® MAY/JUN 2021
2021 Service Awards
Outstanding Attorney Award
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Community Service Award
Community Service Award
Service to Diversity Award
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Service to the Legal Community Award
Service to the Legal Community Award
ANDREA ST. JULIAN
Outstanding Service by a New Lawyer Award
MARESA MARTIN TALBERT
Distinguished Citizen Award
COMMISSIONER NADIA KEILANI
Distinguished Citizen Award
Distinguished Citizen Award
Pandemic, Meet the Practice of Law: Small & Solo Firm Style What to Do When You Miss a Court Deadline Why I Serve as a Fee Arbitrator
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| July/August 2020
LAWYER YER REFERRAL REFERRAL LAW SERVICE & INFORMATION INFORMATION SERVICE
EDITORS' INTRO by Julie T. Houth and George W. Brewster Jr. PRESIDENT'S COLUMN Acts of Service: Beyond Ego, Thoughts, and Prayers by Renée N.G. Stackhouse
WHAT TO DO WHEN You Miss a Court Deadline by Hon, Kenneth J. Medel
WHY I BELONG Get to Know SDCBA Member S. Ivette Kuyateh
LAW SCHOOL COLUMN A Year in Review — Attaining a Legal Education During a Pandemic by Matthew Garnica
ETHICS Luddites Beware — The Rules Are Changing by Edward McIntyre
DISTINCTIONS & PASSINGS Community members honored and remembered for their achievements MEET YOUR BAR-ISTA Keith Fisher Deputy Executive Director PHOTO GALLERY
TECHNOLOGY Tech Tips and Tidbits by Bill Kammer
PANDEMIC, MEET THE PRACTICE OF LAW Solo & Small Firm Style by Renée N.G. Stackhouse
BRILLIANT FRIENDSHIPS The Tale of Two Supreme Court Justices and Law Professor Emeritus Susan Tiefenbrun by Marlene Z. Stanger
SECOND OR NONE The Legacy Path by George W. Brewster Jr.
A SNAPSHOT OF UNLAWFUL DETAINER ACTIONS DURING THE PANDEMIC by Michael G. Olinik RESOLVED: RESOLVE LAW SAN DIEGO by George W. Brewster Jr. BUILDING LAWYERS AS LEADERS — WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER RUNNING FOR THE SDCBA BOARD, NOW OR LATER by Johanna Schiavoni
CELEBR ATING SERVICE
2021 SAN DIEGO COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION SERVICE AWARD RECIPIENTS FROM COURTROOMS TO ZOOM ROOMS How the San Diego County High School Mock Trial Competition Pivoted to All-Virtual in 2021 by Ron Marcus
SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY THROUGH NONLEGAL OPPORTUNITIES A San Diego Lawyer's Volunteer Experience at a Local Food Bank by Julie T. Houth WHY I SERVE AS A FEE ARBITRATOR by Charles L. Deem, Carla Nasoff, and James Pokorny
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SAN DIEGO LAWYER EDITORIAL BOARD Co-Editors George W. Brewster Jr.
Issue 3, May/June 2021
Issue no. 3. San Diego Lawyer® (ISSN: 1096-1887) is published bimonthly by the San Diego County Bar Association, 401 West A Street, Suite 1100, San Diego, CA 92101. Phone is (619) 231-0781. The price
Julie T. Houth
Editorial Board Marissa Bejarano Hon. Victor E. Bianchini (Ret.) Shelley Carder Devinder S. Hans Whitney Hodges Wendy House
Anne Kammer Edward McIntyre Michael G. Olinik Wilson A. Schooley Renée N.G. Stackhouse Gayani Weerasinghe
of an annual subscription to members of the San Diego County Bar Association is included in their dues. Annual subscriptions
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to all others, $50. Single-copy price, $10.
Board of Directors
Periodicals postage paid at San Diego, CA and additional mailing
President Renée N.G. Stackhouse
offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to San Diego Lawyer, 401 West A Street, Suite 1100, San Diego, CA 92101. Copyright © 2021 by the San Diego County Bar Association. All rights r eserved. Opinions expressed in San Diego Lawyer are those of the authors only and are not opinions of the SDCBA or the San Diego Lawyer Editorial Board. Interested contributors may submit article ideas to the editors at www.sdcba.org/SDLidea. Unsolicited articles will not be printed in San Diego Lawyer. San Diego Lawyer reserves the right to edit all submissions, contributed articles and photographs at its sole discretion.
President-Elect David Majchrzak Immediate Past President Johanna Schiavoni Secretary Nicholas J. Fox Treasurer Marissa A. Bejarano Vice Presidents Hon. Victor E. Bianchini (Ret.) A. Melissa Johnson Khodadad Darius Sharif
Directors Roxy Carter Warren Den Michelle A. Gastil Stacey A. Kartchner Brenda Lopez Angela Medrano Wilson A. Schooley Robert M. Shaughnessy L. Marcel Stewart Kimberly Swierenga New Lawyer Division Chair Stephanie Atkinson
SDCBA Staff — San Diego Lawyer 401 West A Street, Suite 1100, San Diego, CA 92101 Phone (619) 231-0781 • firstname.lastname@example.org • www.sdcba.org
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Editors' Intro by Julie T. Houth and George W. Brewster Jr.
WELCOME TO THE ANNUAL COMMUNITY SERVICE ISSUE OF SAN DIEGO LAWYER
t the top of the list is our spotlight on the 12
Judge Kalemkiarian takes the reader into her
recipients of this year’s San Diego County
courtroom, once again reopened to in-person family
Bar Association’s Service Awards. It is a
law trials, noting how much everyone’s experience
long-standing tradition of the Bar that we celebrate
in the courtroom was compromised during remote
Law Day (May 1), but we do so over a full week. This
proceedings. More specifically, she looks at what is
year and last are, of course, more challenging in
lost when taking testimony, presenting evidence, and
presentation but no less meaningful in purpose and
listening to argument when conducted over video
rather than in person.
Our look at the impacts of the pandemic continues
Much like a theater production, in-person courtroom
in this issue as well, with an overview of eviction/
hearings have a presence — a personal, formal
unlawful detainer cases and the volunteer effort to
touch — that is felt by all of the players (judge, staff,
assist the San Diego Superior Court with its backlog
lawyers, and litigants). As Judge Kalemkiarian writes,
of civil matters, known as Resolve Law San Diego.
remote hearings “rob the judicial officer (and other
And as usual, we have a large variety of columns
participants) of the nuances in the ‘performance.’”
and opinions to share — maybe someday soon these
You miss out on the details — the side glances, the
pieces will provoke coffeehouse discussions as in
passage of notes, an expression of agreement or
days of yore.
dismay. And there is the lost moment of courtroom collaboration, where parties can quickly and
Finally, we want to call your attention to an article on
efficiently meet sidebar to resolve an evidentiary
the Bar’s website titled “Justice Is Like a Tap Dance:
issue or presentation glitch.
Why Live Court Performance Matters,” written by San Diego Superior Court Judge Sharon Kalemkiarian
The use of remote conferencing can be very efficient
and originally published in the California Judges
for meetings and some depositions. It will certainly
Association online newsletter. We reprint that piece
reshape the day-to-day business of law. Remote
with permission, and it is found here:
hearings will also be a part of that, but do they truly
fulfill the need for a person’s “day in court”? Read the piece and let us know what you think: email@example.com.
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President’s Column by Renée N.G. Stackhouse
ACTS OF SERVICE
BEYOND EGO, THOUGHTS, AND PRAYERS
hen I went to faculty training in 2015 for
In fact, Acts of Service is called out as a way of
the Trial Lawyers College, my mentor
expressing and receiving love in the 1992 book
(some guy named Phil Stackhouse), was
“The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt
listening to me talk about how nervous I was to teach,
Commitment to Your Mate” by Gary Chapman. Geared
how nervous I was to get it wrong and look stupid,
toward people in romantic relationships, the book
and how nervous I was the students wouldn’t like me,
describes Acts of Service as doing something for
and so on and so on. He waited patiently until I was
your partner that you know they would like by giving
done and then told me gently, “But it’s not about you.
your time. The most powerful Acts are those that are
It’s about your students. Always remember, Renée:
done spontaneously or without having to be asked.
‘Service before self.’”
They include showing up in ways that are tangible, meaning actions speak louder than words.
Since that moment, every time I recognize that I am scared to act, I realize it is usually because of my focus on ego, literally translated to “I” or “self,” my fear of failure, my fear of looking stupid, my fear of being wrong, or my fear of being disliked. Recognizing it doesn’t mean that it goes away, at least for me. (And sometimes it is self-preservation that forces us to focus on ourselves, so it’s not always a bad thing.) But the recognition does allow me to sift through my fear and gives me an opportunity to reframe in such a way that not only allows me to act, but usually creates a hunger for me to take action. Instead of worrying that I’ll look stupid in front of my students because the exercise isn’t working the way I wanted it to, feeling inadequate, and calling it quits, which nets everyone (me, the student, and any bystanders) nothing but frustration and wasted time, the reframe is to focus on the student’s needs; note that I don’t think the exercise is working, check in with
Acts of Service transcend relationships between significant others. I would venture to guess that the reason we, as a legal community, extoll and award Acts of Service is because they center on a sacrifice of what we tend to value most: our time. The concept of service can scare away even the most giving of people who fear the impact of service on their already tight schedules. We are all juggling careers, family, friends, and so many other demands for our time. It’s much easier to write a check or to assume that someone else will do what needs to be done. Not that there is anything wrong with writing checks to good causes, just to be clear! I know that instead of volunteering with the local Human Rights Campaign Steering Committee like I used to, my current commitments now require that my involvement is limited to monthly automatic withdrawals to support the organization’s national advocacy. We do what we can, how we can.
the student on how they feel, and, if they agree, to try something different. The action is one of service to
But I would argue that everyone could make space
for at least one Act of Service. At home, it could
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be as easy as putting all the clothes in the washing
Short-Term Service Opportunities
machine, instead of just the dirty clothes hamper, or doing the dishes and putting them away. At work, it could be taking the time to provide training, feedback,
• SDCBA Ongoing Volunteer Opportunities sdcba.org/volunteer
or mentorship to that new hire, or sign up for training yourself, for the benefit of your clients. And in the community, it could be as simple as picking up trash
• SDCBA Provisional Licensure Supervisor https://bit.ly/3ndPS70
in your local park or on the beach while you’re there, making lasagna for someone who needs it while you’re making lasagna for your own family, or grabbing groceries for your elderly neighbor while you’re getting your own. Your Act of Service doesn’t need to be large and splashy, ongoing, or time-consuming to make a difference. It certainly doesn’t need to be done at a cost to your health and well-being. It just needs to be simple and put into action. I challenge you to find one way this month to commit an Act of Service, to go beyond “thoughts and prayers” and show someone that you care.
