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.
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.
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.
Because all parties must have legal representation in criminal cases, underfunded public defender offices raise serious constitutional questions. In this episode, Candace Hom, an alum of Georgetown University Law Center, discusses working at the federal public defender office, how she builds trust with clients, and the challenges of dealing with prosecutors.
Virginia Whitner Hoptman, alum of the University of Virginia School of Law, changed course several times throughout her career before settling back where she started with a highly-specialized appellate process. She discusses elitism in the world of appeals, how difficult it is to become a full-time appellate lawyer, and fundamental differences between appellate and trial lawyers.
Solo practitioners are small business owners who happen to provide legal services. Matt Swain started his own criminal defense practice after graduating from University of Oklahoma College of Law. In this episode, Matt describes the importance of knowing your business inside and out, and techniques that make him more likely to notice opportunities to help his clients move forward with their lives.
In this episode we meet workers compensation attorney Royce Bicklein, a 1998 graduate of St. Mary University's School of Law. Royce discusses his firm's practice and what's involved in proving where an injury occurred and what's to blame for the extent of an injury.
In this episode, Assistant U.S. Attorney and Cleveland-Marshall College of Law alumnus Mike Hunter details his role in the criminal justice system. From 4th Amendment advice for federal agents making a bust to deciding which cases to take, when to seek indictments, and who to make plea agreements with, Mike tells us how he makes choices in pursuit of justice.
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.
The famous Marbury v. Madison case involved a writ of mandamus—an order to a government agency or official to behave in accordance with the law. In this episode, Michael Morguess discusses seeking writs of mandamus for clients fired by government agencies. Michael faces immense pressure with jobs and livelihoods on the line, but the intellectual challenge and thrill of victory buoy his non-traditional litigation practice.
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.