Flyover Territory

Ed. note: This is a new column from a person who didn’t just go from Biglaw to a smaller office, he went from big bad New York City to someplace where they care about the Big Ten network. It’s a different client roster and a different life.

As promised, the topic of this column is the difference in client service when you move to a smaller regional firm. First things first: I see from the comments on my last article that many of you are curious about the clients I represent here in Real America. Apparently it is very hard for some of you to believe that the types of clients that you have on the coasts also exist here in the Midwest. Believe it or not, we have banks! We have real estate investment trusts! We have life-science companies! We have parts manufacturers for any number of industries! We have mortgage servicers! We have large retailers with labor and HR issues!

And because these things exist, they need help from attorneys like us….

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Recently, I moved from Washington, D.C. back to Houston, where I’ll be living and working this academic year. The trip involved me, two long-suffering parents (who undoubtedly wonder how they get roped into helping move their 34-year-old daughter cross-country again and again), one elderly greyhound, a minivan, and a 26-foot Penske truck filled within mere cubic inches of its maximum capacity. As you might guess, a veritable multi-day laugh riot of good times ensued. Also, my parents are awesome human beings.

The trek we took wound through Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and, of course, Texas. While making the trip, we drove through the Shenandoah Mountains and at the edge of the Great Smokies. We drove through the piney woods of the Deep South and the swamplands of the Gulf Coast. We heard many accents, none of which match mine, as a Yankee by breeding. I wondered about the logistics of truck stops with coin-operated showers, quietly praying I will never require spare change in order to bathe. I questioned the market for rhinestone-studded denim vests at a gas station. I saw many Waffle Houses. So many Waffle Houses.

Driving through stretches of “flyover country” presents you with people living very different lives than you live. You quickly realize that if you are from urban areas, especially on the coasts, there are massive swaths of America that feel like a foreign country….

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In yesterday’s Quote of the Day, we noted that Dean Susan Poser of the University of Nebraska College of Law took the time to write a letter to the editor of the New York Times to offer a critique of the U.S. News & World Report law school rankings system. Poser claimed that the rankings were biased toward top law schools, allowing schools like her own to “remain little known and undervalued” in the eyes of the general public.

Poser encouraged everyone to examine the state of legal education in flyover land, claiming that a second look might result in surprising findings. Well, we decided to take her advice. We learned that, in addition to boasting an out-of-this-world space law program, the law school is also on the cutting edge of cybersecurity.

Actually, that’s not true at all, because Nebraska Law (along with other parts of the university) just experienced a major security breach of its student information system. If you’re a current or former student, you might want to check and see if your identity has been stolen….

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