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Webinar: Inception of a Lawsuit: Clean, Lean and Mean – Getting it Right from the Beginning – Part I A Core Skills Program

June 10, 2021 @ 12:00 pm 1:30 pm

This program offers 1.5 participatory MCLE credits.


The first of several courses, designed for newer attorneys or attorneys wanting to learn or get a refresher on effective litigation techniques in Superior Court. The program will cover planning the litigation, investigating the facts and the law, pleading your case, pretrial motions, timeline, and other litigation strategies for commencing litigation.  Join our faculty of experienced plaintiff and defense attorneys, judges and others as they review what you need to know to succeed at this increasingly important stage of litigation.

Speakers: Honorable Timothy R. Volkmann, Jon R. Giffen, and Ibiere Seck

Moderator: Mary McKelvey


The Honorable Timothy R. Volkmann is the Presiding Judge for the Superior Court of The County of Santa Cruz, State of California.  He was appointed to the bench by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on July 14, 2008, after a twenty-seven-year career in private practice, focusing on civil litigation.

Judge Volkmann earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  He then received a J.D. from the University of Santa Clara School of Law.

He began his legal career as an associate with Gassett, Perry, & Frank in 1981.  He became a partner, in 1986, and worked there a total of sixteen years. In 1997, he and two partners would create the firm of Burton, Volkmann & Schmal, LLP, where he worked as a partner until his appointment to the Bench. In 2006, he was elected to the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), as an Advocate after having tried more than fifty jury trials to verdict.  From 2006-2008 before his judicial appointment, he was named a “Super Lawyer” in the State of California. He has tried 75 jury trials and has served as a Mediator in more than 1500 hundred cases. During the course of his career in private practice, he obtained two of the largest settlements in the history of Santa Cruz County. In 2016, Judge Volkmann received the distinguished Lifetime Service Award from the Santa Cruz County Trial Lawyers Association. 

Jon R. Giffen has practiced law in Monterey County since 1996 after moving from San Francisco, where he specialized in civil defense litigation with the firm of Ropers, Majeski, Kohn & Bentley. Mr. Giffen specializes in all aspects of trial practice in the fields of casualty, employment, public entity defense, products liability, business and real estate litigation. Mr. Giffen currently serves on the court-appointed arbitration panels in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties. Mr. Giffen is a graduate of the University of California at Davis and Santa Clara University Law School. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Monterey County Bar Association and is a member of the State Bar of California, the Santa Clara Bar Association, the Northern California Association of Defense Counsel, the Monterey Defense Research Institute and the Rotary Club of Monterey.

Ibiere Seck is the principal attorney at Seck Law, PC where her primary practice is catastrophic injuries, wrongful death, and sexual abuse of minors.  Prior to starting her firm, Ibiere was a partner and trial lawyer at The Cochran Firm – California, where she practiced for over a decade. Ibiere is the Secretary-elect of the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, the largest plaintiff trial lawyer association in the nation. She will make history in 2024 when she becomes the organization’s first African American female President. She is the immediate past president of The National Black Lawyers: Top 40 Under 40.

She has been recognized by her peers as a zealous advocate for her clients.   She has been named a “Rising Star” by the Super Lawyer’s Magazine and was featured as the 2018 magazine cover story. In 2019 – 2020, Ibiere was selected as a “Super Lawyer” by the same organization. Ibiere was the National Bar Association’s 2015 Nation’s Best Advocates 40 Under 40. She was also the recipient of Consumer Attorneys Association of California’s Street Fighter of the Year award for 2016.  In 2019, she was named one of Daily Journal’s Top 40 under 40.

Mary McKelvey is a fierce and highly respected trial attorney who is influential in every aspect of her career, i.e. in litigating difficult cases for national and global clients, in successfully assuming leadership positions at the state and local bar levels, in handling high stakes pro bono cases, in supporting the next generation of women lawyers, in mentoring at-risk non-lawyer women, and proactively influencing key issues in both the legal and general community.

Mary has been successfully trying complicated, high stakes cases involving complex torts, product liability and premises liability to verdict in various jurisdictions for over 15 years. In addition to her extensive trial experience, Mary has a wide range of experience in all stages of litigation.

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