Julie Brook

Julie Brook


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Getting Your Client Ready for Deposition

For most clients, being questioned in a deposition is a new and frightening experience. The more you can do to prepare your client, the better he or she will feel and perform. When it comes to instructing your client on how...more

5/27/2016 - Depositions Discovery Witness Preparation

Voir Dire: Your First Chance to Make a Good Impression

Some attorneys erroneously think of their opening statement as the first opportunity to present themselves to the jury. In reality, the jurors will begin getting an impression of you—and by extension, your case—as soon as you...more

5/26/2016 - Jury Trial Voir Dire Young Lawyers

Spouses in the Workplace: Allow or Prohibit?

Employers often face the issue of whether to allow spouses or other family members to work together. Regardless the side the employer falls on, there is potential liability lurking....more

5/23/2016 - EEOC Employer Liability Issues Hiring & Firing Retaliation Spouses

What to Say When a Client Lets You Go

A client may discharge you at any time and for any reason. When it happens to you, be ready to write a letter to the client confirming that the client wants no further services from you and you won’t be providing them....more

5/23/2016 - Client Services Discharge Letters Young Lawyers

Should You Make the First Settlement Offer?

Skilled negotiators disagree on whether it’s better to make the first offer or demand, or to let the other side go first. Although the correct approach will likely vary from case to case, in the context of settling...more

5/19/2016 - Settlement Negotiations Settlement Offer Young Lawyers

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Professional Trustee

Your client, as settlor, creates a special needs trust set up for a child or grandchild and needs a professional trustee to administer it. Before hiring a potential trustee, the client should determine whether he or she is...more

5/17/2016 - Client Services Special Needs Trust Trustees Trusts Young Lawyers

Tips for Dealing with a Difficult Deponent

If you take depositions, it’s inevitable that you’ll encounter deponents who are difficult to question. In addition to maintaining a professional manner, consider using one or more of the following strategies, based on the...more

5/16/2016 - Depositions Discovery Evidence Litigation Strategies Trial Preparation Witnesses Young Lawyers

Headings Are Key to an Effective Document

Whatever document you’re drafting—from a memorandum for a partner to a brief for the court—using clear and concise headings and subheadings will take your reader by the hand and lead them smoothly through your document....more

5/12/2016 - Appellate Briefs Client Services Draft Documents Litigation Strategies Trial Preparation Young Lawyers

“To Do” List for Setting Up a Nonprofit

After you’ve taken the client through the many questions to be answered in deciding to form a nonprofit and all agree to move forward, you need to take these first steps in the process of establishing the nonprofit....more

5/9/2016 - 501(c)(3) Articles of Incorporation Exempt Organizations Internal Revenue Code (IRC) IRS Non-Profits

Is It Too Risky to SLAPP Back?

Your client got hit with a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) suit, i.e., a suit with a cause of action based on your client’s act in furtherance of a the constitutional right of petition or free speech in...more

5/6/2016 - Anti-SLAPP First Amendment Free Speech

Settling a Car Accident Case: Drafting Your Demand

You’re representing someone injured in a car accident and you’ve reached the point at which you’re ready to send a demand letter to communicate a settlement offer to the defendant’s insurance carrier. But what should that...more

5/3/2016 - Auto Insurance Car Accident Damages Demand Letter Settlement Negotiations

Questions to Ask When Deposing an Expert

The task of deposing the opposition’s expert is simplified immeasurably by keeping in mind the deposition’s fundamental purpose: to discover all of the expert’s opinions and all of the bases for those opinions. Your goal...more

4/29/2016 - Depositions Expert Testimony Litigation Strategies Young Lawyers

11 Steps to Introducing Exhibits at Trial

If it’s your first trial or it’s been a while since you’ve tried a case, here’s a handy list of the steps to take when introducing your evidence at trial. STEP 1: Mark your exhibit for identification. The court clerk...more

4/22/2016 - Admissible Evidence Litigation Strategies Trial Plan Young Lawyers

Sabbaticals Aren’t Just for Academics Anymore

Sabbaticals have been traditionally used in the academic setting to give university teachers one year of paid leave to study or travel for every seven years worked. Now some private, nonacademic employers—particularly in the...more

4/15/2016 - Employee Benefits Leave of Absence Paid Leave Policies and Procedures Vacation Leave Vacation Pay Wage and Hour

Use this Checklist for Every Declaration

Litigators use declarations and affidavits to present facts to the judge from various types of witnesses. Their use can become routine and sometimes even sloppy. But beware: Declarations are subject to the same objections and...more

4/14/2016 - Affidavits Declaration Discovery Objections Perjury

Really Listen to the Witness

It sounds obvious: You should always listen carefully to the witness during cross-examination. But listening means more than just hearing the words actually said. Ideally, your listening will go well beyond that, which can...more

4/8/2016 - Credibility Cross Examination Eyewitness Testimony Witnesses

Review Your Hourly Fee Agreement

Hourly billing for legal services has been criticized for, among other things, discouraging attorney efficiency and providing the client with no predictability of cost (see, e.g., ABA Commission on Billable Hours Report...more

4/6/2016 - Attorney's Fees Billing Fee Agreements Young Lawyers

9 Steps to Getting Business Records into Evidence

You know you can get business records into evidence under an exception to the hearsay rule, but you’re not exactly sure how to do it. It’s simply a mechanical process—just get your witness on the stand and follow these nine...more

4/4/2016 - Business Records Evidence Hearsay Litigation Strategies Young Lawyers

Confidentiality Among Co-Clients?

Whenever you’re representing multiple clients with respect to the same subject matter, make sure to address the issue of confidentiality right at the beginning of the attorney-client relationship—in fact, you should cover it...more

4/4/2016 - Attorney-Client Privilege Confidential Information Fee Agreements Law Practice Management Young Lawyers

Don’t Bore the Jury!

Much to the chagrin of trial attorneys, jurors don’t always give their full attention to the trial. It’s trial counsel’s job to keep things interesting. Depending on the case, this can be a tall order. Here are some tips for...more

3/31/2016 - Professional Development Trial Preparation Young Lawyers

A Client Shouldn’t Be Just a Number to You, Except in Your Filing System

You’ve started a law practice and the clients are beginning to arrive. How will you organize your client files? Your first thought may be to use an alphabetical system by client name. Big mistake. Instead, stick to numbers....more

3/28/2016 - Law Practice Management Young Lawyers

Is Telecommuting a Reasonable Accommodation?

Employers are often asked to allow an employee to telecommute as a reasonable accommodation for a disability. Should employers always grant such requests? What considerations come into play? Here’s a checklist to help...more

3/23/2016 - ADA FEHA Interactive Process Reasonable Accommodation Telecommuting

Let’s Buy a Beach House Together! Or Maybe Not.

When friends decide to buy vacation property together, they may not consider the legal status of their relationship—at least until litigation starts. Importantly, they may not be aware that they might have formed a general...more

3/21/2016 - Fiduciary Duty Foreclosure General Partnerships Real Estate Investments

Emojis in Evidence

Text messages and emails—common forms of evidence in most cases—increasingly include nonverbal aspects such as emojis (or emoticons, as these symbols are sometimes called). This introduces a myriad of issues with regard to...more

3/21/2016 - Email Emoji Evidence Text Messages

3 Problem Areas for Interrogatory Responses

A party served with interrogatories under CCP §§2030.010–2030.410 has to respond by answering, producing writings, or objecting. And each answer has to be as “complete and straightforward as the information reasonably...more

3/16/2016 - Cal Code of Civil Procedure Discovery Interrogatories Young Lawyers

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