I enjoy helping small and medium sized businesses discover and implement creative solutions to whatever legal and business challenges that may present. Therefore, I am precisely what I am constantly being told by management gurus and marketing experts I shouldn’t be: A business law generalist. That means that I solve problems that do exist, and I work hard to prevent problems that don’t exist but which might arise later. I am good at anticipating issues that may be on the horizon, and I believe that it is much smarter to spend $10 to avoid a problem than $100 to solve it. I prefer to act as a business partner or advisor with my client, rather than as a basic service provider. I ALWAYS try to help my clients find a business solution before going the legal route. Business problems aren’t legal problems until some lawyer turns them into one.
Despite being a generalist, there are problems that I don’t handle, and I will be upfront about that. I’ve been practicing law for 20 years now, and don’t want to waste my time or your money pretending to know something that I don’t. Among these are tax and employment. The reason I don’t handle tax is that the Internal Revenue Code is sprawling and complex, and requires highly trained specialists to stay abreast of. The reason I don’t handle employment is similar to tax, but with the added and dubious “bonus” that most employment problems seem to be riven with hysteria and anger, thus making rational problem solving opportunities elusive at best. I find employment problems to be nasty and distasteful; therefore, I avoid them. In such situations, I will help you identify, retain (and manage if you like) a specialist who is qualified–professionally and temperamentally–to assist you.
Currently, due to my experience dealing with real estate law, mortgage lending problems and bankruptcy, and due to the cataclysms that are hitting the courts–and newsstands–every day, I am representing a lot of clients in bankruptcy matters, both as debtors and creditors. Most of my cases are in the Northern District of California–courts in Santa Rosa, San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose–and some in Sacramento when the need is compelling. Most of my bankruptcy clients have come to me because of multi-property real estate portfolios that went under water with the collapse of the real estate bubble, though others are facing business and personal downturns not directly caused by the collapse of the real estate market.
I blog about the mortgage meltdown because I find it fascinating (however weird that may sound), and because I am constantly amazed by how much misinformation there is out there about it and about people’s rights and options. Make no mistake: Things are really difficult and screwy right now, and I don’t see that this state of affairs is going away any time soon. It is also true that the facts change and new information is emerging every day. So this blog is my modest contribution to keeping up with the news, and trying to put good information out there so that people can make better decisions about their own situation.
I am also specifically trained as a mediator, having taken the top-notch week-long mediation training offered by Alan Alhadeff and Micky Forbes of Alhadeff & Forbes Mediation Services in Seattle. I am a panelist for the Marin County Superior Court Mandatory Settlement Conference Panel.
I enjoy helping people resolve their disputes, though I readily admit that everyone has to be willing to engage in the process before it can work. Face it, about 95% of commercial litigation cases settle before trial. So the sooner everyone comes around to the resolution oriented way of thinking, the faster they can get on with their lives and the less money they’re going to spend on the solution.
I am admitted to the Connecticut and California bars, though I haven’t practiced actively in Connecticut since 1990. During the savings and loan crisis from 1990 through sometime in 1994 or so, I did a lot of work for the FDIC representing banks that it took over in trying to recover assets in the liquidation of seized institutions. I have also worked for title insurance companies, banks, real estate lenders and brokers, mortgage brokers and pretty much any other type of entity professionally involved in the real estate industry. I have ben a real estate broker myself, and for a brief stint was an interim CEO of a multi-state commercial brokerage start-up.
I have represented many different types of businesses, including real estate and mortgage brokerages, internet companies, a recording company, a record distributor, industrial manufacturers, ISP’s, contractors, construction suppliers, engineering contractors, commercial and residential landlords, environmental non-profits, film producers, sports media production and architecture firms.