3 Times Not to Ask Leading Questions on Cross

attorney questioning witness during cross-examinationLeading questions are the main tool of the cross-examiner—they tell a witness how to answer by suggesting an answer. See Evid C §764. But you should also know when using leading questions on cross-examination isn’t the best technique. Continue reading

Make Sure Your Client’s Will and Lifetime Decisions Are In Sync

will documentPeople expect that their property will be distributed according to their will when they die. This is generally true, but the testator may have made decisions during his or her lifetime that override the will provisions. Continue reading

10 Tips for Attorneys on a CEQA Project

legally balancing the environmental effects under CEQAThe California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)(Pub Res C §§21000–21189.3) applies to most public agency decisions to carry out, authorize, or approve projects that could have adverse effects on the environment. Attorneys are frequently called on to work as part of an overall team handling a project undergoing CEQA review. The attorney’s role in such project teams varies widely, but there are some general ways that attorneys can minimize misunderstandings and delays, and help reduce the cost of the CEQA process. Continue reading

How To Effectively Cite Authority: Tips from a Judge

woman with thumb up because she knows how to cite authority in her motion papersHow you include legal citations in a motion’s supporting memorandum can make the difference between being successfully persuasive and losing credibility. Continue reading

3 Things to Know about the Crime-Fraud Exception

lawyer meeting with clients and getting confidential informationExceptions to the attorney-client privilege in California are set out in Evid C §§956–962. Of particular interest since the FBI’s raid on the office of President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen has been the crime-fraud exception to the privilege. Under this exception, there’s no attorney-client privilege “if the services of the lawyer were sought or obtained to enable or aid anyone to commit or plan to commit a crime or a fraud.” Evid C §956. Let’s break that down into three keys points to know. Continue reading

Do Both Spouses Need to Sign Contracts?

contract with pen for signaturesWhen one spouse is entering into a contract, is it legally required that the other spouse also sign it? And what would be the ramifications if the other spouse didn’t? Continue reading

3 Ways to Deal with Client Conflicts

attorney's hand up in stop gesture because there's a conflict of interest between clientsA prospective client comes to you and you discover that there’s a conflict of interest with one of your current or former clients. Or while you’re representing a client, a conflict arises with another client. You’ve got three ways to deal with these types of situations, depending on when the conflict comes to light.  Continue reading

Should You Use Voir Dire With Opponent’s Expert?

lawyer asking expert witness questions about qualificationsAfter opposing counsel attempts to qualify an expert witness, you can ask the court to let you conduct voir dire on the expert. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Continue reading

Don’t Forget to Include Client Responsibilities in Your Fee Agreement

lawyer handing fee agreement to client with provisions setting out responsibilities of lawyer and clientYour attorney fee agreement should not only state your responsibilities as the attorney, it should also include a provision setting out the client’s responsibilities. Check out these sample provisions. Continue reading

Can Employers Still Reject Applicants with a Criminal History?

woman interviewing job applicantWhen and how employers may consider criminal convictions continues to be a hot topic, both in California and nationally. Against this backdrop, AB 1008 amended the Fair Employment and Housing Act to preclude most employers from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal record or conviction history until after a conditional employment offer is made, and imposed new notice and disclosure requirements if this information is sought. Continue reading