@in_house_lawyer

September 30th, 2010

Melanie Hatton

Head of Legal at Latitude Digital Marketing Limited

Author of In-House Lawyer legal blog

Social Media Enthusiast

Today we’re excited to be tweeting w/ @in_house_lawyer, Head of Legal at an online digital mktg co? Our 1st in-house interviewee!

  1. @in_house_lawyer thank you so much for joining us today on Twitter. Tell us: who is @in_house_lawyer?
    Hello there Lance, thank you for the opportunity
    I’m Melanie Hatton. In-house counsel for @Latitude_Group. I’m also a mum to a 5 year old son and a social media enthusiast
  2. Tell us about @Latitude_Group. What does it do?
    @Latitude_Group is leading the digital revolution! We provide PPC SEO display and other online marketing solutions. (1/2)
    We make our clients visible on the web and target their online customer base effectively. Its an exciting industry
  3. Sounds like interesting work. How do you describe your role at @Latitude_Group?
    I wear many hats. I’m the lawyer, but I also manage the HR, training & development and office services for the company
  4. What are your company’s typical legal needs?
    I cover the co/co, employment, and litigation; and use externals for corp finance, property, an occasional second opinion
  5. How many outside firms do you generally work with? Is that the right number?
    Just 2 and I’d like to get that to 1! Its cost-efficient and makes for a better relationship with more value-add (1/2)
    Some in-house teams operate a ‘horses for courses’ approach, but that doesn’t work for us
  6. Let’s talk about your selection of lawyers. What type of sales / marketing pitch do you respond well to?
    One which demonstrates a quality and dynamic service, with experts who are enthusiastic about our industry
  7. And what type of sales talk is guaranteed to send you running? How often do you hear it?
    Any pitch which doesn’t recognise need to work in a co-ordinated way with in-house team. Not seen too often , but happens
  8. Does social media enter into the equation when you’re evaluating outside counsel? How?
    I warm to any firm/lawyer using soc med; I’d worry if the firm I’d chosen for its position in a technology industry (1/2)
    .. started to fall behind the field. Like I said before, I like lawyers who are enthusiastic about my industry
  9. Makes perfect sense… What about fee arrangements? Hourly billing, alt fees, etc: what’s typical for your company?
    Fees based on value of product/service delivered, and not the time it takes to deliver it is important. So fixed or capped
  10. Finally, how important are personal relationships in the hiring process? Do you hire lawyers you’ve never met?
    I’ve never hired a lawyer whom I’ve never met. Personality and cultural-fit are very important factors
  11. What does the Legal Services Act mean for you as a client? Better service? Lower costs? Something else?
    More competition in the legal market place I hope. Lawyers finding more creative ways to provide their services (1/2)
    Not just creativity in terms of fee structures, but the services themselves and how they’re delivered
  12. Let’s talk about you. When did you become active on Twitter? What were your objectives then? Have they changed?
    12 months ago. 1st obj was to obtain a daily legal know-how stream. Now, I share my own know-how, develop my niche & network
  13. You blog (http://bit.ly/bdXlay), are active on Twitter, etc. Where do you draw the line between public and private?
    I blog/tweet law, work & my perspective of both. I’ve a separate twitter acc for personal tweets & I never tweet about what I eat!
  14. You were in private practice before you went in-house. What led you to make the switch?
    I trained 50/50 in-house/pp. When I was in pp I was on secondment in-house most of the time. I’ve always thought it…(1/2)
    …an honour for a company to put their faith in an employed team of lawyers to be their preferred legal resource.
  15. What’s a typical day for the Head of Legal at an online digital marketing company? How much law does it involve?
    Signing off client/supplier contracts, ensuring the company has a corporate “memory”, keeping up with industry developments. 1/2
    I use my legal skills 100% of the time, but my legal knowledge 50%. The other 50% is running the business support team
  16. What is the most significant issue currently facing lawyers in commerce and industry?
    The ECJ Akzo case on #privilege is the biggie. We’re no longer afforded privilege in EU competition matters. (1/2)
    The decision devalues inhouse lawyers and we work so hard to bring value to our companies. Disappointing
  17. And what is the most significant legal issue currently facing the digital marketing industry?
    Behavioural advertising is in the spotlight for its privacy implications in a huge way, legally & ethically… (1/2)
    The exchange of personal data for online advertising and information is shaping the digital landscape we live in
  18. Indeed. What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
    A journalist or magazine editor. And if I didn’t have to work at all, I’d put back into the local community/village/school
  19. How do you want to be remembered?
    This is the toughest question! I’d just like for the people who matter to me to remember me in a positive way
  20. This one should be easier: what do you do when you’re not working?
    I’ve recently taken up photography but mainly I keep my 5yo entertained: swimming, walks in forest, building lego star wars
  21. What advice can you pass along to lawyers currently under- or unemployed due to the economic crisis?
    Be creative & adventurous about how you apply your knowledge & skills to keep a profile in the profession. Soc med helps
  22. Finally, what advice do you have for people going to law school today?
    Find an entirely unrelated interest too. That & your legal wisdom will connect in future & make you stand out in the crowd

Thank you v much for this great interview. I truly enjoyed tweeting with you and getting your in-house perspective!

