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Lone Star Lawyers

English, Finance, 1 season, 105 episodes, 3 days, 14 hours, 42 minutes
If you are a young lawyer in Texas looking for ways to help you achieve your career goals, this podcast is for you. We'll talk with some of the top attorneys in Texas and find out what has been the key to their success. As a bonus we'll have fun by taking deep dives into our favorite legal movies!
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Monday Mentors with Waco Estate Planning Attorney Kristen Mynar

Kristen Mynar, a board certified estate planning and probate attorney and partner with Naman, Howell, Smith & Lee in Waco, joins us on today's show. Kristen talks about maximizing your mentors, caring about your clients, and what she looks for when hiring (hint: it's not on a resume!).Her firm/practiceOffices in Waco, FW, San Antonio, AustinMost of the attorneys specialize in something, and there isn't much they don't doHer typical client has high-net worth and a closely held business, so you wind up working with them both on the estate planning and business related issues.Board certified as soon as she could, five years after starting practiceLaw is always changing so always have to stay on top of it; changing administrations can have an impact certainly so watching for whether new laws get passed at the federal levelCurrent exemptions are at all-time highs but set to expire and be cut in half in 2026.Waco is a great community; friendly/competent lawyers; way more money here than you would think, and those people keep their money here.Does a lot of work with partners in the other offices, as well as with clients in the small communities around Waco. Also succession planning for client businesses.Estate Planning can touch a lot of practice areasAdvice to lawyers in practiceHer grammar was a problem in the beginning! So she got red inked on everything for three years.She had great mentors and was a sponge. She listened/learned. Did push back when it looked like there was more than one way to do something.Fortunate to have someone who wanted to teach her how to practice.Much of her practice is drafting/writing, and she kept making the same mistakes at first. So she made a list of all the mistakes she would typically make, and then before submitting anything to the partners would go over that list to see if she had made any of those mistakes.Learn to compensate for yourselfBe humbleTake a minute and think about it! See if you can figure it out. The reader should be able to tell that you at least thought through it.RE: Business development: just be out in the community and make sure people know what you do. Offer to go speak to different groups. Do a good job and care about the client!Advice to Lawyers On The Lateral MarketNot a big believer in resumes.In interviews, looking for personality. Are you a person that I want to practice with? Personable? Easy to talk with?Rapid Fire QuestionsName one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: ability to use their brainWhat habit has been key to your success: keeping my time every dayFavorite app/productivity tool: N/A - all apps are anti-productiveWhat would be listed first on the interest line of your resume: mothering, (low-carb) cooking, loungingFavorite legal movie: Bowl? The Case for ChristThanks again to Kristen Mynar for joining us on today's show!
5/2/202244 minutes, 26 seconds
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Movie Verdicts - Erin Brockovich

Erin Brockovich is an outstanding 2000 film based on a true story about a woman who never gives up, doesn't take no for an answer, and helps get justice for an entire town. Robert and Daniel are joined by special guest Hope Mustakim to break it all down!Check out Hope's Waco ISD campaign page!
4/1/20221 hour, 38 minutes, 31 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Houston Trial Lawyer Spencer Edwards

Spencer Edwards, a shareholder and trial lawyer with The Hudgins Law Firm in Houston, joins us on today's show. Spencer talks about how to conduct yourself in trial, being eager to learn, and demonstrating work ethic in an interview.His firm/practice97 Baylor Law grad (25 years of practice)Catastrophic Injury / Wrongful Death trial lawyer (though hasn't tried one since 2019 due to COVID)COVID has essentially created a backlog of cases and trials, and that hasn't stopped new cases from coming inHas a case set for trial March 1stThe shift in the judiciary has made an impact on the practice (R to D in Harris County), which initially meant actual trial lawyers were on the bench which was helpful. But now, there has been a shift in competence, experience, and consistency as well, which creates a different dynamicMore high dollar verdicts in recent years has injected uncertainty on the defense side in valuing cases as well as emboldened plaintiff's lawyersAdvice to lawyers in practiceRemember that you are going to work with/against lawyers/judges again, so don't be a jerk!ChillNo need to be super aggressiveOnly takes one moment to damage your reputationThrow inside if you must, but don't throw a beanball!If another attorney does that to you, however, you have to be willing to push back, especially in front of the juryIf rules of procedure/evidence don't apply, then they aren't going to apply, so don't be the only one confined by themAlso have to be prepared for rulings against you, even if they are clearly wrongDo it with a smile on your face; don't lose your cool; don't try to embarrass the judge; you can get makeup calls!Keep perspectiveYou are going to lose cases, even some you should have won (you'll probably win some you should have lost)Don't let losses devastate youExude confidence in the courtroom; act like you feel like you can/should winDon't be afraid to ask dumb questions / pride is dangerous to a young lawyerAnd ask whyDon't make the same mistake twiceIf something needs to get done right now, that might not be the best time to push back/challenge/ask why...just do it! Find the right time/context.The best way to develop business is to do good work; and then watch the way lawyers at your firm develop their business and imitate thatLearn how to talk on the phone! Older partners/clients expect it and are used to itAdvice to Lawyers On The Lateral MarketHe's not a big resume guy!At their firm, a couple of younger lawyers review all the resumes and decide who to interview, and so he rarely sees the resumes. Also, law schools vary with their grading scales, so it is hard to compare candidates based on thatImpressed with work history (even in high school and college) that demonstrates work ethicImportant to bring up these things in an interview if you realize it could help you, since these items are likely not on your legal resumeFinal ThoughtFrom Professor Matt Dawson's speech to his law school graduating class: "I'm a smart guy, but that's not why I have been successful. I am successful because I have always worked hard. Don't get outworked. Don't let the other side beat you by outworking you." Great trial lawyer advice.Rapid Fire QuestionsName one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: Eager to learnWhat habit has been key to your success: Get some sleepFavorite app/productivity tool: WhiteboardWhat would be listed first on the interest line of your resume: Baseball / AstrosFavorite legal movie: My Cousin VinnyThanks again to Spencer Edwards for joining us on today's show!
3/28/202245 minutes, 54 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Waco Litigator Dave Deaconson

Dave talks about being known as a trial lawyer, being proactive, and conversational interviews.
2/21/202237 minutes, 59 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Fort Worth Sports Lawyer Christian Dennie

Christian Dennie, a sports lawyer, commercial litigator, and partner at Barlow, Garsek, & Simon in Fort Worth, joins us on today's show. Christian talks about understanding the case, demonstrating grit, and how the new name, image, and likeness legislation is playing out thus far.His firm/practiceFirm is headquartered in Fort Worth with a Southlake officeCommercial firm (no criminal)He focuses on sports clients but does a number of things under that umbrella including arbitrationFort Worth / Tarrant County legal practiceSmall town with over 1M peoplePlenty of large businessesLots of lifersMore local/Texas based firmsCollegial and supportive of one anotherNew name, image, and likeness NCAA rules and state laws, as well as potential changes to the NCAA constitution are significant issuesAdvice to lawyers in practiceHave someone that will take you under their wing and serve as a mentor to you and help you learn/growYou win lawsuits in the library and not the courtroomSometimes the law is not on your side but you need to be creative because things need to changeCan happen in the courtroom with a decision, ORIn a settlement or outside of the courtroom...can be just as good as a decisionTake the case and figure it outIt's not about sitting in your office 18 hours a day to show that you are committed; but it's not about the hoursYou are a problem solverIdeal is to be at a law firm that has enough work that you aren't having to "create time" to meet your billable hour requirementsDaniel recalls former guest Jim Chester's advice to never leave a partner's office without the DDB (deadline / deliverable / budget).Important for the client to understand what they are asking as wellFormulate a game plan early for how you are going to generate the clients you wantPut yourself around the clients you want, but with the expertise you have even if that is different than what you ultimately want to doUnderstand the culture/business/environment of the clients you want to serveAdvice to Lawyers On The Lateral MarketDemonstrate the work you have doneHow does your work history match what the firm needsIs there a cultural fit?If you played sports in college or beyond that stands out to him because of the grit factorTrial experience, judicial clerkships, real estate deals/closings, employment contract experience all looks goodIf you don't have those things, do you have the interest, curiosity, and willingness to transitionSports Law Not a lot of large national deals yet2nd Circuit Court of Appeals / Gatto caseLots of local/regional dealsJust making sure they comply with state law, because if they don't then they won't comply with NCAA rulesContract can't extend beyond eligibility and there are multiple places in agreements where perpetual licenses are insertedBonuses based on results are not permissible and some of the early contracts had those in thereSchools are starting to get a better grasp of itTexas' law specifically says you can't use logos/marks which can cause issuesSome schools are trying to figure out how to permit the useHouston Travis Scott concertWas there adequate security?What does the license on the ticket say and do we have an enforceable arbitration clause?What if you are forced to click a link to go out and read the fine print of the license?Insurance?The NCAA recommendations on constitution/bylaw changes is a major issue in college athletics; especially if we see more power pushed down to the conference levelRapid Fire QuestionsName one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: Ability to roll up the sleeves and get after it; willing to do what it takes; send the fax!What habit has been key to your success: understanding the client; establishing trustFavorite app/productivity tool: TwitterWhat would be listed first on the interest line of your resume: sports and family; stand-up paddle boardingFavorite legal movie: A Time to Kill / My Cousin VinnyFirst date of OU/TX in the SEC: 2023Thanks again to Christian Dennie for joining us on today's show!
11/15/202146 minutes, 35 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Houston Legal Recruiter Anne Heaviside

Anne Heaviside, a managing director and legal recruiter with ELR in Houston, joins us on today's show. Anne talks about the lateral legal market, work from home policies, and top tips for candidates. Her firm and roleELR Legal is in the Tanglewood area of HoustonSpecializes in 2-10 year lawyers in Texas law firms / mostly Houston / mostly Big Law (AmLaw 200)Got her start practicing law, including at McGlinchy Stafford. She then took over the recruiting role there before stepping out to work as a legal recruiter on the outsideLegal Market Update2019 was good as was the start of 2020COVID put everything on hold until about November 2020November things opened up, especially in the Big Law corporate world (Can you say SPACs?!)Capital MarketsM&APrivate EquityDebt Finance2021 only got hotterBig signing bonuses ($10k-$50k)There are not enough corporate associates in Texas for the demandThe need is new work. Clients have more demand from Big Law firms and there aren't enough 3-6 year associates with the necessary skills.Record number of lateral moves in Houston and DallasPlus new Big Law firms opening up in AustinSeptember hit and those associates have worked between 2000-2800 hours already in 2021 and are no longer taking recruiter calls; they are waiting for their year-end bonus before lateralling at the start of 2022.Real Estate an Executive Comp/Employee Benefits have gotten hotBig Law litigation is cool/slowLitigation boutiques are hiring but they are super picky (think Big Law requirements)Davis Polk raised the first year starting salaries from $190k to $205k and Cravath (the previous trend setter) matched (as have several others now). Has led to some mid/small firms rethink their comp.Big Law v. Small LawCorporate v. LitigationHardly any small/mid corporate firmsNo sign of slowing down in 2022In this market, small/mid associates and in-house lawyers CAN make a move to Big LawWork/Office ArrangementsFlexibility is here to stay (in Big Law)How flexible is the questionAmLaw 50 is still at home in Houston or back in the office by choiceMultiple office firms across the county/internationally have a hard time making different policies for different officesAmLaw 200 will likely move to a 3/2 (three days in the office and two at home)Though new associates will likely be required to be in the office for the training/mentorship/culture/etc.Mid-levels and Senior associates will likely push for even moreSmall firmsWill likely have more variety of policiesMore likely to be in the office than the Big Law firmsChallenges to flex workLack of integration within the firmWhat happens when promotion time comes or the work slows down and layoffs are required? Will the person who has been at home be disadvantaged versus the one who has been in the office?How can we replicate the in-office benefits and experiences that we don't want to lose?Advice to Lawyers On The Lateral MarketThis is not OCI anymoreNot tell me about yourself or what practice to you want to go inThere is a specific need they are looking to fillSo firm needs to understand exact experienceIf you have stellar academics (great grades at a great law school), list that first. Otherwise start with your law firm experience3-6 bullets under each position communicating exactly what you doYour role in what types of deals/casesYou can take out the bullets under internships or clerkships if you need spaceIf you have been practicing for at least 3+ years you need a deal sheetKnow as much about the job you are applying for as possible so you can tailor your experience to the needLitigators definitely need a writing sampleGPA on the resume if it was at least a 3.2 (Big Law still cares even for laterals)Big Law resumes don't need interest sections, but small law firms will often like to see itIf you do have it, make the interests unique, specificFinal ThoughtIf you are going to use a recruiter, look for those who have contacts at the firms you are interested inRecruiters can help navigate some tough conversations and issues that come up (conflicts, negotiating offers, etc.)Once your resume gets submitted to a firm (whether directly or through a recruiter), another recruiter won't be able to help you for at least 6-12 months at that firm. So be mindful.Pros/Cons about using one or multiple recruiters, but one tends to work better for the candidate.Candidates should give thought to whether they want to use a recruiter BEFORE they start doing anything in the process; this allows for any recruiter to best help you.Recruiters can give insight on comp, especially in smaller firms where there isn't a standard scaleRapid Fire QuestionsName one trait/characteristic employers most want to see in an associate: smartWhat habit has been key to your success: consistencyFavorite app/productivity tool: LinkedinWhat would be listed first on the interest line of your resume: Food blogging / foodieFavorite legal movie: Legally Blonde / PodcastThanks again to Anne Heaviside for joining us on today's show!
11/8/202158 minutes, 12 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Dallas Real Estate Lawyer Shameer Soni

Shameer Soni, managing partner and real estate lawyer with Patel Law Group in Dallas, joins us on today's show. Shameer talks about starting a law firm, the real estate practice, communicating via resume, and wide receivers v. linemen.His firm/practiceRuns the real estate practice: multi-family purchase/sale/development.Works with retail/industrial/hospitality clients as wellStarted the firm 11 years ago with two other partners built around entrepreneurs and business owners. The idea was to represent these clients in their core business as well as their investment portfolio (i.e. real estate).Started with clients whose core businesses were doctors, IT staffing, hotelLed to corporate immigration and real estate practice areasAlso had/have a title companyNow have a litigation practice as well that has recently pared down to work with clients adjacent to the real estate practiceGot his start at a larger firm doing entertainment/film finance in Atlanta, but when he came over to start this firm, the Dallas/Texas market didn't support the film finance area, which led to the transition to real estateHe went to every networking event, meetup in the beginning to get the firm off the groundHis partner Anish went to a networking breakfast every week at 6am at Steak and ShakeThere is no bad meeting, no bad meetup. Your network has value in perpetuity.In the early days, he built relationships with lawyers who knew what they were doing and were willing to help when he got into situations he was unsure aboutLearned a lot about firm culture and the things they wanted in a firm while working for others, and then used that info to build the culture in their firm. Want to be the un-law firm law firm. From social interaction to limiting hourly billing (they do zero hourly billing on the transactional side). Conduct exit interviews with lawyers who leave and learn more about ways to improve the firm's culture.Market90% of their work is in Texas; 60% in north Texas.Deals ranging from $2M to $300M and all of those are in a strong market right now.Industrial is hot right now as well.Community retail is picking up.Hotels were crushed and remain so for now.Residential is on fire in Texas, but COVID has slowed down the process with supply chain issues, etc.Advice to lawyers in practiceLearn business development and client relationships early; be proactive in asking to go with your partner on client visitsLearn everything about a deal, not just your specific task/roleDo as many meetings as you canYou want to become a profit center as soon as possible rather than be a cost center for the firmRecognize that you are part of the deal and collaborating with the client for a win-win scenario; it is more than just a piece of paperClients aren't hiring you to be a title review guy; they are hiring you to do a dealMust understand the forest and not just your treeEstablish trust with your partners quickly so they are comfortable bringing you along to meet partners without embarrassing themAdvice to Lawyers On The Lateral MarketRecognize what the firm is looking for and make sure your documents clearly communicate your ability to meet those needsBe specific about what you have doneWhat size deals?What type of deals?What role did you have?Find ways to connect with the partners (did you go to the same law school?)He rewrites his bio on the law firm website every quarter! It is a good exercise to think about when writing/rewriting your resume.Looking for the right fit for the need they have at the timeBroadway show staffing exampleFootball recruiting exampleFinal ThoughtAttitude makes up for a lot; skills can be learned/taught. Much harder to teach personality/attitude/mindset.Rapid Fire QuestionsName one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: work ethicWhat habit has been key to your success: persistenceFavorite app/productivity tool: NetdocsWhat would be listed first on the interest line of your resume: Formula One racingFavorite legal movie: Liar Liar / podcastThanks again to Shameer Soni for joining us on today's show!
10/25/202148 minutes, 16 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Houston Entertainment Lawyer Erin Rodgers

Erin Rodgers, entertainment lawyer and shareholder at Rodgers Selvera, joins us on today's show! Erin talks about the ever changing entertainment industry, knowing your value, and the interest section on your resume.Her firm/practicePartnered with Sergio SelveraHe had stopped practicing for a time to start a record label when he came to a CLE where she was speaking.She became his lawyer for a time, and then he decided he wanted to practice again and they decided to partner upEntertainment lawMusic/TV/Writers/etc.Non-profitIP / contractualShe has a music degree and is still a performer, which has helped her build the practice through the relationships she hasHouston is the 4th largest city in the country so there is a lot of art businessAustin has a better marketing department for its arts sceneBut much of the work is federal and the communication can be done remotely, so geography doesn't tend to matter as muchBeing an artist helps her understand what clients are going through as new technologies/distribution/etc. issues come upTextbooks can't keep up with the changes in the industryStudents can help you keep up!One record label friend says they are predominately marketing new music via Tik Tok and FortniteWhy not you? (when it comes to practicing entertainment law)Do something every day that moves you forward to the thing you want to do.Entertainment Law is an amalgam of things that already exist (copyright, entity formation, trademarks, etc.)Non-profit/entertainment/sports have quite a bit of overlap, and for the arts sometimes the entity itself should be a non-profitThere is a new Copyright Royalty BoardEssentially a small claims court/mediation for copyright, since so many "violations" go unchallenged due to the high cost of lawsuitsPros/cons: will make many more people/companies likely to be challenged for their work that takes from othersA panel is supposed to make decisionsAdvice to lawyers in practiceIf you want to practice entertainment law, volunteering with the Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts can provide great experienceShow your sincere interest in the practiceDon't make it more convenient / less costly in time for the lawyer/partner do just do it themselves as opposed to showing you howKnow the value of the service that you offerIf you aren't charging enough, some people/potential clients/referrers may assume you aren't goodUnderstand the marketSetting your rates can help you filter what type of clients you work withOn Work/Life BalanceMake the choice as early on as you canPrioritize certain things on top of your law practice, even if its small chunks of timeMinimize the amount of work that isn't billableThat we can do everything ourselves doesn't mean we shouldAdvice to Lawyers On The Lateral MarketHighlight specific experience that relates to the position, the industryInterests section matters!"want to work in a small office" not the best response to why do you want to work here. Maybe that could be the 4th/5th thing on the list, but certainly shouldn't be the first.Employers can tell when you are sending the same cover letter to every job/employer. Tailor your cover letters! She actually gave credit to those who voluntarily submitted a cover letter when it wasn't asked for.Rapid Fire QuestionsName one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: think on your feet / adaptableWhat habit has been key to your success: work/life balanceFavorite app/productivity tool: pen/paper list and random number generatorWhat would be listed first on the interest line of your resume: playing music (clarinet, accordion, guitar, piano, vocals)Favorite legal movie: Legally Blonde / Lone Star Lawyers Movie Verdicts EpisodeThanks again to Erin Rodgers for joining us on today's show!
10/11/202141 minutes, 11 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Houston Insurance Litigator Marty Sadler

Marty Sadler, insurance litigator with Litchfield Cavo in Houston, joins us on today's show! Marty talks about managing up, maintaining your humanity, and the importance of poise in an interview.His firm/practice22 offices across the nationfull service firmHouston office (15 lawyers) mostly does insurance work (he does 1st party and many in his office do third party)Texas lawyers needed for so much of the weather-generated work (hurricanes/hail/wind) that Texas generatesNew Texas Supreme Court opinion in Hinojos (v. State Farm) - related to payment of claims after an appraisal. Used to be that if you paid promptly, you avoided all the statutory delay interest penalties. The SC took that away.COVID update (9/29/21)With 22 offices there are 22 different COVID situations; every office doing their own thingHouston office: people can decide how much they want to work in the office v. at homeMarty has only been back in the office once since March 2020; and that one time was by order of a Federal Judge for a hearing!Very few in-person hearings; no trials since the start of COVIDExpects he will work in a hybrid office format for the rest of his careerWhat have we lost (or will lose) moving more to relationship online v in-person?Advice to lawyers in practiceAttention to detail is the most salient element for success as a young lawyerLearn how to "manage up" in your professional relationshipsDon't just reactCommunicate with your partners as to what your workload is like and ask for the priority order of the projectsTalk to other associates and see how they work with their partners/supervisorsResources: to productHe can't revise a motion that you haven't given him, or that is missing large piecesHe wants to see the work twice: once as a framework of the work early that he can edit, and then a polished form of the product laterPartners may have a different process, so again it is important for you to get to know what each partner you work for expects/requires. Also have to manage the calendar to allow for the entire process to work before filingOn business developmentLearn how to be a lawyer firstYou don't have to be 50 to get your first referral; young lawyers have an opportunity to get cases early in their careersOn work/life balanceYou can always work longer/harder, so you can become consumed in being a lawyerYou have to figure out a way to remember you are a human being firstDon't go home to the family as a lawyerAdvice to Lawyers On The Lateral MarketHe likes to see some judicial intern/clerk experience if you are a new lawyer so you have been in the courtroomWriting samples are helpfulShow poise in the interview; comfortable and confident when things change on themFind ways to talk about what you bring to the firm and how you will help the firmFinal ThoughtsIf you are an associate, the best thing you can do to improve your career is to make yourself indispensable to your partner(s). Will increase your client contact, chances to do depositions, etc.Rapid Fire QuestionsName one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: poiseWhat habit has been key to your success: attention to detailFavorite app/productivity tool: WordWhat would be listed first on the interest line of your resume: bird photographyFavorite legal movie: To Kill A Mockingbird / My Cousin VinnyCHECK OUT HIS BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY!On Linkedin: again to Marty Sadler for joining us on today's show!
10/4/202142 minutes, 26 seconds
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Monday Mentors with San Antonio Litigator Lauren Valkenaar

Lauren Valkenaar, a partner and commercial litigator with Chasnoff Stribling in San Antonio, joins us on today's show. Lauren talks about having an internal standard, being honest and authentic in your job search, and developing business best practices.Her firm/practiceBoutique litigation firmBusiness/commercial litigationBroke off of a large firm and wanted to maintain the same level of quality but get a little more autonomyFlexible/nimbleCases deal with Breach of Contract, Tortious Interference, Fraud, etc.COVID has changed the way they practiceNot physically in the courtroom, but they have adapted wellZoom hearings will likely stayTheir clients get sued all over the country, so Zoom is a positiveZoom depos are a different thing and in-person is more important thereCOVID also impacting their clientsHow to deal with their employees / working remote or in-officeEveryone is an employment lawyer now (Daniel)Don't get complacent with your technology (Daniel) / Don't be a cat!San AntonioVery collegial barAll the amenities of large city but a smaller town feelGreat mentors because lawyers are close and kindAs a young professional, many more opportunities to get involved in the community and make an impact at a high levelAdvice to lawyers in practiceCreate an internal standard / desire to get it right / goes beyond checking the box / when you know that you are likely the only one to know whether or not you "ran an issue to ground."So much of being a lawyer is internal motivationSurround yourself with great people who keep these high standardsYou are the average of the five people closest to you (Daniel / Jim Rohn)Think about the business aspect of the law firmLearn from people who are different from youBe a team player; that shows up immediately and makes a big impactAre you offering to help on other cases when you are done for the day but others are still working?Focus on the work product / the words / the documentsHave an intellectual curiosity; think/learn beyond the discrete task you are working on; try to get a handle on the larger picture and how your piece fits inDon't be a jerkDon't have sloppy work productCommunicate, especially if you are doing work for multiple partner with different deadlines. Don't just be silent.On business development:Plant seeds and build relationships with zero expectations they will turn into businessYour law school classmates can become your clients or referral sources; stay in touch with them!Do great workGet involved in the communityDon't do something for the sole purpose of developing business: rarely does that workOver time, business will come in more from referrals based upon the work you have done for someone; but that takes time to build upAdvice to Lawyers On The Lateral MarketNo typos in the resume!Connection to the type of work should show through in the resumeContinuity and not a lot of jumping around firm to firmThe more specific you can be on the resume the better in order to show what they've done and accomplished in their prior/current roles. Helps you to stand out, but also for the interviewer to know how to slot you in if they do hire you. How much training will you need, etc.?Come to the interview prepared with questionsAvoid arrogance/entitlement; that's a turnoffHonesty and authenticity shines throughFinal ThoughtsBe honest and self-aware in what you are looking for in a firm; those are critical to making a good match in the hiring process.Rapid Fire QuestionsName one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: Grit (book by Angela Duckworth; Ted Talk)What habit has been key to your success: Never assuming; always go back and double checkFavorite app/productivity tool: RemarkableWhat would be listed first on the interest line of your resume: Travel (Italy; Cambodia)Favorite legal movie: A Time To KillThanks again to Lauren Valkenaar for joining us on today's show!
9/20/202145 minutes, 27 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Texas Plaintiffs Lawyer Andrew Tuegel

Andrew Tuegel, a plaintiff's attorney and partner with Simpson, Simpson, & Tuegel in Bridgeport (TX), joins us on today's show. Andrew talks about knowing your jurisdiction, becoming indispensable, being honest in an interview, and Ted Lasso. His firm/practiceLocated in Wise County (NW of Fort Worth); Decatur is the county seat and their office is in BridgeportSmall firm that focuses on plaintiff personal injury / wrongful death / mass tort practice. Most of the work is contingent fee; the rest is local business.Majority of client base is in Wise County and the western part of the metroplex. Mass tort clients are nationwide.Likes that he has tried cases all over the country, since even with the local clients, the case itself may get filed in other jurisdictions.If you are filing in jurisdictions are aren't familiar with, know the substantive law that appliesTwo jurisdictions in U.S. that still have a 1% comparative fault/contributory negligence bar to recovery (Virginia and North Carolina), so that might determine whether or not to take a case of where to file, etc.Understand how the contingency fees can be structured (Texas has no cap other than not unconscionable; pretty wide latitude, but others have specific limitations on contingence fees)...this is a factor in how to evaluate/value the case.Plaintiff lawyers are nervous every time the legislature meetsBig push for HB 19 (tort reform in trucking wreck context) that became effective 9/1.Texas Supreme Court case recently allowed people pursing uninsured motorist claims can also get attorney fees.COVID update (as of 8/19)He has a case set for the end of SeptemberHe was recently in a hearing where mid-way through the judge had to end the hearing early because some type of exposure had occurred in the courthouse.Nothing moves cases like firm trial dates.Criminal trials take precedence and will bump the civil casesAdvice to lawyers in practiceMake yourself indispensable; find something that you can contribute to the team and that you are the best at. Become a necessary part of the team (shoutout to Baylor Law's Practice Court)When he was with Harrison Steakley, Matt Morrison was the partner on a bunch of opioid overdose cases that needed a lot of expert/technical witnesses and related depositions, etc. He was good at briefing on these expert issues and making sure they could keep their expert and get rid of the other side's expert.This led to him becoming part of the trial team for one of the cases in Utah, and then in Maine, and then in North Carolina. And while he briefed like crazy, he also got to take some of the witnesses at trial.If you do well with a little thing, you will get more opportunities with larger things. The inverse is true: if you don't do the little things well, you won't get the larger opportunities.Become the expert on novel or local rules/laws; this is a place for young lawyers to become the most knowledgeable about an area within their firm.Steve Harrison, legendary Waco trial lawyer and a gentleman-rancher, said that in every law firm, you need some combination of chicken getters and chicken pluckers. And lawyers need to figure out where they are in the getter/plucker scale. Getter = bringing in clients/cases/business; Pluckers = bill hours/push cases/do the work. Some people are a combination of both. But you need to contribute to a firm in one or both of these ways in order to be valuable to them.Re: business development from the plaintiff's side:the more serious a case, the more relational the business development is going to be, either with the potential client or referral source (another attorney, friend of the client, etc.)the less serious a case, the more a Google search or a response to an ad can workSome of the best PI lawyers get their referrals from other lawyersA lot of the advertising PI lawyers will actually wind up referring the case to the best trial lawyer in that area rather than trying it themselvesAdvice to lawyers on the lateral marketBe honest about what your experience isit's okay if you haven't done something or only done it a few times; the interviewer just needs to know what you can do on day oneBe willing to learn and workOn the plaintiff's side, understand it is a results-oriented business (not an hours billed business)Must be willing to do what it takes to win (within the bounds of ethical)Ted Lasso CommentaryHe is a big soccer fan (Liverpool) and was immediately interested once he first became aware of itOriginal Ted Lasso commercials for the premiere league coming to NBC from 2013!!Come for the humor; stay for the heart!Addresses tough subjects without being preachy, but we're going to talk about it.Can use some of this to talk with people in your own life about these subjectsRapid Fire QuestionsName one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: WillingnessWhat habit has been key to your success: Get up earlyFavorite app/productivity tool: TwitterWhat would be listed first on the interest line of your resume: PilotFavorite legal movie: Legally Blonde / podcastThanks again to Andrew Tuegel for joining us on today's show!
9/13/20211 hour, 5 minutes, 33 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Varsity Search President Daniel Hare

