San Diego Lawyer July/August 2023

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FEATURING: Humans Only! How the Use of Generative AI May Cause You to Lose Your Rights Leadership in Action! What to Do When … You Need to Ask for a Raise ® ® JUL/AUG 2023


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For over 75 years, CaseyGerry has set the gold standard for personal injury litigation in San Diego. And an important part of that is working with other lawyers and firms who refer to us their cases and clients they hold dear. We are honored that so many lawyers have chosen to associate with us on preeminent matters, whether it is representing the families of Tony Gwynn or Junior Seau, or helping to redefine the law, such as establishing strict liability against Amazon for the first time. We are proud of the standard of excellence we have maintained and look forward to working with you on your most difficult or challenging cases in the future.

After his accident, I referred Peter to Casey Gerry because he needed help from real lawyers. After they battled for him, they achieved the largest settlement in San Diego history against the U.S. government in a motor vehicle accident for $10 million dollars. I am so happy for Peter that I got him over to Casey Gerry. They made all the difference.

Before referring my clients to Casey Gerry, it was important to know that they understood the value and the serious brain injury case and could handle going up against the United States of America as a defendant. They agreed with me that it could be an 8-figure case and they followed through to make that happen. I’m glad for my clients that I made the decision to refer them to Casey Gerry.”

When I selected a firm to work with me in representing the Tony Gwynn family against the dip tobacco industry, in this groundbreaking case, I needed a firm with gravitas, detailed knowledge of sophisticated legal doctrines, and the ability to take on one of the most challenging corporate entities in the United States. My decision was to select Casey Gerry for the Gwynn family, I’m glad I did. They were great to work with.

110 LAUREL ST. • SAN DIEGO, CA 92101 • T (619) 238-1811 CASEYGERRY.COM CASEYGERRYLAW CASEYGERRY CASEYGERRY Serious Personal Injury I Wrongful Death I E-commerce Product Liability Product Liability I Traumatic Brain Injury I Aviation Litigation Automobile Accidents I Spinal Cord Injury I Complex Litigation I Class Actions

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No Good Deed...

TECHNOLOGY Tech Tips and Tidbits




50 Years Ago in DICTA by George W.


Get to Know Jamilek Nova



Nic Hagan

Director of Business Development


Community members honored for their achievements







RECOGNIZING BLACK ATTORNEYS IN SAN DIEGO'S TECH COMMUNITY Isaac Jackson in conversation with Elizabeth Cotton-Harps




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17 46 36 11 Page 41 41 26 27 18 20 23 39 30 42 8 35 45 25 21 33 LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SAN DIEGO COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION 2023 SAN DIEGO LAWYER | July/August 2023 5


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. For more information about upgrading, please contact

Patron and Friend member lists as of August 2023


Marc D. Adelman

Alicia Aquino

Danielle Patricia Barger

Hon. Victor E. Bianchini (Ret.)

Jedd E. Bogage

Tanisha Bostick

James A. Bush

Andy Cook

Steven T. Coopersmith

Ezekiel E. Cortez

Tricia D'Ambrosio-Woodward

Taylor Darcy

Warren K. Den

John A. Don

William O. Dougherty

Alexander Isaac Dychter

James J. Eischen Jr.

Matthew J. Faust

Sergio Feria

Nicholas J. Fox

James P. Frantz

Michelle Ann Gastil

Olivia J. Gilliam

Douglas A. Glass

Alvin M. Gomez

Nicole L. Heeder

Stephen M. Hogan

Ted Holmquist

Melissa Johnson

James Michael Johnson

Stacey A. Kartchner

Carla B. Keehn

Garrison "Bud" Klueck

Hon. Lilys D. McCoy

Mark M. Mercer

Peter P. Meringolo

Jillian M. Minter

Virginia C. Nelson

Ron H. Oberndorfer

Deborah A. Ortega

Anthony J. Passante

Frank J. Polek

Kristin Rizzo

Ana M. Sambold

Pamela J. Scholefield

Seana Kelly Scholtemeyer

Khodadad Darius Sharif

Elisabeth Silva

David G. Sizemore

Christopher J. Sunnen

Genevieve A. Suzuki

Cassandra C. Thorson

Thomas J. Warwick

Lenden F. Webb

Jon Webster

Daniel Weiner

Andrew H. Wilensky

Karen M. ZoBell


P edro Bernal Bilse

James Gregory Boyd

Jivaka A.R. Candappa

Julie Marie K. Cepeda

Linda Cianciolo

David B. Dugan

Mark Kaufman

Randall E. Kay

Philip John Mauriello

Anne Perry

Kristi E. Pfister

Blanca Quintero

Hon. Stephanie Sontag

Peter B. Tentler

Michael A. Van Horne

Mark Richard VonderHaar

6 SAN DIEGO LAWYER | July/August 2023

Issue 4, July/August 2023

Issue no. 4. 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 of an annual subscription to members of the San Diego County Bar Association is included in their dues. Annual subscriptions to all others: $50. Single-copy price: $10.

Periodicals postage paid at San Diego, CA and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to San Diego Lawyer, 401 West A Street, Suite 1100, San Diego, CA 92101. Copyright ©2023 by the San Diego County Bar Association.

All rights reserved. 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 Committee. In addition, information presented in this magazine is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. For your specific questions, please seek advice from counsel.

Interested contributors may submit article ideas to the editors at for consideration. San Diego Lawyer reserves the right to edit all submissions, contributed articles and photographs at its sole discretion.




Genevieve A. Suzuki

Editorial Committee

Eric Alizade

George Brewster

Jodi Cleesattle

Sara Gold

Wendy House

Julie Houth

Rafael Hurtado

Gayani R. Weerasinghe

Isaac Jackson

Edward McIntyre

Michael Olinik

Stephanie Sandler

Wilson Schooley

Andrea Warren


Board of Directors


Melissa Johnson


Stacey A. Kartchner

Immediate Past President

David Majchrzak


Leslie Abrigo

Michael L. Crowley

Jason Evans

Michelle A. Gastil

Nicole Heeder

Brandon Kimura


Robert M. Shaughnessy


Fanny Yu

401 West A Street, Suite 1100, San Diego, CA 92101 Phone (619) 231-0781 • •


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Bill Baldwin

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Sasha Feredoni

Alternative Resolution Centers 9 Association Member Benefits Advisors (AMBA) 4 CaseyGerry 3 Clio 24 Frantz Law Group, APLC 38 JAMS 34 Judicate West 22 Lawyer Referral & Information Service 10 Monty A McIntyre, Esq 15 OnPoint Mediation Services 31 San Diego County Bar Foundation 32 Signature Resolution 16 Todd Bulich Real Estate Company, Inc 48 West Coast Resolution Group 43 Wheatley Mediation Services 42
San Diego Lawyer Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Division Representative
Marcel Stewart SAN DIEGO LAWYER | July/August 2023 7
Staff —


Sometime around 2000-ish, I gave our summer intern a research project. After he completed the assignment, he came into my office and told me that he had a memo and copies of the statutes and cases that he found. Because he was empty-handed, I was a bit confused about his statement that he had a memo and copies of statutes and cases that he had found. I expected that he had at least a hard copy of the memo, and maybe even the cases, but he did not. So, I started to think that he was just informing me that he had completed the assignment and he would bring the research to me later.

But then he took this odd-looking thing out of his pocket; it was flat and about as long as my thumb. He tried to hand it to me, but I refused to take this foreign object because I had absolutely no idea what it was. He told me that his research was on this little drive, and that it plugs into my computer. I am positive that I looked at him as though he had three heads and I adamantly told him that there was nowhere on my computer that this little device would plug in. He suggested that if my computer was newer (and it was) that there was a slot for this drive. Being sure that he would fail, I called his bluff and challenged him to find the place where his device would plug into my computer.

Lo and behold, there it was, a USB port that I had no idea existed. However, I still did not trust the law clerk to put this strange device in my computer because I was afraid that it would make my computer crash. He assured me that it was okay, and with trepidation, I decided to have a little trust.

This was my introduction to the flash drive, a.k.a. memory stick, jump drive, and yes, thumb drive.

As you may have gathered, I am not terribly techie, and I appreciate that my law partner, Nicole Heeder, is techier than me and that she patiently helps we wade through what I do not understand.

For as much as I distrusted the simple flash drive (which seems laughable now), I distrust AI enabled programs like ChatGPT even more. Maybe that is not rational, but why would I want to have a conversation with a computer instead of a person, or have that computer create a document for me, especially since the primary problem is the answers that ChatGPT produces have a high rate of incorrect information? And after ChatGPT made up cases, rulings and quotes for a New York lawyer who used it to help him prepare a court filing, I certainly will not trust ChatGPT to do my legal research or prepare legal documents any time soon.

8 SAN DIEGO LAWYER | July/August 2023

I understand that sellers of AI promise to make attorneys more efficient by helping us automate routine tasks such as legal research and analysis, document management, and billing. I am keeping an open mind and I see the value of using AI for tasks like e-discovery, and document automation. However, I tried to create an intelligent template in our client management software, which would automate subsequent documents, but the juice did not seem worth the squeeze because creating the intelligent template was frustrating.

Because technology changes so quickly, it can be daunting to try to keep pace. And we do not always keep an open mind to new technology because we know what works for us and we tend to think, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Larger firms have well-funded IT departments that are capable of researching and upgrading to new technology, and making the implementation easier for firm users. But solos and small firms must act largely

on their own to accomplish the same tasks. If you are not comfortable, or do not feel capable of jumping in on your own to research the latest trends and implement them in your practice, it is okay to ask for help. In fact, as members of SDCBA, we have free access to our expert technology and law practice management advisor, Adrianna Linares, who can help you and your firm with its technology and practice management needs, at no charge. This can save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars in consulting fees.

Though many of us, including me, can be slow to adopt new technology in our businesses, we should keep an open mind to the possibilities for improving our practices.

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | July/August 2023 9
Melissa Johnson is a plaintiff’s employment lawyer and a partner at Johnson Heeder LLP.  Her practice focuses on discrimination, harassment, retaliation, executive compensation, and representation of public employees.

The Better Way To Gain More Clients

The San Diego County Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) connected nearly 59,000 qualified clients with participating attorneys in 2022, resulting in almost six million dollars in legal fees earned. You could be one of those attorneys in 2023.

The public trusts LRIS as the reliable way get connected with qualified attorneys. Lawyers trust LRIS too, because we carefully pre-screen potential clients to ensure we only send you referrals that match well with your practice area.

Practically speaking, LRIS offers you the most cost-effective way to gain high-quality clients, hands down. The cost is much lower than other marketing methods, including advertising, SEO, listing/rating services, you name it (lower still with the highly-discounted LRIS enrollment fee offered to SDCBA members — your membership will immediately pay for itself).

