Podcast category: Best Legal Practices

Special Reports

Above The Law Editors Discuss Converge Panels

The 2015 Above the Law Converge conference featured discussions of four current legal topics: privacy, reputation, communication strategy, and emerging technical trends. Legal Talk Network producer Laurence Colletti sits down with the Above the Law editors moderating each panel the day before the conference to talk about why each topic is relevant to today’s lawyers.

The following are moderators and their discussion topics. For the benefit of our listeners, we interviewed the panelists about these legal topics after each panel.

Staci Zaretsky: Online Reputation, Privacy, and the Law

David Lat: Pitching the Mainstream Media

Joe Patrice: Emerging Technical Trends and Best Practices

Elie Mystal: The Future of Law

The Florida Bar Podcast

Admission on Motion, Reciprocity, the UBE, and Non-Lawyer Licensing

Three controversial issues relating to The Florida Bar admissions and the future of the practice as a whole are currently being discussed. The Florida Bar is considering whether to endorse the adaptation of the following programs. Admission on Motion, or reciprocity, deals with the concept of lawyers legally crossing state borders to practice law. The Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) allows lawyers to take a test and acquire a portable bar examination score usable in any state that accepts the UBE (16 currently do). Finally, there is a question of whether the state of Florida should adopt some form of non-lawyer licensing. The Bar Admissions Committee of The Florida Bar’s Vision 2016 Commission is currently studying these issues closely.

In this episode of The Florida Bar Podcast, Adriana Linares and John Stewart interview lawyer and chair of the Bar Admissions Committee Lance Scriven about the pros and cons of Admission on Motion, the Uniform Bar Examination, and non-lawyer legal professional licensing. Scriven discusses the practitioner benefits of crossing borders and practicing law and points out that there are many instances in which this is already being done. The obvious negative in these programs involves lawyers who are worried about even more competition in a state which is already saturated with attorneys. Stewart points out that many services that these alternative solutions provide are filling a currently existing hole in the market of moderate or low income people and small business owners. Admission on Motion, the UBE, and non-lawyer licensing are strong alternatives to the competition being created by online legal services which already exist to fill this void. Florida is watching the action of major states like New York or California on these issues, Scriven says. Tune in to hear more about these controversial and important decisions facing Florida lawyers.

Lance Scriven is an attorney in Tampa, Florida, with the Trenam Kemker Law Firm. He practices as a commercial litigator and has been at the firm for 13 years collectively. Scriven is a member of The Florida Bar Board of Governors and Chair of the Bar Admissions Committee of The Florida Bar Vision 2016 Commission.

In-House Legal

Skills for Success as a General Counsel

In-house lawyers who are looking to become a general counsel face fierce competition and high standards. Corporations are seeking candidates with an extensive skillset, often favoring experienced general counsels, or exceptional in-house lawyers. But how does an in-house lawyer gain these valuable skills?

In this episode of In-House Legal, Randy Milch interviews Mark Roellig, General Counsel of MassMutual, about the skills lawyers need to go in-house or become a general counsel, how to properly manage an in-house team of attorneys, and why diversity is important in business. Roellig explains that lawyers seeking a general counsel job need to gain legal experience above and beyond their current position in addition to the knowledge of business, communication, and other non-legal skills. He discusses how to choose the right team of employees, make sure your department adds value to the company, and the proper way to achieve success with diversity. Tune in to learn how to lead a corporate legal department successfully.

Mark Roellig is Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). Roellig is responsible for all the legal affairs of the Company, advises management and the board of directors to ensure that MassMutual complies with corporate-governance requirements and is responsible for the corporate secretary, corporate compliance, internal audit, government relations and the Corporate Business Resources and Real Estate and Facilities Departments of MassMutual.

New Solo

How David Sparks Started His Solo Practice

In the last episode of New Solo, we heard about how Michael Downey left his big law firm to start a solo practice. But with all of the small decisions involved in going solo, each lawyer’s experience is different. David Sparks is a lawyer and self-identified geek who left his small firm of three attorneys to start his own practice. As he is tech savvy, Sparks’ process differed from Downey’s in several ways.

In this episode of New Solo, Adriana Linares interviews David Sparks about why he decided to go solo, the first actions he took, and struggles he encountered during the process. Sparks’ first steps involved evaluating the potential costs of research, insurance, malpractice, and other legal necessities, and comparing it to an assumed client income. He talks about being a lawyer who uses Apple products and how he chose, or didn’t choose, products like Ruby Receptionists, Clio, Rocket Matter, and Omnifocus. Sparks also discusses the importance of marketing his new solo practice and how setting up the business and accounting aspects took longer than he thought it would. If you are considering starting a solo practice, this podcast is a good place to start.

David Sparks has been a lawyer in Orange County, California for 21 years and recently started a solo practice. He is also a technology expert who has a blog, a podcast, and often writes about finding and using the best tools, hardware, and workflows for Apple devices. David also writes for Macworld magazine and often speaks about legal technology.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Solo Practice University.

Robert Half Legal Report

Making Succession Planning an Ongoing Priority

In this episode of The Robert Half Legal Report, attorney Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal and Sandra J. Boyer, Boyer & Greene principal, examine the importance of succession planning and why it is imperative to the future viability of law firms. They discuss best practices and potential obstacles that law firm management may encounter when implementing a succession plan.