• Lasagna Love lasagnalove.org • On the Go Rides & SMILES Volunteer Driver jfssd.org/volunteer/serve-older-adults • The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank sandiegofoodbank.org/volunteer • San Diego Humane Society sdhumane.org/support-us/volunteer/short-termservice.html • Habitat for Humanity sandiegohabitat.org/get-involved/volunteer
Renée N.G. Stackhouse (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the founder of Stackhouse APC.
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2021 DISTINGUISHED LAWYER MEMORIAL VIRTUAL RECEPTION JUNE 23, 2021| 5:30 P.M. - 7:30 P.M.
The 2021 Dis�nguished Lawyer Memorial Inductees
Join us as we give permanent recogni�on to deceased lawyers and judges of the San Diego County Bar who have demonstrated superior legal skills and commitment to the welfare of the community in alignment with the objec�ves of the San Diego County Bar Founda�on. Permanent plaques are placed in the Hall of Jus�ce. To make a contribu�on on behalf of a past or present honoree or to make a general dona�on to the Bar Founda�on, please visit: sdcbf.org/donatedlm. Your contribu�on helps support access to jus�ce through grants to organiza�ons serving the underrepresented communi�es of San Diego County. In 2020 the Founda�on granted $411,700.
Register Today at www.sdcbf.org/dlm21
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LAW SCHOOL COLUMN by Matthew Garnica
A YEAR IN REVIEW — ATTAINING A LEGAL EDUCATION DURING A PANDEMIC
s a second-year law student at the University of San Diego, the majority of my legal education has been completely remote. Since March 2020, I have grown accustomed to attending classes, networking events, club meetings,
environment. With classes and events occurring online, students like myself are bound to experience some form of virtual exhaustion. Unfortunately, as a law student, most of my day is spent looking at screens. To combat this inevitable fatigue, I have developed several habits
and social gatherings virtually. From mastering Zoom interview skills, to establishing and maintaining virtual relationships with fellow students, I’ve been consistently amazed by the resiliency and steadfastness of my peers and colleagues. Though an admittedly unique experience, I recognize how fortunate I’ve been to be able to continue my legal education despite the COVID-19 pandemic. In this article, I’ll review my year as a student attending law school in a fully remote format.
like going on walks between classes and practicing mindfulness and meditation techniques before bed. To further limit my screen time, I have transitioned to handwriting my notes and using physical copies of textbooks for class. These changes have ultimately helped me evade virtual fatigue.
A law school classroom is a collaborative space where students can express their ideas and perspectives on complex social, ethical, and legal topics. This discourse is important in all learning environments, but is perhaps especially important among developing lawyers. Fortunately, I have found that virtual class discussions have managed to remain active and dynamic. Those who have survived law school will be pleased to learn that the infamous Socratic method is still alive and well. Furthermore, professors have adopted the breakout room function to allow students to engage with one another in smaller and more intimate groups. The virtual environment has also been more accommodating to students with varying learning and comprehension speeds. Recorded lectures provide students the opportunity to reinforce difficult concepts by rewatching lectures and review sessions. Likewise, virtual office hours allow students to set appointments with professors, providing a space for questions and individual mentorship. Concededly, virtual fatigue (also known as “Zoom fatigue”) is an obvious pitfall of the current learning
The pandemic has also changed the way in which students network with legal professionals. Although there is a sense of lost intimacy associated with video chat meetings, my experiences have been largely positive. I’ve found that attorneys are excited and willing to meet with students for a quick virtual chat. The convenience of meeting online beats finding the time to meet at the local coffee shop or bar. Likely because of this ease, the on-campus interview process for law firms has continued despite the online format. Personally, I’ve found that the experience is not wholly different than an in-person interview. Despite the uncertainty that lies ahead, I feel fortunate to progress my legal education. During this past year, I have completed a legal internship, finished two semesters of law school, and developed many online friendships along the way. While I am hopeful that our world will return to its pre-pandemic state soon, I encourage other law students to make the most of our current virtual way of life.
Matthew Garnica (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a law student at the University of San Diego School of Law.
SAN DIEGO LAWYER
ETHICS by Edward McIntyre
LUDDITES BEWARE — THE RULES ARE CHANGING Macbeth opened the Zoom meeting as Sara and Duncan’s images appeared on screen. “Hello everyone. Happy Spring! I saw a video of cherry blossoms in Tokyo. A harbinger of promise.” Sara and Duncan spoke. “Hello, Macbeth.” “We have a guest today, Gus Weber.” Duncan spoke. “I don’t see him yet.” “Gus joins us only by phone. Gus, can you hear everyone?” “Loud and clear. I don’t get this Zoom stuff.” “That’s fine for now, Gus. So long as you can hear. You had something you wanted to discuss?” “Yeah. What’s all this stuff — being polite stuff about the Bar making me buy a lot of high-tech equipment. What right does the Bar have to do that?” “Would you be referring to the change in rule 1.1? The competence rule?” “Damn straight.” “Let’s focus first on the change. On March 22, the Supreme Court approved a new comment to rule 1.1. Sara, do you have the text?” “Right here, Macbeth. ‘The duties set forth in this rule include the duty to keep abreast of the changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.’ The Court added it as Comment One.”
“Hopefully, more than that. Let me step back a bit. We’ve had a competence rule for a long time. Former rule 3-110 from 1992 until the current rules. In a slightly different form from 1989. In fact, back to 1975. All stressed learning, skill, and diligence.” “I get the point but —” “In 2012, the ABA added a comment, Comment , to its competence rule, Model Rule 1.1. The comment made clear that lawyers had an ethical duty not only to be competent in law and its practice, but also technology.” “Yeah, but we’re not a Model Rule state —” “Slow down, Gus. Since then, at least 39 states adopted similar requirements. California issued a Formal State Bar Opinion, No. 2015-193, telling lawyers representing clients in litigation to either be competent in e-discovery or associate with others who are. The opinion expressly cited ABA Comment .” “But —” “Then the Supreme Court instructed the Rules Revision Commission to bring California’s rules into conformity with national norms, wherever possible. So, we have our current rules.” “But the burden —” “What do you do if an evidence rule changes? “Learn it. But it’s not the same thing. This technology stuff isn’t law.” “You have a cellphone, don’t you?”
“Is that at the heart of your complaint, Gus?”
“Today? Have to. Clients expect it. So what?”
“Yep! The Supreme Court adopted it ‘cause the State Bar pushed it. Now I’m told I’ve got to learn all this Zoom stuff. Encryption. Two-factor identification — whatever the hell that is. Worse, all the high-tech equipment that goes with it. What’s that got to do with practicing law? With ethics?”
“Like it or not, technology’s changed practice. For better, perhaps; in some respects, worse. Certainly, the pandemic taught us the benefits of Zoom. Platforms like it. After a while, also the burden. But it allowed us to make court appearances. Communicate better with clients. With each other. Hardly perfect. But better than just a phone call. Or email. Text.”
“Whoa, Gus. Let’s slow down a bit. Take this in bites.” “Whatever you say. I’m all ears.” 12
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Duncan laughed. “Is this where you quote Heraclitus, Uncle?”
“Be my guest.” Sara and Duncan, in unison, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he’s not the same man.” Gus growled. “What’s that got to do with anything?” Macbeth spoke. “It means, my friend, nothing’s permanent but change, in life or in the practice of law. Technology’s now integral to our practice. We have an ethical mandate, as with every other aspect of practice, to stay current with technology’s changes. Its benefits for our clients. The risks as well.” “You mean I have to learn this — stuff? Again being polite.” “Competence, Gus, means we all have to stay current. To changes — in law. In practice. In technology." “How do I learn this — stuff? On top of everything else? “Gus, remember, the rule itself has a fail-safe.” “What’s that?” “As with every other aspect of practice, if a lawyer doesn’t have sufficient learning or skill to be competent, the lawyer can associate with or professionally consult another lawyer who does.”
Cartoon by George W. Brewster Jr.
“Or consult with someone, until you get the hang of it. Not difficult, Gus.” “Yeah, you say. Thanks, I guess.” After Gus disconnected, Sara asked, “Will we ever see him on a Zoom call?” Macbeth smiled. “Nothing’s permanent but change. We’ll see.”
Edward McIntyre (email@example.com) is a professional responsibility lawyer.
“So, I have to hire someone?”
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TECHNOLOGY by Bill Kammer
TECH TIPS AND TIDBITS Facebook Redux Users of social media must admit that the Age of Innocence is over. Fans who joined to connect with classmates, family, and friends filled the databanks of Facebook with massive amounts of personal information that has ended up posted on the internet for others to use. Recent reports include the existence of the Personal Identifiable Information (PII) of over 500 million individuals, including 34 million Americans, freely available on the web. PII includes names, phone
communicate with more devices, move data to multiple devices in the same broadcast, and facilitate the check-ins between devices and the router. These references discuss our Wi-Fi alternatives: www.pcmag.com/picks/the-best-wi-fi-6-routers and www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-wi-fi-router. Even if we do not need all the features of Wi-Fi 6, check the age of your router. You may want to settle for an interim upgrade with an inexpensive router that could be an improvement from the one installed years ago.
numbers, locations, birthdates, and email addresses. When we post personal data, we do so at our own peril. It’s no longer a question of if it will be used by others, just when.
Time for a New Router? Many may still work at home at least part of the time, perhaps using routers purchased years ago. With time, router technology evolves, and we are entering the era of Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax). If you’re not going back to the office full-time soon, and you believe that your home Wi-Fi is spotty or insufficient, it’s time to look for a new router. That change might provide steady, wide-ranging internet throughout your entire residence. You’ve probably read that Wi-Fi 6 is faster. It certainly is, theoretically 9.6 Gbps versus 3.5 Gbps on Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac). You may not need all that speed now, but as we continue to connect more apps, games, and videos, the additional speed will assist. When Wi-Fi 5 came out in 2014, the average household had about five Wi-Fi
Cyber Insurance Developments We’ve all read about frequent, successful cyberattacks on lawyers and firms that have resulted in malware, data loss, and ransomware. But we’re not the only targets of cybercriminals. An insurer at Lloyd’s of London has reported that the cybersecurity attacks in 2020, compared to 2019, were more severe and more costly. In the same timeframe, insurance claims doubled, so insurers are struggling with profitability for this line of business. Policy rates for cybersecurity insurance are increasing and the scope of the coverage is narrowing. In the insurance world, cyber insurance is considered “nonstandard” meaning it is neither regulated nor standardized. This suggests that we review the costs and coverage of our policies and adjust our protocols and procedures to minimize risks. Recent ransomware reports contain a certain irony: ransomware gangs admit they now target firms known to have cyber insurance. But that’s no reason to drop the coverage; recently the average ransomware payment was about $230,000.
devices on the network, but experts are now predicting an average of about 50 devices within several years. However, the principal benefit of Wi-Fi 6 may be lessening the impacts those additional devices inflict upon our home network. A Wi-Fi 6 router can
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LinkedIn Phishing We have enough threats to our peaceful existence without this development. Marketing gurus have encouraged lawyers for years to exploit a LinkedIn
profile for client development, but now we learn that bad actors are pursuing LinkedIn phishing exploits. If you’re on LinkedIn, you probably receive various messages from others on that network that contain a link to an external site or document. This may be an invitation to a disastrous breach. Just another instance of the reasons that many IT managers have trouble sleeping at night.