Best of all, by participating in LRIS, you will be helping clients access quality legal services they wouldn’t find otherwise — a true win-win.

Request your LRIS application: 619.321.4150 or

San Diego & Imperial Valley Counties


Iwas a freshman in college in January 2017. I had been toying with the idea of going to law school after graduating from San Diego State University. One evening, I was procrastinating yet again and scrolling through my Twitter feed when I came across an article in The Atlantic entitled “An Army of Attorneys Descends on Dulles.” The article detailed the ACLU's victory in being granted an order of stay halting parts of then-President Donald Trump’s executive order limiting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. The article also described an “army of attorneys” showing up to Dulles Airport providing help to arriving immigrants, with signs that read “Free legal help!”

Although the decision to attend law school was not solely influenced by the article I stumbled upon in The Atlantic, it played a crucial role in solidifying my passion for pursuing a career in law. As a child, I witnessed the firsthand emotional toll that navigating the immigration process can take on people. I can still remember the moments of despair in my parents’ faces as they tried to steer through a confusing and never-ending legal process, with the goal of providing our family with a better life. I have always been driven to help those who are going through similar experiences. For me, a career in law offers an opportunity to empower and support individuals who are often marginalized or disenfranchised.

We want to hear from you.

During my two years at California Western School of Law, I had the privilege of interning at two distinguished organizations: the Legal Aid Society of San Diego and the California Innocence Project. These experiences allowed me to not only expand my legal knowledge, but also develop my capacity for empathy and understanding. At both, I was entrusted with my own set of cases, and was able to communicate with clients directly and provide guidance and support during their legal process. While both positions were different — in the former helping lower-income San Diegans maintain social benefits, and in the latter investigating claims of innocence — they both required a deep level of compassion. Both internships were pivotal in deepening my appreciation for the legal field and for individuals who take on a legal advocate role.

I hope to take my past and future experiences and grow into a compassionate and effective advocate for those who find themselves stuck in the legal world. Aspiring to be a civil rights attorney, I am committed to using my legal education and skills to make a positive impact on people’s lives. I believe that access to justice is a fundamental human right, and I am excited to work in ensuring this is a reality for all.

Michelle Irais Guitard ( is a driven thirdyear law student at California Western School of Law. She currently serves as a certified legal intern at the Public Defender’s Office of San Diego. Michelle aspires to become a civil rights attorney, advocating for equality and social change.

San Diego Lawyer welcomes article submissions from practicing attorneys and industry experts on various lawrelated topics. Interested contributors can view guidelines and submit their ideas using the form at www.sdcba. org/SDLidea. We also highly encourage the participation of diverse authors, including (but not limited to) people who have less than five years of legal practice, women, people of color, people with disabilities, and people who identify as LGBTQ+. Please read posted submission criteria carefully. Publication cannot be guaranteed, but the SDCBA appreciates and will consider all article submissions.

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | July/August 2023 11


A recurring series where fictional characters discuss real ethics scenarios Macbeth, a long-recognized expert in legal ethics, professional responsibility, and the law of lawyering is joined by Duncan, his nephew, and Sara, the very bright newest member of the firm


Macbeth opened the Zoom window to an anxious face.

“Thanks, Macbeth, for meeting on Zoom.”

“Of course, Phil. Sara’s with me and Duncan’s in his office.”

“Hello Sara, Duncan.”

“Your email suggested something urgent. How can we help?”

“Trust account questions. Importantly, I have to withdraw.”

“What brought this about?”

“I represent a client on an appeal. Told him his chances are weak. He tried to settle. It didn’t work. So, he said, ‘appeal.’”

“That’s the withdrawal issue?”

“No. I’ve got a good faith argument for reversal. The issue’s money.”


“I agreed to represent him for $45,000 — my estimate for time to do the appeal. Put the funds in my client trust account. Assumed that’s what the rule required. ”

“Did your engagement agreement identify it as an advance fee? For the appeal?”

“Yep. Was I right? Putting it in my trust account?”

“As an advance fee for services, yes. Then what happened?”

“Financial problems. Property deal didn’t close when he’d

hoped. He needed the funds back. Frankly, to support his family. I felt I couldn’t say no. Promised to replenish the whole 45K.”

“How much did he need?”

“$40,000. In three bites.”

“Did you modify your agreement when he requested the funds?”

“No. Just phone calls. Figured, it’s his money. I had to give it to him.”

“Any dispute about the funds? Anything in your agreement that gave you a right — a claim — to them?

“No. Just that he’d deposit funds and I’d do the appeal.”

“You’ve done work?”

“Research. Outlined the argument. Gathered record material. Filed notice of appeal.”

“Anything in your agreement about taking the fees you earned? For work performed?”

“Nothing, really —”

“Then, without more, a fair reading of rule 1.15 (d)(7) — distribute at a client’s request undisputed funds the client’s entitled to receive — likely required returning them.”

“Afraid of that. What could I have done?”

“We’ll talk about that. He hasn’t replenished the funds?”

Illustration by George W. Brewster Jr.
12 SAN DIEGO LAWYER | July/August 2023

“You got it. Says the property deal will be delayed. Again.”

“Where are you with the appeal?”

“Way behind. Still gotta prepare the record. Write the brief — all the stuff that goes with it. A reply. Argument. Most of the heavy lifting. Held off as long as I could.”

Sara asked, “Any chance for an extension?”

“Got one. The court made clear there’ll be no further delay.”

Macbeth again: “When’s your brief due?”

“A month.”

“No new counsel?”

“Not yet. I’ve drafted an email to the client. Telling him I’ve gotta withdraw.”

“You’ve appeared, so you’ll need court approval. Importantly, you can’t withdraw unless you take steps to avoid reasonably foreseeable prejudice to his rights.”

“But I’m not getting paid.”

“We appreciate that. But, realistically, will the court approve your withdrawal this late? Almost when your brief’s due? Will he find another lawyer to prepare the record and write a brief in just a month? Perhaps less?”

“So, I’m stuck?”

“Sorry to deliver bad news. Unless the court approves your withdrawal, and unless you’re able to avoid prejudice to him, I’m afraid you are. At least for now.”

“What else can I do? Except plow ahead?”

“Do funds in your trust account cover work you’ve done?”

“No way. Far short.”

“Then they’re earned fees. You should withdraw them.”

“OK. How do I avoid this kind of mess? In the future?”

“Consider stating in your engagement agreement specific points at which portions of your fees are earned for work performed. For example, when research’s complete. When you file the notice. Gather record material. Draft the brief. You know the tasks better than we do.”

“What’s that get me?”

“Your client’s agreement that, as work moves along, you’ve earned portions of the fee. You transfer funds from your trust account. In short, you’re paid as you work.”

“Anything else?”

“Perhaps a provision that, if the client requests return of trust funds, you may withdraw. Not perfect. But it provides client approval — unlikely here — and an earlier opportunity to disengage.”

“Thanks, guys. I’d better go. Got an appeal brief to write.”

Editor’s Note: Rule 1.15 governs funds received from a client; rule 1.16, withdrawal.


CALL THE LEGAL ETHICS HOTLINE: (619) 231-0781 x4145

The SDCBA Legal Ethics committee is here to help! SDCBA members can call our Legal Ethics Hotline* for guidance and perspective on a variety of ethical considerations in the practice of law. Your call will be taken by a seasoned attorney with significant experience in legal ethics issues. Simply call the hotline and leave a message with your phone number, your question, and any context you can provide that can help our attorneys research your question before responding. One of our Legal Ethics Committee members will call you back to discuss your question with you.

*Before calling, please read the following disclosure:

Edward McIntyre ( is a professional responsibility lawyer.

2023 Internet Minute Infographic

You probably know that digital data continues to grow almost exponentially. For years, the Internet Minute infographic was published by Lori Lewis, but her last version was in 2021. eDiscovery commentator Doug Austin has assumed the burden of creating this graphic illustration of the volume of data from a variety of applications in a single minute (for example, about 240 million emails are sent, and almost 19 million text messages are transmitted). Further information is available on Doug’s website at with links to the sources supporting the data of the illustrations.

Proposed Federal Rules Amendments

Those involved in eDiscovery are probably aware of the many issues involving the preparation of the contents of privilege logs, especially assertions of privilege. As the volume of ESI data escalates so does the cost of preparing the logs. Criticism also includes arguments that the voluminous list still didn’t have necessary information to let the requesting party test the asserted claims of privilege. The proposed rules are progressing through the usual committees but will probably be published for comment in August. Small changes to Rules 26(f) and 16(b) focus on requiring early discussion of the possible issues that might arise later if not resolved before production begins. The Standing Committee rejected “one size fits all” amendments. Instead the structure of the amendments encourages the parties to discuss issues such as what information is needed, should categorical objections be allowed, and the possibility of rolling productions.


Get more information at

ChatGPT Chatter

Drumbeats continue in the AI and machine-learning worlds. Promotions and arguments occur daily, but lawyers can find reliable sources for accurate information and recommendations. For instance, the New York Times publishes a pop-up newsletter with lessons on artificial intelligence, its uses, and workings: https://www.nytimes. com/newsletters/signup/OT. Another is an article from the North Carolina Bar Association by two professors containing some valuable information. “New Possibilities with Chat GPT” new-possibilities-with-chatgpt-two-professors-weigh-inon-ai-and-legal-education. Finally, a task force out of MIT is looking at the uses of AI and the ethical and competency challenges they present to lawyers. The June 6 version has seven principles and provides examples of good and bad procedures and methods. This is only a draft so the Task Force seeks public comments and promises more guidance and materials.

iPhone Nostalgia

16 years ago, Apple offered for sale the first iPhone. Walt Mossberg, a Wall Street Journal technology columnist for years, covered the event. A remarkable insight was clear in his column’s title: “The iPhone Is a Breakthrough Handheld Computer” the-iphone-is-breakthrough-handheld-computer. He particularly noted the most controversial feature of the

14 SAN DIEGO LAWYER | July/August 2023

iPhone: it had no keyboard (who stole my BlackBerry?) Also he found a major drawback: the phone only worked on the AT&T network. For a touch of nostalgia, you can read his entire review at

State Bar Weighing AI Guidance for Lawyers

Our Bar’s Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct (COPRAC) will attempt a draft for publication in the fall of its advice to the legal profession. You’re probably aware of sanctions in New York imposed against the lawyers who filed a ChatGPT brief containing quotes and citations to non-existent cases. Whether you recognize that as a “hallucination,” like most other work products, lawyers should be hesitant to use any product of generative AI without verifying its accuracy and the actual existence of the information in the output: https:// and therecorder/2023/05/22/california-state-bar-to-craftguidance-on-ai-in-the-legal-profession. Another risk to attorneys’ duty of confidentiality is the disclosure of client confidences during “prompt engineering” to obtain relevant generated AI responses.

