San Diego: Here We Come!

Julie Gossett

Julie Gossett

JHQ Director of Communications

A LONG TIME COMING

After years of searching for the right location and the ideal Premier Member, I think I can speak for the entire JHQ Community when I say WE ARE THRILLED to finally announce that our San Diego HQ is now a reality. Opening August 2022, the San Diego HQ will be located in Mission Valley.

SINGLETON SCHREIBER JOINS THE JHQ FAMILY

Brett Schreiber has been an individual member of Justice HQ since July of 2020. Since day one, Brett has deeply believed in JHQ, his fellow members, and the power of community. He has continuously gone above and beyond for others, and his peers even nominated him for JHQ Member of the Month in November 2021.

“Brett Schreiber is a selfless, giving, rockstar – who ALWAYS takes your call and will talk your ear off about YOUR case.  His verdicts – and personal care for his clients – speak for themselves.” – Matthew Clendenin, JHQ San Diego Member

Our team has gotten to know Gerald Singleton on our many trips to and from San Diego while touring potential HQ locations. Gerald’s attitude and approach to life and the law are equal parts admirable and impressive. Throughout his career, Gerald has maintained a substantial pro bono and civil rights practice and has always championed the cause of the individual against the government and corporate abuses.

“The entire team at Singleton & Schreiber are true representatives of people, through and through. Their website says, “FEARLESS ADVOCACY” and that is absolutely who they are: fearless advocates. I’d be willing to bet there is not a courtroom in all of San Diego that they haven’t tried a case or argued an appeal in. In addition to being talented, passionate lawyers, they are incredibly kind and generous human beings.” – Kacie Vinel, JHQ San Diego Member

Brett, Gerald, and the entire team at Singleton Schreiber now proudly call themselves Premier Members of Justice HQ, joining the Simon Law Group, Dordick Law, MVP Accident Attorneys, and Dolan Law.

“No one is ever successful without a team. We’re fortunate to have built a deep bench, but we are truly excited to be able to extend it further as Premier Members of SD JHQ. Collaboration is key, and we look forward to continuing to work with our friends and colleagues in our community.” – Brett Schreiber, JHQ Premier Member

ABOUT THE SPACE

The San Diego HQ is located at 591 Camino de la Reina, #1020, San Diego, CA 92108. This space will feature eight reservable private offices and three reservable conference rooms of varying sizes. With multiple lounge areas and café seating, this space will have a familiar layout and vibe of our other HQ locations our members have come to know and love. And yes… there will be cold brew!

This location also includes a free parking lot and a covered garage for members and guests, and it is conveniently located with easy freeway access. We’re only about 5 miles away from Downtown San Diego.

“I’m looking forward to having a physical space in San Diego to work out of and meet with clients. The collaboration and connection that happens amongst attorneys in the physical offices is special and I’m looking forward to connecting with our San Diego colleagues.” – Jessica Collins, JHQ San Diego Member

Singleton Schreiber’s new main office space is located across the hall from the JHQ suite, and we share our common areas. Our members can expect to see the Singleton Schreiber team frequently on-site to talk shop.

“San Diego is known for its beaches and bays – and by extension, our legal community recognizes that a rising tide floats us all. We look forward to the SD HQ carrying on that vibe, being a place for true support and real collaboration, and being the only HQ with an ocean view!” – Brett Schreiber, JHQ Premier Member

FLEXIBILITY OF MEMBERSHIPS

Our members can also enjoy the freedom of working and networking at all HQ locations as part of their membership. By the end of Summer 2022, all Justice HQ members will have access to Downtown Los Angeles HQ, Santa Ana HQ, Torrance HQ, and San Diego HQ.

“As I am expanding my firm, JHQ has helped me shape the way I want to run my law firm – e.g., a hybrid in-office/virtual law firm with flexible work schedules for my staff.  We have already utilized the different JHQ offices to meet with clients, trial prep or simply a place to work for a few hours. JHQ’s benefits are perfect for my firm’s needs right now.” – Angie Chun, JHQ San Diego Member

Beyond just physical space access, our members elevate their practices by leveraging their memberships.

