Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Freelance Appellate Attorney Kate Mangan Named One of the Best "Young Attorneys" in San Diego by the Daily Transcript

The Daily Transcript recently selected Montage Legal Group's Kate Mayer Mangan as one of San Diego's best “Young Attorneys” of 2011.  See The Daily Transcript for Kate's full profile, or see below.   Congratulations Kate!


Kate Mayer Mangan is a litigator who specializes in civil appeals.  She recently founded her own firm, which handles all aspects of appellate litigation. She is also a member of Montage Legal Group, a network of experienced freelance attorneys. 

Mangan obtained her juris doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center, graduating magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, and in the top 1 percent of her class of almost 700 students.

At Georgetown, she was an executive editor of The Georgetown Law Journal and also taught legal research and writing to other law students.   Mangan obtained her bachelor's, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, in American studies from Pomona College.

After graduating from Georgetown, Mangan clerked for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and then she was a trial attorney for the United States Department of Justice in the Environmental Enforcement Section.

Before starting her own firm, Mangan was a litigator in the San Diego office of Latham & Watkins, where she specialized in appellate, municipal and labor/employment law. She drafted numerous motions and briefs, including three successful demurrers in litigation valued at more than $300 million, and a successful motion for summary adjudication eliminating a multimillion dollar punitive damage claim.

She also argued numerous motions -- including one that resulted in obtaining more than $4 million in attorneys’ fees -- and she has participated in trials.  She briefed and argued a Ninth Circuit appeal that resulted in a published opinion in her client’s favor.

In 2008, Mangan was named one of the best “Young Attorneys” in San Diego by The Daily Transcript.

Mangan is dedicated to giving back to the community.  She founded and taught the Appellate Litigation Clinic at the University of San Diego School of Law, which provides law students with the opportunity to litigate pro bono appeals in the Ninth Circuit. Mangan also conducted a free seminar called "How to Win an Appeal," which she presented to the San Diego City Attorney's Office.

Of all her accomplishments, Mangan is most proud of one of her pro bono successes:  She obtained asylum for a woman who had been tortured and suffered through two incompetent attorneys. For her pro bono work, Mangan has twice received the Wiley W. Manual Certificate for Pro Bono Legal Services.

She is currently working on a project to start a self-help clinic for unrepresented litigants with appeals in state court.

An Academic All American swimmer, Mangan continues to be active and enjoys open water swimming, yoga and backpacking. She is a member of the San Diego County Bar Appellate Court Committee, San Diego Lawyers' Club and is an alumnus of the Welsh Inn of Court.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

"Law Firms Give Back by Supporting WHW" - featured in the Riverside Lawyer Magazine

The Riverside Lawyer Magazine featured an article in its November Issue by Laurie Rowen, the former President of WHW's Board of Directors and an owner of Montage Legal Group.   Montage Legal Group, along with three other Southern California law firms -- Snell & Wilmer, Albrecht & Barney, and Hewitt Wolensky -- sponsored the first annual law firm clothing drive for WHW called Suits for a Cause.  The clothing drive brought over 30 law firms and legal businesses together to support WHW.  Thank you to Riverside Magazine for highlighting this great non-profit!


To participate in the second annual Suits for a Cause (held in June, 2012), please contact Laurie Rowen at Laurie@montagelegal.com.   For more information about WHW, please see www.whw.org

To help WHW between now and December 31, 2011, please vote for WHW's Executive Director, Janie Wolicki in a Women of the Year contest to benefit WHW.  Click here, select "view entries," and click on Janie Wolicki's photo.  Thanks for your support!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Can A Contingency Fee Lawyer Ever Use A Temporary Attorney?

By Mary Mock

Many plaintiffs’ lawyers shy away from, or simply aren't accustomed to using freelance attorneys to assist with tasks like legal research and motion writing because ultimate recovery is uncertain. Because contract attorneys, typically compensated by the hour, must be paid regardless of ultimate recovery, contingency fee lawyers may see only risk.
Despite the risks, there are many situations where hiring a freelance attorney makes sense and even creates advantages for the plaintiff’s attorney. 
Maybe you are a solo practitioner thinking of expanding into a new practice area, but you don’t have the time or full-time staff to evaluate the merits of a prospective new case. A specialized freelance attorney can give you a cost effective, concise evaluation of whether you should take the case on a contingency fee basis. This evaluation can include, in addition to applicable law, jury verdict research and opposing party and counsel research. By avoiding a fruitless case early on, you’ll save a lot of money and increase your knowledge of how to evaluate similarly situated prospective clients and cases in the future.

Or perhaps you need to build your library of form pleadings and motions and briefs to use as templates for future documents. An experienced freelance attorney can create templates for complaints, motions to remand, and oppositions to demurrers that anticipate the most commonly used defense arguments. For example, if you’re getting into wrongful foreclosures, you’ll be facing removals to federal court at every turn. A freelance attorney can create a template motion to remand that takes into account the familiar arguments, which you can cost effectively revise as needed.

Because the plaintiffs’ bar attorneys are frequently opposite large defense firms with seemingly limitless resources, the contingency fee attorney is already at a disadvantage. You have a big case and know you’re going to get hit with countless discovery and pre-trial motions. You could work your one associate (and yourself) to death, or you can take a long-term view of management and bring on a freelance attorney to assist during busy periods to give you a much-needed temporary boost.

Major dispositive motions often present difficult issues for the smaller firm, especially if you are already spread too thin. If you receive an anti-SLAPP motion, motion for summary judgment or demurrer, possibly with no less than 30 cases cited, what are your options if you already have 5 depositions and two mediations scheduled between now and the opposition filing date? There are simply not enough hours in the day to give an important motion attention it requires. You can hire a freelance attorney to give you a polished opposition ready for filing, or you can have your staff pull the major cases cited in the brief, create a first draft, and let an experienced freelance attorney revise and polish it. If it helps you defeat the motion and avoid settling for a nuisance sum, isn’t it worth it?

