Attorney, Lawrence H. Jacobson, has been practicing in the area of Real Estate Transaction Law and Litigation for more than 50 years. Over the past 30 years, he has been sought out as an expert witness in real estate and legal malpractice disputes and lawsuits in litigation cases throughout the country.
His firm, The Law Offices of Lawrence H. Jacobson, A Professional Corporation, is recognized as one of the nation's premier offices providing expert testimony in litigation involving all Real Estate Matters and Legal Malpractice.
Mr. Jacobson has been engaged in the practice of law in Los Angeles since 1968. Formerly Vice President of Legal Affairs for the California Association of Realtors, Mr. Jacobson has served as a judge pro tem for the Los Angeles and Beverly Hills Municipal Court Systems and as an adjunct professor of law focusing on real estate secured transactions and administrative law. He is Past President of the Beverly Hills Bar Association. He has written and lectured extensively on business and real estate related matters. He has served on the faculty of the Graduate Realtors Institute of the California Association of Realtors and a lecturer author for the California Continuing Education of the California Bar.
Litigation Support - Mr. Jacobson offers an impressive record of success as an expert witness in real estate, business, and finance. Included among the numerous cases in which he has testified as an expert witness are disputes over the interpretation of real estate documents, real estate and mortgage brokers’ standard of care and legal malpractice related to real estate transactions and business law including issues involved in corporate finance, merger and acquisition and ethics.
The tenancy-in-common (TIC) has survived into modern times as a method of concurrent ownership of real property. In a TIC, each owner is referred to as a tenant-in-common, and each owns a fractional interest of real property under a separate distinct title.1 TIC's are common where the co-owners are not married or have contributed different amounts to the acquisition of a property.2 Insofar as each tenant-in-common owns an undivided interest in the entire property, each is entitled to an undivided interest in the revenues from the property, subject to the rights of the other co-tenants.
A lawyer who is also an expert witness should be mindful that although he or she may not always be wearing his or her "lawyer hat," it is never far away. Although the California Rules of Professional Conduct do not place specific restrictions on practitioners who act as both lawyers and expert witnesses, the rules governing lawyers' conduct generally place constraints on lawyers' activities in other businesses and professions. See California State Bar Ethics Opinion No. 1995-14. Of particular importance are the rules relating to advertising, lawyer-client confidences, competence, fee arbitration, and conflicts of interest.
Although many articles have been written about the use of the expert witness in litigation, almost all are written by lawyers and rarely by an expert witness who is also a lawyer. Having practiced law since 1968 in the area of real estate and business transactions with a real estate broker's license since 1978, I have testified frequently as an expert witness in litigation involving the interpretation of real estate documents, the standard of care of real estate brokers, in legal malpractice actions involving real estate and business transactions and in legal fee disputes. As such, I thought it would be helpful to litigators handling real estate litigation matters to have the perspective of an expert witness on issues affecting the choice, usage and cross-examination of an expert witness in such litigation.
Grant D. Stiefel, Esq. is a nationally-recognized, full time attorney fee consultant, testifying expert and the principal of Litigation Limited, a boutique legal fee consulting firm
Mr. Stiefel has testified in nearly 100 lawsuits, including matters in federal district courts, California trial courts, JAMS/AAA arbitrations, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, State Bar courts, and attorney-client fee arbitrations
He has qualified to testify and has testified live at trials and arbitrations as a designated attorney fee expert
Mr. Stiefel’s methodology for reviewing, auditing and evaluating legal invoices has been cited, approved and adopted by California state and federal courts
He has been retained as a testifying attorney fee expert by the world’s largest law firms, including Reed Smith; McDermott Will and Emery; Jones Day; Sheppard Mullin; Sidely Austin; Dykema Gossett; Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe; and Littler Mendelson, among many others
Mr. Stiefel is a member of the California State Bar and is unique among fee experts in that he practiced law for many years at two of the world’s largest law firms (Akin Gump and K&L Gates)
Mr. Stiefel has managed a multi-billion dollar litigation portfolio and has audited hundreds of millions of dollars in legal fees from law firms nationwide since 2008
He has developed and implemented outside counsel billing and case management guidelines for Fortune 500 corporations
He is a California State Bar-approved continuing legal education instructor on attorneys’ fees who has trained hundreds of executives and in-house counsel from a host of Fortune 500 corporations
Mr. Stiefel is qualified as an attorney-client fee dispute arbitrator with the California State Bar’s Mandatory Fee Arbitration program and as a judge pro tem with the California Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles
Grant Stiefel was the testifying fee expert on a series of fee applications by class counsel in Jones v. Wells Fargo, on behalf of aggrieved California consumers in the first consumer class action brought under the Unruh Act. Relying upon Mr. Stiefel's testimony regarding the reasonableness of hourly rates and overall work performed, the trial court awarded more than $25 million in attorneys' fees to class counsel
The district court for the Central District of California adopted and approved Mr. Stiefel's methodology for identifying and quantifying block-billed, vague and redacted billing entries in cutting Plaintiff's fee request by more than sixty percent in CNS v. Planet, from $4.8 million to $1.9 million
In Vides v. ABM Janitorial Services, the trial court reduced Plaintiff's fee request in a FEHA action by over $1 million based upon Grant Stiefel's expert testimony. Plaintiff moved for an award of $1,578,232.50 in attorneys' fees, which the trial court reduced to $544,183.12. Mr. Stiefel's testimony showed that the hourly rates claimed by Plaintiff's counsel were unreasonable under the circumstances, that excessive time was spent on inter-office communications, and that the matter was overstaffed
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