Law Week 2004 - Friday : Specialized Practice Areas

In our annual weeklong series, the San Diego Daily Transcript looks at the business of law in San Diego. The themes for each of day of the week include:

  • U.S. collects more than $1.3 billion in 2001 as a result of health care fraud

    The federal government collected more than $1.3 billion during 2001 as a result of health care fraud, the Justice Department and the Department of Health and Human Services announced last week.

  • Law Day's dialogue on freedom

    You're an American teenager flying off on to an exotic vacation. But your plane has engine trouble and you're forced to land in the country of Quest -- a place where the average worker makes only $2 a day, where the political leadership is corrupt and where anti-democratic sentiment is gathering strength. The people you meet challenge your beliefs. They blame America for their difficulties, and believe that authoritarian rule is their best hope. What can you say to them?

  • U.S. Senate approves border security and visa reforms

    By a 97 - 0 vote, the U.S. Senate approved earlier this month a bipartisan security bill that tightens visa screening, border inspections and tracking of foreigners. The U.S. House of Representatives, which has strongly supported this measure, is expected to take it up for a vote shortly.

  • As Mexican land trusts expire so can dreams of many foreign 'land owners'

    Picture this: You walk into the office of a real estate broker in Mexico determined to purchase the beautiful weekend retreat you just toured. You're excited that it seems to be offered at a price within your means.

  • Identity theft law leaves employers uncertain

    The law abhors uncertainty. So do employers, particularly in a litigious environment where every new Labor Code provision might give rise to class-action lawsuits. Unfortunately, although enacted with the best of intentions, California's new "identity theft" legislation (A.B. 655) interjects considerable uncertainty.

  • New project to improve investigations, help prevent deaths due to elder abuse

    Just as car manufacturers study accidents to improve automobile safety and physicians examine deaths resulting from medical procedures to avoid future fatal outcomes, so the review of deaths due to elder abuse can help prevent such tragedies in the future. Yet there are no specialized resources to guide law enforcement officers, prosecutors and victim services providers in creating and sustaining elder abuse fatality review teams.

  • Paving the road to settlement

    A variety of weapons in a trial lawyer's arsenal can help clinch a case before trial. Assessing the economic risk of trial is vital, as is creating a defense expectation that settlement is unlikely. Putting together a good discovery plan from the get-go is also important, because doing so is cost-effective and helps ensure optimal results.

  • Serving justice - San Diego law firm leads the way in pro bono efforts

    Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP is hard at work trying to give its services away -- by increasing its attorneys' participation in pro bono matters. As one recent headline proclaimed, Sheppard Mullin is "Not Just In it for the Money."

  • Coming to America: The Madrid Protocol

    Where can you file one trademark application in multiple countries, in English, in one office, with one fee, resulting in one registration to administer? Not in the United States. Not yet anyway. But it will soon be possible, and businesses should get ready to take the opportunity to obtain foreign protection for their valuable trademarks.

  • Employers' legal risks keep increasing

    What's an employer to do? A recent California court ruling held that staring may constitute sexual harassment. Employees using the Internet can download copyrighted materials, circulate offensive e-mails and post sexually harassing comments. Someone driving while using a cell phone causes an accident. If the driver was making business-related calls, who is liable? In each of these cases, the employer may be held liable.

  • Principles are key to creating, improving effective public defense systems

    A criminal defendant's right to a lawyer has been a bedrock principle of our criminal justice system since 1963, when the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in Gideon v. Wainright, holding that, "The right of one charged with a crime to counsel may not be deemed fundamental and essential to fair trials in some countries, but it is in ours." Yet for this right to be truly meaningful, the legal representation provided to everyone, including indigent defendants, must be efficient and effective.

  • Suing over sewage: The future of San Diego's coastal waters

    Under the federal Clean Water Act, municipally owned treatment works, such as the Point Loma sewage treatment plant, must treat their influent to so-called secondary standards before they can discharge the treated water. The city of San Diego has been operating the Point Loma plant under a waiver of requirements for secondary treatment for several years, and recently applied for a second waiver.

  • Research and counsel: Preventing patent pitfalls through early intervention

    Patent attorneys are frequently asked when they should get involved in a project. In view of current U.S. Patent and Trademark Office examination practices -- with respect to enablement of an invention and the requirement to provide an adequate written description -- it is more imperative than ever to consult your patent attorney early and often as part of the patenting process.