COVID-19 Resources for Lawyers
Featured Guest
Adam Balinski

Adam Balinski is a former TV reporter turned attorney and entrepreneur. Adam founded Crushendo, a test prep program focused...

Your Host
Jared Correia

Jared D. Correia, Esq. is the CEO of Red Cave Law Firm Consulting, which offers subscription-based law firm business...

Episode Notes

Law school grads faced a whole slew of uncertainties as they navigated bar exams in 2020. Exams were handled differently from state to state, and the widely varied approaches had a significant effect on bar prep. Will this create permanent changes in this sphere? Jared Correia talks with Adam Balinski about the challenges brought by the pandemic and what he expects bar prep and exams to look like in the future.

Adam Balinski is founder and CEO of Crushendo.

Special thanks to our sponsors ScorpionTimeSolvAbby Connect and Alert Communications.

Transcript

Legal Toolkit

Bar-pocalypse! – Bar Prep and Exams in the Midst of COVID Complications

10/16/2020

 

[Music]

 

Intro: Welcome to Legal Toolkit, bringing you the latest legal trends in business initiatives to help you manage your law firm with your host, Jared Correia.  You’re listening to Legal Talk Network.

 

[Music]

 

Jared D. Correia: Welcome to yet another episode of the award-winning Legal Toolkit Podcast, only on Legal Talk Network.  If you’re looking for the channel changer, it’s probably in the couch cushions.  If you’re a returning listener, welcome back.  If you’re a first-time listener, welcome home.  And if you’re the bad guy in an action movie, you’re probably talking way too much.  As always, I’m your show host, Jared Correia, and in addition to casting this pod, I am the CEO of Red Cave Law Firm Consulting, which offers subscription-based law practice management consulting services for law firms, bar associations, and legal vendors.  Check us out at redcavelegal.com.  I’m also the COO of Gideon Software, Inc., which offers chat bot software, built specifically for law firms.  Find out more at www.gideon.legal.

 

But here on Legal Toolkit, we provide you with a new tool each episode to add to your own legal toolkit so your practices will become more and more like best practices.  In this episode, we’re going to talk about something I don’t think we’ve ever talked about before, which is bar prep.  Remember those days?  I tried to forget them.  But before I introduce today’s guest, let’s take a moment to thank our sponsors without whom there would be no show.  We would like to thank Alert Communications for sponsoring this podcast.  If any law firm is looking for call intake or retainer services available 24/7/365, just call 866-827-5568.  Scorpion is the leading provider of marketing solutions for the legal industry.  With nearly 20 years of experience serving attorneys, Scorpion can help grow your practice.  Learn more at scorpionlegal.com.  Abby Connect has delivered premium live receptionist and answering services to lawyers since 2006.  You can try them out for free at abbyconnect.com.  TimeSolv is the number one web-based time and billing software for lawyers.  Providing solutions since 1999, TimeSolv provides the most comprehensive billing features for law firms big and small, www.timesolv.com.  All right, thanks, sponsors.

 

My guest today is Adam Balinski, the founder and CEO of Crushendo, a new kind of bar prep program.  Adam, I gave you a brief bio there, anything at all you would like to add?

 

Adam Balinski: Hey, shortened to the point, big fan of that, so thanks for having me and let’s just get right into the good stuff.

 

Jared D. Correia: Awesome.  I’m sure everybody is going to appreciate that.  Adam, welcome to the show.  We’re delighted to have you.  Let’s start with maybe the best thing I found, like I was strolling your LinkedIn profile earlier today.

 

Adam Balinski: Oh, gosh.

 

Jared D. Correia: You have had quite the storied career to this point.  You’ve done a lot of really interesting things.  So, like live news reporter, which I probably don’t even have time to ask you about, and then you were a Swedish instructor.  The only Swedish instructor I’ve ever had is the Swedish chef from the Muppets.  So, can you say something in Swedish so I can compare your diction to his?

 

Adam Balinski: [Foreign language]

 

Jared D. Correia: That was really good.  What does that mean?

 

Adam Balinski: Yeah, I was so good.  I mean, my accent was spot on there, I’m sure.

