Rocket Matter https://www.rocketmatter.com Making the Lives of Lawyers a Whole Lot Easier Tue, 22 Aug 2017 04:00:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A legal podcast featuring business, tech, and all things to make law firms more profitable. The 10 Minute Law Firm Podcast is informative, entertaining, and if you find it absolutely horrible, it will be mercifully over soon. Your host is Larry Port, CEO of Rocket Matter, who has worked with thousands of firms to improve their efficiency and bottom line. Rocket Matter, LLC clean Rocket Matter, LLC info@rocketmatter.com info@rocketmatter.com (Rocket Matter, LLC) Making the Lives of Lawyers a Whole Lot Easier Rocket Matter http://media.blubrry.com/10_minute_law_firm_podcast/content.blubrry.com/10_minute_law_firm_podcast/10_Minute_Law_Firm_Podcast.jpg https://www.rocketmatter.com 77784083 Ep 10: How Lawyers Can Get Involved in Social Justice https://www.rocketmatter.com/podcast/ep-10-social-justice/ https://www.rocketmatter.com/podcast/ep-10-social-justice/#respond Tue, 22 Aug 2017 04:00:40 +0000 https://www.rocketmatter.com/?p=24950 On this special edition of the 10 Minute Law Firm Podcast, Larry Port resumes his hosting duties to interview David Barkey of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). David is a member of the Southeastern Area Council and National Religious Freedom Council. He chats with Larry about current events, his involvement with the ADL, and gives advice […]

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On this special edition of the 10 Minute Law Firm Podcast, Larry Port resumes his hosting duties to interview David Barkey of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). David is a member of the Southeastern Area Council and National Religious Freedom Council. He chats with Larry about current events, his involvement with the ADL, and gives advice for lawyers who are looking to get involved with social justice. You won’t want to miss this!

 

 

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Have You Ever Fired a Client? Lawyers Share Their Experiences https://www.rocketmatter.com/general/have-you-ever-fired-a-client-lawyers-share-their-experiences/ https://www.rocketmatter.com/general/have-you-ever-fired-a-client-lawyers-share-their-experiences/#respond Mon, 21 Aug 2017 15:26:30 +0000 https://www.rocketmatter.com/?p=24532   Some people liken the relationship between lawyers and their clients to a marriage. However, just like marriages, in some cases that relationship just doesn’t work out and a lawyer has to let the client go (despite how much money they might lose.) Sure, it’s never easy firing a client, but sometimes you just have no […]

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how you ever fired a client?

 

Some people liken the relationship between lawyers and their clients to a marriage. However, just like marriages, in some cases that relationship just doesn’t work out and a lawyer has to let the client go (despite how much money they might lose.) Sure, it’s never easy firing a client, but sometimes you just have no other choice.

Here, lawyers share why they have made this difficult decision: 

“I have fired clients that have lied to me or treated my staff in a disrespectful way.  Life is too short.” —Jesse Klaproth, a lawyer in Philadelphia whose firm focuses on employment law, whistleblower law, and consumer fraud class actions.

“Periodically, we must fire clients.  Generally, this happens when the defendant has no assets or insurance money, or when the evidence is completely inconsistent with what the client told us from the outset of the case.  Thankfully, this is rare,  but it does happen.” —Tina Willis, a personal injury attorney in Orlando.

“I once fired a multi-millionaire who thought his ‘brilliance’ was transmitted like osmosis to every other field, including mine.  He was a danger to himself and thus to me (figuratively), and it was just too stressful having to deal with the daily BS and drama and was not worth the hassle…….or liability.” — Roger Austin, an attorney who handles election law, administrative law, real estate law, and general civil law in Gainsville, FL.

“Recently, I fired a long-time client—one that I had great success with. I  had already won a case for him, and we were working on an appeal of it. It was simple case; not complicated in the least bit. However, my client got their corporate attorney involved, and that person started micromanaging me. They questioned my strategy and tactics to the point where the attorney and my client made an easy case very difficult. So, I decided to drop them.” —Charles Krugel, who practices labor and employment law in Chicago. 

