CAOC Class Action Section and CAALA
Class Action Seminar -
Secrets from the Bench and Bar
May 21, 2008
Los Angeles
A Collaboration with Class
By Paul R. Kiesel, Seminar Co-Chair
On May 21, 2008 the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles and the Consumer Attorneys of California put on their first joint seminar in over a decade. This was the first seminar held at 800 West 6th Street in CAALA’s beautiful, newly configured conference center space. This was also the first seminar planned and executed by CAOC’s newest section, the Class Action Section. This new section, which will be co-chaired by Elizabeth Cabraser of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein and Timothy G. Blood of Coughlin, Stoia, Geller, Rudman & Robbins, LLP, will focus on legal and educational issues of importance to attorneys doing class action litigation.
Over 80 attorneys attended the half-day seminar in what amounted to “standing room only” for the event. A distinguished group of presenters, including Federal Judge George Schiavelli and his research attorney, Kevin McReynolds, as well as state court Judge Carolyn Kuhl and her former research attorney, Justin Barsanti (now in private practice with Arias, Ozzello & Gignac), addressed practical questions for practitioners on “How to Make an Impact from a Court and Research Attorney’s perspective.” This provided a unique “behind the curtain” perspective on what the court and its research attorneys look for in moving and responding papers, as well as practical recommendations on how to highlight points or present arguments to the Court.
Other speakers included Los Angeles County Bar President Gretchen Nelson, a plaintiff’s attorney with Kreindler & Kreindler who spoke on winning appeals, David Arbogast, a partner at Arbogast & Berns, LLP, who spoke on winning writs, Jeff Westerman, a partner with the Milberg firm, who spoke on how to manage class actions, and Gerson H. Smoger, the President-Elect of Public Justice, who spoke on the Access to Justice class action preservation project.
Since the event was held at the CAALA offices, the mood was relaxed and comfortable, without the ordinary stress of hotel events and concomitant cost to the Association for hosting such programs. The extraordinary collaboration was made possible through the efforts of CAALA’s Executive Director Stuart Zanville and Education Director Cindy Cantu and CAOC’s Education Director Lori Sarracino and Education Coordinator Wendy Murphy.
This is the start of what we hope will be an ongoing collaboration of educational activities statewide.

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