Hosting “Networking Events” Brian Tannebaum Style, And Why I Don’t Bring Business Cards

May 29, 2015

“Do you know any lawyers who specialize in cat law? My food bowl has been empty for 20 minutes. The squirrels in the back yard think I have a good case.”

My friend Brian Tannebaum wrote a book called The Practice. You should read it. The Practice is the most relevant book about growing a law practice since Jay Foonberg‘s “How to Start and Grow a Law Practice.” The two books should really go hand in hand. Foonberg’s is about starting a practice, Brian’s book is about sustaining one. One of the key concepts Tannebaum stresses is the importance of relationships.

That said, I generally avoid anything called a “networking event” like the plague. Why? It’s a waste of time. You walk up to random people, have a two second conversation, and exchange cards. A few days later, I reach into my pocket, find a card, and think to myself “Who is this person again?” Then I throw it out.

They’re also not all that fun. Nothing is more annoying than the guy who approaches me and says “Hi, I’m John. I handle DUIs. If you get any DUI work in, I’d be happy to handle them for you, and pay you a referral fee! Check out my website!”

I think to myself, “I’ve never seen you in a courtroom, or any of your work. Why would I tell my friends, family, and clients to hire you? Because you asked me to, and have a cool card on heavy stock? Not gonna happen.”

I’d rather go to Crossfit. Even if I don’t get any business from it that day, at least I got a good workout.

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How Pickup Artistry Evolved Into A Masculinity Movement and Philosophy

May 23, 2015

I was a philosophy major in college. I remember the day I told my grandfather, an engineer, that I was majoring in philosophy. The next morning we were eating breakfast and he handed me the newspaper. Typical of his laconic wit, he said: “Jordan, I appreciate your decision to major in philosophy. But it seems the philosophy firms aren’t hiring at the moment…”

I still get a chuckle from our interaction. But I do not regret majoring in philosophy for a second. Philosophical treatises opened my mind and inspired me. I find my classical philosophical background to be more practical than one would imagine, and I continue to study classical philosophy and apply the principles to my everyday life as a trial attorney.

For thousands of years, wise men wrote about topics like ethics, virtue, and even the death of God. Plato taught the wisdom of Socrates through dialogues and conversations with other people. Aristotle wrote to identify natural order in the world. Marcus Aurelius wrote his Meditations as a source for his own guidance and self-improvement. Plutarch wrote about the lives of Spartans. Augustine taught us how to learn. Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus made us question the point of our existence.

Ultimately, many philosophers put their thoughts into working philosophies, such as objectivism, metaphysicsutilitarianism, etc. Aristotelian ethics is a philosophy developed on how humans should live best.

Working philosophies had a profound impact on the development of society.

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Bad Things Happen When Lawyers Stop Representing Clients, and Start Representing Causes – John Blaha Ordered to Pay Rightscorp Attorney’s Fees

May 10, 2015

An interesting development in the world of copyright litigation, as rights holders secured a major victory in California on Friday. A court has ordered Morgan Pietz’s client in John Blaha v. Rightscorp to pay attorney’s fees due to a successful anti-SLAPP motion filed by the defendants. It raises ethical issues about using clients to try and further an anti-copyright law agenda, and drum up business.

A little bit of background…

Rightscorp is an anti-piracy corporation. It monitors BitTorrent usage, and then sends out notices to pirates who are stealing and distributing copyrighted content. From there, the company requests that pirates stop stealing the content, and pay the rights holder a reasonable fee of about $20. In this instance, Rightscorp was contacting people who stole and distributed films like The Shawshank Redemption and The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, two of my favorite movies. Notably, Lord of the Rings is available on Amazon.com for $9.99, and Shawshank Redemption is available for the same price. If you’re that hard up for cash but really want to watch the movies, you can even rent them for a whopping $2.99.

Surprisingly, people routinely steal movies using BitTorrent, even though they are available for immediate purchase on Amazon and iTunes. People on the internet say it’s unfair when they get caught and sent a notice from Rightscorp, or sued. Of course, if you were caught stealing the same movie in Target, you would be arrested, prosecuted, forced to spend a lot of money on lawyer fees and restitution, and then at the end of the day you would have a criminal record for the rest of your life. So in the grand scheme of things, Rightscorp’s approach seems pretty reasonable.

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