September/October 2016
Annual Meeting Issue


News from the Section

  1. Chair's Message
  2. State Bar 2016 Annual Meeting – Educational Opportunities
  3. Did You Know . . . Tech Tips?
    1. 7 Microsoft Word hacks every legal professional should know
    2. Survey: Majority of Americans likely to hire lawyer active on social media
  4. Did You Know ....Articles?
    1. Avoiding Employee Lawsuits – Rest Period Claims
    2. 6 Reasons Employers Need to Train Employees
    3. Make Eye Contact to Engage Your Listeners
    4. 5 Signs You Care Too Much About Work
  5. State Bar News
  6. The Bottom Line/eTBL
  7. Educational Opportunities
  8. Executive Committee News
  9. Member Benefits

1. Chair's Message

LPMT Section Chair Kurt ObermeyerWelcome to the September/October issue of LPMT’s eNews. As my final Chair message for this year, I am reminded of a few things. First, it takes a small army to get this information out to all of you and I want to again thank the eNews Executive Board members for their tireless work in getting this information out to our membership.  They are always looking for great articles and information to pass on that is worthwhile and timely. Secondly, time flies when you are having fun. We finish our “year” officially at our Annual Meeting next weekend, and I welcome our New Chair, Peter Brewer, to take the reins then. Peter is an outstanding attorney and great mind when it comes to what this Section continues to strive to push out, and I look forward to working with him over the next year.

In this important issue, we have some very worthwhile information from authors that use their expertise and experience to give all of us a better understanding of how and why we need to handle certain issues within law practice management.

First, there is a very important preview of the Annual Meeting educational opportunities. We have included information and a link to the full information and schedule for the conference next week at Marriott Marquis in San Diego. We hope to see all of you there -- a huge way to meet your annual CLE requirements while getting some incredible information that you can apply immediately to your practice.

In addition, our own Neil Pedersen writes a great article on Avoiding Employee Lawsuits, and namely on Rest Period Claims. I think this is a very worthwhile article based on something very few of us think about but with claims that can be costly.

Finally, we have posted a link for all of you to review the new comprehensive proposed amendments to the Rules for Professional Conduct of the State Bar of California. There is a 90-day public comment period on this proposal that ends next week on September 27th. Please take a look and make sure you understand the changes.

As always, there is more information on our Archived Articles and a schedule of future webinars noted at the bottom of this issue. Please take a look at these links as well as some very useful mentoring videos that we have made available. Truly worthwhile.

As we have stated multiple times, The State Bar Sections are here to serve their members.  We try our best to present articles, information, and programs that we feel have value to you.  I hope that we can continue to present information in all facets that will allow our members to better manage or even enhance your law practice, as well as your daily life.

I want to thank you for allowing me to be part of a great Section, and hope that our information, articles, and webinars continue to be worthwhile and pertinent to you as our members.  I have to personally thank Patty Miller, our chair for the eNews, for heading this important publication again this year and for pressing me to get my Chair message in each month on time. I know that is her favorite part of each issue!  Seriously, Patty, we couldn’t do any of this without you.

Thank you and we look forward to seeing many of you in San Diego next week,

Kurt Obermeyer
Chair, Law Practice Management and Technology Section

2. State Bar Annual Meeting – September 29 – October 2, 2016 San Diego


Educational Programs

Exhibition Hall

Thursday, September 29

11:15 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

12:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Friday, September 30

8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

8 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Saturday, October 1

8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

8 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Sunday, October 2

8 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.


Book Online at Marriott Marquis and San Diego Marina or telephone Marriott’s Passkey Reservations at 877-622-3056.

The LPMT Section is pleased to present the following educational programs at the Annual Meeting. The speakers for each program have provided their own comments why you should attend and how you will benefit from their presentations. Take advantage of the networking opportunities and educational programs being presented at the Annual Meeting.

Stay connected at the Annual Meeting on Twitter #CalBarAM16.

Thursday, September 29 | 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Emotional Intelligence: A Critical Factor in Your Practice to Prevent Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Alcohol and drug abuse continues to be a problem among lawyers. This program will reveal the various indicators of substance abuse, what it is, and how it affects your law practice. Learn how emotional intelligence factors are closely linked to substance abuse and a lawyer’s competency with clients, opposing counsel and the courts, and how increased emotional intelligence is scientifically proven to reduce risk factors.
CLE: 1.5 Hours of Competence Issues
Speakers:  Nyanza Shaw and Mari Frank

Program 6

 Speakers' comments: 
You won’t want to miss Emotional Intelligence: A Critical Factor in Your Practice to Prevent Alcohol and Drug Abuse presented by our very own Executive committee advisors,  Mari Frank and Nyanza Shaw.   In this interactive, exciting and  revealing MCLE Specialty  program  1.5 units Competency/substance abuse, you’ll test  your own knowledge of the effects of alcohol on your practice and find out your own level of emotional intelligence relates to the stress factor .  You’ll learn how EQ (emotional intelligence) is a greater factor of success than your IQ!  You’ll find out the critical components of emotional intelligence and how to use it to prevent substance abuse and increase your effectiveness as a lawyer.   Mari and Nyanza have presented together many times and you’ll enjoy their engaging style.  And- you will want to have a chance at the door prizes they give out at the end of the session.