“No matter how successful your legal representation, a law firm will never please all of the people all the time.  We had a client who literally begged us to represent them in a public works construction project.  They recognized our experience and, frankly, our political connections to help smooth over a damages for delay claim they were facing. After the engagement began, they asked us to review documents and participate in meetings for free and they then attempted to negotiate our rates.  It was obvious that they knew they needed our representation. However, one of their business partners detested attorneys and did not see the value we brought to their project. Within a month of working for them, it was obvious that the amount of free work they requested and the amount of time it took to repeatedly explain our strategy and costs was reducing our efficiency and demoralizing our staff.  Thus, we fired them as a client.” —Mark Cobb, a construction lien lawyer in Georgia.

“We have fired several clients over the years. In most circumstances, it was not a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ issue. Instead, the clients’ expectations and goals were different than those we recommended. Because the client hired us to provide our professional opinions, if a client is not willing to follow our opinions, then it  undermines the trust that is a necessary component of the attorney-client relationship. Rather than limp along in the relationship, the client is best served by having an attorney who is aligned in the client’s view relative to critical strategy and decisions.”Marc Lamber, a personal injury attorney in Phoenix.

“My firm fires clients frequently. When we decide to do that, I make sure that it is for business or legal reasons. More frequently, we fire clients when we feel they will distract us from providing stellar services to other clients, or if the client has unrealistic expectations. We want to be known as attorneys who win cases, and in order to do that we have to be mindful of the cases we take.” —Renata Castro, an immigration attorney in Pompano Beach, Florida.

“I will not tolerate disrespect and abusive behavior to my very caring staff.  I see every day how hard they work to help our clients.  Certainly, there is a lot of forgiveness as we understand the difficult situations many of our clients’ face. We understand the anger and sadness they often feel.  However, when it raises to a level of consistent abusiveness and rudeness, there is a limit. — Tor Hoerman, a personal injury lawyer in Edwardsville, IL, St. Louis, MO, and Chicago, IL.

“I will always remember the first client I fired. While very nice, this client had an unfortunate habit of shading the truth and only ‘remembering’ to tell me relevant facts when the other side brought them to my attention. In addition, the client was very superstitious and often had to consult with the ‘other side’ to determine how to proceed. I prefer dealing with clients who I can see, talk to directly, and trust.”—Francine E. Love, who practices business, arts and employment law in Uniondale, New York.

“A client argued with a brilliant and conscientious judge during the hearing.  (The client was seated next to me but did not take the ‘hint’ when I reached over to urge him to be silent.) I informed my client that I intended to withdraw from representation before we got across the parking lot. I hated to walk away from a good contingency fee case, but if the client didn’t respect the judge, the client wasn’t going to respect me either.”—Donald E. Petersen, a consumer rights lawyer in Orlando.

“Yes, I fired a client that made me want to cry every time that she called me. The case should have been simple—an uncontested divorce with no children. However, the wife really did not want a divorce. She wanted her husband to stay with her. By the time I really realized that, it was too late. The wife would stalk her husband in her own home. She would leave her job early and drive by the house at random times to see if another woman was there. She would listen through the walls to hear if he was having sex with another woman because she believed that he would sneak a woman in the house while she slept. While I strongly discouraged these actions, my client refused to stop.

And, oh yeah, her sister was her armchair attorney. So, it became a fight between the licensed attorney and the person who earned her law degree from watching hours of Divorce Court. Finally, I had enough when I was explaining the same thing for the 20th time and she claimed that I was on ‘his side.’ I filed a motion to withdraw, and her response was to send me an email to tell me that she would be married ’till death do us part.’ So, I escaped….but I don’t know what happened to her husband.”  —Pamela Williams Kelly, whose firm  focuses on legal issues in family, immigration, entertainment/fashion, and probate/wills in Memphis, Tennessee.

“Sadly,we sure have. We have had people misrepresent their cases to us —out of desperation, perhaps, and I understand that, to an extent. They need help, but they know that if they tell us the full truth we won’t take it and they think that if they just hide things from us that we will go to work, get deeply committed to their cause, and make everything turn out ok. But it just doesn’t work like that. The reason certain facts make a case untenable to take is because they also make it impossible to win. Just keeping the secret from us for a while isn’t going to change that.” —Dale Swope, a catastrophic personal injury and insurance bad faith attorney in Tampa.

“I’ve fired several clients over the years. Here are the reasons: Incoherence and diva behavior (mostly back in my rock-and-roll music lawyer days); wasting my time (what I mean is taking up a lot of my time with questions I’ve already answered, concerns I’ve already addressed, and things I’ve already explained, after telling them that they pay for my time and making that type of inefficient use of it, is unnecessarily expensive for them); withholding information pertinent to their matter and/or outright lying; frequently contesting charges on invoice—sometimes every invoice; otherwise always wanting an invoice discounted; and, being very slow to pay invoices.  —Paul Menes, who practices  transactional entertainment and digital media law for clients throughout the world.

