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Simas & Associates, Ltd. Newsletter | May 3, 2013 | Volume I, Issue 6
Firm Announcement

Firm Embraces Video Conferencing for Initial Consultations

Sacramento, California - Since the beginning of 2013, Simas & Associates, Ltd. has been offering video conferencing as an option to prospective clients for their initial attorney consultations.

"Being a statewide law firm with a wide swath of practice areas makes it difficult to have in-person consultations with all of our prospective clients," stated Managing Attorney Justin Hein.  "Furthermore, while our firm has two offices to meet clients - one in Sacramento, one in San Luis Obispo - in-person consultations are not always convenient for all of our clients.  We may have a nurse in San Diego and a real estate broker in Sonoma contact us regarding our services on any given day.  So, meeting with them is not always practical - if not impossible."

"At the same time," continued Mr. Hein, "conference calls are not always as intimate as our prospective clients would like.  Many like to be able to assess an attorney's attentiveness and physical reaction to facts and questions.  This helps them get a better sense of the attorney's understanding of their matter and confidence in being able to handle it."

So, the law firm starting exploring video conferencing software in late 2011.  

"I liked to use it for staff meetings," explained 
Steven L. Simas, Owner of the law firm.  "Most of the staff is in Sacramento.  And while I am up there, my main base is our San Luis Obispo office.  So, teleconfernces became the norm. However, there, too, without a face, you kind of lost observing comprehension of communications.  So, we introduced video conferencing and meetings became more effective." 

Since the firm had success with the video conferencing software, they expanded its scope to clients.

"Yes, this was driven mostly by need," answered Mr. Simas.  "Clients wanted to meet with their attorney, but were closer to our Sacramento office than where I was at that moment.  I could be in our San Luis Obispo office or making an appearance in Los Angeles, Fresno, or San Diego.  However, video conferencing allowed me to meet, video-face to video-face with the client no matter where I was."

The logical next step was initial client consults.  But first, they had to sure up the security and consistency of the technology.

"We tried a lot of different solutions," explained Amanda Lilley, Firm Administrator.  "But after a while, we settled on GoToMeeting.  It provided the most consistent performance and had the greatest flexibility."


And GoToMeeting is not the only one that they have used.

"Yes, we have used Skype, WebEx, AnyMeeting, and even Google Video Chat," responded Ms. Lilley.  "But, GoToMeeting has been our preferred solution.

To set-up your own initial consultation - over-the-phone, in-person, or via video conferencing - please visit our Contact Us page at www.simasgovlaw.com.
Staff Announcement

SVPA Annual Gala Brunch Includes Q&A Panel for Prospective Paralegals 

On Saturday, May 18, the Sacramento Valley Paralegal Association (SVPA) will be hosting its Annual Gala Brunch in honor of California's Paralegal Day. It will include a Networking Power Half-Hour, Information on the Limited License Legal Technician Program, and Scholarship Awards.  It will also feature a presentation from keynote speaker, Filomena Yeroshek, Attorney with Legislative Intent Service, Inc.; Chief Counsel of the Mental Health Services and Oversight and Accountability Commission.  1.0 credit for Ethics and Professional Responsibility is pending.

After the keynote speaker, the event will include a Q&A panel for prospective paralegals.  This will provide attendees a candid and critical review of both the education and employment experience for future paralegals.  One of the panel members will be Simas & Associates, Ltd.'s own paralegal, Julianne Allen.

"I have had a diverse education and employment experience as a paralegal," explained Ms. Allen.  "Not only have I been exposed to a variety of different areas of the law, I have also gotten to work in different legal settings, interacting with many different courts and administrative, arbitration, and adjudicative bodies.  Not only that, but I have also worked with many different components of local and state government that touch the law.  Hopefully, I can share some of that experience and perspective to people contemplating a similar career."