Friday, September 30 | 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Everything an Attorney Ever Wanted to Know About the Cloud

This advanced program covers all aspects of what attorneys need to know before they place their trust and information—and that of their clients—on the cloud. Learn about the perks and pitfalls of making use of this now-ubiquitous tool, including what State Bar ethics rules have to say.
CLE: 1.5 Hours of Which 1 Hour Applies to Legal Ethics
Speakers:  Perry Segal and Jeff Bennion

Program 38

 Speakers' comments: 
This advanced program is not for the faint of heart.  It covers all aspects of what attorneys need to know before they place their trust and information—and that of their clients—on the cloud. Learn about the perks and pitfalls of making use of this now-ubiquitous tool, including what State Bar ethics rules have to say about it.  Bonus:  Attendees will receive a four-page checklist containing 31 critical questions attorneys and their IT professionals should ask their vendors before they place a single document on the cloud.




Saturday, October 1 | 3:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

What Litigators Must Know about E-discovery

With the recent California ethics opinion and the 2015 updates to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, there are many changes in the field of electronic discovery. Learn how electronic discovery can help avoid costly mistakes, and provide them the tools needed to aggressively pursue your clients’ rights.
CLE: 1.5 Hours of Which .5 Hour Applies to Legal Ethics and .5 Hour Applies to Competence Issues
Speaker:  Christi McGowan

Program 97

 Speaker comments: "What Litigators Must Know about E-discovery" will provide all attorneys and legal staff an understanding of the California Ethics Opinion requirements of competence before signing on a client with eDiscovery, (which in reality are most cases), and a basic understanding of metadata, costs associated with eDiscovery matters, and questions to ask of a vendor.   We will cover 10 key areas of eDiscovery in which you MUST be able to perform before you handle eDiscovery matters.


Sunday, October 2 | 8:30 a.m. - 10 a.m.

Laying Solid Foundation Stones Early for Career Success

In this presentation, attendees will learn about professional development as a lawyer. The speakers will offer guidance about establishing relationships with colleagues & potential clients. The panel will share techniques for business development & engaging the community. The outcome is a blueprint for enjoying a fulfilling career as a lawyer, while also maintaining sanity & personal relationships.
CLE: 1.5 Hours
Speaker:  Peter Brewer

Program 107

Speaker comments: LPMT member and incoming Chair, Peter Brewer, will be co-presenting “Laying A Solid Foundation Early for Career Success and Personal Happiness as an Attorney.” Peter will be joined on the dais by attorney Peter Rehon, of Rehon & Roberts, a 5+ attorney law firm in San Jose.

The program is expected to cover how one should determine to direct their practice, and the four primary roles that one must perform in the quest to become a thriving and successful lawyer.  It can be hard work, as will be discussed, but it can also be richly rewarding.  The clients are ultimately the “boss” of the firm and their needs control. It will also be discussed that a law firm is a profession, yes, but it is also at its core a business and must be run like one in order to survive and thrive. Some aspects of running a business and some of the relationships necessary to a business will be discussed.  Systems necessary to a successful operation will be covered, and some ethical considerations will be touched on.

The common attorney aversion to “sales” and marketing will be discussed, and some suggestions will be offered.  The appearance that you and your office environment give will also receive some attention.

Finally, the attendees will be urged to be generous, build a lasting practice and perhaps legacy, follow the rules, have fun, and be lucky.


3. Did You Know . . . Tech Tips?

7 Microsoft Word hacks every legal professional should know

Microsoft Word image

Posted by Richard Heinrich  in Legal tech, Productivity

Microsoft Word is one of those programs that you instinctively think you’re a master in, because you likely use it almost every day of your life. Certainly, if you had asked me, after having worked with Word for well over a decade whether there was anything else I could know, I’d have said a firm “no.”
If, like I did, you think of Word as a mere text-based word processor you’re probably only using a small proportion of the software’s tools. To get the most out of Word, and in particular to unlock the features most useful to legal professionals, you need to appreciate that it is, in fact, a full-blown desktop publishing program.
Here are seven of the best tricks that helped me to realize the power of Word — all of which will, I hope, be of use to you in daily life as a busy legal professional. Got more tips of your own? Share them in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.