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In Response to Charlottesville https://www.rocketmatter.com/featured/in-response-to-charlottesville/ https://www.rocketmatter.com/featured/in-response-to-charlottesville/#respond Fri, 18 Aug 2017 13:56:22 +0000 https://www.rocketmatter.com/?p=24928   We at Rocket Matter are here to help lawyers stay out of trouble and make more money, not to opine on national politics. However, as the CEO of this company, I believe the recent events in Charlottesville to be historically significant enough to merit a reaction.  When white supremacists and neo-Nazi’s march in the street, it’s […]

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in response to charlottesville

 

We at Rocket Matter are here to help lawyers stay out of trouble and make more money, not to opine on national politics.

However, as the CEO of this company, I believe the recent events in Charlottesville to be historically significant enough to merit a reaction.  When white supremacists and neo-Nazi’s march in the street, it’s time for the rest of us to speak up—especially considering the lack of conviction coming out of Washington to denounce these groups.  What happened is a wound that, when it eventually does heal, will leave a nasty scar.

We at Rocket Matter join the vast majority of Americans in completely rejecting any kind of bigotry or hate-speech.  To be honest, it’s a little hard to believe we even have to express such a notion.  Isn’t this like saying we breathe oxygen?  Isn’t it completely obvious that we would stand against hatred and fascism?

Does it go without saying that fascists and those that oppose them are not morally equivalent?

Apparently not. There are people who equate those who want to divide us to those who desire to unite us. When our leaders don’t heal and inspire, it’s up to us to look to each other.

We at Rocket Matter pledge to play our part.  We are active supporters of the Anti-Defamation League and had the good fortune to have their CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, speak at our headquarters.  I attended their National Leadership Summit in May, and I highly recommend the experience. We will continue to draw inspiration from this amazing organization, stay involved with it, and highlight its contributions.

We are blessed that the profession we serve is often on the front lines of justice. Our Freedom Fighter series profiles lawyers who are fighting the good fight for social justice.  When the news paints a picture of fraying social fabric, it is important to know about Beth Halpern and her work taking on illegal child marriage ,the ADL’s own Michael Lieberman and his success with hate crime legislation, and the other amazing attorneys making our world better.

In the same light, it’s no surprise that two major players fighting for justice regarding the events in Charlottesville were lawyers. Heather Heyer, who perished demonstrating against white supremacists, was a paralegal that spent her free time fighting injustice.  Kenneth Frazier, the first CEO to step down from the American Manufacturing Council because of the President’s words, is a graduate of Harvard Law School.

As we’ve said many times in this blog, we are grateful that so many lawyers are fighting for what’s right. We stand with them, now and always.

 

 

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Top Reasons Why Lawyers are the Biggest Game of Thrones’ Fans Around https://www.rocketmatter.com/general/lawyers-are-going-crazy-for-game-of-thrones/ https://www.rocketmatter.com/general/lawyers-are-going-crazy-for-game-of-thrones/#respond Wed, 16 Aug 2017 15:06:28 +0000 https://www.rocketmatter.com/?p=24811   At Rocket Matter, we work with lawyers every day. And through the years we’ve come to several realizations: These people are saving the world. They are deeply dedicated to their work. And they are really obsessed with Game of Thrones (so obsessed that some are bringing a bit of Westeros into their courtrooms.) Here’s how: […]

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lawyers game of thrones

 

At Rocket Matter, we work with lawyers every day. And through the years we’ve come to several realizations: These people are saving the world. They are deeply dedicated to their work. And they are really obsessed with Game of Thrones (so obsessed that some are bringing a bit of Westeros into their courtrooms.)

