Thoreau admonished us that we cannot “kill time without injuring eternity.” But what did he know? That proto-hippie pond-fetishist could not have imagined today’s world, where our collective attention spans have shriveled to goldfish levels and so much actual productive white-collar labor can be, to an observer, indistinguishable from simply loitering in front of a computer screen. Unless someone is looking over your shoulder, nobody knows whether you’re on PACER or playing Angry Birds.
We asked you, the ATL readership, where you turn for distraction when you don’t feel like billing or studying. The results of our research poll, after the jump….
After stealing all the Whoville toys, the Grinch planned to re-gift them to his army of lawyers.
I’m much more likely to throw away a gift or give it to charity than to regift something I already have or don’t want. I think I’d live in fear of the original gift-giver meeting up with the regift recipient and talking about how I was a bad friend for orchestrating the whole mess. I’d rather those two people meet up and say, “Did Elie get you anything? No? Too bad. I was hoping he did and you could tell him it sucked. That’s what he told me when he opened my present.” There’s something intangibly sneaky and dishonest about regifting. It’s just not classy.
Of course, people do it all the time. And not because they lack class so much as they lack money. Even if it’s tacky, regifting usually comes from a good place: you want to give presents to more people than you can afford to shop for.
But there’s nothing laudable (or forgivable) about how one small law firm in California goes about re-gifting. They want to send gifts to their clients — so they commandeer the gifts sent to their secretaries and staff, and regift them.
I think this firm missed the “spirit” part of this holiday season….
Over the weekend, I had dinner with a friend of mine who used to work as a paralegal at a small law firm. She told me about how one year, for the holidays, all the lawyers chipped in to get her a gift certificate to a spa, so she could get herself a massage.
I said it sounded like a nice gesture. This was not the reaction my friend was going for in telling the story; she viewed the gift as an insult. Her view: Christmastime is the time to show me the money.
I can understand that perspective for secretaries or administrative assistants. As we’ve discussed before, if you’re an attorney you should give your secretary a holiday gift that’s either cash or a cash equivalent (like an AmEx or Visa gift card). As a legal secretary once told us, “if you decide on giving gift certificates [to specific stores], I sincerely hope your next bonus will be paid in the same currency.”
But paralegals, at least at large firms — my friend who got the massage certificate worked at a small firm — are a trickier proposition. Over the course of a year in Biglaw, a lawyer might work with many different paralegals, on a wide range of matters. Are you expected to give gifts to all of them?
So what should a lawyer do with respect to holiday gifts for paralegals? And, of course, what’s the “going rate” for holiday gifts for secretaries in 2011?
Let’s conduct some reader polls, and open up the comments for discussion….
* I like the suggestion, by Professor Frank Pasquale, that firms are pushing the “useless first-year” meme to maximize their profits. If true, we should see a bunch of talented first years opening their own shops in 3…2…1… [Balkinization]
Can a Westlaw or Lexis print-out hide your booze stash? I didn't think so.
* Are Asian American lawyers too nerdy to climb the Biglaw or corporate ladder — or is this just an outdated stereotype? [The Careerist]
* Does having your law school sob story featured on national television count as “employed upon graduation”? (Or, more seriously, here’s an opportunity for an unemployed law school grad.) [Inside the Law School Scam]
* A Notre Dame law professor, Mark McKenna, offers some courageous and deeply personal commentary on the Penn State scandal. [Slate]
* In the age of Lexis and Westlaw, hardbound law books still serve a valuable purpose. [Kickstarter]
* It’s a briefcase branded with your favorite team insignia. But real subtle-like, so other people won’t immediately know you are an alpha jock fan boy. But you will. You’ll always know. [The Fandom Review]
Apparently these kinds of events need to happen more often, no matter how controversial they might be, because we still have law students out there who could double as pole-dancers (or worse).
