAttorneys Michael L. Kirby, David J. Noonan and James R. Lance from Kirby Noonan Lance & Hoge, LLP were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2014. Kirby and Noonan were selected for their works in “Bet-the-Company Litigation,” while Kirby, Noonan, and Lance received awards for “Commercial Litigation.” Best Lawyers has published its list for over three decades and is known as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals. Founded in 1976 and based in downtown San Diego, KNL&H provides clients of all sizes the same high level of expertise available at the largest law firms and the personalized attention of a small firm. Well-known for its success with complex and large cases, KNL&H’s lawyers are uniquely versed in plaintiff and defense litigation, as well as Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Law firm with too much space? Attorney in need of an office? A FREE sublease listing service brought to you by Hughes Marino, voted San Diego’s BEST commercial real estate company two years in a row by readers of the U-T.

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The Naumann Law Firm: Focus as Foundation By Jennifer Hadley

Bill Naumann Has Built a Construction Defect Firm on the Bedrock of Teamwork & Innovation.


rom my earliest memories, I was interested in justice and fairness,” says Bill Naumann, founder of The Naumann Law Firm, PC. “Martin Luther King visited the college where my father taught and left a lasting impression on me.” Moreover, he recalls from his childhood, “I have always had an interest in architecture and construction. At a young age, I considered becoming an architect. I remember as a teenager, drawing layout of homes,” he recalls. Those two passions were further fueled by a life-changing experience at the age of just 17. As part of a one year educational sabbatical his father was awarded, Naumann’s entire family spent a year traveling the globe. “We lived in Montreal, Beirut and Istanbul and visited nearly every country in Europe. It was a life-altering experience. I still remember walking through the Berlin Wall at ‘Checkpoint Charlie’ into East Berlin and realizing how different the world was on the other side of the ‘Iron Curtain.’

Laying the Foundation for Success as a Lawyer After earning his J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1980, Naumann began work in insurance coverage. He started at the firm of Rhodes & Hollywood (now known as Neil, Dymott, Frank, McFall & Trexler) as a law clerk, and then became an associate. The work required him to draft coverage opinions which analyzed the wording of policies and determined whether an insurance company would defend an insured in a defect case. This experience would 16

by Jennifer Hadley

come in handy almost immediately. “Understanding insurance coverage is critical in construction defect cases,” Naumann says. Naumann then joined Sparber, Ferguson, Naumann, Ponder & Ryan, where he spent 15 years as an associate before becoming a partner. Here he also began building his niche in construction defect cases. “One of my first clients was a developer. He always had something going on. There was litigation with joint venture partners. There were business cases. We had to bring a Japanese company to court in the U.S.A. Construction defect cases often involve twenty to thirty subcontractors and negotiations with multiple parties. There are a lot of moving parts and one case is often more akin to 20-30 cases wrapped into one,” Naumann says. Fortunately, he loved the intricacy of the work. In fact, by 1990, Naumann was already counting construction defect cases as 50% of his business. By 1997, as a partner in Naumann & Levine, that percentage had increased to nearly 100% of his business. Over the years, Naumann accumulated countless awards for his work. From the Consumer Attorneys of California, Naumann earned the “Presidential Award of Merit,” in November 2000; the “Trench Solider Award” in March 2000; the “Presidential Award of Merit” in 2002; and the President’s Star Award in 2003. He also served as Tort Law Editor for the Trial Bar News (1989-1998), during which time he authored more than 100 articles. Naumann also served as President of the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego in 1999, as a Member of the Board of Directors

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Photo by Bronson Pate

for the Consumer Attorneys of California from 2000-2004, and as a Member of the Board of Directors for the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego from 1990-2002. Naumann was also honored to represent the families of two victims of 9/11 as a part of nationwide group of attorneys that provided pro bono services in connection with the Victim Compensation Fund established by Congress. More recently, Naumann has earned the accolade of Super Lawyers Honoree for 2012 and 2013. Likewise, the San Diego Daily Transcript named him a Top Attorney in San Diego for 2013, and San Diego Magazine named him a Top Lawyer in San Diego in 2013. After thirty years of work in the field of construction defect law; there isn’t a whole lot that Naumann hadn’t accomplished.


