In a recent interview with legal writing expert Bryan Garner, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan said that law schools need to “think in a deep way” about how to help law students become better writers, even as she acknowledged that “writing is one of the hardest things to teach.”

So how can law students and young lawyers become better writers? And what should law schools and law firms be doing to help them?

This week on the legal-affairs podcast Lawyer2Lawyer, we put those questions to two distinguished members of the federal judiciary,  Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf of the District of Nebraska, formerly author of the blog Hercules and the Umpire.


Together, they discuss the essential elements that go into persuasive legal writing and share their ideas on how lawyers can become better writers.

Listen above or at the Legal Talk Network. Never miss an episode by subscribing via the iTunes library or our RSS feed.

It is not every day that I get to record a podcast episode in a brewery. For that matter, I don’t usually drink beer while conducting an interview. But for our interview with the hosts of the FOSS+Beer podcast, we set up our mikes in Beryl’s Beer Co. in Denver, Colo. And since Beryl’s is in the same building as the Legal Talk Network, we invited some LTN people to participate. And of course we also had to invite Beryl’s head brewer to chime in.

I previously wrote about the FOSS+Beer podcast, which I described as A Podcast About Law, Tech and Open Source. And Beer. Craft Beer. Since I was in Denver and the FOSS folks are in nearby Boulder, we invited them down to talk about open source software, podcasting and, yes, beer. From the FOSS+Beer podcast, we were joined by hosts Mark Donald, Jilayne Lovejoy and the (formerly) mysterious Boups the Beerman. We were also joined by Trent Carlyle, an owner and the chief technology officer of Legal Talk Network, and Chad Jolly, LTN’s senior software developer. Last but not least, we were joined briefly by Eric Nichols, head brewer from Beryl’s Beer Co.

It was fun to do and it might even be fun to listen to. So if you have time over this long holiday weekend, give it a listen.


In the latest episode of the legal-affairs podcast Lawyer2Lawyer, we look at the legal showdown over same-sex marriage in Alabama. In January, a federal judge struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional. Then, last week, the Alabama Supreme Court snubbed its nose at the federal court and ordered the state’s probate judges to stop issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. We debate the legal issues surrounding this state of affairs with three guests:

  • Harry Mihet is the vice president of legal affairs and chief litigation counsel for Liberty Counsel, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family. Since joining up in 2008, Mihet has participated in many critical issues, including the defense and passage of Florida’s Marriage Amendment, and the defense of individuals charged with contempt for prayer. He has been featured on Fox and Friends, On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, and Fox News Radio.
  • Elliot Mincberg is a senior fellow at People For the American Way, where he helps guide and oversee their work on religious liberty, separation of church and state, and other constitutional law issues. Prior to that, he was their senior vice president, general counsel, and legal director. In addition, he has served as chief counsel for oversight and investigations at the House Judiciary Committee and senior counsel and general deputy assistant secretary for congressional and intergovernmental relations at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Ronald Krotoszynski is a professor of law at the University of Alabama School of Law, where he teaches courses in Constitutional Law, the First Amendment, and Federal Civil Rights. Pertinent to today’s discussion, he clerked for the Honorable Frank M. Johnson of the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and has written or been featured in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.

Listen to the show through Soundcloud above, at the Legal Talk Network, or through iTunes. To be sure you never miss an episode of Lawyer 2 Lawyer, subscribe in the iTunes library or via our RSS feed.

On Dec. 14, 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Last month, two years after those horrific shootings, the families of the victims filed a lawsuit against Bushmaster Firearms International, the manufacturer of the AR-15 rifle used by Lanza.

What is the likely outcome of this case and to what extent should firearms manufacturers be accountable for the misuse of their weapons? On this week’s Lawyer 2 Lawyer podcast, we discuss these issues with:

Listen to the show above or at the Legal Talk Network. To be sure you never miss an episode of Lawyer 2 Lawyer, subscribe in the iTunes library or via our RSS feed.

With Ebola quarantines making headlines, what is the law? What powers do local, state and federal governments have to quarantine people who have or are suspected of having the disease? And what are the rights and protections of the quarantined individuals?

