Newsletter Archive

Aubergines 2013


Aubergines 2012


Aubergines 2011


Aubergines 2010


NEW HS&F FACESWe are pleased to announce…


Elizabeth Baum, a highly experienced intellectual property lawyer, has recently joined HS&F as a consulting attorney. Elizabeth began the practice of law at Silicon Valley’s Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich, the predecessor of DLA Piper LLP. Elizabeth’s specialty is technology licensing and transactions.

Elizabeth served for several years as the general counsel of Interval Research Corp., one of Silicon Valley’s first, and biggest, technology incubators. Elizabeth later worked as a sole practitioner, serving clients Business Objects and Adobe Systems, among others.

A University of California Berkeley graduate, Elizabeth obtained her law degree from Santa Clara University.

Elizabeth volunteers with the International Rescue Committee and the TEDxYouth Conference. She is a podcast addict, an aspiring geek and a tennis fanatic. She lives in Palo Alto with her husband, Brandon, a lawyer, and three children.


maggie-crawford-picMaggie Crawford, an experienced commercial litigator, has recently joined HS&F as a consulting attorney. Maggie began her legal career at DLA Piper LLP, where many of us practiced previously.

Her practice has focused on a wide range of commercial litigation matters, with particular emphasis on business and technology disputes. She has represented private and public companies, from large institutions to startups, as well as investors, developers, entrepreneurs and employee. Her practice includes contract and business tort disputes, intellectual property disputes such as trade secret, trademark, trade dress and copyright litigation, and employment disputes. Maggie has trial, mediation, arbitration and appellate experience.

Despite her gentle and truly pleasant-seeming demeanor, Maggie is known for her rather energetic and persistent cross-examination skills, which have exhausted opponents and left witnesses often weeping and occasionally paralyzed. She Is especially known for having developed the dreaded “Depo Drop-Kick” maneuver, a witness examination technique that is too gruesome to be described in a family-oriented publication.

Maggie is a graduate of the University of California Berkeley, where she made the Dean’s List and was a varsity swimmer. She received her law degree from University of California, Hastings College of the Law, graduating cum laude, and she was also a member of the Hastings International Law Review. Maggie is fluent in French and has conversational fluency in Spanish. She and her husband Craig have two busy boys, Kelley, 3, and Finnegan, 11 months.


dan-seubert-picWe were downright ecstatic, but not at all surprised, to learn that our partner Dan Seubert was recently anointed as a Super Lawyer by the publishers of the American Lawyer, the leading periodical of the American legal profession.

How elite is it? Quite, as it turns out. Only 5% of all lawyers in private practice are elevated to this status.

Dan, as many of you know, is a humble and self-effacing kind of guy, despite his growing reputation as an accomplished real estate lawyer. Did the big news go to Dan’s head? Did he move up his hourly rate to $1000? Did he buy a new Mercedes? Or even upgrade his favorite Wrangler jeans? No, nothing of the sort. In fact, he didn’t even tell us. We had to snoop through his mail to even find this out.

Curiously, though, there was a report in the Menlo Park police blotter which our intrepid local rag, the Daily Post, picked up right after Dan received the news of his newly-elevated stature. The story might offer some insight into the extent of Dan’s exuberance:

“Saturday, 9:13pm, Kepler’s Books, middle-aged white man, standing in European Travel section, wearing Superman cape and tights. Elderly female customer complained that it was “lewd and odd”. Subject had disappeared by time officers arrived. No info as to whether subject walked or flew away.”

The Underpants Barristers: Skivvies Skimming Scrutinized

You’ve probably heard of the Underpants Bomber. How about the Underpants Barristers? Didn’t think so.

A prominent New Jersey law firm was recently sued by a client, the former CEO of Qwest Communications, the one-time Denver-based telecom giant. The firm had represented the CEO in a criminal proceeding in which he was accused of selling $52Million of Qwest stock based on insider information.

