November 29, 2018: San Diego
Time: 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
868 Fifth Ave. Third Floor
San Diego, CA 92101
Free for Members! $30 for non-members
December 6, 2018: West Los Angeles
Time: 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Schorr Law, P.C.
1901 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 615
Los Angeles, California 90067
Please RSVP here.
Parking: Parking is available at Westfield Century City next door (we are located next to Macy’s) or in the 1901 Avenue of the Stars building for a fee.
December 11, 2018: Sacramento
Time: 5 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Diepenbrock Elkin Gleason LLP
500 Capitol Mall, Suite 2200
Sacramento, CA 95815
Free for all attendees!
December 13, 2018: San Francisco
Time: 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Haight Brown & Bonesteel LLP at Three Embarcadero Center
San Francisco, CA 94111
The Impact of California’s New Rules of Professional Conduct, Particularly on Real Estate Practitioners
Los Angeles County Bar Association
1055 W. 7th Street, Suite 2700
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Time: 12 noon - 1:30 p.m.
CLE Credit: 1.5 Hour of Ethics CLE Credit
Effective November 1, 2018, California jettisoned the familiar old Rules of Professional Conduct and adopted new rules, many of which are based on the ABA Model Rules. How do major changes in language affect the substance of what California lawyers must NOW do to fulfill ethical obligations?
Moderator: Caroline C. Vincent, ADR Services, Inc.
If you would like to speak, please contact Elizabeth Blair.
You are a current advisor for the CLA Real Property section. Can you tell me about your history and work with the CLA? What roles you have had? Who you have worked with? What projects you enjoyed?
I was originally recruited to be a sub-section chair for real property sales. Because the majority of my practice was defending real estate brokers, I was excited about the prospect and about setting up educational and social events for brokers and real property attorneys. That was a lot of fun so I continued serving for several years. I was then encouraged to apply to the executive committee, which idea I initially rejected, as I was enjoying arranging the local events. Eventually, I decided to apply, and for the last 6 years I have been a member of the real property executive committee. The best part in serving is actually the friendships I have made. Everyone who is on the executive committee is passionate about the real property practice. Surprisingly, our practices are diverse. We have attorneys who specialize in leasing, land use, finances and other real property practice areas that I know little about. Together we work hard to develop programs for the entire real property section. We used to have a real property bootcamp for young attorneys, we have a real property retreat, many excellent webinars and in person seminars, we have REAL, which is a joint program with Stanford as well as, two RES programs in Southern California, one for residential and one for commercial real property. I have been involved in one way or another in all those programs. I recruited speakers, I spoke myself, assisted in programing, fundraising and marketing. I enjoy all the educational programs. I love teaching, learning, collaborating and I hope to be able to contribute to many of those and other educational programs in the future.
Were you recently nominated to help our section this year? Tell me about the new job and your responsibilities and goals with that.
I was nominated to the CLA board on behalf of the Real Property section and serve as vice chair of the CLA membership benefits committee, a member of the policies committee, and I am the CLA liaison on the advisory oversight committee for the Cal Bar affinity program.
What plans do you have to help our section this year?
As a board member I will represent the real property section in CLA business. Since this is the first full year of operation after being founded, there are a lot of important business decisions to make on behalf of CLA such as, whether to add additional sections, how to create a budget, and how to partner with Cal Bar. The real property section is one of the largest sections of CLA and it would like to keep its independence in providing programs and social events. I would like to better collaborate with other sections on educational events. As a membership committee vice chair, I will continue to assist with new programs to benefit our members. I will also work with Cal Bar to create new programs that can achieve greater philanthropic goals.
What do you think we can do to improve what our group does for real estate attorneys across California?
CLA has access to many things that can make us better attorneys. It is not just the access to substance abuse programs, MCLE, or making connections with other attorneys. CLA also has a legislation agenda it can pursue and if we can get all real property attorneys to connect with the section, then issues that are important to real estate attorneys can be pursued by CLA. I think we can improve if we can grow membership, have existing members better connect with each other, and get members to become more active in the section.
Tell me about what you/your firm does.
My firm, Manning & Kass Ellrod Ramirez Trester has over 170 attorneys, 30 practice areas and 7 offices. Outside California we have offices in New York, Texas and Arizona. My firm started with 16 attorneys in 1994. I joined the firm in 2000. We were 60 attorneys at that time.
I would like to grow the private sector portion of our firm. The insurance companies are a pleasure to work with, the adjusters are knowledgeable and friendly and they care about the insureds. They appreciate the hard work we do as they too, want to provide exceptional service to their insureds. However, the rates are grinding, the audits the carriers do on every invoice are time consuming and often I feel my clients are sued only because they have insurance. I would therefore like to grow the practice of non-insurance clients. It will allow me to handle more plaintiff work, and I will not feel that settling is always just a business decision.
What is your specialty?
I co-manage the firm’s professional liability defense practice. We have 4 main practice areas on my team. We primarily defend real estate professionals (brokers, escrow officers, loan brokers, appraisers). I am also a legal malpractice specialist and my team defends attorneys and law firms on claims of legal malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty and malicious prosecution. The other lines of practice we specialize in are, defense of insurance agents and defense of architects and engineers.
