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How I Lawyer Podcast with Jonah Perlin
In this podcast Professor Jonah Perlin (Georgetown Law) interviews lawyers from across the profession about what they do, why they do it, and how they do it well.
Jun 3, 2021
#022: Karen Vladeck - Employment Lawyer and Podcaster
In this episode I speak with Karen Vladeck, an employment lawyer at the law firm Wittliff Cutter PLLC based in Austin, Texas. Karen represents corporate, start-up, and non-profit clients in the resolution of employment disputes and counsels clients from many different industries on employment-related issues. Before moving to Texas, Karen practiced employment law at Arent Fox LLP in Washington, D.C. After graduating from the University of Miami Law School, Karen started her legal career as a law clerk to Judge Mary Ellen Barbera of the Court of Appeals of Maryland (Maryland's highest court). In addition to her practice, Karen co-hosts a podcast called In Loco Parent(i)s with her husband Steve who is a professor at the University of Texas School of Law where they "discuss parenting and lawyering — in that order." In our conversation we discuss what employment lawyers do (and what she loves about that practice area), her unplanned path to Texas, the importance of both being lucky and making your own luck in finding career success, what its like to practice at a small, start-up-style law firm, strategies for balancing both personal and professional fulfillment in two-lawyer parent families, and what she loves and has learned from both podcasting and maintaining an active social media presence. If you enjoy this episode, make sure to sign up for future episodes at www.howilawyer.com or to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
Jun 1, 2021
#021: Panel Opinion (Special) - How To Succeed as a Legal Intern or Summer Associate (Especially in a Remote or Hybrid World)
In most episodes of the How I Lawyer Podcast I interview individual lawyers about what they do, why they do it, and how they do it well. This special episode is a little bit different. It is the first in a new, occasional series called "Panel Opinion," where I host a panel of experts about a discreet topic as opposed to sharing the story of a single lawyer. In this episode, we tackle the question that is on the minds of many as we head into the summer: how can a law student succeed as a legal intern or summer associate especially in a remote or hybrid world? The panelists include: Natasha Zech who is the Director of Attorney Recruiting, Diversity, and Development at my old law firm, Williams & Connolly LLP here in Washington, D.C. In that role, Natasha wears a number of hats, but most important for today’s episode she is the coordinator of hiring and the summer associate program--which as I can attest as both a former summer associate and firm lawyer are absolutely stellar. Natasha has been at Williams & Connolly for the past eleven years and before that was a litigator at several firms in the D.C. area and was a law clerk on the D.C. Superior Court. She is a graduate of UVA (Go Cavaliers) and the Georgetown University Law Center (Go Hoyas). Professor Rachel Gurvich who is a clinical associate professor of law at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Professor Gurvich teaches legal research and writing and has also served as the co-chair of the Clerkship Committee. She is well known on social media for her work supporting law students not just at UNC but across the country, often under the Twitter hashtag #PracticeTuesday. Before UNC, she clerked on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and practiced for seven years at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr in Boston, where she specialized in patent and appellate litigation and helped coordinate that office’s summer associate program. She is a graduate of UNC (Go Heels) and Harvard Law (Go Crimson). Jean Yin Crews who is a counsel at Venable LLP in Washington, D.C. where she practices real estate law. Jean started at Venable as a summer associate a decade ago and has been practicing there since graduation! Jean also spent two years co-running the office’s summer program and has served on the firm’s hiring committee. She is a graduate of Princeton (Go Tigers) and Penn Law (Go Quakers). One final programming note: traditional interviews will return on Thursday. In the meantime, if you have any feedback or suggestions for this new occasional episode format or ideas for "Panel Opinion" episodes please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org or @JonahPerlin on Twitter. Finally if you are interested in listening to previous episodes they are all available at www.howilawyer.com or wherever you get your podcasts.