Malpractice Insurer Warns Against Use of ChatGPT

Prominent legal insurer Attorney’s Liability Assurance Society (ALAS) recently issued a blanket warning against using ChatGPT. Subtitled “Not ready for Prime Time,” the warning suggests the possibility that malpractice policies may require certain safeguards before affording any coverage for the uses of generative AI: legal-insurers-chatgpt-warning-is-impacting-law-firmsgenerative-ai-projects-but-not-all.

iPhone SOS’s

Many fans of the great outdoors take their mobile phones with them to access maps and engage in limited communications. Those users are sometimes frustrated by the absence of available cellular networks. I won’t get a commission if you click on this link; but beginning with iPhone 14, when no cellular network is available, the phone will switch to a satellite so you can send an SOS:

Bill is a partner with Solomon Ward Seidenwurm & Smith, LLP.


In 2020, the California Supreme Court and the State Bar of California created the Blue Ribbon Commission on the Future of the Bar Exam (BRC). The BRC was charged with developing recommendations concerning whether and what changes to make to the California Bar Exam, as well as recommendations regarding possible alternatives to exam-only paths to attorney licensure. After nearly two years of meeting, the BRC finalized its recommendations in April 2023 and sought review and approval by the State Bar Board of Trustees.

On March 7, 2023, the BRC issued a report with recommendations, inviting public comments until April 10, 2023. During this comment period, the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA) requested that the San Diego County Bar Association (SDCBA) sign a comment letter regarding the BRC’s report. This request was conveyed to the SDCBA’s Public Positions Advisory Committee (PPAC), which met and approved a recommendation that the SDCBA sign the comment letter. SDCBA approved the recommendation and signed the letter, joining at least 20 other bar organizations from throughout California. The comment letter addresses:

(1) opposition to non-exam licensure;

(2) opposition to elimination of numerous subject matters from the bar exam; and

(3) opposition to allowing out-of-state attorneys to be admitted without taking the California Bar Exam.

As to its call to action to make recommendations regarding the California Bar Exam, the BRC approved recommending that California develop a Californiaspecific exam. It recommends that the exam should be developed in consultation with subject matter experts in exam development and other specialists. The BRC also recommends that California should craft an exam that is fair and equitable, and minimizes disparate performance impacts based on race, gender, ethnicity, disability, and other immutable characteristics. The BRC’s March 7, 2023 report followed CAPA recommendations to remove numerous subjects from the exam, including professional responsibility, business associations, community property, wills, trusts, and remedies. After reviewing public comment, the BRC amended its recommendation and approved a motion to recommend keeping professional responsibility on the future California Bar Exam.

The BRC also made amendments to its recommendations regarding non-exam admission of out-of-state attorneys after considering public comments. LACBA’s comment letter raised this issue, stating, “Any modification of the rules to admit experienced out-of-state attorneys should be predicated on reciprocity.” The BRC approved a motion to recommend that the Supreme Court revise the requirements for licensed, out-of-state attorneys in good standing to be admitted to California without sitting for the California Bar Exam to the extent that the licensing state provides the same privileges to California-licensed attorneys regardless of educational background.

As to the BRC’s other charge to develop recommended alternatives to exam-only paths to attorney licensure, the BRC could not reach a consensus. After 19 meetings between July 2021 and April 2023, the BRC reviewed a substantial amount of information regarding alternatives to the exam-only path to licensure. The BRC did not have access to in-depth data regarding the State Bar’s Provisional Licensure Program that was adopted in 2020 during the pandemic. The BRC voted against proposed alternatives to exam-only routes to licensure multiple times at several meetings. Motions to recommend that California not adopt a non-exam pathway also did not pass. BRC could not find a consensus even after the public comment period.

The Board of Trustees considered the BRC’s recommendations during its May 2023 meeting. The Board approved transmitting the BRC’s recommendations to the California Supreme Court and indicating the Board’s support for the recommendations. The Board further moved to ask the BRC members who indicated support for a bar exam alternative to develop a proposal for the pathway that draws on the BRC’s work to date and to submit the proposal for consideration at the Board’s July or September 2023 meeting.

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | July/August 2023 17




The Patent and Copyright Clause states that the Congress shall have power “[t]o promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries[.]” U.S. Const. art. 1, §8. Most recently the discussions have involved the artificial intelligence technology software (generative AI) used for creation of art, comics, songs, and other projects, and how it would impact our everyday lives. While some see AI technology as a way to support us and increase efficiency, others worry about the loss of creativity and jobs for humans. This article takes a closer look at two key areas of intellectual property and how they would apply to creations involving generative AI.

Authorship and AI

Copyright protects original works of authorship fixed on a tangible medium. 17 U.S.C. §102(a). Examples of such works include art, photographs, songs, novels, compilations of original works, movies, videos, and reports, among others. Copyright is a valuable intellectual property (IP) right that grants creators control over the use of their works, with the exception of fair use, which allows for the limited use of copyrighted works without a license under specific circumstances.

One of the main concerns of the use of generative AI for creating output work products, from an IP point of view, is that these machines were trained on documents and data not just from the public domain but also copyrighted materials, but without a license. In these circumstances, if use of these works does not fall under the fair use exception, then an argument can be made that the

work created by these machines subjects the end user to participate in copyright infringement along with the creators of the software. However, some argue training AI with these works is fair use because the purpose is “transformative” to create a useful tool. There are four main factors when considering whether someone’s use of a copyrighted material falls under fair use. One of the factors is whether the purpose and character of the use is transformative or not: U.S. Copyright Office Fair Use Index, (last visited May 26, 2023).

The second concern regarding the use of generative AI for creative works is whether one can obtain a copyright for such work. In a recent decision by the U.S. Copyright Office (USCO) on “Zarya of the Dawn,” a comic book created by Kristina Kashtanova using Midjourney AI software for illustrations, the USCO canceled the original registration for failing to disclaim the contribution by AI, stating that “the images in the Work that were generated by the Midjourney technology are not the product of human authorship.”

U.S. Copyright Off. Letter, “Zarya of the Dawn” (Feb. 21, 2023), available at USCO went on to issue a new certificate covering Kashtanova’s contribution and excluding the Midjourney work. In the letter, USCO expressly discusses that “works of authorship have uniformly limited it to the creations of human authors.” Id. at 3. While it should be noted that Kashtanova’s contributions were taken into evaluation for the copyright, the decision specifically stated that, “the Office will not consider the amount of time, effort, or expense required to create the work, because they have no bearing on whether a work possesses the minimum creative spark required by the Copyright Act and the Constitution.” Id. at 10.

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As it stands now, copyright protection is only available for portions of the work created by a human. However, there are currently requests from the industry for Congressional action on the new technology and IP protections.

See Christopher

Zirpoli, Generative Artificial Intelligence and Copyright Law, Cong. Res. Rep., Mar. 11, 2023, https://

Inventorship and AI

“Inventorship” in patent law carries a similar but different challenge. It is now settled that an AI program cannot be an inventor. This decision was affirmed in Thaler v Vidal, 43 F. 4th 1207 (Fed. Cir. 2022), which seemingly has settled any further dispute about AI and inventorship.

Who is an inventor?

The threshold question in determining inventorship is who conceived the invention. Unless a person contributes to the conception of the invention, he is not an inventor. … Insofar as defining an inventor is concerned, reduction to practice, per se, is irrelevant. Fiers v Revel, 984 F.2d 1164, 1168, 25 USPQ2d 1601, 1604-05 (Fed. Cir. 1993). Ex parte Smernoff, 215 USPQ 545, 547 (Bd. App. 1982) (“one who suggests an idea of a result to be accomplished, rather than the means of accomplishing it, is not a coinventor”). MPEP §2109 II.

A person asking an AI program to design a chemical entity with certain properties may receive an answer in the form of a chemical formula, together with steps to produce such a chemical entity. By existing laws, that person only suggests an idea of a result, and not the means to accomplish it. It is the AI program that suggests the means to accomplish it. It is now apparent that there is a new chemical entity with a method to produce it. Given Thaler and existing laws, neither this person nor the AI program can be an inventor.

If this person applies for a patent and lists their name as the inventor, they violate the law. If a patent is granted and it becomes subject to litigation, many questions will be asked: How can an alleged infringer prove that this person did not invent? How can an inventor defend themselves if an alleged infringer counterclaims and attempts to invalidate the subject patent, claiming that the invention is a product of AI?

In patents, whether “it works” is not an issue. Patents give negative rights — the right to exclude — and thus no one worries about a patent claiming the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling something that does not

work. From the above person’s perspective, having received a chemical entity with a way to produce it from the AI program, they can either forgo the idea of using it, or verify — conduct the methods given by the AI program — to see if it produces the chemical entity. In the second scenario, would the experiment to verify qualify as an inventive process? Not under current jurisprudence. What if this person has to verify multiple times — telling the AI program different things and verifying the method(s) it gives — until something works?

Much of this will be an evolving battle that will have to be worked out in the judicial system for years to come. For practical purposes, those who use AI programs to produce something and would like to use them can keep them as trade secrets, or they can note carefully the time and steps involved in using AI as part of the process to arrive at a new invention, and apply for a patent, hoping for the best. Still, the question of how AI impacts trade secret law, codified as 18 U S C 1836 et seq , remains open.


While the USCO and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals have both settled the debate of whether AI can be an author or an inventor, authorship or inventorship where AI is being used as part of the creating or inventing process is still up for debate. The USPTO in particular has sought public comments on this topic, with a Request for Comments on Intellectual Property Protection for Artificial Intelligence Innovation, issued October 30, 2019. Comments are sought on topics of AI’s effect on authorship, inventorship, and trade secret protection. Comments are requested, because making law is the work of Congress, but the people’s will factors in.

So next time, before you outsource a project to generative AI or incorporate generative AI in a work product or innovation, take into account that human creativity and inventorship are the key important factors in securing your IP rights.

Khanh “Kenny” Glatzel, Esq. (kenny.glatzel@ is a Patent and Trademark Attorney at Premium IP Services, P.C. Her expertise includes patent prosecution, trademark application, and trademark opposition and cancellation.

Gayani R. Weerasinghe ( is an Intellectual Property & Business Law Attorney, helping entrepreneurs, startups, and

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | July/August 2023 19
biotechs with their transactional needs.

The 2022 release of ChatGPT — a powerful artificial intelligence (AI) program that can realistically write like a human — made AI accessible to the masses and put AI on the radar of lawmakers and regulators. In an effort to ensure AI technology is created, maintained, and used equitably and ethically, legislatures are creating a range of AI legislation that will put the burden of compliance on businesses using and creating AI. Emerging AI laws are keeping privacy and technology lawyers busy as clients anticipate new requirements and obligations. Below is our roundup of notable legislation impacting how businesses create and use AI.

