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June 2010

Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine Profiles Partner Phillip Maltin

Character Evidence: The Sleeping Giant of Civil Litigation

Strength of Character:  In the June 2010 issue of Los Angeles Lawyer magazine, partner Phillip Maltin and Deputy City Attorney Michael Schwartz co-wrote an article entitled "Strength of Character," which examines the admissibility and strategic use of character evidence in civil trials.  Character evidence comprises one of the most complex and misunderstood clusters of statutes in the Evidence Code.  Civil courts exclude much of it, the article explains, not because it has no value but because it has too much. Knowing when the rules of evidence permit the discovery, and admission, of character evidence gives counsel a great advantage. 

How to Effectively Use Character Evidence in Civil Trials:  Perhaps because so few civil matters reach trial, many civil lawyers do not have an understanding of what character evidence is, how to generate it, and how to use it.  Through anecdotes and specific examples, Phillip's article answers the following critical questions.

  • How do you conduct discovery into character? 
  • How does character evidence work in a civil lawsuit? 
  • How do you attack character witnesses?
  • How should you handle felony convictions at trial?
  • When should counsel offer to "sanitize" character evidence? 

Please click here to read the article.


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