Perhaps the single most underappreciated problem with the practice of law is the physical discomfort that comes from sitting for 10 to 12 hours each day.
If you’re like me, your problems begin within just a few hours of getting settled at your desk. As early as mid-morning, you start to experience a dull ache between your shoulder blades. By lunchtime, this ache has turned into a throbbing pain that is creeping up your mid-back and into your shoulders and neck. Next thing you know, it has engulfed your entire upper body, and by the time you’re ready to leave for the day, it has even spread to your lower extremities. After limping your way home, things have gotten so bad that you have no choice but to curl up in fetal position and have a good cry. Sound familiar?
If so, I have good and bad news for you. First, for the bad news: from an anatomical perspective, your pain is inevitable. Indeed, as it probably has become obvious to you, the human body is not meant to sit in a chair all day…
Go ahead and queue up the Luther Vandross, because we’ve reached the thrilling conclusion of our annual ATL March Madness.
Our newly expanded tournament pitted 32 teams in the hunt to be declared the law firm with the brightest future. After a string of close calls and upsets, it came down to second-seeded Paul, Weiss against fourth-seeded Gibson Dunn, the spunky underdog who’d knocked off the overall top seed Wachtell.
Ed. note: This post appears courtesy of our friends at Techdirt. We’ll be sharing law-related posts from Techdirt from time to time in these pages.
Last night, former President Bill Clinton joined Stephen Colbert on his TV show, The Colbert Report. As many people have noted, at the very end of the program, Colbert told Clinton that he had taken the liberty of signing him up for a Twitter account, since Clinton does not currently use Twitter (he joked that he was afraid no one would reply to his tweets). The Twitter account is @PrezBillyJeff, and Colbert sent Clinton’s first tweet live while on the air. If you’re in the US or the one or two other places that Hulu actually works, you can see the exchange below (if you’re elsewhere, blame Viacom for being stupid):
We are pleased to invite you to Above the Law’s wine reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 28th, in celebration of Women’s History Month. The reception will be held in Washington, D.C.
Our guest speaker will be Veta Richardson, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC). This event will be an opportunity for attendees to hear some remarks from Veta on the achievements by and challenges facing women in the legal industry, meet the Above the Law editors, connect with peers, and sample a number of delicious wines… all exclusively made by women winemakers. Come celebrate, network, and taste great wines and hors d’oeuvres. The event is sponsored by our friends at Recommind. Please RSVP below.
Also, earlier that same day, the traveling Lat and Elie roadshow will be visiting the campus of Georgetown University Law Center as guests of the American Constitution Society in order to debate the future of legal education. The debate will run from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. and lunch will be served. (You can thank our friends at ViewYou for supporting this debate.)
* I know a lot of people who would trust legal advice from a Nigerian pretending to be a lawyer at least as much as from a Cooley Law professor. [MSNBC]
* This would never have happened if Steve Jobs were still alive. [Huffington Post]
* Eating weed at a traffic stop seems less effective than keeping your weed out of your motor vehicle. [Legal Blitz]
* Jon Lovitz and Danzig got into it on Twitter about bullying bullies. Since I support bullies, I think I have to agree with both of them. [Gawker]
* Recruiters don’t spend a lot of time looking over your credentials. Based on my experience, it’s also possible that recruiters can’t read. [Lifehacker]
* Charles Manson was denied parole. I look back on the way he was then: a young, stupid kid who committed those terrible crime. I want to talk to him. I want to try and talk some sense to him, tell him the way things are. But I can’t. That kid’s long gone and that old man is all that’s left. [Slate]
Last week, we looked at why lawyers need soft skills and noted that there’s a general lack of this kind of training for them. Today, we’ll consider some strategies for learning to play nice in the legal sandbox.
As mentioned last week, there are so many different types of soft skills — communication, leadership, management, presentation skills, etc. What does a socially-awkward lawyer work on first? Well, it depends. (Fyi, “it depends” is a great lawyerly response for virtually every situation where you don’t know the answer.)
As with hard skills, the soft skills you should focus on depends on your pre-existing responsibilities and the skills you already have. For the purposes of this post, let’s assume you have none.
Below is a very basic outline of some required soft skills for particular levels of attorney seniority. I’ve listed a few skills listed for each level and a further description of one skill per level, to prevent this post from becoming a mind-numbing two-hour read (as opposed to a mind-numbing five-minute read). It’s a bit of a laundry list, but the idea is to provide a big-picture overview….
