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Day 73/90 – Invading New York with Mitch

Day 73 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I found out that Mitch Jackson and I are co-presenting at the Periscope Community Summit in New York this fall!

Doing The Human Side show with Mitch Jackson

Doing The Human Side show with Mitch Jackson

Mitch is an awesome personal injury attorney in southern California. He is a great guy who’s also active on Twitter, Periscope, and has a podcast called The Human Side. I had the pleasure of being on the show earlier this year – we had a blast. I’m jealous of his Periscope videos that he shoots next to the ocean just before he goes surfing. We hoped to connect in person when I was passing through southern California during The Undeniable Tour, but unfortunately our schedules didn’t mesh.

Today I got a call from a giddy Mitch. He was so excited to share the news that we will be on a panel together at the Periscope Community Summit to talk about the legal issues related to using Periscope and other social media platforms.

“Do they know how awesome this is going to be?” he asked me.

“They think they know, but they have no idea.” I responded.

Then we went off on a tangent about how we aren’t going to sleep when we’re in New York because we’ll to be so busy with the conference and trying to see all of our friends and to connect with New York-based social media movers and shakers. As proud members of the Vayner Nation, we decided we at least have to stop by VaynerMedia to see GaryVee. Mitch suggested we jump in an Uber with him when he’s between meetings to maximize our time with him. Can you help us make that happen DeMayo?

I’m so excited that I will finally get to meet Mitch in person, and we are going to blow the Periscope community away with our talk. They will never think of lawyers in the same way again. I can’t wait.

In case you missed it: Day 72 of the 90 Days of Awesome – I love that my job lets me fix my clients’ problems.

Day 72/90 – Fixing Problems

Day 72 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I think I found the answers to some of my clients’ problems.

The Fix Is In by JD Hancock from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

The Fix Is In by JD Hancock from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

One of the things I like about being a lawyer is I get to solve problems. I get to fix things. I get to be an intellectual engineer that combines statutes, with case law, and my client’s situation to find a viable solution. In several aspects of my practice areas – like social media law and internet-based businesses, the law isn’t black-and-white. There are a lot of gray areas, and even then, there are times where there are no definitive answers. At best, we can hedge and predict until the laws are changed or an applicable court decides a case on the issue.

Today I felt like a legal engineer – looking case law, examining it when my color-coded highlighter system, looking at similar situations, talking to other attorneys who work in the area, and coming up with recommendations for my clients. Sometimes that’s the best anyone can do – critically analyze the situation and try to draw conclusions based on the available data.

(Please say “data” correctly. In my world, it’s pronounced DAY-ta – like the Star Trek character, not Dah-Ta.)

In case you missed it: Day 71 of the 90 Days of Awesome – Helping another Lawyer be more Effective with Social Media.

Day 71/90 – Paying it Forward

Day 71 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I got to help a fellow lawyer understand the benefits of blogging to get more clients.

Hanging with Peter Shankman - Love this guy!

Hanging with Peter Shankman – Love this guy!

One of my legal eagle friends popped by my office today to pick my brain about using social media to get more clients. She was thinking about using LinkedIn to post long form content. I suggested she start a blog instead.

I love blogging and using social media. I prefer blogging to posting long form content on social media platforms because it gives me more control over my content and I have people visiting my site weeks, months, even years after I wrote a post to read my content.

I showed her the backside of the Carter Law Firm website to see how my readership has steadily grown over the last three years. I wanted her to see that my readership has grown steadily because I keep putting out quality content on a regular basis. Eight out of the top ten pages of my site today are blog posts. I don’t share this to brag. I share this to show that blogging works.

Helping other lawyers understand how social media and blogging work makes me so happy. It’s my way of paying it forward from the people who have helped me so much over the years. This is an area that is always growing and developing so it’s always fun to see what’s coming down the pike next. Here are the top three people I recommended she follow to learn more about how to use social media effectively:

If you want to know more about the legal issues that go along with blogging, I wrote the book on that.

This discussion got me so jazzed up that I recorded an episode of Unsolicited Advice about it:

In case you missed it: Day 70 of the 90 Days of Awesome – I had a spontaneous dinner date with my friend Chad!

Day 60/90 – Being on Fox 10 Phoenix

Day 60 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I got to be on Fox 10 Phoenix’s News Now!

Selfie in the Fox 10 Lobby!

Selfie in the Fox 10 Lobby!

Is this the beginning of my career as a talking head? I hope so!

I was walking Rosie around 5 o’clock tonight when my phone rang. It was my friend and partner-in-crime Jeff Moriarty. He’s the head of social media at Fox 10. He created News Now at Fox 10 – a live video show that appears on Fox 10’s YouTube channel and Facebook account. It’s pretty awesome. He asked me if I was interested and available in being on the show at 7 to talk about some legal news stories of the day.

Of course I said, “Yes!” and zipped home to take a shower, put on something presentable, and headed to the station where I met Kinsey Schofield. She’s awesome. She had me on to talk about James Woods’ defamation lawsuit against someone to tweeted that he’s a cocaine addict, the woman who was sentenced to 3 weeks in jail for contempt for her outburst during the James Holmes trial, and Hannah Anderson being deposed for the Jim DiMaggio wrongful death lawsuit. We had a lot of fun bantering back in forth about these stories:

During this interview I mentioned my YouTube channel where I talk about lots of legal issues and respond to questions from readers. I hope you enjoy it.

I had an awesome time being on News Now! I hope I get invited back.

In case you missed it: Day 59 of the 90 Days of Awesome – I took a quasi-mental health day.

Day 58/90 – Playing Hooky

Day 58 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I got to play hooky from work . . . sort of.

IP16 cropped

This is how playing hooky feels! Photo by Patrick McLeod from Ignite Phoenix 16 (Creative Commons License)

It’s probably more accurate to say work played hooky from me.

Today had a good start. I got to the office early and cranked on some client work, had a few networking meetings, . . . and then our file server went down.

No worries. As long as I have the internet I can get work done.

And then the internet went down.

I looked over at Rosie the basset hound and said, “Well, we’re out of here.” I loaded her up and headed for home. The internet was still working at home so I could still get some work done. It reminded me of how I worked when I was running my solo shop – I only went to my office a few days a week and I often got to leave by early afternoon when my work was done.

My therapist suggested that I need a vacation. I snickered sarcastically at that. He’s probably right. Rosie and I got out of dodge for a night last summer and it was immensely helpful for recharging my batteries. I think I might work from home tomorrow, have a more unstructured day, especially if the file server at work is still down. I can go for a run, do some errands, and work in pajamas if I feel like it. I think breaking up the monotony would be good for me.

I’ve actually been thinking about the concepts of time and how we as a society divide our time. How did we decide that we would have a 7-day week where we have a 5-day work week and a 2-day weekend? Why do we work 9am-5pm? I’m not sure this norm is necessarily the best thing for me. Don’t get me wrong – I need some structure to keep me on task, but it might be time to re-think my schedule a bit.

In case you missed it: Day 57 of the 90 Days of Awesome – I love when my work brings me joy.

Day 57/90 – Laughter at Work

Day 57 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I got to laugh at work.

When most people think about the practice of law, they probably don’t picture people laughing at their desks (except maybe the evil laugh). I’m lucky that I get a lot of joy from my work and sometimes my work is so much fun it makes me laugh. And part of my job is keeping up with contacts on social media, which tends to make me burst out laughing throughout the day. Here are two of today’s highlights:

1.  My friend, The Namby Pamby, tweeted:

I responded that he and I would be Statler and Waldorf from the Muppets if that were allowed.

2.  I’m working on a contract right now that might be the best contract I’ve ever written. (It could top the one where one party had to attest to the other that he is “a sexy bitch.”) I love it when my clients are thoughtful and creative with their contracts. This one is a licensing agreement for a unique project and my client is a down-to-earth, somewhat blunt entrepreneur and I’m trying to write in his voice rather than legalese. I asked him if he wanted any “Easter eggs” in his contract and he gave me some suggestions. I wish more clients asked me to write crazy awesome clauses in their contracts.

I love my work.

In case you missed it: Day 56 of the 90 Days of Awesome – I did my first underwater photo shoot!

Day 52/90 – Lunch with Marc

Day 52 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I got to have lunch with my friend Marc!

Sorry! I forgot to take a selfie at lunch.

Sorry! I forgot to take a selfie at lunch.

Marc Lerner and I met when we were first year law students at Arizona State University. Wow – we’ve been friends for seven years. Time has flown by. Law was a second career for both of us. We were both involved in the Center for Law, Science, and Innovation and we had a few classes together. Studying with him was great – his dining room would be covered with giant Post-It Notes with his summary of the course material. I’m sure his kids learned a lot about the law by exposure.

Marc and I get together for lunch at Zoe’s Kitchen periodically to catch up (love their Greek Salad!). Today we realized that we hadn’t hung out since before I went on The Undeniable Tour. We need to hang out more often.

I love seeing my law school friends. It’s not traditional networking; we’re just friends catching up – and we happen to be lawyers. We understand what it means to practice in this industry in a way that outsiders can’t understand, and of course we get to talk about normal stuff too like kids, travel, the future, etc. We don’t have to be fancy; we get to just be people.