The awards and accolades he’s earned, he attributes to his willingness to work hard. “A successful practice cannot be built working 9:00 am - 5:00 pm,” he says. Naumann also believes that his willingness to listen to opposing counsel has played a huge role in the verdicts and settlements he’s helped his clients to achieve. “The best way to learn the weaknesses of your case, and be able to minimize them is through listening to the opinions and statements of opposing counsel. If there are true weaknesses, you need to admit to yourself that your case may have a much lower settlement value. Furthermore, I do not believe you can reach a satisfactory settlement without a relationship with opposing attorneys. There has to be at least some level of trust,” he says.

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Photo by Bronson Pate

Constructing a New Style of Firm For Naumann, trust must begin in his own firm. In fact, it was this desire to build a firm where there was less “drama,” and more harmony, which ultimately led him to found the Naumann Law Firm. “The legal profession is stressful enough without adding office politics into the equation. We do not allow bad-mouthing of team members behind their backs. I encourage members of the firm to come to me to discuss issues they may have with a case or a person. We do not allow screaming or yelling in the firm. It is rarely productive,” he says. The policies he has implemented for his team at the Naumann Law Firm have worked remarkably well, to say the least. “We have had zero turnover in staff and attorneys in the last 5 years,” he says. “Attorneys have joined the firm, but no one has left.” What this has meant for clients is that they receive a true team effort from the Naumann Law Firm. “Our typical clients are homeowner associations, individual homeowners, developers and general contractors, commercial associations and condominium owners. The client will have the same attorneys working on his or her case from beginning to the end of the case. They will know early on in the case if there is sufficient insurance to pay a large judgment or settlement. We are not afraid to work extremely hard to develop the facts and evidence. We don’t hesitate to conduct discovery and take numerous depositions. Great results don’t happen by themselves. It takes hard work and total effort to maximize a settlement,” Naumann says. The team that Naumann works with at the Naumann Law Firm includes attorneys Monnett De La Torre, Miranda Watkins, Loren Shiu, Of Counsel Jean Claude Lapuyade, as well as Director of Client Services, Elaine Gower; Paralegal, Elina Chaplik; and Tesla Stone who is pursuing a paralegal degree while serving as the firm’s administrative assistant. “Our team approach, within the office and with respect to client relationships, is an integral part of our working philosophy. These attributes enhance the firm’s responsiveness and enable us to provide legal services of the highest caliber,” Naumann says. As validation that the philosophy is working, the firm is rated AV preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell. These days in particular, as the result of the real estate collapse and subsequent recession, it has been more important than ever that Naumann’s team work together collaboratively, in order to solve increasingly complex cases. For example, “Our firm represented 55 homeowners in a Carlsbad development known as Vistamar in the case of Bennett v. John Laing Homes. These homes had moisture coming up through their slabs, ruining their floor coverings and causing mold infestation. We learned that the developer was filing bankruptcy. We hired

bankruptcy counsel in Delaware to obtain relief from the stay to proceed against the defendant’s insurance carriers. We learned that the builder had a multi-million dollar policy. Unfortunately, we then learned that the defendant had “bought back” the policy years earlier as part of a national coverage dispute and settlement. The bottom line was that the builder was bankrupt with no assets and no insurance,” Naumann says. “We kept digging and uncovered insurance policies that subcontractors had purchased. In addition, we discovered that some of the subcontractors had “additional insured endorsements” that provided some coverage for the builder for certain defects. Our team was ultimately able to piece together a settlement in the amount of $818K, with 100% of the funds coming from subcontractors insurance,” he continues.

