By Skylar Dubelko, Daily Journal – October 25, 2017 – Louis R. “Skip” Miller takes a hands-on approach to training the young lawyers at Miller Barondess LLP.
Miller Barondess was established in 2006 by Miller, his two sons and partners, Jim and Dan Miller, with Alexander “Sasha” Frid, who attended UC Berkeley Law with Dan Miller.
Their goal: Create a high-end litigation boutique, the best and brightest young attorneys from top law schools who had been trained at the best big firms.
With the exception of partner James L. Goldman, who went to law school with Skip Miller, all of the firm’s practicing partners were associates who were trained by Skip Miller and grew their litigation careers at the firm.
“Then as soon as they’re able to take the ball and run with it, they go off and do it,” Skip Miller said.
“The team gets a lot of in-court experience as a result of it, because I can’t do everything,” he said.
Instead of staffing 10 to 20 attorneys on a case – standard at larger firms – Miller Barondess only staffs a few, saving clients money and allowing the firm’s attorneys to grow their legal skills.
Miller Barondess has big-firm clientele but a small firm environment, and the firm’s growth has been organic.
Miller Barondess doesn’t hire lateral partners or acquire other practice groups, which has allowed the firm to keep its quality high.
Additionally, Miller Barondess associates have a real opportunity to make partner.
When an associate starts delivering results like a partner, they make partner – and the firm’s younger partners are trying and leading their own cases.
In May, Miller Barondess partner Amnon Z. Siegel obtained a $256.45 million jury verdict against Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. on behalf of an auto dealer. His opponent graduated law school the year Siegel was born. Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. v. Superior Auto of Fremont LLC et al., 30-2009-00305125 (Orange Super. Ct., filed May 15, 2012).
The firm has also done a significant amount of litigation in the sports industry.
Dan Miller represents Aaron Mintz, one of the leading basketball agents in the country. He also has represented NBA players in business and insurance disputes, as well as witnesses in confidential NBA investigations.
The firm represented an NFL head coach against a team in front of the commissioner, Roger Goodell, at the NFL headquarters in a confidential arbitration.
“It’s really important to know the rules of professional sports, because you are litigating within the rules of that particular sports organization,” Dan Miller said, adding that insurance is a part of every case.
“Every time we get a complaint at our firm, we check for insurance coverage,” he said.
According to Dan Miller, insurance can have a huge impact on a client’s bottom line. “Insurance could cover the litigation defense … and also any exposure the client might have,” he said.
According to Frid, one of the firm’s founding partners, litigation is not a one-size-fits-all business, and the firm tailors its strategy and approach to each client differently.
“We have a wide range of clients that may have very different goals,” said Frid, the firm’s go-to partner for music and entertainment cases.
Frid has represented the band Motley Crue for over 10 years.
He has represented Guns N Roses’ lead vocalist, Axl Rose, and the estate of rapper Tupac Shakur.
“Sometimes it’s important to have a highly aggressive approach to litigation, and other times its best to advise clients to avoid litigation entirely and figure out a different way of doing things,” Frid said.