Russell & Lazarus November 2018

(800) 268-9228

NOV 2018


WHAT’S THE NO. 1 FEAR TRIAL ATTORNEYS FACE? From Overcoming the Dark Closet to Facing a Jury

propaganda, it’s exactly the opposite. That is what our focus groups constantly reflect.

that anyone in politics is a sleazy, power- hungry individual. Similarly, personal injury trial attorneys are seen as scum-sucking liars who do nothing but raise insurance rates to try to line their pockets with cash. Those who typically sponsor that idea are big-money insurance companies, chambers of commerce, or any other large entities that do not like being held accountable for their actions or having their profits taken away. It’s this type of bias that trial attorneys face every time they enter a courtroom. The scariest thing about going up against these large businesses is that they have the bully pulpit. They precondition potential jurors that all personal injury claims are fraudulent. They convey the image that trial attorneys and victims of accidents are the ones who are trying to scam the individuals or companies we are trying to hold accountable. One of the most difficult jobs as trial attorneys is trying to convince 12 people to give us a fair shot when we present the evidence. When entering a court, the jury has been prepped to distrust attorneys because they assume that all they’re after is money. Our significant focus is to get the commitment from the jurors to put aside that big-money-created bias. Years ago, the empathy from the public rested solely on the victim and not the party we were trying to hold accountable; now because of 30-plus years of coordinated and drumbeat

Knowing that there is a predetermined bias against our clients in the minds of the jury isn’t enough. Trial attorneys need the experience of being in court to face a jury and present the evidence as skillfully as possible. Trying a case is a real art form — it takes at least 10-plus years of trying case after case to really get the art down. If a personal injury trial attorney does not have that experience, there is no way they will have the skillset to prevail over the obscenely overpaid corporate lawyer. something we can overcome. At Russell & Lazarus, our fear is knowing we won’t have the welcoming reception that we want from the jury. However, we refuse to back down. We face that fear head-on every time the other side wants to lowball a claim. Just like the kid who crosses their room in the middle of the night to close the closet door, we also face our fears. We walk straight into the courtroom prepared to convince 12 strangers who are For personal injury trial attorneys, facing a biased jury is intimidating, but it is

The thought of Halloween, which just passed, had many people thinking about what scares them. As a kid, you might be scared of the dark closet in your room. You know what’s in there, but the darkness is so terrifying that you don’t feel safe until the door is securely shut. Even the dark space under your bed might be the home of a terrible monster waiting for you to fall asleep. a make-believe monster. The fear of not being good enough haunts all of us — not doing well in college, not getting picked to play on your favorite team, not getting that job, or not succeeding in a business you’ve started. When kids finally take that step into the adult world, it’s important for them to know these fears can be overcome. For personal injury trial attorneys, the scariest thing we have to overcome is what lies in the courtroom. The public is conditioned to think about specific groups of people in a particular way, which is encouraged by companies who have influence (aka tons of money). Many people and businesses might tell you to avoid going to a used car salesman or When you grow older, your fears evolve, but they can become even more terrible than

preconditioned to dislike us that our client deserves to be compensated for the harm they have suffered at the hands of another. Chris Russell


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these devices is disruptive to your brain’s suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), which helps regulate your circadian rhythm, and screen time before bed can throw off normal SCN function. Put your excuses for staying up too late to bed. Say no to “one more episode.” And all those emails? They can wait until tomorrow. Not getting enough quality sleep is harmful to your mental and physical health. When you get into the habit of following these three tips, you’ll find yourself feeling rested and refreshed in no time.

going to bed then. The more consistent you are, the better your sleep will be.