Welcome to Spim Another acronym to remember and a first cousin of spam, spim is unsolicited commercial instant messages. Though they can introduce malware, at a minimum, they are annoying, can reduce resource availability, and possibly enable the compromise of a network. Basically, you can IM anyone on a network, and this breed of miscreant does not hesitate to do so. The best tactic is just deleting the message because you may not be able to block the sender. Unsolicited text messages have been trouble enough and represent many of the same challenges. With SMS/MMS, the robocaller can deliver the spam to any cell number. Though still problematic, spim may be
less common because the spimmer must be using the same instant messaging network.
Ethics and Technology California was the first state to have an ethics opinion about duties involved in handling electronic discovery. Not only were we the first, but also the only state for about six years with a defined eDiscovery duty. Well, California just became the 39th state to adopt an ethical duty of general technology competence. This resulted from a revision to Comment One to Rule 1.1 of our Rules of Professional Responsibility. The California Supreme Court approved that new change on March 22, 2021. Footnote 1. 1. O'Sullivan, Donie. “Half a Billion Facebook Users' Information Posted on Hacking Website, Cyber Experts Say.” CNN, 5 April 2021, www.cnn.com/2021/04/04/tech/facebook-user-info-leaked/ index.html.
Bill Kammer (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a partner with Solomon Ward Seidenwurm & Smith, LLP.
PANDEMIC, MEET THE PRACTICE OF LAW: SOLO & SMALL FIRM STYLE By Renée N. G. Stackhouse
n the March/April 2021 issue of San Diego Lawyer, Edward McIntyre interviewed six managing partners at big firms about the impact of COVID-19 on their practices. This article will explore similar questions as answered by solo and small firm lawyers Kristen Roberts of Trestle Law; Khodadad “Ko” Sharif of Sharif | Faust; Jamahl Kersey of Kersey Law; and Valerie Garcia Hong of Garcia Hong Law. The interview has been summarized for purposes of this article, but you can enjoy the full interview at www.sdcba.org/?pg=SmallSoloInterview.
already in place like Clio, e-fax, stamps.com, Dropbox,
There is a general assumption that solo and small firm lawyers (“solos and smalls”) may not have physical space, which can be misleading. While there absolutely are solos and smalls that practice virtually, many practice mobile-y. Of the four, Kristen’s
All four solos and smalls had a physical office space
practice was the only one that was almost entirely remote pre-pandemic, as it fit her staffing and client needs in the IP industry. Valerie and Jamahl had the technology in place to be remote but preferred being in an office environment to provide structure and focus. Ko’s family, civil, and criminal firm was not set up for remote practice when the pandemic hit, but quickly learned how to pivot and trust in the existing technology. Now, all four can shut down their physical offices, if necessary, and practice remotely.
court using MS Teams, that was added into the rotation. Kristen even replaced Zoom with Teams because it was included in the Microsoft Office Suite. Other new integrations for efficiency included Slack (a team communication tool), Calendly (an automated scheduler), and Loom (a platform for creating training videos).
when the pandemic hit. Both Valerie and Kristen signed new leases right before COVID, and both had their use of their shiny, new office space put on hold as everything shut down. Jamahl and Ko continued practicing in their existing office space once it was safe to do so. And now, a year later, Valerie has strategically moved her litigation firm to Sorrento Valley, closer to her home but in a larger space. Both she and Ko have taken advantage of the flood of available commercial space to create the office they truly want. Ko is currently building out new office space to meet his firm's needs. Kristen maintains her office, but uses it primarily for her associate and to meet clients when necessary. Jamahl has reduced his for solos and smalls, the pandemic might not mean
For most of the solos and smalls, their use of technology didn’t really change as a result of the pandemic. They had programs and applications SAN DIEGO LAWYER
when it was our little solo/small secret!) With the
office footprint but remains in the same location. So,
and Zoom. (They all wish they’d invested in Zoom
less space. Instead, this might be a prime time for them to get more, or higher quality, space if they want a brick-and-mortar firm.
The Pandemic’s Price All agree that balancing solo and small practice with life during the pandemic takes a mental toll. For Ko, the initial response to the pandemic evoked memories of war in Iran. This motivated him to create safety bubbles and emotional support systems for his family and staff. Kristen described how difficult it was to be a team of two full-time working parents and, suddenly, a potty-training 18-month-old is at home because there was no child care, and how she had to sacrifice sleep to keep things moving forward. Ko, Jamahl, and Valerie shared that, at first, building relationships with new clients remotely was a
“The price of the pandemic highlighted its gift: the realization of what really matters, which are relationships and self-care.”
challenge and that they had to discover new methods of doing that, or make the determination to meet in person, with safety precautions, in order to create or foster that relationship. For solos and smalls, that decision is theirs to make. Finally, all agreed that a danger of the gift of technology was its flipside: the curse of making it too easy to work nonstop, and the importance of setting boundaries to protect your time, family, and mental health. The price of the pandemic highlighted its gift: the realization of what really matters, which are relationships and self-care.
Business Hit Jamahl, who practices in criminal defense and immigration, noted that the pandemic was the first time in his solo career that he was turning down cases because of the influx in demand. Ko, as well, was turning down cases. Kristen was on the COVID roller coaster, struggling initially with a 90% decrease in income as her restaurant and nonessential entrepreneur clients couldn’t afford to pay her fees, but then closed out the year with a 50% increase after standing by her clients and creating passive income methods.
Strong Firm Cultures They say that solos and small firms are really a reflection of the people who created them. This shone through in the way that Kristen, Ko, Jamahl, and Valerie responded to the pandemic and spoke to their strength of character. Kristen stopped paying herself for portions of the pandemic, but she made sure she kept her staff employed and paid. Ko kept all his employees, and gave them raises and bonuses during the pandemic, a loss he and his partner agreed was important for them to undertake. Jamahl kept his employee during the pandemic and also learned to take care of himself physically and mentally, something he now advocates for all attorneys. Valerie also kept her employees, aware that their families had lost their jobs during the pandemic. She supplemented their income by sending them takeout food to show her appreciation for their work. These solos and smalls always remember to focus on the human aspect of this business of law.
There is no standard impact to business. “It depends” is not just the advice we give clients, but also accurately describes the health of our solo and small businesses after COVID.
Renée N.G. Stackhouse (renee@stackhouseapc. com) is the founder of Stackhouse APC.
SAN DIEGO LAWYER
Professor Susan Tiefenbrun and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
L-R: Professor Susan Tiefenbrun, the late Justice Antonin Scalia, Maureen Scalia, and Dr. Jonathan Tiefenbrun at the Tiefenbruns' home in San Diego during one of the Justice's many visits during their 22-year friendship
The late Justice Antonin Scalia and Professor Susan Tiefenbrun
BRILLIANT FRIENDSHIPS The Tale of Two Supreme Court Justices and Law Professor Emeritus Susan Tiefenbrun By Marlene Z. Stanger
n 1980, after teaching French language and literature at Columbia University for eight years without any sign of tenure, Susan Tiefenbrun
called Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the first tenured female law professor at Columbia Law, to ask for advice.
graduated with top honors, as well as 85 job offers. She chose to work for the prestigious Coudert Brothers, appreciating the international flavor of the big, established company and its French links. As a mother of three, the hours were brutal so she left for a mid-sized firm, with no better outcome.
“I heard you were a women’s rights advocate,” Susan said to RBG, who reviewed the matter, discussed the merits, and concluded, “Go to law school.” This was the first time they spoke, as academics who had both experienced gender discrimination. It was not the last. Three years later, at the age of 44, after 20 years of teaching, Susan switched careers on the advice of the woman who would become one of the most important American jurists of her time, and one of her dearest friends. At NYU Law, Susan became Executive Editor of NYU’s Journal of International Law and Politics and 18
SAN DIEGO LAWYER
Susan turned to teaching and in 1991 became Adjunct Professor in International Business Transactions at Hofstra University. In 1993, the Dean was looking to set up a study abroad legal program in Nice, France. “Did you write to the Dean in Nice in French?” Susan asked. When he replied, “In English,” she took matters into her hands and engaged her French skills and connections to close the deal and ultimately became Director of the Nice program, which was inaugurated in 1994. The first visiting guest professor was Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
Susan met Justice Scalia in New York prior to the program. They formed a great bond through opera, culture, food, and appreciation of international languages. That summer, Justice Scalia, his wife, Maureen, Susan, and her husband, Jonathan, dined every night after classes and, over two weeks, established a solid friendship. Justice Scalia and Jonathan played tennis daily and during one of their matches, Justice Scalia went up to the net and said to Jonathan, “Don’t patronize me. We’ll play a good game and if I win, I win, and if I lose, I lose!” The Hofstra Dean had suggested to Jonathan that he let Justice Scalia win. After a wonderful summer, Justice Scalia thanked Susan and asked if he could do anything for her. “Yes. Get Ruth Bader Ginsburg for next year,” was her response. “You want me to get you Ruth Bader Ginsburg?” Justice Scalia responded. “I’ll get you Ruth Bader Ginsburg! She does anything I tell her to do!” he quipped. In June 1995, RBG and her husband, Martin, joined Susan and Jonathan in Nice. There began an enduring friendship. “She was indefatigable and had a grueling work ethic,” says Susan, describing an event that happened during one of the five summers that RBG came to Nice for the award-winning program, which Susan transferred to the Thomas Jefferson School of Law (TJSL) in San Diego in 2007. She has been a Professor of Law at TJSL since 1999. One day in Nice, in 98-degree heat, RBG decided to go horseback riding. “The five-foot-two, 100-pound RBG got on the horse and rode off, but soon returned with the skin hanging off her arm from elbow to wrist — her horse was stung by a bee and she fell off,” recounts Susan. Jonathan, a doctor, was horrified and said RBG needed to go to the hospital. She refused, so Jonathan and Susan rushed to the pharmacy. Susan, in urgent French, demanded, “My husband is a doctor. He needs to buy a lot of equipment to stitch up the arm of the only woman on the Supreme Court of the United States.”