“JHQ has empowered me to take on civil cases from the outset.  Once I signed a couple, settled a couple, I felt more comfortable taking the next leap – trials! And JHQ has again empowered me to take that leap and try a case. I’m currently set for mid-July with JHQ NorCal Member, Casey Hultin. Without JHQ, I would not feel ready to (somewhat blindly agree) to take on a case like this. I’ve been able to learn as I go, ask questions, and get invaluable tips from fellow members.” – Michael Hawkins, JHQ San Diego Member

If you believe in moving law forward, together – our applications are open. Chat with our team about a membership, speak with those in our community, and learn why our members are so damn proud to be a part of the Justice HQ family. Reach out to us at info@justicehq.com.

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Top 7 Reasons To Go Solo in 2021

Conor Granahan, Michelle Fonseca-Kamana, Taly Goody, and Alexis Gamliel sat down (remotely, à la pandemic) and put their heads together to bring you their experience-based insight on founding, managing, and operating their very own law firms.

Welcoming Kristine Gallo to Justice HQ

Justice HQ, both as a community and as a company, has grown significantly since its inception. But to really take JHQ to the next level, we wanted to expand our team and include someone who knows this industry like the back of her hand.

We are beyond thrilled to formally announce that Kristine Gallo has joined the Justice HQ Team as our new Director of Membership! Prior to bringing her unique talents to Justice HQ, Kristine worked for more than 20 years in the legal field. Most recently, she was the Executive Director/Marketing for a prestigious law firm where she oversaw all aspects of the firm’s logistics, programs, strategic planning, and brand management during a period of significant growth for the firm.

As our Director of Membership, Kristine is charged with developing and enhancing programs along with creating innovative events for community engagement to benefit all JHQ members. Additionally, she is involved in the growth of our Premier Memberships and Mentorship Programs and will be spearheading JHQ’s Vendor Partner Program to magnify member resources. Given her energy and work ethic, there is no doubt that Kristine’s role will expand as she becomes familiar with the needs of our members.

Outside of work, Kristine sits on the Board of Directors for Los Angeles Trial Lawyers’ Charities, an organization which works with more than 106 partner charities on issues related to education, children, survivors of abuse, persons with disabilities and homelessness. Kristine’s involvement includes being a co-chair of the Direct Giving Committee as well as being a co-chair of the charity’s annual Golf Tournament. She is particularly proud that her dedication to the organization’s mission led her to be selected as the first non-attorney board member. In addition, she has received the organization’s Presidential Award for Outstanding Service.

And don’t worry! Julie Gossett isn’t going anywhere. Involved with Justice HQ since our initial launch, Julie was our original Director of Membership. She laid the groundwork for many of our current programs, built out the onboarding for new members, and was able to keep this community strong and connected (even during a pandemic).

In the last year, Julie’s involvement with JHQ evolved into a dual role focused on both membership and marketing activities when she launched our internal Media Team. With Kristine on board, Julie will officially transition into our new Director of Communications which will allow her to focus on the overall marketing and branding of the company while continuing to expand our internal Media Team and its offerings to our members.

Please join us in welcoming Kristine Gallo to our team and congratulating Julie on her new role within the company. Our community could not be more excited about the future of Justice HQ.

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San Diego: Here We Come!

A LONG TIME COMING After years of searching for the right location and the ideal Premier Member, I think I can

Top 7 Reasons To Go Solo in 2021

Conor Granahan, Michelle Fonseca-Kamana, Taly Goody, and Alexis Gamliel sat down (remotely, à la pandemic) and put their heads together to bring you their experience-based insight on founding, managing, and operating their very own law firms.

Top 7 Reasons To Go Solo in 2021

Conor Granahan

Conor
Granahan

Granahan Law, P.C.

Michelle Fonseca-Kamana

Michelle Fonseca-Kamana

West Coast Lemons

Taly Goody

Taly
Goody

Goody Law Group

Alexis Gamliel

Alexis
Gamliel

Gamliel Law, P.C.

Conor Granahan, Michelle Fonseca-Kamana, Taly Goody, and Alexis Gamliel sat down (remotely, à la pandemic) and put their heads together to bring you their experience-based insight on founding, managing, and operating their very own law firms. This article is their brainchild. Conor kicks us off with his thoughts, and Michelle, Taly, and Alexis sprinkle in their “pro tips” for those interested in launching their own solo practice in 2021. 

