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Titans of  Teamwork

The Brains Behind Albertson & Davidson LLP Are Not Your Typical Trust & Will Attorneys

"We have a strong sense of who we are and we have no desire to follow convention or other Trust and Will attorneys.” says Keith Davidson, Managing Partner of Albertson & Davidson LLP. As those who have been represented by the team of Will and Trust litigators Albertson & Davidson will attest, not only is the firm on the cutting edge of legal strategies, but they advocate with passion, with their strength stemming from teamwork. Whether they are fighting for abused Trust and Will beneficiaries, defending Trusts and Wills, or pursuing Financial Elder Abuse claims in civil court, the firm delivers on its promise to stand, fight, and win.
In fact, it was the desire to fight for what is right, by vigorously creating and pursuing all possible strategies, which initially led Davidson to partner with Stewart Albertson, LL.M. “Stewart loves a good fight and believes strongly in helping those who cannot protect themselves,” Davidson says. “I am a consummate older-brother type who enjoys standing up for those unable to speak for themselves and defend themselves.

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We met through a legal list-serve for Trust and Estate attorneys. After responding to various questions back and forth we finally met in person and really hit it off. We worked on a case together and it went very well. We had a natural chemistry and were able to brainstorm ideas and legal issues quite naturally. It’s not common to find a partner who you can work with seamlessly,” he continues.
The chemistry Davidson is speaking of lies in the partners’ shared view of how they should be practicing law. “We have always been a bit irreverent in how we approach issues and cases. We practice law because we love a good fight, we enjoy helping people, and we like being creative in how we approach issues. We didn’t fit in the ‘old boys club’ and frankly they didn’t want us,” Davidson jokes. In other words, neither Albertson nor Davidson was interested in traditional transactional work. Instead they both had a passion for the niche field of Trust and Will litigation.
When Albertson & Davidson added third partner Mark Perryman they were careful to find an outstanding lawyer with a proven track record in court (including jury trial experience) who shared fully in their values. “Mark was a ranked wrestler in college and loves to compete in anything he does,”
says Davidson; “that made Mark a natural fit with our firm, and he has flourished here.”

A New Breed of Trust and Will Attorneys: Trial Lawyers

Indeed, Albertson and Davidson have assembled a team of true litigators and trial attorneys. With plenty of trial experience and success, Davidson says that the firm is unique in that it prepares all cases as if it may go to trial. “We like to push the boundaries and find new and exciting ways to attack cases,” Davidson says. By way of example, Davidson refers to the recently unified definition of undue influence under the  Welfare and Institutions code, which allows the same facts and elements to be used to both overturn a Trust or Will and to support a Financial Elder Abuse claim. “We began filing both Trust or Will contests in probate court and Financial Elder Abuse claims in civil court. The Elder Abuse statute allows for the recovery of attorneys’ fees and punitive damages, plus that claim entitles our client to a trial by jury as opposed to a bench trial in Trust and Will contested cases. We have extensive jury trial experience, so bringing a claim in civil court with a jury trial is great for us and our clients.”

21This benefits clients in several ways, in fact. The approach “significantly increases our clients’ rights, their potential recovery and applies a great deal of pressure to the opposing party.” Best of all, says Davidson, “If the opposing side refuses to provide our client with a favorable settlement, we look forward to taking the matter to trial in front of a jury. This has been a great innovation for our clients. There are always opportunities to enhance a client’s case, and it is our team’s job to find those opportunities and use them to our clients’ advantage.”

To that end, Davidson says that the team of 16 lawyers, seven paralegals and legal assistants at Albertson & Davidson, LLP’s three offices in Carlsbad, Ontario and Redwood City is always prepared for trial on account of firm practices which also differentiate them from other Trust and Will firms.
“We have a proprietary system for handling cases that’s designed to get every case to trial as quickly as possible. We start with an in-depth elements outline for each case that provides an overall battle plan for how the case will ultimately roll out in court. Next we break down each phase of the litigation process from inception to trial with specific steps. The entire system is designed to achieve a resolution in every case, which means either trial or a favorable settlement. In our experience, reasonable settlements are seldom offered until a trial date is set. For us, trial dates are the goal for every case, and our system maximizes the rate at which we can get to trial.”

When it comes to winning in trial, Davidson says that the firm intentionally looks to see precisely what the top trial attorneys in California are doing to win big cases. “We attend CAALA conferences, and take cues from what some of the best trial attorneys in the state are doing, and we apply those strategies to Trust and Will cases. There is no better feeling than figuring out new ways to help a client, to be aggressive and relentless in going after the client’s interests and then seeing those efforts bear fruit with either a favorable settlement or win at trial. We promise that we will devote as much energy and enthusiasm to every client matter as we can.

That devotion typically nets favorable results for our clients. As an added bonus, practicing with energy and enthusiasm is fun for us, and brings meaning to our work.”

