It is the “Practice” of Real Estate…Not the “Perfection”

Article written by Dax Watson.

Several years ago I was defending a real estate agent in a jury trial down in Tucson. The trial was scheduled for five grueling days. Interestingly, the only claim against the agent was for Fraud. I note this because Fraud is an incredibly serious claim, which carries a high burden of proof.

I really wanted to hammer that ominous note home for the jury and put the actual claim of “fraud” on trial. I needed the jury to understand that it was astonishing that these plaintiffs were claiming that my client had actually set out to intentionally harm them, plotted even. To alert them from the outset that plaintiffs had to prove that she was some sort of a criminal no less.

I had a large paper flip board placed in front of the jury for my opening statement. I use paper flip charts or grease boards quite a lot in trial. During opening statements or when examining a witness I drive home key issues/points by writing on the board. This stimulates additional senses for the jurors and engages them in the trial process. They listen, watch what I am writing and absorb those key points – if it is important enough to write down, it must be important for them to remember. It is an old lawyers’ trick.

So, at the outset of trial – the opening statement – I walk up to the flip board and write, in big bold black letters the word Fraud. I then spend the next forty five minutes putting on my best lawyer show. I was theatrical, impassioned… I was Tom Cruise from “A Few Good Men.” I underlined the word Fraud several times to make a point. I drew arrows, circled it, even put a star next to it. It was a show.

When finished, I walked back to defense table and took a seat. I left my flip board behind, staring at the jury. This is another old lawyer trick…leave it up and make plaintiffs’ counsel remove it. If he or she is paying attention, they will immediately take it down. If not, it will sit there while the trial marches on, reminding the jury of my impassioned plea and, of course, my brilliance. Plaintiffs’ counsel left it there in all of its glory.

I had a young attorney with me at this trial. So, I leaned over and asked him how he thought the opening statement had gone. Dead silence. I looked towards him. He was pale and appeared to be almost shaking. Something was wrong. Frantic, I asked him, “what is it… did I mess up?” Almost quivering, he replied…”you misspelled Fraud.” What? I looked over to the flip board and staring back at me was not Fraud, but FRUAD. And, not only was it staring back it me, it was doing so in all of its disgusting glory – in bold, underlined, starred, with arrows. I think I almost wrote a smiley face up there. How humiliating. What a colossal mistake. The first impression I left with the jury was that I was/am a moron. How can this moron possibly defend this agent and protect her license?

I had five days to stew over this devastating turn of events, caused by my own hand. The trial went on. I vigorously defended my client and we kept with our game plan. But, that lemon of an opening was still hanging out there and weighing on my mind. What to do… what to do?

The next and only other opportunity I would have to directly speak to the jury was during my closing argument. Five days had passed, but, it had felt like five years as I had been yearning for this moment to address the great FRUAD incident.

I calmly stepped up to a now blank flip board. I stood in front of it so as to block the jury’s view. I then proceeded to write in big bold letters: FRUAD. I moved away from the board to show the jury my wondrous work. They looked at me quizzically. I could see it in their eyes, “he did it again!!!”

I began my closing. I acknowledged that I had misspelled the word. I did not run from it. I even commented that it must have puzzled them. It may have even caused them some concern that my poor client did not have the sharpest tool in the shed on her side. I noted they probably had a good laugh about it during breaks in the jury room. I then told them that I had done it on purpose. Once again, their faces contorted and confusion set in. I said… “yes, I did it on purpose. I intentionally wrote Fruad for you, I switched the A and that U. I did so because I am a two time graduate from ASU and an ASU boy – but, I wanted to show my respect down here in Tucson so I switched the A and the U to give a nod to the U of A.”

They laughed. I made a connection and I had successfully moved on from a mistake I had made five days earlier. We won the case.

I practice law. Real estate licensees practice real estate. Neither is a science. Neither is perfect. I like to say real estate licensees are in the mistake business. Licensees are going to make mistakes. You are human and it is inherent in what you do for a living. Your job then, is to work hard at your craft to minimize those mistakes. You do so through education, experience, asking “why” and “how” and seeking HELP. Use your brokers. Use me. We can minimize issues, solve problems and limit when things go sideways.

