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					Contra Costa Lawyer
Volume 23, Number 10 • November/December 2010
                                                The official publication of the
                                                                                  B A R   A S S O C I A T I O N

                                                                                                  IN THIS ISSUE:

                                                                                      GALA RECEPTION
                                                                                                DÉJÀ VU -
                                                                                              A STORY BY
                                                                                      JUSTICE MARCHIANO
                                                                                      THE BENEFITS OF
                                                                                  GOOGLE ADVERTISING
                                                                 SELF-STUDY MCLE: DEVELOPING A
                                                                              SOCIAL NETWORKING POLICY

                                                                                                 BAR SOAP -
                                                                                                A NEW COLUMN
                                                                                            BY MATT GUICHARD
                                                                                             We represent plaintiffs in serious injury and death cases
                                                                                             due to vehicular accidents, product failures, medical mal-
                                                                                             practice, and other forms of negligence and misconduct.

                                                                                             For over 30 years, we have been committed to serving
                                                                                             our clients’ unique needs.

                                                                                             All four partners have been named Northern California
                                                                                             Super Lawyers, and the firm has maintained Martindale-
                                                                                             Hubbell’s superior AV rating for 20 years. Both Casper and
                                                                                             Schwartz are certified civil trial specialists with the Nation-
                                                                                             al Board of Trial Advocacy, and Casper and Cook are past
                                                                                             presidents of the Contra Costa County Bar Association.
  Standing: Larry E. Cook, Michael D. Meadows, Thomas Seaton, Andrew C. Schwartz;
  Seated: Nick Casper , Stan Casper
                                                                                             It’s easy to see why the bulk of our cases come from
                                                                                             other attorneys’ referrals.

                                                 We value our professional referral sources

                          2121 N. California Blvd., Suite 1020 | Walnut Creek, CA 94596
                        Phone: (925) 947-1147 | Fax: (925) 947-1131 |

Contra Costa Lawyer - Display Ad - 1/2 page horizontal: 7 3/16 x 4 11/16

Contra Costa Lawyer - Display Ad - 1/2 page vertical: 4 11/16 x 7
                                                         AND                                                MEDIATION CENTER

                                                                              “A unique and effective style -
      Specializing in accountings for:
                                                                                         a great mediator”
              Probates                                                                     Candice Stoddard
            Guardianships                                                                                                           Ron Mullin

              Barbara Hasey                                                            Willows Office Park p 1355 Willow Way, Suite 110
                                                                                                  Concord, California 94520
    1128 Daniel Lane n Concord, CA 94518
                                                                                    Telephone (925) 798-3413 p Facsimile (925) 798-3118
                 925.689.1943                                                                    Email

 Standing: Larry E. Cook, Michael D. Meadows, Thomas Seaton, Andrew C. Schwartz; Seated: Nick Casper , Stan Casper
                             Contra Costa Lawyer
                                 Volume 23, Number 9 • October 2010

                                                                           B A R   A S S O C I A T I O N

              Justice James Marchiano

             Ken Matejka

              Randy Wilson

  4    INSIDE
          Nicole Mills

          Ron Mullin


         Nevin, Ramos & Steele




 22    BAR SOAP
         Matt Guichard


          Gary Lepper

          Carl M. Langford


                                                           Cover Image: Judge Norm Spellberg (ret.) at the Gala
                                                           Reception held in his honor and in support of the Elder
                                                           Law Center on November 4, 2010

              2010 BOARD of DIRECTORS                                                                                                    by Nicole Mills
                  Ron Mullin President                                                                                   Co-Editor, Contra Costa Lawyer
             Kathy Schofield President-Elect
                  Audrey Gee Secretary

                  Jay Chafetz Treasurer
                  Larry Cook Ex Officio                                                ig Changes Are Coming To The Contra Costa Lawyer!
      Richard Alexander         Kristen Thall Peters
      Amanda Bevins             Alan Ramos                                           We here at the Lawyer are excited to tell you that next year you will see a
      Christopher Bowen         Ron Rives                                            brand new Contra Costa Lawyer Magazine. We have changes big and small
      Oliver Bray               Dana Santos                                          coming- some you have already seen, some will get a sneak peak in this issue
      Mike Brewer               Stephen Steinberg                          and some will begin rolling out in January.
      Leigh Johnson             Candice Stoddard
                                                                           The Lawyer is entering the digital age. Although we have long had a .pdf version of the
       Lisa Reep: 925.288.2555 •                          magazine online, it was not really user friendly. That is going to change. An entirely new
     CCCBA main office: 925.686.6900 •                       online format will allow us to provide you with a fully searchable, easy to use online maga-
      Jennifer Comages                      Kerstin Firmin                 zine. We will start publishing this online companion to the Contra Costa Lawyer every
      Membership Coordinator                Communications Coordinator     month beginning in February 2011.
      Emily Day                             Barbara Tillson
      Systems Administrator and             LRIS Coordinator               Every other month (i.e., January, March, May, July, September, November) we will also
      Fee Arbitration Coordinator
                                            Michele Vasta                  publish a new and improved hard copy version. This change allows us to provide you
      Manny Gutierrez                       Section Liaison/Education
      Administrative Assistant                                             with a higher quality print magazine with more color, more photos and a wider range of
                                            & Programs Coordinator
      and Legal Interviewer                                                content.
                CONTRA COSTA LAWYER                                        The new online/hard copy format has some distinct advantages. First, it is consistent with
      EDITOR                               EDITORIAL BOARD                 the Contra Costa County Bar Association’s mission to “Be Green.” In one move, we have
      Candice Stoddard                     Mark Ericsson
      925.942.5100                         925.930.6000                    cut our paper consumption in half, as well as all of the energy used in producing and
      CO-EDITOR                            Matthew P. Guichard             sending out the magazine. Second, the new online format provides certain advantages
      Nicole Mills                         925.459.8440
                                                                           to those who write for the magazine and those who choose to advertise in the magazine.
      925.351.3171                         Patricia Kelly
                                           925.258.9300                    As marketing efforts move online, our authors and advertisers can take advantage of the
      Hon. Mary Ann O'Malley               Craig Nevin                     ease with which online content can be linked and shared, generating “hits” on Google
      925.646.4001                         925.930.6016
                                                                           and improving search engine visibility (for more tips on online marketing, check out Ken
                                           David Pearson
                                           925.287.0051                    Matejka’s article, “Marketing Your Practice Through Google”). Third, the online format
      Candice Stoddard
      925.942.5100                         Erika Portillo                  provides us with more publishing flexibility.
      COURT LIAISON                                                        This means that we need your articles! The Lawyer is making a concerted effort to pro-
                                           Andy Ross
      Kiri Torre                           925.296.6000
      925.957.5607                                                         vide ALL of the Bar Association members with the opportunity to publish their articles! If
                                           Dana Santos
      PRINTING                             925.901.0185                    you think of a timely, interesting article- write it and send it in! If you need guidelines, we
      Steven's Printing                    Kathy Schofield                 have them posted on the Bar Association website. We want to hear from you and we are
      925.681.1774                         925.253.7890
                                                                           hoping that the new online format allows us to print articles that are timely, interesting
                                           Audrey Smith
      Moya Fotografx                       925.969.3561                    and that come from a large variety of writers, so don’t be shy!
      510.847.8523                         Stephen C. Steinberg
                                           925.385.0644                    Another change you will notice is columns. We are working hard to keep the magazine
                                           Marlene Weinstein               interesting and informative for everyone. One new column, that we are previewing in this
                                                                           issue, is Bar Soap. Part “movers and shakers”, part “gossip column”, this is where you will
                                                                           see the goings on of the Contra Costa County Bar. If you have news you want to share,
        The Contra Costa Lawyer (ISSN 1063-4444) is published 10 times
    a year by the Contra Costa County Bar Association (CCCBA),             this is the place to do it- email us and let us know!
    704 Main Street, Martinez, CA 94553. Annual subscription of
    $25 is included in the membership dues. Second-class postage           You might be noticing by now that we are asking for your participation, be it via articles,
    paid at Martinez, CA. POSTMASTER: send address change to               news tidbits, or what have you. That is because the Contra Costa Lawyer is YOUR maga-
    the Contra Costa Lawyer, 704 Main Street, Martinez, CA 94553.
        The Lawyer welcomes and encourages articles and letters
                                                                           zine. It is about YOU and it is for YOU. To make it the best it can be, we need YOU to
    from readers. Please send them to: Kerstin Firmin, CCCBA, 704          be a part of it too.
    Main Street, Martinez, CA 94553; or email to:
        The CCCBA reserves the right to edit articles and letters          On a more personal note, I want to formally introduce myself as the incoming Editor of
    sent in for publication. All editorial material, including editorial   the Lawyer for next year, and extend my sincerest thanks and appreciation to Candice
    comment, appearing herein represents the views of the respec-
    tive authors and does not necessarily carry the endorsement of         Stoddard, who has been at the helm of this wonderful magazine for the last three years.
    the CCCBA or the Board of Directors. Likewise, the publication         Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication.
    of any advertisement is not to be construed as an endorsement
    of the product or service offered unless it is specifically stated     I hope you enjoy the new changes next year! u
    in the ad that there is such approval or endorsement.

