Jim Allen is our latest Featured Speaker

Jim Allen is our latest Featured Speaker!

Jim is a retired Assistant County Attorney for Miami Dade County and has been sharing his experience with our attendees since 2014, when he first spoke at our Circuit Court Boot Camp in Ft. Lauderdale. Since then, Jim has been a frequent speakers at many of our litigation programs. Most recently, he spoke at Mastering the Deposition and Brief Writing in Ft. Lauderdale. Next year, Jim will join us again for our 5th Annual Circuit Court Boot Camp in Ft. Lauderdale.

In addition to providing excellent tips and litigation strategies, Jim always provides thorough handouts and additional materials that attendees rave about.

Jim Allen
Former Assistant County Attorney, Miami-Dade County

Jim was Chief of Training and Development, while continuing to maintain a full caseload in state personal injury and federal civil rights actions.

As a litigator, Jim has practiced extensively in federal and state court at both trial and appellate levels. He has litigated and tried numerous cases involving serious wrongful death and civil rights allegations, including a taking action claiming in excess of 100 million dollars in damages. Jim has also handled numerous state and federal appeals, including a case filed in the U.S. Supreme Court.

After law school, Jim clerked for the Honorable James R. Jorgenson, Florida Third District Court of Appeals.  Jim is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, J.D., Cum Laude, 1980.

Harry Chamberlain is our Newest Featured Speaker

Harry Chamberlain of Buchalter Nemer P.C. is our latest Featured Speaker!

Harry is another Appellate Specialist who will be speaking at the upcoming Advanced Appellate Conference in January.

Harry first spoke for us back in 2012. Harry was a joy to work with and attendees loved his presentation. He has been back to speak at multiple appellate seminars, including our 2016 and 2017 Advanced Appellate Conferences and our 2017 Exam Prep course in Appellate law.

Harry Chamberlain II
Buchalter Nemer P.C.

Harry Chamberlain co-chairs the Appellate and Complex Litigation Practice Group at Buchalter Nemer, P.C. with regional offices across California. Harry is an experienced litigator who has represented Fortune 500 companies, public and private sector clients in complex litigation for 35 years. His trial and arbitration practice focuses on the representation of business, professional and public entity clients with special concentration in post-trial remedies, writs and appeals.

He is certified as an Appellate Specialist by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization, having argued hundreds of appeals in state and federal courts around the country, including numerous cases before the California Supreme Court and the highest courts of other jurisdictions.

Before joining Buchalter Nemer, Harry’s experience included in-house corporate practice as general counsel, and managing the law department of major market U.S. liability insurers and financial service companies.

Harry serves on the Board of Trustees of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and is past president of the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel and California Defense Counsel, preeminent regional associations of civil defense trial attorneys.

Robin Meadow is our Newest Featured Speaker

Robin Meadow of Greines, Martin, Stein & Richland LLP is our latest Featured Speaker!

Robin first spoke at one of our appellate seminars in 2008 and has been a regular ever since. Seminar attendees continually rave about his teaching style and the excellent handouts he provides.

In addition to being a Certified Appellate Specialist, Robin is also well-versed in the use of technology during an appeal. Attendees always appreciate his discussion about technology during our seminars. Robin has spoken at The Complete Appeal and the Advanced Appellate Roundtable multiple times. Coming up in January, Robin will be at our Third Annual Advanced Appellate Conference, where he has spoken each year.

Robin Meadow
Greines, Martin, Stein & Richland LLP

Few appellate specialists have successfully tried a jury case. Robin Meadow tried jury cases for over 20 years at a major commercial firm, while also handling appeals, in many fields of law. Over time, he realized that it’s nearly impossible to excel at both trials and appeals, because the skill sets and practice rhythms differ completely and often clash. Concluding that his greatest strengths lay in appellate work, Robin joined GMSR in 1994, handling his last trial late that year.

Robin’s trial-court experience gives him a unique perspective on appellate work. He understands the demands and pressures trial lawyers face and the many ways that things can go wrong in the trial court. And he is very much at home consulting with trial lawyers during trial, helping them protect their appellate record so they’re well positioned to either preserve a victory or overturn a defeat.

Robin’s practice at GMSR continues the substantive focus he developed in his earlier years business disputes, real estate, partnerships, and probate and entertainment law.  But, like most appellate lawyers, he is a generalist and at GMSR has also handled multiple significant appeals involving healthcare, family law, personal injury and bankruptcy.

