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WINNING

CARING

GIVING TRIAL LAWYERS • Business • Wrongful Death

• Personal Injury • Mass Torts

www.thegomezfirm.com

Yolanda S. Walther-Meade, VP, Business Development 858.504.0188 | yolanda@thegomezfirm.com 625 Broadway, Suite 1200 | San Diego, CA 92101

Peterson Reporting knows transcript security. Reporting Videography Trial Presentation Secure and Encrypted Services Free Conference Rooms LiveStreaming Services Video Conferencing Services Global Reach Complex Cases Accurate, Fast

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#4USFFU 4VJUF 4BO%JFHP $"4JODFpetersonreporting.com


TABLE OF CONTENTS features

2 0 1 2 E D I T I O N — N O .107

4 Succession Planning For Law Firms SUNMI KIM

8 AN ATTORNEY BY ANY OTHER NAME ESQUIRE DEPOSITION SOLUTIONS

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10 HOMETOWN HEROES DTI 14 COMMUNITY newsn

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16 ATTORNEY OF THE MONTH DARAL MAZZARELLA 22 Successful Lawyer Time Management DEBRA L. BRUCE

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26 POWER OF THE PEN MARTIN BUCHANAN

EXECUTIVE PUBLISHER Brian Topor EDITOR Nancy Deyo CREATIVE DIRECTOR Julianne Gleaton CIRCULATION Angela Watson PHOTOGRAPHY Bronson Pate Vinit Satyavrata STAFF WRITERS Jennifer Hadley Bridget Brookman Karen Gorden

28 PLOT TWIST LEE HEJMANOWSKI

CONTRIBUTING EDITORIALISTS SunMi Kim Debra L. Bruce Charles Volkert

30 ONE IN THREE LAWYERS PLANS TO HIRE IN THIRD QUARTER:

CHARLES VOLKERT

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WEBMASTER S. Chorng ADVERTISING INQUIRIES info@AttorneyJournal.us SUBMIT AN ARTICLE Editorial@AttorneyJournal.us

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 2012 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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OR MANY LAW FIRMS, SUCCESSION PLANNING CAN OFTEN BE A BACKBURNER ACTIVITY. FINDING THE TIME AND RESOURCES TO CREATE AND IMPLEMENT A SUCCESSION PLAN CAN BE A CHALLENGE FOR ANY ORGANIZATION AND FOR MOST LAW FIRMS, CLIENT NEEDS TEND TO COME FIRST. HOWEVER, IN TODAY’S COMPETITIVE ECONOMY, SUCCESSION PLANNING SHOULD BE CONSIDERED A KEY MANAGEMENT STRATEGY AND A BEST-PRACTICE TOOL THAT CAN ENSURE A LAW FIRM’S CONTINUED GROWTH AND SUCCESS.

Succession Planning for Law Firms by SunMi Kim, Regional Vice President, Robert Half Legal SunMi Kim is regional vice president of Robert Half Legal in San Diego. Robert Half Legal is a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of lawyers, paralegals, legal administrators and other legal professionals with law firms and corporate legal departments. For more information, contact her at SunMi.Kim@rhi.com or (213) 624-8335.

Most firms can anticipate partners’ retirements or the departure of a senior attorney and will have succession plans in place. However, too many firms fail to extend such planning to other critical positions within the firm, such as executive-level information technology and marketing roles as well as senior-level administrative positions. In fact, 39 percent of attorneys polled by Robert Half Legal said that their firms has no succession plan in place for its key leadership roles and close to half (49 percent), said there are no intentions to develop one. These numbers show that leadership transition planning is an issue that many law firms often delay until a managing partner or practice group leader retires or resigns. Still, the best time to create a succession plan is when one isn’t needed. DEVELOPING A PLAN Succession planning initiatives do not have to be highly formalized to be effective. One good way to get started is to meet with the firm’s managing partners to consider various “what if ” scenarios. For each scenario, the group should try to identify possible replacements for key roles, including certain support positions or formulate other contingency plans. It’s also useful to look at the current composition of staff and make projections for the future. What will the firm look like in three to five years? Given likely levels of attrition, expansion, contraction or promotion, will the future team be capable of supporting the firm’s vision for growth? DETERMINING A REPLACEMENT To determine the best candidate to replace current staff, it helps to specify and prioritize the personal and professional qualities that are essential for success in a particular role. For example, in identifying a paralegal to assume a management role, which is the most critical: having strong organizational skills, overseeing project workflow or managing relationships? What are some other requirements?

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The next step is to select high-potential individuals who are most capable of assuming greater responsibility. This does not mean choosing a single “heir apparent” for each senior position, but rather trying to define a pipeline of future talent for critical roles. Firms can then better target developmental opportunities for promising professionals. If you are choosing candidates to succeed you in your position, look for individuals who possess some of the same traits that have made you successful as an administrator. A strong grounding in business principles, experience in law office management, the ability to supervise and lead others and a knack for multitasking are likely mandatory qualities. Familiarity with how to staff specific practice areas or proficiency with specific legal technologies (case management and billing software, for example) might also be important requirements. TRAINING AND TRANSITIONING A smooth transition depends on more than just identifying potential candidates. Along with the management team, determine precisely how the firm will develop and train key staff members for future roles. Should the firm fortify its investment in professional development? Is outside training necessary to supplement what the firm offers? You and the firm’s leadership must decide over what time period training will take place (e.g., a fixed timeframe versus open-ended and ongoing) and how progress will be measured (e.g., periodic written evaluations, performance reviews, successful completion of training). The succession plan should also have a means for determining whether individuals are developing their abilities to the fullest, and provisions that specify what the firm will do if people are not meeting expectations. Even the most thorough screening process will not tell you how a potential succession candidate will perform in a leadership role. It’s important to take the time to periodically evaluate possible future leaders. Also, consider offering financial incentives, perks and other smaller promotions to reward achievements and keep the person motivated. IMPLEMENTATION To be effective and meaningful, succession planning must be seen as an integral part of personnel management, as critical as recruiting, hiring, retention and professional development. Only through planning can firms be assured of the transfer of professional and institutional knowledge to a new generation of leaders. By investing time in selecting the right candidates for key positions and developing a clear strategy for training, your firm will ensure a pipeline of skilled talent capable of assuming higher-level responsibilities, either on an as-needed basis or in a permanent role in the future.n

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The San Diego team left to right: Djuana Woods, Rhonda Padilla, Tracy Padilla, Bay Mitchell, Marty Steinberg, Siobhan McGreal, Stacey Mayer

An Attorney By Any Other Name by jennifer hadley

JOURNAL

FEATURED

PROFESSIONAL PROFILE

2012

B

ay Mitchell (nee Bay Baniadam) is no stranger to the legal community of San Diego. A graduate of Thomas Jefferson School of Law, Mitchell spent ten years practicing civil litigation at Neil, Dymott, Frank, McFall & Trexler APLC (formerly Neil, Dymott, Perkins, Brown & Frank) and at Greco Traficante Schulz & Brick. The experiences were, in Mitchell’s own words, “extremely positive. I loved the people I worked with, and enjoyed the

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BAY MITCHELL, ESQ. USES HER TENURE AS AN ATTORNEY TO DELIVER HUGE VICTORIES FOR LAW FIRM CLIENTS THROUGH ESQUIRE DEPOSITION SOLUTIONS.

