Small Law Firms

  • Casey Greenfield small

    Biglaw, Boutique Law Firms, Family Law, Jeffrey Toobin, Kids, Litigatrix, Media and Journalism, Pregnancy / Paternity, Sex, Sex Scandals

    The New York Times Spills the Beans on the Casey Greenfield / Jeffrey Toobin Affair

    The story of the tangled relationship between Casey Greenfield, a rising star in New York legal circles, and Jeffrey Toobin, arguably the nation’s leading legal journalist, has gone mainstream. Over the long weekend, the New York Times wrote an 1,800-word story on their affair. What juicy, previously unreported tidbits did the Times unearth?

    95 Comments / / Feb 21, 2012 at 11:16 AM
  • Brian-Tannebaum

    Election 2012, Politics, Public Interest, Small Law Firms

    The Practice: Political Networking

    There, of course, is a natural path from lawyer to legislator. But the low pay, travel, time commitment, and mud slinging that we see on TV and the internet turn many lawyers away from public service.The current political landscape also causes lawyers to be uninterested in participating in politics at any level, whether it means lobbying, running campaigns, fundraising, or attending political functions. It’s a mistake…

    23 Comments / / Feb 20, 2012 at 11:32 AM
  • Biglaw, Billable Hours, Boutique Law Firms, Quote of the Day, Small Law Firms

    From Biglaw to Boutique: Where Does the Time Go?

    For attorneys who bill by the hour, one of the less enjoyable aspects of the job is recording time. Associates know that all too often their worth might be measured by their billable hours. Of course, big and small firms alike tolerate the timesheets because they are the firms’ lifeblood. Recording time enables firms to generate their invoices. The inherent purpose of entering time is to generate this request for payment. But an invoice can and should do much more, especially for a small firm or solo practice….

    28 Comments / / Feb 16, 2012 at 4:22 PM
  • Work and Life Balance

    Biglaw, Billable Hours, Deaths, Labor / Employment, Midsize Firms / Regional Firms, Ohio State - Moritz College of Law, Small Law Firms

    Associate’s Death Raises Questions About Work/Life Balance at Law Firms

    Stress can be just as deleterious to your health when working at a regional firm as it is when you work for a truly huge firm. This week, we’ve been fielding a bunch of reports about an associate who passed away at home after working what some tipsters report as maniac hours at his regional law firm the week before. It’s a sad story, one that some accuse the law firm of trying to cover up, but it’s another opportunity for us to remind readers to take care of themselves even when work seems overwhelming….

    85 Comments / / Feb 15, 2012 at 6:32 PM
  • Uncle-Sam-small-we-want-you

    Biglaw, Boutique Law Firms, Career Center, Law Schools, Small Law Firms

    ATL Survey Update: We Heart Our Firms, Money isn’t Everything, and CSO Seriously Unpopular

    Last Thursday, Above the Law opened its ATL Firm & School Insiders Survey and so far, so good. Students at nearly 100 law schools and lawyers at about 200 firms have responded. As previously noted, this survey is one of the first data-gathering tools we’ll be using to create a new, expanded ATL Career Center. As our data accumulates, we look forward to slicing and dicing it in myriad ways, in order to find patterns of interest to our readership, but more importantly, for useful insights for anyone researching legal education and careers.

    8 Comments / / Feb 14, 2012 at 1:21 PM
  • Small Law Firms

    The Practice: Getting Involved in the (Offline) Community

    Brian Tannebaum used to be frequently asked, “Hey, I want to get involved in the community, can you tell me how?” He doesn’t get asked that much anymore. “Community” is considered “the Twitter community,” or “the blawgosphere.” While the tech hacks haven’t yet declared community involvement “dead,” the fact that the result of becoming involved in the community is often organically-developed, real relationships with other like-minded people that may lead to business, is unattractive to those that have bought in to the notion that a collection of followers and friends online is a quicker path to lots of phone calls. So if there are any lawyers left out there that are still contemplating community involvement, Tannebaum offers the following….

    40 Comments / / Feb 13, 2012 at 12:16 PM
  • Biglaw, Boutique Law Firms, California, Deaths, Litigators, Small Law Firms

    From Biglaw to Boutique: ‘There’s a Practice Guide for That’

    Tom Wallerstein’s firm, like most firms in California, has a series of Rutter guides on its shelves. And even though he runs a virtually paperless office, he still loves his printed Rutter guides. Wallerstein even has a joke about Rutter. Whenever a colleague questions his ability to solve a particular issue, he jokes, “I’m sure there’s a Rutter Guide for that.” The joke has a serious point, namely, that the basics of most practice areas can always be learned. And if it’s easy enough to learn a practice area, why shouldn’t a lawyer forming a small firm become a true generalist; handling everything from family law, wills and trusts, civil, criminal, and essentially whatever walks in the door?

    27 Comments / / Feb 10, 2012 at 1:15 PM
  • Uncle Sam small we want you

    Biglaw, Boutique Law Firms, Career Center, Job Survey, Law Schools, Midsize Firms / Regional Firms, Small Law Firms

    Finally… A Survey for Lawyers and Law Students!