 

Jared D. Correia: That was really good.  I liked it.

 

Adam Balinski: Oh, yeah, yeah.

 

Jared D. Correia: It sounded good to me, man.  I don’t know.

 

Adam Balinski: Oh, man, I just talked smack about you in the show.  No, I’m just kidding.

 

Jared D. Correia: I knew it, I knew it.  All right, better not to reveal what you said.  We’ll let people translate on their own.  All right, are you ready to do some legal talks, so we can please the sponsors and the listeners?

 

Adam Balinski: Heck, yeah.

 

Jared D. Correia: Although there may be some Muppet fans out there, I don’t know.  All right, let’s open up a whole can of worms here.  Why don’t we talk about the bar exam from this year, which some people are calling the bar-pocalypse, which is never good, right?

 

Adam Balinski: Yeah, you can’t blame them though.

 

Jared D. Correia: Right.  So, like obviously, the pandemic has been an issue for everyone in basically every aspect of their life, but it’s been particularly vexing for those studying for the bar and it sounds like the bar exam administrators as well.  So, can you tell us, like just what the heck is going on here?

 

Adam Balinski: Hey, I appreciate you by the way.  Using some Utah speak there going with the “what the heck”, right?

 

Jared D. Correia:  I’m trying, I’m trying.

 

Adam Balinski: “What the heck is going on?”  You know, all the time here in Utah.  Anyway.  Yeah, man, it’s been crazy.  Obviously, the bar exam is stressful enough for everybody, not just for those taking the exam, but those administering the exam because you want to get everything right, you want everything to be fair, and you need things to be safe, you need exam questions to be locked down, so there’s no cheating going on.

 

00:05:02

 

And then this year, you throw in COVID, you throw in some virtual stuff, you throw in all sorts of interesting curveballs, dates constantly changing.  I mean, I’ve got to think.  I know at least from the students that I’ve worked with personally through my program and also through some tutoring that it’s a pretty ulcer-inducing situation just as it is with bar prep generally.  But throw in COVID, and it’s like, “Oh, my gosh, how are you out of the hospital and not on anxiety meds?”

 

But really, it depends where you are in how things are actually playing out or have played out.  So, every state was affected differently obviously and reacted differently to COVID understandably.  For some, it was a bit more of a nightmare and for some, it was maybe more of a dream come true at least for the test takers who kind of dodged and scored some diploma privilege at least in the immediate.  But actually, for most, it was a lot like any other year just with some non-traditional dates and COVID protections in place for in-person exams.  And just to kind of give you a rundown of just how things kind of break down in terms of what state did what.  There was one state, Delaware, that’s just straight up canceled the summer ‘20 exam.  They just said, “Okay, we’re just canceling.  Sorry, guys, if you wanted to test here, not happening.”

 

So, 20 states went completely virtual with the vast majority of them administering the exam actually just this past week, so start of October.  A very small group of states including Utah, where Crushendo is based, offered some form of diploma privilege for a limited group of lucky ducks and most states, I believe 29, had in-person exams at some point.  The plurality of them held the exam the usual time.  The others postponed to various times.  Some offered multiple exams, taking opportunities and venues.  And from what I’ve heard, my sense is that for those taking the bar exam, things were definitely smoother and less stressful in the in-person situations.  Remote was sometimes riddled with hiccups, challenges as you can imagine.  And of course, the in-person things look different with various COVID protections in place, but overall, it was less stressful than dealing with — is my internet going to just totally crap out on me, what’s going to happen at my home when I’m at home, can I — yeah, there’s just so many things with the virtual exam that could go wrong and in some sense it did.

 

Jared D. Correia: Yeah, like what a stressful time taking the bar exam and then throwing this on the pile, but I suppose it’s better than being in Delaware.  I guess we’re going to have a really large group of test takers next year.  It’s what’s going to happen.

 

Adam Balinski: I honestly, don’t know.  I’m not — I’m super familiar with the Delaware bar and how they roll.  I just did see that they canceled it and I was like, “Oh, well, that’s one way to solve the problem.”

