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February 26, 2006

Writing Samples -- What do I use and what does it look like?

Your writing sample should be your best analytical work. It can be a portion of a 1L brief or journal petition or writing from work or from clinic (with permission and with confidential information redacted) If you use one issue, set it up with a short statement of facts.... Review it before you submit it -- and review it (again) for spelling, grammar, new and better analysis and all-round graceful writing.... Although an employer may be interested in a journal article, the published version is understood to have been edited by others. Submit your draft as a writing sample....12-15 pages, max....Put your name and phone number at the top of every page...ALWAYS read your writing sample before an interview.
For more information, go to CAREERFILES to Writing Sample Rules.

February 22, 2006

How to torpedo your career in one easy email...

Catch the video at

From Susan Gainen: I have edited out the extraneous and repetitive material in this message that has gone across the country in a very very short time.

Email From Our Alum (2/14/06) I recommend you forward this email to all current students. I would be disgusted and embarrassed if a U of MN student/alumnus behaved this way.
-----Original Message-----
From: J
Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2006 7:10 PM

I don't know if this is true but if it is, it is quite interesting. You scroll down and read from the bottom up. I would delete all the email forwarding info but it is related to the email exchange.

From: "D
Date: February 14, 2006 3:39:21 PM CST
Subject: FW: Lawyers Behaving Badly

My friend from law school forwarded this to me. Her work mate went to law school with the girl discussed in this e-mail chain. Read from the bottom up. Shocking!

From: Cl
Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2006 2:56 PM
Subject: FW: Lawyers Behaving Badly

Read from the bottom. This girl went to law school w/my office mate.

From: S
Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2006 2:48 PM
Subject: FW: Lawyers Behaving Badly

I don't know what to tell you. I'm driven by peer pressure to forward this along. You just can't look at an email that's been forwarded this many times and stop it. It's like waking a sleepwalker.
From: A
Date: Feb 14, 2006 2:41 PM
Subject: Fwd: Lawyers Behaving Badly
Hilarious. Start from the bottom and read up. Just another dangerous lesson to be wary of what you email.

From: T
Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2006 2:30 PM
Subject: Fwd: FW: FW: Lawyers Behaving Badly

Start from the bottom . . .
I googled it. These are real people.

From: Kr
Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2006 9:20 AM
Subject: FW: Lawyers Behaving Badly

I can't believe this happened for real. Start at the VERY bottom and
scroll up. It's hysterical!

From: L
Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2006 10:50 AM
To: Associates
Subject: Lawyers Behaving Badly

Read from the bottom up--maybe we can try this approach with the

From: Br
Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2006 10:29 AM
Subject: FW: FW: Lawyers Behaving Badly

Read from the bottom up. Interesting networking tactic.

From: B
Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2006 10:22 AM
Subject: FW: FW: Lawyers Behaving Badly

Scroll to the bottom (otherwise it won't make sense) to see what one '04
graduate is doing these days...

From: F
Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2006 10:12 AM
Subject: FW: FW: Lawyers Behaving Badly

Start at the bottom - it's the first few exchanges that are significant.
The later discussion just reveals that the original writer is certainly
reaping what she's "sewn."

From: B
Sent: Monday, February 13, 2006 5:12 PM
Subject: FW: FW: Lawyers Behaving Badly

Read from bottom up, and enjoy. Unbelievable.

From: M
Sent: Monday, February 13, 2006 4:51 PM
Subject: FW: FW: Lawyers Behaving Badly

I love forwarded emails like this one.

From: S
Sent: Monday, February 13, 2006 1:25 PM
Subject: FW: FW: Lawyers Behaving Badly

I thought this was an interesting exchange and certainly a good lesson
on ... well, lot's of things ... I wanted to do my part by forwarding
it along, ... you do need to start at the bottom and work your way up...

From :M:
Sent: Monday, February 13, 2006
Subject: FW: FW: Lawyers Behaving Badly

Yes, I know this girl, a Suffolk Law 2004 graduate. Her e-mail messages
truly convey her personality. I had two classes with her. In both, she
would come to class late, sit in the front row eating and drinking
(usually chips and a snapple), and never took notes. Great way to make
yourself look good as a young attorney. Amazing how far this has
reached since February 3.

-From: R
Sent: Monday, February 13, 2006 9:24 AM
Subject: Fwd: FW: Fwd: FW: Lawyers Behaving Badly

Start at the bottom and read up. Go Suffolk! Do any of you know this
girl? She should teach a course on networking.

From: W
Sent: Monday, February 13
Subject: FW: Lawyers Behaving Badly

Unfortunately, she went to Suffolk. Forward to Angie when you get a

From: H
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2006 1:00 PM
Subject: FW: Lawyers Behaving Badly

Any of you know Will Korman? Best if read from the bottom up.

From: R
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2006 12:41 PM

OMG. you MUST read from the bottom up. hilarious stuff. Watch out for
this young gun!

From: J
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2006

This just in from former colleagues at the AG's Office (Bloom and
Breen). Will Korman is a rising star in the criminal defense world, and
great guy to boot, who was a brand new ADA when I was doing a rotation
in Roxbury District Court. He now has a burgeoning solo practice. Start
from the bottom and start cringing. Josh

From: S
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2006 10:05 AM
Subject: FW: Thank you

Take a look at what David just forwarded from the bottom....

From: D
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2006 9:54 AM
Subject: FW: Thank you

Read from the bottom to the top.there was an intervening exchange of
voice mails as you can imagine, they were as unprofessional as
her e-mails.

From: William A. Korman []
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2006 9:55 AM
Subject: RE: Thank you

You can e-mail this to whomever you want.

From: D
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2006 9:47 AM
To: 'William A. Korman'
Subject: RE: Thank you


Where to begin?

First of all, how unprofessional, and secondly, it is "reap what you
'sow,'" now "sew". If she is going to use a cliche, couldn't she at
least spell it right? And WTF is with her "blab la bla"? Does she not
read your e-mail about it being a small community?! So, finally, can I
forward this along to some folks? I am sure they would love to see how
the up-and-coming lawyers are comporting themselves! (Clearly she did
not go to BU!!!) J

-----Original Message-----
From: William A. Korman [ ]
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2006 7:59 AM
To: 'David Breen'
Subject: FW: Thank you

Did I already forward this to you?

-----Original Message-----
From: Dianna Abdala []
Sent: Monday, February 06, 2006 4:29 PM
To: William A. Korman
Subject: Re: Thank you

bla bla bla
----- Original Message -----

From: William A. Korman
To: 'Dianna Abdala'
Sent: Monday, February 06, 2006 4:18 PM
Subject: RE: Thank you

Thank you for the refresher course on contracts. This is not a bar exam
question. You need to realize that this is a very small legal community,
especially the criminal defense bar. Do you really want to start
pissing off more experienced lawyers at this early stage of your career?

-----Original Message-----
From: Dianna Abdala []
Sent: Monday, February 06, 2006 4:01 PM
To: William A. Korman
Subject: Re: Thank you

A real lawyer would have put the contract into writing and not exercised
any such reliance until he did so.

Again, thank you.

----- Original Message -----
From: William A. Korman
To: 'Dianna Abdala'
Sent: Monday, February 06, 2006 12:15 PM
Subject: RE: Thank you

Dianna -

Given that you had two interviews, were offered and accepted the job
(indeed, you had a definite start date), I am surprised that you chose
an e-mail and a 9:30 PM voicemail message to convey this information to
me. It smacks of immaturity and is quite unprofessional. Indeed, I did
rely upon your acceptance by ordering stationery and business cards with
your name, reformatting a computer and setting up both internal and
external e-mails for you here at the office. While I do not quarrel
with your reasoning, I am extremely disappointed in the way this played
out. I sincerely wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.

- Will Korman

-----Original Message-----
From: Dianna Abdala [ ]
Sent: Friday, February 03, 2006 9:23 PM
Subject: Thank you

Dear Attorney Korman,

At this time, I am writing to inform you that I will not be accepting
your offer.

After careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that the pay
you are offering would neither fulfill me nor support the lifestyle I am
living in light of the work I would be doing for you. I have decided
instead to work for myself, and reap 100% of the benefits that I sew.

Thank you for the interviews.

Dianna L. Abdala, Esq.

For additional commentary see

February 21, 2006

When your resume makes recruiters laugh...


Oklahoma District Attorney's Office, White Color Crime
Oklahoma City, OK Legal Volunteer Summer 2004


OBJECTIVE: Seeking a legal experience with your extinguished firm.

February 20, 2006

Report from the Field: Phoenix, Arizona

Last week, I traveled to Phoenix, Arizona to meet with legal employers. These employers included some of the largest firms in the area, as well as the fourth largest prosecutors' office in the US, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. Most of these employers are located in downtown Phoenix which seemed to be undergoing a tremendous wave of construction projects, including a new convention center. Here are some details to report:

Bryan Cave - Met with the recruiting director and chairs of the hiring committte. This firm has had a long history of success in recruiting Minnesota students on and off campus. They are very interested in connecting with members of the class of 2008 who are interested in practice in the region. If so, please contact me.

