When William Flahavan began writing what would become known as The California Personal Injury Practice Guide, he had no clue that it would eventually be a staple of every personal injury law office in the state of California for the next 30+ years. Amazingly, courts have now cited The Practice Guides in almost 8,000 legal opinions, and William’s book has been called the ‘bible’ for personal injury attorneys. Although websites such as google and yahoo have placed a wealth of knowledge at everyone’s fingertips, The Personal Injury Practice Guide is still the most widely used and authoritative source on the subject of personal injury law in California. It is now available both in print and through Westlaw. In fact, The Practice Guides are considered one of the primary reasons that many attorneys subscribe to Westlaw instead of its competitor, Lexis.
In 1979, The Rutter Group, a company that focused on publishing study materials for law school students and bar exam takers, had a revolutionary idea that would change the practice of law forever. The idea was to try to condense an entire area of law into one single book. The hope was that whenever a lawyer or a judge had a question, they could turn to the book and find a concise and trustworthy answer quickly. The book would not only give practical advice to attorneys on things like interacting with clients or dealing with opposing counsel, it would also provide a summary of pertinent case law and give instructions on where to find more information.
The Rutter Group knew that if they were going to publish a book like this the authors would be the centerpiece. Lawyers would not be willing to risk their client’s well-being, or their reputation, on a book’s guidance unless the authors were extremely credible and well-respected. The Rutter Group wanted attorneys and judges that were out in the real world practicing and successfully using the techniques that they would be writing about. In addition, since the law is continuously evolving, they wanted attorneys and judges that were sure to remain up-to-date on new changes so the books would continue to be updated and current.
The Rutter Group began obtaining recommendations for authors in California’s largest legal communities. To this day, one of Mr. Flahavan’s proudest legal career moments was finding out that he had been so highly recommended by his peers as the person they thought was most qualified to write the book. Although he was only 32 years old at the time he began writing the book, Mr. Flahavan had built quite the resume. He received his Juris Doctor degree from Hastings College of Law in 1971 where he was the Note and Comment editor for the Hastings Law Journal, a member of the Thruston Honor Society and graduated Order of the Coif. After 6 years of outstanding results defending some of the biggest insurance companies in the country, he became managing partner of the firm of Jones & Wilson from 1978 through 1984. He became managing and senior partner of Flahavan, Hudson & Francis from its inception in 1984.
For the last 32 years, William has remained the lead author of The Personal Injury Practice Guide and continues to make yearly updates so the book remains current. He continues to be viewed as one of the most knowledgeable attorneys in the state by his peers. For this reason, William has lectured extensively at the request of The Rutter Group, the Continuing Education of the Bar, the California Trial Lawyers Association, Los Angeles Trial Lawyers Association, the Southern California Defense Counsel, the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the San Francisco Bar Association, the San Diego County Bar Association, the Orange County Bar Association and Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company on virtually all facets of personal injury litigation.
In 1994, he formed The Flahavan Law Offices. Since that time, he has been joined by two of his sons, Brian and Kevin Flahavan. Flahavan Law Offices now has offices in Ventura County, Los Angeles County, and Santa Rosa County in Northern California. He also taught law for nearly a decade at The Ventura and Santa Barbara Colleges of Law.
It’s easy to see why other attorneys turn to Mr. Flahavan for advice. His resume is filled with a vast list of successful accomplishments. However, these accomplishments have always just been a product of doing what he’s always been passionate about: helping others.