4                                                                                                                                             November/ December 2010
Thank you to all CCCBA members who participated in our membership survey this fall. More than 200 of you participated and
helped shape key decisions for CCCBA communications and publications, including the Contra Costa Lawyer magazine. What fol-
lows is a brief summary of survey insights into our membership, its opinions and makeup. The full membership survey results can
be found on our website, at

THE TOP THREE CCCBA BENEFITS,                                        THE TOP THREE MEMBERSHIP
RANKED BY IMPORTANCE:                                                SERVICES AND FEATURES:
1     Fosters a positive reputation for the profession.               1    Mandatory Continuing Legal Education
2     Provides me with information on my area of practice,            2    Section service/Membership
      keeping me current.
                                                                      3    Contra Costa Lawyer magazine
3     Develops positive relationships between the bench
      and bar.

•	The preferred methods of communication are email and the Contra Costa Lawyer.
•	74% of respondents indicated they frequently read the print version of the Contra Costa Lawyer magazine, while only 11%
  frequently read the online version. 50% never read the online version.
•	59% of respondents are aware of the Weekly Broadcast “CCCBA Events, Announcements and News”. Of those that are aware,
  89% feel the frequency is just right and 93% feel the amount of content is just right, indicating a high level of satisfaction.


        GENDER                                     FIRM SIZE                                     PRACTICE


     60% male                                      Solo practice     55%                  82% of respondents are in private
     40% female                                    2-5 attorneys     24%                  practice. The top five practice areas are:
                                                   6-10 attorneys    9%                       Litigation (35%)
                                                   11-15 attorneys   1%                       Business law and corporate law (24%)
                                                   16-20 attorneys   1%                       Family law (23%)
                                                   20+ attorneys     11%                      Estate planning, probate & trusts (21%)
                                                                                              Real estate:
                                                                                              commercial & development (18%);
                                                                                              residential and landlord -tenant (16%)

Congratulations, Kirsten Barranti of the Barranti Law Group!
Thank you for participating in our survey - as a token of our appreciation, you will receive your
choice of the following prices: CCCBA basic membership for 2011 or $50 cash!

Contra Costa Lawyer                                                                                                                 5
president’s message

                                             monitored our revenues and expendi-           new CCCBA website, the transition
                                             tures.                                        from strictly print oriented media for
              by Ron Mullin                     In May it became clear that John F.        Contra Costa Lawyer magazine to digital
                                             Kennedy University's Elder Law Clinic         format and the hiring of a new commu-
                                             would be closing as of June 30th. The         nications coordinator, Kerstin Firmin.
                                             Clinic provided legal assistance to seniors   Kerstin replaced Nancy Young with
It's hard to believe that the Holidays are
                                             who have been victimized by financial         whom CCCBA contracted for many
almost upon us. With the end of this
                                             abuse. The program was very successful,       years. Besides saving money, the tran-
year fast approaching, thoughts turn to
                                             perhaps the victim of its own success. It     sition brought CCCBA into the digital
the reflection of events and milestones
                                             was predicted that demand for services        age with a goal of serving you better by
of the past year while looking forward
                                             would double over the next few years.         providing consistently better communi-
to the opportunities that the new year
                                                In assessing the situation, I felt that    cations from the Association.
holds. When I took over the reins of
                                             this well used community resource could          Additionally, CCCBA revised and
the Bar Association last January, I knew
                                             not be allowed to simply fade into obliv-     updated its bylaws to comply with new
that this year was going to be a chal-
                                             ion. I rallied the stakeholders and other     laws, and reviewed and updated policies
lenge. Our economy was at the bottom
                                             interested parties to look at alternatives.   and procedures that guide all of the op-
of an historic and depressing recession.
                                             CCCBA Board member Alan Ramos                 erations of the Association. As a result
Law firms were contracting, clients were
                                             provided the guidance and assistance to       of our budget revision and cost cutting
disappearing and priorities in consumer
                                             help put together a business plan for a       measures, we will end this year with
spending did not include elective spend-
                                             new program that would be called the          about $20,000 favorable to the revised
ing on legal services.
                                             Elder Law Center, which was to be oper-       budget.
   Taking stock of our position at that
                                             ated by the non-profit legal services cor-       It has been an honor to serve as Presi-
time, the Board of Directors was cau-
                                             poration, The Law Center. The law firm        dent of CCCBA in 2010, and a real plea-
tiously optimistic that the 15% decline
                                             of Ramos, Nevin and Steele in Walnut          sure to work with the members of the
in revenues predicted by the American
                                             Creek graciously offered to host the pro-     Board, the Bench, our Sections and our
Bar Association did not seem to be hold-
                                             gram in their offices.                        wonderful staff. None of this would be
ing true for the CCCBA. It wasn't until
                                                The CCCBA Board authorized the             possible without the tireless efforts of
March that we began to notice that our
                                             expenditure of $30,000 as seed money          Lisa Reep, our nationally renowned Ex-
membership numbers were falling off,
                                             from the Bar Fund, which is the vehicle       ecutive Director.
but more importantly, that there was a
                                             for charitable contributions from our            I wish all of the best to you and yours
decline in the amount of revenue from
                                             legal community to be used exclusively        in the coming year. CCCBA is a great
our Lawyer Referral and Information
                                             for support of nonprofit legal services.      organization and well serves the interests
Service (LRIS). Fees from the LRIS ac-
                                             The Association also sponsored a Gala         of our legal community and the public
count for about 25% of our annual rev-
                                             Reception honoring retired Judge Nor-         on your behalf. u
                                             man Spellberg who is well known and
   We acted quickly to the threat of ex-
                                             loved for his support of The Law Center       — Ron Mullin, a lawyer in this county for over
penses outpacing revenues. One staff
                                             and the support of programs focusing          30 years, dedicates his practice to estate planning,
position in the CCCBA office was elimi-
                                             on pro bono legal assistance to those in      wills and trusts, conservatorships/guardianships,
nated and our Treasurer, Jay Chafetz,
                                             need. The event was held on November          business and commercial law, real property, and
worked with staff to review and revise
                                             4th and was a rousing success, raising        business formation. He also acts as mediator and
our budget to respond to the declining
                                             $55,000 towards the new ELC program.          arbitrator for disputed cases.
revenues. Shortly thereafter, the Board
                                                This year also saw the roll out of the
adopted a revised budget and carefully

6                                                                                                              November/ December 2010
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                                 on employment and labor law.
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         Ruth Koller Burke                                                                         Tracey McDonald, Paralegal
         *Certified Specialist, Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law, The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization

Contra Costa Lawyer                                                                                                                   7
                                                            By Justice James marchiano

Loss of hope plunges the possibilities of    His memory was never the same and he         she understood and nervously reached
tomorrow into a mirage. On a spring          responded inappropriately to stressful       into a drawer where marked, explosive
day in 2008, Judge Raymond Carlton,          situations. He applied for SSI payments,     dye money was kept in case of a bank
now close to retirement, thought about       but never followed through on finalizing     robbery. She put the money in the bag,
the absence of hope as he presided over      his application. Jobs were scarce for him.   including a dye pack. Campo grabbed
the jury trial of People v. Sonny Campo,     His sister, local churches, and non prof-    the bag and raced out. Ms. Redding hit
CR09236, in Department 47 of the Bray        its helped him to survive. Hope did not      the alarm button and the teller next to
Building in Martinez — Sonny Anthony         spring eternal for Sonny Campo.              her called 911. Concord Police Officer
Campo, the déjà vu defendant whom the           Sonny’s legal troubles involving Judge    Jack Strout, who happened to be on foot
jurist remembered. Sonny Campo had           Carlton first began on a nondescript         patrol across the street in Todos Santos
been convicted of robbery from a Wells       Wednesday morning in June of 1999.           City Park, received a dispatch call about
Fargo Bank in 2000. Because of a prior       Sonny found himself out of money, food,      the robbery and a description of the per-
strike offense, he was sentenced to eight    and hope. Wearing a black overcoat on        petrator. He saw black-coated Campo
years in state prison where he was one of    a hot day, he shuffled into the Concord      a block away walking hurriedly toward
158,000 prisoners within the California      Wells Fargo Bank on Willow Pass Road         Clayton Road. Strout easily caught up
Department of Corrections. Sonny was         by Todos Santos Plaza. He waited until       with Campo, stopped him, and arrested
42 years old then, and had never held a      no other customers were in the bank,         him as the money bag billowed a small
steady job since coming out of foster care   hurried to teller Teresa Redding, and        red cloud from the chemical reaction of
Loss of hope plunges the possibilities of tomorrow into a mirage.                            Public defender Joyce Sawyer nego-
                                                                                          tiated a plea bargain with the district
at age 18 without a GED. He barely re-       shoved a crumpled note and a shopping        attorney, who was initially seeking a
membered the life-changing altercation       bag onto the counter. The note said:         12-year sentence due to Campo’s record
years ago outside of the College Lane        “Give me mony (sic), I have a bom (sic)      of past failed probations and a burglary
Bar in Martinez when a ponytailed, tat-      in my poket (sic). The plan was simple       strike when he was caught in a garage
tooed dude with whom he had been jaw-        - grab the money, race three blocks to       stealing a bicycle. Judge Carlton accept-
ing, crushed his head with a glass beer      Clayton Road, and escape on BART             ed the plea and sentenced Sonny Campo
bottle. The neurosurgeon at Merrithew        in any direction. Ms. Redding said she       to eight years in state prison on Decem-
County Hospital said the blow fractured      could not read the scribbling and asked      ber 23, 2000.
a portion of his skull, damaged the tem-     a perspiring Campo what he wanted.              Campo spent the next seven Christ-
poral lobe and affected his amygdala.        When he mumbled “money, bomb,”               mases in three different state prisons,

