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.


DocketAlarm Follows Court Dockets So You Don’t Have To

One of our biggest problems with law is not that we lack information – it is that we have far too much of it. Take, for example, PACER. PACER is an unwieldy behemoth that exists, seemingly, to frustrate lawyers immensely with its pre-21st century interface . However, once you have managed to adapt to technology from […]


Legal Marketing: Now with Sprinkles

It is tough out there for all of us. We need to keep thinking of new ways to attract — and keep — clients while managing not to run afoul of the thicket of ethical rules governing lawyer advertising. Most new questions, it seems, revolve around new-fangled things like soliciting clients via text message. But down in […]


Send Your Snail Mail to the Cloud

The United States Postal Service is a remarkably efficient, albeit spectacularly unprofitable, piece of work. It is available to everyone, relatively cheap, accessible from a spectacularly wide variety of locations, and they bring the J. Crew catalog right to your house. However, there remain two incontrovertible downsides: First, you have to actually go to a post […]


Want A Job? Move To North Dakota

We have known for a while that there is a serious maldistribution of legal resources out there. That is a fancy way of saying that lawyers clump in urban, suburban, and exurban areas while rural areas have far fewer attorneys. Looking for jobs in rural areas makes sense, particularly because rural generalist attorneys are retiring. In […]


Want To First Chair A Trial? Be A Man.

From the Department Of Why Isn’t This Getting Any Better, we have yet another study about a ridiculous inequity in the legal profession. No, it isn’t about how we suck at diversity generally, though we do. No, this time it is that for all we think women are gaining some sort of equitable status in the profession, […]


Hercules Ceases His Labors

Last Thursday, Judge Richard G. Kopf of the United States District Court, District of Nebraska, announced he would cease blogging at “Hercules and the umpire,” the personal — and popular — blog he had maintained for over two years. Though Kopf (rightly) took heat for his weird “I’m a dirty old man so let me […]


If You’re Going to Harass the Court On Social Media, Tell the Truth

You already know that social media use can be a confusing minefield for attorneys, and making the right decision can involve weighing a complex matrix of factors. Should you friend the opposing side’s witnesses as you are prepping for a jury trial in the hopes you get a peek at their postings? (Probably not). Should […]


VPNs to Avoid Until they Plug Their Leaks

You know that here at Lawyerist, we are all about encouraging you to safeguard your data, and one of the ways to do that is to make sure you use a virtual private network (VPN) when you are using the coffee shop’s wi-fi connection. VPNs function in a few different ways, but at root they […]


7 Google Docs Add-Ons You Should Try

In the past, we have covered some alternatives to Microsoft Word, including Google Docs. For quite some time now, Google Docs has done a lot of things exactly right. Easy collaboration, compatibility with a wide variety of formats, cloud-based, free. However, Docs has also lacked some things that are often necessary for a law practice, […]


LegalPad Is Medium, for Lawyers

A few months ago, we wrote about Casetext, a nifty little platform that seeks to essentially democratize/wiki-fy/open source the law, allowing users to annotate cases and share comments. Casetext recently expanded on that open source idea and launched LegalPad, which is WAY cooler. LegalPad is basically the legal equivalent to Medium. However,where Medium is a publishing […]


Fountain Pens for the Obsessed

Once you get to the pens in this range, you have clearly succumbed to the allure of fountain pens.


Everyone Is Losing Interest In Law School

Law school admissions continue to tank. If this seems like something you have seen before, it is because we have covered it time and time again since 2012. The most recent figures from LSAC show that applicants for Fall 2015 are down 2.5% and law school applications are down 4.6%. I realize at first glance that […]


Income-Based Repayment Is A Trap!

If you are a recent law school grad, you may have taken advantage of some student loan repayment plans that are slightly less awful than normal student loan repayment plans. You pay a fixed percentage of your (probably regrettably more meager than you would like) discretionary income and at the end of 20 to 25 […]


Second Circuit Might Decide Doc Review Is Basically Like Cleaning Toilets

If you have been subsisting on document review jobs, you probably have many fears. Chief among them: “can robots do my job instead?” and “how on earth can I make a living doing this?” The Second Circuit may have both good news and bad news for you. The good news: you might be eligible for […]


Stop Using An Email Signature

Internet denizens, we came so close to getting rid of clunky sign-offs to our written communication. Email was supposed to be deliberately informal and was not going to mimic our culturally-ingrained letter-sending formalities. When e-mail first entered the office in the 1990s, most users wanted to abandon the formalities of letter writing altogether, so they omitted signoffs. […]