Daniel Hare is the founder and president of Varsity Search, a legal recruiting company dedicated to building great teams by bringing together lawyers and law firms. In this episode, Daniel provides and update on the legal hiring market, as well as some tips on how to productively work with a legal recruiter.Legal Market UpdateBig Law Lateral market is active, with a focus on M&A and Private EquityHolland & Knight merged with Thompson & Knight, effective 8/1More large firms are adding/growing their Texas presenceQuinn Emanuel added an Austin office to their Texas footprint in Houston, and is looking at DallasEnergy, tech, private equity, IP are leading practice areasTexas-based firms trying to hang inBig Law start salaries have gone to $205k, scaling to $365k for year 8Full scale, putting 3rd/4th year lawyers at $240k-$275kMuch of this is specific to big law; how does it impact small/medium firmsWhile I often think about Big Law and all other law as two different economies, the reality is Big Law does have an impactTrying to recruit Big Law associates to the boutiques has become more difficult financially. A $150k salary for a third year lawyer may not have seemed like a terrible pay cut when they were making $205k or $215k. Now they are making $240k, $250k. A $100k cut is a lot for anyone.These salaries will continue to trend of Big Law focusing on corporate/transactional areas and pushing the expensive litigation matters to the boutiques.What I’m seeing in small firm recruiting / anecdotalA lot of activity / strong marketHeavier on the litigation side (some for reasons above)Salaries in the $100k-$170k depending on the firm, the level of candidate’s experience, etc.Insurance defense, government/admin, and family law tend to be on the lower end by virtue of the legal fees those client bases are willing to pay.Firms servicing small/mid-size companies will tend to pay moreEmployers like candidates who haven't bounced around to a lot of different firmsIf that's you, highlight it in interviews; it's a strength!If that's not you, be prepared to address this issueEven if you aren't asked directlyDon't bad-mouth prior employers, but instead talk positively about the employer you moved toPivot to why the firm you are interviewing with presents an opportunity you value and are interested in.Preference tends to go to candidates who have been able to get more hands-on experience earlier. So if you can start taking depos and handling hearings early on, that makes you more valuable to a potential lateral employer.Make sure your resume doesn't just read like a job description the firm's HR department would write; use specifics, highlight accomplishments, add numbersRelocation is possiblePrepare to communicate your reason for the move to the new city beyond the jobIt can be an advantage in more niche areas where firms know each other in a city and prefer not to poachHow to work productively with a legal recruiterShare what you are up toHave you already applied somewhere?Firms won't work with recruiters if they already have a relationship with you, so we as recruiters will want to avoid reaching out to those firms.We also want to see the types of firms/jobs you have applied to; it helps us know what you are looking for.If you want to use a recruiter, you should limit these direct applications because it limits how/where we can helpBe open/honest about what you are looking forWe can only help you if you tell us what you are looking for.I feel bad when a candidate takes a position in a city/practice area they had never mentioned before, because perhaps I could have helped them find something better/sooner/etc.Sometimes things change; that’s okay! Just keep us updated.Talk with us before you respond to an offerSometimes it can feel tempting to just take the offer or make a counter offer that isn’t far from the original offer, but best to get our perspective first. Your instincts might be right; but you also might wind up leaving money on the table.Enjoy your Labor Day Weekend next week and we'll be back with a new episode the following Monday!
8/30/202145 minutes, 27 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Dallas Corporate Immigration Lawyer Jessica Mullins-Ta

Jessica Mullins-Ta, a corporate immigration lawyer and partner Berry Appleman & Leiden in Dallas, joins us on today's show. Jessica talks about knowing how to look for the answer, prioritizing balance, and eliminating those resume typos!Her firm/practicerepresent companies in bringing their employees to the US so they can get the appropriate visas that allow them to workshe joined the firm out of law school to do more of their litigation matters, but stayed on and grew into the immigration practiceregardless of what's going on in the politics of it, there is always an impact and always changes in substance and emphasismost embassies are shut down right now; many workers are stuck there and can't get back to the U.S.businesses are no longer satisfied with pausing travel, so executives and consultants are traveling internationally which has been a challenge with state department restrictions (but those have relaxed some of those (as of the date of recording / July 8)large businesses make up a big percentage of certain types of work visas (especially those for quick, one day travel/meeting types of visas among C-level), but other types of workers and visas can be found throughout the economy through mid-size and small businesses, particularly in the STEM fieldstechoil & gasgovernment (and contractors)universitiesresearchin some areas, the regulations haven't been updated quick enough to keep up with the advancements in techAdvice to lawyers in practiceNeed to overcome the fear of not knowingYou won't know the answer but you have the tools, and that's okayUnderstand where to start looking for an answer, and take the lead on what you think is the right direction.She is a working mom who errs on the side of not saying no (to anyone), and that isn't sustainableburnout is realbalance is importanteven if you feel like you can take more on, that doesn't mean you shouldtake your full maternity leaveif you are unhappy it may be how you are practicing law and not the actual practice of law; evaluate this before you leave the professionmany times we put this pressure/expectation on ourselvesCan help to have a California/international offices of your firm which typically has more mental health/vacation/leaveDon't be overconfident and miss an issue or a risk, or present a client with assurances that you shouldn't/can't provideBe eager to learn and ask questionsAdvice to Lawyers On The Lateral MarketNo typos! Employers will think you don't care enough to make sure the resume is correct, your work product won't be good eitherKnow what the firm is looking for. Do they need a writer? A trial lawyer? An administrative/forms lawyer?Highlight your strengths, interests and experiences so the firm can figure out if you fit what they needIn the interview, are you engaging? Relatable? Client skills are harder to teach than the actual substantive law, so that is what they are looking to see whether you have it or you don't.Final ThoughtsLeadership appreciates people who work hard and try hard, and if you do what it takes to learn what you don't know, it will be appreciated.Integrity mattersRapid Fire QuestionsName one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: willingness to tryWhat habit has been key to your success: always assuming I'm wrong, and trying to prove itFavorite app/productivity tool: proprietary firm dashboardWhat would be listed first on the interest line of your resume: hip-hop music (Jay-Z)Favorite legal movie: Legally BlondeThanks again to Jessica Mullins-Ta for joining us on today's show!
8/23/202144 minutes, 36 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Houston Fiduciary Litigator Kathleen Tanner Beduze

Kathleen Turner Beduze, a fiduciary litigator and shareholder at Crain Caton & James in Houston, joins us on today's show. Kathleen talks about showing confidence and curiosity, turning interviews into conversations, and of course, Free Britney!Her firm/practiceHer practice focuses on fiduciary litigation and guardianship work2015 revamped guardianship codelegislature is generally against full-blown guardianships, preferring things like power-of-attorneys instead (and less court supervision)Impacts the planning attorneys in trying to figure out what should be in the general estate planning documentsFirm45+ attorneysfirm handles almost everything except for family and environmentalHas grown over the yearsPros/cons to being midsize firmwork/life balancenot the same rates as large firms (but this can lead to more business as well)quality of work can be the same as Big LawWhat's up with "Free Britney!"?Go read/listen to her letter to the courtRecognize that California is much different than Texas when it comes to guardianshipsHow is her father getting a % of her gig money in his capacity as conservator as opposed to business manager/agent?Covid Update (7/1/21)Courts - completely depends on where you are.She had an in-person jury trial in Galveston in Mayjurors were six feet apart and split between the jury box and the galleryMontgomery was holding in-person hearings as wellHarris County not in-person yet (early fall setting for an in-person trial)Has done trials by Zoom so it can workClientsTheir clients are all over the nation, and the rise in video calls haveAdvice for Zoom hearings/trials/depos/etc.You have to be preparedOne of the biggest complaints from judges is lawyers taking things to casually/informally; treat it like you are in personRemember that your face is always on camera and someone may be looking at you when you don't realize itAdvice to lawyers in practiceHave confidence in yourself; not necessarily in specific areas of the law that you haven't learned yet, but in your abilities to write, research, speak, strategize, etc. This isn't ego or arrogance; there's a difference.Be willing to pitch a new idea or something that other may not have thought of yetIt is okay if your personality and a client's personality don't exactly jive; don't worry about it.Ask questions of partners and more senior lawyers; admit if you don't know something; communicateEx. if you are overloaded with work from other partners and you get a new assignment from a new partnerIf you don't understand, repeat the instructionsTake notes! Don't show up without a pen/paper! You will forget!(Daniel refers to Jim Chester's DDB (Deadline/Deliverable/Budget))Advice to lawyers on the lateral marketOn paperAcademics do matterBeyond that, extracurriculars/interests matter to her. She wants to know what the person is like. Use your documents to show your unique path to where you are today.Show why you are differentShow why you are looking to move and why you want to work here. A lot of bouncing around raises questions and doesn't look great.In an interviewExhibit calmness; don't show your nervesPractice the interview beforehand to try to help with thisCome with good/specific questions that show you have prepared and are familiar with the firm and the interviewersA conversation is better than straight Q/AFinal ThoughtsBe comfortable with who you are, what you are doing, and what you are wanting to do; find the right level of work/life balance that works for you.Everything comes in waves/stages in life, so just recognize that.(Daniel) Don't feel stuck in something if your life circumstances change and don't judge yourself to harshly if you make changesNever meet a stranger; build and maintain your networkRapid Fire QuestionsName one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: communicationWhat habit has been key to your success: perseveranceFavorite app/productivity tool: iTimekeepWhat would be listed first on the interest line of your resume: familyFavorite legal movie: Legally Blonde (Podcast) / The FirmThanks again to Kathleen Turner Beduze for joining us on today's show!
8/16/202149 minutes, 6 seconds
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The Law of Seinfeld

In this Movie Verdicts-esque episode, special guest Bobby Soltani joins Daniel to talk all things legal in Seinfeld.We discuss:The various trials and casesKramer v. Java WorldKramer v. Big TobaccoThe City of New York v. Newman (x2)Kramer v. Sue Ellen MitschkeClaire v. PlayNowThe lawyers in the showJackie Chiles (if you know you know)Vanessa (early Jerry girlfriend)Cheryl (immigration lawyer who also sues Elaine)Schellbach (estate lawyer / Ben Stein)Frank Costanza's divorce lawyer (Larry David / the man in the cape)The judges in the showJudge Arthur Vandelay (played by Movie Verdicts veteran Stanley Anderson)Judge Sackett (Newman's speeding ticket trial)Judge Hart (Newman's parking ticket trial)Judge ?? (Kramer v. Mitschke)Several movie verdicts-style awardsMore!Surprise after the ending music so listen all the way through! (hint: Seinfeld character Cameo)
8/12/20211 hour, 54 minutes, 37 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Seattle Patent Lawyer Bobby Soltani

Bobby Soltani, patent and IP lawyer with Seed IP in Seattle, joins us on today's show! Bobby talks about his career journey through IP law, knowing your audience, and how many lateral moves it takes to raise a red flag.His firm/practiceLargest IP boutique in the pacific NWHe works in patent prosecution, mostly in electronics and softwareIn the software space, lots of discussion about what is patent eligible subject matter; statutes are generally silent (i.e. broad) but courts are drawing lines much more strictlylots of variation in both the courts and the patent office, so can present challenges with advising clientsCOVID update (as of June 16th)Most of the firm and their clients are still working from homeMostly been able to seamlessly transition and continue working with clientsSome sectors of clients have been hit hard by the pandemic, while others have seen growth (i.e. gaming)Career trackStarted at a small boutique patent firm in Boulder, COGot lots of hands on experience and immediate client contactAll prosecution / no litigationWent to Seattle in 2010 to work with a large firm50% patent prosecution / 50% litigationDiscovered that litigation didn't fit his personalityMoved to Seed in 2013 to return to full-time patent prosecution and at an IP boutiqueIn his experience, plenty of patent/IP litigators didn't have the hard science background that is required for patent prosecution and some litigation. Though it can be a bit tougher to get your foot in the door without it.Sometimes being a lay person can be helpful, since the judge and jury likely won't have that background eitherJudge Albright and the Western District of Texas in Waco is now an IP litigation hot spotAdvice to lawyers in practiceKnow the audience you are communicating with and respond directly to what is being askedGet comfortable with the process of learning how to be a lawyerShow ownership and dedication to the work and the projectsKeep an open line of communication with any partners you are doing work forBe creativeOn work/life balance:Reducing commutes can really help, as the pandemic has revealedThough it can be tough to separate work from home when you work at homeFirms providing more mental/physical health benefits/programs can be helpful, though lawyers need to take advantage of themAnalytical skills will become even more important as legal practice evolves over time and as things like LPOs and AI take on more routine tasksAdvice to lawyers on the lateral marketIf looking at a specialized firm, know that it may be looking for that specific background/education/experience that precisely fits the need of the position.Demonstrate a consistency in growing and challenging yourself.One or two moves early on in someone's career doesn't raise too much of a flag for him, but six or seven moves in the same number of years would likely raise concerns.Candidates would be wise to address this issue head on in an interview or cover letterKnow that small/boutique firms usually want to hire people who they will like and get along with, and will enjoy working with day in / day outFinal ThoughtsWork hardWork on your relationships; stay in touch with your law school colleaguesRapid Fire QuestionsName one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: dedicationWhat habit has been key to your success: keeping a daily task listFavorite app/productivity tool: OneNoteWhat would be listed first on the interest line of your resume: TennisFavorite legal movie: 12 Angry MenThanks again to Bobby Soltani for joining us on today's show!
8/9/202134 minutes, 30 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Austin Family Lawyer JoAl Cannon Sheridan

JoAl Cannon Sheridan, family lawyer and founder of Sheridan Family Law in Austin, joins us on today's show! JoAl talks about growing up with a lawyer father, the latest in family law, and balancing confidence with humility.Her firm/practiceShe is originally from Mexia, TX, which is perhaps known best by a joke that went "viral" decades ago:This older couple was driving East on 84 out of Waco, and kept seeing the signs for Mexia. Being that they were old and married and argued about everything, they got into an argument about how to properly pronounce "Mexia."As they pulled into town they decided they needed to settle the debate once an for all. They immediately saw the sign for Dairy Queen and pulled into the parking lot. They walked up to the counter where a bright-eyed young high school girl was manning the register, and they asked, "How do you say the name of this place?"The girl got a confused look and said back very slowly... "DAI-RY QUEEN."Joe Cannon is her dad and a well known lawyer who just retiredCowrote the Texas desegregation bill in the 1960sShe would go to his office all the time as a kid, and always knew she wanted to be a lawyerAfter years at a couple of other firms, started her own firmNiche areasThird-party custodyInternational/jurisdictionalDrawn to family law because it is a calling and a ministryDealing with great people at the saddest points in their lifeTakes a certain personality and callingShe also has a love for animals and thought about becoming a veterinarian (but didn't have the stomach for it!)Family law updateThe pandemicPeople who are forced into house arrest for 15 months either brings you closer or pushes people apartHas caused family law practice to be very busySupreme Court did the right thing by ordering parents to honor custody arrangements and not use COVID as an excuse to ignore themNew rule as of 1/1/21 - Mandatory disclosures due 30 days after an answer is dueLawyers believe they are the better judges of their lawsuitsNot every case needs full blown discoveryRule 11 agreements to defer that are very commonTwo new Supreme Court decisionsIn re CJC (2020)Lots of ways to have standing as a non-parent, but two main ones (you had actual care/possession in the past six months OR you are family and the child's health is at issue)Overturned In re: VLK (2000) which said there was no parental presumption in a modification (so this was a best interest of the child test)So now there is a parental presumptionIn re H?? (2019)For the six month rule, how do you define care/possession?Excludes daycare workers, etc.If you were making day-to-day decisions for the child, feeding them, taking them to the doctorThis is a standing question; doesn't mean they will get custody, but gives them their day in courtPracticing during COVID (as of 6/30/21)Challenging and just not the same versus being in the same room with peopleVarious courts are opening up at different paces depending on your countyTravis County on 9/1Rural counties have already opened upLive bench conferences / administrative hearings / uncontested dockets etc. will likely continue by virtual/video stream depending on the judge/jurisdictionAdvice to lawyers in practiceRespect your eldersDon't get overly aggressive trying to prove yourself; give deference to a more experienced attorneyCivility is importantUnderstand the big picture and the lay of the landShow good judgment and maturityAdmit that you don't 100% understand what you are doingShare what you are thinking and ask another attorney what they thinkDon't get into the mud with your clientsThis can be very difficultRecognize it doesn't help you be a better lawyer/advocate for your client when you do thisFind a good mentortakes the time to show you the ropesBe realistic with your clients, and don't let them dictate how you work the caseYour reputation with judges is on the line, and if you aren't reasonable with requests or haven't made a reasonable effort to settle the case, it will impact your ability to help clients when you do have to be in the courtroomAdvice to lawyers on the lateral marketFirms may need different roles/experiences at different times, so know what they are looking forCommunicate to employers why you want to do what you doIntegrity mattersDress appropriately for all interviewsBring your A gameConfident plus humblefine line between promoting yourself (which you have to do in an interview) and not being arrogantBe eager to do well and make a differenceChemistry/fit with the firmKnow your audience and do your research, but don't go overboard with personal researchWhy do you want to work here?Final ThoughtsGive service back to the professionBar workPro BonoIt is important and makes your work more fulfillingAnother way to pursue work/life balanceRapid Fire QuestionsName one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: loyaltyWhat habit has been key to your success: To-do listsFavorite app/productivity tool: ClioWhat would be listed first on the interest line of your resume: scuba divingFavorite legal movie: To Kill A Mockingbird (podcast)/ Legally Blonde (podcast)Thanks again to JoAl Cannon Sheridan for joining us on today's show!
8/2/202144 minutes, 3 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Houston Medical Malpractice Lawyer Mary Green

Mary Green, medical malpractice and personal injury lawyer with Pierce Skrabanek in Houston, joins us on today's show! Mary talks about organization, asking the how and why, and moving from the defense side to the plaintiff's side.Her firm/practiceMedical malpractice lawBiggest changes were in 2003 tort reformNow paying attention to SB6 relating to immunity of healthcare providers in treatment of COVID patientsAlmost every one of her cases was on hold last spring/summer, but then everyone adapted and many of the cases were able to progress, and had her first in-person trial last monthSome cases settled quickly for not wanting to wait forever to get into court, but others just held out since there wasn't any pressure of a pending trial to encourage a settlementHaving worked on the defense side of the personal injury docket is a plus for a plaintiff's firm: communicating with an adjuster, moving cases forward, etc.But you do have to adjust to a more proactive approach since the plaintiff's side drives the litigationGetting away from the billable hour requires a change in mindset from checking a box on time to accomplishing specific tasks/goals regardless of how long they take.Advice to lawyers in practiceOrganization has been key for herEvernote!Find a way that works for you; there isn't a one-size-fits-all way to accomplish the goals for the clientIf your partner takes the time to explain, teach, share reasons/rationale with you, listen and engage. Or if they aren't, ask! That demonstrates your curiosity and interest in understandingAlso can give you a chance to demonstrate what you've done so farestablish rapport with partnersunderstand context - if there is an urgent deadline this might not be possibleDon't take fake-it-till-you-make-it to an extremeHave confidence, but understand when you don't know something and need to ask questions and learnMuch of your business will come by referrals, so maintain connectionswith others in your fieldwith former classmateswith other lawyersAdvice to lawyers on the lateral marketTailor your resume to the specific position you are applying toshows that you really want this job and aren't just looking for a jobthis can also help you think through whether or not the position is the right fit for youThe firm is looking for how will the candidate interact with clients, judges, etc. based on how they are communicating in the interviewInterviewers are also trying to determine whether they want to work with the person day-in and day-outCandidates should be thinking about that same thing; do you want to work with this group of people?Doesn't mean they are looking for the same type of people; but rather a group who can work well together and get along togetherFinal ThoughtsRemember the human side of things; clients are often going through one of the most challenging times in their livesEveryone grieves differentlyEveryone responds to stress differentlyRapid Fire QuestionsName one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: hardworkingWhat habit has been key to your success: organizationFavorite app/productivity tool: EvernoteWhat would be listed first on the interest line of your resume: travelFavorite legal movie: To Kill A Mockingbird / My Cousin VinnyThanks again to Mary Green for joining us on today's show!
7/26/202144 minutes, 49 seconds
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Movie Verdicts: The Pelican Brief

Robert and Daniel talk about when the courts are wrong, a lot of things that didn't age well, and a surprisingly high number of deaths for a movie like this.The Pelican Brief IMDb: The President's Men IMDb: on Twitter: @rcallahanwacoDaniel on Twitter: @danielhare
7/22/20211 hour, 19 minutes, 36 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Dallas Business Lawyer Jim Chester

Jim Chester, a partner at Klemchuk and a business and technology attorney, joins me on today's show. Jim talks about entrepreneurship, finding a fulfilling career path, and deadlines, deliverables, and budgets.His firm/practiceBoutique technology law firmFocuses on business transactions working with small and mid-size companies at all stagesSome others in the firm do patent and IP litigation workThere is always something new, especially with technology company clients (he also does some international / trade work which is always evolving)Cybersecurity and data privacy are major issues he works onGDPR for all of EU and California's law are importantOther states are starting to come onlineThere isn't a federal lawNot enough enforcement actions yet to know exactly how these are applying; creates uncertaintyHis career path?Tried a bunch of things in law schoolDidn't enjoy litigationStarted career as an international business / trade lawyer (wrote his master's thesis on NAFTA)Sounds sexy, but it isn't.Glorified tax lawRealized he enjoyed working with smaller clients, but they didn't have many trade issuesStarted his own firm to transitionCommercial/transactional IPYou have to invest in yourself early in your career; things that you won't be paid for but help you learn what you like and get better at itYou create a lot of your own luckFour quadrant matrix (Interested / Not interested and Market for it / not a market for it) - get into the quadrant that is interested and a market for itThere has been growth in the business transactions area for them during COVID; people had time and started new projectsLaw doesn't typically embrace change quickly, but COVID forced change (e.g. Zoom, tech, work from home)WSJ article - COVID kickstarted the 21st centurySome of these changes will be silver linings to the pandemicWill require more self-disciplineNeed to completely get rid of the stigma of work from homeHis entrepreneurial venturesLawyer co-working spaceHis own law firmSubscription based model for industry-specific legal formsA few other non-legal relatedAdvice to lawyers in practiceManage your managertake responsibility for your own projectsanticipate what is nextDon't leave a partner's office with an assignment without the deadline / deliverable / budget...the DDBGives you a much better idea as to the scopeDaniel references a The West Wing episodeFind someone who has a job you want 20 years from now and look at their bio (Linkedin)what skills did they obtain along the way?what experiences did they get?Don't try to live to someone else's standard of success; listen to yourself.The choices are based on the idea that he is a lawyer because of who he is (not the other way around)Be a self-starter, creative, entrepreneurialFind a mentorThink about building a book of businessThe first $100k is the hardest$400k to $500k is easierBuild / maintain relationshipsalumni/classmateslocal barFinal thoughtsBe honest with yourself and think in big picture terms as to whether you are in the right placeRapid Fire QuestionsName one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: IngenuityWhat habit has been key to your success: delusional level of confidenceFavorite app/productivity tool: ThingsWhat would be listed first on the interest line of your resume: spending time with familyFavorite legal movie: To Kill A MockingbirdThanks again to Jim Chester for joining us on today's show!
7/12/202149 minutes, 9 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Dallas Family Lawyer Reagan Riddle

Reagan Riddle, partner and board certified family lawyer with Armstrong Divorce and Family Law in Dallas, is our guest on this week's show! Reagan talks about starting your own firm, finding a mentor, and how to not take losses personally.Her firm/practice:Started the new firm with partner Rebecca Armstrong two years agoAll family lawWanted to create a different environment for employees and utilize technologyCurrently all female law firmDo things like bring in masseuses to give massages to everyone after a big trialModeled their firm almost more like a tech firmClient-focusedGotta have both the business-owner hat and the lawyer hat on all the timeIf you are thinking about starting your own firm, you should do it!Good to have a friend to do it with so you can ask each other questions, split the admin work, etc.Family law hasn't slowed down over the past year; and things are even busier nowCourts did a pretty good job of clearing dockets using Zoom/Teams/etc.saved clients moneyhoping this continues post-pandemicthough nothing is settling right nowDad's groups were pushing for the family code to switch to an equal possession schedule as the presumption for what was best for the child (HB 803 - died in committee)Advice for lawyers in practice:Find a mentorhelps you grow your own ability/skillshave someone to bounce ideas off ofgreat to have an outside perspectivekey to have someone within your firm, though you could also have someone outside your firmJump in when given an opportunity, even if you don't feel readyDon't take it personal when you don't get everything you want at trial or you feel like you've lost; you don't get to pick your facts and you have to try your best to put those in front of the court in the most effective waySometimes the judge won't agree, and there isn't anything you can do about itShe used to come home feeling defeated in those circumstances, but doesn't anymore and you shouldn't either!(Reminds Daniel of the James Howard episode when we talked about this)Show a desire to learn, get better, and grow; be hungryGet involved in the community/charities/etc.Can't get sucked into all of the emotion of the client; you have some level of empathy, but can't feel as though everything is happening to you. You can't help them if you are in the same emotional level as they are.Advice for lawyers lateralingdemonstrating experience in the areabouncing around from firm to firm is a red flagthis could me more of a family law issue; it makes them think you just don't like family lawyou have to be personable and communicative; lots of time on the phone with clients and opposing counsel; can't be too shy/quietagain this may be more family law-specificFinal thoughtsDon't miss out on the fun/joy of being an attorneyThe opposing attorney is not an enemy; you will likely see them on multiple cases, at bar events, etc. so build/maintain those relationshipsRapid Fire QuestionsTrait or characteristic you most want to see in an associate: eagerness to learn and participate / proactiveWhat habit has been key to your success: being good with people; talking/understandingFavorite app/productivity tool: RemarkableThe first entry on the interest section of your resume: New mom so none! / Food (Go check out The Charles in Dallas!)Favorite legal movie: The RainmakerThanks again to Reagan Riddle for joining us on this week's show!
7/5/202149 minutes, 14 seconds
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Emergency Sports Law Pod with Former NCAA Staffer and Athletics Consultant Stephanie Grace

Stephanie and I talk about the NCAA v. Alston Supreme Court decision, NIL, and what is ahead for college athletics.
6/28/20211 hour, 6 minutes, 14 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Dallas Family Lawyer and Retired Marilea Lewis

Judge Marilea Lewis joins us on today's show! Judge Lewis served on the Dallas bench for 25 years, and is now a partner at the family law boutique Duffee + Eitzen. Judge Lewis talks about the importance of preparation, how to impress a judge, and finding the right side of the confidence/arrogance line.Her firm/practiceBoard certified in family law (for 25 years)Small boutique firm almost completely family law; the firm also does a little school lawPractices with her son Hunter LewisDuring the pandemic many people have spent more time together than usual, which hasn't always gone wellWaiting to see what the legislative changes are and the impact of the changes to the discovery rulesIn the past, 194 disclosures and accompanying documents might have taken 60-90 days, but now having to do it within 30 days of the answer being filed is significantJudges have adapted so easily to Zoom, which has been a big assist to the docketing systemIn-person hearings are supposed to start soon, and in-person jury trials could begin again as early as July (though criminal cases will happen first)Tarrant and Denton are a little ahead of that paceLooking ahead, some judges are going to handle prove ups and short motions will continue to be done by ZoomShe has learned how to marshal the evidence and managed her time betterAdvice for lawyers in practicePreparation is keyshe sees attorneys who aren't as prepared as they could besometimes that can be a financial issue, but there is still a level of prep required before heading into the courtroomfacts thoroughly fleshed outThe practice area and the law is always changing, so important to be aware of thatNeed to be familiar with the current case lawIf you argue something that has been reversed or refined, it doesn't impress anyoneDon't make frivolous arguments; make your best argument and then stop; if you have nothing to say then sit down!Please don't argue with the court...."with all due respect your honor..."Don't snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!Important to get the court to rule. From there you can take steps as the attorney to mitigate, appeal, etc.The best way to build a client base is through word of mouth (i.e. satisfied clients who refer you to someone else)manage client expectationsadvise client wellalso getting involved in community and organizations and invest your timeWhen you are doing good work for clients you are doing business developmentAdvice for lawyers who are lateralingDemonstrate people skills in your resume/cover letter; what have you been involved with?Strong academics are great, but that's a very small percentage of people. So she wants to see someone who shows a commit to the area of practice, and learning that practiceShe has seen strong letters from 5+ year attorneys who haven't practiced family law but communicate a clear change in directionFamily law is not an area most lawyers want to go in, so it is important to show that interest/desire. Great story from years ago about a firm partner who wanted to hire her into the firm to start their family law practice because she was a woman.Be on time for a job interview!Don't come into a full-time position interview wanting to work 20-30 hours.It's okay to ask about policies in a general sense and expectations the firm has of their associates.Be prepared to answer questions about why you should be a candidate for consideration.Giving an indication that you might not stay very long is a red flag, and it also becomes apparent in the work product (leaving every day at 5:30 on the clock; don't volunteer to help out on a project; they are marking time; don't get involved in making decisions and contributing)Final thoughts/wordsThere is a fine line between projecting confidence and being arrogant. Be on the side of confidence! Ask someone you trust to tell you the truth.Everybody has something to offer; focus on your strength.Rapid Fire QuestionsName one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: honestyWhat habit has been key to your success: tenacityFavorite app/productivity tool: ZoomThe first item you would list on the interest section of your resume: Family and DancingFavorite legal movie: To Kill A Mockingbird / Movie Verdicts episodeThanks again to Judge Marilea Lewis for coming on the show!
6/21/202143 minutes, 51 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Dallas Construction Lawyer Colbie Campbell

Colbie Campbell, construction lawyer and partner with Slates Harwell in Dallas, joins us on today's show! Colbie talks about lumber prices, the importance of being adaptable, and practicing in a niche area.Her firm/practice12-13 lawyer boutique construction law firmfounders came over from (Foley) Gardere in 2013She has been with the same people for most of her practiceClients are usually general contractors/owners/developersPractice encompasses transactional AND litigationHer practice is more litigation, though it can ebb/flow with how the industry is going (what is begin transacted versus what is being litigated)She also does some intellectual property (IP) work with her clientsMajor issue with her clients right now is the price escalation of materials (lumber in particular), which can cause problems with large differences between bid prices and actual cost.Supply chain is also an issue, as builds happen in a sequence and major delays can result when components don't arrive on scheduleWhen these things happen, look to the contract! What's in there?! This happened last year with tariffs.There are also a lot of conversations that happen between the GCs/subs/etc. to try and work things out when things happen out of either parties' control.Going forward contracts will have language addressing pandemics, COVID, etc. to try to account for it up front. Including additional costs such as PPE in order to allow people to work safely.Everyone had to become an employment lawyer in the past year.Advice for lawyers in practiceAdaptabilityShe came out in 2008-09 during the recession, and was forced to adapt to a difficult environment and make herself valuable so she could keep her job.Learning to work with different partners and partner personalities and stylesshe worked with a micromanager and a delegatorDaniel refers to the Jered/Wendy episode talking about understanding each partner's approachManaging expectationsBetter to communicate and let others know if there is an issue, problem, delay. Strong communication with the partner enables strong communication with the client, which helps keep reality and expectations in line.Get into the driver's seat for the development of your professional careerIf there is a partner that you work well with, go ask for more work from them!If there is a case you want to work on, go ask for it!If there is a skill you want to develop, go ask for the opportunity to learn it!Partners may say the door is always open, but that still means you as the associate need to go to them!Daniel recalls prior advice of associates needing to go out and get work; don't sit in your office and wait for the work to come to you.It's both important to make sure you get all your hours AND to pick the type of work you want!It can be scary to go to a niche firmDaniel talked about fear of getting pigeon-holed.In construction law, you are learning how to litigate, so those skills are transferable. You just get extra knowledge in terms of how the construction industry works. That may not help you in another type of firm, but it won't hurt you.You can take advantage of the opportunity to gain more experience earlier in your career in firms like this.Their firm has a huge range of cases monetary valueFailure to communicate is the number one issue that associates need to focus on, and a place where they can get into troubleit is one of the core values at their firmwhen a mistake is made, trying to fix it before communicating can be a problemif you see a legal issue that the team might be missing, raise it!Advice for lawyers who are lateralingDemonstrate construction law experience OR interest if you are going to a construction law firm (but this would apply to most/any niche areas)Be prepared to talk through your various job changes, particularly if there are a lot of them. Usually not a deal breaker, but likely will raise questions. The interviewing firm doesn't want to simply be the next firm on your resume that you worked with for 6-12 months.Also be careful with your explanations that you don't throw former employers under the bus; that doesn't usually go over well.Small firms will often have a tight-knit, family-style culture. So interviewers will be looking for good fits for their culture.Each firm will likely have some skills/experiences/credentials that are necessary (i.e. price of entry), but if the fit isn't there, the resume won't be able overcome it.Final thoughtShe is passionate about mentorship, especially with women. Seek both a mentor and a sponsor. And when you can become a mentor or sponsor, pay it forward!Mentor - helps you learn how to practice lawSponsor - advocate/promote you in your careerRapid Fire QuestionsName one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: integrityWhat habit has been key to your success: organization and planning aheadFavorite app/productivity tool: Coyote (timekeeping system)The first bullet in the interests section of your resume: familyFavorite legal movie: Primal Fear; (Our Movie Verdicts deep dive episode)Thanks again to Colbie Campbell for joining us on today's show!
6/14/202144 minutes, 11 seconds
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Monday Mentor's with Austin Soft IP Lawyers Wendy Larson and Jered Matthysse