Note: the screenshots and instructions here refer to Word 2013 for Windows. All are possible in other post-2007 versions, though the process may differ a little.

#1 Compare two documents

Comparing two versions of the same document for small differences is a relatively frequent, yet laborious, task in many law offices. Consider, for example, the work involved in reviewing a contract proposed by opposing counsel. Being able to compare the documents side-by-side to spot potentially consequential changes is vital.
Fortunately, Word has a feature for exactly this scenario: The legal blackline option. This feature compares two documents and displays only what changed between them. The legal blackline comparison is displayed by default in a new third document.

image of screenshot

#2 Combine track changes from multiple authors

So you sent out a draft pleading, or whatever, via email to two or more colleagues for comments, and they’ve each sent you back a newly marked-up Word document with tracked changes. Great! Now you need to review each file and cross-check against the original to make all of the necessary changes… actually, you don’t! Since 2007 Word has contained a feature that allows users to combine multiple sets of tracked changes into a single document, with each of the original changes indicated by a different color markup. I couldn’t believe the time I’d wasted laboriously working through side-by-side Word windows when I discovered this feature! A huge time-saver.

Microsoft screenshot

#3 Mark your document as final

Sometimes, after working through many iterations of a document, you’ll want to share it one last time but to discourage any further editing. By default, anyone with access to your document will be able to edit its content unless you protect it.
Fortunately, Word contains a few ways to protect your document to either discourage or prevent editing. In the File > Info tab you’ll see the option to Protect Document. Here you can either “Mark as Final” — which displays a warning message that the document is considered final and should not be edited, though this can be overruled. You can also go a step further and completely restrict edits. Handy, eh?

#4 Use styles

Styles are a huge and important feature in Word. Essentially, a style is a set of defined formatting characteristics that you can use throughout a document. For example, say you want a bold, centered, capitalized heading in size 18 font. Instead of going through all those steps, you can store this formatting in a style and then apply it wherever you need to in your document.

screenshot of styles in Word

By default, Word will use its “normal” style — a pretty ugly set of blue and black — but in fact comes with 14 style sets to choose from, as well as the ability to edit both colors and fonts. Just click on the change styles button beside on the Home tab. Once you’re happy with your changes, you can save it as your new default by clicking Set as Default. The law school at Georgetown University have produced a detailed and comprehensive guide to Word Styles — access it here.

#5 Create a table of contents

One of the most important reasons for using Word’s styles feature correctly is to have it automatically create a table of contents for your document. That’s because, to build a table of contents, Word searches for text that has been formatted as headings. It will detect these headings, sort them by level (heading 1, heading 2, and so on), and then dynamically create a table of contents for your document. Inserting a table of contents is simple: choose where you want to place the table, click once in that location, go to the References tab, and click on the Table of Contents icon. Once inserted, you can choose the number of levels to display and choose your formatting. Trust me; this is much faster than trying to type out a contents table by hand.

screenshot of Table of Contents

#6 Create a table of authorities

Manually creating a table of authorities — the list of references (cases, statutes, rules, etc.) contained within a legal document — can be a very time-consuming task. Fortunately, Word has some advanced features that can make that process much simpler. First, you need to mark your citations as such so that Word knows to treat these parts of your document differently. Do this by selecting your citation, visiting the References tab, and clicking on the Mark Citation icon in the Table of Authorities group. To build a table of authorities, Word searches for marked citations. Once it detects them, it can dynamically create a table of authorities for you! Simply choose where you want your table to appear, click there once, go to the References tab and click on the Insert Table of Authorities icon. There’s a little more to this than there’s space for here, so check out this set of detailed guidelines from the law school at Georgetown University for all the steps.

#7 Save time with keyboard shortcuts!

You might think that learning keyboard shortcuts isn’t worth the effort, but believe me, if you’re working in Word for most of the day you’ll quickly learn to love performing actions with just a few quick keystrokes over clicking around with the mouse. Here’s my top six:

  • Ctrl+z = undo
  • Ctrl+y = redo
  • Ctrl+c = copy
  • Ctrl+v = paste
  • Ctrl+F3 = changes the case of selected text
  • Ctrl+F5 = moves the cursor to the most recent edit

If you’re keen to learn more shortcuts, Microsoft publishes a full list of all of the hundreds of possible Word shortcuts on its support website.
Want more productivity tips? Download our free ebook “Essential productivity and time management tips for legal professionals”: DOWNLOAD THE EBOOK >>

headshot of Richard HeinrichAbout the Author:
Content crafter and editor at One Legal. You'll find Richard online, tweeting about marketing, writing, and the law, or at home, or up at strange hours watching rugby and football (you probably call it soccer) in his native Britain.


