Tips for Doing Pro Bono Work from Someone in the Trenches

thinkstockphotos-178363193The following is a guest blog post by Richard M. Wilner, a founding shareholder and chair of the  Employment-based Immigration Practice Group of Wilner & O’Reilly in Orange County. Together with his partner Kelly S. O’Reilly—a former immigration officer—he helps lead a team of 14 lawyers dedicated exclusively to the practice of immigration law.

The great Winston Churchill said “We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.” Consequently, I believe there is no group more deserving of my time, at no charge, than the men and women who serve in the United States military. Whether representing military clients or otherwise, here are some things I’ve learned from years of doing pro bono legal work. Continue reading

A Conflicts Check Can Save You

thinkstockphotos-490180254A global law firm recently embarrassed itself by not doing a simple conflicts check. As Joe Patrice in his blog post for Above the Law explains, Dentons’ attorneys shot off a letter demanding a retraction from CNN for a story on possible ethics issues with Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Rep. Tom Price, before a “simple conflict check” revealed that Dentons also represents CNN. You can do better than that. Create a conflicts check system and use it. Continue reading

Caution! Sever a Joint Tenancy Before Conveying the Interest to a Third Party

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As a graduation present, your client purchases her son a home. Although the plan was for the son to live there alone, the client and her son take title as joint tenants. Years later, your client remarries and asks you to convey her interest in the house to her new husband’s children on her death. What do you do? Whatever instrument you choose, be sure to sever the joint tenancy! Continue reading

How to Prepare a Trial Outline

ThinkstockPhotos-459334539Heading to trial? Start your planning by preparing a trial outline. Here are the key things to include and a sample outline to give you an idea how it looks. Continue reading

The Do’s and Don’ts of Cultivating Clients in the Marijuana Field

thinkstockphotos-597927996The following is a guest blog post by Allison B. Margolin, a partner at Margolin and Lawrence in Los Angeles. Ms. Margolin practices criminal defense and civil litigation in both state and federal court.

California’s new law legalizing recreational marijuana has attracted people from all walks of life to the industry. In turn, this will bring new clients to attorneys. But before you represent clients in marijuana-related businesses, consider these tips. Continue reading

Settling Employment Cases: Think Beyond Money

thinkstockphotos-512549722When you’re negotiating settlement of an employment action, you have much more to consider than just “how much money.” There are many nonmonetary remedies that can—either alone or combined with money—bring the parties to agreement. And how money is paid out can also be a good bargaining chip. Continue reading

4 Steps to Deciding How and When to Present Evidence

Your objective is to determine how and when to present each witness, exhibit, and other item of evidence most persuasively during trial. The key to meeting this objective is breaking it down into these four steps. Continue reading

How to Get Reciprocal Contractual Attorney Fees

ThinkstockPhotos-464825589It’s like magic: California’s CC §1717 transforms a unilateral attorney fee provision in a contract into a reciprocal one! When the contract provides for attorney fees to either a particular party or the prevailing party, the prevailing party “on the contract” is entitled to recover reasonable attorney fees regardless of whether that party was the party specified in the contract. But taking advantage of this statute depends on meeting the following five requirements. Continue reading

Negotiating an Office Lease? Avoid These 4 Deal-Breaking Positions

With the large dollar amounts, aggressive parties, and difficult time constraints involved, thinkstockphotos-507721014office leases are some of the toughest contracts to negotiate. Chances for a successful negotiation are best if the attorneys maintain consistent, well-reasoned positions that readily balance their clients’ goals and the need for compromise. On the other hand, a successful agreement is unlikely if the attorneys adopt stubborn or disingenuous stances.

Here are four deal-breaking positions to avoid when negotiating an office lease:

Continue reading

4 Tips for Handling Exhibits at Deposition

463413901When it comes to deposition exhibits, you need to keep your eye on the trial: Make sure they are marked, identified, and attached to the deposition transcript. Here are four tips for handling depo exhibits.  Continue reading