San Diego Business Journal

This ‘Fashionable Cause’ Can Help Change People’s Lives

The Business of Law Column

Pettit Kohn Ingrassia & Lutz, the San Diego Paralegal Association, and the Filipino American Lawyers of San Diego are working together again this year on the Women and Men’s Suit Drive.

Procopio Partner, Tax Attorney for Past 37 Years Retires

The Business of Law Column

If you’ve been a tax attorney for 40 years, and decide to take down the shingle, you deserve to be the lead item in a law column. Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP said goodbye to George L. Damoose recently.

Latham & Watkins Assists as Ambrx Pursues Cancer Research

The Business of Law Column

This is a pretty cool assignment, and it demonstrates that lawyers help society and help save lives. Latham & Watkins recently announced it is advising Ambrx Inc., in its collaboration with Japan’s Astellas Pharma Inc.

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Legal Community’s Stand-Ups Put Their Comedy to Work for a Cause

The Business of Law Column

Ken Turek won the annual Lawyers Are Funny (LAF-Off) competition a couple of weeks ago. Turek, of the firm Endeman, Lincoln, Turek & Heater LLP, deserved to win. He acknowledged John Gomez should have won last year’s competition, and then cleverly ripped Gomez + Iagmin and its advertising. It was good fun, for a good cause. LAF-Off is the primary fundraising event for the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program, a nonprofit organization that provides free civil legal services to thousands of disadvantaged clients every year.

Survey Reports Litigation Spend, Number of In-House Lawyers Up

Fifty-three percent of companies in the United States reported spending $1 million or more on litigation in 2012, the same as the prior year. Attorneys and clients can find good news in that. Ten percent fewer companies reported using alternative fee arrangements, though, more than half the companies used them.

LAF-Off Lets Lawyers Deliver Their Best Punch Lines

Lawyers must hide their sense of humor. It’s part of the job, and arguably the most important component of getting a decent hourly rate. But not on the evening of March 21. San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program Inc. (SDVLP), a nonprofit organization that provides free civil legal services to thousands of disadvantaged clients every year, will hold its seventh annual LAF-Off (Lawyers Are Funny) event on that night at the House of Blues in downtown San Diego.

Witkin Award Puts Spotlight On Distinguished Leaders

The Business of Law Column

The San Diego County Law Library Justice Foundation will once again hold the Bernard E. Witkin, Esq. Award ceremony March 7 at the Admiral Kidd Catering and Conference Center. The annual awards recognize distinguished service by members of the San Diego legal community.

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Law School Dedication Celebrates Achievements

LEGAL: Campus Raises the Bar On Facilities With Its LEED Gold

Thomas Jefferson School of Law’s new home captures the spirit and determination of its namesake and the environmental sensitivity of our third president. And that was no accident.

Efforts at Empowerment Earn a Place in Women’s Hall of Fame

Betty Evans Boone will be inducted into the San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame on March 16. Boone is being recognized in the category of “Empowerer of Women and Girls” for her trailblazing efforts in her own legal career, and her work in the community on behalf of Lawyers Club, which works to advance the status of women in law and society.

Ogletree Deakins Arrives With Local Litigator at Helm

Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. is opening a San Diego office.

Fixed Fee Arrangements a Popular Option for Some Local Law Firms

TRANSACTIONS: Billing Strategy Brings Profitability In Line With Accountability

Law firms and legal organizations around the country are arguing whether the traditional “billable hour” can serve as both a measure of the firm’s productivity and profitability at the same time.

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Employment Law in 2013

EMPLOYMENT: Brinker, Bullying, Commission Sales Are Among Changes

California has a tradition of dumping a number of new employment laws on employers to begin each year.

Defective Breath Device Casts Shadow of Doubt Over DUI Arrests

This column is published on New Year’s Eve, so it is at least arguable this item should appear today. San Diego attorney Eric Ganci, a partner at Galente Ganci, APC, whose practice is exclusively Driving Under Influence defense work, discovered during the course of his work that a breath device used by California Highway Patrol and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department did not work properly, specifically the Intox EC/IR, manufactured by Intoximeters Inc.

