Exceptional Attorney and Essential

There may have been a point when one distinguished between exceptional and essential. Many individuals may have been content in utilizing a physician, dentist, accountant, and/or an attorney, perhaps as long as they were not inferior. However, is it any different in reading or watching the news, utilizing a barber or beautician, going out to dinner, or watching a movie? When the emphasis is on the desired result, it becomes essential to want a higher standard, receive value and choose exceptional as the significant keyword. In this regard, therefore, the number one criterion in selecting the people we retain (and the things we do), becomes very important; doing anything else, such as what may only be “o.k.” becomes tantamount to accepting mediocre and, at times and at best, this is superficial, inadequate, deficient and, even worse, useless and a waste of time.

Most of us want more, with the emphasis on an effective outcome. Yet, some will inevitably place a greater importance on the cost rather than the potential adverse outcome. In other words, they do not automatically ask “what do I have to lose, such as the priceless time I have, my professional career, credibility and/or personal integrity?” Therefore, with all of this in mind, many do not want “just o.k.” and, instead, focus on exceptional as the measurement for the individual with whom they choose to employ and, often, on the things they do with the time they have.

In selecting a lawyer, the same criteria can be critical. The website Avvo provides a profile on all of the attorneys in the United States. Then, one has the opportunity to decide whether (s)he wants an attorney who is exceptional, as well as knowledgeable, skilled and highly experienced, particularly with a proven and written record of ongoing favorable results. For example, it might not at the outset seem as important in choosing a contractor, until one first looks at testimonials to determine whether there are others who have spent their savings or mortgaged their home, only to then experience their contractor departed from the plans and specifications, delayed at great length on the work and/or did not actually complete the project.

In the practice of law, it can be critical the attorney does more rather than less. It is essential in order to diminish the risk or not gamble on the outcome. Hence, in choosing a lawyer, it is recommended you evaluate the advantages of a comprehensive scope in the work to be performed involving, among other things, indispensable steps, such as a risk assessment; an exhaustive factual and legal analysis; focused research; essential strategizing; and utilizing credible experts to evaluate and provide an opinion integrated into an optimum forensic report concerning such issues, including those directly or indirectly, related to the standard of care, prudence, judgment, lawfulness, moral turpitude, competency, etc.

In summary, what some may have previously thought were unnecessary because they did not think they  required selecting an attorney who is exceptional, now are considering the above issues as very important criteria and, therefore, essential characteristics in choosing the best lawyer (and the things they do).

New California Law: Use and Abuse of Drugs

Effective January 1, 2019, Business and Professions Code Section 740 became new California law (Assembly Bill  2760 was signed by then Governor Brown on September 10, 2018) requiring those who prescribe medication to be more vigilant of patients who have an increased risk of substance abuse.

A prescriber is now required to provide education to a patient for overdose prevention, as well as the use of Naloxone Hydrochloride (commonly referred to as Narcan, which is available in generic form, is an opioid antagonist used for the reversal of opioid overdose, including respiratory depression. Narcan is also used for diagnosis of suspected or known acute opioid overdose) or a comparable drug approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration [FDA].

Business & Professions Code section 740 specifies the applicable criteria as the following:

  1. the prescription dosage for a patient is 90 or more morphine milligram equivalents of an opioid medication per day; and/or
  2. an opioid medication is prescribed concurrently with a prescription for benzodiazepine; and/or
  3. a patient has the indications of an increased risk for overdose.

Section 741(a)(1)(C) offers the following examples that indicate an” increased risk of overdose,” including but not limited to:

  1. a patient with a history of overdose;
  2. a patient with a history of substance use disorder; or
  3. a patient at risk for returning to a high dose of opioid medication to which the patient is no longer tolerant

Business & Professions Code section 742 states that a prescriber who fails to abide by the prescription or education requirements shall be referred to the appropriate state licensing board for the disciplinary action. Notably, the focus of Spital and Associates is on representing those who have a professional license in California, whether in the investigative stage or written and published Accusation, such as one filed by the Medical Board of California.

