After being admitted to practice law in California in 1981, I opened my own solo practice in 1984. In addition to providing traditional legal advice and court representation since 1981, I have offered mediation since 1991 and collaborative law services since 1997. In 1997, I was certified as a Family Law Specialist by the State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. I have been a member of a collaborative practice group, Collaborative Practice East Bay (CPEB), since 2005.
My goals go beyond simply getting my clients a just and fair result in their legal case. I want to get them that result with as little negative fall-out and as much positive personal progress as possible. To that end, I strive to use the most non-adversarial approach which fits that particular case. I strongly believe that my clients are best served if they can look back and feel good about knowing that they, as much as possible under the circumstances, used the most humane and enlightened approach to resolving their legal conflict.
In one litigation case, I had to spend months "following the money" (pouring through bank records) so that my client ended up with a settlement of $5 million dollars instead of nothing for one-half of the family business.
In another matter, a mediation case, the most important thing was for me to be present with the parties while they articulated their goals and needs in the midst of the pain they were feeling from closing out their marriage. My ability to listen while being present with them enabled me to lead them forward through the process of putting their ideas together with their practical options, helping them to find solutions together. This course of action resulted in a mediated settlement agreement of their entire case.
In some cases, my client's spouse has been the person in the marriage who managed the family finances. I've seen clients start the whole matter feeling overwhelmed by money issues. By enabling these clients to fully grasp the financial issues and then team them with financial advisors, they learned to independently manage their finances by the time the divorce was completed. In other cases, while my own client has had a reasonably fair and balanced perspective, the spouse on the other side has had unrealistic expectations and an imbalanced sense of entitlement. In these cases, I have always calmly, respectfully but firmly communicated my analysis of the law and its equitable objectives to the other party or their attorney and pursued cooperative negotiation whenever possible. In all cases, I only advise my clients to go to court when it is evident that doing so is the most cost effective way to get a reasonably fair result in keeping with their goals.
540 Lennon Lane
Walnut Creek CA 94598
Free consultation is not offered; instead I charge a reduced rate of $150 for the first hour of consultation (or mediation orientation). Thereafter, all services are charged at the regular hourly rate.
I do not offer any services for a fixed fee.
Monday through Thursday:
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
9:00 a.m. to noon.
I am a student of the Spanish language.
I feel strongly that everyone's quality of life and future is improved by negotiating" and then "as distinguished from following the adversarial tradition.
Clients always save time and money by educating themselves as much as possible before consulting a lawyer. They may then use their time with the lawyer to check out if their interpretation of the law is accurate and to get a more precise analysis of how the law may impact their specific situation.
I am willing to review and make suggestions for marital settlement agreements that clients are drafting themselves, for out-of-court settlements with their spouse or partner.
I have grave reservations about taking on the role of coaching a client to represent themselves in a court trial, especially if the other side's case will be presented by a lawyer. Even with two lawyers at trial, unexpected things always come up and the lawyers have to think on their feet and come up with arguments that were not planned ahead. It is impossible to prepare a client for every possible thing that may happen in a trial situation. For this reason, my present policy is to decline the role of preparing a client to conduct his or her own court trial.
Before I became a lawyer in 1981, I was a student and worked in the food service and theatrical production industries.
Every job I have ever had helps me to be a better lawyer. My work experience as a waitress helps me to see the value of all types of hard work, including footwork as well as paperwork. My background in theater production enhances my public speaking skills in the courtroom and teaching. My college education, which emphasized research and writing, enhances my ability to make and respond to legal arguments. My mediation and collaborative law training provides me with non-adversarial negotiation skills that I apply in all aspects of my practice.
My strengths include the ability to communicate, understand opposing views, maintain a level head and stand firm in the face of pressure or stress. Whenever possible, I utilize a needs- and interests-based negotiation style, rather than a position-based negotiation style. Before any settlement proposals are presented on behalf of the client, I put them in writing and go over them with the client before releasing them to anyone else, to assure that the client understands, consents, and retains decision-making power. I am sensitive to my client's emotional state, but I do not get drawn into it, so that I may help the client maintain objectivity while under stress.Personal interests:
For exercise, I run. I love to read, and I also enjoy listening to music of all styles, walking and hiking outdoors, and playing and watching sports.
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