The following is a guest blog post by Teddy (Theda) Snyder. Ms. Snyder is based in Los Angeles and conducts civil and workers compensation mediations throughout California.
Starting January 1, 2019, attorneys must ask clients to acknowledge in writing that they have been fully informed about the rules of mediation confidentiality. SB 954 amends Evidence Code §1122 and adds §1129 (Stats 2018, ch 350). You can create your own form, but you’ll probably use a version of the “safe harbor” form in §1129.
Complying with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is very expensive business. The costs of preparing a typical environmental impact report (EIR) range from $200,000 to more than $1 million. The lead agency incurs those costs initially, and then bills the project applicant a “reasonable fee” for reimbursement of those costs. See Pub Res C §21089(a). Project applicants irked by excessive fees may ask their attorney whether there’s any way to challenge a lead agency’s processing fees under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Would you know how to respond? Continue reading
Can the adverse party require that a witness on direct examination testify to the basis of his or her opinion before stating that opinion? Short answer, no. But there still may be a way to do it. Continue reading
Complaints must include a statement of facts constituting a cause (or causes) of action. CCP §§425.10(a)(1), 430.10(e). For those new to litigation, you may be tempted to just get a complaint from a colleague and replace the allegations with your case’s facts. This can be risky if you don’t know the rules that apply to drafting allegations. Continue reading
Mediators are increasingly involved in helping parties negotiate premarital agreements, or prenups, because mediation is a nonadversarial way to approach the process. But before your client uses a mediator, draft an agreement that covers the terms of mediation. Continue reading
Whether intentional or not, you may not get an answer to your question in a deposition. How you handle a nonresponsive answer should usually follow this five-step process. Continue reading
When it comes to a whistleblowing employee, how the employer responds can make all the difference. An inappropriate response can put an employer in legal jeopardy. Continue reading
Many attorneys work through their nervousness by beginning their cross examination with taking the witness step by step through previous direct examination testimony. Then they turn to the hard job of true cross-examination. Here’s why you shouldn’t do this. Continue reading
As a general practice, section headings should be used to identify the general subject matter of each contract provision, making it easier for the reader. Section headings are very useful for ease of reference. They enable the reader to skim an agreement when searching for a particular provision or group of provisions. But headings can be a trap for the unwary—courts have used them to interpret the parties’ intent when a provision is ambiguous or misleading. Here’s how to protect yourself from the unintended consequences of headings. Continue reading
The following is a guest blog post by Megan Zavieh. Megan focuses her practice exclusively on attorney ethics, providing guidance to attorneys, representing attorneys facing State Bar discipline, podcasting, and writing extensively on ethics issues.
California’s new Rules of Professional Conduct, effective November 1, 2018, recognizes a trend in legal services billing—flat fees. Flat fees are becoming more common as an alternative to the traditional billable hour. As they rise in popularity outside of criminal law, the rules directly address them. Here’s what you need to know and do. Continue reading