At the bottom of the legal profession hierarchy lays the opaque world of short-term contract work, also known as document review. Known to some as the circuit, it's filled with new graduates trying to break into the profession, older graduates trying to on-ramp back in, and others who need the money to get by as they start their own practice, balance a family, or try to start fresh after a grueling job. This special episode dives into this world through a roundtable discussion.
Choi Portis, a 2011 graduate of Thomas Cooley Law School, is a lawyer for the water and sewerage department in Detroit. She handles litigation for the department, develops policies and procedures, and reviews contracts—so one day is rarely the same as the next.
Alisha Backus, a 2014 graduate of Barry University School of Law, has an inspiring passion for her work representing people accused of crimes. When she was younger, she experienced the ugly side of our justice system as a victim of domestic violence. While this understandably causes others choose a different path, it helps her suss out reliable information from not only victims, but her clients too.
Melina LaMorticella worked in publishing and as a paralegal for 15 years before graduating from Lewis & Clark Law School. She moved from a local immigration boutique to a larger firm in Portland to practice business immigration law. In this episode, Melina talks about the charged political atmosphere she operates in, as well as what her typical day looks like.
Kathryn Cockrill, graduate of Touro Law School, recently went out on her own to build a business in estate planning and probate. Kathryn explains the ins and outs of probate, for both the living and the deceased. She also mentions how she avoids bill collection pitfalls, why she will hire help once her firm is on more stable financial footing, and why her practice keeps her interested.
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) seeks to create inclusive communities that accomodate citizen's rights to affordable housing. Kevin Krainz is an alum of the University of Pennsylvania Law School who talks about being a HUD attorney and how it differs from other affordable housing related public interest work.
In this episode, Andy Park, a graduate of the Temple University Beasley School of Law, discusses his work as a junior associate for a 23-attorney business law firm in Philadelphia. Due to the firm's size and staffing, Andy has amassed diverse experience in just over a year of practice from negotiating loans to litigating and settling loan defaults, and more.
In this episode, Jessica Morgan, a 2012 graduate of the University of Colorado Law School, discusses her responsibilities as Vice President of Legal for Boulder Brands, a public company that owns a variety of food manufacturers. Jessica talks managing outside counsel, negotiating contracts, and automating as many legal processes as she can to save and make her company money.
In this episode, Joan Kerecz, a graduate of Duke University School of Law, discusses her large firm’s public finance practices, which gave her a rare chance to help public entities raise money for projects, from building roads to expanding hospitals and schools. Joan also talks to us about the on-campus interview climate at her law school, and her decision to move firms after two years.
As a tax attorney for low-income individuals at a pro bono legal services clinic, Alexis Farmer—an alum of the University of Mississippi School of Law—frequently finds herself talking to the IRS on behalf of clients. Often her clients have had their identities stolen, so Alexis knows connecting to them on a deeper level can foster trust and better outcomes.
Matt Parker, a graduate of Boston College Law School, represents management in employment disputes. While he rarely finds himself in court, in this episode, we’ll find out about how he prepares for the proceedings he often participates in, like administration hearings. We'll also learn about the finer details of employment litigation, such as burden shifting and venue shopping.
Ryan Morrison, a 2013 graduate of New York Law School operates a firm centered on helping video game developers. Ryan’s work greatly varies depending on what his clients need, but often involved intellectual property and contracts. In this episode, Ryan tells us about the struggles of his job, and how he built a rare practice from a pro bono matter.
In this episode, we talk to Meaghan Hearne, alum of Syracuse University College of Law, whose work revolves around LGBTQ clients and issues. Before the Supreme Court’s decision to extend the right to marry to same-sex couples, Meaghan protected same-sex couples who wanted the protections marriage afforded. Now, she's working on an employment discrimination cases.
Time is money, and few people know that better than project managers like Laura Hughes. Laura attended St. Louis University School of Law. She now operates out of the World Trade Center in St. Louis to play matchmaker for foreign investors and local real estate developers. From due diligence to regulations, she uses pre-law and legal experience to help St. Louis prosper.
This episode, we interview insurance defense litigator and University of South Dakota School of Law alumna Meghann Joyce. While she's hired by insurance companies, her clients are the insured defending professional liability and employment suits. A lawyer's duty of loyalty is to the client, but Meghann exemplifies how business realities produce complex ethical dilemmas.
University of Washington grad Marissa Olsson works at a small, maritime law firm in Seattle helping fishermen, ferry workers, and others injured on the job sue their employers. Although her confidence and skills have grown noticeably, she often faces opposing counsel who treat her differently because she's a woman. Marissa uses her frustrations as motivation to maximize client recovery and to make positive changes in the legal profession.
Professional licensing boards are a major way lawyers protect the public from wrongdoing. In this episode, we talk to Vanderbilt Law School alumna Johanna Barde, a lawyer for the Tennessee Department of Health. Johanna creates health policy and prosecutes medical professionals before state health boards. The work can be repetitive and bleak, Johanna admits, but her desire to protect public health keeps her motivated.
In this episode, immigration attorney and St. Mary's University School of Law graduate Manuel Escobar discusses his experience representing people in this high-pressure high-stakes job. Manuel addresses some key questions pertinent to immigration law. What options are available to those seeking relief from deportation? What challenges do immigration lawyers face, and which strategies can help mitigate stress from work?
Oft-romanticized in TV shows and movies, public defense is a complex field that bears little resemblance to glamorous Hollywood portrayals. In this episode, former public defender and University of Georgia Law alumna Laurie Landsittel gives us valuable insight into the everyday duties of public defenders. Laurie shares some of her personal experiences, such as her biggest challenges representing defendants who had committed serious crimes.