“Susan sorely misses both her extraordinary friends, whose memories she honors.” Back at the hotel, they deliberated how to sterilize the equipment. RBG pointed to the metal fruit bowl, ditched the fruit, and filled it with water. “How are we going to boil the water?” Susan asked. RBG replied, “I have a coil.” The next morning, post arm trauma and hotel room surgery, RBG was back in class. The ensuing years saw a consolidation of Susan’s friendship with both Justices Scalia and Ginsburg, both of whom visited Thomas Jefferson School of Law and both of whom stayed at her beautiful home — though never at the same time. What of the friendship between the two Justices? “They were an odd couple,” says Susan. “Just as Justice Scalia and I spoke about everything under the sun, except the law and women’s rights, so they, too, avoided certain topics.” There are many more stories of friendship, laughter, meals, and outings in Nice and San Diego, and Susan sorely misses both her extraordinary friends, whose memories she honors.
Marlene Z. Stanger is self-employed as an immigration attorney who specializes in representing scientists and artists. You may reach her at email@example.com.
SAN DIEGO LAWYER
SECOND OR NONE: THE LEGACY PATH By George W. Brewster Jr.
ice President Kamala Harris noted in her victory speech, “I will be the first, but I will not be the last” and explained to Time magazine that her quote was “about legacy, that’s about creating a pathway, that’s about leaving the door more open than it was when you walked in.” This column will briefly look at some of those who, while not first, did follow a path that continued the legacy journey. Starting with the San Diego County Bar Association, the glass ceiling of the Bar presidency was first broken (after 77 male presidents) in 1985 with the election of Melinda Lasater (she was also the first public lawyer to become president). The second woman Bar president was Virginia Nelson in 1990. (Both Lasater and Nelson are featured in oral interviews with the Bar’s Legends of the Bar program.) There were two woman presidents in a row in 1994 and 1995 (Adrienne Orfield and Regina Petty; Petty was also the first Black Bar president), and three in a row from 2007-2009 (Jill Burkhardt, Heather Rosing, and Jerrilyn Malana, the first and so far only Bar president of Asian descent). And now, for the first time, four in a row (Kristin Rizzo, Lilys McCoy, Johanna Schiavoni, and current president Renée N.G. Stackhouse). This is not the complete list of women Bar presidents, but rather is intended to show that the door first opened in 1985, has opened wider, and the legacy path for women in leadership has grown longer. On the other hand, after Petty’s election in 1995, the next Black president wasn’t until Marvin Mizell’s election in 2012; Petty remains the sole 20
SAN DIEGO LAWYER
Black woman past president and Mizell the sole Black male past president of the association. Many Bar presidents go on to careers as judges, including a few of those named above. The first female judge in San Diego County was Madge Bradley, and she was the sole woman judge during her entire 18 years of service on the municipal court (1953-1971); she was also the first woman to serve on the Bar’s Board of Directors. The path of appointment to the bench for women was not wide open after Bradley; the second woman appointed to the local bench (in 1973) was Artemis (Artie) Henderson, who served for 20 years, first as a municipal court judge and then as the first female superior court judge in San Diego. While we know quite a bit about Bradley, less is known of Henderson. Henderson had been the second woman San Diego deputy city attorney and in 1968 co-founded Defenders, Inc, becoming its Chief Trial Attorney. By 1970 she had become a founding partner and only woman partner in a local private firm specializing in criminal defense. While serving on the Bar’s Board of Directors, she was appointed to the bench. During her time on the bench, Henderson was part of the formation committee for the County Judge’s Association and hosted the first meeting of the California Women Judges Association in her home. She was also involved in the formation of the National Women Judges Association. After her time on the bench, she served as Mayor of Indian Wells, and filled in on the local courts. Both she and Bradley passed away in 2000. In the 10 years after Henderson
was appointed to the bench, 14 more women were appointed to the San Diego bench (that includes Judith Keep, the first woman appointed to the local federal bench); and from 1983-1992, another 28 women were appointed (state, appellate, and federal). Today, statewide, approximately 38% of the judicial positions are filled by women.
judge in San Diego. Alpha Montgomery was appointed to the Superior Court in 1979. Montgomery, a graduate of Fisk and Howard, was an organizer of the San Diego Urban League in 1951 and its former general counsel. According to research by now retired SDSU librarian and historian Robert Fikes Jr. (“Pioneers, Warriors, Advocates: San Diego’s Black Legal Community, 1890-2013”), Montgomery had teamed up with two other attorneys he had come
“In the 10 years after Henderson was appointed to the bench, 14 more women were appointed to the San Diego bench ... and from 1983-1992, another 28 women were appointed.”
to know in San Francisco “and formed the city’s first African American law firm in 1949.” Montgomery and his partners (Sherman W. Smith Sr. and John W. Bussey) handled criminal and civil rights matters. According to Fikes, Montgomery and Bussey were considered “race leaders” and “involved themselves in efforts of racial uplift, educating the public, and defending the weak and exploited.” The obituary for Montgomery in the San Diego Union stated he provided “the legal impetus that forced the US Grant, San Diego, and El Cortez hotels to rent rooms to Black people for meetings and social functions.” Once on the bench, Montgomery dealt mainly with probate matters, and retired in 1995. He passed away in 2004. Left unaddressed are many other trailblazers, the first and then the second, who set the paths of legacy.
Back to Marvin Mizell. As noted, he is a past Bar president (2012), and also served as president of the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association in 2002. Gilliam was a trailblazer for Black judges in San Diego, being the first Black municipal court judge (1963), first Black superior court judge (1975), and then the first Black federal district court judge (1981). As often befalls the second person on the legacy path, less is known about the second Black
These are stories worth exploring, and telling — but more importantly, these are people worth following.
George W. Brewster Jr. (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a retired attorney after 35 years of practice, including JAG, private practice, and the last 30 with the County of San Diego, Office of County Counsel.
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San Diego Lawyer congratulates the 2021 San Diego County Bar Association Service Award recipients. Get to know this year's honorees and read about their inspiration for service on the following pages. For more, view an extended digital version of this feature at sdcba.org/2021-award-winners. To view the beautiful Service Awards Ceremony from May 21, 2021, visit sdcba.org/ceremony.
SAN DIEGO LAWYER
OUTSTANDING ATTORNEY AWARD
ANDREA ST. JULIAN Attorney, Law Office of Andrea St. Julian
Why do you serve? I serve because I have come to understand that meaningful change is possible if each of us makes the effort to do it. What/Who inspires you to serve? My mother, father, and sister‘s undying belief in my ability to help change the community sustains me every day. Knowing that there are people like Bryan Stevenson in the world is a great inspiration. The memory of enslaved Americans who fought and won their freedom despite the most improbable odds is also tremendous motivation. What is your favorite quote? “The most common way people give up power is by thinking that they don’t have any.” — Alice Walker How does serving the wider community benefit the legal profession? Many people have negative views of the legal profession. By reaching out and serving the wider community, we show the importance of a strong legal structure to the functioning of society. The SDCBA Law Day theme this year is “Advancing the Rule of Law Now.” What does this theme mean to you in your work and in your daily life? Laws must be created through an open, transparent, and inclusive process, not by the whim of the most powerful members of society, and those laws must apply equally to everyone, irrespective of status. As attorneys, we work to ensure these principles are realized.
OUTSTANDING JURIST AWARD
HON. RANDA TRAPP (RET.) Supervising Judge, San Diego Superior Court
Why do you serve? I have been richly blessed due to the sacrifices made by others. I serve as a way of giving back and to help those coming behind me. What/Who inspires you to serve? Young people inspire me to serve. In what ways does serving the wider community benefit the legal profession? The more we do to maintain a positive reputation for the legal profession by serving the wider community, the more we instill confidence in our system of justice, thereby benefiting the legal profession. How can others make giving back part of their daily lives? When you wake up every morning, think of something that you are grateful for — like waking up. That simple act of gratitude should be motivation to do some good for others. The SDCBA Law Day theme this year is “Advancing the Rule of Law Now.” What does this theme mean to you in your work and in your daily life? It means access to justice. We cannot advance the rule of law if we leave out any segment of our society. In my work and daily life, the goal is to do what I can to make access to justice a reality for everyone.
COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD
ROBERT GLEASON President and Chief Executive Officer, Evans Hotels
Why do you serve? Shirley Chisholm said it best: “Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth.” I have been privileged to be seen, heard, and supported as a gay man throughout my life. Everyone who has experienced difference should be able to have that same experience. What/Who inspires you to serve? My personal motto is “Make It Better.” I truly believe everyone can make a difference. If we all leave everything we touch just a little bit better, those small individual actions can combine for huge collective impact. What is your favorite quote? "Always grateful; never satisfied.” It means always saying “thank you” and appreciating progress made possible by those who came before. It also means recognizing that there is much work still to do and that it is our responsibility to make it happen for the benefit of those who come after. In what ways does serving the wider community benefit the legal profession? Good lawyers, like good people, succeed not only through hard work and dedication, but also through compassion. Being in service to humanity and building a better community requires humility, respect for others, cooperation, and collaboration — all traits that can benefit individual lawyers and the legal profession as a whole. The SDCBA Law Day theme this year is “Advancing the Rule of Law Now.” What does this theme mean to you in your work and in your daily life? In an increasingly complex world, living in a community requires respect and responsibility. Equity and justice require the fair and consistent application of our shared rights and obligations. As lawyers and as people, we must recognize the effect of our actions on others and act accordingly by living those values.
COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD
COMMISSIONER NADIA KEILANI San Diego Superior Court
Why do you serve? I am an Arab-American immigrant who came of age at a time when my ethnicity and national origin served as a basis for discrimination and suspicion. There were few voices addressing this unfairness, and I felt a need to right this wrong and to be a voice for the voiceless. What/Who inspires you to serve? Judge Tamila Ipema, Judge Terrie Roberts, and Commissioner Pennie McLaughlin inspire me through their examples of exemplary public service. Over the years, we have worked together on numerous projects through the National Association of Women Judges, and I am awed by their selflessness and dedication to public service. What is your favorite quote? “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” — Gibran Khalil Gibran In what ways does serving the wider community benefit the legal profession? Historically, the legal profession was revered, and its members considered the protectors of our rights and liberties. That image has been diminished in more recent times. By engaging in community service, we help to restore people’s respect for our profession and the important societal role we fulfill. The SDCBA Law Day theme this year is “Advancing the Rule of Law Now.” What does this theme mean to you in your work and in your daily life? Saddam Hussein came to power when I was 7 years old. Within days, those he perceived as threats began to disappear. Many were never heard from again, including my father’s oldest friend. This is an extreme example of what happens in the absence of the rule of law, but witnessing these events had a profound effect on me and led me to be a fierce defender of due process and the fair application of the law.
