It never rains in Southern California!

By | 22nd May 2013

I have come to the conclusion that California is like that! By that, I mean that it makes you forget everything else. It is a place which seems to have the power to consume all the senses, and I am not referring here to the readily available “medicinal marijuana.”

Spending a few days in California recently, I now realise that it is almost a month since I last posted. No excuses, except that California does that to you and then there are always other things to distract you when you are there and when you return. What we did not have was rain and not even a hint until I was on my way to the airport for the return journey. More than can be said for the UK this month!

You know you have come to the right place when you see on one street corner the names of eight of the world’s best known law firms:Foley & Lardner, Fulbright & Jaworski, MOFO, Jones Day, Dentons, Millbank, Wilson Elser and  Squire Sanders all within a stone’s throw. Just as well, as the prevailing ethos does not allow for walking between meetings. As one lawyer said to me when I explained that my car was not in the parking lot under his building and that I had only walked two blocks and a few minutes, “no one walks in LA” and so it seems.

I should explain that I was in California with my colleague Naj Bueno for the spring meeting and induction of fellows of the Litigation Counsel of America. The LCA held its conference at the Pelican Hill Resort, Newport Beach, but before the start, the two of us spent several days in Los Angeles talking to clients and friends. It was not all work and no play. Cycling is almost a universal sport in California and Naj and I took to a tandem (proof positive to follow in the form of a photograph, promise!!) on the beach in Santa Monica in search of refreshment one lunchtime. It was Sunday after all! 

We managed to navigate through the runners, the joggers, the skateboarders, other cyclists and even a group attending a laughter session without coming to any harm or being arrested. It proved to be a grand way of relaxing, clearing the head and preparing for the talk we had to give to the LCA members later in the week on certain elements of what we see as the new dawn of the age of e-discovery and how Manhattan and its judges appear to be leading the way in the US!

While that view may not be earth shattering, it is significant and I will be posting more on this in due course. But let me leave you with this thought: I confess I had never before stayed in a hotel where the guest literature contained the following sobering advice:

“Earthquake advice: Remain calm and don’t go outside. Move away from the windows, temporary walls/partitions, and free standing objects. Drop down to the floor. Take cover under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture. Hold on to it. Stay on the ground until the shaking stops. Do not attempt to go outside during the shaking.”

It may never rain in Southern California ( and, of course, it does from time to time) but the threat of earthquakes of the ground shaking variety is real enough (think LA earthquake 1906 and the San Andreas fault) even if developments in the jurisprudence relating to discovery have not got quite the same capacity to make the earth move!