Page 1



JUL/AUG 2017

The Wellness Issue

Special Pull-Out Inside: San Diego's Attorney Avengers


Marijuana Law in California Practicing Parents

Congratulations to our partner

Robert J. Francavilla recipient of the

2016 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award Consumer Attorneys of San Diego



San Diego | North County | 619-238-1811








Features 21

Going Green The past, present and future of cannabis law in California. By Michael Cindrich


The Drager 5000 What attorneys need to know. By Eric Ganci


Going All In My experience traveling in-house. By James Spievak

Columns 7


Why I Belong Get to know your colleague Crystal Phenny.


President's Page How members stay connected through the SDCBA. By Loren Freestone

Open Dialogue How two attorneys cope when handling traumatic cases. By Christine Pangan Tips Local lawyers tell us how they stay balanced and keep fit.


If You Don't Have It, You Don't Get It Mental health and depression in our profession. By Rick Waite


Toxic Stress, Job Burnout and How to Fix It Insight from a therapist. By Terri Asanovich, MFT



Practicing Parents Solo practitioners on managing your practice and pregnancy.

From Then to Now How I shed denial about my health and nearly 140 pounds. By Ray Estolano


Legal Aid Society of San Diego The journey toward justice begins here. By Gregory Knoll



#sdlaw Views from our offices.


Deans How a local law school clinic is assisting San Diegans. By Niels Schaumann


San Diego County Bar Foundation Save the date for the Bar Foundation's Evening in La Jolla.


Technology Cybersecurity should be every lawyer's concern. By Bill Kammer


Distinctions & Passings


Ethics Not a peremptory challenge; a sworn statement to the court. By Edward McIntyre


Photo Gallery


More on Wellness Hear what others in our profession and beyond are saying about lawyer wellness.

Follow San Diego Lawyer! sandiegolawyermagazine


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 ($10) 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 © 2017 by the San Diego County Bar Association. All rights r­ eserved. Opinions expressed in San Diego Lawyer are those of the author only and are not opinions of the SDCBA or the San Diego Lawyer Editorial Board.

4 SAN DIEGO LAWYER July/August 2017

I founded AHERN Insurance Brokerage in 1997 with the goal of building long-term business relationships with both insureds and insurance companies. Over the past 20 years, AHERN has become an industry leader in providing customized insurance solutions for law firms. We welcome the opportunity to become your valued consultant and advocate.

– W. BRIAN AHERN President & CEO, AHERN Insurance Brokerage

AHERN, along with parent company, Acrisure LLC, insures over 7,500 law firms nationwide with firms ranging from 1 to 1,100 attorneys. Acrisure is currently one of the Top 15 insurance brokerages in the United States with revenues approaching $1 Billion.

(800) 282-9786 | AHERNINSURANCE.COM CA LIC 0K07568 | AZ LIC 1097042

LOOKING TO GET HIRED? Now seeking attorneys for our two new panels Debtor Representation and Enforcement of Judgments. Highlight Your Practice and Meet Potential Clients. Join the Lawyer Referral and Information Service. New and less stringent requirements; newer attorneys encouraged to apply. Contact Michelle Chavez at 619.321.4150 or Learn more at



Crystal Phenny

The Law Office of Crystal Phenny, APC


Education: University of California San Diego, B.A., Psychology; Thomas Jefferson School of Law, J.D.

Edward McIntyre Christine Pangan

Editorial Board Craig Benner Elizabeth Blust Josh Bonnici George Brewster Jr. Jeremy Evans Mike Finstad Victoria Fuller Renée Galente Todd Haas

Julie Houth Stephanie Karnavas Erik Nelson David Seto Whitney Skala Christopher Todd Mike Wakshull Teresa Warren


Executive Director & Chief Executive Officer Ellen Miller-Sharp

Director of Outreach Strategy & Chief Communications Officer Karen Korr

Graphic Designer/Webmaster Attiba Royster

Publications Editor Jenna Little

Marketing Coordinator Sasha Feredoni

Follow San Diego Lawyer! sandiegolawyermagazine @SDLmagazine

401 West A Street, Suite 1100, San Diego, CA 92101 Phone (619) 231-0781 Fax (619) 338-0042 Interested contributors may submit article ideas to the editors at Unsolicited articles will not be printed in San Diego Lawyer™. San Diego Lawyer™ reserves the right to edit all submissions, contributed articles and photographs at its sole discretion. The opinions expressed by the authors and editors in San Diego Lawyer™ magazine do not necessarily reflect an official position of the San Diego County Bar Association.


Area of practice: Family Law Proudest career moment: Passing the 2015 Certified Legal Specialist Exam for Family Law. I had only started concentrating my practice on family law three to four years prior but knew it suited me. I teamed up with two great study partners and we really dove into the law and helped each other grow as attorneys. Passing the test has given me greater confidence as a solo practitioner and as a teammate to my fellow attorneys. Family: Husband. Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan. Current area of residence: East County. If I weren’t an attorney, I’d be a doctor. I went to college to study medicine because I love helping people in need — it was an inspiring judge in traffic court that detoured me into law. The best thing about being an attorney is the daily sense that I've helped someone. Practicing family law brings me even closer to those who need help most: children enduring hardship at home. It's sometimes hard to remember why I became an attorney, but it's easy to find reasons to stay in practice. Last vacation: Backcountry camping in Yellowstone National Park. Full disclosure: It was one night of a three week cross-country road trip that included everything from the Grand Canyon to the Mall of America, and Mount Rushmore to the Ben & Jerry's Factory. But in case readers stop at the first sentence, I want opposing counsel to know: I have hiked miles into the remote wilderness with a 30-pound pack to sleep amongst bears and howling wolves. Hobbies: Cooking. It's a gift from my mom who tirelessly fed a family of five plus extended family on a small budget. She can whip up amazing creations out of nothing in no time — it's an art that I love practicing any chance I get. Favorite book: The Harry Potter series. Favorite food: Middle Eastern — especially if my mom made it. Most memorable SDCBA meeting: The three-day Civil Trial Advocacy seminar held earlier this year was outstanding regardless of one’s practice area. The presenters were seasoned trial attorneys who used a mock fact pattern to demonstrate the proper/practical way to approach a trial from jury selection to closing statements. Do you have a unique skill nobody knows about? I've hit cooking a few times so I'll brag that I speak Arabic. My parents were born and raised in Iraq and my first language growing up was Arabic. I don't advertise it, but it has come in handy with the large Arab expatriate population in San Diego. What one skill has helped you be successful and how could others develop that skill to better their practices? Listening. Taking a moment to hear all the nuance and depth of a client's story helps discover that extra opportunity to help them. It also reassures clients that someone cares — all the more important because family law clients are often going through the most difficult transition of their lives. Do you have a mentor? Christina Marine has been a wonderful mentor in many ways — from substantive legal issues to running a solo practice to networking and meeting other members of the great family law community. What would you most like to be known for? I want to be known as someone who loves her family and friends, as well as her job, and as a capable and considerate attorney who settles cases that ought to be settled, but who will fight tirelessly for her clients when it is necessary. July/August 2017 SAN DIEGO LAWYER 7


n the spirit of one of San Diego’s biggest summer events, Comic-Con, we wanted to present a few SDCBA Super Stars. The members here truly make the most of their membership, working in the Bar Center’s shared work space, initiating and responding to important discussion topics on our listserves, and taking the opportunity to connect with their colleagues at education and networking events. Here, they’ll share a little bit about what their SDCBA membership means to them in their practice.

Loren Freestone, 2017 SDCBA President

Ben Rudin The SDCBA keeps me connected by providing quality and affordable Continuing Legal Education courses, mixers and section meetings.

Nastaran Parvizi The San Diego County Bar Association has been paramount to my law practice. There is a vast array of tools available for members to help facilitate their law practice. Aside from the continuing education programs and networking events to help keep attorneys informed and connected, there are no words that can describe how helpful and courteous the bar center staff has been to our firm and clients. I would highly recommend to any practicing attorney to invest in a membership at the SDCBA and help strengthen the importance of legal organizations in our community.

8 SAN DIEGO LAWYER July/August 2017

Frederick Hale As a solo practitioner, even with 25 years of family law litigation to my credit, I tend to become a “cult of one.” Meaning I fall in love with my own ideas, etc. In the ever-changing environment of family law, that’s a bad idea. Being able to access the best minds in our industry via the LISTSERVE has proven invaluable on an almost daily basis. From arcane questions dealing with wonky numbers issues, to complex areas like custody, and even to share a laugh or anecdote with my fellow family law attorneys makes the “price of admission” to the SDCBA a value indeed. It really does provide a sense of much needed community.

Tara Shaw My SDCBA membership has been an amazing tool as a new attorney. I feel the best part is the listserve, as it has been an invaluable resource to be able to reach out to colleagues for insight and opinions. I've also had the opportunity to volunteer at a number of events to give back to the community and have created new relationships. I've also attended many CLEs, so many that I've already satisfied my requirement for the bar! The bar center itself has been very welcoming and the staff is super friendly. I know other attorneys who aren't members and I can't imagine why not, but they are missing out! The SDCBA has been a wonderful and welcoming community of lawyers.

Matthew freeman As a recently admitted Attorney starting my own law practice, I have found membership in the SDCBA helps keep me connected. While working as a solo practitioner with a home office, Bar Events and CLEs were one of the few opportunities I had to connect with other Attorneys. The SDCBA’s online resources for solo and small firms were invaluable in connecting me to the different resources necessary to run a law practice. The CLEs keep me connected to updates in the law that I use to help provide better service and results to my clients.

July/August 2017 SAN DIEGO LAWYER 9

Proud Member Benefit Provider

Pay Invoice PCI Compliant

Quick Bill


Invoice Payment

New Charge






Cook Brooks Johnson PLLC 7800 N Mopac MOPACExpressway EXPRESSWAY Suite 215 Austin, TX 78758 512.381.3000

Thank you for your prompt payment

$2,000.00 $2,000.00

Amount Amount

Total Total $2,000.00 $2,000.00

Card Information Card Information


Card Number Card Number

8765**** **** 5436**** 3210 9998 9998

Exp. Exp.


2021 CVV CVV

001 001




THE EXPERTS IN LEGAL PAYMENTS The proven payment solution for lawyers. Managing payments and growing revenue for over 40,000 law firms in the United States, LawPay is the only payment solution offered as a member benefit through the ABA. Developed specifically for law firms, LawPay guarantees complete separation of earned and unearned fees, giving you the confidence and peace of mind that your credit card transactions are handled the right way.

Trust Account Compliant

TRUST | 877.593.7883 LawPay is a registered ISO of Merrick Bank, South Jordan UT




Immigration Case Backlog Reaches Crisis, Call for Pro Bono Assistance How a local law school clinic is assisting San Diegans ccording to a report from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a non-partisan data gathering, data research and data distribution organization at Syracuse University, in 1998, there were approximately 120,000 pending cases in U.S. immigration courts. The following year, the caseload dropped slightly only to rebound in 2001 and plateau around 175,000 cases until 2008, when the caseload began to rise much more aggressively. Fast forward a decade: the caseload has more than doubled. Today, there are approximately 595,000 pending immigration cases in the United States.1 And that case count is predicted to grow, due to recent well-publicized changes to federal immigration policies.


