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FALL 2019

A Publication of the Small Firm and Sole Practitioner Section of LACBA.


Ann Schneider, Editor in Chief
Nancy Gray
Nikki Jacobson
Caroline Vincent



Caroline Vincent -  Chair
Erin Joyce  - Vice-Chair
Joshua Furman - Treasurer
Donna Kirkner - Secretary

Marcia Brewer
Stuart Chelin
Joshua Friedman
Alice Graham
Daniel Imber
Nikki Jacobson
Janice Miller
Tom Myers
Matthew Norris
Zein Obagi
Amanda Rokita
Roger Rosen
Ann Schneider
Carolin Shining
Marilyn Smith
Peter Weinberger
Richard Williamson




From the Chair – Fall 2019

Caroline Vincent

During the last several months, we witnessed a flurry of organizational and leadership activities as members of our Executive Committee (ExComm) attended a LACBA Section Leaders retreat on July 27 focusing on LACBA infrastructure, membership growth, diversity, networking and event ideas. On August 3 the ExComm retreat focused on getting to know each other (e.g., having fun in a relaxed atmosphere), visioning our Section and ExComm goals, practicing skills for harnessing our amazing talents through various committees and task forces, and learning more about the vast resources at LACBA. The ExComm also voted to amend its bylaws to increase membership of the ExComm from 20 to 25 members, and has worked to refine and implement our goals and visions, particularly through more engagement of the Program Committee and Membership Committee.

Our Section took a prominent role in commenting on the State Bar’s Task Force on Access Through Innovation of Legal Services (ATILS), with a working group of our ExComm members drafting a well-received response on behalf of our Section. Through Section engagement, we strived to include all voices and reach out to our members.

In this edition of the Newsletter, we are introducing our “Did You Know” section. This edition features the new “My LACBA” mobile app, which will allow you to use your mobile device to register for events and programs, update your profile, engage with LACBA members, earn CLE credit, and post and receive LACBA news and information. All from your fingertips! Our Section has been asked to beta test the new app - ExComm members learned how at our October meeting and will be rolling out emails to our Section through the listserv. Go here for details on how to download and use the My LACBA App. When LACBA has a critical mass of users of the App, we will be able to share posts to and from other social media applications.

We also welcome our growing number of new members, and begin to feature members, starting with our Section’s officers. If you would like to be featured in our Newsletter, please send to Ann Schneider a photo, your contact information, and a blurb about your practice. We invite well researched articles on legal topics, long or short, and any items of interest to our Section members.

Have any other ideas for the Newsletter???? Please send them! Writers and content always welcomed – this is your Section and your Newsletter – the editors are here to serve you!

Caroline Vincent, Section Chair

ADR Services, Inc.

Upcoming Events

Small Firm Practitioner’s Toolkit, November 23, 2019, at LACBA, 1055 W 7th Street #2700, Los Angeles, CA 90017, 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (Co-Sponsored by LACBA’s Small Firm & Sole Practitioner Section, and California Lawyers Association’s Solo and Small Firm Section)

Earn up to 4 hours of MCLE, including 0.5 in Ethics! Learn how to jumpstart your practice, by effectively using your time and your existing office technology. This program will provide the essential tools you need to build a robust referral network, move your cases through the courts and leverage your time to create a successful law office.

The day includes four (4) panels, a continental breakfast and a networking lunch:

• Creating Outstanding Legal Documents with Microsoft Word – Adriana Linares

• Pitfalls of Procedure: Practical Pointer to Avoid Them – Julie Goren and Matt Norris

• Time Management for Busy Attorneys—Eliminating Stress in Your Practice – Kimberly Lee

• How to Ethically Build a Referral Culture and Effectively Use Social Media – Sona Tatiyants, Erin Joyce, and Zein Obagi

Cost: $150 Section members; $210 LACBA Members

Register Here
Past Events
Our Westside Summer Mixer on July 18 at Rush Street in Culver City was a huge success. This was our first social event away from downtown, so there were many new faces amongst the attendees (though many well known due to their contributions to the listserv!).