8                                                                                                         November/ December 2010
finally residing at Salinas Valley State        So now Judge Carlton listened at-          brain injury.
Prison, one of 4500 inmates in a facility    tentively in Department 47 as the evi-           Sawyer delivered an eloquent closing
built to house 2200. Each day was the        dence unfolded before the jury. Public        argument as she described a desperate,
twin of yesterday: inmate Campo rising       defender Joyce Sawyer again was as-           hopeless man, conditioned to life in
at 6:15am, breakfast from 6:45 to 7:30,      signed to represent Sonny Compo. She          prison, who did not intend to perma-
work detail, lunch, yard exercise, return    was a veteran of courtroom wars where         nently deprive Wells Fargo of its money.
to work, dinner, some TV and lights out      she capably resisted the onslaughts of        Robbery required the specific intent to
at 10:00pm. Campo became accustomed          prosecutors. Her client could not bring       permanently deprive the owner of prop-
to the pungent smells and adjusted to        himself to plea bargain when the case         erty. But Campo’s intent was to stage
the dense living and cacophonous noises      came to trial even though he was fac-         a robbery, temporarily take the money
emanating from the cellblock. Few in         ing a three-strikes, twenty-five years to     and get caught; the money would be re-
this penal warehouse seemed concerned
about his rehabilitation. He sporadically     “Give me mony (sic), I have a bom (sic) in my poket (sic)”.
attended some self improvement pro-
grams and worked in the laundry room,        life sentence. Drawing on twenty-eight        turned and he would return to prison.
doing the same assignment every day.         years of defending accused persons, Ms.          It was all a déjà vu charade. Judge
He folded bed sheets and neatly loaded       Sawyer studied the contradictions in          Carlton listened and thought this Kaf-
them onto a cart, hundreds every day,        Campo’s life and crafted a unique de-         kaesque character had a win-win situa-
stacked like choreographed shrouds al-       fense.                                        tion. If the jury bought the argument,
ways lying in the same perfect position.        Prosecution witnesses explained in         Sonny Campo would be found not
By the time of his parole two days af-       Department 47 how Sonny Campo re-             guilty of robbery. If not, he would realize
ter Christmas in 2007, Sonny Campo’s         turned to the same Wells Fargo Bank           his hope to return to prison life. As he
circadian rhythms were so programmed         in Concord, coincidentally presenting a       sent the jury out to do justice in their de-
that he awoke daily at 6:14am — just         note to the same teller, Teresa Redding,      liberations, the judge reflected on hope
before the wake-up alarm — and he            who gave him a dye-packed bundle of           revived and wondered about Sonny’s to-
navigated through the day as if on au-       $20’s. He walked out, headed to the           morrow: Would Sonny Campo be found
tomatic pilot. At exactly the same time      BART station where, without any resis-        guilty of robbery or guilty of an inability
each day he took his meals and fell asleep   tance, he was apprehended by Concord          to survive on the streets of Contra Costa
by 10:15 each night. His inner clock         police officers. Like a battlefield tacti-    County? u
was as precise as a Swiss timepiece. As      cian who allows the enemy to come to
he withdrew into the unvaried routine        her, Sawyer allowed the facts to develop      This is the fourth installment of Justice James
in his prison world, he developed a sense    with little cross-examination except to       Marchiano's "Stories from the A.F. Bay Courts
of relief in not having to make decisions    accentuate the similarities between the       Building". To read the first three stories, please
about his daily life since he did not have   two crimes and the markedly similar in-       visit our website, and click on
to decide what to do next, where to eat,     eptitude.                                     Contra Costa Lawyer, Article of the Week.
what to eat, or where he would work.            In defense, she called psychologist
Repetition was its own reward. Campo         Dr. Jonas Bergstrom, an expert on the
had lost his existential identity.           “institutionalization syndrome.” In a
   Once on the outside in 2008 —             compelling, understandable manner,
homeless and jobless — he could not          Dr. Bergstrom explained that Sonny
deal with the changes of the new mil-        Campo had developed a dependence on               —     WANTED —
lennium and became one of the faceless       life in an institutional setting, resulting
state unemployment statistics. His sister    in depersonalization so that he was un-                             think
was unable to provide him with help.         able to cope with the demands of every-                    Matt Toth
Like a stray with no permanent place to      day living. In this spirit, he committed                        as in
live, he moved from homeless shelter to      the crime, not with a plan to keep the                   Pedder, Hesseltine,
                                                                                                      Walker & Toth, LLP
homeless shelter. After three months of      bank’s money, but with the hope of get-            oldest partnership in Contra Costa County
hopeless living, barely surviving on food    ting caught so that he might return to                            (since 1955)
stamps and handouts from church food         prison life. Dr. Bergstrom also explained         p 925.283-6816 • f 925.283-3683
pantries, he looked back at his prison       the results of a battery of psychological                                  .O.
                                                                                                 3445 Golden Gate Way, P Box 479
life with nostalgia and made plans for       tests that showed a profoundly impaired                  Lafayette, CA 94549-0479
                                                                                                      AV Martindale-Hubbell
tomorrow.                                    personality caused in part by Campo’s

Contra Costa Lawyer                                                                                                                         9

                                                             By Ken mateJKa

It is widely known that Google's market share for online searches in the United States is dominant - about 70% to
80% depending on the information source.What isn't as widely known is that for law-related searches, Google's
market share is overwhelming - over 90% by some estimates. Even when the ultimate referral source is a directory,
a Bar Association, or some other website, chances are that Google was the point of origin for the search. Conse-
quently, advertising with Google on the first page of the search results is very important for local service providers,
including lawyers.
If you are thinking about marketing your law practice on Google, but are not sure whether you should take the
plunge, here are ten reasons why Google advertising can be an excellent and inexpensive source for leads for your
law practice.

1 RELEVANT - React immediately to events in the                          limited amount of flexibility. Having cash flow issues, too busy
news, changes in the law, or even your own personal whims.               or going on vacation? Pause your advertising until you’re ready
Unlike more traditional forms of marketing like the Yellow               to resume. Not enough work? Spend more this week to get a
Pages, you do not have to worry about planning your ad copy              few extra inquiries.
months in advance.
                                                                          4 REAL-TIME FEEDBACK - Get real feedback
 2 TARGETED - Reach people outside of your geograph-                     about how well your Web site converts visitors into clients.
ic area - people in other cities, the entire state of California or      Google allows you to track conversions and other important
even other countries. This is especially helpful if you practice an      data about your Web site visitors. If your data is telling you
esoteric area of law, or if you are looking for plaintiffs for a class   that a page on your site is a top exit page (i.e., visitors often
action lawsuit. If you are a personal injury lawyer, you may find        leave your site from that page), you can experiment with dif-
that injured tourists often return home before beginning their           ferent looks for that page, creating more conspicuous calls to
search for a Bay Area attorney - advertising on Google makes             action, trying different copy or stock photography.
it easier for them to find you.
                                                                          5     SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION -
 3 FIT FOR EVERY BUDGET - Pay as much or as                              Google advertising is the easiest and most effective way to en-
little as you want and adjust the timing of your advertising to          sure that your web site is visible in search engines. Even if your
your needs. No matter what your budget is, you have an un-               site ranks well for certain phrases, you cannot rank well for

10                                                                                                               November/ December 2010
the thousands of words and phrases that          for actual clicks - which means you are     there is an extremely high likelihood
are relevant to your practice areas. Also,       paying to reach visitors who are actually   that he or she is trying to fill an immedi-
for new or poorly optimized sites, search        interested in your services.                ate legal need.
engine marketing may be the only way
to ensure that people can find you on the         7 KEY WORDS - Google ad-                    8 MESSAGING - You can test
Internet.                                        vertising is highly targeted, allowing      different messages in your ads. Research
                                                 you to bid only on keywords that are        what messages are most effective in driv-
 6 PAY-PER-CLICK - You pay                       relevant to your practice. You can have     ing visitors to your Web site to make
only when someone clicks on your ad. It          10 or 10,000 keywords - as noted above,     contact with you, and use that informa-
doesn’t matter how many “impressions”            you pay only when someone clicks your       tion in your future marketing materi-
there are (that is, how many times your          ad! If someone types "Walnut Creek Di-      als, including in your website copy. By
ad is viewed). Google only charges you           vorce Lawyer" into a Google search box,     looking at the rate people are clicking on
                                                                                             your different messages, you can find out
                                                                                             whether people in your community pre-
                                                                                             fer that you are "affordable" or "friendly"
       The Law Offices of David M. Lederman                                                  or "experienced" and carry that message
                                                                                             throughout your website copy.