The cost is $17.50 for students, $20.00 for SVPA members, and $25.00 for non-members/guests.  For more information about the SVPA Annual Gala Brunch or the Q&A Panel, please contact Ms. Janine Orsi at (916) 508-1199 or via email at orsijanine@gmail.com.
Client of the Month

Pukka Pilates & Physical Therapy
12030 Scripps Summit Drive, Suite E
San Diego, CA 92131
T: (858) 271-8800

Pukka Pilates & Physical Therapy ("Pukka") has combined the art and science of pilates and physical therapy to provide a unique exercise/rehabilitation opportunity to San Diego area residents. Its licensed physical therapists and PMA Certified Pilates Teachers will employ the Pilates method to help you gain physical fitness and body awareness, rehabilitation from surgery or an injury, or bridge the gap between physical therapy and being back to 100 percent. It also offers yoga and a full range of ergonomic services to round out its total wellness menu. 

Simas & Associates, Ltd. is proud to have served as Pukka Pilates & Physical Therapy's general counsel since before its launch in 2013.
 
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

The California Department of Real Estate (DRE) will become the Bureau of Real Estate under the Department of Consumer Affairs effective July 1, 2013
 
Last year, the Governor introduced a wide-ranging government reorganization plan in order to improve efficiencies within state government. As part of the Governor’s Reorganization Plan (GRP2), which was adopted last summer, the Department of Real Estate (DRE) will become the Bureau of Real Estate (BRE) and will be under the umbrella of the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) effective July 1st.

The core functions of the BRE will 
remain the same, and consumers, industry and stakeholders will continue to receive the same level of service from the new BRE that was provided by the DRE. While the enforcement, legal, licensing and subdivision programs will not be affected by the reorganization, DCA will assume administrative and fiscal responsibilities for the BRE.  The hope is that this will eliminate some of the duplicative services under the current structure.
Featured Blog Entry
 
How the Veterinary Medical Board Uses Citations Against You

Like many other licensing agencies, the California Veterinary Medical Board ("Board") issues citations to its licensees for minor transgressions or infractions of the law.  Business and Professions Code Section 125.9 authorizes licensing agencies to issue citations.  In particular, the Veterinary Practice Act, Business and Professions Code Section 4875.2 authorizes the Board to issue citations to veterinarians.  By regulation, the Board has created three categories of citations including Class A for the most serious violations, Class B for mid-range violations where the action of a veterinarian causes the death of a pet or the substantial likelihood of injury or death to the pet, and Class C violations are the most minor.

Over the years, the Board and its staff have claimed that Board citations are like a “traffic ticket.”  While the Supreme Court of California has made clear that citations by definition are not “license discipline,” they are far from being like a “traffic ticket.”  This is true for several reasons.

To keep reading this entry, please click here: How the Veterinary Medical Board Uses Citations Against You.  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
 
At Will Employment

An employment arrangement in which the employee may quit at any time, and the employer may fire the employee for any reason that is not illegal. For example, an employer may fire an at-will employee for poor performance, to cut costs, or because the employer simply doesn't like the employee, but may not fire an at-will employee for discriminatory reasons, to retaliate against the employee for reporting harassment, or because the employee exercised a legal right.

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

May 4, 2013 - SLO Bar Association - Cuatro de Mayo.  And the Kentucky Derby.

May 5, 2013 Â¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

May 7, 2013 - National Teacher Day.  Apples - consider yourself warned.

May 8, 2013 - May Meeting of the Schwartz-Levi American Inn of Court.

May 11, 2013 - SCBA Administrative Law Section's Luncheon.  In addition, ABAS 11th Annual Wine & Food Tasting Event.

May 12, 2013
- Happy Mother's Day! Also, it is the International Nurses Day.

May 18, 2013 - Armed Forces Day.  Also California Paralegal Day - celebrate at the SVPA's Paralegal Gala.

May 21, 2013 - May Meeting of the Kennedy American Inn of Court.  Also, SCBA Spring Mixer.  And the NBA Draft Lottery.


May 22, 2013 - National Maritime Day.  And Happy Harvey Milk Day.

May 26, 2013 - Roland Garros - 2013 French Open Begins.

May 27, 2013 - Happy Memorial Day!  Our offices will be CLOSED.

June 6, 2013 - 69th Anniversary of D Day.
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