One of our tipsters alerted us to an episode of TLC’s What Not to Wear — the world’s greatest guilty pleasure television show — that we seem to have missed when it aired last year. The show featured a 2L from a southern law school, but this girl dressed more like a prostitute facing arraignment (sorry, Reema) than the lawyer representing her.
So who is she, was she hot, what law school did she attend, and were Stacy and Clinton able to change this girl from a hooker to a looker?
Father’s Day is coming up. This holiday is never as big as the other fake holiday known as Mother’s Day. That’s because fathers, in general, just want the kids to get out of the house long enough for them to have sex and an uninterrupted nap.
But, if you have a good Dad who only beats you when you deserve it, you should certainly get the old man a present. If you are in the market, Above the Law has a deal for you. We are bringing back our Blank Label deal for men’s shirts that you design yourself.
Under the offer, $50 gets you $100 towards a custom-designed men’s dress shirt. But the deal expires soon, so don’t delay. Click on the link below to access it — and take on the fun role of fashion designer. Happy shopping!
Society has a deal with judges. We don’t pay them very well — but, in exchange for salaries that are much lower than what they could earn in the private sector, they get to do whatever they heck they want. And get to be addressed as “Your Honor,” and wear really cool black robes.
One of the perks of judicial office is that it isn’t a nine-to-five job. Judges don’t have to punch a time clock; they come and go as they please. Court isn’t court until the judge takes the bench.
As long as a judge is reasonably current with his docket, he should be left alone. There is no face-time requirement for judges. (Sure, judges have to be on the bench for trials and oral arguments and such — but that’s not “face-time,” since the judge’s presence is actually necessary for the proceedings.)
In light of all this, I’m puzzled by the controversy over Judge Rae Lee Chabot. Judge Chabot has served on the Oakland County Circuit Court in Michigan for over 10 years.
Sure, the allegations about how she spends her days are amusing — and we’ll name her our Judge of the Day, just for the heck of it. But is there really a problem here?
Valentine’s Day is coming up. Married men are looking forward to their annual opportunity to have oral sex (don’t act like I’m the only one). Single guys are wondering what kind of depressed and ovulating women will show up at their local bar, alone. And ladies are just hoping for something that will turn all of their girlfriends into jealous bitches. As always, the day promises to be a massacre.
But regardless of your Valentine’s Day motives, please note that there are some intimate gifts that are inappropriate in all situations: gifts like vibrators. Not as a Valentine’s Day present, not as a Christmas present, not as a birthday present. Women can’t show it off to their friends, and it works against you as a sexually suggestive gift. Vibrators should only be given to women you’ve already had sex with, preferably right before the first Thursday of the NCAA tournament so they have something to do with themselves.
Sadly, a New York man was not familiar with this rule, and he bought one of his co-workers a vibrator for her birthday. He was her boss. Now, he’s getting sued — because that’s what happens when you are the idiot who buys a vibrator for a woman you work with…
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When Chintan Panchal decided to leave a global BigLaw partnership to start his own firm, he could only hope that he would face the high-quality problem of firm building that many had cautioned him about. Focused on the uncertainty surrounding of a new firm launch, he decided to tackle staffing needs, IT challenges, and financial planning requirements after he had built up his legal practice.
Panchal Associates LLP–a corporate/finance and outside general counsel boutique–was quickly off to a great start. Clients and matters were flying in the door, and Chintan soon had a team of lawyers and staff with a variety of operational needs. To continue building an excellent team and provide them with a competitive benefits package, to expand his physical presence to include a European practice and additional partners, and to scale his operations and IT capabilities to support this growing enterprise brought with it demands of time, money, and expertise. Chintan knew he needed help.
“With the assistance of NexFirm, we have upgraded the capabilities of our firm to meet, and in some cases exceed, the standards we were used to at our former BigLaw firms. Operationally, we can now attract and service clients we didn’t have the bandwidth to support in the past, and continue to build our team with the best and brightest legal talent in the industry,” said Chintan Panchal, adding “It has worked out quite well in our case; NexFirm is an essential partner for us.”
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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