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LST's I Am The Law

I Am The Law is an award-winning show about law jobs. We profile recent and seasoned law school graduates in different jobs to help listeners learn about the legal profession.
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LST's I Am The Law
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May 13, 2019

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.

This episode is hosted by Kimber Russell. It's sponsored by LSAC, the Law School Admission Council.

May 6, 2019

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. 

This episode is hosted by Kyle McEntee, executive director of Law School Transparency. It's sponsored by LSAC, the Law School Admission Council.

Apr 29, 2019

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.

This episode is hosted by Debby Merritt, a law professor at Ohio State University. It's sponsored by LSAC, the Law School Admission Council.

Apr 22, 2019

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.

This episode is hosted by Kimber Russell. It's sponsored by LSAC, the Law School Admission Council.

Apr 15, 2019

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.

This episode is hosted by Derek Tokaz, a former lawyer and academic writing instructor at American University. It's sponsored by LSAC, the Law School Admission Council.

Jun 6, 2016

When most people are injured in car wrecks or at work, they can't afford to pay a lawyer an hourly fee out of pocket to win their case against a large corporation or their insurance company. That's why attorneys for the plaintiffs in these lawsuits use a contingency fee, which pays the lawyer about a third of the total settlement or verdict -- but only if the plaintiff wins. That amount covers the work done by the lawyers, and compensates them for the risk of no payout.

In this episode, Dan Minc, a 1977 graduate of Seton Hall School of Law, discusses how he managed to rise up to his firm's managing partner after starting there as a first-year lawyer. He also talks about how he builds his book of business and what he assesses when determining whether to take a client. After all, he's only paid if his client wins.

This episode is hosted by Derek Tokaz, an academic writing teacher at American University. It is sponsored by ShouldIBeALawyer.com and Top-Law-Schools.com.

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May 23, 2016

The right to counsel for criminal charges is essential to our system of justice. The federal and state governments must provide you a lawyer if you can't afford one. As such, underfunded public defender offices raise serious constitutional -- not to mention moral -- questions.

In this episode, Candace Hom, a 2001 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, explains her role in the criminal justice system. She also talks about how she builds trust between her and clients, the various legal job roles within the federal public defender office, and the challenges of dealing with prosecutors -- even the good ones.

This episode is hosted by Debby Merritt a law professor at The Ohio State University. It is sponsored by ShouldIBeALawyer.com and Top-Law-Schools.com.

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May 16, 2016

After graduating from Lewis & Clark Law School in 2010, Melina LaMorticella began her career at a local immigration boutique. Several years later she joined Tonkon Torp, a mid-size firm in Portland, OR. Business immigration law, however, is Melina's third career. In the 15 years before starting law school, she worked in publishing and as a paralegal.

In this episode, Melina explains how the U.S. considers immigration applications from professional workers. She also talks about the charged political atmosphere she operates in, as well as what her typical day looks like.

This episode is hosted by Debby Merritt a law professor at The Ohio State University. It is sponsored by ShouldIBeALawyer.com and Top-Law-Schools.com.

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May 8, 2016

Kathryn Cockrill is a 2009 graduate of Touro Law School. Despite going to law school in the Northeast, she moved south to Charleston following law school. While she started her career at a small firm, she recently went out on her own to reap the rewards of building a business in estate planning and probate.

In this episode, Kathryn explains the ins and outs of probate, for both the living and the deceased. She also talks about how she avoids bill collection pitfalls, why she plans to hire help once her firm is on more stable financial footing, and why her practice keeps her interested and invested.

This episode is hosted by Kyle McEntee, LST's executive director. It is sponsored by ShouldIBeALawyer.com and Top-Law-Schools.com.

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Apr 12, 2016

This episode is brought to you by BarBri Law Preview. They're giving away a $10,000 scholarship for a 1L this fall. If you want to apply, go to LawGiveAway.com.

In this episode, Kyle McEntee (LST's executive director) and Derek Tokaz (one of IATL's hosts) discuss three episodes from the archives. They reflect on what they found more interesting and important, emphasizing the value in researching legal careers early and often.

