Legal Talk Network had the privilege of traveling to New York to cover the 2nd annual conference from Above The Law. Named Converge, the event was about privacy, reputation, communications strategies, and emerging tech trends in the legal industry. Despite its gravitation towards internet, new media, and technology, this energetic event found itself at the very formal and beautiful University Club where ties and jackets are required but mobile devices must be concealed.
The list of speakers was impressive. To be sure, most had a background in law but even more significantly, they all shared three main characteristics: young, accomplished, and entrepreneurial.
Expertly placed into four main panels moderated by David Lat, Staci Zaretsky, Joe Patrice, and Elie Mystal (the editors from Above The Law), these speaking events exuded a wonderful energy that invited attendees to participate and learn more. Please listen to our series of interviews (below) which recap each speaking event through the voices of the speakers themselves.
Above the Law editors Elie Mystal, Joe Patrice, David Lat, and Staci Zaretsky
In addition to covering Converge, we had the opportunity to pay a visit to Above The Law headquarters. Waiting for us was nearly the entire team from Breaking Media, and we got an inside look at the culture that produces some of today’s most dynamic journalism. For the benefit of those who didn’t know, Breaking Media is the entity that owns Above The Law among many other media outlets. The predominant goal with Above The Law, like with the other brands, is to write about an industry in ways that haven’t been done before.
And finally, it gives us great pleasure to announce that we launched a new podcast in conjunction with Above The Law, featuring editors Elie Mystal and Joe Patrice as the hosts. The new show is called Thinking Like a Lawyer, and it focuses on daily life happenings as viewed through the eyes of a lawyer. In it, verbal jousting between Elie and Joe drives the discussion forward. They call it bantering, but we call it good chemistry. To listen to what we’re talking about, tune into Thinking Like a Lawyer.
The American Bar Association includes an impressive number of committees, divisions, and sections all aimed at providing the best resources to its members. We were able to sit down with various leaders within the organization to learn more about what programs are out there, how they are of benefit, and what their plans are for the future.
These 32 conversations provide incredible insight into the opportunities available within the ABA. Listen now to hear how these divisions and committees can help you, and hear it directly from the leaders.
American Bar Association President William C. Hubbard
If you’ve been following the Serial Podcast then you’re probably familiar with the case of Adnan Syed and his convicted murder of ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee in late 90s Baltimore. The case has baffled the millions of listeners who tuned in for the first season of ‘Serial’, which investigated the case week by week. With no resolution in the final episode and the recent granting of Adnan Syed’s request for review of his murder conviction by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, many people are still unsure of whether or not he actually did it.
Do you think Adnan is guilty of murdering Hae Min Lee beyond a reasonable doubt?
Vote in the poll below and share your opinions on Adnan’s guilt, the involvement of Jay Wilds, and what you think about Adnan’s attorney Cristina Gutierezz’s defense strategy.
On a very special and exciting episode of Lawyer 2 Lawyer, Bob Ambrogi and J Craig Williams were joined by Deirdre Enright of The Innocence Project, who is currently working on Adnan’s appeal (and was featured on episodes 7 and 12 of ‘Serial’), Erica Zunkel,clinical instructor at the Federal Criminal Justice Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School and a former trial attorney with a focus on defense, and Markus Kypreos, a practicing attorney who has previously worked with the Texas Prosecutors Association. to break down the case and what was presented on ‘Serial’.
Listen Now! Attorneys Dissect Adnan Syed’s Case
The attorneys analyzed the case against Adnan from both sides, offering expert insight on criminal defense and prosecution, the testimony of Jay Wilds, and the portrayal of this case on Serial, all while tackling some of the tougher questions raised regarding DNA evidence, potential alibis, shaky timelines, and the overall defense strategy.