challenge of practicing law.” To this day, Mitchell reflects on her time as a practicing attorney as rewarding, and her love of the law persists. However, there was something that was missing. “I have a very outgoing personality,” she says. “I truly enjoy building meaningful relationships with my clients and am honored by the trust they place in me. It’s the most rewarding part of my job.” THE VALUE OF AN EXPERT In order to be professionally

fulfilled, Mitchell recognized she would need to find a career that would allow her natural inclinations towards relationship building to flourish. It was this determination that proved to be the deciding factor in making a career change. However, leaving the legal community wasn’t an option. Instead she found the perfect blend for her two passions as a Regional Litigation Consultant with Esquire Deposition Solutions. Mitchell knew that her expertise


would serve as a terrific benefit in the new endeavor. “Having practiced as a civil litigation attorney in San Diego for so many years, moving into litigation sales was a natural and seamless transition for me. I have numerous contacts and in-depth industry knowledge and experience, which allows me exceptional access to my clients, and an enhanced ability to understand and service their needs,” she explains. Having such insight into what an attorney needs from its supporting team, Mitchell knew there was only one company that would offer her the opportunity to fulfill those demands with the attention they deserve. “Esquire is the largest court reporting firm in the country, with the most innovative technology,” she says. Moreover, she says of the company which boasts 45 offices nationwide, “our size and presence, coupled with our staff and capabilities, allow us to be the market-leader.” It is precisely the ‘might’ of the company that attracted Mitchell. “I have a personal appreciation for the time-sensitive nature of litigation, and the immense importance of attention to detail. When a client calls me, I drop everything, because I know that their hands are tied. I understand the urgency, and know just how impactful a delay can be,” she says. “Esquire has been providing law firms with superior court reporting services for over 25 years. I have a strong team behind me, who are all very seasoned in this industry. There is nothing they can’t make happen,” she adds. THE POWER OF UNLIMITED RESOURCES Just as in a legal dispute, where access to resources can make or break a case, Mitchell knows that the resources afforded by Esquire are simply unmatched by other court reporting agencies. “Clients know they are in good hands with Esquire,” Mitchell says. “Our size alone allows us to have a global reach. And of course as such a large company, we have the best technology, and can afford to provide

the most competitive rates. Thus, we are not limited in the same way as the smaller “mom-and-pop” court reporting companies are, in terms of resources.” By way of example, Esquire just launched its portable video conferencing service, which many competitors don’t have but “every attorney needs,” says Mitchell. “The portable video conferencing enables attorneys to view and interact with witnesses in other locations at a fraction of the cost and without the hassle of traditional videoconferencing solutions,” Mitchell says. “This was designed specifically to meet the needs of litigation professionals involved in depositions, arbitrations or meetings. Our clients can participate in fully interactive, multi-party videoconferences simply by using a webcam and an Internet-connected PC, Mac, iPhone, Pad or traditional VTC system,” she adds. Moreover, the portable video conferencing system seamlessly joins multiple locations, and is highly secure, featuring AES-128 bit government-grade encryption. “The high quality audio and video enables participants to fully interact without time delay or video lag,” she continues. “Esquire’s focus is on making the very best technology affordable and accessible and then supporting that technology with excellent customer service,” Mitchell says. To that end, Esquire’s offices in San Diego certainly do support that technology. At a staggering 16K square feet, Esquire’s offices on the 16th floor of the Emerald Plaza Building are impressive, to say the least. In fact, Esquire’s San Diego office houses production, from deposition to transcription, while maintaining 9 spacious conference rooms, and a large depository for its complex litigation clients, along with a huge outdoor balcony where clients can enjoy a hot catered lunch. As far as Mitchell is concerned, the transition to litigation sales from practicing litigation was an effortless shift, and one she encourages other legal professionals including attorneys, paralegal and secretaries who are

contemplating a career change to consider. “Many people are surprised to learn there is a lucrative and enjoyable alternative to the practice of law, where they can still leverage their skills and network and be successful. I joined the Esquire team as a seasoned litigation attorney, having practiced locally for many years at two well-known firms. I also attended law school here in town. Many of the schoolmates and colleagues that I started my career with are now managing partners of San Diego’s top law firms. Those connections have made my transition into deposition sales a natural and enjoyable one,” she says. Mitchell expects that the same would be true for other legal professionals, with one caveat. “If you’re not a peopleoriented person, this job is not for you,” she laughs. “This truly is a business about building relationships, nurturing those relationships, and making sure you provide your clients with the very best service. I’m fortunate to be part of a dynamic team that works tirelessly to provide the utmost client satisfaction. They make my job easier by addressing any concerns or needs before they even arise.” And if anyone knows just how crucial it is to preempt a problem before it arises, it’s probably going to be an attorney like Bay Mitchell. n

Contact: Esquire Deposition Solutions Emerald Plaza 402 West Broadway, Suite 1600 San Diego, CA 92101 Telephone 619-321-0630 x 31602 bay.mitchell@esquiresolutions.com www.esquiresolutions.com

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by teresa warren

JOURNAL

HOMETOWN HEROES

FEATURED PROFESSIONAL PROFILE

2012

San Diego DTI sales team : Alex Marjanovic, Vincent Fitzgerald, Joe Clarke, Sean McIlwain, Drew Deal, Ian Rainey, Bryan Woelfle, Mike Rodriguez, Beau Towers and Brandon Mears

San Diego’s Own Legal Reprographics Grows up To Become Part of DTI, The Nation’s Largest, Privately Held Independent Providers of Discovery Solutions, Facilities Management, And Knowledge Process Services by jennifer hadley

S

ince 1991, Legal Reprographics has served as San Diego attorneys’ right hand man when it comes to copying, scanning, hosting and electronic discovery. Widely considered the premiere litigation support firm in San Diego, Legal Reprographics earned its well-deserved reputation as the hometown favorite for local law firms as the direct result of its experience and accomplishments. That experience includes that of Alex Marjanovic, Drew Deal, Adam Barry and Vincent Fitzgerald, all familiar faces in the San Diego legal community for years. It was precisely this reputation for tenured expertise in the litigation support field that caught the eye of DTI, the nation’s largest independent provider of discovery solutions, facilities management, and knowledge process outsourcing. Recognizing the talent, the familiarity with the needs of San Diego attorneys, the tenure of the employees and above all the exceptional customer service model utilized by Legal Reprographics, DTI acquired the company in the fall of 10

Attorney Journal | Volume 106, 2012

2011. “Locally and nationally, DTI is led by a team of professionals with tremendous skills and expertise,” says Marjanovic, Regional Sales Director for DTI. “But more importantly, we are passionate about promoting a corporate culture of respect, quality service, accountability and success. Legal Reprographics had a very similar corporate culture. The acquisition brought together the world class technology of DTI, and the local support and commitment of Legal Reprographics, Inc.,” he adds. The technology, local support and commitment he’s speaking of are frankly unmatched. With its more than 50 geographic markets, 2,300 full-time employees, and state of the art data centers in Atlanta, GA and Kirkland, WA, DTI’s acquisition provided the local company with unlimited technological support Moreover, DTI boasts more than 50 Project Managers and Litigation Consultants. Legal Reprographics Inc., for its part, brought in long term


experience and familiarity with the San Diego market. “The average tenure of our production department is 12 years, the average tenure of our data/electronic discovery department is 7 years and the average tenure of our sales team is 7 years. This experience coupled with our large national DTI network has helped us secure the trust of small law offices to large international firms located here in San Diego,” Marjanovic says.

