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Above the Law - Thinking Like a Lawyer

Thinking Like A Lawyer is a podcast featuring Above the Law’s Elie Mystal and Joe Patrice. Each episode, the hosts will take a topic experienced and enjoyed by regular people, and shine it through the prism of a legal framework. This will either reveal an awesome rainbow of thought, or a disorienting kaleidoscope of issues. Either way, it should be fun.
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Above the Law - Thinking Like a Lawyer
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Nov 12, 2019

With Veteran's Day this week, we decided to focus on a group that faces professional hurdles that most lawyers don't. Attorneys married into the military find themselves moving around the country or overseas every couple of years, which presents a problem in a practice still largely geographically fixed. Joe chats with Michelle Richart, a military spouse who finds an avenue to keep her career moving as a freelance attorney. Kristin Tyler of Lawclerk also joins the show to talk specifically about how Lawclerk helps connect freelancers with projects.

Nov 5, 2019

There's a bird loose in the Harvard Law School library, prompting Joe and Elie to have an impromptu debate over whether or not libraries are still essential in a world of digital research. Speaking of the internet, Deadspin's entire staff resigned last week and the duo discuss the legal and policy implications of the blogosphere's loss. Labor law, private equity business models, the bankruptcy code... it's all involved in the otherwise straightforward demise of a venerable publication.

And Elie complains about Halloween.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Logikcull.

Oct 29, 2019

This week's discussion of law firm growth trajectories never gets to happen as Elie's irritation with Trump's lawyers spills into the entire show. Becoming a bag man for the Ukraine deal raises ethical concerns, but is merely representing Trump an ethical problem? More to the point, is it something bar disciplinary committees should really be looking into?

Oct 22, 2019

With offers for summer employment going out to law students around the country, Thinking Like A Lawyer unveils its annual "The Offer" series. If you're wondering which of your offers you should take, Joe and Elie are happy to anonymously discuss them. Just send them to tips@abovethelaw.com subject line "The Offer." In the meantime, here are some general thoughts on the job hunt process.

Oct 15, 2019

Joe and Elie discuss the in-house world. Lawyers and law students often daydream about what they perceive as the cushy world of going in-house. But these lawyers face their own challenges. A recent comprehensive survey of corporate legal departments reveals confusion over privacy requirements and complaints over outside counsel costs.

Oct 8, 2019

Joe and Kathryn have a spontaneous chat about lawyers on television. From game shows to reality competitions, lawyers were all over the place last week. In a sense though, aren't these shows metaphors for the legal profession? No, they're probably not -- but that's not going to stop us from trying to explain how they might be.

Oct 1, 2019

Brazil has officially made a cat an attorney and this week Kathryn and Joe explore the feline's new career serving as both legal mascot and a symbolic advocate for animal legal concerns in the country. Meanwhile, Elie tries to speculate about impeachment and mostly fails because who cares about hearings that haven't even started yet when there's A LAWYER CAT TO TALK ABOUT!

Sep 25, 2019

Joe and Elie are joined by Alaric Dearment of MedCity News to discuss the legal framework surrounding the opioid lawsuits. How does something like this become a stunning breakdown of regulation in the face of industry greed? This is your overview.

Sep 17, 2019

Joe and Kathryn discuss the top stories of the week at Above the Law including the rise and fall of Judge Posner's pro se organization, Weil Gotshal's cafeteria cold shoulder, and the California Bar's good news. Plus we talk a bit about Emory's struggles with racial slurs. Just another week in the annals of the legal industry.

Sep 10, 2019

Kathryn Rubino joins Joe for a discussion of the latest Mansfield Rule efforts and the problem of lagging Biglaw diversity generally. From reputational rankings to deequitization to bar exam shenanigans the obstacles to building a truly diverse workforce in law are more baked into the system than current reforms seem able to handle.

Sep 3, 2019

With election season prematurely upon us, lawyers across the country will gear up to run for office, and their opponents will gear up to bash them for the clientele they've served. Should lawyers ever be criticized for zealously defending clients? Is the justice system undermined if attorneys feel some clients are too toxic to represent?

Aug 27, 2019

Disclaimer: This episode was originally aired on Dec 11, 2018.

The International Legal Technology Association's annual conference came and went this past week, so we were unable to record a podcast. But we have a treat from the archives -- a conversation with Intapp board member and all-around law firm business expert Ralph Baxter about what the future holds for law firms.

