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JUNE 2019

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


Ann Schneider
Nikki Mehrpoo Jacobson



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

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




Chair's Message

Caroline Vincent

Welcome to the first Newsletter of the reactivated Small Firm & Sole Practitioner Section! Just last November our Executive Committee was created and Section By-Laws approved by the LACBA Board of Trustees. It has been a busy six months of organizing for the talented volunteers on the ExComm, forming task forces and committees, producing three successful fingerprinting parties, an MCLE on the new rules of professional conduct, and planning the upcoming Speed Networking event for our section members to meet and greet. We participated in the LACBA's membership drive this Spring, and have joined forces with the CLA to sponsor their Solo & Small Firm Section's reception on the evening of June 14 amid their three day Solo & Small Firm Summit in Huntington Beach, and are planning to co­host an event with the CLA group in Los Angeles in November. In addition, we launched and utilized Section social media, participated in the CFJ Charity Golf Tournament at Wilshire Country Club, had cocktails at the City Club, and held 5 monthly Executive Committee meetings.

I can attest that this has been one of the best networking activities of my career, not to mention a great deal of fun. It could not have happened without the amazing team of officers who lead with me in a deliberate collaborative fashion:  Vice Chair Erin Joyce, Treasurer Joshua Furman and Secretary Donna Kirkner – and the members of the Executive Committee.  And more importantly this happened because of the incredibly user friendly and supportive staff and leadership of the LACBA: special mention goes to Stan Bissey, Executive Director, Terrina Scott, Manager - Event Operations, and our Section coordinator,  Tom Horne, Director of Web Services, LACBA President Brian Kabatek, President-Elect Ronald Brot (special thanks to Ron, for hiring me at my first job as a lawyer), and Trustee Eve Lopez, our Section’s liaison to the Board.

It has been my personal mission, and our shared goal as an Executive Committee, to engage our Section in several ways:  one, find out what you, the Section members, would like the Section to do for you and your practice; two, share with you the many activities and opportunities for leadership and engagement available through our Section and the LACBA; and three, provide support for activities you wish to engage in. 

We hope through this newsletter to provide you with information and opportunities, and to also hear from you. So far ideas include welcoming new members, featuring members and practices [upcoming], sharing our know-how of the many opportunities to utilize our Section page through social media, hot topics on the List Serve and upcoming events.  If you have an item for the newsletter, please contact the amazing duo serving as our inaugural Newsletter editors, Nikki Jacobson and Ann Schneider.

Finally, I invite any of you to join one of our committees or task forces, or attend an Executive Committee meeting. Send me an email at if you wish to participate in the leadership of the section, or call me at 310.617.2042 if would like to share any particular interest or vision for your leadership.


Caroline Vincent, Section Chair

Upcoming Events

California Lawyers Association (CLA) 2019 Solo and Small Firms Summit:
June 13-15
Hyatt Regency, Huntington Beach

This year’s summit is focused on technology and strategic solutions for the practice of law and the management of a law firm.  Earn up to 13.75 hours of MCLE credit (including Legal Ethics, Competence Issues, Elimination of Bias & Legal Specialization credits).  Many vendors will be exhibiting products and services tailored to solo and small firm practitioners.

The Summit features an Excellence Award Reception on June 14.  Among the honorees is Norma J. Williams (former Chair of the LACBA Real Property Section and a Trustee), who will be presented with the Excellence in Practice Award (sponsored by our Section). There is no cost to attend the Reception, so come join us!

Our Section will have a sponsorship table to provide attendees with LACBA membership and section information and accept applications to increase our membership. We need volunteers to help staff the table during the Reception, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Please contact Erin Joyce at to let us know if you can help.

Summit Pre-Registration Deadline: June 7, 2019. Registration costs $495 with membership in any CLA section; $595 for non-CLA members. Following June 7, both registration prices increase by $100.

Register here:

Meet Your Colleagues
June 20, 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
LACBA, 1055 W. 7th Street, Suite 2700, Los Angeles

We know each other from the list serve, now let’s put our faces to our names!

This is your opportunity to mingle with many of your fellow section members and promote your practice!  Come join us for a cocktail reception and a speed networking segment, followed by more free-form schmoozing with your friends and colleagues.  This is our first major social event since reactivating the Section and is limited to Small Firm & Sole Practitioner Section members.

Price: $30.00.  Self-parking is $7.00 after 4:30 p.m.

Online registration is available here (be sure to sign in to your account first) or by phone by calling Member Services at (800) 456-0416 during regular business hours.

LACBA Installation Dinner
June 27
Millenium Biltmore

The installation dinner for the officers and trustees of the LABCA will be held on June 27, 2019.  This is a major LACBA fundraising event.  Several members of our Section’s Executive Committee will be in attendance to gain visibility for our Section with the LACBA officers and trustees.



ExComm Meetings at LACBA:



Golf Tournament 2019:

Golf Checking In

L-R:  Section Coordinator Terrina Scott; Section Chair Caroline Vincent; Golf Tournament Committee Member David Kutzer; and CFJ Administrator Hazel Gaitan.

Caroline was also a sponsor!

Golf 2019 Caroline Vincent

Treasurer Joshua Furman, Section Coordinator Terrina Scott, and Chair Caroline Vincent at the 10th Annual CFJ Charity Golf Tournament - having a great time at Wilshire Country Club, supporting Counsel for Justice, promoting our section, and knocking off on a Monday!

Fingerprinting Parties:


Terrina Scott, Norm Chernin, Erin Joyce and Caroline Vincent

Small Firm Excom Members Caroline Vincent, Erin Joyce, Peter Weinberger, and LACBA President Brian Kabatek
Hot Topics

Among the benefits of list serve membership is the opportunity to connect with colleagues regarding issues of law or law or practice management concerns that are of particular interest to the solo or small firm practitioner.  One of the goals of our Executive Committee is to identify common issues and concerns, and, where appropriate, to reach out to the appropriate communities (the courts, other bar associations, legislators, vendors) to advocate for changes which will help our members.  Another goal is to identify areas of common interest to develop fun and informative MCLE programs.  We encourage everyone to chime in!

Within the last month, our list serve had robust discussions on many topics, including:

Worst Decision of the Year (To Date):
Members were asked to identify the worst judicial decision of the year to date.  One nominee was Mesa RHF Partners, L.P. v. City of Los Angeles, 33 Cal. App. 5th 913 (2019), a Second District case which held a trial court lacked jurisdiction to hear cross-motions to enforce settlement agreements under Code of Civil Procedure section 664.6, because the common practice by counsel of noting that “the court retains jurisdiction to enforce the settlement per CCP 664.6” was not sufficient to retain court jurisdiction.  Placing form over substance, the appellate court noted that “the parties could have “easily invoked section 664.6 by filing a stipulation and proposed order either attaching a copy of the settlement agreement and requesting that the trial court retain jurisdiction under section 664.6 or a stipulation and proposed order signed by the parties noting the settlement and requesting that the trial court retain jurisdiction under section 664.6.”  Another nominee was Vazquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc. 923 F.3d 575 (9th Cir. 2019), holding that the Dynamix employee-contractor ABC test (Dynamex Operations W. v. Superior Court, 4 Cal. 5th 903, 416 P.3d 1 (2018), reh'g denied (June 20, 2018)) is retroactive.  A third nominee was Ion re Marriage of Anka and Yeager, 31 Cal.App.5th 1115 (2019) for effectively rewriting Fam. Code §§ 3025.5 and 3111 and the California Rules of Court and exposing family lawyers and experts in cases involving child custody evaluations to an unreasonable risk of sanctions and bar discipline.   Many members commented that an annual “Worst Decision of the Year” MCLE program would be fun and informative, so if you come across a decision that you believe is “the worst,” please share your thoughts!

LASC Efiling Issues
Efiling issues continue to be a hot topic for the list serve.  This past month featured discussion of the LASC’s rules for efiling ex parte applications and oppositions.

Because of our diverse membership, the list serve is a great resource for referrals of many types.  Within the last month, attorney referrals were sought in the areas of collection, defamation,  Title IX complaints, immigration/employment cross-over, home caregiver employment and tax consultants, employee benefits, check cashing services, dog bites, landlord/tenant, medical board investigations, professional malpractice, and home owners associations.  Non-attorney referral requests included land surveyors and appraisers, business valuators, process servers, jury trial consultants, and employment background checks.  A referral request for drone rental provider led to a spirited discussion regarding the potential pitfalls of the use of drones as an investigation tool.

Law Practice Management/Concerns:  
Another great use of the list serve is to share ideas regarding law practice management and related concerns which may impose significant impacts on the sole or small firm practitioner.  Discussion topics included the State Bar’s plan to increase dues; ethical concerns when seeking withdrawal as attorney of record; State budget increases for court funding, court reservation fees; and new judicial attitudes within the Riverside Superior Court trial assignments, continuances and trial preparation.


Executive Committee Activities

The Section’s Executive Committee is working to engage section members in a variety of activities and has established several committees and tasks forces:

Program Committee:
The Program Committee is responsible for planning and scheduling events for Section members.  In addition to networking functions such as the upcoming Meet Your Colleagues, continuing education will be an important Section focus.  The Section’s first continuing education program regarding recent changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct was held on January 31, 2019 and enthusiastically received.  More continuing education programs are in the works, with a goal of hosting educational programs of particular interest to small firms on a regular basis.

Court Liaison Committee (“CLC”): 
The Section also seeks to improve court efficiencies and promote greater access to the courts.  To these ends, the Section has established the CLC, which seeks to establish a dialogue with judges and court personnel to increase efficiencies and promote greater access to the courts.

Membership Committee
This Committee is focused on outreach to increase  membership in the LACBA in general and in our Section in particular.

Marketing/Promotion/Social Media Committee: 
This Committee is focused on the marketing and promotion of our Section within the LACBA and the general legal community.  The committee also will seek sponsors for Section events to defray costs and explore opportunities to obtain special rates/discounts from vendors offering  products and services of special interest to the sole or small firm practitioner.

Conference of California Bar Associations: 
This Task Force is focused on outreach with other bar associations to promote our Section and identify opportunities for co-sponsorship of programs or joint advocacy in matters of common concern.

Legislative Task Force
This task force will promote legislative changes to improve the practice of law and decrease the administrative burdens of the small firm practitioner. 

Access to Justice Task Force
The Executive Committee has established a liaison to engage in dialogue with the LACBA’s Access to Justice Committee to increase opportunities for the small or solo practitioner to participate in traditional pro bono activities and develop programs to improve access to the courts for other underserved community members through reduced-fee or limited scope representation.

List Serve Liaison:
The List Serve Liaison serves to establish rules for the use of the Section list serve.

New Members

Gina Ahn


Tracy Lynn Liberatore

Russell Glen Albright


Stephen Preonas

Amy A. Breyer


Pankaj S. Raval

Charles Caliman, II


Daniela P. Romero

Valarie Dean


Renee Manrique Stromberg

Eurydice Harris


Ronald M. Supancic

Michael B. Hollins


Chancey Thompson

Alan Khlevnoy


Zachary D. Wechsler

Robert M. Kitson


Agata Zwierzchowski

Steve Oh Jung Kwon



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, 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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