San Diego Business Journal

Whistleblower Laws Call for Sound, Clearly Defined Policies

LAW: Proliferation of Lawsuits Emphasizes Scope of the Problem

A tidal wave of new lawsuits claiming retaliation against so-called whistleblowers has been hitting business owners in recent years.

Procopio Partner Elected to Lead San Diego Chapter of ACG

Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP partner Dennis Doucette was elected board president of the Association for Corporate Growth. Doucette, who leads Procopio’s corporate and securities practice group, has been on the ACG’s board for five years and has chaired its programs committee for the past 18 months.

Attorney Pairs His Legal Career With Other Tasteful Pursuits

San Diego attorneys are really interesting people with varied interests and pursuits, but Harold Small, you might say, takes the cake. He has been elected bailli délégué — or just president to us commoners — of the Bailliage des Etats-Unis of the Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, the world’s oldest and largest international food and wine society.

Procopio’s New Associates Bring Diverse Talents to Its Team

Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP has hired three new associates: Trent Andrews, Natalie Mueller and Juan Pablo Zaragoza. Andrews’ practice encompasses business and corporate matters, including mergers, acquisitions, venture capital and private equity financings, securities matters, leveraged buyouts, corporate governance and other complex business transactions.

Awarding of Attorneys’ Fees in Patent Case May Mark Major Shift

Leventhal Law earned another significant legal victory on behalf of FindTheBest.com. In what some have called one of the most closely watched patent cases in the technology world, a federal judge granted FindTheBest’s request for attorneys’ fees in a patent lawsuit brought by Lumen View Technology LLC.

Law Leaders Lab Sees Need to Change Business Model, Practice

Law Leaders Lab opened its doors this month. It’s a new firm with a goal of helping lawyers, law firms and legal services providers develop strategies to grow their businesses and communicate value to clients.

Lawyer’s Outstanding Performance Secures Her Place as Partner

Tyson & Mendes made Kristi Blackwell the firm’s first partner. Blackwell is a member of the general liability, professional liability and business litigation team. She was second chair in a jury trial involving professional negligence and fraud against an insurance broker.

Ex-Federal Prosecutor to Chair Litigation at Latham & Watkins

Jake Ryan has been appointed to chair the litigation department at Latham & Watkins LLP’s San Diego office. Ryan, 46, is a trial lawyer who focuses on intellectual property litigation, white-collar criminal defense, government investigations and other complex business litigation.

Bar Center at 401 Is a Home Base and a Home Run for Association

The San Diego County Bar Association has been awarded the American Society of Association Executives’ top award in new product or service launch category.

Firm Gets More Financial Prowess With Addition of 2 Lawyers

Mikel Bistrow and Christopher Celentino, local high-profile bankruptcy and transactional finance lawyers, have joined Ballard Spahr as partners. Bistrow and Celentino have extensive experience in finance and insolvency matters and are accomplished in business reorganizations and financial transactions.

Sheppard Mullin’s 10 New Lawyers Have Something in Common

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP pulled off one of San Diego legal community’s largest coups to date, enticing 10 top lawyers from McKenna Long Aldridge LLP to its ranks.

Lawyers on the Move, Take Note of Key Trends in Legal Industry

Robert Half Legal has advice in its recent annual salary guide for those who are interested in getting hired by a firm or striking out on your own. The report highlights the following trends:

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Team Janine Honors the Past, Brings Hope for a Cure in Future

Local lawyers are usually good people, but Justine Phillips — a partner at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP — is something special. She is in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Annual Man & Woman of the Year Campaign to honor her only sister, Janine, who died from leukemia when they were children more than 30 years ago. I will let her tell it:

New Firm Reflects the Changing Dynamics of the Legal Scene

The Business of Law Column

Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek has lost three of its rising stars to the growing trend of large-firm lawyers starting their own firms.

Honored Guest Shattered a Big Glass Ceiling With Her Gavel

The Lawyers Club of San Diego has landed Sandra Day O’Connor, retired associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, for its 2014 annual dinner May 8. As the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court, O’Connor is the perfect selection. She — more than most others — raised the bar for women in the legal profession. She also was one of the first high-profile legal leaders to help break the mold that women couldn’t be conservative or practice effectively beyond family law. About 500 lawyers, judges and other friends of Lawyers Club usually attend. You could sponsor.

Businessman Creates a Video to Challenge Litigation Tactics

The Business of Law Column

Dan Shea works hard for the good of San Diego and the country. While he’s not a lawyer, he has created a video that challenges some of the rules of evidence — and litigation tactics — that our court system allows.

Lawyer Has the Mettle to Help Bring the Olympics to San Diego

Bill Earley is leaving McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP to run the day-to-day operations of the San Diego 2024 Olympics Exploratory Committee as its president. This is a bold and brilliant move by a terrific employment attorney.

Lawsuit Ruling Suggests USPTO Reform Needed

The Business of Law

FindTheBest.com, represented by San Diego-based Leventhal Law, won a patent dispute in a federal court in New York. The decision in favor of FindTheBest sent a message that reform is required at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office — at least that’s how it read to me.