In case you missed it: Day 51 of the 90 Days of Awesome – Taking a Break from a Crazy Week with Rosie the Basset Hound!

Day 46/90 – Resolution for Clients

Day 46 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I helped my clients get the desired outcome to their situations.

Scales of Justice at Lewis and Clark Law School

Scales of Justice at Lewis and Clark Law School

Practicing law isn’t as black-and-white as many people think it is. There are always more details and contributing factors in every situation, and you can never predict how a case is going to end. I wish there were more guarantees in this industry, but I doubt that’s going to happen.

It’s been a good week for my clients and me. I am close to wrapping up a few files, and so far it looks like my clients are going to get the outcomes they were hoping for. It makes me so happy to see my clients happy. Sometimes I have to be the person that tells them that they can’t do what they want or that they will not get the resolution they desire, but that hasn’t happened too much this week.

I have a few cases that are winding down on a high note, and I’m jazzed about some of the cases I’m working on. I was a little bummed when I had to leave the office today, but I know I need to get some rest so I can hit the ground running again tomorrow.

In case you missed it: Day 45 of the 90 Days of Awesome – Oden’s Happy Hour!

Day 43/90 – One Lawyer Helping Another

Day 43 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I got to help a fellow lawyer who is thinking about going solo.

Image courtesy of Scramble

Image courtesy of Scramble

I get a handful of calls and emails every year from lawyers who are thinking about opening their own practice. They often want to know what it takes to get started, how to set rates, and what marketing tactics work for getting clients. I was petrified when I made the decision to open my own firm right out of law school and I was so grateful to everyone who will help me along the way. Talking with lawyers who are thinking about going solo gives me the chance to pay it forward.

This summer I’ve had the unique experience of being able to meet with a few East Coast lawyers who are considering transplanting to Phoenix and opening up shop as solos for the first time. Today I had one of those experiences; I had breakfast with Bryan and his wife. He is considering giving up big firm life for the freedom of a solo practice, while moving across the country. We met at Scramble where we had an awesome conversation about practicing law in Arizona, working with the startup community, how long it takes to turn a profit, and living in Phoenix in general. Bryan seemed impressed by everything I’ve accomplished in the three years I’ve been practicing law, which I found ironic given that he has been practicing law more than ten years longer than me.

I think it’s funny when people from major cities ask me if I feel safe in Phoenix. There may be certain neighborhoods I won’t walk around in after dark by myself, however I’ve never felt truly unsafe in Phoenix. People who are new to the valley also ask me about how often I see scorpions. For the record, I have seen one scorpion since I’m moved here eleven years ago, and it was on Camelback Mountain.

In other awesome news: Rosie appears to be on the mend. We had a follow-up visit to the vet today. It looks like my baby girl has a UTI. I was so relieved when she finally started eating again tonight.

In case you missed it: Day 42 of the 90 Days of Awesome – Everyone should know Aaron Swartz’s story and his contributions to the internet.

Day 42/90 – Learning about Aaron Swartz

Day 42 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I got to learn more about Aaron Swartz, his life, his work, and his legal battle.

Boston Wiki Meetup by Sage Ross

Boston Wiki Meetup by Sage Ross from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

As a social media attorney, I’m aware of Aaron Swartz’s impact on the online community, but I didn’t know much about who he was as a person or the depth or breadth of his impact on the internet until I saw The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz today.

Aaron was an incredible person – a true genius. I think a lot of people don’t realize how amazing he was. He was one of the founders of Reddit. He was a key figure in the fight against SOPA. He believed that information is power, and that access to information should not be restricted. Aaron called out Congress for trying to pass laws that would restrict access to information and who could have a voice on the internet, when one of the best things about the internet is anyone can create a platform to share their views.

Aaron was willing to make himself a target in order to make a point and to show where there are problems. I have so much respect for that type of bravery. He was arrested and charged with violating the outdated Computer Fraud and Abuse Act when he hacked the system at MIT to download academic articles. I suspect when he decided to do this, he never expected it to result in the threat of jail or $1 million in fines. Aaron killed himself prior to this case’s conclusion and subsequently, the U.S. Legislature has proposed a revision of this law called Aaron’s Law.

If you haven’t seen this film, I recommend you make it a priority to see this. Aaron’s story brings to light serious issues related to our access to information. Even though I’m an advocate for copyright rights, I’m also an advocate for access to information and education. Knowledge should not be limited to the rich.

In other awesome news, Rosie is on the mend. Her ear drops are making her much more comfortable and she’s starting to eat more, though she’s more interested in my food than hers. Hopefully we’ll have her lab test results tomorrow and we’ll know what to do to make her better.

In case you missed it: Day 41 of the 90 Days of Awesome – Rosie goes to the Vet.