As discussed in some detail on the Firm Profile page, Stimmel, Stimmel & Smith, P.C. has developed an expandable system of legal personnel available based on the “corresponding counsel” concept first developed in Europe. This allows our overhead (and corresponding rates) to remain relatively low despite our ability to immediately expand counsel assigned to a particular case as much as required to match the personnel resources of the largest firms without being compelled to match their large overhead. Since all counsel assigned are known to Stimmel, Stimmel and Smith P.C. and usually veterans of past expanded teams, it facilitates the creation of teams used to working as a coherent whole. It also allows use of counsel from abroad in a seamless manner. At times we have had nine counsel and four paralegals and clerks working on a single matter when required, with the team disbanding when the case concluded. The attorneys and personnel listed below constitute the first rung of attorneys and personnel who would normally be assigned to a case, but others are immediately available if required by a particular matter.
BERNARD B. STIMMEL
- Position: Founder and Shareholder (1884-1970).
- Admitted to California bar, 1927.
NORMAN S. STIMMEL
- Position: Founder and Shareholder (1914-1991).
- Admitted to California bar, 1939.
LEE D. STIMMEL
Position: Senior Shareholder; President of Company; Admitted to California and Federal bar, 1973.
Education: University of California (A.B.); Harvard University (J.D.).
AV Rated by Martindale Hubbell for over thirty years; Listed in Register of Preeminent Attorneys (International) since 1998.
Lecturer and Author, Continuing Legal Education of the California State Bar (CEB) and University of California, in both Contractual Arbitration and Legal Ethics. Has also taught courses on various related business formation topics. Has served as an arbitrator in numerous disputes both domestic and international.
Specializes in complex business formation, international business structures, agreements and negotiations; business and real estate litigation, arbitration and mediations; estate planning and probate and trust litigation; real estate developments, construction.
Reported Cases: Diamond vs. Connolly, upholding the constitutionality of Mechanics Liens and Stop Notices in United States Supreme Court (1976); Outdoor Services, Inc. vs. Pabagold, Inc., binding to arbitration third party beneficiaries of a contract containing an arbitration clause in the California Court of Appeals (1986).
Founder of Blue Water Foundation (http://www.bluewaterfoundation.org/); Founding Board Member of Institute for One World Health (http://www.oneworldhealth.org/); Founding Board Member of The A2A Alliance(http://www.adversity2advocacy.org/);Past Board President of Urban Pioneer Experiential Academy, a San Francisco Public Charter School; Secretary and Board Member of Supporters of the San Francisco Police Department Wilderness Program, a foundation for the San Francisco Police Department which develops and funds wilderness activities for youth (http://www.sfpdwilderness.com/); Founder of Criminal Legal Aid Collective; Member of over twenty other boards, both for profit and non profit purposes; United States Coast Guard Licensed Captain.
Our legal system is the best in the world but often the most expensive to utilize. A major challenge facing the competent attorney is to achieve effective results without expending too many client resources to achieve them. The ability of legal counsel to take practical cost benefit into consideration in planning and implementing legal strategy has become a vital skill required in modern legal practice.
That said, we are often hired to fight and that is what we do and, frankly, enjoy doing. We are convinced we represent our clients best when we represent them vigorously but without trickery or game playing. Fifty years ago, when my father and grandfather still practiced, attorneys were usually held in high regard, considered bastions of appropriate and ethical conduct. Perhaps because of the vast increase in the total number of attorneys or, more likely, because too many of us became attorneys only to “win” and make money, the ethical conduct and reputation of the Bar has never been lower. Our goal is to represent our clients aggressively using all the ability and experience at our disposal. We want to win. But we are also committed to maintaining a level of integrity and comity that does not create fights driven only by ego…yet can marshal effective tools to win when necessary. Shakespeare put it well. Beware fights but if you have to fight, make the other side beware you.
We are also convinced that the entire scope of the client’s position has to be considered. The lawyer should know the client well enough so that a clear understanding of needs and dangers can be anticipated and factored into the representation. Thus we are not just litigators or transactional attorneys but combine those skills so that each aspect of the client’s case can be considered. Our contract writers know how to fight to protect the contract they created. Only in that manner can they fully appreciate what terms are truly vital when negotiating a contract or drafting a trust. You cook it…you eat it.
