Richard and Maya Hsu of The One Page Blog

“Today, with the help of my thirteen year old daughter…”

This is how my former colleague, Richard Hsu, now a partner at Shearman & Sterling starts his “HsuTube” videos on complex transactional legal concepts. We’ve covered Richard before when he and I both worked at the same law firm. We’ve since moved on to new firms, but keep in contact a lot via Twitter. He has a way of presenting information through video that is quite interesting, informative, and unique. Of course, as great as Richard is, his 13 year old daughter, Maya, is really the star of these videos.

Richard recently pointed me to some of the remastered videos that he and Maya recorded. He rented a studio for the videos that came with a lighted backdrop and a translucent board so that Maya could sit down and draw. Even so, he said that it took 8 hours to complete all the drawings and that Maya is probably retiring after this session. Let’s hope not because the finished videos are amazing.

I wondered what he does to get Maya to help him. After all, I’m still trying to get my 13 year old daughter to sing punk rock songs with me… (maybe I can have her draw for me instead!) Richard commented to me that:

The main reason I did these videos was not necessarily to do something that looks corporate or professional, but because it gave me a chance to do something creative with my daughter.

After looking at them, I knew I should share them with our readers for a couple of reasons. First, it is just good information and explains a complex topic in a way that even a law school grad like me can understand (it never really sunk in during law school.) Second, I’m a big fan of people that find creative ways of displaying information. Richard and Maya do that in spades. So, was it all Richard’s idea and concepts on how to display it? Turns out that Maya actually brings a lot to the [drawing] table according to Richard:

A lot of the drawing ideas were her suggestions and it was fun to bounce ideas off her and come up with the final pictures

So, go take a look at the videos below. It might make you want to become a transactional attorney… or, it may inspire you to find unique and creative ways to present your own expertise on a subject. Being able to visualize along with teaching is a great way to make teaching a difficult subject a little easier. Great job Maya… oh, and you did a good job, too, Richard!

IP Assets in an M&A Transaction: http://hsutube.com/ip-assets-m-a/

Assignment in a Change of Control: http://hsutube.com/assign-coc/ (inspired by Mike Kennedy)

Collaborative Development Financing: http://hsutube.com/collab-dev-fin/ (inspired by Mark Kessel)

IP Ownership in a Joint Development: http://hsutube.com/ip-ownership/

Reseller vs. License: http://hsutube.com/reseller-vs-license/

What is the Licensed Property? http://hsutube.com/licensed-prop/

I, Sophia Lisa Salazar, come by my geekness honestly. Born of a math wizard who programmed way before computer classes existed, my sisters are, respectively, a calculus teacher and the other, a patent attorney with an MBA and two engineering degree. Against them, my humble J.D. glitters like pyrite.

So you can only imagine the ambivalent, introverted silences that drop like big globs of gravy after our Christmas dinner has been eaten. The only thing breaking up the energy drain is an adolescent-aged nephew hopped up on sugar aggravating his wannabe-math-Ph.D. brother.

Until I gave the boys my home-made gifts constructed from old ’70s record album featuring the Fifth Dimension. Needless to say, neither of them had heard of the group.

Now, I have mentioned before that I don’t do cable. Instead, I have a dedicated laptop hooked up to my flat screen TV so I can stream Netflix and Hulu. So I YouTubed “One Less Bell to Answer” by the Fifth Dimension.

What ensued was one of the funniest Christmases our family ever had. Realizing the possibilities, my math-aspiring nephew jumped up and shared “Merry Christmath”, followed by hyperactive nephew’s favorite “Funny Cats” video, my mother’s favorite “Hamlet, the mini pig, goes down the stairs”, one sister’s “Extremely Scary Ghost Elevator” video and the other sister’s  obligatory nod to Gangnam Style (although, for the record, she says she can’t stand it). And to round it out, my brother-in-law brought back an oldie-but-goodie from the TV show Who’s Line Is It, the Richard Simmons episode.

And to show we had some class, my oldest nephew turned us on to Spike Jonze’ video of a joint performance by the world-renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma and jookin’ dancer Lil Buck.

We watched about 15 videos in all, laughing, wondering and thinking about this wonderful world that the computer has given us. What better way for a family of mathmeticians and geeks to spend Christmas?

Happy Holidays, everyone.

And with that, I will leave the sound of the 12 Days of Christmath ringing in your ears …

So, stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Two blonde-haired sisters walk into a bar and ask people if they have legal questions in need of answering. Actually, it’s not a joke, although the resulting YouTube channel is very funny. Amy Epstein Feldman (lawyer) and her sister, Robin Epstein (comedy writer) decided to expand their influence from their 2009 book, So Sue Me, Jackass!: Avoiding Legal Pitfalls That Can Come Back to Bite You at Work, at Home, and at Play, by taking their act on the road and going into the Dorian Gray bar in New York City armed with a video camera, Amy’s legal knowledge, and Robin’s comedic charm. The resulting videos are fun to watch, and discuss life-altering legal concepts ranging from dog v mailman cases, to who’s liable if a guy dies from a heart attack during a threesome (spoiler alert: it’s not the other two women.)

“The book is a Q&A about legal issues that people deal with on a daily basis, with chapters on subjects like Employment, Health, Home, Pets, Love Life, Parents, Kids & Death,” Robin Epstein tells me in an email. The book was a great start, but it seems that the sisters wanted more, and seemed to have a similar philosophy to what we refer to around this blog as the three beer solution. (Although, it turns out that Amy’s not a big fan of beer.) Robin explains that she and her sister “are trying to find a new way to reach people, so we now regularly go to a bar in NYC and ask folks if they have legal questions in need of answering.” The results are funny and informative short videos that take a legal question, lay out the facts, sometimes getting opinions from the local members of the bar (that’s actually the drinking establishment they are taping in, not the Bar Association), and then they explain what results a jury actually decided.