Conor: Go solo in 2021! It sounds scary. Even saying “going solo” sounds like you are heading out into the woods on a personal quest, perhaps never to return. But this is one of the unique things about being a licensed professional: You are able to work for yourself.

If you want to be an entrepreneur, work remotely, control your work, choose your clients, be creative, join a community, and develop a brand, then solo work is for you.

1. BE AN ENTREPRENEUR

Conor: You are your own startup! You already have the idea: a law practice. In relative terms for businesses, the startup costs are very low for a solo, especially with remote work.

Now for the fun part – you get to do it how you want because it is your business. You get to choose your practice areas, your market, your clients, and your target revenue. You get to create ideas for case strategy, advertising, and marketing.

You get to learn how to run a business. This is a skill that transfers to any other professional pursuit you undertake. Working out a budget and revenue targets to grow my practice has given me a great deal of professional satisfaction. I am always learning and want to keep learning to get better and more efficient at the business side of the practice to serve my clients well.

Pro Tip from Michelle: Keep your overhead low. As solo practitioners, we have the opportunity to be very resourceful. Keeping your operating budget low will not only help you survive that first year, it will set you up to run a cost-efficient law firm in the future. 

Pro Tip from Taly: If you’ve always wanted to be a business owner or a leader, here’s your chance! Going solo and starting your own law practice is your business – it’s also your baby.  Watch your baby (business) grow and have fun with it!

Pro Tip from Alexis: While it is important to have an “entrepreneurial spirit” to foster innovation, the driving force behind my firm continues to be excellent work product and client-focused care. It can be easy to get caught up in business development tasks, the hype of social media, and other ways to achieve growth – sometimes too much “entrepreneurship” can create too much noise. Knowing when to mute the business development and turn up the volume on the casework is key. Plus, keeping your eyes on the prize of quality legal work is never bad for business.

2. WORK REMOTELY AS MUCH (OR AS LITTLE) AS YOU’D LIKE

Conor: Any stigma for remote legal work is gone. Entry level opportunities for remote offices in 2021 are everywhere. You can start with a mail drop, a virtual office, an office share, or a sublease before deciding whether to have a permanent space. Even before Zoom depositions and mediations, court reporters and mediators had conference rooms for you to use. You don’t need a dedicated space for that. Justice HQ offers a unique opportunity for a solo to get an enormous amount of resources like office space and conference rooms while growing your own practice.

For me, remote means that where I do my daily work does not have to be where I get mail or where I meet clients. I can work at home or in an office close to home without a long commute. I maintain a presence in downtown San Francisco for the more traditional legal things like mail, paper file storage, and in-person meetings.

Pro Tip from Michelle: Virtual law firms are IN! Use the pandemic to your advantage. If a client happens to ask you why you don’t have a traditional brick-and-mortar office, tell them you found it wasn’t worth the expense during the pandemic when everyone had to work remotely, and now you’re able to provide legal services at a much more reasonable rate now that there is less overhead to pay for. Who can complain about getting affordable, high-quality legal services?!

Pro Tip from Taly: Can we say goodbye to work commute traffic forever?!  At my prior job, I used to commute a total of 3 hours a day.  Considering the lifestyle changes that came with opening my own law firm, I can’t imagine going back to 3-hour commutes ever again.  Having the choice to work virtually or closer to home is a huge advantage to going solo.

Pro Tip from Alexis: If the pandemic has taught us anything as professionals, it is the importance of agility. Learning how to adapt to changes in the practice – and to take advantage of technology – is crucial; taking certain aspects of the practice “remote” has become more widespread, more comfortable, and more acceptable in the milieu of the pandemic. Appearing remotely via Zoom or other platforms benefits us (in terms of convenience) and ultimately, our cases and our clients (with regard to cost-saving). Thus, it serves us well to take advantage of the remote world. While I prefer to work in an office setting (as opposed to a home office) for my daily work, I frequently incorporate the benefits of remote appearances, depositions, and meetings. For example, for certain brief client meetings which pre-pandemic might have consisted of a phone call, I now take advantage of hosting a Zoom call for the meeting – this allows me to see my client “face-to-face,” assess body language, elicit more salient information, and build a deeper emotional connection. Moving forward, I will continue to weave in remote meetings, depositions, mediations, and court appearances – to the extent they serve my clients’ best interests. I highly recommend integrating “remoting in” as a means of convenience and utility, where appropriate (for instance, for hearings like Case Management Conferences and other less contentious hearings). However, into the future, I would not recommend using remote appearances as a crutch to avoid attending substantive meetings, depositions, or important hearings in person. We should all use our best judgment to recognize when an appearance warrants an in-person cameo for more gravitas and impact. 

