Lisa Needham

Lisa Needham

Lisa Needham teaches legal writing and skills courses at William Mitchell, is the Editor-in-Chief of Bitter Lawyer and Bitter Empire, and still believes in the Oxford comma.


Can Big Data Increase Access to Justice?

We have talked about how legal tech often focuses on the wrong problems and that one of the things we should be doing is working to better access and wrangle big data. We have also discussed, again and again and again, how to close the access to justice gap. One legal aid organization in Maryland – the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers […]


New Study Confirms One Third of Lawyers Have a Problem with Alcohol

Everyone knows the hoary old Paper Chase quote that law professors used to always trot out, right? “Look to your left, look to your right, because one of you won’t be here by the end of the year.” I do not think law schools see one third of their students dropping or flunking out any […]


6 Terrible Lawyer Tattoos

You may think getting a lawyer tattoo is a good. Think again, unless you would like to contribute to this fantastic list.


Have Some Security Risks with Your Appellate Filing

As if electronic filing in the federal court system weren’t bad enough, it’s about to get less secure as well. In order to e-file in the federal appellate circuits, you must go through the Case Management/Electronic Case Files System (CM/ECF), the nemesis of so many lawyers. And in order to use the appellate CM/ECF, you have to be […]


Sexism = Sanctions

From the fact that women argue a miniscule amount of SCOTUS cases to the persistent pay gap to the depressingly small number of female equity partners, we all know that the law profession can be terrible for women. Perhaps that is why seeing a resounding benchslap directed at a sexist attorney is so satisfying. It isn’t uncommon […]


If An Online Review Is Libelous, You May Be Able To Collect Damages

Being a lawyer in the Yelp/Avvo era can be tough. People get to review your services online and, while some of those may be honest (and perhaps chock full of praise!) some of them are just venting by an unhappy client. Usually, there is nothing to be done. People throw up some anonymous hate and […]

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First Look: Zola Law Practice Management Software

if aesthetics and productivity hacks appeal to you, you will likely enjoy the clean interface and the relatively low cost of Zola.


Open Source “Baby Blue” Project Could Finally Kill the Bluebook

Last year, we speculated about whether we might soon see an open-source Bluebook, as the folks that publish it had forgotten to renew the copyright on an older edition, which opened the door to a free electronic version.1 It looks like that will soon be a reality. The latest turn came this month when open-records activist […]


Judge Smacked Down for Smacking a Public Defender

About 18 months ago, Brevard County, Florida, Judge John C. Murphy decided it was a great idea to verbally threaten a public defender and then double down and helpfully offer to “beat his *ss.” Better still, it is all on video. In case you didn’t feel like sitting through a grainy video, here’s what happened […]


You Probably Should Not Live-Tweet a Trial You Are Watching

If you are a law firm partner, blogger, and tweeter of law-related things, it probably behooves you to pay attention to things like whether a court is allowing pictures on any given day. And you really should think about what you throw on your Twitter feed when you are hanging out on the courtroom. Witness the […]


Legal Tech is Solving All the Wrong Problems

Law has a tech problem. No, I am not talking about how we are a bunch of Luddites. Rather, I am talking about the idea that we seem unable to figure out how to leverage technology for the greater ease of the profession.


A Firm Finally Passed The Legal Tech Audit

Last year, we wrote about the Legal Tech Audit (LTA), a test designed to examine whether attorneys were competent in working with basic Windows-based technology tools like PDF, Word documents, and Excel spreadsheets. Spoiler alert: lawyers were utterly awful and failed the thing left and right. Full disclosure alert: I failed the thing left and […]


How To Encrypt Attorney-Client Communications

The ABA, your clients, and peers are demanding encrypted communications; Now is a good time to get onboard.


What More Do We Need to Say About Law’s Diversity Problem?

Were you wondering if the legal profession was still utterly abysmal on diversity issues? Wonder no more, because the Ninth Annual Survey by the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) makes clear that we still are, at least as far as BigLaw is concerned. NAWL asked the 200 largest firms to provide diversity metrics. 73 firms […]