A passion for justice drives me to fight hard for my clients' rights. Over the 25 years I have been practicing law, I have developed skills for handling many types of cases, especially cases involving personal injury (auto, premises liability and products liabilitiy), real estate (contracts, neighbor disputes, nuisances, boundary issues, disabiltiy access, etc.), construction (including design, installation, soils, mold and "indoor air quality" issues) and insurance. I have handled cases in both State and Federal courts throughout California, achieving hundreds of favorable settlements for clients, and when needed, successfully trying cases to verdict.
Justice is based on truth, and truth is found by investigation and discovery. When serving as an advocate, I pride myself with skillfully discovering the facts and evidence that will prove up my clients' position in the case, weaken my opponents' case, and help resolve the case. I carefully research the law applicable to the dispute, and consider the effect of the law on the evidence related to the case. I help my clients understand the range of possible outcomes under the law and facts applicale to their case, preparing them to ultimately make an informed decision about whether to resolve the case at mediation, or take a case to trial or arbitration.
When serving as a mediator, I listen carefully to the statements and arguments made by both sides. I find that parties often start with "extreme" positions based on an assumption that if the matter goes to trial, they will get everything they want. When speaking with litigants, I look for the kernels of information which might help build "common ground" on which to reach a compromise agreement. I also help people realize potential weaknesses in their position, and possible unanticipated or unfavorable results which might occur if the matter was tried to a jury or judge. I find that litigants often have not fully considered the "downside" which could occur if a judge or jury does not fully agree with their point of view. By giving litigants a "neutral evalution" and pointing out possible weak points in their case, I help litigants understand how a mediated resolution which they have the opportunity to craft with the other side is usually preferable to a result which will be decided by a judge or jury over whom they have no control.
As an arbitrator, I conscientiously maintain a respectful, neutral demeanor so that parties feel comfortable that I am giving due consideration to all the arguments and evidence submitted by all sides before making a decision. I work hard to assure that the atmosphere of the arbitration remains professional, discouraging bickering between parties and counsel which can lead to unnecessary stress and agitation. Once the evidence is in, I promptly render an award based on my findings after considering all the evidence and arguments.
I am as passionate about life as I am about getting great results for my clients.
In the time when I am not working hard for my clients, I enjoy being active, including biking, tennis, kayaking, hiking with my dogs and almost any outdoor activity. I also enjoy art, spending many quiet hours drawing, painting and writing, mostly for the enjoyment of my family and friends.
I find that taking this quiet time gives me time to reflect even more about the needs of my clients and I often incorporate "inspirations" from my personal time into the strategies I use in my clients' cases.
Languages spoken: French
Contingent (30-40%), Retainer (sometimes), Free consultation (15 minutes)
Cash, Check, Credit card
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|Award name||Grantor||Date granted|
|Award for Program Excellence||American Inn of Court||2014|
|Top Lawyers in California||American Lawyer Media||2013|
|"Top Lawyer in Bay Area"||Bay Area Lawyer Magazine||2005|
|Senior Associate||McCarthy & McCarthy, LLP||2012 - Present|
|Of Counsel||Hassell Law Group, PC||2012 - 2013|
|Senior Associate||Lorber, Greenfield & Polito, LLP||2009 - 2012|
|Of Counsel||Chapman & Intrieri, LLP||2008 - 2009|
|Principal||Law Offices of Sheryl Traum||2005 - 2008|
|Partner||Carroll, Burdick & McDonough LLP||1998 - 2005|
|Associate||Pandell, Novich & Borsuk||1991 - 1997|
|Associate||Gorden & Rees||1988 - 1991|
|Association name||Position name||Duration|
|Earl Warren American Inn of Court||Member||2013 - Present|
|Bar Association of San Francisco||Member||N/A|
|Contra Costa County Bar Association||Member||N/A|
|Alameda County Bar Association||Member||N/A|
|State Bar of California||Member||N/A|
|CSU v. Perini, et al||Case settled favorably after 6 weeks of trial|
|Bishop v Gress||Non-suit in favor of my client.|
|Wilhelmsson v Chubb||Favorable result.|
|See all legal cases|
|University of California, Hastings College of the Law||Law||JD - Juris Doctor||1988|
|Washington State University||N/A||BA - Bachelor of Arts||1984|
|Pepperdine University School of Law||Mediation Training||N/A||N/A|
|University of California - Berkeley||Mediation Training||N/A||N/A|
|How to Write a Persuasive Summary Judgment Motion, etc.||Summary Judgment Motions||2013|
|"Court room Do's and Don'ts"||Trial Tactics and Conduct||2011|
|All Day Seminar||Discovery Strategies||2010|
|Discovery Tactics + Dealing with Discovery Abuses||California Civil Procedure for Discovery Practices||2008|
|Real Property Section Annual Conference||Employment Challenges in the Construction Industry||2005|
|DRI Construction Conference||Effective Use of Experts in Construction Litigation||2005|