All opiates come from the poppy plant. Opioids have a similar effect to an opiate, but are often synthetic or partially synthetic. Both opiates and opioids are classified by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency as Schedule II drugs, which are considered acceptable for certain medical purposes, such as for relief of pain, but are deemed highly addictive, including Dilaudid (hydromorphone), Demerol (meperidine), Dolophine (methadone), Duragesic or Sublimaze (fentanyl), morphine, opium, OxyContin and Percocet (oxycodone), Vicodin and other medications with hydrocodone, and various drugs with Codeine. On the other hand, Heroin, LSD, marijuana (cannabis) and Ecstasy are Schedule I drugs, and these are considered the most dangerous and have no acceptable medical or safe use.

There is no question but that acute and chronic pain are debilitating medical conditions. Approximately two (2) million individuals in the United States suffer from SUBSTANCE USE disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers. It is noteworthy that prescription drugs are the “second” most commonly abused substances, alcohol being number one. The number of deaths from opioid pain relievers that have been prescribed by physicians represent more than the number of overdose deaths involving heroin or cocaine.

Some individuals are predisposed to develop problems as a result of using drugs because they have lower levels of self-control. Notwithstanding the above, there are others who become addicted because of one or more set of personality behaviors when utilizing certain narcotics, even though lawfully prescribed by a physician.  It is hoped the mandate set forth above and a new law in California will result in a substantial decline in deaths and, of course, it will increase the nature and scope of effective and alternative modalities for pain management.

 

LINGUISTICS AND THE PRACTICE OF LAW

Linguistics is the study of language. It is reflected in everything we say and what we do. Essentially, it impacts how we communicate with others. In this regard, every word can have significance; many of which are like a double-edged sword, in which there can be two completely different meanings.

To be effective in the practice of law, one must truly understand the impact EACH word has, which includes knowing how and when to be concise instead of wordy; and, to know whether we are in fact, as well as how to be, convincing instead of unpersuasive.

There is a distinction between “effective” counsel and “competent” legal representation in that the latter is legal advice and counsel without errors, such as whether the advice and representation would result in the denial of a fair trial. This is often classified as malpractice or negligence. On the other hand, one may not have departed from the elementary standards applicable to the practice of law and, therefore, not be negligent. However, one can still be “ineffective” by failing to obtain a winning result. In the practice of law and to be effective, a lawyer should strive for superior advocacy; this should apply to how one drafts legal documents; presents oral and written arguments; drafts and finalizes written communications; as well as the basic dialogues we have with those with whom we know and/or those with whom we want to influence by producing a positive response, feeling, or opinion.

It is the “art of communications” to know what to say, how to say it, when to say it, and, where is it acceptable or beneficial to do so. Additionally, one needs to know when to say no more, if only to allow the other individual an opportunity to digest what has been said and to reply, if desired.

Here are some considerations to help illustrate the above:

  • Is the same writing style and techniques in sending or responding to texts satisfactory in writing a letter, greeting card, etc.?
  • Do you communicate the same when conferring with a loved one, family member and/or friend? Are there differences when applying for a job; writing an essay or term paper for school or college; or submitting written arguments to the adversary in a case; to an organization; an arbitrator; judge; and to an administrative agency?
  • The tone of our communications can have a different impact, perhaps one that is not intended at all. The way words are expressed can lead to different meanings. For example, stating “I love you” in an angry or sarcastic voice vs. gently and softly saying the words “I love you.” Can you “hear” the difference? Try saying the same words in a different tone and you will see the reaction [the former angry tone likely will cause  a baby to cry, out of fear].
  • What about language in politics, in newspapers and television broadcasts? Are they fair and balanced?
  • In addition, should one consider the source of the communication; the activity and context in which the communication is made; as well as the credibility of the speaker or writer?
  • When is it appropriate to make a complimentary remark in contrast to ignoring what others may say or do that truly is, or seems improper?

Whether through linguistics and/or superior advocacy, the goal of a lawyer is to evoke an acceptance of an argument or obtain support for his/her argument. It is fair to say, effective legal counsel utilizes a combination of compelling and cogent language with logic and reasoning. Essentially, this involves both the “art of communication (linguistics)” and the “art of negotiation.”

