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Ali Ebrahimzadeh
Rated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer! Flexible Fees. Open 7 days per week.
Rated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer! Flexible Fees. Open 7 days per week.
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My Op-Ed piece in tomorrow's SF Chronicle is live: The housing crisis has cost us lives now in Oakland http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/The-housing-crisis-has-cost-us-lives-now-in-10700116.php #GhostShip

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WSJ says #BernieSanders policy will cost $18 trillion over 10 years, But ... $15 trillion of that is for #UniversalHealthcare And ...
"What the Wall Street Journal won’t tell you is that $15 trillion in national health spending over 10 years would represent a massive savings for the United States. Right now we spend at twice that rate for health care."

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It’s 2015: I’m guessing most of us have played or seen played a shoot-em-up video game, right? (They’re awful fun.) Well, here’s some wisdom from the virtual trenches on how to be a good client and thus how to help your legal soldier help you win your case!

1. Be honest. You know what an avatar is – the little computerized dude on the screen that represents you in the video game? Well think of your lawyer as your video game avatar in a world of your making. Tell him where the bad guys and other secret surprises are lurking so he’s not surprised when they pop around a corner. Remember, lying to your trooper only creates mistrust.

2. Follow directions and be responsive. Your avatar soldier provides you with all sorts of skills and intel. He/ she can do all the things and provides all the know-how that you wish you yourself had! (Wouldn’t that be great if everybody had the super skills their video game avatars have?) Well, if your lawyer soldier advises to you do or say something or needs something from you, then for heaven’s sake, listen and comply. Radio silence and delayed communications are also terrible. You don’t want to leave your avatar stranded and dumb-founded mid-battlefield wondering what’s up and where you are – that’s how you quickly lose the game!

3. Discuss your budget upfront and pay your bills on time. Imagine your avatar surrounded by enemy soldiers in the virtual battle. They’re shooting at him/ her with all sorts of lasers and missiles. Your lawyer pulls out the fancy superblaster and click-click – nothing! You forgot to arm your soldier! Remember, your lawyer is supposed to be paid for every minute of billable attorney work plus related expenses. Think of the money you pay him/ her as virtual bullets. You don’t want your lawyer to run-out of ammo in the middle of battle. Tell your lawyer from the start what kind of financial ammunition you bring to the table so that he/ she can form the proper strategy for your particular budget.

4. Be polite. Have you ever seen a kid throw across the room the fancy, expensive remote control of the video game after a painful mid-game mistake or a “Game Over” defeat? Don’t blame your lawyer for your legal difficulties. He/ she is the one trying to get you out of the jam you’re in. Yelling, cursing, flaking, arguing, interrupting, bossing around, or otherwise misdirecting blame and frustration at a lawyer are common mistakes of bad clients, and such behavior will ruin your attorney-client relationship. You can always hit reset on the game and start over with a new lawyer. But better still, pick your avatar well from the outset: check out your lawyer-soldier’s levels of Power, Ethics, Experience, and Value. Once you pick your avatar, give the game your A-1 effort. Misguided rudeness is an easy mistake but a costly one, so don’t do it.

5. Stay emotionally stable. The best gamers stay mellow no matter what’s happening on the virtual battlefield. They’re cool in crisis, and they’re the ones who compete at the highest levels. Take a lesson from them. If you need emotional support or if you just need to cry, scream, and rip phone books in half, your lawyer soldier is not the one for the job. That’s what friends, family, therapists, and the punching bag at the gym are for.

Legal crises can test you. Learn from the best gamers. Find a comfortable sofa, get your drinks and snacks all lined up, and make sure you’re well slept. Strap on your game headset, talk calmly and intelligently with your lawyer soldier, agree on your strategy, help acquire the best position, keep your ammo supply high, line up your sights, and pull the trigger only when your target is locked-on. That’s how you’ll rack up the points and get your name up on the winner’s board! Good gaming!

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Please read the crucial Terms of Use pertaining to your use of this website, disclaimers, and other necessary information on my Terms of Use page.

