Finding Purpose in Your Work

by Gary Gwilliam on February 6, 2013

Do you have a passion for your business and industry? The following is my Part 1 interview with Advocate Capital CEO Michael Swanson. In this discussion, I outline how important, vibrant, and successful a practice area employment law can be for trial attorneys. The added benefit of knowing you are doing crucial, meaningful work for people who have had their lives drastically changed is very satisfying.

You can tap into your passion for your career, business, and industry by paying attention to what motivates you, excites you, and provides satisfaction. Identify those aspects that make your work important to you; and you will rarely feel unfulfilled.


This article first appeared on our firm blog in acknowledgement of the great achievement and recognition received by Kathleen McCarthy wife of partner Randall Strauss. I am very proud to provide a second look into Kathleen’s work, her dedication, and

“The teachers we honor today have demonstrated uncommon skill and devotion in the classroom, nurturing the young minds of tomorrow’s science and math leaders. . . America’s competitiveness rests on the excellence of our citizens in technical fields, and we owe these teachers a debt of gratitude for strengthening America’s prosperity.” -President Barack Obama

At Gwilliam, Ivary, Chiosso, Cavalli, & Brewer we take pride in our employees’ accomplishments, encourage their work in our community, and support the accomplishments of their family members. We are very pleased and honored to announce that Kathleen McCarthy, the wife of partner Randall Strauss, is one of the 85 recipients of the 2010 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

From the White House April 28, 2011, President Obama named 85 math and science teachers as recipients of the very prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Kathleen McCarthy was one of two California teachers honored; the educators will receive their awards in a ceremony in Washington D.C. later this year.

Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

  • Awarded Annually: to outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers from across the country
  • Winners Selected: by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process done at the state level
  • Format: each year the award alternates between teachers teaching kindergarten through 6th grade and those teaching 7th through 12th grades.  The 2010 awardees teach kindergarten through 6th grade
  • National Science Foundation: winners of this Presidential honor receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion. They also receive an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony and several days of educational and celebratory events, including visits with members of Congress and the Administration.

Kathleen McCarthy

“The Presidential Award celebrates and recognizes effective mathematics teaching. It validates those who go above and beyond the call of duty inside and outside the classroom. I am honored and proud to belong to such an esteemed group of outstanding educators. This award reaffirms my dedication to working with students who have been traditionally underserved in public schools. I am thankful for my colleagues, students, and their families for helping me become the teacher I am today.” -Kathleen McCarthy

Kathleen McCarty has taught second grade bilingual classes at Washington Elementary School in the San Leandro Unified School District for the last 6 years. Previously she taught in the Hayward and Oakland Unified School Districts. Kathleen has been a bilingual classroom teacher for the past 8 years. “Katy’s passion for fostering a linguistically and mathematically rich learning environment is immediately apparent upon entering her classroom. She thrives on the challenges of teaching children whose home language is Spanish.”

  • B.A. in child development from Mills College
  • Certified bilingual elementary teacher
  • National Board Certified in English as a new language


At Gwilliam, Ivary, Chiosso, Cavalli & Brewer,  our experienced business law attorneys have provided quality counsel to individuals, partners and investors for more than 30 years. We focus on assisting individuals or businesses in the areas of business fraud/disputes and intellectual property and trade disputes.

Business Fraud & Partnership Disputes

Our legal team will be prepared to assist you with a variety of matters, including:

Your First Step Toward Justice

The first step toward justice is to contact our office. We offer a no charge review to evaluate your case and decide how we can best be of assistance.

A Team Approach To Business Law Representation

At Gilliam, Ivary, Chiosso, Cavali, & Brewer, we generally assign a team to handle any concerns which may arise. Your team will be comprised of a veteran trial lawyer, an associate, a paralegal and a secretary. Your entire team will be involved in the management and handling of your case. This ensures someone knowledgeable about your needs will be available to respond to your inquiries.


Gwilliam, Ivary, Chiosso, Cavali, & Brewer areas of practice include personal injury, business law, and employment law. One of the most emotionally charged issues today is harassment in the workplace.