                                                                                              9 FLEXIBLE - Depending on
                                                                                             your practice needs and goals, you can
                                                                                             advertise only in the search engines and
                                                                                             only when someone searches for your
                                                                                             keywords, or you can extend your reach
                                                                                             to appear on mobile phones, Google
                                                                                             Maps, online and print newspapers, tele-
                                                                                             vision, and anywhere else that the search
        DAVID M. LEDERMAN                                 TOM SMITH                          engines allow you to advertise.
       Certified Family Law Specialist                   Associate Attorney
       State Bar Board of Legal Specialization                                                10 GO DIGITAL - Yellow Pages
                                                                                             are dying. Google is rapidly replacing
           Practicing exclusively in all aspects of Family Law                               the Yellow Pages as consumers' preferred
                     in Walnut Creek and Antioch                                             method of getting information about lo-
                                                                                             cal products and services.

         3432 Hillcrest Avenue • Suite 100 • Antioch, California 94531                       In conclusion, there’s no time like now
         309 Lennon Lane • Suite 102 • Walnut Creek, California 94598                        to divert some of your marketing dollars
                     Phone 925.522-8889 • Fax 925.522-8877                                   from other channels to Google advertis-
                                                                ing to reach the rapidly growing number
                                                                                             of prospects looking for legal services on
                                                                                             the Internet.u

   Youngman, Ericsson & Low, LLP                                                             - Ken Matejka is a California attorney and
   1981 North Broadway • Suite 300                                                           managing partner of LegalPPC, a San Francisco-
   Walnut Creek, CA 94596                                                                    based company dedicated to helping solo practi-
                                                                                             tioners and small law firms get more client s from
                                                                                             the Google search engine.
                              Tax Lawyers.                                          (925) 930-6000

Contra Costa Lawyer                                                                                                                         11
                                                    By randy Wilson

Let's say your firm hires a new lateral. After he starts work, it comes to light that he badmouthed his old firm on
Twitter. The legal blogs pick up the story, it goes viral and suddenly the news about your firm's exciting new star
gets replaced by gossip about a disgruntled partner who said rude things about his former employer. Or maybe you
have an attorney at your firm who maintains his own blog unmonitored by the firm and trips over conflict issues or
uses your firm's logo, branding, or messaging in potentially damaging or embarrassing ways. Does your firm have
a clear policy explaining its stand on social networking to prevent problems down the road?

                  Dangers of LinkedIn                           ous employer. However, they also found
                  Recommendations                               content on those sites that made them
                     Social networking issues arise with all    more likely to hire someone, for instance
                  law firm employees, not just attorneys.       a profile that documents the candidate's
                  These issues range from lost productivity     relevant skills and talents or that the can-
                  checking Facebook or staff soliciting oth-    didate's personality seems like a good fit.
                  ers for LinkedIn recommendations. For         But there are liability
                  example, if a paralegal solicits a Linke-     risks in doing so
                  dIn recommendation from a partner who
                  agrees to give him or her a glowing rec-         Employers need to be aware that re-
                  ommendation, this could pose problems         searching job candidates by using social
                  if the paralegal is subsequently termi-       networking websites has its legal down-
                  nated for cause and sues. Every employee      sides as well. There are local, state, and
                  should be counseled about the use of          federal laws regarding race, age, disabil-
                  LinkedIn recommendations.                     ity, religion, sexual orientation, and so on
                                                                that protect individuals against discrimi-
                  Companies and law firms                       nation. If a candidate who falls into one
                  use social networking                         these categories posted information that
                  in the hiring process                         reveals such pertinent, personal informa-
                     While there are risks associated with      tion on a social networking website,and
                  companies allowing their employees to         if that person can prove that a potential
                  use social networking, it is a useful tool,   employer viewed such information before
                  particularly during the hiring and screen-    denying them a position, it could result
                  ing process. According to a study pub-        in liability on the employer's part.
                  lished in 2009, Harris Interactive found      How should law firms
                  that 45% of all employers use social net-     cope with these issues?
                  working to screen candidates. That num-
                  ber jumps to 53% for professional servic-        First, a policy should be developed
                  es such as law firms. The top three social    with input from partners, associates, staff,
                  networking sites for employer screening       administrative managers, IT, marketing
                  are Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace.          and human resources. Those tasked with
                     Employers reported that 35% of the         writing the policy should be educated in
                  time they found content that discour-         how social networking works, appropri-
                  aged them from hiring candidates with         ate and inappropriate use and the pitfalls
                  the top three red flags being inappropri-     as well as benefits. Next, this group's role
                  ate photos, evidence of drug use or exces-    needs to be ongoing as this will be the
                  sive drinking, and badmouthing a previ-       first version of a policy that will evolve.

12                                                                                                       November/ December 2010
Social networking isn't going away, but         employees understand how to protect            kinds of privacy setting and rights they
it's also likely to look very different with-   their privacy, they can avoid many of          have by agreeing to participate in a so-
in the next couple years. Your policy will      the problems inherent in social network-       cial networking platform. The same goes
have to evolve with the technology.             ing. It is critical to understand the terms    for individuals setting up their personal
                                                and conditions of social networking sites      profiles.
Cracking down                                   which outline how the site uses their in-
doesn't work                                    formation. All users of any given social       Risks of innovation
   Law firms must first face the real-          networking site also need to understand           The rise of social networking, like all
ity that social networking has loosened         the privacy settings of these sites, includ-   innovations, follows a predictable pat-
control over communications with em-            ing whether they automatically make a          tern. There is the initial gee-whiz factor
ployees, clients, prospects and the larger      user's information public.                     and the blank stares from most people
society. If they don't and instead enforce                                                     when early adopters enthuse over the
draconian measures, they will create            Facebook & Google Buzz                         latest innovation. Then there is broader
poor morale, viral bad press, stifled cre-      privacy controversy                            adoption and the ensuing hype over how
ativity and brain drain. Once the new              This was what Facebook did by de-           Twitter is a panacea. Then a backlash
reality is accepted, law firms can craft a      fault and they were sued by the Office         develops based on exaggerated claims,
policy that encourages appropriate use of       of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.         ignorance and fear. Finally, the technol-
social networking during working hours          Out of that litigation, Facebook agreed        ogy becomes such a basic part of doing
and beyond.                                     to change its privacy settings so that us-     business that it no longer garners un-
   Employees must face a new reality,           ers can choose to make content public          usual attention. Society by then is on to
too. They put their careers at risk by          rather than having to proactively choose       the next innovation. Right now, we are
inappropriate use of social network-            to make it private. It is expected that        in the backlash stage, and law firms that
ing. That's why it's essential that the         more social networking sites will follow       are educated and act with common sense
firm's social networking policy include a       suit.                                          and thoughtfulness can develop policies
training component. Employees have a               However late last year, Facebook            that give them confidence that their use
strong incentive to use social networking       changed its privacy settings causing           of social networking is just another part
to benefit their organizations, but they        even more controversy because privacy          of business as usual. u
need to know how the appropriate use            groups say the company is making more          - Randy Wilson is an attorney, legal marketing
of social networking will benefit them.         personal information publicly available.       consultant and frequent presenter on various
                                                Class action lawsuits have been filed.         marketing and social networking topics. He also
Privacy, privacy, privacy                       Now Google's new social networking             blogs about law firm social networking, practice
   While a law firm's social networking         application, "Buzz", has been attacked         info and marketing tips at rlwilsonconsulting.
policy should address a number of func-         for similar types of issues that make
tions - legal and business risks, appro-        Gmail users' private information public.       Previously published in The Bulletin, this
priate and inappropriate behavior - the         Before companies set up "fan" pages or         article is reproduced with permission of the
critical issue is privacy. If employers and     profiles, they need to know exactly what       Alameda County Bar Association.

Earn one hour of general MCLE credit by reading the article and answering the questions of the MCLE Self-Study
test on the following page. Send your answers, along with a check for $20, to the address on the form.

                                                                           925.790-2600  •  •

Contra Costa Lawyer                                                                                                                         13
                         MCLE SELF-STUDY
                                                      SELF TEST
1    Law firms should seriously think about developing         10    Employees have an incentive to use social
     social networking policies.                                     networking to assist their employer.
             True            False                                          True             False
2    Making a LinkedIn recommendation is harmless.              11   Facebook has been very reluctant to share personal
           True            False                                     information about their members.
3    Fifty-three percent (53%) of professional firms use                    True            False
     social networking sites for screening job candidates.     12    Facebook has been subject to class action lawsuits
              True            False                                  over its privacy standards.
4    LinkedIn is the #1 site employers use for screening                      True           False
     job candidates.
             True            False                                         HOW TO RECEIVE
5    More than half the time professional services                     ONE HOUR OF MCLE CREDIT
     employers find content that discourages them from          Answer the test questions on this page, choosing the one
     hiring a candidate.                                        best answer to each question. Mail this page and your pay-
             True           False                               ment for $20 to CCCBA at the address below.

6    There are local, state and federal laws that               Name
     protect some individuals against use of social             State Bar #
     networking sites for screening purposes.                   Firm Name
             True             False                             Address
7    Social networking policies should be developed with        City, State, Zip
     assistance from the company’s HR department.               Phone                      Email
             True            False                                   Visa   MasterCard     Amex
8    If you write a social networking policy, your com-              Check (payable to CCCBA)
     pany won’t have to think about the issue anymore.
                                                                Carholder Name
             True            False
                                                                Card Number
9    Draconian social networking policies are the only
                                                                Expiration Date
     way to ensure that your workforce remains
             True           False

                                         Please mail or fax the completed form to:
                                                Attention: Michele Vasta
                                          704 Main Street, Martinez, CA 94553
                                           925.686.6900 (ph) 925.686.9867 (f)

14                                                                                                 November/ December 2010
                                             Elder Law is                                     The average survival rate is eight years after being
                                                                                              diagnosed with Alzheimer’s — some live as few as
                                                                                              three years after diagnosis, while others live as long
                                                                                              as 20. Most people with Alzheimer’s don’t die from
                                                                                              the disease itself, but from pneumonia, a urinary
                                                                                              tract infection or complications from a fall.

                2011                                                                          Until there’s a cure, people with the disease will
                                                                                              need caregiving and legal advice. According to the
   MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL DRIVE                                                                   Alzheimer’s Association, approximately one in ten
                                                                                              families has a relative with this disease. Of the
                                                                                              four million people living in the U.S. with
 Renew online - It's fast and easy!                                                           Alzheimer’s disease, the majority live at home —
                                                                                              often receiving care from family members.

 The 2011 Membership renewal drive                                                                   If the diagnosis is Alzheimer’s,
 is in progress - It's easy to renew                                                                      call elder law attorney
 online at                                                                          Michael J. Y  oung
                                                                                                 Estate Planning, Disability, Medi-Cal,
                                                                                                    Long-term Care & VA Planning
 The first 250 members to renew on-                                                            Protect your loved ones, home and independence.
 line will be entered into a drawing to                                                                                  n
 win a CCCBA Advertising Package
 of their choice (print, online, or weekly                                                                    925.256.0298
 broadcast) worth $250.00.                                                                 
                                               Planning                                              1931 San Miguel Drive, Suite 220
                                                                                                      Walnut Creek, California 94596

       MARK V. MURPHY                        Congratulations!

         Personal Injury
       Referrals Requested                        Hon.
                                                                                    Laurence             Jeffrey Krivis,
         Over 25 years experience             Chiantelli           Hodge              Kay                                             Sabraw
        representing injury victims.             (Ret.)               (Ret.)          (Ret.)                                             (Ret.)

        Practice dedicated solely to
              Personal Injury.
                                             Top 50 Neutrals, Daily Journal 2010
         Each client given prompt,
           courteous attention.
                                             EFFECTIVE NEUTRALS.                                                  AFFORDABLE RATES.
                                                 Dorene Kanoh, VP                                                      Dorene Kanoh, VP
               Antioch and
                                               50 Fremont St., Ste. 2110                                            152 North 3rd St., Ste. 603
            San Ramon Offices                  San Francisco, CA 94105                                                  San Jose, CA 95112
          925.552.9900                             tel 415.772.0900
                                                                                                                         tel 408.293.1113

Contra Costa Lawyer                                                                                                                                    15
                                                                                        We gratefully acknowledge our

Gala ReceptiOn in support of the Elder Law Center
                                                                                         GALA SpOnsOrs
                                                                                                 Archer Norris
             Celebrating Judge Norm Spellberg (ret.)

                    for his lifelong contribution                                              Casper, Meadows,
                                                                                               Schwartz & Cook
              to the Contra Costa Legal Community
                                                                                           CCCBA’s Conservatorship,
                                                              Judge Norm Spellberg
                                                                                          Guardianship, Probate & Trust
                                                              with his Royal Likeness               Section
                                                                                          CCCBA’s Real Estate Section
                                                                                           CCCBA’s Women’s Section

                                                                                                 John A. Hartog
                                                                                                 JFK University
                                                                                                Mechanics Bank
                                                                                               Miller Starr Regalia
              Gala Committee members                                                      Morison Holden Derewetzky &
                   Geoffrey Steele and                                                           Prough, LLP
                  Elva Harding with
              CCCBA President-Elect                                                                 Silver
                     Kathy Schofield
                                                                                         Carroll, Burdick & McDonough
                                                                                            CCCBA’s Litigation Section
                                                                                             Frankel & Goldware, LLP
                                                                                         Gagen, McCoy, McMahon, Koss,
                                                                                              Markowitz & Raines
                                                                                             Guichard, Teng & Portillo
                                                                                                Littler Mendelson’s
                                                                                               Walnut Creek Office
                                                                                             McNamara, Ney, Beatty,
                                                                                         Slattery, Borges & Brothers, LLP
                                                                                                  Mullin Law Firm
                                                                                          Shapiro Buchman Provine LLP
                                                                                           Timken Johnson Hwang LLP

Elisabeth Talbot, Ericka Ackeret, Natasha Chee,
Crystal Van Der Putten, Nick Casper and Matt Talbot

                                             Hon. Barry Baskin and
                                          Hon. Susanne Fenstermacher

16                                                                                                 November/ December 2010
                                                              n November 4, 2010, about
                                                              200 people came together at
                                                              Walnut Creek’s Lesher Cen-
                                                              ter to honor Judge Norman
                                                  Spellberg, to raise funds for the reconsti-
                                                  tuted Elder Law Center and to learn the
                                                  proper care and treatment for a rattle-
                                                  snake bite (more about that later).
                                                      The event, which included a silent
                                                  auction, raised approximately $55,000
                                                  for the Elder Law Center, which provides
   Bill Gagen, presenting an award to Judge       pro bono legal services to Contra Costa
   Norm Spellberg                                 County residents who are 65 and older              Robin Pearson and 2011 Presiding Judge
                                                                    and are victims of elder         Diana Becton-Smith
                                                                    financial abuse. Origi-
                                                                    nally begun by John
                                                                    F. Kennedy University
                                                                    School of Law, the Elder
                                                                    Law Center is now run
                                                                    as a collaboration be-
                                                                    tween The Law Center
                                                                    and the Contra Costa
                                                                    County Bar Association.
                                                                       Judge Norman Spell-
                                                                    berg was the guest of         Judge Norm Spellberg with his son Jeff and his
                                                                    honor in recognition of       Domestic Partner, Connie Armerding
       David Pastor, Matt Guichard and Ericka Portilla              his many years of ser-
                                                       vice to the Contra Costa le-
                                                       gal community, his service on
                                                       the Bench, and his particular
                                                       service to the elder members
                                                       of our community who are in
                                                       need of legal representation.
                                                       Judge Spellberg then regaled
                                                       those in attendance not with
                                                       words of legal wisdom, but
                                                       with a tale of adventure:
                                                       there were rattlesnakes!
Mike Markowitz, Judge Judy Craddick, Andy              Forests! Questionable attendants!                        Ed Shaffer and John Hartog
Schwartz and Lynne Yerkes                         Steep hills and raging rivers (ok, maybe
                                                               not “raging” rivers, but a
                                                               river at the bottom of a hill-
                                                               doesn’t have quite the same
                                                               pizzaz). Those who heard the
                                                               tale will never be quite the
                                                               same again. u
                                                              To see more photos of the Gala
                                                              Reception, visit the Contra Costa
                                                              County Bar Association's Facebook

                                                                                                  Oliver Bray and Larry Cook
    Bill Gagen, CCCBA Executive Director Lisa Reep and
    CCCBA President, Ron Mullin
  Contra Costa Lawyer                                                                                                                        17
                   Nevin, Ramos & Steele
Pro Bono Champions Provide a Home for the Elder Law Center