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Tort-Reform: Why Other Peoples’ Lawsuits Cost Us So Much Money & What To Do About It

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"The transformation I have in mind goes something like this: You enter an occupation with a variety of aspirations aside from receiving your pay. But then you discover that your work is structured so that most of those aspirations will be unmet. Maybe you’re a call center employee who wants to help customers solve their problems — but you find out that all that matters is how quickly you terminate each call. Or you’re a teacher who wants to educate kids — but you discover that only their test scores matter. Or you’re a corporate lawyer who wants to serve his client with care and professionalism — but you learn that racking up billable hours is all that really counts.

Pretty soon, you lose your lofty aspirations. And over time, later generations don’t even develop the lofty aspirations in the first place. Compensation becomes the measure of all that is possible from work. When employees negotiate, they negotiate for improved compensation, since nothing else is on the table. And when this goes on long enough, we become just the kind of creatures that Adam Smith thought we always were. (Even Smith, in one passage, seemed to acknowledge this possibility, noting that mindless, routinized work typically made people “stupid and ignorant.”) [...]

How can we do this? By giving employees more of a say in how they do their jobs. By making sure we offer them opportunities to learn and grow. And by encouraging them to suggest improvements to the work process and listening to what they say.

But most important, we need to emphasize the ways in which an employee’s work makes other people’s lives at least a little bit better (and, of course, to make sure that it actually does make people’s lives a little bit better). The phone solicitor is enabling a deserving student to go to a great school. The hospital janitor is easing the pain and suffering of patients and their families. The fast-food worker is lifting some of the burden from a harried parent."

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Recent statistics report that between 2% and 40% or more of rape and sexual assault accusations are false – be they motivated by revenge, jilted love, unrelated regrets, reputation concerns, religious convictions, peer pressure, mental/emotional issues, addiction issues, extortion, or other ills or evils. The fact is that we just really can’t know what percent of sex crime accusations are false because the various facts surrounding such reports are often too difficult to ascertain: it’s not like we’re all wearing body cameras or have surveillance video rolling in all places and at all times. Thus it often devolves into a he said-she said situation, and the judges and juries listening to such commentary simply filter all that through their own sexist and racist biases and prejudices.
Various cases in the media, especially regarding rape on college campuses, date rape, marital rape, and divorce-related rape accusations, raise the perennial question of how to avoid rape. Some answers may include:
1) Not having any sexual interactions or conversations with anyone under 18, even if you yourself are under 18 — high schoolers, I’m looking at you!
2) Making sure all parties are fully sober, of sound mind, and explicitly consenting with words and actions.
3) Signing a sexual consent contract.
Regarding this last point, the Affirmative Consent Project is dispersing such contracts on college campuses and in fact recommends taking a photo of yourselves holding the signed contract before you have sex. The contract they suggest is very basic and only states whether the parties are agreeing to have sex; but what about different types of sexual interactions?Maybe there should be a more complete and explicit menu of options on the table? Why stop at a photo? How about a digital video recording in case there are any contractual modifications or “change-orders” made on-the-fly, so to speak? Furthermore, maybe there should be some sort of explicit proof as part of the contract that both parties are 18 or over, sober, and of sound mind? How about having witnesses to the signature or even to the entire situation? In short, where are we headed? Where do we draw the line, and at what point does personal responsibility enter into the situation? We can all shrug our shoulders to these questions and scoff at the notion that bias and prejudice enters into the debate, but we should know better. If we don’t, sadly we will soon enough.
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I am a lawyer focusing on the ethically driven, intelligent, and responsible practice of law in the areas of Business, Property, Family, Education Law, Criminal Defense, and Arts and Leisure Law. I am licensed as an attorney in the State of California, New York State, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia. To arrange an Initial Consultation appointment, please follow the simple instructions on my Consultation page. Please read the crucial Terms of Use pertaining to your use of this website, disclaimers, and other necessary information on my Terms of Use page.

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"A lot of statistics are floating around the Internet: Two percent, say many feminists, the same as other crimes. Twenty-five percent, say other groups who quarrel with the feminists on many issues, or maybe 40 percent. Here's the real answer: We don't know. Anyone who insists that we do know should be corrected or ignored.