Survey: Majority of Americans likely to hire lawyer active on social media

By Kevin O'Keefe on August 28, 2016 in Social Media Principles
[Reprinted with permission from the author]

image of people networking

According to a new survey from Findlaw, 54 percent of consumers say they would likely hire an attorney who is active on social media, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. This is particularly true for younger Americans – 69 percent between the ages of 18 and 44 would hire attorneys who are active on social media.
This is hardly surprising given the amount of time people spend online, with most of their time on social media sharing personal items, news, information and commentary.

The FindLaw survey found that 84 percent of American adults use at least one form of social media, with Facebook being the most popular (73 percent), followed by Instagram (28 percent), Twitter (27 percent), Pinterest (24 percent), LinkedIn (21 percent) and SnapChat (16 percent).

Given these exchanges on social media, consumers are increasingly relying on social media when making purchasing decisions. The FindLaw survey found that 34 percent of consumers have already used social media to help them select a service provider, such a lawyer, plumber or doctor. Nearly half – 48 percent of consumers 18-to-34 have used social media this way.

People hire service providers, especially lawyers, based on trust and word of mouth. Social media enables lawyers to establish trust and a strong word of mouth reputation, whether a lawyer is discussing a legally related matter or something else.

From Mark Jacobsen, senior director of Strategic Development and Thought Leadership at FindLaw:

Consumers are increasingly using [social media] to inform their decisions on hiring service providers such as attorneys. Having a strong social media presence helps professionals to show that they are actively looking to engage prospective clients, and to demonstrate their expertise, knowledge and experience. Social media, in its many forms, has become an important part of the fabric of our daily lives, and attorneys need to make it an integral part of their marketing efforts.

Most lawyers and law firms look at Internet marketing as a passive sport. Hire someone to build a website, do some SEO to gain attention and get a marketing person “to create” a social media presence for you.

Lawyers will find, as this survey indicates, that such marketing will become increasingly less effective. Real authentic engagement by you as a lawyer, whether blogging, or being active on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will be needed to establish trust, a reputation and relationships.

About the Author

picture of Kevin O'KeefeKevin O’Keefe (@kevinokeefe) is the CEO and founder of LexBlog, which empowers lawyers to increase their visibility and accelerate business relationships online. With LexBlog’s help, legal professionals use their subject matter expertise to drive powerful business development through blogging and social media. Visit

LexBlog also hosts LXBN, the world’s largest network of professional blogs. With more than 8,000 authors, LXBN is the only media source featuring the latest lawyer-generated commentary on news and issues from around the globe. Visit now.

Posted:  August 28, 2016

4. Did You Know....Articles?

Avoiding Employee Lawsuits - Rest Period Claims

By Neil Pedersen

As an attorney, unless you are a sole proprietor without even part time or occasional support staff, you are or will be an employer. Taking on employees certainly expands your ability to perform more of what you are most qualified to do - develop new clients, do the legal work required, and run the business. But with the introduction of employees to your business comes with it not only some amount of administrative burden, but employees also add a level of legal exposure to your business. Employees who believe they have been treated in a manner that violates the law can visit upon the firm devastating exposure to attorney fees, damages and penalties. It is therefore important that you be informed and vigilant.

This is the first in a series of short articles intended to identify the easiest ways to end up on the wrong side of a lawsuit with your law office employee.  In this first article I will discuss a very common trap for employers - rest period violations.

All non-exempt employees are entitled to a reasonable opportunity to take a ten-minute, on-the-clock, uninterrupted, duty-free rest period for every four hours (or major portion thereof) that they work.  The law office employer is not required to force employees to take these rest periods, but a failure to assure the employee is given a reasonable opportunity to take them can result in substantial financial exposure. 

For every day an employee can establish he or she was denied the reasonable opportunity to take one of their rest periods, the employee is entitled to a wage penalty of one hour of pay at their regular rate.  A single employee can reach back up to four years for these wage penalties.  One full time employee denied one rest period each work day for four years can expose the law firm to over 1040 hours of wage penalties, or 130 days of additional pay.  This would be in addition to the attorney fees payable to the successful claimant as well as lost productivity to the firm caused by dealing with the claim. 

The greater exposure comes in the form of multiple claims by office employees.  Although only larger firms must fear class action claims given the numerosity requirement of those kinds of actions, the Private Attorney General Act gives a single employee the right to stand in the shoes of all other aggrieved employees of the business to seek penalties otherwise payable to the Labor Commissioner's office, and there is no numerosity requirement for those types of actions.  Denied rest periods can result in tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in exposure.  It is therefore prudent to take all reasonable steps to prevent such exposure.