3. LOVE THE WAY YOU WORK

Conor: Wherever you set up your workspace, you get to control how you work. You have the flex schedule to do other things that matter. I like to work a few hours in the morning uninterrupted, so I set my meetings in the afternoons. I can take time off on a weekday for things in my life outside of work and shift the work to another time. I don’t have to ask permission to take a day off or a vacation. I am accountable to myself to get the work done, which makes me love the work I do.

Pro Tip from Taly: A major plus is the flexibility you have with the way you work.  If you need to make those doctor appointments, have family obligations, or just need a mental health day, it’s your choice to take that time off.  Loving the way you work, on your own terms, leads to finding work life balance and making time for what’s important to you.

Pro Tip from Alexis: As with any loving relationship, your relationship with your practice takes work. Finetuning the best schedule to fit your needs requires knowing yourself. Curate your space and your schedule to suit your case needs and personal preferences. While being your own boss allows extensive freedom, staying disciplined becomes that much more important. Set a schedule and follow it. Create time-sensitive goals for yourself on each of your cases. 

4. CHOOSE YOUR CLIENTS

Conor: Solos excel at customer service for clients. First, you choose your own clients. Second, you are the client contact. This builds trust for when they need you to advise them about how to resolve the case.

For those who have practiced without being client facing, it takes away the human element. When I was at a large defense firm, I was not client facing and the client was just a name on the file. As a solo on the plaintiff side for many years, it’s still a pretty cool feeling when a client sits across from me and decides to hire me to solve their problem.

Pro Tip from Michelle: As tempting as it is to take on every new client that comes through the door, an important aspect of being a solo practitioner is learning how and when to say no. Trust me, certain clients are not worth the headache, and you’ll thank yourself for learning that lesson sooner rather than later.

5. CREATE YOUR VISION

Conor: This is your opportunity to create your vision for your law firm.  Set the tone for client interactions, market and brand your firm, and be creative in how you deploy your time and energy in a case. You have the ability to use technology to automate tasks and find ways to work efficiently on your own terms. 

Pro Tip from Taly: One of the benefits of owning a law practice is the ability to create your vision and bring that vision to reality. Tailor your marketing tactics to match your brand. Whether that’s creating your website, getting creative on social media, or building your professional network. When it comes to marketing, use your style and authenticity to bring your brand to life. Don’t be shy to get creative, but also don’t feel pressured to do what everyone else is doing.  

Pro Tip from Alexis: You can get creative with your vision in a variety of ways – after all, a law firm is a multi-faceted business operation. When creating your “brand” (from the logo, to the color scheme, to the messaging – and everything in between), you have the opportunity to develop a business that is an extension of yourself. When it comes to your brand’s image, you get to choose the colors that make you happy, design a logo that you love, post images that capture the essence of “you,” and put out messages that align with your core values. As I felt when I first started my firm, when you look at your letterhead, you will feel abundantly proud if you invest the time in cultivating your creative vision.

6. EMBRACE YOUR COMMUNITY

Conor: Solos can band together. It is counterintuitive, but when you are working alone, your professional connections are going to be people outside of your firm. If you are in a large firm or company, you may only connect with those people on a daily basis. Other solos are in the same position as you and you are both are ready to share ideas. Solos can band together for advice or to partner on a case, but still keep a separate business structure. Justice HQ is an office share that get its and and fosters this community.

Pro Tip from Michelle: Find your tribe! Being a solo practitioner can be lonely, so finding a group of encouraging, inspiring, and skilled attorneys to surround yourself with will not only be good for your mental health, it will make you a better attorney and business owner in the process.

Pro Tip from Taly: Don’t be afraid to reach out when you need help! The legal community has a lot of welcoming colleagues to help you in your early days going solo.  We’ve all been there – and are more than happy to provide some feedback to specific concerns or questions you may have along the way!

7. SET YOUR OWN GOALS

Conor: You get to set your goals. There is no one answer for what this means as a solo. It can be the foundation for building a larger practice with associates or partners. It can be a set book of clients with a steady income stream.