He is also an expert in technology for appellate lawyers and courts. A pioneer in the use of electronic records and briefs, Robin co-authored the California Second District Court of Appeals first protocol for electronic briefs (since adopted by other California Courts of Appeal), and he filed the first electronic brief ever accepted by a California appellate court.

When he isn’t practicing law, he enjoys spending time with his family, reading about history and playing bass guitar in a rock band.


Ten Commandments of Specialization Bar Exam Preparation

With California certified legal specialist Exams coming this October 24th, test takers can use all the tips they can get!  This list was compiled by Certified Specialists Jack Russo of Computer Law and Athena Roussos, Attorney at Law.  Both were speakers at our recent exam prep seminar on appellate law.

If you are planning on taking one of the Legal Specialist exams, now or in the future, you can find our full offering of recorded exam prep programs here.  Also, be sure to visit that link and download our FREE copy of Exam Prep Study Tips.  This is a 2.5 hour long recording compiled from our 2015 exam prep courses.

To those taking the exam this year, best of luck from all of us at Pincus Pro Ed!

Ten Commandments of Specialization Bar Exam Preparation

1. Read and re-read the best treatises (with commitment and curiosity)

2. Use “gamification” approach to make review more fun (52 card analogy)

3. Take past exams (early and often; find a study partner to cross-critique)

4. Dialog with others about organizational approaches for different questions

5. Write and re-write essay exam answers with a view for improvement

6. Apply Occam’s Razor (as needed) to demonstrate efficiency/effectiveness

7. Add time constraints to your practice (with a view for improving further)

8. Watch as you become “well-versed” in outlining/organizing/outputting

9. Treat the 50 to 100 hours of pre-exam “work” as worth the investment

10. Reduce distraction; potentially reduce pre-exam “work” to 25 to 50 hours!

What I Wish I Knew When I Started My Practice

Ever wish someone had told you this when you were starting out?  Speakers Lisa Clay and Patrick Walsh did a segment on this exact topic during our seminar last week in Chicago: Opening and Managing Your Practice: The Do’s, Don’ts and Everything In-Between.

As you know we occasionally post snippets from our seminar handout materials and wanted to share this today.

  • The importance of, and guidelines for, doing client intakes.
    • Just because a client wants me to represent them doesn’t mean I should.
    • What do I need to know in terms of their background?
    • Their history with other lawyers?
    • Are they frequent flyers/filers?
    • How are they going to pay me?
  • Conflicts Checks!
    • How do I do it?
    • What level of conflicts checks do I need conduct as a solo?
  • Overhead is EXPENSIVE!
    • Rent, insurance, lexis, phone Internet, etc.
    • It all adds up, and most of it can’t be passed on to a client
  • How important it would be to have other attorneys as back-up and resources for things like:
    • Covering me if I’m down and out
    • Subject matter consultations
    • Referrals on cases I don’t want
  • That I would have to be my own bill collector. I still suck at this.
  • About all the unpaid time I would lose being my own office, and dealing with computer issues, addressing phone problems, taking calls I don’t want, etc., etc., etc.
  • That I would have to fire clients (and they might have to fire me).
    • This requires that I have a good retainer, a standard disengagement letter and that I address liens.
  • How to keep track of expenses.
    • I use a credit card for everything I can, but I’m still terrible about making sure billable expenses get on bills, and that I don’t lose cabs, meals, etc.
  • I can’t take every case. Boundaries are so important for solos.
  • How much my opponents would try to use my status as a solo against me.
    • What it’s like to be threatened with “teams” of attorneys and be drowned in discovery by firms with 4 and 5 attorneys on a case
  • How important it is to cultivate relationships with other lawyers
  • That half of my job would be in the role of therapist/social worker… and that part of my job would be largely unpaid.

This seminar took place last Friday; however, you can still hear the full discussion on the audio version available here.

Automatic EAD Extensions under the January 17th Regulations

The following is a guest post from frequent Pincus Professional Education speaker Carl Shusterman.  Carl has spoken at many of our California immigration programs including Asylum Law, Immigration 101 and our upcoming Visas 101.  He has over forty years of immigration experience and served as an attorney for the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) until 1982 when he entered private practice.  You can read the original post here.

By Carl Shusterman:

In the December 2016 issue of our newsletter, we summarized the new 366-page DHS regulation regarding employment-based immigration which will become effective on January 17, 2017.

In this article, we focus on the portion of the regulation which allows certain persons to obtain temporary automatic extensions of their Employment Authorization Documents (EADs).