There are some very simple things the law office employer can do to lessen its exposure to these claims.  They include:

1. Have a clear written policy that is regularly communicated to all non-exempt employees that they are required to take their rest periods and when.

2. Have the person responsible for supervising the staff regularly monitor the taking of rest periods to be sure they are being taken.  The supervisor should make sure there is adequate coverage to allow the employee to take an uninterrupted, duty-free ten minutes.  Where possible, have regularly scheduled rest periods for staff with planned coverage for them.

3. No pressure whatsoever should be placed on the employee to miss a rest period due to press of business.  Rather, it should be made clear that taking a rest period is a requirement of the job and that a failure to take a rest period is a violation of firm policy.

4. Have the employee note on their timesheet when they took their rest period.  If they are allowed to elect to not take a rest period, there should be some notation that their decision to not take the rest period was theirs and was not due to pressure not to take the rest break.  The supervisor should review and monitor these timesheets on a regular basis.

5. Have a location for the employee to take his or her break away from their workstation so as to assure they are not interrupted by others thinking they are working, or by the phone or some other work-related interruption.

In short, vigilance is critical.  Your office policies and documentation must clearly demonstrate that you make making a rest period a priority for all non-exempt staff.  A failure to do so can cause you serious problems down the line. 

About the author:

Neil Pedersen is the principal of Pedersen Law, a Professional Law Corporation, an Irvine, California employment litigation firm.  He is also an adjunct professor at Western State College of Law teaching both Employment Law and Law Practice Management and Technology.  He is presently a Special Advisor to the California State Bar Law Practice Management and Technology Section, and was on its Executive Committee three years prior to that.  Neil can be reached at


Six Reasons Employers Need to Train Employees

image of people working

By D. Albert Brannen

Employers should inherently understand the value in training managers and employees. To validate this idea, the following discussion outlines six reasons training is valuable and should be conducted on a regular basis.

1. Managers and employees must know policies and expectations

These days, employers have policies for everything. For example, to comply with employment laws, employers have Equal Employment, No Harassment, Family and Medical Leave and Reasonable Accommodation policies. Experience shows that just having a written policy is not enough. To be truly effective, employers need to educate employees and managers about the scope, coverage and application of such policies.

2. Training improves engagement

Regardless of the substantive content, the process of training sends a clear message to employees and managers that their employer cares about them as individuals and about their professional growth. Employees and managers may feel more secure when they think their employer is investing in them.

Plus, getting employees and managers together increases social interaction between the individuals involved and helps get them aligned to support the employer's goals and expectations. As a result, employee engagement is positively affected by training. That is one reason that a robust training program is almost always a key element of any union-proofing program.

3. Training is required by some laws

Employers should have other reasons for training, but the reality is some state and federal laws actually require training. For example, certain safety training is required by OSHA and MSHA. Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations require that drivers receive training on specific subjects. Case law on Title VII and similar state laws make it clear that training is expected as well. States such as California require training to avoid harassment claims, and some state drug-free workplace laws require annual training.

Of course, employers need to retain documentation to prove that such training occurred to show compliance with these laws.

4. Training can prevent legal liability

By properly educating employees and managers about the employer's policies and legal requirements, employees and managers should be less likely to engage in noncompliant behavior. They will know and understand the clear limits of workplace conduct and, hopefully, stay within the lines of permitted conduct and speech. They will also know the consequences of noncompliant conduct and speech.

Additionally, not only will they likely be deterred from engaging in such conduct or speech, but workers disciplined or discharged for such violations may also be less likely to file legal actions against their employers.

5. Training can reduce risks of punitive damages

Under established case law, employers who engage in good-faith efforts to educate employees and managers will have affirmative defenses to liability and punitive damages in the event a legal complaint is filed and pursued by an aggrieved employee. So, even if a rogue individual violates an employer's policy, the employer who trained employees and then took reasonable actions to remedy the alleged violation may escape monetary liability for the rogue actor's actions.

6. Social, political and legal trends make risks of not training more costly

The risk of loss for not training employees and managers is higher today than ever. Employees are more aware of their rights and seem to be more likely to seek legal redress when they feel their rights have been violated. It is more socially acceptable to take on one's employer, and juries seem more willing to award money to prevailing plaintiffs in the current environment.


This article lists just six compelling reasons why employers should invest time, money and resources in training managers and employees. To be sure, training clearly has value and will yield countless objective and subjective benefits to any organization.

image of Dr. BrannenAbout the author:

D. Albert Brannen is the managing partner of the Atlanta office of Fisher & Phillips LLP, a national law firm that represents employers across the country in labor, employment, employee benefits, business immigration, workplace safety and civil rights matters. He can be reached at or 404-240-4235.