Comments on the defense
Cristina Gutierezz should have discontinued representation if health impaired her ability to do her job
There was no clear, outlined defense strategy that was communicated that to the client
Expert witnesses should have been hired to challenge cell phone records
Physical evidence should have been pursued and tested, including the hair found on Hae Min Lee’s body, the rope, and the liquor bottle found near her body
Asia McClain’s potential alibi for Adnan Syed should have been pursued
The defense should have investigated whether key witness Jay Wilds was guided to point to Adnan Syed as the primary suspect as a way to avoid jail time
Statements pointing to Adnan Syed’s religious background as motive should have been addressed and discounted as an attempted substitute for evidence
Jurors were not provided with a clear and understandable narrative
The tone and demeanor of the defense attorney when cross-examining Jay Wilds ultimately made the jury more sympathetic to Jay than to Adnan
Comments on the prosecution
The case and details presented on ‘Serial’ may not have been the same as what was presented by the prosecutors to the jury at trial
Regardless of the inconsistencies in Jay’s testimony, general lack of likeability, and clear involvement, the jury heard his testimony and determined that it was credible
This was an open crime scene in a public park where humans and animals traversed through before the body was found
While objects found near the body can be tested, it’s important to consider what will be determined to be exculpatory and relevant to the case and victim
The rope and the hairs should be tested, but other elements like the bottle found near the body may not be relevant
In order to connect with members more effectively, the Florida Bar recently partnered with Legal Talk Network to produce a podcast, making education and information more readily available to their membership.
The podcast was launched at the 2015 Florida Bar Winter Meeting, and host Adriana Linares and members of the production team were there to cover the event. At the show, Linares was able to sit down with speakers and leaders within the organization to discuss Continuing Legal Education (CLE) sessions and what members can expect from the Florida Bar in the coming year.
Member Benefits Committee Chair Peter Sweeney, Leadership Academy Committee member Sean Desmond, Young Lawyers Division Representative Jennifer Kuyrkendall, and many others sat down with us to discuss the conference. You can listen to the full interviews below.
Interviews from the 2015 Florida Bar Winter Meeting:
In addition to event coverage, the Florida Bar Podcast promises monthly episodes discussing information, events, and education that is most pertinent to the membership. For immediate updates, sign up for email notifications and select the Florida Bar Podcast, or subscribe on iTunes.
The Winter Meeting was a great success for the Florida Bar as well as for attending members! We had a great time recording, networking with the membership, and learning about the latest in Florida Law.
Photos from the 2015 Winter Meeting
Legal Talk Network Producer Laurence Colletti and Craig Ball discuss electronic evidence and what’s changing
Ethan Wall and Adriana Linares get ready to discuss smart social media use
Florida Bar President Gregory Coleman and Adriana Linares record the next monthly episode live from the conference.
John Stewart shares some details on what to expect from the next technology conference
Joseph Corsmeier shares his perspective on legal technology and ethics
Lanse Scriven, John Stewart, and Adriana Linares sit down for a quick interview
Liz McCausland, Melanie Griffin, Barbara Leach, and Renee Thompson join Adriana Linares for a discussion on balancing career against bar involvement
Michelle Suskauer pops by to discuss disciplinary reviews
Peter Sweeney digs into member benefits and technology
Sean Desmond and Renee Thompson sharing details on upcoming meetings and leadership
We recently had the privilege of attending the American Bar Association’s Law Practice Division Fall Meeting, which was held this year in San Diego. Totally forgetting about the beautiful sites and scenes from Southern California, we were very impressed at the many programs being offered and projects undertaken by the Law Practice Division. Not only do they put on their large annual ABA TECHSHOW each year, but they publish their monthly Law Practice Today webzine to their nearly 400,000 subscribers each month.
In addition to the highly visible initiatives, Law Practice Division does a lot behind the scenes as well. From access to justice issues to their diversity and inclusion programs, this division of the ABA is hard at work making sure our legal system benefits everyone. Even groups like the ABA Women Rainmakers Board make sure to have programs and events that are inclusive of men. For those new to the practice of law (regardless of age), there is the ABA Young Lawyers Division. Not only are they great resources during the job search, but they are also a great place for referrals.
