Jeffrey "Jeff" Shalmi is well-known for his aggressive and strong representation of his esteemed clients. He firmly handles every case with the comprehensiveness and diligence necessary to recover the largest settlements and awards legally possible. He will tackle the common misconceptions that participants in the workers'compensation system hold, so as to move the case forward towards the most logical and advantageous outcome for his clients.
From the inital preparation and filing of a workers’ comp claim form, through the entire litigation process, through trial and appeal, Mr. Shalmi aggressively pursues the injured worker’s best interests in a timely and effective fashion to obtain maximum temporary disability, medical benefits and long term disability payments. His objective for each client is to obtain the appropriate medical care necessary, and ultimately to negotiate the most favorable settlement, or else prevail at trial.
Significant W.C. Cases
Joel de La Cerda v. Martin Selko & Co. (ADJ2970937) (WCAB Van Nuys District Office):
The WCAB overturned the Workers' Compensastion Judge, indicating that he should not have discounted the internal AME’s medical opinion whereby the doctor found that addition of the applicant's P.D. was preferred over use of the combined values chart.
Williams v. County of Los Angeles (ADJ7388209) (WCAB Van Nuys District Office):
The WCAB upheld a finding by the WCJ of entitlement to 24/7 home health care. The defendant had been authorizing 8 hours of home care 5 days per week through an agency for some time.
Hikida vs. WCAB (Costco Wholesale Corp.) (B279412):
The applicant had developed complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) as a result of failed surgery, which was authorized by her employer, Costco, to treat the industrial carpal tunnel injury to her hands.
Lopez vs. General Wax (ADJ9365173) (WCAB Van Nuys District Office):
While working as a candle maker for the employer, the applicant got her right index finger stuck in the machine, resulting in a partial amputation of the finger.
BILLING MISTAKES BY LAWYERS
Proper time-keeping is more
important than ever. As corporate belt-tightening continues,
legal bills have come under greater scrutiny. The emphasis on legal fees has
created a cottage industry of legal audit firms that review and analyze legal
services to target discrepancies, unethical billing practices, billing mistakes
and areas of potential cost-savings.
Clients that do not employ
independent legal bill audit services often have in-house quality control
programs that routinely analyze invoices flagged for review. Avoiding these ten
billing mistakes will help your legal bills withstand scrutiny. These items
account for approximately 90% of the complaints made by clients and
Complete, detailed and accurate task
descriptions are the easiest way to prevent a client from flagging your bill. Every
task description should identify the activity with sufficient detail to assess
its necessity and relevance to the project. Along with a detailed description
of the task, each time entry should include the date the task was performed,
the timekeeper who performed it, the time spent performing the task and the
To meet the onerous billing
requirements of your firm, it may be tempting to inflate or “pad” the time it
took to perform a task, particularly if you are an efficient worker. Such
practices invite scrutiny and criticism from a client or auditor. It is
important to ensure that the time you bill for each task accurately reflects
the work performed and is commensurate with the importance and complexity of
Because litigation disbursements
greatly impact a client’s total budget, you should consider the cost of the
service relative to its value to the client. For example, is it necessary to
Federal Express every piece of correspondence to your expert when the trial is
six months away?
You should also be aware of billing
policies and contracts established by our client. Does the client require
the use of a certain court reporter or photocopy vendor? Moreover, certain
expenses should never be billed to the client and are part of the law firm’s
The practice of law inevitably
involves administrative and clerical tasks. Most clients these days will
not pay for clerical tasks – such as typing, filing, and photocopying – or
administrative functions such as training, invoice preparation, conflict
checking or client development. To the extent you are able, delegate
clerical functions to a secretary, filing clerk or other legal staff
Clients often refuse to pay for
conferences between law firm personnel; they view the coordination,
consultation, and discussion of a case or project between firm professionals as
part of doing business and thus part of the firm’s overhead. Interoffice
conferences can also become a substantial expense for the client as several
professionals are simultaneously billing for the same conversation.
Therefore, it is good practice to
avoid billing for routine discussions regarding a file with other members of
your firm unless such discussions involve items of substantial importance,
involve a number of outside parties or involve large blocks of time.
If you are new to a task or area of
law, your inexperience may require extra time to complete the project. Clients
are becoming increasingly intolerant of inexperience and are less willing to
pay for the costs of training a new employee or for a legal professional to
“get up to speed” on a file.
Duplicate time entries are a common
practice among law firms, but cost-conscious clients are less willing to pay
for duplication of effort. Did multiple partners participate in a
Did the paralegal attend every deposition? Did
four associates contribute to one brief? These items may raise a red flag. The
client may refuse to pay for all or part of the work or, at the very least,
investigate the matter further to determine if it was justified.
Billing time for multiple tasks in
large blocks is another red flag for clients. You should itemize each task
separately with a corresponding time and charge for each task. Itemized time
entries enable the reviewer to ascertain better the appropriateness of the time
spent in relation to the significance and complexity of the task.
Review and Revision
Your client may question why you
billed 43.2 hours reviewing and revising a brief. Perhaps the brief was 40
pages and involved multiple, complex issues and extensive research. Whatever
the reason, vague and perfunctory terms like “review and revision” do little to
inform the client why the review merited a week’s worth of time. Instead of
“review,” words such as “evaluate,” “analyze,” “assess,” "multiple," "complex issues,"or “re-draft” connote
more thought-provoking, and thus time-consuming, tasks.
When billing for and assigning
tasks, you should ensure that the project is performed by the appropriate
member of the legal team. Clients may refuse to pay for tasks performed
by senior timekeepers that could have been delegated to a junior, less
expensive, staff member. For example, attorneys digesting depositions,
senior partners performing routine research or paralegals filing documents may raise a
Legal professional;s should avoid these ten billing mistakes which account for approximately 90% of the complaints made by clients and auditing teams. This will will help their legal bills withstand scrutiny by discerning clients. At Jeffrey M. Shalmi, we strive for that result.