Legal Speak

Legal Speak
Legal Speak is a weekly podcast that makes sense of what’s happening in the legal industry. Sponsored by Econ One and brought to you by’s global network of reporters and editors. Each episode tackles a subject that’s worthy of a deep dive—from law firm profit hacks to Supreme Court showdowns to the most promising plays in legal tech. Hosted by editors Leigh Jones and Vanessa Blum, Legal Speak offers straight talk from experts, plus inside-the-newsroom perspective on market-shaping stories.
Ex-Big Law CMO Wants Law Firms to Shake Up Their Marketing
Mar 22 • 18 min
What separates a successful communications strategy from a forgettable one? Who should law firms have in mind when they craft their messaging? How can struggling partners win and keep clients? On this Legal Speak episode, Deborah Farone, the…
JD, Meh! Here’s What It Really Takes to Make It as a GC
Mar 15 • 23 min
Being an effective GC requires more than being a skilled lawyer. It takes business savvy.
Big Law Associate Hiring is Static—And That’s a Good Thing
Mar 6 • 24 min
In this week’s podcast, we hear from legal education editor Karen Sloan about some surprises—and some market stability—gleaned from this year’s Go-To Law Schools report, including changes to traditional on-campus interviewing.
A Year in the Life of a Law Firm Mega Merger
Mar 1 • 27 min
It’s been one year since partners at U.S.-based Bryan Cave and London-based Berwin Leighton Paisner voted to combine, creating a firm with more than 1400 lawyers and offices across the globe. On the first day of the combination, there were balloons,…
GCs in Crisis! It’s Never Quite What You Planned For
Feb 22 • 27 min
For Episode 2 of our GC Speak series, reporter Caroline Spiezio interviews former GCs about the biggest crises of their in-house careers. Stasia Kelly, former GC of AIG, looks back on the global financial meltdown. Greg Riggs, former GC of…
‘All of You Naysayers Were Wrong:’ An Associate with Autism Tells Her Story
Feb 15 • 22 min
In this episode, reporter Dylan Jackson talks with Florida lawyer Haley Moss about how she’s managing her workload as a new associate and defying assumptions about autism.
Did You Always Want to be a GC? No, No, No and No.
Feb 8 • 42 min
These lawyers didn’t expect their careers to go the in-house route. Turns out, it was a good fit.
Move Over Big Law. It’s Time for an ‘Alternative.’
Feb 1 • 29 min
This week, we explore how the $10.7 billion alternative legal services provider industry is disrupting the traditional client-law firm dynamic.
Bonus Episode: On the Scene at #Legalweek19
Jan 31 • 23 min
Join the hosts of Legal Speak for interviews on the new technologies and legal service innovations making waves at Legalweek New York. Brian Kuhn, global leader of IBM’s Watson Legal, shares a perspective on the potential of artificial…
‘Treat Yourself Like a Client’ … and Other Stress-Free Fitness Tips for Lawyers
Jan 25 • 22 min
Between billable hours, responding to clients and long days of desk work, a legal career can make it hard to prioritize health and exercise. So what’s the key to balancing work and fitness goals? On this episode, we bring that question to…
Shutdown Meltdown: What It Means for Law Firms and the Courts
Jan 18 • 24 min
The current shutdown is more severe than past standoffs and fallout across the legal industry is about to get worse.
The Modern Law Office: Can You Handle It?
Jan 11 • 36 min
This week we dive into the decision-making and planning required when law firms leave behind traditional office workspaces and redesign for more collaborative environments.