With only 320 federal immigration judges handling the half-million-plus cases, the average wait time for adjudicating a case is 677 days — nearly two years.2 Even with the news that the Department of Justice will add 40 new immigration judges to alleviate pressure on the court, we cannot ignore the fact that we are facing a crisis. It’s not just the case numbers, the lack of judges and the wait time; there is also a severe shortage of qualified lawyers to represent these clients. This lack of legal representation cuts the deepest. If the current caseload were divided between the estimated 13,000 members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, each lawyer would have a minimum of 45 cases. Instead, most of these clients appear unrepresented before a tribunal that often seems determined to send them “home,” regardless of the circumstances. A portion of immigration-related cases are handled by law school legal clinics across the country that help individuals 1 2

Niels Schaumann decide if they need a lawyer, and then refer clients to attorneys who provide affordable or pro bono services. California Western School of Law’s Community Law Project (CLP) is one such clinic. CLP provides pro bono legal services including legal advice, consultations and community education in 11 areas of law, and serves more than 1,000 individuals each year through one-on-one consultations and community education presentations. CLP is on the front lines of immigration issues in San Diego, and thanks to a $25,000 grant from the Price Philanthropies Foundation, CLP is increasing its impact in the communities hit hardest by immigration issues. Price Philanthropies approached CLP earlier in 2017 about providing additional funding to help fill the needs of immigrant communities living in San Diego’s MidCity and City Heights neighborhoods. Price recognized CLP’s established and committed immigration work in the community and wanted to support the continuation of that work. With the grant, CLP has already hired an additional parttime staff member to support the efforts. For clients and families who are actually in deportation proceedings, CLP facilitates referrals to immigration attorneys who have experience in deportation/ removal defense. CLP frequently assesses

and facilitates referrals to nonprofit organizations (such as San Diego’s Casa Cornelia) for immigrant clients who may be able to obtain legal status and avoid immigration enforcement (i.e., through family-based petitions, DACA, VAWA, U-Visa or other forms of humanitarian immigration relief ). CLP conducts community education presentations and counsels individual clients on how to exercise their constitutional rights during an interaction with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other law enforcement agencies. When deportation is inevitable, CLP counsels immigrant families on how to prepare for deportation (e.g., designating a trusted caregiver for children who are to be left behind). CLP clinics are staffed by pro bono attorneys, volunteer law students, and experienced supervising attorneys who work together to assess clients’ issues and give them personalized advice and general information about the legal system. When general legal advice is not enough, clients are scheduled for a follow-up consultation with an attorney who is an expert in the relevant legal field. You can help. With all that CLP does, it needs more attorneys willing to offer their expertise and time to help clients. Please consider donating your time to CLP. For more information, you can email Dana Sisitsky, CLP’s executive director, at For other ways to give, please visit the CLP website at And if you don’t give to CLP, please consider another local immigration clinic. Together, we can do our part to make a difference in our community. Niels Schaumann is President and Dean of California Western School of Law. | Data collected and compiled by Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University. | “By the numbers: Why immigration cases take so long,”, April 12, 2017 July/August 2017 SAN DIEGO LAWYER 11



Cybersecurity Should Be Every Lawyer's Concern Recent malware attacks put attorneys and law firms on alert

W • •

itness some recent headlines: • 66% of U.S. law firms reported a breach in 2016; • Phishing emails are responsible for 91% of cyberattacks; Russian hackers are trading your credentials like magic cards; 40% of law firms underwent a security audit by a client and 18 firms lost a client for failing an IT audit; 95% of law firms were not compliant with their own data security policies.

Lawyers are soft targets for the hackers and criminals inhabiting the dark internet. We face substantial risks including the loss of client data, frozen computer systems and networks, substantial financial expenses, and notoriety and loss of reputation. Eighty to 90 percent of all issues are due to human error. Phishing emails arrive daily and populate the inboxes of attorneys and staff already working at warp speed. The top reasons for errors include curiosity and urgency, and the consequences of an inadvertent click include malware, ransomware and financial intrusions. Defensive weapons must include password vigilance, employee training and education, constant vigilance, and, at this point in time, cybersecurity insurance. The recent worldwide malware attack claimed numerous victims including the prominent global law firm, DLA Piper. More than most firms, DLA Piper was probably as well-armed as a law firm can be. Still, what may have been an inadvertent click by an employee in the Ukraine or Spain resulted in substantial interruptions of communications and operations, and might have inflicted significant financial losses.

We have no alternative except to consider seriously the purchase of cyber insurance. Malpractice insurers and general liability insurers are not willing to cover the losses that might result from malware or ransomware events. Attorneys may have been slow to recognize those facts, but perhaps as a result of the recent attacks, a noted cyber insurance company quadrupled its sales of policies in the most recent quarter compared to the first quarter of 2017. Our regular training and education for our personnel and in our offices must include constant attention to the power of passwords, penetration tests, and frequent reminders to attorneys and

We owe it to our clients and to ourselves to increase substantially our use of encryption in our daily practices. staff. NIST, a federal agency, has recently published password guidance for all federal employees that should be equally applicable to the protocols attorneys follow. Among its recommendations are longer passwords, using passphrases rather than complexly-structured passwords, and a comparison of the email addresses and passwords in use to known databases of emails and passwords known to have been exposed by massive hacks and cyber invasions such as the ones experienced by Sony, LinkedIn, and Dropbox. (Simple reminder: Test your email at https:// You may have no experience with passphrases, but arguably they can be as robust as passwords of similar length.

A passphrase is simply a sequence of words run together without the necessity of special characters and forced case changes. For instance, “mybrothersliveinClevelandandSyracuse”, would take the hacker sitting on his bed about 300 trillion, trillion, trillion centuries to crack at the rate of a 1,000 guesses per second. That particular passphrase is not a true statement about my siblings’ residence but is certainly easier to remember than “fnsleoW!*8P.” “fnsleoW!*8P” is far more difficult to remember but much easier to break. The simple reason is that length is probably the best solution to achieving password security. (For an object lesson, test your passwords at Steve Gibson’s Haystack: Finally, we owe it to our clients and to ourselves to increase substantially our use of encryption in our daily practices. All of our communications should be encrypted in transit as well as almost all their attachments. All of the data resting on the computers, systems and servers in our offices should be encrypted in place, and nothing should be stored in the cloud that is not well-protected by passwords, encryption and physical security. Years ago, the cartoonist, Walt Kelly, created the long-running comic strip Pogo. His characters inhabited the Okefenokee Swamp and often commented on the human condition. Perhaps the strip’s most famous quotation was: “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Attorneys could well fit that description if they neglect their cybersecurity responsibilities. Bill Kammer ( is a partner with Solomon Ward Seidenwurm & Smith, LLP.

July/August 2017 SAN DIEGO LAWYER 13




Not a Peremptory Challenge; a Sworn Statement to the Court Attorneys must have evidence of a judge's prejudice against themselves or a client — and must be prepared to state it under oath

hilip Dill tossed his briefcase on the table and plopped down in a chair across from Macbeth as he and Sarah were eating lunch in a restaurant near the courthouse.

“Juror? No. I got assigned to his courtroom. He’s the judge in my case. But not for long. I’m filing a 170.6 this afternoon.”

“Got a minute, Macbeth? Can you believe it? I’ve got Judge Bearish!”

“Yeah, what’s the big deal? Gotta get rid of Bearish. Too rules-oriented for my taste.”

Macbeth looked up from his salad. “Care to join us, Phil? You know Sarah.”

Macbeth paused from his salad. “What’s the factual basis to claim that Judge Bearish is prejudiced against you? Or your client? I’ve always found him fair. Considerate even.”


“Oh, yeah. Anyhow, I’m going to use a peremptory on him. Just my damn luck. Bearish.” Phil shook his head.


“You have Judge Bearish as a potential juror? Interesting —”

Sarah looked up. “A challenge under CCP section 170.6? Really?”

“Yeah, but you’re the kind of lawyer he likes. You stick to the rules. You don’t beat up your opponents — even if it’d help. You show up on time.”

Sarah stifled a smile. Macbeth continued. “Does he know your client? Has your client ever had him as a judge before? Or is this the first time?” “First time, far as I know. Haven’t asked yet. Why?” “Well, the declaration that section 170.6 requires has the lawyer state under oath that the specific judge is prejudiced against the client. Or the client’s interests. And also that the judge cannot be fair or impartial. That’s quite a mouthful. Any evidence of prejudice?” “Against Morelay and Company? Not sure. Never asked. I’ll just send the CEO a text later that I dumped Bearish.” “How about you? Any facts that Judge Bearish is prejudiced against you personally? So much so that he cannot be fair and impartial in this case?” “Well, last year in the Codpiece case. He denied my summary judgment motion. Really chewed me out in his written decision. Said my motion bordered on the frivolous. There’s that.” “But isn’t that the case where the Court of Appeal actually heard your writ petition and affirmed Judge Bearish? Or am I thinking of some other case?” “No, that’s the one. Really ticked the client off.” Dill spread both hands. “Why the third degree, guys?” “Well, Rule 5-200 prohibits, among other things, making a false statement of fact to

July/August 2017 SAN DIEGO LAWYER 15

E ETHICS a tribunal. The State Bar Act says the same thing.” Sarah interjected. “There’s also the fact that CCP section 170.6 requires a sworn statement, filed with the court. That might implicate State Bar Act section 6106, in addition to section 6068(d) that Macbeth mentioned.” “So, I put my client’s name in the declaration and just sign as its lawyer. How’s that? I gotta get rid of Bearish.” Macbeth put down his fork. “You mean represent under oath that your client is swearing to something when you don’t know if it's true or not?”

Sarah followed up. “Here you are stating facts under oath. Serious facts. Prejudice. A judge’s lack of fairness and impartiality. That cuts to the heart of our judicial system. Judges are to be fair and impartial. Whatever their personal feelings.”

Dill grabbed his briefcase and stood up. “Thanks for nothing, guys. Enjoy your lunch.”

Macbeth said, “Let me raise another question. Under Rule 3-500, our client communication obligation, shouldn’t you have your client participate in this decision? It affects the client. The client may not want you to challenge Judge Bearish. Have to take its chances on whoever gets assigned.” “What’s my client know about judges?”

“OK, not a good idea. But what’s the big deal? We all call it a peremptory challenge, don’t we? Everybody gets one free bite.”

“Then, that’s where you’ll have the opportunity to explain why Judge Bearish is prejudiced against the client. Or against you. Why he won’t be fair and impartial.”

“A peremptory challenge to a prospective juror is not under oath. You don’t give a reason. It’s an entitlement. And automatic. This is worlds apart — in spite of the name.”

Sarah finished her sandwich and took a sip of ice tea. “Likely you should be able to make that case to your client. Before putting it in a declaration, that is.”

Editor’s Note: Rule of Professional Conduct 5-200 and Bus. & Prof. Code section 6068(d) mandate candor to the court; section 6106 prohibits dishonesty. Violations can lead to suspension or disbarment.

