Q. What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
A. Continuing education is a constant in the professional life of good lawyers. We attend multiple multi-day seminars and practice clinics each year. We read all the new cases from the courts every single business day. We read the legal newspaper and the ABA practice board daily. We subscribe to the key publications in our practice area and we work hard to stay on top of the stack. We talk law constantly, and we think about it when we aren't talking.
Q. What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
A. Of course, every case is different by its facts and circumstances, and every case presents issues that require particular decisions and actions by the lawyer for the licensee or license applicant. But, based on more than 30 years extensive experience, there is in fact an identifiable “Blueprint” for legal services that will always position the client’s case for the best possible result. So, in addition to the special requirements of the individual unique licensing law problem, this is what the potential client needs to hear the licensing attorney proposing to do:
Early, comprehensive and thorough fact-gathering including:
• Issue formal legal demands compelling the licensing agency to share ALL of the investigation package and ALL of the evidence the agency intends to use against the licensee.
• Subpoena all witness statements, photographs, agency records and other material the agency relies on for its allegations or decision against the licensee.
Early and regular intervention to reduce the case including:
• Immediate intervention with the State investigator and other licensing agency officials to persuade the licensing agency not to go forward, or to go forward on a less serious set of allegations and proposed penalty.
• Negotiate on a regular and on-going basis with agency representatives, including the Attorney General or Department Counsel, and including an Administrative Law Judge sitting as Settlement Officer, to reduce the allegations and the proposed penalty.
• Present alternative proposals for license discipline, or case-specific conditions for license issuance.
Professional preparation of the case, specifically:
• Identify, find and prepare for direct and cross-examination all witnesses supporting the client's position.
• Prepare cross-examination of all witnesses opposing the client.
• Create diagrams, video, maps, photo-journals, bench-book and other exhibits that support the client's position.
• Prepare, file, and argue legal motions that may limit the agency’s ability under the law to discipline the licensee, or may keep out of evidence material that is unfavorable to the client.
Presentation of the case at hearing:
• Object to the admissibility of unreliable evidence against the licensee.
• Offer into evidence all exhibits that support the licensee.
• Examine and cross-examine all witnesses.
• Argue the case and submit a thorough post-hearing brief, applying the law to the evidence admitted at the hearing.
Completion of applicable post-hearing processes:
• Submit formal written objections to an unfavorable proposed Decision and argue a request for re-consideration of any unfavorable decision.
• Appear before the licensing agency board or commission to argue in support of or in opposition to the Proposed Decision.
• Preserve the client's rights to file an expedited writ proceeding challenging in civil court an unfavorable agency decision.
• Preserve the integrity, accuracy and completeness of the administrative record in the event that a challenge in court is necessary.
The right licensing lawyer knows not only to do all of these things in every case, but HOW to do them, and how to do them effectively.
During any a free or initial consultation, the listed tasks are the tasks the client need to be listening for when the attorney describes his or her plan for the case. If all of the lawyer's talk is about hearings or past victories or a box-load of clients — or all about negotiations, or all about any other limited slice of the licensing law case — the client should beware and move on. If the proposed Agreement for Services or Retainer Agreement doesn't spell out all of these critical services, the client needs to talk further or talk to other lawyers before signing on the dotted line and surrendering a check.
A good if harsh standard to keep in mind for all hired help, attorneys and others: do it right and do it well, or go do it for somebody else.
Q. What questions should customers think through before talking to
professionals about their project?
A. We wish that our clients knew how deeply we care about achieving a good result for them. We wish they knew how hard we try, how relentlessly we strategize, research and game-plan their cases. We wish they knew just how much the outcome of their cases matters to us.