Pro Tip from Michelle: Instead of working towards building someone else’s dream, as a solo practitioner you are building your dream and taking control of your life and that is a beautiful thing. The way you choose to run your law firm will not only impact the way your professional life unfolds, but it can also allow you to have that ever elusive work-life balance.  

Pro Tip from Taly: Each goal you set is not only helping your clients and building your law firm, but you are ultimately investing in yourself.  You can set monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals. Watching your goals come to fruition is a feeling that can’t be beat!

THE WRAP-UP

Conor: If you are contemplating going solo in 2021 (or beyond!), want more information, or are ready to go, please feel free to contact any of us or the other wonderful solos in our Justice HQ community.

Virtual offices are in, and partnership tracks at other law firms are probably out (especially after the pandemic), so this is arguably the best time to go solo. Take control of your personal and professional life, work towards building your dream, and meet a lot of amazing solo practitioners in the process.

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San Diego: Here We Come!

A LONG TIME COMING After years of searching for the right location and the ideal Premier Member, I think I can

Top 7 Reasons To Go Solo in 2021

Conor Granahan, Michelle Fonseca-Kamana, Taly Goody, and Alexis Gamliel sat down (remotely, à la pandemic) and put their heads together to bring you their experience-based insight on founding, managing, and operating their very own law firms.

Justice HQ March member, Christa Ramey

Q&A With March Member of the Month: Christa Ramey

Justice HQ is proud to announce our 2021 March Member of the Month: Christa Ramey! Christa’s peers nominated her because she endlessly encourages those around her and is a great representation of the JHQ family. Her fellow members also value both the meaningful conversations she brings to the Women of JHQ roundtables and her intense legal knowledge and insight she shares with the community.

“Christa makes the women of JHQ particularly proud by being an outstanding member of the community. She is constantly sharing her legal knowledge and insight!”   – Alexis Gamliel, Gamliel Law, Justice HQ Member

 In 2004, Christa opened her own law practice to exclusively represent injured plaintiffs and consumers. In 2016, Christa and her husband, John Ramey, joined forces to create Ramey Law P.C. – the two have been representing clients in the areas of personal injury, construction defects, business litigation, and civil rights (including school bullying and abuse) ever since. Ramey Law P.C. maintains an office in Los Angeles, California, but Christa can often be found at the Downtown LA HQ.

You opened up your own firm in 2004, just 4 years after passing the California bar. What was that experience like as a relatively new lawyer? 

I realized at some point that if I was working for a big firm, I was never going to get the opportunity to try a case on my own.  So, I just decided to do it one day.  If I did not have the support of John Ramey – it would not be possible at that time.  I started out primarily doing contract work and appeals.  I eventually started getting opportunities to second chair trials or try small cases for other attorneys.  It all worked out; I think I always knew if it did not work out, I would get hired again.  

According to reports from the National Association of Women Lawyers – only 20% of equity partners are women, despite making up 50% of the law school population for the last decade. Why do you think we so rarely see women partners at bigger, more established law firms – and did that influence your decision to start your own firm? 

I think women are natural entrepreneurs, but we are in a profession that is dominated by male-owned firms.  And I think women worry about family differently.  We think we need to work for a firm to have that security for our family and children.  In reality, I had more freedom and was there more for my family when I went on my own.  I left my job in late 2004 because I was told I could not take off a few days around the Thanksgiving Holiday. I decided to go anyway – family is too important.  Kids are only young for a second.  I can now say I have made more money doing this on my own; I have felt more secure; I did not miss a Little League game, water polo match, cheer performance, or any important event in their lives.  I know that this would have been different if I was not in control of my own destiny.   

You’re heavily involved in the legal community – Chair for the Women’s Caucus for CAOC, and Chair of the Plaintiff Trial Academy for CAALA. Why do you believe it’s so important for attorneys to be involved in their greater community? 

I benefited greatly because of mentors in the legal community.  When I was a baby lawyer, I was told by my old bosses at Rose, Klein & Marias to get involved – and I did! I naturally gravitate toward helping – I think this is true for most lawyers.  The giving back of your time is very important.  I do this regularly in the legal community and also through philanthropic organizations as well – I am a member of Rotary International and a past president of my Rotary Club.

