Monthly Archives: August 2013

CLE Course: How to Prepare Your Client for Deposition

Considering that less than 5% of cases go to trial, deposition is now one of the most crucial aspects of litigation.  For your anxious client, the deposition is almost the functional equivalent of their “day in court.”

One of the most useful subjects, both for lawyers and their clients, has been preparing to give testimony at a deposition. Proper preparation of the witness can reduce anxiety, improve performance and dramatically affect litigation outcomes.[1]                   – David Newdorf

More than likely, the deposition will also be the first time that the opposition will meet and evaluate your client and formulate strategy and tactical decisions on how to resolve the case.  The opposition’s goal during deposition is to uncover and exploit weaknesses and inconsistencies in your client’s testimony and case.  At this crucial juncture in the litigation one mistake or wrong approach can severely damage your client’s case.

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If you need a refresher on preparing your client for deposition – or just need to pick up a few fine points – we have recently added a very informative course featuring San Francisco litigator David Newdorf.  In the course, Mr. Newdorf provides numerous tactical and practical points on how to best prepare your client for the tough questions they will face during deposition.  The main topics covered include deposition strategy, preparing your client for deposition day and minimizing the information that you client provides to the opposition.  To access this online CLE course, please click the following link: How to Prepare Your Client for Deposition.

Further issues addressed include:

  • Preparation time
  • The day of the preparation session
  • The admonishment
  • Going over the deposition mechanics with the client
  • The client’s counter-productive strategy
  • Key rules
  • The five perfect answers
  • “I don’t know” vs. “I don’t recall”
  • Re-phrasing the question
  • Speculation
  • Multiple depositions
  • Discussing key documents with the client
  • Privileged information
  • Prior statements
  • The Q & A process

David Newdorf has been a California civil litigator since 1994.  He has practiced at O’Melveny & Myers LLP, the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office and at Newdorf Legal since 2008.  Mr. Newdorf represents individuals, businesses and public entities in trials, arbitrations and appeals.  His practice focuses on commercial and government litigation.  He has taken numerous cases to trial in state and federal court, handled hundreds of lawsuits, arbitrations and mediations, and briefed and argued major appeals in the California Court of Appeal and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  As a former trial team leader in the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office, Mr. Newdorf handled high profile cases and supervised lawyers handling hundreds of active litigation matters.

This CLE course on preparing clients for deposition is currently accredited in the following states:

  • Alaska (AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Colorado (CO)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • Delaware (DE)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Florida (FL)
  • Georgia (GA)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • South Dakota (SD)
  • Texas (TX)

Attorney Credits offers continuing legal education (CLE) in Texas and around the country.  For more information about continuing legal education (CLE) in Texas, please click the following link: Texas CLE.


[1] Video Class: How to Prepare Your Client for Deposition

http://www.newdorf.com/video-class-how-to-prepare-your-client-for-deposition

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CLE Course: The Initial Client Interview in Family Law Matters

Do you know one of the best times to prevent malpractice?

During the very first meeting with the client – at the outset of the attorney-client relationship.

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This is a crucial point in the attorney-client relationship that must be used to examine many facets of your representation – from your competence to handle the matter in question to the existence of conflicts of interest.  Carefully screening potential new clients is important not only to ensure that the relationship will be mutually beneficial for both parties, but it will also assist you in avoiding problem clients …. before they even become your client.

Family Law attorneys face an even more uphill battle at the initial client interview.  Divorce is an extremely emotional and difficult time for your clients and their families.  As these distressed clients walk into your door for the initial client interview they are going through one of the toughest times in their lives.  You have to ask yourself – is this client right for you?

And more importantly … are you the right attorney for this client?

If you need a few pointers on conducting the initial client interview in a family law case we have just added an excellent new CLE course featuring Los Angeles attorney Jennifer Riemer.  In this informative course Mrs. Reimer presents numerous practical points that can be deployed in your family law practice.  The main topics discussed by Mrs. Riemer include the importance of the first meeting, building trust with the client, fees, referrals, confidentiality, the attorneys role with client, deciding whether to take the case, how to get the information & documents that you need and how to present the information to the client.  To access the CLE course, please click this link:  The Initial Client Interview in Family Law Matters.

Further issues addressed include:

  • The source of new clients
  • Setting client expectations
  • Guaranteeing results for clients
  • Charging for consultations
  • Conflict checks
  • Confidentiality & technology
  • 7 things to tell clients about technology
  • Listening to the client
  • What you want to learn at the first meeting
  • Limited scope agreements
  • The questions you need to ask
  • Domestic violence
  • Checklists
  • Process options
  • Documents

Jennifer M. Riemer is an associate in the family law firm of Walzer & Melcher LLP in Woodland Hills, California. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Vanderbilt University and her Juris Doctor from Boston University Law School. While in law school, she served as the secretary for the Children and Law Society. Mrs. Riemer also served as a law clerk at Children’s Legal Services in Boston, Massachusetts, and interned at the Legal Aid Society Juvenile Rights Division in Brooklyn, New York. She is a member of the Southern California Family Law American Inn of Court, the Family Law Section of the State Bar of California, the Family Law Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and the Family Law Section of the Beverly Hills Bar Association. She has lectured several times on family law issues for the State Bar and for the Inn of Court and she was also selected to Southern California Rising Stars in 2010 and 2011.

