Tom Umberg Featured in Daily Journal Article: Umberg Appointed New State Senate Judiciary Chair

Umberg/Zipser LLP (U/Z) co-founding partner, California State Senator and newly appointed Chair of the California Senate Judiciary Committee Thomas J. Umberg was featured in a Daily Journal article titled, “New State Senate Judiciary Chair Likes to Get into the Weeds” published on December 16, 2020.

The article highlights Tom’s significant impact as a California State senator and explains that a goal of the California Senate Judiciary Committee will be to address the impact of COVID on California’s civil justice system.

“The cost and the time consumed in discovery are overwhelming the civil litigation process,” Umberg said. “One of the things I will focus on and have focused on is reducing the gamesmanship and the costs that are currently part and parcel of discovery.”

The Judiciary Committee has the broadest jurisdiction of the Senate policy committees. Legislation in the following categories are within its jurisdiction: bills amending the Civil Code, Code of Civil Procedure, Evidence Code, Family Code, and Probate Code; bills relating to courts, judges, and court personnel; bills relating to liens, claims, and unclaimed property; and, bills relating to privacy and consumer protection.

If you have a Daily Journal subscription, you can click here to log-in and read the article.

U/Z Honored as Law Firm of the Year at the VLI 2020 Lawyers for Warriors Event

Umberg/Zipser LLP (U/Z) was proud to be recognized as the 2020 Law Firm of the Year by the Veterans Legal Institute (VLI) at its annual Lawyers for Warriors Networking and Fundraising Event. This year’s event was held virtually. Partner Scott Garner, who has led the firm’s pro bono team in support of the organization, accepted the award on behalf of the firm. In addition to being a long-standing supporter of VLI, U/Z was again a proud sponsor of the event.

VLI recognized the firm’s contributions by noting, “One of the core values of Umberg/Zipser LLP, a premier business litigation and intellectual property boutique law firm, is giving back to the profession and community. The firm supports – through contributions and participation – a host of organizations, and its attorneys devote countless hours to professional, community, and charitable service. The firm includes current and former presidents of organizations such as the Orange County Bar Association, the Orange County Bar Association Charitable Fund, the Federal Bar Association of Orange County, the Association of Business Trial Lawyers (Orange County), and the Constitutional Rights Foundation of Orange County, and board members of organizations such as Public Law Center, Project Youth OCBF, Community Legal Aid SoCal, Mercy House, CASA-OC, and Pretend City, to name just a few. Co-founded by a retired U.S. Army colonel and the son of a Naval officer, the firm proudly supports veterans in general and VLI in particular in a variety of ways, including pro bono legal representation.”

U/Z’s co-founding partner Dean Zipser commented, “We are humbled by this recognition. A vital component of our firm’s culture is our commitment to providing pro bono legal services to individuals and organizations with limited financial means. It is our firm’s honor to support our veterans through VLI. We are grateful for the sacrifice and bravery of all those who have served, and those who continue to serve.”

VLI provides pro bono legal assistance to homeless, at risk, disabled and low income current and former service members to eradicate barriers to housing, healthcare, education, and employment. VLI is one of the very few public interest law firms in the nation dedicated entirely to current and former US service members.  Proceeds from Lawyers for Warriors Event will ensure that veterans can receive free legal services so they can thrive.

Umberg/Zipser Again Named to Orange County Best Law Firms List for 2021

Umberg/Zipser LLP (U/Z) is pleased to announce that the firm again has been ranked Tier One in the “Best Law Firms” list by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers® for the Orange County metropolitan area. The firm has received this recognition each year since it was formed. The ranking showcases top law firms recognized by clients and peers for delivering professional excellence and for high quality ratings, and indicate a unique combination of quality in practice and legal expertise.

For 2021, the firm received four Tier One rankings, in Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Intellectual Property Litigation, and Real Estate Litigation. The firm also received recognition in the areas of Banking & Finance Litigation, Patent Litigation and Trademark Law.

“We are honored to again be recognized as one of the Best Law Firms in Orange County. We appreciate the continued recognition from our clients and peers, and our firm remains committed to pursuing our clients’ objectives by providing strategic and efficient solutions.” said U/Z co-founding partner Dean Zipser.

Once again, U/Z clients were effusive in their comments, responding to the U.S. News — Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” research process by commenting, among other things, “Umberg Zipser is a world class law firm exhibiting the highest level of competence and professionalism,” and that “Umberg Zipser asks the right questions and they make the most of every answer.”

