Associate Advice

Complaining openly and presenting a negative persona is not a good strategy for the office or most places, for that matter. Even if you have every good reason to complain, people do not want to hear it.

Susan Smith Blakely, author of Best Friends At the Bar: The New Balance for Today’s Woman Lawyer (affiliate link), explaining that women lawyers must show “true grit” without “making a victim of [them]selves” because the alternative is the possible loss of friends, support, and jobs.

Ed note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts from the ATL Career Center’s team of expert contributors. Today, Philip Segal reveals two tips that will help new associates keep their jobs longer.

While there are plenty of things they don’t teach in law school on the theory that “you’ll learn it on the job,” two of those omitted subjects would help new lawyers do a better job and probably hold on to a job longer.

The two are: how to find simple facts and how to bring in business.

Litigators don’t get the go-ahead to sue unless their clients are convinced that the other side has enough assets to make it worth the cost of litigation. Litigators, family lawyers, and many others often have basic factual questions, but law school does little to prepare you to find out:

Continue reading at the ATL Career Center…

Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts from the ATL Career Center’s team of expert contributors. Today, Megan Grandinetti — an attorney, health coach, and yoga teacher, whom we recently profiled — offers seven health tips for junior associates.

Law school does not prepare you for what it takes to be a junior associate. As a junior associate, you are experiencing a brand new kind of stress (the really bad kind!), which on its own can cause weight gain. Stress can also increase your blood pressure, prevent you from sleeping, give you unpleasant digestive symptoms (yuck), and wreak havoc on even the healthiest relationships.

Because you might be in a bit over your head, with very little time to take care of yourself, it is really easy to make choices that are bad for your health when you start your legal career.

Here are seven easy tips to help you make the first couple of years just a little bit healthier.

Continue reading at the ATL Career Center…

Ed. note: The Aspiring Lateral, a new series from Levenfeld Pearlstein, will analyze a variety of issues surrounding lateral moves, drawing on the firm’s experience in the lateral market as well as the individual experiences of LP attorneys. Today’s post is written by Rob Romanoff, LP’s Managing Partner.

You’re 35-50 years old. You’re a partner at a large law firm, thinking about leaving for something smaller. You’ve been given an offer by a firm that interests you. The firm has a good reputation, steady business, and a solid practice in your area. It consists mostly of partners over 60 and associates younger than you.

Is this a great opportunity, or a career dead-end? Based on the above, it could be either. You’re missing a fact critical to determining whether this — and many other lateral opportunities — is one worth pursing, or one that should be avoided. That fact is this: what is the firm’s succession plan?

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* A California judge sentenced a man to 53 years in prison and then officiated his wedding. So she gave him 53 years followed by a life sentence? Hey ho! [CBS News]

* Jersey Shore’s The Situation suffers the indignity of a legal defeat. I mean, if he has dignity left. [South Florida Lawyers]

* Who would make a better juror: a non-citizen or Charlie Sheen? I’d prefer to have Sheen… I don’t know if there are many crimes he wouldn’t understand. [The Atlantic]

* The results are in from Kaplan’s just completed 2013 survey of law school admissions officers. The headline is that 54 percent of law school admissions officers report cutting their entering law school classes for 2013-2014 and 25 percent plan to do so again next year. Time to build another law school! [Kaplan Test Prep]

* A comprehensive list of the crimes committed by Batman in Batman Begins. And I’m not entirely sure everything he did in his hostile takeover of Wayne Enterprises was on the up-and-up either. [Salt Lake Tribune]

* Here’s a list of online resources for new attorneys. Here’s another helpful one. [Associate's Mind]

* An attorney bit his 3-year-old son. Hurray for bath salts! [KRQE]

* A record label threatened to sue a guy. Unfortunately for them they threatened to sue Professor Lawrence Lessig. [NPR]

* Student loan default rates are at the highest level in 20 years. Seems like a sustainable model. [Chronicle of Higher Education]

* The recycling of policy debaters into litigators brings good and bad habits to the legal profession. On the plus side, there’s the refined research skills. On the other hand, stenographers have a hard time keeping up. [Houston Law Review]

* The new song “Lady Justice” by lawyer-artist DNA (featuring Zoha). He’s already figured out that all the good songs these days have to be “featuring” someone. Song after the jump…

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* Overrated: Government surveillance is out of control. Underrated: Government spending massive amounts of money making the Army’s Intelligence and Security Command look like the set of Star Trek: The Next Generation is out of control. [Lowering the Bar]

* Helen Wan explains “The 5 Rules Every New Associate Must Know.” Not included: learning all the technical details required to convincingly say your smartphone failed to get that 1 a.m. message. [The Careerist]