Students Draw Life Lessons From Law Firm’s ‘Figaro’ Excursion

You already know that SullivanHill Lewin Rez & Engel has partnered with Washington Elementary School to provide fourth- and fifth-graders an inside view of the legal profession.

Procopio’s Hires Bring More Talent to Its Team

Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP is the largest local law firm and growing. Six attorneys joined its San Diego and Del Mar Heights offices.

Hearty Defense Wins One for Team San Diego

A big win for a local Fish & Richardson team. San Diego-based Volcano Corp. was represented by Fish in a patent trial regarding medical device technology used to diagnose heart problems.

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Working Within the Law

LAW: Social Media and New Rulings Complicate Employee Policies, Practices

Salaries and wages are usually one of, if not the, largest expense lines on a company’s income statement.

Firms Hire, and Procopio Fires Up Its Startup LaunchPad

LaunchPad has its first potential liftoff. Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP recently welcomed Endopodium into its Del Mar Heights startup business incubator, which is named LaunchPad.

New Associate’s Strong Suit is Civil Litigation Knowledge

Fisher & Phillips LLP has hired Jonathan Liu as a new San Diego associate. Liu brings extensive knowledge in civil litigation having worked on cases involving employment discrimination, breach of contract, defamation and general negligence.

San Diego Partner Takes Firm Reins at Littler Mendelson

Littler Mendelson P.C., the world’s largest employment and labor law firm representing management, announced last month that San Diego partner Jeremy Roth will become co-president and co-managing director of the firm.

Game Day! Nonprofit Clients to See Chargers; Law Firm Pays Tab

Ten kids who might not otherwise be able to do so, will be cheering on the Chargers this fall, thanks to The Gomez Law Firm

From Alumni Post, He Can Get The Red and Black Some Green

McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP partner William (Bill) T. Earley has been elected president of the San Diego State University Alumni Association.

Online v. Traditional Law: New Options Raise Questions

LAW: Experience Does Count When Navigating Legal Complexities

How good is that online document you just drafted for your new small business? Will it protect your business, your employees and, more importantly, you personally?

The Roberts Court Makes a Big Decision … No, Not That One

The most interesting thing about last month’s United States Supreme Court rulings was not that ObamaCare was upheld, but the establishment of the “John Roberts” Court, according to Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the UC Irvine School of Law.

Incremental Innovation Key to Practice Growth

LAW: Skill as Digital Networker Essential to Success for All Lawyers

As the economy continues to take its toll on attorneys practicing in the largest firms to attorneys practicing on their own, Ari Kaplan has some advice. Look for incremental innovation.

Cooley’s Cross Knocks Government Case Out of the Park

Professional baseball pitcher Roger Clemens is free, at least in part due to good legal work done in San Diego.

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Armed with the Facts

LEGAL: Statistical Analysis Gives Firms A Business Strategy They Can Count On

San Diego can be a complex place to practice law, more so with the prolonged national and local economic slump. Only 14 percent of San Diego businesses have more than 20 employees, for example, so that means there are few mega-cases and few mega-mergers.

Casey Gerry Attorneys Huddle on NFL Head Injury Litigation

Casey Gerry Schenk Francavilla Blatt & Penfield LLP has been appointed by U.S. District Judge Anita Brody to a committee overseeing litigation against the National Football League alleging that multiple concussions can lead to long-term brain injuries

Efforts Bring Magic Night to Hundreds of Special Students

Going to prom is a rite of passage for high school students, even those who turn out to be lawyers.

Firm Enters S.D. With Enough Work to Grow

LEGAL: Hahn Loeser Relies on References And Midwestern Values

Do Midwestern values have a place in the San Diego legal market? Ohio-based law firm Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP is betting they do.

Talcott to Lead Much-Needed Legal Administrators Group

Things would not run smoothly in a law firm without paralegals, legal assistants and, yes, legal administrators. So we need them, and they need an association where they can share their frustrations revolving around working with us.

Higgs Fletcher Mack Rebrands Law Practice

LAW: Firm to Reflect Cutting Edge Practice, Younger Lawyers

Higgs Fletcher Mack takes on a new look today, launching a “re-branding” campaign designed to highlight what has made the San Diego law firm one of the more successful practices for 60 years and younger management.

