Tenzing Norgay (right) and Edmund Hillary after successfully completing the first ascent of Mount Everest at 11.30am, 29 May 1953. Via Wikimedia Commons.

About six months ago, I hopped on a conference call with some colleagues who asked me to deliver the keynote address for the annual convention of the National Docketing Association.*  The people the organizers expected to attend are the professional staffers– mostly non-lawyers– who make sure that those magic litigation machines called “law firms” run efficiently.  In short, they’re the support people in firms and court clerks’ offices who make sure lawyers can be lawyers—and that clients can win– by handling the processes that really don’t have much connection to legal analysis.  Processes that drive lawyers nuts. 
Continue Reading Law firm sherpas

Yeah, they had to submit a customs declaration.

On Saturday (July 20th), we celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of mankind’s giant leap, our footfall on the dusty surface of the moon.  Just about every blogger over the age of forty made mention of it last week or over the weekend.  I didn’t, because as great an achievement as landing on the lunar surface was, the greater goal was achieved at 12:50pm EDT on July 24, 1969.  The men who walked on the moon returned safely to the earth, fulfilling President Kennedy’s mandate to do so.  I am very fortunate to have been born during the Apollo era, and even more fortunate to have grown up during an age when space shots were still awe-inspiring.Continue Reading The Ultimate International Story– and a Call for Heroes

An Alsatian calendar from long ago (it was part of Germany then).  Bibliothèque nationale et universitaire of Strasbourg, via Wikimedia Commons.

Last week, I went on a bit of a rant— my thinking was sparked by a highly informative post by Dan Harris at the China Law Blog, in which he rebooted an older column in Four Essential Principles of Emerging Market Success.  His original (2004) commentary is even more prescient today as manufacturers and investors shift away from China and seek new opportunities in other emerging economies like Vietnam, Turkey, and Indonesia, just to name a trio.  As it turned out, when I read Dan’s update, I had just seen a prospective client walk away from a discussion because he didn’t like the bad news I had to give him.  That news went to the heart of Dan’s thoughts on doing business anywhere abroad, namely: Things will be different. Very different.Continue Reading Things take longer overseas. Get used to it.

NASA photo.

With all the America-First hype swirling about the country, it’s never been more important to remind lawyers that things simply don’t work over there the same way they work here.  Global commerce isn’t going away, folks.  Tariffs notwithstanding, we still need goods from abroad to carry on our daily lives, so it’s still critical to understand the ways in which foreign systems operate.  We still have to sell our stuff abroad, or our economy will collapse in short order.  We still have to get all the K-Pop we can absorb.Continue Reading Things are different overseas. Get used to it.

Charles Evans Whittaker Federal Courthouse, KCMO. Voidxor, via Wikimedia Commons.

I took Civ Pro from a giant.

When I say giant, I mean in the figurative sense, because he’s only 5’7″ or so, but this diminutive fellow remains among the most talented and effective teachers I’ve ever had.  He inspired me to wear bow ties, and illustrated the myriad types of joinder with a shopping bag full of beanie babies (I’m not joking).*  I grasped counterclaims and cross claims and third party claims pretty quickly– about the only things I grasped quickly as a 1L– because of an effective teaching tool.Continue Reading Notice pleading, y’all.

Of all the impactful moments I’ve experienced on overseas CLE programs, one stands out above the rest.  Our group of American lawyers was given a special tour of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (yes, they’ve had one for nearly ten years).  We had visited the main courtroom– complete with an invitation to sit