Blueprint for Ground Breaking Results Naumann’s decision to build a team-centric environment is further validated by some of the ground-breaking results the firm has achieved by employing legal strategies that other construction defect firms may not utilize. Their blueprint for maximizing settlements for their clients in the post-recession era (where many builders and developers have filed bankruptcy) involves taking depositions from individual insurance brokers. “We now take the deposition of the insurance broker that sold the applicable policy to the defendant. We send out a quick set of interrogatories to the defendant asking for the name of the broker. With so many companies going under during the recession, we need to know immediately if there is applicable insurance and whether those policies have been exhausted or partially exhausted,” Naumann says. This strategy is paying off in spades for Naumann’s clients. For example, in June of 2012, because the Naumann Law Firm deposed an individual insurance broker, they found that a defendant had lied under oath about the amount of insurance he had, which enabled the Naumann Law Firm to recover $2.4 million for their client. The Naumann Firm is also breaking ground maximizing benefits of new statutes and laws in the area of construction law. In fact, Naumann was involved in the first SB 800 Arbitration in California. “Our firm represented Chris and Desiree Smith in a construction defect action against the Walters Group. The trial judge granted the defendants motion to compel arbitration. We received no offers from the Walters Group to settle the case. A two week arbitration followed, which we believe to have been the first arbitration or trial to be completed in California under the relatively new construction defect statute, commonly referred to as SB 800,” Naumann says. “The Smiths purchased a custom home in the Santaluz area of San Diego. Shortly after moving, in they started Attorney Journal | Volume 123, 2013

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experiencing sewer smells in the home and coming out of the manhole in front of their home. After extensive discovery, it was determined that two sewer treatment plants were not functioning properly. Although there was no physical damage to the home, we were able to show that the sewer gas reduced the market value of the home and violated one of the standards set forth in SB 800. The arbitrator rendered an award in favor of our clients in the amount of $1.48 million. Additional settlements were reached in the amount of $286K for a total recovery of $1.77 million,” he says.

Design for the Future Designs for the future of the firm include steady, but strong growth, driven by Naumann’s conviction that “cases don’t need drama, just hard work,” he says. “There is no scapegoating or finger-pointing in his firm,” he says. “Construction defect cases routinely have 15-30 parties. There are a lot of moving parts that need to be coordinated. We do not “turn and burn” cases. We attempt to maximize settlements, and we do not settle cases early for less than they are worth. One of the best ways to understand a case is to prepare a very detailed and comprehensive settlement demand package,” he adds. When that settlement demand is unable to be met, the team “keeps digging and developing evidence against the opposing party,” Naumann adds. Because of the firm’s reputation for tenaciousness and its track record for success, Naumann expects that the firm will grow to include 1-2 more associates over the next five years. These will be necessary, as the firm’s referrals from General Counsel of Home Owners’ Associations continue to grow. “The size and quality of our cases has grown over the last five years and I expect this to continue,” he adds. n

Contact: Bill Naumann The Naumann Law Firm, PC 858.792.7474 10731 Treena Street Suite 101 San Diego, CA 92131

»» EDUCATION • University of San Diego, School of Law J.D. (1980) • North Central College – Naperville, IL – Political Science and Economics

»» AFFILIATIONS • California State Bar – 1980 • All State Courts in the State of California • United States District court, Southern District of California • Consumer Attorneys of California

»» AWARDS & DISTINCTIONS • Consumer Attorneys of California • “Presidential Award of Merit” - November 2000 • “Trench Solider Award” - March 2000 • “Presidential Award of Merit” - 2002 • “President’s Star Award” – 2003 • Super Lawyers 2012 – Super Lawyers Honoree • Super Lawyers 2013 – Super Lawyers Honoree • San Diego Magazine – Top Lawyer in San Diego 2013 • San Diego Daily Transcript – Top Attorney in San Diego 2013

»» LEADERSHIP POSITIONS • Tort Law Editor for the Trial Bar News (1989-1998) Authored over 100 articles • President of the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego (1999) • Member of the Board of Directors for the Consumer Attorneys of California (2000-2004) • Member of the Board of Directors for the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego (1990-2002)

»» COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT • Habitat for Humanity – Served on the Board of Directors • Interfaith Shelter Network – Served on the Board of Directors • Challenged Athletes Foundation – Contributor and Volunteer

»» NOTABLE SETTLEMENTS • Cottage Lane at Windingwalk – Developer Otay MF1 LLC Settlement $2,000,000.00. Association: Common area defects 20

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• Smith v. Local Builder (San Diego), Developer: The Walters Group, Judgment: $1,484,024.00, Additional Settlements: $286,000.00, Total Recovery: $1,770,024.00, Single-family custom home