We have been practicing law as a firm in this manner for over seventy years. We must be doing something right. We have seen hundreds of other firms come and go, including the largest firms. But we remain convinced that the basics of our practice…fighting hard to win but fighting hard to do it efficiently and ethically…is why we have succeeded for so many decades. And that is how we plan to practice for decades more.
JENNY M. KIM
Admitted to California, 2007
Education: UC Hastings College of the Law (J.D.), UC Irvine (B.A.)
Author: "Crawford v. Washington: Brightline Rules for Testimonial Statements," Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly, July 2006.
Member: Korean American Bar Association of Northern California, Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, San Francisco Bar Association, Contra Costa County Bar Association
Leadership positions: Affiliate Governor of the California Women Lawyers (2012); Secretary and Treasurer of the Women's Section of the Contra Costa County Bar Association (2010-2012), Co-Chair of the Sports and Entertainment Section of the San Bar Association's Barristers Club (2012), Government Relations Committee of the Chamber of Commerce for the City of Richmond, California (2009-2012)
America's economy is shifting in response to the global recession. According to the Kauffman Foundation, entrepreneurial activity hit a 14 year high during the Great Recession and new business creation rebounded in 2011 for the first time in 5 years. The real estate market is also recovering and many new Limited Liability Companies are being started for real estate investment purposes.
The legal landscape is changing, too. Legal budgets are shrinking or flat due to the economic recession but the need for legal services remains high. Small businesses need attorneys to ensure that they have chosen the proper business entity, to negotiate material contract terms, and to mitigate damages from breaches of contracts. Individuals owning businesses and properties need estate planning services to ensure heirs are not left sorting out complex inheritance issues in court.
Online legal document creation services and other alternative affordable legal services are cost-effective means to take those legal needs in the short-term. I had the benefit of providing consulting services to the most prominent online legal document creation company in the United States. It was meaningful work to help individuals understand the nuts and bolts of starting a legal business entity or creating an estate plan. However, there were many laws that I consider fundamental that most customers did not think to consider until I pointed out the issue. This made me realize that the advice and experience of a traditional attorney is irreplaceable, even with the proliferation of online legal services.
Stimmel Law understands that individuals rely on attorneys to help their businesses succeed and ensure their private affairs are in order. The unique value of Stimmel Law is that the firm is composed of specialized attorneys and Of Counsel who draw knowledge from the firm's seventy year history. This unique combination of resources and experience allows clients to receive cost-effective and full-service representation from attorneys specialized in practice areas relevant to the clients' most pressing matters.
STEVEN R. ROESER
Position: Of Counsel.
Admitted to California bar, 2003.
Education: Santa Clara University School of Law (JD 2003); University of California at Santa Barbara (BA 1999).
Steven practices in the broad realm of business law. This includes commercial contracts, business formations, real estate transaction, trust and estate law, and marital dissolution proceedings, as well as litigation involving these areas. Steven assists clients with drafting and negotiating various commercial contracts ranging from stock or asset purchase agreements to commercial real property purchase agreements. He has closed commercial real estate transactions with an aggregate value of over three hundred million dollars. He has handled litigation ranging from wrongful termination to community and separate property disputes in marital dissolution proceedings. Steven represents clients in business and real estate litigation matters ranging from breach of contract to misrepresentation and fraud. He also pursues judgments on behalf of creditors.
Previously employed at Hoge, Fenton, Jones & Appel, Inc., in Silicon Valley.
Business is involved in every aspect of law, whether it be a commercial contract, real estate transaction, trust or estate administration, division of assets in marital dissolution proceedings, or litigation arising from any of the foregoing. Litigation is a part of life in the business world as things don’t always go as planned. The areas of law often overlap and intertwine; for example, a marital dissolution proceeding often involves ownership of small businesses, real property, and accounts, some of which were separate property and some of which by law are community property. There may be a prenuptial agreement involved. When the parties litigate to determine their rights, the laws of real property, business, community property, contracts, and family law are involved. Having an understanding of each is key to successfully advocating a favorable resolution on behalf of the client.
