Ilya Lerma, a 1999 graduate of the University of Arizona, runs a small solo practice where she takes on insurance companies in complicated brain injury cases. She discusses the difficulty of running a contingency-fee practice, litigating as a woman of color, and how she manages the stress of being a lawyer.
Dan Drake, a 1995 graduate of Stetson College of Law, went to law school after a decade of law enforcement to become a prosecutor, but couldn't make the money work with his student debt. Today, he does real estate transactions and litigation at a small firm in Florida.
At the bottom of the legal profession hierarchy lays the opaque world of short-term contract work, also known as document review. Known to some as the circuit, it's filled with new graduates trying to break into the profession, older graduates trying to on-ramp back in, and others who need the money to get by as they start their own practice, balance a family, or try to start fresh after a grueling job. This special episode dives into this world through a roundtable discussion.
Choi Portis, a 2011 graduate of Thomas Cooley Law School, is a lawyer for the water and sewerage department in Detroit. She handles litigation for the department, develops policies and procedures, and reviews contracts—so one day is rarely the same as the next.
In this episode, Dan Minc, a graduate of Seton Hall School of Law, discusses how he managed to rise up to his firm's managing partner after starting there as a first-year lawyer. He also talks about how he builds his book of business and what he assesses when determining whether to take a client. After all, as a personal injury attorney he's only paid if his client wins.
Kathryn Cockrill, graduate of Touro Law School, recently went out on her own to build a business in estate planning and probate. Kathryn explains the ins and outs of probate, for both the living and the deceased. She also mentions how she avoids bill collection pitfalls, why she will hire help once her firm is on more stable financial footing, and why her practice keeps her interested.
Virginia Whitner Hoptman, alum of the University of Virginia School of Law, changed course several times throughout her career before settling back where she started with a highly-specialized appellate process. She discusses elitism in the world of appeals, how difficult it is to become a full-time appellate lawyer, and fundamental differences between appellate and trial lawyers.
In this episode we meet workers compensation attorney Royce Bicklein, a 1998 graduate of St. Mary University's School of Law. Royce discusses his firm's practice and what's involved in proving where an injury occurred and what's to blame for the extent of an injury.
In this episode, Andy Park, a graduate of the Temple University Beasley School of Law, discusses his work as a junior associate for a 23-attorney business law firm in Philadelphia. Due to the firm's size and staffing, Andy has amassed diverse experience in just over a year of practice from negotiating loans to litigating and settling loan defaults, and more.
As a tax attorney for low-income individuals at a pro bono legal services clinic, Alexis Farmer—an alum of the University of Mississippi School of Law—frequently finds herself talking to the IRS on behalf of clients. Often her clients have had their identities stolen, so Alexis knows connecting to them on a deeper level can foster trust and better outcomes.
Justin Bloom went to Tulane University School of Law to right environmental wrongs. While his first job was defending environmental takings cases, his career has taken a winding path from tort litigation to immigration. He even quit a job after a boss asked him to coach clients to lie. Today Justin runs a nonprofit that uses different strategies to protect Florida coastal areas.
Matt Parker, a graduate of Boston College Law School, represents management in employment disputes. While he rarely finds himself in court, in this episode, we’ll find out about how he prepares for the proceedings he often participates in, like administration hearings. We'll also learn about the finer details of employment litigation, such as burden shifting and venue shopping.
You owe a lot of money and don’t know what to do. This is where Cristina Perez Hesano, an alum of Arizona State University, comes in to help individuals struggling with debt to file for bankruptcy. In this episode, she takes us through a chapter 7 bankruptcy from prep to discharge, and why decided to leave her first bankruptcy firm to go out on her own.
In this episode, we talk to Meaghan Hearne, alum of Syracuse University College of Law, whose work revolves around LGBTQ clients and issues. Before the Supreme Court’s decision to extend the right to marry to same-sex couples, Meaghan protected same-sex couples who wanted the protections marriage afforded. Now, she's working on an employment discrimination cases.
This episode, we interview insurance defense litigator and University of South Dakota School of Law alumna Meghann Joyce. While she's hired by insurance companies, her clients are the insured defending professional liability and employment suits. A lawyer's duty of loyalty is to the client, but Meghann exemplifies how business realities produce complex ethical dilemmas.
Minnesota consumer rights lawyer and William Mitchell College of Law Alumnus Pete Barry sues debt collectors who harass or discriminate against consumers. Pete explains the federal law that drives his law in clear terms which helps him market to those who don’t realize they’ve been legally harmed.
University of Washington grad Marissa Olsson works at a small, maritime law firm in Seattle helping fishermen, ferry workers, and others injured on the job sue their employers. Although her confidence and skills have grown noticeably, she often faces opposing counsel who treat her differently because she's a woman. Marissa uses her frustrations as motivation to maximize client recovery and to make positive changes in the legal profession.
Professional licensing boards are a major way lawyers protect the public from wrongdoing. In this episode, we talk to Vanderbilt Law School alumna Johanna Barde, a lawyer for the Tennessee Department of Health. Johanna creates health policy and prosecutes medical professionals before state health boards. The work can be repetitive and bleak, Johanna admits, but her desire to protect public health keeps her motivated.
Medical malpractice lawyers specialize in the tangle of medical responsibilities, norms, and facts. In this episode, Washington University School of Law alumnus Greg Aycock tells us how he transitioned from representing defendants to representing plaintiffs. He left his insurance defense practice on a leap of faith, and discusses the struggles of being your own boss and getting a firm off the ground.
Biglaw is changing—America's largest firms are testing new attorney tracks and different expectations. Pioneer WilmerHale’s DiscoverySolutions (DS) provides litigation support for the firm's attorneys. Nat Croumer, a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, is the Discovery Attorney Administrative Manager for DS. Nat discusses how electronic document discovery is essential to modern civil litigation.
In this episode, immigration attorney and St. Mary's University School of Law graduate Manuel Escobar discusses his experience representing people in this high-pressure high-stakes job. Manuel addresses some key questions pertinent to immigration law. What options are available to those seeking relief from deportation? What challenges do immigration lawyers face, and which strategies can help mitigate stress from work?
The famous Marbury v. Madison case involved a writ of mandamus—an order to a government agency or official to behave in accordance with the law. In this episode, Michael Morguess discusses seeking writs of mandamus for clients fired by government agencies. Michael faces immense pressure with jobs and livelihoods on the line, but the intellectual challenge and thrill of victory buoy his non-traditional litigation practice.
Patent attorney Carlos Rosario, graduate of Santa Clara University School of Law, was first attracted to intellectual property in law school because he found technology exciting. Though he graduated 3.5 years ago, he has twice switched firms in Silicon Valley to strike an ideal balance between patent prosecution and patent litigation. Today, Carlos works for one of the largest global intellectual property firms.
Tricia Dennis is a graduate of the University of Tennessee School of Law and has been a personal injury attorney in Chattanooga for almost 30 years. Tricia talks about the struggles she’s faced operating a solo practice specializing in vehicle collisions. She walks us through a plaintiff lawyer’s perspective on client intake, negotiations, settlement, and the process of helping clients navigate an insurance maze.