The Undeniable Ruth Rotating Header Image

Flash mob law

Day 74/90 – Russ on the Radio Show

Day 74 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I got to be a guest on the Russ on the Radio show on KFNX 1100AM!

KFNX Talk Studio - photo courtesy of KFNX (Sorry, I forgot to talk a selfie)

KFNX Talk Studio – photo courtesy of KFNX (Sorry, I forgot to talk a selfie)

Russ Stevenson has an hour-long non-political non-religious weekly talk radio show. He invited me to be a guest to talk about social media law and flash mob law. He gave me the option to call in or be a live in-studio guest, and of course I chose to be in the studio. The station is only a few miles from my office and being there in person is such a richer experience than calling in to a show or doing it via Skype.

I got to the station a little bit before Russ’ 4 o’clock time slot and met with Russ and his co -host Alex Stephens to go over the format of the show and what topics they wanted to cover. I was very touched and pleased when Alex said, “You’re a performer.” I’m very proud of the fact that I’ve been involved in the performing arts since I was a child and that people acknowledge that this is part of my personality and one of my natural talents.

Being on the show was awesome. The hour flew by. I loved being in the studio with the fancy headsets, microphones, and the egg crate foam on the walls. During each of the commercial breaks, we chatted briefly about what we are in a cover in the next segment. Working with Russ and Alex was so easy. I think they thought it was funny when I would dance in my chair during the intro music. Everyone at the station made me feel very comfortable and welcome. I can’t wait to hear the replay when the show is released as a podcast after it is edited. Russ said they take out some of his Ums and other verbal stumbles. I hope they do the same for me.

After the show, Russ and Alex said that I did a good job. Even their driver said I did a good job – and according to Russ and Alex, he doesn’t say that to everyone. They said they want me back on the show again, because we only scratched the surface of social media and flash mob law issues. I’m looking forward to it.

In case you missed it: Day 73 of the 90 Days of Awesome – Mitch and I are Invading New York this Fall for Periscope Community Summit!

Self-Publishing vs Using a Publisher – The Joys and Frustrations

ruthcover smallerI’ve had the privilege of becoming a book author. I self-published my first book The Legal Side of Blogging: How Not to get Sued, Fired, Arrested, or Killed last year (and published a revision of it this past summer). That book led to me getting a book contract with the American Bar Association to write Flash Mob Law: The Legal Side of Planning and Participating in Pillow Fights, No Pants Rides, and Other Shenanigans, which came out this summer and The Legal Side of Blogging for Lawyers, which is due to be published in February 2014.

Both types of publishing come with their joys and frustrations. I love the independence of being an indie author but then the responsibility is on me to do everything (or find people to outsource to). On the flip side, I’ve had a mostly great experience working with my publishing teams, but that also means more cooks in the kitchen and having to play by their rules.

In regards to my next book, I turned the first draft in to my publisher in August with the expectation that it would be published before the end of the year. (I turned the first draft of Flash Mob Law in to my publisher in May and it was published in August.) I did not expect to hear in October that they wanted a major re-write. In the big picture, it was the right thing to do, but definitely required me to rearrange my calendar a bit. I busted my ass to get it done by Halloween so they could get it out, or at the very least get me a galley, by December.

I was frustrated as hell when I heard that wasn’t possible, especially after I worked so hard to keep things on schedule. How long does it take to format, copyedit, and print a book? It’s already cleared legal review and I know I can review edits in 24 hours if I have to. My publication date is only delayed by a few months and in the long run everything will be fine but I definitely had a few expressive moments while I was adjusting to that information.

Here’s my compilation of the joys and frustrations that come with being an indie author and having a publisher.

INDIE AUTHOR PUBLISHER
PUBLICATION DATE I pick it. They pick it.
WRITING My work. My way. They can require re-writes.
DEADLINES No one’s holding my feet to the fire but me. Hard deadlines.
COPYEDITTING I’m responsible for hiring a good copyeditor. They take care of it. I have 5 days after receiving a draft to approve edits.
COVER ART I’m responsible for hiring a graphic designer and describing what I think I want. They have a team of artists and I get to pick the final version from the options they provide.
MARKETING That’s my job too. They have a team for that.
EBOOK OPTION Of course! They say they’re going to do it.
PAPER OPTION I got frustrated trying to figure out CreateSpace and gave up. Available on the ABA website.
PRICE I decide ($3.99). They decide ($39.95).
ROYALTIES Monthly. Annually.
SALES I work for every sale. Minimum sales guaranteed.
MY WORK Never ends. Basically done once the final draft is done, except for reviewing galleys.
COPYRIGHT Guaranteed mine. Had to negotiate to keep it.

Created with the HTML Table Generator

There is no one right way to be an author but it’s good to understand what you’re getting into when you decide which path you’re going to take.

Behind the Scenes at my Legal Rebel Photo Shoot

A few months ago, I got an email from the American Bar Association that said I was selected as one of their 2012 Legal Rebels. They acknowledge 10 members of the legal community each year for being innovative. The ABA selected me because of my knowledge and work in flash mob law. As a co-founder of Improv AZ, I’ve studied the legalities of flash mobs since 2009 – it encompasses criminal, tort, property, First Amendment, and intellectual property law. I was very honored and humbled to be selected.

The ABA needed a photo for my profile so they hired Phoenix photographer Don McPhee to take it. The ABA also sent me a pair of bright red Legal Rebel Converse sneakers and said they had to be somewhere in my photo. That was the end of their instructions to me. Don and I decided we wanted to shoot at the courthouses that had interesting architectural elements in downtown Phoenix. Don and I meshed well from the start.