 

Jared D. Correia: That’s one pathway, for sure.  All right, crazy year, right?  Everybody knows 2020 is the worst year in human history, right?  The Mayans are right.

 

Adam Balinski: Yeah, it’s not Groundhog Day today.  I mean, if this year —

 

Jared D. Correia: So, let’s talk about the bar exam moving forward.  Do you view this as a kind of a blip, or do you think this is a start of some permanent changes?  Some of which I would imagine are probably necessary anyway, right?

 

Adam Balinski: Sure.  I mean, honestly, I think it will mostly be a blip in most states when it comes to the big stuff, and I’ll kind of explain what I mean.  I mean, even if COVID or some other pandemic stays relevant year to year, I think states that did the exam in-person will continue to do so because those, from what I’ve heard, haven’t been train wrecks, there haven’t been mass outbreaks, there haven’t been lawsuits related to the risks people assumed and going into those situations.  And I think those that went virtual will actually probably jump back in with the majority due to some of the headaches that they’ve been having.

 

It’s harder to say when it comes to those few states that offered some form of diploma privilege.  That sparked plenty of controversy, mainly the, “Why did they get it, but I didn’t get it?”  You’ve got the law students, law grads, that are really ticked, others that are really happy obviously, and then of course there’s kind of the lingering issue of later going to other states reciprocity.  How is that going to work out?  And so, that’s kind of got its own bucket of stress for those folks.  And they’re also wondering, you know, “Is an employer going to hold this against me?”  You know, “I didn’t take the bar.”  “Am I always going to have to prove myself?”  I don’t know.  It’s just it is interesting and it’s not as slam dunk dream come true as it might seem out of the gate.

 

Jared D. Correia: Yeah.

 

Adam Balinski: And when it comes to the smaller stuff, the details, I think we’ll definitely see some permanent — early semi-permanent changes you know, masks greater spacing, maybe outdoor check-in tables, temperature readings, special accommodations for high-risk folks, those COVID-related safety measures, things like that, that are likely to persist as long as COVID or any pandemic remains relevant, and god only knows how long that will be.

 

00:10:08

 

Jared D. Correia: Right.  Let’s hope not too much longer.  But the good news is, is like when you get into the job market, employers are not often asking about standardized test taking.  Let’s hope that is not a factor.

 

Adam Balinski: Yeah, that is very true.

 

Jared D. Correia: Like 20 years in, people are going to be like, “You know what, Chet, remember when you didn’t take the bar examination?  I got some bad news.”

 

Adam Balinski: “Dude, I’m still upset that you didn’t have to take it, and yeah, we’re not promoting you to partner notwithstanding your flawless career.” Yeah, that’s very true.  And so, that’s not really a well-founded anxiety, but I am aware that people do sometimes stress about things that aren’t completely founded.  They worry about — because law students generally, they can feel that impostor syndrome.  I don’t know if you’ve heard about that.

 

Jared D. Correia: Without a doubt, lawyers too, not just law students.

 

Adam Balinski: Yeah, yeah.  And so, it’s like, “Well, I just kind of skated by.  I got lucky.  I didn’t really earn this.  I don’t really deserve to be here.”  And sometimes, there’s some confidence issues, especially with young attorneys, just got to think knowing, “Hey, my buddy passed the bar.”  They learned whatever they learned through that.  They kind of went through that crucible, if you will.  “I never had to — what am I missing out on?  What did I not prove to myself?”  That’s getting in some confidence.

 

Jared D. Correia: That’s interesting angle.

 

Adam Balinski: Yeah.

 

Jared D. Correia: Yeah, we’ll see I suppose how that goes, for sure.

 

Adam Balinski: Yeah.

 

Jared D. Correia: So, you work in the bar prep industry, which is kind of this adjacent business to the bar exam.  So, all these changes are like really on your radar screen more than they would be on anyone else’s radar screen who’s been practicing law for like 10 or 15 years at this point, right?  So, in terms of the bar prep world, how do the bar exam changes end up affecting that dynamic?

