The /OPEN Project
Lawyers want to help you.
We don’t want to hide the ball.
Welcome to The /OPEN Project, a tour of high-quality free legal resources and a celebration of the wonderful lawyer-creators who make them.
Some lawyers don’t give away anything. Others offer tidbits but keep their best stuff under lock and key until you hire them. Sometimes this comes from a place of fear. But much more often, it just comes from the unavoidable fact that lawyers are busy! Most are so caught up in the day-to-day craziness of their work that they don’t take a step back and appreciate just how much they know and how useful sharing that knowledge could be.
Lawyers committed to giving away their best information for free see it as a chance to be more useful to more people. Are there lots of times you really should hire a lawyer? Of course there are. But there are also situations you can work through on your own with just a little bit of guidance.
My personal contribution to this movement is this small-but-growing library of resources:
Letter of Protest (2020)
Notice of Opposition (2020)
Introduction to Trademarks & Lawyers (15-minute presentation for students) (MP4)
200-Slide Presentation (please feel free to edit!): Keynote; PowerPoint; PDF
Introduction to Trademarks & Social Media (40-minute webinar for professionals) (MP4)
I also have dozens of other videos about brands and trademarks on my YouTube channel
My Conversations about Making Videos & Running a Firm
With Mitch Jackson (November 2020)
With Brian Frye (September 2020)
With Jim Hacking & Tyson Mutrux (August 2020)
With Romesh Hettiarachchi (August 2020)
With Aiden Durham & Stacey Kalamaras (June 2020)
With Alex Cavalieri & Alison Tyler (May 2020)
With Mike Saunders (February 2020)
Law School Outlines
This is the best stuff I have. I will update the trademark templates at least once a year.
I’m not giving these documents away to discourage you from hiring a lawyer. If you can, chances are that you should. I’m giving them away because if you are committed to going at it alone, I really, really don’t want you starting from a blank sheet of paper.
As you’ve probably heard lawyers say by now, every situation is different and there is no such thing as a perfect template. Mine are good, but far from perfect! Starting with something is heck of a lot better than trying to figure everything out from scratch. 🙂
Fellow lawyers: if you see anything here you think could be improved, the best thing you can do is add a /OPEN page to your website and start sharing what you know. But I’m totally open to listening to & potentially incorporating your specific suggestions too.
I love updating this list. If you want to nominate another lawyer-creator who you think should be featured here, just let me know! I’m open to adding anyone who: (1) is a lawyer; (2) has devoted a substantial portion of his or her practice to creating high-quality resources; and (3) has made those resources available online for free with no strings attached.
Check out the current list!
👉 on desktop / 👇 on mobile
Small business-related resources are first; all others are further down the page. Both lists are alphabetical by type of law.
Highlights For New Businesses
SMALL BUSINESS LAW
Aiden Durham’s wildly popular YouTube show All Up In Yo’ Business has been running since 2013. The show’s 150+ episodes provide hundreds of hours of guidance on topics like how to pick an entity type, how to form a company, and how to pay yourself.
Josh Gerben is a trademark lawyer based in Washington, DC. His Trademark University covers the basics of trademark registration and is the place to go for free videos about what a trademark is and how to register one!
Erik Pelton, another DC-based trademark lawyer, has built a deep library of helpful articles and videos over his 20+ years of practice. He also created sofTMware, a free tool that helps you track trademark filings.
Yokum Taku is a longtime partner at legendary Silicon Valley law firm Wilson Sonsini. His long-running blog Startup Company Lawyer now has detailed answers to over 100 questions he has fielded from founders; here’s an index of all of them. His FAQ page is also hilarious.
YOUTUBE & SOCIAL MEDIA LAW
If you run a YouTube channel and have questions about the legal implications of basically anything you’re doing, Miami lawyer Lior Leser has built the perfect video library for you. Get started on his playlists page, where you can find videos about required disclosures, copyright infringement, recording laws, sponsorship, and much, much more.
Other Areas of Law
CRIMINAL LAW (CALIFORNIA)
Neil Shouse has led his firm’s popular YouTube channel since 2011. In that time, his firm has built up quite the impressive collection of easy-to-understand rundowns of all things criminal law: DUIs, concealed carry laws, self-defense laws, and everything in between.
FAMILY LAW (CALIFORNIA)
Erin Levine created Hello Divorce after getting fed up with a system that somehow cost people an average of $20,000. By providing detailed resources about every aspect of the process online for free, she has slashed costs dramatically for thousands of people.
Elaine Martin brings twenty years of immigration law experience to her active and popular YouTube channel. Her playlists page is great place to start if you have questions about green cards, visas, how to become a lawful permanent resident, or anything else immigration-related.
Steve Vondran launched his wide-ranging YouTube channel in 2012 and has uploaded nearly six hundred videos (!) since then. He’s perhaps most famous for his detailed whiteboard breakdowns of complex litigation-related topics. He has also walked the walk on the trademark side, as he owns registrations for LITIGATION WHITEBOARD & ATTORNEY STEVE.
Do you think you could make freight problems interesting? How about interesting enough to support a weekly live talk show? That’s exactly what Cassandra Gaines did! Check her out every Friday afternoon on LinkedIn Live, where she has built a massive audience and brought a ton of free value to people in her industry. And if you’re ever hesitant to put your own content out into the world because you think it’s too niche, think about what she has done as an inspiration!