 

Mandatory Patient Prescription Reporting Data Base

On July 1, 2016, Health and Safety Code Section 11165.1 required all designated California licensed professionals who are authorized to prescribe, order, administer and/or furnish Schedule II, III and IV controlled substances to register, on a database that is commonly referred to as CURES 2.0,  the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System. CURES is the prescription drug monitoring program mandated in California. Practitioners can access tips and  Registration pointers as well. Other critical and substantive information is available in the form of a Practitioner’s Manual.

Effective October 2, 2018, it is mandatory for Physicians (MD); Osteopathic Doctors (DO); Dentists (DDS); Podiatrists (DPM); Naturopathic Physicians (NP);  Physician Assistants (PA); Optometrists (OD); Nurse Practitioners (NP); Nurse Midwives (either CNM and/or CM); and Veterinarians (DVM) to consult CURES prior to performing any of the above services. After the initial consultation and at least once every four months thereafter, each of these practitioners must consult Cures 2.0  if the controlled substance continues to be part of the respective patient’s treatment. It is noteworthy that the CURES data collection vendor has published data submission instructions. The consultation requirement as such is inapplicable to Pharmacists (RPh); however, as other dispensing practitioners are obligated to monitor prescriptions of controlled substances, Pharmacists are also required to report on a weekly basis information regarding Schedule II, III and IV controlled substances being dispensed. The applicable Health and Safety Code, however, sets forth limited and designated exemptions.

It is noteworthy that a patient can obtain his or her CURES prescription history through the IPA, commonly referred to as the Information Practices Act. Each Patient Activity Report contains the following record: the patient’s name; date of birth; address; name of the prescriber and DEA number; name and license number of the pharmacy; date the prescription was filled; prescription number; drug name, drug form, drug quantity and strength; number of days of the supply, and each refill number. One may obtain the IPA Request form by contacting the CURES Help Desk.

The goal of Cures 2.0 is to ensure patient safety. Additionally, each particular licensing agency has access to the IPA information to regulate those whom they issue a professional license to ensure they follow the law and maintain proper standards and practices. Spital and Associates is an award winning law firm that provides legal advice and representation in investigations and disciplinary actions brought against individuals and entities that wish to obtain or currently have a professional and occupational license in California.

SUPERIOR ADVOCACY

How does one define the role of a lawyer? What are your expectations? Do you want an average lawyer or a truly great attorney? Here is a list of questions you might want to ask yourself and the lawyer with whom you consult:

  1. Do you want a lawyer who is pro-active, meticulous and believes in YOU?
  2. Are you intent on seeking the advice of a highly regarded attorney with boundless experience; superior knowledge and skills; is smart and knows how to persuasively articulate the case on your behalf?
  3. Do you place more value on the fees and cost of the lawyer, or are the primary factors both the direct impact of the case and the unintended consequences, now and in the future?
  4. Using objective criteria, one can read about the rating for the attorney; client reviews; attorney endorsements; full resume, including the nature, frequency and number of total and recent awards.
  5. Do you have the utmost trust and confidence in the lawyer with whom you consult, seek legal advice and representation? One of the ways to determine the character, expertise, history, and winning results can be evaluated by viewing the description and details at, and click the following link as it regards the author, on www.Avvo.com, which is a national legal directory that provides profiles of nearly every lawyer in the United States.
  6. Does your selection of an attorney also encompass whether the lawyer has respect for YOU as a valued individual, instead of  you just being another “case?”
  7. Does the lawyer have a genuine care and appreciation of YOU and your legal issue(s)?
  8. Do you want to retain a lawyer who works long and hard to solely refute, dispel or deny wrongdoing?
  9. Would you prefer a lawyer who not only does the obvious by presenting a thorough defense, but also pursues a comprehensive “offense,” which can involve a painstaking effort to marginalize the charges, allegations, as well as the inferences and conclusions?
  10. Is the attorney mindful of YOUR best interests?
  11. Despite the huge responsibilities a lawyer has to protect your rights and advance your interests, do you want an attorney who not only creates an action plan for himself/herself, but gives YOU a detailed roadmap and plan of action that focuses on what is best about YOU; your redeeming qualities; and, who involves you as an integral part of the “team,” instead of you not being actively involved?
  12. Do you want a lawyer who takes a huge number of cases (as an assembly line) and, therefore, does less on each one and charges less? On the other hand, many clients’ primary goal is to have a lawyer who has a deep commitment, is hard working, considers the advantage of a thorough investigation, research, analysis, strategizing, and has an online presence establishing their proven record.