I have had the privilege and opportunity to work with some of the best attorneys specializing in business contract law, estate planning, commercial real estate, and commercial litigation in my ten years of practice. I learned a great deal from each of them and am now well equipped with the knowledge and skill set to handle various legal issues with the skill set of an attorney specializing in one area.
While a good lawyer enjoys a hard battle, the reality of today’s business climate often results in a cost benefit analysis that does not warrant litigation. My background in working on both business deals and fights arising from such deals provides me with a unique perspective and ability to assess a particular dispute or issue and corresponding course of action that other attorneys may not agree with. My approach always keeps the bottom line best interest of the client in the forefront of the strategy, while other attorneys may see an opportunity to make some good money. At Stimmel Law, we understand that the reason we have been around for 75 years and are always busy is because we serve the client. Our clients stick around for decades due to this relationship of trust. It results in more work and more referrals for us. We routinely turn down cases because the cost benefit analysis won’t result in much more than an uncollectible judgment for the client … a win on paper but a loss to the client’s bank account. We are also too busy with our client base and corresponding matters to take every new case. With that said, we call back every client that reaches out to our office and provide a free analysis and/or consultation on a regular basis.
Feel free to give me a call or send me an email if you wish to know more about our firm or would like some advice on your particular legal issue.
SPENCER W. WEISBROTH
Position: Of Counsel
Practice: Spencer is an award-winning attorney, representing a wide range of small businesses, social entrepreneurs, non-profits, and individuals. As his client’s trusted legal advisor and counselor, he works with his clients on matters such as business structural planning and formation, governance, mergers, drafting and negotiation of agreements, employment matters, IP licensing, copyright and trademark IP prosecution and defense, media and entertainment business affairs matters, wine, beer, and alcohol laws and licensing, and trust and estate matters. Collaborating with other attorneys and professionals, and able to bridge legal specialties, Spencer strives to provide his clients with sophisticated advice, helping them succeed in business, and solve their problems in a thoughtful and cost-effective manner. Spencer has a proud reputation of being a part of the community, and giving back through his pro-bono work.
Admitted: California, Massachusetts and Maryland bars; US Federal District Courts in Northern District CA, Massachusetts, and Maryland; US Court of Appeals, DC Circuit.
Education: University of Maryland School of Law (JD); State University of New York, College at Plattsburgh (BA)
Awards: Peabody Award for Legal Services to The DNA Files
Pro Bono: Current:
President, SoundVision Productions, Inc. www.soundvisionproductions.org
President, PTA - Miraloma Elementary School (SFUSD) www.miralomasf.com
Board Member, We Care Solar, Inc., www.wecaresolar.com
Board Member, Mobius Performing Arts, Inc. www.mobiustrio.com
National Advisory Board member, MediaRites Productions www.mediarites.org
Pro bono attorney, AIDS Legal Referral Panel. www.alrp.org
Legal Mentor, University of San Francisco School of Law, LLM program.
Board Member, Straight Ahead Pictures, Inc.
Board Member, Association of Independents in Radio (AIR).
Board Member, Arms Public Library Association.
Publications: Contributing Editor, “How to Organize (Just About) Everything”; authored Prepare for the Bar Exam, (Free Press 2005); The Law and the Independent Radio Producer, RadioCollege.Org - Feb. 14, 2000; Imagine 2000 and Beyond: Predictions for the New Millennium” The Age of Ideas” – Immagine News Magazine, January 2000; Ask the Lawyer - Music Licensing on the Web: AIRSpace November/December 1999; Licensing for the New Millennium: The Shameless Complexities of the DMCA, Immagine News Magazine, November 1999 Ask the Lawyer- Fair Use, AirSpace, March/April 1998; Ask the Lawyer- Music Licensing, AirSpace May/June 1998
On-air radio credits:
Blacklisted: Associate Producer. Audio drama distributed by NPR, PRI and internationally.
Beyond Affliction: Associate Producer. Documentary distributed by NPR.
Lost & Found Sound: Legal Affairs. Documentaries heard on NPR’s All Things Considered.
The DNA Files: Legal Services. Documentary exploring the science of genetics, distributed by NPR.