instead of accepting failure.” THE NEXT GENERATION OF LITIGATION SUPPORT

For Marjanovic and Drew Deal, DTI’s Managing Partner in San Diego, that kind of unwavering support to the local community it serves is only being enhanced by the new offerings DTI affords its clients. For example, in 2004, DTI created LitWorks™, the first training division of its kind that FAMILY-STYLE SERVICE is exclusively focused on teaching litigation support best The familial trust that the DTI San Diego team brings practices to the industry at large, and across the country. to the table is probably best illustrated by the words of Moreover, DTI is actively involved in creating and offering its local clients. Tim Pestotnik of Pestotnik + Gold, LLP MCLEs & Seminars. (Marjanovic has personally taught said it this way: “DTI wrote the book on customer service. more than 650 people, via hosting one MCLE more than 30 Their devotion to providing the best service out there sets times). Yet it is not just clients of DTI whom the DTI team them apart from their competitors.  Alex and his team at wants to reach. “We want to educate everyone about the DTI complete our jobs correctly and on time, whether it’s advances in technology. From law firms’ I.T. departments something simple or complex.  We routinely rely on Alex, to paralegals and attorneys, we focus on sharing our insight Beau Towers and the rest of their team to advise us on with everyone-those who work with us and those who don’t,” e-Discovery plans and to handle detailed ESI processing.  says Deal. DTI is constantly thinking about the best way to serve us And there is a lot of education to be done, he adds. “DTI’s and our clients.  Importantly, they keep the bottom line end-to-end solutions for electronic discovery including in mind, which our clients always appreciate.    They are a data mapping, document deletion and retention policy valuable resource that we do not take for granted.” consultation, early case assessment, forensic data collection, Ron Getchey, Partner with McKenna Long & Aldrich, data processing and an array of hosting platforms to meet a also recognizes the value that DTI’s experience, and cutting variety of litigation support needs that are three steps ahead edge technology offers saying, “We had a massive job that of the game. Copying and scanning are still services that had to be done in an extremely short time frame (2 days at we provide but now we have so much more to offer. We most). The job was about 200 different claim files totaling have our own attorney consultants and certified forensic around 100,000 pages, plus the creation of 200 electronic collectors, who can serve as expert witnesses. We provide files for additional documents that we were adding to the a variety of data hosting solutions, Technology Assisted existing database. The project required an enormous amount Review and more.” of work with intricate coordination to create and assemble Clearly for the homegrown team of Marjanovic, Deal, the electronic databases, sequence the documents and dates, Barry and Fitzgerald, the future of their work in the local label and copy and collate the documents. In total, we community will be firmly rooted in its commitment to needed somewhere near 100,000 pages. delivering personalized service, but with additional added We learned at 8 or 9 o'clock Friday night that the vendor manpower. From boutique firms to contracts with top who undertook to do this job was not going to be able to national law firms, the San Diego DTI management team do it. I needed to ship the documents no later than Sunday is very clear on the role that DTI will continue to fill for afternoon. We contacted Alex. He was at the Padres game, its loyal clients, “DTI helps clients remain focused on their but left at once to meet with us. He then orchestrated and core competencies, while lowering overall costs, reducing supervised the coordination and completion of the project; risk, and improving discovery and document management working almost all night. We didn't get the first complete set practices, without sacrificing quality or the personal service of data to him until after 2 a.m. on Saturday morning. they have come to rely on.” n Alex delivered the first several boxes by 10 a.m. Saturday morning and continued delivering in phases; giving us the Contact: time we needed to complete our piece of the work until DTI all were completed Sunday morning. We met our shipping 501 West Broadway, Suite 400 deadline. Virtually every other company we approached not San Diego, CA  92101 only told us that it was impossible, but also acted like we (619) 234-0660 were a bit off of our rocker for asking. Alex simply took alexm@dtiglobal.com the problem in hand and figured out a way to get it done, www.dtiglobal.com

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Fisher & Phillips Value Atlanta Boston Charlotte Chicago Cleveland Columbia Dallas Denver Fort Lauderdale Houston Irvine Kansas City

Many law firms talk about value as if it’s a new concept. At Fisher & Phillips LLP, our commitment to value dates back to the founding of the firm nearly 70 years ago. So how do we provide this value? We do only one thing: Represent employers in labor and employment matters. You benefit from our deep and broad expertise in the area of the law we know best. Our attorneys treat your legal problems as business problems, and help you avoid legal disputes. We are responsive, we are economical, and we reward our associates for quality work, not just for billable hours. We are national and local, with attorneys in 27 offices around the U.S. For more on the Fisher & Phillips Value Statement, go to www.laborlawyers.com/value.

Las Vegas Los Angeles Louisville Memphis New England New Jersey New Orleans Orlando Philadelphia Phoenix Portland

San Diego 4747 Executive Drive Suite 1000 San Diego, CA 92121 phone: (858) 597-9600 toll free: (866) 424-2168 fax: (858) 597-9601 San Francisco Tampa Washington, DC

Spencer C. Skeen Partner sskeen@laborlawyers.com

Fisher & Phillips attorneys at law

LLP

302 Washington Street, San Diego, CA 92103 • (619) 202-7451 • AccessFunding.info

Solutions at Work® www.laborlawyers.com


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COMMUNITY news nCary Lowe, a land use lawyer and mediator, has been appointed by the San Diego City Council to the Water Policy Implementation Task Force, and has been elected Chairman.  The Task Force, which is comprised   of representatives from eleven sectors of the community concerned with water issues, has been charged by the City Council with the task of formulating a plan for implementing a city policy to ensure sufficient long-term water CARY LOWE supplies.  Mr. Lowe represents the Building and Facilities Industry on the Task Force.  In addition to his land use legal practice, Mr. Lowe is a member of the Land Use and Environmental Mediation Group of the San Diego-based National Conflict Resolution Center. nAdriana Sanchez and Shannon Erickson, associates with the San Diego office of Best Best & Krieger, gained political asylum, for 25year old Helen Hailu Berhe, who feared deportation to Eritrea to face incarceration and possibly death for practicing her Pentecostal Christian faith. Berhe left her homeland of Eritrea, a country in the Horn of Africa, and traveled 11 months through a dozen countries, before arriving at the Otay Mesa border crossing in July 2011. Because she speaks no English and did not have a lawyer, her due process was delayed until February 2012 when Sanchez and Erickson took over.  As volunteers for Casa Cornelia Law Center, a San Diego-based nonprofit that provides legal services to victims ADRIANA SANCHEZ of human and civil rights violations, the duo was assigned Berhe’s case.  They quickly filed an application for asylum and received a midMay hearing date at which asylum was granted. SHANNON ERICKSON

nFisher & Phillips LLP is pleased to announce that four of its San Diego attorneys, founding partner Chris Hoffman, and partners David Monks, Regina Petty and Spencer Skeen,  have been selected for inclusion in this year’s 2012 San Diego Super Lawyers®. All four attorneys' practice areas focus on labor

