3 Alternatives to Objecting

When it comes to a jury trial, counsel’s persuasiveness depends to a large degree on his or her credibility, i.e., whether counsel seems to be “playing fair” and not trying to hide the facts. Making too many objections can undermine that credibility, because jurors may believe that an attorney who constantly raises objections is trying to keep them from learning the truth by throwing technical roadblocks in the opponent’s path. When making yet another objection risks the ire of the jury, consider these three alternatives.

Continue reading

Juvenile Dependency Primer

Juvenile dependency practice is a relatively recent legal development, both nationally and in California. But as society’s awareness of child abuse has grown, so has the public social services system responsible for receiving child abuse reports, investigating them, and providing services to the children and families who need them. Most attorneys are completely unaware of how the dependency system operates, so here’s a short primer on California’s dependency system. Continue reading

How Do I Get Out of This Case?

Many attorneys find themselves in the midst of a case and wonder how they got there and how to get out of the morass in which they find themselves. When looking for a way out, turn to the California Rules of Professional Conduct, which has provisions for both permissive and mandatory withdrawal from a case.  Continue reading

Everything You Tweet Can Be Held Against You!

Judges throughout the country wrestle with the legal ramifications of evolving new technology, including personal information privacy in the use of social media. A New York criminal court recently put a big hole in any privacy expectation on tweets when it upheld a subpoena duces tecum and required Twitter to provide a defendant’s tweets to the district attorney. Continue reading

Insuring Against Terror

We are all affected by the fear associated with terrorism. But did you know that we also all share in the insurance for losses resulting from terrorist acts? That’s precisely what the federal government has done through a shared public and private compensation system for insured losses resulting from acts of terrorism. Continue reading

Do You Really Want the Depo on Video?

Video recording of depositions is very common and is clearly more effective in capturing  a witness’ demeanor than a written transcript. But there are also downsides to video recording a deposition and a serious expense involved. Don’t just jump to record — weigh the pros and cons in every case. Continue reading

A Petition for Rehearing May Be a Necessary Longshot

Petitions for rehearing are rarely granted, and even when granted, the court of appeal seldom changes the result and issues a new opinion. Then why file one? Because it may be the longshot that is successful, and in any event, it may be a necessary prerequisite to filing a petition for review in the California Supreme Court. Here are the basics on filing a petition for rehearing. Continue reading

Conflict Avoidance: Do You Have a Conflicts Check System?

Your cases may be filled with conflict, but make sure that they don’t include conflicts of interest.  It’s most important to avoid conflicts of interest, but you also have to know what to do when they arise. And there’s a big stick involved with getting it wrong. Continue reading

Charitable Giving and Getting

Of course giving is its own reward, but most people appreciate the tax breaks that come along with charitable giving. Attorneys on both sides of the transaction — prospective donors and California nonprofit charitable organizations — need to understand these tax incentives to maximize the benefit of charitable giving for those who make these contributions and the charities that receive them. Continue reading

Trial by Referee

Did you know that California cases can be referred to a referee instead of being decided by a judge? This process certainly has its advantages, but you should know what you are getting into before you agree to a referee. Continue reading