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 Matthew J. Geyer:
CEB: What are your practice areas and how/why did you choose or start in your practice area?
Matt: 80% of my practice now is arbitration and mediation, in commercial and other civil disputes, in a wide range of industries. So, breach of contract and business torts, fraud and nondisclosure claims, partnership and joint venture disputes, real estate sales and leasing contracts and related disputes, and professional malpractice involving accountants, engineers, attorneys, financial consultants.
CEB: What do you like best and least about practicing law?
Matt: The best thing about advocacy work is that I get to think and write for a living. The worst thing about it is counting your life in tenths of an hour. The best thing about being an arbitrator is everyone laughs at all your jokes; the worst thing is that it’s lonely work (when it’s not a panel case), at least once the case is submitted. The best thing about being a mediator is that it’s not lonely work—you get around a table and work with people through legal issues, calculations of risk, etc. The worst thing about it is nobody has to laugh at your jokes.
CEB: What is the best legal tip you ever received?
Matt: When writing legal briefs, create space on the page. Don’t crowd the text to fit a brief within page limits (real or imagined). Instead, paragraph often, and boil and trim, and don’t single-space quotes in a double-space body of text. If you create more white space on the page, the eye is invited to the words on the page, and not to the margins for a respite from the crowded prose. John M. Anderson taught me this.
CEB: What CEB book have you found most helpful in your practice and why?
Matt: California Expert Witness Guide, by Raoul Kennedy and Jim Martin, taught me how to work with experts. And it’s still a great source for the latest cases on the interstices in that very interesting area of law and trial/arbitration practice.
CEB: How do you think the practice of law will change in the next 15 years?
Matt: I won’t have to lug bankers boxes of exhibit binders away from an arbitration anymore. Everything will be on disc (as much, but certainly not all, is now).
CEB: What is the most interesting book you have read (lately)?
Matt: Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
CEB: What is your contact information?
Matt: 1750 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, California 94111; 415.956.0100; 415.381.9807 (fax); www.GeyerLawandADR.com.
CEB: Thanks, Matt!
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