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and employment law counseling and litigation, and business litigation.            Hoffman represents employers in matters ranging from class action wage and hour disputes, to harassment litigation, union representation attempts, and general employment advice. Additionally, Hoffman advises employers in the area of family and medical leaves as well as the Fair CHRIS HOFFMAN Credit Reporting Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and workers compensation laws. Hoffman also counsels clients regarding day to day employment issues, assisting them to find practical solutions to their legal problems in a proactive manner. He is "AV" Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell and has been listed in Chambers USA, America's Leading Business Lawyers since 2008. Monks counsels employers on a wide variety of matters, including employee discipline and termination, wage and hour issues, disability accommodation protocols, family and medical leave issues, investigations of harassment and other misconduct, and independent contractor issues. He has substantial experience defending employers and managers against lawsuits and administrative claims DAVID MONKS involving discrimination, harassment, defamation, breach of contract, and violations of wage-and-hour laws. As an avid proponent of proactive training and compliance, he presents training seminars on preventing harassment and discrimination in the workplace, workplace investigations, wage-and-hour compliance, disability management and accommodation, and other areas.

REGINA PETTY

Petty practices in state and federal courts at the trial and appellate levels and is experienced in multi-district and class action litigation. She advises employers and public agency boards and handles litigation for private and public employers. She successfully argued Jones v. The Lodge at Torrey Pines Partnership (2008) 42 Cal.4th 1158 before the California Supreme Court, a case noted on Bender's California Labor & Employment


COMMUNITY news Bulletin's top ten list of most significant cases and trends for the Fair Employment and Housing Act's fiftieth anniversary. Petty is a past president of the San Diego County Bar Association and a former member of the board of directors of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. She has been named one of the Los Angeles Daily Journal's Top 75 Women Litigators in California and one of the San Diego Daily Transcript's Top Ten attorneys in both the labor and employment and business litigation categories. Petty is also a recipient of the San Diego Business Journal's Women Who Mean Business Award and she was honored by the Stanford University Black Community Services Center with its Legacy Award. Skeen represents employers in both state and federal court as well as before state and federal agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Federal Investment Regulatory Authority, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. In 2007, 2008 and 2011, The San Diego Daily Transcript recognized Skeen as one of SPENCER SKEEN San Diego’s Top Attorneys in both the labor and employment and corporate litigation. In 2011, he was selected as one of San Diego's Top Attorneys by SD Metro Magazine. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from University of California at Davis, and earned his law degree, with Great Distinction, Order of the Coif, from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.

CHRIS SCHMITTHENNER

JILL DICKERSON

n Lincoln, Gustafson & Cercos is pleased to announce the 25th anniversary of the formation of their civil litigation firm." The anniversary was celebrated on June 1, 2012.  Also, attorneys Jill Dickerson (University of San Diego 2001) and Chris Schmitthenner (University of San Diego 2004) were promoted to partner.  The firm has 34 attorneys, including 10 partners, with offices in San Diego, Las Vegas and Phoenix.

n Higgs Fletcher & Mack LLP, serving San Diego since 1939, recently announced that Randy Abreu, a firstyear student at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, was selected as Higgs’ 2012 Diversity Fellow. Mr. Abreu was chosen from a large group of highly qualified law students through a rigorous selection process. The program is an initiative developed by the San Diego County Bar SUSAN HACK Association and the Association of Corporate Counsel-San Diego’s Diversity Fellowship Program, and was created in response to the low number of diverse attorneys practicing law in the region. “We are excited to have an opportunity to participate in this wonderful program,” said Susan Hack, Higgs Fletcher & Mack Diversity Committee Chairperson. “Higgs is committed to encouraging diversity in our firm and the San Diego community. This program is a perfect fit.” n SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Robert Half Legal District President Diane Domeyer was honored last night, along with 150 other local leaders, at the San Francisco Business Times 'Most Influential Women in Business' awards reception. The event is held annually in honor of outstanding women professionals who make a difference in their companies, industries and communities. The DIANE DOMEYER winners were also featured in a special publication in the April 27th issue of the San Francisco Business Times.  As District President for Robert Half Legal, a division of Robert Half International, Diane oversees operations for the company throughout California, Washington and Arizona. In a career that has spanned more than 20 years with the organization, Domeyer has worked her way from the ground floor of the firm to the executive ranks, supervising operations of increasing size and revenue along the way.

HAVE A PRESS RELEASE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SUBMIT FOR OUR COMMUNITY NEWS? Email it to PR@AttorneyJournal.us.

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LEARNING

curve

by jennifer hadley

From Student To Teacher To Advocate, Daral Mazzarella’s Everyman Education Has Taught Him How To Win Big For Clients.

I

f there’s one thing that Daral Mazzarella wants his clients to know it’s that “I wasn’t always a lawyer.” No, the Martindale-Hubbell AV-rated attorney never had childhood dreams of trying groundbreaking cases before a jury, wherein he was the star of the courtroom, presenting closing statements which left the judge and jury breathless. His dreams were humbler in scope. He simply wanted to teach. However, the more education (both formal and of the experiential variety) this “regular guy” received in regards to how others process information, the more he found himself wanting to teach them in the specific ways that made sense to them. Indeed, his own learning curve led him to an extraordinarily successful career as a trial attorney, during which he’s found tremendous satisfaction in providing service to clients, who are, like himself, “regular people.” FAMILIAL EDUCATION “I came from a family of teachers, and always saw teaching as an important and rewarding

profession. My older brother was a phenomenal teacher and coach, my mom was a teacher and my dad spent part of his adult life as a teacher,” says Mazzarella. “I was actually in the Future Teachers of America chapter at my high school, and began university studies with the intent to teach.” An innate interest in animals, plants and the environment and the effect of a particularly influential biology teacher inspired Mazzarella to pursue a degree in Biological Science, with a minor in Chemistry. Immediately following graduation, he undertook formal teacher training, following in the footsteps of his family to become a professional educator. “The training to become a teacher included a year of course work in the science of how people learn, and how best to assist people in the process of learning,” he explains. Mazzarella was fascinated. That initial formal training, followed by completion of a Masters Degree in Education several years later and relentless self-study of the research in learning and brain function, was


LAW FIRM

OF THE MONTH

2012

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complemented by hands-on testing of what he learned in the classroom. “As a candidate for a California teaching credential, I spent a year in the classroom under the guidance of experienced mentor teachers, actually learning to teach and learning how best to put learning theory and teaching techniques into practice. I became a teacher in 1975, and loved the job, the interaction with colleagues, kids and parents,” he reflects. Over the next 11 years, Mazzarella would teach middle and high school students in fields of science ranging from biology to chemistry to oceanography. With an average of 35 students per class, teaching five classes a day, Mazzarella applied his formal training in the field of learning theory to educating 175 students each day. Additionally, Mazzarella spent five years as the head wrestling coach for some of his students, and two years as an assistant football coach to others. The cumulative experience he gained working with labscience students who were generally well-motivated, college bound kids, non-lab sciences students who generally had no particular interest in college, and a variety of athletes, exposed Mazzarella to students and parents from all walks of life, with widely divergent goals, expectations and abilities. Though he didn’t know it at the time, this experience would uniquely prepare him for a future of educating an entirely different pool of “students,” replete with their own ways of learning and processing information; namely judges and jurors. EXPERIENTIAL EDUCATION As a teacher, Mazzarella dreaded summer vacation. “I always looked at it as an involuntary layoff. While it was available, I always taught summer school to stay active and challenged and to earn money over the summer,” he says. However, the change in school funding brought about by the passage of Prop. 13 in 1978 eliminated Mazzarella’s opportunity to teach science year round. Disappointed that he wasn’t able to use his skills as an educator during the summer, his diverse background and ingenuity prompted him to continue his own education in a completely different field; construction. “I had fairly extensive experience in the construction trades. I had, since age 15-with the help of a formal work permit-and throughout high school and college, worked for a Nursery and Landscape company,” he says. In fact, he’d earned the designation of “California Certified Nurseryman (now known as the California Certified Nursery Professional) soon after the certification became available, and at one time was the youngest California Certified Nurseryman in the state.