Perhaps most importantly we need to address mistakes when they happen. We never run from them. I gave myself a lemon in that trial and made it into lemonade. As a team, we can and will address and solve problems and overcome mistakes. We will never turn the practice of real estate into the perfection of real estate…but, we can come darn close!

About the Author
Dax Watson compressedDax Watson has extensive litigation and professional liability defense experience. In addition to his legal practice, Watson is approved to teach legal issues, agency and disclosure, and property management by the Arizona Department of Real Estate. He regularly teaches risk-reduction classes to, and seminars for, real estate Brokers throughout Arizona.

To learn about the Lipson Neilson law firm please visit www.lipsonneilson.com.

Contact: Dax Watson
Phone: 602-626-8888
Email: DWatson@lipsonneilson.com

Dax Watson Teaches Class Titled “An Accountant’s Guide to Minimizing Professional Liability” at 2016 Scaling New Heights Conference

Dax Watson compressedDax Watson, Managing Partner of the Lipson Neilson law firm’s Phoenix office was selected to teach a class titled “An Accountant’s Guide to Minimizing Professional Liability” during the prestigious Woodard Scaling New Heights conference held May 22-25 at the Atlantis on Paradise Island, Bahamas. Joining Dax in teaching this session was John Torvi, Vice President of Marketing & Sales at the Herbert H. Landy Insurance agency.

This session provided an in-depth understanding of specific issues and circumstances that lead to lawsuits and other negative consequences of practice errors as well as practical knowledge and tips to avoid malpractice claims or complaints. The session also covered the “ins & outs” of a professional liability insurance policy so that an insured will be covered, and what to do if your firm is sued or accused of malpractice. This session was approved for 2 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits for those attending.

Unfortunately, accounting professionals continue to get sued for common malpractice issues. These include allegations of not applying prudent standards of care (especially when multiple standards may apply), exposure under securities laws, missed deadlines and missed or late filings, failure to develop, implement and consistently practice quality control measures, failure to detect fraud and the negligent preparation of tax returns or giving improper tax advice. In addition, they face a growing threat to their practice in the form of a privacy or cyber security breach.

No longer just a concern for large corporations, the consequences of a privacy breach can be devastating to any business. Whereas a malpractice claim may “only” involve a lawsuit, an event involving loss of data could also include civil penalties and state-mandated notifications and credit monitoring; if your firm practices or has clients in multiple states, the complexities of compliance and remediation can be staggering.

This conference attracted nationally renowned speakers such as Daymond John, star of the business reality show Shark Tank. The overall purpose was to provide education for small business owners and managers, and for accounting professionals that work with small businesses.

Dax Watson has extensive litigation and professional liability defense experience. In addition to his legal practice, Watson is approved to teach legal issues, agency and disclosure, and property management by the Arizona Department of Real Estate. He regularly teaches risk-reduction classes to, and seminars for, real estate Brokers throughout Arizona.

To learn about the Lipson Neilson law firm please visit www.lipsonneilson.com.

Contact: Dax Watson
Phone: 602-626-8888
Email: DWatson@lipsonneilson.com

Real Estate Attorney Dax Watson on Panel of Industry Professionals at Solutions Real Estate Q2 Event

Dax 81 x 81 compressedDax Watson, Managing Partner of the Phoenix office of Lipson Neilson P.C., was the only attorney on a panel of real estate industry professionals that spoke at the Solutions Q2 Industry News and Market Update event held April 21, 2016 at the University of Phoenix. Presented by Solutions Real Estate, this event provided attendees with the latest news and updates pertaining to the real estate industry.

Dax Watson focuses his law practice in commercial litigation with an emphasis in real estate matters and professional liability defense. His clients include professionals in the fields of real estate, law, accounting, architecture, and engineering. Dax is also an experienced mediator that conducts private mediations and settlement conferences for all types of civil disputes, with a focus on real estate and commercial litigation disputes.

Appointed by the Maricopa County Superior Court to act as a Judge Pro Tempore, Dax conducts Court-appointed settlement conferences as a Settlement Judge and also serves as a “fill-in” Judge on civil matters and short trials. He regularly appears and represents clients in regulatory matters before the Arizona Department of Real Estate and other state and federal agencies. To learn more please visit www.lipsonneilson.com.

