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

Attorney David Ochoa Joins Lipson Neilson’s Las Vegas Office

David Ochoa web resJune 7, 2016 – The law firm of Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer, Garin, P.C. announced today that attorney David Ochoa has joined the firm’s Las Vegas office. David’s practice focuses primarily in the areas of insurance defense, real estate, and family law. He is admitted to practice in the State of Nevada, and the United States District Court for the District of Nevada.

Prior to joining the firm, David was Law Clerk to Honorable Cynthia Diana Steel, Eighth Judicial District Court, working in both Family Law and Adult Guardianship. He was also trial law clerk at a preeminent Las Vegas personal injury firm. David received a B.G.S. from the University of Michigan, and a J.D. from the William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada Las Vegas.

About Lipson Neilson
Founded in 1985, Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer, Garin, 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, across the USA and around the world. You can learn more at www.lipsonneilson.com.

Contact: Joe Garin – Managing Partner of the Lipson Neilson Las Vegas office.

Phone: 702-382-1500
Email: JGarin@lipsonneilson.com

Joe Garin and Jessica Green Selected as 2016 Mountain States Super Lawyers

super-lawyersOnce again, the annual list of Mountain States Super Lawyers includes Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer & Garin, P.C. attorneys Joe Garin and Jessica Green. This is Joe Garin’s tenth consecutive year on the Super Lawyers list and Jessica Green’s third consecutive year as a Super Lawyers’ Rising Star.

Joseph Garin resize 3Joe Garin is the Managing Partner of the firm’s Las Vegas office. He is consulted nationally on the defense of professional liability claims, ethics, employment, insurance coverage disputes, director and officer claims, and risk management. Joe is also experienced in complex and commercial litigation matters, including cases involving breach of contract and unfair business practices. He serves as the Chair to the State Bar of Nevada Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Ethics, and is a co-chair to the Professional Liability Committee for the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance. Joe 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.

Jessica Green resize 2Jessica Green has defended many lawyers and law firms throughout the country during her career and is recognized as an emerging leader in Errors and Omissions (E&O), Employment, and Insurance Coverage law. Jessica is also well versed in education law and she serves as an Educational Surrogate Parent and Transition Specialist for the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada. In doing so, she advocates for children with disabilities, ensuring their schools are meeting their disability-related needs. Jessica is a national liaison for the Defense Research Institute Lawyers’ Professionalism and Ethics Committee.

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.

About the Firm
Founded in 1985, Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer, Garin, 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, across the USA, and around the world. You can learn more www.lipsonneilson.com.

Contact
Joe Garin – Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer & Garin, P.C.
Phone: 702-382-1500
Email: jgarin@lipsonneilson.com

Oakland County Bar Association’s “Committee of the Year”Chaired by Lipson Neilson Shareholder Sandra Glazier

Sandra Glazier from websiteJune 6, 2016 – The Oakland County Bar Association’s Probate, Estate & Trust Committee, chaired by Lipson Neilson Shareholder Sandra Glazier, was honored as “Committee of the Year” during the 21st Annual OCBA Awards Ceremony held on June 2, 2016.

An attorney for more than 30 years, Sandra D. Glazier is well-known for her expertise in Probate Litigation, Estate Planning and Administration, and Family Law. An AVâ-Preeminent Rated attorney, Sandra’s articles have been published by some of the legal industry’s leading publications, and she has taught “Valuation for Federal, Estate and Gift Tax Purposes” to students in a Masters level course.

To learn more please visit www.lipsonneilson.com

Contact: Sandra D. Glazier
Phone: 248-593-5000
Email: sglazier@lipsonneilson.com

Lipson Neilson Shareholder Sandra Glazier Featured Speaker atWilmington Trust’s 2016 Trust Symposium

May 16, 2016 – Lipson 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 DSandra_Glazier_001_full_crop hi resolution photo 2-3-15 (BH548194xAF0CA)ixon and Thomas Sweeney, will be featured speakers on the topics discussed in this paper during Wilmington Trust’s 2016 Trust Symposium. This symposium will be held on June 23, 2016 at Christie’s in New York City.

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.

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

Contact: Sandra D. Glazier
Phone: 248-593-5000
Email: sglazier@lipsonneilson.com

Real Estate Attorney David Michael on Panel of Industry Professionals – Discussing Environmental Due Diligence

IMG_1417May 16, 2016 – David Michael, an attorney at Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer, Garin, P.C., and the current Chair of the Oakland County Bar Association’s Real Estate Committee, will be on a panel of real estate industry professionals discussing “Avoiding the Abyss: Environmental Due Diligence in Real Estate”. Presented by the Energy, Sustainability and Environmental and the Real Estate Law committees of the Oakland County Bar Association, with the support of the Michigan Commercial Board of Realtors. This seminar is officially certified by CE Marketplace, Michigan’s Continuing Education Hub for Real Estate Professionals, for two CE Credits and will be held on June 15, 2016, at the WMU-Cooley Law School located at 2630 Featherstone, Auburn Hills, Michigan 48326.

Topics discussed by the panel will include:

  • The legal liabilities/risks associated with the purchase/sale of brownfields or properties with other environmental issues such as wetlands or endangered species.
  • Assessing the environmental condition of real property through ASTM Phase I and Phase II environmental assessments, natural resource assessments, hazardous building material surveys and environmental insurance and Brownfield Incentives/Tax Abatements.
  • Drafting transactional documents to minimize environmental liabilities and spread risk.

About David Michael
David Michael specializes in all aspects of real estate law and litigation, and he has extensive experience in commercial litigation and continues to practice in that area as well. He is the Chair of the Oakland County Bar Association’s Real Estate Committee, and a contributing author to Development Magazine, a publication of the Commercial Real Estate Development Association.

About Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer, Garin, P.C.Founded in 1985, Lipson Neilson has offices in Bloomfield Hills, Grand Rapids, Las Vegas and Phoenix. The firm services clients in Michigan, across the U.S. and around the world. You can learn more about the firm by visiting www.lipsonneilson.com.

 

Contact: David Michael

Phone: 248-593-5000

Email: DMichael@lipsonneilson.com

Attorney Megan H. Hummel Joins Lipson Neilson’s Las Vegas Office

Megan Hummel web resApril 27, 2016 – The law firm of Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer, Garin, P.C. announced today that attorney Megan H. Hummel has joined the firm’s Las Vegas office. Megan’s practice focuses primarily on insurance defense, commercial litigation, and appellate practice. She also has experience in the areas of construction law, maritime/admiralty law, trust & estates/probate disputes, and debt collection. Prior to joining the firm, Megan worked in the appellate and construction practice groups at a large, national law firm.

Megan received a B.A. in English Literature, with honors, from the University of Nevada-Reno and a J.D. from the Marquette University Law School; she is admitted to practice in Nevada and Wisconsin. Megan is Board Member Elect of the Wisconsin State Bar Non-Resident Lawyer Division, a member of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and she is fluent in the Italian language.

About Lipson Neilson
Founded in 1985, Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer, Garin, 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, across the USA and around the world. You can learn more at www.lipsonneilson.com.

Contact: Joe Garin – Managing Partner of the Lipson Neilson Las Vegas office.

Phone: 702-382-1500
Email: JGarin@lipsonneilson.com