This week, we profile former State Bar President and CEB author Holly J. Fujie:
CEB: What is your practice area and how did you choose it?
Holly: Litigation. I started my summer clerkship after my second year in law school thinking I wanted to do Trusts and Estates (because I liked the class) and Tax (because my mother was a tax accountant and loved the field). I found that I was bored by my tax assignments but loved my litigation assignments because I enjoyed advocating a position. Once in practice, I found that it suited my personality and I still find it a constant source of intellectual stimulation.
CEB: What do you like best and least about practicing law?
Holly: I love arguing in court more than anything, especially on appeal. I hate filling out time sheets!
CEB: What CEB book have you found most helpful in your practice and why?
Holly: I refer to Effective Introduction of Evidence in California frequently to ensure that I am setting evidence up for proper introduction at trial.
CEB: What is the best legal tip you ever received?
Holly: The late Justice Paul Boland said: “Practicing law is sufficiently time-consuming, stressful and economically challenging that it is easy to forget that law is fundamentally about service – helping people access the court system, securing needed court services, and protecting important legal rights.” I believe that unless you know that you are making the world a better place by what you do with your law degree you will not be happy as a lawyer – no matter how much money you make.
CEB: How do you think the practice of law will change in the next 15 years?
Holly: I think clients will figure out that paying hundreds of dollars an hour for a new lawyer just because the firm is paying that lawyer an exorbitant starting salary makes no sense, and that both that pay structure and that hourly rate will have to come down. Proven, skilled lawyers will still attract clients willing to pay commensurate fees, but new lawyers will be billed at lower levels and be paid accordingly, regardless of their pedigree. There may be more contract lawyers and fewer people on the partnership track.
CEB: What is the most interesting book you have read (lately)?
Holly: I just finished Game Change by Heilemann and Halperin about the 2008 election. A fascinating close-up on an extraordinary time in history.
CEB: What is your contact information?
Holly: Buchalter Nemer, APC 1000 Wilshire Boulevard – 15th Floor, Los Angeles CA 90017; www.buchalter.com
CEB: Thank you, Holly!
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