Many times small firms and solo practioners must focus on a high-value case, but cannot neglect the professional duty to prosecute the smaller ones. Instead of letting them collect dust – an omission which might affect your professional reputation and create unhappy clients – you might consider spending a few hundred dollars to keep your cases moving.  In the long run, it might be less expensive than losing clients and/or your reputation.

Finally, nearly every lawyer encounters a possible appellate issue.  But should you file a writ? Or should you appeal the judgment? These are specialized questions with many considerations, including costs, burdens, relative merits and likelihood of success. You can handle it yourself and hope for the best, can co-counsel with another firm to handle the appeal, or you can bring in a freelance appellate attorney to help you weight the merits and handle the drafting.  This may be a worthwhile investment.

There are many instances where bringing in outside help may seem costly and risky at first glance, but there are also significant risks in not doing so where there really is a need.  Freelance lawyers have the ability to provide flexible arrangements to assist small firms and contingency lawyers, so that you can provide your clients with what they deserve – excellent work and customer service.


Mary Mock 


Mary Mock is a freelance attorney with Montage Legal Group. Mary obtained her B.S. in cognitive science in 2002 from Wellesley College, and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 2007. After law school, Mary practiced general civil litigation at Caldwell, Kennedy & Porter, and then at Musick, Peeler & Garrett. Mary currently resides in Southern California's high desert region.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Montage Legal Group Expands to 35 Freelance Attorneys


Montage recently welcomed 12 new freelance attorneys, bringing its current number to 35 lawyers.  Montage Legal has quickly expanded to cover new geographical areas -- from San Diego up the coast to San Francisco -- by engaging exceptionally qualified attorneys who have left law firms, but still want to practice law and advance their legal careers.  Montage fills a niche need for both attorneys, law firms, and their clients alike by providing exceptional temporary legal assistance to law firms at reduced hourly rates. 

Montage’s newest freelance attorneys graduated from schools like Stanford, Dartmouth, University of Virginia, University of Michigan, Wellesley College, and Georgetown, and previously practiced at firms like Latham & Watkins, Clifford Chance, Quinn Emmanuel, Rutan & Tucker, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Vinson & Elkins, Irell & Manella, and Paul Hastings. Montage Legal Group now fills almost any temporary legal need - from basic litigation to substantive pre-trial and trial work, writs and appeals, corporate transactions, intellectual property, ERISA/employee benefits, and commercial finance. 

Welcome Dimetria Jackson, Annie Albertson, Sana Swe, Kristin Martin, Katie Phillips, Natalie Gowin, Bobbie Eftekar, Leena Bhakta, Mary Mock, Laura Icken, Amy Hirsch-Holtzman, and Susie Dickman!  See below for highlights about our new freelance attorneys, or click on their names to see their full Montage bios.

Dimetria Jackson

Dimetria obtained her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. Following law school, Dimetria was selected as an Echoing Green Foundation Fellow,  which she pursued with the National Health Law Program and founded the Women & HIV Policy Development Project. She then joined the LA County Counsel's Juvenile Dependency Division, and ultimately transitioned to in-house corporate work for First American Title Insurance Company and First American Trust, FSB. She has also been involved in numerous nonprofit organizations and is the OCBA's incoming 2012 President. She is the CEO of an online children's boutique, RedBAMBINA.com. Dimetria lives with her husband and 3 year old son, and is raising a 14 month old foster child that her family wishes to adopt.


Annie Albertson
Annie obtained her B.A. from Stanford University, and her law degree from Northwestern University School of Law.  Annie previously practiced at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP (now SNR Denton), Latham & Watkins, and Buchalter Nemer.  Annie also spent one year in Germany as a recipient of the prestigious Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship prior to joining Latham & Watkins.  Annie stays busy with freelance work and chasing after her 2 ½ year old son. Annie is also expecting her second baby in Spring of 2012.

Sana obtained her B.A. from Occidental College and her law degree from Loyola Law School.  Sana graduated magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, and was a member of the Loyola Law Review.  Sana began her legal career at Irell & Manella, LLP, where she practiced litigation and employment law from 1994 to 1997.  Sana then joined Paul Hastings LLP, where she was elected full equity partner in the Employment Law Department in 2005.  Sana resigned as partner in 2008 to freelance and to start her own labor and employment law firm.  Sana practices employment law in Los Angeles, both through her own solo practice and through freelance work with Montage. 
 
Kristin Sciarra Martin earned her B.A. from UCLA in 2001. She obtained her JD from Loyola Law School in 2004, where she served as the Production Editor for the Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Review. Kristin began her legal career at Haight, Brown & Bonesteel in Los Angeles, where she focused on business litigation, including insurance, construction, and product liability matters. Kristin then joined Gartenberg, Gelfand, Wasson & Seldon, a boutique law firm that specializes in trade secret litigation and fraud cases. Kristin resides in Orange County with her husband and baby son.



Katie obtained her B.A. from the University of Florida in 2002 and her JD in the top 20% of Stetson University College of Law in 2005, where she won several awards for her role on the International Moot Court Team. Katie started her legal career in litigation with Reid & Hellyer, and then joined Gresham, Savage, Nolan & Tilden, where she focused on real estate transactions, land use, redevelopment, city code enforcement, acquisition, zoning, permitting and development. Katie then started her own law firm, Meier & Phillips, focusing on real estate and corporate transactions. Katie then joined Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith in their employment group. Katie resides in Orange County with her husband, and is expecting her first baby in March of 2012.



