Group chemistry is an elusive concept. It's difficult to categorize. That said "I know it when I see it" seems to capture how most of us recognize team chemistry. We see this in everyday life - in sports, in schools and at work. So when it comes to litigating elder financial abuse cases, we at Hackard Law value and promote team chemistry. And, how does this chemistry come about? Well let's start with recognizing that it's a bit like "trying to catch lightning in a bottle." It's a difficult feat but we work at it.
We believe in our clients: I've recently had the opportunity to speak with some of LA's leading estate and trust litigators about important issues facing disinherited heirs and trust beneficiaries. One senior litigator reveals that he only represents the "good guys." I told him I did the same and we both laughed. Now we know that there are two sides to every story. Still we're hard-wired advocates -our job is to protect our clients to the best of our ability and to prevent further harm to them or their families. This doesn't make us myopic. Our attitude reinforces our most elementary responsibilities of lawyering - protect and defend.
We believe in California's elder financial abuse law: California's elder financial abuse law is one of the strongest in the nation. The Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act provides a strong basis for recovery by wronged heirs and beneficiaries against financial abusers. The act guarantees a jury trial and the assessment of attorney's fees against a losing wrongdoer. We know from experience that when we bring these cases it is a wakeup call for financial predators.
We believe in Jury Trials: Chief Justice John Roberts says it well: Juries are "vital in promoting justice" based on "common sense and judgment of the people drawn from the community." So when an LA resident is wronged, a civil jury trial made up of people living in the LA community decide whether a senior has been damaged by elder financial abuse. Of course the same is true throughout the state- Sacramento people get Sacramento juries, Alameda County people get Alameda juries and so on.
It is interesting that some probate court litigators never want to be caught trying a civil jury trial. We've heard and responded to some funny if misguided efforts and claims by defense lawyers. Among them: The defense lawyer doesn't want a jury trial because it would "prejudice her clients;" We plaintiff's lawyers are engaging in "scorched earth litigation" because we want a jury trial; The Judicial Council of California's jury instructions for financial elder abuse don't matter because we can't get a jury trial (ok - I'm scratching my head on that one); "Only the decedent can make the claim or has standing to file an elder financial abuse case" (this does make the case rather difficult); and the 7th Amendment right to a jury trial just doesn't apply. Suffice it to say that some regular probate litigators only go kicking and screaming - if at all - into civil jury trials.
I'm rather passionate about this issue. California has a very strong public policy favoring trial by jury. We are very protective of our client's right to a jury trial in elder financial abuse cases and we simply don't roll over when the right is challenged.
We learn from our adversaries. At the time of this video Hackard Law is litigating trust, estate and elder financial abuse cases in over 20 California counties. Now for the most part the cases are congregated in California's most populous counties. Defendants hire good and often very aggressive counsel. This is not a negative to us - it's a bit like a college football team playing in the most competitive conference or always playing against the Top 10. You learn a lot and you're not going to stay in the conference or play against the best unless you're up to it. Of course there are many factors that determine case success but experience with a wide variety of defenses, defendants and their lawyers certainly provides us a wide vista of the elements of attack and counter-attack in elder financial abuse cases.
If you need an experienced advocate in a trust, estate, or elder financial abuse litigation case, don't be afraid to reach out to us at Hackard Law. We're dedicated to safeguarding beneficiary rights throughout the state of California, including in Sacramento, Los Angeles, Alameda, Santa Clara, and San Diego. Call us at 916-313-3030. We look forward to listening to your story and seeing how we can help you.