I’ve had a brilliant time this evening too, thankyou for having me on your twitterview, and thanks to everyone who followed

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@cyberlaw

September 23rd, 2010

Kevin Thompson

International intellectual property attorney

Member, Davis McGrath LLC

Author of legal blog Cyberlaw Central

Five-time host of Blawg Review: #42, #93, #144, #213, #256

Today we’re tweeting with Chicago IP attorney, blogger and passionate proponent of Towel Day @cyberlaw

Thanks for the opportunity, Lance. I do know where my towel is! :)

  1. @cyberlaw thank you for joining us today on Twitter. Tell us: who is @cyberlaw?
    I am Kevin Thompson, a member of the firm @davismcgrath in Chicago, IL. I am also a husband, father of 3 boys, and friend.
  2. Tell us about your law practice.
    I practice Internet, copyright, and trademark law. I help many individuals & businesses with international trademarks too.
  3. What type of clients do you represent?
    Our clients range from individuals to small & large businesses. We help them protect their most valuable assets online & off
  4. What would you say is the single most important legal issue affecting those individuals and businesses?
    The hot topic is online defamation, with so many small businesses going online and getting unearned negative reviews.
  5. Imagine that’s a very big problem…. What do you tell every new client before you start working for them?
    After “Hello”, I tell them that we work with them to provide the best service in the most cost effective manner possible.
  6. Tell us about one of the more significant client representations you’ve had.
    This year we helped a small local business protect its brand against a competitor, from C&D letter to lawsuit to settlement.
  7. Congrats on a great result! Why do your clients hire you?
    Clients hire me because they trust me, they know I can help them, and that I can do so without breaking the bank.
  8. What’s the most active area of your practice at the current time? Is that typical?
    Trademark applications and clearance of new marks keep me busy. That’s typical, as brands need protecting in any economy.
  9. Indeed…. What’s the next big frontier of IP law? Who will be most affected by it?
    As we expand into more global markets, clients will need protection in more foreign countries as well as the USA. (1/2)
    Small and medium businesses will be most affected when their brands are already taken overseas and can’t be registered. (2/2)
  10. How well do current laws (eg DMCA) protect IP rights? Are additional protections needed? How is the law evolving?
    The DMCA works well for some copyright holders, but for others it is merely protection for an outdated business model. (1/2)
    Better codification of fair use would be appreciated to eliminate some of the judicial gray area. Changes are slow. :) (2/2)
  11. How do you describe what you do to people you meet at a cocktail party?
    I help individuals and businesses protect their most valuable assets, both online and off.
  12. When did you become active on Twitter? What were your objectives then? Have they changed?
    I joined Twitter in May of 2008. It took me a while to figure out Twitter, but now I love it. Tweetdeck helps. :) (1/2)
    My objectives are to build relationships and let people know of interesting articles in my field. Same obj. all through (2/2)
  13. You blog at Cyberlaw Central (http://bit.ly/adZ51o). Who do you write it for? Why should they read it?
    I write for those interested in the “big picture” issues of the Internet, how it affects us, and the law. It’s fun to write.
  14. It shows…. You also have a Facebook page for your blog (http://bit.ly/drHasy). What’s your read on Facebook for lawyers?
    Facebook has been an interesting experiment. I try to keep my personal profile separate from the blog’s page. (1/2)
    I like the advice from John Jantsch (@ducttape) – Facebook is one more outpost leading people to the blog. And me. (2/2)
  15. Makes sense…. What specific impact on referrals / client engagements, if any, have you realized from Web 2.0 activities?
    I’ve received some good referrals from lawyers who needed local counsel, knew me and knew we were cost effective. (1/2)
    I’ve also had happier clients who knew their lawyer was a real person who could strike up a conversation about #DrWho. (2/2)
  16. Again, makes perfect sense… Let’s switch gears: What’s the most significant issue currently facing the legal profession?
    The death of old bus. models. Biglaw vs Solo/Small Firms with Alt fee arrangements & providing more cost effective services.
  17. What will the legal landscape look like in 10 years?
    Small firms/solos will dominate due to their ability to be cost effective in providing tremendous service to happier clients
  18. What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
    I’d be involved with computers in some fashion. Btwn undergrad & law school I worked in software sales for @UWDoit #badgers
  19. How do you want to be remembered?
    Thks 2 #7habits, I know I want to be remembered as a human being who did his best for his family, his clients and the world.
  20. What do you do when you’re not working?
    I enjoy Sci Fi TV (#Dr Who, #BSG, #Firefly), reading, and playing with my boys. These days, lots of soccer and scouts. :)
  21. What advice can you pass along to lawyers currently under- or unemployed due to the economic crisis?
    Hang in there! Remember you’re in a service industry, so serve the clients you have well. It’ll get better. (1/2)
    For those without clients, consider pro bono service to get experience. Try helping the #EFF, for example. (2/2)
  22. Our final question for you: what advice do you have for people going to law school today?
    I tell them to read Outliers by @Gladwell, put in 1000 hours and be prepared when opportunity comes. And to have a towel. :)