In addition to the 2021 Best Law Firms ranking, attorneys Mark Finkelstein, Scott Garner, Carole Reagan, Adina Stowell, Mei Tsang, Thomas Umberg and Dean Zipser have been selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America© 2021. In addition, Mark Finkelstein has been recognized as the Orange County Attorney of the Year and Brent Colasurdo listed in the Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch.

Attorneys are ranked in the following practice areas:

  • Finkelstein for Commercial Litigation, Litigation – Intellectual Property, Litigation – Patent and Trademark Law;
  • Garner for Commercial Litigation and Litigation – Intellectual Property;
  • Reagan for Litigation – Intellectual Property and Commercial Litigation;
  • Stowell for Litigation – Intellectual Property and Litigation – Real Estate;
  • Tsang for Copyright Law;
  • Umberg for Commercial Litigation and Litigation – Real Estate;
  • Zipser for Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Litigation – Banking and Finance, Litigation – Intellectual Property and Litigation – Real Estate;
  • Colasurdo – “Ones to Watch” list for Intellectual Property Law.

Business Litigation Partner Phillip Kaplan Joins Umberg/Zipser

Umberg/Zipser LLP is pleased to announce that partner Phillip R. Kaplan has joined the firm.

Kaplan is an accomplished business trial lawyer with a record of handling his client’s most difficult cases. Phil has a track record of success in cases involving real estate development, securities, mergers and acquisitions, government procurement, technology, consumer class actions, product liability, insurance coverage, professional liability, and environmental litigation. Kaplan represents clients of all sizes, ranging from large business financial institutions and government entities to start ups and high net worth individuals and families. Among his many high-profile cases, Phil co-led a team on behalf of the California State Controller with U/Z’s Sen. Tom Umberg in a successful contract action against SAP Public Services Inc. over the failed implementation of a new payroll system for the state.

“I have known Phil for over 25 years, both as a friend and a colleague. I am thrilled that he is joining U/Z. Phil’s professionalism, collaborative approach and dedication to client service, and commitment to giving back to our community are in direct alignment with U/Z’s core values and culture. We are proud to welcome him as a partner at our firm,” stated U/Z Managing Partner Dean Zipser.

Kaplan commented, “I have had the opportunity to work alongside a number of U/Z attorneys in high stakes litigation, and have respected their drive, teamwork and, most importantly, their impressive results. We share a laser-focus on excellence and achieving the best outcomes for our clients.  For me, this is a welcome reunion with former colleagues and a chance to blaze a new trail in a smaller, more nimble, litigation-focused firm.”

Consistent with U/Z’s commitment to community service, Phil is dedicated to serving the Orange County community and has held a variety of leadership roles with local organizations including Mercy House, the Federal Bar Association, Association of Business Trial Lawyers, Orange County Bar Association, Constitutional Rights Foundation of Orange County, and Public Law Center.

Kaplan has been repeatedly recognized for his legal accomplishments and his community involvement.  He is a perennial selection as a Super Lawyer® and was recognized by America’s Top 100 Bet-the-Company Litigators® in 2020.  He has received awards for his public service, including the Anti-Defamation League’s Marcus Kaufman Jurisprudence Award for outstanding contributions to the legal profession and the community.  Phil has been honored for his ongoing commitment to pro bono work.  For example, he received USC’s Public Interest Law Foundation’s Paul Davis Memorial Award to the USC Law Alumnus “Lawyer of the Year” for Pro Bono Work, and the Public Law Center Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Work for the homeless.

Kaplan added, “I look forward to working with an incredible team of accomplished professionals at U/Z. I am honored to have been asked to play a role in the firm’s continued strategic growth.”

Prior to joining U/Z, Kaplan was a litigation partner at O’Melveny & Myers LLP, and most recently with Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP.

In addition to welcoming Kaplan, the firm recently announced the hiring of two new associates Ethan Feng and Negah Daily, further bolstering its litigation ranks.

Umberg/Zipser Again Included in the Civic 50 OC List for 2019

Umberg/Zipser LLP (U/Z) is honored to be named again one of Orange County’s 50 most community-minded companies by the Orange County Business Journal in partnership with OneOC, Points of Light and True Impact. This is the third year that Umberg/Zipser has been honored with the award.

Umberg/Zipser attorneys hold or have held leadership roles with over 25 professional, pro bono, and charitable organizations, as well as governmental positions, and have dedicated over 1,200 hours of service to the community in the past year alone.

“We are honored to be recognized again in the Civic 50 OC. All of our attorneys are leaders in our community, and we believe it is a privilege and part of our core values to give back to our profession and our community,” said Dean Zipser, co-founding partner.