The number of false accusations is what statisticians call a "dark number" -- that is, there is a true number, but it is unknown, and perhaps unknowable. For a deep dive into the reasons it's so hard to know, I commend you to Cathy Young's new piece at Slate, in which she details all the problems that confound investigations into false rape accusations.

Here's what we do know: The 2 percent number is very bad and should never be cited. It apparently traces its lineage back to Susan Brownmiller's legendary "Against Our Will," and her citation for this figure is a single speech by an appellate judge before a small group of lawyers. His source for this statistic was a single area of New York that started having policewomen conduct all rape interviews. This is not data. It is an anecdote about an anecdote.

The 41 percent number beloved of men's-rights activists is better; it involves a peer-reviewed study by Eugene Kanin of a police department in some unknown small city. False reports could only be declared if the victim herself withdrew the charge. However. We're talking about one city, in which 109 rapes were examined over a period of nine years. As feminists point out, victims might have withdrawn the charges simply because they found it too traumatic to engage with the police department, not because the accusation was false . And the study itself is now pretty elderly. A lot has changed in 20 years, including, possibly, the number of false rape accusations in this city and the rest of the nation. This number should be used only with grave caution.

But so should any other numbers, such as the 8 percent figure that is commonly attributed to the FBI. When you dig into the research itself, you find it is often heavily inflected with the authors' prior beliefs about what constitutes the "real problem": unreported cases of rape or false reports? So Kanin is frequently chided for accepting the results of a police department investigation that included offering the victims a polygraph, because this is intimidating for true victims as well as women making false reports, and it could raise the incidence of false negatives. On the other hand, if the rate of false rape reports is quite high -- much higher than that of other crimes -- then this might be a reasonable precaution. It's possible that by encouraging police departments not to polygraph rape victims, we have fixed a cruel system in which innocent victims are bullied into recanting. It's also possible that we've increased the number of false accusations that proceed to investigation and conviction.

Shorter: You cannot treat "percentage of reports that were found to be false by investigators" as "percentage of reports that were actually false." Some women may simply have recanted to disengage from the system. Some police officers may decide a case was false when it wasn't. On the other hand, we also know that false accusations can make their way through the system pretty far -- witness the Duke lacrosse players and Brian Banks.

What we know is that we don't know. We should not presume that every rape victim is telling the truth because it would make it easier for victims to come forward. Nor should we presume that every rape accusation has a 50 percent chance of being false. We should look at the facts in each case and judge them with the knowledge that some women do lie about rape -- for revenge, to cover up some problem in their own lives, to get attention and sympathy from others. And also with the knowledge that men lie, too, violating their victims a second time in order to cover up their crimes. And that while men have gone to jail for rapes they did not commit, many other men have avoided the jail time they deserved for terrible crimes against women.

That's not a very satisfying answer, because rape is inherently a hard crime to prosecute. If someone comes into a police station with their face bashed in, you can be pretty much certain that unless they're a professional boxer, a crime has occurred. If a rape kit shows evidence of sexual intercourse, however, all that tells you is that ... something happened. Because this is something that a lot of people do to each other voluntarily, you cannot proceed immediately to the arrest. Usually there are only two witnesses, telling different stories. Often drugs or alcohol were involved, and intoxicated people make lousy witnesses."

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Re: #rape , #sexualassault , #statutoryrape , & false claims of such:

Where do we draw the line, and at what point does personal responsibility enter into the situation?

The #owenlabrie case raises the perennial question of how to avoid rape.

Answers may include:
1) not having any sexual interactions or conversations with anyone under 18,

2) making sure all parties are fully sober, of sound mind, and explicitly consenting with words and actions,

3) signing a sexual consent contract.

The group that is dispersing these contracts on college campuses in fact recommends taking a photo of yourselves holding the signed contract before you have sex. The contract they suggest is very basic and only states whether the parties are agreeing to have sex, but what about different types of sexual interactions? Maybe there should be a more complete and explicit menu of options on the table? Why stop at a photo? How about a video tape in case there are any contractual modifications or change-orders made on the fly? Furthermore, maybe there should be some sort of explicit proof as part of the contract that both parties are 18 or over, sober, and of sound mind? How about witnesses to the signature or even to the entire situation?

In short, where are we headed?
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