Founder and Managing Partner
The first quarter of 2018 brought some of the biggest and most exciting staffing news since the firm’s formation.
- Recognizing the addition of preeminent auto franchise attorney Halbert “Bert” Rasmussen to the firm in 2017, the Scali Law Firm has rebranded as Scali Rasmussen. The change reflects both Mr. Rasmussen’s stature in the field and the firm’s rapid expansion as a full-service law firm catering to the retail automotive industry. It’s a major milestone in the development of the firm Christian J. Scali founded in 2013 to bring to dealerships and other clients a deep understanding of the automotive industry and relevant state and federal laws and regulations. Mr. Rasmussen was previously a partner at Arent Fox LLP and Manning, Leaver, Bruder, & Berberich LLP.
- Jennifer Woo Burns has become a Partner at Scali Rasmussen and Co-Chair of the firm’s Labor and Employment Practice. Ms. Burns was previously Of Counsel to the firm. Ms. Burns has extensive in-house experience at auto dealer groups, including as General Counsel and Human Resources and Compliance Manager. This experience is invaluable for seeing labor and employment law challenges through the eyes of the firm’s clients. We were excited, but not surprised to learn that Ms. Burns is being honored in the Los Angeles Business Journal's Most Influential Women Attorneys issue.
- Jack Schaedel joined Scali Rasmussen in January 2018 as a Partner and co-chair of the firm’s Labor and Employment Practice. Mr. Schaedel was previously a partner at the national law firm Dykema Gossett LLP. He brings significant trial and arbitration experience handling single-plaintiff and class claims. Among his accomplishments is a rare, million-dollar fee award on behalf of an employer client wrongly accused of sexual harassment by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
- Scali Rasmussen’s rapid growth has continued in recent months with the addition of several talented Senior Associate and Associate attorneys. Senior Associate Jeremy H. Herwitt joined the firm’s Los Angeles office and brings strong trial and litigation experience in a variety of practice areas. Gregory G. Sperla joined the firm’s Sacramento Office as a Senior Associate, where he will specialize in Proposition 65 and consumer litigation. Associate Attorney Shayna E. Dickstein joined Scali Rasmussen’s Los Angeles office, where she will focus on labor and employment litigation. Michael J. DeSantis, a former Law Clerk at the firm, was admitted to the California Bar and became an Associate Attorney in the firm’s Ontario office, primarily handling consumer claims. Finally, Associate Attorney Nina Kamali joined the firm’s Los Angeles office, where he works on consumer, employment and commercial litigation.
- Monica J. Baumann, a Senior Associate in the firm’s Sacramento Office, has been named to the Board of Directors of the Sacramento Law Foundation. The SLF provides grants to organizations in the Sacramento, California region that improve the administration of justice, enhance public confidence in the legal profession, cultivate understanding of and respect for the rule of law and support law-related public services. Scali Rasmussen applauds Ms. Baumann’s commitment to this important cause.
- The Daily Journal, the leading legal industry trade paper, published two articles by Scali Rasmussen attorneys early in 2018. Managing Partner and Automotive Practice Co-Chair Christian J. Scali, Jennifer Woo Burns, and Jack Schaedel analyzed Encino Motorcars, LLC v. Navarro, a case before U.S. Supreme Court this term addressing the applicability of FLSA overtime exemptions to auto dealership service advisors. That article published Jan.18. Mr. Scali, Mr. Schaedel, and Jasmin B. Bhandari, an Associate Attorney in the firm’s Los Angeles Office, published a column on March 12, examining the California Supreme Court’s decision in Alvarado v. Dart Container Corp., which controls how employers must factor bonuses into overtime compensation.
- Christian J. Scali, Partner Melanie S. Cliff, and Monica J. Baumann were published in Law360, an influential legal news site, discussing recent actions by the FTC against auto dealers who deceive consumers by advertising favorable terms in Spanish and then restricting those terms with English-only disclosures. The article discussed that these exploitive tactics are becoming more commonplace and inviting broader crackdowns.
- Scali Rasmussen attorneys descended on Las Vegas for the 2018 National Automobile Dealers Association’s annual conference, where the firm also entertained clients and friends of the firm at the Mandarin Oriental hotel on Friday, March 23 and its attorneys attended the Conference, soaking in all of the new developments in the Retail Automotive Industry and reconnecting with other industry thought leaders.
- The firm’s annual client party at the 2018 NADA Convention in Las Vegas coincided with the much-publicized fatal Uber accident in Arizona, which was a hot topic at the conference. Waymo CEO John Krafcik insisted his autonomous cars would have stopped in time. The Scali Rasmussen firm closely follows the development of autonomous technology and is confident that notwithstanding the recent Uber accident, industry investment in the technology will remain robust.
- Christian J. Scali, Melanie S. Cliff, and Bert Rasmussen were published in the Los Angeles Business Journal’s 2018 Automotive Review. Their article, Connected Car Growth Means Growth of Legal Concerns, focused on changes to the retail automotive sales industry.
- On April 3, Partner Melanie S. Cliff presented with Michael Dommermuth at the Colorado Innovative Dealer Summit during a panel discussion on challenges dealers face incorporating mobile sales and advertising platforms.