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In this field, Mazzarella worked his way up the ladder from landscape labor to landscape foreman. The progression gave him experience in everything from soil preparation, grading and drainage, to the construction of gazebos, patio covers and decks, to the installation of sprinkler and plumbing systems to basic electrical systems, concrete walks, patios and walls. By 1978, his experience had lent itself to Mazzarella’s qualification to sit for the California Contractors’ Exam. He became a General Contractor in 1978. “My plan was to generally construct projects of limited scope, such as room additions, kitchen remodels, etc., that could be planned and ready to go when school let out in June and could be wrapped up before school resumed in September,” Mazzarella says. Much like his teaching experience, Mazzarella’s contracting experience would ultimately prove invaluable for his future as an attorney, but to Mazzarella, the skills he acquired, were just ‘regular guy’ skills. It was only in hindsight that he realized that the ability to plan projects and arrange components in appropriate sequences, as required by a contractor, were also skills that would serve as a benefit to his clients when presenting a case. “As a contractor you start with a general anticipated goal. Actual attainment of that goal begins with development of a detailed plan. Implementation of that plan, however, requires careful attention to detail and coordination of lots of people and information in the correct sequence. You have a number of balls in the air at the same time,” he says. Still, the skill set he was acquiring as part of his experiential education never appeared to be any sort of foreshadowing of the future that was to come as an advocate for others. He was happy and fulfilled educating others. But that all changed once Mazzarella became a Grievance Representative at the school where he was teaching. “It was my job to help teachers confront administrators when they felt their rights under the Collective Bargaining Agreement were being violated. I found the process interesting and occasionally found myself peripherally involved in administrative law labor relations matters. The small role I played in helping fellow teachers with their contract concerns was very satisfying. Intellectually, understanding and analyzing the provisions of the agreements at issue and the impact of the facts on those provisions was stimulating. I decided I would like to become a lawyer.” EVERYMAN EDUCATION Mazzarella couldn’t afford to quit teaching to attend law school. He was about to become a father, and needed to


support his family. So he sought his legal education in the evenings, attending law school at the University Of San Diego School Of Law. “It was hectic to say the least,” Mazzarella recalls. Teaching all day, clerking in the afternoon, attending law classes in the evening and then returning home to study, grade papers and prepare lessons for the next day were all in a days’ work for Mazzarella. That, coupled with his own selfimposed requirements that he be a member of Law Review and graduate within the top 10% of his class, had him drawing from his experience as a contractor, wherein he’d learned to juggle multiple balls at once. The skills came in handy to say the least. He achieved each of his goals. By the time he graduated, he’d earned a position as an associate at the law firm where he’d clerked during law school. After 7 years, he made partner, a position he held with the same San Diego firm for more than a decade. For three of those years, he also served as Managing Partner. “Obviously, it was a wonderful experience for me. Including my years as a law clerk, I was with that firm for 24 years. I would not have stayed so long if I did not consider it personally satisfying and valuable,” he says of his tenure with the prominent firm. But in 2007, he made the determination that “ultimately there was another approach I wanted to take.” “The high overhead and continual focus on the need to financially justify every case selection and every business decision within a larger firm became distracting. I hoped to gain the freedom to select cases of interest to me and attend to clients more personally on my own than I could within the structure of a larger firm,” he explains about his decision to open his solo practice. Specifically, Mazzarella wanted to work with clients who, like himself, are just regular people. “The layers of people the bigger law firm had often separated me from clients more than I liked,” recalls Mazzarella. “No matter who they are, my clients all have one thing in common. Whether individuals or corporations; they have been injured, financially or physically, by the dishonesty or carelessness of someone else, and they need help. Every client is important to me on a personal level. I get to know each one of them well, and consider the majority of them to be good friends. My case load includes mostly personal injury and wrongful death cases including truck collisions, products liability, automobile collisions, injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists and medical malpractice cases. I also prosecute insurance bad faith, business cases, imminent domain and inverse condemnation cases and construction defects cases,” he states. Mazzarella is a trial lawyer at heart, and is willing to take every case through trial if

necessary. He says, “There are many advantages to settlement and I seek that for every client. When, however, a fair and reasonable settlement cannot be achieved, every client deserves a lawyer who is willing and able to take their case to court. I have a reputation for doing that.” TOOLS OF THE TRADE Clearly, Mazzarella’s own experience in construction is directly applicable in construction defects cases, but the skill set it imported is valuable in every case. Bar none, however, the experience and training he received to become an educator has been the most beneficial to his clients. “Essentially, a trial is an exercise through which the trial lawyer must teach vitally important subject matter to students sitting in the jury box,” he says. “In every case, the facts are unique and previously unknown to the ‘students,’ whether that is a jury or as in the case of a bench trial, the judge,” he says. “The law is generally unknown to jurors and sometimes even judges are confronted with specific laws with which they are relatively unfamiliar. To receive my California teaching credential, I studied the process through which people progress to learn and hopefully retain new information. As I approach any trial, and long before my client and I reach the courtroom, I think about what essential facts and law must be presented, and how that presentation will be most effective.” Continuing, he says “Research shows that people learn best when they are motivated to learn. They need to appreciate the importance to them of the information presented, before they are likely to willingly assimilate it. Therefore, I spend significant time helping the jury understand the importance of the case to them. Unfortunately, they may not care how important it is to my client.” In addition, “knowing that people learn differently, some by what they hear, others by what they see, and a few by opportunities to touch and feel things, I try to present every piece of important evidence through each modality-auditory, visual, kinesthetic. Of course, for some evidence one method works better than another, but attention to all learning pathways is considered throughout the case.” Mazzarella’s teaching background has also proved helpful in underscoring the need to teach new facts in simple logical progression. “One must never assume that the student has the knowledge necessary to understand the material. Every important bit of necessary information must be presented. One must also be ever-attuned to cues that the person to whom he is speaking, ‘doesn’t get it.’ Simple, everyday language rather Attorney Journal | Volume 107, 2012

