Advice for the Lawlame

You want to know what the future of law entails for you? Probably not much. You do the same crap everyone else does. You’re some run-of-the-mill commercial litigator, or you write the same wills as every other estate planning lawyer, or you’re an “aggressive” and “caring” and “passionate” criminal-defense lawyer that will “fight for your rights.”

It’s all garbage. You don’t matter. You compete on price and spend your day wondering what works better — pay-per-click, or your Facebook Fan Page. You’ll pay the bills and get a nice case every so often, but you’re just another lawyer wondering why the world hasn’t lined up to hire you.

The future of law is specialization. I’m not just talking about “niche” practices, I’m talking about specialization within your practice. I’m talking about being a resource in your practice area, or knowing more about a specific issue than the others. And yes, I have examples, calm down, I’ll lay this out for you in simple, easy terms that you can understand. Maybe you can even put some of this to work in the middle of contemplating your miserable life as a lawyer….

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Party time?

It’s finals time already. For professors, that means another semester is in the books. Sure they still have to grade the exams, but that’s what stairs are for.

With their teaching duties done, the faculty at the University of Memphis School of Law decided to have a holiday party, with a band, in the reading room of the library while students were studying for finals.

Kind of brings new meaning to the term “tone deaf,” doesn’t it?

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I am always intrigued by articles giving advice on appropriate office behavior. For whatever reason, these advice columns almost always discuss the appropriateness (or lack thereof) of crying in the office. I am not sure why this is such a newsworthy topic, as I have rarely witnessed such behavior — either as a Biglaw associate or when I went to a small firm. And I only cried once in my five years of practice, and that was not in the office — it was in the elevator. Unfortunately a partner happened to be in the elevator with me, but I could not help it.

Last week the Wall Street Journal featured an article on this topic. Don’t Cry (At The Office) suggests that you not cry at the office (yes, shocking). The article goes on to suggest that you go home or to your therapist’s office to cry because while having feelings at work is a no-no, it is important to have feelings when you are off the clock.

After learning that one should not cry at the office, I decided to investigate other inappropriate behaviors. I have put together a list of forbidden actions for small-firm attorneys based on input from my cadre of small-firm Emily Posts.

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diploma degree LLM degree cap diploma Above the Law blog.jpgWe’ve had open threads before about the value of the LLM degree. There’s always a big debate about whether the programs are worthwhile (though tax LLMs almost universally get big thumbs up from readers).
The question keeps coming up though. And now in a different context. If you’ve been laid off, or can’t find a job, is an LLM a good option? Here’s one query we received from a reader:

I am a recently laid off big law associate, who practiced tax. I am considering pursuing my tax LLM this fall. I have been accepted to both NYU and Georgetown. I have struggled over whether I should go back to school and “wait out the market.” Currently, there are few, if any, positions open in my specialty area. It would be very helpful to myself (and I am willing to bet – many others) if you could post an LLM thread.

So folks, here’s your chance to offer advice. If you don’t have a firm paying you $80,000 to go away for a year, should you shell out some cash to add a few more letters to the end of your title?
The reader also asks:

I would also like to specifically hear from commentors, what their view is of Georgetown’s Tax LLM program.

Nothing like a little school brawl in the comments. G-town vs. NYU for the tax LLM. Ding ding ding…
Earlier: The Value of an LLM Degree, Revisited: Open Thread (With a focus on IP.)
The Value of an LLM Degree: Open Thread