SERVICE TO DIVERSITY AWARD
CAROLINA BRAVO-KARIMI Partner, Wilson Turner Kosmo LLP
Why do you serve? My mom taught me, and I truly believe, that if each of us helps one person, we would live in a more equitable and happier world. Helping and serving is infectious — so hopefully my service will inspire those around me to do the same. What/Who inspires you to serve? My mom — from whom I inherited the “service gene.” I cannot a recall a single day of my childhood that did not involve my mom talking to a complete stranger (often a cashier at the grocery store or server at a restaurant) about how to enroll in school, or sitting down at our kitchen table volunteering her time to teach educators and nurses how to speak Spanish so they could communicate with their students and patients. As an educator herself, she has single-handedly changed the lives of countless underrepresented students and their families thanks to her lifelong mentorship and support of these individuals. I hope to do the same. What is your favorite quote? “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” — RBG In what ways does serving the wider community benefit the legal profession? For me, serving the wider community benefits the legal profession because my focus on diversifying the pipeline will hopefully translate into a more diverse and inclusive legal community — a community that reflects the members it serves. The SDCBA Law Day theme this year is “Advancing the Rule of Law Now.” What does this theme mean to you in your work and in your daily life? This is a call to action, as both a lawyer and a member of society, to ensure laws are applied equally and fairly to all.
SERVICE BY A PUBLIC ATTORNEY AWARD
Senior Counsel, California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation Why do you serve? I volunteer in the legal community because I am fortunate to have the time and ability to do so. Not everyone is as fortunate. I also serve because so many people have given their time and support to me over the years, I feel that it is incumbent upon me to give back. What/Who inspires you to serve? I am inspired to serve by the volunteers who served before me, who accomplished much and have made their community a better place. The San Diego legal community has many great role models and they inspire me to give back. What is your favorite quote? The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” is powerful to me. It motivates me. I often recite this quote to my children to explain why people support social causes. In what ways does serving the wider community benefit the legal profession? To many people, the courts are mysterious. If you do not have a legal background, the judiciary is the nameless and faceless third branch of government you once learned about in school. To bridge this gap, lawyers can act as ambassadors of the courts and legal profession by engaging in pro bono work or other volunteer service. Through civics engagement and advocacy, we can help members of the community understand that the legal system plays a critical role in our democracy and truly is the people’s court. The SDCBA Law Day theme this year is “Advancing the Rule of Law Now.” What does this theme mean to you in your work and in your daily life? Recent national events highlight the importance of the rule of law. I believe these events also demonstrate the importance of an independent judiciary and the need for more civics engagement and education in our society. Lawyers can advance the rule of law through professional and personal actions. I strive to advance the rule of law by volunteering my time in civics engagement and outreach activities such as the San Diego High School Mock Trial Committee and the California Lawyers Association’s Civics Engagement and Outreach Committee.
SERVICE TO THE LEGAL COMMUNITY AWARD
Deputy District Attorney, San Diego County District Attorney’s Office Why do you serve? Where else as a lawyer can you craft a career analyzing the depths of humanity, where no two cases are ever alike; interview thousands of prospective jurors on their most intimate experiences on life, and always get to do the right thing to seek justice irrespective of parties or clients? What/Who inspires you to serve? My dad, who immigrated from the Philippines by joining the U.S. Navy as a teenage steward and who started his career shining shoes and housekeeping, who is proud to have served the country that was so good to him and our family. What is your favorite quote? “Luck is what happens when Preparation meets Opportunity.” In what ways does serving the wider community benefit the legal profession? When a community fails to have its basic needs met, following the law becomes less of a priority. By serving the wider community, our service alleviates some of those needs and establishes trust as representatives of law and the “system.” Without this trust, our profession is ineffective. The SDCBA Law Day theme this year is “Advancing the Rule of Law Now.” What does this theme mean to you in your work and in your daily life? Whether it’s investigating a peace officer, attorney, or elected official, the guiding principle in our Special Operations Division is the law applies to everyone. We also strive to identify convictions where evidence or the interests of justice demand a second look for whom the law may have changed in their favor.
SERVICE TO THE LEGAL COMMUNITY AWARD
Deputy Public Defender, San Diego County Public Defender’s Office Why do you serve? Being a public defender is my job and I love it. Working to help others and, at the same time, finding ways to accomplish better results through collaboration is what gets me up in the morning. What/Who inspires you to serve? My Homeless Court and Youthful Offender clients who have turned their lives around. You are more than your worst moment in time, and these clients embody that principle. What is your favorite quote? “Never underestimate the power of a small group of people committed to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” In what ways does serving the wider community benefit the legal profession? In spite of the overabundance of lawyer jokes, attorneys serve their community through their clients every day; but many seldom see how that work benefits the broader community. Serving the larger community in a positive way allows us to confound those expectations — turn those lawyer jokes on their heads! The SDCBA Law Day theme this year is “Advancing the Rule of Law Now.” What does this theme mean to you in your work and in your daily life? There’s been no shortage of change this year in adjusting to the “new normal.” For me, this manifests in how we bring technology to the legal profession in a way that allows us to better serve our clients and the community as a whole.
OUTSTANDING SERVICE BY A NEW LAWYER AWARD
MARESA MARTIN TALBERT Founding Attorney, Talbert Law Office Why do you serve? I serve because that’s what leaders do. What/Who inspires you to serve? I am inspired to serve because of my faith. I truly believe that service is a part of my purpose and fulfillment in life. In my opinion, service is what makes life meaningful. What is your favorite quote? "To whom much is given, much will be required." (Luke 12:48) In what ways does serving the wider community benefit the legal profession? Serving the broader community sharpens my skills as a lawyer, both in my substantive area of practice and beyond. As an attorney, I am an advocate for people, so expanding my relationship within the community only allows for better advocacy and representation. Serving the community also increases my credibility as an attorney, which also reflects favorably on the legal profession as a whole. The SDCBA Law Day theme this year is “Advancing the Rule of Law Now.” What does this theme mean to you in your work and in your daily life? Advancing the Rule of Law Now is so appropriate for the societal climate. To me, this theme communicates the idea that everyone can, should, and will be held accountable — by the same standards based on law, not by discretionary powers. The absence of equally applying the rule of law is what fuels me in my work and daily life.
DISTINGUISHED CITIZEN AWARD
Retiring Executive Director of the San Diego Law Library Why do you serve? Service is just a natural part of life, starting with taking out the trash, washing the dishes, and mowing the lawn for your parents. It grows from that satisfaction of helping the people you love the most and goes on from there. What/Who inspires you to serve? There are too many to name. What is one item on your bucket list? To view the aurora borealis unobstructed from a campsite in the Norwegian alps. In what ways does serving the wider community benefit the legal profession? The Law Library is a public institution serving and learning from community members all the time. Our free access to the law and legal resources transforms lives. Imagine how alone and alienated laypeople are by the complexities of our legal system. The Law Library is a little bit of a juris nirvana experience for people with legal issues who need to represent themselves in court. Not only does our work transform the lives of the people we serve, but we also change their future for the better. The practice of public law librarianship is an awesome calling and I am so proud to be part of it. The SDCBA Law Day theme this year is “Advancing the Rule of Law Now.” What does this theme mean to you in your work and in your daily life? This theme is one of the pillars of law libraries everywhere. With every interaction, class, and training session, we are connecting people to the justice system. Many people can find access to justice only through our help, bringing new legal issues and diverse litigants into the legal system. This in itself advances the law as society changes. We help make that happen.
DISTINGUISHED CITIZEN AWARD
Retiring Executive Director of Lawyers Club of San Diego Why do you serve? I derive deep satisfaction and joy from serving Lawyers Club and its members, particularly first-time board members, and sharing skills and knowledge gained over my long career. To be recognized by the SDCBA for this award is overwhelming and a fitting punctuation of my retirement. What/Who inspires you to serve? I am inspired by people who are kind, generous with themselves and their time, and selfless. What is your favorite quote? “The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day. After all, a movement is only people moving.” — Gloria Steinem How can others make giving back part of their daily lives? Pay it forward daily in small ways to see what benefits you gain and how it fits into your life. The SDCBA Law Day theme this year is “Advancing the Rule of Law Now.” What does this theme mean to you in your work and in your daily life? “Advancing the Rule of Law Now” to me means no exceptions to the law for the wealthy, the powerful, or the privileged.
DISTINGUISHED CITIZEN AWARD
Retiring Executive Director of the North County Bar Association Why do you serve? Initially, working in a law office was a good job for a Marine Corps wife with children. Once I started bar association-related work, it became a professional calling. What/Who inspires you to serve? Helping facilitate members’ efforts to achieve professional fulfillment, particularly by helping to make connections, has been extremely fulfilling. What advice would you give others to inspire them to serve? Lawyers are good people who deserve respect and assistance in their professional lives. What is your favorite quote? “Don’t leave for tomorrow what you can do today!” In what ways does serving the wider community benefit the legal profession? Our work, particularly in the lawyer referral service area, is intended to help people get assistance through the legal system instead of resorting to self-help.
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FROM COURTROOMS TO ZOOM ROOMS How the San Diego County High School Mock Trial Competition Pivoted to All-Virtual in 2021 By Ron Marcus
he 2020 High School Mock Trial Competition was a rousing success. By the numbers, 607 students from 32 high schools competed, with four rounds of competition and 69 trials. 75 attorneys served as volunteer coaches, 255 attorneys volunteered as scorers, and there were 75 courtroom monitors too. But the numbers can’t tell the story of how the lives of all involved, from students and teachers to attorneys and judges, were inexorably enhanced by the experience. The best evidence of this was the Superior Court jury lounge on the final day of competition, packed with hundreds of teens and their adult supporters whooping and cheering as the 2020 winners were announced. That was February 22, 2020. Just one month later, the county, state, and much of the country were on COVID-19 lockdown. The euphoria of one of the best years in the competition’s 14-year history was immediately replaced with doubt, and the question, “What now?” It would be natural to assume that, like so many programs that were canceled last year with schools in lockdown, the competition would need to take a year off. Indeed, Hon. Laura J. Birkmeyer, co-Chair of the Mock Trial committee since 2017 and Chair for 2021, had heard from at least one colleague, “Well, if you have to skip a year, you have to skip a year.” But then the San Diego High School Mock Trial committee heard from teachers and coaches. With so many other school programs canceled or deferred to the following spring, it was clear that the students really needed the competition to go on, some way, somehow. Encouragingly, the Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF), sponsor of the statewide competition, was moving forward with the program virtually. So was Los Angeles County, which puts on the largest competition in the state. The decision became a fait accompli: the San Diego County competition must go on!