When they are not focusing on social justice, the Law Practice Division tirelessly endeavors to modernize the practice of law with Board groups like the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center (LTRC for short). Through the production of their Blog, Webinars, Buyers Guide, and Legal Technology Survey, the LTRC makes sure that the most up-to-date technology information is available to lawyers everywhere.
Perhaps the most impressive part of the ABA Law Practice Division is the people who volunteer to make all of this happen. It might surprise you that in addition to the great programs they put on, most of the central leadership is fully employed somewhere else. Whether it is the Law Practice Division’s Chair Robert Young from English Lucas Priest & Owsley LLP, Chair-Elect Tom Bolt from BoltNagi PC, or even ABA President-Elect Paulette Brown from Edwards Wildman, these highly qualified volunteers brings decades of law practice experience to the table that they readily share with their 18,000+ members (and non-members as well).
We had the privilege of interviewing various speakers and individuals involved with the 2014 ABA Law Practice Division Fall Meeting. Take a listen to the interviews below for more details from the conference.
The 2014 Workers Injury Law and Advocacy Group (WILG) conference at the Bacara Resort in Santa Barbara, California was a central event during pivotal times for workers’ compensation lawyers. The tenor of tones seems to indicate that change is coming and that such change will be sweeping. As outgoing President of WILG Chuck Davoli stated during his interview with Alan Pierce (host of Workers Comp Matters), “It’s not a matter of if change is coming, it’s a matter of how much and from where.” His further remarks discussed implications from the Affordable Care Act as well as the rising nation-wide prominence of pro-business interests.
Alan Pierce and one of our producers took the time to sit down with some of the speakers to capture what was most important from the conference. From Lewis Heller’s concise interview on the history of workers’ compensation law to keynote speaker Jason Schechterle’s story of surviving an incident in which his police car was hit by another vehicle going 100 miles per hour, there is something for everybody.
Among the many shared concerns for this group of mostly plaintiff’s attorneys are the reduction of no-fault coverage for employees hurt on the job, unification of insurance policies under both A.C.A. and existing workers’ compensation structures, and combination of legislative actions and court decisions stemming from Florida (often referred to as the “Tipping Point”). For those interested in this area of law, the WILG Conference was an ideal event to attend. Not only did attendees have access to industry leaders such as incoming WILG President Michael Galpern, who measures his experience in decades rather than years, but they were also the benefactor of a helpful staff and speakers on pressing issues.
In late September we had the privilege of attending the 2014 Clio Could Conference (#ClioCloud9) in Chicago. This was a great opportunity for our hosts to mingle with some of the key leaders within the legal industry, and also gave hosts and producers a chance to interview some of the big speakers at the event.
Bob Ambrogi, co-host of Lawyer 2 Lawyer, kicked off our interview sessions by speaking with Jack Newton, CEO of Clio. Keynote speaker Richard Susskind discusses his presentation, and other interviewees offered their expertise on topics like data collection, customer service, social media, generational differences, digital marketing, culture, and the latest in legal technology trends. Here is a complete list of the interviews:
This was the last time LegalTech West Coast will be held in Los Angeles, California as the conference moves north to San Francisco next year. In its farewell performance at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel, LegalTech offered high-powered speakers, The Track: (Exploring the New Legal Ecosystem), and innovative new exhibitors.
Editor-in-Chief Monica Bay (ALM’s Law Technology News) took great care not only to find amazing speakers, she also moderated many of the speaking events herself. As a result, the events stayed on-point and audience questions got answered. Her energy and presence brings great connectivity to this conference and attendees walk away feeling very welcome and informed.