Ruth Carter, ABA Legal Rebel

Photo by Don McPhee Photography

Location #1: Maricopa County Superior Courthouse
Our photo shoot started at 6am on Friday, July 6th. I met Don and his assistant Max in front of the courthouse where there’s a large statue of a horse standing on a book. Even though I didn’t see any signs that said “Do Not Climb” or “Stay Off,” I knew we had limited time. I swung myself up into the saddle and we started shooting.

I think we took about 20 minutes worth of photos before we were approached by a security guard who said I couldn’t be up there for liability reasons. He informed us that we were on camera, which made me wonder how we lasted that long. We were respectful and explained what we were doing and that we did our due diligence before climbing onto the statue. When he saw that it was a legitimate photo shoot and that we were respectful he asked, “Did you get the shot you needed?”

We finished our shoot at that courthouse with pictures on the book and some cool metal pillars that stand in the courtyard. Even though it was early in the morning, I was nervous I’d see someone who knew me and would figure out what the shoot was for.

Ruth Carter, ABA Legal Rebel

Photo by Don McPhee Photography

Location #2: Arizona Supreme Court
We took a lot of photos on the North side of the Arizona Supreme Court building. We started with some windows that were at ground level that led to offices in the basement. I sat on the ledge and Don worked various angles that incorporated my reflection in the glass. It was fun listening to Don and Max banter back and forth about lighting and angles. There were always looking for opportunistic shots. Don also explained a lot to me about body positions that feel awkward when you’re doing them but look awesome on film.

Next we moved to the stairs which I think was when we hit the court security’s radar. He had a cigarette and watched us work and he only stopped us when I tried to stand on a tall wall. I suspect he thought I was a kid taking their senior portraits. I don’t know many lawyers who show up for a professional photo shoot in jeans and a t-shirt.

Location #3: Phoenix Convention Center
Our last stop was the 3rd floor of the Phoenix Convention Center, North building to shoot my video for the ABA. It’s the same place I took the Arizona Bar Exam last summer. The convention center has beautiful architectural elements. Don and Max were meticulous about the placement of my chair and the lights. It took a while to set it all up, but it was worth it. The ABA sent me a question to answer to go along with my profile. We did four takes and we were done. Don said it came out great. I didn’t want to see it because I feel weird when I watch myself on camera.

I had a blast at my photo shoot with Don and Max. I highly recommend Don McPhee photography to anyone who needs professional photos. I’ve shared more of the photos from my shoot on Carter Law Firm’s Facebook page.

Going Pantsless was the Best Thing I Did in Law School

The best thing I did in law school was the 2009 No Pants Light Rail Ride in Phoenix, Arizona. The people I met there opened the doors to the opportunities that made me the lawyer and the person I am today.

Photo by Jamey Peachy

Improv Everywhere has been doing the No Pants Subway Ride since 2002. In preparation for the 2009 ride, they invited everyone to organize No Pants Rides on the same day in cities all over the world. Jeff Moriarty conspired with a small group of his friends to do a ride on the newly opened light rail in Phoenix. I was a first-year law student and really a nobody in my school and the greater legal community. I didn’t know Jeff back then, but I saw the event on Facebook and signed up to do it with some of my friends.

On the day of the ride, all of my friends who were supposed to do the No Pants Ride with me chickened out. I wasn’t surprised. I said, “You guys all suck. I’m going without you” and I headed out to Tempe to meet my fellow pantsless riders. I figured Jeff had to be a cool guy for organizing the ride, so I purposely stood next to him on the ride and chatted all the way to our final destination.

The rest is history. I can show you, in 7 connections or less, how participating in the 2009 No Pants Ride led to some of my best professional opportunities and experiences.

No Pants Ride >>> Establishing Myself as a Legal Expert

  • Many of the people at the 2009 No Pants Ride are involved in blogging. This inspired me to have a blog.
  • Jeff Moriarty helped me create UndeniableRuth.com in January 2010.
  • I wrote, and still write, weekly posts about legal issues.
  • My posts demonstrated that I have a unique voice and competence in certain areas of law.
  • I parlayed my expertise into opportunities to write dozens of guest blog posts; provide quotes for news articles and blogs; participate in TV, radio, and podcast interviews; and give presentations at conferences.

No Pants Ride >>> Sponsor A Law Kid  

  • I met Jeff at the 2009 No Pants Ride.
  • Jeff is the creator of Ignite Phoenix. He encouraged me to apply to be an Ignite presenter.
  • I was selected for Ignite Phoenix #5 to present Frosting the Law.
  • Kade Dworkin was one of my fellow presenters at Ignite Phoenix #5.
  • Kade had a podcast in 2010 called Meet My Followers where he interviewed his Twitter followers.
  • One of Kade’s guests was Jason Sadler, founder of I Wear Your Shirt.
  • I Wear Your Shirt inspired me to create Sponsor A Law Kid, that funded part of my final semester of law school in 2011.

No Pants Ride >>> Paid Blogger for Attorney at Work

  • A group of us from the 2009 No Pants Ride founded Improv AZ to continue to do flash mobs and pranks in Phoenix.
  • Planning events with Improv AZ sparked my interest in flash mob law.
  • I asked Ari Kaplan whether this might be a viable niche.
  • Ari used my interest in an article for Law Practice Magazine in the fall of 2009.
  • The editor of the magazine, Mark Feldman, loved it. He continued to follow me and blog.
  • When Mark created Attorney at Work with Joan Feldman and Merrilyn Astin Tarlton, they invited me to be one of their professional bloggers in 2011.

And that’s the tip of the iceberg. I can show how the No Pants Ride led to making some of my best professional connections, writing my first book, developing an interest in podcasting, and meeting some of the most wonderful people in my life.

The 2012 Global No Pants Ride is this Sunday, January 8th in at least 56 cities. If there’s a ride near you, you should go. You never know what will come out of it.

Enhanced by Zemanta