Edward McIntyre ( is an attorney at law and co-editor of San Diego Lawyer. No portion of this article is intended to constitute legal advice. Be sure to perform independent research and analysis. Any views expressed are those of the author only and not of the SDCBA or its Legal Ethics Committee.

High Conflict. High Emotions. High Profile. High Expectations. When it really matters...

Glass Mediations 619-234-7790

View Doug’s availability calendar at Best Lawyers ® 2017 Lawyer of the Year – Mediation San Diego



Opening up about traumatic cases and secondary trauma Featuring Agustin Peña and Michelle Ryle Agustin Peña

Michelle Ryle

hen working with clients/victims in traumatic situations, how do you prevent yourself from experiencing secondary trauma? Michelle Ryle works in the City Attorney’s Domestic Violence and Sex Crimes unit in central San Diego. Agustin Peña from the District Attorney’s Office in East County has worked on felony robberies and assaults. Here they share their experiences and strategies in maintaining balance.


What cases keep you up at night? Agustin (AP): I think what keeps me up at night are cases that involve suspects and defendants that are just a genuine, true risk to the community. If I make a mistake or something happens, I don’t want the community to suffer for that. Those kinds of circumstances where the community is at risk [when they are] going about their lives — that’s what weighs me down, my biggest fear. Michelle (MR): One case in particular kept me up after the verdict. It was a long history of domestic violence spanning [multiple counties]. Every single time in those prior cases, she had recanted. And when she came here [to San Diego], he finally got her bad enough with a VCR across the face splitting her lip, knocking one of her teeth out. She wanted to cooperate, sever the relationship, and she tried to get custody of her son because she didn’t want their son to be like him. The jury acquitted. They thought she hit herself in the face to try to get custody. They didn’t believe him, but they didn’t believe her. It’s one of those domestic violence cases where the victim is finally breaking the relationship, I’m worried that the jury is going to give somebody a pass. Do you experience vicarious/secondary trauma as a result of the cases you handle? MR: I did when I first came back from maternity leave. It was a neglect case, and

seeing the baby [footage] really affected me. Before it would have been upsetting, but it got to the point where when I was done issuing the case, I had to go take a walk and I went home for lunch that day just to go see my son. Seeing the video of the child in just an awful state of neglect and only 6 months old shook me really hard. AP: I’m always appalled and horrified by the things that people do especially in minors’ cases and juveniles, that they start so young with committing these really, really heinous crimes. Given that I’ve been exposed to a lot growing up and I’ve seen a lot of this stuff firsthand, there isn’t too much that’s going to shock me. But on the flip side, I really feel for the victims because I’ve seen this or I’ve been through this myself. I understand completely what they’re going through and I’m able to empathize. What strategies do you employ to keep balance? MR: Definitely talking to co-workers. Lunch is a decompress time. Finding humor in things. Making time for myself. When I can, I go to yoga at lunch or I go for a walk. Making a point that work stays at work; I don’t take it home anymore. AP: I echo that. I think having some professional support system where you can exchange thoughts, impressions and perspectives on individual cases; talking it out can be therapeutic but also helps professional development. There really has

to be some kind of physical component to this — Michelle mentioned yoga. I work out. I run, hike, whatever you can do to acquire the physical component. I think the physical, the emotional, the intellectual — it’s all interrelated and you have to address each one of them. I’ve started to get better at understanding that the work is going to be there tomorrow. A lot of us, especially in the first few years, will work 10, 12, 14 hours or so just grinding away, and it’s hard to pull away from the desk when you see that your inbox is full. If it’s not pressing, if it’s not urgent, there’s got to be a cutoff time. MR: Even if you take a break at 5:30 and you go get dinner, you go to the gym, and you come back to the office. Walking away from the desk was huge. It’s cleansing just to step away. What advice have you received from coworkers in how to deal with emotionally difficult cases? MR: The biggest piece of advice I got was to stop taking things home. Because home is not where work is. Home is not where things go bump in the night. It’s important to our family as well to be wholly present there so when you walk through the door at home, that is a safe place. Everybody has gone through that period where they have work-life imbalance. You can’t do it, it’s not healthy, it’s not right — life is short. Continued on page 35 July/August 2017 SAN DIEGO LAWYER 17

Why Wellness



We asked a few SDCBA members why and how they make wellness a priority. Here's what they said:

Susan Hack, Runner, Higgs Fletcher & Mack LLP My dad died of a massive heart attack two weeks after my 9th birthday. He was 44. I appreciated “bad heart genes” throughout my life but it never hit me until I was approaching my 44th birthday. Around that time, I decided that I needed to take more stock in my health, surely fueled by my dad’s premature death. And like any Type A, competitive person, I embraced fitness to the extreme and still do. I started running again and found “indoor cycling.” Our profession is stressful enough. Whether your passion is swimming, running, surfing, spinning, walking, golfing, yoga, or meditating, just do it!

Jeffrey Chine, Triathlete, Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP Exercise is a priority because it helps me maintain a balance given the stresses of daily law practice. I find it most important at those times when I’m busiest, when, ironically, it is hardest to find the time for a swim or jog or bike ride. It takes dedication to drop work for an hour or two — but I’m always glad I made the time.

Pauline Villanueva, Yoga Instructor, Solo Practitioner Conor Hulburt, Surfer, SDCBA Wetsuits, The McClellan Law Firm I am active to get out of my head and into my body. When I’m hiking down the Ho Chi Minh trail or paddling for a wave, I’m not thinking about work, responsibilities, who I am, what I did yesterday or need to do tomorrow.  I’m focused on not slipping or falling off my board. Activity helps me refocus on the present, and the more I focus on the present, the more I feel part of something bigger and the more grateful I am to be alive. There is a great quote by Aristotle: “Happiness is a state of activity.” 

“You’re a lawyer? But you seem so mellow and not stressed!” These words from one of my yoga instructors have always stuck with me. I take an odd pride in knowing I don’t fit into the attorney stereotype, despite working as a solo practitioner in criminal defense. Much of this stems from practicing and teaching yoga. Yoga has taught me not only to feel good in my body, but to find a certain peace of mind. Thanks to yoga, I’ve learned to breathe and stay calm throughout difficult situations. It is the perfect complement to an often demanding law practice.

Joshua Bonnici, Bicyclist, Bonnici Law Group, APC All day I deal with questions, malfunctioning printers and phone calls. My mind is constantly bouncing between managing my office, my employees, settling cases and marketing for new ones. So in order to clear my head, I ride my bike. A lot. I’ve ridden my bike(s) just over 1,700 miles this year (including 40 miles this morning before coming into the office). On the bike, I’m able to clear my head, and just think about the upcoming hill, my pedal cadence, or when to eat my protein bar. I’m able to quiet my mind and channel all my power to my legs churning mile after mile. That way, when I get off the bike, my mind is refreshed, my body is flushed, and I’m ready to hit the office once again.

July/August 2017 SAN DIEGO LAWYER 19

Going Green

The past, present and future of cannabis law in California By Michael Cindrich


he green rush is on in California. The State already holds the lion’s share of the $5.7 billion cannabis industry, and the market is primed for unprecedented growth with the recent legalization of recreational use for adults. Cannabis law has come a long way since California became the first state to legalize medical cannabis use over 20 years ago. However, there is still a long road ahead to create a fully operational and legitimate market.


ndustry participants and law enforcement have faced an uphill battle attempting to navigate the ever-changing landscape of cannabis laws. Since the Compassionate Use Act (CUA) broadly established an affirmative defense for the medical use of cannabis in 1996, and then the Medical Marijuana Program Act (MMPA) established an affirmative defense for collectively and cooperatively producing and distributing medical cannabis in 2003, the industry has largely operated in a legal gray area. Poorly drafted legislation provided little guidance on the breadth and depth of legalization, and the case law developed slowly over the years. Judges and prosecutors in many jurisdictions throughout California strictly interpreted cannabis laws, which

led to unnecessary arrests, wasted resources and, in some cases, wrongful convictions. In San Diego alone, we saw three landmark cannabis decisions that began as erroneous rulings summarily denying patient-defendants their right to present an affirmative defense and were ultimately overturned on appeal. See People v. Konow, 102 Cal. App. 4th 1020 (2002), as modified (Nov. 6, 2002), review granted and opinion superseded, 63 P.3d 212 (Cal. 2003), and revised, 88 P.3d 36 (2004); People v. Jackson, 210 Cal. App. 4th 525 (2013), as modified on denial of reh’g (Nov. 20, 2012); People v. Orlosky, 233 Cal. App. 4th 257 (2015). Notably, the liberal MMPA allows a defendant to present a defense to cannabis-related offenses under a variety of circumstances. A written doctor’s July/August 2017 SAN DIEGO LAWYER 21

recommendation is not required; oral approval is enough. People v Jones, 113 Cal. App. 4th 341 (2003). A written agreement is not required to form a collective or cooperative; the act of informally associating is enough. People v. Orlosky, 233 Cal. App. 4th at 573. Business formalities such as accounting records and nonprofit formation are merely elements for a jury to consider in determining whether a collective or cooperative is operating lawfully. These principles have in large part been developed through case law at the expense of unlucky judges and prosecutors. What this means for criminal defense attorneys and for our clients is that under the MMPA, we can use the gray area to our advantage. However, law enforcement can use that same gray area to arrest our clients, seize their assets and initiate criminal and/or civil action. In order to eliminate these uncertainties, decriminalization should go hand-in-hand with regulation. The changing legal landscape has been driven by changing perceptions. For the first time in our nation’s history, the majority of the public is in favor of cannabis legalization. People now view cannabis offenses as less serious than they would other criminal offenses. However, mere decriminalization does not guarantee the safety and efficacy of cannabis and cannabis-related activities. The experiences of states like California, who have boldly legalized cannabis in spite of the continued federal prohibition, have taught lawmakers about how and why to regulate cannabis. The California Legislature recognized that, in order to move into a legitimate industry, regulations needed to be enacted, restrictions put in place and taxes imposed. With the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA), the state of California attempted to comprehensively govern the cultivation, manufacturing and sale of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products. The Legislature adopted important elements from the measures that passed in Colorado, Washington and Oregon, while avoiding some of the mistakes initially seen with the regulatory frameworks in those states. A centralized Bureau was established within the Department of Consumer Affairs to create all of the detailed regulations that would control and govern how cannabis businesses would operate.

differences between MCRSA and Proposition 64. The result was a budget trailer bill, known as Senate Bill 94, which was signed into law on June 27, 2017, to create a unified regulatory framework. Senate Bill 94 repeals and replaces much of MCRSA, and regulatory agencies will now have to quickly modify the proposed medical regulations in order to begin licensing by the statutorily imposed deadline of January 1, 2018. What does SB 94 mean for existing cannabis businesses? Twelve months from the date that the state begins accepting applications, collectives and cooperatives will have to become licensed at the state level. If businesses do not receive a state license within that 12-month period, they must cease operating. The gray area that collectives and cooperatives have been relying on for years just turned very black and white. By early 2019, if you have a state license, you are legal; if not, you are illegal. In order to obtain a state license, there are many hoops to jump through. For example, you must establish that you are in full compliance with local laws and regulations before the state will issue a license. Over 98 percent of the industry is currently operating without any local authorization, approval, licenses or permits. This means that most businesses operating today will either close their doors, or be forced entirely into the black market. On the other hand, people who have hidden in the shadows for years will have an avenue to come forward and join the tightly regulated marketplace. Investors from out of state will also be coming to California to capitalize on this emerging industry.

