The Global Litigation Powerhouse – John B. Quinn – S6E17

Imagine founding a firm that’s branded a ‘global litigation powerhouse’ by none other than The Wall Street Journal, as well as being the 2nd most profitable law firm in the world…

This week, we’re kicking off 2023 with a real BANG, having had the opportunity to chat with ”legendary first-chair litigator” John B. Quinn!

John is extremely well-known in his field and has been named a ‘legal titan’ and ‘known litigation genius’ in the industry. John founded Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, the largest law firm in the world devoted solely to business litigation and arbitration, and is regarded as one of the top trial lawyers in the world too.

John is ranked Band 1 by Chambers USA for General Commercial and Trial Litigation in California and Nationwide. John’s history reaches as far as having served as the General Counsel to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for 33 years, establishing copyright protection over the world-famous ‘Oscar’ statuette.

Aside from his super busy career, In 2016, John opened the Museum of Broken Relationships and is the co-owner of Q SUSHI, the only omakase Michelin-starred sushi restaurant in Los Angeles.

𝐒𝐨, 𝐰𝐡𝐲 𝐞𝐥𝐬𝐞 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐛𝐞 𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐧?

You can hear our Rob and John talk about all things:

  • How to grow a law firm on a worldwide scale
  • Why lawyers should have a choice to work remotely or in the office
  • The roles and responsibilities of a General Counsel to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  • Managing pressure as “one of the nation’s most fearless litigators”
  • Developments in American law with regard to NFTs and cryptocurrency
  • Managing work-life balance


00:08 Rob Hanna:

Welcome to the Legally Speaking Podcast. You are now listening to Season 6 of the show. I’m your host Rob Hanna. This week I’m delighted to be joined by the wonderful John Quinn. John is the Founder and Chairman of Quinn Emanuel. The firm founded in 1986, has been described as a global litigation powerhouse by The Wall Street Journal and the 2nd most profitable law firm in the world by the American Lawyer. John is a ‘legal titan’ and ‘known litigation genius’, is ranked Band 1 by Chambers USA for general commercial and trial litigation in California and nationwide. He is 1 of the top trial lawyers in the world. Awarded California Attorney of the Year 2009, John is a twice named ‘Transatlantic Law Firm Leader of the Year. He served as General Counsel to the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences for 33 years, establishing copyright protection over the famous Oscar statuette. In 2016, he opened the Museum of the Broken Relationships and is the Co-Founder of Q Sushi, the one and only Michelin star sushi restaurant in Los Angeles. Wow. So a very, very warm welcome, John.

01:21 John Quinn:

Rob. I don’t know, was that me? That was over the top.

01:24 Rob Hanna:

Absolutely huge.

01:25 John Quinn:

It’s great to be here, thank you. Thank you very much.  

01:27 Rob Hanna:

It’s an absolute honour to have you on the show. Before we dive into all of your wisdom and experiences to date, we do have a cheeky icebreaker question here on Legally Speaking Podcast, which is, on the scale of 1 to 10, 10 being very real, what would you rate the hit TV series Suits, in terms of its reality, if you’ve seen it?

01:50 John Quinn:

Wow, I haven’t seen it. Is it any good? I honestly haven’t seen this. I actually honestly have not seen this show. I’m sorry.

01:58 Rob Hanna:

No, based on that you can give it a 0 because it’d be unfair of you to give it any other if you haven’t seen it and let’s move swiftly on.

02:06 John Quinn:

Yeah, I’m sorry I haven’t.

02:07 Rob Hanna:

No worries. You’ve been busy being very successful and carving out a wonderful career which what we’re talking about today. So John, would you mind just telling our listeners a bit about your your background and your upbringing, personally?

