Legal News and Appellate Tips

Each week, TVA appellate attorney Tim Kowal reviews several recent decisions out of the appellate courts in California, and elsewhere, and reports about the ones that might help you get an edge in your cases and appeals.

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Tag: Videos

No, There Is No Eviction Tsunami Coming

There have been many breathless reports of a coming "eviction tsunami" in the wake of Covid. But tenants' rights attorney and appellate specialist Frances Campbell says: take a deep breath. Fran tells Jeff Lewis and me why she thinks there is no eviction tsunami in the offing.

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Who Has Standing to Bring an Unlawful Detainer Claim?

Did you know California landlord/tenant law is not clear on the basic question who has standing to bring eviction claims? Must the owner bring them, or may a property manager? Tenant-rights and appellate specialist Fran Campbell tells Jeff Lewis and Tim Kowal about a consequence of California's narrow standard governing what appellate opinions may be published. The cases deciding this question cannot be cited because they are technically "unpublished." California Rules of Court 8.1105 and 8.1115 create a "speakeasy" body of law: specialists know what the rule is, but they can't talk about.

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Beware Limited Civil Appeals

The rules of appellate procedure are curious already, but what about appeals in limited civil cases? Curiouser and curiouser. Tenants' rights attorney and appellate specialist Frances Campbell discusses the important differences in appeals in the Appellate Division of the California Superior Court with appellate attorneys Jeff Lewis and Tim Kowal.

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How to HateWrite Your Legal Briefs

Tenants' rights attorney and appellate specialist Frances Campbell gives appellate attorneys Jeff Lewis and Tim Kowal a lesson in "HateWriting": harnessing that exquisite state of agitated frisson to produce a legal brief that will leave a mark without, after a final edit for overheated adverbs, drawing admonitions.

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Positioning Your Client for Resolution

Businesses in litigation want to "win the battle" but also need to "win the war." Outside general counsel @Lee Goldberg tells @Jeff Lewis and me when and why businesses sometimes take the long view on litigation, even willingly taking short-term losses to get long-term gains.

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How Corporate Counsel Chooses Trial Counsel

Does corporate counsel always tap the "white shoe" law firms for trial work? No, says outside general counsel Lee Goldberg. Lee tells Jeff Lewis and me that while white shoe firms have their place, what businesses really need is excellent trial counsel who understand the particular needs of their clients, and why relationships matter.

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The Pros & Cons of Arbitration

To arbitrate or not to arbitrate? Outside general counsel Lee Goldberg shares his experiences and perspective on arbitration with Jeff Lewis and me, and how to balance arbitration's pros and cons.

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Should Litigants Seek "Justice"?

Offering a sobering view of the litigation process, outside general counsel Lee Goldberg shares his litigation experience with Jeff Lewis and me, and how business owners should view it as a tool to achieve practical outcomes, not to vindicate a principle. Leave "truth, justice, and the American way" for Superman.

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"Success Is Perception": Lee Goldberg on Effective Representation

Clients want success. But: What is success?

Outside general counsel Lee Goldberg tells Jeff Lewis and me what this means for the businesses he represents. Success is perception, and effective counsel manages the client's perceptions. Lee concludes by observing that the successful attorney is successful through communication, not by being the hero who swoops in and solves everything.

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Courts Allow You to Appear on Zoom Without Jacket and Tie: But Should You?

The Los Angeles Superior Court has relaxed its dress code for attorneys making virtual court appearances, and need not wear jacket or tie. Orange County Deputy District Attorney Kelly Ernby discusses the new rule with Jeff Lewis and me, and we all agree: Just because the rule has changed does not mean the judges' expectations have changed.

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The First Virtual Argument in the California Supreme Court

What was it like to give the first virtual oral argument in the California Supreme Court? Orange County Deputy District Attorney Kelly Ernby tells appellate attorneys Jeff Lewis and Tim Kowal what that experience was like.

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Should You Use ("Cleaned Up") to Clean Up Messy Quotations in Your Legal Brief? No, Answers an Appellate Court Research Attorney

Attorneys, you might have heard about "cleaning up" case quotations in your briefs. When you have a quote with a lot of internal quotations marks and ellipses and unsightly square brackets, several appellate courts — including the US Supreme Court — have used the parenthetical ("cleaned up") following a citation to signal the removal of these unnecessary symbols. But, is it licit for us attorneys to use ("cleaned up") for ourselves?

Absolutely not, says Jeff Calkins, recently-retired senior research attorney with the Fourth District Court of Appeal (Santa Ana). Jeff tells Jeff Lewis and me on the California Appellate Law Podcast that if the court sees attorney turning in any quotations with any material removed from them, the court is going to check it out. So using ("cleaned up") is only going to arouse suspicion, and is not doing the court any favors.

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