You’re known in the JHQ Community as someone who takes on Bullying & Abuse cases. Why do you think you gravitate towards those types of cases? 

I have been bullied.  My daughter was bullied.  I was so angry when it happened to her – I started learning about what parents can do. I started writing blog posts and that eventually led to getting more cases.  

We get to see you as a regular commentator on CourtTV – discussing everything from Ruth Bader Ginsburg tributes to the Ahmaud Arbery case. What has that experience been like for you, and do you see yourself taking on more commentator roles in the future? 

I love doing this, and I am good at it! It is so much fun.  I have always wanted to have my own show on CNN.  My goal this year is to at least be on Don Lemon’s show by the end of the year.  Maybe I will get discovered and be a regular!

Outside of the law – what do you enjoy doing?

In addition to obviously being a fantastic mixologist, I am a fantastic cook.  I learned how to cook Middle Eastern food at a young age by my Great-grandmother and Grandma.  I adapted one of their recipes and ended up cooking in the Food Network Kitchens for a feature on the Cooking Channel.  If I was not a lawyer, I would be a restaurant chef/owner.

To get in touch with Christa, you can visit https://www.rameylawpc.com/ [or email her directly at Christa@rameylawpc.com ]

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San Diego: Here We Come!

A LONG TIME COMING After years of searching for the right location and the ideal Premier Member, I think I can

Top 7 Reasons To Go Solo in 2021

Conor Granahan, Michelle Fonseca-Kamana, Taly Goody, and Alexis Gamliel sat down (remotely, à la pandemic) and put their heads together to bring you their experience-based insight on founding, managing, and operating their very own law firms.

Solo but Not Alone: Why Being Part of a Strong Legal Community is so Important

Steve Rosen

Rosen Law Offices

For more than 7 years, Stephen N. Rosen worked as a defense counselor for companies dealing with personal injury lawsuits. During that time, Mr. Rosen saw the enormous impact injuries had on their victims and their families. Wanting to help real people and not just big companies, Stephen decided to shift his career in a new direction. Now he runs Rosen Law Offices as a Dana Point personal injury lawyer dedicated to helping victims of injury.

I started my career at a large insurance defense firm.  For a young (and naïve) attorney just out of law school, the firm provided me with mentors to answer any questions that came up.  It also provided me with like-minded friends for lunches and happy hours to help blow off steam from an active litigation practice.  After a little more than seven years of litigation practice, I made the righteous leap to the good side. I opened my own firm and found myself working as a solo practitioner.    I went from mentors, lunches, and happy hours – to business ownership, staff management, and the ultimate responsibility of seeking justice for my clients.  It was a pretty significant, and lonely, change. 

Like a lot of solo practitioners, over the next five years, I found myself desperately seeking a partnership.  I felt I needed someone else to help with the work and the stress associated with running an active practice.  Most of all – I needed companionship; someone I could talk to, relate to, and bounce ideas off of.

Over the years, I have found mild comfort in the simple fact that I am not alone. The loneliness of being a solo is something felt throughout the legal industry.  It doesn’t have to be this way.

No Man is an Island Entire of Itself – John Donne (and Bon Jovi)

Late 2019, I found myself sitting at a bar at the Millennium Biltmore following the first day of a great law conference.  As luck would have it, next to me was one of the best advocate attorneys and someone that seemed bigger than life to me.  I told him that I had watched one of his recent closings and he wound up sitting and talking to me for nearly two hours about life as an advocate attorney.  That night – Chris Dolan changed my professional life.

During our conversation, he told me that I wasn’t alone.  He said that practice as a solo is, by nature, lonely. He encouraged me to go to join plaintiff bar organizations (like CAALA and OCTLA), attend events, meet similar people, and make bonds that would help my own growth.  He told me that he would be there for me if I ever had questions. He even gave me his cell phone number!

Who Knew They Meant It?

As a solo attorney, and as someone new to the plaintiffs’ bar, you may find yourself at a legal conference listening to big name practitioners tell you that they will be there for you – just ask them anything, anytime.  It seems genuine – but also scary as hell.  These people can’t really be offering to mentor hundreds of total strangers, can they?  Who was I to these giant names? Do they really believe “a rising tide lifts all ships,” or are they just trying to get me to send them cases?  I was skeptical. 