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JACK OF ALL TRADES For Mazzarella, the successes that he’s achieved as a trial attorney are simply the result of hard work, not because he considers himself to be some kind of superstar (although he has consistently earned Martindale-Hubbell’s highest peer review rating, has been listed among the Top Attorneys in San Diego and has been named a San Diego Super Lawyer). “I believe that hard work and integrity are rewarded. I simply do the best I can for every client. I am straightforward and honest with clients, the court, opposing counsel, juries, and everyone else I have contact with. As a result, I am blessed with a good reputation, and I am considered to be, I believe, a good trial lawyer, a hard worker and an honest man.” n

EXPERIENCE

than ‘talking like a lawyer,’ presentation of new information in manageable bits, building logically from a solid foundation and repetition are necessary skills whether teaching science to a high school student or helping a juror understand why they must find for my client,” he says. As a solo practitioner, Mazzarella is delighted with the opportunity to speak one-on-one with every client and to be completely responsible for every aspect of their case, from prefiling investigation to discovery, to trial. “People want to know – and deserve to know- what is going on and why it is going on throughout their case. They need simple, ‘plain English’ answers and explanations and I try my best to provide them. I explain major strategies and decisions to every client. I encourage questions and I answer them. Undoubtedly, it takes extra time, but it is the luxury of spending that extra time that caused me to leave the big firm and strike out on my own.” Mazzarella also says, “A large percentage of my cases come through referrals from other lawyers. I personally call every person referred to me and I discuss their situation in detail with them. Referral sources often tell me how much they appreciate the time I spend with people, because it reflects well on them as well.”

»»EDUCATION: • J.D., Suma Cum Laude, University of San Diego School of Law, 1986 M.A., Azusa Pacific University, 1981 • B.A., United States International University, BA Biological Sciences, Cum Laude, 1974 • United States International University, California Teaching Credential, 1975 • California General Contractor, #331355, 1978 - present

»»ADMISSIONS: • State Bar of California, 1986 • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, 1987

Contact: Law Offices of Daral B. Mazzarella, APC 655 W. Broadway, Suite 900 San Diego, CA 92101 619-291-1222 daral@mazzarellalaw.com www.mazzarellalaw.com

• U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 1988 • U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, 1994

»»Professional Memberships: • American Association for Justice • American Bar Association • Consumer Attorneys of California • Consumer Attorneys of San Diego

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A

GREAT MANY LAWYERS STRUGGLE WITH TIME MANAGEMENT. MANY LAMENT THE UNPREDICTABILITY OF THEIR SCHEDULES AND THE VOLUME OF LAST MINUTE CLIENT “EMERGENCIES.” SOME GET SO MANY INTERRUPTIONS DURING THE DAY THAT THEY DON’T ACTUALLY GET A GOOD START ON THEIR MOST IMPORTANT PROJECTS UNTIL AFTER 5:00 PM. THEY WORK LONG HOURS JUST TO MAKE A LITTLE PROGRESS. Some attorneys want to please their clients, so they promise to deliver the client’s work at the earliest date they can get it out. Unfortunately, they usually make the assessment in a vacuum, without first assessing the other commitments they have already made, and without allowing space for unexpected contingencies. There are many such issues that affect an attorney’s productivity. Here is my top ten list of time management behaviors of productive lawyers.

Successful Lawyer Time Management by Debra L. Bruce, JD, PCC Debra L. Bruce is President of Lawyer-Coach LLC (www.lawyer-coach.com), a law practice management coaching and training firm. She practiced law for 18 years before becoming a professionally trained Executive Coach. She has served as Vice Chair of the Law Practice Management Committee of the State Bar of Texas and as leader of Houston Coaches Inc., the Houston chapter of the International Coach Federation. Debra was the first Texas lawyer to be credentialed by the International Coach Federation. She can be reached at debra@lawyer-coach.com or 713-682-4353.

1. Update your to-do list daily. Of course, that first requires that you keep a written to-do list. Attorneys who keep their upcoming tasks in their heads tend to feel more stressed and frazzled. They’re also more likely to overcommit themselves, get started too late, or forget things. 2. Prioritize your 3 most important tasks. Lawyers who don’t keep the focus on what’s most important to get done today get distracted by the papers on their desk or the latest email. You can’t afford that with so many genuinely urgent matters also derailing your plans during the day. 3. Delegate as much as possible. Savvy lawyers push the work they don’t enjoy off their desks and onto someone else’s. Chances are, if you procrastinate on it, it’s not your strength or it’s too far below your competency level. Either way, it’s better for you and your client if you can delegate it. 4. Identify activities slipping through the cracks on a weekly basis. Effective lawyers take a strategic approach. That includes stepping back regularly to assess where they are. At either the beginning or end of the week, make a brief review of all your projects. Catch what you missed and make a plan for the week ahead. 5. Keep a sacred uninterrupted productivity hour. Lawyers who allow everyone else to determine their schedule have trouble getting anything finished, and run up the client’s bill unnecessarily by

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working inefficiently. Your co-workers and your clients really can manage without you for one hour a day. 6. Limit returning phone calls to twice per day. Unless those calls relate to the hot project you’re working on right now, they’ll distract you. Bunch your telephone calls together at a time when you typically need a break from focusing on the computer screen. Give your assistant a script that includes the hour your caller may expect you to call back. Most clients are satisfied if they just know when they will hear from you today. 7. Track all time, whether billable or not. Some firms require their lawyers to account for at least eight hours of activity per day. Tracking all your time keeps you honest with yourself and shows you where the leaks are. 8. Train subordinates to do more complex work. The most efficient attorneys recognize the value of investing in the development of those who help them. Attorneys who say, “It’s just easier to do it myself,” also say “I’m just barely keeping my head above water.” 9. Let go of controlling how work is done. Effective managers give clear instructions about the expected

results, and then get out of the way. That allows those you supervise to choose production methods that capitalize on their particular talents and abilities. You can require quality and timeliness without micromanaging. Keep your focus on your own work. 10. Fire or refer clients you don’t enjoy working with. Difficult clients tend to demand a lot more attention than our best clients. Then they complain about the service and the bill. They leave us distracted and weary when we turn to the clients to whom we should be giving our best service. Put your attention on what you want more of. Do these 10 productivity pointers sound hard to implement? Are you good at some of them and lousy at others? Are these things you know you should do, but somehow you still don’t? You may need a buddy or coach to encourage you or to hold you accountable. You may need more resources on how to go about some of them. You may need a way to make routine behaviors more interesting. Let us know if we can help at Lawyer-Coach LLC. I encourage you to experiment with trying out at least one of these tips for 3 weeks. I would be delighted to hear how your experiment works out.n

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POWER

of the Pen by karen gorden

Appellate Attorney Martin Buchanan’s Love of The Written Word Empowers Trial Attorneys, Persuades The Courts and Produces Propitious Outcomes for Clients