02:20 John Quinn:

Well, I mean, I, you know, I’m originally from Utah, a small town called Bountiful, just halfway between Salt Lake City and Ogden, and I graduated from high school there when I was 18 years old, went to college in Southern Utah, at what’s now called Claremont McKenna College, 1 of the Claremont Colleges about 30 miles east of LA. And then I went to law school back at Harvard Law School, had my first job in New York at Cravath Swaine & Moore. I was there for about 2 and a half years, moved to LA, bounced around a little bit before finally got it right and started Quinn Emanuel, January 1986.

02:58 Rob Hanna:

And 1986 is also an amazing year, because it’s the year I was born John.

03:00 John Quinn:

Oh yeah, great things happened, great things.  

03:05 Rob Hanna:

Absolutely. So let’s break it down a little bit and unpack it. So you studied at Harvard, when did your interest in litigation begin?

03:12 John Quinn:

Well, I think I was always interested in it. You know, I don’t know. I mean, I guess I’m somebody who’s kind of verbalise, I like to talk, I like to argue, I like to write, so, and I like competition. And 1 way of looking at litigation is it’s a, it’s a competition. In some ways, you have an adversary, and it’s at the end of the day, there can be a winner and there can be a loser. So it’s a bit like a sport. And I like that. But actually, I started I started at the Cravath firm doing corporate deal work. At the time I joined Cravath they’re really, they really needed associates in the corporate area, the transactional area. So I let myself be tucked into doing that, although, you know, that had some good consequences, and that I think I learned merger and acquisition agreements, SEC filings and all kinds of deal documents in a way that many litigators never do. But it was a bit of a detour. And you know, it came home to me that look, this wasn’t my really wasn’t my thing, and that I want to do litigation. And after 2 years, that’s all I’ve been doing.

04:13 Rob Hanna:

Absolutely. And as you mentioned, Quinn Emanuel founded in 1986, I believe, with 3 other lawyers in LA and the firm now has around 29 offices, 4 continents, 11 countries, over 900 lawyers. What was your initial plan? And how did you plan to build and grow your law firm?

04:32 John Quinn:

But we now have 30 offices with just our newest offices in Berlin. We have 5 offices now in Germany, heritage of the Holy Roman Empire, very decentralised economy and didn’t become united country until late 19th century. So that’s kind of how you have to do things in Germany. I’m sorry, what was the question? The plan, the plan.

04:51 Rob Hanna:

What was the initial.

04:52 John Quinn:

I mean the plan Rob.

04:54 Rob Hanna:

The initial plan.

04:55 John Quinn:

The initial plan was not to start.

04:57 Rob Hanna:

I can relate.

05:00 John Quinn:

And keep the wolf from the door and food on the table. So that was the mindset. That was, we really were trying to, you know, stay busy. We were small, you know, for young lawyers downtown Los Angeles without social connections or business industry connections. And the challenge really was how, how are we going to stay busy? And you know, there was no idea of some kind of vision, like we’re going to be an international law firm. You know, I would have been, when we started the firm, if you had told me, we would have been 25 lawyers in 20 years, I would have been amazed.

05:32 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, well, obviously, through no doubt, a lot of hard work and building up a stellar reputation that has to be said, and you touched on it there, but would just love to dig a little bit deeper around the biggest challenges because as you say, it’s phenomenal work where Quinn Emanuel sits today and what you’ve achieved and the firm’s achieved, but there would have been challenges along the way, you touched on perhaps getting, you know, just getting some initial clients, getting some initial work. But you know, as you sort of grew, and we’re building out what was some of your other challenges, again, maybe trying to inspire other people who think well, could I create a Quinn Emanuel myself? What would you say?

06:06 John Quinn:

Other challenges, I mean, look, there are 2 perennial challenges. And 1 is attracting quality work, getting opportunities to get in front of clients, and persuading clients, to give you the opportunity. And that’s a different, the different situation at different stages of your development. When we first started out was almost anything, any kind of work. And then of course, you know, you get, you get some assignments, you get some good results, develop some relationships to try to move up the value chain. And so now we’re competing for the most important cases in the US or the world for that matter. But it’s, it all comes down to 1, getting the opportunity, how do you get this opportunity and 2 attracting talent, because really all law firms have, the only assets law firms have, big really to go are the talent of the lawyers in the firm. I mean, you don’t have other assets, you know, even though you have an IT system, that’s all leased. You, we used to say you had some premises and real estate, that was on lease and now you query how much of that you need. There really, it comes down to those 2 things, the opportunities and the talent to execute on those offers.