Here’s how:

  1. Florida circuit judge Robin S. Rosenbaum recently began her ruling in a case on free speech by writing: “A wise man once said a true history of the world is a history of great conversations in elegant rooms.” The source? The one-and-only  Tyrion Lannister from season 6, episode 3.   (It’s a good thing Rosenbaum didn’t start her ruling with what’s arguably Tyrion’s most famous quote: “I drink, and I know things!”)
  2. A few years ago, a Staten Island attorney actually filed a brief to end a dispute by instituting a trial by combat. Richard Luthmann,  a huge Game of Thrones fan, demanded that one of the plaintiffs in a suit against him dismiss the case or take part in a battle. According to an article in Time, “He claims that the practice has not been outlawed in the U.S. or New York state and is  suggesting it to point out the absurdity of the plaintiffs’ allegations.”  As Luthmann told Time, “They want to be absurd about what they’re trying to do, then I’ll give them back ridiculousness in kind.” Yes, but perhaps Lutmann isn’t really remembering those trials by combat…like, let’s say, when the Mountain gouged out Oberyn’s eyes with his thumbs before crushing his skull with his hands. Fun! Well, the good news is that no blood will be shed—Luthmann has settled the case. Whew.
  3. A man named Michael A. Ventrella predicted that Hodor means “Hold the Door” years before the episode “The Door” (you know, that episode you’ll never forget) aired. Guess what? Ventralla is a lawyer from the Poconos. 
  4. Lots of lawyers have written about Game of Thrones. They love to make comparisons to their own profession. For instance, there’s this article about the various legal ramifications that should have come along with the various beheadings, malicious acts, and other crimes that run rampant on the show. And here’s another one about how the show is a victory for disability rights.
  5. While lawyers bring Game of Thrones into their practices,  the reverse should be true as well: Westeros really needs some lawyers. Check out our article on the subject, in case you missed it.

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Ep 9: Why Taking a Digital Detox is Crucial to Your Mental Health https://www.rocketmatter.com/podcast/ep-9-take-digital-detox/ https://www.rocketmatter.com/podcast/ep-9-take-digital-detox/#respond Tue, 15 Aug 2017 04:00:34 +0000 https://www.rocketmatter.com/?p=24897 In this week’s episode, Rocket Matter CEO Larry Port returns as a guest to talk about taking a “digital detox” and why it’s so critical for your mental health. He discusses his personal experience in limiting his consumption of news and minimizing his use of technology. Don’t miss this timely and important podcast! Looking for further reading? Larry […]

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In this week’s episode, Rocket Matter CEO Larry Port returns as a guest to talk about taking a “digital detox” and why it’s so critical for your mental health. He discusses his personal experience in limiting his consumption of news and minimizing his use of technology. Don’t miss this timely and important podcast!

Looking for further reading? Larry also recommends reading The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr.

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How to Run Your Solo Practice Like a Business https://www.rocketmatter.com/legal-billing/run-solo-practice-like-business/ https://www.rocketmatter.com/legal-billing/run-solo-practice-like-business/#respond Fri, 11 Aug 2017 13:30:51 +0000 https://www.rocketmatter.com/?p=24779   You have to understand business in order to run a solo practice. Of course, I didn’t realize that at first.  I would take clients without even asking for a deposit toward costs. I would take cases with poor liability and questionable damages. And sometimes I would pursue a claim after learning no insurance was […]

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solo business

 

You have to understand business in order to run a solo practice.

Of course, I didn’t realize that at first.  I would take clients without even asking for a deposit toward costs. I would take cases with poor liability and questionable damages. And sometimes I would pursue a claim after learning no insurance was available. Eventually, however, I saw that most of my mistakes were simply bad business decisions. I wasn’t bad at law; I was bad at business. I realized I needed to understand business if I wanted to run my solo practice.

So now, every week, I work on the business side of my practice. Things have gotten progressively better: My cash flow is manageable, my case load is workable, and most of my cases are worthwhile.

Here are the steps I now take in order to run my solo practice like a business: 

Choose Your Entity Wisely
Think carefully about your business entity before you chose it. For example, incorporation better protects against an audit and it’s easier to hire employees. But if you incorporate you have to maintain corporate formalities (e.g. hold annual meetings), and you should have a payroll service. For a sole proprietorship, you’re more likely to be audited, but there are no formalities and you shouldn’t need a payroll service.  Research and talk to other solos about the choices they made and why.

Watch Your Bookkeeping
Without much effort, financials can be overwhelming. Either hire a bookkeeper or learn to do what a bookkeeper does. You can learn what a bookkeeper does by speaking to one, reading accounting books, and researching online. I have two accounts: One for business and one for client funds such as the mandated trust account. You don’t want mistakes in your financial accounts. One mistake can multiply and turn into a real problem. Take time to reconcile your accounts. You cannot run a business for long if you don’t know how you earn your money and where your money goes. Cash is king. You need to manage cash flow or you’ll be stuck with bills and no money in your account.

