Lawyers who don’t want to see their client communications end up as numbered exhibits at trial should give their clients a key bit of advice early on — don’t email me from work. That’s the upshot of a recent case involving an employee who used her workplace email account to email her lawyer about a potential discrimination claim and later saw those emails come out in discovery. (more…)
In the US, hundreds of people die from carbon monoxide poisoning in their own homes every year. These deaths can be prevented by taking simple measures. California has now firmly placed the responsibility for taking such measures on landlords. (more…)
Filed under: Landlord/Tenant Law, Legal Topics, New Legal Developments, Real Property | Tagged: carbon monoxide detectors, carbon monoxide poisoning, Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act of 2010, landlords, tenants | 1 Comment »
As part of CEB’s commitment to bringing together California’s legal community, our blog will post a short interview with one of your fellow attorneys.
This week, we profile attorney and Consulting Editor of CEB’s new Property Insurance book Timothy R. Sullivan:
CEB: What are your practice areas and how/why did you choose or start in your practice area?
Tim: I started in insurance defense because I wanted to be in court. When I got out of law school, I had never even heard of insurance coverage. My firm asked me to work in coverage, and I really enjoy it. Now my practice is dedicated to insurance coverage and bad faith litigation. Over the years, I have been fortunate to be able to represent both policyholders and insurers. Our practice has grown to include both first party and third party claims under a wide range of policy types, so in that respect, my practice area is still evolving.
CEB: What do you like best and least about practicing law?
Tim: I don’t want to sound like Charlie Sheen, but I like winning. I also think coverage attorneys get to see the most interesting cases and characters, with fact patterns that sound like law school exams. Some of the most creative arguments are made to try to trigger coverage. I like the fact that I have to learn something new every day. What I like least is having to account for my day in 6-minute increments.
CEB: What is the best legal tip you ever received?
Tim: It wasn’t a legal tip. It was advice from my father, who was a farmer in Missouri. Like most Midwesterners, we didn’t have an irrigation system and were totally dependent on getting enough rain each year. I watched my father juggle crops, crop acreage and livestock numbers based on whether he expected a wet or a dry year. When all his planning was done, he’d get to work and say, “Worryin won’t make it rain.” He taught me that you need to work hard to control what you can, but realize you can’t control everything.
CEB: What CEB book or program have you found most helpful in your practice and why?
Tim: I really enjoy the yearly review programs, Civil Litigation Practice: Annual Recent Developments and Torts Practice: Annual Recent Developments. It always amazes me to hear how much has changed in one year. It’s a great recap of things I may have missed.
CEB: Why do you choose to write for CEB?
Tim: Working with CEB makes me feel like I have contributed to the practice of law, and gives me a feeling of accomplishment. I like working on books because it puts you in touch with some incredibly bright attorneys, both authors in private practice and editors on the CEB staff. It requires you to roll up your sleeves and really dig into a subject, and you can’t help learning something new. And I like working on the annual updates because it makes me review all the new cases to see what is new and how and where it fits into our projects.
CEB: How do you think the practice of law will change in the next 15 years?
Tim: I expect technology will give rise to several new torts that we haven’t recognized yet. Social media may expose parents to liability for what their kids post, and may give rise to new types of on-line identity theft. Genetic testing may push the limits of privacy law, especially in the workplace. The ability to manipulate a baby’s genes may give rise to new types of medical malpractice claims if the parents aren’t happy with the result. Genetically engineered foods may give rise to new types of mass liability claims. And I expect insurance will have to adapt to these new types of liability exposure.
CEB: What is your contact information?
Tim: McCormick Barstow LLP, 5 River Park Place East, Fresno, CA 93720; Tel: (559) 433-1300; Fax: (559) 433-2300; firstname.lastname@example.org.
CEB: Thanks, Tim! We are all very excited about the new CEB book you worked on, California Property Insurance: Law and Litigation, coming out soon and available for a pre-publication discount price for a limited time. We appreciate the insights you provided about this new book in the YouTube video we did together. And congratulations on being elected Fresno County Bar President for 2011!
© The Regents of the University of California, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.
One of the essential qualities of all legal writing, clarity, is created by a clear train of thought. No matter how clear your sentences are, readers will not feel that they add up to a clear message unless they can see how the sentences hang together. It is your job as a writer to bring the reader along with you on your train of thought. (more…)
In addition to direct copyright infringement and inducement of infringement, there is a third type of copyright infringement, “contributory infringement,” which is becoming more of an issue in the electronic world. As one Web-hosting company recently learned the hard way, Internet service providers are more frequently being found liable for contributory infringement based on the infringing activities of their users — think Napster. (more…)
It may be tempting, as a gauge of responsibility, but employers who make employment decisions based on employees’ and applicants’ credit histories risk running afoul of state and federal statutes. (more…)
Filed under: Business, Civil Litigation, Employment Law, Legal Topics | Tagged: applicants, California Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act, credit report, employees, employers, employment applicantion, Fair Credit Reporting Act | Leave a Comment »
Too many lawyers write in a style not persuasive to a busy judge. We learned this unpersuasive style in college and law school – it’s called the academic style. Academic style is marked by mind-numbing details, bloated sentences, and meandering paragraphs. Exactly what you don’t want when writing for a judge. (more…)
Once upon a time, parties could agree on their own to keep court records away from public view. But a concern grew that information that should arguably have been publicly available was sealed from view and, in some cases, deleted from court files. Enter Cal Rules of Ct 2.550 and 2.551, which apply to both civil and criminal cases and set the presumption that court records are open to the public. So, how do you go about getting records sealed now? (more…)
When a court rule limits brief length to 14,000 words, it means it. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently summarily affirmed the district court opinion (.pdf) after the appellant submitted an 18,000 word opening brief and falsely certified that the brief met the 14,000-word limit required under the federal rules. The moral of the story: Know the word limits and stick to them. (more…)
The “legal ethics of negotiation” can be a difficult topic. Certain issues are plain enough: An attorney cannot knowingly commit, counsel, or assist fraudulent conduct. The tougher issue is defining what counts as fraud. (more…)