Thank goodness for Zoom, which became the primary platform for the competition. Deciding to use Zoom was easy; figuring out how to coordinate hundreds of participants in multiple Zoom breakout rooms was not. Fortuitously, members of the Mock Trial Committee were able to volunteer at the Los Angeles competition in late 2020, gaining valuable insight into how it could be done. This, plus countless hours of planning and administration work, resulted in a process that worked remarkably well — from the advance remote training sessions for teachers, students, judges, coaches, scorers, and monitors, to the competition and closing award ceremonies. Despite missing out on being in physical courtrooms and working together in person, the students got largely the same benefits as students had in the past — gaining confidence, sharpening speaking skills, forging new friendships, learning the justice system, and, for many, becoming inspired to pursue a future career in the law. Many students considered it one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives. Teachers did too. In the end, 28 teams and 548 students competed in 6 rounds of competition. 54 state and federal judges/ commissioners presided over 60 trials. 80 attorneys volunteered to coach teams and 148 helped score the competition. These would be great numbers in any year, made all the more remarkable by the unprecedented challenges that were overcome during the pandemic. With 2022 on the horizon, the Mock Trial committee is excited not only to resume in-person competition, but to also take everything that was learned in lockdown about leveraging technology and create the best mock trial competition experience yet for everyone.
Ron Marcus is the SDCBA’s Director of Marketing & Outreach. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY THROUGH NONLEGAL OPPORTUNITIES A SAN DIEGO LAWYER’S VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE AT A LOCAL FOOD BANK By Julie T. Houth
mid an unprecedented health crisis, local San Diego lawyer, Ashley Salas, decided to help her community by volunteering at The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank (SDFB). Ashley grew up in San Diego and graduated from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in 2015. She’s been a staff attorney with The Utility Reform Network (TURN) since 2016. TURN advocates for safe, affordable, and reliable communications and energy utility services in front of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). She also volunteers with a local nonprofit wildlife conservation organization — Global Conservation Force, Inc. (GCF). GCF supports anti-poaching rangers and communities living near and around high-wildlifetrafficking areas; she also provides wildlife conservation education. Ashley’s extracurricular activities are pro bono in nature. She started volunteering at the SDFB when a good friend — a travel nurse during the pandemic — put out a call for volunteers. “Apparently, many of the regular food bank volunteers were at high risk of complications from COVID-19 and the food bank needed volunteers,” she said, leading her to answer the call by volunteering a handful of times since the start of the pandemic. She usually volunteers with her friend and says that it gives them an opportunity to safely catch up while serving the community. When asked about a typical volunteer session at the SDFB, Ashley said, “Sessions start at 6 p.m. and last
about two hours. Prior to entering the warehouse, the SDFB staff provides a briefing in which they describe what type of produce the volunteers will be packaging for families. The produce includes kiwis, lemons, oranges, and onions. Inside the warehouse, volunteers sort through boxes of produce, discarding any damaged produce and bagging the good produce for later distribution to families. By the end of the two hours, the volunteers have collectively packaged thousands of pounds of produce.” She notes that the SDFB is open to all volunteers during this time because the number of families the SDFB supports has grown exponentially. She feels that it is important for her to give back to the community, to help folks overcome poverty, and to prevent folks from going into poverty. “Helping at the food bank was a way I could provide direct support for our communities to get through the pandemic.” Although it’s been over a year since the pandemic began, one thing is clear — we are all in this together. Ashley’s experience is an example of how lawyers across the county can respond to the needs of their local community in a non-legal fashion during and after the pandemic.
Julie T. Houth (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a staff attorney at Robbins, Geller, Rudman & Dowd LLP and co-editor of San Diego Lawyer.
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WHY I SERVE AS A FEE ARBITRATOR
Charles L. Deem Partner, DLA Piper LLP (U.S.) Commercial Litigation Attorney
How did you first learn of the SDCBA fee arbitration program? I was a relatively new litigation associate at a San Diego law firm when a supervising attorney informed me that they needed me to testify at a county bar association fee arbitration hearing between the client and the firm. I liked the dispute resolution goals of the fee arbitration program and committed to becoming involved when I had a few more years in practice.
Carla Nasoff Nasoff Mediation Civil Trial Attorney, Private Mediator/Arbitrator
The SDCBA Fee Arbitration program offers lawyers an opportunity to serve the community as a pro bono volunteer assisting those who need to resolve serious issues involving attorney fees.
What aspects do you enjoy most about the fee arbitration program? The fee arbitration program provides me a chance to give back to the community by helping clients and attorneys to resolve fee disputes. Matters with an amount in controversy over $25,000 involve a threearbitrator panel, consisting of two lawyers and a nonlawyer member. The ability to work with others and to see their points of view is often very enlightening. What have you learned from serving as an arbitrator? Many of the fee disputes I have seen arise from a failure of communication on the part of the attorney or the client or both. My service as an arbitrator has taught me the value of effective two-way communication to manage expectations and avoid surprises.
First, it is a well-run program. The applicants and respondents are provided a quality team in order to provide a resolution to their fee dispute. Second, the panel of arbitrators are seasoned professionals who are often selected in the same area of specialty as the disputed matter. This provides a familiarity to the custom and practices for each matter.
How did you first learn of the SDCBA fee arbitration program? I first learned of the SDCBA fee arbitration program in the late 1990s when I was asked to participate in the Temporary Judge program. I have been involved in the fee arbitration program ever since.
Third, the deliberations with lay and attorney arbitrators provide a balance from different perspectives. What have you learned from serving as an arbitrator? There are many ways that a seemingly simple fee agreement may turn into a complex legal matter. At
What aspects do you enjoy most about the fee arbitration program? There are many aspects that I personally enjoy about the fee arbitration program.
times, the fundamental task of the arbitrators is to determine the legislative intent so as to effectuate the laws' purpose. I have learned the best written decisions are those that place the reader in the arbitration room where the evidence presented is explained and the law is applied to the facts.
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James Pokorny ADR Services, Inc. Mediator
How did you first learn of the SDCBA fee arbitration program? I first learned of the SDCBA fee arbitration program decades ago. Though I did my best to keep all of my clients happy, from time to time things did not go as well as the client wanted. I found myself in a fee arbitration hearing before three very well-experienced professionals, each of whom paid close attention to the client’s position as well as the points I raised at the hearing. The matter was resolved in my favor, but most importantly, what I took from the hearing was that it was a valuable tool for clients, by which they could have a real say in the process without the restraints of legalese. The process offered a level playing field with fair and equitable results.
What aspects do you enjoy most about the fee arbitration program? I most enjoy what I learned from my own arbitration: allowing clients a free range to express their feelings and positions regarding their former counsel. The interplay can get personal and sometimes awkward, but ultimately a ruling is issued. Ideally, the ruling explains its basis in order that it can serve as a learning experience for both counsel as well as client. What have you learned from serving as an arbitrator? I have learned that arbitrating is serious business, which can and does impact both lawyers and clients. Being what amounts to a judge is a quantum shift from the realm of advocacy, and can be genuinely challenging. Drafting a reasoned conclusion is intellectually satisfying but can be hard work as well. I would encourage practitioners to apply for the program as a way of giving back to the Bar as well as the community.
JOIN THE SDCBA PRO BONO FEE ARBITRATION PROGRAM The SDCBA Fee Arbitration program offers parties an opportunity to resolve fee disputes as an alternative to taking disputes to court. We're looking for attorneys and members of the public to volunteer to become arbitrators. This is an opportunity to serve the community as a pro bono volunteer by assisting those who need to resolve serious issues involving attorney fees (the position is not compensated).
How it Works Fee Arbitration hearings usually last half a day. A written document of Findings and Award is prepared based on the decision of the Arbitration Panel. Procedural matters are handled by the Coordinator of the Fee Arbitration Committee of the County Bar Association and the Presiding Arbitrator for each panel. Arbitrators are assigned to only one matter at a time and may serve as frequently as requested. Matters are set for hearing at mutually agreeable times.
For more information visit: www.sdcba.org/joinfeearb or contact Michelle Chavez at email@example.com
A SNAPSHOT OF UNLAWFUL DETAINER ACTIONS DURING THE PANDEMIC By Michael G. Olinik
n March 2020, the pandemic caused the laws involving unlawful detainer actions to be thrown into chaos. With both state and federal protections set to expire on June 30, 2021, now is a good time to take
of COVID-19 rental debt in small claims courts, but those small claims actions cannot be commenced, as of now, until August 1, 2021.
stock of the current state of the law and how it evolved throughout the pandemic.
The law also restricted the court’s ability to find tenants guilty of unlawful detainer for reasons other than nonpayment of rent. Tenants could only be guilty of unlawful detainer if: 1) the tenant was guilty of unlawful detainer before March 1, 2020; 2) the tenant failed to provide a hardship declaration in response to a 15-day notice; or 3) the tenancy was terminated for a just cause reason from § 1946.2, even if just cause would not otherwise be required and subject to other further restrictions. In practice, as long as a tenant complied with the statute, they should not face eviction due to the failure to pay rent until after June 30, 2021. To proceed with an eviction under § 1161 for reasons other than unpaid monetary obligations, the landlord would need just cause for the eviction.