AI Laws and Regulations Working Their Way Through the Legislative Process

CCPA Regulations: One of the most significant pieces of privacy legislation in the United States is the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which went into effect in 2020 and was modified by the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA). As required by CPRA, the California Privacy Protection Agency is drafting regulations that will regulate consumer rights related to automated decision-making technology. The regulations will likely require businesses to disclose meaningful information about the logic involved in automated decision-making processes and outcomes of the process. (Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.185(a)(16)). Draft regulations are underway and expected to be released in the next few months.

Combating Discrimination and Bias: In 2023, the California legislature introduced AB 331, a bill aimed at curbing algorithmic discrimination when AI tools are used to make decisions that have a significant effect on an individual’s life (such as employment, promotions, education, insurance, etc.). If passed, the bill will require


“deployers,” who use automated decision tools, and the AI developers to provide notice that AI will be used for decision-making, perform an impact assessment, and establish and maintain a governance program that contains reasonable administrative and technical safeguards for the risks associated with the use or intended use of the automated decision tool.

Use of AI by State Agencies: AB 302 would require the California Department of Technology (CDT) to conduct a statewide inventory of all “high-risk automated decision systems” being used by state agencies, including identifying categories of data and personal information being used to make government decisions. SB 313 would create the Office of Artificial Intelligence within the CDT with powers and authorities necessary to guide the design, use, and deployment of automated systems by a state agency.

AI in Employment: The California Civil Rights Department is drafting regulations to clarify that the use of automated decision-making tools is subject to employment discrimination laws. The proposed regulations include record-keeping requirements to retain “all machine-learning data” for four years.

Deep Fakes: In 2022, the legislature passed a bill amending the Government Code to establish a deepfake working group. The working group will evaluate how deepfake AI technology poses a risk in California. The findings and report on potential uses and risks of deepfake technology are expected in October 2024.

Federal AI Legislation: Although there is no comprehensive federal regulation on AI currently, several government agencies have provided guidance and proposed regulations on the applications of AI.

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Illustration by Christy Hsu

• The White House released “The Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights” in 2022, urging organizations to put AI principles into reality by providing voluntary guidelines. Additionally, the White House has issued two executive orders directing federal departments and organizations to prioritize equity in their work, including by addressing algorithmic discrimination in AI.

• The Federal Trade Commission has issued guidelines for the use of AI in advertising and marketing, while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed guidelines for the development of autonomous vehicles. The Department of Defense has also released ethical principles for the use of AI in military applications, and the Department of Justice has issued guidance on the use of AI in law enforcement.

The legal risks and implications of this new technology are at the forefront of change. Businesses will ultimately bear the burden of using AI in a manner that complies with new and emerging laws.


ChatGPT’s first foray into the legal community sent shockwaves. A New York attorney used the artificial intelligence-powered chatbot to conduct legal “research” for one of his cases. ChatGPT located six judicial opinions for him — all supporting his case. The problem: they were fictitious cases. ChatGPT made them up.

The bigger problem: the attorney doubled down on ChatGPT’s findings without any independent verification. When the federal judge questioned the authenticity of the cases, the attorney asked ChatGPT itself to confirm that the cases were real. Based on ChatGPT’s assurances, he and another attorney verified authenticity to the court.

Judge P. Kevin Castel of the Southern District of New York was understandably shocked by the submission of nonexistent judicial opinions and, more concerning, the doubling down on their authenticity without any independent verification or research.

In show cause papers, the attorney attributed a human-like level of fault to the bot — arguing that he was “beguiled by a new technology” and “did not know it would, in essence, defraud him.” He explained that the bot “assured him the cases were real.” Exasperated by ChatGPT’s “fraud,” he explained that “when [he] asked ChatGPT to confirm its false results, it did so unabashedly.”

“Indeed, even when [he] directly asked ChatGPT whether the cases it had provided were fake, the program not only

said the cases were real, but also assured [him] that the cases were available on Westlaw and LexisNexis.” And, although he “did not have time to fully research the risks and benefits of this new technology,” he “did not think he needed to doubt this assurance.”

Judge Castel issued a 34-page opinion sanctioning both attorneys and their law firm $5,000 each. Judge Castel found that the attorneys acted in “bad faith” and “abandoned their responsibilities” when they “continued to stand by the fake opinions after judicial orders called their existence into question.” He explained that, had the attorneys initially come “clean” about their use of ChatGPT, “the record now would look quite different.”

Judge Castel cautioned: “Technological advances are commonplace and there is nothing inherently improper about using a reliable artificial intelligence tool for assistance. But existing rules impose a gatekeeping role on attorneys to ensure the accuracy of their filings.” As artificial intelligence continues to revolutionize the legal world, attorneys must remain diligent and use common sense. In the end, anything too good to be true probably is.

Warren ( is Special Counsel at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP She litigates nationwide with a focus on commercial litigation and complex insurance coverage matters Justine Phillips is a Partner at Baker McKenzie, LLP's Los Angeles office. Justine provides proactive and reactive cybersecurity and data privacy services, advising clients through the development of practical and actionable programs and solutions to manage data, technology, cyber threats, privacy, security and digital assets.
SAN DIEGO LAWYER | July/August 2023 21
Christy Hsu is a recent graduate of California Western School of Law, with a deep passion for cybersecurity and privacy law.


As an attorney, I often have a hard time selecting clothes for court or the office. After reading about a fashion writer getting dressed by ChatGPT, I decided to let Google’s experimental new AI chatbot, Bard, suggest a week’s worth of clothes. The result was shockingly close to my regular real-life choices.

Monday: Start the week off with a professional outfit: a navy blue blazer with a white button-down shirt and black pants. You can dress it up with a necklace or dress it down with a cardigan.


For something more casual, try a skirt and a blouse. You can dress it up with heels or dress it down with flats.


If you're in court, try a conservative dress. You should avoid anything too short, too tight, or too revealing.


If you're not in court, you can dress more casually. Try a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. You can dress it up with a blazer or dress it down with a cardigan.


For the weekend, you can dress however you like. Try a skirt and a blouse, or a dress, or jeans and a t-shirt.

These are just a few suggestions, and you can adjust them to fit your own personal style and the dress code of your workplace. The most important thing is to feel comfortable and confident in what you're wearing.

Here are some additional tips for dressing professionally as a woman attorney:

• Choose clothes that are well-tailored and fit you properly.

• Avoid anything too tight, too short, or too revealing.

• Dress in a way that is appropriate for the occasion.

• Pay attention to the details, such as your hair, makeup, and jewelry.

• Be confident in your appearance.

Genevieve A. Suzuki has her own practice, Law Office of Genevieve A. Suzuki, A.P.C., primarily focusing on family law and restraining orders.
SAN DIEGO LAWYER | July/August 2023 23
Illustration by George W. Brewster Jr.

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It’s no secret that law plays a critical role in protecting our human rights and advancing social justice. Throughout history, Black professionals have been at the forefront, advocating for and securing rights for all civilians, most often through civil, family, criminal, and constitutional law practices. But why are Black attorneys not as visible in other areas of law?

An equitable and diverse interpretation of the law is required to improve economic factors that drive technology and business innovation. These law fields are typically related to corporate transactions, intellectual property, employment, income, tax, and industry regulations. While Black attorneys have made significant contributions across all areas of law, they are seldom publicized or seen as thought leaders on professional forums. This is something Elizabeth Cotton-Harps, the Executive Director of Black Tech Link, wishes to change.

Ms. Cotton-Harps recently spoke with San Diego Lawyer about her goal of identifying, increasing, and celebrating the Black attorneys in San Diego who have worked in the tech law field:

As a curator of professional training and networking events tailored for Black communities, I embrace the opportunity to discover and highlight successful entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and senior executives.

During October 2019, I had the opportunity to host an open house networking event in downtown Minneapolis at a nationally recognized law firm, Robins Kaplan. The event was created to attract Black technologists to the legal industry and recruit new and existing Black attorneys to business and technology law practices. In planning the event, we were able to develop a fun, engaging, and inspiring networking environment. After completing a successful event, in February 2020 I had a vision of producing a San Diego-based networking panel featuring prominent Black regional attorneys working in innovative corporate divisions and practices. This symposium panel would eventually become an annual event titled “Where Business, Law & Tech Intersect.” Leading this effort with great aspirations and intentions, I did find it difficult to quickly identify Black attorneys who specialize in these fields. After scouring dozens of LinkedIn profiles, only a handful popped up that would be suitable for the envisioned panel. After recently producing the third symposium panel, I still wonder why it’s challenging to identify Black attorneys who prevail in those sub-sectors of law.

Each year I am inspired by the legal professionals I have met whose careers expand across boutique practices, large law firms, and in-house counsel for major corporations. As major employers are becoming tech-focused and tech-enabled, it’s important to have diverse legal input on decisions that affect so many and seek to create a safe and diverse corporate culture. Corporate counsel such as Quest Diagnostics Chief Intellectual Property Officer, Wayne Brown; Thermofisher Trademark Enforcement Counsel, Kenya Williams; Sony Electronics Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Shaka Johnson; and Assistant General Counsel India Jewell are just a few attorneys who are inspiring other Black attorneys to pursue in-house counsel careers.

Additionally, boutique attorneys are just as critical to the local tech and business ecosystem as they help provide infrastructure for aspiring Black entrepreneurs like myself. Founding attorneys such as Maresa Talbert and Sa’cha Brackins are staples in the San Diego Black community supporting startups with entity formation, employment strategy, intellectual property, patents, litigation, contract development, and so much more.

Key community organizations, like the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Foundation and Black Student Lawyers Associations at University of San Diego School of Law and Cal Western School of Law, provide pathways for more Black students and early-career attorneys to become exposed to legal opportunities in the tech and business industry.

I appreciate the local law firms that employ an impressive roster of Black partners and attorneys and have supported the development and retention of these bright individuals in San Diego, including Sheppard Mullin, Latham & Watkins, Meyers Nave, Wilson Turner Kosmo, Mintz Levin, and Littler Mendelson, just to name a few.

My hope and goal is to create an environment where Black business and tech attorneys are more commonplace and celebrated on professional forums, and to inspire other attorneys and entrepreneurs to continue building their careers in the tech space.

Isaac Jackson in conversation with Elizabeth Cotton-Harps Elizabeth Cotton-Harps ( is Executive Director of Black Tech Link.
SAN DIEGO LAWYER | July/August 2023 25
Isaac Jackson ( is Deputy District Attorney with the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.