Advertise With a Purpose
You have to advertise, so advertise with a purpose. In other words, know what you want, whom you are advertising to, and what you are saying. Advertising can easily become a money pit, but having a purpose helps avoid that.

Understand that some methods of advertising are better than others. I don’t rely on pay-per-click ads, but others do. I use a lot of social media and targeted advertising, but others don’t. The point is that you have to advertise, and you should do it smartly. Think about your target audience, and think about what your message is and what you want. What’s your message? What’s your best return on investment, as it relates to advertising? Don’t follow conventional wisdom. Learn what advertising works best for your firm.

Prepare For Taxes
Not only will you pay income tax, you will also pay self-employment tax.  I was surprised to learn that not only were income taxes due at tax time, but so were self-employment taxes.  Moreover, I haven’t found many places (for instance, bar associations, CLEs, law schools, blogs) revealing that information. So pay attention: You must pay self-employment tax. Ignore that to your own peril. If you don’t pay your taxes, the IRS can penalize you, or worse.

Also, you must pay your taxes quarterly. No one will remind you. And no one will permit you to skip a payment without penalty. Quickly learn that the Net Income on your Profit and Loss Statement is, above all, a gauge of how much tax you owe.

So find ways to minimize your tax liability, and always set aside money for taxes. Also, learn ahead of time how much your tax bill will be. Taxes and surprises don’t go well together!

Evan Walker is a a Personal Injury lawyer in San Diego. He runs a solo practice.

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[Webinar Wrap-Up] Business Development for Lawyers 101 https://www.rocketmatter.com/legal-billing/webinar-wrap-up-business-development-for-lawyers-101/ https://www.rocketmatter.com/legal-billing/webinar-wrap-up-business-development-for-lawyers-101/#respond Thu, 10 Aug 2017 13:05:04 +0000 https://www.rocketmatter.com/?p=24880 In case you missed it (or if you want to see it again!), here are the slides and video from our recent webinar with LexCharge CEO Jeff Shavitz: Business Development for Lawyers 101. In this webinar, Jeff discussed methods of increasing profitability by monitoring your key numbers, P&L, and marketing. He also discussed how to […]

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In case you missed it (or if you want to see it again!), here are the slides and video from our recent webinar with LexCharge CEO Jeff Shavitz: Business Development for Lawyers 101.

In this webinar, Jeff discussed methods of increasing profitability by monitoring your key numbers, P&L, and marketing. He also discussed how to incorporate technology, social media, and communications in your firm’s business model.

 

Business Development for Lawyers 101 from Rocket Matter on Vimeo.

Click here to view a visual of the time management matrix quadrants that Jeff mentions during the webinar.

If you are interested in attending this year’s MacTrack Legal, enter code “Rocket” at checkout to receive $50 off admission!

Don’t forget to take advantage of your FREE rate assessment with LexCharge. Contact adam@lexcharge.com for more information.

 

This webinar was recorded on August 9, 2017

Presenters:

Jeff Shavitz is the CEO and co-founder of LexCharge, a leading payment processing company for lawyers. Prior to LexCharge, Jeff began his career working in investment banking at Lehman Brothers. Soon thereafter, he founded Charge Card Systems (CCS), a national credit card processing company that grew to multiple offices around the U.S. with 500 sales people. In addition to his payments background, Jeff is a serial entrepreneur having founded and sold three businesses. He’s also an Amazon #1 best-selling author of six books including Size Doesn’t Matter— Why Small Business is BIG Business, and he’s a contributing writer for Entrepreneur and The Business Journals. Jeff speaks regularly at business conferences throughout the country and shares personal stories about how independent business owners can more successfully grow their companies.

Nefra MacDonald is the Business Development and Strategic Partnership Coordinator at Rocket Matter. After working in various capacities at law firms, corporations, and non-profits, she decided to use her experience to help address the pain points that practicing lawyers feel every day. Nefra currently co-chairs Rocket Matter’s Product Advisory Committee, which serves as a source of targeted feedback for the company’s product improvement strategy.

