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Litigation Section

News from the Section

Litigation Update

The September 2014 Litigation update is now available. For past issues, see Litigation Update.

STRIKING OUT ON YOUR OWN: Tips on How to Open a Law Office from Those Who’ve Done It!

Presented by Litigation Section and the Solo and Small Firm Section

To secure your seat, please RSVP to:

Thursday, November 6, 2014
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Pizza and refreshments will be served

Southwestern Law School
Westmoreland Building – Room 329
3050 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles 

Topics Covered:

  • Hiring Staff: Wage & Hour and Employment Laws
  • Building Your Practice Through Networking
  • Technology and Software Needs
  • Finding Office Space
  • Service Providers (Copying, Messengers, Court Reporting)


  • Edward Torpoco, Senior Director & Legal Counsel, eBay Inc.


  • Cynthia Elkins, Founder, Elkins Employment Law
  • Luan Tran, Founder,  Lee Tran & Liang LLP

To secure your seat, please RSVP to:

A Week in Legal London

Sunday, April 19 - Friday, April 24, 2015

Presented by The State Bar of California Litigation Section in cooperation with The International Law Section.

By participating in this one program you can fulfill your entire 3-year MCLE requirement! All this is possible through a combination of participatory and self-study credits, which include all mandatory subjects.

Register now!

In its 26th year, A Week in Legal London is proud to continue its tradition of mixing exciting new opportunities with exceptional legal destinations and interactions. As a result of the special relationships we have formed over many years, we are able to provide access to people and places the general public does not have. In addition to the profound interactions the program presents, A Week in Legal London also provides one-of-a-kind professional experiences. We will spend time behind the scenes with prominent judges, barristers and solicitors.

For more information, see

We hope to see you in Legal London!

New Standing Committee on Food Law

The Food Law Committee is a newly-formed Standing Committee of the Litigation Section, one of three, devoted to advancing a neutral forum for education and discussion concerning the growing body of law focused on food litigation, regulation and policy. Our active members are drawn not only from leading California attorneys representing and advising consumers and companies in litigation and regulatory counseling matters, but also from academia, science, and the bench.

We are currently planning numerous webinars addressing topics such as "Food Court" litigation, Prop 65, China Update, and Food Fraud, to name a few. The Litigation Section's 2015 California Litigation Review will feature analysis of the top food law cases and developments for 2014, and we plan on delivering to our members a weekly blog of case law summaries.

Members of the Litigation Section interested in taking a leading role in this committee, or just registering for an email distribution list, can contact the 2014-2015 Chairs Christopher G. Van Gundy (Keller and Heckman) or  Robert S. Niemann (Keller and Heckman), or 2014-2015 Vice-Chairs Rob Bader (Goodwin Procter) or Julie Hussey (Perkins Coie).  

Past Litigation Section Chair Robert M. Bodzin of Burnham Brown is a committee member and the liaison with the Litigation Section Executive Committee. He can be reached at State Bar Section Coordinator Mitch Wood oversees this committee on behalf of the Bar and he can be reached at


Webinar: Suing and Defending State and Local Public Entities: Dangerious Conditions of Public Property

Presented by the Public Law Section and the Litigation Section

Thursday, October 16, 2014, 12 noon - 1:30 p.m. Webinar

This program offers 1.5 participatory MCLE credit. You must register in advance in order to participate.

The Government Claims Act sets forth the unique elements that apply to suits against State and Local public entities for dangerous conditions of their property. These elements differ in important ways from premises liability suits brought against private property owners. This webinar will introduce the participants to legal and practical issues involved in suing and defending public entities under these highly specialized rules of law.


  • Kevin Reager
  • William R. Seligmann

Webinar: Core Skills Program: E-Discovery on a Shoestring

Presented by the Litigation Section

Thursday, October 23, 2014, 12 noon - 1 p.m. Webinar

This program offers 1 participatory MCLE credit. You must register in advance in order to participate.

E-discovery costs are exploding. Learn how to navigate the technical jargon and special e-discovery rules to make smart decisions to reduce the costs of digital discovery. In an hour, you will learn about:

  • How to avoid an angry client
  • Knowledge of efficient e-discovery as a competitive advantage
  • Steps clients can take to rein in costs
  • Effective early case evaluation
  • Assessing the imbalance of discovery burdens, and the potential for cost-shifting
  • Managing meet-and-confer sessions and case management conferences
  • Drafting e-discovery demands that get what you need at the lowest cost
  • Insider tips on e-discovery motions
  • Technologies that can lower costs
  • Smart contracting with e-discovery vendors


  • Michael Geibelson, Partner, Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, L.L.P., Los Angeles
  • Tom Greene, Special Trial Counsel, Federal Trade Commission, San Francisco
  • Rhonda Hjort, Senior Labor and Employment Counsel, Lucasfilm, Ltd., San Francisco
  • Michael Kelleher is a registered patent attorney and partner at Cogent Legal (, a litigation graphics and trial strategy firm based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Michael was formerly a litigation partner and head of the intellectual property practice at Folger Levin & Kahn where he litigated for 16 years. After leaving Folger Levin & Kahn, Michael served as general counsel for DS-IQ, an advertising technology startup. Michael is the editorial consultant for the LexisNexis Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California E-Discovery and Evidence.
  • James M. Lee, Lee Tran & Liang, Los Angeles

WebinarWhat Every Litigator Needs to Know about Appellate Mediation Web

Wednesday, November 5, 2014, 12 noon- 1 p.m.

