Welcome to the Litigation Section's web page.
The Litigation Section seeks to improve and further the standards of trial practice and the art of advocacy in civil litigation through the review, consideration of, and comment on proposed legislation and court rule changes; the presentation of topical and informative programs; and the development and distribution of educational materials.
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Welcome Message from Litigation Section Chair Douglas N. Silverstein
I am so pleased to welcome you to the Litigation Section website, where you can find information about the many engaging programs we put on, and the important positions we take on issues affecting our federal and state courts. The Litigation Section is comprised of judges and plaintiff, defense and government attorneys. This unique partnership fosters an environment where we can have meaningful and timely conversations about challenges facing the courts, and how we as members of the bar can assist the courts.
We are in an unprecedented time for the courts, the practice of law, and society as a whole. At the same time that we are all adjusting to the new normal of largely virtual interactions from the global pandemic, there is a movement that has been woke in this country to finally address systemic injustices. As leaders of the bench and bar, we are in a truly unique position to ensure that the fundamental principle of access to justice continues to be exactly that—accessible.
My fellow Chairs and I have spent a great deal of time charting a course for the Section amid this historic change. We have worked very hard to assemble a most diverse and incredibly capable group to tackle the challenges ahead. As we went through that process, it became clear to us that the institution of our courts is more important now than it ever has been. With that in mind, I want to share with you a vision for the Litigation Section that will help guide us during this term:
- Civility – Civility has always been important to our profession. It is now essential with Covid-19 backlogs in court and the reduced ability to move matters to trial. Courts simply aren’t available to resolve disputes that counsel are fully capable of resolving themselves. I’m not just talking about civility as simply courtesy. It’s about working collaboratively to resolve matters without court intervention, not asserting claims or defenses that are marginal, and not forcing or bringing motions that never should have been filed. This point was driven home by a recent Court of Appeal decision affirming the trial court’s use of incivility as a basis to reduce an attorneys’ fees request. Practicing civility is perhaps the single most important thing we can do to assist the courts right now.
- Diversity and Inclusion – We should not only be diverse and inclusive because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it makes sense. Having a group with diverse backgrounds, differing views and perspectives, reaching a broader audience, and the like benefits and makes us all stronger. Diversity and inclusion in the courts and the practice of law will help restore confidence to those who have been historically disenfranchised. Diversity also makes sense economically, as it can be a driver of greater business development for private sector firms. Having dialogues about diversity and inclusion is something the Litigation Section is uniquely positioned to do.
- Adequate Court Funding – This Committee, in collaboration with the courts and other bar associations, will continue to advocate for adequate court funding. As a co-equal branch of government, the courts cannot deliver their essential services without adequate funding. Stemming further cuts and finding additional funding for operations and physical improvements will be our mandate.
- Independence of the Judiciary – Our courts as an institution are more important now than ever. It is our institutions that have allowed this democracy to succeed where so many others have failed. We reaffirm the bedrock principle of an independent and impartial judiciary that is free from political influence and intimidation.
- Education – I don't believe that simply identifying problems is sufficient. We are in a unique position to offer programming that has all of these values baked into everything we do. We can actually do something about the issues we face, educate, establish dialogues and make a positive impact on our profession, whether you are a judge or attorney representing plaintiffs, defendants or the government. That's really the strength of this group. We check our weapons at the door and work together to improve our profession. Consistent with that, we are focusing programming on the most important topics of the day: practicing law virtually, diversity and inclusion issues, the impact of the pandemic and social justice on juror attitudes, etc. We must adapt to the new reality of how cases will proceed in the courts.
I challenge all of us how we can continue to assist the courts and litigants, and make a positive impact in this time of transition.
