Number of cases tried: 70
Number of appeals handled: 40
Education: J.D., Lewis and Clark Northwestern School of Law, Portland, Oregon, 1981; Hastings College of Law, San Francisco, California; B.A., Political Science, Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, California, 1978 (Awarded Honors in Major)
- Fox v. Kramer (2000) 22 Cal. 4th 531
- Sarchett v. Blue Shield of Cal. (1987) 43 Cal. 3d 1
- Curtis v. Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (2003) 110 Cal.App.4th 796
- Schimmel v. Norcal Mut. Ins. Co. (1995) 39 Cal.App.4th 1282
- Dumas v. Cooney (1992) 235 Cal.App.3d 1593
- Aronson v. Superior Court (1987) 191 Cal.App.3d 294
- U.S. v. Lipper 81-1 U.S Tax Cas. (CCH) P 9330, 47 A.F.T.R.2d (RIA) 1289 (N.D. Cal. 1981)
- Kunz v. Patterson Floor Coverings, Inc. (2002) 67 Cal. Comp. Cases 1588
How I got into law: My father was a lawyer, as was my Grandfather. It was always assumed that I would go to law school. I became enthusiastic about the law when I transferred to Hastings College of the Law. While at Hastings, I worked as chief law clerk in the Tax Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. One weekend, while I was alone on the office, I answered a telephone call. An informant reported that a taxpayer had evaded paying taxes for years, had liquidated his holdings, and was about to flee the country. I prepared a petition for issuance of a writ ne exeat republica, which I presented to my mentors Monday morning. The writ issued and the taxpayer attempting to flee the country was jailed for the duration of a civil matter. I helped try the resulting case as a certified law student. We won, and the unusual case was published (U.S. v. Lipper 81-1 U.S. Tax Cases (CCH) p9330, 47 A.F.T.R. 2d (RIA)). I was hooked. Meanwhile, my participation in the peculiar case caught the attention of The Honorable William A. Ingram, who offered me a U.S. District Court judicial clerkship. After completing the clerkship, I became a trial attorney, and have spent more than thirty years trying civil cases before jurors.
Guiding principle: No matter how bleak a turn of events, an adverse ruling, or a negative fact may seem, unanticipated set backs can often be turned into opportunities.
Proudest achievement: I recently had the opportunity to defend a jury trial with my son, Justin, who is a partner at this firm.
Awkward courtroom moment: During the course of a jury trial, I snagged my trousers and noticed that my zipper had broken along the seam down to my knee. I asked to approach the bench and informed the judge that I had a zipper malfunction requiring further consultation in chambers. I did not sew well, but the judge did; he jerry rigged my zipper malfunction with his sewing kit.
What makes a good trial attorney: Preparation. Sincerity. Respect for the participants. Treating opposing counsel as a colleague first, and an adversary second. Finally, a sense of humor does not hurt.
Favorite quote: “We make plans and God laughs.”