Wendy Larson and Jered Matthysse, "soft" IP lawyers with the Austin firm of Pirkey Barber, join us on today's show. They talk about NFTs, having enthusiasm for your work, and engaging with your law firm partners Your firm/practiceNearly 40 attorneysHeadquarters in Austin with another office in the Washington, D.C. areaFirm founded in 2006 based completely on trademark and copyright law, though it has since grown into other areasNew announcement soon on a new area...exciting!Wendy and Jered have been there over a decadeMoved into a new office on the East side of Austin/I-35all partner and associate offices are the same sizelots of glass to let in lightlots of meeting roomsHot topics in IPNFTs (non-fungible tokens)Their clients may want to get into itOr someone might be infringing on their IP by creating NFTs of artwork depicting their productsNBA Top ShotGary Vaynerchuck / VeeFriendsBefore joining the firm 15 years ago, Wendy was concerned that trademark and soft IP law was to niche and that she would be pigeonholing herself. But it is always changing, growing, adapting, and it has made for a fascinating practice area.You don't need a hard science background to work in soft IP - Wendy was a psychology major!That said, there are patent lawyers who practice soft IPThe best laterals usually have a few years of litigation experience, with an expertise in writingThere are some lawyers who do more counseling/transactional side while others do more of the litigationCOVID update (as of May 13, 2021)First few months were one phasePhase two, as people got used to it, moved on to using Zoom, etc.Some clients have done well/better during the pandemic (grocery, delivery, etc.); others have struggled (restaurants, entertainment)Didn't see a big drop in transactional work, but litigation did slow downRemote work has certainly taken center-stage; will be with us after the pandemicOpens up talent pool to folks outside of AustinAdvice for lawyers in practiceUnderstanding that all partners practice differently; there isn't one right or wrong way to practiceSo learn how each partner practicesEmails? Interactions with clients?Could be 180 degrees different from another partnerLou Pirkey is one of the founding members of their firm and is awesomeHe noticed a gap in the trademark law field (nationally) and suggested that Wendy become an expert in that areaIt wasn't something she was interested in and she didn't feel quite ready to jump into something like that, but she still remembers that and wonders what might have been had she followed his advice!He also encouraged her to take another lawyer (outside the firm) to lunch every weekLove what you do; partners notice! If you love it, you are much more likely to do a good job.Take initiative; don't make the partner follow up with you all the time.Don't make the same mistake multiple times; learn and improve! A mistake is okay, but if it continues to happen that is a bad sign. Makes the partner feel ignored and that they aren't being listened to.Don't just take edits from a partner and implement them without thinking; engage with the edits and discuss them with the partner to make sure you are on the same page and there isn't something missing.This doesn't mean you are pushing back on everything, but you are working through the material as a team. So if you disagree with the edit you should say so.Goal is to refine and get to the best product; won't happen if the associate acts like a robot.Definitely depends on the partner since they are all different.Advice for lawyers looking to lateralIf the firm is interviewing you, that means they think you can do the work. So they are looking to figure out whether the candidate is a good fit with the firm and the rest of the attorneys.They are looking for people who are kind, not mean, want a family life, and are excited about trademark law.They want to make partners out of each person they hire, so that impacts the hiring decisions.Final thoughtsWendy made partner in her eighth year, has two kids, sits on the management committee, etc.She is happyShe has hobbiesShe spends time with her familyIt can be done!But not at every firm, so look around and see how the other lawyers live.Leaders at law firms should take stock and see how their lawyers are doing and make adjustments to make their people's lives better.Rapid fire questions (Jered / Wendy)What trait do you most want to see in an associate: enthusiasm / joyWhat habit has been key to your success: enthusiasm / relationshipsFavorite app/tool: Slack / SlackFavorite social distancing activity: Zoom Escape Game / painting from home on ZoomFavorite legal movie: The Firm / Legally BlondeThanks again to Wendy Larson and Jered Matthysse for coming on the show!
6/7/202150 minutes, 7 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Houston Personal Injury Lawyer Michael Clinton

Michael Clinton, personal injury lawyer with Perdue & Kidd in Houston, joins us on today's show. Michael talks about utilizing various presentation mediums, the importance of volunteering, and how to prep for an interview.His firm/practiceBroad spectrum of personal injury casesone-off injury casesmedical malpracticemedical product/pharma/mass tortJim Perdue, Jr. is president of the Texas Trial Lawyer's Association (TTLA) and is active in Austin right now fighting for the rights of their clients in front of the Texas legislatureCOVID update (as of May 13, 2021)They were already taking depos by Zoom before COVID hit, and they generally are technologically advanced, so it was a fairly smooth transition when COVID required itYou have to be able to present material through a number of different mediumsThey never wanted to be the reason a case slowed downWhen using Zoom, slow down. Control your cadence. Think through how you are going to present exhibits to the witness; it might look different witness to witness.Expect to continue using Zoom moving forward, though hopefully not for jury trialsStory about 14 person mediation by Zoom that settled in one day; without Zoom it could have taken much longer just to get 14 schedules alignedAdvice to lawyers in practiceAbility to take massive amounts of information and synthesize it, break it down, and teach it, is criticalsince most of their clients have never gone through something like this before, and probably/hopefully never will againStart now re: volunteering/community service. Michael volunteers with The Forge for FamiliesIt's also an investment in your mental health; helps to deal with stressGo to your Young Lawyers Association, Bar Association, Inn of Court, or your local law school to find ways to get involved and find a place to serveIf your firm won't give you the flexibility to volunteer, ask yourself if that's somewhere you want to workTake initiative; don't wait for instruction; don't be afraid to fall on your face; confident; ask questionsDon't spend more than 10 minutes at your desk wondering what it is you should be doing or stuck on somethingObserve and understand the firm culture and how partners expect their associates to workAdvice to lawyers in job seekingResume should be clean and organized; error freeWhat experience did you go get in law school or in practice? This matters as much or more than GPAsLook at what the firm does, and look at what they've done recently.Did they just get a big verdict? Reversal at the Supreme Court?What do the lawyers do outside of work?Be able to answer the question "why do you want to work here?" not just at this "type" of firm, but this specific firm with this specific group of peopleHe always asks "What do you want to get out of this?" in an interview.Final ThoughtsBig Brothers/Big Sisters volunteers professional board is an option for volunteering; don't have to be a mentor but can still serve and support the work they do. Email Michael"Stress" is good when it is managed appropriately, so do the things required to manage it (physical fitness, volunteering, etc.)Rapid FireName one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: taking initiativeWhat habit has been key to your success: time managementFavorite app/tool: calendarFavorite pen: Pilot V5Favorite social distancing activity: golfFavorite legal movie: A Few Good MenThanks again to Michael Clinton for joining us on today's show!
5/24/202143 minutes, 5 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Austin Criminal Defense Lawyer Charlie Roadman

Charlie Roadman, partner with Roadman & Espiritu in Austin, joins us on today's show! Charlie talks about overcommunicating with your clients, the importance of empathy, and taking advantage of tools and technology.His firm/practiceCriminal defense attorney for nearly 20 yearsFocuses on DWIs/misdemeanors; 3rd degree felonies and downNew DA and County Attorney in Travis County; ran on fairly progressive ideas and they have been implementing those thingsmore pretrial diversion programsCounty Atty handles misdemeanors and the DA handles feloniesIn surrounding counties (usually smaller) the DA handles bothCOVID update - as of May 13, 2021)Travis County has 13 criminal courtrooms, and right now they are still down at just oneWent from 600-700 people in the courthouse every day to 30Without court dates to bring together the defendants and their counsel, it is much harder to stay in touch with their clientsWe're always three months out from reopening the courthousejuries are the biggest issueplans to do voir dire in a large venuePeople have still been getting arrested steadily; biggest difference has been its much easier now to get a court-appointed attorney (courts aren't concerned about the proof of inability to pay)Advice for lawyers in practiceDo the things that the client has to do yourselfHe takes the classes that the clients are going to have to takeHelps him explain/educate the client betterReduces the anxiety of the client and they are more likely to do itPut yourself in the client's shoes; have empathy for themClients face a variety of obstacles; get to know what those are and figure out how to solve that problem.Don't wait for something substantive to happen to communicate with your client. Overcommunicate. Let them know you are thinking about them, their case, etc. If nothing else, it let's them know you are working on their case.Even if there isn't anything they necessarily need to know.When a client hires Charlie's firm, he begins sending them a 20 email sequence that is essentially life coaching material with podcast recommendations, book recommendations, etc.Make sure you are comfortable with the new digital tools that are available; continue getting educatedVR and 360 photos are going to be commonplace soon.He has gotten several cases dismissed after showing the prosecutors a headset with a 360 photo that helps their caseAdvice for lawyers in the job searchInterest section is important!Helps to identify team compatibilityMost helpful if it is something specific/uniqueTailor your materials to the job!Example of candidate who had found his favorite movie and included a quote from the movie in a cover letterOn his book The Defendant's Guide to Defense - How to Help Your Lawyer Get the Best Result (Misdemeanor Edition)Inspired by Gretchen Rubin's four tendencies/types of peopleUpholder - follows internal AND external rulesObligers - follow external rules BUT not necessarily internal rulesQuestioners - won't do something unless they know whyRebels - will do what they wantLots of Questioners in criminal defenseAs soon as he explains why the clients need to do something, it gets a lot easierRapid fire questions:Name one characteristic you most want to see in an associate: problem solvingWhat habit has been key to your success: finding ways to be creative in explaining thingsFavorite app/productivity tool: Mindmaps / iThoughtsFavorite pen: Macbook AirFavorite social distancing activity: driving around with his teen daughter listening to musicFavorite legal movie: Trial of the Chicago Seven Thanks again to Charlie Roadman for joining us on the show!
5/17/202139 minutes, 45 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Austin Tax Litigator Danielle Ahlrich

Danielle Ahlrich, partner and tax litigator with Reed Smith in Austin, joins us on todays show! Danielle talks about going from a boutique to Big Law, understanding how your piece of the puzzle fits, and how the next generation of leaders thinks about work-life balance.Her firm/practicePartner at Reed Smith in Austin; international law firm that does everything on the civil side2000 lawyersShe is in their state tax group for TexasHelping businesses with Texas sales and franchise tax mattersIf a business is under auditTo prevent an auditSales tax is over 50% of Texas' budgetShoutout to Amanda Taylor (listen to her episode here!) who helped her get a position in a boutique state tax litigation law firm after spending some time in state governmentThe practice is heavy on statutory construction, not as much on actual taxation/math as one might assume (if you are on the controversy side as she is)Allows her to practice at the trial court level all the way up to the Texas Supreme CourtShe doesn't even do her own taxes!Joined Reed Smith in January after being at a boutique, which is the opposite of what most people doShe wanted to grow and have some larger opportunities with companies who have tax issues all over the country as opposed to just in TexasThe reality is most large companies choose to use large law firmsThe pandemic gave her the clarity, space, and courage to make the move.No straight career line that is the same for each lawyerReed Smith operates much more through practice groups, so she reports up through the state tax group which is located in other offices as opposed to Austin.Which means Austin colleagues are in a variety of practice areasCOVID update (As of 5/5/21)Travis County has been doing a LOT of things remotely and keeping cases movingReed Smith is putting together a new policy regarding how we work post-COVID.Expects there to be a mix of in-office time and remote timeWill be an office to office questionAdvice for lawyers in practiceIs the associate trying to understand how/where this assignment fits into the larger case / how their piece fits into the larger puzzleMuch more likely to get back a work product that is plug and play (e.g. drop their work into the motion/brief)The result will be a better refinement of the research and/or a more direct applicationExample: if estoppel is raised, she doesn't need a primer on estoppel, she needs to know how it applies here.Take ownership of cases and be mindful of what is coming nextTHE due date is not YOUR due date! The partner may need to review/revise; clients may need to approve or provide feedback, etc. before the submission/due date.(Jennie Knapp talked about this as well!)Advice for lawyers in the job huntStart right now to build a network; curate people in your life who will help you achieve your goals and/or make you a better personMother Attorney Mentor Association (MAMAs) - active Facebook page that is helpful on so many issues.PracticalKeep a master list of where you've been and what you've been doing. Good for a conflicts check too. Can be used to construct your resume as well as supplemental materials such as a list of representative cases or deals, presentations, papers, etc.Keep a brag book with kudos or thank yous from colleagues, clients, etc.On work-life balanceHave a big-picture focus. Don't look at it daily or weekly. Some days and weeks won't be balanced. Monthly or yearly is more realistic.Need to get rid of the toxic work culture that doesn't have any boundaries; it needs to come from firm leadership. Optimistic a new generation of leaders will have success making these changes."A boundary is a place from which I can love both you and me simultaneously." - Prentis HemphillChoose a position and role that allows you to do the work you want while balancing the other parts of life according to your values.Example about whether or not vacation time is real in a specific firm.Rapid fire questionsName one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: coachableWhat habit has been key to your success? calendaring deadlines when they come in and always setting up a two week reminderFavorite app/tool: N/AFavorite pen: Pilot G2 1.0 / blue (no fine points where you are chiseling in stone; need some glide!)Favorite social distancing activity: 5am walks in the dark with a podcastFavorite legal movie: A Time To Kill (also loves My Cousin Vinny and Legally Blonde)Thanks again to Danielle Ahlrich for joining us on today's show!
5/10/202148 minutes, 40 seconds
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Monday Mentors / Movie Verdicts: To Kill A Mockingbird

Robert and Daniel talk through race, justice, children, do no harm, innocence, and more in this deep dive of an all-time literary and movie classic.
5/3/20211 hour, 38 minutes, 53 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Plano Family Lawyer Jeff Domen

Jeff Domen joins us on today's show! Jeff is a shareholder and family lawyer at GoransonBain Ausley in Plano. Jeff talks about being a creative problem solver, differentiating yourself in an interview, and the importance of finding a mentor.His firm/practice:Family law boutiqueThree offices in Plano, Dallas, and Austin28 lawyers and staffAlways looking for creative options to resolve conflict; if it can be done without litigation...great! If not, we'll go to the courthouse. Important to be able to do both.Family law deals with a wide variety of legal issuesreal estate/propertycontractprobatebusinessLoves working with individuals in a one-on-one relationship and help them through difficult circumstancesClientele has bene changing and wanting more for lessdays of lavish law firms with big/expensive offices and spaces are going to be a thing of the pastPeople are used to getting information fast, and they want that from their lawyerCompetition with family law court forms, Legal Zoom(s), etc.: need to be able to address itCOVID was an accelerator of the flex/remote workCOVID Update (April 21, 2021)Most people are caught up with doing most things by ZoomAnd now some courts are starting up to open upOpportunity to still get in front of a judge and have conflicts addressed with less cost and timeNo Plano jury trials still so we don't yet know what that will look likeHe was very comfortable in the courtroom, so moving it all online with tech was difficultneeds to have an associate/paralegal/clerk with him so they could handle the docs and evidence in the technologyThis is an opportunity for you to add value to places where you're going to go and work; be the expert on the tech!Advice for lawyers in practiceFirst boss told him about a great associate: come to the law firm hat in hand willing to do whatever it takes. Willing to do a great job and to help make the law firm/partner money.Don't display a chip on the shoulder or sense of entitlementDon't try and be anybody other than who you are, because whoever you are, you are going to do that better than everybody elseThis will also help you in business developmentHe is active in his church and involved with his kids' schoolsMore business developmentYou can sometimes help with your work/life balance by finding things you can bring your spouse/significant other toThis also can help with the business development because your spouses can connect with people that maybe you can't!Grabbing a friend to go to an event is almost always better than going alone; so many benefitsIf you aren't getting your hours because you aren't busy, go ask the partner for workBreak down your hourly goals for the month/year into daily goalsAdvice for lawyers seeking a new jobLawyers/partners hate the hiring process; feels like a time suckBe different from everyone elseWalk into an interview like you own the place (not cocky), in the sense that the partner can be confident they can hand a case to you and it will get taken care ofHe has never had someone come up to the firm and ask to drop off a resume in person and say hi for two minutes. That would be something. Guaranteed interview.Shows they really want to do this.MotivatedDo what it takes to get the job done.He can tell when a cover letter is a form letter; do a specific one!Final thoughtsGet a mentor. Doesn't have to be at your firm, but it needs to be someone you trust.There's a balance between asking questions and asking GOOD questionsSet up a time with your mentor each week/month to ask these questionsDo research yourself before asking questionsRapid fire questionsName one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: hard workingWhat habit has been key to your success:Favorite app/legal software: CenterbaseFavorite pen: Arteza / blue felt tipFavorite social distancing activity: HuntingFavorite legal movie: I Am SamThanks again to Jeff Domen for joining us on today's show!
4/26/202140 minutes, 31 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Dallas Litigator Alex Bell

Alex Bell joins us on today's show! Alex is a Senior Attorney with MacDonald Devin in Dallas, and he talks about going from criminal law to civil law, how you are always doing business development, and what adding numbers to your resume can do for you.His firm/practiceGeneral/full-service defense firmHis group focuses on defending architects and engineers, and working on construction projectsCould be litigation re: professional liability or contracts with acquisitionsStarted his career in D.A.'s office in McLennan County/WacoGot into the courtroom and got trial experience right awayDoesn't pay like the civil side obviously (but better hours and more days off)Gives you the experience of living out of the courtroomStarted trying cases within weeks of starting there; always in front of the judges and work closely with the criminal defense bar, so helps you develop relationships and soft skills in handling casesWhen he wanted to return home to Dallas, he found an opportunity with Fletcher Farley who has a lot of former DAsMuch of the construction world has experienced a COVID slowdown, and that impacts his clientssafety best practicesdealing with project delayscounseling clients on the front-end in hopes of avoiding litigationShould employees be required by their employer to be vaccinated before returning to in-person work? What does that policy look like?COVID Update (April 7, 2021)In the past month or two he has had two in-person depositions, which felt strangeWill still lots of Zoom hearings/depos/etc.Some hope that jury trials are on their way backFor the past year, it's basically been a full-stop except for some small casesHarris County starting jury selections soonHoping to be back completely at the start of 2022Need to keep jurors safeOnce everything is back, it will probably be a case by case decision re: whether to do in-person v Zoom deposHe likes Zoom depos; forces you to be organized; ensures everyone is looking at the same exhibit when it is being discussedHow can we incorporate those benefits into an in-person environment?Why fly and stay overnight for a one hour depo? Probably won't make sense moving forward.Hopes judges will keep Zoom in place for quick hearings too.Advice for lawyers in practiceUnderstand how the task you are working on fits into the bigger pictureLook backwards; how are the questions I am asking in this depo going to fit with what we want to prove at trial? What do they and we need to prove, and how can I get what I need out of this depo?Over time, you should learn how to do a bundle of tasks and how to lead others to help if it's a multi-person task; have to know how everything fits together for this to work.Helps to have insatiable curiosity, which might mean knowing the file inside and out (the entire file not just what you are working on) as well as asking colleagues and partners about the case, strategy, etc.Ask the person who assigned you a task what the purpose/strategy is behind itAsk to go sit in on a hearing/depoThere is even more importance now on the written work productIt is how you make a first impressionWith COVID judges are limiting hearings, etc. and instead are making decisions based on submissionHelps to develop a strong reputationHow you address errors/mistakes is important; credibility on the lineKnow what judges likeone judge likes to receive notebooks with everything in in; so that's what he does when they have that judgeRe: business development: you are doing it all the time, whether you think you are or notbusiness development is nothing more than building relationships and your reputationcomes from colleagues, opposing counsel, classmates, insurance adjusters/managersAdvice for lawyers in the job huntLooks for relatable work experienceHow much experience do you have doing the things you'll be doing here?Sometimes this gets glossed overIf you had a short stint at a law firm or have moved around a lot, be prepared to address itCan the candidate communicate the skills they have rather than the area they have been practicing in?Skills can transfer from one area to another!Subject matter area can often be learnedInclude quantities on your resumeProvides specificity to the experienceGood advocacy on behalf of the candidateShows organization and that you keep track of the work you've doneBe accurate and err on the low sideFinal ThoughtsFind something that you enjoy spending your time doing. If you aren't happy, find something else to do. Keep looking.Rapid Fire QuestionsName one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: curiosityWhat habit has been key to your success: consistency/organizationFavorite legal app/software: Trialpad SuiteFavorite pen: Pilot Precision Precise V7Favorite social distancing activity: walks around the neighborhoodFavorite legal movie: The RainmakerThanks so much to Alex Bell for joining us on today's show!
4/19/202140 minutes, 49 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Waco Litigator Josh White

Josh White, civil litigator focused on construction and business law and shareholder with Haley & Olson in Waco, joins us on today's show! Josh talks about the importance of in-person justice, being proactive, and preparing well for an interview.His firm/practiceConstruction lawBoard certifiedvery difficult examhefty application processgood referenceswhat % of your practice do you devote to construction (so lots of reviewing time sheets!)Mostly litigationReviews/drafts contractsLoves the construction law section in the Texas BarmentorscollegialityconferenceHigh-growth areaAlso does business litigationclosely held company shareholder disputestrade secret casesWill also do some civil rights defenseThe firm also doesbankingcounty/city government representation (Charlie Olson heads this up)The Haley is after Judge Haley and the Olson is after Lyndon Olson, Sr., who was responsible for the one person / one vote case.Waco/McLennan County Barcollegialnot too big to where you don't know all the peoplecan fit the bar conference into a reasonable spaceSeveral of his classmates ended up in WacoGreat location to practice in, as well as to get to the other cities in Texas; accessibility to allCOVID UPDATE (as of March 24, 2021)COVID got real at last year's construction law conferencefirst elbow bumpTexas Supreme Court Emergency Ordersgave lots of discretion to judges, who could modify serious deadlinesAs a profession we are problem solvers, so that was called upon during COVIDHe is in charge of his firm's technology, so it presented a special challenge for him to get everyone, most especially the staff, able to access everything remoteVendors did a great job working with himRemote work/lawyering functions just fine in a lot of waysBut it's still hard on camaraderie when you have to be remote or in the office but with closed doorsThings that are here to stay:Zoom meetings and minor hearings (especially those that just require the judge)Especially true as the courts dig out of a backlog of casesZoom mediations though not as effectiveZoom depositions as an optionOptimistic about in-person jury trials with the proper precautionsImportantThe rule of law and justice system is set up the way it is for a reasonCourthouses sit in the middle of town and have/are symbolsJudge and jury are elevatedJudge wears a robeThese are just traditions; they are supposed to impress upon us the things that hold society togetherCat case - paper from the client's house had a distinct smell; how do you do that by Zoom?Tasting/smelling/perceptionBut Zoom is not the sameCan't look people in the eyeCan't process non-verbal communication the same way8k resolution is nothing compared to what we enjoy every day in real life with our normal/natural sideThe law is resilient and creative; and we are a problem solving professionAdvice for lawyers in practiceGood attitudeWillingness to work / pitch inAffirmatively go around and look for workBe proactive and take ownership of your careerStay hungry/curious/passionateIf you aren't able to do that, you need to make a changeAdvice for lawyers in the job huntHe has handled the summer clerk program for years and can speak to thisIf a candidate's questions indicate they have done their homework, that's a great startDon't go in talking about practice areas the firm doesn't doShow a willingness to be a go-to person for awhile even if it isn't the thing you want to do mostCombine a short-term/realistic understanding of the role with your long-term career goalsRapid Fire QuestionsName one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: work ethic/self-assuranceWhat habit has been key to your success: MentorshipFavorite app/productivity tool: Things (Mac App); Evernote; Timeline3D (BDocs)Favorite pen: Energel Liquid Gel Ink; Uniball Signo (good for signatures); Matthew Budderick's Topography for LawyersFavorite social distancing activity: Virtual Concerts (Andrea Bocelli)Favorite legal movie: The VerdictThanks again to Josh White for joining us on today's show!
4/12/202154 minutes, 1 second
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Monday Mentors with Dallas Construction Lawyer Brandon Waddell

Brandon Waddell, construction lawyer and managing shareholder at Waddell Serafino in Dallas, joins us on today's show. Brandon talks about representing design professionals, your one reputation, and the importance of integrity.His firm/practiceRepresents design professionals (architects, engineers, etc.) from the start of a project (contract drafting) to litigation matters pertaining to professional liabilityBrand new offices with lots of collaboration space and a massive coffee bar.Hot button topic right now is the doctrine that allows contractors to be liable for the conduct of design professionals. Texas is the only one that has it, and a current senate bill 219 could do away with it.COVID update (as of March 24, 2021)Fortunate to have a high-tech firm that was already virtually paperlessTough to replace site visits for investigations but have adapted with technologyAdvice for lawyers in practiceYou have one reputationTry to think if you were the shareholder, how would you want an associate to handle this projectDon't come in and say "what do you think about these legal issues," instead say "Here is what I think about these four legal issues and the strategy I think we should implement to address them."Be proactiveBe a professional; get your work done whenever/howeverIf you mess something up, tell someone. Don't try to hide it. It's an integrity issue. Perfection isn't the standard.Take advantage of the collective wisdom of your colleaguesAdvice for lawyers on the job searchIn his practice, you are going to have to learn architecture, engineering, etc., so he looks for people who are learnersJust because you graduated law school doesn't mean you are done learningIf you love the Discovery channel, great, because that's 50% of the practiceIntegrity; looking for people who are true to themselves and true to the firmLooking for a good fit; it's a family at their firmHe is the first one to talk in interviews, and he tells candidates they should be interviewing him as much as anything else. He wants candidates to know exactly what the job is and what they are in for.Candidates should feel comfortable they are going to enjoy the work and enjoy the peopleHe is going to be selling his firm and practice to the candidate, but ultimately the candidate needs be honest with themselves about whether they are qualified and a good fit. You can fake your way through an interview, but you can't fake your way through a jobPeople need to have a passion for the workBefore taking an offer, talk to people in the industry who know you and see if they think you would be a good fit with a firm.Rapid fire questions:Name one trait or characteristic you most want to see in an associate: IntegrityWhat habit has been key to your success: DiligenceFavorite app/productivity tool: SpotifyFavorite pen: Pilot Precise V5 (extra fine for marking up plans)Favorite social distancing activity: playing with his kidsFavorite legal movie: The FirmThanks again to Brandon Waddell for joining us on today's show!
4/5/202142 minutes, 34 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Dallas Personal Injury Lawyer Andy Jones

Andy Jones, Plaintiff's personal injury lawyer with Sawicki Law in Dallas, joins us on today's show. Andy talks about the PI practice, the no-jerk rule, getting involved in orgs, and being a person not a billing unit.His firm/practice:Plaintiff's personal injury trial lawyerLocated in Dallas but go all over the stateWrongful death / catastrophic injury / medical malpracticeJust rated AV Preeminent by Martindale HubbleIssues in their practice areaNorth Cyprus issue - discovery that defense attorney can get into with what the facility is charging other parties; paid v. incurred; Heygood v. Escavedo caseChanges in civil procedure rules that essentially federalizes theminitial disclosuresexpertsexpedited actionconflicts with Civil Practice & Remedies CodeGetting into plaintiff's practiceEat what you kill, which doesn't lend itself to larger firmsLots of senior lawyers in the area who are in their golden years and looking for the next generation to turn the practice over toNetwork and find those you have good personality connections withStory about finding client's shoes while investigating a helicopter accident; makes it real; there's a gravity to it you have to be able to handleCan't personalize it to yourself. You can't picture your wife in the hospital bed laying down. That gets too deep. Shouldn't engage in "that could have been me" thoughts. Keeping a professional distance is important; that's what the client is hiring you for...objectivity.COVID UPDATE (as of March 17, 2021)Tech support for clientsLots of depos/hearings/mediations via Zoom; hopefully much of that will stay once in-person returnsJudges like being able to dispose of five motions to compel before 9amConcern about trials though; need to be in person.Advice for lawyers in practiceAndy keeps a list of lessons (email him to see it!)There is no problem you can't fix by talking about itYou can't borrow trouble; don't think about how bad things could be; deal with where you are; focus on the road not the wall (car racing)Don't be an a-hole.goes for firms too; associates don't want to work for jerksDon't say no; first rule of improv; say yesJoining groups/clubs/organizationsbe part of something bigger than yourselfJim Wren said so!There are multiple groups in each of the major cities; find one that suits youBring a friendHave a purpose (professional development? social? could be anything)Have a question prepped to jumpstart the conversation.Advice for lawyers seeking a jobConfidence + competenceIn a small firm, you are going to be doing the work; there isn't a team of's you! So can the firm trust you to talk to clients, go to the courthouse, get access to records/Westlaw, etc.Find a way to be valuableBe a person; firms like his aren't looking for a fungible billing unitRapid Fire Questions:Name one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: loyaltyWhat habit has been key to your success: list making / calendar entriesFavorite app/productivity tool: iCalFavorite social distancing activity: facetime phone call with someone you have never seen in person beforeFavorite legal movie: Breaker MorantThanks again to Andy Jones for joining us on the show!
3/29/202144 minutes, 3 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Houston Estate Planning Lawyer Jovana Popovich