Contact: Dax Watson
Phone: 602-382-1500
Email: DWatson@lipsonneilson.com

Dax Watson Expands Practice to Include Mediation

rsz_1rsz_1dax_watsonAttorney and Mediator Dax Watson, Managing Partner of the Lipson Neilson law firm’s Phoenix office, has expanded his practice to include Mediation. Dax conducts private mediations and settlement conferences for all types of civil disputes, with a focus on real estate and commercial litigation disputes.

In his capacity as a defense attorney, Dax focuses his practice in commercial litigation with an emphasis in real estate matters and professional liability defense. His clients include professionals in the fields of real estate, law, accounting, architecture, and engineering. He also defends officers, directors and employers in employment practice liability disputes.

Appointed by the Maricopa County Superior Court to act as a Judge Pro Tempore, Dax conducts Court-appointed settlement conferences as a Settlement Judge and also serves as a “fill-in” Judge on civil matters and short trials. He regularly appears and represents clients in regulatory matters before the Arizona Department of Real Estate and other state and federal agencies.

You can contact Dax Watson by calling 602-626-8888 or by email to DWatson@lipsonneilson.com.

Corey I. Richter Listed as 2016 Southwest Super Lawyers’ Rising Star

Richter_Corey_343 x 360_Dark compressedCorey I. Richter, an attorney in the Phoenix office of Lipson Neilson P.C., has been selected as a 2016 Southwest Super Lawyers’ Rising Star. This is Corey’s third consecutive year on this list.

Corey is an experienced defense attorney well-versed in product liability, construction defect, professional liability, and commercial litigation. He excels in representing domestic and foreign corporations and businesses of all sizes, from multinational to closely held, in complex litigation matters at both the state and federal levels.

Corey has represented the world’s most prominent manufacturers of automobiles and recreational vehicles in warranty, catastrophic injury and property damage litigation, and he also has experience representing clients in the aerospace and defense industry. He has represented clients in states throughout the country in matters ranging from administrative complaints by the Attorney General to complex multi-million dollar contract disputes. Additionally, Corey has significant experience representing retail stores and manufacturers of chemical products and chemical dispensing systems in contract disputes and matters of premises liability and personal injury. Corey also has extensive real estate litigation experience defending some of the largest real estate brokerages in Arizona.

Published by Thomson Reuters, the world’s leading source of information for the legal industry, Super Lawyers uses a patented multiphase selection process that includes peer nominations, evaluations and independent research. The selection process for the Rising Stars list is the same as the Super Lawyers, with one exception: to be eligible for inclusion in Rising Stars, a candidate must be either 40 years old or younger or in practice for 10 years or less. No more than 2.5 percent of lawyers in Arizona are named to the Rising Stars list.

You can contact Corey Richter by calling 602-626-8888 or by email to CRichter@lipsonneilson.com.

Karen Smyth to Discuss “EEOC & LGBT Employment Matters: Accommodations, Harassment, Title VII & Impact of Obergefell” at the Second Annual Employment Practices Liability Insurance ExecuSummit

cropped-Karen_Smyth_headshotKaren Smyth, a Partner at Lipson Neilson P.C. will be featured on a panel of leading industry professionals discussing “EEOC & LGBT Employment Matters: Accommodations, Harassment, Title VII &+ Impact of Obergefell” at the second annual Employment Practices Liability Insurance ExecuSummit held in Chicago at the Dana Hotel on April 12-13, 2016.

This summit will provide attendees a unique opportunity to learn from distinguished presenters who will be discussing current issues and trends impacting Employment Practices Liability underwriting and claims. Attendees will include insurance industry executives, corporate counsel and attorneys from across the USA.

Karen has considerable experience in the defense of professional liability cases, including legal malpractice, medical malpractice, and employment practices litigation. She is a licensed attorney in Michigan and New York, a graduate of the Litigation Management Institute and the President of the Michigan Chapter of the Claims & Litigation Management Alliance.