Asecond triumphant year of the San Diego County Bar Association’s Leadership Academy is in the books. The Academy, exclusively for attorneys, is the first of its kind locally, and provides a unique platform for lawyers in our community to learn critical skills, progress in their leadership goals, and build relationships essential to leadership development. The “Scholars” immersed themselves in this intense leadership training for the kick-off and eight weekend day sessions from January through June 2023. The sessions, led by local leadership development experts and respected community leaders, focused on self-leadership, leading with empathy and compassion, authentic communication, conflict and challenges, leadership recruiting and team building, mindset training and management, and leading with purpose and vision. Incorporating an opportunity to employ these skills, the Academy pinnacled with a specially designed Capstone project dedicated to access to justice. The 2023 Cohort served as an informal advisory group to a working group charged with developing a new collaborative court in San Diego focused on homelessness, mental health, and substance abuse. Envisioning how the legal community and community at large can play a role in supporting the new collaborative court, the Scholars created and presented their proposals for consideration. At the Graduation celebration, Councilmember Raul Campillo gave a heartening Keynote Address in honor of the Scholars’ accomplishment, sharing his own leadership journey. The Scholars then engaged with other community leaders in a Network-in-Action session led by Past President, Johanna Schiavoni. During the session, the Scholars shared their leadership goals with the audience, who offered advice, introductions, and other assistance to help them advance their goals. Not only are the Scholars invested in our community, but our community is invested in their future.

To enhance the continued impact of the Academy, the Leadership Academy Subcommittee developed Mentorship Connections. Mentorship Connections is a post-graduation tool pairing each Scholar with a mentor particularly qualified to help the attorney progress toward their unique vision and purpose. Each mentor commits to meet with their Scholar either in person or by video conference three times over the course of twelve months, offering advice, ideas, connections, and support. Mentorship Connections launched with a mixer at Stone Brewing in Liberty Station where the Scholars and their mentors had an opportunity to get better acquainted. Current mentors include sitting judges, attorneys in private practice, non-profit leaders, in-house counsel, City Councilmembers, and even a financial analyst, all of whom have graciously volunteered their time to guide our Scholars toward success. The Academy has inspired impressive goals in the Cohorts including assisting with legal clinics, running for office, developing policy around access to justice, teaching collaborative skills, education reform, firm growth, domestic violence education for legal practitioners, and serving in the federal judiciary. If you have experience in these areas and are encouraged to mentor any of the Scholars, please reach out to the Chair of the Leadership Academy.

26 SAN DIEGO LAWYER | July/August 2023

This is truly an inspirational journey for all, with now two graduated Cohorts, both of which continue to advance the goals of the Academy: training attorneys as effective, ethical, and service-oriented leaders, increasing the diversity of leaders in the profession and the community, fostering relationships among attorneys from a broad segment of the community, inspiring attorneys to seek leadership roles that are meaningful to them, and to build a support community to assist these attorneys in achieving their leadership goals. Scholars describe the experience as unexpected and transformational, with one Scholar already achieving her long-term goal to serve on a local non-profit’s Board of Directors. The SDCBA is proud that the Academy is a catalyst for leaders to turn their passion into action.

This tremendous feat could not have been accomplished without the dedication and support of the entire Leadership Academy Subcommittee and the SDCBA’s internal team. Their commitment to leadership development is paralleled only by our gratitude.

Please enjoy the reflections from our 2023 Scholars about their journey through the Leadership Academy. Without a doubt, while implementing our core values of authenticity, courage, curiosity, and accountability, these promising leaders will continue to lift up our community!

Have you been searching for ways to accelerate your leadership development or seeking to realize new leadership roles in the community? You too can benefit from the tools and connections the Leadership Academy provides to help you live out your goals. Learn more and apply at Applications for the 2024 Cohort are due September 18, 2023.


Reflections: “I joined the SDCBA Leadership Academy to gain new perspectives on leadership and to improve my skills. I have learned from our impressive speakers, who are legal and community leaders, that leadership is not reserved for the privileged. Anyone can lead when they have a passion for it. The academy also encourages deep, thought-provoking conversations with fellow scholars. I highly encourage attorneys who are ready for new leadership skills and self-reflection to apply.”

Special Thanks:

Leadership Academy Subcommittee: Nicole Heeder, Anna Romanskaya, Michelle Pettit, Johanna Schiavoni, Phillip Stephan, Rachel Allums, Kelly McCaffrey, Cheryl Shitabata, David Finn, Megan Moore, Leslie Abrigo, Jim Eischen, Stephanie Pengilley, Cindi Stratton, Patrick McGill, Maria Chavez, Eric Tran, Garrett Wait, Marta Manus, Angela Medrano, Fanny Yu, and Jason Evans

SDCBA Internal Team: Sarah Harris, Nancy Milazzo, Attiba Royster, Savanah Tiffany, Sasha Feredoni, and Ron Marcus

Mentors: Hon. Lilys McCoy, Hon. Olga Alvarez, Councilmember Maria Nunez, Councilmember Joe LaCava, Colin Parent, Heather Rosing, Valerie Garcia Hong, Viviane Windmiller, David Loy, Jerrilyn Malana, Bibi Fell, Karen Hewitt, Cynthia Stratton, Anna Romanskaya, and Matthew McMahon


See Scholar bios at

Stephen Blea Senior Associate Henderson Caverly & Pum LLP

Reflections: “I joined the Leadership Academy to meet and learn from local, community-minded colleagues who have the ambition and intention of serving as leaders within our local bar. The most important lesson I learned from the Academy was the pervasiveness of self-doubt: how, regardless of the position, feelings of “imposter syndrome” are widespread and normal. You’re going to connect with great people here. Not only your colleagues, but the staff, organizers, and speakers.”

Nicole Heeder ( is an employment litigator at Johnson Heeder LLP where she represents workers faced with discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in both the public and private sectors. She currently serves on the SDCBA Board of Directors.
SAN DIEGO LAWYER | July/August 2023 27

Director of Operations, Counsel Jacko Law Group, PC

Reflections: “I joined the SDCBA Leadership Academy to become a better advocate and connect with diverse leaders in our San Diego legal community. Through this amazing leadership growth opportunity, together we have raised our leadership capacity to impact positive change by grounding ourselves in growth, living our values, and serving our community. By leading with empathy and compassionate understanding, attorneys can bring more awareness, consciousness, and humanity to the law.”


Reflections: “I applied after I was unexpectedly placed into a lead role at work — and my team and I have really benefitted from the program! I’ve spent the last six months with a remarkable group of people and have thoroughly enjoyed our sessions on empathic leadership. If you go in with a curious mind and an earnest heart, ready to improve yourself as well as others, the SDCBA Leadership Academy is for you.”

Supplemental Security Income Attorney Legal Aid Society of San Diego

Reflections: “I joined the Academy to explore different avenues of service in our San Diego community. In doing so, I hoped to meet other like-minded colleagues and build upon my leadership skills. Thus far, I am happy to share that I have done all the above. Most importantly, though, I have learned how intricately our legal community is woven and how eager our community is to help you grow. To anyone thinking of applying, you will not regret it!”

Reflections: “I wanted to further develop my leadership philosophy in order to better serve the people I lead. In order to effectively lead you first have to be able to reflect and know yourself. Additionally, coaching through open-ended questions helps foster selfreliance and builds trust. For those thinking of joining the Academy, I wouldn’t let the fact that you are not a current leader be a limiting factor in your decision.”

Reflections: “I joined the SDCBA Leadership Academy to advance my leadership abilities: at my firm, as a mediator, and within and beyond the legal community. Due to this six-month program, I identified my innate abilities and garnered actionable leadership skills. This combination led to clarity in my leadership goals, providing me with the confidence to seek leadership positions. Those looking for a comprehensive curriculum, hands on training, and an amazing support system should apply!”

Alliance San Diego

Reflections: “I joined the SDCBA Leadership Academy to learn and grow alongside colleagues who are dedicated to making a difference in our profession and community. The Academy created a space to develop and refine my leadership skills while staying true to myself. I recommend the Leadership Academy for anyone who is open to challenging themselves to be the best leader they can be.”

Deputy Public Defender

Orange County Public Defender’s Office

Reflections: “SDCBA Leadership Academy turns lawyers into leaders in such an amazing way. You are challenged every session with creative and thought-provoking material. Throughout this journey, the organizing team ensures that the cohort of scholars is supportive of each other’s learning and development. Not only is this a place where lifetime friendships are made, but it is also a space that fosters career reflection and realignment with your professional goals.”

Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Inc.

Reflections: “No risk, maximum gains. I applied to the Academy because, quite frankly, becoming an attorney during the pandemic left me feeling isolated from our community and unsure of my next career steps. The Academy solved both of those issues! The monthly guest speakers candidly sharing their leadership journeys, both triumphs and pratfalls, provided a blueprint for future public service leaders. Plus, my cohort was amazingly supportive and motivating. I highly recommend the Academy!”

2023 SCHOLARS See Scholar bios at


See Scholar bios at

Reflections: “I joined the Leadership Academy to grow professionally as an attorney and discover new avenues of leadership. I learned tools for compassionate self-reflection and the power of a supportive community to encourage accountability in reaching one’s goals. The Academy provided a unique opportunity to connect with attorneys from diverse backgrounds in order to learn and progress together.”

Reflections: “I was drawn to the SDCBA Leadership Academy because it presented a unique opportunity to focus on both professional and personal growth while surrounded by a diverse group of similarly motivated future leaders. The Academy has allowed me to gain new perspectives, develop an authentic leadership style based on my strengths and values, and build relationships with supportive colleagues. I would encourage anyone seeking a similar experience to apply.”

Reflections: “I joined the Leadership Academy because I wanted to learn different leadership styles and tools to improve my leadership skills in the various organizations I’m part of. Through the Academy, I’ve learned about leading from a place of empathy and leading in ways consistent with my values. I’ve also developed a strong network of fellow leaders that provide support and feedback that I am confident I will carry with me through my career.”

Reflections: “I joined the SDCBA Leadership Academy to learn leadership skills, seek personal growth, and meet like-minded individuals. The program provided an incredibly encouraging and supportive environment. Each session made leadership skills more personal and attainable. My biggest takeaway is to listen better, stay curious, and be authentic. If you strive to become an authentic, empathetic, inclusive leader, don’t hesitate to apply. You will be empowered.”

Reflections: “I applied to the Leadership Academy to reengage in leadership training, as the perfect program to bridge the gap between my military and legal careers. While I’ve gained many tools through the Academy, the most meaningful thus far is the power of the phrase “not yet” as one thinks of accomplishing long term goals without becoming overwhelmed. There are many others, but in short, I would encourage any attorney to apply to this fantastic program!”

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

Reflections: “Despite our duty to uphold the laws governing society, lawyers are not intentionally trained to be leaders. I joined the Academy to hone my leadership skills and build community with local emerging leaders. The Academy’s focus on empathetic and servant leadership is invaluable in today’s polarized world. You do not need to know all the answers. If you are tired of today’s leaders failing us and are willing to put others before yourself, please apply.”

Reflections: “I joined the Leadership Academy for formal training to refine my personal leadership style and build relationships with other aspiring and experienced leaders. The Academy has taught me how to leverage the strengths of my team, cultivate diverse perspectives, lead with empathy, and be accountable. Whether you are in a formal leadership position or aspire to become one, I highly recommend the SDCBA Leadership Academy.”