Jovana Popovich, Shareholder and Estate Planning Lawyer at Fizer Beck in Houston, joins us on today's show! Jovana talks about getting into estate planning, not sacrificing quality for speed, and the need for small firms to find a good fit.Her Firm/PracticeEstate planning boutique. Estate planning/estate administration for high net worth individuals. The firm also has a real estate group, M&A/corporate group, and non-profit group.She fell into the practice. In law school realized she didn't want to do litigation or Big Law. She wanted to interact more with people. Thought at first she might do family law. But later had coffee with a friend of friend who did estate planning. That friend happened to be at Fizer Beck and led to a research internship while in law school. She then took the estate planning classes at UT and wound up clerking and then ultimately getting hired by Fizer Beck.Estate tax exemption amount is always in flux, which means there is always new planning to do. And the question is always when the exemption is going to change and by how much.This also yields more income tax planning.Reminder that in 2010 we had zero estate tax! Check out George Steinbrenner.For those interested in estate planning, think about whether you like tax work, because estate planning is very tax-heavy. Then find a place to gain experience in tax if you can't get immediately into estate planning. Even corporate work can translate.COVID Update (as of 3/4/21)In the beginning, couldn't execute estate plans since it requires original ink signature, witnesses, notary, etc. all in line of sight. So how to do that while keeping everyone safe?Major difference is that all questions have to be answered before the execution ceremony. Pre-covid there would be a pre-execution meeting that could last 30-45 minutes and could lead to tweaks/changes in the plan. But now that all has to be done in advance of the ceremony.When it comes to wills and financial powers of attorney, no appetite from legislature to move to e-signatures.Advice for lawyers in practice:If you send a document to a client, they aren't going to know whether the law is right/wrong, but they are going to notice if their name is misspelled or there is a typo. So attention to detail is really important.Know your own faults and figure out how to fix themHard for high achievers to fail, but you will. And that's okay. You don't have to be perfect. Job in the first three years is to learn, and give a work product to the partner who can make some minor changes and then send it on to the client.Don't be in such a hurry that you turn in a sloppy product. Go as fast as you can while still turning in an error-free product.Write an issues list and then ask your partner which should be explored.Be a self-starter. May not know something but will go and try to figure it out and get as far as they can before asking for help. This helps give them context for a more productive conversation with the partner. Take the initiative to learn.Don't come in and ask "how does this work?" instead say "I think this is how this works; is that right? Am I missing something?"Advice for lawyers interviewing for jobsDon't have any typos in your documentsFor them, having tax experience looks goodThey are a small firm (18 lawyers), so you need to be sociable and able to get along with people. They are friendly and collaborative. Interests/hobbies/etc. are important. Want to see you are a good fit.Also want to see the person has a connection/strong desire to be in Houston long term. It takes effort to train"My boyfriend is getting a job in Houston so I want to be in Houston" not a great answer. What if the guy moves to another city?There can be a big firm (don't really care) / small firm (do really care) dynamic here.On Business DevelopmentWork at a firm with a long history where the clients are built in!Find out who your best referral sources are and build those relationships (for them it is CPAs and financial advisors)Speak at CLEs; get on webcasts with referral sourcesRapid Fire QuestionsName one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: detail orientedWhat habit has been key to your success: keep your time as you goFavorite app/productivity tool: timekeeping softwareFavorite social distancing activity: socially distanced picnic in the park with dog/friendsFavorite legal movie: Paper Chase and Legally BlondeThanks again to Jovana Popovich for joining us on the show!
3/22/202141 minutes, 58 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Dallas Appellate Lawyer Morgan McPheeters

Morgan McPheeters, appellate lawyer with her own firm McPheeters Law in Dallas, joins us on today's show! Morgan talks about launching her own firm, appellate law in the trial court, and Hamilton as a legal movie.Her firm/practice:Appellate lawyer in Dallas who works all over the stateCivil appealsUsually plaintiffs in PI casesIn COA and TX Supreme CourtAlso works with trial lawyers during the trial to help preserve errors, draft jury charges, etc.Especially in more complex casesCan't appeal anything that wasn't preserved at trial, so the trial court is criticalHelps to allow lawyers to focus on their strengths and priorities while having an appellate lawyer to take care of that partMost trial lawyers are men and white, though it hasn't been much of an issue. They have trusted her fully. It is scary for others, anyone, to rely on you to get it right as the "book lawyer."It's okay to not always have the answer in your head; your role is to find the answer.On starting her own firmAs an appellate lawyer, she only needs wi-fi, a laptop, and Westlaw, so it was fairly easy to go out on her own.If you are a PI lawyer, that's harder since you have to finance the litigation.Her prior firm gave her great experience. The culture was "if you brief it, you argue it."There's never the "perfect" time to start a firm/business. It will always be scary and there will always be challenges.COVID Update (As of 3/3/21)Courts of Appeals have done a great job adaptingYou can always write/file briefs, so her work hasn't been as impactedOral advocacy by Zoom is differentShe has had two Texas Supreme Court arguments over Zoom; wifi issues each timeIn real life, you can read the room and figure out when one of the justices is going to ask you a questions; harder on ZoomAppreciates the efficiency and accessibility Zoom has providedObligatory cat lawyer referenceAdvice for practicing lawyersFeedback on your writing/advocacy is a giftYour first draft should look like you killed a chicken on it (red everywhere); this can be hard to take but it is a gift and you should learn from it and improveThe business of the practice of law is different and something you don't learn in law school, and the sooner you learn about it the betterLearning when to say no to new business is a challenge, but sometimes it is the best answerAdvice for lawyers in practiceHave a strong work ethicMake yourself indispensable or a go-to person for something (practice area; admin)Getting involved in organizations relevant to your/firm practice that can lead to new clientsDon't be afraid of getting pigeonholedAdvice for lawyers looking for jobsFor her, she would prioritize people who show strong advocacy and writing skillsDon't have to be at the top of the classBe a lifelong learner; respond to feedback/criticismRapid Fire QuestionsName one/trait characteristic you most want to see in an associate: lifelong learnerHabit that is key to your success: to do listsFavorite app/productivity tool: Calm appFavorite social distancing activity: sewing/costumingFavorite legal movie: Hamilton (the other 51 / why do you write like you're running out of time?)Thanks again to Morgan McPheeters for joining us on the show!
3/15/202139 minutes, 43 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Varsity Search President Daniel Hare

Daniel Hare is the founder and president of Varsity Search, a legal recruiting company dedicated to building great teams by bringing together lawyers and law firms. In this episode, Daniel has curated some of the most mentioned tips from guests over the past year.Standing Out In Your FirmTake ownership / Think through next steps / etc.Turn in work that is ready to file (no first drafts!)Accept/learn from feedback and constructive criticismAsk for work; don’t sit back and wait for it to be assignedAlways be prepared**Take care of your mental health**When sending out resumes/interviewing/looking to moveStay in your current job as long as you canStay in touch with classmates and build new relationships authenticallyThe basics: no typos, grammatical mistakes, addressing to the correct firm, etc.Ask great questions / prepare / demonstrate sincere interest in the positionThe human factor (interests, connection, fun to be around)Productivity ToolsCenterbase or Intapp - timekeeping appsSlackSoulver (Apple only) - quick math (dates, money, back of envelope)Nextpoint - ediscoveryNotability / Smart Apps for LawyersFavorite Movies (# of guests who mentioned it)My Cousin Vinny - 10Legally Blonde - 7A Few Good Men - 7To Kill A Mockingbird - 4The Firm - 3Erin Brockovich - 2The Verdict - 2A Civil Action - 2The Devil’s Advocate - 1The Pelican Brief - 1The Lincoln Lawyer - 1The Exorcism of Emily Rose - 1Runaway Jury - 1Just Mercy - 1Breaker Morant - 1Bridge of Spies - 1Intolerable Cruelty - 112 Angry Men - 1Liar, Liar - 1The Paper Chase - 1The Informant - 1Knives Out - 1You can go to Daniel's Linkedin Poll to vote for which movie he and Robert Callahan will feature on the next Movie Verdicts episode! You can also go back and review all the Movie Verdicts episodes we have already done here.Thanks to Daniel Hare for doing the show solo today!
3/8/202151 minutes, 14 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Houston Intellectual Property Litigator Keith Jaasma

Keith Jaasma, managing shareholder and intellectual property litigator at Ewing & Jones in Houston, joins us on today's show! Keith talks about practicing IP law without a technical background, avoiding analysis paralysis, and standing out through your cover letter.
3/1/202142 minutes, 22 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Dallas Litigator Josh Hedrick

Josh Hedrick, high-stakes litigator and founding partner Hedrick Kring in Dallas, is our guest on today's show. Josh talks about adapting to Zoom, not faking it until you make it, and asking great questions in a job interview.His firm/practiceJust opened an office in HoustonBusiness litigation firm focused on trials and trial practice, so it is a broad spectrumBusiness divorcesBreach of contractdeparting employee / non-competesecuritiesclass actionCOVID Update (as of 1/28/21)Impacted everyone in the legal industryWife is an ER physician so he had a bit of a heads up, and got out ahead of thingsSome clients have been impacted terribly; others not as muchForced us to learn new tools/technology; had never heard of Zoom a year agoAdvocacy is different in person v. telephone v. videoCan't just do what you would normally do; have to figure out how to present it via Zoom in an effective wayHave to make sure everything is lined up and ready to goEnsure the right environment around where the hearing is taking place (signs on the doors/windows to keep everyone quiet)Upgrade audio/visual/backgroundSome changes are here to stayDepositions (non-central) by ZoomSome hearings as wellAdvice to lawyers in practiceAnything worth doing is worth doing rightLearn why you are doing it, how it fits into the case, how to do it well, and over time how to master itHave a sense for law as a businessBeing a lawyer is a profession and a calling, butYou need to understand how legal advice fits into business decisions and how the business side worksUsually something you learn over time; how each element of the practice is cost-effective for the clientOn business development:Before a lawyer can effectively develop business, you have to master the competencies of being a lawyerOnce you've done that, then you can start thinking about marketing/promoting/selling your servicesWhile developing as a lawyer, maintain your network and surround yourself with people that you like and enjoy visiting with.This will not only help you eventually when developing business, but also just helpful as a growing lawyer in generalDoing these things will put you in a good place to develop business.Some elements are unique to practice areas.On ways to stand out:SkillStrong writerAdvocateWillEasiest to evaluateWork ethic, curiosity, motivation, desire, diligence, coachable, desire to learnDon't have to be a brilliant legal scholar to ask questionsBiggest mistakes associates makeNot asking questionsFake it 'til you make it is BAD adviceAssociates are sometimes afraid to ask questions; don't be!Advice to lawyers who are job seekingAlways hard to look at just the paperAs trial lawyers, big fans of mock trial and moot courtIf not long out of law school, grades are still importantThe longer a candidate is out of law school, the more their experience matters and the academics don't as much.Looking for those who are at competitor/peer firms since that is the most translatable experienceLikes to see people who enjoy competition and succeedingathletes, etc.By the time a candidate reaches the interview stage, on paper they look like a good fitWhat kind of questions does the candidate ask?If they don't ask questions, it's a bad signDo more than surface-level researchRapid Fire QuestionsName the one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: diligenceWhat habit has been key to your success: persistenceFavorite app/productivity tool: SlackFavorite social distancing activity: Spending time with kidsFavorite legal movie: 12 Angry MenThanks again to Josh Hedrick for joining us on today's show!
2/22/202137 minutes
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Monday Mentors with Dallas Litigator Gwen Walraven

Gwen Walraven, a litigator and partner at Bell, Nunnally & Martin in Dallas, is today's guest. Gwen talks about the positives of remote hearings, the practice of law, and putting those interests on resumes.Her firm/practiceWent to Bell Nunnally straight out of law school and has grown up in the firm and become partnerGeneral commercial business litigator. Does a lot of creditor's rights and probate work, business divorces (LAUGH AT 1:20 THAT I NEED TO EDIT OUT OR ADD MY OWN IN)They are full-service to provide nearly all of a businesses' legal needsCOVID update (as of 1/28/21)Firm has been at the forefront of being back in the office and open since May 2020 (not mandated/required); most of the partners like to work in the office, so they have taken advantage of being 50% in the office to adhere to the governor's ordersLots of plexiglass in the office to protect people; temperature checks; other protocolsClients have been asking lots of questions about how they can open back up, protect employees, etc.With economic downturn there are always breaches of contracts, leases, as well as force majeure litigationFirm has continued to be busy, and they have hired five new lawyers during the past yearShe hasn't been back in the courthouse since last year, and every hearing, etc. has been onlineThere is a time/place for remote hearings and they aren't all badWouldn't want to try a case, or do all hearings that way, but it can give younger lawyers the chance to be more involved (no extra expense of travel/wasted time)Stories from virtual hearings (judge not turning on his video/black box only; getting sworn in to attest to information being shared on screen to save time/money)Foreclosure suspensions have an impact; bankruptcy is a wild rideAdvice for lawyers in practiceIt is called the "practice of law" for a reason; it is always evolving/changing. You will make mistakes, and when you do, don't hide it/bury it. Come up with a plan to fix it and don't do anything until you tell the partner what the mistake was and your plan to fix it.There are very few things in law you can't fix (except perhaps statute of limitations).The practice of law is hard, and so young lawyers need to show enthusiasm and devotion to it.It's not about a big personality. Follow up on emails. Don't wait to be told to do the next steps if you know what they are.Ghosting on email is a bad plan - it sends a signal that the sender is not important. Even responding that you received the message and will get back with them soon is better than not responding.The best associates are the ones who, when the partner wakes up in the night thinking about a client matter, realizes that the associate is working on it, and can go right back to sleep.Email is the main source of communication and its important for archiving, etc. But they are finding that texting is a useful way to ping/remind people of things, even to say that there is an email to respond toAdvice for lawyers who are job seekingKeep resumes to one page if at all possible; they see so many resumes there isn't time to read multi-page resumesLaw school still matters if it is someone who has only been out a couple of yearsCover letters can help highlighting the real stuff you've doneShe loves to see interests/hobbies; wants to know you are a real person. Maybe even add "Covid hobbies."Wants to practice law with people they likeEspecially in small/mid-size firms, one person makes an impact on the cultureThis can backfire depending on what the interests are!Final ThoughtAdvice she didn't get that she wish she had: Start thinking about building your own practice and your own clients, even from day one. Even if your firm is telling you it isn't expected or even wanted, you can get involved in organizations, make contacts, have lunches, etc. Building relationships is the heart and soul of the practice of law, and it takes years. Start early.Rapid Fire QuestionsName one trait characteristic you most want to see in an associate: enthusiasmWhat habit has been key to your success: hard workYour favorite app/productivity tool: Intapp (timekeeping app)Favorite social distancing activity: golfFavorite legal movie: Anything Sorkin (American President through West Wing)Thanks again to Gwen Walraven for joining us on today's show!
2/15/202135 minutes, 14 seconds
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Movie Verdicts: Primal Fear

Daniel and Robert talk about the criminal justice system, an all-time plot twist, and the launch of Edward Norton.
2/11/20211 hour, 51 minutes, 23 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Waco Criminal Defense Lawyer and Racial Justice Advocate Robert Callahan

Robert Callahan joins us on today's episode. Robert is the founding partner of Callahan & King in Waco, TX, and he talks about starting and building a law firm, race in the criminal justice system, and how lawyers can be racial justice advocates.His firm/practiceCentral Texas firm that does mostly criminal defense with a mix of family and trusts/estates/planning as well.Four attorneysStarted in private practice in 2011 after several years of working in the McLennan County District Attorney's OfficeWasn't sure switching from the prosecution to the D side and also running a businessHad an offer to join a DA office down near the Texas borderBut after praying through it, felt that he and his family were supposed to stay in Waco and help raise the level of justiceFirst office was a 10x14 windowless room; tough for an extrovert!Partnered with Chris King in 2013 who was a former intern of Robert'sCOVID Update (as of 1/28/21)Feels like things are on the rebound from a business standpointMarch 2020 brought the entire justice system to a halt; jails were only taking those who were charged with the most serious offensesThings rebounded in the summer months alongside the help of the PPP loansExcited to retain some of the great things that we've learned moving forwardAs time passes, cases don't get better, though it tends to work in favor of the defense in a criminal context.Local DA/judges have been good about getting non-violent offenders out of jailFor the more serious offenders in jail, the delays in the process can be hard...but at the same time you don't want to go through a trial in a courtroom and come out with a not guilty verdict plus a lethal case of COVID.RaceRight now, COVID is impacting minorities in the justice system at a higher rateWhen he started in private practice in 2011, he was one of three black attorneys in the county (one since passed away)In 2021 there are sixWith so few, he feels responsible to use his voice/platform for these issuesMichael Morton Act / Prosecutorial ethicsWhen everyone in the system works in their silos and doesn't consider others in the system or the system overall, it can lead to grave injusticesProsecutors have tremendous discretion to decide whether to take case, how to charge. They wear the white hats in the courtroom, get to speak first/last, and it's critical they use that power with integrityConcerned that the conversation that began after the death of George Floyd will fade awayThe system didn't bring justice in that and other cases; it had to be crowdsourcedPressure on different elected officials, bringing awareness, protesting, etc.News cycle moves onWe haven't had a jury since George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and since the difficult 2020 election. There are strong feelings about race, and those things will have be be probed when we pick juries, and there isn't practically enough time to do that well.(Jamar Tisby, The Color of Compromise): It was never the majority that got the Civil Rights movement, it was a vocal minority. It's that remnant today that is the source of where change is going to come from.Biggest change that needs to happen now in the criminal justice system is police reform / police brutality. This is the closest fire. Stop killing black people in the course of detentions.8 Can't WaitThese can happen at the local/state levelLawyers cangive their time/talent/legal servicesuse relationships with elected officials to advocate for change and bring awarenessread The New Jim Crow, Just MercyLaw firms/the legal industryDon't use the old metrics of grades/test scores to determine the potential of candidatesJust three years ago, he learned that he had a learning/reading disorder in the course of learning the same about his daughter, and that led to poor performance on law school exams. In advocacy courses he did great and performed well in mock trial.You will miss good candidates by not looking deeper than just academicsAnybody with enough time/prep can learn the practice of law, but he can't teach you integrity or how to be a good person.He has never asked a candidate about their grades, their exam scores, etc. Only care about the person's character.Rapid Fire QuestionsName one trait characteristic you most want to see in an associate: characterWhat habit has been key to your success: hiring people that have the characteristics that he lacksFavorite app/productivity tool: Facebook and Google SheetsFavorite social distancing activity: Hanging out with friends on front yard, fire pit, drinking wineFavorite legal movie: My Cousin Vinny (though he has given 100s to Hamilton and Primal Fear on Movie Verdicts!)Thanks again to Robert Callahan for joining us on today's show. You can find him on Facebook: @rcallahanwaco, Instagram: @rcallahan_waco, Twitter: @rcallahanwaco, or email him: [email protected].
2/8/202140 minutes, 15 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Houston Trial Lawyer Derek Hollingsworth

Derek Hollingsworth, partner and trial lawyer with the Houston firm Drumheller, Hollingsworth, & Monty joins us on today's show. Derek talks about COVID's impact on criminal defendants, taking chances with your career, and taking ownership in the case.His firm/practiceStarted the firm two years agoBroke off from Rusty Hardin & Associates after 15 yearsMix of civil litigation and criminal defense. Everything is a trial related practice.Got into criminal law by 1) doing the lawyer on loan program with the DA's office, and then 2) leaving his large firm job to go to the DA's office in order to get trial experience. (That is his advice for anyone wanting to do criminal defense).Rusty Hardin had a nice mix of criminal and civil litigation.COVID UPDATE (As of 12/17/20)COVID hit the breaks on most of their workCases are driven by pressure points that have to do with trial dates. If there is no pending trial date, there isn't motivation to do things.If cases slow down, your cash flow can slow down too. They were about to expand before COVID hit, and they likely will once things pick back upCompassionate release motions are an option to get clients out of jail due to COVIDSpeedy Trial Act being tested in federal court where there are strict rules; state court not as much right nowZoom/video has beenHis law partner just handled an entire arbitration over Zoom:Everything was confidential and only one person per room, with an exception for those who were identified and approvedMajor challenge was keeping an eye on all the boxes of participants, and he caught a witness covering his mouth talking to someone off camera in the room who hadn't been approved/identifiedStopped the proceedings and called it outAdvice to lawyers in practiceDon't be afraid to take chancesTalking about leaving the large firm for the DA's officeBe nimbleEven he stayed for several years at Rusty Hardin before starting his own firm even thought he knew it was what he wanted to do. That's a testament to the great/quality firm Rusty created.Own the entire issue/caseDon't build a little fence around what your are comfortable withDon't just do only what was asked...once completed, ask the question "what's next" and take initiativeBe intellectually curious and enthusiastic, and ask questionsPitch ideas of what you might need to do next to help move the case alongAdvice to lawyers who are job seekingFor small firms, they often need someone with enough experience that you're not starting from scratch, BUT also not so much experience or set in their ways that they can't adapt to how this firm does thingsCommunicate and get along well with othersHard to figure out these things on a resume or even in an interviewAre they legitimately interested in the firm (i.e. ask good questions!)At Rusty Hardin, they liked people who weren't "handed everything"Final Thought:Don't be afraid to take chances; nobody is born to be a lawyer or knows exactly what they want to do. Be willing to pivot.Rapid Fire QuestionsOne trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: initiativeWhat habit has been key to your success: planning/confidenceFavorite app/productivity tool: ClioFavorite social distancing activity: time with familyFavorite legal movie: A Time To Kill and My Cousin VinnyThanks again to Derek Hollingsworth for joining us on the show!
2/1/202141 minutes, 15 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Austin Construction Lawyer Rekha Roarty

Rekha Roarty joins us on today's show! Rekha is a construction lawyer with Bollier Ciccone in Austin. Rekha talks about staying professional on Zoom, seeking out the work you want, and showing your personality in an interview.Her firm/practiceConstruction/real estate litigation (her practice); there is a family law section of the firm as wellCOVID update (as of December 17, 2020)Travis County has taken a lot of actions to protect, so civil hearings and trials are not happening in person and are entirely on ZoomMultiple times having clients on Zoom on their phone and in their car; encourage everyone to keep the same formalities, dress, etc.For court, use a laptop or maybe an iPad and not your phone to get on a ZoomMake sure to block time into your calendar for it along with time ahead for getting online, making sure the tech is working ,etc.The prices of building materials (particularly lumber) have skyrocketed, which causes issues when agreements were made a year ago when prices were much lower.Also, there can be delays in the supply chain and/or with issues with subcontractors not wanting to work due to COVID which can impact everyone up/down the chain. So this creates labor shortages.Post-COVIDTravis County is considering having a Zoom docket once/week in order to create more efficiencies. This would apply to routine/administrative type hearings.Mediations/depositions are more effective in person, but it is nice to have the option to do them by Zoom if there is difficult travel or other reasons that make it hard to do them in personWork from home can work and should be an option at least some of the time, and/or add flexibility to how we workAdvice for lawyers in practiceSpeak up / volunteer for what you want to do.offer to handle a hearingask if you can sit in on a call or deposhe handled her first trial after just six months of being licensedDon't be afraid opposing counsel for their thoughts/tips/etc. after a case is over.Attorneys are almost always willing, even eager to help and give adviceBuild connections with them. Not only can you become a better lawyer, but it can also be a source of referrals.Have pride in your work, but there is no place in your workplace for pride.There isn't a task that is beneath you.All hands on deck.Be willing/able to do everything and not just what you consider to be the "attorney" role.Have this attitude and mindset.If you make mistakes, take responsibility and fix it. Don't blame others or make excuses.(Daniel relating a NY Times story about an NBA agent who made a mistake that cost his client $3M, and he took responsibility and paid it back to the player over a number of years.)Advice for lawyers seeking a jobBe yourself because firms are looking for a good fit, and nobody can tell that if you aren't being yourselfAlso you need to be able to relate to people, colleagues, clients, etc.DON'T LIE ON YOUR RESUME!Don't shy away from resume gaps or concerns, just explain them truthfully and move on.Highlighting interests and unique things about yourself is helpful and encouragedFinal ThoughtDon't feel trapped in one area just because that's where you started. She moved from family law to construction law after 2.5 years.Rapid Fire QuestionsOne trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: HonestyWhat habit has been key to your success: OrganizationFavorite app/tool: SlackFavorite social distancing activity: Disney+ Sharing option where you can simultaneously stream movies at different locations and watch movies with friends/family without being in the same placeFavorite legal movie: Legally BlondeThanks again to Rekha Roarty for coming on the show!
1/25/202139 minutes, 55 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Houston IP Lawyer Robert Lord

Robert Lord, Managing Shareholder and intellectual property lawyer with Ferguson Braswell Fraser Kubasta PC (FBFK), is our guest today. Robert talks about how to make the most of your COVID time, being decisive, and the conversational interview.His firm/practiceOffices in Texas (Houston, Plano) and Silicon ValleyFocus is comprehensive business law, including IP which is his areaIP Law updatePatentable subject matter.Is this thing patentable?Courts and Congress haven't figured this out yet, so practitioners and the Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) have been stuck in the middle.The current Patent Commissioner has provided helpful guidance.Draft broadly so that a patent can absorb changes in the lawDesign patents - purely ornamental and how it looks/appears (not how it works). This has taken off!COVID update (as of 12/10/20)Business hasn't been impacted too much; still very busy"How" they serve clients has changed and adaptedBankruptcy practice grew significantly (most from the standpoint of helping clients move up the ladder in another company's bankruptcy)Lots of business formations still happeningCounseling businesses on PPPCourts have slowed down on the patent side, while trademark business has increasedLots of rebrandingLots of onlineTrademark protectionMany of their IP clients have had more time/opportunity to be creative and invent, so they have thrived.videoconferencing, etc.One of their clients created Corona-can for killing the virus in places like conference room prior to meetings; they recently got a $4M investmentHave to be ready to pivot and take on challengesFirms that stick with companies as they go through these challenges will benefitGrowth has been challenging with conducting interviews.Looking forward tocontinued/more use of videoconferencing in place of in-person hearings, administrative proceedings, etc.more flexibility for employees to work from home/elsewhereAdvice for lawyers in practiceFind someone who can be a mentor and advocate for you within your firmNot necessarily someone you have to work directly forHelps you learn how to actually be a lawyer within a firmAn "advocate" is someone who can go to bat for youif something about you is being questioned they can stand up for youif there is a judge who is criticizing, they can interveneif there are opportunities (partnership, etc.) they can fight for youRegarding the workBe decisive and give an opinion. Don't just do the research and give both sides of a decision without suggesting one. Don't be afraid to be wrong! (Ex. "I don't know if it is right for this client, but here is how I see it...")Regarding the human sideBe someone who cares (about the firm, your colleagues, staff, and the clients)BOTH of those last two are criticalAdvice to lawyers who are job seekingTheir interviews are more conversations so that both sides can get to know each otherMost of the competence questions are gleaned from the resume, work product, etc.Candidates should be transparent and up front about obvious gaps or oddities in the resume. Don't apologize for it, but explain itGoing on and on about yourself without asking questions or learning about the firm raises flags and makes you look desperate for any job. Don't you want to know if this will be a good fit? Don't you want to know what it's like to work here?If you are uncomfortable interviewing in person during the pandemic, that's okay. Video interviews or socially distant in-person interviews can work. And if the firm isn't flexible or doesn't line up with where you are, it might not be a great fit.Rapid Fire QuestionsName the one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: decisiveWhat habit has been key to your success: responsivenessWhat is your favorite app/productivity tool: Outlook (multiple time zones feature)What is your favorite social distancing activity: Virtual Happy HourWhat is your favorite legal movie: The Firm and Legally BlondeThanks so much to Robert Lord for joining us on the show!
1/18/202145 minutes, 29 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Dallas Oil and Gas Lawyer Rhodes Hamilton

Rhodes Hamilton, founder and partner at Hamilton & Squibb in Dallas, joins us on today's show. Rhodes talks about launching your own law firm, COVID's impact on the energy sector, the importance of making progress, and demonstrating interest in the job you want.His firm/practiceDallas and Fort Worth officesOil/gas transactional boutique; midstream/upstream10 total lawyersHe didn't even take oil/gas in law school!Oil boom was coming right as he was leaving law school in 2005; Barnett Shale in Tarrant CountyAfter just three years saw the the opportunity to launch his own practiceEasiest hard decision he's ever hadMortgage, car payment, first kid on the wayBut saw the opportunityCOVID-19 Update (as of December 3, 2020)In April, oil prices went negative!O/G companies have generally been contracting; not a lot of transactional work happening; plenty of bankruptcyThey are back in the office; gave people the option after the stay-at-home order expired80% of work happening in the office; still 20% or so from homeHad to put a lot of client communication on calls/Zoom/Microsoft Teams; but that is really hard because in their business much of the business development happens face-to-face2021 should be bettersome consolidation of clients that will be sorted outCommodity pricing is on its way upAdvice for lawyers in practiceBe flexible; willing to do what is neededYou always have to be developing business; can't be reliant on just a few clients...what if they leave? Don't be short-sighted.Could mean writing, speaking, anything...Even young lawyers/associates need to get out; be the firm's presence at activities/events that nobody else wants to go toAlways be making progress. Listen, learn, improve.In a small firm, each associate is, by percentage, a much larger part of the firm than at larger firms, so each individual's development is critical to the firm's successDon't take things for granted; apply yourself; commit and jump in with both feetRe: work/life balance:show a willingness to get the job done firstif that is happening and you want to take a Friday off or adjust the schedule, etc., then great!Advice for lawyers who are job seekingDon't have to be at the top of the class for themShow interest in oil/gasclerkship/internship?industry groups?Fit is really important with a small firm, and that's hard to pin downFor those wanting to transition to oil/gas from another area:get involved in a trade group/organizationstate bar section for oil/gasyou have to show your genuine interestThe firm can teach some of the oil/gas specifics if the desire to learn is thereFinal thought:Get into something else aside your law practice (pro bono, side hustle, hobby); be well-roundedRapid fire questions:Name the one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: willingnessWhat habit has been key to your success: Be in front of trends; anticipateFavorite app/productivity tool: Microsoft TeamsFavorite social distancing activity: Outside/fishingFavorite legal movie: The FirmThanks again to Rhodes Hamilton for coming on the show!
12/21/202038 minutes, 6 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Austin Litigator Michael Kabat