Following that faithful night at the Biltmore, I’ve spent a lot of time at other people’s trial openings/closings. I’ve attended as many seminars (now webinars) as COVID would allow. I’ve put myself out there, sent emails, and I’ve made great friends.

My one take-away: Despite my skepticism, it turns out that there are actually people in our community willing to help, and at no cost to you.  You just need to find the right ones.  

It’s Not Just About Getting a Sample MSJ Opposition

No doubt that getting sample pleadings or dirt on a common defense expert is really cool!  It saves time, energy, and helps you find comfort in the mindset that maybe you aren’t screwing everything up.  But if you find yourself only asking for help with work product, you’ll find yourself in the same lonely boat as before. 

Being part of a community isn’t only about getting the cliff notes.  It’s also about being part of… well, a community.  Unlike many other fields, being a litigation attorney comes with an ever-changing minefield of variables.  We deal with some great and some very difficult attorneys. We deal with large companies that spend endless hours strategically planning on how to, on a broad level, make our lives difficult.  We deal with experts that are paid millions of dollars to say our clients are liars, and they are often REALLY good at it.

We can get lost in the minefield.

The benefit of being part of a community of like-minded practitioners is that you can get ideas of what has worked in the past.  The benefit of being part of a GREAT community is you’ll have brilliant minds helping to brainstorm how to lift you above the minefield.

Everything’s Gonna Be OK

Dealing with minefields can be tiring.  Dealing with abusive attorneys can be frustrating. That’s why finding a community wasn’t just about progressing professionally for me.  It was about protecting and promoting my own mental health and overall well-being.

Despite everything happening over the last year, I consider myself incredibly lucky. I’ve had some remarkable experiences that have truly changed how I practice. I searched for guidance, met great people, and ultimately found a home – and family – with Justice HQ.

*** If you’re a solo attorney or new to the plaintiffs’ bar – feel free to reach out to me with any questions. I’m always happy to speak to anyone who may read this and feel like they’re in a similar position and looking for guidance, a friend, or just an honest conversation.

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San Diego: Here We Come!

A LONG TIME COMING After years of searching for the right location and the ideal Premier Member, I think I can

Top 7 Reasons To Go Solo in 2021

Conor Granahan, Michelle Fonseca-Kamana, Taly Goody, and Alexis Gamliel sat down (remotely, à la pandemic) and put their heads together to bring you their experience-based insight on founding, managing, and operating their very own law firms.

Justice HQ members meeting in conference room

Creative Networking for Law Students During the Pandemic

Katherine V. Lizardo

Law Office of Katherine V. Lizardo

Katherine V. Lizardo has been a licensed attorney in California for over 12 years. During such time, she worked as a defense attorney at law firms where she gained insights on how cases are evaluated and handled by the “other side.”

In 2018, she opened her own law firm in Cerritos, California. She is now a plaintiff’s attorney serving clients throughout California, specializing in business law and transactions, estate planning, and personal injury.

You’re starting law school during the pandemic, and it’s not really how you imagined it to be. You’re taking classes online. You’re not interacting with your professors and other law students on campus. Heck, you’re not even seeing the campus at all! It’s understandable that you might not feel too excited about all of these. I hear you. You are faced with many challenges as a law student amid the pandemic. One of them is how to effectively network that creates personal connections without meeting anyone in person. This blog provides some creative suggestions.

Networking is critical now while you are still in law school. Disruption from the coronavirus pandemic includes the legal industry. Law firms have seen pay cuts, furloughs, and even massive layoffs. This leaves law school graduates in limbo. Half of law firms that hired law school graduates have either delayed their start date or not even established one yet, according to the June 2020 survey of the National Association for Law Placement. Even worse, nearly half (49%) of law schools reported that some of their graduates had their post-graduate employment offers rescinded. What does this mean for you? This means that you must act now to ensure that you have some form of employment when you graduate.

If you google “networking for law students during the pandemic,” most advice you’ll read are these:

1.         Set up virtual meetings;

2.         Attend virtual conferences and webinars;

3.         Increase your social media presence; and

4.         Do some writing of your own.

These are excellent tips. You should definitely try them and see which ones work for you. Be aware though that others are similarly doing them. There’s nothing wrong with that. But what if you could stand out from others? That would increase your chances of creating a more meaningful and result-oriented network. 