How I Learned ‘Basically Everything’: Top Lawyers Give Props to Their Mentors
Dec 21, 2018 • 67 min
Lawyers in Big Law, small law, corporate legal departments and academia talk about the people who shaped their careers. You’ll hear about the advice that serves as a guidepost for Uber GC Tony West, the career curves that landed Noreen Krall her…
The Big Four Are Coming for Your Clients
Dec 14, 2018 • 21 min
The Big Four accounting firms are pushing into legal services but how big a threat do they pose—really—to law firms? In this episode, reporter Dan Packel asks ALM Legal Intelligence analyst Nicholas Bruch to explain the type of legal work…
Diversity Officers Move into the Big Law C-Suite
Dec 7, 2018 • 29 min
Sandra Bang’s new role at Shearman & Sterling is part of a trend in which large law firms are giving diversity officers a seat at the leadership table.
Ted Boutrous, CNN’s Champion, Is Fired Up
Nov 30, 2018 • 28 min
Fresh off his court win for CNN reporter Jim Acosta, Gibson Dunn partner Theodore Boutrous Jr. talks about confronting President Trump, defending press freedom and balancing a busy practice. Legal Speak is brought to you by Econ One,…
Orrick Chair Mitch Zuklie on Law Firm Skunkworks, Talent Wars and What’s Ahead
Nov 21, 2018 • 16 min
It’s been five years since Mitch Zuklie took the helm at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. What’s surprised him most, he says, is the pace of change. On this week’s podcast, Zuklie talks about Orrick’s strategy, its approach to innovation,…
‘Inhumane:’ Big Law Dysfunction Through a Therapist’s Lens
Nov 16, 2018 • 29 min
What factors drive high-achieving lawyers to the take their own lives, what needs to change inside law firms to address the problem? Sullivan & Cromwell associate-turned-therapist Will Meyerhofer provides his insight.
Judges Talk About Their Toughest Cases
Nov 9, 2018 • 31 min
D.C. Superior Court Judges Russell Canan, Gregory Mize, and Frederick Weisberg discuss the heartbreaking court cases and difficult decisions that motivated them to compile the book Tough Cases. San Francisco bureau chief Ross…
Don’t Delay! Here’s How to Take Control of Your Legal Career
Nov 2, 2018 • 31 min
Ex-Skadden lawyer-turned-consultant Jay Harrington provides pointers to set associates’ careers on the path to success. Caveat: Patience required.
Will an Ex-Big Law Associate Bring Legal Tech to Its Tipping Point?
Oct 26, 2018 • 31 min
If a dozen elite law firms are correct, Reynen Court could be a game changer that enables the widespread and seamless adoption of legal technology. Reporter Roy Strom talks to founder Andrew Klein about his big idea and his unconventional career…
Attention Law Firms: This GC Wants to Transport You to the Future
Oct 19, 2018 • 19 min
Orix USA general counsel Ron Barger wants outside counsel to help him “see around the corners,” and central to making that happen, he says, is technology.
One Big Law Attorney’s Journey with Depression, One Firm’s Response to the Profession’s Problem
Oct 12, 2018 • 31 min
Baker Hostetler lawyer Lynn Garson talks with columnist Patrick Krill about building a successful career while managing depression. In Part 2, LeeAnn Black of Latham & Watkins discusses what her firm is doing to dispel the stigma of…
From Federal Judge to Private Practice: Why This Debevoise Partner Left His Ultimate Dream Job
Oct 5, 2018 • 26 min
Litigation Daily editor-in-chief Jenna Greene talks with Debevoise & Plimpton partner John Gleeson about his decision to leave the bench after 22 years as a federal judge in the Eastern District of New York. Gleeson reflects on judicial…
Beyond the Buzzwords: Getting Real About Law Firm Innovation
Sep 28, 2018 • 22 min senior reporter Karen Sloan talks with Michele DeStefano, author of “Legal Upheaval: A Guide to Creativity, Collaboration, and Innovation in Law,” about the tangible, lasting and meaningful ways in which the law firms need to…
Post Quinn Emanuel Split, Faith Gay Dishes on Boutique Ambitions
Sep 21, 2018 • 25 min
The Careerist Vivia Chen talks with the Selendy & Gay partner as part of a podcast series focused on the successes and struggles of prominent women lawyers.