Today's guest is Michael Kabat, partner and litigator at McGinnis Lochridge in Austin. Michael talks about IP cases moving to Waco, being a lawyer of your word, and what they look for in lateral hires.His firm/practiceFull service regional firm with Austin roots (now Houston and Decatur offices); oldest law firm in AustinLots of oil/gas and public utility clients, butHis practice is a broad litigation practice, though the two he focuses on are business litigation and intellectual property litigationAs a Waco native, he is particularly interested in Judge Alan Albright's federal court which has a heavy IP case loadWaco could become the new East Texas/Marshall/Rocket DocketSeveral firms around the state opening up new/satellite offices in WacoCOVID-19 update (as of 12/3/20)Began operating remote in March, and has stayed that way since then.Was an undertaking to get it implemented, but has worked wellMoved group communication to Microsoft TeamsPretty simple/easy to useGood chat function and project based threadsScreen sharing is okayGood video functionality similar to ZoomSome folks in the Houston office have returned to the office and people will occasionally pop into the Austin officeSome hearings/depos it has been better to get the tech/office support from being in the officeThey were in the process of renovating a new space to move into, and COVID has given them pause to rethink the standard ways of commuting/officingAustin continues to boom with real estate/construction/office projectsAdvice for lawyers in practiceYour word is your bond; learn who does/doesn't abide by the sameBecome someone others can trustIf it's a difficult call, what impact will there be on the client? Matters of scheduling/procedure are things that generally don't negatively impact the client and the lawyer can make the call. If it's more of a strategy decision then you really need to listen to the client.Treat your partners as your client; don't lose sight that you are in a client service business with a fiduciary obligationBy impressing the partners, you will get more responsibility and opportunityAdvice for lawyers seeking a job / can you answer these questions?What has your experience been thus far?What do your colleagues think of you?Do they fit into the culture of the firm?In their firm, it's usually a specific need they are looking to fill, so that match will be important.Could the person become a partner?Not every firm prioritizes this; important to know/understand the firm's approach in this regard.What is the leverage structure of the firm? Lots of associates for each partner? That might mean they aren't looking for partners.Do they want to live in the city?Austin is growing as a legal marketBig firms aren't for everyone and there are plenty of other great opportunitiesRapid Fire QuestionsName one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: ownership/eagernessWhat habit has been key to your success: calendaring deadlines and daily time entryFavorite app/productivity tool: Snipping on Microsoft OfficeFavorite social distancing activity: sleeping; Queen's Gambit (Netflix); The Boys (Amazon Prime)Favorite legal movie: Intolerable CrueltyThanks again to Michael Kabat for joining us on today's show!
12/14/202039 minutes, 36 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Dallas Litigator Joey Sampson

Joey Sampson, partner and litigator with McCathern in Dallas, joins us on today's show! Joey talks about COVID's impact on public venues, expediting your learning curve, taking advantage of resources like podcasts, and resiliency as a key character trait for lawyers.His firm/practiceFour offices (Dallas/Frisco/Los Angeles/Houston)Grown from a 9 lawyer firm in 2007 to over 40 todayBroad civil litigation practice plus now family lawHe is more focused on insurance coverage and construction defect litigationFrisco office is at The Star (Dallas Cowboys HQ who is also a client)COVID 19 update (as of November 19th, 2020)Still in the office in DallasClients are settling into the new normal, but dealing with COVID-related issues such as employee mattersSome litigation around construction defect peaked in July/AugustHe is part of a group, IVAM, that meets regularly on public venue issuesExpects to see litigation in the coming months/years from people who claim to have gotten COVID from attending an event in a public venueBut most of the cases are being brought against companies by employees or passengers against cruise linesBut how do you prove causation and where you actually contracted the virus?Venues are definitely focused on this and trying to keep people safeHave to adapt to using the technology (Zoom depos/hearings); he had never heard of Zoom before COVIDencourages your preparation because you have to have your documents ready to go for the shared screen, etc. ahead of timeTexas will need to extend rules to enable further use of the technologyAfter COVIDLikely that hearings/depos will continue to take place on Zoom (saves the drive time, money, etc.)Document-heavy depos/hearings, and those with certain witnesses, will still likely be in personThe costs of litigation will push thisJudges have adapted for the most part and some really like itAdvice to lawyers in practiceDon't use youth as an excuse; expedite your learning curveAlways strive to get betterStep upIf you work at it, you can become a seven year lawyer by year fiveEx. get better at depos by studying great interviewers (podcasts are great for this: listen to Charlie Rose or Howard Stern conduct an interview and learn different approaches)Also listen to great trial lawyers like Mark LanierDo a Zoom CLE and take advantage of those resourcesPick up tips from anywhere!Also become a better writer by reading great writingKey for a young associate to stand outWatch trials and hearings of local courts on YouTubeBe a leader; be the first to volunteer for projectsDon't send drafts to partners; send it to them ready to fileAdvice to lawyers in the job searchTraditional model of reviewing resumes and interviews are a poor way to hire; it's hard to identify the best people from thatHow do you tell if someone is resilient and empathetic/compassionate, which research shows is the best indicator of someone who will succeedTraditional methods are often a coin flipAngela Duckworth book "Grit" and corresponding Ted TalkFinal thoughtPay attention to your mental health. He is in recovery now; addiction is widespread in the legal profession, and we need to talk about it more. (Resources - LCL; TLAP)Rapid fire questionsName one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: resiliency/gritWhat habit is key to your success: always learningFavorite app/productivity tool: 1 PasswordFavorite social distancing activity: golfFavorite legal movie: To Kill A Mockingbird / My Cousin VinnyThanks again to Joey Sampson for joining us on today's show!
12/7/202046 minutes, 49 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Houston Litigator Will Thomas

Will Thomas, partner and litigator with McDowell Hetherington in Houston, is our guest on today's show! Will talks about COVID's impact on trial work, being your case's own toughest critic, and demonstrating grit in a job interview.His firm/practice50 lawyers spread over four offices around the country, with the HQ in HoustonBoutique litigationMost known for life insurance litigationMost of Will's practice is with oil/gas companiesFalling gas prices have an impactChanging discovery rules (lowering thresholds) could impact how cases move through the process and perhaps go to trial moreCOVID Update (11/12/20)Already lean when it comes to staffing, and already was working with multiple offices around the country so the transition to work from home was pretty easyNow in a hybrid mode: if you want to come up to the office you can (with protocols), but you can work from home if you wantIn Spring/Summer there was doubt as to how much work could get done without trials and without in-person hearings/depos/etc., but this has turned out to be one of the busiest years they have had.Lots of litigation spurred by COVIDCourts adapting to online hearingsNot one case has settled at mediation since COVID startedThere is something said for people to go to a place, block the entire day, invest the time, as a drive toward settlingVirtual mediations don't raise the cost of not settling much, so there is less incentiveResolutions still happen; they just take a bit longerDepositions are tough on ZoomWill wants to be in the room with his witness; the witness wants that tooThey have used their office or even a rented out hotel conference room to have Will and the witness in the same room togetherGetting up, putting on a suit, going to downtown Houston, creates some mental and attitudinal things for the lawyer and the witness that don't exist on Zoom (w/ COVID protocols like taking a COVID test, quarantining, etc. in advance)Zoom can lead to relaxing and informality, and you don't want your witness to slip into that mindset and say something they shouldn't.There can also be distractions (kids, dogs, etc.)Hearings haven't changed much, but there are more of them since they are much easier to scheduleJudges are very preparedWe can probably continue to have more/video hearings post-COVIDAdvice to lawyers in practiceStart your day early; Will gets in around/before 7amAs an associate he always got into the office before the partner that he did a lot of work forGet your day started on the right footBeing there early led to answering a partner call to work on a case; that client now gives Will about 40% of his businessKnow that you aren't going to win them all, and that is okay (can be hard for the typical law student/lawyer to handle)Can't take it personallyYou have to let it go and keep after it; can't fret/dwellBe critical of your side, your story, your facts, etc.Make sure you know all the holes and are asking all the questionsYou don't want to be surprised later, especially by the other sideHave original ideas about the caseIt doesn't matter if they wound up getting used, it shows creativity and that you are thinking/caring about the case.Think beyond what your assignment isDon't be afraid to share your ideas!Don't default to just meeting the task/expectations; take ownership of the case!Re: business developmentWork hard on your cases and show that you have valueFind attorneys to work for who will value/include you, and make yourself indispensable to themRe: work/life balanceIn the first few years, work probably takes priorityThis is a practice, and the only way to get better is to put in the timeTo go to trial and be a better lawyer, you have to put in the timeAdvice to lawyers in job searchingShow that you are someone who can work autonomouslyShow that you want to take charge and run casesShow that you are going to work hard and that you want to winGrit - Were you on multiple advocacy teams in law school? Did you write onto law review? Did you work in law school?Final words of advice: This is a hard job! If it was easy, everyone would do it. There is a lot of stress. People look to you. You have to be a good writer, good in the courtroom, creative, sales/marketing. Night crew of associates to work/eat/socialize together!Rapid Fire Questions:Name the one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: creativityWhat habit has been key to your success: write down your next 24-48 hours of projects/tasks each dayFavorite app/productivity tool: Apple NotesFavorite social distancing activity: waking the (new) dogFavorite legal movie: Bridge of SpiesThanks again to Will Thomas for joining us on the show!
11/30/202045 minutes, 17 seconds
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Movie Verdicts - Runaway Jury

Runaway Jury, the John Grishman novel turned 2003 movie starring John Cusack and Gene Hackman, is the subject of today's Movie Verdicts episode with hosts Daniel Hare and Robert Callahan. Daniel and Robert talk about jury service, bathroom scenes, juror stereotypes, and guns v. tobacco.Special Mentions:Koppelman/Levine tweet re: Sean ConneryTalking to Strangers by Malcolm GladwellBruce McGill, who plays the judge (and also the sheriff in a previously featured episode of My Cousin Vinny), is the uncle of a listener of the show!Epic fail of the Bechtel and Callahare testsStanley Anderson plays the gun company CEO who we didn't give near enough credit to in the episodeRunaway Jury scored an 89.5 (Robert) and 87 (Daniel) for a combined score of 88.25. 
11/23/20201 hour, 59 minutes, 35 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Dallas Healthcare Litigator Jennifer King

Jennifer King, medical malpractice and healthcare litigator at Burford & Ryburn in Dallas joins us on today's show! Jennifer talks about the latest in medical malpractice, how to get good at lawyering by Zoom, and the importance of availability and responsiveness.Her firm/practice:Her firm is over 100 years oldDuring the 100 year, they did 100 things for the community (planted 100 trees, 100 hours of community service, etc.)She does professional liabiltiy defense representing hospitals/doctors/nurses/providers when they are sued or before medical boards; also counsels clients on policy; also does some lawyer liability defenseFirm has a general defense practice with lawyers working in a variety of industriesDon't do any criminal or tax lawThere is always discussion of adjusting the non-economic caps for damages, but it never seems to go through; there has been a loosening of the expert report requirements under Chapter 74 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code (good for plaintiffs)While the conventional wisdom is that medmal is a slow/dying practice area, she is as busy as she ever has been. So that is not necessarily the caseCOVID update (10/15/20)She was visiting hospital clients in March when everything hit, and it was striking how when she went from one hospital that was bustling, to the next one which was empty/silent, it all hit homeLitigation took a back seat to employee health concerns, PPEPlaintiff's lawyers were very good about waiting/postponing while the providers were getting their arms around the pandemicShe and her lawyer friends would practice on Zoom (with a glass of wine!); figure out the chat feature, raising hand, changing names, etc. This helped her adapt quickly and she has since had meetings, mediations, hearings, etc. and it has gone wellIt does in some ways make things easier when you don't have to travel all over the state to meet with clients (though there are a number of benefits of face-to-face meetings that get lost)Practice, practice, practice on Zoom!She enjoys working from home and is completely in control of her environment; thinks that going forward many lawyers will work in some combination of home/workZoom replacing phone calls has helped and should stay; mediations by Zoom have worked well and are easier to scheduleAdvice for lawyers in practiceAvailability and responsiveness are key for an associateShe was in the office during lunch when most associates were out, and a partner couldn't find anyone to help him on a project. He found his way to Jennifer's office and asked if she had time, to which she said "absolutely!" That day changed her career trajectory.She made sure to be in the office anytime he wasClients expect a response to calls/emailsJennifer never said no to an assignment or project. If it required weekends/nights/etc. that was okay.She will have multiple weeks in a row that are jam packed, but may then follow it up with scheduled down time (ex. several days in Florida with friends)If you are getting so much work that you don't think you can keep up or you are at risk of burnout, communicate with the partner. Many times you just need to triage your project list to see what the priorities areAdvice for lawyers in the job searchShe likes to look at the skills/activities section of the resume; that's where you really learn about themAlso likes to interview them by taking them out to lunch or dinner; looking for whether there is a connection - she wants to hire future partners!Personable, good stories, able to communicate are keys to show in the interviewFinal ThoughtPeople who want to litigate: seek out those partners who you can find great opportunities for the work you want.Never let the political climate or industry news to discourage you or dissuade you from pursuing your passionYou don't win by being timidThere are opportunities out there, so get after it!Rapid Fire QuestionsName one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: hunger/passionWhat habit is key to success: responsivenessFavorite app/productivity tool: smart phoneFavorite social distancing activity: Zoom Happy Hours!Favorite legal movie: To Kill A Mockingbird / Legally BlondeThanks again to Jennifer King for joining us on the show!
11/16/202040 minutes, 47 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Dallas Real Estate Lawyer Kevin Cherry

Kevin Cherry, founding partner and board certified lawyer at Cherry Petersen Landry Alpert, joins us on today's show. Kevin talks about finding your own way, getting to work early, and being yourself in a job interview. His firm/practice:Practiced at another law firm his first three years out of law school, worked hard, but his heart wasn't in itLeft the law firm and went to work at a real estate company (not practicing law), but that didn't work outFortunate to then become an in-house attorney (1986) and now his heart was in it, and success followedHis job was eliminated when the company was bought, and he had another decision to makeTurned down an offer from a great firm, and instead hung his own shingle (1991)The real estate market was in recovery, he had built up good relationships with his old firm, old company, and others from growing up in DallasAnother firm approached him and wanted to bring him/his practice on; they tried it for a few months but he returned to just his own firmSo his firm was a real estate boutique until 2009 when they added a litigation group20 lawyers (15 real estate transactions plus 5 litigators)Took him a little longer to find his path than others; and that's okay!In real estate law,the lawyers come in at the last minute, when the deal is 75% doneso perspective is trailing the marketretail and office real estate business is toughindustrial/warehouse is goodresidential is good (multi-family pretty good; single family very good)Lots of business in Texas, and the real estate business is local (i.e. relationships)likes that deals are done relatively quickly (compared to litigation)Advice to lawyers in practiceGet to work early!Manage your email and guard your time wellShow that you care about the quality of the work that you are doing; care about every project you doDoesn't mean perfectionism, but consistency and quality; clients can tell!Advice to lawyers who are looking for a jobSmall firm perspective, and it is an inexact scienceDidn't start hiring lawyers from law school until a few years agoHas recently hired on the spot based on referrals and a short interview (strong referral in this circumstance)Looks for a personal connection that he finds compelling, and/or something in their academic record that is impressive (e.g. one interestingIt's not an objective process, no specific GPA, it is individualRelax in an interview and be yourself (he had braces for his interviews and made it through!)Book: What Color is Your Parachute? - lots of nos before a yesRapid Fire QuestionsOne trait or characteristic you most want to see in an associate: humilityWhat habit has been key to your success: keeping up relationshipsFavorite app/tool: podcasts (Megyn Kelly, Michael Lewis, Malcolm Gladwell, Tim Keller)Favorite social distancing activity: bicyclingFavorite legal movie: Breaker Morant (though Wedding Crashers might be if it is a legal movie)Thanks again to Kevin Cherry for joining us on the show!
11/9/202038 minutes, 33 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Houston Trial Lawyer Will King

Will King is a trial lawyer in Houston with the firm Wallace & Allen, where he works to protect the rights of working people, homeowners, and small businesses in complex cases throughout the United States. Will talks about COVID litigation, trusting your instincts, and the importance of brevity.His practiceCommercial litigation, wage/hour defense, governmental litigation, constitutional litigationSpike in cases related to COVID since it may be the first time people/businesses are really seeing the power of government regulationPre-COVID governmental litigation was limited to certain businesses, but now it is more widespreadNew executive orders from Governor Abbot lead directly to new client callsCOVID Update (10/8/20)Small firm with three lawyers and two staffWorked from home beginning in March and throughout most of the pandemic, but it has worked okay since most of his work is briefing work, and hearings have moved to ZoomStill prefers in-person hearings to get the vibe/read of the room, but for uncontested matters sticking with remote hearings makes sense post-COVIDThe importance of brevity in presentations has become critical when doing remote hearings/depositions; it is easy for virtual listeners to get bored and stop paying attentionConsider what is in the background of your video shot, and the placement/angle of your video cameraAdvice to lawyers in practiceTrust your own instincts (that doesn't mean overconfident); understand where your client, the other side, and the judge are coming from; use common sense! Don't assume that senior lawyers in your own firm or on the other side know what they are talking about.As a lawyer you are constantly learning; the law is always changing and cases are always differentRe: briefing, don't kill yourself looking for a case that is precisely on point. There usually isn't a perfect case. You need to make the best argument you can. Though it is important to know if a case on point (or close) goes against you!If there isn't a case(s) because the issue is novel or because the cases are from another era making it hard to extrapolate, think through what the policy and goals of the law were and how they apply to your set of facts.In old-time cases, judicial opinions focused more on general principles than discreet elements of the law; this allowed for more creativity, if not also less predictability in how it applies to other/future/contemporary cases.To build businessGet facetime with your client as much as possible; this will yield to referrals and more business from that client and othersBuild relationships: referral sources and clients themselves (often depending on the type of practice)Work/life balanceAsk the question: what is your stamina like? If not a grinder, then tailor the job search for an employer that can fit that.Can come/go depending on the week/month, so prepare that it will vary throughout the year.When evaluating, don't just look at "hour requirements" if it takes a lot of non-billable hours to get to the billable requirement.Advice to lawyers on the job searchMake sure your resume is properly formatted, no typosHave a solid writing sample to present that shows your writing style/tone, how you isolate/address the issueDoesn't matter so much what the content is, but rather does it show that you can communicate in a clear/concise mannerWhat are you most proud of? Submit that!In an interviewCan you hold a conversation and speak like a regular personAre you on the same wavelength with the interviewer? If not, then perhaps it isn't a great fit.Final Thoughts: Much of the job is learning on the fly. Read other lawyer's work product to see what is good and then shape it into your own style.Rapid Fire Questions:One trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: ability to problem solveHabit that is key to success: remembering how much you don't know; thorough in researchFavorite app/tool: WestlawFavorite social distancing activity: yard workFavorite legal movie: Better Call Saul (show)Thanks again to Will King for joining us on today's show!
11/2/202039 minutes, 31 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Austin Immigration Lawyer Matthew Myers

Matthew Myers, immigration lawyer and partner at MW Law, joins us on today's show! Matthew talks about a wild year in immigration law, how to navigate law firm politics, and highly targeting your job search efforts.His practice / firmRecently launched his own practice after working with a large immigration law firmMostly working on investor and employment immigration casesPartnered with two friends who had a business/real estate transactional firm and started the immigration sectionInternational focusedAlways something new in immigration law:The Trump administration just changed an important definition of the type of job that qualifies for an H-1B visaA significant number of major developments in 2020Shutting down travel to different countries and different types of visas during this pandemicWould a Biden-administration open the immigration system back up?Covid Update (as of 10/8/20)A lot of fear/confusion for clients, which creates opportunity for lawyers to be of assistanceAll the US embassies and consulates were closed in March which dramatically impacted people trying to get back into the countryHas been working at home but is ready to get back into the office to try and keep a separation between and personalMost of his practice can all be done remote/onlineHe has volunteered to work on asylum/removal defense cases where hearings are still happening in-personAdvice for lawyers in practiceGet into the office before everyone else, and be the last one to leaveHe distinguished himself at the firm in a short time because of his commitment to thisHigher volume work in the early years can multiply your experience, so that after three or four years you've gained what amounts to 10+ years of experienceApproach the early years like you are a resident in medical schoolIf you can, save work/life balance for laterCareful that you aren't taken advantage of by others in the firm who know you work well/hard/long, and advocate for appropriate compensationWill differentiate you from other lawyers with similar years of experienceLegal field can be politicalThe show Suits is an exaggeration, but based upon some truth of how it isAdvocate for yourselfOld school expectations (e.g. lifetime loyalty to a firm)Find the best fit for youBecome independent as soon as you canAsk yourself what you would do if you didn't have more senior lawyers you could go toCome up with your own/new ideasAdvice for lawyers in job searchesClosely tailor your resume to the job you are applying toOne page resume with no typosIf you are looking to switch practice areas, get out and meet people in the practice area you are wanting to move toRapid Fire QuestionsOne trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: be receptive to guidanceKey habit: hard workFavorite app/tool: todoistFavorite social distancing activity: coffee on the patioFavorite legal movie: My Cousin VinnyThanks again to Matthew Myers for coming on the show!
10/26/202040 minutes, 2 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Houston Employment Lawyer Akilah Craig

Akilah Craig, labor & employment lawyer with the national law firm Vorys in Houston, joins us on today's show! Akilah talks about COVID's impact on employment law, race in the legal system, and how lawyers can use their time and talents to enact change.
10/19/202046 minutes, 9 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Waco Construction Lawyer Julia Jurgensen

Julia Jurgensen, partner and construction lawyer with the full-service firm of Beard Kultgen in Waco, joins us on today's show! Julia talks about practicing law post-COVID, planning for work/life balance, and how to show you'll be a good fit in a firm.Her firm/practiceShe is in her 15th year of practicefull-service firm that does everything but family and criminal law21 attorneys and have been growingShe got her start as a plaintiff's attorney in Houston, but since moving back has done more general/commercial litigation and construction lawSeveral law changes lately in construction law: surety, indemnityConstruction law:She enjoys the clients: they are direct!Got to work with family friendsLikes getting out to the job site and learning more about development and real estateContract consulting is a big pieceWaco marketLoves that she knows many of her clients outside of workYou will often know the attorney on the other side of the case, which most of the time brings a level of civilityLots of sophisticated work and peopleGreat judges who are fair/thoughtfulCOVID Update (as of 9/17/20)Big investment by the firm in technologyHow do we best serve elderly / high-risk clients? (e.g. signing wills in the parking lot with masks)The practice itself hasn't changed muchShe also handles some of the HR duties within the firm, so implementing protocols has been important as well as transitioning people to work from home.Post-covidKeeping people safe/healthy is important for them and the firm, so that should stay a priority moving forwardHelping people to be productive working in a flexible or work-from-home situationHowever, it is still important to be physically present at the firm if at all possible, especially for young attorneys looking to get work from partners and popping into offices.Work/Life BalanceIt's hard, and balance means different things at different points in your lifeThink about it early in your career, especially what you might want 5, 10, 20 years from nowDo you know now that you always want to practice full-time? Part-time once you have a family?(Daniel) Look ahead at the people going through different life stages and see how the firm is responding to themShe can now model that to other lawyers now and be a resource for themAdvice to lawyers in their job searchLaw school grades are important because they are an indicatorIf a lateral, do they have a book of business?What do they do outside of work? What did they do in high school? So interests on the resume are important.Helps to figure out whether the person fits into the firm culture.(Daniel) if you have interesting interests, include them; if not, don't!In the interviewCan the person look her in the eye?Do they demonstrate honestly/integrity?Will they get along with others in the firm?Ask good questions; shows how interested they truly areRapid Fire QuestionsName one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: strong work ethicWhat habit has been key to your success: keeping things in perspectiveFavorite app/tool: paper list and a combo paper/electronic calendarFavorite social distancing activity: coaching little leagueFavorite legal movie: Erin BrockovichThanks again to Julia Jurgensen for joining us on the show!
10/12/202039 minutes, 23 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Fort Worth Employment Lawyer Caroline Harrison

Caroline Harrison, founding partner of the labor and employment boutique Pham Harrison in Fort Worth, joins us on today's show. Caroline shares her work/life balance tips, advice for business development, and how to prepare for an interview.Her firm/practiceFocus on employment law but will handle some other types of litigation as wellThey have three partners and one associate attorney plus several staffPractice didn't see a dip during COVID because employment questions were raisedBefore COVID she had not given her cell number out to many people and tried to maintain some work-life balance, but since COVID many of her clients have her cell phone number and contact her oftenAdvice to lawyers in practiceDo what you say you're going to doReturn clients' calls/emails promptlyYou don't have to be perfect; you will make mistakes, and the important thing is finding and fixing themRead the lawyers you are working for and know your audience; some will give you more leeway and others will want you to ask their permission before doing anythingDon't make strategy decisions without checkingBe on top of deadlines (for the entire case not just your particular assignment)Communicate, communicate, communicateRegarding assignments from partners:Know your deadline;Know the format for submission (memo, brief, discussion, presentation, etc.)Know what you have been asked to do (i.e. confirm that you understand the assignment)(Check out Haley Turner talking about this in this episode)Re: work/life balanceEstablish boundariesUnderstand the expectations of your firm. If something isn't required but a few people do it, be mindful that if you start doing it the expectation will be there for you moving forwardTry to get your work done during the week so you can take the weekends to refreshExercise in the morning so you can take advantage of the endorphins, as well as not let something come up that prevents you from doing it later in the dayAdvice to lawyers for business developmentGet involved with local young lawyers groupyou will make close friendswill become a great referral sourceget on a committee or something beyond just going to the happy hoursGet involved in some type of charitable / community organization that you have a passion forShe is in a book club that a former classmate had put together (but most of the group is not a lawyer)Don't turn down speaking engagementsBe patient; it won't all happen fast and at onceAdvice to lawyers in a job searchMost of their hiring has been people who have externed with them while in law schoolThis is important for her to see how possible hires interact with everyone in the firm, clients, etc. to determine if they are a fitGrades aren't as important as fitNo spelling errors on resumeIs there something in your background (and in the documents) that make it clear why you want to work in THIS firm.Put interests on a resume if they are interesting/unique and can be a conversation starterIn the interview, show confidence without arrogance and find a way to be at easeCome with substantive questions that shows the interviewer you are interested in them, the firm, and the positionThis also helps in networking! Ask questions!Final Thought: Arrive 10-15 minutes before your supervising attorney arrives and leave 10-15 minutes after. They will think you are the hardest working attorney in the firm.Rapid Fire Questions:Name one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: confidenceWhat habit has been key to your success: follow-throughYour favorite app/productivity tool: pad of paper/pen for to-do listsYour favorite social distancing activity: sitting on a restaurant patio with friendsYour favorite legal movie: My Cousin VinnyThanks again to Caroline Harrison for coming on the show!
10/5/202036 minutes, 19 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Dallas Probate Litigator Jessica Dunne

Jessica Dunne, Senior Associate at Farrow-Gillespie Heath Witter in Dallas, joins us on today's show. Jessica talks about the growing demand for elder law attorneys, how to use social media for business development, and highlighting accomplishments on your resume.Her firm/practice:Full-service, mid-size, woman-ownedShe mostly handles probate, guardianship, and fiduciary litigation and administrations; also adoptionsGrowing elderly population so the needs for these services are skyrocketingMost of the lawyers practicing in this area are older and are aging out, so there is a great opportunity for younger lawyersExciting to be in a high-demand practiceIt can be hard to break into initially since many of the firms that handle these matters are small/solo, and/or they aren't in a position to train new lawyersShe took a general litigation position right out of law school, but wound up lateraling to work with a former probate judge who she had developed a relationship with once he left the bench and needed an associateEasier to go from general litigation to probate as opposed to the reverseCOVID Update (8/20)Still working mostly from home, though she can go into the office if neededShe can do most of what she does from home, and then hearings have all been by Zoom and phone, which has worked wellclients like not having to get to the courthouse, especially with a more elderly populationplease mute yourself when you aren't talkingKeep courtroom decorum / look presentableFind a quiet placeShe is hoping/expecting both of these to continue post-COVIDNetworking is challenging/different nowBest avenue for business development is social mediaAdvice for lawyers in practiceShe learned early how to look at a case in a forward looking matter; anticipate needs and don't wait to be askedEx. find the medical expert for testator capacity if that's at issueEx. if you are asked to draft a motion, draft the order that you would ask the judge to sign granting the motionEx. put together everything you need for a prove up hearing, not just one or a few componentsPut together the timeline of important facts and documents at the very beginningadd Bates numbers to related exhibits that pertain/prove thosecan potentially be the outline of your opening statement; the theme can come from ithelps keep you organizedmakes your discovery more effectiveCommunicate, communicate, communicaterespond to emails/calls of your bosses/colleagues/clientsBusiness DevelopmentBuild relationshipsin the communitywith other lawyers; they can be your best referral sourcemake sure other lawyers know what you doSocial MediaEx. she diagrammed a complicated heirship tree on her daughter's playroom wall and posted it on Facebook with a clever caption and a #getawill hashtag. This originated four estate planning clients for her firm (and she doesn't even do the wills/estate planning)Advice for lawyers in job seekingno spelling/grammar errorseven in thank you notes (which you can send by email)show on your resume what you actually diddid you draft/argue/win motions?do you draft/object/respond to discovery?do you prep depo outlines or do you take the depos? If so, fact or expert?what did you do at trial?what role in an appeal?Highlight resultseven for things that settle or get worked out, you can say "negotiated favorable result..."Rapid Fire QuestionsName one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an Associate: self-starter / takes initiative / doesn't need to be toldWhat habit has been key to your success: making to-do lists or action item lists for litigation casesFavorite app/productivity tool: Action-Item Lists - put everything you might do in a litigation case onto a master list so you can keep pushing the ball forward; also helps you hit billing requirementsFavorite social distancing activity: Enjoying the pool a their new house (purchased to accommodate their growing family!)Favorite legal movie: Legally BlondeThanks again to Jessica Dunne for joining us on today's show!
9/28/202042 minutes, 1 second
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Monday Mentors with Austin Real Estate Lawyer Kara Batey

Kara Batey of the Austin-based full-service law firm Branscomb, P.C., joins us on today's show. Kara talks about remote working post-COVID, the emergence of water law, and how to show sincere interest in a job interview.COVID-19 UpdateEveryone working from home since MarchBeing an oil/gas lawyer she doesn't have to worry about court, etc. Working on docs and making calls can continue mostly like normalImportant to have a dedicated area to work fromCan access the Austin office if she needs toAble to offer clients new technology like Zoom, etc., but they haven't needed/wanted itUsing Microsoft Teams within the office for video meetingsGood to check in with colleagues and those you work closely withThe use of tech and work from home will likely lead to law firms reducing their real estate footprint going forwardFrom a budgeting standpoint, this is a fixed cost that you can't change, and Austin real estate is expensiveForce Majeure has become a major issue, both figuring how how it applies in current contracts, and drafting them in current/future agreements to specifically address pandemicsIs it even economic to litigate it, or better to just come together and work something outHer firm and practiceFirm has practice groups intended to meet their clients' business and personal legal needscorporatetaxlabor/employmentoil/gas/real estate/waterestate planning/probatelitigationShe does transactional real property mattersfocused mostly on commercial real estate and waterlegal concepts are similar throughout these areaswater law is tracking oil/gas lawOil/Gas law gave her great experience and understanding that translates and is applicable across lots of real estate practice areas. Ex. writing title opinions.Advice to lawyers in practiceIt is helpful to specialize in something, but even more so to choose a specialty that can be applied to broader/tangential areasClients will often have related issues. So if you can handle those too you can expand your business.Advice to lawyers searching for a jobAlways include you GPA on your resume; if you don't people assume you have a bad oneIf you can show a history of success in your practice area of some number of years, then this probably doesn't matter quite as muchProofread all materials; typos, incomplete sentences, address cover letters to the right personExpress sincere interest in your cover letter for the position you are applying foremphasize relevant experience and/or courseworkdon't overestimate yourself; take a humble approach; if you are a new or young lawyer, you don't really know much yet.If the job is posted, apply for THAT job. Don't try to apply for another one that you want. Ex. The job is posted in Corpus Christi but you apply for their Austin office.In the interview, be sure to show that sincere interest in the area of law/practiceRapid Fire QuestionsTrait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: make new mistakes / i.e. don't keep making the same mistakesHabit that is key to your success: PersistenceFavorite app/productivity tool: ZillowFavorite social distancing activity: backyard happy hoursFavorite legal movie: Legally BlondeThanks again to Kara Batey for joining us on today's show!
9/21/202040 minutes, 39 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Austin Trial Lawyer Tom Jacob