What Is Harassment In The Workplace?

Harassment in the workplace can take many forms:

All of these are unlawful. As an employee, you are legally entitled to a workplace free of discriminatory harassment. If your employer’s actions have lead to a hostile workplace, you have a right to pursue action.

Your First Step Toward Justice

The first step toward justice is to contact our office. We offer a no charge review to evaluate your case and decide how we can best be of assistance.

Stand Up For Your Rights

Harassment in the workplace can lead to a great deal of stress in both your professional and personal lives. As a victim of harassment in the workplace, you must face your adversary on a daily basis. Each time you enter the building, you are subjecting yourself to yet one more opportunity for discriminatory behavior to occur.

You do not have to stand for such treatment in your working environment. Whether harassment comes directly from your employer or a coworker, your employer is ultimately responsible for their actions to stop maltreatment from taking place. The law protects you from retaliation and wrongful termination when you choose to take legal action.

How Am I Supported During My Case?

We devote a team which usually consists of a veteran trial attorney, an associate, a paralegal and a secretary to each employment law case. When you have questions or concerns about your discrimination claim, you will always be able to speak with someone familiar with your case. For more information please contact us.


This is a film clip of my appearance on Good Morning America with Brian Ross: “Bank Titans On The Hot Seat: The Lehman Brothers Cases.” I enjoyed the interview; it was a fantastic experience. The fraudulent activities of well respected institutions and institutional leaders, and the absolute havoc their actions wrought upon the American economy,  is a lesson that should never be forgotten.

If you are interested in Gwilliam, Ivary, Chiosso, Cavali, & Brewer helping you with a legal matter, visit our website


7 Benefits Of An Alcohol Free Life

by Gary Gwilliam on March 29, 2010

The following are excerpts from chapter 20 “Intervention” in my book: “Getting a Winning Verdict In My Personal Life: A Trial Lawyer Finds His Soul.” My intervention, in June of 1984, was the turning point that helped me begin to heal.

Alcohol Intake

“My therapist was also a physician and an expert in his field. He advised me that if I quit drinking cold turkey, he was worried that I would experience delirium tremors (DTs). My alcohol intake was that serious. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. Immediately after I stopped drinking, I began to feel  better. Within a week, I felt fabulous. My head cleared and as a result, my life changed forever.”

The Quitting Process: 7 Benefits of a “Alcohol Free Life”

  • Fun: during this process, “I learned that I didn’t have to have a drink to have a good time.”
  • Memory: soon I found I could have a good time at parties. “I could even remember them too!”
  • Extra Time: when my mind cleared (from the alcohol) “I now had time in the evenings, when I could read and relax. It was like I added three or four hours to every day of my life.”
  • Productivity: with the added time “I could do so much more. I was much more alert. My energy was much better and so was my concentration.”
  • Sleep: no longer drinking to knock myself out before bedtime, “I slept better. I felt better.”
  • Physical: along with the higher energy level came an improved physical well being. “I began to exercise.”
  • Spiritual and Psychological: I had a spiritual and psychological awakening. After chasing the elusive million dollar verdicts for years, “I really believed that the Universe would give me what I wanted as long as it was consistent with my client’s interests.”


After you or a loved one has been injured, many questions fill your mind. How will you recover from the injury? Who is responsible for medical bills and lost wages from time away from work? Should you speak with a personal injury lawyer about filing a lawsuit?

Understanding The True Impact On Your Life

A serious injury, such as a brain injury can gravely impact not only a victim, but those around him or her. Life can be turned upside down in an instant, leaving everyone in a wake of chaos.

In our decades of practice, we have worked with thousands of individuals and families trying to navigate tumultuous times. Although each person’s story is unique, many of the same after-effects are present. We are prepared to help you put your life back on track following:

Understanding Your Options

At Gwilliam, Ivary, Chiosso, Cavalli & Brewer, in Oakland, California, we are dedicated to representing people seriously injured by the negligence of others. We also work with families who have lost a loved one in the case of wrongful death. For more than 30 years, our mission has been clear — we work to obtain the best possible financial settlement for each of our clients, helping them move forward after a traumatic event.