Jon Williams Is New San Diego County Bar Association President

The Business of Law

Jon Williams was sworn in as president of the San Diego County Bar Association during the organization’s annual holiday event on Dec. 6. Williams, a partner at Boudreau Williams LLP, specializes in civil appeals and writs in state and federal court.

Firm Names New Managing Partner; Another Expands to Texas

The Business of Law Column

Hecht Solberg Robinson Goldberg & Bagley LLP recently named Michael Maher managing partner. Maher succeeds Darryl Solberg, who has served in that capacity since 1997. Solberg remains an active partner in the firm and is looking forward to focusing solely on practicing law and client relationships.

Adventurous Lawyers Can Be a Pretty Cool Crowd to Run With

The Business of Law Columng

Lawyers are people, too — often very cool people. Here’s proof. Jana Beck, a lawyer at Gerson Law Firm APC, completed the 2013 New York Marathon.

U.S. Court of Appeals Upholds Patent Case for Sheppard Mullin

The Business of Law Column

Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP lawyers Steve Korniczky, Martin Bader, Matthew Mueller and Gray Buccigross earned another big win for client HTC Corp.

Evans Keane Taps Local Talent For Its New Office in Carlsbad

The Business of Law Column

Madeline Cahill and Larry Campitiello have joined Evans Keane LLP, a Boise, Idaho-based business law firm that recently opened an office in Carlsbad

San Diego Volunteer Lawyers Program Honors Local Pro Bono Work

Law Column

The San Diego Volunteer Lawyers Program held its annual Justice for All celebration recently, and it was cool. Really. If you’ve attended in prior years, you remember it was held at the Museum of Man, where there is no air conditioning.

General Counsel Awards Will Honor Some Sterling Efforts

The Business of Law

I just finished judging the 57 nominees for the San Diego Business Journal’s General Counsel Awards event. These nominees are impressive and work with many San Diego law firms. There are big companies — such as Petco, AMN Healthcare, the Padres, TaylorMade and General Dynamics NASSCO — and lots more of various sizes.

Legal Community to Honor Local Attorneys at SDBJ Event

The Business of Law

You and the rest of the legal community have nominated 57 in-house lawyers for special recognition. It’s impressive that San Diego has so many exceptional corporate counselors, and you’re invited to get to know them at a special San Diego Business Journal event next month.

Gordon & Rees Hosts Students and Families at the Monarch School

The Business of Law

About 20 Gordon & Rees associates hosted “Family Night” at the Monarch School, a school dedicated to serving K-12 students impacted by homelessness, earlier this month. The lawyers and their families delivered, set up and served dinner at the school, which is a few blocks from the law firm’s downtown office. About 150 students and their parents attended.

Group Gives Thanks, Praise to Attorneys for Pro Bono Work

The Business of Law Column

The San Diego Volunteer Lawyers Program is putting on its annual Justice for All Celebration Sept. 19. It’s a fun event, and you should be there.

Higgs Fletcher Partner Receives Prestigious Award for Principles

The Business of Law

Susan Hack, partner at Higgs Fletcher & Mack LLP, was presented with the prestigious Daniel T. Broderick III Award at the 29th Annual Red Boudreau Trial Lawyers’ Celebration last Friday. The award is given to a lawyer in private practice with a substantial body of civil litigation experience, who epitomizes the highest principles of civility, integrity and professionalism. Hack joined Higgs in 1989 and became a partner in 1996.

Five Allen Matkins Law Partners Leave To Start New Firm

The Business of Law

Five Allen Matkins partners are leaving the San Diego office to establish their own firm, in The Business of Law column by Randy Frisch

Report Finds Funding Cuts Are Taking a Toll on Justice System

The Business of Law

The San Diego County Bar Association has released a report on the State of the Judiciary in San Diego County, which shows the first ever snapshot of the current state of San Diego’s courts and urges the Legislature to reinvest in the judicial branch. The California courts budget has been cut a lot more than other agencies. (It only hurts lawyers, right?) The budget cuts have led to court closures, staff layoffs and furloughs, and case backlogs, adversely impacting the ability for individuals and businesses to resolve their legal disputes in a timely manner, which hurts us all.

Higgs’ Attorneys Do Good Work On Stage and in the Community

The Business of Law

John Morrell is a terrific attorney, and has done a great job of managing Higgs Fletcher & Mack to be one of San Diego’s largest locally focused law firms. He’s also pretty good on his feet. Earlier this month at Rotary Club 33’s Annual Heilbron Awards, the mistress of ceremonies was introducing Morrell and his firm as the sponsors. “John, of course, is from McKenna Long Aldridge.” The crowd stirred, and the host corrected the mistake. Morrell got to the podium and said, “Actually, I’m from Luce Forward.” The crowd loved it.

Opponent Hopes to Unseat Incumbent Dumanis in DA’s Race

The Business of Law

Robert Brewer is running for district attorney against the current officeholder Bonnie Dumanis. The Jones Day partner told a crowd at Cheryl Kendrick’s beautiful home in Point Loma, that he wants to improve the morale of the DA’s office and regain the respect local law enforcement organizations once had for the office.