Tom Jacob, trial lawyer with Whitehurst, Harkness, Brees, Cheng, Alsaffar, Higginbotham, and Jacob, PLLC in Austin, joins us on today's show! Tom talks about Zoom trials, the Feres Doctrine, outlining before you write, and lots of recommended tools!COVID Update (Recorded July 30, 2020)Finished off a federal bench trial by Zoom; had one final witness as COVID hit, so earlier this summer the judge/parties went ahead with the final witness by Zoom to close the trial.Had been doing a lot of remote depos pre-COVID so they were prepared when that ramped upHe built an app to use with Zoom to quickly pull up case files documents, annotate them, and display themHis partners screenshare PDFs on their screenLots of hearings by Zoom too; probably more now than ever because it is so much more convenient and easy to get the parties togetherLooking forward to the Travis County pilot program; jury trial much trickierVery easy for jurors to get distracted, especially for longer trialsLots of time/cost savingsHis practice/firmHe practices mostly in federal court representing veterans and military service members against the U.S. government in personal injury and medical malpractice cases.Examples: catastrophic brain injury in a child; building fell on client; Sutherland Springs mass shooting caseGets clients by referrals, being active in the community, writing/publishing, and getting found on GoogleFor 50 years active duty military haven't been able to sue the government for medical malpractice / personal injury because of the Feres Doctrine, judge made law that barred these types of claims, but Congress recently passed a law to counter that doctrine. Now these military members can bring an administrative claim (still cannot sue).Not perfect since it is the agency you are suing that is making the determination, but it is somethingNew law just went into effect, and the agencies are passing the regulations right nowCongress is also working on COVID liability provisions that could impact their practice and whether their clients can bring claims if it is written broadlyOdd because most of the lawsuits being brought due to COVID are not tort-lawsuits, so immunity from torts doesn't align. Most lawsuits are employment, evictions, etc.As of September 11, this Safe to Work Act, Senate Bill 4317, has not yet made its way through Congress.Advice for lawyers in practiceNo matter where you are on the drafting ladder, turn your draft in ready to fileWhile he was clerking with a firm during law school, he wrote a motion that the partner approved of, but criticized him for not filling in the partner's bar number to the signature block.Even if you know it is going to go through multiple revisions and multiple peopleIf you don't know something, ask. Don't want to ask the partner who assigned the work? Ask a paralegal or associate.When you are writing, you should always outline firstAlways knew this but didn't put it into practice until more recentlyThought it was outdatedNow he outlines everythingUses an entirely separate application (OmniOutliner) where he outlines (focus is on substance)When you get to the prose piece, you don't have to worry about the substance and can focus on the prose/writingAdvice to lawyers who are job seekingAs a lawyer you are a professional writer, which includes being a professional publisher (understand how layout/design impact substance)Be able to hold the conversation in an interviewRapid Fire QuestionsTrait/Characteristic you most want to see in an associate: hustleHabit that has been key to your success: laziness - find an easier way to do itFavorite app/tool: Soulver (advanced calculator for MAC; dates/times/etc.)Favorite social distancing activity: runningFavorite legal movie: My Cousin VinnyThanks again to Tom Jacob for joining us on the show!
9/14/202045 minutes, 55 seconds
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Movie Verdicts: Hamilton (Part II)

We talk about the best client moment, best scene, best line, and give our gavels for Hamilton.
9/11/202057 minutes, 3 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Austin Family Lawyers Holly Davis and Chris Kirker

Holly Davis and Chris Kirker, founders and partners of the Austin family law boutique firm Kirker Davis, join us on today's show. They talk about Zoom best practices and the importance of hunger and believing in yourself.COVID-19 update (as of the July 30th recording date)The March shutdown created family law issuesInflux of people needing helpinterpret existing ordersknow options if they are in an abusive situationissues around kids/schoolTravis Countygoing to test a Zoom jury trial that is non-bindingessentially a pilot programdoubt we'll get to binding Zoom jury trialsBexar CountyHybrid with some Zoom voir direZoom hearings here to stayprove ups at the end of the divorce are a good example of the type of hearing that could continue post-COVIDLots of efficienciesProud of their team in both Austin and Williamson County offices in how they have adapted to the Zoom hearingshearing schedule has not reduced; it has actually increasedthere are more emergencies due to COVIDUsed to have to take yourself, a paralegal, your client, boxes of evidence to the courthouse and wait for your turn to be called; now you get a specific date/time, exhibits are submitted in advance so everyone gets to see a list and prepare ahead; it increases efficiency and transparencyProud of how the judges have adapted as wellTips/Best practicesBe organizedHave the exhibit list prepared well in advanceKnow which page number you will be looking to in your exhibitsStart doing Zoom all the time for practice and to get comfortablefirm meetingsclient consultsDon't show up right when the Zoom is starting; leads to wasted time (audio; camera; lighting; etc.)Get familiar with the other platforms that might get used (Williamson County is using Microsoft Teams)Be sure before objecting to things like admissibility or authenticationjudges have grace toward this right now and taking a more critical eye to those types of objectionsDress like you are in-person for the hearing or client meeting, etc.good advice for a job interview too!Their firm and practiceSecond iteration of a successful family law firmStrong vision of who the ideal client is and who the team is they want to put together to serve those clientsWanted to break the mold of the old way of doing things and are having success practicing in a more modern wayCreate policies that benefit the clients and associate attorneysThey have more clients calling in than they can handle so they are hiringEach associate/paralegal is considered in every decision that is madeGoal when hiring people is they would make a career here rather than a jobHigh-stakes litigation firm that can also provide service to those who aren't seeking litigation/conflictFemale owned and a majority-female firm; diversity/inclusionmerit-based so anyone can thriveAdvice for lawyers in practiceYou can survive and thrive in hard thingsLearned in law school that she could survive anything, and might even thrive in it (credits Baylor Law's Practice Court program)You can do way more than you probably think you can, but you have to do it and practice. Bring value!Adopt/model good business philosophies now while you are in the early part of your practiceIf you don't you could fall into limiting mindsetsBe mindful of how clients are going to search/discover youDon't depend on your law firm exclusivelyGoogle yourself as a client wouldFocus on a niche practice area that you are interested in and highlights your skillsPeople want experts at the highest levelAdvice for lawyers in a job searchSame advice in niche practice for client development applies to job searchingFirms want to hire someone who wants to do what the firm does, specifically. So a generalist is not as attractive as someone with a niche focus (that suits the need)Indecision about what you want to do can also create more risk for the firm who may have to replace you after a short time if you leave because it's not a good fit.At the document stage (resume/cover letter)Send a cover letter; shows more commitment/interesthighlight how serious you are about being a family law attorneyProof your resume/cover letter; so many have errorsLooking for people that are hungry to become the best at what they dosomeone with experience in another practice area who wants to make a transition to family law could be very attractive if they were great in their prior practice and are hungry to learn and become the best family lawyer they can be.Addressing this (or other potential resume negatives) in a cover letter also provides an opportunities to demonstrate your advocacy skills.InterviewsCandidates tend to focus too much on where they've been as opposed to where they are going. How does the position fit into your larger career goals?Fit of personality and can we get along is the focus.Final ThoughtsHolly - You can do it! Believe in yourself. Don't limit yourself.Chris - You aren't stuck. Take this COVID time to consider what you want.Rapid Fire QuestionsTrait you most want to see in an associate: Chris - hunger/drive/self-taught; Holly - hungerHabit has been key to your success: Chris - desire to be the best; Holly - believing in myselfFavorite App/Tool: Holly - Zoom; Chris - ClioFavorite Social Distancing Activity: Holly - taking calls while walking the neighborhood; Chris - swimmingFavorite Legal Movie - Holly - none / The Pelican Brief; Chris - A Few Good MenThanks again to Holly Davis and Chris Kirker for joining us on the show!
9/7/202042 minutes, 14 seconds
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Movie Verdicts - Hamilton (Part I)

Daniel Hare, Robert Callahan, and Adrienne Hare do a deep dive (from a legal perspective of course) to the hit show "Hamilton".
9/3/20201 hour, 18 minutes, 17 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Dallas Litigator Brandon Lewis

Brandon Lewis, partner with the Dallas litigation boutique Reid Collins & Tsai, joins us on today's show! Brandon talks about how COVID is impacting jurisdictions differently, reading great writing to improve your writing, and the importance of attention to detail.COVID-19 Update (Recorded 7/16/20)Shuttered offices in early March and haven't been back; firm is geared toward working remotelyThey have a NYC officeUse tools: Office 365/Teams/Zoom but stay homeCourts shut everything downdifferent state Supreme Courts came out with new orders regularly and it was a challenge to keep up with the rules of the road for each jurisdictionDeadlines extended / statute of limitations suspendedSome hearings have been done virtuallySome Zoom mediationsHe hasn't done a Zoom deposition though others in his firm haveMostly pushing things off so they can resume more normal operationsLearning from others how to work from home has been importantmaintain scheduleget dressed in work clothesforgive yourself for struggling and give yourself some graceHis firm/practice:Litigation boutique of 34 attorneys specializing in complex commercial litigation; director/officer liability; financial frauds/insolvency; professional malpractice.almost all of the work is from the plaintiff sideOffices in Austin, Dallas, Washington, D.C., and New YorkThere is a lot changing on the bankruptcy side in the wake of COVIDmuch of their work arises when a company goes bankruptstatutes of limitationsnew laws for reliefU.S. Supreme Court decision on 546e (the "Safe Harbor" provision") of the Bankruptcy CodeCOVID will create a wave of bankruptcies that will ultimately lead to resulting litigationsilver lining is that fraudsters will be exposedAdvice to lawyers:Read Mark Herrmann's The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Lawshort, easy readtons of great adviceRead good writing; think like a lawyer and never write like oneBryan Garner preaches thisWant the judge who reads your work to think Hemingway, not "comes now the plaintiff..."Best way to write like this is read excellent writing by othersAttention to detail is crucial; table stakesThis will show up in your written work productWhen you are done, print it, hold it in your hands, pick up a pen and go through it.will help you catch typos, grammar, etc.spell-check isn't perfect and your eyes won't see everything when it's on screenRead it back to front (one paragraph at a time)It is not the partner's job to catch your typosIf a partner gives you an assignment, don't just answer his/her question...solve the problem.Just answering the question assumes the partner asked the right question in the right way, and much of the time that is not the case; assume they asked the question too narrowly or clumsilyTherefore answering the question will likely lead to a follow up question; anticipate that and take the next step to ultimately solve the problemthat makes you indispensable, and indispensable associates are the ones who become partnersYour first client is your partner; that is the person who feeds you work. Keep them happy and it will build your reputation both in the firm and beyond.Clients will hear about you by word-of-mouthBe purposeful/target in your community/organizational involvementadd valueAdvice to lawyers seeking a jobAttention to detail in documents is key; no typos, no generic cover lettersneed to know you want a job at this firm doing what we doExperience level / writing sample that highlights thatSince most are coming from out of state, want to know why Dallas? How likely are you to stay?They will ask you to talk about the most interesting/complex case you have worked on; can you explain it to someone who has never heard about it before? That will show them whether you can explain something to a jury/judge.Rapid Fire questionsTrait/characteristic - good judgmentHabit key to success - learning from mistakes and borrowing from others' ideasFavorite app/tool - Outlook Calendar and OneNoteFavorite social distancing activity - cooking for the family (especially pork chops)Favorite legal movie - A Civil ActionThanks again to Brandon Lewis for coming on the show!
8/31/202037 minutes, 35 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Fort Worth Appellate Lawyer Brittani Rollen

Brittani Rollen, appellate lawyer with McDonald Sanders in Fort Worth, joins us to talk about how lawyers will work post-COVID, managing expectations, and the importance of geography in your job search.COVID-19 update (recorded 7/9/20)Mid-March there was a major standstill and things slowed; but that has resolved itself and things are back up and runningThey have been back in the officeBoth litigation and transactions are busy again and going strongLoves the work-from-home remote working setupopens the door to opportunities for law firms and businesses to rethink their physical space and footprintdo we need an office for every person?Benefits for stay-at-home parentsLearned that she/others had the discipline to work while at home and avoid distractionsUses the formal dining roomHer firm/practiceMcDonald Sanders is full-service civil law firm15 years of practiceWasn't sure what she wanted to do out of law school, and the firm let her try lots of different areasNow does appellate and litigation supportFigured out she didn't want to be a first-chair trial lawyer, so she has found the right niche for herThere wasn't someone in their firm focusing on appellate so it worked out wellOpportunities abound for young lawyers to take on more of the motion/appellate practice within a firm litigation practiceCOVID-19 led to the appellate courts sending everyone home, and then there was a ransomware attach on the OCA website which prevented people from working from homeLoves practicing in Fort Worth. Big enough to have a variety of businesses/industries, but small enough to have a Bar where everyone knows each other...makes it more collegial. You can get to know the judges well too.Advice for lawyers in practiceForming good friendships with the other associates and staff was helpful because you can learn about the firm, the law, filing/court processesBig learning curve on how to prioritize projects because they are coming from everywhere and nobody else knows what all is on her deskIf she can give feedback to the assigning person right away regarding expectations for when it might get done, that helps a tonOr ask the question: when do you need this by? If it is immediate and you have other pressing projects, maybe you suggest the assignment goes to someone else; alternatively: "it might be a week or two before I can get to this; is that okay?"Figure out an email management systemkeep action item emails in your inboxmove everything else into folderseasier to archive when a matter is done since they are already organizedHow might Slack/Teams help?Be eager/willing; that will lead to more/better work and it is appreciatedDon't just do the assignment at hand; try to apply it in context with the caseThink ahead to what else might be needed and do itBe a team player; have your colleagues' backsthe culture of your firm could impact thisAdvice for lawyers in job seekingShow your connection to the town/city and why you want to be there (especially important in the smaller markets)Thoughtful/personal cover letter; not a template that you use for every firmWhat other jobs/organizations have you been involved in; translates to create business/clientsAuthentic and confidentRapid FireTrait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate - hard workingKey habit - to do listFavorite App / productivity tool - synced calendar w/phoneFavorite social distancing activity - reading (Beneath a Scarlet Sky; The Diplomat's Daughter)Favorite legal movie - SuitsTheTinyTalker.compassion project that she and her husband started to help her son with speechcreated a device that has common commands (yes/no/bathroom) with buttons to pushAlso a children's book to help them use the deviceThanks again to Brittani Rollen for coming on the show!
8/24/202038 minutes, 2 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Baylor Law Professor and Trial Lawyer Elizabeth Fraley

Elizabeth Fraley, Associate Professor of Law at Baylor Law School and renowned trial lawyer joins us on today's show. Liz talks about the impact of COVID-19 on the class of 2020, how lawyers can lead the conversation around racial justice, and the importance of having a plan for your case.COVID-19 Update (recorded July 9, 2020)Attended a virtual faculty meeting at 4am local time from MauiBaylor Law was fortunate becauseseveral faculty members had been teaching remotely in the Executive LLM program and already knew how to do it;also have great IT team to make it work; andculture is let's figure it out and make it workLearned a lot about Zoom technologyinput options for sharing documentsstudents were willing to become technological innovatorsJuly Bar Exam cancellationDisappointed that the state wasn't more proactive about getting an online July Bar ExamInjected more uncertainty into the 2020 gradsTake the July 4th holiday to take a break, but also to get over it and come back ready to goImpacts start dates for those prepared to start jobs in September, as well as those who are pursuing prosecutor positions who typically need to have their license in hand before being consideredSummer Starting ClassDelayed by one week to adjust logisticsSummer/Fall enrollment numbers are steady/goodThese students knew/know they would likely be doing online learning and prepared to be flexibleFall Starting ClassWorking towards in-person if possible, but preparing to be onlineLargest challenge isn't in the classroom, but inside the courtroomProfessionABA mandated technology competence standards in 2012, but the profession hasn't consistently responded to that, and this experience could jump start thingsYou can do Zoom/Teams depositions and mediationsCost savings available by utilizing techConcerned about remote jury trialsdoes it feel too much like a TV showdo criminal defendants get due process in this format?Observing jurors both for reactions but also for conductRacial Equity and Racial Justice in the Law (15:30)Racial equity has been cast aside for an unthinkably long timeGrateful the nation seems to be meaningfully look at itSystematically discriminate across multiple sectorsJudge Tonya Parker in Dallas has done great work on implicit bias and jury serviceEducate yourself on implicit biasMuch of the discussion of the topic is conducted in a way not likely to lead to consensusSocial media pushes everything to extremesBlack Lives Matter v. All Lives Matter is a fallacyLawyers can be good in guiding civil discourse and we need people who can facilitate those discussions; key to getting us to meaningful outcomesHow do we look at statues of people from a different time and what lens do we use to look at them?How do we safely allow police to do their important job in a way that doesn't discriminate?Her practiceTrial practice in healthcare litigation space; trying lawsuits for doctors/hospitals who had been suedShe also developed a practice later in her career where other lawyers would bring her cases late in the game and try themThe cases that were in good shape were those where the lawyers clearly had a planstarted with a true understanding of the legal elements / what are the causes of actionswhat are the damages and how can we prove them?If someone took the time up front to do an early case assessment, those are the cases/files that are in the best shape later(This connects to what Wesley Lotz mentioned in this episode)She is beginning to slow down practiceIf you chase too rabbits you won't catch either oneBut it is helpful to stay sharp and relevantHelping mentor young female lawyers on casesImportant because if we don't give others a chance to try cases, we aren't going to have new trial lawyers10-15 year lawyers who are ready to move up to a more sophisticated levelWhen hiring lawyersWould call the law school professors and ask for their recommendationsVery hard to train new lawyers in a small firm trial practiceCome into the interview preparedCandidate had two pages of thoughtful questions based on research she had done on the firm and how the position fit into her career goalsHave questions for the interviewer!Do the interviewer and the candidate communicate well togetherRapid Fire QuestionsImportant trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate - preparednessKey habit - early riserFavorite app/tool - remote working platformFavorite social distancing activity - kayaking at sunriseFavorite legal movie - To Kill A Mockingbird and Legally BlondeThanks again to Professor Elizabeth Fraley for joining us on today's show!
8/17/202037 minutes, 33 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Austin Education Lawyer Haley Turner

Haley Turner, partner and education lawyer with Walsh Gallegos in Austin, joins us on the show today. Haley talks about the benefits of lawyering by Zoom, learning from those around you, and how to get attention with your resume.COVID update (interview recorded June 25, 2020)reality of practicing through video conferencing v. in-personremoves a lot of superficial posturing and distractions and lets you get right to the lawyeringnine hour evidentiary hearing on Zoom recently, swearing in a witness with a camera aimed up her nosehopes much of this will remain after COVID is gone; lets take ourselves less seriously and the law more seriously - less emphasis on posturing and pea-cockingenjoys seeing her clients more frequently via Zoom in place of phone calls; will phone calls go the way of the fax machine?She didn't know anything about practicing through technology before thismaking sure you maintain confidentiality when sharing documents with the other side during depos/hearings is an issueRace and the lawwe need to reflect on how we've handled ourselves in the pasteducate ourselves on the facts and issuesmust advocate for our clients without putting forth negative/out-of-date concepts and stereotypes; don't have to sacrifice our moralspurpose of the legal system is to ferret out injustice(edit that transition)Haley's practicemultiple offices across Texas and one in New Mexicorepresent public K-12 school districtsshe serves as general counsel for a number of districts across the statethey have a litigation team, a transactions team, a special education teamlots of travel all across the state to visit these school districts, many of which are in rural/remote communities, attending school board meetings, etc.COVID and schoolsin some ways there is precedent with hurricane-created school emergencies and closures along the Gulf Coast, but this is another levelhow can schools fulfill their obligations to employees and students during this environmentschool districts are on the front-linelargest employer in many citieslargest budget in many citiesHow do you plan to bring 000s of kids into a closed space with adults and prevent the spread of the virus?Mix of virtual and in-person options at the parents-choice the most likely at this pointImpacts all the other non-COVID issues as wellSupreme Court ruling on application to Title VII to sex discrimination in the workplace; will it impact Title IX?new Title IX regulations out of the Department of Education, especially related to the requirements on school's investigations and each party's rightsAdvice to lawyersunderstand that you don't know much when you are getting started, but it's true, and you'll be more successful if you understand that and operate from that mindsetBe open to learning and taking input from otherstake vacations (even small ones) to give yourself a break and not burn outdoesn't mean take two weeks to go to Spainidentify what some effective releases from this level of stressgo for a run with no cell phone?long weekend?No gap years!Become an effective communicatoropen, clearasking questions; admitting when you don't know somethingrespectfully pushing back if you disagree with somethingBe willing to put in the work to become great at your craftAdvice to job seekersdon't submit form cover letters and just change the namesif it's not clear that you took the time to tailor the cover letter to this job and this firm, it's an automatic nomake an effort and show that you understand what the firm does and that you want to learnhighlight any diverse and unique work experienceadd an eye-catching item on your resume so you are memorable (ex. candidate put that she had won a hot dog eating contest)make good eye contact in an interview and articulate what your career goals are and why this position fits inappropriately show your personality and valuesFinal thoughtsif you don't know something, don't act like you know; go and learn about itit's okay not to knowRapid Fire QuestionsTrait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: confidence and self-reflection / self-awareKey habit: confidence and self-reflection / self-awareFavorite app/tool: post-itsFavorite social distancing activity: parking garage happy hoursFavorite legal movie: NONE!Thanks again to Haley Turner for joining us on the show!
8/10/202039 minutes, 1 second
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Monday Mentors with Longview Trial Lawyer Derek Gilliland

Derek Gilliland, trial lawyer with Sorey, Gilliland, & Hull in Longview joins us on the show today. He talks about having a positive attitude, closing the loop, and self-awareness in an interview. COVID-19 update (as of 6/18/20)Closed the office in March and worked remotelyLast two weeks has somewhat returned to business as usualLongview hasn't been hit as hard and didn't close down long; everyone is mostly business as usualCase/court-wise things are still constantly changingForced them to go more electronic with record keeping, etc.Some judges have held hearings via ZoomGregg County Bar CLE on the topic from the local chief judgeEven Gregg County District Clerk is by appointment onlyPrefers to be with the witness even if all the lawyers aren't (just to make sure there isn't coaching of the witness or signaling that isn't getting picked up on the video)If you are using exhibits in the depo, you need to get them to the court reporter ahead of time, which kind of tips your hand to the other you have to think strategically...maybe include lots of exhibits even if you only plan to ask about one or twoSome parties will insist on delaying depos until they can be taken in-personClients have been understanding; they are a lot quicker to call than come into the officevariety of approach to masks/handshakes/etc.His firm and practiceStarted in January 2020Plaintiff-side civil litigation: personal injury and intellectual propertyHe was an engineer prior to law school and then started practicing in 1998; practiced in Austin, Waco and now LongviewBusiness interruption insurance has become a hot topic; we'll see if it turns into cases; will insurance companies pay or not?Pending legislation with immunity riders for COVID-liability and even going beyond thatLongivew practice -80,000 population with a 6A high schoolsmall legal community which helps keep people in check; you will come across other lawyers multiple timesgreat quality of lifeCan get civil cases in federal court moving because they aren't overrun with lots of criminal casesAdvice for lawyers in practiceHave a positive attitudeBe self-motivated; when you finish something go find somebody and figure out how you can help themDon't rely on others to initiate giving work to you; go ask for it!Partners have a ton going on and they may not stop and think about how an associate could help, but they would if you asked themLack of follow up or failure to close the loop is a problemdon't just sit back and waitget someone on the phone if that's what it takesthat's often the last thing a young associate wants to doAdvice for lawyers in the job searchgrades and/or prior successshow that you are a self-starterhobbies can be a cluebe a good teammateLack of self-awareness is an issue; don't talk for 15 minutes w/o engaging the interviewers in the conversation; don't take the whole interview talking about themselvesLack of preparedness; did they google the firm and bios? If they didn't research prior to the interview, will they do the research necessary for their cases?Parting ThoughtPositive attitude and perseverance are keysRapid Fire QuestionsTrait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: ambitionKey habit: persistenceFavorite app/tool: GoodreaderFavorite social distancing activity: wake-boarding / lakeFavorite legal movie: My Cousin VinnyThanks again to Derek Gilliland for coming on the show!
8/3/202040 minutes, 37 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Austin Business Lawyer James Howard

James Howard, partner and business lawyer in the Austin office of Naman, Howell, Smith, & Lee, talks about technology in the law, trying to make everyone happy, and understanding the audience for your resume.COVID-19 Update (as of 6/11/20)Slowly/cautiously trying to return to normal; certainly not 100%; he has been in the office for the past couple of weeks; wearing maskAbout 1/2 the lawyers are working from home with the other half coming in somePractice is better because of adjustments over the past few months; at the beginning the economic impact was unknown and clients were worried; walked them through practical impact of COVID (policies, etc.) to legislation (PPP, etc.)Clients are seeing that they aren't bankrupt, they do have revenue, so there are reasons to be optimisticResiliency of the businesses in Texas and in the community has been impressive; their ability to adjust to the new ways of doing business has been keyShould be well-prepared if something like this happens againRace and the legal professionLawyers often see a problem and want to solve it, but (white) lawyers especially need to do some self-evaluation and thinking before taking actionsNeed to make space for non-white lawyers to have a voice since our industry is mostly white; can't be co-opted and make it about white peopleLawyers are uniquely situated to work with city governments and representatives; natural leaders in the community and opportunities to advocate for policy changes; in fact there is a responsibility to do thatKey changes need to be made at the local level, and lawyers are well-positioned to help make that changeExample: criminal lawyers taking cases pro bono from protesters who get arrestedHis firm/practiceBusiness lawyer; firm has offices in Fort Worth, Austin, Waco, and San Antonio; full-service mid-size firmLegal tech is big as he represents clients in the telecommunications space; software-as-a-service (SaaS); etc. this has led to him evaluating how lawyers do business re: tech (OR NOT!)How can tech make my practice run more smoothly? (mentioned Squadcast (podcast recording tool) and Calendly (calendar tool) that we use to set up and record the podcast as neat tools)Advice to lawyers in practiceConsider the partner who assigned you work as your client; give them work like you would if it were the actual client; the goal is the partner takes the work, attaches it to an email to the client and hits send.won't happen immediately but should be the goalEasy to get too invested in what others think/do, but you can't make everyone happy all the timeDon't dwell on thisSometimes there are no more compromises and the answer has to be noBe willing to go into advocate mode and have the hard conversation with the other sideAdvice to lawyers when seeking a jobIf you are applying for a business job, you have to make sure your resume/cover letter is error-free; if not then it's a big problemWrite to your reader; a three-page resume with 500 bullets in eight-point font is not getting read by lawyersSay what you need to say in one pageDon't hide your education at the bottom or what you are currently doingPeople can be overly stiff in an interview, so try to be both professional and conversational; the interviewer wants to see if they can put you in front of a client and in social situationsDuring his OCI summer clerkship interview with Naman Howell, they asked him why he wanted to work in Waco, to which he said he didn't...that he wanted to work in Austin...that led to a rejection letter that he still has...wound up back at Naman Howell through a lateral process later onGood reminder to research the firm, see/know where they have opportunities both in office locations and practice areasFinal thoughtsPay attention to your mental healthLawyers tend to overwork, so find a way to unplugTLAP if you need itRapid fire questionsTrait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: interestedKey habit: go one more stepFavorite app/tool: laptop dockFavorite social distancing activity: lots of bicycling (very Austin)Favorite legal movie: Runaway JuryThanks again to James Howard for coming on the show!
7/27/202039 minutes, 14 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Houston Litigator Shannon Quadros

Shannon Quadros of Kilmer Crosby & Quadros joins us on today's show. He talks business development, diversity in law firms, adding value to clients, and the Exorcism of Emily Rose!COVID-19 updatePast hurricanes in Houston had already pushed them to have the capacity to go completely remote/cloudHow they deliver services has certainly changedClients have to adjust to not seeing them in personSignatures by docusignAttending hearings on ZoomBut turn the client's video off!Houston legal community has been impressive and have adapted welllegal system is essential and has to keep functioning to preserve the democracyOpposing counsel who is typically hard-line and tough are showing more flexibilityWould prefer to move minor hearings to Zoom/phone to avoid the cattle call docket and the hours it takes for ultimately a 10 minute hearingwill be more efficient and save the client moneyBetter for the PR of the professionHis practice/firmConstruction/real estate attorney80% litigation20% transactionsTwo partners who do commercial bankruptcy with small and mid-size companiesOther partner is corporate/business attorneyBankruptcyThroughout 2019 there was an expectation that brick/mortar retail would be a bankruptcy , and then COVID accelerated itOil/gas was already seeing issues from a lack of demandEnd of summer is where it will likely show upWhat value are we delivering? Key question that COVID has highlighted.Are we adding value to clients? Can tech/AI deliver for less cost to the client?Advice to lawyersStart business development early/oftenYour classmates will be the biggest source of referrals, so stay in touch with them!Your colleagues or even opposing counsel will eventually be in-house and potential clientsDevelop an expertise and deliver a CLE (use your local bar or Inn of Court)Have a long-term mentality; putting in effort now toward business development will pay off eight and ten years from nowTake the lead on a bar sub-committeeThe day after you get a job you should start networking like you need a job; you won't be in the same job for lifeEveryone should be able to say what you do; it's how you develop your reputation/brandBe specific. It may feel limiting, but in fact you will get more referrals by making sure people know you are the "X" lawyerMost referrals will come from other lawyersJudge Keith Ellison: in response to those who say they want to do "complex commercial litigation" he says "who will do the simple commercial litigation?"When hiring associatesLikes to see people who didn't go K-Law School and has a bit of life/work experience outside of school; some business experience is helpfulLikes people who have worked with a judgeNeeds hustle and someone who can take a case and run with it relatively quicklyIf they do what I want them to do, they won't need me after a few years because they will be able to manage a practice on their ownDiversity and Race in the legal professionDiversity is not getting better in the legal profession in TexasHouston is one of the most diverse cities in the country, and if the profession doesn't reflect the community, how can we deliver the best services to clients? So it is an economic necessity as wellPeople live different experience, and if those aren't at the table we can't ethically serve our clientsPeople of color and women are not represented in equity ownershiplaw firms aren't fostering their success and longevityStudyCriticism of writing for people with names that sound like a person of color was harsher than those with an Anglo-sounding namePeople of color get treated differently for bad reasons; the law is supposed to be blindperhaps now there is more of an acknowledgment of a problem which is an important first stepRapid Fire QuestionsName one trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: timelinessKey Habit: networkingFavorite app/productivity tool: EvernoteFavorite social distancing: evening walksFavorite legal movie: Legally Blonde? Nah...The Exorcism of Emily RoseThanks again to Shannon Quadros for coming on the show!
7/20/202046 minutes, 10 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Houston Family Lawyer Robert Tsai

Robert Tsai of Houston family law firm Walters Gilbreath ( joins us on the show. He talks about getting practical experience early, building a network, and a unique interview prep technique.COVID-19 UpdateIn the beginning it was crazy because so many law firms weren't able to quickly move online, but they were prepared and ready to goDropbox/Google Drive/Slack already in placeAdapting to Zoom hearingsGradually shifting from no hearings to Zoom hearings; still no jury trials or in-person hearings; trial dates reset/delayedTake advantage of the time you would have been in court to meet with clients, prepare in more depthMore judges are deciding issues on submission only (no hearings) which can be a good thing, especially if it is a non-controversial or non-contested issueSaves lawyer time and client moneyHopefully that sticks moving forwardHis practice/firmFamily law litigation firm with Houston, Austin, and a new Dallas officeLitigation firm; if there is a position they can argue on behalf of their client they are going to do itNew/changing case law:How you value business entities or a spouse/partner's interest in the businessFraud on community and whether one spouse breaches duty to the otherLots of practice areas can be implicated under family law (e.g. shareholder actions if there are multi-member LLCs)Advice to lawyersBefore becoming a family law litigator, he did insurance litigation. This allowed him to take a case all the way through jury verdict and get great experience. Be willing to say yes to opportunities, make mistakes and learning, commit unbillable timeGo to as much CLE as you can; network with other lawyers in your field and learn from theminformal settlement talks go much smoother if there is a relationship with the other lawyer and a level of trust has been builtDon't be afraid to do something; don't be afraid to fail; it will build your confidence to try things, make mistakes, learn, and get betterhis voice cracked on the record in his very first depo!fake confidence until you have it; back it up by putting in the workAttention to detail is criticalDon't be limited to the assigned task; think about the next step and how the task fits into the bigger picture of the caseCreate a network so that you have possible sources of new clients/business when you get to that pointOther lawyers can be your best source of referralsKeep in touch with your classmates from law schoolWhen hiring lawyersPractical experience is key, which is why it is so important for lawyers to jump in and get that practical experience as early as possible.highlight this experience on resumeResearch the firm ahead of time and think through how you might fit into the firm and its futureCheck their lawyers out in the courtroom and watch them work! Will give you a taste of how they do things. Also could be fodder for questions in the interviewRapid Fire QuestionsName one trait/characteristic you want to see in an associate: perseveranceWhat habit has been key to your success: task listFavorite app/tool: Slack; create a channel for each case and a channel for law questionsFavorite social distancing activity: Zoom board gamesFavorite legal movie: To Kill A MockingbirdThanks again to Robert Tsai for coming on the show!
7/13/202039 minutes, 5 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Austin Subrogation Lawyer Kevin Mosley

Kevin Mosley of Grotefeld Hoffmann in Austin joins us on on today's show. Kevin talks about building relationships, being proactive and not being afraid of interview silence.COVID-19 UpdateEveryone is remote/virtualEach office has a weekly video call each Friday to talk about COVID impact and timelines to reopenFirm has great leadership and follows the science/safetyHis subrogation practice has slowed the progress of cases with depos/hearings put off (though there have been some virtual depos)Many of their clients already work from home, so they get itHopes old school mentalities of you aren't working if you aren't in your office chair will go away as this season has proven you can be productive from homeExpects there will be more humanity in the legal profession as this has made lots of people re-prioritize what is importantHis firm and practicePrimarily insurance subrogationsome coverage and defenseSeven offices around the nation; headquarters in is ChicagoMuch of the work is wildfire litigationCalifornia a big driver of thisTexas too (Bastrop / Spicewood)Birthed the Austin office of their firmLots of autonomy with the offices but they do work together quite a bitAdvice for lawyers in practiceCommunication and relationships are key, especially with clients and opposing counseltake an interest in people and their point of viewdon't always have to be adversarialSlow down; rely on others; don't think that you know everythingBe willing/able to take the next step / be proactiveIf the answer to a question requires something else, do that something else without waiting for an assignmentAsk for more and speak up / measured deference(Daniel's Linkedin post re: anticipation for the next project and seeing the bigger picture)The firm has hired law clerks that have shown this specific skill into full-time positionsAdvice for lawyers seeking a jobMake your application documents polished and consistentTheir firm is misspelled in lots of cover lettersThe firm will assume you will put the same amount of care into work productIn interviews:make good eye contact; matters for depos/court appearanceshows respectDon't anticipate questions and start talking before the question is finishedtake a moment to think about the questionShows preparedness and that they are measuredAlso consider ending an answer by asking a question back to the interviewer (e.g. "how do you approach that?"); can create a more conversational interview and demonstrate interestYou don't have to be certain of what you want to do; in fact it can sometimes come across as disingenuous if you don't have experience in something (you may THINK you have interest...)If you are struggling in the job market, seek out someone who dealt with the last tough market ('09-'10) for advice and encouragementRapid Fire QuestionsMost important trait/characteristic in an associate: humilityWhat habit has been key to your success: relationships and communicationFavorite app/productivity tool: Google Docs; time to decompress (play Wordscapes)Favorite social distancing activity: Peloton/working outFavorite legal movie: The Lincoln LawyerThanks again to Kevin Mosley for coming on the show!
7/6/202037 minutes, 21 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Amarillo Appellate Lawyer Jennie Knapp

Jennie Knapp of Underwood Law Firm in Amarillo, talks about seeing the big picture, authenticity in interviews, and practical tools to be a better lawyer.COVID-19 UpdateWorking at home since mid-MarchHandful of people working in the office but not manyChallenge in the beginning to set up the technologyRealized how much they could do online/remotelots of things that used to be kept in paper files no longer do, which is a good thingLots of employment law work and PPPShe is expecting a lot of new matters pop up over the next yearHas been easy to do hearings/depos remotely, but mostly easy ones without many exhibits.Her Firm and PracticeAlways wanted to do something different every day and that's what she gets to doAmarillo is a diverse economy so lots of different clients (healthcare, insurance, trucking, meatpacking) andrecessions don't hit as hardsmall legal community so you get to know the other lawyers wellChanges to the Anti-SLAPP statute are significant, as the Billing Records Affidavit 18.001 of Civil Practices & Remedies CodeAdvice to Lawyers In PracticeGet a copy of the scheduling order so you know what your deadlines are!Be aware of the bigger picture; not just the discrete project that you're working on, but how it is going to move the ball forward in the litigationare there other arguments you think of that you could make, but it wasn't asked of you to do? Make them or suggest it!If all you're doing is the assigned project and nothing more, that doesn't stand outBe socially aware with your partners and supervisors, and figure out when and how much to talk with themDon't bug morning people with stuff in the morning. Or if someone is a morning person, use that time.Don't push up against deadlines; get things to partners early so your work can be reviewed and submitted timelyTreat staff well and learn from them.Re: business development, become a good lawyer first and learn how to relate to your partner's clientsthen get involved in one bar group and one other extra-curricular board/group that you have interest inAfter you've practice for a little while, you will get a better idea of what you want to do and then you can start telling people that (e.g. she started telling people she practiced appellate law and that's the work she started getting)Advice to Lawyers Job HuntingWhy do you want to be in the city?If firms have multiple offices let the firm know which you are interested in.What practice area are you pursuing (don't just list what is on the firm's website)?Be honest/specificThey don't want to hire someone who just wants a job; that person is likely to leave in two yearsAlso be honest in what you put on your resume and be prepared to talk about itExample of the candidate who put "likes finding good breakfast taco places" on their resume but couldn't name a place they likedPat Lencioni - The Ideal Team Player - look for people who are hungry, humble, and (emotionally) smartRapid Fire QuestionsTrait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate - attention to detailKey habit - working according to your energy levels (i.e. do the hard work when you have the most energy and are most productive)Cal Newport's Deep Work is a helpful guide (Daniel)Favorite app/tool - paper calendar for just her deadlines (online calendar is more detailed); WestLaw plugin for Microsoft Word called Drafting Assistant (creates table of authorities; prints all cases cited in the document; much more)Favorite social distancing activity - walksFavorite legal movie - The Pelican Brief
6/29/202037 minutes, 57 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Amarillo Eminent Domain Lawyer Tyler Topper

Tyler Topper is a partner with Burdett, Morgan, Williamson, & Boykin in Amarillo. Tyler talks about eminent domain, getting organized, and preparing for the interview.COVID-19 UpdateAll staff/employees can work from homehelps with lack of school/daycareBusiness clients are dealing with PPP loans, company policies, so employment lawyers are very busyJudges and legal community have done a good job working together to find solutionsphone hearingsZoom hearingsHopes that going forward remote working can become more availableTyler's firm/practiceFirm is 35 years old and is full-serviceDo everything except criminal and family lawHe practices in eminent domain and administrative lawrepresents landowners exclusivelywhen government or government authorized utility needs land to build out infrastructure, he helps landowners get compensated fairly and negotiates terms of any easementSmall group that practice in the area so you develop relationships with most of the people on all sides of the issuesHigh-speed rail projectAmarilloHe grew up in the Texas panhandle so it was home for him200,000 populationPeople are greatSmall legal community that allows you to build relationships with colleagues and opposing counsel; bar treats each other with respectGreat place to raise a familyDiverse economic base with multiple industriesoil/gasfarming/ranchinggovernmentmedical/healthDiverse topography - hills/canyons/waterAdvice for lawyersWorked for two different partners as a young associate, and key lessons he learned wereattention to detail andthe business-side of practicing lawBe organizedtranslates into work productBring work back to the partner finished (or very close to finished), and ask specific questions instead of generalDon't be arrogant; always be willing to learnDon't bad mouth former employersPrioritize your health and taking care of yourselfWhen they are hiringNo typosGrammar/mistakesPersonalize cover letters (not just changing the names)Highlight ties to the areaBad answer to the question why you want this job? "I'm just looking for a job"...need to show you want THIS jobBe prepared for the interview; know something about the interviewers(if you don't know who your interviewers are going to be...ask! Shows you are getting prepared)Rapid Fire QuestionsMost important trait in an associate - dependableKey habit - organizationFavorite app/tool - ExcelFavorite social distancing activity - runningFavorite legal movie - A Few Good Men
6/22/202032 minutes, 28 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Litigator and Law Firm Founder Brandy Austin

Brandy Austin is our guest today, and she leads The Brandy Austin Law Firm, a litigation and general practice firm in the Dallas/Fort Worth market. Brandy talks about the benefits of Zoom hearings, the always changing personal injury practice, and rooting out entitlement.COVID-19 UpdatesInteresting to see who does well working from home, and who doesn'tLots of people want to stay working from home, so not sure what it will look like after90% of clients have done great. They don't need the attorney or paralegal in the office; just a receptionist or someone who can take their payment or documents, etc.Not nearly as many personal injury casessince people aren't driving and getting into accidents;people aren't going out or to people's houses so no no slip/falls and no dog bitesCourtZoom hearings in some courts; not allHas a jury trial set for October but courts are preparing for no jury trials in the late fall/winterWaivers for in-person hearings coming?Nothing is universalWhat has been learned?No need to create office space for everyone or make people come to officeQuick hearings by Zoom (eliminates the drive time to the courthouse, waiting time, etc.)Her Firm and PracticeGeneral practice firm with four lawyers and about a dozen staffpersonal injuryfamilyprobate/estate planningbusiness litigationbankruptcycriminalPersonal Injurychanges every legislative sessionfiling requirements for affidavits (for example)Also local rules are important, and sometimes need to be challenged!Dallas v. Arlington v. Fort WorthDallas lawyers would attach a motion for sanctions in all their pleadings; completely shocked her!She filed one in Tarrant County once when it was very deserved and freaked out the other sideFamily law is night and day between Tarrant and Dallas countiesAdvice for LawyersImpostor syndrome is a real thing, and doesn't mean you don't know what you are doingRarely is something black/white; almost always a gray case to make!Ask for help from other attorneys who you don't practice with; they will help you!Get involved in organizations and take advantage of list servs; she now has a well-stocked portfolio of trial briefs for any occasionTexas Lawyers Facebook group or your law school alumni FB group (Daniel)Have a great work ethicTry to resolve the problem before bringing it to your supervising lawyer; they can work with you from there, but won't want to help if you haven't tried to solve it yetEntitlement issues. For example, younger lawyers often feel like they should have a legal assistant or paralegal to draft things for themYou have to know everything about your case and be able to take responsibility for all of itDraft the document and then send it to the paralegal/assistant! That will go a long way, and let you learn at the same time.When she is hiring:She always asks for resumes in PDF format; if a candidate doesn't do that, they are not considered. Attention to detail!She will always stop and look if the resume is visually interestingWants to see some applicable legal experience(Daniel tip) Add your name to the file name of the document (e.g. "SallySmithResume" instead of "Resume"); also know that the more unsual or extravagant the resume, the higher risk/rewardShe has her office administrator call and do a screening interview to look for entitlement problems and whether they are tech savvyEspecially if someone is coming from Big Law where they have had so many resources that won't be available in the smaller firmParting Shot:Mental health. She sees it in her staff and younger associates. Make time for yourself and set boundaries. Create outlets for anxiety.TLAPRapid Fire QuestionsOne trait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: diversityKey habit: show upFavorite app/tool: MacbookFavorite social distancing activity: building a playhouse for the kids from scratch; DoordashFavorite legal movie: The Devil's Advocate; Legally Blonde
6/15/202039 minutes, 6 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Houston Litigator Wesley Lotz

Wesley Lotz is a partner with the litigation firm Fulkerson Lotz in Houston. Wes talks about early case assessment, client service, and the three sources of business.COVID-19 ImpactEmployees working remotely but still moving forward if not a bit more slowly than usuallyNot a big fan of lengthy conference calls, but they do one each Monday morning via Zoom to make sure everyone is on the same pageUses Agile Law for remote depositions which works wellAll Houston hearings/trials cancelled through May; has a hearing scheduled in Fort Bend County in Junesome tech-savvy courts are using Zoom for hearingsBut most hearings are being decided by submission on the written productSome cases have become less important so clients are ready to move on/settle, but most cases have been less likely to settle since there isn't a pending deadline or trial date to push the parties toward settlementsHis firm/practicetrial litigation boutique firm with seven attorneys and 12 total employeesfocus on civil litigation, trials, and arbitrationslots of fiduciary and partnership disputeslots of healthcare and oil/gas industrysome IP and non-compete disputesExpects fallout in the energy market with oil prices lowHe began his career at a large firm and quickly moved to a small litigation boutique which gave him opportunities to 2nd chair large cases and take on more responsibility at an early stageThings to think about: are you able to develop your skills and serve clientsHouston is a large legal market with a diverse client base (health, energy, IP/tech)Lots of collegiality; fewer sharp elbows than other marketsAdvice for lawyersThis is a service profession, so you need to put yourself in the client's shoes so you can understand what they need, what they can afford, etc.Attention to detail is keyDevelop a mastery of the facts and law in the case; early case assessment to develop the key themes so that you can focus your time/energy as you work up the caseTurn in quality product that is ready to file and advances the ball as much as possibleTake responsibility for the work you're doing and don't blame others; be honest/open with issues that come up in your caseThree sources of businessexisting client bases - do good work for themword of mouth - friends/social relationships referring businessother lawyers - keep up with your classmates; opposing counsel, bar eventsWork/life balance is a great/elusive conceptlaw is a service profession so sometimes you have to put client needs firstbe generous/gracious when the demand/need is low, so that when the demand/need is high (prepping for trial, etc.) people feel good about ramping upWhen pursuing opportunitiesAcademics are important, but more important is an advocacy backgroundBe well-rounded with good personal skills and ability to relate well with judges, jurors since in their firm the person will be quickly asked toHighlight overcoming obstacles and be self-starters and motivated/independenceIf lateraling, what experience did they get out of that position, and what did they not like about their current role to make sure the same circumstances don't also exist hereThe degree of preparation ahead of the interview is an insight into how they will prepare their casesRapid fireImportant trait in an associate - Self-starterKey habit - early case assessmentFavorite app/productivity tool - iPad/notability, Smart apps for lawyersFavorite social distancing activity - walking in the park with new child; basketballFavorite legal movie - My Cousin Vinny
6/8/202035 minutes, 31 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Houston Personal Injury Lawyer Anna Greenberg

Anna Greenberg, a personal injury lawyer with Blizzard Law in Houston, talks about moving cases forward during COVID-19, not underestimating yourself, and becoming a creative problem solver.COVID update -Still maintaining a full case load and moving cases forwardStaying on track with current deadlinesRegular Zoom calls with the staff to stay on the same pageClients have been reassured their cases are moving forward; still filing things; still pursuing remote discovery; still taking their callsEveryone has perseverance when it comes to the law; staff has been so committed; the care for their clients doesn't stop with COVID-19Anna's firm and practiceBlizzard Law handles mass tort pharmaceutical and medical device litigation and some personal injury cases and some medical malpractice casestrans meshTalcum powderIVC filterHer focus is more on medical malpractice casestough in Texas because of damage caps on non-economic damagesHuman trafficking cases against the hotel industryLots of statutory hurdles to clear in medical malpractice cases; quick deadlines to prove up your caseEd Blizzard (her dad and founder of the firm) is so well respected in this area of the law; they have tried a case together now and she is learning so much from working with him and watching himPracticing law and raising a familyChallenging but doable!recruiter ruled her out for partnership at a firm because she mentioned wanting to start a family...made her so mad!Very efficient at work and don't waste time so she can get home to see her daughterAdvice for young lawyersDon't underestimate yourself; can be inexperienced but also valuableYou can become the expert in certain aspects of the case and be a go-to personDid this in her first MDL case and led to her being able to attend the prestigious/exclusive Rodney Jew sessionsHard work always stands outTake initiative; don't do the bare minimum; offer ideas; demonstrate leadershipcreativity and problem solving is keyFor business development, networking can only get you so farGet familiar with how to gather cases through the internetWhen looking to get hired at a law firmStrong writing is key, so either in the cover letter or writing sample it is important to showcase this skillIf a writing sample isn't asked for and you are a strong writer, volunteer to submit oneIn an interview it's important to show that you care about the work and that you want to be there; don't be arrogant and act like you are interviewing the firmFuture of workWork with trial director programs that can be used in depos and at trialif you can run it yourself during the depo it will benefit the firm and clientalso good to be able to respond if there is an issue at trialRapid Fire QsOne trait you want to see in an associate: attention to detailKey Habit: over-preparationFavorite App/Tool: Adobe!Favorite Social Distancing Activity: playing with water balloons with her daughterFavorite Legal Movie: A Few Good Men
6/1/202037 minutes, 53 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Houston Trial Lawyer James Amaro

James Amaro, of the personal injury firm Amaro Law Firm, joins us to talk about practicing a heavy case load during COVID-19, how to be useful in all areas of life, and a key missed opportunity job seekers make on resumes.COVID update (as of 4/9/20)Firm has been tech savvy for a long time; most of the intake is virtual, but after that people do like to come in30 people in the office in Houston that had to go remotehired consultants and really looked hard at how best to do thisHigh risk employees were prioritizedVOIP investmentMuch of the litigation show went one, and filing deadlines were continuing to come upDaily morning meeting/updateKeep everyone on their top three things they need to do (hardest first)Monitoring the COVID data regularly to try and stay up to date and be ready to adjustHe had only done a few Zoom depos prior to thisSome insurance companies don't want to use Zoom due to security issues and want to use WebExAlso need to learn depo-specific technology (exhibit presentations)Courts and orders have been a challengeSeveral state courts have been inconsistentFederal courts are doing their own thingKeep the team updated on changesTough for new graduates with the Bar exam and entering the profession during thisHis firm/practiceStarted in insurance defense before jumping out on his own in 2005 to work on the BP explosion in Texas CityActually was going to start a job at the SEC in New York, then 9/11 happened.Almost 100% personal injury now (he had done some insurance work earlier - tried the first Hurricane Ike case to verdict)Still involved in the Deep Water Horizon case (10 years old)Lots of brain injury and trucking cases on top of the typical car wreck caseWanted to build a firm that he would have wanted to join coming out of law schoolthinks millennials get a bad rapCOVID has dramatically reduced the traffic on the roads, which lowers car wreck numbersAdvice for young lawyersBe used and usefulhelp where you can help; not just at the firm but in all areas of your lifecheck in on people; let them know you care / thinking of themtry to set aside personal/financial ambition; that will come over timetake advantage of professional development opportunities books/seminars/etc.if you want to build your own book of business or clients, establish relationships with lawyers who have the infrastructure to front cases and ask them if you can helpover time of doing great work and providing great customer service will lead to positive reviews and referrals, which leads to business (Mattress Mack example; Zappos book)Advice for lawyers applying for jobsLooks for people who did well in school (reflects effort)No typosjustify text in every documentput your strengths up first; no cutting/pasting of typical resume bullets; be specific about how what you did helped someoneput some conversation starters in your resumeprepare well for the interview; show what you can add to the team in valueshow you want to be there for some amount of time, so the firm doesn't feel like it might be wasting its investment if you leave after a year or twoRapid Fire Questionstrait/characteristic you most want to see in an associate: realness/authenticitykey habit: being real / true to yourselffavorite app/productivity tool: Outlookfavorite social distancing activity: spending time with 5-month old daughterfavorite legal movie: A Civil Action
5/25/202043 minutes, 19 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Dallas Bankruptcy Lawyer Stephanie Curtis

Dallas bankruptcy lawyer Stephanie Curtis joins us, and we talk about maximizing work from home, how to always be prepared, and social media tips for job seekers.COVID-19 updateFollowing Dallas County Shelter-inCreate a good working environment in their home!She had created a workspace for her sixth grade daughter before all of this hit, and she commandeered itSmartboard plus monitor plus laptopRemote in to the firm serverSet a schedule; wear work clothes; prioritizeGo into your kitchen, make lunch, and eat!Could change the way we work going forward(Think about going through this 20 years ago without the tools/tech we have available - Daniel)Her firm/practice:She started at Haynes and Boone and then went to Jones Day, before forming her own law firm in 1998.Decided six years ago not to come home and work in the evening and ditched her home computer, but now the laptop is backShe and her partner (Mark Castillo) both came from Big Law, and they do high-end workImportant for her was to not have bureaucracy in the firmFord v. Ferrari - no passing around the red folder!Small/efficient/talented peopleSeeing an uptick in Chapter 11/Reorganizations among businessAlso following numerous changes in the lawsincluding state comptroller officeso much that you have to know enough to identify the issueImportant to be reading and staying up on changes and news that impacts your practice areas/clients/industryAdvice to lawyers:Always be preparedPredict what might come up in this meeting or what the court might ask youHave a notepad/pen/pencil with you anytime you go into a meeting or to see a partnermortifying when she invites an associate to a meeting or call, and the associate doesn't bring something to take notes on, or has something with them but doesn't take notes when they should be(Be ready to anticipate needs - Daniel)Anxiety can prevent lawyers from doing thisYou need to be taking action and making mistakes, or you aren't learningWhen applying for jobsClean up / pay attention to your social media accounts - employers will look at them!poor grammarinappropriate conductit might be your first impression with the interviewerHave a LinkedIn account with a professional headshotMake sure cover letters are written/addressed to the specific firm/job you are applying forIntegrity/honesty/strategic are keys and must be done in combinationCurrent environment requires us to work with the other side to come to resolutions on as many issues as possibleSubmit agreed ordersTake advantage of Zoom depositionsRapid Fire QuestionsMost important characteristic/trait in an associate - work ethicKey habit - preparednessFavorite app/productivity tool - banking app (can pay employees/vendors/everyone on their phone)Favorite social distancing activity - cookingFavorite legal movie - My Cousin Vinny
5/18/202042 minutes, 29 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Midland Oil and Gas Attorney Derek Cook

Derek Cook of the Midland law firm Lynch, Chappel and Alsup is our guest today. We talk about taking care of yourself, practicing law in West Texas, and the early days of practicing law in a COVID-19 world.Early COVID response (recorded March 19)At-risk people work from homeJury trials cancelled; non essential hearings postponedPublic events slowedLow/dropping oil price is also a factor with their clientsMediation/depo/etc. going on a case by caseMidland/West Texas PracticeDerek grew up in Wichita Falls; undergrad in DFW; law school at Baylor; thought he would wind up in Dallas or Fort WorthHe came out during the low point for new lawyer hiring after the '08 recessionEven though he was on law review and had good grades, it was hard to find a jobBaylor's Career Development Office sent out notice for this great Midland firm, and it was a great opportunity that, once he sold his wife on it, was the right fitLitigation that pretty much all ties back to oil/gasCollectionroyalty paymentsleasesindividuals and entity clientsMore camaraderie here than in most places; you're going to see opposing counsel again, and probably soon!So everyone works well together, including the judgesMidland is a sophisticated practice with institutional oil/gas clients with significant commercial litigationTheir firm has 25 lawyers with groups that do all the major practice areas; other firms have 10-40 lawyers (won't find that in the other West Texas cities)Advice to young lawyers and what they are looking for when they hire in their firmCritical to take care of yourselfTLAP and State Bar/local Bars are doing great workRecent study: 25%-35% of lawyers are prone to problem drinkingCommunicate with someone about what's going on with youTheir firm is a modified sink/swim model with young associatesSo they try to hire people who have a propensity for the specific section they are hiring forLooking for people who can get up to speed on their own, figure out the issues, put in the effort, and shortly get to a point where they need little/to no partner oversightWhat in your experience demonstrates an interest and/or aptitude for the specific job/practice area you are applying toInterview is a huge part of the process, because they are really looking as much/more for fit than just credentialsAlso love to see some type of Midland or West Texas connectionLooking for people who want to be there for an extended period of time; not just a year or two and move on or move back to a large cityDon't have to commit to an entire career at the firm; but showing just a strong interest in oil/gas and related complex work, that can be enough and will make the firm confident you could be a long-term fitWork/Life BalanceRecently the firm has moved to laptops with remote access so attorneys are able to work from home / the roadHowever, oil/gas legal work is still driven mostly by more senior lawyers (60+) who aren't as comfortable with lawyers working from home, so it's been a longer transition periodRealistically, much of what lawyers do can be done remotely, and he thinks the move in that direction will happenRapid FireMost important trait/characteristic in associate: go getterKey habit: responsiveness (generally return calls/emails within 24 hours)App/tool: Google Chrome Remote DesktopFavorite Social Distancing Activity: checking toilet paper stashFavorite Legal Movie: The Verdict; Idiocracy (courtroom scene)
5/11/202037 minutes, 20 seconds
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Movie Verdicts - Legally Blonde

Daniel and Robert are joined by special guest Adrienne Hare for a deep dive into Legally Blonde. We talk about law school admissions videos, the Luke Wilson cross examination, the bend and snap, and much more. Enjoy!
5/8/20201 hour, 44 minutes, 2 seconds
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Monday Mentors with San Antonio Lawyer Ryan Reed

Ryan Reed is a partner and litigator with the San Antonio law firm Pulman, Cappuccio & Pullen. Ryan talks about the importance of professionalism, the best ways to develop business, and leading with a final draft.His firm:Mid-sized San Antonio firm with heavy litigation background (some transactional partners too)His practice is focused on business and probate litigationBiggest issue in probate right now is the change in tax laws and raised exemption amounts leads to clients with tax plans wills that are unnecessary and can create interesting issuesLoves practicing and living in San Antonio. Different from other Texas cities. Lawyers are great about being professional and working together; not as cut throat as some other locations. But, there also aren't the number of mid-sized businesses as in the larger cities to feed the legal workAdvice to lawyersDon't be afraid to pleasantly go into the courthouse and ask for help. Treat the clerks/staff respectively; they will remember you and treat you wellWhen you prepare something, do so as if you were putting your name on it and sending it out into the worldThe partner will still edit your work, but they will appreciate it the less they have to dofully format; correct date; all typos removedAs a partner he no knows what makes his life easier in terms of the work from associates; also has a better perspective on the time he's putting in (thought it may not be apparent all the time to the associates)The lawyer does so many different things and it's difficult to have all those skill setsgenerate businesslegal knowledge/skilldo the work in a competent manner (in court / in writing)Hard to have all of these, and increases the importance of the team around youTeam approach is often a missed opportunity for law firmWhen hiring associatesResume/documentsNot looking as closely at grades/credentials as a large law firm mightCompetence/personality most importantAnd do they have some experience that relates to what we do?Want to see something on the resume that is broader than just a lawyer; what type of human being are they?Outside interests/skills?If the resume doesn't look professional, it's a red flag. Justify. Spell correctly. Should be visually appealing. If it isn't, the interviewer will think the person is sloppy.In the interviewKnow what you want to do. Don't just listen to the interviewer describe the work/firm and then say "yes I want to do that!"Business developmentpositive interaction with other lawyers; treat them respectively; they can be your best source of referralshelp as many people as you can; you never know whether that might lead to a great case from them or someone they refer; don't overlook small casescommunity involvement; for him that's the other parents around his kids' school; he pitches himself as being a problem solver, whether it's something he can do or point them to the person who can.On work/life balanceMany of the lawyers in his firm have kids and are aware of the desire to spend time with familiesThere is a trade-off: how much money do you want to make vs. how much time do you want to spend with familyLive close to the office and minimize commute timesOne approach is to carve out some time that is personal (i.e. 6pm-8pm at night) and communicate it with the firm (though as a young lawyer this may be more of a challenge).Final thoughtsBe careful not to make your clients' problems your own problemsSolve problems and help people; it's a profession of service to your fellow manRapid Fireimportant trait in an associate - thoroughkey habit to success - getting in earlyfavorite app / tool - he is designing his own app right now!favorite legal movie - Erin BrockovichCOVID updateImportant to quickly be able to access documents (cloud)They've jumped into using Microsoft TeamsStanding call (watercooler substitute)Hard to have a team for every case (can work on large cases), so instead have teams for partner-led groups which can include multiple cases and associates
5/4/202051 minutes, 14 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Family Law Legend Ike Vanden Eykel