07:21 Rob Hanna:

And I’m so pleased that you you talked about talent, because it’s so true. And I mean, I’ve been in the talent world for 15 years supporting law firms with with acquiring and retaining people. And it is so important, you know, people really do make your your firm. And obviously, you’ve been very successful in acquiring and you know, retaining and inspiring exceptional talent to go on to achieve what you have today is 1 of the largest law firms in the world, devoted to business litigation and arbitration. Can you explain why you chose to focus particularly around litigation and perhaps not follow the route of some of the bigger firms that tend to do a bit of everything?

07:57 John Quinn:

Well, when we started out, there were 4 of us. And we were litigators. We didn’t have a deal lawyer. And as I said, our focus really was staying busy. And I don’t know that we ever really thought about, it never got to the point where we thought about, well we should have other practice areas, that we should have do lawyers or tax lawyers. Because as we start to have some success and grew, it became apparent to us that this idea of focusing on 1 discipline and the business legal world, and that’s to say disputes, where litigation, arbitration, government facing types of regulatory white collar problems, was actually pretty powerful. And it was, it was powerful in 2 ways Rob. First, in terms of our message to the business and legal community, it was a very simple message. We’re not trying to be all things, all people. We are, our messages, we do 1 thing, and we’re really good at that. The, I think that, I’ll say, you know, the so full service firms, as they are sometimes referred to, that have all these different departments, they’re pre, the way they present themselves to the business and legal community is all pretty much the same right? Remember, you know, we have a great M&A practice. We have a great capital markets practice. We have great litigators, tax lawyers, addressed in the States, you know, you name it. We’re great at all these things, we have it all. But they all say that. And so how do you in that world, how do you distinguish yourself? What’s the discriminator? I think it’s harder to do that if you’re a full-service firm. For us, our business model, our method is very simple. And then the other thing that I would say is that I think it’s also a force for everybody to be doing same type of work, although it might just work securities were patent litigation, whatever, those are all different disciplines. But for everybody to be doing disputes work is a great force for cohesiveness within the firm because, the law, in the law practice has gotten so specialised now has been for some time, that I think that you have partners and deal lawyers and litigators and other kinds of litigators that go through life together as partner and on a very profound level don’t really understand what their partners do, ad that creates all types of potential for dynamic dynamics. So I think sticking to 1 area has been great for us and those are the reasons why.

10:12 Rob Hanna:

And I, there’s so much wisdom you’ve just shared there. And it brings back to 2 quotes that my mentors have told me over the years. And 1 is quite a simplistic 1. I’ve always be inch wide, but mile deep and understanding your market that you’re serving and really be the top of mind. And the second is the famous Bruce Lee quote, where he says, I fear not the man who’s practiced 1000 kick, I fear the man who has practiced 1 kick 1000 times. And I think that just mirrors exactly what you’re saying there in terms of really understanding that.

10:36 John Quinn:

I like that, I like that.

10:38 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, it’s, it’s a really good quote. And it’s, it’s really been imprinted in my head when you’re looking to niche out. So folks, if you’re listening to this recording, rewind and re-listen to what John was educating you on there, about really understanding where you want to focus and around client acquisition, and you’ll be hugely successful. So we also touched on the magic number 30. You mentioned, you’ve been into Berlin, most recent, but you also recently expanded, I believe, into Saudi Arabia, to capitalise on Vision 2032. How do you ensure that the firm continues to evolve on this world wild scale that you are, you’re ultimately creating?