M

ost attorneys I speak with can talk circles around me… in their sleep. But when Martin Buchanan, one of California’s most accomplished appellate attorneys, tells me that he is “first and foremost a writer,” I understand on an almost primordial level that we’re going to be speaking the same language. The fact that he has cultivated a flourishing career as an attorney utilizing his gift of storytelling through the careful selection, order, and strategic placement of words on paper has a logophile like me captivated at once. “As a kid, I was always writing books and stories. Back then I would also illustrate them.” Indeed, Buchanan knew from a very young age that his love of writing would somehow come into play in his future. Though he never studied journalism as a formal specialty, “I always enjoyed writing papers. It was never work to me,” he says. Buchanan was also equally fascinated by the law and our court system. “As a teenager, I used to take the bus to downtown Portland just to go sit and watch court proceedings. I was mesmerized by the drama of the courtroom and the mystery of the legal jargon.” As a student at Brown University, he chose to major in Law and Society and decided to become a litigator. Yet his love for the written word never waned, ultimately driving him to become an editor of the law review in law school (which happened to be the Harvard Law Review where he served alongside future U.S Supreme Court Justice and classmate Elena Kagan). He also began to see at this very early stage in his career that perhaps his initial leaning towards trial work wasn’t his calling. Instead, recognizing that “practicing appellate law FEATURED is all about excellent writing, and an appeal is an intellectual battle over legal concepts and PROFESSIONAL PROFILE how to apply them to a particular case,” Buchanan switched his focus from trial 2012 litigation to appellate law. JOURNAL

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SHIFT OF POWER Buchanan began in the field of criminal appeals. The work was enjoyable, as he expected, noting that “most appeals are decided based on the written briefs. I love writing and editing and rewriting and perfecting appellate briefs.” Still, he found over time that criminal appellate work was becoming redundant. Appealing sex crimes, 3 strikes convictions and murders, Buchanan began to see many of the same legal issues over and over again. Ready for a new challenge, Buchanan turned his talents to civil appeals after a stint working as a senior staff attorney at the Court of Appeal. Buchanan is indeed one of the few attorneys who have made the transition from criminal appeals to civil appeals with such remarkable success. He particularly enjoys the variety of his civil appellate practice. “The issues are all different, and the only thing ‘typical’ about my clients is that they are parties to an appeal of some kind or another. Civil appellate work allows me to handle many different types of cases on appeal, including environmental, business, unfair competition, insurance, products liability, legal malpractice, consumer and construction defects,” he says. POWER OF PERSUASION Although Buchanan’s clients vary widely, it is clear that his focus is laser sharp. “I am strictly an appellate lawyer. I devote my full attention to every appeal that I handle. I do not delegate the work to others,” he explains of knowing his niche and sticking to it. This confidence in knowing that his strengths lie in persuading courts through the language and logic in his briefs has translated into amazing successes for his clients. For example, in February of 2011, Buchanan won a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision holding that a seatbelt defect claim under state common law was not preempted by a federal motor vehicle safety regulation in Williamson v. Mazda Motor of America, Inc. It was Buchanan’s briefing and oral argument which resulted in a favorable decision for the Williamsons, with the Supreme Court rejecting the holdings of every other appellate court on the issue. Just since his win in Williamson, Buchanan has scored impressive victories in nine other appeals and writ petitions. In May 2011, Buchanan won an appeal before the en banc Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a case involving the theft of an idea for a television show, where he represented plaintiffs, in Montz v. Pilgrim Films & Television, Inc. Similarly, in January of 2012, with Credit/Debit Card Tying Cases, Buchanan won a reversal of a $31 million class action settlement against Visa and MasterCard on behalf of an objector whose separate claims in another class action were purportedly released as part of the settlement. In a subsequent writ proceeding, Buchanan obtained a rare order directing the original trial judge to step aside from the case on remand.

Buchanan’s victories for clients have not gone unnoticed by the legal community. As a result of these successes and dozens more like them, Buchanan has been the recipient of such accolades as California Lawyer Attorney of the Year Award for Appellate Law (2012); Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America (2011); Recorder Attorney of the Year (2011); Daily Journal Top 100 California Lawyers (2011); San Diego Super Lawyers Top 50 Lawyers in San Diego (2011 & 2012). GIVING THE POWER BACK For Buchanan, the awards and accolades are merely a byproduct of doing what he loves. His spare time is largely spent in both pro bono work and community service through his affiliations and support of various community organizations. He currently serves as President, Board of Directors, for Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) San Diego, www.saysandiego.org. He is also a Member, Board of Directors, Appellate Defenders, Inc. and Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc. Buchanan does pro bono appeals for victims of domestic violence and parents whose children have been abducted across international boundaries. He’s a recipient of the 2011 Volunteer Award, San Diego County Juvenile Justice Commission and the Wiley W. Manuel Award for Pro Bono Legal Services, State Bar of California in 2007and 2011. Buchanan has clearly found a legal niche which emphasizes his strengths to the benefit of referring attorneys, clients and the community as a whole. Moreover, the niche allows him to do what he’s loved doing since he was a child: creatively tell stories via written pieces that have the power to persuade. Although he acknowledges that some trial attorneys can provide adequate representation to clients on an appeal, many do not. “If your client has anything at all at stake, they need a specialist in appellate law,” he says. Buchanan’s highly specialized practice is known throughout San Diego and beyond. Buchanan is so comfortable with his skill set that he has posted several of his briefs in their entirety on his website, for anyone in the world to read. These are available to be read, partly because he’s proud of the briefs he writes, and adamantly refuses to put his name on any brief he didn’t write himself (including briefs he reviews for others). Most importantly, though, these briefs demonstrate with crystal clear precision that in Martin Buchanan’s case, his written word is certainly his bond. n Contact: Martin Buchanan Law Offices of Martin N. Buchanan 600 B Street Suite 1900 San Diego, CA 92101 619-238-2426 www.martinbuchanan.com

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JOURNAL

FEATURED PROFESSIONAL PROFILE

2012

PLOT TWIST

by karen gorden

LEE HEJMANOWSKI’S EXPERTISE IN CIVIL LITIGATION LEADS TO A SURPRISING TWIST.

photogra phy by Bronso n Pa te

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ccording to the unrivaled expertise of Wikipedia, “a plot twist is a change in the expected direction of outcome of the plot…” Personally, I’m a huge fan of plot twists, but they don’t come up as often as you might think when I’m interviewing civil litigation attorneys. So I wasn’t expecting Lee Hejmanowski, partner with Carmel Valley based Caldarelli Hejmanowski & Page LLP to throw any surprise curveballs my way. I’m wrong. From the start of our phone interview, Hejmanowski’s dry humor is obvious. And delightfully refreshing. In a totally affable manner, he explains to me “I know I am supposed to have a niche, but I really don’t. We’re not doing anything weird. ” Continuing, he says “it’s harder to market yourself when you’re a general business litigator. I handle a lot of different cases. Right now on my desk, I have cases involving mergers of medical groups, real estate loans and professional athletes. It’s not as if I’m known as the go-toguy for a narrow specialty, like defective chair litigation.” But that seemingly lack of specialization is precisely what appeals so much to Hejmanowski about practicing civil litigation. “Being a general business litigator is like being Attorney Journal | Volume 106, 2012

paid to go to school,” he says. “There are always new fields of business and areas of litigation to explore." However, that doesn’t mean that Hejmanowski is new at the game of business litigation. On the contrary, he spent the first 18 years of his career with a well-known San Diego practice before launching his own firm alongside partners William J. Caldarelli and Marisa Janine-Page in 2011. THE PLOT THICKENS Although Hejmanowski continues to try to portray himself humbly, as just sort of the typical “boy goes to college, then law school, then practices law, the end,” type of attorney, I’m not buying it, particularly because he happens to be a business litigator who also handles select marital dissolutions. I’ve definitely never run across this combination of practice areas before. Hejmanowski concedes that it’s perhaps a bit unusual that up to one-third of his caseload falls under the umbrella of family law, but there is a perfectly good, if a bit circuitous, explanation for it. “There was a lot of exposure to the law, growing up. My dad is a lawyer, and has been the managing