Natalie Gowin

Natalie obtained her B.A. from UCLA, cum laude, in 2001, and her J.D. from NYU School of Law in 2004, where she was a Dean's Merit Scholar. After law school, Natalie joined Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld's litigation department in Los Angeles. Natalie then moved to Orange County and joined Rutan & Tucker's litigation group in Orange County. Natalie has been named a Southern California Superlawyer Rising Star in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Natalie resides in Orange County with her husband and infant son.






Bobbie earned her B.S. in Psychology and Pre-Medicine, with a specialization in Biology, from Texas A&M University in 2001, where she graduated cum laude in the top 10% of her class. She obtained her J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law in 2005, where she graduated cum laude, Order of the Coif,Stoelker, where she focused on intellectual property litigation (trade secret, trademark, patent and copyright litigation), and business litigation. Bobbie joined Quinn Emanuel's intellectual property litigation group in 2006. Bobbie then moved to Orange County and joined Snell & Wilmer's product liability litigation group in 2008. She left Snell in 2011 to pursue a career in Sports Medicine, and is currently getting her Masters of Science at California State University, Long Beach.


Leena graduated cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in 1998, and received her J.D., with honors, from the University of Texas School of Law in 2001. Leena began her legal career at Vinson & Elkins in the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Group. Leena then joined Halliburton Company in 2005, and was primary counsel in charge of legal compliance for Halliburton's qualified plans, welfare benefit plans, the master trust and offshore retirement plans. Leena has extensive experience with PPA, COBRA, USERRA, FMLA, HIPPA, and PPACA compliance. Leena then relocated to Orange County, where she currently lives with her husband and two young daughters.


Mary obtained her B.S. in cognitive science in 2002 from Wellesley College, and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 2007. After law school, Mary practiced general civil litigation at Caldwell, Kennedy & Porter, and then at Musick, Peeler & Garrett. Mary currently resides in Southern California's high desert region.


Laura obtained her B.A. from Dartmouth College and her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.  Laura was an associate at Clifford Chance (fka Rogers & Wells) in New York, and lived in both France and Germany, where she was an associate with Freshfields (the U.K. law firm) and Shearman and Sterling.  Laura specializes in entertainment law, and has worked in-house at various entertainment companies including Fremantle Media, National Geographic Television, MySpace, Yahoo! and various Fox entities.  Laura is currently doing freelance work in Los Angeles, and stays busy with her 7 year old daughter and new baby. 


Amy graduated magna cum laude from UCLA in 2000, and obtained her J.D. from UCLA School of Law, Order of the Coif, in 2006. After law school, Amy clerked for the Honorable Alicemarie Stotler in the U.S. District Court, Central District of California. She then joined Paul Hastings' San Francisco employment group in 2007. At Paul Hastings, Amy represented and counseled employers in single and multi-plaintiff employment litigation. Amy is our Lead Attorney for San Francisco and will take an active role in marketing for Montage.  Amy resides in San Francisco with her husband and toddler son.


Susie Park Dickman

Susie earned her B.A. in English from the University of California, Irvine in 2002, and her J.D. from the University of Southern California School of Law in 2006. After law school, Susie joined Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton's corporate department in Orange County. Susie then relocated to Los Angeles, and joined McDermott, Will & Emery's corporate group. Susie's experience includes private and public equity offerings, mergers & acquisitions, debt offerings, commercial finance, venture financings and corporate governance, and general corporate transactions. Susie resides in Santa Monica with her husband.








Montage is thrilled to welcome our newest freelance attorneys!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Outsourcing to Temporary Attorneys....Is it Ethical? (OC Lawyer, December 2011 Issue)

The Orange County Lawyer published an article in their December 2011 issue titled Outsourcing to Temporary Attorneys, authored by Montage Legal Group founders, Erin Giglia and Laurie Rowen.   The article, appearing in their popular "Ethically Speaking" section, discusses the recent malpractice suit involving contract attorneys, J-M Manufacturing v. McDermott Will & Emery, and highlights some of the ethical issues that firms need to be aware of when outsourcing to contract attorneys or freelance attorneys. The article discusses many of the relevant California and ABA rules regarding outsourcing to temporary attorneys, such as the duty of competence. 

The article also highlights that the ethical rules clearly establish that the hiring attorney is ultimately responsible for all work product that leaves the firm, including temporary attorney work, as set forth in the California State Bar Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct (COPRAC) Formal Opinion 1992-126. Further under California Rule of Professional Conduct 3-110(A), all attorneys must perform legal services with competence, defined as the "diligence, learning, and skill. and mental, emotional, and physical ability reasonably necessary for the performance of such service." Rule 3-110(A) applies equally to all California attorneys, contract or otherwise.  Because the hiring attorney is ultimately responsible for the temporary attorney's work, the hiring firm must be aware of their contract attorneys' education, background and experience. The ABA has also commented on the importance of using only skilled contract attorneys in Formal Ethics Opinion 08-451, "There is nothing unethical about outsourcing legal...services, provided the outsourcing lawyer renders legal services to the client with the 'legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation,' as required by Model Rule 1.1."

Temporary attorneys can be an excellent resource to firms of all sizes, and can solve difficult temporary or long-term staffing needs. But firms should take care to hire only temporary attorneys with appropriate levels of training and experience to perform tasks competently, and firms must always supervise contract attorney work.   

To read the full article, see the December 2011 on-line issue of the Orange County Lawyer.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Montage Attorney Maureen Aplin's Legal Thriller "The Five" is Being Made into a Movie

We are so excited to announce that The Five -- the sixth legal thriller written by Montage freelance attorney and well-known author, Maureen Aplin --  is being made into a movie.  Check back here for information on when the movie will be released, and watch the trailer/teaser for The Five below.  But be careful....it's scary!