Under the new regulations, the USCIS will no longer be required to adjudicate requests for EADs within 90 days.  However, persons with existing EADs will be able to apply for extensions of their work permits 180 days (up from 120 days) before they expire.
The regulation designates the following 15 categories where people will be eligible for automatic 180-day extensions of their EADs as long as they submit timely requests to extend their EADs:

  1. Aliens admitted as refugees;
  2. Aliens granted asylum;
  3. Aliens admitted as parents or dependent children of aliens granted permanent residence under section 101(a)(27)(I) of the INA;
  4. Aliens admitted as citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, or Palau;
  5. Aliens granted withholding of deportation or removal;
  6. Aliens granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS);
  7. Aliens who have properly filed applications for TPS and who have been deemed prima facie eligible for TPS and have received an EAD as “temporary treatment benefit”;
  8. Aliens who have properly filed applications for asylum or withholding of deportation or removal;
  9. Aliens who have filed applications for adjustment of status under section 245(a) of the INA;
  10. Aliens who have filed applications for suspension of deportation under Section 244 of the INA, cancellation of removal under section 240A of the INA, or special rule cancellation of removal under section 309(f)(1) IIRAIRA;
  11. Aliens who have filed applications for creation of a record of lawful admission for permanent residence;
  12. Aliens who have properly filed legalization applications pursuant to section 210 of the INA;
  13. Aliens who have properly filed legalization applications pursuant to section 245A of the INA;
  14. Aliens who have filed applications for adjustment of status pursuant to section 1104 of the LIFE Act; and
  15. Aliens who are the principal beneficiaries or qualified children of approved VAWA self-petitioners.

The rule does nothing to assist first-time applicants for EADs, nor does it permit automatic extensions of Advance Parole.

Many persons, such as spouses of nonimmigrants (L-2s, H-4s, etc.) are ineligible for automatic extensions of their EADs.

The automatic EAD extension portion of the regulation is more complicated than this summary of the rule would indicate.  Small employers without the resources to regularly check the USCIS website or consult with immigration lawyers may find it burdensome to comply with the I-9 requirements that this rule will entail.

It is recommended that persons with EADs should submit applications for extensions of their EADs and Advance Paroles 180 days before the expiration date to protect their ability to work and travel without interruption.  Doing so will also aid their employers.

Four Classic Ways to Organize Your Speech

Simply put, there are many ways to organize thoughts, ideas and themes.  Pick an organizational pattern that is right for your presentation.  Here are a few choices:

  • Sequential/chronological: Does your presentation move through a series of points that can be organized in a sequential or chronological pattern?  If so, do not attempt to jump around and explain your points non-sequentially or your audience can easily get lost.  If the points you wish to make or the story you have to relate occurred one at a time, stick to the chronology.  Your audience will follow right along with you.  It’s a lot like that two-page instruction manual that comes with your new electronic device and always goes through each step in sequential order.  Some topics just require this form of organization to be understood: What happened first? What happened second? Then what happened?  And sometimes you can start with the end and work your way back, but you definitely can’t skip around if a topic really needs a sequential presentation.
  • Categorical/topical:  Your main points may be most easily presented by category or topic.  Clearly state what you’re going to be covering during the course of the seminar or speech, give the audience a means to remember it and then proceed exactly as you described.  (For heaven’s sake don’t tell them you’re going to talk about Earth, Wind and Fire and then present it as Fire, Wind and Earth.  Stick to the categories you establish from the get-go.)
  • Compare and contrast: When making comparisons, be sure the comparisons are valid.  Apples are not oranges.  Don’t make the mistake of mixing up the two.  If you want to compare raising a child to raising a domestic animal, you run the risk of alienating the parents in the room.  (Or the pet owners, for that matter.)  But if you hit upon a comparison that works, by all means use it.  The same rule applies to contrasts.  Baseball is similar to football in that both are sports, both use a ball and both employ a points system.  In that way, you can compare the two.  But there are also many ways you can contrast them and examine the differences.  (George Carlin did this famously and to great effect.)  Using comparisons and contrasting examples is a wonderful way to hammer home an important point.
  • Problem — solution:  This is a simple way to both organize and present a speech cleanly and with little digression:  Set up a problem and then offer a solution (or several solutions) to that problem.  Be sure that the problem is one common to most members of the audience (the less obscure you can be the better) and try to offer novel or clever solutions rather than merely obvious ones.  You don’t want to talk down to them.  Within the problem — solution framework, you might, for example, discuss the causes and impacts of problems (such as gambling compulsions or addictions), review past or outmoded solutions that have failed in the past and, finally, provide a new or time-tested solution that is most likely to work.