WILLIAM T. WEBB
Position: Of Counsel
Admitted to California and Federal Bars, 1997. Licensed in California, Colorado, Illinois & Indiana
16 years of legal experience in variety of practice areas, including litigation and transactions
Adjunct professor of law, Uniform Commercial Code, Moot Court
Extensive trial experience, including being lead trial counsel in many civil litigation cases
Appellate experience, including oral argument before the Seventh Circuit and California Court of Appeals: numerous published opinions
National Institute of Trial Advocacy Instructor
University of Notre Dame Law School, 1991
Administrative Editor, Journal of Legislation, The International Legal Aspects of the Lithuanian Secession, 17 Journal of Legislation 309
Position: Of Counsel.
Admitted to Bar: Brazil 1976, Portugal 1977, California and Federal Bar 1986
Law School: Candido Mendes University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, L.L.B. 1975; College: New York University, M.C. J. 1978
Author: "Business Lawyer's Bankruptcy Guide," Chapter 6 - "Planning and Process of a Chapter 12."
Member: Bar Association of San Francisco; State Bar of California; Bar Association of Brazil; Bar Association of Portugal; U.S. District Court, Northern, Southern and Eastern.
Practice Areas: Debtor Creditor Rights Law; Insolvency Law; Corporate Law; Family Law; International Law.
Languages: English, Portuguese and Spanish
ANDRINE K. SMITH (Inactive)
Position: Of Counsel as of 2010.
Admitted to California and Federal bar, 1993. Inactive (retired) 2011.
Colby Colby College; Golden Gate University (JD, with honors, 1992). Editor, Ninth Circuit Survey.
Specializes in employment law, domestic and international business formation and contract negotiations, structural planning and drafting for domestic, international business as well as domestic and international litigation, arbitration, real estate development, construction and mechanics liens
Member: San Francisco Bar Association, Employment Law Section
Member of many Boards of Trustees or Directors of various profit and not for profit entities and active in various business organizations and charitable organizations, including Alameda Point Advisory Committee; Women in Real Estate; Island Cat Rescue.
Legal counsel in numerous international and domestic arbitrations resulting in multi million dollar verdicts for clients. Represents various foreign Consulates and engages in enforcement of international judgments.
Regularly conducts seminars on various employment issues for members of business and industry.
DARRICK T. CHASE
Position: Of Counsel.
and Federal bar, 1990.
Education: University of California, Berkeley, BA, 1987; University of San Francisco, JD, May, 1990; Masters in Federal Taxation (LLM), In Progress.
Settlement Conference Judge in
Practice Areas: Family Law; Estate Planning; Business.
Position : Corresponding Firm Partner.
Admitted to the Brussels bar 1998.
Education: University of Louvain-la-Neuve 1996. LL.M, Masters of Intellectual Property law, University of London, Great-Britain 1997; B.A. Art History and archaeology, I.s.h.a.a.b, Brussels, Belgium (2001-2005)
Paralegal U.S firm, Stimmel, Stimmel & Smith, P.C., San Francisco, USA 1998-2000.
Specializes in contracts law, intellectual property (trade marks, patents, information technology and copyright), commercial and business law, distribution law, company law and art law.
Member of the Belgian Copyright Association (ABA).
Lecturer Author’s rights, Brussels school of Photography, University of Louvain-la-Neuve, Art History and museum law. Author of various legal articles.
French, Dutch, English and German.
Position: Corresponding Firm Partner.
Admitted to the Brussels bar, Belgium, since 1973.
Education: University of Louvain ; Tax Law, I.S.S.F. Brussels.
Area of specialty: Commercial and civil litigation, complex negotiations, real estate, construction and lease law.
Board member of various companies and non profit foundations.
Languages: French and Dutch.
Board member of various companies and non profit foundations.
ALLESANDRO DE SANTIS
Position: Corresponding Firm Trainee.
Admitted Brussels bar, Belgium since 2005.
Education : Université Libre de Bruxelles 2004 ; LL.M. Master in fiscal administration, Solvay Business School, Brussels.
Specializes in tax law.
French, Italian and English
SETH J. SCHWARTZ
Position: Corresponding Firm Partner
Admitted California and Federal Bar: 1981
Education: University of California, Santa Barbara (B.S.); McGeorge School of Law (J.D.)