Make Eye Contact to Engage Your Listeners

art image of a face

By Marsha Hunter

Every group of listeners — whether a big audience, a small group, a jury or a single senior partner — is a multi-eyed monster that a speaker must confront, eyeball to eyeball. The only way to focus your brain is to focus your eyes on your listeners, and that can be difficult to do because eye contact triggers adrenaline. That famous fight or flight instinct kicks in when you look out at a sea of deadpan expressions gazing back at you.

Since there are a lot of them, and only one of you, the predator (them)-prey (you) response is triggered. In conversation, you might say to a deadpan listener, “Why are you looking at me that way?” But when you are the one speaking in public, you often cannot ask — you can only wonder if everyone is getting your message, often despite their off-putting faces. That’s simply how people look when they are listening. They don’t reveal enough cues to make you confident and comfortable.

How Much Eye Contact Is Enough?

At a recent trial advocacy program, my colleague Brian Johnson and I told a young lawyer, “Since you’ve now done a number of these training programs, your task this year is to look at the jury more often. Include them. Connect with them. Make eye contact with them, not just on openings and closings, but direct and cross, too.”

How much, she asked?

That’s the art.

But we argue that the two extremes are undesirable: Don’t look at them all the time; that would be weird. And avoid never looking their way. That’s even stranger, not to mention rude. Jurors are the most important people in the room, after all.

The young attorney then rather sheepishly confessed, “I have to admit that although I’ve done a number of these mock trial programs, I have never looked at the jury.”

“Never?” Brian asked, as politely as he could. She blushed. “No, it’s too scary and intimidating.”

Show You’re Paying Attention to Them

Watching many different mock trials over the next three days, we became aware that young lawyer wasn’t alone. Almost no one at the program ever looked at the jury. Even during openings and closings, they all talked as much to the carpet and the ceiling as to the jurors.

It happens in real life, too. We visited a lengthy jury trial in Federal District court for an entire afternoon of testimony and not one lawyer or witness ever looked at the jury, which had already been there for a month! Not once, can you imagine?

What would a client say about such behavior? Nobody can make a case for ignoring listeners completely.

So, how much eye contact is the right amount? It is, of course, impossible to quantify, since it is part social skill and part calculated technique. But perhaps the hardest task an audience or jury faces is to pay close attention to people who pay no attention to them.

Consider a natural conversation. How much eye contact do you make with your friends while you are hanging out? Most of us make short but genuine eye contact, including each person, briefly but continually, over the course of any given conversation. Occasionally, we gaze attentively at one person as we make a point, then we shift our gaze to another set of eyes. Sometimes, we stare into the middle distance as we listen, head cocked perhaps, intently absorbing the message. Our eye contact sends an important message to our friends. It says we are paying attention, we are listening.

There is a middle ground between absolutely no eye contact and intense staring at audiences. Two years ago, at the same mock trial program, we worked with an unusually gifted young attorney and suggested the same thing: “Look at them. Make eye contact and connect with your jury.”

Circulating through the many different mock trials, we happened to be in the room while this attorney conducted a direct examination. As he did so, he included the jury. He looked at them periodically — not all the time — and made them part of the experience. The result? Every juror was taking notes. Each person was completely engaged in that direct exam as if they were the most diligent students in an important class.

Look at your listeners. Tend them as you would a garden, with care and attention. If you are speaking in public, remember, it’s about them, not you.

image of Marsha HunterAbout the Author:

Marsha Hunter is a principal in Johnson & Hunter, Inc. She teaches attorneys how to speak persuasively and spontaneously. Co-author of “The Articulate Advocate” and “The Articulate Attorney,” her specialty is human factors — the science of human performance in high-stakes environments. Marsha teaches communication skills for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, the Department of Justice and upper-echelon law firms. Follow her on LinkedIn and on Twitter @bjohnsonmhunter.


5 Signs You Care Too Much About Work

By Catherine Iste

Even those of us who do not like our jobs can care about them too much. In fact, sometimes we are the worst offenders. Here are five signs you are spending too much energy on work and some simple ways to address them.

1. You wake up thinking about work

Whether that is first thing in the morning or screaming at 2 a.m., having work on the brain relentlessly — even if it is enthusiasm for a new project — can be stressful.

Take a break — creativity comes when we give ourselves space and perspective from work. This works whether the stress is because work is invigorating or draining. Take a walk, color, call a friend, daydream or read a trashy magazine. Just do something completely different and give your brain much needed space from your current challenges.

2. You divide your time between work and family — and nothing else

When work is great, it is easy to get caught up in the fun, challenges and excitement that awaits. Even more common, when work is the last thing we want to do, it can drain all of our energy and leave us barely enough for our families.