About The Five

The sixth book in the author's Mary MacIntosh murder mystery series centers around a serial killer (Chandler Craig) who commenced his murderous rampage before the ripe of age 12, but due to a loophole in the law, is released from juvenile detention at age 21. "Mac" hosts a reunion for her four college roommates at her family cabin in the Colorado Rockies. Within months of his release from jail, Chandler shows up at the cabin and captures each of the five with means of force, violence and torture, telling them that “one of their husbands hired him to kill one of them, and it was up to each to convince him that she was not it.” Each friend struggles with the notion that her husband wants her dead, soul searching the past, present and future of the bonds of marriage and friendship. Chandler’s mayhem and means of torture stem from his abusive and tumultuous childhood and with each act of violence committed against THE FIVE, he reveals the depths of his hatred and sorrow. Mac's search for the truth behind Chandler’s motive to kill is entangled with the revelation of infidelity, betrayal, and conspiracy stemming from Chandler’s true birth father and a husband’s fall from professional sports grace – into a league of crime involving performance enhancement drugs that, if discovered, will certainly derail dozens of high-profile athlete’s careers.




Wednesday, November 16, 2011

San Diego Business Journal Honors the 2011 "Women Who Mean Business"

Kate Mayer Mangan, an affiliated attorney with Montage Legal Group and owner of Mayer Mangan, A Professional Corporation, is a finalist for the San Diego Business Journal's 2011 "Women Who Mean Business Awards." The SDBJ "Women Who Mean Business Awards" is a program designed to recognize dynamic women business leaders and role models selected for their achievements and contributions to the San Diego companies and the community. 

To read the full list of finalists, see page 41 of the San Diego Business Journal.

Kate will be recognized on November 17, 2011 along with some of San Diego's most successful business women, including several successful females at San Diego law firms who have helped pave the way for all women in law:
  • Karen Hernandez of Cooley, LLP
  • Patricia Groff of Butz, Dunn & DeSantis
  • Karolina Ericsson of Ericsson Law Group 
  • Linda Klinger of Klinger Law Center
  • Lisa Martens of Fish & Richardson
  • Arlene Prater of Best, Best & Krieger, LLP
  • Cynthia Morgan of Higgs, Fletcher & Mack, LLP, and
  • Nancy Spector  
Congratulations ladies!

To sign up to attend this excellent event, visit the SDBJ website: http://www.sdbj.com/bizevents/.

Kate Mayer Mangan
Kate Mangan graduated summa cum laude from Pomona College, and was in the top 1% of her class at Georgetown University Law Center. At Georgetown, Kate was an executive editor of, and was published in, Georgetown Law Journal. After law school, Kate clerked for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from 2004-2005, and was a trial attorney for the United States Department of Justice in the Environmental Enforcement Section from 2005-2006. Kate previously practiced appellate law at Latham & Watkins San Diego office. Kate also founded the Appellate Legal Clinic at the University of San Diego School of Law.  Kate started her own appellate practice and joined Montage Legal Group as a freelance attorney in 2011. 


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Why Are Supermom Lawyers in Canada Leaving Law Firms?

It appears that Canada has the same problem as the United States.  An article titled “Why Supermom is leaving the firm,” by Jeff Gray of the Law Reporter, states that many female lawyers in Canada have been leaving big law firms to seek jobs with mid-size firms, in-house legal departments or government agencies.  These women seek “less punishing hours and more flexible workplaces.”  Others have been leaving the practice of law all together.

According to Law Society of Upper Canada statistics, women usually leave after spending about five to seven years as a lawyer, before they make partner.  To address the problem that Canada has been struggling with for years, the Law Society of Upper Canada created the Justicia Project, which signed up 56 Ontario firms and aimed to develop model policies on flexible working hours, leaves and mentorships.  The article discusses the success of the project, but admits that it is difficult to quantify how much good the project has done.    

 “Until there are changes, many female lawyers will likely seek alternative career paths beyond Bay Street. But new business models, and new technology, may be making that easier. With the Internet, legal work can now be done far from a steel-and-glass office tower.”

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Missing in Action: A Veteran's Court for Riverside County

Even though we have left our law firm gigs and their sometimes crazy hours, Montage attorneys still keep themselves incredibly busy with a wide variety of tasks and projects outside the realm of paid work.  Most of these tasks pertain, of course, to our family lives but many Montage attorneys devote a substantial amount of time to volunteering with charitable organizations and professional/bar associations.  Some of that time is naturally focused on networking and business development, but not always.  For example, Amy Guldner read an article earlier this year about Veterans' Courts.  These specialized treatment programs are striving to rehabilitate, rather than incarcerate, veterans who are struggling with addiction and mental illness, and to date they've been very successful.  Despite never practicing criminal law or working in the mental health or substance abuse fields, Amy found the concept quite fascinating.  When the Riverside County Bar Association's Bar Publications Committee decided to devote their October issue to military and veterans' issues, she agreed to research and write about Veterans' Courts.  Even if the article doesn't help expedite the formation of a Veterans' Court in Riverside County, Amy hopes that it will enhance its readers' understanding of the unique battle many veterans face when they return home. Amy's article can be found here, starting on page 15:  "Missing in Action: A Veterans' Court for Riverside County."

Amy Leinen Guldner joined Montage Legal Group in January, 2010 after practicing for over thirteen years at Morgan Lewis and Bockius LLP and Snell and Wilmer LLP. Amy Guldner is Montage Legal's lead attorney, and has become an integral part of expanding Montage Legal to law firms in the Inland Empire, including Corona, Riverside and Temecula. In addition to her legal work and caring for her two young children, Amy is a volunteer Court-Appointed Special Advocate with CASA of Orange County, mentoring and advocating in court on behalf of abused and neglected children. She is also involved with the Riverside County Bar Association and its publications committee. Amy lives with her husband, her five year old daughter and her seven year old son in Corona, CA.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Lindley Fraley's Story: How Cancer, Infertility and Parenthood Led to a Happy Life as a Freelance Lawyer

Montage freelance attorney, Lindley Fraley, was recently interviewed by Blooming Betty as part of their Profiles of Success series.  Lindley's amazing and inspirational story sheds light on just one of the reasons why attorneys opt out of the traditional firm model.