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Photo by Bronson Pate

Miller & James, LLP Attorneys at Law

David D. Miller

David has over 35 years of experience, primarily representing plaintiffs in the areas of civil litigation and medical malpractice. He is a board-certified civil trial specialist through the National Board of Trial Advocacy and has served as a faculty instructor for that organization. Super Lawyers has recognized David in their annual publication of top attorneys in San Diego in the area of medical malpractice. He is also a fellow with the Litigation Counsel of America. In 1968, David became Ranger qualified. He was on active duty in the United States Marine Corps as a platoon and company commander from 1968 to 1972, serving in the Republic of Vietnam in Southeast Asia in 1969. He spent 27 years in the Marine Corps Reserve, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Patricia I. James (“PJ”)

After earning her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of San Diego in 1976, PJ went on to attend California Western School of Law in San Diego, graduating in 1979. PJ has worked with David since 1989. While David serves as the firm’s trial attorney, PJ acts behind the scenes, using her writing skills to move cases from the initial stage of preparing the complaint through the interim stage of motions and written discovery and finally, to the last stage of settlement or trial.

In sum, David has established himself as a leader ready to take your case through trial.

Miller & James, LLP 2550 5th Avenue, Suite 815, San Diego, California 92103-6624 Tel: 619.685.0077 | Fax: 619.685.0011 | Email:

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(Left to Right) The evening’s award winners include Ben Wagner of Mintz Levin; Ethan Boyer accepting for Kirby Noonan Lance & Hoge; John Hanson accepting for Hanson Law Firm; Melissa Blackburn-Joniaux; Jay Jeffcoat accepting for DLA Piper; and Tim Cohelan accepting for Cohela, Khoury & Singer.

Justice For All

Celebration By Teresa Warren


n September 19, the legal community came together to celebrate individuals and law firms who are committed to helping others by providing pro bono legal services. Sole practitioners and senior partners of large law firms joined together to also salute the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program for its 30 years of dedication to the underserved at the organization’s annual Justice For All Celebration. This year’s celebration was held at the San Diego Natural History Museum and was attended by 300 individuals. SDVLP has a long history of providing civil legal services and today it is one of the largest providers of pro bono services locally. With a mission of providing legal assistance to the poor and vulnerable, SDVLP continues to be a much needed and utilized resource. “When SDVLP was founded three decades ago, justice for all was an aspiration, not a reality, and that continues to be the case today,” states Amy Fitzpatrick, executive director of SDVLP. “When one single person is denied justice, we all lose.” Each year, more than 5,000 individuals turn to SDVLP.


Long time SDVLP supporter and master of ceremonies for the Celebration (and appellate lawyer) Dan Lawton noted, “SDVLP is where people who have no other options go and receive help.” Potential SDVLP clients must meet low income eligibility requirements and be in need of services that match those provided by SDVLP. The majority – nearly 80 percent – of SDVLP’s clients are women and children. The needs vary from family law, guardianship and domestic violence prevention/ intervention to HIV/AIDs discrimination and benefits assistance, unlawful detainer counsel and special services geared toward foster children, including immigration assistance and education law. Finding clients isn’t an issue for SDVLP - providing services to everyone who needs help and obtaining funding to grow are the organization’s biggest challenges. That is why the Celebration is such an important event. It is an opportunity to honor those firms and individuals who give time and resources to support the ideal of justice for all in San Diego.