    Later this year, Above the Law will be launching a new, expanded Career Center. The new Career Center will be a resource for students and lawyers at all stages of their careers, and in all areas of legal practice (i.e., not just Biglaw). But we can be sure that news and insight into life at […]

    12 Comments / / Feb 9, 2012 at 4:02 PM
  • interview small interviewing on campus interviewing OCI

    Biglaw, In-House Counsel, Interview Stories, Small Law Firms

    Inside Straight: Tales From The Interview Crypt

    Mark Herrmann wishes he could name names; he really does. But he works at the world’s leading insurance broker for law firms, and he can’t go around offending the clients (or potential clients). You’ll just have to guess. All of these interviews actually took place. He swears it. He didn’t say these stories were uplifting. He said only that they were true….

    48 Comments / / Feb 9, 2012 at 12:23 PM
  • Junk Email / Spam, Small Law Firms

    Size Matters: Use Your Spam Sense

    Every time Valerie Katz gets an email, she gets really excited. The idea that some of her readers want to reach out and share ideas is overwhelming. Lately, the emails have taken a turn for the worse. The last email she received read like this (or a close approximation because she deleted it upon receipt for fear of catching something): SPAM. She knows enough not to respond to spam emails. Some other people — specifically, small firm attorneys — do not. So, she am offering them some advice….

    15 Comments / / Feb 7, 2012 at 5:15 PM
  • Small Law Firms

    The Practice: Fewer Clients

    In prior years, Brian Tannebaum attempted to mentally keep track of who called him and who hired him, but he wound up forgetting a lot of the details. This year, he made some changes. On a monthly basis, he’s reviewing prospective clients who called, as well as who referred them, who took their calls, their case types, and whether he was retained. The percentage of calls-to-retained used to be “most.” Most potential clients that came to his office retained me. He made it easy. He’d bring them in, spend some free time, smile a lot, negotiate the fee, and get the case. Now that percentage has gone down, way down.…

    19 Comments / / Feb 6, 2012 at 3:10 PM
  • Deaths, Small Law Firms, Solo Practitioners, Suicide

    Apparent Attorney Suicide in Chicago

    This is a gruesome story and sad story. The Chicago Tribune is reporting that a 78-year-old man jumped out of his office at 111 W. Washington Street. The man, an attorney, apparently jumped out of his office at the Burnham Center, which is across the street from City Hall in Chicago. We’ll have more details as they become available….

    49 Comments / / Feb 3, 2012 at 4:21 PM
  • Biglaw, Boutique Law Firms, Small Law Firms

    From Biglaw to Boutique: Which is Better for Clients?

    A general counsel recently asked Tom Wallerstein, “Why should my company risk hiring a lesser-known, small firm?” Tom told him that it shouldn’t. Tom doesn’t think any company should unnecessarily “risk” its business without good reason. Tom will be the first to admit that there are some matters that simply demand big firm attention. But Tom also told the GC that there were many matters that he thought his smaller firm could handle just as well as could a big firm….

    49 Comments / / Feb 3, 2012 at 11:36 AM
  • Small Law Firms, Wall Street Journal

    Size Matters: To Sir With Love

    These days, it’s hard to get a law job, hard to keep a law job, and in Valerie Katz’s experience, hard to stomach a law job. And, according to that Wall Street Journal article that everyone posted as a Facebook status, law firms want to keep the number of associates low, work them like dogs, and pay them like, well, high-paid professionals. This means that recent graduates are still screwed. Just when she thought all was lost, however, she found a positive story about law firms. And, of course, because that is how we roll, it involves a small firm….

    8 Comments / / Jan 31, 2012 at 5:15 PM
  • Small Law Firms

    The Practice: Do You or Your Client Understand the Scope of Representation? (Part II)

    So the matter/case (whatever you call it) is over. You’ve resolved the contract dispute, formed the corporate entity, ended the marriage, had the criminal case dismissed, resolved whatever the client’s issue was for which you were retained.
    You’ve taken Brian Tannebaum’s advice and narrowly defined the scope of representation in your written, signed retainer agreement. Now what?

    22 Comments / / Jan 30, 2012 at 2:33 PM
  • Biglaw, Boutique Law Firms, Lawyer Advertising, Small Law Firms

    From Biglaw to Boutique: A Marketing Matrix

    When Above the Law first covered Tom Wallerstein’s “adventure in shingle hanging,” he remembers someone quipping that his only business came from attorney referrals and that he didn’t have his “own” clients. The comment wasn’t true, but he still found it interesting. Is a client who pays you money somehow not “your” client, or not a “real” client, just because the client was referred to you by another attorney? That doesn’t make a lot of sense to him….

    28 Comments / / Jan 27, 2012 at 1:42 PM
  • Biglaw, Mergers and Acquisitions, Small Law Firms, Wall Street Journal

    Size Matters: Should I Get a ‘Merge or Die’ T-Shirt?

    According to the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.), small law firms have adopted the mantra: merge or die. Indeed, the number of law firm mergers is staggering. Yet, small firm to large firm mergers are not the answer for all small firms. Valerie Katz notes that the article featured several potential problems….

    3 Comments / / Jan 26, 2012 at 4:32 PM
  • Small Law Firms

    Size Matters: How to Maintain A Loving Small-Firm Partnership

    In her practice, Valerie Katz has represented many small law firms going through the same fate as Heidi Klum (who decided to divorce her husband). At some point, loving partners decide they hate each other. One splits off into his own firm and the group goes through a messy “custody” battle for clients, partners, associates, and staff. Are small-firms and Hollywood it-couples all destined for messy break-ups? Is there something that can be done during the formation of the partnership, or at some point during its healthy existence, to prevent such endings?

    11 Comments / / Jan 24, 2012 at 5:00 PM
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