Reflections: “Having moved to San Diego during the COVID-19 shutdown, I applied for the Academy to meet leaders in both the San Diego legal community and the community at-large. I knew I wanted a leadership role in San Diego but wanted to understand how/where I could effectuate the most change for San Diegans. The Academy has been an amazing platform for my journey into community leadership. I encourage all attorneys to consider applying to the Academy!”



On a daily basis, I am cognizant of how fortunate I am to do such interesting and challenging work with such an amazing group of people in this excellent legal community. I have been an attorney for over 20 years, and for the past eight years, I have had the pleasure of serving the public as a trial attorney defending civil rights cases for the County of San Diego Office of County Counsel.

Path to Litigation

Growing up, I did not know any lawyers other than from books (Atticus Finch) and television (“Law & Order”). The first time I set foot in a courtroom was when I was at UC Santa Cruz studying politics. I was so excited to be called for jury duty, but after many hours of voir dire, I was not chosen. Nevertheless, seeing real trial attorneys in action as part of the venire, I knew I wanted to go to law school. I knew I would like the research, writing, and presentation in court. At the time, I did not understand that my future career would provide such professional enjoyment, and the privilege to succeed and thrive when faced with personal challenges.

I studied law at UC Hastings, now known as UC College of the Law, San Francisco. I found my calling in the moot court department, serving on a competition team and as a teaching assistant. I was able to extern for Judge Charles Legge (Ret.) at the United States District Court, Northern District of California. A highlight of the externship was watching a civil rights case brought against several County of San Mateo Sheriff’s Deputies. I was particularly impressed with the work by the San Mateo Deputy County Counsel handling the case, and decided I wanted to do public entity defense work.

After graduating, I was able to find work at a small firm working with a former government lawyer, David Levy, defending public entities in medical malpractice, civil rights, dangerous conditions, and employment cases. The firm also handled a few tort and employment plaintiff’s cases. It was an excellent opportunity to get hands-on experience being a lawyer — I wrote motions, took depositions, drafted and responded to discovery, and regularly argued in Court. I learned so much being able to work closely with a skilled litigator, and, two years out of law school, I was fortunate enough to sit second chair for a civil jury trial.

Work at the Court

While working at the firm, I volunteered for the Southern District of California’s ADR program, representing pro per plaintiffs in mediations and settlement conferences. I enjoyed that experience so much that I jumped at the opportunity for a one-year term clerkship for United States Magistrate Judge Bernard Zimmerman (Ret.) in San Francisco. During the clerkship, I was able to work on a variety of civil matters (ERISA, business, maritime, employment, Social Security, tort), assist the judge with his criminal matters, and draft an order on a habeas petition. I was able to observe numerous settlement conferences, and watch the judge meeting with separate caucuses to hopefully reach a resolution. One highlight of the job was assisting with hiring and supervising the judicial externs. It was my first opportunity to mentor newer attorneys, and I found great satisfaction in helping them with their research and writing.

Passion for Public Entity Litigation

After the clerkship, I began working at a midsize firm on the Peninsula handling public entity defense work for a variety of cities and public entities. Because of the cases we were handling (civil rights, dangerous conditions on public property, First Amendment, and employment), I was constantly learning new things and getting to know clients from different public entities. One day, I would be preparing discovery with an employee from a water district in a nuisance case, and the next I would be taking a deposition in a case where a County psychiatrist claimed that she was denied a reasonable accommodation. I loved the diversity of subject matter and being able to handle all aspects of litigation.

One thing I like about public entity litigation is getting to know and help public servants. They have devoted their lives to making the community a better place. Most are passionate about what they do. (Public works engineers get excited to tell you about bike lane specific striping or the importance of sight differences. Nurses light up when describing helping someone with an illness.) I enjoy getting to know them and learning about how they improve society.

In 2015, I joined the County of San Diego Office of County Counsel and was assigned to one of the civil rights litigation teams. The cases include deputies accused of using

30 SAN DIEGO LAWYER | July/August 2023

excessive force (some of my trials have involved a shooting death, deployment of police canines, and use of restraints); nurses allegedly failing to provide needed medical care in jail; and discrimination cases. The claims involve serious allegations challenging the propriety of County employees’ actions or inactions. It can be very difficult and emotional for those public servants to be accused of intentionally, or even unintentionally, abusing their authority or position. Being able to help lead those employees through litigation is fulfilling. I also enjoy working to resolve cases before trial when appropriate — to right a wrong, or in situations where it would best preserve taxpayer dollars.

I truly enjoy working for the Office of County Counsel. I get to work with a variety of incredibly smart attorneys who are kind and eager to collaborate. Last year, one of my mentors, Claudia Silva, was appointed as County Counsel. She is an amazing leader. As a former trial attorney, she provides amazing feedback and has high expectations of us. At the office, I was able to supervise a litigation team. My favorite part of the job is mentoring newer attorneys and working with the amazing investigators, paralegals, and administrative staff in the office.

Privilege of this Amazing Profession

Although it was not something I anticipated when I decided to become a lawyer, I am also grateful for the

Why I Lawyer

privilege that accompanies our chosen career. It has given me the ability to be self-sufficient and to thrive when faced with life challenges. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with my son. My ability to take breaks during my workday to swim at the local YMCA, have amazing health insurance, and be able to afford to purchase and prepare healthy meals allowed me to manage the medical condition without medications or complications for my son. After practicing in the San Francisco Bay Area for over a dozen years, when my husband became ill with cancer, I was able to move my career down to San Diego to be closer to family. My legal writing and advocacy skills allowed me to continue working in a new location and to be welcomed by the wonderful San Diego legal community. After we moved to San Diego, my husband passed away. I often think of how fortunate I am to have a career providing the financial support and flexibility necessary for a satisfying professional life, and to support my son on my own.

To be a lawyer really is a privilege.

Melissa Holmes is the Assistant Chief Deputy County Counsel for the Torts and Civil Rights Litigation Teams at the County of San Diego. In addition to assisting with management, Melissa defends civil cases brought against the County and its employees. She has tried 10 jury trials and two bench trials.

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | July/August 2023 33
Hon. Lorna A. Alksne (Ret.) Hon. William J. Howatt, Jr. (Ret.) Charles H. Dick Jr., Esq. Hon. Jeannie Lowe (Ret.) Hon. Irma E. Gonzalez (Ret.) Hon. William C. Pate (Ret.) Abby B. Silverman, Esq.
JAMS SAN DIEGO Highly Skilled Neutrals with Deep Subject Matter Proficiency Mediation, Arbitration and Custom ADR Processes 619.236.1848 Local Solutions. Global Reach.
Hon. Randa M. Trapp (Ret.) Michael J. Weaver, Esq.


The man was imposing even in a wheelchair — larger than life, and though age and illness had sapped his strength, still with a mischievous twinkle in his eye. It was August 1992. I stood in a small green room adjacent to a San Francisco hotel ballroom, alone with this man his clerks called “The Judge” — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. A young lawyer in the leadership of the American Bar Association’s Civil Rights and Social Justice Section (then “Individual Rights & Responsibilities”), I helped create a new award in the Justice’s name, which we were presenting to him as the inaugural awardee at the ABA Annual Meeting. (He and I had a memorable conversation, which is another story.)

Ever since, the Thurgood Marshall Award Banquet has been the ABA’s signature event recognizing contributions by those who have significantly advanced civil rights, civil liberties, and human rights.

John Echohawk has been called the “Thurgood Marshall of Indian law,” and this year is the fitting recipient of the award. As with the reckoning of the civil rights movement, fundamental issues of justice for Native Americans — sovereignty, rights in land and water, and cultural and religious practices — have long cried out for dynamic reckoning and redress. Because of his extraordinary work in that regard, John will join an enviable list of honorees, including Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Congressman John Lewis, Bryan Stevenson, Attorneys General Eric Holder and Janet Reno, and Marian Wright Edelman.

John, an enrolled member of the Pawnee Tribe, is a founder and, since 1977, Executive Director of the Native American Rights Fund (NARF). NARF was established on the model of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. Its mission has remained unchanged: to preserve tribal existence; protect tribal natural resources; promote human rights; ensure government accountability; develop

Indian law; and educate the public about Indian rights, laws, and issues. With John at the helm, NARF’s cases and legislative successes have touched all aspects of tribal life, from securing federal recognition of tribal sovereignty and establishing historical rights in land and water to helping draft and win passage of major legislation. John has helped ensure the legacy and patrimony of tribes across the country for future generations.

He was the first graduate of the University of New Mexico’s program to train Indian lawyers, and while in law school, a founding member of the American Indian Law Students Association. He serves on the Boards of the American Indian Resources Institute, Association on American Indian Affairs, Indigenous Language Institute, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. He has been recognized as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America by the National Law Journal.

John’s recognition with the Marshall Award marks one of the most extraordinary events in the last 50 years of Native American affairs — the rise of Indian attorneys to help tribal governments protect and defend tribes, treaties, and Indian culture. He will receive the award and speak on Saturday, August 5, in Denver, Colorado, after keynote remarks from U.S. Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Kristen Clarke, and Mary Smith, who is about to become the first Native American female ABA President.

Wilson Schooley is Pro Bono Manager and Supervising Attorney at SDVLP, a nonprofit law firm. Formerly a big firm trial lawyer with Fortune 100 clients, he left his partnership to represent the underserved. He served as Chair of the ABA Civil Rights Section and on the SDCBA Board of Directors, and is on the ABA Journal Board of Editors, Standing Committee for Pro Bono, and in the House of Delegates. He is also an author and actor.

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | July/August 2023 35


On April 22, 2024, the San Diego County Bar Association will turn 125. There will be plenty to say about that in later issues of San Diego Lawyer.

But because we are looking back, let’s take a tour down memory lane to 1973 and check out what was being said, discussed, debated, and wise-cracked about in that scrappy bar magazine of old, DICTA.

At the time, the little monthly called itself “DICTA the lawyer’s magazine” and it was an all-volunteer effort put out by the SDCBA. In January 1973, the new bar president (succeeding Robert Steiner) was John Loren Newburn.

Newburn’s monthly “President’s Page” was reliably serious and thoughtful. Meanwhile, the Editor’s Page by the new Editor, James Granby, was conversational, sometimes punchy, and rarely serious. Granby, 84, remains active as a trustee following a career as a business lawyer. Granby received his law degree from the University of Chicago Law School, was a Vietnam veteran (Navy, 1963–67), and previously a partner with Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch, before joining Ferris & Britton for 30 years (and now of counsel with that firm).

Granby had first come to San Diego with the Navy, and when he got out in 1967 he signed up for the DICTA committee. He said it was his first choice, having an interest in literature and writing. And spending quality time with him, it becomes quickly apparent he is a storyteller. He worked his way up in the committee, including writing obits of prominent members of the local bar, and in 1973 took on the role as editor.

