Episodes
People need legal representation, regardless of financial means. Non-profits throughout the country, often called legal aid, play a crucial role in offering civil representation to individuals who lack the means to hire a lawyer. Hannah Wagner serves as a staff attorney at Legal Aid of Southeast and Central Ohio, where she addresses various legal needs within the community. Her practice spans education cases for students with special needs, restraining orders for individuals facing...
Published 04/01/24
Published 04/01/24
When the opportunity arises, seize it. That's one lesson from Judge Elizabeth Rohl, a trial court judge in a one-judge county who knew it was now or never when the position opened up during Covid. But despite her taking her shot and succeeding, Judge Rohl had her doubts. In this episode, she discusses overcoming impostor syndrome, the day-to-day operations of the courtroom, saying "I don't know," and having a profound impact on her community. Judge Rohl is a 2008 graduate of Michigan State...
Published 03/25/24
Christian Menefee was elected as Harris County Attorney in 2020 at 32, the youngest ever and the first African-American in this role. Harris County, home of Houston, is such a large county that its legal department functions like a large law firm. As the county's chief civil lawyer, Christian oversees the entire department and sets the direction for the county's legal affairs, wielding authority in a role that is both figurehead and decision-maker. As an elected official, he does so while...
Published 03/18/24
If you've ever been on a casino floor, it's a maze by design. The legal corridors are just as challenging to navigate. In this episode, Ed Winkofsky, a partner at a multinational law firm who specializes in the gaming industry, discusses the goals of both gaming companies and regulatory agencies in state and tribal governments. Ed talks about managing clients, organized crime, and regulator relationships. The gaming landscape is rapidly and in some ways unpredictably evolving. But what...
Published 03/11/24
Jessica Colon manages the legal operations and compliance programs for West Pharmaceutical, a public company doing business in more than 40 countries. While legal ops and compliance are distinct work streams, the overlap in skill and judgment make it a natural fit for Jess given her business and pharma background. She discusses managing outside counsel, from scoping work to combing the bills, a developing specialty across major corporations over the past decade. Jess also discusses the ins...
Published 02/19/24
Geeta Tholan got a second chance within her legal career after a 10-year break to take care of her children. Her journey highlights the challenges and triumphs of transitioning back into the workforce after an extended hiatus. Initially drawn to international law and diplomacy, Geeta found herself navigating a diverse array of roles, from giving voice to the pharmaceutical industry during biological weapons prevention treaty negotiations to energy law and consulting. Both before and during...
Published 02/12/24
Pilar Thomas, a partner at a large firm, specializes in tribal energy and economic development. With a background in finance that took her across the United States, she returned home for law school to fulfill her dream of practicing Indian law. Pilar talks about the significance of legal infrastructure alongside energy infrastructure, both crucial for economic growth. She delves into the complexities of Indian law, particularly in business contexts, where reservations are often geographically...
Published 02/05/24
Matt Skinner is a public defender with passion. Criminal defense is high-stakes, sometimes chaotic work that can be extremely difficult, but Matt navigates the courts, clients, and his career with genuine sincerity and excitement. As a lawyer for those who are accused of felonies but cannot afford a lawyer, his love for underdogs fuels his advocacy. It was a profound experience in high school, however, that set him on this path. On a high school trip to the local jail, he ran into two of his...
Published 01/29/24
Allan Carlsen is fresh out of law school and just over a year into practice as a patent litigator at an elite boutique law firm. Unlike our typical episodes, the conversation with Allan focuses on how he found his job and decided on his firm, how school and practice differ, and how he navigates new situations. He talks about his experiences with the on-campus interview process, the Loyola Patent Fair, and the important difference between producing the right work product and producing a...
Published 01/22/24
Big firm. Big salary. Newly-minted partner. Karl Seelbach had made it before his attempt to leave with two of the firm's clients didn't go as planned. Karl recounts how that happened and how it turned out for the best. He discusses what he loves about litigation, building businesses, and gruesome injury cases. Karl is a graduate of South Texas College of Law Houston. This episode is hosted by Katya Valasek. Mentioned in this episode: Learn more about Rutgers Law Learn more about Rutgers...
Published 01/16/24
Jack Chen, an associate general counsel at Meta (formerly Facebook), is a product lawyer. With his focus on online advertising, Jack uses a holistic understanding of Meta's ad business, product roadmaps, and the law to anticipate and address legal issues -- from data contracts to privacy regulations in a global context. Jack does what's already a complicated, difficult job in a world where digital accessibility has a long way to go. While he was born low-vision, he lost his eyesight entirely...
Published 12/18/23
Anderson Franco is a personal injury lawyer for his monolingual Spanish-speaking community, helping them understand their rights when they get hurt and how to access the legal system, even if they're undocumented. He highlights how you can connect your personal mission and values, whatever they may be, to legal practice. Anderson chose personal injury to make his mark, but demonstrates that motivation isn't enough. You still need to be a good lawyer, build trust with clients and your lawyer...