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Legal Freedom Fighter Series: Beth Halpern https://www.rocketmatter.com/freedom-fighters/legal-freedom-fighter-beth-halpern/ https://www.rocketmatter.com/freedom-fighters/legal-freedom-fighter-beth-halpern/#respond Wed, 09 Aug 2017 13:15:15 +0000 https://www.rocketmatter.com/?p=24796   We’ve seen it repeatedly throughout our history: When people’s rights are threatened, it’s the lawyers who step up to to the plate. Some are true Freedom Fighters, and they deserve special recognition. That’s why each month, we will feature lawyers who are really making a difference. Today, we are proud to feature Beth Halpern. Beth Halpern is a partner […]

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Freedom Fighters

 

We’ve seen it repeatedly throughout our history: When people’s rights are threatened, it’s the lawyers who step up to to the plate. Some are true Freedom Fighters, and they deserve special recognition. That’s why each month, we will feature lawyers who are really making a difference.


Elizabeth Halpern- Rocket Matter Freedom FighterToday, we are proud to feature Beth Halpern.
Beth Halpern is a partner with Hogan Lovells US LLP, and a member of the firm’s healthcare practice where she helps clients achieve coverage and reimbursement for innovative technologies. She’s also an active participant in the firm’s pro bono efforts. Her recent projects include working with the Tahirih Justice Center on its Forced Marriage Initiative to prevent child marriages in the United States.  This effort led to enactment of new laws in Virginia and Texas prohibiting marriage of children under age 18 unless emancipated by a court.  Beth continues to work with Tahirih on seeking similar laws in other states.

Beth is also a member of the Tahirih Justice Center’s D.C. Advisory Council. She served as co-chair of Tahirih’s 2017 Gala Committee, and her work contributed to Hogan Lovells being recognized as Firm of the Year by Tahirih in 2015.  Beth’s other pro bono matters include working with the D.C. Appleseed Center on its long-running project to help end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the District of Columbia. The American Health Lawyers Association recognized Beth as a member of the Hogan Lovells team of Pro Bono Champions in 2013 for their work on this project. Beth also serves as one of the firm’s U.S. Community Investment Partners, overseeing the firm’s volunteer efforts.

Here’s the interview:

What inspired you to become a lawyer in the first place?
I was interested in American history and politics from a young age—my family visited a lot of historic sites on long road trips. Also, I studied government in college and public policy in graduate school because I wanted to understand how we solve the problems facing our country. After moving to Washington, I quickly realized that to solve a problem, it helps to know the rules and how to change them. I could do that more effectively as a lawyer.  My main area of practice is health regulation, helping clients obtain Medicare coverage for new technologies. My firm’s commitment to pro bono also lets me work on other issues I care about, like helping women and girls escape violence and fulfill their potential.

You fight for anti-child marriage laws. Can you please explain your work a bit and why it’s still so important?
Since 2015, I have been working with the Tahirih Justice Center on its Forced Marriage Initiative. When Tahirih first came to us for help with this project, I couldn’t believe that child marriage still happened in this country. Sadly, it does, and contrary to stereotypes, it is not limited to immigrant communities or certain religions.  I live in Virginia, where until we successfully advocated for a change in the law, there was no minimum age for marriage. Children as young as 13 have been married in recent years! We formed a team at Hogan Lovells, including attorneys in at least five offices as well as support staff, to address this problem from several angles.  Our team prepared a 50-state report on underage marriage and exceptions, researched data on marriage licenses granted in 14 states, and helped draft Virginia’s new law, which raised the minimum age for marriage to 18 in Virginia (except in the case of 16-17 year old court-emancipated minors). We are continuing to work with Tahirih on legislation in other states.

What was your most memorable case?
My most memorable pro bono case was an asylum matter involving a young woman whose family threatened to kill her for violating religious customs. If she had returned to her home country, there would have been no legal protections available to her. Once she found out that she could obtain asylum in the U.S., she had to relive her abuse repeatedly as we prepared her case.  At her interview with the immigration officer, she bravely told the story of her abuse and eloquently explained how living without fear was worth losing all of her friends and family at home. Our team of two associates and I had great support from the Tahirih Justice Center, and our client is now living free in the U.S.

In terms of fighting on behalf of children, what challenges do people face today?
There are so many challenges facing children in the U.S. and abroad that it can be difficult to know where to start. If you focus on one problem, you will face “What about . . .?” criticism. In other words, please will ask, “What about problem X or Y, and why aren’t you trying to fix that instead of this?” People may feel overwhelmed by the number of problems rather than picking one where they can help and taking baby steps to address it.