About Lipson Neilson
Founded in 1985, Lipson Neilson P.C. has offices in Bloomfield Hills, Grand Rapids, Las Vegas and Phoenix. The firm is widely known for its professional liability lines, offering invaluable insight and experience to its clients across all industries. The firm represents clients in throughout the USA and around the world. You can learn more at www.lipsonneilson.com.

Contact Karen Smyth
Phone: 248-593-5000
Email: ksmyth@lipsonneilson.com

Sandra Glazier Featured Speaker at 35th Annual Kansas City Estate Planning Symposium

Sandra Glazier croppedLipson Neilson Shareholder Sandra Glazier, co-author of “What Every Estate Planner Should Know About Undue Influence: Recognizing It, Insulating Against It…and Litigating It”, along with co-authoring attorneys Thomas Dixon and Thomas Sweeney, will be featured speakers on the topics discussed in this paper during the 35th Annual Kansas City Estate Planning Symposium to be held on April 21 – 22, 2016.

Glazier, Dixon and Sweeney will speak about identifying and addressing issues relating to vulnerabilities which could subject an individual to undue influence. Because undue influence is generally a process, as opposed to a single event, its growing prevalence as a basis for litigation which attacks the validity of estate planning documents, makes it of considerable importance to professionals involved in the estate planning process and attorneys who litigate such issues.

This symposium attracts nationally renowned speakers and is presented in cooperation by the Estate Planning Society of Kansas, the Financial Planning Association of Greater Kansas City, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. Attendees of this conference include Estate Planning attorneys, Business and Tax attorneys, CPAs, Trust Officers, Planned Giving Professionals, Certified Financial Planners, and Life Underwriters.

An attorney for more than 30 years, Sandra Glazier is well-known for her expertise and successful track record in Probate Litigation, Estate Planning and Administration, and Family Law. Sandra is the current Chair of the Oakland County Bar Association’s Probate, Estate & Trust Committee. To learn more about Sandra, and the Lipson Neilson law firm, please visit www.lipsonneilson.com You can email Sandra D. Glazier at sglazier@lipsonneilson.com.

Joseph Garin to Speak at the 2016 CLM Annual Conference

Joseph Garin high resJoseph Garin, Attorney, Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer & Garin, P.C. will speak at the CLM Annual Conference, which will be held at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, April 6-8.  His session is titled “Law Firm Dissolutions, Receivers, Bankruptcy and Claims.”

Joseph Garin is a partner in the firm of Lipson Neilson P.C. with offices in Nevada, Arizona and Michigan. He is consulted nationally on the defense of professional liability claims, ethics, employment, insurance coverage disputes, director and officer claims, and risk management. He is also experienced in complex and commercial litigation matters, including cases involving breach of contract and unfair business practices.

Mr. Garin earned a B.G.S. degree from the University of Michigan and received his J.D. degree cum laude from Michigan State University-Detroit College of Law, where he was a member of the Law Review. He is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the State Bar of Illinois, the State Bar of Nevada and the State Bar of Colorado. He is admitted before the United States District Court for the Eastern and Western District of Michigan, the District of Nevada, as well as in the Sixth and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Mr. Garin serves as the Chair to the State Bar of Nevada Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Ethics and is a member of the Professional Liability Committee for the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance.

About Lipson Neilson
Founded in 1985, Lipson Neilson P.C. has offices in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Bloomfield Hills and Grand Rapids. The firm is widely known for its excellence in the professional liability lines, offering invaluable insight and experience to its clients across all industries. The firm represents clients in Nevada, throughout the USA and around the world. You can learn more at www.lipsonneilson.com.

About the CLM
The Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM) promotes and furthers the highest standards of claims and litigation management and brings together the thought leaders in both industries. CLM’s Members and Fellows include risk and litigation managers, insurance and claims professionals, corporate counsel, outside counsel and third party vendors. The CLM sponsors educational programs, provides resources and fosters communication among all in the industry. To learn more about the CLM, please visit www.theclm.org.

 

 

How Do I Stay Out of the Lawyer’s Office

Article written by Dax Watson provides tips for Real Estate Agents. This article is on page 3 of the December 2015 issue of WestWords, published by WestUSA Realty.


Article in West Words Dec 2015