Published 12/11/23
Philip Selio, a solo practitioner, helps small businesses and entrepreneurs with their corporate law needs. He discusses managing all aspects of a solo shop -- and how it helps him better serve his clients who face similar challenges. Philip discusses client relationships, research processes, and social media as a tool to further build his client roster. He also shares how he thinks about his firm's potential growth. Philip is a 2019 graduate of California Western School of Law. This episode...
Published 12/04/23
Rob Alexander charted a challenging path from short-term contract work to his own law firm. Episode 49 chronicled his time on the doc review circuit, with his now-partner Kimber Russell. Now, they've started a criminal defense firm. Rob talks about how he built his confidence in legal practice, navigating DUI cases, and the strategic expansion of their firm's practice areas. Rob also delves into the intricacies of running a law firm, highlighting the strategy behind their transparent pricing...
Published 11/27/23
Heather Stephenson, a deputy district attorney, prosecutes crimes against children. The conversation delves into the intricacies of the prosecution process. She contrasts the misdemeanor unit's handoffs between lawyers at different stages of a case with the importance of a single attorney handling each case from start to finish when prosecuting sensitive cases. Heather reflects on the importance of building trust with victims, how critical a team of lawyers and non-lawyers are to a...
Published 11/21/23
Liana Nobile, a trial attorney specializing in insurance defense litigation, predominantly handles personal injury lawsuits stemming from one major client's everyday business operations. Her ability to balance professional excellence with a healthy work-life balance exemplifies the value of expertise, effective time management, and refusing to be defined by her job. Liana details her overarching litigation strategy -- meticulously preparing as if heading to trial, though trying a case to...
Published 11/06/23
Eric Lauria-Banta is a corporate transactional lawyer at the satellite office of a global law firm. As a senior associate, he wears multiple hats as he leads intricate M&A deals, taking on the roles of project manager, legal advisor, and negotiator while overseeing a team of specialists and junior associates. Eric also delve into his work in venture capital, where he guides startups through their growth journey. He candidly discusses the work-life balance (or lack thereof) in the world of...
Published 10/30/23
Jason Hernandez is a local government lawyer for a consolidated city and county government. He shares his journey from being a non-traditional law student to a public defender and, later, a key legal role in local government management. While still junior in his second career, Jason is already developing his niche with public safety departments, representing them in lawsuits and in collective bargaining agreements, as well as helping them navigate workplace policy changes. Ensuring a just and...
Published 10/23/23
Nathania Reyes litigates commercial disputes on behalf of financial services organizations like banks. Nathania recounts her journey from uncertain law student to finding her place in civil litigation. She describes her diverse experiences, including immigration and in-house internships, a judicial clerkship, and her transition to private practice. She emphasizes the importance of work-life balance at her current firm, how the Hispanic Bar Association has shaped her career to date, and how...
Published 10/02/23
Mia Getlin specializes in the state-legal cannabis industry in Oregon and Washington. She shares insights into the challenges and complexities of navigating the highly-regulated cannabis sector, emphasizing the importance of trust-building with clients coming from diverse backgrounds, including those transitioning from the illicit market. Mia highlights the role of advocacy in shaping industry regulations, issue spotting for compliance, and maintaining a supportive, problem-solving approach...
Published 09/25/23
David Lieberman represents whistleblowers who provide information to the federal government about their employer's fraud against the government. He discusses workings of whistleblower cases under the False Claims Act, a Civil War era law that's newly under attack as unconstitutional. David discusses whistleblower motivations, how he counsels them about the risk of coming forward, and the intricate journey from filing a case under seal to working collaboratively with the Department of Justice...
Published 09/18/23
Pia Biswas is a commercial lawyer at Microsoft. The company's legal department, her business unit's needs, and Pia's daily work reflect the complexity you'd expect from a huge company with diverse product offerings. While legal strategy and document drafting is an essential part of her job, she views herself as a business advisor too. Pia is a 2010 graduate of the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law. This episode is hosted by Katya Valasek. Mentioned in this...
Published 09/11/23
Whitney Lallas is a family law attorney in Maine. She shares her journey into family law, influenced by her interest in psychology and math. The emotional and financial aspects of her work figure prominently into what she likes about her work, as well as what's challenging. She provides insights into handling prenuptial agreements, child-related matters, and dealing with hidden assets. Whitney also explains her eat-what-you-kill compensation structure and emphasizes the significance of...
Published 09/04/23
Linsey Gleason talks about her estate planning practice at a large firm. Her role involves helping clients determine their beneficiaries, trustees, and how to distribute their assets after death. She navigates emotionally complex conversations about end-of-life wishes and legacy planning. Her work often extends beyond just legal matters, as she guides clients through the practical and emotional dimensions of estate planning. The conversation also delves into networking and client acquisition...
Published 08/28/23