The three episodes are:

Apr 3, 2016

There's an old saying: When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When the law is on your side, pound the law. When neither is on you side, pound the table. But if you're an appellate lawyer? All you have is the law because the record (facts) is set at the trial level.

Virginia Whitner Hoptman is a 1981 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law. Immediately following law school, she had back-to-back appellate clerkships. The first was with the Third Circuit and the second was with the U.S. Supreme Court. She changed course several times throughout her career, but has settled back where she started with a highly-specialized appellate practice.

In this episode, Virginia explains the appeals process for winners and losers at the trial level. She also talks to us about elitism in the world of appeals, how difficult it is to become a full-time appellate lawyer, and what makes appellate lawyers fundamentally different than trial lawyers.

This episode is hosted by Kyle McEntee, LST's executive director. It is sponsored by ShouldIBeALawyer.com and Top-Law-Schools.com.

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Mar 20, 2016

This episode is presented by The United States Air Force Judge Advocate General's Corp.

When you are a solo practitioner, you are a small business owner who happens to provide legal services. Many new lawyers fail to fully appreciate this right away, aggravating the already tall challenge of learning to practice law on your own. 

Matt Swain is a 2009 graduate of the University of Oklahoma College of Law. Right after law school, he started his own criminal defense practice in a college town 20 miles outside of Oklahoma City. In this episode, Matt talks to us about the importance of understanding your business inside and out. He describes some of the techniques he uses that ultimately make him more efficient and more likely to notice opportunities to help his clients move forward with their lives.

This episode is hosted by Kimber Russell. It is sponsored by Barbri, ShouldIBeALawyer.com, and Top-Law-Schools.com.

Episode Links

Mar 1, 2016

This episode is presented by The United States Air Force Judge Advocate General's Corp.

Many types of educational institutions exist in the United States. Schools can be public or private, and serve different age ranges and missions. Regardless, schools are highly regulated at the state and federal level and need lawyers to function.

Seamus Boyce is a 2006 graduate of the University of New Hampshire School of Law and an education attorney at a 38-person firm with offices throughout Indiana. In this episode, he tells us about routine work advising clients with one-off questions, as well as more complex work involving student services, discrimination, and legislation. He also talks to us about his ascent to partner and the choices his firms make in pursuit of client satisfaction.

This episode is hosted by Aaron Taylor, a law professor at St. Louis University. It is sponsored by Barbri, ShouldIBeALawyer.com, and Top-Law-Schools.com.

Episode Links

Feb 22, 2016

This episode is presented by The United States Air Force Judge Advocate General's Corp.

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, through a system of rules, regulations, and incentives, seeks to create strong, sustainable, and inclusive communities in recognition of every citizen's right to affordable housing. Naturally, such a system requires lawyers to dot the i's, cross the t's, and keep the system moving and improving.

Kevin Krainz is a 2013 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and HUD attorney in the Seattle regional office. In this episode, he tells us about his roles at HUD and how it differs from other types of public interest work related to affordable housing.

This episode is hosted by Debby Merritt, a law professor at The Ohio State University. It is sponsored by Barbri, ShouldIBeALawyer.com, and Top-Law-Schools.com.

Episode Links

Feb 15, 2016

This episode is presented by The United States Air Force Judge Advocate General's Corp.

When someone is jailed for a crime, the punishment often extends beyond the sentence because formerly incarcerated people face structural barriers in their transition to freedom. In particular, limited employment prospects too often lead to a cycle of crime that's difficult to escape. The City of Los Angeles, under the leadership of Mayor Eric Garcetti, established the Office of Reentry in response to this problem. Through programming, policy development, and outreach the office seeks to not only help the formerly incarcerated rejoin the public, but also to alter conditions that lead to jailing in the first place.

Kimberley Baker Guillemet, a 2005 graduate of the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, helped Mayor Garcetti open the office in the fall of 2015. In this episode, she talks about how her background as a lawyer prepared her to tackle this job and how the intersection of law and policy can make a difference in millions of people's lives.

This episode is hosted by Kyle McEntee, executive director of Law School Transparency. It is sponsored by Barbri and Top-Law-Schools.com.

Episode Links

Feb 7, 2016

This episode is presented by The United States Air Force Judge Advocate General's Corp.