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One such individual is Ben Wagner, an associate with Mintz Levin who was presented with the Pro Bono Publico Award at the Celebration. An IP litigator by trade, Wagner works with domestic violence victims at legal clinics run by SDVLP. SDVLP does extensive community outreach and has been heralded for founding and organizing the annual Women’s Resource Fair for the past 25 years. At the Fair, women and children are provided with an array of more than 100 services, including legal, medical and social services. And each year since its inception, Melissa Blackburn-Joniaux has been a Fair volunteer. For her commitment, Blackburn-Joniaux received SDVLP’s Exemplary Service Award. In addition to volunteer lawyers providing pro bono services, SDVLP has a staff of 24 committed individuals who also work directly with clients. The staff’s duties range from intake to litigating complex cases. They are highly skilled professionals whose commitment to helping those in need is unsurpassed. Many of San Diego’s law firms also share this commitment and support the organization in a variety of ways. Three law firms were honored for directing cy pres funds to SDVLP – Cohelan, Khoury & Singer, Hanson Law Firm and Kirby Noonan Lance & Hoge. Each was honored with the Access to Justice Award at the event. DLA Piper was presented with the Sustaining Justice Award for its long-term support of SDVLP. Dating back to the days that the firm was Gray Cary, it has been an advocate for SDVLP by providing both volunteers and funds. Last year alone, nine DLA Piper attorneys gave over 650 hours of pro bono time. Special guest speaker, the Honorable Irma E. Gonzalez of the U.S. District Court, Southern District, reminded the lawyers in attendance that, given the skills and training they possess, lawyers can give back to the community in a unique way. The American Bar Association recommends that each lawyer give 50 pro bono hours a year. In San Diego County, if each lawyer gave only a small portion of that, many more of our community’s underserved could be assisted. Being an SDVLP volunteer or donor allows lawyers to make a big difference in our community by ensuring that the goal of justice for all continues. As Master of Ceremonies Lawton summed it up, “SDVLP represents the best of what it means to be a lawyer.” n Top: Master of Ceremonies and SDVLP volunteer Dan Lawton provides comic relief to the Justice For All Celebration. Middle: Exemplary Service Award honoree Melissa Blackburn-Joniaux shares with the Celebration guests the significance of volunteering with SDVLP. Bottom: Special guest Honorable Irma E. Gonzalez of the U.S. District Court, Southern District encouraged all of the lawyers in attendance to give back to the community by providing pro bono services.

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From Agony to Ecstasy: Unconventional Strategies For Unhappy Lawyers


hen lawyers approach me who are dissatisfied or unfulfilled with their professional life, the first thing I do is assure them their experience is actually a terrific opportunity. In a very real sense, when we feel discontented with our work, we are being called by an inner impulse to expand and grow into the next chapter of our career—in effect, to realize more of our potential. When harnessed productively, professional unhappiness can be an incredibly powerful fuel for a profound transformation of your career—and your life. Maybe you feel “stuck” in your practice, that you’ve reached a plateau, that another job might be a better fit, that you need new challenges. Whatever the details, the bottom line is you are being called to adapt and make some changes. You may not know what or how yet, but it is clear that you face a choice: continue being unhappy—or do something about it. Many lawyers avoid this conclusion ferociously. I know I did. For years, I felt unhappy and stuck in my corporate practice, yet I resisted change because I had no idea what to do next. It took hitting a serious brick wall (in my case, a serious illness) before I finally resolved to take some long overdue actions to create the career I really wanted. As lawyers, we are experts at rationalizing and justifying, especially to ourselves. “I make good money.” “I have job security.” “Millions are unemployed.” “People are starving in Africa.” These are all valid arguments. They also do not address your basic dilemma, which is that you are not where


By Francesco Barbera you want to be in your career. The question is what are you prepared to do about it? What can you do about it?

Using Career Dissatisfaction As Your Roadmap To Renewal In any process of career renewal, the necessary first step is making the internal decision to take action. Until you make this resolution to yourself, there is virtually no chance of transformation. The process is demanding, and it requires genuine commitment. On the other hand, once you do make this decision, everything changes. You move into a position of great internal power as your energy becomes empowered and focused on creating the career you want. Often, as soon as clients move into this place of responsibility, they experience a great surge of energy and momentum. They know the steps they need to take and quickly take them, regaining that crucial sense of vitality and purpose in their careers. Just as often, however, I see clients who are eager to take action - but just don’t know where to begin. The challenge these clients face is that of tuning in and listening closely to the voice of their own dissatisfaction. When we are discontented, it tends to be for specific reasons. Sometimes we just need to quiet down long enough to listen. You can do this, for example, by carving out an hour of quiet time to write in a journal, answering questions like, Why am I feeling discontented right now? What changes do I need to make?

