5 Ways to Mess Up Active Listening

Active listening techniques are often lauded as indispensable in legal negotiations, and for good reason: You’re more likely to reach agreement if you can both understand and demonstrate your understanding to the other side. But there are some common ways that negotiators fail in their efforts to use active listening. Continue reading

7 Questions to Answer Before Using Opinion Character Evidence

There are situations in which you may want to introduce opinion character evidence at trial. But before you use a character witness in a civil case, ask yourself the following questions. Continue reading

9 Things to Tell Your Witness Before Cross-Examination

Part of preparing your witnesses for trial testimony includes preparing them to be cross-examined. Witnesses often worry that trick questions will make them say the wrong thing or that they’ll be made to look foolish. Tell them the following and they’ll be ready to handle any cross-examination.

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The One Thing to Do to Maximize Mediation Success

typing out deposition notice on laptopThe following is a guest blog post by Teddy (Theda) Snyder. Ms. Snyder is based in Los Angeles and conducts civil and workers compensation mediations throughout California.

Careful preparation of a mediation brief is the best way to achieve the optimal settlement result. The exercise forces you to organize your case and create guideposts for the settlement negotiation. Continue reading

4 Tips for Drafting an Effective Settlement Demand Letter

The following is a guest blog post by Anderson Franco, who practices landlord-tenant, personal injury, and general litigation throughout the Bay Area.

Before filing a lawsuit, a plaintiff should always consider whether to try for settlement. If settlement is the goal, then a settlement demand letter becomes a key negotiation tool. A settlement demand letter explains to the opposing party why they should pay money to settle the case immediately rather than litigating through the court system. Continue reading

Appellate Justices Offer These Tips to Attorneys

In May 2018, the Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) invited the Justices of the First District Court of Appeal to meet informally with local appellate attorneys so both sides could discuss the court rules and practices they like and dislike. These tips and observations may help you, even if you practice in other districts. Continue reading

New Year, New Laws for Civil Litigators

The California legislature has enacted new laws that may affect your litigation practice. Here are some of the key statutory changes you need to know about. Continue reading

12 Tips for Writing an Effective Appellate Brief

An appellate brief is a way to convey the facts, legal questions, law that you want the court to apply, and how you want it applied. It’s also an exercise in persuasion, and should be written for readers who have only a short time to read it. Continue reading

How to Control an Expert Witness

As with all witnesses, you must be able to control an expert witness during cross-examination. But many experts with experience in testifying treat cross-examiners like presidential candidates deal with the press: they ignore the question asked and answer the question they prefer. Here’s how to keep experts under your control. Continue reading

The Do’s and Don’ts of Building Your Case with Social Media Info

The following is a guest blog post by Renee Galente Stackhouse. Renee is the founder and trial lawyer at Stackhouse, APC, where she focuses on plaintiff’s personal injury and military defense in San Diego. She is the immediate past President of California Women Lawyers, President of the CWL Foundation, Chair of the CLA SSF Section, and sits on the Board of the San Diego County Bar Association.

You would be surprised how easy it is to find public information on the Internet. Or maybe you wouldn’t, given the many stories of jobs lost and cases jeopardized by social media posts. Using Google and social media searches on parties and witnesses can be very helpful to your case, but make sure you don’t overstep. Continue reading