What do you like about your firm's size and the people who work there?
I like that we all enjoy what we do and that we are experts in our fields. I have often solicited the assistance of my partners who practice employment, business, workers compensation, habitability, personal injury, bankruptcy, appeals and trusts and estates. Believe it or not, many of these areas of practice can affect a real estate case and rather than hire an expert I simply call one of my partners and ask for advice.
What is your favorite area of Real Property Law?
I really enjoy helping real estate brokers. Our firm has several real estate hot lines and brokers often call for advice in the middle of a transaction. I also enjoy trying cases and handling the appeals.
Tell me about your favorite case of all time and what happened that made it so interesting.
I don’t know what my favorite case was, but the case that I enjoyed trying the most was the only case that I (my clients) lost. I took over a case from a prior attorney who made many mistakes that doomed the case. I thought that despite those mistakes I could salvage the situation. The reason the case was so interesting is that I learned more from the case that I lost than from all the cases that I won. I really enjoy learning and improving.
I see that you are a real estate broker. What kind of work do you do with your license?
I have never used my license to represent a client directly. My father, who at 80 is about to graduate law school, decided a couple of careers ago to become a commercial real estate agent. He was the only real estate licensee employed under my license. He purchased and sold many income properties, which I supervised.
Tell me about your time as an officer with the Israeli Military Forces. That’s fascinating. How long did you serve? What jobs did you have with the military? What valuable lessons did you learn? What were some challenges you faced in the military?
I was a lieutenant in the Israeli Military Forces and I served for 2.5 years. I served as a human resources specialist and my job description was to review battleground rules and create changes. I was young and it was my first time outside my comfort zone. I had to lead as well as follow orders; both very difficult tasks. I also had to deal with different personalities, from different areas of the country, and from diverse backgrounds. My experience certainly matured me and made me more independent and self-confident. That helped me later in life. After military service, I traveled for 3 years backpacking through different parts of the world including, war zones and third world countries. If it was not for my military service, I would have never had the courage to travel like that.
So, you studied philosophy in college too. What made you want to get a graduate degree in the philosophy of law? Do you have a reference for a great book on the philosophy of law? What are your thoughts on Plato Euthyphro, can we answer the question about “what is justice?”
This could be a very long answer…. I went to law school in a night program and I worked as a bartender. That meant that my mornings until about 5 p.m. were free. I just had my first baby (of four children) and I thought that my son and school work would keep me very busy, but it didn’t. My son slept a lot and school came easy. So, I decided to take a few philosophy classes. I only took a couple per semester and it was a lot of fun. I was not in a hurry to graduate. I then started to take more philosophy of law classes and eventually wrote a thesis about autonomy of children. I have not been a fan of ancient philosophy, but Plato was, of course, required reading. I enjoyed reading the questions and logic of Socrates. Plato makes an interesting point about what we do not know. Justice can be placed in that category. In my opinion, there is no such thing as justice. We judge people from where we stand, as we can never be in their shoes. We have prejudices, often subconscious ones, that we cannot ignore, and there is inequality in the access people have to justice. Even when someone needs to be punished (or lose a case), often the loss is unproportionate to the wrongful action. To answer your question about what justice is—it is what we believe, to justify a course of action we take either socially or legally. It does not necessary relate to the practice of law. However, the system of law we have in the U.S. is as close as we can have to rendering the best result most of the time.
Undergrad or Law School, which is better?
Undergrad by far. It was more social, more general, and people were less intense. I also enjoyed graduate school more than law school, since it was not as competitive (although I do well in competitive situations as I graduated first in my class).
What do you do to help balance your life with work?
Smart phones certainly helped. My most favorite activity being outdoors and traveling with the family. We like camping in our RV, ride motorcycles, sail and ski. When we go on trips I always stay in touch with the office. I get my mail on my smartphone, and my clients have my cell phone number and call me directly all the time. Another thing I do to keep my work/life balance, is work long hours during the week and try to keep most of the weekend free of work, so that I will have a more meaningful break. Lastly, I try to work from home one day a week, which allows me to see the family, I enjoy a quiet day where my productivity is high and I do not need to worry about traffic (my office is 30 miles; 1.5 hours each direction).
What areas of real estate law interest you the most?
I am a broker defense attorney at heart. I love debating on new theories of liability and damages and read about new cases that shape the broker practice.
What CLE's would you like to see in the future?
Webinars are the least expensive form of education. The audience can listen to it at its own convenience, there does not need to be a large audience, and there is no planning, venue, food, registration and marketing that makes in person seminars so difficult to put together.
Have you ever given or attended a webinar?
I have presented at several national webinars. I presented on a live webinar in the spring with one of my partners. When I agreed to speak, I forgot that I would be on a road trip in Europe. I did not want to cancel the webinar or ask someone else to speak on my behalf. The webinar was four hours. I tried to plan it so that most of the time I would be in the car. We also visited one museum at the same time. It was very challenging speaking on the webinar. I got disconnected twice, but I made it! Webinars are easy to give and to listen to, but they are not as enjoyable as an in-person presentation where you can engage the audience.