People now view cannabis offenses as less serious than they would other criminal offenses. However, mere decriminalization does not guarantee the safety and efficacy of cannabis and cannabisrelated activities.

While the state was figuring out how to control the medical cannabis industry, several different interest groups began organizing recreational cannabis initiatives in order to alter the regulatory landscape. The initiative that ultimately made it to the ballot and gained enough votes to pass in 2016 was Proposition 64. A citizen’s initiative, Proposition 64 was much more businessfriendly than the MCRSA. There were some key differences between the two pieces of legislation. For example, Proposition 64 did away with restrictions on vertical integration and cultivation limits, and created an open distribution model. The Brown Administration and the State Legislature realized that they would have to reconcile the

22 SAN DIEGO LAWYER July/August 2017

For attorneys who are practicing in this field, we have to be prepared to evolve. The fun days of arguing affirmative defenses in court are slowly fading away. Criminal defense cannabis practices will be left with low-level misdemeanors, felony extraction cases, local municipal code violations and the occasional cannabis DUI. Fairly dry corporate and regulatory work will fill the void. Attorneys interested in practicing cannabis law should focus on areas related to the new regulated market. There are great opportunities for employment attorneys, in-house counsel, real estate attorneys, land-use attorneys, securities attorneys and attorneys practicing in so many other crossover areas. Just as the industry is adapting to a regulated market, we too must be prepared to move into the future. Michael Cindrich ( is a solo practitioner.

What Attorneys Need to Know About the Drager 5000 By Eric Ganci


olice have a new addition to try and fight the war on impaired driving: the Drager 5000. This device swabs the person’s mouth/cheek area to screen saliva for non-alcoholic intoxicating substances, including amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana and prescription drugs. This test is given before arrest, and acts as a field sobriety test. For attorneys who may provide guidance on this new device, there are a few important things to note, both scientifically and legally:

What is it? The Drager 5000 simply screens for the presence of certain types of drugs. Science refers to this as “presumptive” testing, and science also requires if you do a presumptive test and get a result, then you must do a second test as a confirmation. Also, as a presumptive test, it does not quantitate a certain amount. So, even if the device reports a number, it’s certainly not to say that number is a scientifically valid number by any means. The easiest way to think about this is a metal detector: While a metal detector may sense or detect some type of metal, it may not know (and probably does not know) the type or amount of metal.

Your client may not need to do this test if you wish to refuse This test is usually not required — and usually you can refuse this test. California law requires (per implied consent) that a driver submit to a chemical test after arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence (of either alcohol, drugs or both in combination). This Drager mouth swab test is not that implied consent chemical test, and is offered before arrest.

This code section, California Vehicle Code 23612(i) mandates that if an officer decides to use this preliminary alcohol screening test, s/he must — is required to — advise the person they have the right to refuse this test. And a person refusing this preliminary field test cannot be used against the person or even admitted as evidence (see People v. Jackson (2010) 189 Cal. App. 1461, 1469). Now, certain groups of people cannot refuse this preliminary pre-arrest test (if you’re under 21 years old or on probation for a DUI/wet reckless), but you have the full right to refuse as long as you’re not in those classes.

Issues to understand In June 2014, in preparation for when this time would come, I attended a training for the Drager 5000. Rarely are machines perfect, and at that time there were issues … and those issues may still be present currently. For example, the device prompts when maintenance is needed, but the user can bypass this prompt. Same for the expiration dates for the sampling strips used: the machine prompts for when those strips are out of date, but the user can bypass that prompt too. The machine has the ability to download the last 500 samples through a USB connection, but you need its software to do so. These are interesting times, as the city has received grant money to prosecute drug impairment DUIs. The best thing you and your clients can do is educate yourselves on the law and science. Because this can affect and report people who are using, even if they’re taking their prescribed dosage of meds. Eric Ganci ( is a solo practitioner.

While there is no California Vehicle Code section exactly on point (yet) for this device, it’s akin to the same test given to test for the presence of alcohol before arrest.



Workspace and meeting rooms available exclusively for members.

Going All In

My experience traveling in-house

By James Spievak


f your goal is to be an in-house attorney rather than working in private practice, listen up. I made the move after 40 years in private practice. For most of my legal career, I found private practice rewarding. Now, as general counsel (GC) to a manufacturing and service company in the health care industry (hearing aids), I have also found the last five years of my legal career to be rewarding.

Advantages of being in-house I am the GC for a company with sales under $100 million. I no longer live the law 24/7. For the most part, I have regular hours (except when traveling on company business). When I leave the office, I am able to leave the stress of the work right there at the door. Most of my weekends are my weekends; I rarely do more than review and respond to emails on weekends. Not that there aren’t pressures in the in-house world. There are. They are just different kinds of pressures. I am responsible for organizing my work and getting it done. I own it when it comes to the legal side of the company. I have significant personal time off (PTO); in my case, six weeks, which is not unusual 24 SAN DIEGO LAWYER July/August 2017

for a GC. I answer to only one person, the CEO. I am responsible for documenting the major contracts and actions of the Board of Managers to ensure that everything is proper and good records are kept. I find this very rewarding. I am influential in setting the tone for the company’s ethical and legal behavior as an employer (we have approximately 700 employees).

Disadvantages of being in-house The most significant disadvantage is that I no longer control my personal schedule. For example, I can’t just decide to play golf

There are various pathways and positions out there; you just need to determine what you are looking for and find the right fit.

during the week whenever the opportunity presents itself. Other disadvantages include the fact that my salary is pretty much set and any adjustments are at the discretion of the CEO, and I can no longer write off expenses anymore. I now have a boss to answer to — I am no longer the boss. For the most part, I seemed to have adjusted to this pretty well. Beware, in the corporate world, there are usually only six holidays a year — we don’t close for every court holiday. Another challenge is the fact that I am the decision-maker on all legal ethical issues. This means that I have to make the call and tell my boss, “We can’t do that,” or I can’t attend that meeting without permission from the other side’s counsel, or I have to send a “waiver of conflict” letter. My boss, while peeved, accepts my judgment and tells me to do what I have to do when I raise the legal ethics flag.

What is the path to an in-house? There are various pathways and positions out there; you just need to determine what you are looking for and find the right fit. If you are a specialist (e.g., patent/trademark), the demand is high for in-house attorneys.

And, of course, high demand equals good pay. If you are a litigator, there is still significant demand (not including insurance defense). Most in-house positions in litigation are with big companies with big legal departments. If your ultimate goal is to be a GC, there are various ways to get there. The best path to get in the door as a member of the general counsel’s staff or as a GC is to be a good business attorney with significant experience in setting up and managing various types of entities, negotiating high-level contracts, and having significant experience in mergers and acquisitions. If you want to be with a public company and get the corresponding rewards, I suggest working your way up, usually as a contracts attorney in a bigger legal department, or moving from being outside attorney handling mergers and acquisitions for some of the bigger public companies. The alternative is to find a small growing company that is looking for its first in-house attorney or adding a second attorney to its staff. These latter opportunities are usually privately held, frequently controlled by one person (the CEO). This is the path I took. In my case, I was at the right place at the right time with the right experience, and they approached me first. Rest assured, the interview went both ways as I wasn’t just looking to jump ship from private practice. Join the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) and check out their job postings. I had never heard of this organization while in private practice. The SDCBA is your connection to the legal community in San Diego. I valued that connection for my whole career and found my service to the SDCBA as a Director, Treasurer and Vice President to be very rewarding. It also helped build my resume for when the in-house opportunity presented itself. In the same light, the ACC is your connection to the GC and in-house world locally, nationally and internationally. Talk to a head hunter. They know their business and they know the market. Whatever your path is, make it fun and it will be rewarding. James Spievak ( is general counsel with Hearing Lab Technology, LLC.

SDCBA Sustaining Members The San Diego County Bar Association gratefully acknowledges its Sustaining Members for their outstanding commitment and generous support in 2017. PATRON MEMBERS Marc D. Adelman Jose S. Castillo

Richard A. Huver

Steven, T. Coopersmith William O. Dougherty James P. Frantz Van E. Haynie

Gerald S. Mulder

Rhonda J. Holmes

Laura H. Miller Todd F. Stevens Thomas J. Warwick Jr. Andrew H. Wilensky

BENEFACTOR MEMBERS Doc Anthony Anderson III Jedd E. Bogage Alexander Isaac Dychter

Douglas A. Glass Alvin M. Gomez

FRIEND MEMBERS Laura Ashborn Steven Barnes Robert J. Baumer

Marguerite C. Lorenz

Scott Carr Linda Cianciolo

Justin Nielsen

Teresa E. Dietz David B. Dugan Susan K. Fox

Mark Kaufman Raymond J. Navarro Anthony J. Passante Jr. Anne Perry Kristi E. Pfister

Ronald Leigh Greenwald

Michael J. Roberts

Allen M. Gruber Ajay K. Gupta

Stella Shvil Janis K. Stocks

July/August 2017 SAN DIEGO LAWYER 25

Experience. Tenacity. Judgment. Kathryn Karcher, for your client’s appeal. | 619.565.4755 Certified Appellate Specialist, Board of Legal Specialization, State Bar of California


brings years of specialized experience to his mediations, in the following areas:

• Business & Real Estate Transactions • Mergers & Acquisitions • Corporate Governance • Organization & Operation of Business Entities, including Corporations • Partnerships To schedule a case with Bob call (619) 238-7282 or visit us online at

• Joint Ventures • Limited Liability Companies

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. Our Resolve. Your Resolution.