May 27, 2021
#020: Collin Seguin - Insurance Lawyer
In this episode I speak with Collin Seguin, an insurance lawyer and business executive at Travelers Insurance in Hartford, Connecticut. Collin currently serves as the Assistant Vice President and Regional Director for the Subrogation Major Case Unit where he leads a team that handles many of the most complex subrogation cases in the company. He has also served in many different roles in his 15-year tenure at Travelers including as an in-house litigation counsel, paralegal, and customer service's professional. He completed his JD at the University of Connecticut School of law in the evening while working full-time at Travelers as well. In 2019, Collin was named to the Hartford Business Journal's 40 under 40 for his professional accomplishments and his work in the community including serving as an alumni mentor to first-year law students at his alma mater. In our conversation we discuss the different roles one can play in insurance law, how he survived full-time work and being a full-time law student, what he learned from his time as a litigator that assists him in his managerial role, the techniques he uses to manage remote teams in non-pandemic times, the importance of building skills from both strength areas and areas of potential improvement as a lawyer, how to speak to different audiences, and techniques for staying engaged in areas of the law outside of his specific professional niche. If you enjoy this episode, make sure to sign up for future episodes at www.howilawyer.com or to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
May 11, 2021
#019: Kannon Shanmugam - Supreme Court Advocate
In this episode I speak with Kannon Shanmugam who is a Partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP where he is both the Chair of the Supreme Court and Appellate Practice Group and the Managing Partner of the Washington D.C. office. Kannon is one of our generations most prominent and prolific Supreme Court advocates. He was recently named 2021 Appellate Litigator of the Year by Benchmark Litigation and has argued 32 cases before the United States Supreme Court. Prior to joining Paul Weiss, he spent ten years as a Partner at Williams & Connolly LLP and more than four years as an Assistant to the Solicitor General. Kannon clerked for Judge J. Michael Luttig (Fourth Circuit) and Justice Antonin Scalia. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School as well as Oxford where he earned an M.Litt. in Classics as a Marshall Scholar. In our conversation we discuss his path to appellate and Supreme Court advocacy, the role that his clerkships play in his approach to advocacy, how he prepares for and conducts oral argument, and how to stand out both as a young associate and as a more senior lawyer tasked with transforming the work of others into his own. Make sure to sign up for future episodes at www.howilawyer.com or wherever you get your podcasts.
May 4, 2021
#018: Paul Grewal - Cryptocurrency Chief Legal Officer, Tech Lawyer, Former Magistrate Judge
In this episode I speak with Paul Grewal who currently serves as the Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary at Coinbase, the leading cryptocurrency exchange in the United States where he and his team were recently responsible for overseeing the company's massively successful IPO. Before joining Coinbase in September 2020, Paul spent four years as a Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Facebook. Before that, Paul was an accomplished intellectual property litigator, law firm partner, and federal Magistrate Judge in the Northern District of California. Early in Paul's legal career he served as a law clerk both in the Northern District of Ohio and on the Federal Circuit. Paul is a graduate of MIT and the University of Chicago Law School. In our conversation we discuss what it is like to work as a lawyer for companies focused on emerging technologies such as Coinbase and Facebook, how to stand out as a junior lawyer even in these new industries, what he learned as a federal Magistrate Judge before moving in-house, the reasons that he thinks we are in a "golden age" for lawyers, and the future of "remote first" practice of law. Sign up for alerts about future episodes at howilawyer.com or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts (pod.link/howilawyer).
Apr 26, 2021
#017: Mark Joseph Stern - Legal Journalist
In this episode I speak with Mark Joseph Stern who is a legal analyst and the Supreme Court Correspondent for Slate magazine. He is also the author of the book, American Justice 2019: The Roberts Court Arrives. Mark is a graduate of Georgetown University and the Georgetown University Law Center. His writing is available at slate.com and @mjs_DC on Twitter. In our conversation we discuss his path to legal journalism, the similarities and differences between writing as a lawyer and writing as a journalist, how he learns and writes about complex legal topics for non-legal audiences, the role of social media for lawyers and legal journalists--and how legal journalists can amplify otherwise forgotten legal stories. Sign up for alerts about future episodes at howilawyer.com or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts (pod.link/howilawyer).