By Ray Estolano
This article appeared in the San Diego County Bar Association Blog and originally published in the July/Aug 2017 issue of San Diego Lawyer
I always used to argue, in true defense attorney fashion, that I was a healthy fat man.
Yes, my weight had ballooned up to 360 pounds since college. But, it was an athletic 360 pounds. I still worked out like I did in college and could last for an hour on the elliptical machine, so clearly I was still in good shape. What did it matter that the buttons from my tight dress shirts occasionally went flying when I sat down?
My family was alarmed at my weight gain and would try to prod me to lose weight. My wife tried being patient, kind and understanding — suggesting a salad when I would prefer a hamburger. My big brother Carlos decided on ridicule as a better course of action. He used to say that my Tomlinson jersey of #21 should really be #42! I had a number of “serious” conversations about my weight with friends and family.
Nothing really swayed me from my irrational belief that I was a healthy fat man. I would work out occasionally, but mostly ignored my weight. I never joined an organized weight loss program. When two of my closest friends underwent weight loss surgery, it gave me pause, but I told myself I would never do something like that. It was desperation to go under the knife, right? Still, occasionally I would look at old pictures of college and wonder.
Finally, my body started to have the final word. I began to find that I was tired all the time and started to feel sleepy even while driving. People would report that I would stop breathing when I was sleeping. I’d already suspected that I had sleep apnea from what an earlier doctor told me, but I went to be tested.
In 2012, when I took my sleep study for sleep apnea, my results were so grave that I got a personal call from the physician telling me to buy a CPAP machine immediately. A CPAP machine is a mask that you wear when sleeping which is connected by piping to an airflow machine. It keeps your throat from closing while you are asleep. My wife likens it to a Darth Vader mask. But aside from wearing a mask at night, I told myself that I was still a healthy fat man. I finished a 50-mile bike ride from Rosarito to Ensenada later that year to prove it.
Then came a court hearing in Department 6 in South Bay. I was looking at the wall calendar for a date and the images were blurring. I looked down at my phone’s calendar and couldn’t read it. My blurry vision lasted all week. By the time I made it to the urgent care later that week, it turned out that my blood sugar was so high that I had to argue with the doctor to not be hospitalized.
A few months after this, I’d been able to stabilize my diabetes through pills and a strict low GI diet, but somehow I could no longer fool myself into thinking I was healthy. I finally went to see my doctor, Dr. Sharma, to ask her about “going under the knife.” I was ready.
Instead, Dr. Sharma looked at me patiently and smiled. Then she asked me if I’d participated in an organized weight loss program before. I had to admit that I never had. It seemed to never work for any of my friends, so ….
“We have this wonderful program called positive choice that has had great results with my patients,” she said. I didn’t know it at the time, but the program would change my life.
The program was administered through Kaiser and was a medically monitored weight loss program using shakes as a replacement for food. For close to six months, all I had to eat were these awful tasting shakes. A friend in the group described them as dust with artificial flavoring. Once a week, we would meet to talk about our weight loss issues in a guided discussion. Sometimes, I think the conversations were harder than sticking to the diet, but I persevered in both.
I ended up losing close to a 140 pounds through the program. It felt strange to look at the mirror and see the man that I’d been a decade earlier. I went from a size 54 long suit to a size 46 long. My feet actually shrunk from a size 12 wide to an 11.5 regular. More importantly, my health was transformed. I no longer require medicine for diabetes or a breathing device for my sleep apnea.
It hasn’t been a completely easy journey. I think I’ll always have to be careful with my weight. I could easily regain the weight without proper discipline. But, I feel a long ways from the man who had claimed to be a healthy fat man. Now, I’m just a man who strives to be healthy.
Special thank you to our awesome outgoing chairs of the California Lawyers Association Real Property Law Section Executive Committee Gary Laturno and Christine Gregorak. We all benefited from your excellent leadership and dedication to our section membership.
New Co-Chair Tom Lombardi and Gary Laturno
It was my pleasure to have attended and to have met so many knowledgeable people. The event was very informative, and without question, worth my time.
The level of panelists was higher than any other conference or seminar that I have been to over my 26 years of professional appraisal experience. What made it even better was their willingness to stay around for the mixer so that I could ask more questions.
The recent AI program presented at the Pacific Club in Orange County was fantastic. The speakers covered a variety of private and governmental topics that were timely and insightful. I appreciated the special invitation from Victor Rocha to attend as President of the Hispanic Bar Association of Orange County. I look forward to getting more involved with the section and encouraging HBA members to do the same.
Darrell P. White
This conference was eye opening and full of tips that impact the day-to-day work activity and my clients. From DocuSign usage to data security to self-driving cars; numerous topics were covered. Being given the opportunity to ask additional questions that specifically applied to our businesses was refreshing and great to dive into specific details that we can apply right away. I'm excited to have discovered a conference that benefits both my company and provides me the knowledge the also help my clients!
Sara Quinonez, Realtor
John (J.R.) Richards
Would you like to be interviewed for our next E-bulletin and have attended an RPLS Event? Shoot me an e-mail. Let’s document your experience!
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