In summary, take sufficient quality time to research the lawyer you are considering, focus on the impact the outcome can have on YOU now and in the future, rather than solely upon the costs in retaining an attorney. This situation may be a defining moment in YOUR personal and professional life. Give a great deal of weight to the objective facts set forth in the lawyer’s ratings,  attorney’s integrity,  respect by other lawyers and admiration by the countless past and current clients who have provided consistent testimonials month after month, year after year to document the knowledge, experience, skills, concern, and overwhelming energy, along with documented and proven results. Your family, friends, associates, and particularly YOU deserve superior advocacy.

DISCLOSURE OF CONVICTIONS TO EMPLOYERS

Effective January, 1, 2018, employers in California with five or more employees cannot make employment decisions regarding convictions unless first performing an individualized assessment. The Assessment entails consideration of: [1] the underlying facts of the crime as they relate to the nature and seriousness of the conviction; [2] the period of time that has elapsed since the crime was committed and whether the terms and condition of the sentence have been completed, along with [3] the duties and functions of the employment position [nature of the job] in question. Under the existing law through and including December 31, 2017, only governmental entities (City, County and State) were barred from making such personnel decisions.

Additionally, a private employer cannot ask questions, whether during a face to face interview and/or on the Application for Employment form, regarding a criminal history of a prospective employee until after a preliminary decision has been made that the applicant is qualified for the open position. Essentially, an employer cannot consider a person’s criminal history until after a preliminary or conditional job offer has been made to the prospective employee. As such, the employer is prohibited from having a background check performed until after making a conditional employment offer.

Assembly Bill 1008 (AB 1008) was signed into law on October 14, 2017 and, as a result, a new section has been added to the Fair Employment and Housing Act, commonly referred to as FEHA, to wit: Government Code Section 12952.

Shortly before signing into law the above mandate, on October 12, 2017, the Governor took a quite similar position as above when he made it a misdemeanor for violating AB 138, which prevents an employer from asking questions of a prospective employee regarding their previous salary, nor could employers consider the salary history as a factor in making decisions regarding an applicant for employment. The new law does not prohibit an applicant from voluntarily providing salary history information and it can be used by the prospective employer in making its own decisions in connection with the salary to be offered. Labor Section 432.3

None of the above should be interpreted as a prohibition against any Governmental agency (Board, Bureau and/or Department) from inquiring as to a conviction, commonly referred to as a background check, as part of the process of obtaining a professional or occupational license; similarly, this inquiry is an integral part of the renewal process regarding any such license. It should be remembered, there are approximately 50 agencies, including the California Department of Consumer Affairs. All of these state agencies have the power to investigate, deny, suspend or revoke a license, in the interest of the health and safety of the public, and thereby rely upon the underlying facts of the crime, as they relate to the duties and functions of a licensed professional or occupational license. Business and Professions Code Section 475-499.

For additional information, see Administrative Law Attorney.

Should a Lawyer Predict the Outcome or Result in a Case?

It is not uncommon for a prospective client and, for that matter, even an existing client, to inquire as to the likely result(s) in the handling of their case.

It is simply unwise to predict an outcome or even worse to speculate on what can be expected. I do not predict the expected or anticipated result without first doing the required work-up. Moreover and even after performing the necessary case evaluation, factual and legal analysis, and requisite strategy, I still need to prepare and execute a complete plan of action.

It seems reasonable to state there being over 215 five-star client reviews and endorsements from lawyers all over California and the United States; having earned  the “Client’s Choice Award” for ten (10) years in a row since 2007; having served as a Deputy Attorney General for the California Department of Justice between 2000 through 2008 as a prosecution lawyer at the Attorney General’s Office; and, since that time, concentrated my law practice on the defense side of cases with tested protocols we utilize that have produced a winning record.