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Interestingly, your answers may have little or nothing to do with your career. They may relate instead to other areas of life, such as your relationships or health. If that is the case, your next steps might be to address those issues directly—for example, by having the difficult conversation you’ve been avoiding or hiring a nutritionist or personal trainer. When the dissatisfaction is career-related, your answers may sounds a lot like frustration or restlessness—like an impulse for greater expansion and expression in your career. “I want to be more entrepreneurial.” “I want to be more creative.” “I want to be a leader.” “I want to work with people more directly.” “I want more travel, more spontaneity, more adventure.” “I want to make a difference.” There is an easy tendency among lawyers to dismiss these kinds of impulses as foolish or impractical (“That’s naïve”, “Yeah, but I have a spouse and kids”, “It’s too late now”). But this is doing ourselves a grave disservice. In fact, these impulses are the raw material of your career renewal. They are a roadmap that will lead you to authentic professional fulfillment.

Embracing Your Possible Selves In her exceptional book Working Identity, the psychologist Herminia Ibarra describes how we each carry within us a series of “possible selves”—different visions of who we might become in our careers. As our careers progress, we feel the impulse to explore, express and integrate more of these visions into our careers. Using myself as an example, though I was making a good living as a corporate lawyer, I also felt a great urge to be more entrepreneurial and to use my passion and training in psychology more directly. I saw myself not only as a legal advisor, but as a business leader, a counselor, a writer, and a psychologist. It was only when I acknowledged my desire to explore and integrate these other “possible selves”—in my case, by developing a business plan, pursuing graduate work in psychology, and launching a training and coaching practice—that I began to reconnect with a sense of passion and purpose in my work. Now, I have a legal practice representing entrepreneurs and a training and coaching practice where I get to use my training in psychology to help professionals lead more fulfilling and successful lives. So, if you are professionally dissatisfied at this time, a question you might ask yourself right now is: What are your unexpressed possible selves? Do you envision yourself as business executive? Founder of a non-profit? A rainmaker in your firm? A free-spirited surfing instructor? A progressive politician? A crusading journalist? Be honest and allow yourself to think as big or small as you can imagine, without concern about practicalities (for now). If you are having difficulty, ask yourself questions like: What kind of work would you do if money or social approval were no object? Whose careers do you most envy or admire? If you had $5 million to spend on something work-related, how would you spend it? What sort of books do you love to read? Assuming you had all the resources you needed, what business or organization

would you launch today? When you are done with this process, you may have a list of several, perhaps as many as four or five, possible directions to explore - and your next step will be to investigate how or whether to integrate them in your career in a practical manner. This does not mean quitting your practice to try out for the New York Yankees. It means devising simple, low-risk actions you can take to explore, investigate, experiment and learn. Your first steps might be reading a book, going to a networking meeting, researching an organization, or having an informational coffee meeting with someone involved in the direction you are exploring. Through simple actions like these, you begin to test your theories of what will bring you more fulfillment. You learn about specific opportunities you might pursue. You develop new relationships. You learn ways you might acquire the skills and experience you seek. As you move forward, you may find your enthusiasm for a particular direction growing, and you naturally begin to invest more time and energy in that direction. You take on a volunteer role or a board position or a consulting engagement. You enroll in a new course of study. You start a small side project while maintaining your full-time legal practice. In this way, you develop new competencies and round out your professional skill-set. You develop a broader knowledge base, gain access to new ideas and possibilities. You get some of the experiences you’ve been craving. You start to see more clearly the kinds of more permanent changes that might work for you. Perhaps most significantly, you develop a new network of professional relationships—relationships through which new opportunities ultimately will present themselves when the time is right. As simple as this process seems, over time, it can result in a profound transformation—one that you never could have planned or foresaw when you began. This is what I call career renewal from the inside out—a career transformation that is based on your innate interests, passions and beliefs, that is driven by who you are and what you most want to express in the world. This kind of transformation is not superficial or cosmetic. It is deep, lasting, and profoundly rewarding. It is a transformation not only of your career—but of your life. n Francesco Barbera is the founder of Barbera Corporate Law. He is a Harvard Law graduate and veteran corporate attorney representing development-stage companies and established corporations in a wide range of industries. He counsels entrepreneurs, investors and established companies on the full range of their business activities, from formation through raising capital, growth and acquisition. He works with key specialists in tax, executive compensation, intellectual property and other specialized areas of practice to deliver to clients the highest quality representation available on the legal market today. Website: Office 310-896-8392. Attorney Journal | Volume 123, 2013

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hat is the future of business integration within law firms, and where is it now? What approach does today’s law firm need to take to stay innovative, ahead of the curve and optimize its operations to better serve and stay one step ahead of its clients?

