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Litigation Section

News from the Section

Litigation Update

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

Core Skills: Introduction of Business Records

Wednesday, May 27, 2015, 12 noon - 1 p.m.
San Jose Federal Courthouse
Courtroom 3 (Honorable Beth Labson Freeman)
280 South 1st Street
San Jose, CA, 95113

In-Person Registration ONLY! Fee: $45.00

1-hour of CLE credit is available for this program

The panel consists of a federal judge and two extremely knowledgeable advocates who will explain (1) what business records are; (2) what business records are not (and how to spot the issues); and (3) how to successfully get business records into evidence, including laying the foundation and responding to objections.

This program will include a demonstration by the panelists in a realistic courtroom setting. Approach introduction of business records with confidence after attending this program. Anyone who has ever struggled with the business records rule or wants to hone her skills in introducing evidence should attend.


  • Honorable Beth Labson Freeman, Judge, U. S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • Raoul D. Kennedy, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
  • Douglas S. Saeltzer, Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger
  • W. George Wailes (Moderator), Carr McClellan P.C.

Attacking and Defending Experts after Sargon

Monday, June 1, 2015, 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. PDT
State Bar of California
180 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

Online Registration ONLY! Fee: $45.00.

Live-Streaming from Your Own Computer! Fee: $65.00.

1-hour of CLE credit is available for this program

An estimated 80% of all cases that go to trial in California involve one or more experts. The California Supreme Court's decision in Sargon v. University of Southern California significantly changed the standards for the admissibility of expert opinion in California trial courts. Using an innovative argument structure to make key points, an experienced trial judge and two outstanding trial lawyers will provide key insights into Sargon and its progeny. You will learn:

  • How Sargon compares to prior California practice and the federal Daubert/Kuhmo Tire standards
  • How to defend your experts after Sargon
  • How to use Sargon to attack your opponent's expert
  • Practical tips on how to use Sargon effectively in your own practice


  • Hon. Ernest Goldsmith, Judge of the Superior Court, San Francisco
  • Susan Harriman, Partner, Keker & Van Nest LLP, San Francisco
  • Philip Gregory, Principal, Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, Burlingame
  • Thomas Greene (Moderator), Special Trial Counsel, Federal Trade Commission

Webinar: What Should Food Law Be?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015. 12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m.

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

Category: Litigation A diverse panel of experts representing the perspectives of an NGO (Public Justice), academia (Brooklyn Law School), in-house attorneys and the consumer and defense bars, will engage in a normative inquiry of whether "food law," as that term has been currently used, should be viewed and treated differently than other areas of the law. The panel may also address such issues as what role should the government play at the local, state and federal levels; what role should litigation have in determination food law and policy; whether politics should play a role; and should we be concerned about regulatory capture?


  • Leslie Brueckner
  • Marsha Garrison
  • Michael Reese
  • Charles Sipos
  • Melissa Wolchansky

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

Coaching for the New Practitioner. What They Didn't Teach You in Law School

Earn 2.0 Hours MCLE Credit

This program will provide direction and advice from three accomplished judges on the unwritten rules and best practices for courtroom conduct, communication with other counsel and the impact of your overall approach to the law practice and your community reputation.

San Francisco
Thursday, June 4, 2015
The State Bar of California
180 Howard Street, 4th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105

Click here for details

Register Online

Los Angeles
Thursday, July 16, 2015
The State Bar of California
845 S. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Click here for details

Register Online

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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