As a lawyer, there are two guiding and profound principles that are etched in my brain;  they are an integral part of my thought process, and have been my approach for four decades: “what I don’t know, I don’t know.” There is a second I learned from the first day at Loyola Law School: “when you think you will win, you will likely lose.” In short, I practice law without bravado, and I am better for it because I try harder and work longer to find every possible way to develop a defense. Often, and even more important, is my highly effective practice to establish and develop a compelling and comprehensive “offensive strategy” [for those who know the world of  sports, it has been said that more points are obtained by the offense plays that are made].

We find it priceless to first obtain all of the evidence, which is commonly referred to as the “discovery” from the Deputy District Attorney or Assistant U.S.  Attorney in a criminal case; the Deputy Attorney General handling a professional or occupational license matter; and, the Department or Bureau Legal Counsel handling the prosecution case. The next step is to thoroughly review and fully analyze the prosecution evidence [this process cannot be done in an office interview with a client or on the telephone]. Some lawyers may  do this quickly, however, there is too great a risk that one might overlook a legally significant fact, if not much more. The next step is to request and initially obtain a lengthy written rebuttal from our client, which at times is 10, 20, or even far more pages in length; we do not rely upon an abbreviated version that would only be possible during a teleconference or even an office meeting. There are multiple other steps as part of my law firm’s protocol before I and/or my colleagues are able to fully understand a case and then to establish an appropriate plan of action. We simply do not provide legal advice with less; we do not predict a result nor do we gamble on the outcome.

In addition, it has been my practice to utilize forensic experts [the trial science] because only through an expert evaluation can a lawyer  know what is truly the standard practice that is relevant to a specific set of facts. Even though I spent over seven (7) years serving as a Deputy Attorney General and nearly four decades as a Professional License Defense Lawyer, I do not speculate on how to obtain a winning result. My clients deserve more!  In summary, I tell prospective clients: “I cannot predict a result, and no experienced lawyer can do so without a thorough examination of all of the facts and applicable legal principles.” Most importantly, “the more time and work performed, the greater opportunity for a better result.”

For your complimentary attorney teleconference, call Spital and Associates at 619.583.0350. It is even more helpful for you to visit the Contact Us page of this website and send an email with the details of your situation, information and questions you have, along with the desired action you wish a lawyer to take on your behalf; notably, it will be answered by Sam Spital, Managing Lawyer who will contact you in order to discuss the options, alternatives and steps in order to obtain your personal lawyer to level the playing field, and protect your rights and advance your interests.

Hiring An Attorney Who Is Tough, Smart & Knows the Law

Samuel Eugene SpitalDo you or someone you know have a professional or occupational license and facing an investigation or charges by the State of California? Are you seeking a professional or occupational license? Have you considered your future endeavors and how the potential outcome of the present situation can adversely impact the choices you may later have and/or want to make?

Whether it appears to be only a call or letter from the government, you want to be certain as to your rights and possible liabilities, and you want a lawyer who is tough, smart and knows the law. Clearly, anyone who has had such an encounter knows what might seem an innocent and non-adversarial communication from the government or an investigator can be just the opposite. It is not about “telling the truth because you have nothing to hide.” Rather, what you say can be misinterpreted and might constitute an admission against your interest (in law – it can be construed as a confession).

Hence, whether you are applying for a license or have one, the risks as well as rewards can be substantial. If you have received an Accusation by the Board or Agency that issued your license or you are planning to apply for a state license or have received a denial letter, it is indisputably a defining moment in your career and, therefore, should be treated as a critical event that justifies obtaining truly experienced counsel.

The intent and scope of legal services should be to provide you with a full and proper evaluation of your case, as well as to afford you legal advice as to your rights, as well as your legal, and financial (and perhaps emotional) exposure, including the alternatives that are available. In addition, to protect you from an otherwise powerful state government and on your personal behalf to level the playing field, you also want an attorney who will fully assess and rightfully advance your legal rights.

A prominent attorney is able to maintain such a position by him/her having integrity, as well as being fully experienced and highly skilled in presenting thorough legal arguments that are not only comprehensive, but most importantly are both in writing and legally sound. This  takes more than an idle analysis, but rather proper research; detailed planning of the strategy in a case; it involves an exhaustive review of all of the facts; a wise and accurate evaluation of the records; correctly interviewing lay and knowledgeably conferring with expert witnesses who are highly regarded in the profession; eventually, the proper foundation and scrutiny must be accomplished to truly level the playing field for the skilled and experienced lawyer to be in a position to confer with the prosecution side, persuasively argue and present as well as to negotiate and achieve a winning solution.