Meet Lindley Fraley: Profile of Success
Posted on Sept. 22, 2011 by Lori Pike

The minute I heard Lindley Fraley’s voice, I knew I had found the perfect choice for this month’s Profile of Success. I was connected with Lindley after my post on Professional Networks and the example of Montage Legal Group, based in Southern California. After chatting with the co-founders, they suggested Lindley, for her choices, her attitude, her ability and what I came to find out, her incredible and contagious level of optimism. Not only is she a great inspiration for women who are trying to find pave their own path to success but she clearly shows the power of optimism and positive thinking that I have spoken about in my recent posts and last week on Caroline Casey.

Lindley is a lawyer, 35, married, with two young children. Like many lawyers we all know, she kind of backed into law after getting an undergraduate degree in public policy and planning at the University of Southern California. After graduating, she quickly realized that there weren’t too many jobs in this field without a masters degree. She did some thinking and law school seemed like a good option. Fast forward, she completed the LSAT, got admission to Berkley, finished with a law degree, a job at a prestigious law firm, Latham and Watkins, hefty student loans and having met the man she would later marry. Productive! She admits that it was hard not to be lured to the high starting salaries and perks at these firms, especially when you have loans to pay back. And so she began her career.

However, quickly she learned that there was a reason for the high salary. While the people were nice, she had a hard time dealing with the crazy hours, crazy pressure, and crazy lifestyle. The only saving grace was that her partner was there too! But after two years she realized that she was more comfortable in a smaller firm with a better lifestyle and so she left began practicing employment litigation at Payne and Fears.

But then came kids. Lindley knew from the beginning that she wanted to continue working but wanted more flex time, didn’t want a full-time nanny for her child and wanted to reduce her hours. This was new at Payne and Fears, so Lindley was charged with coming up with a proposal and presenting it to senior management for approval. However, before that happened, her daughter decided to arrive 6 weeks early. So as she delivered, frantically on her blackberry trying to tie up loose ends with clients, she waited for approval of her new role. (Her daughter spent 2 weeks in the NICU and was thankfully fine, and she got the flex-time so needed.)

Good? Yes. But not for long, 6 months to be exact. Her husband, Steve, who had always suffered from sleep apnea and night terrors, after a series of tests, was diagnosed with brain cancer. Everything stopped.   Click here to read more

Blooming Betty is an excellent resource to help professional women meet "the female challenge: balancing the call of the marketplace, the home and the self." Blooming Betty helps "navigate the road to a richer life by uncovering, endorsing and supporting a personal definition of success."  Blooming Betty advocates that “climbing the traditional ladder of success just doesn’t work for most women!  Betty research shows that true success is individual, personal, relational, and dynamic. True success is tied to who we are; the people in our lives who matter to us; and our unique situations.”

Lori Miller Pike, a founder of Blooming Betty and a seasoned marketer from NYC, who met her Toronto husband on a bike trip in Utah, reestablished herself in Toronto and soon became mother to a pair of twins, recognized that such questions dogged the many women in her life daily. There were too many smart and wonderful women walking around feeling completely unsuccessful! Lori firmly believes that every woman should feel successful if she is living life according to her own definition of success.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Montage's Samantha Everett Weighs in On Flextime Arrangements at Small, Medium and Large Law Firms

The Lawyers Club of San Diego featured Montage Legal’s Samantha Everett in an article about flex-time and balance.   Samantha, a mother of twin 2 year old daughters and a 4 year old daughter, tried part-time arrangements at small, medium and large law firms in San Diego before becoming a freelance lawyer earlier this year.  The excerpt from the article is below.   Thanks to Samantha and Lawyers Club for a great article on this important topic!

Small, Medium and Large Firms Offering Flextime
I have worked for three different firms, and each provided part- or flex-time arrangements. At Cooley, LLP, I had a formal part-time schedule, ranging from 80% to 60% of full time hours. Because Cooley is a very high-tech firm, there really was no face-time requirement – the amount of face-time I had to put in depended largely on the particular partner for whom I was working. I then went to Stokes Roberts & Wagner, ALC, a labor and employment boutique, where I was able to negotiate a formal “flex-time” arrangement. I was billing full time hours, but was not expected in the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I then joined Wilson Turner Kosmo, LLP, where I had another formal “flex-time” arrangement. There, I billed full time hours and was in the office each weekday, but was able to leave every day at 4 pm.

Each of these various part- and flex-time schedules had positives and negatives. When I was “part-time” with flexible face-time, I was able to carve out time during working hours for family obligations, dentist and doctor appointments, and sick days, grocery shopping or a workout. However, this did not mean that each day, or each week, was shorter than a full time work schedule. I would have very intense, high billing months, followed by very light months. Because I usually didn’t know which months would be which, it was difficult to manage the nanny, my husband, guests, etc., who never knew what to expect. When I was spending entire days at home, I felt like I was very present in my kids’ lives, although I spent much of those days running errands and trying to catch up at home. At work, I found it very difficult to manage with that type of schedule - when you are away from the office for an entire day, work, and voicemail, tends to pile up. Also, I found that I would miss out on those “drive-by” projects that so often lead to good work and/or an “in” with a partner you’ve been trying to work for, and I think your absence is felt by partners and full-time associates.

Leaving the office early each day was much easier to manage for me at work. I found that there isn’t usually much difference between returning a phone call at 5 p.m. vs. 8:30 a.m., and I felt like I was part of the team because I was present for impromptu lunches and meetings. However, this schedule required a high level of organization and it was difficult to schedule anything personal during the day, despite WTK’s parent-friendly culture. At home, I would find myself trying to remember which Federal Rule applied to my argument instead of where the pink cards were in Memory.  At work, my mouse frequently wandered to parenting blogs instead of Google Scholar.