There are three current categories:

  • Your Pets for all those legal pitfalls that Fido and Ms. Kittiez can get you into…
  • Your Job including those things you should *absolutely not* do…
  • Bar Examthe surprising world of “just who can you really sue these days?”
If you have a question you’d like them to answer, send them an email at SoSueMeJackass@gmail.com.

Take a quick 41-second introduction from the So Sue Me, Jackass! Sisters and then go have some fun watching as the authors decide that since nobody reads anymore, they needed to go where the people are…  at the bar.

Canadian law firm, Torys, is no stranger to using multimedia to present its annual Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) Trends. Their efforts in making a video podcast of the report even earned them the “Marketing Initiative of the Year” award at the Marketing Partner Forum in January 2007. The video podcasts have been well received by their clients, but Torys took the idea to a higher level this year by creating an animated version of their trends report using white board animation, through the talents of animator Ben Rivers, to enhance the viewer’s experience. Torys animated M&A Trends for 2011 even surpasses our idea we had last year about turning those legal trends surveys into children’s books.

I had a chance to correspond with the voice behind the M&A Trends video, co-leader of Torys’ M&A Practice, Matthew Cockburn, to discuss the details behind the making of the video. I could tell right away from Matt’s responses that he is extremely proud of the video, and loved how Ben Rivers’ artwork brought the subject matter to life. The group of lawyers and marketing professionals at Torys storyboarded the topic and came up with some outlines for Rivers to use along with the recorded audio. “Ben really understood what we were looking for and did a great job,” commented Cockburn.

It seems that the most difficult part of the process was the storyboarding.  Cockburn said that “it took several days to prepare the storyboard and develop the style.” However, once the group settled on the storyboard they wanted to go with, Ben Rivers came into the Toronto office of Torys to create the drawings and shoot the video. So, after days of sweating over the details of the storyboarding, the actual video shooting only took one day.

I asked Matt Cockburn why Torys decided to go with a white board story telling of the M&A trends report, and have they received any feedback from their clients yet. He told me that they had “sent the Trends publication out to our clients and contacts with a link to our M&A Top Trends microsite.” With the 2011 edition being the fifth year of the popular Torys publication, the response from the clients has been very positive. “The feedback has been great. We have had a number of comments from clients telling us how much they enjoyed it. Most of the comments suggest that people thought the video was fresh and engaging.”

The head of Torys Marketing Department, Stuart Wood, must have been thrilled to hear clients say that a law firm’s trends report was “fresh and engaging.” Cockburn gave Wood the credit for coming up with the idea of using a white board animation video to enhance the trends report. It is also helps that Wood’s idea can also be distributed through Torys’ microsite, YouTube, Facebook, iTunes, and even through Torys’ iPhone app. It seems that all Torys is missing is broadcasting this on a local public access station.

The efforts are paying off with a increase in viewers over the previous years’ productions. “At the moment, the total views are over 1200,” Cockburn told me. Not too shabby for a topic like Mergers & Acquisitions trends in the Canadian marketplace. “Ultimately, we would like as many people as possible to read our Trends publication,” continued Cockburn, “we’ll review the metrics to see if the video helps increase interest in the publication and in our M&A practice overall.”

When I asked Matt Cockburn if he had any suggestions for other law firms contemplating doing something like this, he replied firms will “need the content to generate the interest in the first place. As a firm, we have had great success with the Top Trends publication and so this year we gave it a new twist. But we really focus on the content first.”

Finally, I wondered if Torys had any plans to try this again in the future. Cockburn didn’t hesitate in responding with a firm “Yes” on that question. “Yes. We are always looking for new ways to engage with our clients. I think everyone worked well together on a tight timeline and we are very happy with the result. Ben and the rest of the production team were terrific and made the whole exercise a lot of fun.”

Well, enough of the discussion of the video for “M&A: Torys’ Top Trends for 2011,” take a look at if for yourself and see what you think about the “twist” that Torys gave their clients this year. Congratulations to Matt Cockburn, Ben Rivers and Stuart Wood for coming up with a great way to present the M&A Trends this year. I hope we see more of this from Torys (and others) this year.

Three Geeks and a Law Blog: Do We Need 3D?
Sitting here reflecting on the week in news, I am pondering the oncoming new technology: 3D TV.

I must ask: do we really need this?

Like I want to see “Judge Judy” in 3D. Or any of the variations of “CSI” or “Law and Order”–aren’t they grizzly enough? What’s next? 3D videos of our law conferences?

I don’t think anything could enliven some of those CLEs.

Sorry, speaking for myself, I would rather have the opportunity to PhotoShop my photos rather than present myself in all of my 3Ded glory (note: I just made the first, documented use of 3D as a verb).

I mean, really? Do we need 3D TV?

Probably as much as those $300 Prada shoes that I have been keening over. I’m guessing a certain portion of our population is much more excited about the possibilities of 3D. May I interject the phrase “football fanatics”?

I daresay one thing that has yet to be considered is the impact that 3D will have on sports and the ref calls? It is going to get brutal. I can see this train wreck coming and I don’t even watch sports.

Then, of course, you know what’s following on the heels of all of this … 3D internet.

Just what we need: YouTubers 3Ding their every move. Oh, God, save me now.