Team Effort in Education & Advocacy

Hands down, Davidson says that the reason the firm has grown so quickly, and has become synonymous with success in Trust and Will disputes lies in the fact that their strategy since the beginning has been to educate as many people as possible. After that, the team effort in both strategy and advocacy is, frankly, second to none.
“Trust and Will issues are confusing, the process and procedure in court is complex, and many of our cases require multiple filings to sort out all of the issues and property transfers. Add to that the emotional toll imposed by the death in a family and it can be difficult for people to navigate the laws. We enjoy being the go-to source for help and protection,” Davidson says.

Continuing he says, “The more we give, the more successful we become. We give out free legal information through our three legal blogs, in addition to producing great content through podcasts and videos in an effort to inform the public about Trust and Will issues.” To ensure consistent education, Davidson says that the firm has an entire editorial calendar, and he and his partners personally write the firm’s blogs well ahead of time.

The strategy has paid off, as Davidson says that a large portion of the firm’s business comes directly through the internet. “By the time people call us, they know that we are the experts, and we don’t have to sell ourselves. They know they need our help.”
From there, clients are delighted to find that no one person alone will be handling their case. “We believe that teamwork and collaboration are vital. No one lawyer can successfully handle any case as well as a team of lawyers can. Cases that come into the firm are assigned to the team that is best suited to handle the case. We have a team of lawyers dedicated to handling only contingency cases and another team of lawyers dedicated to handling billable cases. Each of these big teams are further broken down into two-attorney teams for each case. By having two attorneys assigned to each case, they can brainstorm the best solutions, manage conflicting hearings, and cover for each other when one is on vacation or out sick.”
Moreover, Davidson says the entire ethos of Albertson & Davidson LLP revolves around being a teammate with their client. “We put ourselves in our clients’ shoes and understand what they want to accomplish, and then fight for them for as long as it takes to accomplish their goal.”

Trust & Will Trailblazers

It’s not just that Albertson & Davidson LLP bring together the two worlds of Trust and Will, coupled with litigation and trial work that sets them apart. “We place a lot of emphasis on doing meaningful work, which gives our existence meaning.
We spend the majority of time at work. We want it to be meaningful, so we have a family atmosphere in our offices,” Davidson says.
The forward-thinking firm also shuns convention in its involvement outside of the office and courtroom. For example, Albertson & Davidson LLP founded the Professional Women’s Conference that held its first ever conference at Cal State San Bernardino in April 2015.

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Designed to help professional women become their best professional selves, “The conference is governed by a Board of Directors, over half of whom are women from our firm,” Davidson says. “We got involved, because we have incredible women lawyers, paralegals and staff at our firm and we really wanted to show the world how awesome they are. We understand inequality still exists, and we understand that the women at our firm have made us successful,” he adds.

As far as giving back to the community goes, Albertson & Davidson LLP have blazed their own trail, rather than following others in charitable work as well. They founded the Albertson & Davidson Children’s Foundation in order to be able to benefit a variety of children’s causes. The reasoning for forming their own foundation was simple. “I used to create charities and by running our own, we can support a lot of organizations, and we are more in control of who and how  the money is being used,” Davidson says.

Moreover, next month Albertson & Davidson LLP will launch a monthly Pro Bono legal clinic at their Bay Area office, where the public is invited to meet with a group of lawyers form different practice areas and receive free legal advice. A similar legal clinic is in the works for the firm’s Carlsbad office.
As far as giving back to the legal community is concerned, Albertson & Davidson LLP are also ahead of the curve when it comes to trying to create change for the better. Kevin Yee, one of the attorneys based in Albertson & Davidson’s Carlsbad office, is on the Board of Directors of the Conference of California Bar Associations, and submitted four new proposed laws crafted by the attorneys at Albertson & Davidson, all of which are “designed to help beneficiaries who have been abused,” Davidson says.

If all that weren’t enough to distinguish Albertson & Davidson as an entirely new breed of Trust and Will litigators, the fact that founding partner Stewart Albertson is running for United States Senate certainly does. “He is fearless,” Davidson says. “He was a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division for two years, and before that was stationed along the DMZ between North and South Korea. Now he’s running for U.S. Senate to fight for people who have been left behind by our economic recovery and fight against the rich and powerful to help those in need,” Davidson says proudly.
It is the desire to help those in need which has already made Albertson & Davidson LLP such a success, and it is what Davidson says will drive the firm’s growth into the future.
“We plan to continue to grow geographically throughout California. We plan to have 8-10 offices throughout the state within the next 5 years,” he says.
The growth, however, is merely a byproduct of a team of litigators who truly love what they do. “We enjoy helping people. We work directly with people in need. What they want is an attorney who will give their all to their case and we will. We stand in our clients’ corner and fight every fight we have to until they tell us to stop,” he says.

 

Contact:
Keith A. Davidson
Albertson & Davidson LLP
www.aldavlaw.com
keith@aldavlaw.com
760.804.2711
2175 Salk Ave., Ste 190
Carlsbad, CA 92008

Jennifer Hadley

Jennifer Hadley is a Staff Writer for Attorney Journal

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About the Author: Jennifer Hadley is a Staff Writer for Attorney Journal

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