Profile of Timothy R. Sullivan

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; tim.sullivan@mccormickbarstow.com.

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.

Profile in Practice: Helen Leah Conroy

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 Helen Leah Conroy:

CEB: What are your practice areas and how/why did you choose or start in your practice area?
Helen: I negotiate transactions for and with internet service and media companies. Some are agreements with vendors providing traditional services, in many instances, outsourced; others involve internet-based services in support of operations (e.g., payment processing, billing and collections, etc.). I also negotiate agreements dealing with internet content, both on the provider and the publishing side, as well as agreements for software-as-a-service.  I was a commercial litigator for 15 years, trying cases involving software channel/distribution disputes. I figured it would be a lot more fun to negotiate clearly drafted agreements that are carefully thought through, than to fight over poorly drafted ones (the only ones that are ever litigated). I was right. Continue reading

Profile in Practice: Jeffrey D. Wohl

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 Jeffrey Wohl:

CEB: What are your practice areas and how/why did you choose or start in your practice area?

Jeff: I’ve practiced management-side employment law my entire career, with occasional forays into commercial and civil rights litigation and transactional work. I also served as the General Counsel of my prior law firm, which made me something of a generalist. (Having lawyers as clients certainly kept me on my toes.) Employment law provides everything that a great law practice should have: interesting cases and characters; law that is always developing; and the opportunity to work with clients from a wide range of industries and endeavors. I can’t think of a field with a broader impact on people than employment law. And, as a junior lawyer coming up the ranks, employment law (which, in those days, meant single-plaintiff wrongful termination and discrimination cases) gave me the opportunity–in spades–to run my own cases. As a result, I grew up professionally very quickly. Continue reading

Profile in Practice: Cynthia E. Fruchtman

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 Cynthia Fruchtman:

CEB: What are your practice areas and how/why did you choose or start in your practice area?

Cynthia: I started my practice as a civil litigator.  Although I was successful in employment defense, my employer clients kept getting sued, so I expanded into labor and employment compliance. I also have an assisted reproduction practice in which I represent egg donors, sperm donors, embryo donors, agencies, medical practitioners, and infertile people who want to have families, which is an outgrowth of my first career as a cytogeneticist and my ongoing service on various bioethics committees. Continue reading

Profile in Practice: Arnold Levinson

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 Arnold Levinson:

CEB: What is your practice area and how did you choose it?

Arnie: My practice focuses exclusively on insurance bad faith matters. I represent insureds that have been denied their coverage, and justice, by the big insurance companies. While I came upon the practice by happenstance, I quickly decided it was my calling. I love being in a cutting-edge area of litigation where we can make change for the better, obtain justice for individuals, and work to bring balance to the profit-driven interests of many insurers. Continue reading

Profile in Practice: Leslie A. Baxter

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 Leslie Baxter:

CEB: What is your practice area and how did you choose it?

Leslie: I practice real estate and business law.  Before law school, I worked in the urban redevelopment field, so real estate and business law was a natural fit.

CEB: What do you like best and least about practicing law? Continue reading

Profile in Practice: Alexander H. Lubarsky

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 Alex Lubarsky:

CEB: What is your practice area and how did you choose it?

Alex: My firm started as an immigration firm handling deportation defense because I had lived for a period of time in Northern Argentina and learned Spanish. We now offer criminal defense and debtor-side bankruptcy and have grown in the Asian and Russian communities due to attorneys and paralegals who are natives from those areas climbing aboard with us. I am a tech geek and have a concurrent career as an electronic discovery consultant.

CEB: What CEB book or program have you found most helpful in your practice and why?

Alex: California Criminal Law and Procedure – it has clarified what was a new and nebulous area of law. I study it before almost every appearance in the criminal courts. The forms manual companion has saved me (and my client) more than once. Continue reading

Profile in Practice: James C. Martin

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 Jim Martin:

CEB: What is your practice area and how did you choose it?

Jim: My principal practice area involves all aspects of civil appeals and writs in both state and federal courts. I also regularly participate in the strategy, briefing, and argument on the procedural and substantive issues that arise in complex litigation, including class actions. I embraced the appellate specialty because it emphasized research, writing, analysis, and argument and because it gave me the opportunity to work with some very bright and creative lawyers in my firm, each of whom taught me a lot. Continue reading

Profile in Practice: Mitchell E. Abbott

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 Mitch Abbott:

CEB: What is your practice area and how did you choose it?

Mitch: I specialize in handling writs and appeals (mostly in the state courts) on behalf of cities and other public agencies.  The cases I handle include election disputes, complaints of non-compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), “takings” claims in the context of local land use regulation, challenges to local taxes, assessments and bonds, and constitutional challenges to city ordinances in a wide variety of settings — from billboards to newsracks, and from juvenile curfews to regulation of adult-oriented businesses. Continue reading

Profile in Practice: J. Tony Serra

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 Tony Serra:

CEB: What is your practice area and how did you choose it?

Tony: I am a criminal jury trial specialist.  I chose such a specialty because for me it is the most effective way of preserving civil and constitutional rights. Continue reading

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