If You Don't Have It, You Don't Get It Mental health and depression in our profession By Rick Waite Thirty-four verdicts in excess of $1,000,000. A $100,000,000 class-action settlement against the largest funeral operator in the country. Former President of the Dade County Bar Association (Miami, Florida). Former member of the Florida Bar Board of Governors. Disciplined. Fit. Adjunct professor at the University of Miami Law School. Ervin Gonzalez seemed to have it all. Until June 8, 2017, when he ended his life.


is law partner, Dean C. Colson, confirmed that Ervin Gonzalez suffered from depression. This was on the law firm website the day after Ervin Gonzalez committed suicide: “Ervin’s passing reminds all of us that mental illness can strike anyone regardless of how accomplished or content they might appear. Like the Ervin we all knew and loved, he valiantly fought this personal challenge with unmatched effort. He simply was unable to win his hardest and final trial. It pains us to know he was suffering so terribly beyond his control.” Closer to home. My college roommate, Jim McDonald, graduated from Harvard in three years. Married his high school sweetheart. Attended the University of Virginia Law School. Became a partner in the Boston blue blood law firm of Choat Hall and Stewart. Later he became President of the prestigious Pell, Rudman Trust Company and finally CEO of Rockefeller Co. Yes, that Rockefeller Co., which was founded in

1882 by John D. Rockefeller. One Sunday afternoon Jim drove from his home in New York City to a shopping center in Massachusetts and put a bullet in his head. If you don’t have it, you don’t get it. Symptoms of depression are not always what many people think them to be. They can be much more than sadness and feeling blue. Depression can also be characterized by an inability to concentrate, extreme fatigue, physical pain, sleeplessness, weight gain or loss, low energy and a despair so profound that the only way out seems to be to end it all. Approximately 70 San Diego lawyers have attempted suicide. We don’t know the number of lawyers who have succeeded. Many of those lawyers suffered from depression. Those are the sobering implications of a seminal recent study on alcohol and mental health issues by Patrick Krill titled “The Prevalence of Substance Use and Other Mental Health Concerns Among American Attorneys” (Journal of Addiction July/August 2017 SAN DIEGO LAWYER 27

Medicine: February 2016, Volume 10, Issue 1, pages 46-52). The study, based on a national sample of over 12,000 attorneys revealed that .7 percent of the participants reported at least one prior suicide attempt. With a lawyer population of 10,000, that means that approximately 70 San Diego lawyers have attempted to end their life.

foods while avoiding processed foods, all grains, processed sugar, starchy carbohydrates and potatoes, artificial chemicals and preservatives, and conventional meat and dairy. A friend of mine described her depression this way. “I looked at a weed for two weeks and could not pull it.” Several years ago she embarked on a treatment of antidepressant medication and the GAPS diet, and her lifelong battle with depression was finally over.

A friend of mine described her depression this way: “I looked at a weed for two weeks and could not pull it.”

In our warrior culture there is still a stigma associated with seeking help for issues involving mental health. People are afraid to acknowledge such issues for fear of being perceived as weak and unworthy. These are illnesses, not character defects. Many lawyers battling these demons are high-functioning professionals. But they are suffering. “There is not enough self-care because of the culture of the legal profession. Look around. Lawyers are not taking care of themselves. Self-medication has become normalized. Lawyers work long hours, drink or self-medicate with drugs or alcohol each night, don’t exercise and don’t get enough sleep,” says Krill, a lawyer and licensed alcohol and drug counselor that consults for law firms.

According to Krill, “the unfortunate fact about mental health problems of lawyers, including depression, is that often it is the profession that causes it. These are issues that are both preventable and treatable.” According to Mr. Krill, a high percentage of lawyers suffering from depression can be successfully treated and managed. Treatment for depression often involves counseling and anti-depressant medication. There are also alternative treatments that are receiving attention, such as GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) which advocates a diet of non-processed food consisting primarily of easy to digest foods such as fruit, vegetables, organic wild meats, fish, egg yolks and probiotic-rich

There are resources available to attorneys suffering from depression. The Legal Assistance Program of the State Bar of California has several programs for lawyers seeking help with depression. The State Bar of California’s Transitional Assistance Service will arrange for up to two free one-onone sessions with a therapist specializing in working with legal professionals on issues such as stress, burnout and depression. Call 1-800-341-0572. The Support Lawyer Assistance Program is for attorneys who are interested in participating in a weekly meeting with other lawyers in a group setting with the support of a mental health professional. Call 1-877-527-4435. For those suffering from severe depression and who are contemplating suicide, there is a 24/7 telephone hotline at the National Suicide Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 or visit If you are seriously depressed or thinking about ending your life, please reach out to them. Or your spouse. Your doctor. Your friend or colleague. Or me. You are not alone. Rick Waite ( is an attorney with Keeney Waite & Stevens.

Our Work & Wellness Visit the SDCBA's new web page dedicated to wellness for lawyers. 28 SAN DIEGO LAWYER July/August 2017

Toxic Stress, Job Burnout and How to Fix It By Terri L. Asanovich, MFT


n interesting report was published several years ago that addresses the issue of what’s come to be known as “secondary traumatic stress” in people working in the legal profession.1 The study, commissioned by the Wisconsin Public Defender’s Office, found that the agency’s attorneys demonstrated significantly higher levels of PTSD symptoms, depression, secondary traumatic stress, burnout and functional impairment compared with administrative support staff.

coinciding with the growth in treatment focused on professional clients who were themselves victims of trauma.

By definition, secondary traumatic stress is “the stress resulting from helping, or wanting to help, a traumatized or suffering person.”2

In addition to secondary traumatic stress and vicarious traumatization, professionals working on particularly intense cases can develop burnout — an accumulation of stress and the erosion of idealism characterized by fatigue, poor sleep, headaches, anxiety, irritability, depression, hopelessness, aggression, cynicism, and even substance abuse. Also, according to the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s study,

Secondary Trauma The occurrence of secondary traumatic stress or vicarious traumatization was first defined in the mid-1980s, originally observed in therapists and roughly

Among attorneys, secondary trauma occurs when intrusive thoughts, avoidance and withdrawal, and the symptoms of tension and disturbed sleep result from the exposure to traumatic material that so often can comprise the part-andparcel of some difficult cases. Moreover, professionals may develop changes in basic assumptions about themselves, people, society and personal safety.

July/August 2017 SAN DIEGO LAWYER 29

attorneys were seen to have demonstrated significantly higher levels of PTSD symptoms. This difference was mediated by attorney’s longer work hours and greater contact with clients who had experienced trauma.3 Secondary traumatic stress is often found in certain categories of legal practice, such as family law, where lawyers must deal with emotionally charged issues that often revolve around violence and abuse; personal injury lawyers who interface with clients who have suffered physical, emotional or psychological injury or distress; and criminal attorneys who defend individuals accused of committing crimes of violence. Other studies have shown that attorneys demonstrated higher levels of secondary trauma and burnout direct correlation to excessive caseloads.4

“Prolonged stress response causes ongoing damage to the emotional well-being of the stressed lawyer.”

Fight or Flight vs. Rest and Digest

In another study, researchers found that increased levels of occupational stress was associated with high levels of personal and work related burnout among lawyers.5 Prolonged stress response causes ongoing damage to the emotional well-being of the stressed lawyer.6 Due to prolonged stress, the level of the steroid hormone cortisol rises and the executive functioning in the thinking brain is compromised during chronic stress response; thus, emotional regulation in the face of real or perceived threats can be very difficult.7

Andrew P. Levin, et al., Secondary Traumatic Stress in Attorneys and Their Administrative Support Staff Working With TraumaExposed Clients, THE JOURNAL OF NERVOUS AND MENTAL DISEASE,199(12), 946-955 (December 2011). 2 Charles R. Figley, Compassion Fatigue: Coping with Secondary Traumatic Stress Disorder and Those Who Treat the Traumatized, 1-20,Brunner/Mazel (1995). 3 Andrew P. Levin, et al., supra note 1. 4 Andrew P. Levin & Scott Greisberg, Vicarious Trauma in Attorneys, 24 PACE LAW REVIEW 245(2003). 5 Feng-Jen Tsai, Wei-Lun Huang & Chang-Chuan Chan, Occupational Stress and Burnout of Lawyers,51 JOURNAL OF OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH, 443-450 (2009). 6 Rick Hanson, Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love & Wisdom, 52-53 (2009); John J. Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, 66-67 1

Many lawyers and law students are immersed in a culture of stressful response overdrive, and actually believe that the adrenaline rush that they feel enhances their performance.8 Research has proven, though, that memory and cognitive functions are impaired during the “fight or flight” stress response, but by enhancing “rest and digest” systems, it can actually help reverse the damage.9 The rest and digest part of the nervous system restores balance by curtailing the release of stress hormones, slowing the heart rate, lowering blood pressure and promoting digestion.10 This restores feelings of contentment and calm.11 In short, lawyers and other legal professionals can reverse stress damage, build cognitive reserves to counter stress, and foster resilience by improving their ability to rest and digest.12 To be effective, attorneys must be diligent in protecting themselves from the debilitating effects of toxic stress that, unfortunately, are inherent in the often high stakes and emotionally charged legal profession. Terri L. Asanovich, MFT is a licensed family therapist practicing in Sherman Oaks. An Associate Member of the San Fernando Valley Bar Association, she provides the legal community with therapy, child custody evaluations, and case consultations. She can be reached at

(2008). 7 Rick Hanson, supra note 6, at 50. 8 Gayatri Devi, A Calm Brain: How to Relax Into A Stress-Free, High-Powered Life, 7 (2012). 9 Rick Hanson, supra note 6, at 52-60; John J.Ratey, supra note 6, at 67-71; Gayatri Devi, supra note 8, at 83-86; Joseph LeDoux, Anxious: Using the Brain to Understand and Treat Fear and Anxiety, 59 (2015). 10 William J. Broad, The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards, 90 (2012); Gayatri Devi, supra note 8, at 53; Rita Carter, The Human Brain Book, 184 (2nd Ed. 2014); See, Michael S. Sweeney, Brain: The Complete Mind: How It Develops, How It Works, and How To Keep It Sharp, 41 (2009); Larry Squire, et al., Fundamental Neuroscience, 734 (4th Ed. 2012). 11 See Eric H. Chudler, The Little Book of Neuroscience Haiku (2013); Rick Hanson, supra note 6.

This article is reprinted with the permission of the San Fernando Valley Bar Association and the Valley Lawyer Magazine. 30 SAN DIEGO LAWYER July/August 2017

Some Helpful Steps to Mitigate Stress and Burnout Develop your emotional intelligence. This is defined as the “capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, motivating ourselves and managing emotions well in ourselves and our relationships.”13 Greater ratios of emotional intelligence lead to increased happiness, professional satisfaction, and can decrease burnout.14 Acknowledge the people and experiences in your life to be thankful for and cultivate your own emotional intelligence by keeping a daily gratitude journal. Aerobic exercise. This office-friendly activity can be very effective in reducing stress and optimizing brain function.15 Any exercise that raises the heart rate for an extended period of time increases blood and oxygen flow to the brain, elevates and balances key neurotransmitters, and causes

Gayatri Devi, supra note 9, at 37; See also Linda Graham, Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being, 208 (2013). 13 Andrew P. Levin, et al., supra note 1. 14 Daniel Goleman, Working with Emotional Intelligence, 317 (1998). 15 See Reuven Bar-On, The Impact of Emotional Intelligence on Subjective Well-Being, 23 PERSPECTIVES IN EDUCATION, 41-61 (2005). 16 Daniel G. Amen, Change Your Brain, Change Your Body: Use Your Brain to Get and Keep the Body You Have Always Wanted, 110 (2010); see also, Barry J. Gibb, The Rough Guide to the Brain, 6-8 (2d ed. 2012); Judith Horstman, The Scientific American Brave New Brain, 3-4 (2010); David Perlmutter & Alberto Villoldo, Power Up Your Brain: The Neuroscience of Enlightenment, 16-21 (2011). 17 Gayatri Devi, supra note 8, at 165. 18 Robert M. Sapolsky, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, (3d ed. 2004). 19 See Rita Carter, supra note 10, at 184; See Michael S. Sweeney, supra note 10, at 189. 20 Gayatri Devi, supra note 8, at 123. 21 Srinivasan S. Pillay, Your Brain and Business: The Neuroscience of Great Leaders, 50 (1st ed. 2011). 22 See Britta K. Hölzel, et al., How Does Mindfulness Meditation Work? Proposing Mechanisms of Actions from a Conceptual and Neural Perspective, 6 PERSPECTIVES ON PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE, 537 (2011).

the release of the proteins that build and protect brain cells.16 Get enough sleep. Extensive research shows that a good night’s sleep greatly enhances memory.17 It is postulated that enhanced memory consolidation takes place during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep when certain genes are activated.18 Researchers recommend that lawyers optimally get eight hours of sleep per night to enhance memory recall.19 De-stressed breathing. There is a simple breathing technique that can be utilized anywhere to calm yourself quickly or are experiencing anxiety. First, take a long, deep breath in through your nose and hold it for a count of three seconds. Slowly exhale through your mouth to the count of four. Do this at least three times. As odd as

it may sound, no one really knows exactly how this stress-relieving technique works, but it really does. Meditation. Meditation can increase your ability to serial task, or prioritize and focus, on one thing at a time rather than try to juggle too many tasks at once.20 A serialtasker is present in the moment, listens actively to others, maintains a working flow on projects, and ignores the false sense of urgency that multi-tasking creates. Another component of meditation is mindfulness which activates self-awareness rather than self-reflection.21 Meditation has proven to have four benefits that could potentially lead to improved legal practice: regulating attention, being aware of physical limitations, regulating emotions, and recalibrating how you see yourself.22


33 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE SERVING OUR COMMUNITY “I promise exceptional customer service & personal attention to all of my clients and their cases.”


