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Kade Dworkin

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.

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Social Media Policies That Every Company Needs

Kade Dworkin

Last weekend I attended a talk by Kade Dworkin to business students on social media strategies for companies.  Kade seems to have read every book on this topic and knows the heavy hitters in this area.  He suggested that every company have two social media policies.

Social Media Policy for Employees
Is an employee allowed to say who their employer is on their blog?  What about their Twitter profile?  Is there anything wrong with an employee tweeting out, “Grrr…some days I hate my job” or “My clients are making me crazy?”  If there are no rules about what employees can and can’t say online when they’re on their own time, you really can’t get mad at them for what they say, unless there is a blatant violation of client confidentiality or a disclosure of a trade secret.  It’s disturbing that only 29% of employers have social media policies.  Being active on social media sites is part of doing business today, and if you don’t have a social media policy for employees, you’re asking for trouble.

Social Media Crisis Response Policy
I had never heard this before, but it makes perfect sense.  In the past, a company had  more time before a bad review is disseminated via newspapers and word of mouth.  Now, a bad review can be spread across the internet in a matter of minutes.  While a company should hope and work towards providing exceptional goods and services all the time, there will always be individuals who are not happy.  When that happens, it’s critical that the company has a plan in place on how it will respond.  The company should already have action plans for dealing with the worst case scenarios that might occur.  Additionally, Kade suggested that whoever is in charge of social media should have a strong relationship with the company’s legal department to avoid any major missteps.

Recall the fiasco that occurred after Amy’s Baking Company got a bad review on Yelp. The main issue wasn’t that a customer was unhappy, but that the owner did a horrible job responding to the bad review.  It’s hard for an owner to get a bad review about their staff and service, and it’s critical that the response be one that attempts to resolve the problem privately and show that the company is customer-focused.  In this case, the owner’s response caused irreparable harm to their and their restaurant’s reputation.  Many people who read the review and the owner’s response said that they will never patronize that restaurant in the future.  I have never been to Amy’s and now given the choice, I’ll go somewhere else.

Kade also suggested that companies never let an intern be in charge of social media because it’s important that whoever is in charge is someone who can make decisions on the fly to resolve problems.  This should occur within 30 minutes, not in a few days.  A fast and effective response can do as much to bolster a company’s reputation as providing exceptional service.

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SALK Day 8 – Amanda Ellis – The Social Media Connection

My sponsor today is Amanda Ellis, attorney recruiter and founder of Amanda Ellis Legal Search.  Her firm assists associate level attorneys in finding jobs.  She is also the author of The 6Ps of the Big 3 for Job-Seeking JDs, a book that provides a detailed overview about how attorneys can use LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to develop business or find a job.  She also maintains a blog on this topic with tips and her appearance schedule.  Many professionals are afraid of social networking sites.  Her book does a great job of instructing professionals on how to use these sites and tips for having a professional presence online and building relationships with others.  I’m looking forward to implementing some of her suggestions on how to use LinkedIn to find a job in my upcoming search for post-graduation employment.  When Ellis sponsored today, she asked me to share one of my success stories of being a law student and using social media.  I thought I would tell the social media history of Sponsor A Law Kid.

One thing I’ve learned about networking through social media is that it is a process, not an event.  It’s about building relationships and seeing each connection and conversation and a potential stepping stone.