J. Craig Williams, host of Lawyer 2 Lawyer, presented “Can Tech Save Fuel Small Firms?” at the LegalTech West Coast Conference in Los Angeles, CA. During his introductions, Mr. Williams left the podium for a litigator-style discussion with the attendees on the floor. Absolutely open to questions, he spoke about the importance of backing up data, going paperless, and his migration from some researching platforms in favor of others.
The overarching theme was about how small firms can compete with larger firms by being nimble. Although he recommended many modern tools and software solutions, Mr. Williams also touched on a managerial approach that empowers employees to customize their working environments to achieve greater quality and efficiency. In addition, he recommended that attorneys should gain a basic understanding of how computers operate in order to get the most out of their software tools.
The final part of the speaking event was dedicated to marketing and reaching out. In addition to reviewing the various options for social media, Mr. Williams brought home a driving point about the nature of people when he said “nothing replaces a handshake at an in-person meeting”. The message being, whatever medium you use to reach out… connect personally.
For small firms and solo practitioners looking for honest and practical advice on marketing themselves and their firm, this was the ideal event. Not only did attendees have direct access to industry leaders, they also had the happy assistance of Mass LOMAP’s law practice advisors (Jared Correia and Heidi Alexander). This intimate event took place at Suffolk University Law School’s beautiful building located down the street from Boston Commons and across the street from the Granary Burying Ground, the final resting place for founding fathers such as Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Paul Revere.
Starting with the keynote “Delivering a Cloud Experience” and first panel discussion, it was readily apparent that this conference was wholly geared towards solo practitioners and small firms. High-profile speakers such as Jack Newton (CEO & Founder of Clio), Jim Schonrock (Vice President-Performance at Findlaw), and Leigh McMillan (Vice President of Marketing at Avvo, Inc.) eagerly took live questions from the audience at Suffolk and the online participants. Best of all, the answers were straight forward and simple. It was the kind of knowledge that should have been taught in law school but somehow never was.
Also unique to this event was the emphasis on relationship building rather than a general message on the benefits of social media. In addition to the “whats” of marketing, the “whys” and “hows” were discussed in great detail. This was a true “rubber hits the road” event. Speakers and panelists (including our own CEO Adam Camras) were extremely thoughtful in the delivery of their message. The impression given was that everyone truly cared about the success of the attendees.
Despite the jam-packed schedule of this conference, Heidi Alexander and Jared Correia (hosts of Legal Toolkit) were able to sneak away to Legal Talk Network’s exhibition table to record an episode. In a series of interviews with Jack Newton, Heather Jackson, Jim Schonrock, Joyce Brafford (NCBA), Kelli Proia, Nicole Bradick, Damian Turco, and Susan Cartier Liebel, they recapped on the elements that make this conference special. Tune in to hear how attorneys should be managing their client relationships to grow their practices. Below are some of the marketing and relationship building take-aways from speakers and exhibitors:
Jack Newton (CEO and Founder of Clio): “Today, it’s more about how you sell than what you sell”
Jim Schonrock (Vice President-Performance at Findlaw): “With social media, start small and do it well”
Leigh McMillan (Vice President of Marketing at Avvo, Inc.): When it comes to social media, “it’s better to not do it, than to do it badly”
Gyi Tsakalakis (Director of Search at AttorneySync): “Use your real name on social media… no one wants to be friends with law firms”
Heather Jackson (Regional Development Director at Constant Contact): For your newsletters, “Good Content Matters”
Conrad Saam (Mockingbird Marketing): “Phone #s must be in the header of the website… on every page and clickable”
David Morris (Assistant General Counsel from TripAdvisor): “Curate your social profiles”
Marguerite Fletcher (Founder of Fletcher Legal Consulting): “Start networking now… not just when you need it”
Kelli Proia (Founder of Lawducate): “Don’t use gavels, scales of justice, court houses, legal books, etc. on your website”
Adam Camras (CEO of Legal Talk Network): “Take advantage of events like today… have business cards, engage, network… everyone is a prospective client”
More from this event
For more from this event, listen to the below Legal Talk Network Special Reports.