This CLE course on the initial Family Law client interview is currently accredited in the following states:

  • Alaska (AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Georgia (GA)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • South Dakota (SD)

This course is available for attorneys in New Jersey and around the country.  For more information about continuing legal education (CLE) in New Jersey, please click the following link: New Jersey CLE.

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CLE Course: Client Intake, Damages & Expert Witnesses – Do You Want to Take This PI Case?

Dan GilleonWhen you are contemplating whether to take that next case remember the quote below.  This quote is from a seasoned attorney who has learned his lesson the hard way – not to take every case that walks through the door.  How many times have you started a case and then once you get deeper into it you think to yourself, “why did I take this case in the first place?”  Doing your homework on the plaintiff and fully evaluating numerous aspects of the case can save you a lot of time, money and headache … and maybe even a malpractice lawsuit.  Before you even take the client you must consider everything from the potential client’s appearance and likability to potential damages and expert witnesses that will be needed for the case.

“The best case is the one I did not take.”

Luckily, you don’t have to make those rookie mistakes because Dan Gilleon is here to help you decide if you really want to take that next personal injury case.  Dan graciously shares his years of experience and wisdom in a recently added CLE course entitled – Client Intake, Damages & Expert Witnesses: Do You Want to Take This PI Case?.  In this in-depth course, Dan offers numerous practical points for you to consider before taking your next personal injury case.  This CLE course from Attorney Credits focuses on principle issues to consider at client intake, evaluating damages and the experts you will need for the liability & damages phase of trial.

Further topics discussed in this personal injury CLE course include:

  • Evaluating a potential plaintiff
  • Language skills
  • Appearance
  • Age of the plaintiff
  • Occupation
  • Criminal history
  • Willingness to go to trial
  • Liability
  • Statutes of limitation
  • Recorded statements to the insurance company
  • Timing of the accident
  • Property damage claims
  • Police reports
  • Witnesses
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Competing lawsuits
  • Premises liability cases
  • The use of video
  • Underinsured/uninsured motorist claims
  • Treating doctors, insurance coverage
  • Photographs of the vehicle & accident scene
  • Medical treatment
  • Specialists
  • Lost work
  • Bankruptcy
  • Dog bites
  • Dan also discusses the following types of experts:
  • Certified safety experts
  • Human factors experts
  • Biomechanical experts
  • Mechanical engineers
  • Fire/explosion experts
  • Medical doctors
  • The treating doctors
  • Vocational rehabilitationists
  • Life care planners
  • Economic experts

When considering whether to take your next personal injury case its important to remember, “it’s never about the money, until it’s about the money.” Dan Gilleon is a senior partner and founder of the personal injury San Diego law firm of Mitchell & Gilleon.  He is a an experienced Plaintiff’s Civil Trial Attorney who recently acted as co-counsel for Brian Giles, former San Diego Padres player, who was sued by Cheri Olvera for palimony and domestic violence in a highly publicized case.  He has obtained significant verdicts in the areas of hate crimes, wrongful termination, sexual harassment and personal injury.  A recipient of the “Outstanding Trial Lawyer Award” given to him by peer attorneys, his extensive trial experience has led to several significant verdicts.

This CLE course on the evaluating personal injury cases is currently accredited in the following states:

  • Alaska (AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • Delaware (DE)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Georgia (GA)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)

This course is available for attorneys in Illinois and around the country.  For more information about continuing legal education (CLE) in Illinois, please click the following link: Illinois CLE.

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CLE Course: An ERISA Litigation Primer

screen-captureAs retirement plans have come to hold an increasing amount of our nation’s wealth, the number of lawsuits claiming violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security (ERISA) Act has increased exponentially.  The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 – or commonly known as ERISA – protects the assets of millions of Americans so that funds placed in retirement plans will be there once retirement age arrives.  However, due to its complexities, ERISA can an extremely difficult law to understand and apply.  

“ERISA” stands for the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. The Act was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1974 and applies to most insurance obtained as an employee benefit from one’s employer. Unfortunately, ERISA is one of the worst and most poorly understood laws ever passed by Congress.[1]

If you need help understanding the intricacies of the ERISA statute and litigation, Attorney Credits has recently added a CLE course presented by Russell Petti that provides an excellent overview of pursing an ERISA claim and the case law that has arisen under the ERISA statue.  The main areas covered by Mr. Petti include types of ERISA plans, limitation periods on benefits claims, steps to take before filing a lawsuit, the proper parties, causes of action, evidence in ERISA cases, discovery, the standard of review, reducing the standard of review, ERISA trials and attorney fees. To access this online CLE course, please click the following link: An ERISA Litigation Primer.