The legislature addressed residential evictions through AB 3088, which took effect on September 1, 2020 to replace Judicial Emergency Rule 1. The law was amended in January 2021 with SB 91 to extend its protections through June 30, 2021. Though the laws include other tenant protections, the major changes to unlawful detainer actions were codified in Cal. Code Civ. P. § 1179.01 et seq, known as the COVID-19 Tenant Protection Act. The laws do not offer protections for commercial tenancies or evictions stemming from foreclosures. For nonpayment of rent, any residential monetary payments under a lease due from March 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021 are considered COVID-19 rental debt. To start an unlawful detainer for unpaid COVID-19 rental debt, a landlord must provide a separate notice regarding a COVID-19 hardship declaration, a 15-day notice instead of a 3-day notice, and a blank hardship declaration. For rents due before September 1, 2020, if a tenant submits a hardship declaration, they are protected from eviction entirely. For rents due after September 1, 2020 until June 30, 2021, the tenant must submit the hardship declaration and must pay the landlord 20% of the rent due after September 1, 2020 by June 30, 2021 to be protected from eviction. A tenant is still obligated for unpaid COVID-19 rental debt, but those amounts cannot be used as a basis for eviction. The statute expanded the jurisdiction of small claims court to allow landlords to seek recovery 34
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In order to cut back on the number of potential cases at the expiration of these protections, SB 91 also established the State Rental Assistance Program. This program encourages eligible tenants and landlords to work together to request rental assistance, providing landlords with 80% of all unpaid rental debt due from April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021 in exchange for waiver of the remaining 20%. For many landlords, this compromise is the best opportunity they have for collecting money that came due during that period. If a landlord refuses to participate, a tenant may, on their own, apply for 25% of prospective rent. In addition to state law, tenants may also be protected by a CDC-initiated eviction moratorium. In order to avoid eviction under the CDC order, a tenant must submit a CDC declaration to their landlord. The protections currently expire on June 30, 2021. This order may protect a tenant even if an eviction is
permitted under California law, so a landlord who receives a CDC declaration may violate the CDC Order even if they have a writ of possession from a California court. There will likely be additional changes in the law in June 2021, though the changes will depend on the continued progress in vaccinating against COVID-19. Regardless of the changes, the courts will still have to deal with a backlog of cases. The State Rental Assistance Program will hopefully reduce the backlog, but while the sunset of the special COVID-19 rules may be in sight, there is no ending for the stress of both tenants and landlords as they navigate their way through the pandemic like a ship through the Suez Canal. To provide more detailed information about the current state of unlawful detainers and rental assistance, the Real Property Section of the San Diego County Bar Association held a CLE on this issue on March 12, 2021 titled “The Effects of COVID-19 on Landlord/Tenant Law.” The CLE includes 1.5 hours of CLE credit and can be found at https://bit.ly/2RLilWk.
Editorial Note: On May 4, 2021, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance under the County's emergency powers. The ordinance applies to all unlawful detainer actions that are not based on the non-payment of rent, including actions not regulated by the COVID-19 Tenant Protection Act. Once effective, the Ordinance retroactively invalidates all pending notices issued since the COVID-19 emergency began and requires any unlawful detainer not based upon nonpayment of rent to show just cause and an imminent threat to health and safety to proceed, which must be included in the notice. The law creates a cause of action against any landlord who takes any action to evict someone while it is in effect, including inducing someone to leave their property voluntarily and executing a writ of possession if the landlord has already received a judgment. The ordinance takes effect June 4, 2021 unless it is enjoined by the courts, and will last for 60 days after the governor lifts all COVID-19 stay-athome and work-at-home orders.
Michael G. Olinik (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the owner of The Law Office of Michael G. Olinik. Michael’s practice focuses on real estate matters, employment matters, civil litigation, and appeals.
RESOLVED: RESOLVE LAW SAN DIEGO By George W. Brewster Jr.
n April 2020, in what we now know to be just the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Presiding Judge of the San Diego Superior Court, Lorna Alksne, appeared in a bench/bar webinar sponsored by many of the legal organizations in San Diego and hosted by the SDCBA. The stats at that time were overwhelming, with a shuttered court drowning in a backlog of nearly 20,000 criminal cases and nearly as many civil cases, with many more to be added. Civil trials were not going forward — and this held true for all of 2020 and into 2021. When asked what the Bar could do to help, Alksne sought community support and understanding. Out of this chaos arose one of the largest volunteer
of the historical commitment the San Diego legal community has to public service and civility.” According to Martel, who wrote about the program for the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, RLSD was the inspiration for several states to start similar programs of their own. In San Diego, the volunteers/neutrals agreed to mediate cases via Zoom or conference call, and participants were told that the mediation was limited to a two-hour session and briefs were to be no more than five pages, with 10 or fewer exhibits. If the matter did not resolve, the neutrals had the discretion to volunteer additional time or end the hearing.
efforts within the legal community, called RESOLVE Law San Diego (RLSD) and chaired by Amy Martel, a partner at Chihak & Martel. Other members of the RLSD committee (a mix of plaintiff and defense attorneys) were David Casey Jr., Heather Rosing, Ben Bunn, William Low, Deborah Dixon, Ben Cramer, Alan Brubaker, and Carroll Kelly. The stated goal of this program was to provide free mediation and referee services to civil litigants, and in a call for volunteers, RLSD recruited (with the help of 21 sponsoring bar organizations and four mediation companies) 274 lawyers and retired judges. The program officially launched May 27, 2020 and ended on January 31, 2021. “In 45 days we created the entire framework for the program, raised the necessary funds, recruited 274 neutrals, gained the support of virtually every local bar association, and launched the program. In eight months, the program handled 110 cases, all for free!” said Martel.
The participating parties were allowed to select from the list of volunteers. Martel noted that many of the retired judges/professional mediators were assigned multiple cases (in at least two instances, a retired judge and a professional mediator each were assigned six), while other volunteers did not receive any assignments. Alan Brubaker handled four assigned matters, settling three. He viewed all as “positive experiences.” He also took one of his own cases to RESOLVE Law, but it did not settle and instead became the first civil jury trial in the San Diego Superior Court in over a year. Of the 110 assigned matters, the number successfully concluded in this process is unknown, as that data was not collected. Martel, however, said she was “thrilled that the program was able to provide quick, effective, and free services to that many people. I would have zero hesitation and would absolutely do it all over again.”
According to a summary of the effort on the San Diego County Bar Foundation website, “The success of RESOLVE Law is a direct result of the entire community coming together for the common good and is reflective
George W. Brewster Jr. (email@example.com) is a retired attorney after 35 years of practice, including JAG, private practice, and the last 30 with the County of San Diego, Office of County Counsel.
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BUILDING LAWYERS AS LEADERS —WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER RUNNING FOR THE SDCBA BOARD, NOW OR LATER By Johanna Schiavoni
ne of my great honors as the SDCBA’s Immediate Past President is to serve this year as Chair of our Leadership Outreach
Committee — or the “LOC,” as we affectionately call it! The LOC works to recruit potential candidates to run
For this year’s Board election, here are the important dates to keep in mind: • Self-nomination deadline: 5:00 p.m. on Monday, August 2, 2021
for the Board of Directors and New Lawyer Division
• Notice to candidates: Tuesday, August 3, 2021
• Deadline to withdraw: 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 31, 2021
Recruitment often is a multi-year process, and our LOC
• Deadline for all candidate materials: 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 31, 2021
works hard year-over-year to bring new lawyers into the fold. Our goal is to encourage you to see yourself as the leader you are, and help you find ways to step into leadership roles. Indeed, one of the SDCBA’s strategic priorities for 2020-22 is “Build Lawyers as Leaders,” and that includes building lawyers as leaders within our Association. To be eligible to run for the Board, you must (a) be an active SDCBA Attorney Member for at least 3 of the last 5 years, (b) have been licensed to practice law at least 7 years, and (c) have demonstrated leadership experience, which may be achieved by: (i) serving as chair of an SDCBA Section or Committee, (ii) serving as a member of another non-profit organization’s Board (law-related or community), or (iii) similar experience as determined by the LOC and ratified by the Board before
• Voting period: October 13 – November 12, 2021 The LOC itself is made up of a diverse cross-section of former SDCBA Board members and non-board members who have broad reach into all corners of our legal community, through our affinity and specialty bar associations and other organizations. It is vital to the future of the SDCBA that we continue to bring in a diverse set of committed and talented lawyers to lead the Association for decades to come. We hope you will consider joining us — now, or in a future year. If you have any questions or want to learn more, please feel welcome to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://bit.ly/3hVRscZ.
the self-nomination deadline. (For more on the eligibility criteria, see the SDCBA’s Bylaws: https://bit.ly/3fLi3Hf) Over the summer, we will be hosting a few virtual “info sessions” where you can hear from past Board members about How to Run for the SDCBA Board and Why Serve.
Johanna Schiavoni is an appellate lawyer handling complex civil appeals and writs through her practice at California Appellate Law Group LLP. She was the 2020 President of the San Diego County Bar Association and the 2013-14 President of Lawyers Club of San Diego.
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WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU MISS A COURT DEADLINE By Hon. Kenneth J. Medel 1. Recognize certain missed deadlines are unfixable, e.g., statute of limitations, some government claims, MSJ, and Motion for New Trial filing dates. 2. Call, Zoom, or meet in person with opposing counsel. Avoid initial communications in writing, which frequently petrify positions. Contritely express the human side of the problem to facilitate a practical solution. Stick to the truth. 3. Set an Ex Parte Hearing requesting both immediate relief and to shorten time for a formal motion. A willing judge may be forced to deny relief if a formal motion is legally required, but you have not asked for one. If you missed a deadline to file motion papers, serve discovery responses, or file an answer/response to the complaint, you must have your late documents ready to file.
4. Under CCP § 473(b), the Court has discretion to provide relief from any judgment, order, or other adverse action resulting from mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect. If the mistake by either attorney or client could have happened to an ordinary person, the standard is whether “a reasonably prudent person under the same or similar circumstances might have made the same error.” But if it is attorney conduct that falls below “the professional standard of care, such as failure to timely object or to properly advance an argument,” then it is not excusable. Under 473(b), the Court must grant relief if the attorney files an affidavit describing mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or neglect (note “excusable” is absent) and the error caused “a default resulting in a default judgment, or a default judgment or dismissal.” You can read Judge Medel’s full article at https://blawg401.com/missing-deadlines.
The offending attorney should appear at the hearing; do not send an innocent colleague or associate. The supervising lawyer who attends the hearing should take ultimate responsibility for an error made by an associate or support staff.
Hon. Kenneth J. Medel, Hall of Justice, Department 66, Civil IC, San Diego Superior Court.
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TO OUR PATRON & FRIEND MEMBERS
The SDCBA gratefully acknowledges the generous commitment of members who support our community at the Patron and Friend membership levels. You can become a Patron or Friend member when you activate or renew your membership online, or by request at any time. If you are interested in upgrading, contact email@example.com. For more information, please contact our Member Services Department at (619) 231-0781 x3505. Patron and Friend member lists as of May 10, 2021.
