Q&A with Lawyernomics 2018 keynote speakers: Dan Abrams and Wendy Davis

Lawyernomics 2018 is set to feature a multitude of industry leaders, peers, and legal marketing experts – working together to educate and advance how attorneys can further manage and grow their practice.

This includes keynote sessions from two of our speakers – Dan Abrams, Chief Legal Affairs Anchor at ABC News, and Wendy Davis, Deeds Not Words Founder, and Former Texas State Senator. We sat down with them to learn more about their experiences and the advice they have for others in the legal industry.

Read the Q&A below.

Q: Dan, when did you realize you wanted to combine law and broadcast TV? 

A: Dan Abrams: I was the anchor of my college news show (at Duke) so I had always been interested in journalism, but also really liked the law. When I found out about Court TV, I found a place where I could do both.

Q: Wendy, what inspired you to create your foundation Deeds Not Words?

A: Wendy Davis: There are so many women, particularly young women, looking for a way to make a difference in the world. I have the benefit of years of experience and I hope to use that to continue providing other women with a path to use their voices effectively. We inform, engage and train women about how to be participate in making the change that they want to see in the world. And we are unapologetic about centering our work around the need for gender equity.

Q: Today, there are many complex issues in the headlines – from immigration to tax changes to other policies that affect the lives of many Americans from a legal perspective. What can lawyers do to help people through these complicated matters? 

A: Dan Abrams: Lawyers can help explain, in a clear and concise way, why these sometimes complicated issues aren’t as black and white as politicians would have us believe

A: Wendy Davis: Lawyers bring an unparalleled capacity to analyze complex issues and to break them down for their clients and others who may seek their advice.  Helping to break through the morass of what these laws mean in all of our lives is essential to providing people with the ability to increase understanding, which leads to the ability to stake out informed policy positions.  In today’s socially conscious backdrop, helping clients to cut through politicized filters which often are the way we receive information on policy, is key.  In my experience, clients are looking for someone who helps them to objectively understand the impact of proposed laws on their businesses and their lives.  And they very much want it to be free of the left vs. right pundit perspectives.

Q: What advice would you give to young lawyers or people considering getting a law degree? To veteran lawyers who have been practicing for decades? 

A: Dan Abrams: Only go to law school if you want to be a lawyer. There are too many interesting opportunities for young people these days and wasting three years just to beef up your resume is, in my view, a mistake.

A: Wendy Davis: I have always believed that getting my law degree was one of the wisest things I’ve ever done.  I have practiced law on and off since graduating from law school, which has been a key way of supporting myself through a long political career.  But more importantly, I’ve used the analytical skills and understanding of the development of legal civil rights repeatedly throughout my public service.  I always tell young people who are considering law school that they will not regret gaining the skills that a law degree provides.  For those veterans who have been practicing for decades, I would encourage them to consider whether they are using their degree, whether for compensation or pro bono, in a way that creates the kind of impact they hope to make in the world.  If not, consider how you might use your legal skills to do that.  Maybe that means spending time advising people who are looking to take proactive advocacy steps how they might best do that.  Lawyers, obviously, are trained advocates.  Sometimes we can help others who want to be more effective in turning their passion into effective advocacy.

Q: What’s the best advice you’ve received in your career? 

A: Dan Abrams: Don’t take yourself too seriously.

A: Wendy Davis: The best advice I’ve gotten has come simply from watching the people I admire.  These are people who have always modeled the ideal that we should remain authentic and true to our core beliefs in all that we do.

Want to hear Dan Abrams and Wendy Davis’ keynote sessions in person? Join us at Lawyernomics 2018 at The Venetian in Las Vegas May 21 – 23. Register below