No Charge Case Review

To arrange for a no charge case review and to discuss how we may be of assistance, contact us at 866-675-1929. We represent clients throughout the Bay Area and Northern California.


Part 2 in the series

In Part 1 “How Do You Hire A Law Firm: Ask Questions”, we outlined two of the most frequently asked questions we receive from people in search of representation. The first questions involve time to file a case and the cost of a consultation.

The following are final two of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) we receive when meeting with new prospective clients.

If you have a question that we have not answered in this article please contact us for answers and clarification.

Most Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  How do I pay my attorneys?

A: The fee contract between the firm and a client is negotiated on a case by case basis. In some cases the maximum fees are set by statutes. All fee agreements are in writing. The firm accepts most cases on a contingency fee basis. If your case is accepted on a contingency fee the firm will receive a percentage of your settlement or judgment when the funds are collected and will be reimbursed for any costs it has incurred. If no recovery is made the firm will not collect a fee, nor will it charge you for the costs incurred by the firm in handling your case.

Q: How soon will my case be resolved?

A: The time required to resolve a case varies tremendously based on the type of case, complexity of the issues and whether the case goes to trial or settles. The firm directs its efforts to resolving cases at the earliest opportunity through direct settlement discussions with the other party’s insurance carrier or attorney, mediation, arbitration or trial. Over 80% of cases in California settle without trial. However, it is not possible to always predict if a case will settle before trial. For that reason, the firm prepares all its cases for trial if the matter can not be settled before trial.


How Do You Hire A Law Firm? Ask Questions

by Gary Gwilliam on March 9, 2010

Part 1 in the series

Obviously there are many questions that need to be answered when a person needs  legal representation. In our experience, four basic questions are the most frequently asked by our prospective clients. The following are two of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) we receive when meeting with new prospective clients.

If you have a question that we have not answered in this article please contact us for answers and clarification.

Most Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long do I have to file my case?

A: It isn’t possible to describe all the time limitations that apply to all types of cases. The running of the statute of limitations is dependent on the particular facts of each case. Generally, the statute of limitations in California for a personal injury claim is two years from the date of injury or death. In some instances the period to file suit may be longer. However, the time to file may also be shorter if the case involves medical malpractice, a public entity such as the State, a county or municipality, or a civil rights action. You should seek representation as soon as possible after an accident to avoid problems with the statute of limitations. Failure to file within the time limit imposed by law may result in the case being dismissed without compensation. Delay almost always works to the benefit of the person or entity responsible for your injury.

Q: What does it cost to consult with the firm on my case?

A: All initial consultations with Gwilliam, Ivary, Chiosso, Cavalli & Brewer are free of charge. You will never be charged for our time in evaluating your case. Except in extraordinary circumstances, you will not be charged any costs we incur in having your case reviewed by expert consultants. If we don’t accept your case we will not charge you for our time or our expenses in evaluating your case.

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At Gwilliam, Ivary, Chiosso, Cavalli, & Brewer we specialize in personal injury, wrongful death, consumer rights, employment law, and business fraud cases.

When you have been seriously injured or otherwise victimized by the wrongful conduct of others, it takes courage to face the physical, psychological and emotional devastation left behind. That courage takes many forms. In some cases, it is about the grieving process or enduring long hours of physical therapy and rehabilitation. In others, it can mean choosing to challenge discrimination in the workplace or taking a consumer dispute to trial.

True courage is also about placing your trust and the trust of your family in the hands of a lawyer you do not know. Our attorneys will respond in kind, showing you the kind of courage and compassion that goes beyond mere “legal representation.”

The Holistic Approach

The clients that we agree to represent, or the family members in those cases where a wrongful death is involved, almost always have more pressing needs than just our legal representation. They often need one or a combination of the following services:

  • Assistance of physicians
  • Mental health care professionals
  • Other professional experts

Building Relationships

Our approach is to get to know our clients, understand how they and family members have been affected by these personal tragedies, and to approach them and their case in a holistic sense; as fellow human beings who need our help in ways that go beyond any immediate legal concerns