Newburn, who became a member of the California Bar in 1957, “was a prince of a man, as cordial as they come,” said Jack McCabe Jr. (bar Board member and President 1975–78). Newburn at one time practiced with the City Attorney’s office and later in estate planning. He was also a member of the bar band (with Hugh Friedman and others), and Friedman’s wife, former Congresswoman Lynn Schenk, said Newburn “was a true gentleman” and was supportive of women lawyers participating in bar leadership roles. Schenk and Justice Judith McConnell were the principal founders of Lawyers Club of San Diego the year before. Newburn, now deceased, retired to Greensboro, North Carolina.

Granby describes the old DICTA as a then-popular local magazine, an “upgraded newsletter,” and its often satirical Letters to the Editor and other bits of humor were influenced to some degree by Mad magazine, which in the early 1970s was at its height in circulation and popularity. But, he said, DICTA was never a political organ, and it was Granby’s intent to continue its mix of serious articles, humor, and irreverence. “I was the head of this group of talented people, and I thought, let’s see what they produce.” One of those talents was Bill Gavin, who took photographs at various bar events and in particular the Bar Dinner and the Bar Picnic. Granby knew people loved to see themselves in the magazine and he “tried to make it very visual” by increasing the number of photo pages. While Gavin took the pictures, others (in particular Earl Maas Jr.) helped Granby write funny captions.

The local humor of DICTA made it popular, said Gandby. “A lot of people told me they saved every issue … when I came here (in 1967), there were three things you had to do — the Dinner, the Picnic, and read DICTA.” He noted that “few bar associations had anything like [DICTA] — it was pretty unique.”

36 SAN DIEGO LAWYER | July/August 2023
DICTA April 1974 President's Page

Other additions to the magazine were Janet Kintner’s “Board Briefs” and Raul Rosado’s “Hearsay” columns, both of which added more levity to the magazine. Both Kintner and Rosado were later appointed to the Bench, Kintner being the third woman appointed as a San Diego judge. For her “Board Briefs,” Kintner would start each column noting who showed up to the Bar Board meetings on time, who was late, and who was absent. Granby said that while this wasn’t favored by board members, no one instructed the magazine to stop noting the late-comers. The column would generally take up three pages, and it was a great way for bar members to catch up on bar news and the personalities of the board members.

In that year, looking through the eyes of DICTA, there were a few notable events. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas spoke at the May Law Week luncheon; the San Diego County Law Library opened its North County branch (celebrating 50 years this year), and an ad appeared in the DICTA Classifieds (yes, there were classified ads) seeking a “Project Director — Chief Counsel, Legal Aid Society of San Diego” with a base salary of $19,600. Fifty years later, Greg Knoll is still in that spot, although he is retiring in 2023. (More on that in a future SDL issue.)

The DICTA magazines are stored in yearly volumes at the downtown Law Library, and worth a look (or two or three). For a while, 1973 included, the magazine did short profiles on new members to the local bar and, for a while, attorneys wishing to be members of the local bar were vetted by the association, with any member of the bar in good standing able to object to applicants. Huh, you might say, as I did.

We can’t leave a review of DICTA 1973 without mentioning photos of secretaries, previously called “DICTA Girls” but by 1973, without a title and limited to a page (Granby in one of his columns referred to the photo subjects as DICTAmate of the Month). Granby explained that the photo pages were originally a satirical response to Playboy’s “Playmate of the Year” and frequently subjects in the DICTA spread submitted their own photographs. The feature, although still there in 1973, was on its way out, a joke whose time had passed.

Once his year was done, Granby moved on to other things, including running for the Bar Board and, 10 years after his editorship, he was elected President of the SDCBA in 1983. He is one of the few to have been both a bar publication editor and bar president. One of his favorite

memories of his time as bar President was at the Bar Dinner, where he sat next to (as his guest) local lawyer legend John Holt, who by then had retired to Palm Springs. (Holt was President of the bar in 1936.) When Granby introduced Holt to the dinner crowd, their reaction was loud, joyous, and long.

Today Granby modestly addresses his time in those positions, noting only that it was a privilege and an honor to serve the bar. He has been married 56 years to his wife Beth, and has three daughters, three granddaughters, and one grandson.

In Granby’s final Editor’s Page (December 1973), he wrote: “This is my last run at the Editor’s Page and my last run at being Editor of your humble magazine. I have enjoyed it; hope you have, too … I very much regret to announce that Raul Rosado and Janet Kintner have written their last columns for DICTA and have decided to hang up their eye shades. Thanks to both of you for the zest you have added to DICTA this year. Now let’s all three of us get back to practicing law and pay some bills.”

For the record, John Barrett succeeded Newburn as bar president (1974) and Tom Henry succeeded Granby as Editor. And that was the year that was, 50 years ago.

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | July/August 2023 37
DICTA April 1974 cover photos


Frantz Law Group Brings multibillion-dollar justice to the wronged.

For 43 years, Frantz Law Group (FLG) has been a powerhouse player in some of the nation’s most significant, high-stakes litigation. From 2020-23 alone, the firm secured over 60 multimillion-dollar individual awards (totaling over $400 million) and helped attain several multibillion-dollar settlements that have benefited thousands of FLG clients1

Founder James P. Frantz is driven by the belief that every person’s life is significant, and no injured victim should go uncompensated when their lives have been upended by the negligence of others. Bringing litigation against the reckless and negligent parties many times leads to significant safety changes in behavior and attitude that will presumably negate future harm to others.

Wildfire, Gas Blowouts, JUUL

For the last 3 decades, FLG has represented victims of wildfires caused by public utility negligence—namely the 2017 North Bay Fires, the 2017 Thomas Fire and Montecito Mudslide, the 2018 Camp Fire and Woolsey Fire, the 2019 Getty Fire, Kincade Fire and Saddleridge Fire, the 2020 Mountain View Fire and Bobcat Fire, the 2021 Dixie Fire and in 2022 the McKinney, Mill, Mosquito and Fairview Fires. FLG is currently representing over 6,700 victims associated with these wildfires.

As a result of the largest methane gas leak in United States history, more than 35,000 residents (FLG represents 8,202 clients) of the Porter Ranch community are being compensated by the $1.8 billion settlement secured by FLG and other law firms representing clients2

On behalf of nearly 1,000 school districts nationwide, FLG achieved a positive outcome against JUUL Labs Inc. wherein JUUL agreed to pay $1.2 billion for causing the U.S. youth-vaping epidemic. Although the case was settled against JUUL, another defendant known as Altria remains. A trial took place in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and a proposed Altria global settlement3 is $235 million and pending. “We’re passionate about protecting society’s most vulnerable populations against entities that seek to exploit victims for financial gain, and we advocate for those who have been wronged by negligence and reckless misconduct. Our landmark verdicts/settlements serve as a reminder to large corporations (and individuals) that engage in reckless misconduct will not be tolerated or go unpunished. These cases have the power to force long-term corporate and individual safety change,” says Frantz.

Preparing for Success

With 16 lawyers, 30 staff members, and 13 offices throughout California and Hawaii, FLG has the manpower and decades-earned experience to execute winning trials and settlements of the highest caliber. To prepare for the most complex cases, the firm assembles a mock trial (or mock trials) to present both the plaintiff and defense side, a process that fine-tunes FLG’s strongest arguments and exposes case weaknesses. Mock jurors offer valuable insight as to the quality, clarity, and persuasiveness of the evidence. FLG has been ranked Tier 1 in U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” from 2010-23 for mass tort litigation/class actions - plaintiffs. James Frantz is a fellow and associate of the American Board of Trial Advocates, is AV® rated by MartindaleHubbell®, is a 30-year Special Master appointed by the State Bar of California and a 20-year Master in The Enright Chapter, American Inns of Court.

1Each case is dependent upon its particular facts, and no prior result is a guarantee or prediction of another case’s possible outcome. Nonetheless, our prior cases show the kind of results we can often achieve.

2This is the amount recovered by all victims as part of a collective settlement. Under the settlement terms, each plaintiff’s recovery is determined based on various factors. This amount is not the total recovered by Frantz Law Group clients

3A global settlement includes all claims of all plaintiffs.

402 W Broadway • Suite #860 • San Diego, CA 92101 • 866.516.4534 •
James P. Frantz approves the content of this advertisement. This advertisement is not an endorsement by the SDCBA.

Areas of practice: Intellectual Property and Business Formation

What initially inspired you to practice law?

I was initially inspired by my parents. When I was a kid, they would jokingly say I should be a lawyer when I grew up because of my quick comebacks and counterarguments. This later developed into my passion for advocacy. Becoming the first law student and soon-to-be first lawyer in my big Dominican family has been a full circle moment I hold close to my heart.

What is your proudest career moment?

My time at Cooley has given me the opportunity to expand my knowledge and interest in intellectual property. As a volunteer at the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program in the Microbusiness and Nonprofit Support Program, I helped organize free legal clinics. The clinics aimed to assist low-income entrepreneurs and small business owners. The individuals who attended were able to bring their questions about business formation, planning, and brand protection. It was special to see these members of our community receiving vital information needed to follow their dreams and create financial stability. My proudest moments stem from using my experience and background to provide legal representation to underrepresented communities.

What fills your time outside of work?

Apart from my work and studies, I love spending my time with loved ones, traveling, trying new restaurants, going to concerts, and playing volleyball.

“If I weren’t an attorney, I’d be ...”

I studied international relations and considered being a journalist for foreign affairs. I could spend hours researching the politics, cultures, economies, and history of any country and truthfully enjoy every minute.

What is your favorite movie, book, or TV show? Why?

My favorite movie is “Good Will Hunting.” I grew up outside of Boston and went to school there as well.

It’s a piece of home when I’m away from home. My favorite quote from the movie is: “You can do anything you want, you’re bound by nothing.” It’s a reminder to go after what you want regardless of what is holding you back. As long as you follow your heart and passion, you’re not bound to the doubts.

What one skill has helped you be successful as an attorney, and how could others develop that skill to better their practices?

I believe my empathy and outside-the-box thinking have helped me be successful in my career. I’m a better advocate when I empathize with an individual’s experience. It reminds the individual that we share a common goal and can find solutions to get there.

What would you most like to be known for?

I would like to be most known for my tenacity. No matter what life throws my way, I stay true to myself and bet on myself every time.

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | July/August 2023 39

THANK YOU 100% CLUB 2023

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 2023. Your commitment to the San Diego legal community is greatly appreciated.

Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP

Ames Karanjia LLP

Antonyan Miranda, LLP

Appellate Defenders, Inc.