Paul Clement Is Stoked for Brett Kavanaugh and the Term Ahead
Sep 14, 2018 • 22 min
Former U.S. solicitor general Paul Clement speaks with’s Marcia Coyle about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the upcoming term.
Are Wall Street Law Firms Losing the Talent War?
Aug 24, 2018 • 15 min
The small group of just 15 firms historically has attracted all the very best talent. But that’s changing.
Better Law Jobs! Higher Pay! Smarter Students! What’s Not to Love?
Aug 17, 2018 • 24 min senior reporter Karen Sloan and AccessLex Institute president Chris Chapman explore the impact of better J.D. employment stats, rising salaries and brighter law school applicants.
Think Like a Waiter … and Other Tips for Making It in Big Law
Aug 10, 2018 • 19 min
Legal recruiter Richard Hsu, host of the podcast Hsu Untied, shares his takeaways for getting hired, finding mentors and handling rejection.
Why This Quinn Emanuel Litigator (and His Corporate Clients) Are Fighting for LGBT Workers
Aug 3, 2018 • 22 min reporter Erin Mulvaney talks to New York attorney Todd Anten about the movement to secure workplace protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees. While the movement for marriage equality captured the public’s attention…
The Double-Barreled Bias Against Black Women Lawyers
Jul 27, 2018 • 30 min
The Careerist Vivia Chen talks Michele Coleman Mayes, an African American leader in the legal profession, where less than 1 percent of partners in major law firms are black women.
Is Your Law Firm Making You Flabby? Now Hear This.
Jul 20, 2018 • 24 min
Even small changes in daily routines lead to better health. And when that happens, lawyers—and their firms—reap the benefits.
Oyez! A Former SG Dishes on Kavanaugh, Kennedy and a Changing Court
Jul 13, 2018 • 22 min
The U.S. Supreme Court term that ended in late June was supposed to be momentous. And it was … just not precisely in the way that court watchers had anticipated. On this week’s Legal Speak podcast, chief Washington correspondent Marcia Coyle…
Watch Your Back, Counselor! It’s the Law Firm Threatdown
Jul 6, 2018 • 25 min
If you run a law firm—or hope to build a lasting career at one—navigating the uber-competitive legal market feels something like crossing the road in a game of Frogger, and you’re the frog. International accounting firms are edging onto your…
The NLJ 500 Deconstructed: Exploring the 2018 Law Firm Rankings
Jun 29, 2018 • 18 min
National Law Journal editor-in-chief Lisa Helem talks with reporter Ryan Lovelace about the results of the special report, with a close look at the cities across the country comprising the highest concentrations of NLJ 500 lawyers. They also examine…
‘Every Case Is a Possibility’: Winston’s Abbe Lowell on a Career Defending Powerful Clients
Jun 22, 2018 • 28 min
Winston & Strawn partner Abbe Lowell has counseled some of the nation’s most powerful political figures in their weakest moments. He counts U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez and Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards as former clients and…
Landing Big Clients: Top Women Partners Reveal How It’s Done
Jun 15, 2018 • 29 min
The Careerist’s interview with Robbie Kaplan and Sharon Nelles is the first in an occasional series focused on the struggles and successes of women and minority lawyers.
This Big Law Leader Decided to Match Milbank. Why?
Jun 8, 2018 • 21 min
Winston & Strawn Chairman Tom Fitzgerald discusses the reasons behind his firm’s move to boost associate salaries. Plus, senior editor Brian Baxter shares what’s buzzing in the legal community about the increases and how they stack up to…
Save the Oral Argument! Why It’s Endangered (and Does It Matter)
Jun 1, 2018 • 20 min
Appellate advocates are concerned that the tradition of oral argument is falling out of favor in federal appeals courts. According to the statistics from the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, arguments were heard in just 20 percent of cases…
Lawyers, Fear Not the Smart Contract
May 25, 2018 • 15 min
Not long ago, the idea of a self-executing contract enshrined in computer code sounded like science fiction. But with the rise of blockchain technology, so-called smart contracts are starting to enter the mainstream. While some lawyers are wary,…
Big Law Leader Shares Struggles with Alcoholism, Challenges for Profession
May 18, 2018 • 27 min
This week Legal Speak focuses on substance abuse and mental health problems plaguing the legal profession. We know from a 2016 breakthrough study that lawyers suffer from alcoholism, depression and anxiety at rates higher than in other professions.