For Some, Green Means More Than Billable Hours

As a contemporary philosopher once said, “It’s not easy being green.

Brinker Decided: Employers ‘Need Not Ensure That No Work Is Done’ on Breaks!

LAW: Precedent Setting Case a Victory for Common Sense

The California Supreme Court decided last week that employers must provide a meal break, but “need not ensure that no work is done” on that break.

McKenna-Luce Deal Was About Growth

LAW: Merger Brings Closure After Years of Consideration

Acquiring a law firm is a complex decision, more so when the law firm you have targeted has been in business 138 years.

Most Guests Have a Ball at ACC’s Black and White Gala

The Association of Corporate Counsel’s annual Black and White Ball was, well, a ball for most of us.

Team of Local Law Students Beats Rivals at Baseball Arbitration

The Thomas Jefferson School of Law’s student team took second at the Fifth Annual Tulane National Baseball Arbitration Competition in New Orleans recently, beating 39 other teams from prominent law schools across the nation, including Harvard, University of Arizona, NYU, Notre Dame, Michigan, Marquette, Columbia, Chicago-Kent, Arizona State, St. John’s, Villanova, University of Pennsylvania, Southern Methodist University and the University of San Diego.

Prater to Lead BB&K; Luce Partners Find New Home at Procopio

Best Best & Krieger LLP has appointed Arlene Prater office managing partner for the San Diego office.

Baker & McKenzie Is Rumored to Be Closing Its San Diego Office

Baker & McKenzie is closing its San Diego office in February, or at least that’s the rumor. Colin H. Murray, the firm’s managing partner, said he had no comment on the rumor.

A Termination Decision Can Indeed Hinge on Appearances

Delivering bad news to clients is never easy, but David Monks from Fisher & Phillips LLP has put together a way to tell potential wrongful termination clients — and more importantly human resource professionals who might be asked about a particular hire or promotion — that it is acceptable to discriminate against potential and current employees based on how they appear.

Count on Reductions, Consolidations, Innovations at Law Firms

The year 2012 will be one of change in the legal community. As another challenging year closed last week, larger firms were reconciling billings that didn’t match overhead. So 2012 promises more reductions, consolidations and new, innovative divisions that can gain market share at more affordable billing rates.

County Bar Association Swears in New President, Directors

Marvin Mizell was sworn in as the new president of the San Diego County Bar Association by Judge Joe Littlejohn at the Association’s annual Holiday Party, Dec. 2.

More Couples Are Walking Down the Aisle With Pre-nups in Hand

Thanksgiving with the in-laws not go as you expected, or perhaps exactly as you expected? Are you wishing you had a pre-nup so you don’t end up a financial turkey?

Worst Is Over for Slow Bank Legal Work, But Not Bank Regulation

Attorneys do not predict the future, but we are good at submitting evidence for your consideration, which might aid you in seeing what’s to come.

Local Judges Do Their Best to Ensure Justice Still Available to All

We’re lucky to have a lot of good judges in San Diego County Superior Court. Department 69 has one of the best. Judge Jeffrey Barton not only works hard during the day and shows up at law schools as a speaker at night, he’s also pushing to make things better.

Legal Community Finds More Than One Reason to Celebrate

If you missed the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program Inc.’s Justice For All Celebration last week, you missed a great party.

Veteran Trial Lawyer Joins MKB’s Litigation Team

John Stephens has joined Mulvaney, Kahan & Barry LLP after 17 years with Robbins & Keehn and the last six with Sullivan, Wertz, McDade & Wallace, now Wertz, McDade & Wallace.

Profession Deserves Credit for Improving Workplace

This is our Labor Day edition, so it is only fair to acknowledge that without early union leaders this would not be a holiday week.

Court System Budget Cuts Might Put Brakes on Wheels of Justice

The local wheels of justice turn slowly and it might get even slower in the coming months, despite the great work of the professionals in the San Diego Superior Court. Our local court system absorbed an $11.6 million reduction in operating funds this year. That was awful, but next year is going to be, well, awfuler.

Green Economy Generating Green for Law Firms

The green economy has produced more “green” for law firms, too.