AV Rated by Martindale Hubbell
Lectures: 2012 - Guest Lecturer, Law Firm Management, USF School of Law; 2010 - Guest Lecturer, Professional Responsibility/Legal Ethics, USF School of Law; 2009 - Guest Lecturer, Professional Responsibility/Legal Ethics, USF School of Law; 2002 - UC Davis School of Law, Negotiations and Settlements
Seminars and Panels: March 2012 – Judge, American Bar Association – 2011-2012 National Appellate Advocacy Competition – Law Student Division, San Francisco, CA; October 2011 – Bar Assn. of San Francisco - Mediation Skills Training, 40-hour Training – Ron Kelly Instructor; October 2007 – Wilderness Risk Management Conference, NOLS, Banff, Canada – “Lessons Learned Urban Pioneer Experiential Academy March 2003”; April 2003 – ATLA – Litigating Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Cases, New York, NY – “A View From the Defense”; September 2002 – 4th Annual Medical and Legal Seminar; Brain Injury Association of America; Napa, California – “The Defense Perspective”; March 2002 – ATLA National College of Advocacy; Mild to Severe Head Injury Cases; Houston, Texas – “A View from the Defense”; February 1999-2001 – Auto Insurance Law and Accident Litigation in California, Oakland, California – “Trial of the Case, Defendant’s Perspective.” Sponsor – Lorman Educations Services, Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Specializes in complex civil litigation, mediations, arbitrations, and trials in the areas of probate/trust/estate planning matters; partnership disputes; elder abuse – financial/other; business transaction disputes; insurance and matters involving claims covered by insurance
Reported Cases: Robertson v. Wentz (1986) 187 Cal.App.3d 1281, 232 Cal.Rptr. 634; Ampersand Publishing LLC v. Jerry Roberts (2012) S201320 (co-counsel for Roberts with Stimmel office in underlying case)
I have practiced law for approximately 30 years. On many occasions I have represented the party bringing the lawsuit, and on other occasions I have represented the party defending against the lawsuit. Each case is different – whether it be the facts, the personalities of the parties, their attorneys, and of course the law applicable to that particular case. I bring my experience to each case with an eye towards reaching the best result for the client. In some instances, because of a number of factors we take the case through trial; in others, the cases are settled short of trial. I work closely with the clients and the Stimmel offices to reach the best and appropriate result in each case, keeping in mind that for most people the system appears expensive, cumbersome, and it can often take two years to resolve a lawsuit.
I have been affiliated with the Stimmel office as corresponding firm partner for nine years. My firm, McNamara, Ney, Beatty, Slattery, Borges & Ambacher LLP, has 50+ attorneys. If appropriate and/or necessary, we can bring our enormous amount of talent and resources “to the fight.” Counsel on the other side of our cases know and respect the McNamara offices, a factor which Mr. Stimmel and myself believe has led to our consistently favorable results. We also work with a team approach. Each attorney has their areas of special expertise and interest. Between our two firms, we have a number of people to draw from individually or in combination to work with us on your case. It is not the same team every time. With our two firms working together, the client gets the attention that a small firm can provide, as well as the “muscle” that a large firm can provide. We think this combination of resources allows us to deliver the best possible service to the client.
Position: Paralegal, Notary
Education: University of California, Berkeley (BA); San Francisco State University (Paralegal Certificate, ABA-Approved Program)
Practice Areas: Business and Corporate Law, Estate Planning, Family Law, Civil Litigation and Arbitration
The law governs nearly every facet of our lives, but we seldom think about it – until we need to. As a paralegal, I enjoy working with the attorneys at our firm to help our clients achieve their goals by understanding what’s available under the law, developing the most effective and beneficial strategies, and executing them. I also like to know “how things work” and enjoy researching the answers to the wide variety of questions our clients have.
Position: Legal Assistant
Education: Washington Learning Institute (Paralegal Certificate, ABA-Approved Program)
Practice Areas: Civil Litigation, Probate, Estate Planning, Family Law, Business and Corporate Law
We believe it important to be honest and ethical as well as to develop good relationships with clients in each case we work on. By doing that, the case becomes more than a “case” and we are able to provide the kind of legal help that is highly valued, whether we are fighting a litigation battle, starting a new business or creating an estate plan.