The late, great James Stockdale put it best: Who am I? Why am I here?

You’re probably wondering the same thing as you read a Monday post from the heretofore “Thursday morning guy.” Well, I’m pleased to announce that I am your new ATL assistant editor. Moving on up from humble contributor to a spot on the masthead.

I will cover all manner of subjects, but with a particular eye on legal tech. Basically I’m the Kreiger of the ISIS operation that is ATL.

And yes, I’m going to be upping the Archer references at this publication because Archer is awesome.

More about me, including a real picture and my résumé for your crippling judgment, after the jump.

The consequences of my life are quite inconsequential.

I lived a bunch of places in the Midwest before finally settling in Oregon. I grew up just outside of Portland watching with alarm as hipsterism invaded the town.

After graduating from Nike University (Go Ducks!) I picked up and moved cross-country to pick up a J.D. from NYU in 2001. At least I’m pretty sure I got my J.D.; I spent most of those years at the bar down the street.

My decision to go to law school went down pretty much like John Cusack’s decision to become a hitman in Grosse Pointe Blank, when he explained that his whole career path was chosen because he took a test. Just instead of a service exam I got hooked by the LSAT. As a directionless student entering his final term at Oregon I took a test and said, “Hey, I got a good score on this… certainly I should go to law school.”

After law school I worked at Cleary Gottlieb for a spell before joining Lankler Siffert & Wohl. Over a decade of litigatin’. I did my share of white-collar defense, trademark, private securities cases… I even represented the United Nations.

But I looked at my nest egg, and more importantly my loans, and realized that I didn’t really need to live from Wells notice to Wells notice anymore. So I started writing. I did some college basketball writing, but I’ve mostly been writing about political rhetoric.

“Hey, it’s Joe!”

Oh, this is a good time to throw in that on the side I’m a debate coach at West Point. And I’ve got a couple of honest to goodness Army medals for my work. And I definitely know people who can kill you with their bare hands. Not that it should deter y’all from honestly trolling me in the comments.

And then I started contributing to ATL on the side, writing random stuff once a week. I thought of myself as a “Minister Without Portfolio” writing about whatever struck my fancy and I realized I loved covering my old profession. And I enjoyed getting reactions from the commenters too.

My favorite comment so far came on my very first post:

Joe Patrice = Joe Francis’ dumber brother?

I don’t even know what to think about it. Besides demonstrating a gross misunderstanding of modern American naming conventions, I can’t even think of this as an insult. I mean, the morality of his profession aside, the guy made millions in the previously untapped, “get 20 year olds to take off their shirts” industry. So it seems to me like the comparison suggests that I’m pretty clever.

So feel free to drop me a line at joe@abovethelaw if you want to chat. I tweet occasionally from @recessappt too.


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