Paralegal Voice

Results of the 2015 NALA Utilization and Compensation Survey for Paralegals

Every 2 years, the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) conducts a survey of paralegals to establish current trends in the paralegal industry. Among those surveyed are NALA members, non-members, and members of affiliated organizations. Topics include the duties and responsibilities of paralegals, where they work, common practice areas, and the changes in billing rates and compensation. What is the meaning of survey results and how should paralegals use this information to improve their practice?

In this episode of The Paralegal Voice, Vicki Voisin interviews NALA President Kelly LaGrave, ACP about the results of the 2015 NALA Utilization and Compensation Survey, ways in which paralegals achieve professional growth, and the importance of certification to a paralegal career. LaGrave talks about the trends in the paralegal industry according to the survey, including more paralegals working in corporate legal departments, banks, government entities, the medical field, as well as private law firms. Popular practice areas, she says, include litigation, corporate law, real estate, administrative law, trust and estates, and increasingly commercial law. In order to keep up with trends, she explains, continuing education in unfamiliar areas and certifications are valuable to all paralegals. Voisin and LaGrave then discuss what it means to be certified, how to choose a qualified certification program, and ways to promote certification when looking for a job or promotion.

Kelly LaGrave, ACP joined Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC in Lansing, Michigan in 1993. She is a member of their business and corporate practice group. A successful passionate paralegal, LaGrave works in a wide variety of matters such as mergers and acquisitions, entity selection, and organizational planning for profit and nonprofit corporate planning and tax-exempt applications, loan transactions, real estate transactions, insurance regulations, and intellectual property. The current president of the National Association of Legal Assistants, she has served in many NALA leadership positions throughout the organization. She most enjoys helping develop and deliver training to other paralegals.

Special thanks to our sponsors, NALA and ServeNow.

ABA Journal: Asked and Answered

How can attorneys get help without harming their careers?

With such a stressful profession, many attorneys face addiction and other mental health issues. If you find yourself struggling–or know another lawyer who is–what resources are out there? Does admitting a problem have to harm your career? What are your ethical duties if you do know that a colleague is battling an addiction or suffering from mental health problems?

In this month’s Asked and Answered, the ABA Journal’s Stephanie Francis Ward speaks with Patrick Krill of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s legal professionals program to find out more. Krill is currently finishing a study in conjunction with the ABA to research substance abuse, depression, and anxiety in legal profession.

Digital Detectives

Forensic Science in the Criminal Justice System: What is Admissible?

There have been several programs looking at exoneration of people previously convicted of crimes. This includes The Innocence Project, currently boasting 325 DNA exonerations, and a project of the University of Michigan Law School that works on cases in which DNA is unavailable. The latter project has exonerated 1,553 individuals when we recorded this podcast. As it turns out, many of these people were convicted based on forensic science that was later proved to not be scientifically valid. So, what particular forensic disciplines are actually valid in the criminal justice system?

In this episode of Digital Detectives, Sharon Nelson and John Simek interview Judge David Waxse about the 2009 report by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the relationship between bad science and wrongful convictions, and how to improve the use of forensic science in the criminal justice system. The NAS report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward, found that with the exception of DNA, no forms of forensic science comply with scientific methodology. Waxse discusses the jury’s confidence in unproven science experts and witness testimony and the resulting wrongful convictions. He explains why people are just now becoming concerned with the 2009 report and discusses why The Willingham Case is relevant. Waxse plans to hold a symposium in April 2015 at Northwestern Law School in Chicago to consider with experts how to educate judges and lawyers in the criminal justice system about this issue.

Judge David Waxse is a United States magistrate judge for the United States District Court in Kansas City, Kansas. He received his BA Degree from the University of Kansas and his JD from the Columbia University School of Law. He is a past president of the Kansas Bar Association and current chair of the American Bar Association Judicial Division.

In-House Legal

Verizon’s Randy Milch on Being General Counsel and Running the In-House Legal Department

In-House Legal returns with new host Randy Milch, the executive vice president and strategic policy advisor to the chair and CEO for Verizon Communications. Formerly the general counsel for Verizon, Randy has worked nearly his entire legal career in the telecom industry.

In this episode of In-House Legal, Legal Talk Network producer Laurence Colletti interviews host Randy Milch as he takes the reins of the show. Together, they discuss Randy’s path to becoming Verizon’s GC, the importance of having talented attorneys on your team, and the challenges faced in regulatory environments. In addition, they talk about the cost of patent trolls, the necessity of support staff, and relentlessly weathering pressure and uncertainty. Tune in to hear what Randy’s plans are for the show’s future as well as his advice for in-house legal departments.

Randy Milch is the executive vice president and strategic policy advisor to the chair and CEO for Verizon Communications. Prior to that, he was the company’s executive vice president and general counsel. Mr. Milch has worked a career in the telecom industry and brings decades of legal experience to the In-House Legal show.

Special Reports

ABA Midyear Meeting 2015: Judicial Division with Judge Waxse

Legal Talk Network Producer Laurence Colletti interviews Judge David Waxse, chair of the Judicial Division at the 2015 ABA Midyear Meeting. Judge Waxse discusses how the Judicial Division is comprised of six conferences and how they interact. As chair, he has chosen a project to focus on concerning forensic science and the criminal justice system. His interview includes a chilling case of proven false execution. Judge David Waxse is a federal magistrate judge at the Robert J. Knoll Courthouse in Kansas City, Kansas. He has been a judge for 16 years after having practiced law in Kansas for about 30 years.

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