Advice

It is crunch time for 2Ls and 3Ls. You’re awash in information — some of it concrete — but much of it ambiguous, amorphous, and second-hand, at best. The dissonance of hearsay collides with the harmony of recruiting. This year, perhaps more than any in the past ten years, Lateral Link’s Frank Kimball, an expert recruiter and former Biglaw hiring partner, has heard stories of “negative” recruiting.

A lawyer with Jones and Brown disparages Johnson & Smith. While any professional recruiter worth his or her grain of salt would never condone such a tactic, several attorneys consider it an effective manner of recruiting. Word to the wise, if the best feature of the firm is the interviewer disparaging other firms, run away!

Negative recruiting takes many forms, but usually appears in one of the following forms….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center: Negative Selling – A Dangerous, Misleading Tactic”

Every couple of years, people need to be reminded not to have private conversations in public spaces. Who could forget Acela Bob, the Pillsbury partner who talked about firing people on a crowded train?

University of Virginia law students, that’s who. Yes, we have another installment of: when popping your collar goes real wrong. On the way back to Charlottesville from New York City, a group of UVA Law students were waiting for their flight out of LaGuardia. They started talking about how their callback interviews went. They started talking loudly.

And others were listening….

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There’s one guy in your outfit who understands the need not to write stupid e-mails: That’s the guy who just spent all day in deposition being tortured with the stupid e-mails that he wrote three years ago.

That guy will control himself. He’ll write fewer and more carefully phrased e-mails for the next couple of weeks. Then he’ll go back to writing stupid stuff again, just like everyone else.

You can’t win this game; no matter what you say, people will revert to informality and write troublesome e-mails. But you’re not allowed to give up. What’s an in-house lawyer to do?

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Think back when you were five years old and learning how to swim. A parent or an older sibling probably took you to a pool or pond, told you to hold your breath, and then pushed you in. Your head went underwater, you flailed your arms, and swallowed enough water to fill a gallon jug. Eventually, you made yourself learn how to tread water and keep your head above water.

Hope you enjoyed that trip down memory lane; if you are a law student, you will be learning how to swim on your first days at work — and fast.

There is no substitution for learning on the job, but there are some things future associates should consider before taking the plunge into the deep end. Check out the following tips, courtesy of Lateral Link’s Frank Kimball, and use them as your flotation device during your first few days as a law firm associate….

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When I come across internet slideshows with titles like “8 Coolest Things Ever” or “Top 10 Reasons Why Lady Gaga Is a Man” or “Yale Law School’s 7 Most Disgraceful Graduates,” I think, “Ugh, not more link bait. I already spend half my time on this trash.” But like everyone else, I click it anyway, feel unsurprisingly disappointed, and then wish for the last 45 seconds of my life back.

When someone sent me “6 Ways Your Car Can Spy on You,” I had little-to-no expectations. But it turned out the little slideshow actually had a few tasty morsels of knowledge.

Keep reading to learn how simply paying bridge tolls keeps you on the grid, and how police can assign liability based on an unexpected similarity between airplanes and your Honda Civic….

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Your company was just named in a new complaint, and there’s no obvious choice of counsel to defend you. What do you do?

You ask around internally to see whether any of our lawyers has worked with good counsel in the jurisdiction. Perhaps you ask a trusted outside lawyer or two for recommendations. You narrow the choices down to two or three candidates, and you decide to interview the top three firms.

This brings us to the subject of this post: What do you ask at the interviews?

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I have a confession to make.

Most of my friends are lawyers. Forrealz. To be sure, an increasing number of them, like me, no longer practice. But most of them still do, and I still like hanging with them.

When I would go to Suffolk Superior Court in Boston, or the federal district court across the channel in Southie, I would bump into classmates or colleagues more often than not. Later in my practice, it became increasingly common that I would already be friends with my opposing counsel. Some lawyers don’t like litigating against their friends, but I always did. It made it easier to get things done, and you didn’t have to waste time with unnecessary gamesmanship.

If you already had a level of trust with your opposing counsel, you could skip all the silly things that slow down litigation and make it more unpleasant. Discovery disputes, for example, drop down to zero. Settlement talks start sooner and are more meaningful. Extension requests are automatically given. Cases get resolved faster and easier.

But do you know who doesn’t like it when opposing lawyers are friendly with each other?

Find out who — plus big news about this column — after the jump.

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Can you name the Biglaw firms with great lifestyles, supportive and friendly partners, lots of mentors, a commitment to parenting, salaries high enough to pay off your debts in 6 years with no pressure to develop business, and a guarantee of partnership (and frequent sabbaticals)? This tough question cannot be answered. There is no perfect law firm — and despite the warm fuzzy noise of recruiting, every law firm has strengths and limitations.

You have chosen a demanding field where clients expect the best advice from the best lawyers. The explosion in associate compensation caused significant and permanent changes in law firms’ expectations for new associate performance, the tolerance for slow starters, and the likelihood of promotion. This generation of new lawyers will work harder, compete harder, and be under greater pressure to contribute (produce business) than was ever present in the past. That’s the reality of practice in the new millennium. But the desire to find the best law firm in an imperfect world is a legitimate quest.

Before deciding on which firm to join, consider these tips, provided by Lateral Link’s Frank Kimball, an expert recruiter and former hiring partner….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center: Finding the Perfect Firm – Does Work Life Balance Exist in Biglaw?”

Martin Luther dropped out of law school and he did just fine for himself.

Not all of our coverage of law schools is depressing; we bring you happy stories as well. In recent weeks, we’ve written about one law school dean’s creative (and healthy) student outreach program, a law student demonstrating kindness to animals, and someone having fun — perhaps too much fun? — in the library.

Let’s continue the good cheer. Back in the spring, we wrote about a law student who was thinking of dropping out of school. He sought our advice — and, surprisingly enough, my colleague Elie Mystal advised this fellow to stay in school (even though Elie is generally not a fan of legal education).

Some commenters disagreed with Elie (shocker), and urged the kid to drop out. But now we bring you an update suggesting that perhaps Elie’s advice was sound….

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Ed. note: Have a question for next week? Send it in to [email protected].

Dear ATL,

One of the partners in my practice group is very involved with a charity. About once a month or so, we get hit up with various updates on the cause, requests to donate, attend charity events, subscribe to newsletters, etc. He’s even made a few presentations about the charity during practice group meetings. This charity has absolutely nothing to do with legal work and frankly it’s getting really annoying.

As an associate, is it OK to unsubscribe from his charity’s email (not sure how I was signed up in the first place)?  Will he know?  Will it affect my partnership chances?  Am I obligated to donate?  Will he know?  Will the other partners know?

-Hit ‘Em Up Style

Dear Hit ‘Em Up Style –

Part of the reason they pay you associates so much is that your exorbitant salaries already factor in the bullsh*t expenses that come with the job: student loan payments, business wardrobe, personal training, late night online electronics purchases, therapy, top shelf alcohol so as not to be totally incapacitated when you get a work email the next day… and partner pet projects. And yes, they’re watching….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Pls Hndle Thx: The Panhandling Partner”

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