Aug 20, 2019

As we prepare to enter another football season, Elie and Joe discuss some high-profile sports law stories making the rounds and focus on the most important intellectual property question that you would have thought was too dumb to ask: can you trademark the word, "the"?

Aug 13, 2019

Joe and Elie address some hypothetical situations about the legal industry and discuss which path they'd rather take knowing what they know. Imagine Thinking Like A Lawyer's "The Decision" series helping students choose a law school, but applied to a bunch of random legal questions.

Aug 6, 2019

Joe and Kathryn do another rapidfire rundown of the biggest stories in legal news this week. Bar exam horror stories! Jones Day's salary and discrimination suit woes! The imminent collapse of a national Biglaw firm! All that and more. Plus sound effects!!!

Jul 30, 2019

Joe and Elie watched some of these hearings everyone's talking about and break down some of the key legal issues that got lost in the spectacle. This is just what happens when a careful, conscientious attorney tries to talk to a bunch of local dry cleaner magnates who've managed to fall backward into Congress and then it all gets ciphered by talking heads churning a 24-hour news cycle.

Jul 23, 2019

Joe and Elie react to the news that UPenn Law School's Amy Wax has stepped up her efforts to be noticed by right-wing media by appearing at a "nationalism" conference and explicitly stating, that America would be "better off with more whites and fewer nonwhites." Who is this Amy Wax person, and why does she still have a job at this point? The answer is a toxic blend of tenure and cowardice.

Jul 16, 2019

Joe and Elie discuss Alex Acosta's resignation, Alan Dershowitz's underwear and more while covering the lawyers whose careers could end up demolished by their proximity to the Jeffrey Epstein. At every step lawyers enabled Epstein and as the SDNY brings new charges against him, a lot of lawyers are starting to face the music.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Smith.ai.

Jul 9, 2019

People like to talk about Merrick Garland's stolen seat and Keggy McAssaulterton's dubious ascent to the Supreme Court, but people are largely sleeping on the lower courts that have been systematically restocked with FedSoc Pizza Managers. Elie, working on a big upcoming piece on this subject in The Nation, shares some of his thoughts on the state of the judicial system.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Smith.ai.

Jul 2, 2019

Joe and Elie are off for the Independence Day holiday but wanted to leave you with something to listen to while you enjoy your holiday. Last year, we spoke with Vanderbilt Law School’s Associate Director of Career Services Nick Alexiou to discuss the on-campus interviewing process. A good guide for those of you preparing for the interview of your lives.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Smith.ai.

Jun 25, 2019

Admissions consultant Hanna Stotland stops by to talk about Kyle Kashuv's now-revoked Harvard admission -- why it was the right move for Harvard and where Kashuv can go from here. Stotland's practice focuses on students facing admissions hurdles -- generally of their own making. We discuss Kashuv's case, Title IX, and why it might be easier to get back on track as a former drug addict.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Smith.ai.

Jun 18, 2019

 Joe and Kathryn have a freewheeling chat about legal news, which is a more professional way of saying they improvised for 30 minutes after Elie Mystal overslept and failed to show up for the scheduled recording. Above the Law is basically a late-stage rock band.

But the pair carry on and discuss Alan Dershowitz bumbling through the early stages of the defamation case he's asked for, Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court clerk hiring, Alabama Law School throwing away millions, and many more of the week's screwups.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Smith.ai.

Jun 11, 2019

Joe and Elie chat with Ryan Steadman of Zero about legal technology and how to drive adoption among a profession that's notoriously averse to tech. Zero manages email retention by automatically filing communications with the help of a practical AI system -- the sort of inbox management that used to require an afternoon of labor or setting up a million rules. Ultimately, the key to legal tech adoption may be gravitating toward the familiar rather than loading up on flash.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Smith.ai.

May 28, 2019

With all the Biglaw news to cover, we sometimes forget about the high-stakes plaintiffs' side firms out there. So this week, we're checking in with Jay Edelson of Edelson, a "plaintiffs' class action powerhouse," as Law360 puts it, involved in matters as disparate as electronic privacy, college football safety, and the California wildfires. Edelson also talks about one of the all-time law firm pranks he pulled off...

Special thanks to our sponsor, Smith.ai.

May 21, 2019
Elie remains missing in action (crying about Game of Thrones) so Joe and Kathryn are left to do another ESPN inspired legal podcast -- do not encourage these two to do 45 minutes of NFL takes as if teams are SCOTUS justices.
 
So this is "Around the Gavel." Some new takes and a different sound effect or two because we've heard the air horn is problematic on a freeway, Sorry.
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