Let me give you an example. In college, I interned for a professor who had 100 other interns. Five or more students would be in his office at the same time, coming and going throughout the day, regardless if the professor were in his office. And when he was in the office, he barely spoke to anyone. He made it known that he did not want to be bothered. I was hoping for a letter of recommendation at the end of my internship. I truly wanted him to know me as a hardworking intern, but I also did not want to bother his busy schedule with my conversations. How would he remember me from the many students he saw daily and did not interact with? My solution was this. Every time I walked into his office, I said, “Hi Professor. It’s Katherine.” He would look up from his stack of papers, give me a nod without saying a word, and return back to his work. I would then sit quietly and diligently working on his research. I did this whenever I was scheduled for my internship. Every. Single. Time. At the end of my internship, when I asked the professor for a letter of recommendation, he replied, “I remember you. You kept repeating your name.” I had a stellar letter of rec!

The ability to think outside the box is a skill you need to develop. It doesn’t have to be outrageous. Sometimes, the simplest but genuine gesture makes a big difference. Here are some concepts to remember: act, repeat, and plant a seed.

ACT:

First, act. As Wayne Gretzky famously said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” If you want to reach out to someone, do it. 

For example, if you’re interested in practicing personal injury, look up personal injury lawyers in your area. Send them a short, handwritten note that says something like this: “Dear Personal Injury Lawyer, I’m a first-year law student at Law School X. Your website mentioned that you went to the same law school. I am interested in personal injury law and would love to hear your thoughts about it. Would you be available for a 15-minute chat over the phone or Zoom? My cell phone number is (123) 456-7890 and my email is Student@lawschool.com. I look forward to talking to you. Sincerely, Law Student.”

Your note is handwritten for a personalized touch. Most people send emails. But most lawyers receive tons of emails a day, and your email might get buried with your first try to connect. By mentioning that you both went to the same law school, you not only mentioned something in common, but also that you took the time to look them up. 

If you send 100 of these handwritten notes, 2 people might respond. Those 2 people are vital. They could introduce you to other lawyers. They could provide you with new resources. They could even give you a job. You only need one job after all.

You can send these handwritten notes to speakers of webinars you attended, to people you follow on social media, to your law professors, to authors of your law school books, to your career counselors at school, to presidents of bar associations, to authors of blogs you’ve read (hint, hint!), the list goes on. Don’t be deterred by their stature. Many successful, well-known individuals want to help. All you need to do is reach out.

REPEAT:

Second, repeat. Constant, repetitive connection makes a big difference in creating a lasting relationship with your network. For example, set a calendar reminder on your phone on when to connect with the 2 people who responded to you. Perhaps at the beginning of each month, send them a short email. Since they know you by then, your email will likely be read and responded to this time. Your email could be about your thoughts on a recent court decision on personal injury (to show your interest in the area), your reaction to a recent news article about their firm (to show you continue to read about them), or an update about you (to get to know you on a personal level). 

A law student I know used to email top entertainment lawyers her thoughts on new entertainment case law. After graduating, she became one of the most connected entertainment lawyers among her peers. Out of sight, out of mind. You want to be frequently remembered.

PLANT A SEED:

Third, plant a seed. You might be asking, “What about the 98 people who didn’t respond?” Some of them saw and read your handwritten note. You have planted a seed. You can send them a follow-up email that mentions the note you mailed. This would be your second point of contact – this goes to repetition. If you sent them a thank you note for the webinar you attended, and you attended another webinar of theirs, send them another thank you note. That’s another point of contact. They’ll start remembering you as the attendee who always send them a thank you card. If you see them someday in person, you can use your thank you note as an “ice breaker” to initiate a conversation. The point is, don’t focus on what you might perceive as a lack of result because they did not respond now. Instead, focus on the fact that you actually made a conscious decision to act in the first place. 

As you build your network, make sure to start compiling their contact information in Word, Excel, or whatever database you’d like to use. You will continue to add to this as your network grows. It will also make it easier for you to reach out to them in the future when you are looking for employment.

These are a few suggestions. I have more but I don’t want to bore you with a long blog. If you want to know about my other tips, or if you want to bounce ideas on an “outside the box” idea you have, I welcome you to reach out to me.

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