Don’t Let Immigration Status Sabotage Your Client’s Sentence

489194765The following is a guest blog post by Norton Tooby, who has a national law practice in Oakland, California, providing expert consultation and representation on immigration consequences of criminal convictions, post-conviction relief, and criminal defense of noncitizens.

The Supreme Court has focused attention on the need to advise clients accurately on the specific immigration consequences of a guilty plea. Padilla v Kentucky (2010) 130 SCt 1473. But it’s also essential that defense counsel accurately advise clients about the sentencing consequences of his or her immigration status. Counsel must also do whatever is possible to prevent a defendant’s immigration status from destroying his or her opportunities for the alternatives to incarceration used in most criminal cases that result in sentences.

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5 Rules to Minimize Expert Contamination

181587139Attorneys risk expert contamination when they provide information to an expert about a case. Although you need to discuss the case candidly and openly with your expert, you don’t want to contaminate the expert with information on the case’s weaknesses and problems. Five simple rules will help you minimize the risk of unnecessarily imparting harmful information to your expert. Continue reading

What to Do about an Incompetent Interpreter

455104761A witness who would otherwise be incompetent because he or she can’t understand or speak English can be made effectively competent by using an interpreter. But what happens when the interpreter is accused of being incompetent? Continue reading

Plaintiffs: Reject §998 Settlement Offers at Your Peril

170446161Last week on CEBblog™, we discussed the consequences of a defendant rejecting a settlement offer under CCP §998 and then getting creamed at trial. But §998 is an equal opportunity statute with consequences for plaintiffs too. Continue reading

How to Get Business Records into Evidence

101722256Need to get business records into evidence? There’s a hearsay exception for that! The business records exception to the hearsay rule makes it easier for businesses to provide records during litigation without undue disruption. Here’s how to use it. Continue reading

Lessons on Social Media in the Workplace

485226707The following is a guest blog post by Tyler M. Paetkau, a partner with Hartnett, Smith & Paetkau in Redwood City. Tyler represents employers in all aspects of labor and employment law. He’s a frequent author and speaker on labor and employment law issues, and the former Chair of the Executive Committee of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the State Bar of California.

The workplace has certainly been affected by the explosion of social media. Courts and administrative agencies are grappling with complex issues involving employee personal privacy, harassment, defamation, trade secret misappropriation, and union-organizing efforts in the age of social media. Although the rules are far from clear, there is some guidance for employers out there. Continue reading

Defendants: Reject §998 Settlement Offers at Your Peril

170446161Here’s a cautionary tale for all those defense attorneys who don’t take §998 settlement offers seriously enough. Continue reading

Don’t Be Trapped by Your Deposition Outline

463344231An outline is an excellent tool for making sure you don’t overlook any important subjects during a deposition. But don’t let this tool become a trap: Be in the moment and be ready to venture outside of your outline. Continue reading

Get Your Vacation Policy Right, and Then Relax!

455144299Enjoying vacation time this summer? We all need a vacation at some point, and thankfully many employers provide for paid vacation leave. But as with many wage and hour issues, employers get themselves into legal trouble by improperly handling paid vacation. Here’s an overview of pitfalls and a checklist for employers to get their vacation policy right. Continue reading

Put Chambers Chat on the Record

117533578Right before the trial begins, trial judges routinely invite counsel into chambers to explore areas of agreement and disagreement, anticipated trial objections, and how certain matters will be handled at trial. These conversations may feel informal, but they are far from it—get any argument or decisions made in chambers on the record. Continue reading