Regrettably, the CEO was found guilty, and as a result he now resides in a federal penitentiary, serving a 70-month sentence. Legal fees for his defense came to more than $25Million. The client, who understandably has more time on his hands these days, decided to scrutinize his legal bills and assess the quality of his legal representation in the trial. What he found shocked him: his legal team had billed him for “…attorney underwear”. No details were provided as to whether his lawyers wore a special type of undergarment specially tailored for battle, or whether the costs were incurred merely to avoid the inconvenience of laundry service.

This indiscretion, plus deep-seated concerns that attorney malpractice had occurred, led the CEO to bring suit against his former lawyers.

We asked Bill Frimel, our senior litigator, what he thought about this rather unconventional billing practice. Bill reminded us that whenever he is in trial he always goes “combat style”, and thus such an issue could never arise. Despite the vagueness of Bill’s response, we were relieved to learn that HS&F isn’t likely to face such a client complaint.

RECIPE: The Aubertini

This just in from Hercule Givernay, chief bartender at Bistro L’Etoile, St. Remy, Provence:

The Aubertini: A refreshing summer pick-me-up

— have frosted martini glass at the ready

— have 2.5 inch coil of dessicated aubergine peelings at the ready

— place 2 oz. of Pucker vodka, 1 drop (eyedropper required) of evaporated Mallorcan caper juice and 4 oz. of cracked ice into a martini shaker

— shake gently for precisely 13.5 seconds

— pour contents slowly through strainer into frosted martini glass

— delicately, and decoratively, affix aubergine peel to rim of glass

— and, Voilà!


Many of our readers have suggested that we offer poetry from time to time. We thought about this, and decided it was a pretty good idea. We are pleased to offer this soothing yet profound verse from one of our small army of talented summer interns.

if a carrion fowl attacks a lawyer’s toupee

does a child from afar release a plaintive cry?

If peace comes to the Middle East

will puffins proliferate, and ferrets fly?

it matters not when. But, rather, why?

— Astrid Ramakrishnan Horowitz, Stanford Law, Class of 2012


All of us on the Aubergines editorial staff have been approached by countless journalists and law enforcement officials from around the world, as well as by many clients, peers, friends and simple nosey people. They all want to know one thing: whether we’ve ever stooped to engage in the despicable practices of phone or computer hacking, or if we’ve ever paid a public official – or anybody – for news.

Our answer: We have nothing to say about this until we’re fully lawyered up.


So you think you’re really good real estate lawyers, huh? Let me tell you a few things you need to know.

First, if you’ve never represented me, and I know you haven’t, you’re nobody. Nothing. Pond scum at best.

Second, I hardly even use lawyers any more. I know more law that all of them combined, and they just get in the way. Not to mention being grossly over-priced, unimaginative and gutless.

Third, I’m planning to have my widely acclaimed Trump University acquire Stanford University. As you may know, some leftist punks at the New York Times have been writing some lie-filled garbage about fraud at TU. Imagine! They’re just envious and pathetic loser-schmucks. Now I need to quickly add some heft to TU’s academic stature to put an end to this minor league newspaper’s little games. I’m expecting a letter of intent to be signed this week. The only remaining issue is whose name – Trump University or Stanford’s – will come first. Surely you know how that one’s going to be resolved.

If you’re interested (and who wouldn’t be?), contact me immediately at 1-888-W0W-HAIR



Note to our Summer Interns: Please review. We have no intention of responding to The Donald. But I want you to research whether, should he set foot in California, The Donald could be subjected to an involuntary 72-hour psychiatric hold. Key grounds would be (i) extreme megalomania; (ii) an insufferable hairstyle; and (iii) a pricey tooth-cap job that reportedly involved the use of horse teeth.


Aubergines is not legal advice. In fact, it’s not advice of any kind. To some, it might be entertainment. To others, it might be an example of why the world’s in the quirky state it’s in. But don’t even think about suing us over anything you read here. It would just be a waste of time.