11:10 John Quinn:

You know, we’ve never had, like a plan. I know, these, you know, many large firms, including, especially British Magic Circle Firm, are great at having plans and in 5 years this is what we want to do, and in 10 years, that sort of thing. We’ve never had a plan. We’ve always been opportunistic, so eyes open to opportunities, whether it’s a talent, or market or practice areas. And that’s what we’ve always done and I think that’s what will continue to be. I mean, look, the world is a big place, the market for litigation services, I’ve seen estimates that’s like 200 billion dollars, globally. We only have a tiny dinky fraction of that, though. There’s a lot of room for growth. And so I just think we have to be have our eyes open for opportunities, wherever it might be, the next great lawyer in New York, or, you know, should we have an office in Tel Aviv or Taipei, or, you know, named world city where we aren’t yet. Singapore? We don’t have to do any of those things and it will, it will, whether we do or not really will be the question about what is the talent that’s available. And so, I mean, we have a saying that we should always know who the best litigators are, in any big city in the world. We should always know who they are, because you never know. I mean, we can have clients that need help there, and maybe an important contact and relationship. And then sometimes those relationships evolve to the conversation of you know, should we join forces, should we be you know, should you join our firm.

12:39 Rob Hanna:

I’m loving this conversation, there’s so much wisdom that you’re you’re sharing and just bringing out my thoughts and my journey and in terms of contacts are good, but relationships, play a pay in what you’ve said there about knowing who they are, and doubling down on those relationships and nurturing and fostering them. I love your curiosity, your growth mindsets, and not only a wonderful lawyer, but that entrepreneurial sort of curiosity. And you know, your thoughts may be heard the other day, you know, collaboration is domination. And so many people worried about competition, where reality is if your products and services are good enough, there’ll be enough for you to go around. So I absolutely love what you shared there. And I guess we have to talk about, I’m probably a little bit bored of talking about the topic because I’m in the talent space day to day, but we need to ask you the question John, because we have gone through a pandemic, many law firms have now adopted a work from home or work from anywhere policy. What is your opinion? Should lawyers be allowed to work remotely or be in the office?

13:32 John Quinn:

Yeah, you’re right, it’s a super boring topic. Look, I mean, we we have, we made an announcement, sometime 6 months, may be more time ago that work indefinitely work from anywhere, those who want to come in the office should come in the office, and we should have an attractive office experience for those who want to be in the office. And that means, you know, look, nobody wants a, there are people who want to be in the office, but it’s not going to be great. They go to the office, and they’re the only person on their floor. So this involves making it attractive to be there so that you have a nucleus of people in the office. And in some places that will mean giving up office space, which by the way, saves money. In LA we’ve given up 3 floors, in San Francisco we’ve given up a floor. It’s very much you know, city by city, what the culture is of people coming in or not coming in, but we, there should be an opportunity to work in the office, a lot of people don’t want to be home alone, or you know, they want they want that environment. But it should also be possible for people who you know, want to work remotely from some, you know, beach somewhere, or maybe they’re living in Boise Idaho or Park City, Utah, we have, by the way, 3 partners who, during the pandemic move to Park City, Utah, and I don’t know if they’re leaving or not, or wherever. And by the way, I mean, we think this is a great recruiting opportunity for us because there can be some great lawyers in cities where we don’t have physical offices. So we think would be great addition to the firm and this policy makes it possible for us to recruit them and give them, give us a chance to work there. So that’s about all I have to say about that that boring.