Ack! Law School Finals. Is There a Better Way?
May 11, 2018 • 20 min
This week we explore the rationale behind the “one-and-done” first-year exam model and how it’s changing—ever slowly.
Hang On! It’s a Roller Coaster Market for Am Law 100 Firms
May 4, 2018 • 16 min
The country’s largest law firms are increasingly operating in an environment marked by volatility, where client demand ticks up one year and down the next. That leaves law firm managers to grapple with how to plan, how to budget and, not…
Ready or Not … Here Comes the GDPR
Apr 27, 2018 • 23 min
The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation takes effect May 25, ushering in big changes for how businesses collect, process and store personal information. Sophisticated companies have been preparing for the better part of…
Paul Weiss Chairman Pipes Up About the #MeToo Movement
Apr 20, 2018 • 14 min
In this week’s Legal Speak, The Careerist’s Vivia Chen talks with Brad Karp, chairman at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, who gives his perspective on the gender inequality in Big Law from a personal and professional point of view.
How to Take the Fear and Loathing Out of the RFP Process
Apr 13, 2018 • 18 min
This week, Legal Speak goes inside the RFP process with Lisa Konie, senior director of legal operations at Adobe Systems, and Toby Brown, chief practice management officer at law firm Perkins Coie.
The Anatomy of a Deal: Fintech Edition
Apr 6, 2018 • 18 min
Duration: 18:25 Finance deals are complicated enough, but add digital currency to the equation and you need lawyers with investment know-how and technology smarts. This week, we’re taking a closer look at one of those deals happening at the…
Making Sense of Legal AI: What It Means for Your Practice and What’s Ahead
Mar 30, 2018 • 21 min
There’s so much happening in legal AI right now that it can be hard to separate hype from reality. In this episode, reporter Ben Hancock tackles the big questions with help from Emily Foges, CEO of Luminance; James Lee,…
AT&T, Time Warner and the Antitrust Fight for the Future of Media
Mar 23, 2018 • 25 min
The Justice Department’s trial to block AT&T’s $85 billion merger with Time Warner kicked off this past week in Washington, D.C., and it’s expected to be the most influential antitrust showdown in decades. In this episode, editor Jenna Greene and…
Go-To Law Schools Deconstructed: A Look Beyond the Numbers
Mar 16, 2018 • 17 min
This week’s Legal Speak podcast with editors Vanessa Blum and Leigh Jones takes a close look at’s ranking of the law schools that send the most graduates into first-year Big Law associate jobs.
The American Lawyer Editor Gina Passerella Talks with John Kuppens, the president of DRI – The Voice of the Defense Bar.
Mar 7, 2018 • 13 min
John Kuppens is a product liability and commercial litigator at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough and is president of DRI. In the latter role, he’s focused on innovation in the law and what skills the future lawyer and law firm will need.
Live From #Legalweek18: Artificial Intelligence Accepted, Innovation Unpacked and More
Feb 8, 2018 • 23 min technology editor Ian Lopez and reporter Ben Hancock recap the ideas, trends and new technologies they encountered during Legalweek 2018, ALM’s flagship conference for law firm and legal tech leaders. Features interviews with…
Inside Tech— Ep. 3: Cognitive Security
Nov 30, 2017 • 4 min
We live in information environment that is unique to this point in time (social media, information overload). How do we know what’s true and what’s not?
Keker, Van Nest & Peters Founders Reflect on Banner Year
Nov 16, 2017 • 25 min
For nearly 40 years, John Keker and Robert Van Nest have been building their trial-centric, single-office San Francisco law firm to navigate clients’ toughest litigation matters. If this past year is any indicator, the model is working: The firm scored…
Inside Tech: Ep. 2 — Phishing
Nov 2, 2017 • 5 min
Phishing is one of the more pervasive cyber attacks in the world, and while we’ve all received phishing emails, phishing attacks have become more sophisticated and come in different forms other than emails from Persian princes. By Jason Thomas, Chief of…
Hot Topics at the USPTO: A Conversation with Baker Botts’ Eliot Williams
Oct 23, 2017 • 14 min
Scandalous trademarks. Using Native American sovereign immunity to defend patents. And “art unit shopping” on Section 101 patent eligibility. IP reporter Scott Graham breaks down these hot topics at the U.S. Patent and Trademark…
The SCOTUS Patent Case Flying Under the Radar: A Conversation With Latham’s Bob Steinberg
Oct 4, 2017 • 17 min
Duration: 00:17:19 The U.S. Supreme Court is taking a close look this term at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Most of the spotlight is on a constitutional challenge. But if that challenge fails, then a second, largely overlooked case will take…
What Firm Comp Systems Are Really Rewarding: A Podcast With David Barnard of Blaqwell Inc.
Sep 13, 2017 • 11 min
Gina Passarella
Exploring the Annual NLJ 500 Survey on Law Firm Growth, Diversity and Demographics
Sep 13, 2017 • 20 min
Beth Frerking and Katelyn Polantz
D.C. Litigation Departments of the Year: Conversations With Our Winners
Sep 13, 2017 • 8 min
Lisa Helem
How to Serve the President Without a Secret Service Run-In: A Podcast with Scott Rome of Veritas Law
Sep 13, 2017 • 6 min
Cogan Schneier
Key Findings From the Am Law 100: A Podcast With Roy Strom
Sep 13, 2017 • 10 min
Roy Strum
NLJ’s Go-To Law Schools Report Deconstructed
Sep 13, 2017 • 9 min
The National Law Journal
Inside Tech - Ep. 1: Implantable Microchips
Sep 12, 2017 • 9 min
Jason Thomas
Behind the Numbers: A Podcast on What the Am Law 200 Results Really Mean
Sep 12, 2017 • 9 min
Gina Passarella, The American Lawyer
The Careerist Chats With Author of ‘White Working Class’ About Clueless Elitists
Sep 12, 2017 • 8 min
Vivia Chen, The Careerist
A Conversation with a U. Penn Grad on Acing the Law Firm Interview
Sep 8, 2017 • 12 min
Karen Sloan, The National Law Journal
The Washington Wrap Podcast: Episode Three
Sep 8, 2017 • 14 min
Beth Frerking and Katelyn Polantz
Small Practices Big Impacts,: Meet the Lawyers Behind Two Major League IP Cases
Sep 8, 2017 • 32 min
Scott Graham
At Zero-Hour for Bar Exam Takers, Here’s What They Had to Say
Sep 8, 2017 • 3 min
Suzanne Tullo
Near Retirement, Judge Thelton Henderson Chafes at ‘So-Called Judge’ Label
Sep 8, 2017 • 5 min
Ross Todd
Leading the DOJ: Lessons in Management, Leadership and What’s Up Under Trump
Aug 30, 2017 • 10 min
Don’t micromanage. Be accessible. Mentor your employees. After leading the Justice Department’s criminal division, Leslie Caldwell and Alice Fisher have a few words of wisdom for corporate counsel and law firm managers. Fisher is now a partner at Latham &…
Perkins Coie’s Marc Elias on “Explosion” in Election Law
Aug 29, 2017 • 14 min
Election law just isn’t what it used to be. With more money and more people involved in campaigns at every level, lawyers working in the relatively small field are seeing an uptick in business opportunities and job demands. The National Law Journal sat…