A Personal Note

This site is the culmination of somewhere between twenty years and eight months of work. I first experienced the alternating thrill and terror of teaching while standing in front of a class of first year law students trying to explain the elements of negligent homicide (mens rea, actus reus, . . . ). It was just an optional review session, and I was only one year their senior, but I was hooked.

Since then I have worked at firms, in-house and even started my own firm. I have come to believe that “simplify, organize, clarify” is just as good a motto for a lawyer as it would be for a closet organizer. Once you have something complicated figured out, write it down plainly, put it in a checklist and share it so everyone has the benefit of your best thinking. Why review an NDA on the fly when using a checklist will make sure you get it right every time? Why hand your engineers a twenty-page open source policy written in Times New Roman when a color-coded chart will suffice?

For most of the last decade I have also had the privilege of teaching a transactional IP course at one of our finest law schools. On the first day of class I usually tell my students that I applied to but was not accepted at their school. “So, not only am I not qualified to teach you, I’m not even qualified to be a student here. But, with that said, here we go!” Yes, here we go! I hope you will join us.

Todd Smithline