You’ve had so many successes. Which one (or ones) stands out the most for you?
Taking the Virginia bill go from a concept to a law was a huge success for Tahirih and our team, but also helping the conversation about the issue of child marriage laws evolve from doubt to more widespread recognition is a big move forward.

If you could give one piece of advice to other lawyers across the country, what would you say?
You do not have to be a full time “Freedom Fighter” to make a big difference.  Finding even small amounts of time to help others outside your usual workload can be very productive and rewarding. I know this can be difficult—lawyers are busy people and we have a lot of competing demands on our time—but the results of your efforts will be worth it, as will the psychological satisfaction from your work.

If an attorney wants to get involved in social justice, how can they get started?
First, know that you are not alone! Pick an issue that you care about and look for others doing work you admire on that issue and ask how you can help them.

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Ep 8: Why Your Firm Needs an Offsite Retreat https://www.rocketmatter.com/general/ep-8-offsite-retreat/ https://www.rocketmatter.com/general/ep-8-offsite-retreat/#respond Tue, 08 Aug 2017 04:00:38 +0000 https://www.rocketmatter.com/?p=24816 The tables are turned on this week’s episode, as regular host Larry Port is interviewed himself about the importance of having your firm take an offsite retreat. Fresh from his own offsite, Larry dishes about the benefits of getting outside the normal confines of a conference room. He also offers some helpful tips for planning a retreat of […]

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The tables are turned on this week’s episode, as regular host Larry Port is interviewed himself about the importance of having your firm take an offsite retreat. Fresh from his own offsite, Larry dishes about the benefits of getting outside the normal confines of a conference room. He also offers some helpful tips for planning a retreat of your own without spending a ton of money!

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The Joys of Changing Your News Habits https://www.rocketmatter.com/attorney-wellness/the-joys-of-changing-your-news-habits/ https://www.rocketmatter.com/attorney-wellness/the-joys-of-changing-your-news-habits/#respond Fri, 04 Aug 2017 14:37:08 +0000 https://www.rocketmatter.com/?p=24782   I know two people that overdose on news on the opposite ends of the political spectrum.  One is a woman who watches hours of MSNBC every evening.  The other is a man in my office building that keeps FoxNews on during the entire workday in his office.  I have had private conversations with both […]

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news habits

 

I know two people that overdose on news on the opposite ends of the political spectrum.  One is a woman who watches hours of MSNBC every evening.  The other is a man in my office building that keeps FoxNews on during the entire workday in his office.  I have had private conversations with both of these very bright people.  They are both convinced that the other is attempting to destroy the country and that the information the other receives is biased and bogus.

Regardless of where your political positions fall, perhaps one thing we can all agree on is that it’s probably undesirable when fellow countrymen are so antagonistic towards each other.  Even if you disagree with me on that last point, perhaps we can agree that it’s not healthy or productive to harbor such levels of vitriol.

I have been consuming increasingly less news, and I have been more selective about the outlets I consume them from (this includes Facebook, for my friends wondering where I’ve been).  And I have to say I am a whole helluva lot happier and less distracted.

Although I love the New York Times and will defend the publication to its attackers, I must say that I’ve tired of the one-note coverage of the White House.  I switched over to reading the Wall Street Journal and was shocked by all of the other news happening in the world.  Wait…there’s stuff happening in the world not involving Donald Trump?

As it so happens, changing my primary news outlet was one of the best decisions I’ve made in the past year for my personal happiness.

I cannot recommend switching to business news as a primary information outlet enough. When they discuss politics, it’s from the perspective of how it might affect the world. You learn the top notes of what’s going on but there is no overkill. The international coverage is very robust, as is their tech coverage.  You may not get to wallow in your political anger, but in my humble opinion, wallowing gets you nowhere but unhappy.  But if wallowing is your thing, there’s always the Op-Ed page.

I am not 100% satisfied with the state of the world and cannot imagine anyone is.  But I personally feel, while it might take more effort, that a healthier way of dealing with that angst is not to ruminate and further stoke resentments but to get involved.  For instance, in my case, I got involved with the Anti-Defamation League as a result of last year’s drastic uptick in hate speech.  We started covering Freedom Fighters on this blog, amazing social justice warriors, and how they’re improving society.

News consumption can be addicting.  Changing your habits can be difficult.  If this article strikes a chord with you, challenge yourself to 1-week of switching your habits, and let me know how you’re feeling afterward.

 

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