Inside: What’s Hot?

Oliver Bray

“WHAT’S HOT” is not an expression generally associated with attorneys, with the possible exceptions provided by Drop Dead Diva, Boston Legal and Law and Order.  Jerry Springer doesn’t count, even though he is an attorney.  I have the honor this month of being guest editor for the August online issue of this fine publication.  While I normally confine myself to the universe of conservatorships, trust and estate litigation and administration, there are always “hot” topics in all areas of law. 

Craig Nevin provides the first sizzling example of what’s hot in the Mechanics’ Lien statutes.  Drafting this must have melted Craig’s pocket protector.  Seriously, Mechanics’ Lien laws are nearly as procedural as actions under the Probate Code, so a heads-up by Craig to the statutory changes is truly a “hot” topic.

Elva Harding presents the next hot topic of “Unleashing the Value of Your Law Practice Ethically” and provides us with this month’s first MCLE self-study.  Selling or buying a law practice and the ethical considerations thereof are always of interest.  Of course, there actually has to be someone willing to buy a law practice to make this really work.  I’m sure buyers are out there.  Hello?  I’m in the book.  Having administered the estates of deceased practitioners, I can appreciate the detail involved, as clearly explained in Elva’s article.

Rhonda Shelton Kraeber provides the next hot topic in tort liability presenting a recent and relatively rare victory for California employers and their vicarious liability.  Rhonda presents a concise analysis of Diaz v. Carcamo and discusses the history of tort liability in California.  Interesting and “hot”!  Read it!

Stephanie West provides us with trust distribution provisions and a Beneficiary Controlled Trust in her submission entitled “Not Your Father’s Estate Plan.”  While one finds it always difficult to consider any estate planning information “hot,” with the changing nature of society and the unfortunate financial predicaments heirs and beneficiaries seem to amass, Stephanie’s article is truly timely and a must read.

The heat continues with Randy Wilson’s article on how attorneys can use LinkedIn effectively and ethically.  Randy provides a view to LinkedIn use, how to best utilize it for business development, and ethical considerations.  With the ever-evolving world of social media and the continuing desire to effectively market our firms, Randy’s article is a must-read.

Mixing up the topics a little more, the next article in line is a blog from Michael LaMay (disclosure:  he’s in my office) on the trials and tribulations of an elder abuse lawyer.  While the editors (including me) modified some of the blog comments and Twitter-like abbreviations (this is a family publication), Mike provides us with the seriously “hot” topic of elder financial abuse and the need for reforming regulation of caregivers.

Wendy Graves turns up the flame on Synchronized Video Transcripts.  Since I’ve done maybe three depositions in my life (okay, a few more than that), and none that were videoed, I wasn’t aware of the logistical issues and expense involved with video depositions.  But then I actually read the piece and SVT really is a cool (“hot”) innovation.  Check it out.  Remember, reporters want us to speak slowly, clearly, and one at a time.

Last, but certainly not least, is Bruce Campbell’s article on IT security for law firms.  IT security is always a “hot” topic, especially now because of computing in the “Cloud” and Rupert Murdoch’s minions “investigating” in innovative ways.  A quick read and to the point.

My thanks to the folks behind the curtain of Contra Costa Lawyer for allowing me the opportunity to guest edit this edition.  My special thanks to the authors who contributed to this month’s magazine.

Oliver Bray is an attorney with Bray & Bray in Martinez and is a certified specialist in estate planning, trust and probate law.  He is a Director of the Contra Costa County Bar Association and is also a Co-Chair of the Conservatorship/Guardianship/Probate/Trust Section.  His firm specializes in probate, trust, estate and conservatorship litigation and administration.

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