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   For more information about WHW, please see

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, 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!