The What, Why and How of the Final Status Conference

Jill Kopeiken, Speaker at Pincus Professional Education on the Final Status Conference

Our speakers are always providing our attendees with helpful tips for their practice, and Jill Kopeikin of Kopeikin Law, is no exception. Jill is one of those speakers who provides fantastic handouts for every topic on which she speaks and she is an attendee favorite!  Jill has spoken at many of our annual Superior Court Boot Camps and Federal Court Boot Camps.

Our blog readers can take 50% off our boot camp audio recordings with the coupon code 50FSC.

For one of our Superior Court Boot Camps, Jill provided a great tip-sheet thoroughly explaining the Final Status Conference (FSC).  If you’d like to take a look at the full list of topics for our upcoming 15th Annual Superior Court Boot Camp (Oct. 2020) or last year’s recorded package for our 14th California Superior Court Boot Camp, held in 2019, please click on the links just provided.

So, there are a few things you need to know and think about when it comes to the Final Status Conference.
Written by Jill Kopeikin of Kopeikin Law

  • First, they’re discretionary:
    • There is no California statutory requirement to have a final status conference, merely statutory authorization. See Rule 4.112 Cal. Criminal Rules (“The Court may hold a readiness conference…”, (emphasis added)); see also Rule 3.723 Cal. Rules of Court (“The court on its own motion may order, or a party or parties may request, that an additional case management conference be held at any time…”
  • Given that, what is the purpose? And what are the typical uses? 
    • Judges use the final status conferences (sometimes called an “issues” or “trial readiness” conference) to:
      • Assess the likelihood of settlement
      • Ensure trial readiness
      • Give the parties a chance to raise any issues that may impact the efficient flow of trial
      • Confirm whether a previously reserved jury will be required.  (Judges always try to eliminate a jury trial where possible.)
      • Identify disputed/undisputed facts
      • Discuss exhibits that may be admitted by agreement without laying a foundation, and those that require a foundation
      • Explain the Court’s expectations about readiness and trial schedule
      • Hear and adjudicate pretrial motions. For example, in a “Readiness” conferences held in criminal cases common motions resolved before or at the readiness trial include:  Motions to suppress; Pitchess motions.
    •  Counsel may use the status conference to:
      • Learn more about the Court’s trial practices and preferences.
      • Raise issues that may affect the timing or flow of trial (e.g., explaining that expert witness needing to be called out of order, or identifying preliminary issues to be raised, or notify the Court of a waiver of jury).
      • Seek the adjudication of any pretrial motions that may not have been resolved
      • Discuss equipment needs and handling
      • Discuss exhibit marking, submission and handling at trial, if not already done
      • Try to engage settlement discussions without showing weakness
  • And lastly, what about the timing & procedures?
    • The timing and procedures associated with final pretrial or readiness conferences vary greatly by county, expedited/short or long cause, whether limited or unlimited jurisdiction and criminal versus civil.  So do not assume that what you did in San Francisco Superior will be consistent with what you will do in a new case in Orange County.  It will not.
    • May or may not be standard within a jurisdiction as between judges.
    • Typically held in the last two weeks prior to trial.
    • May or may not be coupled with a court-supervised settlement conference, or these may be held separately.
    • Typically, the exhibits, motions in limine, issues varying trial order or scope, disputes about significant issues that may impact trial scope, order or timing, will be resolved at or before the final pretrial conference.

We hope you’ve found this list helpful and we encourage you to email us, or comment below, if you’d like more tips like these or have any questions.

Want to know more about litigation? You can find upcoming programs and audio packages for past litigation boot camps at these links:
To receive 50% off of our boot camp recordings, please use the coupon code 50FSC.

Zach B. Shelomith is the latest Featured Speaker!

Zach B. Shelomith is the latest Featured Speaker!

Zach is a founding shareholder at Leiderman Sheolomith, P.A. and focuses his practice on personal bankruptcy matters, corporate bankruptcy matters, assignments for the benefit of creditors and bankruptcy litigation.

Zach has spoken for us on the topic of bankruptcy and brings a wealth of experience and insight to his presentations. He will be speaking at our upcoming program focusing on chapter 11 on December 1st in Ft. Lauderdale.