Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Redefining Contract Lawyers – ABA Journal Features Montage's Freelance Attorney Network

"Laurie Rowen and Erin Giglia would like to add a new work status to the law dictionary: freelance."  The August Issue of the American Bar Association Journal features an article about Montage Legal Group titled  "Freelance Law: Lawyers' network helps these women keep a hand in the workforce." The article explains how Montage's freelance attorney network sets itself apart from the contract attorneys of the past, and is an increasingly popular way for mothers to keep their hand in the legal market.  

Montage Legal's first former BigLaw partner, Isabelle Smith, states in the article: "I ultimately decided that at this point in my life a freelance pratice would provide me with more control over my time and projects...I feel that with the support of like-minded women at Montage Legal Group and the overall reputation of the group, I could continue to practice as well as pursue other options in the legal community, like public interest."
Taylor Rowen, Laurie Rowen & Erin Giglia
One of Montage's law firm clients, Gary Wolensky of Hewitt Wolensky, LLP, is quoted as saying that Montage Legal's former BigLaw freelance lawyers are a great way for a small firm to expand slowly:
We believe in growth and expansion—but not too quickly...when we have overflow, rather than immediately hiring yet another attorney, I turn to Montage because many of the attorneys I know there are from Snell & Wilmer. They’re excellent attorneys, they have a big-firm pedigree, and the quality of their work is outstanding.
Wolensky hires Montage Legal Group about once a month for 10- to 50-hour projects like product liability motions, discovery responses and the occasional employment law or trade-secret misappropriation matter.  “I wouldn’t go to any other contract attorneys,” he says. “As long as this works, we can grow at the pace we want.”

The article states that Montage’s business model is just the beginning of the melding of today’s hottest legal trends. “You’ve got outsourcing, unbundling of services and virtual law practices,”says John Olmstead, principal at the legal management consulting firm Olmstead & Associates in St. Louis.  “We’re going to see more of this, with additional variations as time goes by.”

To read the full story, go to the ABA Journal's website or read it when the August magazine comes across your desk.  See also University of San Diego School of Law's article on this issue: Alumnae Give a New Twist to the Contract Lawyer Model.

Montage Legal Group would like to thank reporter Gabriella Filisko, who contacted us about our unique network after interviewing Erin Giglia about social media, and wrote an amazing article about our group.  We also want to thank ABA Journal's freelance photographer, Jonah Light, for taking brilliant photos despite the "toddler moments," which ultimately appealed to the ABA editors!

For more information about Montage Legal Group, please see our website at

Monday, July 25, 2011

Montage's Freelance Appellate Attorneys Change The Way Lawyers Handle Appeals

Do you have the time, focus and skill it takes to successfully write a writ or appellate brief?  Perhaps, but there is value in bringing in an appellate specialist familiar with the appellate process.  Appellate attorneys are specifically trained and are well-versed in appellate substantive and procedural practice.  These skills are especially important in light of often unforgiving judges, who demand substantive and procedural excellence from the attorneys before them.  For example, the 5th Circuit recently denied a former Texas cheerleader’s appeal, and strongly criticized her attorneys for grammar and spelling errors.   To have a Court of Appeal publically criticize attorney work product in a published opinion leaves little chance for redemption or recovery for the lawyer.   Assistance from an appellate specialist is usually the best option for clients whose legal rights and remedies are at stake.

Trial lawyers are among the busiest in the legal field.   While many have the skill to write an excellent appellate brief, most do not have the specific training needed to ensure the best results for their clients. 

Montage Legal Group’s appellate attorneys can help.  Katherine Mayer Mangan (Georgetown Law Center, practiced at Latham & Watkins) and Heather Arambarri (Loyola Law School, formerly Supervising Deputy Attorney General with the California Attorney General’s Office) offer a wide range of services that trial attorneys can tailor to their particular needs.  Kate and Heather have practiced extensively in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and in California Court of Appeals/Supreme Court of California, in both civil and criminal matters. 

Some examples of appellate assistance Kate and Heather offer are:

1.  Writ options during trials, including pre-writ counseling
2.  Amicus brief coordination
3.  Oral argument coaching/moots
4.  Co-counsel or contract arrangements available, at significantly lower rates
5.  Credit or co-credit for published opinions
6.  Post-Court of Appeal evaluation
7.  In-trial assistance, including strategy, objections, offers of proof, and other record preservation issues.

Montage Legal Group's new freelance appellate specialists may just change the way you and your clients handle appeals.  Welcome Kate and Heather!

Kate 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.

Heather Arambarri

Heather graduated from the University of Southern California, and obtained her J.D. from Loyola Law School.  Heather previously practiced appellate law for the California Attorney General's Office, eventually leading and supervising a specialized team designed to work on writs and appeals.  Heather has argued many times before the Second and Fourth Districts of the California Court of Appeal, and the California Supreme Court.  

For more information about Montage Legal Group, please see our website at

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Stay-at-Home Parents Returning to the Workforce - Lawyers Club of San Diego CLE

On August 2nd, Montage Legal’s Kandy Williams spoke on panel for the Lawyers Club of San Diego about parent attorneys returning to the workforce after taking time off to raise children.   This CLE put on by the Lawyers Club's Balance Commitee provided great advice to stay-at-home lawyer parents who are thinking about getting back into the work-force, whether it's through freelance work, work at a law firm, or government work.   The panelists were as follows:

Joanna de Vos - Associate, Estate and Elder Law, Stillwell & Associates
Mara Elliott - Deputy City Attorney for San Diego
Kandy Williams - Attorney, Corporate Transactions and General Litigation, Williams Law Firm/Montage Legal Group
Jennifer Wilson - Associate, Estate Planning and Asset Protection at
Bohm, Matsen, Kegel & Aguilera LLP
For advice on how to get back into the workforce after taking off several years to raise children, feel free to e-mail panelist Kandy Williams of Williams Law Firm and Montage Legal Group at   Montage Legal's Kate Mayer Mangan interviewed speakers Joanna De Vos and Kandy Williams about their experiences getting back into the workforce.  Please see the video below.
Kandy Williams Biograpy

Kandy Williams attended the University of Mississippi and obtained her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Pepperdine University School of Law, where she served as Literary Editor of the Pepperdine Law Review. During law school, Kandy also won several moot court awards, including Best Oral Advocate in the school’s Dalsimer Competition and as well as awards in national moot court competitions. After law school, Kandy clerked for the Tennessee Court of Appeals in Memphis, Tennessee.