“… you will not find a more hard working & diligent attorney than Richard Duquette.” - L. T. (CLIENT)

DUI & CRIMINAL DEFENSE Call Now For Your FREE Consultation

760.730.0500 | © 2017 Law Firm of Richard L. Duquette | REFERRAL FEES PAID BY LAW



How I shed denial about my health and nearly 140 pounds


always used to argue, in true defense attorney fashion, that I was a healthy fat man.

Yes, my weight had ballooned up to 360 pounds since college. But, it was an athletic 360 pounds. I still worked out like I did in college and could last for an hour on the elliptical machine, so clearly I was still in good shape. What did it matter that the buttons from my tight dress shirts occasionally went flying when I sat down? My family was alarmed at my weight gain and would try to prod me to lose weight. My wife tried being patient, kind and understanding — suggesting a salad when I would prefer a hamburger. My big brother Carlos decided on ridicule as a better course of action. He used to say

32 SAN DIEGO LAWYER July/August 2017

that my Tomlinson jersey of #21 should really be #42! I had a number of “serious” conversations about my weight with friends and family. Nothing really swayed me from my irrational belief that I was a healthy fat man. I would work out occasionally, but mostly ignored my weight. I never joined an organized weight loss program. When two of my closest friends underwent weight loss surgery, it gave me pause, but I told myself I would never do something like that. It was desperation to go under the knife, right? Still, occasionally I would look at old pictures of college and wonder. Finally, my body started to have the final word. I began to find that I was tired all the time and started to feel sleepy even while driving. People would report that I would stop breathing when I was sleeping. I’d


By Ray Estolano already suspected that I had sleep apnea from what an earlier doctor told me, but I went to be tested. In 2012, when I took my sleep study for sleep apnea, my results were so grave that I got a personal call from the physician telling me to buy a CPAP machine immediately. A CPAP machine is a mask that you wear when sleeping which is connected by piping to an airflow machine. It keeps your throat from closing while you are asleep. My wife likens it to a Darth Vader mask. But aside from wearing a mask at night, I told myself that I was still a healthy fat man. I finished a 50-mile bike ride from Rosarito to Ensenada later that year to prove it. Then came a court hearing in Department 6 in South Bay. I was looking at the wall calendar for a date and the images were

blurring. I looked down at my phone’s calendar and couldn’t read it. My blurry vision lasted all week. By the time I made it to the urgent care later that week, it turned out that my blood sugar was so high that I had to argue with the doctor to not be hospitalized. A few months after this, I’d been able to stabilize my diabetes through pills and a strict low GI diet, but somehow I could no longer fool myself into thinking I was healthy. I finally went to see my doctor, Dr. Sharma, to ask her about “going under the knife.” I was ready. Instead, Dr. Sharma looked at me patiently and smiled. Then she asked me if I’d participated in an organized weight loss program before. I had to admit that I never had. It seemed to never work for any of my friends, so …. “We have this wonderful program called positive choice that has had great results with my patients,” she said. I didn’t know it

By the time I made it to the urgent care later that week, it turned out that my blood sugar was so high that I had to argue with the doctor to not be hospitalized.

to talk about our weight loss issues in a guided discussion. Sometimes, I think the conversations were harder than sticking to the diet, but I persevered in both.

at the time, but the program would change my life.

It hasn’t been a completely easy journey. I think I’ll always have to be careful with my weight. I could easily regain the weight without proper discipline. But, I feel a long ways from the man who had claimed to be a healthy fat man. Now, I’m just a man who strives to be healthy.

The program was administered through Kaiser and was a medically monitored weight loss program using shakes as a replacement for food. For close to six months, all I had to eat were these awful tasting shakes. A friend in the group described them as dust with artificial flavoring. Once a week, we would meet

I ended up losing close to a 140 pounds through the program. It felt strange to look at the mirror and see the man that I’d been a decade earlier. I went from a size 54 long suit to a size 46 long. My feet actually shrunk from a size 12 wide to an 11.5 regular. More importantly, my health was transformed. I no longer require medicine for diabetes or a breathing device for my sleep apnea.

Ray Estolano ( is a solo practitioner.

Personally vested. Strategically driven.

An unwavering commitment to its clients is what drives the legal team at NoonanLance. Known for taking on complex commercial litigation cases, the team is keenly focused on working strategically and efficiently – devising the optimum solutions for its clients. To learn more, visit

701 Island Ave., Ste. 400 San Diego, CA 92101 619.780.0880 July/August 2017 SAN DIEGO LAWYER 33

More on Lawyer Wellness Hear what others in our profession and beyond are saying about lawyers and wellness. Find links to all of these articles and more resources at From “The Lawyer, the Addict,“ via The New York Times Human beings are physically and emotionally complex, so there is no simple answer as to why Peter began abusing drugs. But as a picture of his struggle took shape before my eyes, so did another one: The further I probed, the more apparent it became that drug abuse among America’s lawyers is on the rise and deeply hidden.

“When Compassion Hurts: Burnout, Vicarious Trauma and Secondary Trauma in Prenatal and Early Childhood Service Providers“ via Best Start There is no shame in experiencing burnout, vicarious trauma or secondary trauma. Without compassion and empathy for others, there would be no impact.

“On-the-go lawyer's guide to keeping fit and healthy via ABA Journal Podcast

“Why Lawyers Fear Seeing Therapists, And Why We Should Do It Anyway” via Above the Law Wellness isn’t just about having lack of illness. According to the World Health Organization, mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.

“Five Steps to Unplug From Life and Work for a Week” via Lawyerist The need to take a break [...] cannot be understated. Lawyers who fail to take time away from work are more likely to end up committing ethical violations. Yet with how important we all know it is take breaks, why do we not actually do it?

I think if we have in our heads that if we don’t have an hour to exercise it’s not worth doing anything. I say even if you have ten minutes, ten minutes is better than nothing. If you do that consistently, consistency is the key when it comes to exercising over time. Ten minutes a day for a week adds up. If you have less time, also doing something of higher intensity can sort of compensate a little bit for less time.

Continued from page 17 AP: I have received very similar advice basically saying, “Look, take time off.” Even if you don’t go anywhere, just the fact that you can address your own needs within your life, family and so forth, where you don’t think about work and the cases so much. That’s going to free you up a little bit, and allow you to see those graphic pictures, see those graphic videos and work on those serious cases… so you don’t compromise your own mental health. Your advice? MR: If [a] particular case is affecting you, or it’s wearing on you, talk to somebody else. We’ve all been there, we know what you’re going through, somebody’s been in that

exact same position. And exercise — do something to get your heart rate up, to get your endorphin flow. Go for a walk. You have to take care of you and make time for yourself every day. Even if it’s just 10 minutes, go do something for yourself. AP: The key is balance and it isn’t so much understanding the fact that you need balance, it’s understanding when you as an individual need balance, when you need to step away, knowing what your limitations are, knowing at what point your body is telling you [that] you need to step away for a little bit. Because we’re in this for the long haul. You want to pace yourself. You have to take this opportunity to not compromise

your own mental health or your body — take care of it because ultimately it’s going to affect your professional performance. MR: Yeah and the way I think of it, it’s not just our job. Life is riddled with bad news. You turn on the news, you see what’s happening with Syria. If you get worn down with every single bad thing you come across, you’re just going to go through life depressed. It’s finding the joys, the little things in life, treasured moments, balance, time for yourself, time for your family and your friends. Christine Pangan ( is co-editor of San Diego Lawyer and a lead attorney at Legal Aid Society of San Diego. July/August 2017 SAN DIEGO LAWYER 35

Practicing Parents Solo Practitioners on Managing Your Practice and Pregnancy “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities.” Stephen Covey


DCBA Board Members and solo practitioners Renée Galente and Kristin Rizzo have a lot of priorities to schedule. Kristin, mom to Lola, age 2 ½, and Fiona, 10 months, runs a practice focused on employment law, workplace investigations and mediation. Renée, mom to 6 month old Gabriel (#babygabey), works on personal injury cases, and also practices in criminal law and military defense. In addition to running their practices, both serve the legal community and the greater San Diego community in myriad inspirational yet time-consuming leadership roles, also volunteering frequently for various organizations in their limited spare time. Both attorneys have an abundance of meetings to schedule and attend, presentations to give, clients to see, dinners to make, laundry to do, and playdates to set, with the weight of their entire business resting solely on their shoulders. San Diego Lawyer recently sat down with Renée and Kristin to find out how they do it and get their advice for solos who also strive to be parents. Renée working with Preparation is Vital son Gabriel in her lap When Kristin learned she was pregnant in 2014, she decided she would take a full three-month maternity leave from her office. “My daughter was to be my first priority,” she said. To make this goal a reality, she put in work “up-front” to build a comfortable financial and work-flow cushion. “As soon as you are ready to publicly announce your pregnancy, you should be ready to start planning.” Her preparation included reviewing what her health care/ disability package covered, analyzing the financial impact of taking

36 SAN DIEGO LAWYER July/August 2017

time off, advising co-counsel of her pending absence, and sending a notice of unavailability to all opposing counsel, clients, and the court. “The notice of unavailability is critical,” Kristin said. “It notifies the court of your upcoming needs, provides coverage and L-R: Kristin with daughters Lola protection for you, and sets and Fiona, and husband Tom expectations for everyone early on.” While she planned to fully dedicate her time away from her practice to take care of and bond with her new baby, Kristin acknowledged that as a solo “there are some clients you can’t just put aside for three months. Fortunately, technology allows you to take some time away from the office but still tend to clients periodically as needed.” Renée, who jumped right back into work almost immediately after Gabriel’s birth, agrees that preparation is vital. Part of her preparation was to turn down cases that would be going to trial near her due date or shortly after. Like Kristin, Renée sent notices of unavailability to colleagues, clients, and the court, but noted that while her clients said they understood she would be absent, when push came to shove, they didn’t really always understand. “It’s critical that you set expectations for yourself, and be realistic about how much time it will take you to get back to work. As a first time parent, I underestimated how long it would be until I was fully ready to refocus on clients. But that doesn’t mean that clients didn’t have needs that had to be met.” Renée noted that consistent and clear communication served her well, sharing that prior to giving birth she would send monthly mass emails to her clients with a reminder of her due date. She would also check in with each client individually in the weeks leading up to her due date.

