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.
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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 differences of working in-house and at a private law firm, and some tips and tricks to succeed as a patent litigator.
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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.
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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.
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.
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 practice, how a kid from Scotland became an American litigator, the importance of learning from experience, the central role of networking and getting to know people as a lawyer, best practices for how to mentor younger lawyers, how younger lawyers can stand out by taking ownership of their cases, and the importance of law at this moment of national challenges. (Seriously don’t miss the end of this episode.)
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.
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.
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.