We examine these questions and more on this week’s Lawyer2Lawyer legal-affairs podcast. Joining my cohost J. Craig Williams and I to discuss this topic are:

  • Gary Phelan, shareholder at Mitchell & Sheahan in Stratford, Conn. Phelan was recently the attorney for a Connecticut family whose little girl was not allowed to attend school for fear that she had been exposed to Ebola during her trip to a family wedding in Nigeria. The case received nationwide attention.
  • Professor W. John Thomas of Quinnipiac University School of Law, an expert in health law and frequent writer and speaker on the topic.

You can listen to the show above or at the Legal Talk Network. To be sure you never miss an episode of Lawyer2Lawyer, subscribe in the iTunes library or via our RSS feed.

We recently hit our ninth anniversary of producing our legal-affairs podcast Lawyer2Lawyer, and we’re celebrating this week with a special edition of the show. Our guest this week was also our very first guest on our very first show. In August 2005, Mike Greco had just taken office as president of the American Bar Association. He was the first of two guests when we posted our first show on Aug. 31, 2005, along with Erwin Chemerinsky, then a professor at Duke Law School and now dean of the University of California, Irvine, School of Law.

This week, we turn the tables and let Mike Greco interview us. Mike, of counsel at K&L Gates, was a good sport to come on the show and play host, and we all had some fun with it.

In the second half of the show, my cohost J. Craig Williams and I play a round of “Name That Guest,” where we play snippets from past shows and see if we can identify the speaker. You’ll have to listen for yourself to find out how we did.

You can listen to the show above or at the Legal Talk Network. To be sure you never miss an episode of Lawyer2Lawyer, subscribe in the iTunes library or via our RSS feed.

Two events coincided to produce this week’s episode of Lawyer2Lawyer. First, the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame — an institution devoted to  honoring the nation’s most exceptional trial lawyers — marked the grand opening last month of its permanent home at Temple Law School in Philadelphia. Around the same time, legendary plaintiffs’ lawyer Fred Levin — who has been called the man who took down Big Tobacco and who was a 2009 inductee in the Hall of Fame — had a biography come out about him, And Give up Showbiz?, written by Josh Young, co-author of five New York Times bestsellers.

So this week on Lawyer2Lawyer, in a special extended episode, we bring together four of the top plaintiffs’ lawyers to discuss their careers and share insights about their work and practices. In the first half of the show, we have a roundtable, of sorts, featuring Mike Papantonio, Howard Nations and Thomas Girardi. In the second half, we go one-on-one with Fred Levin about his accomplished and sometimes controversial career.

  • Mike Papantonio is a senior partner at Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor and cohost of the nationally syndicated talk show Ring of Fire with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder. Instrumental in the creation of the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame, Papantonio is nationally known for his many successes in mass tort litigation. He is the recipient of multiple prestigious awards and the accomplished author of several motivational books for lawyers.
  • Howard Nations is a 2012 inductee of the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame whose national practice is currently working on litigation for Actos bladder cancer, defective hip implants, transvaginal mesh, Pradaxa, and the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. As a pioneer in courtroom technology, Nations was the first attorney to have computer-generated liability and medical animations admitted into evidence at trial. Among his many awards, he is the recipient of the W. McKinley Smiley, Jr., Lighthouse Award; the Belli Society’s Mel Award; and MTMP’s Clarence Darrow Award.
  • Thomas Girardi is a 2014 inductee of the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame who is perhaps best known for his work in Anderson v. Pacific Gas & Electric, the case that inspired the 2000 movie Erin Brockovich. Among his numerous headlines, Girardi secured a $4.85 billion settlement from Merck for Vioxx, a $785 million verdict from Lockheed for personal injuries, and a $1.7 billion settlement from the state of California for manipulating natural gas prices.
  • Fredric Levin is a founder and senior partner of Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor and is often described as the man who brought down Big Tobacco. To date, he has won over 100 jury verdicts and settlements worth at least one million dollars. During his colorful career he represented heavyweight boxing champion Roy Jones Jr., helped start the national firm of Johnnie Cochran, befriended multiple presidential candidates, and been investigated for murder twice.

Listen to the show through the Soundcloud above or at the Legal Talk Network. To be sure you never miss an episode of Lawyer2Lawyer, subscribe in the iTunes library or via our RSS feed.

This week marks the beginning of the 10th year of Lawyer2Lawyer, the legal-affairs podcast cohosted by J. Craig Williams and me and produced by the Legal Talk Network. We are the longest-running legal podcast and one of the longest-running podcasts of any kind. By my rough count, we’ve done over 400 shows.

