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Simas & Associates, Ltd. Newsletter | March 7, 2014 | Volume II, Issue 4
Firm Announcement

Steve Simas on Celebrating his firm's 12th Anniversary

San Luis Obispo, California - Simas & Associates, Ltd. will be celebrating its twelfth (12th) anniversary on March 15.  For a relatively small law firm, stretching a statewide, niche practice over two offices, that is a pretty impressive accomplishment.  Granted, that assessment is a little self-congratulatory.  However, sometimes one has to step back and review what it has already done in order to best assess what to tackle next.

And that is what we elected to do by posing some questions and receiving some answers from Steve Simas, founder of Simas & Associates, Ltd.  Amanda Lilley, Firm Administrator, sat down with Mr. Simas and posed these questions at the beginning of March.  Below, please find some outtakes:

Ms. Lilley:  How Did Simas & Associates begin?
Mr. Simas:  The firm was founded on March 15, 2002, in Sacramento.  The firm was established to represent and safeguard the rights of employers and to defend the licenses and livelihoods of health care professionals.  Over the years, the firm expanded its focus and began representing all types of businesses, licensed individuals, and others who are regulated by the government. 
 
Ms. Lilley:  Why did you start your own law firm?
Mr. Simas:  Having served as a Deputy Attorney General for the State of California, and the Chief Consultant for the Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment, I knew it was time to apply my knowledge and expertise in Government and regulatory law in private practice.  I also wanted to help those whose businesses and livelihoods were impacted the most by government regulation and did not always have a seat at the bargaining table when those regulations were put into place. And throughout my private practice career, I worked for small law firms, medium-sized law firms and even a very large statewide law firm, all of which practiced health care law, employment law and administrative law.  By the time I established my own practice in 2002, it was time to apply all of my experience in the Legislature, the executive branch, and as a deputy attorney general and put it to use in helping my own clients. 

Ms. Lilley:  Did you aim to do anything unique in creating your law firm?
Mr. Simas:  I think the simple answer to this question is that we listen and are guided by the ultimate needs and goals of our clients.  Even though a client’s case may be our 200th Medical Board accusation case, we attempt to tailor our representation specifically to our client’s needs and objectives.  Sometimes this means settling a case that our client did not realize should be settled and sometimes this means taking a case all the way to hearing if we cannot otherwise achieve our client’s goals.  I believe this is what differentiates Simas & Associates from most other law firms, including a lot of firms that our clients have used in the past.  

Ms. Lilley:  How did you come up with your logo?
Mr. Simas:  When the firm was first started, we used the California State Capitol Building as our logo for several reasons. First, it encapsulated and represented my experience in Sacramento.  But more importantly, we wanted the firm to be our client’s representative in Sacramento that was handling their government and regulatory issues.  We have always viewed ourselves as a statewide firm and have been blessed to have clients from San Diego to Eureka, and even throughout the United States.  

Ms. Lilley:  What has been the biggest achievement for the law firm?
Mr. Simas:  We achieved numerous outstanding legal victories recently such as defeating Hewlett Packard’s bid protest in the California State data storage contract, obtaining reversal of a disciplinary action by the Board of Registered Nursing in the San Francisco Superior Court, and getting a number of agencies to reconsider prior negative licensing decisions of our clients.  But despite these legal successes which we certainly cherish, the firm’s biggest achievements are reflected in the testimonials of our grateful and happy clients on our firm’s website.  

Ms. Lilley:  Do you see the law firm changing over the next 5 to 10 years?
Mr. Simas:  Yes, and in a number of ways.  First, as the legal market continues to change, we want to continue to be prepared for clients who locate us directly through our website or social media, realizing that our expertise is exactly what they need for their specific legal problem.  Second, legal technology has allowed us to become far more efficient in how we handle cases, interact with clients, file documents in courts and before administrative agencies throughout the State, etc.  So I anticipate additional efficiencies, the benefit of which we will continue to pass on to our clients.  Third, we will continue to recruit outstanding team members and train them in the Simas & Associates way of representing clients, including focusing our representation upon our clients’ goals and approaching legal problems in our own unique way.  

Ms. Lilley:  Do you have any advice for other law firms or attorneys thinking of starting a practice?
Mr. Simas:  Now that we have been operating successfully for 12 years, I have run across a few areas of advice I would give to other law firms.  First, do not undertake to represent a client in a specialized area of the law that you do not know how to handle.  We see examples of how legal counsel inexperienced in our practice area actually harm our client’s chances, repeatedly.  And it is a myriad of issues, from signing settlements with admissions, to improper advice about a particular agency.
 
Second, communicate with the client about his or her goals.  Just because a client has the same case as the one before does not mean that particular client has the same goals.  Furthermore, a single client’s goals may change significantly throughout the course of litigation as it gets more expensive, as discovery is conducted, as a settlement offer is made, etc.
 
Finally, work on your firm culture.  It is amazing how a positive and compassionate firm culture such as Simas & Associates has achieved provides an excellent foundation for representing clients and achieving their goals.  

 
If interested in learning more about our law firm's history, please visit our Who We Are page at www. simasgovlaw.com.
Staff Announcement

Nicole D. Hanley to serve as "Justice Hanley" in 2014 Gordon D. Schaber Moot Court Competition

Nicole Hanley, attorney at Simas & Associates, Ltd.'s Sacramento Office, recently volunteered to participate in the 2014 Gordon D. Schaber Mock Trial and Moot Court Competition.  The competition is run by the Sacramento County Office of Education and consists of separate Mock Trial and Moot Court competitions. 

The Mock Trial competition simulates a trial-level proceeding in which students play the roles of pretrial counsel, prosecuting and defense attorneys, witnesses, court clerks, and bailiffs before a single presiding judge and two to three scoring judges who score individuals based on their legal arguments and presentations.