If I can ever be of service, please reach out to me anytime. firstname.lastname@example.org
Statements from the Litigation Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association
Los Angeles Superior Court Fast Track Personal Injury Bench
June 21, 2021, 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
The Los Angeles Superior Court recently announced a fast track bench trial program for Personal Injury Hub cases. This Town Hall webinar - sponsored jointly by this myriad of bar groups - will cover the many benefits to taking advantage of the program, such as having a prompt trial date that will actually go on the date set for trial, allowing parties, counsel and witnesses to efficiently and fully prepare for a certain trial date; all while helping the Court with the pandemic backlog of personal injury cases, which will allow for faster jury trials once they resume.
Litigation Executive Committee Meetings for 2021
January 13, 2021, 12:00 p.m.
February 10, 2021, 12:00 p.m.
March 10, 2021, 12:00 p.m.
April 14, 2021, 12:00 p.m.
May 12, 2021, 12:00 p.m.
June 9, 2021, 12:00 p.m.
Bench (Virtually) Meets the Bar
June 10, 2021, 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Hear from the Chief and Presiding Judges from the Ninth Circuit, California Court of Appeal (Second District), Central District of California, and Los Angeles Superior Court on what is happening with the courts now and the plan as we move forward from the pandemic. The Jim Robie Professionalism and Clerks of the Year Awards will also be presented.
Pathways to the Bench: Tips and Strategies for Applying to the Bench
May 4, 2021, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Join us for a lively discussion with judicial officers from the Los Angeles Superior Court and the California Court of Appeal sharing their personal paths to the bench, practical advice regarding the judicial nomination process and the importance of diversity on the bench.
Litigation Section Brown Bag Lunch: Protecting the Record
April 26, 2021, 12:15 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.
Please join a panel of California Court of Appeal justices for an informal discussion on how trial attorneys can protect their record for possible appeal. Topics will include tips and techniques to complete the record, common pitfalls, ensuring that the record contains what is needed for compelling appellate argument, and other appellate best practices. This program is suitable for all levels of experience, from junior lawyers to seasoned practitioners.
Conducting Virtual Bench Trials
January 15, 2021, 12:00 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.
Practicing law virtually has become the new normal. In the current environment, the best way to get to trial may be a virtual bench trial. Hear directly from Los Angeles Superior Court Supervising Judge of Civil Hon. David J. Cowan, and plaintiff and defense attorneys, who have all conducted virtual bench trials. Practice pointers, technical requirements, and strategy considerations for virtual trials will all be discussed. This program is a must attend for successfully practicing during the pandemic.
Hon. David J. Cowan, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge
Lucia Coyoca, Mitchell Silberberg, Bio
Timothy Reynolds, Paul Hastings, Bio
Elise Sanguinetti, Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Torrijos, Bio
John Blumberg, Blumberg Law, Bio
Douglas N. Silverstein, Kesluk, Silverstein, Jacob & Morrison (moderator), Article
Civility in the Courtroom and in the Practice of Law
January 25, 2021, 12:15 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.
An informative and entertaining panel discussion about our obligation to promote civility in our everyday practice and in the courtroom.
J. Bernard Alexander, III Receives The Jim Robie Professionalism and Civility Award
LACBA congratulates J. Bernard Alexander, III, a partner at Alexander Krakow + Glick LLP, who was selected as the recipient of the 2020 Jim Robie Professionalism and Civility Award.
The Award is given annually by LACBA’s Litigation Section to a Los Angeles trial lawyer whose career demonstrates the same qualities of professionalism, civility, service, enthusiasm, and collegiality as the Section’s former chair, Jim Robie. Not only was Mr. Robie an accomplished trial lawyer, he was a consummate professional who embraced civility and service to the bar and the civil justice system.
Mr. Alexander, who specializes in plaintiff employment litigation, said “It is an unexpected honor and a privilege to join the short list of well-respected attorneys who have received the Jim Robie award in the past."
View more photos from the 2019 Federal Courts Symposium on Facebook here
Photos from the Kickoff Reception for the LACBA Litigation Section Executive Committee are on Facebook here
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