15:00 Rob Hanna:

But I think it’s great. And I love how you you offer the blend of, the blend of both. Time for a short break from the show. Are you looking for a way to get your firm working more efficiently and profitably, while ensuring a better work life balance for your team? Well, if you haven’t considered our sponsor Clio, I’m here to strongly recommend that you do. I absolutely love working with Clio. Not only is it the world’s leading legal practice management and legal client relationship management software, it also has a really solid core mission, to transform the legal experience for all. Something I personally support. What sets Clio apart for me, it’s their dedication to customer success and support. There are lots of legal software’s out there, but I know from talking to Clio users that their support offering is miles ahead of the rest with their 24-5 availability by email, in app chat and over the phone. Yes, you can actually call in and speak to someone. Clio is also the G2 Crowd leader in legal practice management in comparison to 130 legal practice management software’s and has been for the last 14 consecutive quarters. G2 Crowd is the world’s leading business solutions review website. You can check Clio’s full list of features and pricing at www dot Clio dot com forward slash Legally dash Speaking. That’s www dot C L I O dot forward slash Legally dash Speaking. Now back to the show.

16:48 Rob Hanna:

But maybe stepping away from from Quinn Emanuel just for a, a minute because I did mention in the intro, you know, you were also General counsel to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, sciences for 33 years. So can you explain more to our listeners about what that role involved and the type of work you were getting up to there?

17:10 John Quinn:

Well, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a wonderful organisation that’s best known as putting on the Oscars Show, where the achievement and motion pictures are awarded every year and the show that’s ultimately seen by about a billion people. But the Academy does many other things. It supports film festivals, it supports film preservation. It’s a port, supports student films. It does a lot of things to promote the Art and the Sciences of Motion Pictures. And now as of I’m going to say a year ago, it finally has a museum for Motion Pictures in Los Angeles. You know, people come from all over the world to LA and they want to see Hollywood. They want to learn about Hollywood history of film and they go to Hollywood, and they found this tawdry Boulevard, you know, with the sketchy people, and there’s no place that you could go and learn about the history of film and the history of Hollywood and Motion Picture production, which is kind of an amazing fact. It’s amazing that it was never done before. But the Academy has finally opened a museum, it was over I think a 400 million dollar project, took about a decade. And there’s a wonderful museum that you can go to and that’s, was that was it’s a found a separate foundation, but it was funded and overseen by the Academy. I’d encourage anybody who has an interest in film or visiting Los Angeles and wondering what are the best thing to do, I encourage them to go to the museum of Motion Pictures.

18:43 Rob Hanna:

Well when I’m over John, I’m definitely going to ensure that I do that. I’m well overdue a US trip with all of this pandemic. So when I’m there, I’ll definitely make sure I check it out. I’d also reach out. So you know John, documented as a legal legend, you know, litigation star, looking back at your career, undoubtably, there’s a number of notable cases. And I’m not going to pin you down to your favourite 1, by all means you’re welcome to share. But I would like to ask the question of, you’re back to ground 0 right now. You only have 1 tool in your top toolbox. What is that 1 skill, that 1 tool that you could not lose, that would enable you to be as fierce, successful, competitive lawyer, and I appreciate there’ll be a combination of skills, but what’s that 1 tool that you would not want to lose that’s enabled your success?

19:34 John Quinn:

That’s easy, grit. G R I T. Grit. There are no Einsteins in the legal world. No matter what people tell you, the new stories you read about, you know charismatic trial lawyers and geniuses. It’s, it’s mostly. Look, practicing law at the highest level is a labour intensive, time intensive exercise. There are no shortcuts. You have to have grit, you have to have that fire in the belly and that thirst for winning.

20:15 Rob Hanna:

And I guess that segues quite nicely on because to talk a bit more about some of the clients so you know, Lawdragon 500 describes you as “one of the nation’s most fearless litigators”, having litigated for huge companies, Samsung, Nestle, you know, the list goes on and on and on. And you obviously mentioned grit there, but how have you dealt with the pressure of some of those cases on top of having that, that grit and anything else that you’ve done or strategically that you, you could share?