Apr 14, 2021
#016: Liz Glazer - Law Professor Turned Comedian and Actress
In this episode I speak with Liz Glazer who is a former lawyer and tenured law professor who is now a full-time, professional stand-up comedian and actress. Liz is graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Chicago Law School. After law school, she worked in the real estate department at Fried Frank in New York City before joining the faculty and receiving tenure at Hofstra University Law School. At Hofstra, her scholarship focused on issues facing the LGBTQ community. Her work is published in the Northwestern Law Review and the Georgetown Law Journal among others. But in 2015, Liz left her position at Hofstra to pursue a full-time career in stand-up comedy where she recently won the 2020 Boston Comedy Festival. She performs all around the country in-person and now via Zoom. You can learn more about at her at dealizglazer.com or on Twitter at @ElizabethGlazer. In our conversation we discuss success, rejection, and serendipity; how her student note allowed her to follow her dream to become a law professor; and then how a combination of a magical first stand up act, an academic disappointment, and a once-in-a-career financial opportunity led her to find her true professional calling and more importantly true joy as a comedian. Sign up for alerts about future episodes at howilawyer.com or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts (pod.link/howilawyer).
Mar 31, 2021
#015: Pia Owens - In-House Technology Lawyer
In this episode I speak with Pia Owens. Pia has worked as a technology lawyer at a big law firm, in state government, and now for a technology company based in Massachusetts where she is responsible for commercial agreements, software licensing, cybersecurity, and data privacy. Pia is a graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law. Before attending law school in her late 20s, Pia was a software engineer. In our conversation, we discuss how Pia handles new and complex cybersecurity regulatory regimes, how she drafts contracts, the differences between practicing as a technology layer in an in-house setting as outside counsel and as a government attorney. We also discuss some of the professional jumps that she took to find a career that was fulfilling both personally and professionally. Sign up for alerts about future episodes at howilawyer.com or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts (pod.link/howilawyer).
Mar 24, 2021
#014: Ken Basin - Entertainment Lawyer and Business Affairs Executive
In this episode I speak with Ken Basin. Ken is a seasoned Hollywood lawyer who is currently the Executive Vice President and Head of Business Affairs at Paramount Television Studios. He began his legal career at the law firm Greenberg Glusker where he practiced both litigation and transactional law as the Associate Chair of the Entertainment Department. After leaving the firm he became a business affairs executive at Amazon, then at Sony, and now at Paramount Television Studios. In addition to his practical experience in the field, Ken is the author of the book The Business of Television. He also has served as an adjunct professor or lecturer at Harvard, UCLA, and Southwestern Law Schools. In our conversation we talk about how to break into entertainment law, the dual business-legal role of a business affairs executive, the importance of learning "the business" to the success of any lawyer, negotiating from a position that everyone can win, and how to shift your mindset as a lawyer from "no" to "no but." Sign up for alerts about future episodes at howilawyer.com or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts (pod.link/howilawyer).
Mar 16, 2021
#013: Tiffany Wright - Civil Rights Lawyer and Clinic Director
In this episode I speak with Tiffany Wright. Tiffany is the Co-Director of the Howard University Law School's Human and Civil Right's Clinic. Tiffany is a graduate of the University of Maryland and the Georgetown University Law Center where she completed her law degree at night while also serving as Editor-in-Chief of the Georgetown Law Journal's Annual Review of Criminal Procedure and working full time as a law clerk and paralegal at the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland. Before her position at Howard, Tiffany worked as an associate at two prominent DC law firms: WilmerHale and Orrick, Herrington, and Sutcliffe LLP (where she remains a Managing Associate). Tiffany started her legal career as a law clerk to three federal judges in Washington, D.C.: Judge Royce Lamberth (DDC), Judge David Tatel (DC Circuit), and Justice Sonia Sotomayor (U.S. Supreme Court). In our conversation, we discussed her remarkable path to becoming a lawyer that began with a family tragedy, took a detour with some helpful advice from a lawyer who came to her aid as a child, and continues today with her role leading the charge to protect the rights of those who need that protection the most. We also discussed how Tiffany was able to complete law school at night with a full-time job and a young son at home, the many skills she learned as a law clerk including how to write opinions in complex and technical areas, the role and strategy behind amicus briefs including those drafted by her clinic, the power of representation and diversity in our profession, and how to best integrate the policy behind the law, into written legal advocacy. Sign up for alerts about future episodes at howilawyer.com or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts (pod.link/howilawyer).