partner of his firm for 35 years. The skills I had- being analytical, decisive, and an effective communicator-lent themselves to a career in private practice,” he says. Likewise, his focus in business and economics provided a solid foundation for business litigation. “I’m an organized, tidy person. Business and finance make sense to me.” Family law by contrast is not nearly as cut and dried. Emotions and much more than dollars and cents come into play. So how does a business litigator end up with a healthy caseload of divorces? Earlier in his career, his accounting background was requested by a colleague who was handling a nasty divorce, which involved high net worth individuals, business assets and character of property disputes. In other words, it was all about the numbers and figures that make so much sense to Hejmanowski. The success of that case led to word of mouth referrals, and in spite of his own self-deprecation, Hejmanowski carved out a little niche in the field. However, he resolutely sticks to what he knows best-the business side of things; refusing to take on cases that are outside of the financial sector of dissolution. THE STORY CHANGES COURSE Despite painting himself as a typical (albeit it incredibly successful) business trial lawyer, I point out that Hejmanowski’s career trajectory is pretty unique. He agrees that not many civil litigators also have a toe in the field of family law, but insists that he has no plans to ever allow family law to become a majority of his practice, although he admits that the laws are fascinating, and that divorces are pretty recession proof. “If the economy is good, people can afford to get divorced, and financial strains of a recession can lead to divorce, so I guess there are always going to be divorce cases,” he notes with that same deadpan candor that is very subtle, yet very funny. But the truth is that Hejmanowski remains staunchly committed to his work as a civil litigator. That doesn’t mean that there still aren’t twists and turns. For starters, he left his firm of 18 years just last fall, saying “I left a really good situation, where I worked with really good lawyers.” However, there were four key reasons he felt he needed to start his own firm. First he says, “I had the opportunity to hand pick my partners. ” Second, he was eager to spread his own entrepreneurial wings, in terms of being closer to the performance of the firm. “I had the chance to control my own destiny,” he says. Third, he had the opportunity to build a firm from scratch. “Our firm is very lean in terms of costs. In turn, those savings are passed on to clients. By starting our firm, I was able to reduce my hourly rate by 10-15%. And fourth, the firm was built with a philosophy of “heavy to exclusive client-partner contact.” At Caldarelli Hejmanowski & Page LLP, the clients are always working with the partner who initially brought them to the firm. MORAL OF THE STORY As we’re drawing to the close of the interview, it’s time for one more standard interview question, which by now I fully expect will be anything but a canned response. And I’m finally right. When asked if there are any landmark cases that have really affected him, his response is swift. “Every case that walks in my door is a landmark case. No case is blasé. The issue at stake is always the biggest thing in my clients’ lives. So it has to be treated as the biggest thing in my professional life. These are make or break issues to a client, so I treat every case like it’s the most important case of my career.” I couldn’t have scripted the ending any better myself. Contact: Lee Hejmanowski Caldarelli Hejmanowski & Page LLP12340 El Camino Real, Suite 430 San Diego, CA 92130 858-720-8080 info@chplawfirm.com www.chplawfirm.com

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ONE IN THREE LAWYERS PLANS TO HIRE IN THIRD QUARTER: Majority of Lawyers Interviewed Optimistic About Business Prospects

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EARLY ONE-THIRD (32 PERCENT) OF LAWYERS INTERVIEWED FOR THE QUARTERLY ROBERT HALF LEGAL HIRING INDEX PLAN TO HIRE FULLTIME LEGAL STAFF DURING THE THIRD QUARTER OF 2012, WHILE JUST TWO PERCENT ANTICIPATE STAFF REDUCTIONS. THE NET 30 PERCENT OF RESPONDENTS PROJECTING AN INCREASE IN HIRING ACTIVITY IS UP EIGHT POINTS FROM THE PREVIOUS QUARTER’S FORECAST. LAW FIRMS ARE EXPECTED TO DO THE MAJORITY OF THE HIRING IN THE UPCOMING QUARTER.

Business optimism also is improving. Eighty-four percent of lawyers polled are at least somewhat confident in their organizations’ growth prospects for the third quarter, up 16 points from the second-quarter survey. The survey was developed by Robert Half Legal, a legal staffing firm specializing in lawyers, paralegals and other highly skilled legal professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with 100 lawyers at law firms with 20 or more employees and 100 corporate lawyers at companies with 1,000 or more employees. All of the respondents have hiring authority within their organizations.   KEY FINDINGS •The net 30 percent of lawyers expecting to hire is up eight points from the second-quarter forecast. These lawyers plan to add an average of two full-time positions. •The three most in-demand positions are lawyers, paralegals and legal secretaries. •The practice areas expected to see the most growth in the third quarter are general business/commercial law, labor and employment, and litigation. For the first time since Robert Half Legal began conducting the quarterly hiring survey in early 2010, bankruptcy/foreclosure was not among the topthree practice areas. •Finding the right talent remains challenging, according to 51 percent of lawyers, although this number is down eight points from the second-quarter survey. •Business optimism is up, with 84 percent of lawyers saying they are somewhat or very confident in their organizations’ prospects for growth in the next three months, a 16-point climb from last quarter.

HIRING TRENDS “Law firms are expanding in-demand practice groups to renew their commitment to growth and meet client requests for legal services,” said Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal. “Many firms are launching new service offerings, and this accounts for some of the resulting hiring activity. Commercial law also is picking up, and general litigation remains strong.”  Volkert notes that small and midsize law firms, in particular, are seeking associates with three or more years of experience who can make immediate contributions and support thriving practice areas. Lawyers identified general business/commercial law and labor and employment law as areas that will experience the most growth in the coming quarter. Both specialties garnered 17 percent of the response from those interviewed. Litigation followed closely with 14 percent of the response. Volkert added that corporate legal departments are hiring in response to a greater volume of work. “Renewed business activity and new and ongoing regulatory requirements are leading to steady demand for in-house associates and paralegals with contracts administration, compliance, and labor and employment law experience,” he said. “In addition, general counsel are expanding their in-house teams in an effort to curtail spending on outside counsel.”   Lawyers hiring expect their organizations to add an average of two full-time positions in the third quarter of 2012. Those interviewed said they will most likely hire lawyers (91 percent), paralegals (35 percent) and legal secretaries (14 percent).  “Although many law firms and corporate legal departments are boosting full-time hiring, they’re also responding to immediate needs by engaging legal professionals on a project basis to work on document review and e-discovery initiatives, and to supplement key staff positions,” Volkert said. n

The Robert Half Legal Hiring Index is based on 200 telephone interviews with lawyers: 100 of the respondents are employed at law firms with 20 or more employees, and 100 are employed at companies with 1,000 or more employees. The interviews were conducted by an independent research firm.

Attorney Journal | Volume 107, 2012

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Attorney Journal | Volume 106, 2012

Attorney Journal, San Diego Edition, Volume 107  

Attorney Journal, San Diego Edition, Volume 107

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