Yes, I’m convinced that a towel is good to have on hand. Thanks very much for a great interview; I enjoyed it very much!

Thanks, Lance. It was fun! So long, and thanks for all the fish!

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@melissabrumback

September 14th, 2010

Melissa Dewey Brumback

Construction and Business Dispute Attorney

Partner, Ragsdale Liggett PLLC

Author, Construction Law in North Carolina blog

Today we’re tweeting with @melissabrumback: NC construction and business dispute lawyer and blawger & “Triangle Impact Law Leader”

  1. @melissabrumback, thank you for joining us on Twitter. Tell us, who is @melissabrumback?
    Hello& thxs. NC construction law attny/blogger. Avid reader, Daily Show addict, tar heeler. A “good person” as well lawyer.
  2. Tell us about your law practice.
    I rep companies in civil cases: construction (design defect, delay claims, liens); also some med mal, tort, & contract clms.
  3. What type of clients do you represent?
    Mostly architects & engineers. Also contractors, subs, developers, and business owners, & the occasional wronged homeowner.
  4. And what would you say is the single most important legal issue affecting those clients?
    Standard of care. Owners & contractors do not understand the A/E does not guarantee perfect design. Managing expectations.
  5. What do you tell every new client before you start working for them?
    They must understand how aggressive to be is often a business decision. Lawsuits cost $ and take time from productive work.
  6. Indeed. Tell us about one of the more significant client representations you’ve had.
    Rep an A/E firm w design flaw in plans. We argued design flaw didnt cause damages, & won ($0 verdict) after 2wk jury trial.
  7. Why do your clients hire you?
    They know I know construction issues: change orders, RFIs, critical path, etc. I can minimize (or eliminate) their exposure.
  8. Compelling arguments…. What’s the most active area of your practice at the current time? Is that typical?
    Liens & collections are up. But so too are negligence clms. When economy is bad, people sue rather than move to next oppty.
  9. What’s the next big frontier in construction law? What should your clients be doing to prepare for it?
    Green design. Make sure your contract doesn’t overpromise. Have LEED project contracts reviewed for insur and risk issues.
  10. You were GC for the NC Jaycees. Does your representing a non-profit help your corporate clients? How?
    I learned to minimze risk *while* meeting biz goals. Not just say “no”. Helps me meet client goals vs just being roadblock.
  11. Valuable skills to have…. How do you describe what you do to people you meet at a cocktail party?
    I defend companies (mostly construction co’s) from frivolous lawsuits. (Can you tell I usually work the defense side?)
  12. When did you become active on Twitter? What were your objectives then? Have they changed?
    In May. I resisted but @kellyduffort sold me on it. Now see it can be very useful tool to meet thought leaders in my field.
  13. Tell us about Construction Law in NC (http://bit.ly/bShILb). Who do you write for? Why should they read it?
    I write for A/E/C biz folk, to give them tips to stay out of trouble. A few preventive measures = lots of ROI at end of day.
  14. How much time do you spend each day developing / enhancing your brand?
    Too much! I aim for 1hr/5 days, but sometimes much more. I schedule blog posts, then join twitter, linkedin as I can.
  15. Too much time is easy to do…. Have your Web 2.0 activities led to any additional referrals or client engagements?
    Just now getting momentum- 2 direct referrals in 2 wks! Also, getting to know other constr law professionals = invaluable.
  16. Congrats for that! Let’s switch gears: what is the most significant issue currently facing the legal profession?
    People “doing law” via web on the cheap w/o lawyers. Hurts their biz & ours. Web should supplement, not replace ur lawyer.
  17. What will the legal landscape look like in 10 years?
    More online interact & cloud case docs, but will always need lawyer you can trust, and to actually go to court for you!
  18. What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
    I’d own a used bookstore/café, where I read the inventory while writing my great American Novel. (Also my retirement plan!)
  19. How do you want to be remembered?
    “She was a lawyer, but nice despite that fact.” No reason you can’t practice law with a heart.
  20. What do you do when you’re not working?
    Time w/ family is most important. Reading, traveling, marathon Law & Order sessions can also be fun!
  21. What advice can you pass along to lawyers currently under- or unemployed due to the economic crisis?
    Show genuine interest in and be kind to everyone. You never know who knows who or who can help you. Hang in there!
  22. And our last question for you: what advice do you have for people going to law school today?
    Classmates =future referrals-> stay in touch. Join bar committees; meet practicing lawyers. It’s never too early to network.