In January 2009, I was a 1L who had just finished her first semester of law school and did not stick out in a crowd.  I attended the first Global No Pants Ride in Phoenix.  I was intrigued by the boldness of Jeff Moriarty for planning such an event and decided that I wanted to meet him.  I purposely stood next to him on the ride and struck up a conversation with him.  By the end of the day we were “friends” on Facebook.  Through Jeff, I heard about Ignite Phoenix, and presented on the legalities of participating in public pranks at Ignite Phoenix #5.  One of the other presenters at Ignite was Kade Dworkin.  Kade and I kept in contact and about a year later, he started his own podcast called Meet My Followers where he interviewed his Twitter followers.  I was on his podcast and listened to his other shows.  One of his guests was Jason Sadler, founder of I Wear Your Shirt.  As I listened to Jason discuss how he makes a living by wearing shirts and creating content, I was inspired to use my blog to fund my final semester of law school.  In November 2010, I launched Sponsor A Law Kid.  This campaign has opened the door for me to connect with attorneys all over the country and opportunities to be a guest blogger for other websites.  It took almost two years and at least seven steps from participating in a prank to being mentioned on Above the Law, The Nutmeg Lawyer, Blind Drunk Justice, and ABAJournal.com.

Twitter is my primary modality for networking.  It is how I create and maintain connections with people in the legal community.  Along with connecting online, I try to connect with as many people as I can in reality through attending events and inviting attorneys to coffee or lunch.  I have stronger connections with people that I have met in person than with people I only know online.

Sponsor A Law Kid is my endeavor to pay for my last semester of law school.  Today’s sponsor is Amanda Ellis.  For more information about Sponsor A Law Kid or to see what days are still available for sponsorship, visit my Sponsor A Law Kid page.

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Undeniable Recap of 2010

2010 was an eventful year for me.  As I was driving from Phoenix to my parents’ place in Sonoma, CA, I started reflecting on the highlights of the year.

  1. My Sister’s Wedding. This was hands-down the best day of the year.  I consider myself to be my sister’s little sister and her big brother so watching her get married to such a wonderful man was a very big deal.  I watched Morena marry the love of her life, Rick,  in a wedding that the two of them designed with hand-selected music and readings.  My sister, who is also a law student (super smart, editor of her law review), was stunning.  It was wonderful to meet her in-laws (who are awesome!) and reconnect with friends.  It was everything a wedding is supposed to be.
  2. Sponsor A Law Kid. I am often a person who has creative ideas but who is too afraid to put them into action.  I have to thank Kade Dworkin and Meet My Followers to inspiring this idea and the social media community for encouraging me in this endeavor.  When I posted the first #SALK blog, I thought, “I’m either a genius or crazy.”  I also thought about the advice I received from Sam Glover who said to think about the worst thing that could happen.  For #SALK, the worst thing that could happen was nothing.  To date, #SALK has sold 28 days and funded over $1000 of next semester’s education.

    Photo by Jeff Moriarty

  3. Jester’Z Improv Acting Class. I am a person who thrives in structure.  Most of my flashmobs and pranks are fairly planned out in advance.  This class put my classmates and I had no idea what was going to happen on stage or what scenario we would be asked to play out.  Taking this acting class pushed me think faster on my feet and to enjoy the simplicity of play.  It also gave me a reprieve from reality for three hours every week.  My friend, Jeff Moriarty, shot a snippet of my final showcase.  Per the audience’s suggestion, my classmate Linzi and I were supposed to be “pumped lawyers.”  Most of the audience did not know that I was in law school.  I love how happy I look in this video.
  4. Rock n Roll Half Marathon. I ran my first half marathon in 2010.  It was 2 hours and 9 minutes of masochistic fun.  It was hard, but I’m glad I did it, and I’m doing it again next year.
  5. Finding My Legal Niche. I solidified my decision to specialize in intellectual property and internet law this last year.  I’ve enjoyed so many of my classes in this area: Intellectual Property, Cyberspace Law, High Tech Licensing, Copyright, Trademark Law, and Privacy.  I’m looking forward to working with entrepreneurs through ASU’s Innovation Advancement Program next semester.

I had many firsts in 2010:

  • First internship at a big law firm
  • First internship with an in-house legal department
  • First half marathon
  • First trip to Ohio
  • First California roll (eww)
  • First guest appearance on a podcast
  • First painted toenails
  • First paintball game
  • First talk on a legal topic at a conference
  • First trip to the Firefly Room in the Phoenix Art Museum

I am excited for what’s to come in 2011.

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