A good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your mind and body. One study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research found that the quality of your sleep is much more important than the quantity — that is, if you want to feel rested. And we all want to feel rested. So, what can you do to improve the quality of your sleep and get the rest you need? Listen to your body. This, above all else, is crucial to a good night’s sleep. Your body knows when it’s time for bed. Generally, you want to go to bed when you feel tired, whether that’s at 8 p.m. or 1 a.m. Whenever your body tells you it needs rest, you should make a habit of

taught by a judge, Alan Buckman. He was a great mentor and teacher for me. His teaching style encouraged me to pursue a career in the law field.” After college, she worked with a solo attorney for about a year and a half, where she learned a lot about law. “He took me under his wing and showed me the ropes,” Kathleen says. “It was a great experience.” She is continuing her education even now by attending law school at the University of West LA over the summer and is planning to transfer to another school that’s closer to the firm. At Russell & Lazarus, Kathleen helps our clients, assisting them with anything they need. “If our clients need help with their doctors, or if they’re in a car accident — anything to do with their car — we’ll help them out. We offer assistance from the time the case opens until the case is settled, or if it’s transferred to litigation.” Whether she’s helping clients or in the office, she enjoys every person she meets. “Russell & Lazarus has a healthy environment. It’s kind of like a second big family. The owner gives us the room to reason on our own when any Wake up naturally. Jolting yourself awake with an alarm or radio isn’t doing your brain and body any favors (it can be stressful on the body and even elevate blood pressure, which is not good first thing in the morning). If you do need an alarm, consider a wake- up light. Wake-up lights mimic the sunrise, slowly brightening the room, waking your body in a natural, gentle way. Kick the screen habit. You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again: Looking at an electronic screen — a TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone — before bed is detrimental to sleep quality. Light from


issues come up. He trusts us to make the right choices and is always there to guide us if we ever need something.”

Kathleen Owat A Caring and Dedicated Individual

Kathleen dedicates her free time to a number interests.

One of our case managers, Kathleen Owat, has been with us for nearly four years. Her hard work and dedication toward helping people in their times of need is part of what makes her a great member of our team at Russell & Lazarus.

“I’m pretty open and like to try new things. I spend a lot of my time hiking in San Diego and Orange County and traveling when I have a chance.” Her favorite country is Thailand, which she’ll return to in November. “My brother is getting married there over Thanksgiving break, and I’m pretty excited about going back.” Kathleen also volunteers for Court Appointed Social Advocates (CASA). “It’s a big brother and sister program. I had a little brother not too long ago, and now I’m being reassigned to a little sister.” The program helps kids who are orphaned or who have been taken away from their homes due to abuse or neglect. “I’m proud to be part of an organization that’s striving so hard to help these young kids.”

Kathleen’s introduction to law happened when she enrolled in a paralegal program in Nevada while attending UNLV. “I was


$750,000 settlement – (Premise liability) on behalf of our 48 year old client who sustained injuries to her leg due to the negligence of a store. $500,000 settlement on behalf of our 58 year old client who was rear ended and suffered cervical and lumbar injuries. $250,000 settlement on behalf of our 60 year old client. She was involved in a motor vehicle collision with minor injuries to her vehicle. RECENT CASES


Move Over, Sitcoms, There’s a New Trend in Town

‘THE JINX’ Forty years of conflicting reports on three murders make for one compelling HBO series. Robert Durst goes under the spotlight after speaking for the first time about the death of three people connected to him. A web of lies, convolution, and gritty storytelling comes to one bone- chilling conclusion that will make your jaw drop. ‘THE STAIRCASE’ Did Michael Peterson kill his wife? Did the American justice system tear apart the dream it so righteously attempts to protect? What is considered fact in a murder trial? These are just a few of the questions you’ll contemplate as you go on a 16-year journey told over 13 gripping episodes. Questionable expert testimony and crime scene evidence are juxtaposed with a competent defense team and a convincing defendant, making for a story that begs viewers to take sides. In the end, the only fact you’ll know to be true is that you can’t trust your intuition.

