Thursday, May 13, 2021

Business Development 101 for Attorneys – Plan and Act Now for Clients Tomorrow (May 25, 2021 | 7:00-8:00PM ET)

Too often, young associates do not know where or how to begin developing business and securing a path from associateship to partnership.  Join a round table discussion with experienced attorneys and executive coaches about how to immediately start developing business for your firm or practice.  Speakers and attendees will share their tips, advice, and experiences on actions you can take today to secure business and clients for your firm tomorrow.

The conversation for the evening will be moderated by Steve Feldman, A92, of Murphy &  McGonigle PC. To learn more about our speakers, Susan Ganz, J89, A13P, A23P and Kelli Proia.

This event is open to all students, alumni, parents and friends.


Everyone needs to make their own journey -- Hon. Nancy Atlas, J71

Early on in her legal career, Judge Atlas said that she received fabulous advice that "everyone needs to make their own journey."  During the Tufts Judicial Series program on May 12th featuring Judge Atlas, she shared that advice to attendees.  She also emphasized the importance of returning the practice of law into a profession.  During her practice as an attorney and tenure as a United States District Judge, she explained that she has seen the professionalism of the legal practice diminish into more of a business.  This comes from all perspectives -- client, firm, partner, and associate. 

Our two excellent TLA moderators from Houston, Texas, Jimmy Leo and Laurens Wilkes, asked Judge Atlas about a whole range of topics from her legal career, changes in the law during her practice, diversity, and current conditions responding to the pandemic.  A video of the discussion will be available in a couple of weeks if you missed the program.  

Some of the highlights for me from yesterday's program included:

  • Civil vs. Criminal Cases - Judge Atlas explained that she finds criminal cases very interesting.  She expressed the sense of importance and responsibility in adjudicating those cases. The civil cases, however, are growing increasingly more complex. As an example, she stated that Congress is passing legislation which is hundreds of pages and she is concerned very few of them are reading it.  The legislative history does not provide much assistance so the judiciary is left to interpret it.  
  • Law Clerks - Judge Atlas' preference was to hire law clerks with 1-2 years of legal experience.  She also had a career law clerk which made training and working with the 1 year law clerks more productive. 
  • Diversity in Clerkships and the Profession - Specifically, she mentioned the ABA's Judicial Intern Opportunity Program and the Just the Beginning Foundation as excellent programs.  
  • Mentorship and Training - Judge Atlas is concerned that there is not enough opportunities for more junior attorneys to receive the experience and training of trial practice.  She explained that there is a desire to overturn every stone and an inability to employ the strategic, risk-taking approaches that is inherent in trial practice given the lack of experience. To make a difference on this issue in her courtroom, Judge Atlas imposed a policy that oral argument would be granted if an attorney who has practiced less than seven years presents the oral argument.  She also encouraged co-counsel to present themselves during oral argument when consulted by lead counsel.  
  • Clearing the Civil Case Backlog.  We had a discussion about ways the civil case backlog could be cleared following the pandemic.  Judge Atlas suggested a non-binding summary jury trial with a retired justice (likely followed by a mediation session) as such an ADR method.  Others discussed trials referred to Magistrate Judges to clear the cases.  Interestingly, some districts are permitting counsel to select Magistrate Judges for that purpose.  
We were honored to have our previously featured guest, Judge Andre Birotte, and our next Tufts Judge, Magistrate Judge Steven Locke, attend this program.  Please register for the Judge Locke program scheduled for June 2nd at 6:30PM.   

Contact me (Tom Dunn, TLA President - to learn more about these events or about the TLA in general.  

Monday, May 3, 2021

Tufts Judicial Series -- Hon. Nancy F. Atlas, J71

Join us on May 12th for our next Tufts Judicial Series featuring The Honorable Nancy F. Atlas, Senior United States District Judge, Southern District of Texas.  

After graduating from Tufts in 1971, Judge Atlas had a varied career involving both complex commercial litigation matters and serving as an Assistant United States Attorney.  

Judge Atlas was appointed to the bench in 1995, sitting in Houston, Texas, While on the bench, Judge Atlas has been active in the ABA and its Section of Litigation in various leadership roles and on numerous CLE programs.  She co-founded the Atlas Intellectual Property Inn of Court in Houston.  She also served on the Committee on Judicial Security of the U.S. Judicial Conference from 2005 to 2015, and chaired the Committee from 2010 to 2015.  