 

Adam Balinski: Yeah, well, we’ve seen the big traditional companies who have historically offered in-person prep, scaled that back or mixed it completely in some situations.  In-person prep had already been waning quite a bit.  It’s more expensive to do.  It’s more expensive for people to sign up for.  Most students nowadays exercise the on-demand option.  And so, who knows, maybe COVID will be the death knell of that in-person bar prep from big company situation.  I’m guessing if you nix that, there will be something that kind of pops up to fill that need for those students that need more of that person-to-person engagement, and I think virtual tutoring might be what comes to replace it for those that can afford it.  Obviously, that’s pretty expensive.

 

Jared D. Correia: Impressive. Yeah.

 

Adam Balinski: We began offering that at Crushendo and it’s actually really effective thanks to screen sharing and other technologies.  In some ways, it’s actually better than in-person prep.  You can stay in your pajamas, you can you can still see their face, you can –and sharing screens is really invaluable.

 

Jared D. Correia: You had me in pajamas.

 

Adam Balinski: You can work through questions together and be looking at the same words.

 

Jared D. Correia: It’s a really interesting idea and I think probably reflected in a lot of the remote learning that’s going on across the country at this point.  I’m so old, I remember those in-person bar prep programs, and it was just awful.  Don’t tell anybody but I skipped a lot of those.  So, that’s going to be the end of the first section of this show.  So, thanks, Adam, for sticking with us.  We’re going to take our first break and you can listen to some words from our sponsors, and we’ll be right back.

 

[Music]

 

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[Music]

 

All right, thanks for coming back.  I’ve returned from eating some Extreme Sour Stitch Candies delivered fresh from Disney World courtesy of Goofy’s Candy Company and my lovely wife Jessica.  So, now that I’m satiated, let’s get back to our conversation with Adam Balinski of Crushendo.  All right, we’re talking about the changes to bar prep and the changes to the bar exam which have been significant of course over the last year.

 

00:15:02

 

So, in terms of like the bar prep space as you just talked about, some of these changes are driven by what’s happening with the pandemic, but this stuff was starting to change already as you alluded to last time, like those in-person classes weren’t as popular as they used to be.  So, what’s the state of startups and new offerings in the bar prep space, outside the big players that most people probably know?

 

Adam Balinski: Yeah, I mean bar prep definitely has been changing in a lot of different ways.  There’s been long-time momentum for the uniform bar exam adoption.  We’ve got 30-plus states that have adopted that and more and more states are jumping in almost every year.  Texas, the Lone Star State, recently jumped in on the bandwagon as well and who knows, folks cross their fingers about California, especially after some of the things that they’ve had issues with like essay questions getting out early and some other things like that.  It is a lot for a state to administer its own exam.  And so, it does simplify their lives quite a bit to go the Uniform Bar Exam path.

 

But when you create a uniform exam like that, you fundamentally shift the bar prep space for companies like us.  Crushendo couldn’t just waltz in and contend against these big companies if it had to create state-specific content for every single state.  In some states, they only have like 100, 200 bar exam takers per administration.  And so, the market is very, very small there.  And if you have to create custom content to be able to reach that extra 100, 200 students to have a chance at a bite of the apple there, it’s not worth it at all.  But because of the Uniform Bar Exam adoption, you see a lot of new companies that can jump in and offer more affordable and focused prep because they don’t have to worry about staying up on the laws of every single jurisdiction.  And so, I’m not just talking about Crushendo, there’s other companies that have walked into the space too.  And a few years ago, you could never find a bar prep program, a comprehensive bar prep program for under a thousand dollars or around a thousand dollars, and more and more, we’ve seen prices drop due to the increased efficiency of maintenance for these companies like my own company.

 

Jared D. Correia: Right. Uniformity, price drops, all good things for law students.  And one thing you talked about before as well was like bar prep changing on a functional level.  You talked about the movement to tutoring, you talked about some changes in the industry just now, what kind of things are happening in terms of the way law students are being prepared for the bar that weren’t even in existence like 10, 5 years ago?  I know you do some things with mnemonic devices, and that sort of deal.

 

Adam Balinski: Yeah.

 

Jared D. Correia: What kind of new space are you exploring as far as that’s concerned?