Reliable Back Up It is a standard practice for your malpractice insurer to ask you to list a backup attorney who can cover for you if you are ever unavailable. While that attorney may be an acceptable backup in

most situations, Kristin and Renée emphasized the importance of carefully selecting your maternity backup. “There are a lot of factors you need to take into account,” said Renée. “They need to represent you well, but it is also about proximity — can they get into your files if they need to and how have you planned for that?” If your backup isn’t available when a client needs you, Renée suggested having a plan to find a backup for your backup. “When I need an assist, I’m grateful that in addition to colleagues who I know well and who are mostly familiar with my cases, I also know that I can reach out to trial lawyer groups I belong to and that there are many attorneys who are willing to step in on a short term basis.”

she recognizes that she can’t maintain the number of hours at the office that she did before Gabriel came along, or work as much as she would like to anymore. However, she doesn’t want to sacrifice time with her baby in order to work more, so she is working to find a balance that she is comfortable with going forward. Both attorney moms shared their concerns

As a solo, you can never about “losing traction” in their time away from the office, but Kristin shared that really check out entirely. So, “it’s much different the second time it’s a matter of prioritizing around.” She said, “I was acutely more aware of what I needed to achieve the your time and deciding how work-life balance I wanted after Fiona was born; I was comfortable with time much time each day during away from the office while still managing your leave you will dedicate my caseload. As a new mom, there is a lot of trial and error. After your second to clients and sticking to child, you are innately more prepared.” that boundary. Kristin and Renée both credit their success

Kristin concurs, noting that she has a more formal longstanding back-up arrangement with another attorney that includes reciprocity, with Kristin serving as the backup when the other attorney is on vacation. “Having a long term reciprocal relationship with a trusted colleague gives me peace of mind. Employment law matters can be quite time-sensitive, so knowing that my clients are well-served when and if I’m unable to tend to them immediately, is a major benefit,” Kristin said.

She added, “I also co-counsel a number of my litigated matters, so I was able to call on these attorney partners for coverage while I went on my maternity leaves. Having reliable co-counsel provided me with the confidence I needed to take time away from work, with the benefit of being able to jump back in to an active caseload upon my return.”

to their partners. Kristin’s husband, engineer Tom Becker, was able to take baby bonding leave time from work, which allowed Kristin to better balance new motherhood, household responsibilities and her practice early on. Renée’s husband Phil Stackhouse, also an attorney, understands the demands of the profession, and shares day-to-day childcare responsibilities with Renée.

Expect to be overwhelmed at times, especially just after your baby is born. Kristin said, “As a solo, you can never really walk away from work entirely. So, it’s a matter of prioritizing your time at work and at home, designating respective time for both, and staying flexible.”

When asked what helped the most, both women said “talking to other women attorneys, and especially solo practitioners” prepared them for what was to come. “We have so many amazing role models in this community — women who literally ‘do it all’ — including many former SDCBA Board members, and their advice was incomparable,” Kristin said. Renée agreed, adding, “Many of my colleagues from Lawyers Club and California Women Lawyers have had so much success in their careers while raising children, and they were all very generous with their advice. Although, most of them said that each mom-attorney does it in her own way. Regardless, I hope that new or expecting moms can get something out of what Kristin and I have shared.”

Renée, who had to spend an additional week in the hospital unexpectedly, wished she had built in a bit of a larger cushion before getting back to work. “I got out of the hospital on a Friday and was back in my office the following Monday,” Renée said. “I worked 3-4 hours a day for the first few days, but I had my first trial when Gabe was only a month and a half old.” Now, she said,

Kristin agreed, adding, “As a solo practitioner, there’s never really a good time to have a baby, but the right time is whatever time your baby makes his or her debut. Plan ahead as much as possible, decide what and how much maternity leave is going to work best for you and your family, and know that being a solo practitioner, doesn’t mean you have to do it all alone.”

Keeping Your Expectations in Check

Bench Bar 2017Luncheons Juvenile October 4 North County October 12 South Bay October 18

El Cajon October 19 Family October 24

Downtown Criminal October 25 Downtown Civil October 26

For locations and registration go to

July/August 2017 SAN DIEGO LAWYER 37

Legal Aid Society of San Diego

The Journey Toward Justice Begins Here Stories About the Work of the Legal Aid Society of San Diego By Gregory Knoll All of us at the Legal Aid Society of San Diego (LASSD) want to give a big shoutout to Teresa Warren of TW2 Marketing, and our colleagues and partners at the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program (SDVLP), for their great article that appeared in this space in the last issue of San Diego Lawyer magazine. Their article described the potentially devastating blow to equal justice throughout the country and in San Diego, if the current Administration’s proposed budget becomes a reality. The President’s proposed budget would cut $3 million from the annual budget of the Legal Aid Society of San Diego. Thousands of eligible San Diegans would have to go without our assistance in resolving critical issues. On Friday, June 9, 2017, LASSD held its Annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon at the Westin Gaslamp at Broadway Circle. We honored 48 dedicated and committed individuals and organizations with our

Outstanding Service Awards. These awards are special thanks for impressive contributions and/or collaborations with our firm. We were also proud to honor the backbone of our program, the 127 individuals who received the Wiley W. Manuel Award from the State Bar of California for donating more than 50 hours to our clients over the last 12 months. Over the past year, these honorees helped San Diegans in crisis. They helped to protect victims of violence. They protected consumers from fraud and harassment. They also fought homelessness. Their selflessness and expertise made a real difference in the lives of low-income San Diegans. San Diego Superior Court Judges Jeffrey Bostwick, Sharon Kalemkiarian, Roger Krauel, Gary Kreep and Robert Longstreth were our distinguished guests and inspiring speakers during the luncheon.

United States District Court Judge John Houston, a former member of the LASSD Board of Directors, was also in attendance. Stanley Panikowski, a partner in the firm DLA Piper, and immediate past president of the Board of Directors of LASSD, also spoke to the crowd in glowing terms about our volunteers and the role of attorneys, and the privilege of giving back to the less fortunate in our community. Over the last year, our volunteers assisted nearly 8,000 individuals with self-help services at clinics, legal advice and direct representation. These volunteers donated more than 18,000 hours to helping the clients of our firm, and those volunteer services have been valued at more than $2.5 million. Gregory Knoll is CEO, Executive Director and Chief Counsel with the Legal Aid Society of San Diego.


Hon. Thomas P. Nugent, Ret. Judicate West is proud to offer the services of several experienced and talented neutrals, including:

MAIN AREAS OF EXPERTISE: Business / Contractual Environmental Insurance Coverage/Bad Faith Personal Inury/Wrongful Death Professional Malpractice Real Property Downtown Los Angeles | Sacramento | San Diego | San Francisco | Santa Ana | West Los Angeles

Andrew Albert, Esq. N. Denise Asher, Esq. Hon. Victor Bianchini (Ret.) Jonathan Brenner, Esq. Hon. Steven Denton (Ret.) Hon. Vincent Di Figlia (Ret.) Hon. Christine Goldsmith (Ret.) Hon. John Hargrove (Ret.) Craig Higgs, Esq. Hon. Herbert B. Hoffman (Ret.)

Jeffrey Joseph, Esq. Robert Kaplan, Esq. Hon. William McCurine, Jr. (Ret.) Hon. David Moon, Jr. (Ret.) Hon. Leo Papas (Ret.) Gregory Post, Esq. Hon. Ronald S. Prager (Ret.) Hon. Linda Quinn (Ret.) Thomas Sharkey, Esq. Maureen Summers, Esq.

For scheduling, call (619) 814-1966


Share pics from your office view! Use #sdlaw when you post to social media or email You may appear in our next issue. Right: Abby Bloetscher's office view

Sorrento Valley view from David Seto's office.

Downtown view from Ashley Makowski's office.

Chryseis Starros' view of the new courthouse.

View from Edward McIntyre's office.

Stephanie Sandler's Mission Valley office view. July/August 2017 SAN DIEGO LAWYER 39

The San Diego Chapter is now

11 FIRMS STRONG The International Network of Boutique Law Firms, San Diego Chapter, is a collection of legal specialists with complementary practice areas throughout San Diego County. Clients receive the combined expertise equal to a regional/national law firm, along with the personalized attention of a small firm. The chapter is affiliated with INBLF nationally and internationally, so clients can receive qualified referrals no matter their requested location or practice area.

Current Specialties •

Commercial Litigation

Environmental Law

Corporate Transactions

Health Law

Criminal Defense, White Collar

Immigration Law

Criminal Law

Intellectual Property

Employment Law for Employees

Trusts and Estate Planning

Employment Law for Management

Tax Law

INBLF is currently accepting new clients and members.


Save the Date for San Diego County Bar Foundation’s 20th Annual “Evening in La Jolla” Popular Legal Event Raises Funds to Provide Legal Assistance to Locals in Need


ark your calendar now: Saturday, Sept. 23 will be a funfilled night at Birch Aquarium at Scripps in La Jolla for the San Diego County Bar Foundation’s 20th annual “Evening in La Jolla.” Celebrating two decades of giving back, the signature fundraising event for the San Diego legal community gathers the county’s most prestigious judges, lawyers and legal supporters to socialize and network, while enjoying an array of fine food stations and a full champagne bar. Most importantly, everyone comes out to support the Foundation’s work, providing legal assistance to those in challenging circumstances, such as foster children and at-risk youth, domestic violence victims, sick and disabled individuals, refugees and the elderly.

“Evening in La Jolla” also features a live band and lively conversation on the Birch Aquarium veranda as the sun sets, along with carefully curated selection of reserve wines and exclusive experiences available in the silent auction and one-of-a-kind live auction items. Benefitting grantees have included Casa Cornelia Law Center, Elder Law & Advocacy, Father Joe’s Villages, Jewish Family Service of San Diego, San Diego Family Justice Center Foundation and San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program.

Everyone comes out to support the Foundation’s work, providing legal assistance to those in challenging circumstances, such as foster children and at-risk youth, domestic violence victims, sick and disabled individuals, refugees and the elderly.

“The San Diego County Bar Foundation’s ‘Evening in La Jolla’ is the most fun legal event of the year” said Board President Micaela P. Banach of Noonan Lance Boyer & Banach LLP. “The Foundation’s vital work year-round helps provide San Diego’s underprivileged with the legal resources and education they need. Our annual gala raises money to support our work with fantastic food, drinks, views and company!”

