Oh, I remember the first time somebody threatened to throw me in jail because I didn’t pay a debt. I was young and stupid, but not ignorant and fearful. I said, “Debtor’s prisons were outlawed!” (I didn’t know that from law school, I knew that from AP History.) The debt collector stammered and said, “Well, we can still get you in trouble.” Since I was already “in trouble” what with $150,000 in principal outstanding, I instructed the collector to contact me via mail and hung up.
Debt collectors are like bullies: punch them in the mouth, and well, they don’t “go away,” but they stop getting all up in your face.
Eventually, a summons came in the mail, and I responded, and yada yada, I’m still not in jail. The key is that “I responded.” I’ve made a lot of mistakes with my debts over the years, but I haven’t made a lot of mistakes with “courts.” See, courts matter. Debt collectors with hard-ons do not.
Keep that in mind as your read this story about a cancer survivor who got thrown in jail after failing to pay a medical debt that she didn’t even actually owe….
Thus far, the story of Dewey & LeBoeuf has been told primarily from the perspective of lawyers. On the whole, the coverage has been quite partner-focused, centered on which partners are defecting to which rival law firms. There has been somediscussion, but not a huge amount, of the plight of associates.
There has been even less discussion of the support staff. But if Dewey goes under, staffers will also lose their jobs. And in this day and age of law firms slashing staff, secretaries and paralegals may have a harder time finding new positions than attorneys.
Here is one paralegal’s perspective on what’s going on at D&L….
* Low prices. Every day. On everything. Except bribes. The NYT handed the feds an FCPA case against Wal-Mart on a platter, but the discount superstore might soon have a SOX problem to worry about. [Reuters]
* The John Edwards campaign finance trial is already off to a dramatic start. It seems that the prosecution’s key witness is just as shady as the former presidential candidate is alleged to be. [Boston Herald]
* An “abuse of process”? Looks like it’s time to #OccupyTwitter. A New York judge has approved a subpoena for tweets belonging to an Occupy Wall Street protester. [Bloomberg]
* And I am telling you, I’m not going — to help your case. Yesterday, Jennifer Hudson testified at the trial of the man accused of killing her relatives. Wonder if she took some tips from her fiancé, David Otunga. [CNN]
* “I decided to become a kidney donor to my boss, and she took my heart.” A lesson in why you should reconsider donating organs to your boss: you might get fired before the wound heals. [New York Post]
As I’ve said before, our criticism of law school does not spring from malice. Rather, we want people to make an informed decision about whether to invest three (or more) years of time, and $100,000 (or more) in money, in pursuit of a law degree.
In today’s post, we’d like to talk about the other side of the coin: law school success stories. Let’s hear from people who went to law school and have no regrets — or even view going to law school as the best decision they ever made. Perhaps you might be one of them?
We’ll prime the pump with a few law school success stories, to get the conversation going….
* Employees from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office boxed each other for charity this weekend. Not to be outdone, employees in the Bronx District Attorney’s office beat up charity workers for money this weekend. [Wall Street Journal]
* And today’s dumbest criminal on Earth award goes to the guy who tried to sell pot to his probation officer. [New York Daily News]
* Don’t you dare make me defend John Edwards just because I believe the law shouldn’t be up in people’s bedrooms. Our obsession with the private lives of our public leaders is wrong, but Edwards is like a dirty whore with his own reality series. [Slate]
* Christ, I know you can’t hear me, but I only did what you wanted me to. [BBC]
* Oh, we make fun of the young and the skill-less, but to a law school dean, their funeral baked meats do coldly furnish forth the marriage tables. [Gawker]
* Actually, the “Noble” Peace Prize sounds like exactly the kind of prize I’d get. There’d be no money or prestige attached to it, and instead of Stockholm, I’d have to show up in Swindon, and somebody would pat me on the shoulder and say, “Good show old chap.” [Law and More]
* If more lawyers wrote like poets, more judges would act like asshole literary critics who miss the sense of the thing for a pedantic review of the underlying language. Oh wait… [What About Clients via Blawg Review]
* Don’t forget to vote in or Law Revue Contest. Voting closes at midnight tonight and as of this writing, 25 votes separate the excellent entries from Columbia and George Washington. [Above the Law]
Well, I’m back in New York. It’s cold, it’s rainy, there’s no barbecue, and I’ve been sober for hours. Austin, I miss you already.
But I wasn’t in Austin to have tremendous fun, good food, and become introduced to this new concept of “closing” that doesn’t really exist in NYC. There was a conference to attend, and I’m here to report on how to get a job at a small law firm.
Because chances are, the career counselors at your law school aren’t really going to be able to help you.
At NALP 2012, I attended a panel called: “Raising Your School’s Profile in the Land of Opportunity: The Smaller Firm Market.” I figured the room would be overflowing, considering smaller firms are the only firms where hiring is on the rise. But the panel was just regularly attended, not “holy God, missing this would be a dereliction of my duty” attended (only panels with the words “social media” in the name needed overflow seating). The presenters were knowledgeable, and the attendees were eager to learn, but it seems that way too many schools are still stuck in a Biglaw or bust model that isn’t responding to the new hiring realities for most students….
To achieve career success like that of, say, Carter Phillips, who has argued dozens of cases in front of the nine, is a lofty aspiration, to say the least.
But there are other ways of appearing in front of a Supreme Court justice that might leave you with the bitter taste of bile in your mouth. At least one law student knows what we mean by that, quite literally….
This week, I was introduced to an IP lawyer. Yawn. Another IP lawyer churning out trademark and copyright applications. Meeting one of them these days is no different than going to a lawyer cocktail hour and meeting yet another “commercial litigator.” (Translated: “I do general irrelevant crap. Where’s the guy with those little spinach things?”)
But I quickly saw in his email that this wasn’t just another IP lawyer:
“My area of practice is intellectual property, but with a twist: I represent technology companies in transactions involving the licensure, commercial exploitation and/or research & development of technologies — that is about 50% of my practice. The other 50% is representing digital marketing agencies, digital production companies, and related businesses in all of their IP and corporate needs. I handle a great deal of work in the area of data privacy rules & regulations, compliance with FTC rules for digital advertising, and matters involving outsourced technology transactions.”
Interesting. Next step is meeting this guy face to face, mainly so I can understand what that email just said. I realize he doesn’t want referrals from every guy in his garage with the next great invention, but although I think I know, I want to learn how and from where he gets his referrals, and how he built his practice.
There’s been a lot written about niche practices. A lot of it has been written by non-practicing lawyers, or those with a niche that they’ve had for five minutes. Although today’s kids would rather hear from those idiots than someone who’s been doing it themselves for a while, I’ll do what I do every week, and offer some advice that may make you less miserable, and cause you to think differently about your practice….
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months (Robert Kinney and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong again March 15 to 23), and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
Are you challenged by the costs and logistics of maintaining your office, distracting you from the practice of law?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Everyone is talking about the importance of Social Media in Corporate America. But it is relatively safe to say that most law firms and lawyers are slightly behind the social curve. Most lawyers, at minimum, use LinkedIn, for networking. Some even use Twitter for pushing out short, pithy content, while many have Blogs, where they write their little hearts out. The adage “it is better to give than to receive” is not always true though in the world of Social. In the Social World – it is best to listen, give back and engage.
Social Media is a communications tool that can deeply educate you about the needs and wants of your clients and prospects when used in conjunction social media monitoring and sharing tools.
Take this quick quiz and see if you know how to use Social to help you engage more with your clients or to better service the ones you have.