Welcome From The Editors!

"Oh, the weather outside is frightful,

But the fire is so delightful,

And since we've no place to go,

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Man it doesn't show signs of stoppin',

And I brought some corn for poppin',

The lights are turned way down low,

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!"

--"Let It Snow" by Michael Bublé

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We are pleased to bring you the Fall/Holiday 2018 edition of the Professional Liability Newsletter. In this edition, you will find great information on our many victories and news from Lewis Brisbois. We hope you enjoy!

Esther P. Holm, National Co-Chair, Co-Editor

Peter T. Shapiro, Co-Editor

Recent & Upcoming Speaking Engagements

August 7, 2018 - Dallas Partner Christopher White spoke at the RLPSA Conference on a panel entitled "Managing the Invited and Uninvited Guests: Violence, Transients, Drugs in Restrooms, Vaping, Overdosing in Restrooms, and Other Risks."

August 31, 2018 - Los Angeles Partners Kenneth C. Feldman and Los Angeles/Phoenix Partner Jessica L. Beckwith joined a legal ethics panel at the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA) Convention in Las Vegas, NV from August 30 to September 2.

September 7, 2018 – Dallas Partner Clint Corrie joined a webinar entitled "FINRA Arbitrations: A Comprehensive Guide for 2018 and Beyond."

September 26, 2018 – New York Partner Mark K. Anesh joined a panel entitled "The Lawyers Must Have Helped: Defensive Strategies When It's Clear the Law Firm's Former Client Was a Crook" at the 2018 American Bar Association National Legal Malpractice Conference held September 26 to 28 in Las Vegas.

September 27, 2018 – New York Partner Mark K. Anesh joined a panel at the 2018 American Bar Association National Legal Malpractice Conference.

October 4, 2018 – Los Angeles Partner Ken Feldman and Orange County Partner Christina Guerin spoke at the Family Law Section Luncheon for the South Bay Bar Association.

November 1, 2018 – Los Angeles Partner David Samani spoke on the California New Rules of Professional Conduct to the Long Beach Bar Association.

November 9, 2018 – Los Angeles Partner David Samani spoke on the California New Rules of Professional Conduct to the Los Angeles Superior Court Research Attorney & Law Clerks.

November 30, 2018 - Atlanta Partner Jay Doyle spoke about labor trafficking at the Chief Justice's Convocation on Professionalism sponsored by the State Bar of Georgia.

December 4, 2018 – Los Angeles/Phoenix Partner Jessica Beckwith will be speaking to the Real Property Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association on the California New Rules of Professional Conduct.

December 4, 2018 – Orange County Partner Esther Holm will be speaking on trial issues including Reptile Theory and Traumatic Brain Injury in New York, NY.

December 11, 2018 – Los Angeles/Phoenix Partner Jessica Beckwith will be speaking at the Lawyer Defense Seminar hosted by the Association of Southern California Defense Council on Hot Topics in Legal Malpractice as we enter 2019. For more information and to register, click here.

January 15, 2019 – New York Partner Cristina Yannucci to speak at the New York SBAR on ethics for entertainment lawyers.

March 21, 2019 – Orange County Partner Esther Holm will be speaking at the 2019 DRI Trial Skills and Damages Seminar at Hotel Park MGM in Las Vegas, NV.

Recent Decisions of Note

New Cal. S. Ct. Opinion Finds Law Firm's Engagement Letter, Including Arbitration Provision, Unenforceable Because of Undisclosed Conflict of Interest, But Allows Quantum Meruit Recovery

By Lann McIntyre

Recently, the California Supreme Court issued an opinion, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, LLP v. J-M Manufacturing Company, Inc. (August 30, 2018, S232946) __ Cal.5th __, addressing whether a law firm's conflict of interest rendered an engagement agreement, including its arbitration clause, unenforceable as against public policy and, if so, whether the ethical violation categorically disentitled the law firm from recovering the value of the services rendered to the client. While the court concluded the engagement agreement was unenforceable in its entirety, the law firm could still seek to recover its unpaid fees under a quantum meruit theory.


Recent Victories

San Diego Partners Tim J. Vanden Heuvel and Lann G. McIntyre and Los Angeles Partner Kenneth C. Feldman Received Affirmed Defense Judgment in Legal Mal Case

Denver Partner Nancy L. Cohen and Associate Jesse D. Rodgers Obtain Summary Judgment for Lawyer Clients

New York Partner Jeffrey Spiegel and Associate Gregory Radwan Obtain Dismissal in Attorney Defamation Case

New York Partner Cristina R. Yannucci and Associate Mateo J. Vila Obtain Dismissal of Contribution Claim in Legal Malpractice Case

Los Angeles Partner Edward Seo and Sacramento Partners Eric Stiff and Scott Bartel Retained to Assist in Transaction Involving of One of the Largest Behavioral Health Clinic Operators in the U.S.

Los Angeles Partners David D. Samani and Kenneth C. Feldman Obtain Nonsuit in Legal Malpractice Arbitration

Los Angeles Partner Barry Zoller Obtains Another Victory in Legal Malpractice Case

San Francisco Partner Alex A. Graft and Associate Jessica L. Beeler Prevail in Legal Malpractice Case

Professional Liability Practice Group News

Jessica Beckwith and Brian Slome Author Daily Journal article on new CA Rules of Professional Conduct

Partners Jessica L. Beckwith and Brian Slome recently authored an article that appeared in the Daily Journal covering the new Rule 1.18 from California's updated Rules of Professional Conduct, which become effective this November.

The article, which explores the implications of the new rule on consultations with prospective partners, is a must-read for all attorneys staying abreast of the rules regarding ethical duties in the course of client development.

Daily Journal subscribers can find the article here, and can take a related self-study test to earn 1 hour of MCLE ethics credit.

A copy of the new Rule 1.18, and the Bar's summary of it can be found here.

Kenneth Feldman Publishes Malpractice Insurance Articles in the Daily Journal

Los Angeles Partner Kenneth C. Feldman recently published a pair of articles on malpractice insurance in California in the Daily Journal. The articles were published on September 28 and October 26, with the latter appearing on the front page of the publication.

In the articles, Mr. Feldman discusses a little-known provision of the 2017 California State Bar Funding Bill, which authorized the State Bar to conduct a "review and study" regarding malpractice insurance for attorneys licensed in California. This review, conducted by the Malpractice Insurance Working Group, could lead to mandatory malpractice insurance requirements.

Read the article here. (subscription required).

Congratulations to Legal Mal Specialist Alex Graft

San Francisco Partner Alex Graft recently became a certified specialist in legal malpractice law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.

To become such a specialist, Alex had to pass an all-day multiple choice and essay test, have accumulated a certain amount of MCLE in legal malpractice law, and obtained recommendations from practitioners and judges. There are only about 100 such specialists in the state, and Lewis Brisbois has four of them (Corinne Bertsche (San Diego), Ken Feldman and Barry Zoller (Los Angeles) being the other three).

Lewis Brisbois Spotlight!

News from around the firm...

Lewis Brisbois Recognized by BTI Consulting Group

The BTI Consulting Group, a nationally renowned market research organization, has ranked Lewis Brisbois in their recent list of the "37 Most Feared Law Firms in Litigation".

The ranking, posted on the group's "The Mad Clientist" blog, breaks down the qualities that make a "feared" law firm, and divides the 37 firms into The BTI Fearsome Foursome, The BTI Awesome Opponents, and The Fearsome Foursome Honor Roll.

Read the full article here.

Lewis Brisbois' Los Angeles Office Hosts KITA Event

Lewis Brisbois hosted an event for the Korean Investors & Traders Association (KITA) on August 10.

Over 40 members of the organization visited the Los Angeles office in the U.S. Bank Tower. Los Angeles Partners Edward Seo and Barry G. Kaiman and Associate Jean M. Kim gave visitors a presentation about Lewis Brisbois' history, services, and future. The tour also included a visit to the OUE Skyspace and visitors had the opportunity to ride the 70th-story glass slide.

Guests included CEOs, presidents, managing partners, and vice presidents of various companies such as Dongbu Steel, DK Express, Hanwha Holding, Hyundai Corp., and Allmerits Financial. The event allowed guests to build connections or rekindle old ones, and gave them a chance to see what Lewis Brisbois can offer.

Lewis Brisbois Opens Walnut Creek Office

Lewis Brisbois is pleased to announce the opening of the new Walnut Creek office, effective September 17.

The office will by managed by San Francisco Managing Partner Julian J. Pardini. Lewis Brisbois is pleased to announce the addition of six new attorneys to our Bay Area practice. Partners W. Eric "Ric" Blumhardt, Jessica S. Pliner, Stephen B. Welch, and Patrice N. Harper, along with associates Kirstin L. Wallace and A. Barclay "Clay" Byrnes, will join the firm this month. Mr. Welch, Ms. Wallace, and Mr. Byrnes will be based in a new Lewis Brisbois location in Walnut Creek, Calif. beginning Monday, September 17.

Walnut Creek will be the 43rd location in Lewis Brisbois' nationwide network. The addition of these attorneys to the Bay Area practice will greatly increase Lewis Brisbois' ability to service clients in the region, while expanding the firm's bench of commercial defense expertise, and furthering Lewis Brisbois' reputation as a full-service law firm.

Bryan Reid Sworn in as CAL-ABOTA President

Lewis Brisbois is proud to announce that San Bernardino Partner Bryan Reid is now president of the California chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (CAL-ABOTA). Mr. Reid was officially sworn in during CAL-ABOTA's Hawaii Conference in Mauna Kea, which brings together the most heralded trial attorneys from the State of California, as well as state and federal judges, for a week of networking and CLE activities.

ABOTA is a national association of experienced trial lawyers and judges who are dedicated to preserving the civil jury trial and educating and training trial lawyers. More than 40 Lewis Brisbois attorneys have been inducted into the association.

View the full list of Lewis Brisbois' ABOTA members here.

George Nowotny Named ABOTA Advocate, Elected to Medical Legal Committee

Los Angeles Partner George E. Nowotny has been elevated to the rank of Advocate within the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) and elected to membership in the exclusive California Medical Legal Committee, a group limited to 60 California-based attorneys specializing in medical malpractice defense trial experience.

ABOTA is a national association of experienced trial lawyers and judges who are dedicated to preserving the civil jury trial and educating and training trial lawyers. More than 40 Lewis Brisbois attorneys have been inducted into the association.

View the full list of Lewis Brisbois' ABOTA members here.

Rachel Reynolds Appointed Vice-Chair of FDCC Committees

Seattle Partner Rachel Reynolds was recently appointed vice-chair of the Class Action and Multi District Litigation and Counsel Connect Committees for the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC) for the 2018-2019 year. Ms. Reynolds was also appointed as a member to the Admissions, Diversity, and Ladder Down Committees.

The FDCC is composed of recognized leaders in the legal community who have achieved professional distinction. The organization is dedicated to promoting the knowledge, fellowship, and professionalism of its members as they pursue the course of a balanced justice system and represent those in need of a defense in civil lawsuits. Current membership is approximately 1,400 from the United States and around the world.

Learn more about the FDCC here.

Lewis Brisbois Webinar Series

December 20, 2018

The Top Ten Ethical Traps, Tips & Temptations for Industry, Inside & Outside Counsel

Speakers: Jana I. Lubert, Peter L. Garchie, V. Andrew Cass

Moderator: Esther P. Holm

Click here to register

January 17, 2019

Risk Transfer & AI Endorsements

Speakers: Charles Harris, Jordon Harriman, Joshua Jemal

Moderator: Esther P. Holm

Click here to register

February 21, 2019

The Opiod Epidemic, Health Care & Insurance Issues

Speakers: Jana Lubert, Jeffrey Gaylord

Moderator: Esther P. Holm

Click here to register

Did You Know...?

Our Professional Liability Practice handles matters involving Accountants Errors & Omissions, Architects and Engineers, Legal Malpractice, Malicious Prosecution and State Bar Actions, Miscellaneous Professional Liability (Insurance Agents and Brokers, Real Estate Professionals, Data Processing), HOA matters, School District & Municipalities, and Securities Litigation including matters involving FINRA.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.