Civic 50 OC honorees are selected based upon four dimensions of their community engagement programs: investment, integration, institutionalization and impact, as determined by an annual survey independently administered and scored by True Impact.

In addition to the Civic 50 Orange County List, special category awards were announced at the Civic 50 Orange County Awards Luncheon on October 16, 2019 at the Hotel Irvine.

The Civic 50 Special Report and List will publish on October 21, 2019 in the Orange County Business Journal.

Mei Tsang Again Serves as Co-Chair and Umberg/Zipser Sponsors OCBA Charitable Fund’s 2019 Raise Your Glass Fundraiser

Umberg/Zipser partner Mei Tsang again served as co-chair for the Orange County Bar Association Charitable Fund’s (OCBACF) annual Raise Your Glass event on Thursday, August 22 at the Newport Beach Country Club. Mei and Umberg/Zipser partner Scott Garner currently serve on the Board of Directors for both the Orange County Bar Association and its Charitable Fund. Scott also serves as President-Elect of the OCBA. Umberg/Zipser is proud to be a long-time supporter of the OCBACF, and is an Underwriter Sponsor for the event.

Raise Your Glass is the marquee wine tasting and charity awards benefit that is organized by the OCBACF, a nonprofit foundation raising money for law-related charities in Orange County. The event is held to help raise much-needed funds to support law-related organizations and programs in Orange County, including Constitutional Rights Foundation of Orange County, Legal Aid Society of Orange County and Southeast Los Angeles, Public Law Center, and law school and domestic violence clinics and programs. Read more about the event here:

Dean Zipser Selected to Serve as Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference Lawyer Representative

Umberg/Zipser LLP (U/Z) is pleased to announce that co-founding partner Dean Zipser has been selected again to serve as a Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference Lawyer Representative. This is the second time Dean has been appointed as a Lawyer Representative. His three-year term will begin November 1, 2019.

Umberg/Zipser co-founding partner Thomas Umberg and partner Mark Finkelstein have also previously served as Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference Lawyer Representatives.

Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference Lawyer Representatives represent attorneys practicing in each of the Ninth Circuit’s fifteen districts in nine western states and two Pacific Island jurisdictions. They play an important role in the administration of justice in the circuit. Representatives work to foster open communications between judges and attorneys, and provide support and advice in the functioning of the courts. Learn more here:




Dean Zipser Presents at ABTL Annual Seminar

Umberg/Zipser LLP (U/Z) co-founding partner Dean Zipser participated in a panel on civility at the Association of Business Trial Lawyers’ (ABTL) 46th Annual Seminar on October 3-6, 2019.

Umberg/Zipser attorneys are long-time supporters of ABTL and all of the firm’s litigators are members. Dean Zipser, Scott Garner and Mark Finkelstein are former ABTL Orange County Chapter Presidents, Adina Stowell has served on the board and is a former editor of the newsletter, and Carole Reagan is a former member of the newsletter’s editorial board. Tom Umberg and Scott Garner have also previously presented at an ABTL Annual Seminar.

Umberg/Zipser Sponsors the VLI 2019 Lawyers for Warriors Event

Umberg/Zipser LLP (U/Z) was proud to support the Veterans Legal Institute (VLI) 2019 Lawyers for Warriors Networking and Fundraising Event on at the Center Club in Costa Mesa. U/Z’s Tom Umberg (a decorated veteran), Dean Zipser, Scott Garner, and Mei Tsang attended and showed their support for VLI and the evening’s honorees.

VLI provides pro bono legal assistance to homeless, at risk, disabled and low income current and former service members to eradicate barriers to housing, healthcare, education, and employment. VLI is one of the very few public interest law firms in the nation dedicated entirely to current and former US service members.  Proceeds from Lawyers for Warriors Event will ensure that veterans can receive free legal services so they can thrive. Umberg/Zipser has been a long-standing supporter of VLI.

Scott Garner Selected for New Ethics Committee

Umberg/Zipser partner Scott Garner has been appointed as a member of the California Lawyers Association’s newly formed ethics committee. The California Lawyers Association itself was formed in 2018 after the California State Bar was split into a mandatory bar and a voluntary bar association, with the CLA quickly becoming the second largest voluntary bar association in the nation (behind only the ABA).  The Ethics Committee intends to issue advisory opinions, comment on a variety of legal ethics issues and offer educational programming.  The Daily Journal’s recent article “California Lawyers Group Forms Own Ethics Committee,” discussed the committee and noted Scott’s selection.