There’s a genre of entertainment that many Americans are afraid to admit is their secret obsession. It’s as if you’re hiding a secret that you desperately want to confess, but you’re afraid of the judgment and concerned looks from your friends. Then one day, you muster the courage to casually mention a docu-series you watched — hoping for absolution but concerned the jury won’t understand — and the floodgates open. Suddenly your closest friends and family have passionate opinions on the justice system and can tell you they know exactly who murdered who and how. Deep down inside, everyone loves a good mystery. Here are three of the best. ‘MAKING A MURDERER’ Directors Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos take viewers through an experience that feels like the most maddening game of ping pong ever played — in any given episode, your view may bounce from one polarizing opinion to another. After watching 10 mind-bending episodes of Steven Avery and his attorneys going back and forth during the trial, you’ll have questions that demand answers. So many, in fact, that Netflix has confirmed the production of a second season and a spin-off series titled “Convicting a Murderer.”



From Hillary Jones, our Litigation Clerk

This meal-in-a-glass smoothie will cure your craving for a pumpkin spice latte. It’s packed with nutrients and fall flavor. If you’re the type of person who uses your blender more than your pots and pans, you’ll definitely want to add this recipe to your rotation.



Proud parents Manny Gutierrez (Case Manager) and his wife Alyssa welcomed their son Niki


on June 28, weighing just 5

pounds. He was so tiny!

• 1 cup coconut milk • 1/4 cup organic pumpkin purée


• 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or substitute with cinnamon and ginger) • 1 frozen banana, sliced • 1 cup ice

Sweet “Maddie” was born at 8:49 p.m. on June 27, at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach. Proud parents Christina (Chris’s daughter) and Evan Hinkle are tickled pink to have a new baby daughter. (Pictured with proud grandpa Chris Russell)


1. In a blender, combine all ingredients. 2. Blend on high or on smoothie setting until smooth. 3. Transfer to a cold glass, garnish with pumpkin pie spice, and serve.


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Inspired by


1401 Dove St., Ste. 310 Newport Beach, CA 92660

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this issue

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Courtroom Fears

Sleep Better and Feel Great Meet Our Case Manager!

True Crime Makes for Gripping TV Welcome Babies! Paleo Pumpkin Coconut Smoothie

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PG 4

Let Kids Play a Role This Thanksgiving

THANKSGIVING PREP For the Whole Family

tasks and may be called upon to stir what’s on the stove while an adult checks on the football game. ROLL OUT THE DECORATIONS Still not talking about bread. Not everything in Thanksgiving preparation needs to be tied to the kitchen. Creative family members of all ages can work together to bring some seasonal flare to the dining room. Maybe this means picking up some Thanksgiving coloring books, or perhaps the family can venture outdoors to collect autumn trimmings for crafts. It’s a great way to let each family member put their own personal spin on the holiday! HAVE A ‘ROLLER DERBY’ Finally. While an adult should be the one to put these delicious baked goods in the oven, the whole family can help shape the dough. In fact, recommends making this a contest. Set aside a time when everyone can vie for the title of Fastest Roll Maker, and

Thanksgiving is more than just a feast; it’s about coming together as a family and being thankful for one another. So why wait to get into the spirit until everyone is seated at the table? Here are a few ways you can make the actual preparation of Thanksgiving dinner fun and engaging for the whole family! GIVE EVERYONE A ROLE No, not those rolls — yet. Making the feast a family project can turn the day from a hectic list of chores into a magical bonding experience. It’s important to match each family member to a job that best fits their abilities. Young children can mash potatoes or rinse ingredients in the sink. Older kids can take on more responsibility, like measuring ingredients, keeping an eye on timers, and setting the table. Teens and young adults can supervise their younger siblings and cousins in these important

you’ll have plenty of warm, flaky, delicious treats come dinnertime.

Letting everyone play a part may take a little more planning and add slightly more chaos to your Thanksgiving preparations. But it’s sure to produce a lot of great memories and bonding moments among your loved ones. By the time you sit down to eat, you’ll all have something to be thankful for right in front of you — Those. Delicious. Rolls.


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