Veteran San Jose litigator advises new attorneys to listen

By Karen Kidd | Mar 4, 2016

Kathryn G. Spelman of Hoge Fenton in San Jose   None

SAN JOSE – Up-and-coming attorneys should keep their ears open, a Silicon Valley civil litigator and trial lawyer with more than 24 years' experience recently told the Northern California Record.

"Listen and focus on what’s important," Kathryn G. Spelman, who joined Hoge Fenton's Silicon Valley office earlier this year, said in an email interview. "Listen to those who have been in the trenches and learn from shared experiences. Listen to judges when they ask questions during oral argument."

Spelman also recommended new attorneys pay special attention to the court and to their own clients.

"Don’t be wedded to your prepared script," Spelman said. "If the court thinks an issue is important, it is. Listen to witnesses when they answer questions. Don’t hesitate to deviate from your list of topics to be addressed. Focus on what’s important to advance your client’s interests. Don’t be distracted by what is superfluous and expensive. Be true to who you are and what your own personal style is. Focus on growing your strengths and finding support for those areas that are not. Professional courtesy is never a sign of weakness."

Spelman earned her Bachelors of Arts at the California State University at Chico and her law degree at the University of San Diego School of Law. She has represented Taiwanese clients in U.S. litigation and other matters for more than 20 years. Those cases included patent litigation, Internet Protocol licensing negotiations, contract and real estate disputes, theft of trade secrets and consumer protection matters. Her Taiwanese clients included individual investors, closely held companies and publicly traded companies in a variety of industries.

Spelman also has represented clients in important cases that involve U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and product recalls involving the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

“We are excited to welcome Kathryn to the firm," Daniel W. Ballesteros, managing shareholder at Hoge Fenton, said in the firm's announcement. "Her sophisticated litigation experience and community participation aligns seamlessly with our touchstones: commitment to our clients, excellence in the practice of law, and leadership in our community.”

Spelman said that her experience thus far at Hoge Fenton has exceeded expectations.

"I have long considered Hoge simply one of the most outstanding firms in the Bay Area and, in fact, have on more than one occasion encouraged young attorneys to reach out to Hoge for employment opportunities. Many firms and businesses identify a statement of beliefs and purpose, and set forth guiding principles for their members and employees. Hoge Fenton 'walks the walk.' The firm doesn’t just identify integrity, skill, professional courtesy and collegiality as a set of expectations or goals but has, instead, fostered an environment, created a team and provided the support to actually make those principles a reality."

Prior to joining Hoge Fenton, Spelman was an attorney with Mount Spelman in its San Jose office.

"I feel honored and privileged to have been included and made a part of this team," Spelman said. "I am confident that my association with Hoge Fenton will not only advance my personal development as a lawyer, but that access to the collective expertise and many resources of this firm will also result in direct and substantial benefit to my clients."

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