Law Firms of the Future: Driving Intranet Evolution with Google+ by Eric Hunter

Over the past two years, Eric Hunter has integrated a Google-driven social media knowledge and collaboration environment within Bradford & Barthel, LLP. Hunter speaks and writes on competitive strategy and collaborative cloud solutions globally and is the recipient of ILTA’s 2010 Knowledge Management Champion Distinguished Peer and ILTA’s 2010 Innovative Member awards. He can be reached at or follow him on Twitter: @thelihunter.


As a starting point, integration accelerated through collaborative cloud computing and the resulting minimal technology footprint helps lead teams and organizations through innovative structural and behavioral change. This approach leverages social networks such as Google+ and a cloud business platform a la Google Apps and redefines internal and client collaboration as we know it. A now both decentralized and centralized intranet, your interactions choose the delivery model, provide the innovation path forward. Add video conferencing, document sharing and collaboration, all woven within an internal social path for the firm, with the ability to share with clients and others on the “outside.” This approach is best suited for shifting traditional (well-defined and linear) organizational structures to a team-based environment, with no static steps involved in the business-driven initiatives.

Social media, social circles and teams An analogy I often draw in the varied approaches to team building is through social media. Consider the multitude of evolving social strategies that drive competing corporate agendas of the likes of Facebook, Google, Twitter, Apple and Microsoft. How are they redefining the way we interact with each other, the information closest to us, and how we view our day-to-day realities? Then, take their approaches and consider the resulting behavioral trends in consumer behavior. The label “consumer” is often misleading here, as social trends cross corporate, individual and social groups, just as the teambuilding approach will. For some time, what we’ve been seeing is a blending of identities. From the individual perspective, corporate culture is just one more in a series of social circles we’re a part of and which we communicate through. With that in mind, which corporate cultures offer the best team-building approach? Which ones suffer from inefficiency as the result of a lack of innovative team building or team coordination strategy? What we’re moving toward is a truly unique, inside out take on communication, and therefore collaboration between two individuals, teams and the resulting corporate entity. Which is more effective, Facebook? Google+? Or traditional email? Which are more interactive, traditional corporate teleconference meetings, or a Google+ Hangout where all can see and interact with one another at once? Or, the Xbox approach through collaborative gaming with an artificial goal in mind that brings individuals across the globe together. Most importantly, how will these teams pursue their information and how will it be delivered?

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There are two fundamental approaches to consider: 1) Search and you will find, and 2) I log in, and it’s given to me. Think of Google and Facebook, or Microsoft and Google+ as two completely separate approaches here. Google+ represents the social media “bring it to me” approach while Microsoft SharePoint-based search queries a database of data (go get it).

Building the spherical organization Another concept worth visualizing is to look at an organization structured in a sphere-oriented manner as opposed to the traditional linear corporate structure. Social circles – internal teams – are no longer linear, and alter the traditional business relationship the law firm of the future has with its staff, their personal lives and how this reflects on the corporate brand as well as the client relationships. How does this rebuilding process based on spheres (as opposed to traditional linear communications and interactions) occur? Many firms are investigating Six Sigma management strategies, as well as exploring legal project management (LPM). Can one take the best approaches in Six Sigma and LPM while adapting their own vision toward rebuilding their organizations into team-driven spherical structures? I say yes, and at Bradford & Barthel, LLP, we have used this approach in transitioning to Google Apps and in driving our intranet evolution with Google+. Adapting sound underlying core principles from a variety of backgrounds as they fit to the firm’s own innovation path is what will ensure its long term integrity and the evolution as it relates to client service.