   This year’s rescue of the Elder Law Cen-     the legal community to allow the contin-       ‘Golden Years’. Unfortunately, perpetra-
ter (ELC) was quite a feat, requiring the       ued work of the ELC.                           tors – from door to door salespeople, inter-
dedication of many organizations and even          Ramos secured the support of his part-      net scammers, care providers, and, more
more individual members of the Contra           ners and the board members of TLC. Nev-        often than not, their relatives - see them
Costa legal community.                          in, Ramos & Steele assisted the effort by      as easy prey. Such crimes often go unre-
   Originally known as the Elder Law            providing a key ingredient: a home for the     ported, primarily because the victims are
Clinic, the program was established by Teri     ELC. Alan Ramos recalls, “We saw an im-        generally isolated, trusting and vulner-
Cannon during her tenure                                                                                  able. The newly incorporated
as Dean of the Law School                                                                                 ELC can provide those elderly
at John F. Kennedy Uni-                                                                                   victims with the opportunity to
versity (JFKU). Dean Can-                                                                                 obtain pro bono counsel to as-
non recognized the growing                                                                                sist them in regaining their lost
need for a non-profit legal                                                                               assets.” In our county, the need
clinic that would focus on                                                                                for these services will only con-
elder financial abuse and                                                                                 tinue to grow. The California
other elder issues. Re-                                                                                   Department of Aging projects
markably, she developed a                                                                                 that there are approximately
wide-ranging and inclusive                                                                                203,146 citizens in Contra Cos-
advisory board consisting                                                                                 ta County who are 60 years or
of governmental and non-                                                                                  older. The fastest growing seg-
governmental organizations                                                                                ment of the population in Con-
working together. Once up                                                                                 tra Costa County is the 85+ age
and running, the ELC flour-                                                                               group. Over the next 10 years,
ished under the direction of                                                                              this group is predicted to sky-
Virginia M. George, its first                                                                             rocket by 55%. Thanks to pro
managing attorney.                                                                                        bono champions like Nevin, Ra-
   The Law Center (“TLC”) was estab-            mediate need for the ELC to have an orga-      mos, and Steele, ELC will be there to fill
lished in 2004 by CCCBA members Scott           nizational structure and a physical location   the growing need.
Reep, Susan Aglietti and Leann Schlegel.        from which to conduct its activities. While       Looking ahead, the partners are already
Each year, TLC assists hundreds of Contra       TLC/ELC provides its own administrative        busy planning the next steps. Craig Nevin
Costa County’s no-income and very low           support, our firm extended an offer of of-     explains, “This will be a very exciting time.
income residents, including many senior         fice space, telephone service, a computer      Incorporating the ELC and a Staff Attor-
citizens, overcome a lack of meaningful ac-     network and ancillary office support to        ney into TLC and combining that with
cess to justice by connecting them to legal     TLC/ELC.” Similarly, TLC board members         TLC’s organization, model, infrastructure
service providers and Pro-Bono attorneys.       knew what had to be done. “We were sur-        and the over 100 TLC Panel Attorneys,
   In early 2010, some five years after the     prised when JFKU announced the closing         will allow, yet again, a substantial increase
inception of the ELC program, Virginia M.       of the ELC. Something needed to be done        in the amount and the coordination of
George was selected by the Contra Costa         and it made sense for TLC to incorporate       Pro Bono legal work in the area. This of
Superior Court to temporarily replace re-       and try to resuscitate the ELC before it was   course will allow many more people to be
tiring Commissioner Don Green as Pro-           shuttered,” according to Geoffrey Steele,      helped.”
bate Judge. At the same time, JFKU's            current President of The Law Center.              The CCCBA gratefully acknowledges
School of Law determined that it could no          This type of private-public collabora-      Nevin, Ramos & Steele for its dedica-
longer sustain the Clinic and began the         tion fills a crucial yet underreported need.   tion to the ELC and pro bono legal work
process of closing the program. Seeing a        “There is an epidemic in this country which    in general. For more information on the
vital resource for victims of elder financial   is every bit as dangerous as the H1N1 vi-      ELC, to become a Panel Attorney, of for
abuse vanish, CCCBA President Ron Mul-          rus,” urges Alan Ramos. “Elder financial       any additional information, please contact
lin and board member Alan Ramos began           abuse affects every community. Many of         David Kam, TLC’s Pro Bono Coordinator,
working to find a solution. In collabora-       these victims have saved their whole lives     at (866) 543-8017 or Samantha Sepehr,
tion with the CCCBA, they have rallied          to afford a comfortable retirement in their    ELC’s Staff Attorney at (925) 969-3433.u

18                                                                                                              November/ December 2010
                       ELDER LAW
                        2011 TRAINING SERIES
                        Sponsored by CCCBA's Moderate Means Program and its Elder Law Section

      When:                             Thursday nights, January 20 – March 3, 2010, from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.
                                        (refreshments provided)

      Where:                            Contra Costa County Bar Association: 704 Main Street, Martinez, CA 94553

      MCLE Credits:                     Each session will provide 2 hours of MCLE Credit, including 1 hour legal
                                        ethics for the January 20th session

      Registration Fee:                 $75 for qualifying attorneys* willing to take 2 Moderate Means cases and
                                        2 Pro Bono cases through the Elder Law Center - or - $1,200 for all others

      To register, contact: Barbara Tillson, CCCBA (925) 370-2544 or

               Session 1 - January 20th                                    Session 4 - February 10th
      Intake: Sensitivity training; effective communica-          Benefits & Resources: Medicare, IHSS, HMO’s,
      tion with elders; general issue-spotting; and family        Veteran’s benefits, medical eligibility for long-term
      dynamics, including “who” is the client                     care, public benefits such as SSI; resources such as
                                                                  other service providers and in-home care
               Session 2 - January 27th
      Capacity & Competency issues                                         Session 5 - February 17th
                                                                  Elder Abuse: Financial, physical:
               Session 3 - February 3rd                           Different aspects of abuse & what to look for
      Guardian Ad Litem; Conservatorships; Powers of
      Attorney (general and healthcare); Private Fiducia-                  Session 6 - February 24th
      ries; Personal Representatives, including Trustees;         Substantive “other” law: including housing & con-
      and other selected issues                                   sumer issues, medical malpractice, unlawful detain-
                                                                  er, etc.

                                                                             Session 7 - March 3rd
                                                                  How to prepare/present your case in mediation and/
                                                                  or court

     Each class will be taught by highly respected Bay Area attorneys and judges who specialize in this field.
     Participants will be provided with a binder with helpful reference and review materials

     * Over 50% of the member’s practice shall be in Contra Costa County and the member shall maintain at least
     one office in Contra Costa County

Contra Costa Lawyer                                                                                                       19

       n September, at the State Bar's
       Annual Meeting in Monterey,
       the Deer Valley High School
       Law Academy (DVLA) received
the 2010 Education Pipeline Award,
an honor awarded by the Board of
Governors of the State Bar of Califor-
nia. Nominated by the Contra Costa
County Bar Association, DVLA re-
ceived this honor for its "outstanding
efforts of law-related educational pro-
grams that train and support students
to become interested in the judicial
system and careers in the law".

  Launched in 2009, DVLA creates a
source of engagement for the diverse
student body in the school district.
"The DVHS Law Academy accom-
plishes multiple goals. The program
successfully provides student aware-      Award Recipients, including Deer Valley High School representatives Scott Bergerhouse, Co-Principal (front,
                                          center); Janet Muirragui, Law Academy Teacher Leader (front, right); Dan Mahoney, Law Academy
ness about the judicial system and
                                          Principal (front, second from right); Clarence Isadore, Co-Principal (front, second from left).
knowledge about the legal profession.
Equally important is the fact that per-   careers in the law," explains Rich-                      in Frankel & Goldware, LLP. By pro-
sons of color are encouraged to enter     ard Frankel, Chair of the DVHS Law                       viding hands-on learning experiences
the pipeline of successful, rewarding     Academy Advisory Board and Partner                       and attorney role models and mentors
                                                                                                   who can teach, inspire, and support
                                                                                                   students to college and career path-
                                                                                                   ways, DVLA helps expand the diver-
                                                                                                   sity pipeline of applicants for the legal

                                                                                                      This positive focus on diversity and
                                                                                                   hands-on learning forms the founda-
                                                                                                   tion of the DVLA and helped propel it
                                                                                                   to the top of the State Bar's list of nom-
                                                                                                   inees for the 2010 Education Pipeline
                                                                                                   Award. Congratulations, DVLA!

                                                                                                   For more information on the Law
                                                                                                   Academy, and to find out how you can
                                                                                                   get involved, please contact Michele
                                                                                                   Vasta at or visit
                                                                                                   our website at
                                                                                                   - Photos courtesy of Dennis Chin, Board Member,
                                                                                                   Alameda County Bar Association

20                                                                                                                     November/ December 2010

           very year, CCCBA sends a         the resolution passed by a comfortable                   islature voted to enact a modified ver-
           delegation to the annual         margin. Anita is thrilled with the re-                   sion of Dana’s resolution. Governor
           Conference of California Bar     sults. “It was challenging and enlight-                  Arnold Schwarzenegger signed As-
           Associations, which brings       ening to lobby the other delegations ...                 sembly Bill 2767 into law on August
together attorneys from across the          and argue the resolution on the floor,”                  27, 2010 and it will go into effect on
state to propose and debate improve-                                                                 January 1, 2011. The new law amends
ments to the law in California. Reso-                                                                Family Code section 7643 and allows
lutions that are passed by the Confer-                                                               parties, their attorneys and/or agents
ence are then sent to the California                                                                 to inspect and copy non-judgment pa-
legislature for consideration.                                                                       ternity pleadings.
   Prior to last year’s Conference,                                                                     “I am really impressed whenever our
CCCBA board member Dana Santos                                                                       delegates write and present their own
proposed a resolution to change the                                                                  resolutions before the Conference,”
law concerning access to non-judg-                                                                   said Rashmi Nijagal, Chair of the
ment paternity pleadings. Under ex-                                                                  2009-2010 and 2010-2011 CCCBA
isting law, such pleadings were sub-                                                                 delegation. “People often ask me what
ject to inspection only, which made it                                                               the Conference and our delegation are
extremely cumbersome and costly for                                                                  all about and to me, Dana and Anita
family law attorneys to access these                                                                 exemplify what is so exciting about the
records. Dana’s resolution proposed                                                                  work we do. As practicing lawyers, we
to broaden the law and provide more                                                                  are able to impact and change the law
access to information by making non-                                                                 in significant ways.”
judgment paternity pleadings subject        Dana Santos, holding Assembly Bill 2767, which              Dana is not sure what impact this
to copying as well.                         amends Family Code section 7643, allowing parties,       change will have until counties look at
                                            their attorneys and/or agents to inspect and copy non-
   Dana was unable to attend the Con-       judgment paternity pleadings.                            the new law and make sure their court
ference, so CCCBA member Anita                                                                       clerks implement it properly. Howev-
Santos picked up and ran with the           she said. “What a reward to know that                    er, she is pleased that the rule provides
resolution. She lobbied other delega-       the effort resulted in a change in the                   more access to these pleadings.
tions and negotiated an amendment           law. [It is] certainly a highlight in the                   The CCCBA extends congratula-
that enabled us to obtain the support       career of any lawyer.”                                   tions to both Dana and Anita for their
of even more delegates. In the end,           Earlier this year, the California leg-                 hard work and success! u

