Archive for April 16th, 2012

Book Review – O’Connor’s California Practice: Civil Pretrial 2011

O’Connor’s California Practice: Civil Pretrial 2011, by Julie M. Capell, David I. Levine, Michol O’Connor, and William R. Slomanson. Jones McClure Publishing, 2011 edition. Paperback, 1,400 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59839-100-8.

I usually avoid reading the advertisements for a book before I write a review. But in this case, I found the claims in the ad to be quite informative. Looking at each claim, here is what I determined.

Claim 1: Precise

The book includes detailed commentaries explaining each phase of pretrial litigation in Plain English. Virtually every sentence is backed by citations to relevant authority. More than 20,000 citations have been checked and rechecked by a small army of legal editors. Perhaps you will allow for some hyperbole with use of the term “army” since I’m not aware of any attacks by participles followed by counterattacks by the gerunds; minor quibbling aside, the ad appears quite accurate. I opened the book to a random page, page 531, Chapter 5, Section I, with the heading “Requests For Continuance Or Stay.” There follows about 12 pages of analysis for continuances and stays. The information is very detailed and written in clear, plain English. It cites plenty of California authority and even includes Practice Tips. After cruising the entire book searching for some aspect to critique, my only critical question is: Why didn’t I have this resource when I started practicing law? It is simply very well done and you can tell that a lot of people put a lot of thought into the content.

Claim 2: Portable

It is a single softbound volume packed with 1,400+ pages formatted with clearly worded tabs, page headings, systematic numbering, and a consistent structure to help the reader find material quickly. Someone spent a lot of time deciding format for the busy practitioner. Book format choices are naturally all compromises, but the net result allows a busy practitioner to find relevant material quickly and easily.

Claim 3: Practical

The book was designed for the busy practicing attorney. By now the claims get a bit redundant, and I would not limit the pitch to busy attorneys. Anyone who practices law needs an easy way to research procedural questions, and this publisher delivers that ability in one convenient source.


I wholeheartedly recommend this book to any law firm that hires new lawyers on a regular basis and every law library open to attorneys and the public. Furthermore, I hope they publish a gift edition, perhaps a nice bound version suitable for giving to a freshly minted California attorney.

Steven R. Feller is law librarian at Alameda County Law Library’s Hayward Branch in Hayward, California.