You can’t charge exorbitant hourly rates to wealthy clients for routine legal work and still call yourself a “profession” instead of “just another business.” You can’t raise the price of legal eduction to the point where young lawyers have to mortgage their financial futures before they even sit for the bar and still attract cautious and temperate professionals. You can’t advertise on television and twitter, turn courtrooms into a reality shows, Latham careers before they even start, have partners auction themselves to the highest bidder, and outsource legal work product to India because it’s cheaper — and yet still expect to there to be some “professional dignity” involved when somebody dangles the opportunity to make a buck in front of some lean and hungry legal service provider.
In short, you can’t do all of the things the legal profession has done over the past 20 or 30 years and expect to get anything other than a big pile of Shpoonkle.
Shpoonkle is the name of a new website set to launch Monday. The site will allow clients to post their legal problems and receive “bids” from lawyers willing to represent them. The site was dreamed up by a New York Law School grad (one day, we’ll have a story about an NYLS grad who is actually a practicing attorney instead of a cupcake salesman or legal services entrepreneur). And there are already a bunch lawyers who can’t wait to join this race to the bottom…
The last two New York Attorneys General have become wildly famous. Everybody knows who Eliot Spitzer is, mostly for the wrong reasons. Before he became Governor Client Number 9, Eliot Spitzer attained the title “Sheriff of Wall Street.” Meanwhile, the current NYAG Andrew Cuomo was already famous because of his father. As AG, Cuomo has continued Spitzer’s legacy of asserting jurisdiction over anything that will help him run for Governor. The plan seems to be working, and Cuomo is the prohibitive favorite to become the next New York Governor.
Which means New Yorkers need to elect another attorney general. Unfortunately, nobody is paying attention to the Democratic primary (next Tuesday) where the winner will most likely be a shoe in for the job of top lawyer in New York. A recent Quinnipiac poll showed that 77% of registered Democrats have no idea who they’re going to vote for. More embarrassingly, 8% of respondents to an open-ended question about who they will vote for said they were going to vote for a person who is not actually running for NYAG. That’s double the 4% support “frontrunner” Kathleen Rice received.
Arguably, it’s the most important AG job in the country, the election is a week away, and 85% of the potential voters haven’t made up their mind or don’t know who is in the race. Think about that the next time somebody complains about “regulation” of Wall Street. I can’t blame Jamie Dimon if he’s not thrilled about listening to an AG who was elected by five guys who thought it would be a funny to show up and Ice election day workers.
So, as a public service to all the Above the Law readers who might actually have to deal with the NYAG, I’m liveblogging tonight’s Attorney General debate. Please check it out, I’m trying to be helpful…
It’s getting hot in herre
So turn off all your lights.
I am… getting so hot…
I wanna turn my lights off! [FN1]
Here on the East Coast, things are heating up. Unfortunately, we’re not talking about the legal job market.
We’re speaking much more literally. For the past few days, New York, Washington, and places in between have been in the grips of a brutal heat wave. On Tuesday and Wednesday, temperatures in NYC broke record highs, entering triple-digit territory.
Today, mercifully, has been a bit better. In D.C., temps will top out in the mid-to-upper 90s this afternoon. As a Washington Post reader quipped, “Only in the mid 90′s today… better grab a jacket before leaving the house!”
They say lawyers are cold-blooded creatures — but we get hot too. How are law firms and law schools coping with the heat?
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 protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months (Robert Kinney and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong again March 15 to 23), and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
Are you challenged by the costs and logistics of maintaining your office, distracting you from the practice of law?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Everyone is talking about the importance of Social Media in Corporate America. But it is relatively safe to say that most law firms and lawyers are slightly behind the social curve. Most lawyers, at minimum, use LinkedIn, for networking. Some even use Twitter for pushing out short, pithy content, while many have Blogs, where they write their little hearts out. The adage “it is better to give than to receive” is not always true though in the world of Social. In the Social World – it is best to listen, give back and engage.
Social Media is a communications tool that can deeply educate you about the needs and wants of your clients and prospects when used in conjunction social media monitoring and sharing tools.
Take this quick quiz and see if you know how to use Social to help you engage more with your clients or to better service the ones you have.