* Another post in the fascinating series about creating visual maps of Supreme Court doctrine. It’s like a nerdier version of the The Atlas of Middle-Earth (affiliate link). [PrawfsBlawg]

* Ilya Somin reviews the Supreme Court’s most recent Takings Clause jurisprudence. It’s a lot harder for the government to take your property away. But don’t worry, it’s still really easy to lose all your property to unregulated markets. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* The Office of the Solicitor General may have inadvertently helped out Frederick Oberlander and Richard Lerner, the two lawyers charged with criminal contempt for talking about a cooperator’s sentence (if you can call a $25,000 fine for admitting to a $40 million fraud a “sentence”) that the feds claim was sealed. [Wise Law NY]

* A somewhat sad art show based on requests from prisoners in solitary. Some beautiful stuff here. Though I’d have expected more “Rita Hayworth” photo requests. [Gawker]

* The Daily Show takes on biotech patents. Video after the jump…

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Ed. note: The Aspiring Lateral, a new series from Levenfeld Pearlstein, will analyze a variety of issues surrounding lateral moves, drawing on the firm’s experience in the lateral market as well as the individual experiences of LP attorneys. Today’s post is written by Shelly Leonida, LP’s Director of Human Resources.

It’s 10:30 on a Wednesday morning, you’re cranking away at that brief, and your office line rings. You don’t recognize the number. You put your head down, waiting for voicemail to pick up so you can get back to the finer points of Massachusetts estoppel law. Because you know, inevitably, that on the other end of that line is yet another headhunter.

Sure, it’s annoying. But don’t let that experience turn you off from recruiters when it comes time to make a move. For one thing, let’s be honest: having too many people trying to get you a job isn’t the worst thing in the world. For another, recruiters taking the scattershot, cold-calling approach — testing your interest in a real estate practice in LA, when you’re quite happy at your corporate group in Chicago — are not the best representatives of the profession. The fact is, they can help. And I don’t just say that because I used to be one myself.

Brokers fill important roles in many markets, and recruiters — though not “brokers” in the strictest sense — do just that in the market for legal talent. First, and maybe most importantly, they are valuable sources of information. That may sound like a superfluous role in the Internet age, given all the information available on law firms’ websites and candidates’ LinkedIn profiles. But neither firms nor prospective laterals put everything out there for the world to see, and that’s where recruiters can be handy…

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Marni Halasa

* Is Justice Ginsburg, our favorite judicial diva, foiling her own jurisprudential legacy by refusing to retire from the Supreme Court before another president takes office? [Daily Beast]

* Year-over-year, there’s been a double-digit drop in demand for legal services, so now is a great time to start speculating about which firm will be the next to conduct layoffs. [Am Law Daily]

* Don’t despair, the results of the Am Law Midlevel Survey are out, and associates are more satisfied than ever — except for the women. They’re “leaning out,” so to speak. [Am Law Daily]

* New York City (d/b/a Mayor Michael Bloomberg) wants Judge Shira Scheindlin to stay her stop-and-frisk rulings pending appeal, because racial profiling is an effective crime fighting tool. [New York Law Journal]

* If you want to know why law school is three years long instead of two, it’s because back in the day, the T14s of the world were convinced it’d “stop the proles from sullying the image of the bar.” [The Economist]

* In an effort to keep law school deans’ listserv drama and email scandals to a minimum, the American Bar Association just doled out some rules to keep their ivory tower talk in check. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* “[I]f I die because of this, my life will have been worthwhile.” The HSBC whistleblower would face death to talk about the big bank’s money laundering — and to see the lovely Marni Halasa. [Huffington Post]

Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts from the ATL Career Center’s team of expert contributors. Today, Sarah Powell helps new associates face their own unrealistic expectations about life in Biglaw.

“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” — Bruce Lee

If you read Above the Law, you know that law school, the legal profession, and Biglaw especially are not like the movies, not like the grand old days, and certainly not like partners pitch it to you at on-campus interviews. Still, a main source of junior associate misery is false expectations. Some examples…

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Every now and again, attorneys email into Dear Prudence over on Slate and ask the columnist for advice. Then we here at Above the Law read that advice and offer our own, unsolicited versions. It’s fun. It’s like being a know-it-all at a beer garden when somebody mutters “I’ll have a Sam’s” when there’s Goose Island right there on tap.

Today, we have an embarrassment of riches; two attorneys have appeared in recent Dear Prudence columns. They sound entitled and confused, suspicious but trusting, fun for the whole family…

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