20:40 John Quinn:

Pressure is the thing, that damn good question. 1 thing I’ve, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve been able to handle it better. When I was young, I remember my first jury trial, when we were involved in jury selection, you actually talk to the jurors, and you’re, you know, you’re trying to suss out what people think and whether they might be good for your case, or not so good. And my partner told me I was shaking like a leaf. And I don’t think I do that anymore. But it’s, it’s extremely stressful. You know, some people say, I, I’ve read that the thing that people fear the most, is public speaking, many people, take a skein up in front of people, and speaking is a hard thing to do. I would say the single best thing for me is getting exercise and working out. That’s 1 thing that always repay, I will, you know, before a court day, I possibly can get up in the morning and run or swim, do something, do that the end of the day, and try to make sure that I get some exercise, every single day that, you know, obviously it’s good for your health, makes you feel good physically, makes you feel good mentally, and kind of eliminate some amount of that anxiety. Doesn’t go away altogether, but it helped.

21:52 Rob Hanna:

I love that. And again, there’s so many great nuggets there. I remember the Billie Jean quote, King quote where you know, pressure is a privilege. But also remember somebody else telling me about health and it’s so important, you know, if you don’t make time for your health now then you sure as hell gonna have to make time for your health in your later years. It’s going to catch up on you. So I think again, so so true, what you share in terms of, yeah, everyone’s busy, everyone’s got pressure, but you got to make sure that you look after yourself because you can’t pour from a, from an empty cup. And John, not only do you stay as 1 of these high profile legal phenomenons, but you’re also embracing this new digital world that we’re in and community and getting out there. And I’m referencing obviously you having your own YouTube Channel. But you’ve also got your own podcast, which is super successful Law Disrupted. So what is your podcast all about? What are the types of guests you have on the show? Tell us more.

22:44 John Quinn:

Wow. I really enjoyed doing the podcast. I like interviewing and you know I have people on who are, who interests me. And we tried to stay on topic, on theme about the law, cutting edge developments, things that are really interesting early on. I did 1 on you know legal issues as they pertain to NFTs, recently did 1 in the wake of the US Supreme Court decision on gun control, what’s the status of gun control now. We did 1, on 1 of the legal challenges on automated driving, why is this taking so long, what are the issues there. Human rights. Shortly going to be doing 1 with you know, the Camille Vasquez, the attorney for Johnny Depp in that case, who’s really interesting person. So the idea is not to bore, have interesting people, and have a have a discussion that I would like doing. And that’s how I look at it, there’s discussion, a conversation that I enjoy, it just happens to be recorded and shared.

23:46 Rob Hanna:

I love your passion and a shared passion we have for disruption because I like you, I’ve been in the legal recruiting talent space and created our Legally Speaking Podcast to disrupt, have a point of difference. And you know, we talking of crypto and NFTs we did an NFT drop, a token gated event connected to our show, where we had Carole Baskin from Tiger King come in. We’re the first show to have our own crypto creator community coin connected to, because you’ve got to push, you’ve got to push the needle and you’ve got, you’ve got to find ways to be interesting, inspire and educate. And so coming back to some of the things I want to stick to, because I’m actually after this recording jumping onto a Web3 event with some other lawyers because this is where technology is going folks. But you mentioned you discuss NFTs, litigation, finance, crypto and more, you know, what developments can we expect to see in America, US law in regards to like NFT and cryptos. And I know we can go down a rabbit hole here, but sort of your own sort of viewpoints on that specifically.

24:40 John Quinn:

Well, we’re gonna see some more regulation, which I think is a good thing, by the way. I think it’ll be good for the marketplace. There’s been too much chaos. And there is a need for, for some regulation, whether it’s, we need some some clarification on whether NFTs and various crypto projects are securities, have to be registered. That’s a fundamental question, which the SCC hasn’t really given a lot of guidance of regulation, by bringing enforcement actions and you try to, you know, read the, you know, connect the dots from the different cases that the SCC brings, or what are they thinking. We’re definitely going to have some more regulation on compliance issues, know your customer, anti-money laundering, you know, the types of regulation that you see for conventional financial institutions, there’s a need for that. And I think the industry should not look at these as bad things at all. It will boost the confidence in the system and make it more, make it more mainstream. And we’ll get greater certainty around. There’ll be more developments and case law on the status of decentralised autonomous organisations. What are the potential liabilities of all the token holders, to kind of open questions, to the applicability of soft intellectual property concepts, trademarks, copyrights, and the like to NFTs, we’re definitely going to see some more development there. So those are the things that come to mind Rob.

