By Contributing Editor, Diana Lesmez
Saturday, May 5, 2007 9:19 PM PDT
The first caller to Legal Help Live is Keira, from Westwood, who wants to know about her rights because on her first day at her new job at a restaurant her boss made a sexual pass at her.
When she rebuffed his advances, he promptly fired her. So now Keira wants to know whether or not she has any legal recourse. These are the types of questions that Stephen Warren Solomon and Ralph Saltsman, hosts of Legal Help Live, field on the air during their weekly, hour-long call-in television show. Broadcasting live from the Santa Monica City Hall council chambers, the show airs on channel 16 in Santa Monica and channel 36 in Los Angeles on Wednesdays at 4 p.m.
Solomon and Saltsman, who are partners at the law firm, Solomon, Saltsman & Jamieson, strongly encourage Keira to seek legal representation and to contact the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, as well as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in order to start a legal claim of sexual harassment. Before hanging up, Keira seems relieved to learn that she does have recourses available to her and is grateful to the hosts for their guidance.
Legal Help Live encourages callers needing help with a wide-ranging number of legal issues. According to Saltsman, “There’s not an area of personal concern for the public that we have not gotten a call on. Landlord/tenant questions, for example, may entail a landlord who wants to throw out a tenant, or a tenant who is being thrown out.” Adds Solomon, “ The nice part about it, which is amazing, is how much public service we can do on the airways that we can’t physically do as lawyers.” Saltsman agrees. “Wouldn’t it be nice if every lawyer had the opportunity to give back to the community instead of just practicing law for 15 hours a day?”
What makes Legal Help Live a hit, however, is not a staid atmosphere of legal regality. Quite the opposite, as both Solomon and Saltsman are approachable, comfortable on the air, occasionally controversial and always entertaining. Solomon claims that it takes him about 6 hours to prepare for each episode. He and Saltsman do not usually talk about what they’re going to discuss on the air in order to keep their repartee fresh. Because Solomon is a right-wing conservative and Saltsman is a left-wing liberal, they believe that they present both sides of most issues.
The show, which first aired on the radio starting in the year 2000, shifted to television in 2006, and has a potential for reaching an estimated audience of 500,000 to 1 million viewers. In terms of demographics, the callers are racially diverse, ranging in age from teenagers to seniors, slightly more male than female and from all socioeconomic classes. “They’re calling us from multi-million dollar houses and from the streets. We can’t think of a geographic area from which we haven’t gotten a call,” said Saltsman. “We’re mindful of the idea that when a caller asks a question, it is a question of interest and concern to many people. Therefore, the people who are not calling will also benefit from the advice.”
According to SuperLawyers.com, “Solomon, Saltsman & Jamieson is the recognized standard bearer in obtaining and retaining alcohol licenses for all types of alcohol sellers…and have successfully represented various tribal communities in their efforts to establish their rights to the many uses of their land.”
Solomon has been practicing law since 1965 and started out representing clients in the adult entertainment industry. Then he ventured into representing police officers and police unions and, as he states, “still kept the naked dancers. The reason I was doing adult entertainment law was that it was alcohol-related.” He adds cheekily, “The fun stuff is sex, alcohol, and gaming.”
Saltsman started his legal career in 1974 as a criminal prosecutor and, in fact, prosecuted some of Solomon’s clients. That’s how they met … and by 1977 Solomon enticed Saltsman to join his law firm.
Solomon and Saltsman have a new show premiering on April 25th and running through June 13th. Homelessness in Our Community is a new call-in production … an 8-week long series airing live from noon to 1 p.m., on Wednesdays. The show is presented by the Westside Hunger & Shelter Coalition in partnership with the City of Santa Monica, and is intended to create a forum for discussion on various possible solutions to this problem.
Solomon, Saltsman & Jamieson are attorneys practicing in the areas of ABC law, ABC Appeals Board cases, and all related Land Use Matters such as City and County Conditional Use Permits, Variances, Police and Fire permits, Entertainment law, and Gambling Law; as well as Business and Personal Injury litigation. Solomon, Saltsman & Jamieson can be reached at 800 405 4222.”