Valuable advice. And a great interview. Thank you very much for answering our questions today

Thanks so much for having me!

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@bcjb

September 9th, 2010

Brent C.J. Britton

Intellectual Property Lawyer

Shareholder, Gray Robison P.A.

MIT Media Lab Graduate

Author of Brent C.J. Britton blog

Today we’re tweeting with Florida intellectual property lawyer, U of Tampa adjunct professor and MIT Media Lab graduate @bcjb

  1. @bcjb thank you for joining us today on Twitter. Tell us: who is @bcjb?
    @bcjb is loving husband, doting father, scientist, musician, speaker (overcooked ham), lawyer, entrepreneur, bon vivant
  2. Tell us about your law practice.
    IP, technology transactions, venture funding, M&A. I help people start companies and keep their IP and contracts in order.
  3. What type of clients do you represent?
    Mostly entrepreneurs in tech startups, but also some large, worldwide companies. Almost always tech or media or art.
  4. An interesting mix (tech, media & art I mean). What’s the single most important legal issue affecting those clients?
    My top 3 legal issues: be honest in all things, audit your IP portfolio, use the most well-written contracts available
  5. What then do you tell every new client before you start working for them?
    It varies, but we have to have a realistic conversation about legal fees. Innovators require nontrivial legal budgets.
  6. Tell us about one of the more significant client representations you’ve had.
    I work for a large, Japanese co (cannot name it) that sends me around the country lecturing on legal risks…
    In 1996 I wrote one of the first website development deals for a large television network against Major League Baseball
  7. Sounds like interesting work…. Why do your clients hire you?
    I work to keep great reputation for high quality and customer service. Happy clients are best marketing.
  8. Indeed they do. What’s the most active area of your practice at the current time? Is that typical?
    I do both IP and corporate work. Currently the IP is vastly outpacing the corporate. Lots of patents; not a lot of M&A.
  9. How did your life as an engineer prepare you to help clients as an IP attorney?
    As a software engineer, I found the law to be a hackable, noisy, rule-based system. Contracts a little computer programs.
  10. That’s very interesting description of the law…. I like it. What’s the next big frontier of IP law?
    Tricky.
    Both patents and copyrights may need slight modifications to suit modern standards. Open source rocks.
  11. This one’s less tricky (maybe): how do you describe what you do to people you meet at a cocktail party?
    “I help people start new companies, products, and services. I’m where the new stuff comes from.”
  12. You blog at “Brent C.J. Britton” (http://bit.ly/a2PouT). What is your blogging strategy? How do you decide what to blog about?
    I have a blogging strategy? =] It’s totally random. I try to blog monthly, but often fail. Wish I could do better. Too bz.
  13. When did you become active on Twitter? What were your objectives then? Have they changed?
    Early 2007 I think. Same objectives. Stay connected, entertain, educate.
  14. What specific impact on referrals and/or client engagements, if any, have you realized from Web 2.0 activities?
    It’s kinda like asking what is impact of telephone. It’s how clients find me and talk to me now.
  15. You’re a shareholder in a 200-lawyer firm. How does your firm’s leadership view your active Web 2.0 participation?
    With cautious optimism.
  16. Hard to argue with results…. Let’s switch gears: What is the most significant issue currently facing the legal profession?
    Multi-jurisdictional practices. No one only has clients in a single state. I happen to be licensed in CA, NY & FL, but…
    …geographic locus is becoming less and less relevant to commercial and legal activity. Hard for lawyers to deal.
  17. What will the legal landscape look like in 10 years?
    Fewer firms, more solos referring and exchanging work, lots of online-only atty-client relationships, more ADR, all online.
  18. The answer to this one might be obvious, but what would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
    I would try to make a living speaking, writing, starting companies of my own, and playing classical piano. =]
  19. How do you want to be remembered?
    As one who drank deeply of life, who made other people happy, and who loved his wife and kids beyond comprehension.
  20. What do you do when you’re not working?
    Family. I speak, write, start companies of my own, play classical piano. =] Also I am learning violin with my 3yo daughter.
  21. What advice can you pass along to lawyers currently under- or unemployed due to the economic crisis?
    My heart goes out. Hang in there. Try to diversify your expertise. Do what you love.
  22. And our final question for you: what advice do you have for people going to law school today?
    Don’t borrow to pay tuition. Take Ethics. Skip class once in a while.

Smart advice. Thanks for the interview; I enjoyed tweeting with you very much.

The pleasure was entirely mine. But I am disappointed we did not out-trend #fatstrippernames. =]

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