                                 Candice E. Stoddard                                                    —     WANTED —
                                                                                                            Will/Estate Contests
                                           Personal Injury                                             You handle the estate, we do the contest.
                                        Real Estate Litigation                                         Cases, except conservatorships, often
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       Law Offices of
                                                     n                                                       Walker & Toth, LLP
                                                                                                         oldest partnership in Contra Costa County
                                                                                                                        (since 1955)
    Candice E. Stoddard             925.942.5100 • fax 925.933.3801
 1350 Treat Blvd., Suite 420                                                                             p 925.283-6816 • f 925.283-3683
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Contra Costa Lawyer                                                                                                                                  21
                                     Bar Soap          By matt Guichard

            he old Royal Standard type-        clinic within hours of the event. You never    this next year to get a bunch of those folks
            writer has been dusted off and     know what might happen on the clinic’s         into our local Bar Association.
            I am ready to begin the inau-      field trips.                                     Speaking of wonderful celebrations, the
            gural column of “Bar Soap”.          Just heard: Kevin Brodehl left Morgan        dedication of the Richard E. Arnason
Our plan is a “Bar Soap” column in each        Miller Blair for Wendell Rosen. Rumor          Justice Center in Pittsburg, California was
and every issue of the Contra Costa Law-       has it a few other lawyers joined Wendell      another great success. A magnificent
yer Magazine. That assumes the editors         Rosen as well. Let me know if you know         building, and sorely needed in East County,
will let me continue, and that I won’t be      who they are.                                  dedicated to a truly magnificent judge. It
out on assignment. We want to write                                                           doesn’t get any better than that.
about people on the move in our legal             Greg Abel was recently elected Presi-
community, local news, snippets, gossip,       dent and CEO of “Kids Turn”, a SF based           Lastly, speaking of jury trials in Contra
good news, bad jokes, and whatever else        nonprofit. Not sure what that means with       Costa County Superior Courts, we still
works. So who said I could only write          respect to his matrimonial law career, but     plan to write our “Local Jury Verdicts”
“Civil Jury Verdicts”? I guess you'd better    I am guessing he will keep his day job.        column, even if half the reports relate to
read this column before answering that            Hey, anyone out there unhappy the           interesting settlements and out of County
question.                                      election season is over? I am still not sure   verdicts. What also remains the same is
                                               what most of the State propositions really     the grief we regularly get for not writing
   Congratulations to our own Christopher                                                     about all our local verdicts, and rumor has
Bowen who was appointed by the “Gov-           said. At any rate I was pleased to read the
                                               very gracious comments made the day            it we have many local verdicts. Build it
ernator” to the Superior Court bench                                                          and they will come. Tell us and we will
recently.                                      after the election by District Attorney
                                               candidate Dan O’Malley. A class act.           write about it.
   Speaking of people on the move: Did                                                           Any thoughts for our next column,
you hear Roger Brothers and a group of            And speaking of the District Attorney’s     let me know - email me at mguichard@
transactional lawyers have left McNamara       Office, can anyone of you guess the name
to join Shapiro Buchman Provine? I guess       of the largest law firm in Contra Costa
the good news for McNamara is the firm         County? Okay, no more hints. Let’s work
will no longer have to write an essay just
to list the named partners on that sign
out front - and think of the savings on ink
on their stationary!
   It was an incredible turnout of lawyers,
judges and other luminaries at the Gala
Reception in support of the Elder Law
Center and honoring Judge Norman
Spellberg (Ret). At first I thought I was
at one of those old Zandonella holiday
parties - there were so many old faces. At
any rate it was a very nice event, and Bill
Gagen, ever impressive as emcee of an
event, even received an award for 2011.
The rest of us are of course still competing
for 2010 awards. I am told a donation of
a case of snake bite kits was made to the

22                                                                                                             November/ December 2010
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Contra Costa Lawyer                                                                                                                 23
Question man
                                   What is the most
                                   memorable war story
                                   from 2010?

                I served as an arbitrator of      I tried a case before a Superior Court Judge                    That my husband returned
                a construction dispute be-        (County to remain nameless) which took                          safely from Iraq after serv-
                tween an owner and a gen-         five months, as we tried it several days per                    ing 18 months in the Army
                eral contractor involving         month based upon the Judge's limited trial                      Reserves in 2004 and it
                construction of a large pri-      availability. On several occasions the attor-                   only took him 6 years -
vate estate. No legal cost was spared and         ney for one of my client's co-plaintiffs fell                   until 2010 - to receive the
after 50 days of hearings the award was for       asleep and was snoring in the courtroom.        disability he deserved and the hearing aid
$2.5 million, including attorneys’ fees and       I kept my blinders on and just kept inter-      that he needed after losing his hearing in
costs to the prevailing party.                    rogating the defendant without a blink of       one ear!! I am proud of him and in awe of
                                                  my eyes. On the first occasion, the defen-      his patience.
Robert C. Field
                                                  dant's attorney tapped the sleeping attor-
Arbitrator-Mediator                                                                               Jessica A. Braverman, Esq.
                                                  ney on the shoulder, to which the sleep-        Braverman Mediation & Consulting
                 On Sat., Sept. 25th I assisted   ing attorney responded 'keep your hands
                 my oldest son in purchasing      off me." Now being awake, the attorney                          I had a case in Solano
                 a new vehicle at a dealer in     said to the judge that he was "not sleeping,                    County where the wife
                 Redwood City at 2:00 pm          rather he had sleep apnea."                                     complained that husband
                 and raced back to SF, jumped     The second "slumber" lasted probably                            forced her to get a tattoo
                 on BART and arrived at           around fifteen minutes. The Judge stated                        and she started to open her
Oakland Kaiser within 1/2 hour of the birth       that it had appeared that he was fully                          blouse to show the judge.
of the first grandchild for my wife and I, by     asleep, and again the attorney responded
                                                  that he was "not sleeping, he had sleep ap-
                                                                                                  Merritt Weisinger
my step-daughter. I know your question
                                                                                                  Walnut Creek Family Law Center
implied legal war stories in bouts and jousts     nea." Incredulous, the Judge tested the at-
with county counsel, district attorneys and       torney as to what trial exhibit we had just                      I represented a man for
private adversaries but they all pale in com-     been talking about (to everyone who was                          murder. It was a death
parison to that days victories.                   awake, it was clear that we were talking                         penalty case, but by trial
                                                  about Exhibit "B"). The now awake at-                            time, death was no longer a
Brian Stern                                       torney responded "well, Judge, there have                        sentencing option. During
Law Offices of Brian S. Stern
                                                  been a lot of exhibits introduced in this                        trial, I had his confession
               I represented the wife in a        trial."                                         declared involuntary by Judge Brady. There-
               dissolution action who un-         At the end of that day I was informed that      fore, when my client took the stand and
               expectedly passed away. I          the sleeping attorney's client had fired her    testified that he was innocent, even though
               attended her service to pay        attorney (she was horrified at that point)      he had confessed, the jury never learned of
               my respects. The husband's         and wanted to retain me. Since there was        his confession. A life prisoner testified that
               brother told me I was not          no conflict of interest and my present cli-     the life prisoner took the shot which killed
welcome and kicked me out of the funeral,         ent understood and consented (and they          the victim. Nevertheless, the jury found
"escorting" me out.                               were on the same side with identical po-        my client guilty of murder with special
                                                  sitions), we started the trial the next day,    circumstances. When he was convicted my
Cindy Frazier Bilsborough                         again without a blink of my eyes.               client blamed his lawyer, me.
Law Offices of Cindy Frazier Billsborough
                                                  Peter Sproul                                    Anthony Ashe
                                                  Mullen & Sproul LLP                             Law Offices of Anthony Ashe

24                                                                                                                 November/ December 2010

 Salvatore Ristorante
  By Gary lepper

   When Clemenza instructed Michael         can’t hear each other. Even better, the     or the Fettuccine al Gamberetto (fet-
Corleone how to cook for twenty or          bar does not attract a raucous crowd.       tuccine tossed with shrimp, peas, to-
more, he told him simply to take a “lit-      You can begin with any of twelve          mato and cream sauce).
tle bit of oil, fry some garlic, throw in   specialty cocktails, ranging from five         For a main course, you might con-
some tomatoes, shove                                          martini variations        sider either my favorite Vitella alla
in your sausages and                                          to “Sal’s Lemonade”       Salvatore (veal, prosciutto, mozzarella,
your meatballs and a                                          (Meyer lemon juice,       herbs and chardonnay wine) or Sogli-
little bit of wine.”                                          infused vodka with        ola (filet of sole, with capers, lemon
   Fe l l o w S i c i l i a n                                 Sicilian blood orange,    and white wine). If you choose to go
Salvatore Piccione                                            mango and passion         there on Tuesday, Saturday or Sunday,
neither throws nor                                            fruits). There are        you can indulge yourself with Salva-
shoves. He is far more                                        more than 30 selec-       tore’s stunning lasagna. The local fro-
subtle and nimble in                                          tions of red wine and     zen food section would not recognize
his preparations of                                           20 of white, mainly       the exceptionally thin, hand-made
delicious variations                                          from California;          pasta which cradles hand-ground beef
on traditional Italian                                        eight are available by    in the “house” tomato sauce. Nightly
dishes. Most recipes                                          the glass.                specials can vary from lamb chops to
are his own, with sug-                                           Dinner is a treat.     osso bucco to salmon to...
gestions and addi-                                            Nine versions of anti-       First course and entree ranges be-
tions from his sister,                                        pasti. Five salads. Ten   tween $27-32.00, without drinks.
maitre’d and co-own-                                          pasta combinations.       However, Salvatore’s also has a Tues-
er Angela Alagna.                                             Four vegetarian dish-     day evening prix fixe (or whatever Ital-
   The deliberately “homey” (Angela’s       es. Entrees of veal, chicken or fish.       ians say) menu at $20.00 and a “happy
word) interior is divided into three          Let’s start. Antipasti of calamari Pal-   hour” menu for the bar (Tuesdays,
sections: primary (seating 70) and          ermo (their hometown of Mazara Del          Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays,
secondary (seating 35) dining rooms         Vallo is one hundred kilometers from        5-7 p.m.) which will surprise you with
and a spacious bar. The ambiance is         Palermo) consists of tender baby squid      its variety, price and generous portions.
enhanced by walls sponge-painted in         sautéed with tomatoes, capers, garlic          Salvatore’s has been at the same loca-
a soft ochre and arched niches with         and fresh herbs. Insulata D’Angela (I       tion since moving here from San Fran-
Italian ceramic pots that are decorated     told you she had her own inventions)        cisco in 1996: 1627 North Broadway,
with green vines.                           of field greens, apples, toasted pecans     Walnut Creek (925-932-2828). Park-
   Notwithstanding the white table-         and gorgonzola cheese in a honey vin-       ing is convenient – for Walnut Creek
cloths and napkins, the atmosphere is       aigrette dressing.                          anyway – across the street in the new
informal and relaxed, enough even for         All pastas are excellent and half-        library parking lot (which is free after
those who insist on wearing jeans to        orders are available for children (who      6 p.m.). Salvatore’s is open Tuesday
dinner. The staff is unusually friendly     will find no pizzas in this ristorante).    through Sunday between 5-9:30 p.m.,
and attentive – without having to           Particularly recommended are the            but until 10 p.m. on Friday and Satur-
shout, since tables are set apart suf-      authentic Sicilian Melenzana Ripiena        day. It accepts reservations. I suspect
ficiently for everyone’s conversational     (eggplant filled with veal, sausage, po-    that it will be accepted enthusiastically
ease and the separate dining rooms          tatoes and cheese in a marinara sauce)      by you as well. u

Contra Costa Lawyer                                                                                                           25
The Ethics Corner
            by Carol M. Langford

              s the recession drags on,       approximately two months and finally          court emphasized that a fee contract is
              more and more lawyers are       settled on a formula that was composed        just an allocation of risk between the
              suing for their unpaid fees.    of a complicated contingency fee ele-         parties and that not all unreasonable risk
              Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy v.   ment that, upon this writer's review, was     allocations are unconscionable.
Universal Paragon Corporation (2010 Cal.      almost incomprehensible.                          The court also held that the fee con-
App. LEXIS 1711) is an interesting new            Of course, the fee agreement be-          tract was not a contract of adhesion;
take on when a fee is excessive, and thus     came the subject of a fee arbitration even    UPC could have employed another law
in violation of Rule 4-200 of the Rules of    though Cotchett had done a great job.         firm if it did not like what was offered by
Professional Conduct.                         Rebecca Westerfield's 36-page decision        Cotchett. In addition, the fee was not ex-
    In that case, Universal Paragon Cor-      awarded over seven million dollars in         cessive or substantively unconscionable.
poration (UPC) hired the Cotchett firm        fees to the law firm. She flat out rejected   The parties' decision to base the contin-
to represent it in a complex environmen-      any unconscionability argument by UPC         gency fee on the Ingersoll property in its
tal litigation matter. UPC is a real estate   in regard to the fee because there was no     best and highest value after remediation
development firm that had purchased           disparity in bargaining power between         was appropriate in light of the very low
property in the Brisbane area adjacent        the law firm and a sophisticated client       value of the property in its unremediated
to property owned by Ingersoll-Rand.          like UPC who was represented by inde-         state. The court said, "This is a private
Contamination from the Ingersoll prop-        pendent counsel in the fee agreement          business transaction between equally
erty was migrating to UPC's property.         negotiations.                                 matched parties, pure and simple," even
Undaunted, UPC decided to acquire                 Unsatisfied with Westerfield's de-        where the contingency fee would be far
the Ingersoll property anyway, clean it       cision, UPC took the case to court. To        above what would have been earned on
up and develop it. As you can imagine,        the judge's credit, he boldly took on a       an hourly basis.
problems ensued with that plan.               discussion of the often confusing topic of        The moral of this story is that lawyers
    UPC wanted to avoid paying expen-         what makes a fee unconscionable. The          can be creative in their fee agreements if
sive attorney's fees in battling Ingersoll    case discusses both procedural and sub-       they get the informed consent of the cli-
so it proposed a hybrid fee agreement         stantive unconscionability. Procedural        ent to the fee- and that holds true even if
with the Cotchett firm. UPC had its           unconscionability refers to unequal bar-      the fee appears high. I would advise hav-
general manager and outside counsel           gaining power between the lawyer and          ing writings outside of the fee agreement
participate in the fee agreement nego-        client, and substantive unconscionability     evidencing discussions with the client
tiations. Cotchett initially proposed a re-   refers to results that are overly harsh, or   about how your fee will be calculated,
duced hourly rate, plus costs, and a 16%      one-sided. The court said that, gener-        especially where you know the nature of
contingency minus "one half of hourly         ally, you have to have both for a court       the settlement might make it hard to de-
billed subtracted from 16%." Worried          to refuse to enforce a fee agreement,         termine your contingency fee.u
about how they would value a property         but that the two elements play off each       — Carol M. Langford is an attorney in Walnut
only (non-cash) settlement for the con-       other. "The more substantively oppres-        Creek specializing in ethics advice and counsel
tingency fee portion, the parties came        sive a contract term, the less evidence of    and representing lawyers before the State Bar.
up with a formula that was a percent-         procedural unconscionability is required      She is also an adjunct professor at the University
age of the last settlement offer made to      to come to the conclusion that the term       of California Hastings College of the Law.
Ingersoll. They went back and forth for       is unenforceable, and vice versa." The

26                                                                                                             November/ December 2010
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Contra Costa Lawyer                                                                                                        27
28   November/ December 2010
                      2011 Membership

                      Renew Online -
                      It's Fast & Easy !
                      •	Renew online at
                      •	Click the “Renew” link in the top right corner.
                      •	Log-in to your personalized application.
                      •	Review your current membership information
                        and make any necessary changes.
                      •	Then fill-in the secure payment section using
                        a major credit card, click “Submit Form” and
                        you are renewed.
                      •	Renew early and you might win! The first 250
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                      First 250 members to renew on-
                      line will be entered into a draw-
                      ing to win a CCCBA Advertising
                      Package of their choice (print,
                      online, or weekly broadcast)
                      worth $250.00. IT IS THAT EASY!

Contra Costa Lawyer                                                  29
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                                                                                                Why YOU should
                                                                                                 make referrals
                                                                                                to CCCBA’s LRIS
                                                                                                 •	Our	LRIS	is	the	only	State Bar cer-
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                                                                                                         For more information,
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                                                                                                    Barbara Tillson
                                                                                                      at 925.370.2542

30                                                                                                              November/ December 2010
 advertisers’ index
 Addvantage Bookkeeping Service. . . . . .2
 ADR Services, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15
 Roger F. Allen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23
 Armanino McKenna  LLP . . . . . . . . . . . .13
 Barr & Barr Attorneys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
 Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook . . .2
 Diablo Valley Reporting Services. . . . . .32
 JAMS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30
 Law Offices of David M. Lederman. . . .11
 Littler. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
 Mechanics Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23
 Mullin Law Firm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
 Mark V. Murphy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15
 Myers-Stevens-Mello & Co.. . . . . . . . . .28
 Optimum Accounting. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31
 Pedder, Hesseltine, Walker & Toth . . . . 9,21
 Erika Portillo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27
 Paul Saad, Financial Advisor . . . . . . . . .13
 Scott Valley Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31
 Candice Stoddard. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21
 Michael J. Young. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15
 Youngman, Ericsson & Low, LLP . . . . . .11
 Zandonella Reporting Service . . . . . . .27

       To place an ad, please contact:
               Kerstin Firmin
        Communications Coordinator
     925.370.2542 |

Contra Costa Lawyer                                                  31
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