Our ExComm met on August 3 for their inaugural Retreat to discuss ideas for the next year and beyond. Ideas included a potential name change/acronym for the Section (to make it less wordy), internal organization of committees, membership outreach, programs, sponsorships, section member benefits, marketing, social, fundraising, and networking activities, outreach to other bar associations, mentorship, political action, judicial outreach, and pro-bono/low-bono opportunities. Thanks to President Ron Brot for coming by early on a Saturday morning to meet members of our ExComm and launch our retreat with his inspirational words of collegiality and leadership!


ExComm Members at our August 3 Retreat


The ExComm recently voted to amend its bylaws to increase membership of the ExComm from 20 to 25 members. We welcomed our two newest members of the ExComm: Amanda Rokita and Nikki Jacobson.

On August 27, the LACBA hosted a program entitled The Role of Non-Attorneys in Access to Justice,” at which several members of the ATILS Task Force appeared to make their case for its 16 “concept options for possible regulatory changes.” [LINK] Several members of our Section attended in person and via webcast, undoubtedly spurred by vigorous listserv discussion regarding the Task Force (see Hot Topics). Many LACBA members (including several from our Section) voiced opposition not only to the proposals themselves but to the clandestine manner in which the Task Force is conducting itself. Particularly noteworthy were the comments of several immigration practitioners, who spoke passionately about the adverse consequences of unlicensed practitioners representing individuals in immigration matters, where bad advice or failing to fill out the proper forms can lead to deportation and even death.

On September 3, the Section’s Court Liaison Committee (CLC), spearheaded by Chair Matt Norris and Vice Chair Carolin Shining, held its first meeting. The Committee discussed potential focus areas for the CLC, including hosting “judges’ night” events, establishing contacts with non-judicial court officers, informational forums relating to e-filing and other court operations which uniquely affect the small firm or sole practitioner, and CLE events featuring judicial speakers.

Our Valley Mixer on October 23 was held at The Local Peasant in Sherman Oaks. This was our Section’s first foray into the San Fernando Valley for schmoozing and was well-received, with many new-to-us faces in attendance! Please give us your suggestions for new venues for upcoming mixers!

Hot Topics

While the listserv continued to provide an invaluable forum for our members to seek legal and nonlegal referrals and advice, by far the hottest topic over the past several weeks continued to be the California State Bar’s Task Force on Access through Innovation of Legal Services (ATILS), and its recommendations to allow non-lawyers to own law firms and to provide legal advice and services “with appropriate regulation.”

For many of our Section members, the activities of the ATILS first came to our attention in June through a listserv posting by Steven Chung, who since then has been kindly monitoring and reporting on the activities and composition of the Task Force, and public comments.

The reaction of the Section members to the ATILS proposals, as reflected by listserv postings, has been overwhelmingly negative. Many expressed the viewpoint that the ATILS proposals appear geared toward benefit technology companies such as Legal Zoom, under the guise of “access to justice” to those who cannot afford a lawyer. Many noted that the marketing focus of the tech companies is not directed to low income individuals but rather to those who can pay for legal services but do not want to hire a lawyer. Alan Abergel provided information regarding background of the ATILS members, noting several apparent conflicts of interest from their positions as financial advisors and executives in technology companies which stand to benefit from the proposals. Several members, including Maria Plumtree and Greg Zbylut, provided helpful links to articles relating to similar efforts in other jurisdictions, or commentary regarding the reports underlying the ATILS’ recommendations. Many members offered “bullet points” for those interested in submitting a response to the ATILS proposals during the public comment period, and suggested bringing the matters to the attention of a wider audience through news coverage and legislative outreach.

Section members suggested different approaches to increasing access to justice, including expansion of the jurisdictional limitations of small claims court to $100,000 and allowing attorneys or principals of certain entities to appear in that court, increased funding for the courts, expansion of court hours to include nights and weekends, requiring attorneys to dedicate 50 hours of pro bono service annually, decreasing court fees, discovery act reforms, and increased funding for legal services nonprofit organizations.