This program offers one hour participatory MCLE Credit. You must register in advance in order to participate.

A primer on the appellate mediation process.  Learn: (1) How appellate mediation works; (2) When cases are selected; (3) Where it makes sense; (4) Why parties succeed.


  • Dana Curtis, Dana Curtis Mediation;
  • Brendon Ishikawa, Attorney, Court of Appeal 3rd District;
  • Gary Weiner, Principal Mediator, The Appellate Mediation Group

Webinar: Litigating a Human Trafficking Case in California

Presented by the Litigation Section

Tuesday, November 18, 2014, 12 noon - 1 p.m. Webinar

This program offers 1 participatory MCLE credit. You must register in advance in order to participate.

This webinar will include a general introduction about the trafficking issue in California; a segment on filing, litigating, settling and trying this type of case; a discussion of the substantive law; and a presentation about the wage and hour issues that arise in trafficking cases.


  • Dan Chaleff
  • Lawrence Glasner
  • Kevin Rehwald
  • Stephanie Richard, Policy and Legal Services, Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST), Los Angeles

Member Benefit -  "Giving a Deposition" Video 

Giving a Deposition” is a benefit of your membership in the Litigation Section. It will hopefully save you and your clients time and money, and allow you to prepare witnesses more effectively for their depositions.

The video is intended to be shown to witnesses who have not had their depositions taken before, or for whom a refresher course would be worthwhile. Through a series of vignettes, the video explains the deposition process and provides advice about how to answer questions carefully, truthfully, and in a manner that expedites the completion of the deposition. The video obviously does not replace diligent witness preparation by lawyers and staff, but facilitates deposition preparation so that the lawyer’s time can be spent on the merits.

For more information, see "Giving a Deposition".

Other News

2013 Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame Dinner

The Litigation Section is pleased to announce that Thomas J. McDermott, Jr. was inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame.

The reception and dinner in his honor and presentation of the award took place at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Hollywood on Saturday, June 22, 2013.

For more information, see 2013 Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame Dinner.

Advance Tapes: Special Offer to Litigation Section Members

Professor Steven FinzEvery two months, Professor Steven R. Finz issues a recorded talk in which he analyzes and discusses every decision published by the California state courts in the previous two months that is likely to be of interest to the busy litigator. The recordings in this series are titled Finz's ADVANCE TAPES on California Civil Procedure, Discovery, and Evidence, and are available as audio CD or audio tape.

The ordinary subscription price is $220 per year (six issues). But by arrangement with The Litigation Section, Professor Finz is making a special offer to Litigation Section Members. You can subscribe for half a year (three issues) for only $15. You'll also receive unlimited access to this website. . At the end of the introductory period, you will be given an opportunity to continue your subscription at a discounted price of $180 per year. BUT ONLY IF YOU SAY SO. Nothing will happen automatically.

For more information about this special offer, see Advance Tapes - Special Offer for Litigation Section Members.

E-Discovery Pocket Guide

In August, 2008, the Litigation Section of the California State Bar distributed to members its E-Discovery Pocket Guide which identifies specific issues and topics of which every California litigator, if not every lawyer, must be familiar and conversant. It includes ESI topics to discuss with clients, topics to discuss with opposing counsel at the meet and confer conference, and topics to cover in the initial case management conference with the court. The one page brochure is not exhaustive but illustrative of common issues and topics facing most civil litigators and courts.

California Litigation

California LitigationThe Litigation Section publishes California Litigation three times per year, under the supervision of the California Litigation Editorial Board. Each issue contains informative articles on themes of interest to litigators.

We have provided tables of contents from Volume 1, No. 1 to the present at California Litigation. And we have posted recent issues in our Members Only Area.

Copies of some back issues are still available. Please call 415- 538-2546 if you are interested in obtaining one or more.

California Litigation

California Litigation

California Litigation Review

California Litigation Review comes out annually and is sent to members of the Litigation Section as a benefit of membership. The Review provides an annual overview of developments of interest to California's civil litigators and a review of many areas of practice that we do not regularly encounter, but need to know!

We have  posted some back articles from  California Litigation Review in our Members Only Area.

For more information, see California Litigation Review.

Save Money with CEB

CEB Discount Program for Section MembersContinuing Education of the Bar, California (CEB) is extending some special discount offers to our section. As a member of the Litigation Section, you're eligible for:

  • 10% off selected CEB print or online books
  • A rebate on your section dues that can be applied to the cost of a CEB Gold CLE Passport or a CLE program ticket

A complete list of the products eligible for a discount is available on a CEB web page accessible through our Members Only Area. Information about the section dues rebate program can be found on the CEB Web site.

Contact Us

Litigation Section
State Bar of California
180 Howard Street
 San Francisco,  CA  94105-1639
FAX 415-538-2368

The Litigation Section is a State Bar of California-approved MCLE provider.

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