After having three kids in two years, I found it impossible to have the life I want with any of the flex time schedules available to me. I decide to leave law firm life behind for a few years and now I have the ultimate flex-time arrangement: freelance. I joined Montage Legal Group, a network of highly qualified freelance attorneys in Southern California.  I am able to do meaningful, interesting work for a variety of attorneys on my own time and my own schedule. I most frequently work after my kids are asleep (they are four and two, so they have early bedtimes), and on the rare occasion when I have to be present in person, I am able to make childcare arrangements.

Law firms get the benefit of my experience without having to pay an associate’s salary and benefits, and I get to be home with my kids during these early years while staying active in the bar.

Samantha M. Everett obtained her Juris Doctor from the University of San Diego School of Law in 2004, cum laude, Order of the Coif, where she graduated in the top 5% of her class and was an editor of the San Diego Law Review. She received her undergraduate degree from San Diego State University, graduating cum laude with distinction in English Literature. 
Samantha began her legal career in 2004 at Cooley LLP (formerly Cooley Godward Kronish LLP), where she was a member of the litigation group. Samantha left Cooley in 2010 to practice employment litigation with the employment boutiques Stokes Roberts and Wagner ALC and Wilson Turner Kosmo, LLP.
Samantha is experienced in all aspects of complex civil litigation in a variety of substantive areas, including employment, intellectual property, securities, general commercial litigation, and white-collar criminal defense. She has done extensive motion work including dispositive and evidentiary motions and has had a substantial level of experience in both large and small cases including taking and defending depositions, court appearances and oral argument, conducting employee interviews, other evidence gathering and preparation, preparing witnesses for deposition and trial, managing e-discovery, managing large-scale litigation, and serving as local counsel in San Diego and the Southern District of California. 
Samantha joined Montage Legal Group in January 2011 and is currently doing freelance work for law firms in Southern California.  Samantha also serves on the Leadership Development Committees of both the Association of Business Trial Lawyers - San Diego and the Lawyers Club of San Diego.  Her monthly Lawyers Club News article "Leadership Opportunities" seeks to assist women lawyers to obtain leadership positions on local government and nonprofit boards and commissions. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

"Professional Networks...Might Be For You" by Blooming Betty


Earlier today, we came across an article titled Professional Networks...Might Be For You by Lori Pike of Blooming Betty, which profiled Montage Legal Group.  We read more about their company, and found out that Blooming Betty is an excellent resource to help professional women meet "the female challenge: balancing the call of the marketplace, the home and the self." Blooming Betty helps "navigate the road to a richer life by uncovering, endorsing and supporting a personal definition of success." We are so honored and excited to be described by Blooming Betty as a good example of what women can do when they work together.  Lori Pike was kind enough to allow us to repost her article on our blog.  Thanks Blooming Betty!

Professional networks...might be for you
Posted on BloomingBetty by Lori Miller Pike on September 8th

Wow. Only the first week of September and already I’ve had at least ten conversations with smart, professional women who are either thinking of leaving their office jobs for something more flexible or would like to re-enter the work force in some capacity after time off. Yes, more than January and it’s notorious fitness commitments, September, is a time of renewal, productivity and change, particularly in the work-place. Perhaps we are tied to our years of fresh pencils and backpacks or our re-charged batteries glowing with summer sunshine.

So, when I stumbled across this article, entitled “Freelance Law” in the ABA Journal (o.k. truth be told, my husband gave it to me, yellow “stickied” it, and left it on my night table), I thought that it was a great example of how women, when working together, can do great things. Food for thought as we navigate our own career choices this September.

Fact: Female attorneys who wanted to have children or spend more time with their families have historically had to leave their big firms behind because they chose not keep up with the long hours required. No surprise there.

Another fact: In today’s legal climate, using independent contractors for attorney services has become a way for law firms/ businesses to maintain a competitive edge. Providing employee benefits, uneven workflow, payroll, and performing administrative tasks can make it both costly and risky to hire additional staff. When workload fluctuates due to trials or a heavy caseload, skilled freelance attorneys can enable a firm to provide excellent work product for their clients at reduced costs. Makes sense.
Well Laurie Rowen and Erin Giglia blended the facts. But they saw opportunity too. Why not form a legal “network” with great female attorneys who could set their own hours and are willing to work on a freelance basis for other firms?

So in 2009 Rowan and Giglia founded “Montage Legal Group”. Who are they? A 24-person law network (not to be confused with a law firm), based in California, composed of mostly women, from prominent law firms or in-house counsels, who work virtually for both clients of Montage and their own (if they choose). It is a network of individual sole practitioner attorneys doing freelance work from home on an hourly basis. Whether a law firm needs assistance with law and motion work, depositions, court appearances or document review, or wants to add a new specialty or increased knowledge to their practice, Montage Legal Group’s attorneys step in to provide quality legal resources.

The beauty is that the business model appeals to both their clients and their lawyers. Law firms and corporations receive top -notch legal services on an as needed basis and the lawyers retain the flexibility allowing them to spend time with their families, elder parents, or whatever and whomever else they choose. There are women who have used Montage to help them re-launch their careers too. Allowing them to re-enter the work force slowly and softly.

“Montage Legal attorneys are incredibly efficient, Type-A planners, who have many balls in the air at once,” Rowen and Giglia say. “Despite our incredibly busy schedules, we still manage to exceed every expectation of the law firms that hire us. And we can write winning motions while making dinner and helping with homework at the same time!”

How many women in other professions do you know who could be described this way? Most of women that I have spoken to this week and so many others! And how many corporations are faced with the same dilemma as the law firms that make hiring permanent staff so daunting? Lots.