Mar 9, 2021
#012: Phil Weiser - Colorado Attorney General
In this episode I speak with Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser about his career in public service. Attorney General Weiser is a graduate of Swarthmore College and NYU Law School. After graduation he clerked for Judge Ebel on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Colorado and then on the United States Supreme Court for Justice White and Justice Ginsburg. After completing his three clerkships he worked at the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division for two years before returning to Colorado and entering academia at the University of Colorado Law School where he worked for ten years teaching and directing the Silicon Flatirons Center. After that, he returned to DC to work as the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust at the Department of Justice under President Obama and then as a Senior Advisor at the National Economic Council before returning to the University of Colorado where he taught for ten more years including five five as dean. In May 20…
Mar 2, 2021
#011: Joshua Fiveson - Military Lawyer and Former State Supreme Court and Federal Appellate Law Clerk
In this episode I speak with Lieutenant Joshua Fiveson, Senior Appellate Counsel in the Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps and former law clerk on the Texas State Supreme Court and the military's highest court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. In our conversation we discuss what it is like to be a military lawyer and the path to that career, what he learned from his clerkships (and how he thinks about applying for clerkships and how to succeed once there), and the importance of working hard as a new lawyer while also not forgetting that there is more to life than professional success. Sign up for alerts about future episodes at howilawyer.com or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts (pod.link/howilawyer).
Feb 16, 2021
#010: Juvaria Khan - Founder and Director of the Appellate Project Non-Profit
In this episode I speak with Juvaria Khan, the founder and director of the Appellate Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering law students of color to thrive in the appellate field. In our conversation we discuss what it is like to found and run a non-profit, her path to becoming a non-profit founder including stints at Big Law firms, a district court clerkship, and several years as an impact litigator at Muslim Advocates. We also discuss the goals of the Appellate Project and the importance and potential impact of better representation in the field of appellate advocacy. Sign up for alerts about future episodes at howilawyer.com or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts (pod.link/howilawyer).
Feb 9, 2021
#009: Andrew Trask - Scientist Turned Patent Litigator
In this episode I speak with Andrew Trask, a Partner at Williams & Connolly LLP in Washington D.C. where he practices patent litigation. Andrew has played practically every professional role in the patent process. He started his career as a scientist/chemist where he was the co-inventor on a number of patents. He then went on to work as a non-lawyer Patent Agent at a large law firm in New York City while he completed law school at night. After graduation he clerked on the Federal Circuit (the federal court of appeals responsible for hearing patent appeals) and then after a few years at Williams & Connolly as a patent litigator he moved in-house to work at Google. He returned to the firm several years ago where he was just elected to the partnership this year. In our conversation, we discuss his path from scientist to lawyer, what it was like to simultaneously work as a big law patent agent and complete law school at night, the unique nature of practicing before the federal circuit, the…
Feb 2, 2021
#008: Khalida Sims - Public Defender
In this episode I speak with Khalida Sims, an Assistant Federal Defender in the Northern District of Ohio in Cleveland. Before her current position she worked as a public defender in Cuyahoga County, Ohio for seven years. In our conversation, we discuss her path to becoming a public defender, the roles she plays both inside and outside the courtroom, the importance of building rapport with clients (especially those who are currently incarcerated), the centrality of representing the person and not the conduct, and how a trip to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina changed her professional life. Sign up for future episode updates at howilawyer.com or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts (pod.link/howilawyer).