This ‘Fashionable Cause’ Can Help Change People’s Lives

The Business of Law Column

Pettit Kohn Ingrassia & Lutz, the San Diego Paralegal Association, and the Filipino American Lawyers of San Diego are working together again this year on the Women and Men’s Suit Drive.

Procopio Partner, Tax Attorney for Past 37 Years Retires

The Business of Law Column

If you’ve been a tax attorney for 40 years, and decide to take down the shingle, you deserve to be the lead item in a law column. Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP said goodbye to George L. Damoose recently.

Latham & Watkins Assists as Ambrx Pursues Cancer Research

The Business of Law Column

This is a pretty cool assignment, and it demonstrates that lawyers help society and help save lives. Latham & Watkins recently announced it is advising Ambrx Inc., in its collaboration with Japan’s Astellas Pharma Inc.

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Legal Community’s Stand-Ups Put Their Comedy to Work for a Cause

The Business of Law Column

Ken Turek won the annual Lawyers Are Funny (LAF-Off) competition a couple of weeks ago. Turek, of the firm Endeman, Lincoln, Turek & Heater LLP, deserved to win. He acknowledged John Gomez should have won last year’s competition, and then cleverly ripped Gomez + Iagmin and its advertising. It was good fun, for a good cause. LAF-Off is the primary fundraising event for the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program, a nonprofit organization that provides free civil legal services to thousands of disadvantaged clients every year.

Survey Reports Litigation Spend, Number of In-House Lawyers Up

Fifty-three percent of companies in the United States reported spending $1 million or more on litigation in 2012, the same as the prior year. Attorneys and clients can find good news in that. Ten percent fewer companies reported using alternative fee arrangements, though, more than half the companies used them.

LAF-Off Lets Lawyers Deliver Their Best Punch Lines

Lawyers must hide their sense of humor. It’s part of the job, and arguably the most important component of getting a decent hourly rate. But not on the evening of March 21. San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program Inc. (SDVLP), a nonprofit organization that provides free civil legal services to thousands of disadvantaged clients every year, will hold its seventh annual LAF-Off (Lawyers Are Funny) event on that night at the House of Blues in downtown San Diego.

Witkin Award Puts Spotlight On Distinguished Leaders

The Business of Law Column

The San Diego County Law Library Justice Foundation will once again hold the Bernard E. Witkin, Esq. Award ceremony March 7 at the Admiral Kidd Catering and Conference Center. The annual awards recognize distinguished service by members of the San Diego legal community.

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Law School Dedication Celebrates Achievements

LEGAL: Campus Raises the Bar On Facilities With Its LEED Gold

Thomas Jefferson School of Law’s new home captures the spirit and determination of its namesake and the environmental sensitivity of our third president. And that was no accident.

Efforts at Empowerment Earn a Place in Women’s Hall of Fame

Betty Evans Boone will be inducted into the San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame on March 16. Boone is being recognized in the category of “Empowerer of Women and Girls” for her trailblazing efforts in her own legal career, and her work in the community on behalf of Lawyers Club, which works to advance the status of women in law and society.

Ogletree Deakins Arrives With Local Litigator at Helm

Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. is opening a San Diego office.

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Employment Law in 2013

EMPLOYMENT: Brinker, Bullying, Commission Sales Are Among Changes

California has a tradition of dumping a number of new employment laws on employers to begin each year.

Fixed Fee Arrangements a Popular Option for Some Local Law Firms

TRANSACTIONS: Billing Strategy Brings Profitability In Line With Accountability

Law firms and legal organizations around the country are arguing whether the traditional “billable hour” can serve as both a measure of the firm’s productivity and profitability at the same time.

Defective Breath Device Casts Shadow of Doubt Over DUI Arrests

This column is published on New Year’s Eve, so it is at least arguable this item should appear today. San Diego attorney Eric Ganci, a partner at Galente Ganci, APC, whose practice is exclusively Driving Under Influence defense work, discovered during the course of his work that a breath device used by California Highway Patrol and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department did not work properly, specifically the Intox EC/IR, manufactured by Intoximeters Inc.

Students Draw Life Lessons From Law Firm’s ‘Figaro’ Excursion

You already know that SullivanHill Lewin Rez & Engel has partnered with Washington Elementary School to provide fourth- and fifth-graders an inside view of the legal profession.

Procopio’s Hires Bring More Talent to Its Team

Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP is the largest local law firm and growing. Six attorneys joined its San Diego and Del Mar Heights offices.

Hearty Defense Wins One for Team San Diego

A big win for a local Fish & Richardson team. San Diego-based Volcano Corp. was represented by Fish in a patent trial regarding medical device technology used to diagnose heart problems.

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Working Within the Law

LAW: Social Media and New Rulings Complicate Employee Policies, Practices

Salaries and wages are usually one of, if not the, largest expense lines on a company’s income statement.

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