Spiegel Liao and Kagay, LLP 388 Market Street, Suite 900 San Francisco, California 94111 Phone: (415) 956-5959 Fax: (415) 362-1431 EMail: slk@slksf.com
     
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Spiegel Liao & Kagay offers premium evaluation, counseling, and management, without imposing the enormous expenses characteristic of the larger or less focused firm.  We offer our services as consultants or as lead counsel to litigants and to their attorneys.  The following are some of the specialized services that Spiegel Liao & Kagay can provide to your company or client:

Pursuing or Opposing Appeals
Legal Research
Liability Consultation
Settlement Advice
Case Evaluation
Litigation Consultation
Litigation Management
White Collar Defense
Alternative Dispute Resolution

Pursuing or Opposing Appeals

The need for special expertise is particularly great when a case has progressed to an appeal, at which point a new set of pitfalls and opportunities requires the services of knowledgeable and experienced counsel.  Whether you are appealing an adverse judgment or order, or resisting an appeal, it may not be in the client's best interest, in terms of either cost or results, for the trial attorney to handle the appeal exclusively.  To a large extent, an appeal requires starting at square one. The appellate court comes to the case without preconceived notions of what happened in the trial court and decides the matter on the record alone.  In the same way, an experienced appellate specialist can approach the case with greater objectivity than the trial attorney.

More than anything, however, an appeal requires the ability to rise above the minutiae of the trial and to focus the spotlight on the pivotal issues that can win the case at the appellate level.  The skillful and experienced appellate lawyer knows both what to emphasize and what to forego.  This ability requires analytical and reasoning skills greatly different from those of a successful trial attorney.  The appellate effort stands a greater chance of success if an appellate specialist consults with the trial attorney or handles the appeal in its entirety.

Spiegel Liao & Kagay partner Charles Kagay has been certified as a Specialist in Appellate Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.

The members of Spiegel Liao & Kagay have many years of experience in the civil appellate process, in both the state and federal courts.  We know what appellate judges look for and how to structure the presentation for optimal impact.  Just as important, we know how to manage an appeal economically, so that the appellate phase becomes a prudent investment in the entire legal cause, not merely a compounding of expenses. Spiegel Liao & Kagay can handle an entire appeal or consult on any phase of the appellate process.

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Legal Research

Pressing legal questions demand in-depth research or analysis by an experienced practitioner.  Too often such assignments become committee projects at a large law firm, with layers of partners and associates reinventing the wheel at your expense.  Spiegel Liao & Kagay operates differently.  It tells you up front whether your need falls within its expertise, and what the project should cost.  It will focus on the key issues and give you a well-researched, succinct, and prompt response.

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Liability Consultation

Questions of potential legal liability can be expensive to answer but even more expensive to ignore.  The challenge is to find experts who can accurately assess your situation without marshaling a large staff or layers of attorneys, and without spending expensive time familiarizing themselves with the applicable law.

Because it knows what to look for, Spiegel Liao & Kagay can quickly assess your potential liability and the risks you face.  Recognizing the weaknesses of a situation before they become legal problems can protect your vital interests and keep vulnerabilities from turning into liabilities.

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Settlement Advice

If a case has already been filed against you, you must decide whether to fight or to settle. To make this decision, you need to know how strong the other side's case is.  Because of its extensive experience on both sides of antitrust, trade regulation, class actions, other complex litigation, and appellate matters, Spiegel Liao & Kagay can see your situation from your opponent's view, offering you a vital perspective.  It can evaluate the merits of the opposing side's case, find its weaknesses, identify its strengths, and advise you on the most prudent response to their challenge.

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Case Evaluation

When you have a claim against someone else, you must evaluate the strength of your case before committing major resources to the effort. Spiegel Liao & Kagay can save you from the debacle of entering a legal battle in which you are out-matched.  It can objectively analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your case, and it will give you a solid assessment of what you are committing your company or your client to.  Such advice can be the salvation of a company that might otherwise find itself embroiled in endless litigation.  However, this advice may be difficult to justify if you must engage an expensive legal bureaucracy just to get to the heart of the issue.  Spiegel Liao & Kagay can evaluate the merits of your cause of action quickly and economically.

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Litigation Consultation

If you are already in litigation, Spiegel Liao & Kagay can evaluate the status of your case.  Such an analysis may find that your case is on the right track.  On the other hand, your case might turn out to be a waste of time and money, headed for nearly certain defeat.  Or it might be somewhere in the middle--perhaps your strategy needs rethinking.  If you are the client, you generally have little control or oversight of your attorney's work.  You may not know what you are paying for or even if your case is being handled properly:

Are you paying for unnecessary discovery and motions?  Is your law firm over-researching the matter?  Are they giving you all of your options?  Are you financing the training of their associates? Should this matter even be in litigation?  Should you appeal, and if so, on what grounds?

Because of the exposure involved, the potential for runaway expenses is especially great in the areas of antitrust, trade regulation, class actions and other complex litigation.  These matters require extraordinary resources to defend or prosecute.  This means that you literally cannot afford to hire anyone other than top-of-the-line attorneys with extensive experience in these fields.  Spiegel Liao & Kagay can provide this expertise within a realistic budget.

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Litigation Management

Unfortunately, litigation is sometimes used as a weapon of attrition instead of a way to resolve a dispute.  Your ability to endure a protracted legal fight can dissuade a potential opponent whose main legal strategy is to hold out until you run out of money.

Complex litigation requires a unique set of management skills, often far removed from the requirements of ordinary trial work.  It presents an obvious temptation to spare no expense, because the stakes are so high, but this is often neither prudent nor particularly effective.

For decades, Spiegel Liao & Kagay's attorneys have served as lead counsel on very large litigation matters, many of them on extremely tight budgets.  This experience has enabled us to put together convincing cases, even when the opposing side can outspend their clients many times over.  The firm's members know how to deliver first-rate legal expertise within a tight budget.  We know what to look for, and we will assist you as you direct, without firing up the expensive litigation engine of the large law firm.  Spiegel Liao & Kagay can help you deploy your limited resources for optimum results, including early settlement, mediation, and, if necessary, trial.

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White Collar Defense

Extensive experience and demonstrated skill are essential to the defense when the Government uses its considerable resources to investigate or prosecute an alleged white-collar crime.  Donald C. Smaltz, of counsel to the firm, is widely recognized as one of the nation's leading white-collar defense attorneys.  A former federal prosecutor at the highest levels - he served both as an Assistant United States Attorney and as an Independent Counsel - Mr. Smaltz is available to lead a Spiegel Liao & Kagay defense team in a vigorous and focused defense effort.

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Alternative Dispute Resolution

Cost-effective alternative dispute resolution should be explored as an alternative to continued litigation whenever feasible.  SLK attorneys are experienced and skilled in mediation, arbitration, and other means of resolving disputes short of full-blown litigation.  They take a creative approach to finding mutually acceptable solutions to complicated disputes, where doing so can work to their clients' benefit.

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