26:01 Rob Hanna:

And that’s super excites me. I mean, I was in the penthouse Metaverse suite of 1 of my friends Mitch Jackson, Californian litigation lawyer, I think 2003, and he had Gary Vee from, you know, social media guru is sitting in his penthouse doing a live, you know, podcast recording in the Metaverse and I can see law firms, you know, eventually everyone’s gonna have a virtual space or offering the services. You know, it’s just amazing how these technologies move forward. And you’re obviously right at the forefront of that. And in a Forbes article, ‘Code is Law During The Age Of Blockchain’, you outline, “the choice about code and law will be a choice about values”. Did you mind explaining a little bit more about what you mean by that?

26:49 John Quinn:

There is this concept of the code of law, that if you’re participating in a project, whether it’s a crypto project, token project of any kind, that the you know, your rights and obligations are determined, are embedded in the code. And that the code answers all questions. And I think that’s that’s sort of the strong view, the hard view of that. But I think we’ve seen that, you know, that doesn’t necessarily, there are social values of different kinds that ultimately need to be taken into account. You know, there is this, you remember, the there was the, you know, the Ethereum, you know, whether it was the fork, when there was a hack on Ethereum, early on. And, you know, hack is a loaded term. I mean, the people, if code is law, that’s not a hack, right? It’s the code permitted, what that person did, you could you could empty the account. And so by that view, code is law, what that person did is totally legit. And that caused a real conversation in the Eutherian community. And there was a fork between Ethereum classic, what we now know as Ethereum, where it was kind of a decision point, are we gonna accept this idea that because this person could do this, that was perfectly legitimate, and those with the fork, the new Ethereum, that was, you know, that was blocked? Or there was a change in the code, those bullies, but know that that’s not okay, if you do that. And we’re seeing that in cases now, where there’s a case in Canada, where there was a, again, I’ll use the pejorative not a hacker the code permitted me to do what I did. That’s basically his defence on the case, you know, I was a participant in this project, and I played by the project’s rules, and I got rich by the project’s rule. So it’s not, don’t blame me.

28:34 Rob Hanna:

And it’s great that because you also touched on that values point connected to that as well, as well as sort of the you know, the way you look at that, and it’s great that you touched on DAOs. We don’t have a great amount of time to talk about DAOs. But folks, I would strongly encourage you to look at them. I personally am a big believer in DAOs and think there’s a future there for them, or there’s a lot of legal questions and concerns around that. And just with the theory and point I’m sure there are lots of Solana fans and Polygon fans at that time, probably quite happy with all the competition that’s going on in that space. But let’s park crypto and the future as excited as I am about that space and very much in it. You are an avid hiker, mountain climber. You’ve also completed an Ironman Triathlon World Champion in Hawaii, which just sounds incredibly hot. Can you tell us how you did manage to balance the work with the leisure time? You’ve mentioned it’s important to your health, but people will be listening to this, looking at your credentials, what you’ve achieved, and how is that possible? So how did you actually strike the right balance to enable you to do all those things?

29:28 John Quinn:

I don’t know if I did strike the right balance.

29:30 Rob Hanna:

Well, I appreciate your honesty. Well, looking back, looking back, what would you have changed?

29:35 John Quinn:

If you ask my wife she would say most of the time, I’m not striking the right balance.

29:41 Rob Hanna:

Yeah, I can relate.

29:43 John Quinn:

By just sleep, by trying to get some exercise, you know, and being greedy for experience. For me that’s what it came down to. Yeah, having fun, always doing, doing what you enjoy. It’s always easy to do what you enjoy. I’m 1 of those people who say, I’ve never had a job. At least I haven’t had a job since college where, you know, flipped pancakes in the student cafeteria. This is not a job, I do what I enjoy.

