Leads Professional Liability Team
Los Angeles- Wood, Smith, Henning & Berman’s trial bench markedly expanded in California with the addition of Frances O’Meara and her stellar team of lawyers. A nationally recognized thought leader and professional malpractice attorney, O’Meara brings to WSHB substantial trial experience and knowledge. O’Meara is a highly sought after speaker on professional liability issues. Her accolades in handling the most challenging cases from clients span an array of cases involving the defense of attorneys, accountants, architects, insurance agents, real estate brokers, appraisers, escrow and title officers and assisted living, residential care facilities.
“I have known and watched Frances and her team’s enviable record of success for years. It is not only performance that counts, but also a recognition that their values are aligned with ours as a firm. I have no doubt that they will add an incredible depth to our trial bench in handling professional liability, employment, appellate and related miscellaneous malpractice matters,” said Daniel Berman, WSHB’s firm chairman.
Stewart Reid, firmwide managing partner, said “Frances has an active practice of advising law firms on professional and ethical issues relating to risk management and loss control, and cyber security and data privacy risks.” Reid added, “She is highly regarded by her peers for her uncanny abilities to solve the most complex of issues.” “My first day at the firm was an all-partner retreat, during which I had the opportunity to connect with our partners throughout the nation,” said O’Meara. “There is so much synergy, talent and connectivity in the teamwork and collaboration WSHB has which I truly look forward to bringing to our clients. I have found my professional home and am thrilled to be here.”
In addition, O’Meara leads a group of partners brought to WSHB that have their own unique skill sets that enhance the professional liability team. This includes new WSHB partner Robert Latham. A trial lawyer with over 35 years of experience, when not handling professional liability matters, he represents insurers in bad faith claim handling and coverage matters, and has represented defendants in asbestos, public entity, and toxic tort matters.
Holly Teel also joined WSHB as a partner bringing extensive experience in the defense of attorneys in professional liability cases. In addition, she defends clients in residential and commercial property matters, construction defect claims, malicious prosecution and abuse of process claims, and general tort liability and products liability claims.
WSHB bolsters its appellate practice with the addition of partner Stephen Caine. An experienced attorney of over 30 years, his practice focuses on the representation of clients in appellate and trial courts primarily in the defense of professional liability claims. He defends architects, engineers, attorneys, accountants, doctors, nurses, and other licensed professionals in commercial and corporate litigation, homeowners’ association liability, civil RICO claims, insurance “bad faith” actions, toxic exposure claims including asbestos litigation and California’s “Prop. 65,” and general liability tort claims.
Rounding out the team of professional liability trial partners is Michael Hirota, who handles professional liability and employment defense, defending professional, corporate, and individual clients in errors and omissions claims, labor and employment claims, wage and hour claims, and other litigation matters in both state and federal courts.
In addition, senior counsel, Mindy Bae Kulikov, joined WSHB as part of this lateral team. She has been recognized as a Southern California Rising Star in 2020-2022 for her work as a professional liability attorney.