Craig and I recording Lawyer2Lawyer in 2005

Our first show was posted on Aug. 31, 2005. Our guests were Mike Greco, who had just taken office as president of the American Bar Association, and Erwin Chemerinsky, then a professor at Duke Law School and now dean of the University of California, Irvine, School of Law.

According to Wikipedia, the longest continually running podcast of any kind is Radio Open Source, which began in September 2003 with the help of Dave Winer, the author of RSS. A month later, at the original Bloggercon conference at the Berkman Center (which I actually attended), Winer promoted his idea of distributing MP3 files via an RSS feed. That, more or less, was when podcasting began to take off.

Our show started as a weekly podcast and continued as such until 2013, when Lawgical bought the Legal Talk Network and we decided to reduce our frequency to every other week.

While we were the first podcast on the Legal Talk Network, it has grown to host a whole stable of shows — with new ones in the works even as we speak. I urge you to check out all the great podcasts LTN offers.

Producer Laurence Colletti

The show would never have happened if not for Lu Ann Reeb and Scott Hess, the founders of the Legal Talk Network. They came up with the idea for the show and reached out to Craig and me to host it. And the show would not continue to happen if not for the folks at Lawgical, who bought the Legal Talk Network in 2013 and continue to expand it — particularly CEO Adam Camras, CTO Trent Carlyle and COO Jim Pickell.

Of course, if anyone deserves credit for the show, it is the behind-the-scenes folks who actually do all the work. For many years, we had the great honor to work with producer Kate Kenney and and audio engineer (now lawyer) Mike Hochman, who were not only wonderful to work with but who became good friends as well.

Engineer Mark Oblinger

When the company changed hands and we lost Kate and Mike, Craig and I worried about who could possibly replace them. But that was before we started working with our new producer, Laurence Colletti, and audio engineer, Mark Oblinger. Laurence is a practicing lawyer who is tireless in coming up with ideas for shows and chasing down top-notch guests. Mark is a Grammy-nominated producer, audio engineer and composer who is an absolute magician with sound, able to make even me sound pretty good.

A huge thanks to everyone who listens to the show. I know for a fact there are a handful of you out there who have been listeners since the start. We really appreciate your listening.

The influx of unaccompanied minors across the Mexico/U.S. border is fast becoming a humanitarian crisis. On this week’s legal-affairs podcast Lawyer2Lawyer, we look at what is driving these minors to make the dangerous journey north and discuss their legal status and rights.

To help us do that, we have two guests:

Alex Nowrasteh is the immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. Previously he was the immigration policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Among many publications, his work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Houston Chronicle, and Boston Globe. He has appeared on Fox News and numerous television and radio stations across the United States. He received his B.A. in economics from George Mason University and masters in economic history from the London School of Economics.

Elizabeth Dallam is the National Legal Services Director at Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), which is a program providing pro bono legal services to children who arrive unaccompanied or alone to the United States. Previously, she served as the senior protection officer at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Washington, DC. During her tenure at that organization, she acted as the agency’s focal point on unaccompanied children and advocated for systemic reforms in law and policy to better protect children. Prior to that, she was the executive director of the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project in Arizona, where she started a children’s representation project.

Never miss an episode of Lawyer2Lawyer by subscribing in the iTunes library or via our RSS feed.

I’m a bit behind in plugging my own podcast here. Here are the two most-recent episodes of Lawyer2Lawyer.

Facial Recognition Technology: Security vs. Privacy Concerns.

My cohost J. Craig Williams looks at how facial-recognition technology threatens security and privacy. His guests are Jennifer Lynch, senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Ed Tivol, vice president of the Intelligence and Operations Division for EWA, Government Systems, Inc. a defense contractor actively developing facial recognition technology for the federal government.

60 Years After Brown v. Board of Education, Equal Educational Access Remains Elusive.

Sixty years after Brown, many parents and teachers still worry that children do no receive equal access to education. We discuss equal access to education with Christian D’Andrea, an education policy analyst with the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy in Madison, Wis., and Kyle Serrette, director of education justice campaigns at The Center for Popular Democracy.

Never miss an episode by subscribing to Lawyer2Lawyer in the iTunes library or via our RSS feed.