A variety of event sponsorship opportunities are also available, from $1,000 individual sponsorships to a $10,000 invitations sponsorship. Current sponsors include Cohelan Khoury & Singer, Perkins Coie, Antonyan Miranda, JLL, Noonan Lance Boyer & Banach LLP and Best Best & Krieger LLP.

Tickets are available now for $175 for general admission; $250 for hosts; and $100 for judiciary, government attorneys and attorneys practicing law less than five years. Get your tickets, become a sponsor or learn more at

July/August 2017 SAN DIEGO LAWYER 41


100 PERCENT CLUB 2017 The San Diego County Bar thrives only because of the support and talents of each and every one of our members. Thank you to our “100% Club” firms, whose attorneys are all members of the SDCBA in 2017. Your leadership and dedication to our profession is truly appreciated.

Allen, Semelsberger & Kaelin, LLP Andrews Lagasse Branch & Bell LLP Antonyan Miranda, LLP Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo APLC Austin, Brownwood, Cannon & Santa Cruz Balestreri Potocki & Holmes ALC* Beamer, Lauth, Steinley & Bond, LLP Belsky & Associates Bender & Gritz, APLC Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossman LLP* Best Best & Krieger, LLP Blackmar, Principe & Schmelter APC Blanchard Krasner & French Bonnie R. Moss & Associates Brierton, Jones & Jones, LLP Brown Law Group Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC Butterfield Schechter LLP Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP Casey Gerry Schenk Francavilla Blatt & Penfield, LLP* Caufield & James LLP Christensen & Spath LLP Circuit McKellogg Kinney & Ross, LLP Cohelan Khoury & Singer D’Egidio Licari & Townsend, APC Dentons US LLP Devaney Pate Morris & Cameron LLP Dietz, Gilmor & Chazen, APC District Attorney’s Office* Duckor Spradling Metzger & Wynne ALC* Dunn DeSantis Walt & Kendrick, LLP Epsten Grinnell & Howell, APC Erickson Law Firm APC Farmer Case & Fedor* Ferris & Britton, APC Finch, Thornton & Baird, LLP Fischer & Van Theil, LLP Fleischer & Ravreby *

10+ years as 100 Percent Club

Fleming PC Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP* Frantz Law Group APLC Fredrickson, Mazeika & Grant, LLP* Garmo & Garmo LLP Gatzke Dillon & Ballance LLP Gomez Trial Attorneys Goodwin Brown Gross & Lovelace LLP Graham Hollis APC Green Bryant & French, LLP* Greene & Roberts LLP Gresham Savage Nolan & Tilden PC Grimm, Vranjes & Greer, LLP* Henderson, Caverly, Pum & Charney LLP Higgs Fletcher & Mack LLP* Hoffman & Forde Hooper, Lundy & Bookman, PC Horton Oberrecht Kirkpatrick & Martha, APC* Hughes & Pizzuto, APC Jackson Lewis PC Judkins, Glatt & Hulme LLP* Kirby & McGuinn APC Klinedinst PC Koeller, Nebeker, Carlson & Haluck, LLP Konoske Akiyama | Brust LLP Law Offices of Beatrice L. Snider, APC Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Inc.* Lincoln Gustafson & Cercos LLP Littler Mendelson PC McCloskey, Waring & Waisman LLP Men’s Legal Center Miller, Monson, Peshel, Polacek & Hoshaw* Moore, Schulman & Moore, APC Musick, Peeler & Garrett LLP Neil, Dymott, Frank, McFall & Trexler APLC Nicholas & Tomasevic LLP Noonan Lance Boyer & Banach LLP Office of the San Diego City Attorney

Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton LLP* Peterson & Price, APC Pettit Kohn Ingrassia & Lutz PC Pope, Berger, Williams & Reynolds, LLP Preovolos Lewin & Hezlep, ALC Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP Pyle Sims Duncan & Stevenson APC RJS Law Rowe | Mullen LLP San Diego Unified Port District Sandler, Lasry, Laube, Byer & Valdez LLP Schwartz Semerdjian Cauley & Moot LLP Selman Breitman, LLP Seltzer|Caplan|McMahon|Vitek, ALC* Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP* Shoecraft Burton, LLP Shustak Reynolds & Partners, PC Siegel, Moreno & Stettler, APC* Simpson Delmore Greene LLP Smith, Steiner, Vanderpool & Wax, APC Solomon, Grindle, Lidstad & Wintringer, APC Solomon Minton Cardinal Doyle & Smith LLP Solomon Ward Seidenwurm & Smith, LLP Stoel Rives LLP Stokes Wagner ALC Sullivan Hill Lewin Rez & Engel Summers & Shives, APC Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire, LLP Walsh McKean Furcolo LLP Ward & Hagen LLP Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP* Wilson Turner Kosmo LLP Winet Patrick Gayer Creighton & Hanes ALC Wingert Grebing Brubaker & Juskie LLP Witham Mahoney & Abbott, LLP Withers Bergman LLP Wright, L’Estrange & Ergastolo Zeldes Haeggquist & Eck, LLP

Distinctions Individuals and organizations in our community were recently honored for a variety of achievements. The following is a list of recent community recognitions:

Vincent Bartolotta Jr., founding partner of Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire, was honored as recipient of Consumer Attorneys of San Diego‘s 2017 Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame.

Attorney Evangeline Larson of Larson & Solecki, LLP was recently appointed as chairman of the Palomar Health Foundation.

Cozen O’Connor attorney Kevin Bush is the recipient of the Pro Bono Publico Award from the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program, and Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP was honored as recipient of SDVLP’s Outstanding Law Firm award.

Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek shareholder Dan Eaton was elected president-elect of the Harvard Law School Association.

Dave Carothers, partner at Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP, was named chairman of the board of United Way of San Diego County.

Joseph Leventhal, attorney with Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, was elected to the Federal Bar Association’s Board of Directors.

Mark Cumba, Thomas Jefferson School of Law Adjunct Professor, received the Edward D. Ohlbaum Professionalism Award at Stetson University College of Law’s Educating Advocates: Teaching Advocacy Skills conference in May.

Butterfield Schechter LLP associate Paul Woodard was selected as co-vice president for Corporate Relations of the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce.

Passings Attorney Daniel Little passed away in May after over 30 years in practice. Dan was actively involved in San Diego’s legal community, having served on the boards of several local organizations and as a panelist for the SDCBA’s Lawyer Referral & Information Service.

If you know of SDCBA members who received accolades for work of a civic nature, or of passings in our legal community, email information to

ADVERTISERS INDEX ADR Services, Inc......................................... 20

JAMS................................................................... 14

AHERN Insurance........................................ 5

Judicate West ............................................... 38

Noonan Lance Boyer & Banach LLP.........................................33

CaseyGerry .................................................... 3

Kathryn Karcher........................................... 26

Panish Shea & Boyle LLP...................................48

Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP............................... 18

Law Firm of Richard L. Duquette...... 31

Pokorny Mediations............................................. 2

Law Office of Steven C. Vosseller...... 12

Glass Mediations......................................... 16

LawPay.............................................................. 10

San Diego County Bar Foundation .......................................................44

International Network of Boutique Law Firms ........................... 40

Lawyer Referral & Information Service.......................................... 6

USClaims.......................................................... 34 West Coast Resolution Group............. 26 July/August 2017 SAN DIEGO LAWYER 43

a l l o J La Evening in

at the Birch Aquarium



Saturday, September 23, 2017 • 6-10 p.m. Time is running out to get your ticket for the annual “Evening in La Jolla” at the Birch Aquarium. Don’t procrastinate - buy one today!

Open Bar Silent Auction

Heavy hors d’oeuvres

Wine Vault

Ticket Prices:

Host $250, General admission $175, Judiciary, government and young attorneys $100


All proceeds benefit the San Diego County Bar Foundation and the legal charities it supports.


Want to see more?

SDCBA SUMMER SOCIALS Photos by J.T. MacMillan SDCBA members gathered to soak up the sun at the Association's annual Summer event in North County and downtown on July 12 and 13.

Bill Fuhrman, Derek Adams

Stephanie Ramos

Like our Facebook page! @sdcountybar #sdlaw

Leon Saad

L-R: Jenny Kreke, Vicky Canedy, Caroline Zinns, Susanne de la Flor

L-R: Manny Valdez, Lauren Stewert, Jon Vanderpool

Hon. Timothy Casserly

L-R: Monica Willian, Loren Freestone, Catherine Morrison

Ruby Morales, Anthony Zambrano

L-R: Jenna Rangel, Aaron Olsen, Sue Swan, Amber Eck

L-R: Briana Bocian, Whitney Skala, Wendy Patrick

L-R: Danielle Fontanesi, Briana Bocian, David McCuaig, Sierra Spitzer

Neda Mashayekhi

Claudia Ignacio, Brenda Lopez

July/August 2017 SAN DIEGO LAWYER 45

PHOTO GALLERY ERDC SUMMER KICK-OFF PARTY The SDCBA Ethnic Relations & Diversity Committee (ERDC) mingled with colleagues at Higgs Fletcher & Mack on June 21.

L-R: Sherrie-Lyn Thompson, Steve Cologne, Susan Hack

Andrea Ramos

Joy Utomi, Connie Broussard

Ben Aguilar, Hon. Michael Groch

Kenny Nguyen, Stephanie Chow

DISTINGUISHED LAWYER MEMORIAL The San Diego County Bar Foundation honored esteemed lawyers and judges during this annual event on May 24.

Debra Hurst's Family

Raul Cadena's Family

46 SAN DIEGO LAWYER July/August 2017

James Huston's Family

Hon. Franklin Orfield's Family

Hon. Alex McDonald's Family

Karen Hughes' Family

SDCBA Law Practice Management Partners Your SDCBA membership offers you a wide variety of member-only benefits and discounts from the following providers:

Preferred Provider


Member Benefit Providers


Learn more about exclusive offers from the providers above at

We don’t just settle cases

WE TRY THEM & WIN BIG. Largest Verdict

in North County San Diego Superior Court History

Largest Wrongful Death Verdict in Central District of California, U.S. District Court

Largest Wrongful Death Award

in Southern District of California, U.S. District Court

Largest Wrongful Death Verdict

for Death of Child in Orange County Superior Court

Largest Number of 8-Figure Verdicts of any law firm in California

Referrals - It’s a matter of dollars and sense. The attorneys of Panish Shea & Boyle LLP have obtained some of the most significant verdicts and settlements in U.S. History - often setting records with their trial results. With more than fifteen 8-figure verdicts in the last 5 years, no other California firm wins this big as often as Panish Shea & Boyle LLP. Our presence on a case delivers maximum benefits and recovery, both to the client and the lawyer who refers the case. You’ll get the resources, experience and skills needed to win the most complex cases for individuals who have suffered injury from the wrongful acts of others. The firm handles third party cases and joint ventures with attorneys who want to stay more actively involved. Contact Panish Shea & Boyle LLP today to discuss how we may assist you.




Profile for San Diego County Bar Association

San Diego Lawyer July/August 2017  

Inside this Issue: Wellness for Lawyers; Marijuana Law in California; Practicing Partners

San Diego Lawyer July/August 2017  

Inside this Issue: Wellness for Lawyers; Marijuana Law in California; Practicing Partners

Profile for sdcba

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded