Jessica Lasky

about this episode

Director of Criminal Litigation at Burnham Law Jessica Lasky talks about her time as a District Attorney and how that helps her represent her clients today. She also tells us about her time in Jersey, where to get the best cheesesteak in Philly, Villanova basketball and her thoughts on the current Broncos ownership situation.

episode transcribed

Todd Burnham 0:00
Hi, this is Todd Burnham. I am a licensed practicing attorney. But just because you're listening to me doesn't mean that I represent you. This is for informational purposes only if you're good with that, then let's roll.

Chris Braden 0:20
Season One was about how Todd Burnham started Burnham Law in his basement and built it to one of the most prestigious law firms in Colorado by thinking outside of the box and surrounding himself with the best lawyers and staff in the industry. Now during a pandemic Burnham Law is still growing. How you ask? Walk toward the storm and face it head on and you empower the people that help get you there. It's time to execute. It's time to make some lemonade. It's time to burn the ships. This is Deep Bench with Todd Burnham. Welcome to Deep Bench with Todd Burnham. Todd is away today. And you know, it's kind of hard to fill Todd's seat, but I found somebody just perfect for the job. Jessica Lasky, Director of criminal litigation at Burnham Law. Jess, how're you doing today?

Jessica Lasky 1:14
I'm good. I'm filling Todd's stinky seat in.

Chris Braden 1:18
So it says Jessica. I went to the website. You guys' as website's pretty kick ass.

Jessica Lasky 1:23
It's amazing.

Chris Braden 1:24

Jessica Lasky 1:25
My dad is 78 He doesn't know how to do anything. But he loves the website because it's so easy to navigate.

Chris Braden 1:30
It's easy to navigate. And there's like little secret sauces in there everywhere you go. It's like, I go in there. And so I move my cursor around. I'm like, Alright, what's what's Jessica's job description here? Boom, black and white to color. It was like right there, man just right in my face.

Jessica Lasky 1:49
It's really intuitive you can find anything you want out on there for every branch of the firm.

Chris Braden 1:53
You know, it's funny. We'll get into that a little bit. Because it's interesting, because you've been how long you've been doing law? How long have you been a lawyer?

Jessica Lasky 2:01
Eighteen years? Yeah.

Chris Braden 2:02
And you started out...

Jessica Lasky 2:03
A long time.

Chris Braden 2:06
But you know what I mean? It's funny. I just had Kristin on last week. So she's the exact opposite. So like five years would have been a long time. She was really cool, by the way.

Jessica Lasky 2:15
Yeah, she's awesome. She's, she calls me her spirit animal. She's my baby spirit animal

Chris Braden 2:20
You should make t-shirts!

Jessica Lasky 2:22

Chris Braden 2:24
So you started out you were a prosecutor on the East Coast, right?

Jessica Lasky 2:28
No, I was a pros... well I went to school in Pennsylvania and I went to Villanova. So I did public defen...

Chris Braden 2:33
Good basketball team by the way.

Jessica Lasky 2:34
Yeah, not when I was there. But yeah, yeah, I went there when Jay Wright just started so

Chris Braden 2:39

Jessica Lasky 2:40
yeah, it was his second year. But yeah they I did and clerkships and the DA's office in Philly, and the public defender's office, and then came out here and worked in Boulder as a DA.

Chris Braden 2:50

Jessica Lasky 2:51
And then in the city of Westminster as a prosecutor.

Chris Braden 2:54
Okay, so let me ask you this. You've been on both sides of the aisle. How important is that DA experience to what you do now? Because it seems like that's like a natural progression.

Jessica Lasky 3:06
Yeah, it was, I mean, we handled 1000s of cases every year, and from traffic to sex assault cases. And that was when I first started. So you really got to analyze cases really fast think on your feet, and then come up with consistent plea bargains for everybody. And that experience has certainly helped me in criminal law, because I have, as a defense attorney, I have some credibility with prosecutors, because I was one for a long time. But I also know what they look at for things like mitigation or plea bargains or dismissing cases because I know what I would have wanted to see. To do that.

Chris Braden 3:42
You know, it's funny, because I've interviewed Aaron does the civil obviously Stephanie family law and, you know, that gets dramatic and stuff too. How do you when you get a crazy case, or when you were a DA? How do you not take this home? How is that?

Jessica Lasky 3:57
Oh you do I mean, and and it's always the fun stuff you want to talk about, you know, like at night, you're dreaming about the stressful cases. So one was child abuse or sex assault or those victims, that keeps you up at night. But then you have stories I have a case where I was in court and some guy started taking his clothes off. And that was, you know, it's a great bar story. It's it's great anytime Thanksgiving anywhere. And so, I mean, it's entertaining and you think that that would never happen and the weirdest stuff happens in court.

Chris Braden 4:29
So did it help his case?

Jessica Lasky 4:31
Not for me.

Chris Braden 4:34
Did people start throwing dollar bills at them?

Jessica Lasky 4:36
No. It was really funny because when I was in Boulder, there was the Jon Benet case going on. They were extraditing that guy from Thailand. And so there was so much press outside. So this guy thought they were all there for him because he was a little bit nuts. And so he like strips down into scrubs and handcuffs himself and walks outside. And he was expecting the press to sort of swarm on him. And they didn't because they just thought he was a nut job. And he was. And we gave him community service work with nuns. And they he was so bad, they actually kicked him out. So

Chris Braden 5:12
The nuns kicked him out?

Jessica Lasky 5:13
The nuns kicked him out.

Chris Braden 5:14
Yeah, I'm Catholic. That's hard to do.

Jessica Lasky 5:16

Chris Braden 5:17
It's like they even love me.

Jessica Lasky 5:19
Well, I know, but I see the marks from the rulers that you've been beaten with?

Chris Braden 5:22
My knuckles? Exactly. So you've been with Burnham Law about four years? Is that right?

Jessica Lasky 5:28
Yeah four years.

Chris Braden 5:28
What kind of attracted you to Burnham Law?

Jessica Lasky 5:31
It was different. I'd never thought I wanted to do family and I do family and criminal. I just thought it was people who, you know, were fighting over forks and knives. And you know, it was a lot of negotiating. And what I find is, there's a lot of crossover with domestic violence, because I'm a huge domestic violence advocate, and family law. And it's a lot of it's uncharged conduct, a lot of it is domestic violence, that that affects the kids. It's also really interesting, because I saw from the other side of the prosecutor, people who use the system to gain an advantage in their divorce case. And that I hate that more than anything. It's very infuriating. And it's contrary to everything that you know, you stand for as a prosecutor, and for me morally, you don't walk on the back of victims to get an advantage in a divorce case. So I like to fight against that, especially when that comes up in those cases.

Chris Braden 6:29
So since you've been here, how has the criminal law arena, kind of grown here? How does,

Jessica Lasky 6:36
It's amazing because we see so much overlap with criminal and divorce cases, a lot of times someone's gets arrested, and then the divorce follows. Sometimes with victims, they don't feel safe enough to file for divorce until that protection order or crime, the arrest has happened against the other person. So really, what we're trying to do is market defense, defense work, as well as victim advocacy work.

Chris Braden 7:04

Jessica Lasky 7:04
I do both of those things. And, you know, I mean, for defense, it's, even if someone's guilty of it, it's let's make sure it's fair, let's get them the best possible offer and hold the police and the government accountable to do their job properly. So if they don't do it, the person shouldn't be guilty, they should, they should, you know, have their case dismissed. Or if there was a wrongful arrest, I've had that a lot. A lot of my cases have been dismissed because of flaws in the investigation.

Chris Braden 7:32
How valuable is it? Because you do both. But how valuable is it for you to be able to walk down the hall to somebody like Stephanie, and powwow on a case because you guys both look at it through a different lens.

Jessica Lasky 7:46
That's the best thing you know, and I think we're really collaborative here. And we all have different areas of experience. So I'll have a case. And sometimes I have a criminal case, and I'll talk to someone in civil, and to get their experience and knowledge on it. And just common sense. And strategy is huge. I mean, we're really big about strategy in the firm. Each attorney has a different sort of style for strategy. So I try to talk to as many attorneys as I can to get the strongest strategy available for the clients.

Chris Braden 8:16
So in your time here at Burnham Law, how have you seen kind of the culture change in the growth here?

Jessica Lasky 8:23
Am I allowed to curse on this? You can, man alright, well, I won't sorry, Todd. But it, it was a little bit of a, I don't want to say a bleep show. But it was

Chris Braden 8:35

Jessica Lasky 8:36
It was chaotic. And it was trying to find a unique place. And so there was hits and misses in the beginning. And now we're just like this well oiled machine that we could have the top attorneys in the state work for us. And I think we do that people are trying to work here. And people are using our model for the website for strategy.

Chris Braden 9:00
Good luck. You've got to have the people for that to work.

Jessica Lasky 9:03
Yeah. And we are really like, we're at a point now where we're really sort of honing everything that we've got. And it was like Todd always talks about starting in the basement. I think he was living in the basement at the time, but whatever. He's not now but you know, so just to see, because Tom was trying to make it different and special. We're not just a generic law firm, like, everybody here has unique talents and are exceptional at what they do.

Chris Braden 9:31
You know, the interesting thing is that I met you guys before I met Todd, and just in the like, couple years that I've known him, I've seen the growth and the cool thing about Todd is that his desire to be great drives him but also he hides it. But he's a truly caring person.

Jessica Lasky 9:51
Yeah, yeah, he is. I'm from Jersey and so I appreciate his tough love. And it's I think everyone looks to him. sort of like a father figure, like, we want Todd to be proud of us, right. And that's really cool, because a lot of places is you just put your nose down and you do the work and you get paid and you get out. And it's like, even though we're getting bigger all the time, it's still a small firm, like, we know, everybody, we talked to everybody and having Todd, you know, say a nice thing about you is, is great praise, you know, and, and we care about each other. And we always want everyone to succeed. And it's always you know, if someone's struggling, we pick them up and bring them along with us. We don't leave them behind so Todd's a really good leader. He's a little nutty, but he's great.

Chris Braden 10:40
No, have you listen, did you listen to the first season of deep bench? How many of these have you listened to?

Jessica Lasky 10:45

Chris Braden 10:47
They're really good, right?

Jessica Lasky 10:48
They're amazing. And Todd's hysterical. And to put it into it analogy, you know, to sports analogies is just fun.

Chris Braden 10:56

I mean, you and I did some, some sports together.

Because it was really good, to be honest.

Jessica Lasky 11:03
Yeah, it was so much fun. And I love sports. You know, it's, it's during the pandemic, it's great to have sports now. It's so we can, you know, take a break from all the stuff that's going on. But, you know, for Todd to mix the two together, everyone can understand sports.

Chris Braden 11:17
It makes sense.

Jessica Lasky 11:17
It does. It makes sense.

Chris Braden 11:18
It was funny. I was I interviewed Aaron. And he followed Phish around for like a year.

Jessica Lasky 11:25
Oh, my God. I know.

Chris Braden 11:26
And so like, it was funny, Todd's like you asked him about and I'm like, okay, so I did. And it was, it was interesting to hear his perspective of what he learned on the road with them.

Jessica Lasky 11:37

Chris Braden 11:37
And like, what I learned, like, being in a locker room or whatever. I was like, it's kind of the same, but different. You know what I mean? Yeah.

Jessica Lasky 11:45
Yeah less dressed in the locker room, maybe?

Chris Braden 11:46
Yeah. Yeah.

Jessica Lasky 11:47

Chris Braden 11:50
But it was interesting to see the correlation. And honestly, like, I had a blast talking to him. He's, he's, uh, he's like, so much smarter than me. And I know it. So when you're talking to you are too but yeah, like, I only throw I only throw certain things after that. I know. But when I had you on the Braden and Bass show, we've been talking about this Bolon the state the trust the Broncos ownership. Yeah. And we had so much feedback about how amazing you were breaking that down on our show. And Benny and I both were just amazed. And it's funny, because the way you explained it to us, I am waiting for the judge to throw that trust out.

Jessica Lasky 12:36

Chris Braden 12:37
I feel like it's gonna happen.

Jessica Lasky 12:38
I mean, just the stuff that I researched on. I mean, and I was an elder abuse prosecutor. So I'm pretty sensitive to manipulating people at a certain age, and he had Alzheimer's. And the most shocking thing to me was just visualizing them holding up a board. And huge letter showing him how to sign his name. And then signing documents. I mean, if that was like your mom, or your dad, and and they did that, like how terrible would that be? And that's for the Broncos football team. It's so sad.

Chris Braden 13:12
Well, it's funny. So I have a, you know, my mom recently passed away and she had Alzheimer's. And when you were talking to me, I was like, I even thought back to early on. I was like, yeah,

Jessica Lasky 13:25
yeah. Yeah. And my mom, my mom had Alzheimer's, too. And it was, it was so devastating. And that's, you know, when I was in Boulder, I, I co created the elder abuse Task Force, they didn't have laws about it. And so when I was there, we we did that, and I trained with the FBI on it, because it is so devastating to see that especially when your parents are older, and to think someone comes in and like my dad's, you know, single now at 78, which is scary. But if some woman came into his life and tried to scam I mean, no one would find her, you know? I would not not let her walk out of there.

Chris Braden 14:03
It's funny and I'm just so I'm just so ingratitude to my father, the way he protected my mother through all those years, and it was a detriment to his own health and career and you know, all that. And it's just something that you when you watch it, unless you live it, like you don't know, I didn't know until I was like in it. And I was like, so after you when you broke it down on the show, I'm like, oh, man, this thing's going down.

Jessica Lasky 14:32
Yeah, and you know what, it probably won't but I would think it would.

Chris Braden 14:36
There's a definite case and that's the interesting part about it to me is up in Denver, they talk about it like there's no case and I'm like, yeah, there's nothing there. Whether the judge decides to do something or not. I mean, none of us know about that. But like for me, this is what I this is my feeling. I don't care what they do.

Jessica Lasky 14:55

Chris Braden 14:56
Shame on you, Joe Ellis.

Jessica Lasky 14:57
Shame on them

Chris Braden 14:58

Jessica Lasky 14:59
because it's like If he knows how to sign his name, why do you have to put it in front of him?

Chris Braden 15:03

Jessica Lasky 15:03
Why do you have to tell him how to sign his name? If he agrees with it, you don't have to tell him that. That's just common sense. And if nothing else, it's immoral.

Chris Braden 15:12
So it was really, yeah, it was a really cool.

Jessica Lasky 15:15
I probably shouldn't say that.

Chris Braden 15:16
No, it is. It was really, it was a really cool thing you did for us. And I really appreciate it. And you beat me Binney and I've talked about it. I've yet to have anyone explain it as well as you did. Not even close, no. And I've heard Denver stations with attorneys discussing it. And, and I think this is what I love about Burnham Law, and you in particular, is, you could talk in legalese all day long if you want to. But you you guys speak in a way that we understand. You know, what I mean? And and, like, I don't know how a law firm works. And you know, I've been talking to all you really smart attorneys and, and I've understood everything, even Aaron.

Jessica Lasky 15:59
I can't wait for the day when you're, like, even Lasky.

Chris Braden 16:04
Right away. The day I met you. So I guess the last thing I want to talk about is, so obviously got the email with the changes. Todd's going to be stepping back from the firm a little bit, and we talked about it yesterday, that shows probably, hopefully, that show drops before this show, about how he went from a player when he started it to kind of like the coach to the General Manager. And now he's like, in a different seat as an owner. And as an owner, like he, you can kind of be whatever kind of owner you want to be. It could be Jerry Jones or you could be Pat Bowlen in the heyday of the Broncos. It was an amazing yeah, like there's there's different ways to skin a cat. And how do you think this next kind of evolution of Burnham Law is going to be with the growth? How do you think Todd is going to be able to stay out of it? It's gonna be hard for him

Jessica Lasky 17:00
He's not gonna stay out of it. He's gonna be Jerry Jones. I I'm a Jets fan. So as long as he's not like a Jets owner, because that's already painful. But he'll be there he'll pop up. You know, I kind of think of him as like the voice of God, you know that someday he's gonna come down and like you don't see him. But you hear His voice. And you know, he'll he'll still have his hands on everything. I think, even if it's, we don't see it. I think I think I'll still be involved. But he's going Hawaii, so maybe not.

Chris Braden 17:33
I know, Mikey. Yeah. And Stephanie's already been, you know, she's been the manager, the managing partner of the firm and kind of like putting her own spin on everything. And pushing Todd's agenda and vision forward already. Like as far as growth. I know, we talked about Burnham Law, maybe moving to other states and things like that. Is that exciting to you?

Jessica Lasky 17:55
Yes. As long as they don't send me to Jersey because I came here for a reason. So I'll take Hawaii, I'll take California, maybe, you know, Seattle, but no, not going back to Jersey.

Chris Braden 18:07

Jessica Lasky 18:08
I you know, I think it's, I think we can do anything. I mean, I really do. You know, Stephanie is She's younger than me. And it's never been like, weird that she's my boss.

Chris Braden 18:20

Jessica Lasky 18:20
She knows everything. And she's so good at it. And she's really good at taking people and I'm, I'm a little rough around the edges and sort of filtering you through. So you come out the other side, like, polished and wonderful, you know, so we feed it through her and she makes it nice and works at so she's really good at picking out people's talents, sharpening them and presenting them and putting them in the situation to succeed.

Chris Braden 18:45
I think the one cool thing about Stephanie and I noticed this right away is when she has a knack of making you feel comfortable, regardless of who you are. And when you're talking to her. You're like the only person in the room like she's really paying attention to you. And the way she handles different people have different just different personalities. It's hard sometimes.

Jessica Lasky 19:07
Yes. Oh, yeah.

Chris Braden 19:07
She does a brilliant job at it.

Jessica Lasky 19:09
Yes, she does. She's awesome.

Chris Braden 19:11
Well, Jess, this was awesome. I really appreciate your time. Maybe we'll get John maybe we need to talk. So do you think the Jets are gonna fire Adam Gase?

Jessica Lasky 19:19
The worst he's so bad. I mean, you just watch their play. And it's so boring. They have no imaginative play calling. And then you know, Donald's out again.

Chris Braden 19:35
He's just ruining that kid. Oh, my ahh just kills me.

Jessica Lasky 19:38
And and you know, at least he doesn't have mono this year. But you know. Well, I have three teams. I have the Broncos I have the Eagles because I went to school in Philly. And then I have the Jets because that's where I grew up. And they all sucked so bad this year. And you know, the Broncos I'm hoping

Chris Braden 19:57
they're gonna turn it around. Maybe not this year.

Jessica Lasky 19:59
Yeah. But I liked how they played against the Patriots. I mean,

Chris Braden 20:02
Freakin six field goals come on.

Jessica Lasky 20:06
I mean, as in, they won. I didn't like the game. I have the package, so I didn't even really

Chris Braden 20:10
So last question. You said you're from Philly. I do a lot of Barstool Sports. I love it. And he's starting to do, he does pizza reviews. And now he's doing cheese steaks, and he's like, I'm gonna have to quit this. I feel horrible about myself. Because he's like, so it's weird. It's a weird conundrum because you'll sit there and eat pizza all day long. And then be fine with it and then eat a heavy cheese steak and he's like, Oh, this is too much. Yeah, I mean, it's crazy.

Jessica Lasky 20:39
I don't feel bad for him at all.

Chris Braden 20:40
Best cheese steak in Philly?

Jessica Lasky 20:42

Chris Braden 20:43
Like do you get Cheez Whiz on it?

Jessica Lasky 20:44
No, no no, but if you get it wrong it's like the soup Nazi on Seinfeld like you have to get up there and if you don't say it the right way... Forget it like you get booed you get cursed out.

Chris Braden 20:56
Shut your mouth.

Jessica Lasky 20:56
Yeah, like everyone in mind knows how you're supposed to order

Chris Braden 20:58
Do they have like? They should have a camera on the ordering thing like

Jessica Lasky 21:01
Oh my god.

Chris Braden 21:02
All day.

Jessica Lasky 21:03
They should. Cut that out, don't tell anybody. Let's start this.

Chris Braden 21:06
Yes. So how do you order like what do you get?

Jessica Lasky 21:08
Well, you get like a steak wit with is with cheese. And then I forgot the other thing. It was like, you know cuz I never all the peppers and onions and all that stuff. But you you know, with or without, right? But it's wit you know?

Chris Braden 21:23
So you got to go to Pat's? Steak wit

Jessica Lasky 21:25
Wit, yep. And then Gino's is right across the street, literally.

Chris Braden 21:28
Do people fight do they like rumble?

Jessica Lasky 21:30
Well, it's Philly so yes. But not about the cheese steaks.

Chris Braden 21:33
So if I'm at Pat's and I saw Gino's I would just throw sammiches at him all the time.

Jessica Lasky 21:37
Well, you wouldn't want to throw a Pat's sandwich because they're delightful. Maybe throw a Subway sandwich.

Chris Braden 21:45
Anyway, well cool stuff Jess, thank you. I know you have some stuff to do today. So we'll get you on again.

Jessica Lasky 21:50
Cool! Thanks.

Todd Burnham 21:54
Hey, thanks for listening. Make sure you subscribe and until next time, keep getting better.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai