Mitch Jackson's new book on Social Media for Attorneys and Business Owners

When I was first sworn in as an attorney, advertising of our services was not permitted. I guess it did not seem proper for attorneys to be looking for work. We could advertise our services by handing out cards at every event we attended!  Oh, how I hated that! I would arrive at a legal dinner, armed with a fistful of business cards, and try to tell other attorneys about my services as an appellate attorney. My discomfort must have been apparent.

I have learned a few things since then. It was not just about promoting my services and dropping business cards into the hands of potential clients. In fact, my business cards often found their way into the trash can. I later learned that it would require multiple contacts before I was remembered by these new contacts. More importantly, I was focused on myself and not the needs of others. After a few years of struggling, I was told by a friendly headhunter to shift my focus away from myself and on to solving the problems or needs of others. And to stop handing out business cards until the opportunity presented itself!

Then social media came about and turned everything on its head. Like Mitch Jackson, I was an early blogger, but my focus was on helping trial attorneys. The truth was that most of the people who read my blog were laypeople, not trial attorneys.  And it wasn’t as though they learned about law. What they learned about was . . . me. By the time a client has contacted me, he or she has already visited my website and read a few of my blogs. An attorney without a website simply does not exist.

Today no business owner or attorney can afford to ignore the importance of social media. Most of us don’t have a clue as to what we are doing or we spend time on a few platforms.  Thanks to Mitch, you can read his new book, “The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Business Owners, Professionals and Entrepreneurs” and learn about lots of platforms, some that are new to me. His book is broken down into small chapters, often written by experts in the field, such as Joey Vitale, Chris Brogan and David Meerman Scott. And, if you like what you read, these experts provide ways to enhance your education by providing multiple sites for videos, podcasts, blogs and articles.

The key takeaway from Mitch’s book is that we should strive to be authentic and connect with people. That means showing people about our human side. I can remember being taught in law school that you should never admit to a client that you didn’t have an answer, but I realize now that was meant to try to mold young attorneys into perfect authorities. The truth is that we are human and might not always know the answer.  But that is what research is for. I think my clients understand when I don't have an answer but I am willing to find one.

Coupled with this point is Mitch’s recommendation that we offer our services to people to solve their problems. Giving out free information is a service - and an opportunity - that will reward you on several years for now and in the future. 

If you want to promote your business through social media – everyone should! – then this book will provide tips and suggestions on how you can come up with an effective media plan. And allow you to be yourself while doing so. Find out more by visiting




My Legal Career, Looking Back and Forward

It’s been about ten months since my last post. Time has just slipped away! After a while, I considered the possibility of just stopping altogether. I was moving toward retirement, had a 93-year-old mom to care for, and I was building a new home in Oregon. I thought my career was definitely in its final stages and I wanted to move into more creative pursuits. I have enjoyed my legal career and felt that I helped a few people along the way but I wanted to focus on photography and writing.

Last November I finally moved up to Oregon and life is much slower here. A lot less stress and people spend time talking to each other. It was a huge sigh of relief for me to be out of the crowds of Southern California, but as I slow down, I am thinking about what I want to do with my life. And “retirement” is not one of them. Given the fact that my mom has reached her mid-90s, when no one else in my family had done so, I thought I might consider how to fill up the extra years, if I am so lucky to live that long.

It’s not a time to retire. The name of my blogAn Appeal to Reason, says it all. Somehow, in the last few years we have departed from reason and it seems like a mad, crazy free-for-all. I guess I could have taken the approach that I am entitled to bow out of work and politics at this stage, but I think the world needs more people appealing to reason! Last year I made a commitment to be kinder to people in an effort to combat the hatred and anger that was prevalent. I hope someone noticed. I know I felt better, as though I were doing something to make the world a better place. Now, as everyone is gearing up for the 2020 elections, I think we all need to speak up. And vote!

So, because an appeal to reason as a mindset is so vital, I am back! I will be commenting on legal issues and current affairs. And since I am working on being an artist, I will include my photos to illustrate my posts.



Proposed federal legislation attacks California's elder abuse and dependent adult law

With this incoming Administration, I became concerned that we would focus on Trump's antics and the fact that Kellyanne Conway was sitting on a couch in the Oval Office with her legs folded underneath her.  Meanwhile, the House has been busy stripping away our rights.  To address a new bill, H.R. 1215, I asked Kim Valentine, one of our top elder abuse attorneys, to share her my concerns, which should be yours as well.  She told me that a very important law in California is quietly under attack, a law that is designed to protect our vulnerable elders and disabled adults.  Here is what she wrote: 

In 1991, the California Legislature declared elderly and dependent adults were at a greater risk of abuse, neglect or abandonment.  California has a responsibility to protect these vulnerable individuals. For these reasons, California enacted the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act ("EADACPA") to make it financially feasible for civil cases to be brought against nursing home operators for fraudulent and bad acts that harm vulnerable people.  Facts uncovered in these civil cases have been used by public prosecutors to recover millions in fines for billing fraud against large corporate operators of nursing homes. (Seee.g., “Life Care Centers of America Inc. Agrees to Pay $145 Million...”; “Nursing Home Operator to Pay $48 Million...” 

Within the next week, proposed federal legislation known as the “Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017,” (H.R. 1215 - is likely to be discussed on the floor of the House of Representatives.  If approved, the bill will then go to the Senate floor. The proposed legislation puts financial caps on all medical negligence cases in the United States. (For 40 years, California has had a cap on medical malpractice cases, but it has done little, if anything, to fix healthcare in this state.) 

Hidden within H.R. 1215 is language that will expand - not just the damage caps nationwide - but will gut elder abuse litigation across the United States.  Claims against nursing homes will be covered under this new law. (See "Definitions.") Elder Abuse cases against large corporate chains are notoriously expensive.  It typically costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to prove those large operators are committing fraud.  If H.R. 1215 is enacted, elder abuse cases will no longer be economically feasible.  Here are just a few examples of past situations: 

  • A nursing home illegally “dumped” a blind and oxygen-dependent resident at a motel with a package of ramen noodles and a non-functioning oxygen tank. Within three days, he is dead from a lack of oxygen.
  •  An 88-year-old stroke sufferer is raped by nursing home worker and contracts genital herpes
  •  An 80-year-old unattended dementia patient walked out of a locked dementia unit, through the streets and parking lots before she was struck by a truck and died as the result of blunt force trauma. 

         Enactment of H.R. 1215, as currently written, with the inclusion of nursing homes, will leave America’s elderly and disabled population susceptible to increasing abuse, neglect, assault and rape with no recourse. Abusive and neglectful nursing homes will be left to operate without fear of reprisal or liability.  Without laws in place to protect their victims, nursing homes will have no financial incentive to provide adequate care.  Any speculative fiscal savings promised by H.R. 1215 will be greatly outweighed by the increase in government costs for taking care of the vulnerable and infirm. 

             To avoid this result, please contact your representatives and tell them you stand on the side of the elderly and disabled.  Demand they vote against H.R. 1215. Find your congressperson here,, and contact Senator Kamala Harris at (202) 224-3553, and Senator Diane Feinstein at (202) 224-3841. Call today and let your voice be heard!

Ms. Valentine has dedicated her career in the practice of law to advocating for the vulnerable, the injured and the infirm. Her focus is to ensure that individuals are not needlessly taken advantage of or exposed to unnecessary harm. Her clients ages span from newborn children to elderly as old as 104. She practices in the areas of elder abuse, medical malpractice, products liability, serious personal injury, and government tort claims litigation.


An Appeal to Reason

When I picked the title of my blogAn Appeal to Reason, I thought it was a clever title.  It had the word "appeal" in it to describe the type of work I do, but it also focused on the process that one uses to write a brief. Looking back, the title was not particularly descriptive of the purpose of the blog, which was to advise trial attorneys on how to preserve their cases for appeal. Over time, I found that many of my clients were reading the blog to get a sense of who I was. They were not interested in my tips; they were laypeople looking for some justice.
As we enter 2017, I feel that providing tips to trial attorneys seems so insignificant, although I am hopeful that trial attorneys will get involved in the fight. We are facing so many potential catastrophes from climate change, droughts, lack of clean water, refugees reshaping the world, wars on everything from drugs to women's reproductive rights, that publishing tips to a small group of people has little interest for me now.  
But the title An Appeal to Reason is significant. I want to appeal to reason and hope that we can turn around this growing tidal wave of hate, racism and discrimination. We fought so hard as a country to give people fundamental rights, such as voting and making choices about their future, that I am not willing to go back to the Dark Ages when being different was a death sentence. And women were controlled by men. And religious freedom means freedom only when you believe what I believe. I look at our progress and I just cannot go back.  
Ever since it was announced that Trump had been elected, many of us have depressed. This is not the world we want. (I suppose I can't speak for everyone, but the people I talk to agree.) So, now is the time to speak out.  If we don't vote, if we don't speak out, we deserve what we get. The question is: do we deserve Trump? 



Supreme Court abolishes automatic depublication rule

For many years, we have operated under the rule that when the California Supreme Court grants a petition for review, the decision by the Court of Appeal can no longer be cited as valid law. A new rule, which took effect on July 1, 2016, changes the rule of automatic depublication. Pursuant to California Rules of Court, rule 8.1150(e)(1)(B), the “Grant of review by the Supreme Court of a decision by the Court of Appeal does not affect the appellate court’s certification of the opinion for full or partial publication.” The Court of Appeal opinion will be citable while the Supreme Court case is pending.  However, the published opinion will have “no binding or precedential effect, and may be cited for potentially persuasive value only.” (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.1150(e).) The Supreme Court still retains the power to order publication or to “order depublication of part of an opinion at any time after granting review.” (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.1105(e)(2).) After review by the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal’s opinion can be cited unless the Supreme Court orders otherwise and “has binding or precedential effect, except to the extent it is inconsistent with the decision of the Supreme Court or is disapproved by that court.”  When citing an opinion that is pending review, the citation should note that review has been granted as well as any subsequent action by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court intends to revisit this rule in three years to determine the practical effects of the rule and whether to continue it.