Many members offered thoughts on taking action in response to the ATILS proposals. Leslie Ellen Shear provided her perspective on the importance of responding to the ATILS proposals with more than our interests in self-preservation and recognizing the limits of the Task Force and the need to address other ideas for expanding access to justice to the appropriate authority (e.g., the Legislature and Judicial Council). Erin Joyce, from her perspective as a former prosecutor with the State Bar and now in private practice defending attorneys in discipline matters, offered her thoughts on each of ATILS’ 16 concept options for possible regulatory changes, noting points of potential agreement. Andrew Lachman offered his perspective on how technology platforms might create opportunities for small firms, particularly in transactional matters. Roger Rosen led the charge to call a first meeting of The Society to Preserve the Practice of Law as a Profession to discuss potential legal challenges. Josh Furman took the lead in drafting a letter for possible submission to the State Bar on behalf of the Section.

An entire Executive Committee meeting was devoted to discussing and polishing Josh’s draft letter, and comments were opened to the entire Section. The final letter received highly favorable comment by other LACBA members and the legal community as a whole. The final letter can be found here.

Featured Members

Our first “Featured Members” installment contains profiles of our ExComm officers. We intend to feature more members of our Section in future editions.

If you would like to be featured in a future edition of the Newsletter, please send a blurb and a picture to


Caroline C. Vincent, Esq. Mediator • Arbitrator • Neutral Evaluator, ADR SERVICES, INC., 1900 Avenue of the Stars, Ste. 250, Los Angeles, California 90067

Home Office (310) 395-2194; Cell (310) 617-2042; email

Caroline has mediated and arbitrated 2,500+ matters in her 30+ year career as a neutral. Caroline employs a wide range of ADR techniques, including traditional negotiation and bargaining techniques, collaborative problem solving, identifying interpersonal and relationship dynamics in families, closely held businesses and multi-party disputes, short- and long-term strategic planning, training and coaching. A core practice area is high end transactional work involving corporations, lenders, and all types of real estate transactions with both domestic and international clients. She co-teaches the Advanced Mediation Clinic at USC Law (her alma mater) focusing on DFEH and EEOC employment mediations with hands on supervision. Caroline can mediate any type of matter with a high settlement rate; her current primary dispute resolution practice areas are employment (discrimination and wage and hour), business, real estate, professional liability and personal injury disputes.

If her posted rates are not affordable for your case, she invites you to contact her or her case manager, to find a rate that meets your needs. Caroline serves as the “organizing” Chair of the Small Firm and Sole Practitioner Section of the LACBA, where she enjoys employing her collaborative skills and extensive experience in leadership positions on a variety of boards and committees.


Erin Joyce, Esq., 225 South Lake Avenue, Third Floor. Pasadena, California 91101

Tel: 626.314-9050; Fax: 626.432-5401; Email

Erin Joyce has almost 20 years’ experience handling all aspects of discipline cases against attorneys in State Bar Court, from the filing of the complaint through trial and review.  From 1997 through 2016, Erin Joyce served as a prosecutor in the Office of Chief Trial Counsel for the State Bar.  She has personally tried dozens of State Bar trials and several appeals. Now, she brings her expertise to the representation of attorneys and applicants for licensure.  Moreover, she has been involved in licensing matters for other professionals, such as EMTs and paramedics.

Erin serves as Vice-Chair of the Small Firm and Sole Practitioner Section of the LACBA, a Study Group Chair for the LACBA Delegation to the Conference of California Bar Associations, and Secretary to the Association of Discipline Defense Counsel.  She has widely spoken on legal ethics and State Bar procedures.

Erin’s practice areas include:

• State Bar Discipline
• Moral Character Determination Proceedings
• Reinstatements before the State Bar Court
• Professional Licensing
• Ethics Consultations


Joshua R. Furman, JOSHUA R. FURMAN LAW, 16133 Ventura Boulevard, Penthouse ✦ Encino, California 91436

Tel: (818) 646-4300; Fax (818) 646-4301; Email

Josh handles cases of uncommon complexity for businesses and individuals. An accomplished trial and appellate lawyer, his practice focuses on attorney-client disputes and legal malpractice, fiduciary breaches, business litigation and internal business disputes, and intellectual property. Josh provides the personal attention of a sole practitioner for clients with “big law” problems.

Josh serves as Treasurer of the Small Firm and Sole Practitioner Section of the LACBA.


Donna E. Kirkner, Law Office of Donna Kirkner, A Professional Law Corporation
3782 Multiview Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90068

Tel: (323) 876-5738; Fax: (323) 843-9233

Since being admitted to the California State Bar in 1980, Donna has represented scores of project owners, including homeowners, general contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, and equipment suppliers in all manner of construction disputes, including payment and workmanship disputes. Donna is a past Chair of the Construction Law Subsection of the Real Property Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and remains on its Steering Committee. Currently, Donna is an officer of the Senior Lawyers Section and serves as Secretary of the Small Firms and Sole Practitioner Section. Donna is the one wearing the hat in the photo.

New Members

Garen Ananian


Christopher Murtagh

Justin Battle


Peter Neumann

Oscar Berumen


Michael Payne

David Bosko


Jeffrey Pettibone

David Carico


Heather Piper

Nidia Castillo


Eva Plaza

Mohamed Ahmed Eldessouky


Afsha Farah Randera

Shireef Elmakawi


Sean Rotstan

Judith Escobar


Jack Rutherford

Marina Fraigun


Robin Saz

Briana Givens


Steven Sinfield

Matthew Gutierrez


Lisa Slaughter

Zareh Jaltorossian


Jian Song

Thomas Miletic


Jonathan Udewitz

Meka Morgan


Jasmine Umana

Xinlin Li Morrow


David Yang

Jana Marie Moser



Did You Know?

LACBA has a new app! For use on your iOS or Android device, you’ll love the “My LACBA” mobile app for user-generated content, member interaction, section and committee collaboration, events and promotion 24/7.

Wherever your business takes you, you can use My LACBA on your mobile device to register for LACBA events and programs, update your profile, engage socially with other Section members and the LACBA membership at large, earn CLE credit, and more. You can also use the app to receive instant notices of important LACBA news and information. It's fully customizable, based on your communication preferences and on what information you choose to access. It's all based on your needs, and it's all at your fingertips.

Some of the more exciting features of My LACBA are: • Messaging: You can message other LACBA Members directly or create Group Messages • Forums: Currently listserv communications are limited to members of our Section. Forums allows you to communicate not only with members of our Section, but also members of other LACBA sections. • News Feed: Post news items and pictures regarding your firm to the LACBA community at large.

The LACBA Web Services Department would like our Section’s help in using the forums boards on the new app. If you haven’t downloaded the My LACBA app yet, we encourage you to do so. Click here for information on downloading the My LACBA app and the My LACBA app User Guide. You will use your LACBA Membership user name and password to log into the app. From there, you can navigate to the forums and then tap the Small Firm and Sole Practitioner Section category (or any other sections you belong to).

Feel free to test the forums by starting conversations and posting questions. Attachments, photos, and documents can be uploaded, making these forums a major improvement over the listservs. Already several section members are on the forum, and your posts go to all LACBA members with My LACBA.

Further information and instructions regarding use of the Forums feature can be found here, and please address any questions or comments to Tom Horne, Web Services Director, at There is also a forum for feedback for quick responses. Help us launch the My LACBA App!

My-LACBA-app_Erin-Joyce-and-Caroline-Vincent Erin Joyce and Caroline Vincent having fun with the My LACBA app.

Is there anything you want to know about our Section or the LACBA but were afraid to ask? Or any other topic relating to solo/small firm practice? Let us know and we will try to answer your question in a future Newsletter! Submit your question to

Become Involved!
We need your participation!

Our Executive Committee, and this Newsletter, are works in progress. If you would like the Section to address other focus areas, or would like to see additional features in the newsletter, let us know! Send your comments/inquiries to

We particularly invite you to become involved in one or more of our committees (Committee Roster), provide comments or suggestions for programs and networking functions, and to author articles of interest to sole and small firm practitioners.

The Section encourages nonmembers to join the LACBA and our Section!

Membership applications are available at or by calling LACBA Member Services at 213 896-6560.

Keep in touch!  Find us on social media at:


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