Further topics discussed include:

  • Self-funded plans
  • Church & governmental exemptions
  • Exhausting administrative remedies
  • The administrative record
  • Benefits claims under Section 1132(a)(1)(B)
  • Breach of fiduciary duty claims under Section 1132(a)(2)
  • Claims for appropriate equitable relief
  • Abuse of discretion & de novo review
  • Reducing the amount of discretion by showing conflict
  • The Hummel factors
  • The Lodestar standard

Russell G. Petti is a former Major in the United States Marine Corps.  After leaving government service, Mr. Petti became a member of the firm of the Los Angeles firm of Bannan, Green, Frank & Terzian LLP.  While there, he was privileged to represent some of the country’s largest companies, in matters involving ERISA, first party “bad faith” insurance, municipal liability, general commercial law and “white collar” criminal law.  Presently, Mr. Petti is a sole practitioner, largely representing consumers and working people fighting for their rights.  He has argued over twenty cases before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and has currently won six reversals in a row before the Ninth Circuit.

This CLE course on ERISA litigation is currently accredited in the following states:

  • Alaska (AK)
  • Arizona (AZ)
  • California (CA)
  • Connecticut (CT)
  • Delaware (DE)
  • District of Columbia (DC)
  • Georgia (GA)
  • Illinois (IL)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • Massachusetts (MA)
  • Michigan (MI)
  • New Jersey (NJ)
  • New York (NY)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • South Dakota (SD)

This course is available for attorneys in New York and around the country.  For more information about continuing legal education (CLE) in New York, please click the following link: New York CLE.


[1] ERISA Litigation – Know Your Rights!

http://www.pillsburylevinson.com/Resources-Index/What-is-ERISA-and-what-restrictions-does-it-place-on-you.shtml

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CLE Course: A Legal Primer on Nonprofit Law

Did you know that there are currently over one million nonprofits in the United States?

Or that over 50,000 new non-profits are formed each year?

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Everything from labor groups and churches to schools and fraternal beneficiary societies qualify for 501(c)(3) status – if the proper legal formalities are followed.  The IRS recently ‘cleansed’ over 275,000 nonprofits, stripping them of their federal tax-exempt status because they failed to satisfy the IRS filing requirement for three consecutive years.[1]  These organizations automatically lost their tax-exempt status because they did not file legally required annual reports for three consecutive years.

 The Internal Revenue Service today announced that approximately 275,000 organizations under the law have automatically lost their tax-exempt status because they did not file legally required annual reports for three consecutive years. The IRS believes the vast majority of these organizations are defunct, but it also announced special steps to help any existing organizations to apply for reinstatement of their tax-exempt status.[2]

If you need help understanding the legal issues associated with forming and operating a nonprofit organization, please join Beverly Hills attorney Kent Seton as he reviews the legal landscape surrounding tax-exempt organizations.  The four main issues discussed by Mr. Seton in the CLE course include nonprofit formation, income tax, board governance and the solicitation of funds.  To access the CLE course please click here: A Legal Primer on Nonprofit Law.

Further topics addressed include:

  • Revocation of 501(c)(3) status
  • Setting up a nonprofit
  • Choice of entity
  • Unincorporated associations
  • Charitable trusts
  • Nonprofit charitable corporations
  • Charitable purposes
  • The private inurement doctrine
  • Self dealing
  • Dissolution
  • The articles of incorporation
  • The 501(c)(3) standard
  • Charitable purposes
  • The source of funding
  • The board of directors
  • Board meetings, board member transactions
  • Laws regarding the solicitation of funds
  • Internet fundraising
  • Fund raising professionals & counsel
  • Cause marketing

This course is available for attorneys in California and around the country.  For more information about continuing legal education (CLE) in California, please click the following link: California MCLE.

Kent E. Seton is a former collegiate All-American tennis player at the University of Southern California and has spent the last fourteen years of his legal career involved in representing charities, foundations and corporations in all aspects of their legal existence.  Mr. Seton’s experience covers a broad array of philanthropy legal considerations.  He also has extensive experience in representing business start-ups and established corporations in all types of matters including entity and jurisdiction selection, shareholder agreements, operating agreements and other corporate matters.  Seton Law Firm is located in Beverly Hills, California with a satellite office in Irvine, California.


[1] IRS Identifies Organizations that Have Lost Tax-Exempt Status; Announces Special Steps to Help Revoked Organizations

http://www.irs.gov/uac/IRS-Identifies-Organizations-that-Have-Lost-Tax-Exempt-Status%3B-Announces-Special-Steps-to-Help-Revoked-Organizations

[2] IRS Identifies Organizations that Have Lost Tax-Exempt Status; Announces Special Steps to Help Revoked Organizations

http://www.irs.gov/uac/IRS-Identifies-Organizations-that-Have-Lost-Tax-Exempt-Status%3B-Announces-Special-Steps-to-Help-Revoked-Organizations

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