Posture, positioning and timing In shaping the law firm of the future, some draw from either a martial philosophy or create a visual metaphor to assist in creating tangible, driving principles. By creating a metaphor taken from a dance between partners, in this case the firm and its client, it is important and useful to focus on three tenets; posture, positioning and timing. Posture represents the firm’s structure; is it malleable, flexible and agile enough internally to act on a moment’s notice? Positioning refers to the law firm’s relationship with its clients, both internal and external. Are things organized in a spherical structure that touches all clients seamlessly? Have new organizational approaches been introduced to ensure the firm is positioned to evolve with its clients? Has a culture of innovation and forward thinking been integrated through all aspects of firm business? And finally, timing is simply the ability for the firm of the future to act or not. It seems simple, but you would be amazed how many firms are built in ways where action or non-action isn’t a choice, but a consequence of their aging structures. Additionally, prejudice in movement and prejudice in

thinking and lack of understanding lead to faulty movement. Now translate prejudice in movement between two dancers to actual prejudice in communication between two individuals in the workplace. Carry this concept to prejudice in understanding business strategy across corporate departments, to the firm’s executive committee driving all firm decisions, and the point becomes clear. Acting or managing through prejudicial thinking in this manner is like having fault lines running through the firm when everything should be seamless and fluid. Static steps lead to static thinking. Stagnation in the corporate environment is the end of that environment, sooner or later.

The evolution of the firm intranet via google+ So how do we provide a medium for the firm to apply these principles without static steps or static thinking? At Bradford & Barthel, LLP, we believe firms of the future will use evolving hosted platforms as behavioral change drivers, as they continue down their integration path with these concepts. Google+ is an example of what changes the concept of the intranet into this nimble organizational approach. Think of the user experience when logging into a system like this. Team members and leaders across the organization log into a social media environment at the start of the day. The ability of the law firm to immediately organize into project teams is an immediate part of the user experience. Through shared circles, all communications, documentation, shared video conferences, workflows etc. are streamed directly to the individual user. This is an application of the “bring it to me” approach. Rather than email, we have postings directed to circles. Rather than traditional document management, we have a unique document collaboration approach with targeted recipients. Video conferencing and presentation conferencing are possible, recordable and now another searchable part of the day. This is where we integrate the traditional “go get it” approach—through the search box and circle creation. Search is integrated across the hosted spectrum, and with this unique user interface, we can combine our traditional search results through a social media interface. The organization creates communication through a series of shared circles through Google, enabling project and team leaders to better coordinate and share their information across the organization. This internal use of social media as an evolving intranet can then be shifted outwards through the same shared circle concept; client relations built in this manner allow the use of social media-driven initiatives to ultimately bridge the innovations of today with what evolves through the hosted platform tomorrow. Attorney Journal | Volume 123, 2013

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Integrating alternative staffing models, driving down costs and closing

Ultimately, we drive down costs in this approach through alternative staffing models, where traditional roles in the organization are re-thought along with the shift in the social media intranet or the individual bring-itto-me concept. In some instances, the organization is able to restructure from a staffing standpoint to obtain immediate savings. In other instances, the organization is able to invest in project leaders, and business process development that in itself will drive down costs and streamline operations. Client relations development integrated throughout the organization in this way brings in a new cost development model, and encourages ingenuity and continual innovation in client relations and service. What is taken for granted in this entire concept within the law firm of the future is that the organization has

already implemented the hosted model, where cost savings through infrastructure, licensing and vendor integration are already realized. Furthermore, high-level decision makers who get this firm of the future concept look at these hosted platforms, not as “the cloud,” but as the information management platforms and hosted drivers for behavioral change within the enterprise. The consumerization and the spread of social media in consumer culture and individual preference are molded throughout organizations with enterprise level deployments built off the exact same concepts, while capitalizing on these same individual drivers to create business value. Where these hosted systems compete in consumer culture is the key to understanding the future of communication with our clients, and the most strategic search, touch and connectivity across our organizational culture. Whether you choose Google, Apple, Microsoft or Facebook, the way we drive our initiatives throughout our business cultures should evolve in tandem with the culture of our times. n


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Attorney Journal, San Diego, Volume 123  

Attorney Journal, San Diego, Volume 123

Attorney Journal, San Diego, Volume 123  

Attorney Journal, San Diego, Volume 123