Ms. Hanley served as a scoring judge during the third round of the Mock Trial competition in late February.  "It was a great experience," explained Ms. Hanley.  "I enjoyed the teaching perspective."  360 students from 20 schools will compete at the Mock Trial competition.

The Moot Court competition simulates an appellate-level proceeding in which students prepare and argue a case before a panel of three judges who evaluate the students on the quality and persuasiveness of their legal reasoning and presentation, as well as their unscripted responses to spontaneous questions from the bench. Approximately  and 80 students from 10 schools will compete in the Moot Court competition.

"I am really looking forward to serving as a 'Justice'," added Ms. Hanley with a grin.  "In all seriousness, I think it will provide a different perspective than I use on a daily basis as I encounter the law.  Furthermore, it is a great opportunity to provide future legal minds a boost of confidence and positive reinforcement.  Hopefully, that will go a long way towards helping them build on success as they continue their education and training."

"Justice" Hanley will be seated during the first and second rounds of the Moot Court competition on April 2, 2014.  The case they will be arguing is the fictional Randall v. Spression USD and Aaron Rester.
Client of the Month
 
TLC Tech, Inc.
3838 Watt Avenue, Suite D410
Sacramento, CA 95821
p: 916.441.3838
www.tlctech.com
 
TLC Tech has been providing professional IT Support for businesses in and around Sacramento, California since 2004. They strive to give their clients Enterprise-level services and solutions at prices that work for small businesses.  Time and experience has helped it develop best practices and workflow procedures around a proactive philosophy designed to keep their clients' focus on their business, not technology.

Simas & Associates, Ltd. is proud to serve as TLC Tech's counsel since 2010. If you would like to be featured as our law firm’s “Client of the Month”, please contact us at info@simasgovlaw.com
Featured Agency Announcement

Physician’s Right to Bring 'Whistleblower' suit Need Not Await Exhaustion of Peer Review Proceedings

San Francisco, California - The California Supreme Court has issued a much-awaited decision in an important peer review case, Fahlen v. Sutter Central Valley Hospitals. In a decision that may well dramatically change the landscape of medical staff peer review, the Court unanimously held that if a physician claims an adverse peer review action was taken in retaliation against him or her for reporting quality of care issues, the physician may file a civil whistleblower lawsuit challenging the adverse action without first exhausting the available administrative and legal remedies. This is a significant departure from long-established law and raises a number of critical issues for hospitals and their medical staffs to consider in future peer review proceedings.
Featured Blog Entry

Tips on Courtroom Decorum 


Etiquette is essential for making a good impression in every social setting.  And the law is no different.

Legal professionals begin their lessons on the fine points of courtroom etiquette during their education. However, most non-lawyers are not so lucky – or unlucky, depending upon your perspective.  Rather, unless they have had a prior legal experience – most are not career litigants, while some might be career defendants – they are challenged by some of the key attributes of courtroom decorum.

So, it is important that attorneys actually take the time to meet with their clients and prepare them for what will be expected of them.  This will not only provide them with some comfort – confronting the unknown – but also an advantage in presenting their case before the judge.  

That being said, below, please find some very, VERY basic rules that every attorney should review with his or her client prior to making any type of adjudicative appearance.  Whether in an administrative hearing, traffic court, or before the U.S. Supreme Court, the following tips will almost always hold true.

To keep reading this entry, please click here:
Tips on Courtroom Decorum For more blog entries from our attorneys and legal staff, please visit our law firm’s official blog – Wit of Mandate.
Word of the Month

Stay


An order or ruling that is delayed or held-up by a tribunal in order to provide more time to the party upon which the order or ruling will be imposed to take needed action (i.e. arranging for payment of a judgment, etc.).  Alternatively, the order or ruling may be delayed by the tribunal for equitable purposes – the impact of the order or ruling may be so detrimental to the party upon which the order or ruling will be imposed that the tribunal is willing to delay its impact to permit the party to seek review.  This type of stay has the same type of impact as a temporary injunction but is associated with petitions for writs of mandate.

For more terms related to our practice areas, please visit our law firm’s glossary at SimasGovLaw.com - Glossary.
Upcoming Calendar

March 7 - National Employee Appreciation Day.Also, Sacramento Comic Con.

March 8 -
MLS Regular Season Begins. International Women's Day.

March 9 - Los Angeles Marathon. Also, Daylight Savings Time starts.

March 10 - Harriet Tubman Day.

March 11 - Johnny Appleseed Day.  Also, Barristers Club of Sacramento presents "
Expedited Jury Trial Seminar".

March 12 -
Schwartz-Levi American Inns of Court meets.

March 14 - National Pi Day.  Also, Leonard M. Friedman Bar Association presents "How Dependency Courts Protect Abused and Neglected Children".

March 15 - Beware the Ides of March.  Also, Happy Anniversary to Simas & Associates, Ltd. and the
University of Pacific, McGeorge School of Law!

March 17 -
Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

March 18 - March Madness Begins.  Also, Kennedy American Inns of Court meets.

March 19 -
The Return of the Swallows to San Juan Capistrano.

March 20 - Spring equinox. Also, International Earth Day.  And San Luis Obispo County Bar Association presents "E-Filing in SLO County Courts".

March 23 -
APAPA Night at the Sacramento Kings.

March 24 -
 World Figure Skating Championships Begin.

March 27 - Women Lawyers of Sacramento present "
Women in the Law: Clearing the Hurdles".

March 30 -
National Doctors' Day.  Also, California Spirit Festival begins.

March 31 -
MLB Opening Day.  Also, César Chávez Day!

April 1 - The 1st anniversary of the end of April Fool's Day.
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