My Shingle

Solo Wins a $4.7 Million Verdict

by Carolyn Elefant on May 21, 2006 · 53 comments

in Biglaw to Solo, Celebrating Solos, Solo Profiles

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Last months, one of our readers, solo Scott P. Schomer of Schomer Law in Torrance, California won an amazing $4.7 million dollar verdict for his client, a grandmother who’d been left homeless after being defrauded of her Beverly Hills home by her former attorney who along with his wife moved into his former client’s house after stealing it out from under her.   To win the case, Schomer went up against four attorneys who represented his client’s former lawyers.  Details on the case can be viewed here in an article from the Los Angeles Daily Record.

Schomer was generous enough to submit to an interview with MyShingle by email, which I’ve posted below.

My Shingle:  How long have you been in solo practice?

Schomer:  I
started my solo practice in January 2002.  Prior to that time I had spent
8 years at big firms and then 3 years at in-house positions and felt I preferred
creating an entrepreneurial atmosphere over returning to corporate life.  I
found another solo attorney in need of assistance and practiced for
approximately two years under his umbrella, although essentially operating my own
practice.  In April 2005 I officially unveiled my own professional
corporation although I continue to share space and other resources with this
same solo.  I had an extensive real estate litigation background and focused
my practice on probate and real estate litigation, particularly in the area of
financial frauds against elders.  Elder abuse is a growing problem and an
area where I enjoy helping those who are really in need of my services.

MyShingle:  Was this your biggest verdict?

The Lederman is my biggest verdict to date; my next largest award was a $1.5 mil. elder\abuse verdict I obtained in March 2005.  When Ms. Lederman arrived in my office, I initially found the story hard to believe–I was shocked that an\nattorney could have so mistreated his client.  After I reviewed the facts, I was certain that defendants would settle quickly because the allegations (which I believe were all proven true) were so outrageous.  Instead, defendants fought me tooth and nail through the entire procedure.  It was not until after the jury verdict that they offered to settle for anything more than a small percentage of their potential liability.  I took the case in December 2003 and we only obtained our jury award in March 2005.  Unfortunately, the case is still going because on May 10th, defendants filed a petition with the US bankruptcy courts.

MyShingle:  Did you handle the case on your own?

Schomer:  I have a paralegal I share with another attorney who helps with office support (answering phones, ordering supplies, filing, service, etc.) but in terms of substantive work\non the case, I did everything from soup to nuts–trial & exhibit binders, briefs, witness preparation, opening & closing statements.

MyShingle:  What advice do you have for other solos who find themselves up against a larger team of lawyers

Schomer:  I
spent enough time in big firms and fighting big firms to realize that at the
end of the day, you are still matching wits against individual attorneys.
Most cases are won and lost on the facts and the preparation work.  The
best advice I can give other solos is the importance of community–developing
a network of other solos.  The Lederman trial lasted almost three weeks
and without being able to call on the services of other attorneys to cover some
of my other cases, I would have been in serious trouble.  I also find
these folks are a great source of business.  By building a good network,
you are in essence creating your own virtual law firm; you get the intellectual
resources of a big firm without the administrative or political headaches that
accompany a more fixed partnership arrangement.

If you have any other questions about the case, feel free to post them in the comments section and perhaps Scott will follow up.  Also, if you have a recent victory and would like to be featured at MyShingle, drop me a line at

  • Paul Levine

    Terrific story. Congrats to Atty. Schomer for a job well done. Question. Shouldn’t the sleazy lawyer who took his client’s house also be the subject of Bar discipline?
    Paul Levine
    “Solomon vs. Lord”

  • Billy Merck

    One would think.

  • Scott Schomer

    Paul, thanks for the kind words. We reported the attorney to the State Bar in August 2004; in December 2005 we received notice that the Bar was abating its investigation pending the resolution of our lawsuit. Recently we learned that the Bar would be moving forward and hopefully disciplining the defendant soon.

  • Jamie Parks

    “…cases are won on the facts and the preparation…”
    “The best advice I (S. Schomer) can give others… is the importance of community… developing a network… You are in essence creating your own virtual law firm.”
    Scott, thank you for the powerful statements. As the days go forward, your victory for Ms. Lederman and your strong faith in “law community networks” shall radiate through out the bLAWgospere.
    Solo practitioners such as yourself are living proof to the corporate bankroll that by properly and personally preparing the soup & nuts of your client’s case and clearly presenting the key evidence during trial is what enables a lawyer to win the favor of the jury.
    Also, it’s nice to hear when a state bar actually serves a purpose for true justice. Hopefully it will be more than a slap on the wrist. In my humble opinion people that abuse the elderly or children, really shouldn’t be free to walk the streets, much less practice the Art of law.
    Great job Scott! Keep fighting the good fight.

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