ABA Journal



Asked and Answered

3 decades ago, legal headhunting required more time for fewer placements

The heavy, hardback editions of Martindale-Hubbell law directories, which were published annually and had different volumes for each jurisdiction, represented an important tool for executive search consultants back in the 1980s, before internet access was common, and lawyers’ backgrounds could only be found through paper or word of mouth.

Read more ...

ABA Journal Podcast

How law firms can use LPOs to their own advantage (podcast with transcript)

As part of our Paradigm Shift series, ABA Journal assistant managing editor Reginald Davis speaks with Professor Bill Henderson about his research into legal service providers, which forms the bulk of this month’s cover story, “Who’s eating law firms’ lunch?”

The Modern Law Library

Government surveillance revelations are having a chilling effect on lawyers, says author (podcast)

Recent revelations regarding covert government surveillance is causing ripples in many areas, not least of which is the legal field.

“Other attorneys–especially young ones who are aware of the history–express frustration and sometimes fear that by taking on high-profile cases or controversial cases in the eyes of the government, they may be exposing themselves to surveillance and sort of be marked in a way as lawyers who represent clients of interest,” says Heidi Boghosian, author of Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power, and Public Resistance, in her interview with editor Richard Brust.

“It seems clear that in many cases, strict government measures are taken to send a message that if you engage in representing clients who are activists–and who may be successful in the work they do, or who criticize government and corporate policies–that we might hold you out as an example of what can happen to you,” she adds.

Boghosian discusses how data gathering is being used to categorize and monitor people–not just by the government, but also by corporations. Can the law turn a blind eye to the intelligence-gathering?

ABA Journal Podcast

They started their own firm right after law school—and so can you (podcast with transcript)

Unlike fellow graduates in the Class of 2012, Katie Kizer and Amanda Graham weren’t worried about finding jobs after law school—because they had decided a year earlier that they would start their own criminal-defense firm together. It’s been liberating, they tell ABA Journal Podcast moderator Stephanie Francis Ward.

The Modern Law Library

Rosa Parks’ attorney: ‘If the story would be told, I’d have to tell it’ (podcast)

Fred D. Gray was 24 years old when he defended Rosa Parks after she was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white person in Montgomery, Ala. But the story you might think you know is not the full story.

“We had an understanding that at some point, the two of us were going to tell the rest of the story together,” said Gray in an interview with the ABA Journal’s podcast editor Lee Rawles. “But I realized some years before Mrs. Parks’ death that her health–both physically and mentally–was of such that she wouldn’t be able to do it. And if the story would be told, I’d have to tell it.”

Gray had written his autobiography, Bus Ride to Justice: The Life and Works of Fred Gray, in 1995. In it, he discussed Rosa Parks’ case, but left out the full details. So in 2012, after Parks had passed away, Gray started to put together a revised edition, which has now been released.

In addition to providing the back story to the Montgomery bus boycott and his work defending Martin Luther King Jr., Gray’s autobiography discusses how his case Browder v. Gayle desegregated the bus system in Montgomery; how he tried the cases which achieved school desegregation in Alabama; how he represented the victims of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study; and how he became the first African-American president of the Alabama State Bar Association. Gray was also one of the lawyers for the seminal libel case Times v. Sullivan.

ABA Journal Podcast

What you don’t learn about trial work in law school (podcast with transcript)

You’re a newly minted lawyer and you’re off to the courthouse for your first proceedings–and you have no idea what you’re doing. What’s a newbie lawyer to do?

First off, make friends with the clerks, guests tell the ABA Journal’s Stephanie Francis Ward. And remember: Your job is often more about listening than talking.

ABA Journal Podcast

SCOTUSblog founder shares tips for business development and marketing (podcast with transcript)

If a potential client invites Thomas Goldstein for a meeting, he makes sure he can discuss the issues of their case–without any notes–for at least one hour. That works much better than glossy marketing materials, or focusing the discussion on this firm, says the U.S. Supreme Court lawyer and founder of SCOTUSblog. He speaks with ABA Journal reporter Stephanie Francis Ward in this month’s podcast.

Related cover story:

ABA Journal: “50 simple ways you can market your practice”

The Modern Law Library

Author on how ‘tremendously radical’ women blazed trails into the legal profession (podcast)

In the 19th century, women battled for equal rights and began to try to enter many professions, including the law. What drove the first women lawyers?

“The critical issue is whether or not they have the personality that makes them ambitious in this tremendously radical and threatening way,” says Jill Norgren, author of the new book Rebels at the Bar: The Fascinating, Forgotten Stories of America’s First Women Lawyers.