30:08 Rob Hanna:

I love it. But I love your curiosity and always openness to learn, because obviously, you already will have a wealth of knowledge. But there’s always things that curiosity and willingness to experiment and learn, learn new things. So Quinn Emanuel, back to Quinn Emanuel, has been appointed as counsel by the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine in respect of their interstate proceedings being bought by Ukraine against the Russian Federation. Can you tell us more about that appointment, if possible?

30:37 John Quinn:

Well we’ve represented Ukraine for several years in different matters. We’ve represented Ukraine against the Russian Federation in commercial matters. And we’re very proud that they turned to us for this matter, which is a pro bono engagement in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. It’s been run out of our London office, it’s the 2 partners running it are Alex Derby and Julianne Janet Hughes. And it’s obviously a major undertaking, but 1, we’re very proud to be involved.

31:07 Rob Hanna:

Absolutely. And we, we absolutely support that here on the Legally Speaking Podcast. And John, it was always going to be impossible to get so much of what you’ve achieved and what you’ve done. It’s a short, such a short timeframe that we have today. But if before I look to close, what advice would you give to those who are interested in pursuing a career in litigation. You’ve obviously talked a lot about grit. You’ve talked a lot about mindset, you know, imagine to inspire the next generation of people you would want working, let’s say within Quinn Emanuel, what would you say to them, if they are really looking to pursue a career specifically in litigation?

31:38 John Quinn:

Well, I think, you know, I think it’s almost like a calling the way I look at it. It’s a career that chooses you, rather than you choose it. If you are, I talk to you about some of the things that I find attractive about litigation. If you’re, if you’re uncomfortable with conflict, if you’re not verbally inclined, if you’re really more of a client, and if you don’t really like competition, and you don’t like working hard, it’s not a career for you. There are other things that you’ll enjoy doing, but probably not litigation. But if you enjoy doing those things, then there’s enormous opportunity. You know, there’s always, there’s always going to be disputes as the world changes, as technology changes the nature of the disputes change. So everything that you see in society plays out in the world of litigation, and we get to be a part of all that. So I think it’s, I think it’s a great, it’s a great career. And if you have the opportunity to pursue it, pursue it with passion and diligence, because that’s the only way to do it and be successful.

32:44 Rob Hanna:

And that’s such great advice, before we we look to close and it’s it’s so true, and you know, making sure you stay informed with the news and where the world is going because the reality is there’s going to be some law connected in and around that. And I’m super excited with this new wave of technologies we’ve got now and in the future and there’s so much opportunity for folks down the line. So John, if our listeners, which I’m sure they will, would like to learn more about Quinn Emanuel, your journey or your podcast, what’s the best way for them to perhaps get in contact? Feel free to shout out any social media or web links. We’ll also share them with this episode for you too.

33:20 John Quinn:

Well, the firm has a website at www dot Quinn Emanuel dot com. My podcast Law Disrupted is at www dot law hyphen disrupted dot fm available on all major streaming platforms. My own personal website is that www John B Quinn dot com. And I’m also on Twitter at JBQ Law and my email address is John Quinn at Quinn Emanuel. Always happy to respond to questions and queries.

33:51 Rob Hanna:

Well John, thank you so so much been an absolute honour and pleasure having you on the show. And it seems almost silly that I should say this wishing you lots of continued success with your career, given how much you’ve already achieved and what you’ve done, but I know your everyday is sort of you’re wanting to grow. So from all of us on the show thanks an absolute mission, but for now, over and out.

34:10 Rob Hanna:

Thank you for listening to this week’s episode. If you liked the content here, why not check out our world leading content and collaboration hub, the Legally Speaking Club over on Discord. Go to our website www dot Legally Speaking Podcast dot com for the link to join our community there. Over and out.

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