Jan 26, 2021
#007: Zarena Sita - Assistant State's Attorney
In this episode I speak with Zarena Sita who is an Assistant State's Attorney in Baltimore County, Maryland. In our conversation, we discuss her path to becoming a prosecutor, how she reviews case files, makes plea offers, and prepares her opening statements, the role of on-the-job training, some of her most memorable moments in trial, and the importance of diversity in prosecutor's offices.
Jan 18, 2021
#006: Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle - Federal District Court Judge (Retired)
In this episode I speak with Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle. Judge Huvelle recently retired from the bench after twenty years of service on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (federal trial court) and ten years on the D.C. Superior Court before that. In our conversation, we discuss her pioneering career as the first woman elected to the partnership at Williams & Connolly LLP, the shifts in the practice of law over the past forty years, her path to the bench, why she loved working with juries, how she kept up with the hundreds of cases on her docket, her approach to writing opinions, conducting oral arguments, and sentencing criminal defendants, and how she selected and worked with law clerks.
Jan 9, 2021
#005: Nick Boyle - Accomplished International Litigator
In this episode I speak with Nick Boyle who is a litigation partner at Latham & Watkin’s Washington D.C. Office. Before that he was a litigator at Williams & Connolly for almost twenty years. Nick hails from Scotland and came to America after completing degrees at King's College and Cambridge to study at Harvard for an LLM. His international practice focuses on commercial litigation where he has represented business to business data providers, software companies, movie studios, investment banks, private equity funds, and even a Hall of Fame NBA basketball coach. In an age of specialization and silos, Nick has done it all: corporate work, arbitrations, trials, appeals, and strategic advising for individuals and institutions. But what makes Nick standout in a world of excellent civil litigators is not just the breadth and depth of his practice but also his focus on mentoring and developing junior associates. In our conversation we talk about the nature of his Big Law civil litigation…
Jan 9, 2021
#004: Jay Hyne - Director of Regulatory Relations
In this episode I speak with Jay Hyne who is a Director of U.S. Regulatory Relations at American Express. Before transitioning to regulatory work at Amex, Jay worked in the Financial Intelligence Unit where he conducted anti-money laundering investigations. He started his career as a law clerk to Magistrate Judge Thomas P. Smith in Hartford, Connecticut and then worked a litigation associate at an AmLaw 200 firm in New York City. Jay is a graduate of Brandies University and the University of Connecticut Law School. In the conversation we discuss his path from litigation to investigations to regulatory work, the importance of emotional intelligence and reputation in the life of a lawyer, the importance of taking parental leave when its offered, and the ways that a legal skillset can extend from the courtroom to the boardroom.
Jan 2, 2021
#003: Raffi Melkonian - Texas Appellate Litigator and #AppellateTwitter Dean
In this episode I speak with Raffi Melkonian who is a Partner at Wright Close & Barger LLP in Houston, Texas. Raffi is an experienced appellate litigator who practices in Texas state courts, the federal courts of appeal, and the United States Supreme Court. When he is not drafting legal briefs, arguing at the lectern, or cooking up feasts for his family, you can find him on Twitter @RMFifthCircuit where has been dubbed the "so-called Dean" of #AppellateTwitter. In the conversation we discuss his path from New York Big Law corporate lawyer to Texas appellate litigator, the personal and professional benefits of social media, the unique nature of appellate practice in Texas, what he learned from his trial and appellate clerkships, and how he writes briefs and prepares for oral argument.
Jan 2, 2021
#002: Andrea Stagg - College Deputy General Counsel
In this episode I speak with Andrea Stagg (@AndreaStagg) who is the Deputy General Counsel at Barnard College in New York City. In the conversation we discuss how a college internship led her to a career in higher education law, the unique joys (and challenges) of working in the general counsel's office at a college or university, and the power of e-mail as a means to convey concise and kind legal advice.
Dec 27, 2020
#001: Welcome to How I Lawyer (Trailer)
In this episode I tell a little bit about my story and the story of my new podcast, How I Lawyer.