July 01, 2010
About Dan Hull
What About Clients? is a weblog, or "blog", which contains ideas and news on servicing business clients as valued customers in law firms all over the world. I started WAC? in late 2005 because (1) the level of service at even the best global law firms is often inattentive and erratic, and (2) even where the service is sound, it can still be a lot better. See The First Post.
I am a member of the California, District of Columbia, Maryland and Pennsylvania bars. A litigator and lobbyist, I have life-long ties to the Washington, D.C. legal, regulatory and government communities, and equally close ties to lawyers in Europe, Latin America and, increasingly, Greater China. I practice in the areas of complex business litigation (primarily U.S. federal courts, "American" ADR, and international arbitrations abroad), environmental law, IP, employment practices and legislative affairs.
I've tried over 50 court cases to verdict, nearly all jury actions representing defendant companies in federal courts, and prevented even more cases from ever being filed. While I love litigation, it's expensive, and nearly always overdone. Lawyers need to do more to stop or minimize business disputes that waste client time and money, and keep clients from doing business; we need to stop treating clients like they are "the equipment" needed for a game.
I write when I can about customer service, business litigation, natural resources law, IP, the American legal profession, the American judiciary and the cultural aspects of international law practice. I'm a popular speaker on these topics. "Funny, infuriating, blunt, irreverent, not-PC, honest, plain-speaking, instructive, ultra-articulate", some say. You have to pay, though. It's expensive--but fair. People like to have me before their groups. The format can vary.
U.S. Federal courts. But I'd rather just practice law. In addition to trying a wide variety of court, and administrative, litigation in both purely commercial and regulatory disputes, I've developed, contributed to, or written briefs for arguments in over ten U.S. Supreme Court cases, and briefed or argued in appellate cases in all but three U.S. federal circuits. The approximately 1000 federal judges--the majority are trial judges in the district courts--are appointed based on merit. Frankly, they are more efficient and talented than their state counterparts.
State Courts in America. Hull McGuire has been successful in state-level proceedings from jury trials to administrative proceedings in over thirty-five U.S. states. However, we attempt--in all our practice areas--to steer clients away from state forums, especially state trial courts (with the notable exception of corporate tax disputes). Unfortunately, state courts, generally speaking, are mediocre and a far greater waste of client time and resources than are federal courts for established national or multinational companies which work nationally or globally. While many state court judges are highly talented, their courts, and juries picked in them, are county-based, and often therefore more local or provincial than federal courts. Most of the elected judges, moreover, are simply not that effective.
This is all simply the truth--and we wish that people would talk about this reality openly and more often.
A plug for modern state courts. Despite some shining pockets of judicial talent, we consider those state court systems in America with popularly-elected trial or appellate judges--a majority of states still have them--to be a national drain and embarrassment of the first order. We hope that all such states transform their systems to merit-based selection in the next decade.
The clients are businesses my firm and I represent on a repeating basis throughout the Americas and Europe. We take on only two or three new higher-end clients per year--typically Fortune 500 or publicly-traded companies formerly represented by much larger law firms--which need attentive help in litigation, international business law, taxation, securities, IP, telecommunications, environmental law, employment practices or legislative affairs (lobbying).
Since 1992, we've worked all over the U.S., and abroad. We charge by the hour. We compete with other law firms on legal outcomes and service--not on price. Fifteen years ago, an in-house counsel of a Fortune 500 company called my firm, Hull McGuire, a "muscle boutique". The term stuck. That's a fair description of who we are and what we do.
More Interesting Stuff
In recent years, Hull McGuire has worked to help established writers and authors turn their fiction and non-fiction works into feature films by production companies and studios in California and New York.
A Procter & Gamble brat, I was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Maryland, Michigan, Illinois and Ohio. I attended Cincinnati's consistently excellent and well-regarded Indian Hill High School, where I was Senior Class President and an Eagle Scout. The students and faculty at IHHS--like Duke University after it--changed my life in ways too numerous and wonderful to mention. At Duke, I was a reporter and later an associate editor of The Chronicle, Duke's daily newspaper, and also a student representative of the Duke Board of Trustees. During my last academic year in college, I worked as an intern in health and environmental policy for a Wisconsin Senator (D-Wis.) in Washington, D.C. (93rd Congress) as part of course work at (and a grant from) Duke's Public Policy Institute. At the University of Cincinnati's College of Law, I was a student articles editor of the Law Review, and won some awards for writing. During my second year at UC Law, I saw my first two professional feature articles--one a cover article--published with the Sunday magazine of a major Ohio newspaper.
After law school, I worked again at the U.S. Congress, this time in the House as a legislative assistant to a U.S. Representative (R-Ohio), in the areas of energy and environment (95th, 96th Congresses). Later I joined the Washington, D.C. office of the now-defunct Rose, Schmidt, & Dixon as an associate and, eventually, a partner in the firm's litigation and environmental law groups. On St. Patrick's Day in 1992, Julie McGuire, a well-known and internationally respected corporate tax and transactional attorney based in Pittsburgh, and I founded Hull McGuire PC. We have offices in Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, and San Diego. For some time now, I have been listed in Who's Who In America, Who's Who In The Law--and other publications with similar-sounding names that may or not mean that much that.
I travel in my work--mainly Europe, Latin America and all over the U.S. Since 1997, I've been very active in building both international and domestic networks for the benefit of our clients, my firm and other law firms. I have chaired, moderated or served as a speaker in conferences of the International Business Law Consortium in England, Wales, the U.S., Germany, Austria, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Hungary, Canada, Mexico and Argentina. Together with Julie McGuire, I am a mainstay of the IBLC's Business Development Group, a member of the International Bar Association and one of the first members of the Congress of Fellows of The Center for International Legal Studies in Salzburg, Austria.
I am also Co-General Editor, together with Dr. Hans-Joseph ("Hanjo") Vogel, a German international lawyer who speaks American English better than Bill Buckley or Bill Clinton, of the IBLC publication International Directory of Corporate Symbols and Terms (IBLC 2003) by the Member Firms of the IBLC, which is available through Mr. Vogel or the IBLC in Salzburg.
Locally, in San Diego, between 1998 and 2004, I was an active member or officer of the Rancho Bernardo Planning Board, a land use and zoning board chartered by the City and County of San Diego, and serving a community of 45,000. In 2004, I was a primary fundraiser in San Diego for Wesley Clark For President, and was elected a Clark delegate to the Democratic National Convention (which of course lasted for about a week).
I live mainly in Rancho Bernardo, California. I'm interested in U.S politics, the workings of the new European Parliament, the histories of England and France, Ellen Bry, Parker Posey, Sarah Silverman, Annabeth Gish, travel, running, fishing and airports that make sense.
Posted by JD Hull at July 1, 2010 11:00 AM