If you are a new lawyer in a small firm, you need to be prepared to have fear as a companion at times. Fear of missing deadlines, screwing up a discovery response, pissing off a partner. Fear of not having enough clients, being unable to make payroll, disappointing your family. From substantive case matters to interpersonal relationships, a dozen different challenges arise daily in a small firm that can cause stress, anxiety, and fear.
If you’re not careful, it can be crippling. Everyone is going to be afraid at times. Whether it is fear of a cranky old judge or looking like an idiot in front of your clients. What matters is how you deal with that fear.
Fear can also be fuel. Fear can motivate you to research an issue to exhaustion in order to ensure that you are absolutely correct in your position. Fear can cause you to to beat the streets, get in front of people, and land new clients. Fear encourages hard work, due diligence, and skill development.
Perhaps most importantly for new lawyers, fear should beget caution. As a new lawyer, you need to know what you don’t know. That some clients are too much for you to handle, no matter how much you try to research and learn about the issues. Experience matters. As a new lawyer, you don’t have it. And fear can help you check yourself and reflect on whether or not you are prepared to handle certain matters. But whether it be through hubris or ignorance, young lawyers continue to bite off more than they can chew….
Over the holiday weekend, there’s been a lot of activity surrounding the racist law firm advertisement we wrote about on Wednesday. First, the firm’s Facebook page declared that the firm was the victim of hacking and that they absolutely did not sanction the ad for their firm posted on YouTube.
Then the head of the production company who posted the ad — and who employs the stereotypical character in multiple ads — wrote a missive swearing that it was hired by the firm and that they provided the script. The production company is also butthurt that Above the Law labeled the ad racist, even though the YouTube post openly trolls viewers to lighten up about its content. I wonder why they’d expect people to be up in arms over their content. Certainly not because they expect people to think it’s racist.
Now the law firm has sent us a direct statement, and this whole tale is super-crazy…
Well, I’ll tell you what it purports to be. It purports to be an advertisement for a personal injury law firm. Therefore, you’d expect it to have a bunch of testimonials from downtrodden people whose suffering is slightly eased by the BIG CASH AWARD that the law firm helped them secure. Then we’d see a pair of attorneys sitting on a desk in front of a bunch of law reporters swearing that they “will fight for you” with all the inflection and passion that Stephen Hawking would give that line read. It’s a pretty simple formula. The ads are always terrible, but they’re safe. And if you’re going to take a risk, try to make an awesome ad like this one.
Or you could just hurl racist imagery at us with the production values of a public access program….
The legal market is still pretty rough out there these days, so if you’re daring enough to start your own law firm, you need to do something to differentiate yourself from the competition. Maybe you’re big on having a social media presence. Maybe you’re offering Groupons in exchange for your legal services. Maybe you’re driving around in your very own law mobile.
Or maybe you’re wearing high heels and tight skirts on a highway billboard…
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@example.com.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
When you talk to a prospective lateral about your firm during their first meeting, the conversation can go deep, sideways, and in circles. There is so much to share and discuss. What path of a dialogue can you follow to get better odds of a favorable conclusion?
Consider this template as a model you can use to discuss your firm’s opportunity. This simplifies the conversation and gives you a mental framework so the discussion is meaningful, relevant and moves things forward.
The Four P’s
In my transition from retained corporate executive search to legal search, I saw that there were many levels of complexity in the move of a partner transitioning from firm A to firm B. In placing an executive in a corporation, it was simple because of the linear nature of relationships in corporations. In a law firm, because of the multi-layered aspect of the interdependent relationships that each partner must manage with others, the dialogue is much more involved.
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