Astuno Sabel Law PC

Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo

Beamer, Lauth, Steinley & Bond, LLP

Bender Kurlander Hernandez & Campbell, APC

Best Best & Krieger LLP

BioMed Realty

Blackmar, Principe & Schmelter APC

Blanchard Krasner & French

Bobbitt, Pinckard & Fields, APC

Brierton Jones & Jones, LLP

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC

Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP

Burton Kelley, LLP

Butterfield Schechter LLP

California Western School of Law

Case Harvey Fedor

Casey Gerry

Chalifoux, Brast, Thompson & Potocki APC

Christensen & Spath LLP

Cohelan Khoury & Singer

Dean Gazzo Roistacher LLP

Devaney Pate Morris & Cameron, LLP

Dietz, Gilmor & Chazen, APC

District Attorney’s Office of San Diego

Donald R. Holben & Associates, APC

Duckor Metzger & Wynne ALC

Erickson Law Firm APC

Ferris & Britton, APC

Fitzgerald Knaier LLP

Flanagan Law, APC

Fleischer & Ravreby

Gatzke Dillon & Ballance LLP

Genesis Family Law, APC

GrahamHollis APC

Green Bryant & French, LLP

Greene & Roberts LLP

Grimm, Vranjes Greer Stephan & Bridgman LLP

Hahn Loeser & Parks, LLP

Hegeler & Anderson APC

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

Karen D. Wood & Associates

Klinedinst PC

Koeller Nebeker Carlson & Haluck LLP

Konoske Akiyama | Brust LLP

Kriger Law Firm

Law Offices of Beatrice L. Snider, APC

Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Inc.

Lincoln Gustafson & Cercos LLP

McCloskey Waring Waisman & Drury LLP

McDougal Boehmer Foley Lyon Mitchell & Erickson

Miller, Monson, Peshel, Polacek & Hoshaw

MoginRubin LLP

Moore, Schulman & Moore, APC

Musick, Peeler & Garrett LLP

Neil, Dymott, Frank, McCabe & Hudson APLC

Niddrie | Addams | Fuller I Singh LLP

Noonan Lance Boyer & Banach LLP

Office of the Carlsbad City Attorney

Office of the Public Defender

Office of the San Diego City Attorney

Pettit Kohn Ingrassia Lutz & Dolin PC

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Preovolos Lewin, ALC

Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP


Rowe | Mullen LLP

San Diego County Counsel

San Diego Unified Port District

Schaffer Family Law Group

Schor Vogelzang & Chung LLP

Schulz Brick & Rogaski

Schwartz Semerdjian Cauley & Evans LLP

Seltzer|Caplan|McMahon|Vitek ALC

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP

Shustak Reynolds & Partners, PC

Siegel, Moreno & Settler, APC

Solomon Minton Cardinal Doyle & Smith LLP

Solomon Ward Seidenwurm & Smith, LLP

Stokes Wagner, ALC

Sullivan Hill Rez & Engel APLC

Sullivan, McGibbons, Crickard & Associates, LLP

Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire LLP

Tresp, Day & Associates, Inc.

Walsh McKean Furcolo LLP

Webb Law Group, APC

Wilson Turner Kosmo LLP

Winet Patrick Gayer Creighton & Hanes ALC

Wingert Grebing Brubaker & Juskie LLP

Wirtz Law APC

Witham Mahoney & Abbott, LLP

Withers Bergman LLP

Wright, L'Estrange & Ergastolo

40 SAN DIEGO LAWYER | July/August 2023
100% Club member list as of August 2023

Arecurring metaphor I use when describing each person’s skill set is that of Swiss cheese. Often the individual has some good substance in many parts, but there are holes. Where those holes are, of course, changes from individual to individual. Of course, over time, unlike Swiss cheese, some of the holes in skills begin to fill in. That may lead to a change in the value of what each individual lawyer brings to their firm. And, as the individual perceives this, they may want their compensation adjusted.

Asking for a raise is a very unique experience to each individual. Even ignoring the emotions involved in the process, how and when the request is made has to be tailored both to the lawyer and their firm. Most firms have set annual times for compensation review and have metrics they use. Lawyers requesting an increase in their compensation should understand what those are and tee up their request at the early part of that period with details about how they fulfill the factors the firm uses to set compensation.

Understanding the environment is also critical to making a successful ask. Requesting additional compensation in a down market, in a down year for the firm, or after the loss of a significant source of business not only risks being unfruitful, but may signal to leadership that the requesting lawyer has a low sense of awareness. Similarly, lawyers should consider scheduling a time for the conversation, rather than just approaching management with a request out of the blue. It is


also important to understand that different firms are necessarily in different tiers. Other things being equal, it is extremely unlikely for a lawyer who regularly bills hourly at $200 to be compensated in the same manner as a lawyer who regularly is paid $600.

Finally, how a lawyer approaches the situation may also impact the outcome. Not only presenting how they fulfill metrics, but what specific pay adjustment that justifies, is much more helpful than a request for “more.” It may also reflect that the lawyer making the request is aware of the value they bring, and not merely making an aspirational request. That said, coupling a request with a threat that there are other firms the lawyer could go to is an approach that risks souring the relationship with the firm altogether. And, if the initial response is not as positive as hoped for, lawyers should ask what they need to do to get themselves better positioned and set a follow-up time for when they are relatively assured they will have achieved those goals.

In short, lawyers should consider asking for a raise the same way that they would negotiate a matter they are working on. They need to understand where their audience is coming from, come prepared, and pick the right time to make the ask.

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | July/August 2023 41

What are your main responsibilities at the Bar?

I have my hands in a lot of overall operations of the Association. I oversee our facilities, technology and audiovisual equipment. I also assist in the coordination of logistics for any bar-wide events and work with our sponsors and Member Benefit Providers to ensure the Bar has the necessary resources to support our events and members.

How long have you been working at the bar?

I joined in February of 2020, just weeks before COVID closed down our office.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I enjoy being able to work closely with the entire internal team on various projects. It keeps the days interesting and I’m rarely ever bored.

What is your favorite movie and why?

“Star Wars” by far. Having seen it at a young age, it opened my mind to science fiction, and anytime I watch it I feel like a kid again.

What's your favorite quote?

“Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.”

What do you love about San Diego?

As an avid motorcyclist, there is not much better than San Diego weather. I’m able to get out on two wheels almost anytime I want.

42 SAN DIEGO LAWYER | July/August 2023

I joined the SDCBA’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) because it’s a vetted community of lawyers within San Diego available to help people who live within our area and/or are dealing with something that happened within our community. This is not a paid advertising service like on Google or Yelp. LRIS is a structured process that requires lawyers to have certain competence. The lawyers you will find here are experienced, and I’m proud to work alongside my colleagues in LRIS.

The vetting process for lawyers to apply is rigorous. It’s important to know you are connecting with someone who has the experience to prepare and advise on your case. The other major benefit is the efficiency: a potential claimant contacts LRIS, and LRIS emails contacts out to us LRIS lawyers. We can then quickly review and contact the person. It’s a professional, efficient process.

Working Together Towards Resolution

I recently represented someone who was originally working with another lawyer. I took over the case to understand quickly the former lawyer did not do the quality of work I (or others in LRIS) would have done. It took time to dive in and focus on the case to turn things around, but we did just that. We took a case that was getting knocked around from the defense and planned and executed an approach that allowed us to cut the ring and take charge (which led to settling the case for good value).

I encourage attorneys to join LRIS because you will be helping people. People in San Diego many times don’t know where to look for lawyers. This puts you in contact with people who need our help, in a way which gives you the chance to evaluate their case and offer that help.

To schedule a case, please contact Kathy Purcell at 619-238-7282 or visit us online.
Richard Heller, Esq. Merrianne Dean, Esq. Ralph Hughes, Esq.
Call us to mediate your trust, conservatorship, and probate cases. West Coast Resolution Group, a division of the National Conflict Resolution Center, has one purpose: to provide exceptional and affordable mediation services to the legal community. PROBATE PANEL SAN DIEGO LAWYER | July/August 2023 43
Gina Stein, Esq. Timothy Riley, Esq.



Thank you to our sponsor


The following individuals in our community were recently honored for their achievements. If you achieve a professional success, feel welcome to submit it to for inclusion in an upcoming issue of San Diego Lawyer

SDCBA member Michelle Pettit has been appointed as a magistrate judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. She was an assistant U.S. Attorney for more than 15 years prior to her appointment.


SDCBA member George A Rios III, an associate at Dinmore Law, was named in San Diego Metro's 24th Annual 40 Under 40 list.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has recognized SDCBA member Maria Chavez with the 2023 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award for outstanding efforts in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion excellence in the immigration legal profession.

Former SDCBA President Hon. Kevin Midlam passed away in June and will be greatly missed. Judge Midlam began the practice of law as a Deputy City Attorney, Criminal Division. In 1978 he founded the firm of Ault, Midlam & Reynolds (later Ault, Midlam & Deuprey), where he remained until his appointment to the San Diego Superior Court Bench (1988-1995). While practicing law, he was very active in local and State Bar activities, including serving as president of the San Diego County Bar Association in 1978. He is remembered by the legal community for his fairness, insight, and balance. A memorial service was held on July 23, 2023. A full feature will be published in the September/October issue of San Diego Lawyer.

San Diego native Thomas C. Stahl passed away in April. Tom dedicated his professional life to public service in San Diego, first with the DA’s Office and then the US Attorney’s Office. In 2017, he received a nationwide DOJ award for his “Outstanding Professionalism and Exemplary Integrity.” Tom volunteered extensively with multiple charitable organizations and contributed to local wildlife conservation efforts. He was a true renaissance man – outdoorsman, blacksmith, gardener, chef, woodworker, and musician, to name just a few of his hobbies. Tom is greatly missed, and he leaves behind a legacy of humility, kindness, generosity, and justice.

Text provided by Katie Parker

SAN DIEGO LAWYER | July/August 2023 45


Thank you to everyone who joined us at the beautiful Waterfront Park for our 2023 Summer Social!

Special thanks to Premier Sponsor AMBA and Producing Sponsors Frantz Law Group, JAMS, Klinedinst PC, LRIS, San Diego Business Journal, and Torrey Pines Bank.

Free herb seedlings and lemons at the New Lawyer Division table Guests enjoyed Mediterranean-inspired games and a special 360 photo booth L to R: Angela Medrano, SDCBA President Melissa Johnson, Michelle A. Gastil, Stacey A. Kartchner, Cynthia L. Stratton, Nicole Heeder
46 SAN DIEGO LAWYER | July/August 2023
L to R: Melika Taheri, Stephanie Haumschild, Taylor Gilbertson


All information shown is as of August 2023, and subject to change without notice.


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GET MORE CLIENT REFERRALS IN SAN DIEGO & IMPERIAL COUNTIES! The SDCBA’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) referred nearly 59,000 clients to participating lawyers in 2022, resulting in almost $6 million in legal fees earned. Learn more about joining LRIS at L AW YER REFERRAL & INFORMATION SERVICE
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