 

Adam Balinski: Yeah, well there’s certainly more video, more audio, there’s a movement at least within Crushendo to less and less talking head.  We’re trying to make things more fun.  You mentioned mnemonics, we use some acronym-based, some word-based mnemonics, we use memory palaces where you describe places and things that symbolize key concepts and — your spatial memory is really powerful and so, visualizing places can really make things stick and gel.  We’re using audio outlines, audio flash cards, we’re trying to get more and more micro with how we serve up the information, so we’re not looking at 90-minute, 60-minute, 30-minute lectures, we’re looking at a minute to a minute and 30 shots of condensed doctrine that you can play on repeat and really drill and then move on to the next bit of material.  And so, you can really hammer home the things that are more difficult for you and zero in on them, and you can kind of cruise through the things that are less important because you already have an understanding of them or they just come really easily to you.

 

And so, a lot of those innovations, they’re happening pre-pandemic, but the pandemic has certainly emphasized their relevance and we’ve seen great growth this summer.  And in the bar prep space, it was a terrifying year because, as you mentioned, we’re attached at the hip with the bar exam.  And to the extent the bar exam is rattled, we’re rattled with it, and you wonder, are we going to survive this thing, what’s going to happen, and it’s been great to see some good growth.  And in some senses, it’d be benefited by the extended exam dates because people have more time to look at alternative options if their traditional study materials aren’t cutting it for them.  And so, in some ways, it’s actually been a bit of a blessing for us.  I hate to say that because I feel sympathy, empathy for our students that have had all the headaches that have come with this year, but there have been some good things that that came out of the chaos of COVID.

 

00:20:06

 

Jared D. Correia: I mean, memory palaces, that sounds really delightful.

 

Adam Balinski: Yeah.

 

Jared D. Correia: I would like to be in a memory palace.  That stuff wasn’t happening when I was in school, for sure.

 

Adam Balinski: Yeah, they’re fun to write, yep.  And some of the stuff we write are utterly ludicrous or super cheesy, but those can be memorable too.

 

Jared D. Correia: Well, let’s turn the page a little bit and start talking about like how lawyers become lawyers when they leave law school and they got to become an attorney now.  As you mentioned before, there are new ways to graduate from law school, become a lawyer, that don’t necessarily involve bar passage.  So, can you talk a little bit about what that means for the continuing relevancy of the bar exam and consequently bar prep as well?  Because if there’s no bar exam, that’s potentially an issue.

 

Adam Balinski: Yeah, potentially.

 

Jared D. Correia: A small one.

 

Adam Balinski: It’s a major potentially cash flow, catastrophic issue.

 

Jared D. Correia: Right, right.

 

Adam Balinski: So, I’ll talk about Utah, in particular.  I know most about Utah, that’s where Crushendo is based and because a good friend of mine and who, by the way, is still a good friend, yes, you can agree to disagree even on things that affect your bottom line, he kind of spearheaded the program.  I’m talking about Dean Smith at BYU Law School and spearheaded the diploma privilege there for a select group of BYU and Utah law grads.

 

Jared D. Correia: He’s still getting a Christmas card from you?

 

Adam Balinski: I’m not big into sending Christmas cards, but if I did send Christmas cards, I would still keep him on the list.  He’s a great guy and I mean, one of the things this world needs more than anything else is just the ability for people to peaceably disagree and work on — and be cool with that like — and most of the time, we agree on 95% of everything like, why do you have to focus on the 5% and make that throw a wedge in your relationship?  But anyway, I’m going to step off my little soapbox there, but that’s something else I’m passionate about.

 

So, there’s this limited group, BYU Utah law grads that fall into a certain bucket where they are already signed up for the exam at a certain time and they graduated at a certain time.  In their case, they can be licensed in Utah without caveat forevermore without ever having to take the bar.  And of course, there still was a Utah bar actually just barely happened for everyone else wanting to practice in Utah and for many of those even with diploma privilege that — they might want to take the bar at some point when they move if they’re having issues with reciprocity.  And honestly, of course, I’m super biased because my family’s livelihood, my employee’s livelihood depends on the bar exam, but I see the bar exam continuing to be relevant with more and more adoption of the Uniform Bar Exam.  It’s far easier to attend and graduate from a law school than to pass the bar.  The bar exam takes hard work.  It’s a meaningful learning experience, especially given the performance test aspect, but even the stuff that you memorized for the bar has merit.  Sure, laws change, you won’t remember everything you studied on the bar five years down the road unless you use Crushendo of course, but you will have a solid general sense of what questions to ask and where to look in your legal research and as you’re interviewing clients.  So, I think employers, when looking at everything else the same, would go with the grad that went through the bar exam learning experience than the one who didn’t go through that experience.

 

Jared D. Correia: Fair.  We’re up to break number two.  Now, everybody can take a listen to some more words from our sponsors when Adam and I come back for the next and final segment of this episode of Legal Toolkit Podcast.

 

[Music]

 

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[Music]

 

00:25:00

 

All right, thanks for staying with us.  I never left.  Now, let’s continue with Adam Balinski of Crushendo who’s been kind enough to join us today to talk about the bar exam and bar prep.

 

So, we just talked about, Adam, some of these innovations taking place in law school where people are allowed to bypass the bar exam all together.  What other innovations have you seen, not just in law schools, but in terms of like undergraduate students as well about getting people into the legal space as practicing lawyers or who are able to practice law even if they’re not lawyers in some capacity?

 

Adam Balinski: Yeah, that’s a great question.  There have been definitely some innovations there.  The law school experience, I think, is changing and a lot of different law schools, there’s a move to more hands-on, more clinical experiences, and you can see that pretty much across the board at schools across the country.  Some schools are being even more innovative than that.  I’m very familiar with BYU Law where I went to school and also worked for a little while and they have this really neat mentoring program that they didn’t used to have, it’s called Alumni Allies where you get matched up based on personality, compatibility in hopes of creating kind of organic long-term friendships and relationships that can help people, and how timely that was because of the pandemic.  I mean, this came about a year before the pandemic, but now for all these students to have this extra support one-on-one network with an alum that has a similar personality to them, that’s just been a huge blessing, and it’s really cool to see that that came about just in time for the pandemic even though no one could see the pandemic coming.

 

Jared D. Correia: Right.

 

Adam Balinski: And so, that’s kind of one thing.  Over at BYU Law too, they’re doing a lot with leadership training and programs and a lot with entrepreneurship innovation.  And it’s no surprise that Crushendo came from a BYU Law grad because there’s such an emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship there and that emphasis has only grown.  There’s this really cool program called LawX.  I think you’ve maybe heard of it.  It’s a legal design course where students try to solve real world problems through technology.  And so, in particular access to justice problems.

 

Just to give you one example, a student signed up for that class got course credit and created something called SoloSuit, it’s a free online tool for folks that can’t hire legal counsel and a way for them to respond to debt collection lawsuits, most of which are just go to default judgment because people don’t respond.  And so, it’s been really cool to see how that has made an impact just nationally and gotten some national recognition.  Hello Landlord is another one and that was one that was in collaboration with the University of Arizona Law’s innovation for justice program.  So, I mean you’re seeing schools actually tag teaming on things which is really cool to see that kind of cross-school collaboration because I think schools can accomplish far more collectively and teamed up with other great schools than they could on their own two feet.  And so, you’re seeing things like that, and in Utah too, Utah laws got some really cool programs.

 

And then, you mentioned paths into the law that are a little bit different than just the traditional law school experience.  Utah has kind of been on the forefront of launching things like a licensed paralegal practitioner program where you’re trying to address access to justice issues by making the gateway to getting going in certain domains like debt collection, family law a little easier.  And so, folks can go to Utah Valley University, they can take some courses, and they can become a licensed paralegal practitioner.  And they’re basically a lawyer in certain contexts and they don’t need a supervisor in the same sense that law clerks and paralegals currently need supervisors.  They can stand on their own two feet.  And so, that’s really neat to see and we’re seeing that kind of thing in other states as well that’s catching on.

 

And so, it’s not going to be forevermore.  If you want to practice law, you have to do three years of law school and take the bar exam.  There’s those that go to three years of law school, have diploma privilege, there’s those that don’t go to law school at all, but take some kind of program like this licensed paralegal practitioner program.  And so, we’re definitely seeing innovation in that space.  And then we’re seeing schools that are actually offering just undergraduate law degrees, and that’s really catching on too and becoming popular.  For those universities that offer those programs, they’re seeing a lot of people jump in on that and express some good things about it.

 

00:30:06

 

Jared D. Correia: Yeah, super interesting, for sure.  So, one of the things I think you correctly teased out is like law schools are focused more when they’re working with lawyers about preparing them for like the business side of law practice.  So, do you see law schools continuing to push the envelope as far as that’s concerned?

 

Adam Balinski: Absolutely.  I think business and law have always been closely entwined.  And as folks go more and more remote and they go closer to home due to the things like the pandemic — it’s interesting, the pandemic is kind of caused some migrations.  I don’t know if you’ve seen that or read about it.

 

Jared D. Correia: Totally, yes.

 

Adam Balinski: But people moving closer to home, further from big cities —

 

Jared D. Correia:  Away from the cities, yeah.

 

Adam Balinski: — it’s really changed some of the dynamics at big firms and maybe you’ll get somebody on the show to just talk about that, how big firm life has changed.

 

Jared D. Correia: Sure, yeah.

 

Adam Balinski: But I see a possible, even likely, shift toward smaller practices closer to home, and so more and more students will need to benefit from that kind of business law training.  And at BYU, there is a small solo practice seminar they did regularly and I always jumped in on because I was always fascinated by that, the sense of freedom you can get in the small firm, and so I did my own small firm as I was — I’m starting Crushendo.  And yeah, I think it’s good to do the two and it’s good to have more of the hands-on practical knowledge and not just the theoretical Socratic method substantive discussion skills that you get out of the more traditional old school law school experience.

 

Jared D. Correia: Right.  So, yeah, I think it’s going to be interesting to see what’s life from the cities does in terms of like law practice and how law schools teach law practice.  But let’s turn the page on that a little bit because you’ve got another interesting project that you’re working on.  So, as everybody knows, there’s like tons to talk about the Supreme Court right now, the Republicans are trying to get Amy Coney Barrett confirmed as a new justice prior to the election, and in timely fashion, you are releasing a new podcast on the Supreme Court, which I think is fascinating.  Can you tell folks a little bit about that?

 

Adam Balinski: Yeah, I mean, the gist of the podcast is super simple.  Big case comes down from the Supreme Court, you don’t want to just read the news articles on it, but you don’t have the time to read through the whole opinion, but you want to stay current on those big cases like, for example, the Bostock case that came down and fundamentally changed and broadened the application of what can be protected from sex discrimination in certain contexts and we’ll see ripple effects from that.  If you want to get to know those cases intimately without having to sit down at a computer, you can tune into our upcoming podcast called Supreme Opinion and we’ll just read off the opinion that came out from the court and we’ll try not to insert our own bias as to how that opinion should have come out.  We’ll try to keep it pretty pure.  But we want to give people a more conversational pathway to getting into these cases without having to go through all the fine lines themselves, we’ll just read them off and we’ll read them in a conversational way.  So, it should be pretty easy listening while you’re in the car driving around, while you’re at the gym, walking your dog —

 

Jared D. Correia: This is like the yacht rock of Supreme Court cases.

 

Adam Balinski: Yeah, exactly.

 

Jared D. Correia: Sounds very pleasant.

 

Adam Balinski: I’m really excited about it.  We’ll have an accompanying YouTube playlist where people could watch the talking head into a microphone reading it too if they really want, but yeah, I’m excited because I think the best legal minds — some of the best legal minds are obviously on the Supreme Court.  Incredible rulings come out of there and not just the majority opinions, but the dissents are all really valuable education, and I think every attorney would benefit and every law student would benefit from becoming more and more acquainted with the current lay of the land at the Supreme Court.  The current personalities that are there, how they speak, how they reason, how they’re addressing these current issues because they affect all of us everywhere to some extent.

 

Jared D. Correia: And when does that come out, or do you have episodes out already?