Koons Fuller Managing Shareholder and CEO Ike Vanden Eykel shares about the importance of developing a life/career plan, staying up with technology, and how to maximize your time. There are TWO bonus features of this episode, both at the end, so don't miss them!Ike's firm and practice:devoted solely to family law; 2nd largest in the country; offices in Dallas/Southlake/Plano/Southlake/HoustonBeen with the firm since 1990; CEO since 1992(Daniel - lots of accolades/recognition)Family law practice areaTechnology is on the forefront of their practice, and it's important to stay ahead of the gamethe challenges change because we don't even know what might be coming even three or five years laterArtificial intelligence is the coming tsunamiunsure how big it will bebecome knowledgeable about what it does and how it currently could impact your workAnticipate its arrival and be proactive; don't be surprisedLots of legislative changesTexas is unique because of trying both property and custody to juries (which are always changing)The pitch to young lawyers for going into family lawIt is a subspecialty of civil litigation; so you have to want to be a litigator/courtroom lawyerExtremely enhanced client contactDiversity of property issuesAdvice to young lawyersready to work hard AND work smartEveryone has the same 24/7 in a week, and you have to figure out how to get your job done in that timeNot enough, so you need people and systemsDelegate to a quality team around youFigure out where you want your career to go and develop a planWho are your mentors?Ike found a lawyer in another firm who was smart and had great courtroom skillsPuts you through the project of making and executing the career planAlso makes sense to have different/multiple mentors for different areas and seasons in your lifeYour career doesn't come in an Amazon packageDevelop a presence in the office that is uniquely yoursBe dependable; when a partner/senior associate delegates work to you, get the job done!Detail oriented is key; too much at stake for letting things fall through the cracksBe ready to take constructive criticismWhen hiring lawyersThe document/resume/cover letter review is not as important as the interview stagePeople who have financial skills, experience, or knowledge (business majors, ability to understand accounting, finance, etc.) are valuable to his firma great way to distinguish yourself and highlighting strengthsAt interview, looking for presence and people skillsThe answer to "how are you doing" is not "fine"Look professional and put togetherNo canned questions you pulled off the internetHave several that are original and that you can pull from based on how the interview has goneThoughts on work/life balanceDefinitely different than 20 years agoEmployers have to evolve if they will be successfulEither stay aggressive and grow, or you become stagnant and dieBut you cannot be everything to everyone all the timeJust be sure to filter all these attitudes and actions through your planPick your target and go for itIf someone picks a different target than you you'll likely wind up in different placesGet your career/life plan in place!Rapid fireone trait in associate - dependabilitykey habit - hard workfavorite app/productivity tool - embracing all technology related to calendaring/email/text and live by itfavorite legal movie - The VerdictPostscript / Ike unplugged on work/life balance and what it really takes to be successful
4/27/202057 minutes, 2 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Austin Litigator Steve Skarnulis

Steve Skarnulis of the Austin law firm Cain & Skarnulis is our guest today. Steve talks about committing to learn the business and industry language of a case, why job-hopping can concern future employers, and what 15 years in the restaurant business taught him.Steve / The firm/ the practice13th year and up to 14 lawyers (grown at a comfortable/organic pace)Began purely business litigation, and recently added a transactional practice with a new real estate partnerGone to an automated document management/discovery system which has allowed them to handle matters that as a small firm they might not have been able to handle otherwisesome lawyers adapt quicker than others, but the younger lawyers have really stepped upHe was in the restaurant business for 15 years, owning some of them for 10 yearsLawyers think they have it tough, but the restaurant hours are insane and not at all in your control...the trial never ends in the restaurant business!Gave him the discipline to focus when the work/hours get toughAlso a business sense that helps with financials, etc.Advice to lawyersCommit to diving into the experts work on the financials so you can know the business piece of the caseLearn the language of the business/industryCloseology in oil/gas example from TJ TurnerBe a decent human being along side being a tough lawyer; treat opposing side with respectDaniel gives Kobe Bryant examplePlaintiff lawyer with private plane who picked up defense counsel on the way out to El Paso for depo/hearingLearn to communicate as a normal person with plain language; check out Chad Baruch books/articles/briefs.Always be willing to take on something new / be eagerWhen hiring lawyers into their firmRed flag on resume - someone who can't stick with something for a reasonable period of time (several short stints at places give cause for concern)performed reasonably well in law school and/or breadth of experiencesolid writing sample matterslooking for those who are eager and hungry; likable and able to get along withcandidates should have done their homework and then have questions in the interview about the type of work they could expect to be involved with; shows you care about the firmAustin legal practiceThe construction boom continues, which equals lawsuits and litigationNew courthouse is going upMay be a few judges turnover in the 2020 electionBroadway Show Recommendations: Dear Evan Hansen; Come From AwayRapid Fire QuestionsImportant trait for associates: gritKey habit: calendaring everythingFavorite app/tool: CenterbaseFavorite Legal Movie: To Kill A MockingbirdBonus COVID-19 SegmentImmediately went remote/onlineVirtual depos can work, but not for allWork has been steadyGrateful to be able to continue working, and believes its important to support those who can't workExpecting a busy second half of the yearLots of outreach to clients and giving free advice on employment and economic stimulus programOil/Gas businesses have been hit extra hard, and likely will result in large numbers of bankruptciesOpposing counsel very understanding and people are working togetherCourts doing all they can to move cases forward, but there are limits to thatAustin Bar communicating wellAdvice for lawyersWork cases all the way up for trial (timelines, jury charges, etc.); take advantage of the additional timeWrite short articlesFavorite social distancing activity - wine walk: take a walk around the neighborhood with wine in plastic wine glasses and talk with neighbors at a safe distance
4/20/202051 minutes, 7 seconds
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Movie Verdicts: Liar Liar

Robert Callahan of Callahan & King, and Daniel Hare of Varsity Search do a deep dive into the 1997 legal comedy Liar Liar. They talk about the once-in-a-generation Jim Carrey, community property and wiretapping laws, and what Liar Liar reveals about lawyers and how we balance work and family.
4/16/20201 hour, 36 minutes, 9 seconds
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Monday Mentors with San Antonio Litigator Matt Pepping

Matt talks about cyber security, having a good attitude, and living up to the standard you set for yourself.Matt's firm and practiceFairly new firm that broke off of a big law firmTwo areas: commercial litigation and insurance coverageGrown from four to 11 attorneys in a matter of monthsAlso grow with their clients as they growThere is a big concern among clients regarding cyber securityExcited about the technology advancements for lawyers and law practice ("take advantage of the blessings because you're definitely going to have to live with its curses")Big opportunity for young lawyers in cyber lawSan Antonio has grown up over the past 20 years, and is a great place to live and workthe S.A. bar is one of the most collegial anywhere; lots of professional courtesy; relatively small compared to other large citiesmore small/mid-size firmsdefinitely a home-field advantage when going against lawyers from outside the countyAdvice to young lawyersresponsibility of every attorney to be involved in the community; use talents and skills to serve; will be rewardingpro bono work too (they led one of the first same-sex marriage case in Texas)business development may/can come from community service, but not the reason to do itAttitude is everything; are you bringing energy to the team? Give people a reason to want to keep working with you.Don't have a big ego; compliment opposing counsel/colleagues/clients; have humility; there are lots of ways to get to the end resultCommon mistake is to not speak up when you're having trouble and not making progress; don't wait to ask for help if you are stuckAlso an unwillingness to speak upWhen hiring young lawyerstable stakes - good law school and performed wellhistory of hard workleave out the high school extracurricularsteam experience is importantwillingness to learndoes the person have a good attitude? will they be good to work with in high-stress situationsCoverletters are either horribly generic or incredibly interesting...get into the latter group! (show passion; good writing)Be genuine in an interviewAdvice on business developmentBest way is to be a really good lawyer and start to get the clients reaching out to you as opposed to the partnerBecome an expert in a subject area, and start marketing/developing your reputation as an expert (this takes years)Navigating technologyStay on top of the new developmentsClients are trying new tech everyday, and expect the same of youBeing a leader in tech is much better than being a followerWork/life balanceConstant struggleHave to find a way to keep your sanitynew lawyers are demanding firms pay more attention to thisFlexibility within the year (lots of hours are going to happen some months; important to wind down in other months)Go to bed and put your phone awayFinal thoughtsHarvard Business Review article from Clayton ChristensonThree questionshappy in careerfamily/friends enduring source of joymaintain integrity / stay out of jailAvoid comparison. Have your standard and live to your standardRapid fireone trait in associate: good attitudekey habit: disciplineapp/tool: iPad (Nextpoint)Legal movie: A Few Good MenFollowUp Conversation re: Covid-19
4/13/202049 minutes, 33 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Austin Appellate Lawyer Amanda Taylor

Amanda Taylor, appellate lawyer with Butler Snow in Austin, shares about how the Coronavirus is impacting their firm and clients, the importance of appellate law throughout the entirely of the litigation, and the importance of treating the law as a profession and not just a job.Coronavirus impact onthe firmFirm was prepared to move to remote working quickly, so that has been an advantageZoom Happy Hours to maintain connectionThemes are fun!Tiger King making its way into briefsclientslabor/employment questions are bigrestructuring questionsregulatory/healthcarecourtslitigation is downTexas Lawyer report from Angela Morris on filings - number down 50% versus March 2019Should see a surge in filings in Q3 and Q4hearings via zoomthe local barmostly encouragingBlake Hawthorne at Texas Supreme Court has done great job of getting information out to lawyersworking together with opposing counsel on deadlinesthe futureprepare for emergencies before they comehurricanes hit Houston every year and occasionally drive people from the office as wellHer practiceButler Snow is a large law firm with a large presence in the southeastlabor/employmentpharma litdrug/device litproducts liabilitybankruptcyappellate (Amanda)Board certified in appellate lawYes she's in front of the appellate courts, but she is in the trial court quite a bit as wellimportant to be part of the strategy from the beginning (procedure, jurisdiction, etc.)motionsStarted out wanting to the a plaintiff's trial lawyerlegislature passed tort reform while she was in law school, and her job offer from a plaintiff's firm was deferredHad impressed an appellate judge during a moot court competition, and wound up hiring her as a law clerkFell in love with appellate work and stayed at the appellate court for three years (under Justice Jan Patterson and Chief Justice Ken Law?)When things change and your plans are thwarted, things can still work out for the best if you have a passion for what you're doing and keep moving forwardAppellate practice news/updates?Surrounding jurisdictions are following the lead of Texas appellate courtsmore sophisticated, stand-alone practicetransition of trial lawyers to valuing having an appellate lawyer on their trial teamTennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia going this wayBig following of the hashtag #appellatetwitter on TwitterAdvice for AssociatesUnderstand this is a profession, not just a jobpositive attitudeinquisitivejumping in to helpNot focused only on money/bonuses/'ll be much happierShowing initiativeInternallyfollow along with cases happening in the firm; read the pleadings and motions and do some researchbecome an expert in a specific issue that is likely to come upTHEN swing by the partner's office and offer specific thoughts/assistanceExternallybecome a thought leader in a specific area of the law that is changing or becoming critical issuesForce majeure anyone?!Advice for lawyers seeking a jobHighlight experiences that demonstrate maturity or life experienceif you were a receptionist in an office that allowed you to absorb skills, knowledge, etc., highlight itdoesn't have to be in the legal industryShow you line up with key values of the firm (Butler Snow - diversity and inclusion)In the interviewBeing conversant is the most important partlack of egoshowing a passion for the professionDress the part(Daniel - video interviews now raise new issues for how to present professionally online)If you can get to a private room in an office or library, take advantage of that (once we are out of shelter-in-place)Access to justice is a big issue and opportunity for young lawyers to give back and get great experience doing pro bono workAdvice for women lawyersDecide what you want, and it doesn't have to be the same as all women or all lawyersIt also doesn't have to be the same in each season of lifeDevelop a 1, 3, 5, 10 year planMaybe at one time you are focusing on work and sacrificing other areasAnother time you might reduce hours/pay but still do high quality work on a more limited basisGet a mentor / advocate who can communicate your worth to the firm in a broader way than just billable hoursRapid fire Qsimportant trait/characteristic in an associate - DEDICATIONkey habit - ORGANIZATIONapp/tool - LEGAL PADsocial distancing activity - LONG WALKS WITH PODCASTSlegal movie - LEGALLY BLONDE
4/6/202037 minutes, 4 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Houston Personal Injury Lawyer Matt Greenberg

Today's guest is Houston personal injury lawyer Matt Greeberg of Zehl & Associates. Matt and I talk about the importance of who you work for, things to include/exclude on a resume, and why plaintiff's lawyers are the surgeons of law practice.What's happening in personal injury law right nowAutomation when it comes to vehicles (Tesla/Google/Uber); what happens when there is no driver of the vehicle involved in the crash?What he learned as a young lawyerfind a good mentorDon't just come out and ask them to be your mentor; instead look for a project you can volunteer to help withPick a complicated piece of the project and offer to throw yourself into it and take care of itbe picky about who you work under as a young lawyerto the extent you can, surround yourself with great staff and take advice and critique from themWhen seeking / interviewing for a lawyer jobdemonstrate good writing ability through writing samples or recent writing projectshigh school is irrelevant and shouldn't be on a resumeMaybe national merit scholar can stay; Eagle Scout (Daniel)leave interests off or make them more broad (though Daniel mentions there is a split on this between employers)Highlight what you've done in practice that is especially distinct (federal court? corporate rep depo? Daubert?)Careful with political affiliations and conversationsResearch the firm in advance of the interview (old cases, etc.) and prepare To impress as an associateBe the person who says yes to everything (Thanks Professor Powell)partners will like thisyou will get a wide range of experienceTo bring in businessCan depend on the practice area (not a lot of repeat clients in personal injury)websites (AVVO)Let everyone know the kind of work that you do, especially your former classmates - great referral source!Be involved with your law school alumni groups and eventsBuy your own domain name in case you ever want to to out on your ownWork/Life balance issuesIt's never going to be equal; work is going to be the majority of what you doTry to carve out times in the evening/weekend that are yours (not the entire evening or weekend, but like 7-8pm are protected)The case for personal injury workIf you want to do this, start by doing some type of litigation wherever you are; it is translatableThe most exciting area of practice: depos, hearings, motions...the surgeons of the law practiceRapid firetrait/characteristic in associate - drivekey habit - sleepapp/tool - One Notelegal movie - A Few Good Men
3/30/202037 minutes, 27 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Houston Trial Lawyer Brian Lopez

Brian and Daniel talk about what the Coronavirus is doing to law practice and how attorneys can adapt during this unusual time.Coronavirus impact on law practiceFROM CLIENTSfear for their businesses and jobsalso a desire to keep things going to at least be preparedFOR HIS LAW FIRMGot on it earlyStarted noticing problems three weeks ago since his family had been to Europe in mid-February,noticed people in public areas wearing masks, and thensaw the tech companies sending people home in early March, and Harvard moved online early as well.So they have been working remotely for over a week, and had plans in place to do so two+ weeks agoReassure attorneys and staffYou have to adapt quicklyThey already had the platform in place to work remotely as just a way to do business, so that made it much easier to transitionHe had listened to a new attorney right out of law school who said he should go to the cloud for everythingWent with Clio which specifically works with smaller law firmsHas an IT firm that he trusts; they came in in early March to make sure everyone was setupFor those in areas who are vulnerable to hurricanes, basically a necessity since they can force you out of your officeCOURTS/LOCAL BARHarris County first with pushing back cases and hearings, conducting urgent hearings remotelyBexar County followed soonTexas Supreme Court order: gave 30 additional days to deadlinesMost counsel have been agreeable to postponements and remote alternativesLargest concern is for the health/safety of all involvedHe has a virtual mediation on the calendar next week, and other pretrial activities scheduled as wellThough recognition that some people want to do depos in person only, and will have to reschedule thoseADVICE FOR LAWYERS DURING THIS TIMECommunicationHas a call with his team leads every morning at 8amThose leaders will then go do calls with their teamThen has a call with his financial teamThen a call with his operations leadCalls with clientsThen with paralegals/staff as well - they are as much or more concerned with what's going on as anyoneRoutineOffice hours remain 9am-6pmAll calls forwarded automatically to off-site receptionistKeep lunch hour (or whatever you normally do)Take care of physical well-being; don't let this interrupt your exercise routineMental HealthContinue any meditations/quiet times/yoga, etc.Continue therapy sessionsPay attention to itWHEN HE HIRES ASSOCIATES#1 thing he looks at is writing samples since communication with the court and then the client is importantHighlight most important issue(s) for the courtBe able to simplify legal process and terms for the client so that a non-attorney can understandAlso important to be able to communicate with a jury, which is not how you would write for a courtHe is looking for people who fit into his firm's culturegood writergood teammate to the other 20 people on staffnot set up to hire "individuals" that aren't interested in working with others/on a teamcommunity involvement, which can reflect a willingness to help others and ability to be on a teamneed generalists (within litigation/trial); not a specialist in hearings, depos, appeals, etc. Need to be willing/able to do it all.Multiple leaders/staff will be involved in the interview process to help identify the right peopleReferences are important, so be sure to line up people who you've worked with and have credibility who can speak honestly to your work product and approachRAPID FIRE Qs:Most important trait/characteristics in associate: good writingKey habit: not burning'll run into everyone again at some pointApp/productivity tool: Clio, Expensify, time trackerFavorite Corona activity: creating a daily soccer game for the kidsFavorite legal movie: The Firm
3/23/202043 minutes, 33 seconds
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Movie Verdicts: Marshall

Daniel and Robert talk about the importance of being heard, seeing someone great in their prime, and give out a bunch of awards for this 2017 biopic of Justice Thurgood Marshall.Notes/links from the episode:Blue Like Jazz by Donald MillerLegalAffairs story of the real life case
3/19/20201 hour, 42 minutes, 45 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Fort Worth Oil and Gas Litigator Troy Okruhlik

Troy shares some keys to client development, what to emphasize in a job interview, and the evolving oil and gas law practice.Intro to Troy and his firmGrew up in Houston, Texas A&M undergrad, Baylor Law, went to Harris Finley Bogle immediately35 attorneysBig focus on oil/gas industry (litigation, transactions, title, leases, real estate, banking)New office in Parker County (Weatherford, TX) which also takes on some criminal and personal injury matters.Oil/Gas Practiceprices aren't great, but doesn't seem to impact the litigation side as much as the transactional sidehelps to be licensed in multiple states to accommodate clients with properties all over the country (in fact only 20% of his practice is in Tarrant County, much less than in the past)Fort WorthLoves everything about itDowntown is boomingStockshow and RodeoStockyards13th largest population in the nation (bigger than Boston/Seattle/Denver)Has the big city amenities but small town feelThe legal community is close-knit;you'll see someone nearly every time you walk through downtownIf the other side is represented by a Fort Worth law firm, you'll probably know them and have a relationship with them, which can help and make the practice more enjoyableDallas/Fort Worth might sometimes get lumped together, but they are very different.It's important if you are applying to Fort Worth law firms to articulate why you want to be in Fort Worth.Advice for young lawyersRe: internal client developmenttreat senior associates and partners as your client.Develop the relationship.Learn about their cases.Be eager to helpRe: outside client developmentget involved in the communitybuild relationshipshave a long-term outlook (associates aren't expected to keep themselves busy in the early years, but it starts now)Not forced involvement - pick something you're interested in and get involved...raise your hand.Know your law school classmates and stay in touch with them.they can be a great source of referrals and assistance in your practiceBe proactive and think aheadDon't just do the task that is assigned, look for other ways to help and anticipate what's needed nextFollow upRead everything and know the documents and the case law, because the partner probably won't have time to do that. It might raise an issue or a strategy.When job searching/interviewingGrades can matter, so highlight the good and be ready to explain or mitigate the badEngagement is importantEnjoyable to work withDesire for the long-termBe yourself and want to contribute to the teamPrepare ahead of time to answer questions as to why you want the job...THIS IS NOT ASSUMED BY THE INTERVIEWER!Work/Life BalanceSchedule flexibility is an underrated benefit of being a lawyer...take advantage of it!Rapid Fire QuestionsCharacter/Trait in an associate - work ethic and concern for end work productKey habit - get done the hard thing firstFavorite app/tool - transcriptpad and goodreader on ipad; also is a great resourceLegal movie - A Few Good Men
3/16/202040 minutes, 5 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Elder Law Attorney James Rainey

James talks about the elder law practice area, working well with support staff, and the importance of showing interest in the firm when interviewing.Their firm and practiceElder Law - planning, medicaid, nursing homes, wills/trusts/power of attorneys, probate/guardianshipsopening a Georgetown officeHe used to do general litigation, and then when he and his wife Elisa partnered up,Elder law rules change all the time, because the legislature is active in the area; tax laws tooAlso lot's of non-lawyers are in the field (financial advisors, accountants, etc.) giving advice.Advice to young lawyers Working well with assistants and paralegals. This is often overlooked by lawyers.Be on time and ready to workBe willing to accept new challengesStart recognizing what is needed before being asked, and take the initiative to get it doneWhen given feedback, accept it, learn from it, and put it into practiceIn most cases, the purpose of critical feedback is to teach and build up, not to personally criticizeAlso get along well with the staffas a young lawyer you will likely be working with staff who have more experience than youIf you are a candidateRead the job ad and respond specifically to what is asked (if it asks for both a cover letter and resume, send both!)Make sure cover letters and resumes look good and are grammatically correctHave someone check your work!the interviewer is often just looking for whether you are a good fit with the other people in the officeprepare for the interview to show your interest in what the firm doesAsk questions that focus on what the firm does, their clientsIf transitioning into a new practice are, communicate what you are willing to do to get up to speed and learn the areaAlso recognize you may not be as valuable (i.e. $$) as you are in your current role, at least until you get up to speedAdvice on business developmentGet involved in the community and the industry you practice inAsk your supervising partner for advice on how to bring in new clients to the firmDo great work for your partner's clientsMake sure the partner knows you aren't looking to build business just to leave and take clients with you; but that you want to help grow your firmOther thoughtsRecognize that there are always trade-offs. If you want to work fewer hours, be ready to accept less pay.There is a big difference between a flex schedule (i.e. rearranging a full-time schedule to non-traditional work hours) and simply taking time off.Rapid FireAssociate trait/characteristic - practicalityKey habit - hard workLegal movie - My Cousin Vinny
3/9/202037 minutes, 1 second
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Monday Mentors with Dallas Litigator Joel Bailey

Joel Bailey, a partner at the Dallas litigation boutique Hedrick Kring, joins us. Below are some of the topics we discuss:Firm is in its 6th year in existence. Focus on business litigation firm and bankruptcyBest way to learn bankruptcy law is to just do it; don't worry if you didn't take the class or haven't done it before.What's going on in the practice?Have to be nimble/flexible with alternative fee arrangementsFind a fee arrangement that makes the client comfortable and works for the firm.What he learned as a young lawyer?Hard work and preparation win, and is completely within your control.Don't stop working hard once you graduate law school and get your first job...that's the time to ramp it up even higher.Quote: "Ego is the anesthesia that deadens the pain of stupidity."Key traits/characteristicsBeing available and ready to help a partner/client/colleagueWillingness to jump in and do thingsWant to be a partner in a law firm?strong work product earlykeep/maintain relationshipscolleagues now can go in-house and become clients sooner than you thinkreferrals often come from other law firmsHow does communication work between clients and associates?It's great if the client trusts the associate and should be encouraged!caveat: don't give advice that conflicts with what the partner told them, without first talking to that partnerWork/Life BalanceThe term is outdated and the better way to think about it is work/life harmony (credit: Josh Hedrick)It isn't realistic to turn everything off for an entire evening or weekend in private practice. You can draw some lines around certain times of day (dinner, specific hours during the weekend), and finding that harmony is the keyBoth work life and personal life can suffer if you don't figure this outCommunication is key if you're taking a longer time away (e.g. vacation)...but even then it is still ideal to at least check email once or twice per day and respond if urgentWhen hiring associates:typos on the resume are a red flagmock trial/moot court experience in law school as/more important than gradesIn interviews, looking for the cultural/personality fitWhat do people emphasize?What questions do they ask?Why are you leaving your current firm? Work product? Not a culture fit?For big law candidates its important that they aren't looking for less stress/responsibility going to a smaller's not going to get easierRapid FireTrait/Characteristic - hard workerKey habit - preparation and hard workApp/Tool - iPadLegal Movie - Boston Legal / My Cousin Vinny
3/2/202037 minutes, 47 seconds
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Movie Verdicts: Witness for the Prosecution

Robert and Daniel talk about this 1950's classic from Agatha Christie and Billy Wilder, which includes one of the wildest endings of any legal movie.
2/27/20201 hour, 26 minutes, 55 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Houston Litigator Cody Stafford

Cody Stafford, partner at Dobrowski Larkin & Stafford in Houston, joins us to talk about boutique litigation practice, the importance of writing, how to prepare for an interview, and how to ask your supervisor for feedback.Some of the episode highlights are:They are a complex commercial litigation boutique firm that does pretty much anything that falls under that umbrellaHouston is booming! Energy/Oil/Gas always play a role.How/why do boutiques succeed when competing against the mega-firms?E-Discovery is a huge issue right now.Advice:focus on learning to write;most of the practice happens on paper;also it is going to be your first impression with the partners;Bryan Garner really helps!Keep it simple, clear, and avoid legaleseGain a perspective that everything takes longer than you think, and you have to double check everythingPersevereDo a great job on your assignment, but also look for ways to contribute to the larger goal of success in the matter.Put in the work before asking for feedback on an assignment, and have a specific/defined questionIf asking for general performance feedback, don't pop in and ask...make an appointment (maybe over lunch or coffee) so both of you can set aside time.Also a good idea to come with your own thoughts on specific areas you feel you can improve in.Think of every project you do for a client as client development, so work on becoming a great lawyer first, while at the same time having the big picture in mind that every client interaction can impact your future businessAnd...every time you are out and around people, those are potential be prepared.When interviewing,engage with the interviewersshow that you prepared and researchedwriting sample is importanton a resume, it's not so much the content as it is the format, presentation, errors, etc.demonstrate that you are detail orientedLitigation is war, and you won't win every battle within that war so don't expect to or let it negatively impact you when you lose a motion, objection, etc. Keep the big picture of the overall case in mind.Rapid fire questionsMost important trait: dedicationHabit: questioning everythingTool: Federal Rules App for iPadLegal movie: My Cousin Vinny or Liar Liar
2/24/202036 minutes, 41 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Fort Worth Lawyer Grant Blaies

Grant is a founding partner of Blaies and Hightower, and focuses his practice on litigation and full-service for healthcare related entities.He shared some great thoughts on the practice of law and tips for young lawyers, including:Be a constant learner and sponge who soaks up everything from the more experienced lawyers around youBe willing to volunteer to help on projectsHard work is critical, but it has to be work toward a solution for the client.The ability to interact with clients and develop relationships is a key to successIf you've hopped around a lot know that a firm may be wary, so prepare to explain your movesPlus his answers to our rapid fire questions and his favorite legal movie!Grant's bio:
2/17/202040 minutes, 16 seconds
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Movie Verdicts: A Few Good Men

Daniel and Robert do a deep, deep dive into this courtroom drama classic.- The origin story- Would Linda Hamilton have been a better Jo Galloway?- What's happening with Kaffee drinking/driving, and Sam riding with him?- Is Jack Ross a better lawyer than Daniel Kaffee?- Was the witness stand also an audition for actors looking for parts in other movies?- Why put Downey on the stand instead of Dawson?- How does Jack figure out Downey wasn't in his room and Kaffee doesn't?- Does this movie pass the Bechdel test? The Callahan-Hare test?- Our verdicts- Plus the tragic aftermath for the "real life" Dawson/Downey:
2/14/20201 hour, 46 minutes, 52 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Austin Construction Lawyer Jeff Chapman

Jeff Chapman is a construction law expert who leads his own firm, The Chapman Firm, in Austin.Jeff shared a number of great insights for young lawyers:have confidence to take opportunities that are presented to youalways make sure your work is of the highest qualityask for, and be willing to accept and (most importantly) implement, feedbackcontinue to stay in touch with your law school classmates; they are your future referral sourcesLook for opportunities to write/publish/speak to get your name out thereBusiness development is a long game; don't expect to get a client in the short-termWork-life balance is very difficult when you're at a firm requiring 2000+ billable hours per year; but many smaller firms don't require that and are better able to provide that balanceStrong academic credentials are important when hiring because they show the person has a big brain and driveTypos/grammar issues in resumes are fatal - the candidate won't get an interviewConfidence and interpersonal skills important as well so you can grow organically and engage with clientsLook interviewer in the eyeAble to carry on a conversationHave intelligent questions to ask during the interviewTake advantage of new technologies to become the most efficient lawyer you can beTrait you most want to see in an associate: ConfidenceHabit that is key to his success: Attention to detailBest app/productivity tool: Notability (for iPad)The Paper Chase
2/10/202038 minutes, 47 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Austin Rising Stars Josh Fogelman and Aaron von Flatern

Austin-based Texas Super Lawyers Rising Stars Josh Fogelman and Aaron von Flatern join us. Josh and Aaron formed their own personal injury plaintiff's firm several years ago called Fogelman von Flatern which has seen tremendous success.They share about how to create a firm culture around the customer-first approach of top companies. They also talk about what it takes to become the dependable associate and why that's important.Josh gives the same answer to two separate questions in the rapid-fire round...can he do that?Aaron and Josh both have the same favorite legal movie!All that and more on this week's Monday Mentor's episode of Lone Star Lawyers!
2/3/202036 minutes, 22 seconds
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Movie Verdicts: The Lincoln Lawyer

Daniel and Robert break down The Lincoln Lawyer. Do lawyers still ask judges to continue cases while they look for the key witness Mr. Green? Did Haller give the right advice to his first client to take the plea deal? How sick to your stomach are you when Haller opens up his gun box to find it empty? Who has tried the freelancing photographer trick? What ethical issues are raised once Haller knows his client committed both crimes? All that plus our verdict!
1/31/20201 hour, 9 minutes, 9 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Construction and Real Estate Lawyer Kimber Davison

Kimber Davison is the managing shareholder at Griffith Davison in Dallas, a construction and real estate boutique law firm. In this episode she talks about the opportunity in construction law, the answer you never want to give your partner, and a time keeping life saver.
1/27/202037 minutes, 19 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Trusts and Estates Litigators Jason Scott and Michael Knisely

On this Monday Mentors episode of Lone Star Lawyers, Jason Scott and Michael Knisely talk about what you can do to stand out as a young lawyer, the importance of researching ahead of applying and interviewing for jobs, the opportunity in the trusts and estates practice area, and the one habit that has been most key to their success. Thanks for listening!
1/20/202036 minutes, 26 seconds
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Movie Verdicts - My Cousin Vinny

On the first Movie Verdicts episode of Lone Star Lawyers, Daniel and Robert do a deep dive into My Cousin Vinny. What was the best cross-examination? Do the defendants get off in real life (i.e. Robert's hot take)? What's with Daniel's over-the-top adoration of Fred Gwynne as the judge? Do we buy Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei as a couple? All this and much more, including our final verdict of this 1992 classic.
1/17/20201 hour, 16 minutes, 55 seconds
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Monday Mentors with Gregory Cagle of Cagle Pugh

Gregory Cagle literally wrote the book on HOA law in Texas and is a founding partner of Cagle Pugh, an Austin-based firm with offices also in Dallas and San Antonio. Gregory and I talk about the three things that you must do to please a client, how to establish yourself in a niche, and preparing for the future of law practice.Amazon link to the third edition of his book (unavailable; 4th edition due out this spring):
1/13/202040 minutes, 39 seconds
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Learn what Lone Star Lawyers is, why we created it, and whether it is for you!
1/13/20202 minutes, 17 seconds