Hobbies, personal time, doing something we love to do that nourishes us helps us feel more fulfilled and balanced. Find time to volunteer during work, play games during a lunch break or take classes or seminars to learn something new.

3. Thoughts of work interrupt and/or take precedent over everything

This is a problem for people who love their work, like entrepreneurs and small business owners, as well as those who cannot stand their jobs. Answering the phone or sending emails during movies, parties, dinners or while driving are all simple tells that work is playing too big a role.

Unfortunately, this has become so common in our culture that we often just take it for granted. Make a rule and put work aside for a specified amount of time every day. Period.

4. Instead of losing those last 5 pounds, you gained 5 more

Multiple coffees, birthday cake, bagels, donuts and business lunches are all easy ways to pack on the pounds. Not to mention sitting on our butts all day, not getting enough sleep and feeling stressed— it is clear why so many of us are overweight. But it can be overwhelming to try to tackle all those pounds at once.

Instead of concocting some grand plan, just do something small every day. Take the stairs, walk at lunch, skip the mid-day cookies in the break room.

5. You have no time to yourself

The last time you read something for pleasure was the old People magazine in your dentist's waiting room. Even if we do all of the above activities, if we do not take 10 minutes to ourselves every day we can still feel harried. Meditation — even for 10 minutes — can help reduce stress and increase perspective. Having time to ourselves is critical to refresh our reserves and build up our energy — without it how can we be expected to be good family members, friends or employees?

Be responsible and take a few minutes to take care of yourself.

image of Catherine IsteAbout the author:

Catherine Iste is CEO of Humint Advisors, Inc., an operations consultancy creating sustainable systems that inspire productivity and efficiency. Catherine's specialties and interests include difficult HR and organizational dynamics issues, the pursuit of work/life balance, ethics and discussing and writing about them all. Feel free to contact her at:


5. News from The State Bar

Public Comment

The State Bar of California currently is calling for comments on new and amended Rules of Professional Conduct. The 90-day public comment period through September 27 is your chance to weigh in on the proposed changes. Do check the Public Comment section on The State Bar’s website for additional information and for new postings.

Sept. 27 Deadline: Comprehensive proposed amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of California

If you feel that the LPMT Executive Committee should submit comments on behalf of the LPMT Section members to a particular item out for public comment, please contact Amy Williams, Chair of the Rules Subcommittee at

PLEASE NOTE: Publication for public comment is not, and shall not be, construed as a recommendation or approval by the Board of Trustees of the materials published.

6. The Bottom Line/eTBL

October Issue

Co-editor, Michael Fenger, has announced that the following articles are scheduled to appear in the October issue of The Bottom Line:

  • Courtroom Technology Guide and Checklist, by Julie Ruse, DM/IST Litigation and Trial Technology Specialist
  • Legal Fees Threatened When Paralegal Qualifications Challenged, by Maureen Holland
  • Interview with Kelly Lake, the new Executive Director of CEB

Articles for publication are welcome.  Send them to or to Section Coordinator, Kristina Robledo  (, to be reviewed by the editorial committee.  Obtain the Guidelines for submitting articles from the Section Coordinator.

Archived Articles: Archived issues of The Bottom Line can be found in the Members Only section of the LPMT website going back to October 2011. Prior to that date, you will find only a table of contents for past issues. Some past issues may still be available. Contact Section Coordinator, Julie Martinez (

7. Educational Opportunities

Future Webinars

The Education Committee is developing several webinar series for presentation.  If there are any topics that interest you, let us know and we'll work on putting a program together for you.  If you would like to contribute to an MCLE self-study article or a webinar, please contact the Education Chair, Jeff Bennion, at

CYLA 10-Minute Mentor

The California Young Lawyers Association has assembled a series of mentoring videos which are posted at:  New videos are being added all the time.
Videos by LPMT Executive Committee members/advisors are set forth below.

Neil Pedersen – Time Management for the Busy Attorney

Neil Pedersen – The Paperless Law Office:  Using Technology to Maximize Efficiency and Profit 

Mari Frank – Successful Negotiation and Mediation in Your Practice

Peter Brewer – Evolving Your Solo Laws Practice:  Daring to Become a Firm

Perry Segal – Today’s Technologies and Maintaining Client Confidences 101

The hash tag for the CYLA Mentoring Videos is, #10MinuteMentor, should you wish to retweet any of the videos.

Online CLE

View the Online CLE catalog to find webinars and programs presented by the LPMT Section or which contain practice management topics. Also find articles from Section publications, including The Bottom Line, to obtain self-study MCLE credit.

Please provide your thoughts and suggestions to the Chair of the Education Committee, Jeff Bennion or Let Jeff hear from you with suggested topics or a proposal to present a webinar or program.