In this episode of the Modern Law Library, Norgren discusses some women trailblazers with ABA podcast editor Lee Rawles. They include Clara Foltz, who some credit as being the first to call for public defenders; and Belva Ann Lockwood, the first woman member of the U.S. Supreme Court Bar.

Related photo gallery:

ABAJournal.com: “13 Pioneering Women in American Law”

ABA Journal Podcast

‘Aggressive’ is not a dirty word for women rainmakers (podcast with transcript)

Should women lawyers be as aggressive–if not more aggressive–as men when it comes to business development?  It depends, and much of the answer should be based on what women believe in for themselves, guest tell the ABA Journal’s Stephanie Francis Ward.

The Modern Law Library

The life and lovers of legendary Hollywood lawyer (podcast)

“He was the only person I ever knew in Hollywood who was a star without being in a movie,” says Robert Wagner in the foreword of The Man Who Seduced Hollywood: The Life and Loves of Greg Bautzer, Tinseltown’s Most Powerful Lawyer.

When Greg Bautzer wanted to break into Hollywood as a brand new attorney, he knew he had to be memorable, recounts B. James Gladstone’s newly released biography. So he borrowed $5,000 and used the money to buy “the best wardrobe in town.” It was a profitable investment indeed, as he later went on to represent such luminaries as Clark Gable, Ingrid Bergman, Judy Garland, William Randolph Hearst, Gene Kelly, Mickey Rooney, Laurence Olivier and Darryl Zanuck.

A list of Bautzer’s inamorata requires its own appendix at the end of the book, with asterisks to show which starlets he was engaged to, and which he married.

ABA Journal reporter Rachel Zahorsky speaks with Gladstone about Bautzer’s life and legal achievements, including his representation of famous recluse Howard Hughes.

ABA Journal Podcast

Building business as a new attorney (podcast with transcript)

Business development starts from the ground up, guests tell ABA Podcast moderator Stephanie Francis Ward, and associates have opportunities to make good first impressions today with the decision makers of tomorrow.

The Modern Law Library

‘Lawyer Bubble’ author discusses what the future looks like for today’s new lawyers

What does the future hold for today’s–and tomorrow’s–young lawyers? Steven Harper, author of the new book The Lawyer Bubble: A Profession in Crisis speaks with ABA Journal reporter Rachel Zahorsky about his predictions, and how the glut of unemployed lawyers will affect the industry for years to come.

Related articles:

ABA Journal: “The Law School Bubble: How Long Will It Last if Law Grads Can’t Pay Bills?”


The Diane Rehm Show: “Steven Harper: ‘The Lawyer Bubble’”

New York Journal of Books: “The Lawyer Bubble: A Profession in Crisis”

The Lawyerist: “Book Review: The Lawyer Bubble—A Profession in Crisis”

The Brian Lehrer Show: “Too Many Lawyers?”

Businessweek: “Big Law Firms Are in ‘Crisis,’ Retired Lawyer Says”

ABA Journal Podcast

Road warriors’ tips on keeping up with your cases (podcast with transcript)

Representing multiple clients in various places, all on the same day?  Technology can make life easier, attorneys tell ABA Podcast moderator Stephanie Francis Ward—just remember to bring multiple chargers (and never use a cellphone while driving).

The Modern Law Library

Want to protect individual freedom? Have a strong central government, says ‘Rule of the Clan’ author

We live in a society which values individual freedoms, but we come from a place which valued kinship ties above all else. Author Mark S. Weiner has studied ancient and modern-day clan societies. He’s observed that group responsibility, rather than individual responsibility, is the rule of law. In his new book The Rule of the Clan: What an Ancient Form of Social Organization Reveals About the Future of Individual Freedom, he probes whether a lack of a strong central government inhibits personal freedoms–or insures it.

He speaks with ABA Journal podcast editor Lee Rawles about what the political and social history of older clan societies in Europe can forecast about modern clan societies in the Middle East and North Africa.

Reviews and related articles:

The Star-Ledger: “Rule of the clan a challenge to progress in the Middle East, North Africa”

Publisher’s Weekly: “The Rule of the Clan”

Legal History Blog: “Weiner’s ‘Rule of the Clan’”

Kirkus Reviews: “The Rule of the Clan”

ABA Journal Podcast

On-the-go lawyer’s guide to keeping fit and healthy (podcast with transcript)

Lawyers—are you really too busy to exercise?

Workouts and eating right require time commitments, exercise physiologists who coach executives tell ABA Podcast moderator Stephanie Francis Ward, but if you stick with them 90 percent of the time, you’ll feel much better.

The Modern Law Library

What if Crim Law was taught by cartoons?

