Ilya Lerma, a 1999 graduate of the University of Arizona, runs a small solo practice where she takes on insurance companies in complicated brain injury cases. She discusses the difficulty of running a contingency-fee practice, litigating as a woman of color, and how she manages the stress of being a lawyer.
Dan Drake, a 1995 graduate of Stetson College of Law, went to law school after a decade of law enforcement to become a prosecutor, but couldn't make the money work with his student debt. Today, he does real estate transactions and litigation at a small firm in Florida.
Jon Holscher, a 2011 graduate of Drake Law School, prosecutes crime for the state in Iowa. While the facts differ among cases, they have to all add up to the elements of a crime to get a convinction.
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.
Zoe Sharp, a 2003 graduate of Stanford Law School, is assistant general counsel at Optoro, a software company that keeps her busy in many areas of law. She talks about how she plans for the worst, which has been especially helpful after a tornado destroyed one of the company's warehouses and during a pandemic.
Jeremy Evans, a 2011 graduate of Thomas Jefferson School of Law, managed to outlast hundreds who started law school hoping to do sports and entertainment law. He talks about the struggle to start his own firm, and why he thinks he was among the last standing.
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.
Alan Fowler, a 2006 graduate of Mercer University School of Law, primarily represents tourists who got in trouble while on vacation. He talks about finding clients, their urgency in resolving their legal trouble, and how he learns about what they really want. Alan reminds us that solo practitioners are small business owners who happen to provide legal services.
Matt Hoisington, a 2009 graduate of Boston College Law School, explains his path to and through the United Nations. He talks about how he managed to obtain one of the most sought after jobs in the law as an international human rights lawyer. He discusses his time doing law and policy at UN headquarters in New York City, and time abroad in Abyei and Darfur, Sudan.
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.
Deepan Patel, a 2013 graduate of FSU College of Law, explains his role at the IRS. While the IRS has many types of lawyers, he focuses on business taxpayer guidance, which ensures certainty for businesses making major decisions. He describes how he got into tax, where his career might go, and trade-offs between government and private practice.