It has become common-place for companies to outsource administrative and non-core services like call centers, mail-room, and technology (IT) but not as much for professional services. Can the “Montage” model be expanded further? Accounting and finance? Marketing and strategic services? Education? Or what about networks of varying professional disciplines that act as a coop of services?

There are so many great women freelancing as a result of work-balance choices,workplaces that don't easily translate to parenthood, and the slow economy, wouldn’t it this make sense for these skilled women to team up? Are there women that you would like to approach about forming your own professional network? Not sure how to get started?
Here are a few ideas:
  1. Join an association in your field (American Marketing Association, Accounting, etc.) on a local level so that you meet peopl in close proximity.
  2. Find the chapter of the Women’s Executive Network in your area
  3. Talk to other Mom’s about more than sleep schedules and pre-school, there is probably lots of talent as close as your child's music class!
  4. Google all of the "meetups" of people in your field that are probably happening in your area
And maybe starting one of these professional networks is bit too much right now, did you know there are companies that specialize in helping professional women find part time work. I took a look at a bunch and weeded through those professing "make millions from your living rooms". Check these out, they might be your first step.

Blooming Betty

Lori Miller Pike, a seasoned marketer from NYC, who met her Toronto husband on a bike trip in Utah, reestablished herself in Toronto and soon became mother to a pair of twins, recognized that such questions dogged the many women in her life daily. There were too many smart and wonderful women walking around feeling completely unsuccessful! Lori firmly believes that every woman should feel successful if she is living life according to her own definition of success.

Sue Van Der Hout, a long-time lawyer, married with two grown sons found herself exploring the same issues with women seeking leadership insights. She’d asked it of herself over the 30 years of her working life – “Is success climbing a ladder? Status? Money? Breathing and dodging the twin dragons of “must be” and “must do”? What does happiness look like at different ages and stages?“

Lori and Sue welcome you to Blooming Betty and ask you to jump in with both feet –Discover your own definition of success.

WHW's Employment Leader Award


Laurie Rowen, co-founder of Montage Legal Group, serves on the board of WHW.  Please see WHW's announcement of its new Employment Leader Award program:

WHW (Women Helping Women/Men2Work) is proud to announce our Employment Leadership Award, created to honor outstanding people in corporations, nonprofit organizations and academia who have made a substantial impact on employment success in Orange County.

We are now calling for nominations for the Employment Leadership Award! Eligible nominees include leaders in business, Human Resources / Organizational Management executives, lay and professional leaders in agencies specializing in employment assistance, academic / thought leaders, leaders in organizations which employ the disabled, and others. Nominees should be people who have done outstanding work in advancing employment, for the world at large, and especially for the disadvantaged and/or lower income worker.

The Employment Leadership Award will be presented at WHW’s annual gala event to be held April 21, 2012 in Newport Beach. Honorees will be chosen through a selection committee, and will be notified by November 1, 2011.

WHW’s mission is to provide comprehensive employment support services to empower disadvantaged men, women and teens to achieve economic self sufficiency through employment success. WHW’s comprehensive Employment Success Program includes resume and interviewing skills, workshops, computer classes, job placement, image consulting and professional clothing appropriate for interviews. WHW is pleased to recognize leaders and organizations in Orange County that assist the unemployed, so that all men, women and teens have the opportunity to provide for themselves and their families into the future.

For more information, please contact WHW’s Executive Director Janie Wolicki at (949) 631-2333 x316 or janiew@whw.org. Nomination forms are also available at www.whw.org.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Freelance Attorneys: Building Your Practice And Profits And Improving Client Service - Riverside Lawyer, September 2011

The Riverside County Bar Association features freelance legal practice in an article in the September issue of Riverside Lawyer: "Freelance Attorneys: Building Your Practice And Profits And Improving Client Service."   The article, authored by Montage Legal's Amy Guldner, discusses the basic premise of utilizing freelance attorneys, and many benefits of the freelance attorney model, especially in a challenging economy.   For example, experienced freelance attorneys can assist firms with overflow work during busy periods like trial prep, or when multiple matters heat up simultaneously.  Because firms are ethically permitted to add a surcharge to a freelance attorney's low hourly rate, law firms are able to profit from the freelance attorney's rate while still offering a lower hourly rate to their clients.  In other words, law firms can earn a profit while getting the extra help they need, and can pass significant savings to their clients.

 
 
While the freelance model is attractive, law firms must take care in outsourcing legal work.  As discussed in the article about the recent malpractice case against McDermott, Will & Emery, law firms should consider the relevant ethical duties, should properly direct and supervise the outside attorneys, and should favor experienced freelance attorneys over the traditional "contract attorney."

 
 
Riverside Lawyer also features a full profile on Amy Guldner on page 24.  The RCBA is excited to have Amy's exceptional experience and skill as a resource for the organization, and to assist Riverside County attorneys.  Click here to read the entire article: Freelance Attorneys: Building Your Practice And Profits And Improving Client Service. 

 
 
Amy, the lead attorney for Montage Legal Group, has been interviewed by MOMentum and has written several popular blog posts, including the following:
 
Amy Leinen Guldner joined Montage Legal Group in January, 2010 after practicing for over thirteen years at Morgan Lewis and Bockius LLP and Snell and Wilmer LLP. Amy Guldner is Montage Legal's lead attorney, and has become an integral part of expanding Montage Legal to law firms in the Inland Empire, including Corona, Riverside and Temecula. In addition to her legal work and caring for her two young children, Amy is a volunteer Court-Appointed Special Advocate with CASA of Orange County, mentoring and advocating in court on behalf of abused and neglected children. She is also involved with the Riverside County Bar Association and its publications committee. Amy lives with her husband, her five year old daughter and her seven year old son in Corona, CA.

