Creative Representation | Expert Litigation

Lawyers: Put down the electronic legal menu for just a moment – by Robert H. Bunzel

San Francisco lawyer's lawyer Bill Edlund (Pillsbury Madison & Sutro 1956-1999 and Bartko Zankel Bunzel & Miller 1999-2016) died on Christmas Eve two years ago. Bill's daughter Cami gave our firm his legal library collected over 60+ years. The collection contains first-edition and hardbound biographies and histories of great trials, trial lawyers, judges and courts from England and the United States.

How Not to Regret Your Direct: Exploring the Human Story – by Benjamin K. Riley

Ben Riley’s article on How Not To Regret Your Direct: Exploring The Human Story, originally published in the ABA Litigation Magazine in 2015, was recently selected as a Best of ABA Sections: Litigation. An abridged version of the article was published in GPSOLO, Volume 35, No. 5, at 70-71 (September/October 2018).

Local Idea: National Impact – by Stephen C. Steinberg

It began as a local issue. In the process of overhauling the Contra Costa County Bar Association website in 2009-10, I realized how important our Lawyer Referral Service is to members of the public and to the CCCBA. It was crucial to highlight our program and make it more accessible through the website. Once the new website was launched, I took on the role of vice-chair of the CCCBA’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service Committee, which establishes the rules and procedures of the Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) and oversees it.

ABA LRIS Standing Committee Launches National Data Survey of Programs – by Stephen C. Steinberg

This year, one of the top initiatives for the ABA Standing Committee on Lawyer Referral and Information Service ("LRIS") is to launch the first ever LRIS Annual Census. We have received responses from over 120 of the approximately 240 LRIS programs in the U.S. and Canada.

From the Chair . . . – by Stephen C. Steinberg

To the members of the lawyer referral and information service (LRIS) community across the country, I want to say that it is a great honor and a privilege to serve as the Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on LRIS for the coming year.

Trying a Trade Secret Case: A Road Map – by Benjamin K. Riley

Trade secret trials challenge and engage all of a trial lawyer’s essential skills and training. Dealing with state-of-the-art technology–intricate circuit designs, sophisticated manufacturing processes, or highly complex formulas–is often a huge challenge, but there are other pitfalls for the unaware lawyer. Special care must be given in these cases to issues of disclosure, discovery, the preparation of witnesses, the handling of experts and juries, and the use of graphics and technology in the courtroom. With legal and other barriers being erected in patent litigation and with the recent passage of the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, trade secret cases have moved to the forefront of technology litigation. Trade secrets litigators must understand the unique and critical strategies, requirements, and hazards presented by the trial of a technical trade secret case.

Despite Successes in Fending Off Claims Based on Actual Authority, Franchisors Still Face Difficulties in Defending Claims Based on Ostensible Authority – by Charles G. Miller

The recent settlement last year of a class action against McDonald’s Corp. for $3.75 million based on claims that McDonald’s Corp. was liable for Labor Code violations of its franchisee brings home the dilemma that many franchise companies are facing. The settlement is the culmination of a disturbing trend in franchise vicarious liability cases that has emerged in the past several years, where the courts have blindly accepted ostensible authority arguments to defeat what should have been summary judgment motions in the franchisor’s favor on the issue of ostensible authority. This article briefly discusses the legal landscape and offers possible drafting solutions to the business lawyer.

Supreme Court’s TC Heartland Decision Will Change Geography of Patent Litigation – by W. Paul Schuck

The Supreme Court has overruled decades-old Federal Circuit precedent regarding proper venue for patent infringement cases in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods Group Brands.

Dine & Dash Arbitration Style: What Happens When One Side Doesn’t Pay the Arbitrator – by co-author Charles G. Miller

Ever since Congress enacted the Federal Arbitration Act, it has been the national policy of the United States to favor arbitration. Southland Corp. v. Keating, 465 U.S. 1, 10 (1984). Where an agreement contains an arbitration clause, there is little a party can do to resist or avoid arbitration; however, this strong presumption of arbitration may have a small kink that is allowing parties to end up in court, despite the presence of a valid arbitration clause. The Ninth Circuit's recent decision in Tillman v. Tillman, 825 F.3d 1069 (9th Cir. 2016), has caused some to question if there is a new way for parties to avoid the power of an arbitration clause: simply refuse to pay a party's share of the arbitrator's fees.

Catch the Conscience! – Scripting a Winning Opening Statement – by Benjamin K. Riley

The opening statement is your first and perhaps best opportunity to convince the jury that your client should win. The jurors know very little about the case, are anxious to get started, and give you their full attention. Their impression of you will probably be set by the time you finish your opening. Opening is the time to establish the jurors’ expectations, start to develop a bond with them, and whet their appetite for your case.