If a winning result is what you want, you should not expressly or implicitly place a constraint on the number of hours and time that your lawyer deems appropriate to strengthen your defense and develop a compelling offense. Clearly, you can’t afford to not do this if you are truly motivated and honestly desire to obtain a favorable outcome.

In the end, when you consult with and retain a lawyer who is tough, smart and knows the law, you are less likely to look back and wish you had done so. And, there are readily available tools to help you evaluate the criteria, such as percentage of their practice devoted to Administrative Law, years in practice, prior specialized experience, their proven success, and most importantly what other clients and leading attorneys have consistently said in the past and continue to say in the present about the lawyer you select. And, if you ultimately choose price as an overriding factor (paying the lower of retainer fees to a lawyer), it is more likely he or she will spend less time on your case. For a free consultation, call now 619.583.0350 or send an email to Sam Spital, Managing Lawyer, with a few ranges of time for him to call back. You have nothing to lose, there is no hassle, you will come away with more insights and, therefore, believe there was and is “everything to gain.”

2016 New California Laws

There are about 800 new California laws that went into effect on January 1, 2016. Here are a few noted by the following topics:

Driving Under the Influence – drivers convicted of a DUI (whether alcohol or drugs) in four California counties [Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento & Turlare], under an existing program that will remain in effect until July 1, 2017 will be required to install an ignition-interlock device (IID) on their cars. The IID registers alcohol on the driver’s breath, and is designed to prevent the vehicle from starting based on a pre-determined level of blood alcohol.

Earbuds – earphones, headsets or earbuds in both ears cannot be used while driving a vehicle or bicycle

Electronic Surveillance – the police, sheriff and law enforcement must first obtain a search warrant before accessing your e-mail, text, social media, data and other electronic information, unless it is determined to be an emergency situation.

Gun ban – those who have a CCW permit (individual who may legally carry a concealed weapon) will not be allowed to bring their guns on school and/or college campuses without advance permission from the school or campus authority.

Gun-violence restraining order – individuals who fear a family member could hurt their self or others can apply to the court for a gun-violence restraining order to limit the person’s access to firearms for up to one year

Medical marijuana rules – a statewide agency will now license and regulate all aspects of the cultivation, manufacture, transportation, storage, distribution and sale of medical marijuana.

Motor-voter registration – adults who apply for or renew a California driver’s license will automatically be registered to vote, although one can opt out if you do not want to be registered.

School Children – must be vaccinated to go to public school

Toy guns – are outlawed (can’t be displayed) in public unless brightly colored such as red, pink or yellow

Work Pay – equal pay is required for men & women. It is not less burdensome for a female employee to challenge her employer if there appears to be a disparity in the pay women receive in contrast to men performing similar work. Employers are also barred from prohibiting workers from talking about their &/or their co-workers’ pay in order to determine wage fairness. The minimum wage in California is now $10/hr. However, fewer minimum wage earners now work a full 40 hour work week as a result of the expanded wage, health, and benefit laws involved in operating a business.

This is a summary only and not intended to constitute legal advice. For the official webpage and guide of the Bills the California Legislature enacted in 2015, click: Bills Enacted in 2015

1st-grade teacher accused of molesting 2nd boy

Stories involving child abuse and harm are some of the most difficult to hear. Unfortunately, reports such as this one are prevalent in our everyday news.

According to this article by Fox 5 San Diego, a South Bay elementary school teacher is accused of possessing child pornography and using it to convince boys to expose themselves online. The 41-year-old was previously charged with molesting a former student. Today, he faces new charges which include allegations of a sex crime committed against a second boy. In addition to previous charges, the suspect now faces 12 counts of committing a lewd act on a child involving a second victim.

The first-grade teacher was initially arrested after agents with the San Diego Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force searched his home. An investigation discovered the suspect posed as a girl on website called “MeetMe” and persuaded boys to expose themselves live via webcam.

 

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