PATRON MEMBERS Marc D. Adelman Doc Anthony Anderson III Mylinh Uy Arnett Jane Allison Austin Danielle Patricia Barger Hon. Victor E. Bianchini (Ret.) Jedd E. Bogage James A. Bush Adriana Cara Hon. Jose S. Castillo Andy Cook Steven T. Coopersmith Ezekiel E. Cortez Taylor Darcy Warren K. Den John A. Don Willliam O. Dougherty Hon. Bonnie M. Dumanis (Ret.) Alexander Isaac Dychter
Matthew J. Faust Sergio Feria Nicholas J. Fox James P. Frantz Matthew David Freeman Jennifer French Erin M. Funderburk Douglas A. Glass Alvin M. Gomez Van E. Haynie Matthew C. Hervey Stephen M. Hogan A. Melissa Johnson Carla B. Keehn Sara M. Kelley Carolyn M. Landis Lilys D. McCoy Jillian M. Minter Virginia C. Nelson
Ron H. Oberndorfer Anthony J. Passante, Jr. Kristin Rizzo Ana M. Sambold Wendi E. Santino Thomas P. Sayer Johanna S. Schiavoni Pamela J. Scholefield Wilson Adam Schooley Khodadad Darius Sharif Hon. Stephanie Sontag (Ret.) Renée N.G. Stackhouse Todd F. Stevens Christopher J. Sunnen Genevieve A. Suzuki Thomas J. Warwick Andrew H. Wilensky Karen M. ZoBell
FRIEND MEMBERS Rochelle A'Hearn Alison K. Adelman Pedro Bernal Bilse Jivaka A.R. Candappa Linda Cianciolo David B. Dugan
Michelle Ann Gastil Ronald Leigh Greenwald Mark Kaufman Randall E. Kay Matthew J. Norris Anne Perry
Kristi E. Pfister Blanca Quintero Stella Shvil Michael A. Van Horne
WHY I BELONG S. IVETTE KUYATEH Kuyateh Law Group Areas of practice: Wills/Trusts/Estate Planning, Domestic Violence, Immigration, and Plaintiff’s Employment Law
Family: My husband (Sheik) and our daughters Tianna (22), Laura (16), Selena (15), Nevaeh (14), and Kaira (1). What initially inspired you to practice law? Growing up, my family and I were victims of a violent crime and I decided I wanted to be an advocate for other families who had lost loved ones from domestic and gun violence. Proudest career moment: Hanging my own shingle. The bold move of venturing out as a solopreneur spoke volumes about the growth and confidence I had developed as a lawyer and businesswoman. It made every sacrifice and hardship my family and I endured feel absolutely worth it. What fills your time outside of work? Growing with my husband and raising #fiercehappygirls every day. Other than that, whatever God has me on assignment. I serve on two SDCBA committees, a victim advocacy board, and put on two women’s conferences
every year. I also coach entrepreneurs, mentor aspiring lawyers, and serve at our home church, Rock Church. “If I weren’t an attorney, I’d be …” ... trying to be one. I honestly can’t see myself doing anything else that doesn’t include practicing law in some capacity. Writing books as I travel the world, however, does sound intriguing for future seasons of my life. What is your favorite movie, book, or TV show? Sheik and I are huge Downton Abbey fans. Different time periods and cultures are fascinating to me. When I was in law school, Grey’s Anatomy was my go-to show. It always made me feel better about my decision to drop out of my pre-med classes. No regrets here! What one skill has helped you be successful as an attorney, and how could others develop that skill to better their practices? Listening. Listening to what is said and to what is not being said has made me a better lawyer during trials, in litigation, but more importantly, in my relationship with my clients. Clients trust us with some of the most important problems of their lives. Whether we prevail or not, they will always remember if you took the time to truly understand what mattered to them and advocated from there. I encourage others to remember every case and client are different and require a unique strategy. It is our job to listen carefully and create the best strategy for each client. What would you most like to be known for? I want my life to be a story that reflects a testimony that nothing is impossible with God.
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THANK YOU 100 PERCENT CLUB 2021 The San Diego County Bar Association wants to thank all of the San Diego law firms, public agencies, and nonprofit legal organizations that have provided SDCBA membership to 100% of their attorneys in 2021. Your commitment to the San Diego legal community is greatly appreciated.
Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP Ames Karanjia LLP Antonyan Miranda, LLP Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo, APLC Balestreri Potocki & Holmes ALC Beamer, Lauth, Steinley & Bond, LLP Bender & Gritz, APLC Best Best & Krieger, LLP Blackmar, Principe & Schmelter APC Blanchard Krasner & French Bobbitt, Pinckard& Fields, APC Bonnie R. Moss & Associates Brierton, Jones & Jones, LLP Burke, Williams & Sorensen LLP Burton Kelley, LLP Casey Gerry Schenk Francavilla Blatt & Penfield, LLP Christensen & Spath LLP Cohelan Khoury & Singer Devaney Pate Morris & Cameron, LLP Dietz, Gilmor & Chazen, APC District Attorney’s Office Donald R. Holben & Associates, APC Driscoll Anderson Reynard LLP Duckor Spradling Metzger & Wynne ALC Dunn DeSantis Walt & Kendrick, LLP Erickson Law Firm APC Farmer Case & Fedor Ferris & Britton, APC Finch, Thornton & Baird, LLP Fisher Phillips LLP Fleischer & Ravreby Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP Gatzke Dillon & Ballance LLP Gomez Trial Attorneys Goodwin Brown Gross & Lovelace LLP
Graham Hollis APC Green Bryant & French, LLP Greene & Roberts LLP Grimm, Vranjes & Greer, LLP Hahn Loeser & Parks, LLP Henderson, Caverly, Pum & Trytten LLP Higgs Fletcher & Mack LLP Hoffman & Forde Hooper, Lundy & Bookman, PC Horton Oberrecht & Kirkpatrick, APC Hughes & Pizzuto, APC Jackson Lewis PC Johnson Fistel LLP Judkins, Glatt & Rich LLP JWB Family Law Kennedy & Souza, APC Klinedinst PC Koeller, Nebeker, Carlson & Haluck, LLP Konoske Akiyama | Brust LLP Kriger Law Firm Latham & Watkins, LLP Law Offices of Beatrice L. Snider, APC Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Inc. Lincoln Gustafson & Cercos LLP Mara Law Firm, APLC McCloskey, Waring, Waisman & Drury LLP McDougal, Love, Eckis, Boehmer, Foley, Lyon & Mitchell Miller, Monson, Peshel, Polacek & Hoshaw MoginRubin LLP Moore, Schulman & Moore, APC Musick, Peeler & Garrett LLP Neil, Dymott, Frank, McCabe & Hudson APLC Niddrie | Addams | Fuller | Singh LLP Noonan Lance Boyer & Banach LLP Office of the Public Defender
Office of the San Diego City Attorney Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton LLP Pettit Kohn Ingrassia Lutz & Dolin PC Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP Preovolos Lewin, ALC Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP Pyle Sims Duncan & Stevenson APC Rowe | Mullen LLP San Diego County Counsel San Diego Unified Port District Sandler, Lasry, Laube, Byer & Valdez LLP Schulz Brick & Rogaski Schwartz Semerdjian Cauley & Moot LLP Seltzer|Caplan|McMahon|Vitek ALC Sharif | Faust Lawyers, Ltd. Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP Shustak Reynolds & Partners, PC Siegel, Moreno & Stettler, APC Smith, Steiner, Vanderpool, APC Solomon, Grindle, Lidstad & Wintringer, APC Solomon Minton Cardinal Doyle & Smith LLP Solomon Ward Seidenwurm & Smith, LLP Stokes Wagner ALC Sullivan Hill Rez & Engel Sullivan, McGibbons & Associates LLP Tresp, Day & Associates, Inc. Walsh McKean Furcolo LLP Webb Law Group Wilson Turner Kosmo LLP Winet Patrick Gayer Creighton & Hanes ALC Wingert Grebing Brubaker & Juskie LLP Wirtz Law Witham Mahoney & Abbott, LLP Withers Bergman LLP Wright, L’Estrange & Ergastolo
Distinctions The following individuals in our community were recently honored for their achievements. If you achieve a professional success, feel welcome to submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion in an upcoming issue of San Diego Lawyer.
After nineteen years with San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program, Inc., Chief Executive Officer Amy Fitzpatrick, is stepping down at the end of July.
CaseyGerry has promoted Srinivas Hanumadass to partner. As a graduate of the American Association for Justice’s Leadership Academy, Hanumadass is also a recent recipient of the “Outstanding Service to Community Award” from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law (TJSL).
Passings William (Bill) Tyson began his legal career in San Diego in 1962, following graduation at the University of Michigan Law School. After a year or so with McInnis & Fitzgerald, he opened his own personal injury practice, devoting his talent to those who were injured. He served on the Board of SDTLA and was awarded Trial Lawyer of the Year. Gordon Churchill joined Tyson and they moved offices from downtown to Mission Valley. In the mid-70s, the firm recovered one of the largest local verdicts in bad faith insurance litigation against Farmers. His sons, Matthew and Zachary, were admitted to the bar and practice in San Diego. His passing was peaceful on Sunday, April 11, 2021. He is survived by his gracious wife, Martha, their two sons, and four grandchildren. Memorial services will be held at the Miramar Military Base in May.
KEITH FISHER DEPUTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
What are your main responsibilities at the Bar? It changes constantly! How long have you been working at the Bar? Almost two years. What is your favorite part of your job? Great group of people to work with – great environment. What is your favorite movie and why? On Golden Pond — it reminds me of my crusty New England family! What’s your favorite quote? “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” — Walt Disney What do you love about San Diego? Life is pretty darned good in this city — it's home.
SAN DIEGO LAWYER
Mixing it Up: Annual Spring Celebration of Diversity Each spring, the SDCBA’s Committee on Diversity & Inclusion brings together our local diversity bars and law-related organizations to celebrate the rich diversity of our legal community. This year’s virtual event highlighted our diversity, equity, and inclusion accomplishments, including the new Diversity Pledge, Dialogue on Diversity Series, Exchange on Equity Roundtables, Anti-Racism Resources, virtual Diversity Fellowship Program, and more!
Blanca Quintero and Renée N.G. Stackhouse
Top L-R: Ron Marcus, Alex Calero, Anna M. Romanskaya; Middle L-R: Bhashini Weerasinghe, Keith Fisher, Linda Keller; Bottom L-R: Sed Zangana, Wendy Patrick
State of the Court Address: San Diego Superior Court Presiding Judge Lorna A. Alksne of the San Diego Superior Court joined the SDCBA for an update on our local trial courts and ongoing operations in light of the pandemic.
Hon. Lorna A. Alksne
SAN DIEGO LAWYER
Renée N.G. Stackhouse
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