 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Kim Bick Becomes Senior Counsel at Irell & Manella

Montage Legal Group is thrilled to announce that freelance environmental attorney Kimberly Bick has accepted a position as Senior Counsel with Irell & Manella, LLP in Newport Beach.

Before attending law school, Kim worked as an environmental engineer for aerospace company McDonnell Douglas Corp., developing and implementing compliance programs for air, water and hazardous waste. She also represented the company, which merged with Boeing in 2007, in Superfund cleanup projects in California.  

Bick earned her law degree from Stanford University in 1990, and clerked for Judge Patricia Wald of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia before joining Covington & Burling LLP.  Kim then practiced environmental law at Morrison & Foerster and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, in Orange County, before taking a hiatus from law firm life to focus on her family.  Kim joined Montage Legal Group in early 2011 for support as she continued to build her environmental practice.

“Montage Legal Group was instrumental in helping me manage and grow my practice and eventually transition back to a full-time law firm position.  Montage Legal is an excellent resource for attorneys, law firms, and their clients.  I fully support Montage’s outstanding and innovative business model,” says Bick.

As Irell's senior environmental attorney, Kim will focus on environmental compliance issues and environmental litigation, as well as advising real estate and corporate clients on risk allocation in their transactions.  Her goal is to build the firm's environmental practice and take the firm into the next decade representing clients in cutting edge areas of environmental law.

To read more about Kim’s exciting new position at Irell & Manella, see the August 30, 2011 article in Law360.



Monday, August 29, 2011

Malpractice Action Against McDermott, Will & Emery Highlights Need for Experienced Contract Attorneys

By Isabelle Smith and Erin Giglia

Due to the rising expense of E-Discovery, as well as the pressure put on by clients to keep costs down, law firms have turned to contract attorneys to conduct document review in large, document-intensive litigation.  In the course of a single document request, attorneys may have to review hundreds of thousands of documents for relevance and privilege.  Many clients simply refuse to pay law firm associate rates to conduct such a review.  To minimize costs to their clients, law firms often hire contract attorneys, who typically charge significantly lower hourly rates than law firms charge for associate time.  

There are risks associated with outsourcing what may seem like a mundane task to contract attorneys, who may not be as experienced or supervised as closely as associates.  Any attorney who has been involved in a privilege review understands the stakes -- a client's confidential, proprietary documents, as well as documents subject to the attorney-client privilege.  It is imperative that privileged documents remain so due to the danger that waiver in one case can lead to indefinite waiver.  J-M Manufacturing alleges exactly that in a lawsuit filed against McDermott, Will & Emery. 

According to a well-publicized lawsuit J-M filed June 2 in a state court in Los Angeles, McDermott improperly produced privileged and other documents -- all because it did not thoroughly supervise and review the work of the contract attorneys who conducted the privilege review.  The Wall Street Journal reports that the lawsuit alleges that McDermott's outside contract attorneys "negligently performed their duties" while screening documents.  The newspaper states the suit, "is seen in the industry as an important case concerning the quality of work performed by a growing cadre of temp lawyers who are paid as little as $25 to $30 an hour to review documents." 

This case is currently active, so the facts have not played out.  But the lawsuit itself provides take-away lessons.  First, it is crucial to properly direct and supervise lower level attorneys, contract or otherwise.  Supervision will vary depending on the task and the attorneys involved.  Several legal ethics opinions have articulated that the hiring attorney is ultimately responsible for, and adopts the contract attorney's work product as their own.  See COPRAC Formal Opinion 1992-126.  

Second, firms need to be aware of their contract attorneys' backgrounds, experience, education, and training, and must meet it's ethical duty to perform all legal services competently.   See California Rule of Professional Conduct 3-110 (A), which states, " A member shall not intentionally, recklessly, or repeatedly fail to perform legal services with competence."  Rule 3-110 (B) defines "competence" as the "diligence, learning and skill, and mental, emotional, and physical ability reasonably necessary for the performance of such service."  See also,  ABA Model Rule 1.1, which states, "A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client.  Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation; and COPRAC Formal Opinion 1992-126.  The ABA has commented on the importance of using only skilled contract attorneys in Formal Ethics Opinion 08-451, "There is nothing unethical about outsourcing legal...services, provided the outsourcing lawyer renders legal services to the client with the 'legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation,' as required by Model Rule 1.1."   


While law firms and clients may be tempted by inexpensive hourly rates, the adage - "Buyer Beware" certainly applies.  So where does that leave clients and law firms who simply cannot afford the costs of associate time, but are concerned about using inexperienced, cheap contract attorneys?  The risk associated with hiring contract attorneys can be greatly diminished by hiring experienced freelance attorneys who have the background and skill set to perform the tasks, but whose rates are well under that of law firm associates.  Experienced freelance attorneys may be more expensive than contract/temp attorneys, but are a worthwhile investment to assist law firms with large-scale legal work.


It would be a mistake for law firms and clients to close the door on outsourcing legal work.  The lesson learned at this early stage of the McDermott lawsuit is to hire experienced freelance attorneys, and as always, to properly direct and supervise attorneys.

Isabelle Carrillo Smith

Isabelle Smith, the first former partner to join Montage Legal Group, obtained her law degree from University of California, Hastings in 1998 and served as the Executive Editor of the Hastings Law Journal.   She was a partner in the Global Litigation Group of Howrey,  specializing in complex business litigation, with a particular focus on professional liability disputes and securities matters.  Isabelle has represented and counseled law firms in legal malpractice disputes, and Fortune 500 companies and start-ups in securities class actions, derivative suits, corporate governance, antitrust, merger and acquisition disputes, unfair business practices, and trade secrets.   In 2006 and 2007, Isabelle was named a Southern California Super Lawyer Rising Star by Law & Politics Magazine.  She was also named Pro Bono Partner of the Year by Howrey, LLP's Irvine office.