Areas of Expertise

BUILDING YOUR BUSINESS

Most lawyers pretty much dump everything they’ve ever done onto their website and I get that. In an era with Google keywords, who can leave out the smallest experience that might catch the eye of a new client?

Fine. I can play that game, but first let me tell you how it really works with me.

You call me. We talk about your problem and your objectives. If I have the experience and fluency to solve it, then that’s what happens. If I don’t, then I help you find a lawyer who does.

It’s that simple. Now for the keyword portion of this section. Over the years I have helped dozens of clients build their businesses. In no particular order, a sample of these matters includes:

  • Identifying the complete legal requirements for an out of state real estate brokerage that wanted to open in California;
  • Drafting an employee handbook for a growing animation studio;
  • Drafting and negotiating an operating agreement for several education consultants who were opening a new consultancy;
  • Establishing a non-profit for a wealthy family in Beverly Hills;
  • Structuring and drafting an employee agreement to address granting options pending the establishment of an option plan;
  • Drafting the standard agreement for a web designer to use across all projects;
  • Drafting a tuition reimbursement agreement for a commercial real estate developer that wanted to send a key employee to obtain his MBA;
  • Structuring and drafting a convertible note for an app developer;
  • Structuring and drafting agreements related to transfer of a web domain; and
  • Drafting terms of service and privacy policies for websites.

In addition to these cases I have established numerous corporate entities for clients and drafted the related bylaws or operating agreements. On occasion, I have also helped clients dissolve a business that was no longer working for them.

CONTRACT STRATEGY & REVIEW

I’m paraphrasing advice that I once saw in Forbes which, metaphorically, advised business owners to always drive with their lawyer, but to keep the lawyer in the passenger seat. It resonated with me because it encapsulated the value that I add when I review contracts for my clients. I’m a second review with a keen eye for identifying legal issues and protecting my clients from terms I believe to be onerous. However, I understand my job is to advise, not to decide.

Since establishing my practice in 2009 I have reviewed more contracts than I count. Sample matters include:

  • Reviewing and advising on a production agreement for a local producer creating a film for a liberal advocacy organization;
  • Reviewing and advising on a marketing agreement for a marketing agency to promote a third party website;
  • Reviewing and advising on a commercial lease for a group of psychologists;
  • Reviewing and advising on an employee agreement for an employee at a startup;
  • Reviewing and advising on loan agreements related to a line of credit secured by an oceanfront home;
  • Reviewing and advising on a convertible promissory note for an angel investor in a biotech;
  • Reviewing and advising on an equity investment in an app developer;
  • Reviewing and advising on a master staffing agreement for a commercial real estate developer;
  • Reviewing and advising on an asset purchase agreement for a product manufacturer; and
  • Reviewing and advising on an operating agreement in a real estate matter.

DISPUTE RESOLUTION

On the one hand, calling litigation dispute resolution reminds me of the political correctness movement in the 1990s. It’s a little like calling a garbage man a sanitation engineer. No amount of polish can make a nasty situation shine.

On the other hand, by using a term that includes the word “resolution” there’s a slight shift in emphasis towards resolving the matter that I think more accurately captures my approach. Since 2009 dozens of clients have come to me with civil disputes of all varieties.  Sometimes these have ended in trial, but often we’ve been able to resolve the dispute without even filing a complaint.

Over the years I have built a body of work helping people resolve the disputes. Sample matters include:

  • Representing an angel investor to salvage what they could out of an investment in a company that aimed to harness energy from ocean waves;
  • Representing a creditor whose friend had declared bankruptcy, despite owing my client nearly a million dollars;
  • Representing a restaurant that needed to negotiate a lower rent;
  • Representing the founder of a firm of psychologists when a group of psychologists left the firm and stole most of its clients;
  • Representing a partner in a successful Los Angeles restaurant who wanted to leave after seven years;
  • Representing a group of employees who secretly aligned with the company’s largest investor to oust a fraudulent CEO;
  • Representing a commercial real estate developer against tenants on several occasions;
  • Representing a distributor against a manufacturer that fraudulently alleged its products were patented;
  • Representing an angel investor in two Thai restaurants that had failed;
  • Representing a philanthropist against a non-profit organization that was not using the funds as directed in its agreements with the donor; and
  • Representing a web publisher in dozens of instances where third parties violated its copyrights.

TRADEMARKS, COPYRIGHTS AND LICENSING

It’s the Brand, Scarlett. The Brand is the only thing in the world worth working for, worth fighting for, worth dying for because it’s the only thing that lasts.

When I was younger I thought art had only ethereal value. But now I question whether art is the only thing of real value and all other things are merely commodities? Would you rather own the name Tide or produce a laundry detergent superior to it?

Prudent business owners everywhere focus on building their brand and I am here to help. Over the years sample matters include:

  • Strategizing with clients regarding potential brand and product names;
  • Researching proposed trademarks and drafting clearance memorandums;
  • Completing approximately a hundred trademark applications with the USPTO;
  • Negotiating with USPTO Examining Attorneys on parameters of proposed mark;
  • Drafting and Filing Responses to Office Actions from the USPTO;
  • Appealing Final Office Actions to TTAB;
  • Filing copyrights applications with the U.S. Copyright Office;
  • Drafting and sending cease and desist letters pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to protect existing copyrights;
  • Negotiating allegations of trademark infringement; and
  • Drafting trademark consent agreements.

SPECIAL PROJECTS, WRITING & ART ADVISORY

Alan Watts once said that “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.” Of course I spend the vast, vast majority of my time on traditional legal projects, but occasionally I have been there to provide assistance to clients on other projects. It keeps life interesting and fun.

Over the years these have included fundraising, board recruitment, political consulting, staff recruitment and content writing. To this list I would like to add art advisory as I regularly attend the major fairs and I am dedicated to maintaining an informed opinion of the market. Navigating the art market is time intensive but it’s an important asset class for everyone to consider acquiring and I would like to help you.

My writing is still available, as well, on my separate blog Hustlers in Paradise. Like all blogs it’s never quite as up-to-date as I would like, but if I don’t say so myself, it has quite a few gems.