She then began practicing law in Nashville in the corporate and securities group at Waller Landsden Dortch and Davis LLP. She then returned to California where she joined the corporate group at Snell and Wilmer, LLP. At Snell and Wilmer, Kandy negotiated mergers and acquisitions, prepared copyright and trademark registrations, and worked on corporate-related litigation matters.

Kandy then joined Brobeck Phleger and Harrison LLP’s corporate and securities group, where she negotiated venture capital financings on both the venture capital fund side and the company side in the high technology and emerging growth sectors. After taking some time off to be at home with her two children, Kandy relaunched her legal career by consulting with entrepreneurs and start-up companies and eventually started her own law firm. She affiliated with Montage Legal Group in early 2010.

In addition to her legal career, Kandy sits on the Board of Directors and the Governance Committee of Hope University, which provides an arts-centered curriculum for adults with developmental disabilities.

Kandy was recently interviewed by “Critical Mass: The Radio Show” to talk about how entrepreneurs could benefit from engaging a business attorney in the early stages of the lives of their business. Click here to listen to her radio interview.

Kandy has also been featured by iRelaunch, a company started by Carol Fishman Cohen, the well-known author of "Back on the Career Track: A Guide for Stay-At-Home Moms Who Want to Return to Work." iRelaunch produces career reentry programming, events, and content for employers, universities, organizations and individuals. Kandy was featured as a “Success Story” for getting back into the legal market after taking time off to raise her children.


For more information about Montage Legal Group, please see our website:

Friday, July 22, 2011

Former Prosecutor Tracy Miller Adds Criminal Law Practice To Montage Legal Group

Montage Legal Group is thrilled that former prosecutor for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, Tracy Miller, has affiliated with Montage Legal Group.  Tracy left the D.A.’s Office to start her own “boutique” law practice in Orange County, focusing on criminal law, family law and specifically domestic violence retraining orders – where criminal and family law intersect.  

Tracy currently appears in the August Issue of OC Metro as one of Orange County's Top Attorneys (p. 73).

Much like Montage Legal Group, part of Tracy’s plan in creating a refined practice was to lay the groundwork to have flexibility in her work and personal life.  Tracy is extremely efficient – she prides herself on providing her clients with excellent service and results, and specializes in fast-paced trials. She is excited about connecting with Montage Legal because it shares her priority of quality legal services and quality of family life.

Tracy sums up her thoughts, “My goal has always been to have an exclusive, relevant client base tailored to my experience, which lends itself to incredible case results and, most importantly, an amazing family-work balance.”  Tracy has built a thriving law practice while at the same time raising an almost two year-old son. 

Tracy was recently asked to speak about Judge Cheri Pham and was quoted in the Daily Journal concerning Tracy’s regular appearances in a local Orange County Domestic Violence courtroom, stating “She understands the inner workings and complexities of domestic violence cases, which is pretty invaluable in her current assignment.”

See Tracy Miller's feature article below, appearing in OC Metro’s Top Attorneys in the Orange County Edition.  Click here to see the on-line version: OC Metro's Top Attorneys - Tracy Miller. Montage Legal Group is excited to have Tracy’s exceptional experience and niche practice in our network.  Welcome Tracy!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Congratulations to Colin Davies - USD Law Student Argues Before 9th Circuit

Third year USD Law student, and member of USD's Appellate Law Clinic, Colin Davies, represented a political refugee in a case before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.   An immigration court had denied the client's application for protected status as a political refugee, despite her fears for her family's safety in her native country of Guatemala.  Under the supervision of USD Law Professors Michael Devitt and Katherine Mangan, third year student Colin Davies presented the appeal to the court.

Congratulations to Colin!  And thank you for the inspiration to include pro bono activities in our legal practices.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Social Media for Lawyers - Leveling the Playing Field

The ABA Journal's July issue features an article "Women's Work? Some Find Web 2.0 Plays to Female Attorneys' Strengths," which examines how social media levels the networking playing field for women.  Networking, and in turn business success and law firm partnership, has been a man's world.  But women are increasingly taking advantage of networking via social media - Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, and Blogs - to increase their presence.  The power of social media, if done correctly, can help propel female attorneys to an online and live presence that would have been impossible without the technology.

G.M. Filisko explores the ways and reasons that social media can be a powerful equalizer for female attorneys.  Social media is flexible, which particularly benefits women trying to balance career and family.  Social media also gives female attorneys a voice and a presence that may be difficult to attain without social media.  Montage Legal Group's Erin Giglia contributes to the conversation, noting that women are not shy about promoting others.  Social media allows female attorneys to promote their friends, colleagues, and contacts, so that news and accomplishments can "go viral."

Carolyn ElefantSocial Media for Lawyers co-author, wrote an article on women and social media in 2010, and offers a course on the topic.  She states that "the problem is that women are not using social media enough - and it would make a big difference if they did."  

Networking appropriately with social media is a crucial aspect of building a legal practice.  If you would like some tips on how to best take advantage of social media, please contact Laurie Rowen and Erin Giglia at Montage Legal Group.  We're happy to help!