The event will be co-moderated by Leo J. Leo III, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Southern District of Texas and J. Laurens Wilkes, Jones Day.  Both moderators are TLA members based in Houston, Texas!   

We hope to see you on May 12th at 5PM CT / 6PM ET.  If you have any questions about this event, feel free to contact me (Tom Dunn, TLA President,  



Results from TLA's Trivia Night

We had a blast last week during the first TLA Trivia Night.  The event lasted nearly two hours with seven rounds of trivia.  The teams were:

  • Smarty Pints
  • Law and Order
  • Better Call Sol Gittleman
  • Paper Chase and 
  • Suits and Scrubs
I am pleased to announce that the top alumni team was Law and Order.  Members of that team were:

Congratulations to our winners!   

Thanks to Aime Macdonald and Melissa John for coordinating this fun event.  Contact me (Tom Dunn, rtdunn@Pierce to learn more about the TLA!

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Two Yoots, You Can't Handle The Truth, Gideon's Trumpet . . . TUFTS TRIVIA NIGHT APRIL 29TH (Free Event)!

TLA has been blessed with an amazing series of programs this year featuring Tufts Judges, confronting racial disparities, and guiding our law student members on what law school doesn't teach.  

TLA's New England Steering Committee wanted to change things up a bit and schedule a Legal Trivia Night to have some fun and get to know each other.  The trivia night is scheduled for Thursday, April 29th at 7PM ET.  It will be led by the experienced online trivia team at Geeks Who Drink and I understand it will focus on legal trivia.  

The event is open to all so please join us for this complementary event!  



Questions/Comments: Contact TLA President, Tom Dunn, A00 at

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Keep on Swinging!

Judge Andre Birotte, U.S. District Court Judge for the Central District of California, charmed the 40+ TLA members and guests during the April 7, 2021 Tufts Judicial Series virtual event.  He was candid, energetic, and inspirational with his comments and advice to TLA members.  I am sure I am not the only one who was proud to call him a fellow Jumbo!  

TLA moderators, Lori Liu and Soo Park, asked Judge Birotte a wide range of questions from his time at Tufts, his decision to venture across the country to attend law school in California (from New Jersey after Tufts), his first positions in private practice, his service as a defense lawyer, U.S. Attorney, inspector general, and finally as a U.S. District Court Judge.  Judge Birotte brought both humor and seriousness to his answers for a memorable program.  

Just a few takeaways for me included:

  • Importance of different backgrounds to serve in all aspects of the judicial branch of government.  Judge Birotte expressed his strong belief that it is important to have as many different backgrounds and perspectives serving in all positions of the judicial system -- judges, prosecutors, public defense attorneys.This includes representation in all aspects including gender, race, and other experiences.  He said judgment is critical in the criminal justice system and having the divergent perspectives aids in the best outcome.  He noted that there is recent discussion from President Biden that in his judicial appointments he is looking to diversify the federal judiciary and, in so explaining what he meant, he identified considering federal public defenders (which are unrepresented on the bench at present).   
  • Criminal sentencing.  Judge Birotte expressed the sense of responsibility he feels when he issues a criminal sentence. That is one of the most challenging parts of being a Judge.  
  • Developing skills of junior attorneys.  Judge Birotte explained he has a standing order whereby oral argument will be granted to parties if counsel commits to having a more junior attorney argue a motion before him.  This is to encourage opportunities for younger and junior attorneys.  He also talked about the strong bond he has with his externs and clerks.  He encouraged those interested in clerkships to "spread the net widely" and be flexible regarding locations to obtain the clerkship experience.  
Finally, throughout his remarks, one theme was to keep on swinging for opportunities.  Judge Birotte expressed all attorneys should be deliberate about seeking out opportunities and to be energetic and purposeful about making it known that you are available to assist.  Judge Birotte's work ethic produced the success story of his diverse and interesting career path.  Thank you to Judge Birotte for sharing your story with us.  

If you missed the April 7 program, we recorded it and it will be available in a few weeks.  I will post it on this website for all to view.  

TLA President

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

TLA's Opt-In Directory -- sign-up and/or update your information by April 16th

We plan to update TLA's opt-in directory every quarter.  If you have not already signed up for our directory or your information has changed, please do so by Friday April 16th.  

Our objective of this directory is to create a resource for TLA members for referrals and/or expanding their network.  The directory is published on TLA's webpage and available to the public at large.  It is a way to show your support and membership in the Tufts Lawyers Association.  

Contact me to learn more about the directory and TLA.

Tom Dunn, A00

TLA President