When he started a Tumblr called The Illustrated Guide to Law, Nathaniel Burney’s intention was to teach high-school-aged kids a little more about the law through illustrated comics—for example, that an undercover officer does not have to identify himself or herself if you ask, “Are you a cop?” To his surprise, the greatest response came from law students, who loved his humorous take on explaining the basics of criminal law.

Read Chapter 15:
Self Defense

It’s not meant to be a replacement to law school, says Burney, but his book The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law is just the first in a planned series to cover all the courses of a 1L. He discusses how the project developed with ABA Journal podcast editor Lee Rawles.

For a look at the next book, The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Procedure, you can watch its development at LawComic.net.


Boston Globe: “The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law”

Lawyerist: “The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law (Book Review)”

Associate’s Mind: “Review: The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law”


ABA Journal Podcast

How can you deal with pro se litigants and keep your cool? (Podcast with transcript)

Have you ever had a pro se litigant demand to conduct their cross-examination from an air mattress? With more and more cash-strapped litigants choosing self-representation, there’s little doubt lawyers will find themselves across the table or aisle from someone going pro se. Guests trade war stories and offer tips in an interview with ABA Journal’s Stephanie Francis Ward.

Law Scribbler Podcast

Is it worth the risk to hire lawyers from a failing firm?

Is your firm at risk if you hire laterals from a dissolving law firm?

As two New York federal district court rulings have disagreed on the “unfinished business” doctrine, which determines who can claim profits from a defunct law firm’s unfinished cases, the matter appears destined for the Second Circuit. However, 2012’s public implosion of Dewey & LeBoeuf showed that law firms who hire laterals from a dissolving firm shouldn’t wait for the courts to decide on issues that could end up in a lawsuit over fee ownership.

ABA Journal business of law reporter Rachel M. Zahorsky discusses with Beazley’s Brant Weidner and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner Kevin S. Rosen the ways firms can address and mitigate the risks of hiring laterals from a dissolving firm.

The Modern Law Library

How to practice law in a ‘sharing economy’ (Podcast)

The world’s global and economical meltdowns have pushed more Americans to consider shared access to resources, such as housing and autos, over individual ownership. One example of this kind of venture is Zipcar, a car-sharing service which was acquired by Avis two weeks ago for $491.2 million, according to the Associated Press.

As the number of community cooperatives, social enterprises and local sustainable economies increases, so does the need for transactional lawyers to guide individuals through the legal gray areas encountered in a sharing economy.

In her new book, Practicing Law in the Sharing Economy: Helping People Build Cooperatives, Social Enterprise, And Local Sustainable Economies, author Janelle Orsi predicts this trend will continue to gain nationwide momentum and teaches lawyers how to build their practices around the sharing economy and attract and advise like-minded clients. She discusses this and other insights about her book with ABA Journal reporter Rachel M. Zahorsky.

Related articles:

Shareable: “The Top 10 New Books about the Sharing Economy”

Don De Leon of Grassroots Lawyers: “Book Review”

GroAction.com: “The new Sharing Economy: Is it legal?”

ABA Journal Podcast

Why Leading Civil Rights Lawyer Advised Susan Rice Against Law School (Podcast with Transcript)

Change is coming, albeit it slowly, 50 years after the March on Washington. Much has improved since the civil rights movement, but more is needed, lawyers involved in the 1960s struggles tell ABA Journal Podcast moderator Stephanie Francis Ward.

The Modern Law Library

Is Batman a State Actor? ‘Law of Superheroes’ Authors Dish on Comics in the Courtroom

Corrected: Long have comic book fans debated the minutiae of the genre. Lawyers James Daily and Ryan Davidson, authors of the two-time Blawg 100 nominee Law and the Multiverse, have taken the discussion from the comic book store’s backroom to the courtroom.

In their new book, The Law of Superheroes, Davidson and Daily map out what the legal implications would be for various superhero powers and storylines. Is Batman a state actor under the Lugar test? Is the Incredible Hulk liable for property damage created when he “hulks out?” Would a mind-reading psychic like Professor X be allowed to introduce telepathic evidence in court? When Superman crushes a lump of coal into a diamond and gives it to Lana Lang, is that gift taxable? The authors join ABA Journal podcast editor Lee Rawles to discuss those issues and share what comic aficionados’ responses to the book have been.


Wall Street Journal: “Invincible Heroes—Except in Court”

National Law Journal: “Superheroes and the law: How would Batman or Captain America fare in court?”

Popehat: “Better Call Galactus”

[Note on audio quality: Lee Rawles has a headcold and Ryan Davidson conducted the interview over Skype.]

Updated at 11:05 a.m. to correct that Lana Lang received the diamond from Superman.

Read more ...