8. Executive Committee News

2015-2016 Fiscal Year Ends – Thank You

The eNewsletter Editorial Team wishes to acknowledge and thank the following Executive Committee members who are completing their terms on the Executive Committee:

Voting Members:  Araceli Almazan, Peter Brewer, Jack Kenefick, Prashant Kumar and Kurt Obermeyer.
Special Advisors:   Mari Frank, Larry Meyer, Patty Miller, Neil Pedersen, Perry Segal, Amy Williams, and Nyanza Shaw (Immediate Past Chair).

These voting members and special advisors have contributed to the Section by writing articles and providing content for the Section’s publications, as well as presenting workshops at the Annual Meeting and Solo and Small Firm Summit.  The Section is extremely grateful to these members for their many contributions and guidance.  Several of the outgoing voting members and special advisors are returning to serve as Special Advisors for 2016-2017 (to be selected), and Peter Brewer will be serving as Chair.

Liaisons from the following professional organizations have also contributed to the Section this year, keeping their members informed of the activities of the LPMT Section:

Michael Fenger, Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB)
Anne Bernardo, Law Libraries
Mary Rocca, Legal Secretaries, Incorporated (LSI)

The eNewsletter Editorial Team would also like to express its appreciation to Sections Internet Coordinator, Michael Mullen, and his team including, Brian Foley, Sections Web Administrator, for their assistance in producing the eNewsletter.  They have assisted in producing 6 issues of the eNewsletter this year.  Thanks also go out to our Section Coordinators, Julie Martinez and Kristina Robledo, and their assistant, Raven Ogden, who are always available to answer questions, provide guidance and keep us organized!

2016-2017 Brings a New Year for the Executive Committee – New Officers and Voting Members

In 2016-2017, the LPMT Section will be lead by the following officers of the Executive Committee:

                        Chair               Peter Brewer, Palo Alto
Vice Chair       Jeffrey Bennion, San Diego
Secretary         Patricia Miller, Watsonville
Treasurer         Cynthia Mascio, Cerritos

The newly-elected officers will assume their duties at the conclusion of The State Bar Annual Meeting.

Executive Committee
Joining the LPMT Executive Committee are the following newly-appointed voting members who will begin their terms at the conclusion of The State Bar Annual Meeting:

Term Expires 9-16-19

  1. Araceli Almazan, attorney, Burbank
  2. Cari Pines, attorney, Encino
  3. Clayton Dodds, public member, Palo Alto
  4. Jason Peterson, public member, Santa Clara

[Additional voting members to be announced after approval by the Board of Trustees.]

The following members will continue serving on the LPMT Executive Committee:

            Voting members:  Jeffrey Bennion, Martin Dean, Michael Fenger, Donna Low, Cynthia Mascio, Christi McGowan, Annie Parrish, and George Seide.

Special Advisors (2016-2017):  To be approved at October meeting and announced in a future eNewsletter.

Liaisons:  The Executive Committee also includes liaisons from the following professional organizations:  California Alliance of Paralegal Associations (CAPA); Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB); California Young Lawyers Association (CYLA); Law Libraries; and Legal Secretaries, Incorporated (LSI).  The individual representatives from these organizations for 2016-2017 will be introduced in a future eNewsletter.

The Executive Committee will meet at The State Bar Annual Meeting to develop plans for 2016-2017.  The Executive Committee members want to know what you want from your membership in the LPMT Section.  Do let them hear from you.  You can communicate via email, Facebook or Twitter.  Send your thoughts, suggestions, and comments via

News from LPMT Section Members

Members, let us know what you are doing so we can include your activities and accomplishments in our next eNewsletter.  Let us hear from you (

Opening, Growing and Managing a Law Office

Opening a Law OfficePurchase the State Bar’s two publications, The California Guide to Opening a Law Office and The California Guide to Growing and Managing a Law Office (official hash tag #GrowLaw) to assist you in running and growing your law practice. Your Executive Committee members are contributing authors.

9. Benefits for Members

Make the most of your membership in the LPMT Section by using the following vendors who are offering discounts to LPMT Section members.

For detailed information about vendor benefits, go to the Members Only Section under Special Offers and Discounts.


Special thanks to those who have contributed content to the September/October 2016 issue of the eNews: Peter Brewer, Neil Pedersen, Annie Parrish, Patty Miller, Kurt Obermeyer.

Additionally, a special thank you goes to those who have contributed to the eNews during the past year, whether it was an article, a tech tip, or just a word of encouragement or support. The eNews Team of Peter Brewer, Annie Parrish and Patty Miller have worked diligently to produce 6 issues of the eNews for the members of the LPMT Section.

Contact Us

Law Practice Management and Technology Section
The State Bar of California
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
FAX 415-538-2368