 

Adam Balinski: We don’t have an episode out yet.  We’re getting geared up to put things out within a week or so, so look for that, the Supreme Opinion Podcast.

 

Jared D. Correia: We love it.  All right, love podcasts out here.  Check out Supreme Opinion.  All right, I have one last question for you.  I’m hoping I can lean on your Utah knowledge to inform me about this.  So, you said before, you’re a BYU guy, undergrad law school, I know what a Cougar is, but what is a Ute?

 

00:35:06

 

Adam Balinski: What’s a Ute?  Well, technically, or what comes to my mind when you say the word Ute?

 

Jared D. Correia: I have no clue, what is a Ute.  Like that’s a nickname for University of Utah, right?

 

Adam Balinski: Technically, it’s just an American-Indian tribe that’s from the region.

 

Jared D. Correia: Got you, okay.

 

Adam Balinski: I mean, a Ute would be a member of that tribe. But what comes to my mind is guys in red jerseys in football pads that all too frequently bring my team to shame and that won’t have a chance to prove themselves against my team this year, so there’s a pretty hardcore rivalry there because BYU and Utah —

 

Jared D. Correia:  Has BYU been on the bad end of that rivalry for a while?  I had no idea.

 

Adam Balinski: They called that the Holy War.

 

Jared D. Correia: Yes, I’ve heard — now, I haven’t watched college football aggressively for a long time, but I remember like Robbie Bosco and Jim McMahon, Steve Young.

 

Adam Balinski: Hey, yeah.

 

Jared D. Correia: BYU had some legit teams, ‘84 national champions, right?

 

Adam Balinski: Yeah, well, this year, we’re looking really good.  I mean, right now last I checked, we’re like number 13, so that’s pretty wild though we’ve got an admittedly easier schedule than other years thanks to the pandemic, but we’re just basically picking up anything we can.

 

Jared D. Correia: Well, you taught me something today.  I’ve never heard of the Ute Indian tribe before, so it’s exciting.  All right.  We’ve reached the end of yet another episode of the Legal Toolkit Podcast.  Before we go too far down on college football talk, this is the one where he talked about the bar exam and bar prep and we’ve been chatting with Adam Balinski of Crushendo.  Now, I’ll be back on future shows with further insights into my soul, the soul of America, or what’s left of it, and the legal market.  If you’re feeling nostalgic from my dulcet tones, however, you can check out our entire show archive anytime you want at legaltalknetwork.com.

 

So, thanks again to Adam Balinski of Crushendo for making an appearance as my guest today.  All right, Adam, can you tell everybody how they can find out more about you and about Crushendo.

 

Adam Balinski: Sure, yeah.  Check out crushendo.com and it’s spelt a little odd, C-R-U-S-H like you’re crushing it.  And so, crushendo.com is where you can learn all about my company and yeah, I’m happy to connect on LinkedIn as well, so just search for Adam Balinski, that’s B as in boy.

 

Jared D. Correia: Of course, everybody is crushing it, right? That makes sense.  I feel like you did that on purpose.  Thanks again.  That was Adam Balinski of Crushendo who is my guest today.  Finally, thanks to all of you out there for listening.  This has been the Legal Toolkit Podcast.

 

[Music]

 

Outro: Thanks for listening to Legal Toolkit produced by the broadcast professionals at Legal Talk Network.  Join host, Jared Correia, for his next podcast covering the current business trends for law firms.  If you’d like more information about today’s show, please visit legaltalknetwork.com, subscribe via iTunes and RSS, find Legal Talk Network on Twitter Facebook and LinkedIn or download the free app from Legal Talk Network in Google Play and iTunes.

 

The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of, nor are they endorsed by Legal Talk Network, its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders and subsidiaries.  None of the content should be considered legal advice.  As always, consult a lawyer.

 

[Music]

 

00:39:11

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Episode Details
Published: October 16, 2020
Podcast: Legal Toolkit
Category: COVID-19 , Law School
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Legal Toolkit
Legal Toolkit

Legal Toolkit highlights services, ideas, and programs that will improve lawyers' practices and workflow.

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