If you hurt someone, a court may require you to pay their medical expenses and for their pain and suffering. Workers' compensation insurance changes this process for employers and employees. An employee loses their right to sue their employer for negligence in exchange for an insurance plan that pays for the employee's medical expenses and wage replacement when they're hurt on the job. Workers' compensation attorneys help employees navigate the administrative process and fight insurance companies over the insurance payouts.

In this episode, Royce Bicklein, a 1998 graduate of St. Mary University's School of Law, 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. Unlike almost every other state, Texas employers choose to opt in to the workers' compensation process. As such, Royce's firm handles workers' compensation and traditional personal injury. Who helps a client  depends on whether the client's employer opted in to the system or not.

This episode is hosted by Derek Tokaz, an academic writing teacher at American University. It is sponsored by Barbri and Top-Law-Schools.com.

Episode Links

Dec 14, 2015

This episode is presented by The United States Air Force Judge Advocate General's Corp.

In this episode, Andy Park, a 2014 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 model, Andy has amassed substantive and diverse experience in just over a year of practice. He tells us about his involvement in negotiating and originating loans, litigating and settling loan defaults, and selling commercial real estate acquired from a trial verdict or settlement. While he's still new to practice, he sees how observing issues in litigation can positively affect his work reviewing his clients deals.

This episode is hosted by Kimber Russell, senior discovery consultant at BlueStar Case Solutions. It is sponsored by Barbri and Top-Law-Schools.com.

Episode Links

Nov 23, 2015

This episode is presented by The United States Air Force Judge Advocate General's Corp.

In this episode, Jessica Morgan, a 2012 graduate of the University of Colorado Law School, discusses her areas of responsibility as Vice President of Legal for Boulder Brands, a public company that owns a variety of food manufacturers.

Jessica oversees a team of regulatory experts, manages outside counsel, manages the companies intellectual property portfolio, negotiates contracts, and continues to automate as many legal processes as she can to save and make her company money.

This episode is hosted by Debby Merritt, a law professor at The Ohio State University. It is sponsored by Barbri and Top-Law-Schools.com.

Episode Links

Nov 9, 2015

This episode is presented by The United States Air Force Judge Advocate General's Corp.

Life at a large New York City law firm is all about tradeoffs. On the one hand, junior associates receive large salaries, good training, and interesting exit opportunities. On the other, the "life" part of work-life balance can sometimes be difficult to manage.

In this episode, Joan Kerecz, a 2013 graduate of Duke University School of Law, discusses the various roles she played in public finance transactions. While few large firms have public finance practices, her large firm afforded her the chance to help public entities raise money to accomplish important projects, from building roads and bridges to expanding hospitals and schools.

Joan talks to us about the on-campus interview climate at her law school. She also tells us why, after just two years, she left a firm she really liked to do general finance deals at another large New York City corporate firm.

This episode is hosted by Kyle McEntee, LST's executive director. It is sponsored by Barbri and Top-Law-Schools.com.

Episode Links

Oct 26, 2015

This episode is presented by The United States Air Force Judge Advocate General's Corp.

Settle your IRS debts for pennies on the dollar! You can see these commercials on TV all the time. Turns out it's a real thing. Settlements aren't always that generous, but hardship programs and a little negotiation help many people reduce their obligations and unfounded fears that an IRS SWAT team will break down their door and escort them to jail.

As a tax attorney for low-income individuals at a pro bono legal services clinic, Alexis Farmer -- a 2011 graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Law -- frequently finds herself talking to the IRS on behalf of clients. Frequently her clients did not pay their income tax bill. Other times someone stole their identity and filed a fraudulent return in their name. Either way, connecting to her clients on a deeper level fosters trust and better outcomes.

This episode is hosted by Derek Tokaz, an academic writing teacher at American University. It is sponsored by Barbri and Top-Law-Schools.com.

Episode Links

Oct 19, 2015

This episode is presented by The United States Air Force Judge Advocate General's Corp.

Justin Bloom, a 1996 graduate of Tulane University School of Law, went to law school to right environmental wrongs via the law. While his first job involved defending environmental takings cases for the county government, his career has taken a winding path that has not always involved what he envisioned.

In this episode, Justin talks about his range of experiences. At one stop, he did tort litigation and immigration. At another, he quit because his boss asked him to coach clients to lie. He also worked directly for a model environmental advocacy organization that utilized citizen action to help government agencies remedy legal violations of the Clean Water Act.

Today Justin runs a nonprofit that uses a variety of strategies to protect Southwest Florida coastal areas. As with most startup nonprofits, funding has proven to be an enormous challenge. While he and other volunteers work to make the organization financially stable, he's practicing law on the side to ensure that he is too. 

This episode is hosted by Kimber Russell, an account executive for Planet Depos, an international court reporting firm. It is sponsored by Barbri and Top-Law-Schools.com.

Episode Links

Oct 13, 2015

This episode is presented by The United States Air Force Judge Advocate General's Corp.

Employment disputes are wrought with emotions and interesting facts. They pit people against their bosses when, for example, the employee feels they have been discriminated against at work. These parties then resolve their disputes through state agencies, arbitrations, trials, and settlement negotiations.

Matt Parker, a 2009 graduate of Boston College Law School, represents management in  these disputes. While he rarely finds himself in court, he often participates in adversarial proceedings like arbitration and administration hearings. In this episode, we'll hear about how he prepares for proceedings. We'll also learn about the finer details of employment litigation, such as burden shifting, different fee models, and venue shopping.

This episode is hosted by Aaron Taylor, a law professor at St. Louis University. It is sponsored by Barbri and Top-Law-Schools.com.

Episode Links

Oct 5, 2015

This episode is presented by The United States Air Force Judge Advocate General's Corp.

In the United States federal courts, there are too many cases and too few judges. But the situation would be much worse if it were not for the court staff, which includes attorneys that serve as law clerks for the court or individual judges. 

Vail Gardner, a 1997 graduate of the University of Florida Levin College of Law, served the Middle District of North Carolina for six years as a law clerk. In this episode, she describes the various types of federal law clerks, including each position's pros and cons.

Vail was a pro se clerk, which means she worked directly for the district court as opposed to an individual judge. Her work focused exclusively on disposing of social security disability appeals from the Social Security Administration. We'll hear about her role in drafting the court's opinions, as well as her current challenge: reentering law practice after taking time off for her family.

This episode is hosted by Kimber Russell, an account executive for Planet Depos. It is sponsored by Barbri and Top-Law-Schools.com.

Episode Links

Aug 17, 2015

This episode is presented by The United States Air Force Judge Advocate General's Corp.

You owe a lot of money. You can barely keep the lights on at home. You don't see any light at the end of the tunnel. Luckily, there may be a fresh start brought to you by state and federal bankruptcy laws.

Cristina Perez Hesano, a 2007 graduate of Arizona State University, helps individuals struggling with debt to file for bankruptcy. She focuses mainly on Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies, and in this episode she takes us through a Chapter 7 from prep to discharge.

We'll also hear about why she left her first bankruptcy firm job to go out on her own, as well as how she came to eventually merge that bankruptcy practice with the general practice firm down the hall.

This episode is hosted by Derek Tokaz, a writing instructor at American University. It is sponsored by Barbri Law Preview and Top-Law-Schools.com.

Episode Links

Aug 3, 2015

This episode is presented by The United States Air Force Judge Advocate General's Corp.

How do you plan for your death? While state statutes set many default rules for how things play out after death, many people want to exert more control over the process. As such, the planning process for those who can afford it involves a number of different advisors, from insurance agents and financial planners to lawyers.

In this episode, Deacon Haymond, a 2004 graduate of the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, discusses his small and growing law firm that specializes in trusts and estates. Deacon started his boutique after leaving a large firm, which he joined when it swallowed the small firm he started at in Salt Lake City.

Deacon talks us through his fees, how he finds clients, and what happened when he's too nice to his clients. While advances in legal services technology pose challenges to his practice long term, he's emphatic that so far they're helping him.

This episode is hosted by Debby Merritt a law professor at The Ohio State University. It is sponsored by Barbri Law Preview and Top-Law-Schools.com.

Episode Links

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