Maricopa County Attorney's Office - This office has extensively revamped their training and recruiting programs in the last year. Jeff Duvendack, the attorney in charge of these areas, now oversees a comprehensive entry-level attorney training program. In addition, entry level salaries have been raised to the low $50K range to be competitive with other major prosecutor offices nationally. If you are interested in prosecution practice in a growing office, this would be an excellent choice.

Snell and Willmer - The largest law firm in Phoenix with branch offices in Denver, Salt Lake City and Orange County. I met with the recruiting director and chair of the hiring committee. This firm is very interested in connecting with Minnesota students -- they are hoping to participate in the West Coast Off-Campus Interview Program in Los Angeles this fall. Please check Symplicity for more information.

Jennings, Strouss - This firm employs over 120 attorneys and features a diverse range of practice areas. I met with the recruiting coordinator who mentioned they would bet returning this year to the West Coast program in Los Angeles.

Fennemore Craig - The oldest law firm in Arizona. They are located in the Midtown area, near some of the more exclusive shopping and dining areas. They are looking for ways to connect with Minnesota students and are considering participating in the West Coast program.

In each case, the people I met were uniformly impressed by the quality and caliber of Minnesota students and graduates. The Phoenix market is growing and these firms are interested in ways to connect with students from top tier schools around the country. The West Coast program offers them the opportunity to meet with a pool of applicants from several law schools. In the case of Bryan Cave, these efforts have proved so successful that the firm now recruits on campus. Our hope is that each of these employers will eventually make the trip up to Minneapolis in a few years.

If you would like more specific information about these firms or other employment options in Phoenix, please let me know.

February 15, 2006

Clark Consulting -- the Alt Career program you missed

If you are looking for a top-of-the-market employer with a culture dedicated to giving the best client service by supporting both junior and advanced professionals with constant training and feedback, you should explore the opportunities offered by Clark Consulting, a leading healthcare consulting firm that actively recruits law-trained candidates. Know nothing about healthcare? Doesn't matter -- you'll learn. Confused about what consultants do? -Doesn't matter -- they will teach you what you need to know to be a consumate professional. Five speakers (including U of MN Alum Mike Rugani) were more than persuasive. Want to know more, go to Clark Consulting's website

February 14, 2006

How to send emails that get responses

Thursday morning while driving, I caught a few minutes of Future Tense on Minnesota Public Radio, and commentator Guy Kawasaki was being interviewed on the topic of how to email effectively. He mentioned that many people send emails that are destined for the trash bin, but that with just a little thought, you can send an email that catches the reader's attention and gets to the point right away.

He talked about writing compelling subject lines, writing short and catchy emails, and observing the rules of email etiquette.

Kawasaki has his own blog, which looks suspiciously like ours. So I fished around, and—lo and behold—he wrote a posting on this very topic.

Here is a sneak peek of Kawasaki's twelve tips for effective emailing, but don't take my word for it. You'll find much more on his blog.

1. Craft your subject line
2. Limit your recipients
3. Don't write in ALL CAPS
4. Keep it short
5. Quote back
6. Use plain text
7. Control your URLs
8. Don't FUQ (Fabricate Unanswerable Questions)
9. Don't FUQ II
10. Attach files infrequently
11. Ask permission (if you want to violate any of these rules)
12. Chill out

February 13, 2006

Employer Outreach: Phoenix, Arizona

A major part of our work at the CPDC includes encouraging employers to hire our students and graduates. While our staff regularly meets with local employers throughtout the year, we also target out-of-town employers in several cities throughout the country and try to visit them in their offices. This week, I travel to Phoenix to meet with a range of private and public employers regarding opportunities to recruit at the Law School.

In the fall, my travels took me to St. Louis, where I met with several employers, including Bryan Cave and Thompson Coburn, and hosted a small alumni gathering. Next month, Dean Johnson will join Susan and me for a reception with employers in Chicago to update them on the Law School and have them meet alumni who practice in the area.

I look forward to sharing details of my trip to the Southwest later in the week. Check back here for more details.

February 10, 2006

What not to wear #1

An Alum called to share this story (2/06): A Lateral Candidate arrived at a very conservative law firm in a very conservative city wearing jeans and a t-shirt. "I just got off the plane," he said. Jeans and t-shirts are appropriate interview attire if -- and only if --

(1) you are meeting a lawyer at a coffee shop before or after her morning run; or

(2) the suit you were wearing on the plane because you knew that you had an early interview was taken from your body by force, your luggage was destroyed, and the only available clothing was what you could borrow from the Air Marshall.

"He was completely unprepared and totally unprofessional," said our Alum.
For more valuable advice from alums covering all stages of your job search and career path, go to "Going to Work: Paths to Professionalism"

February 9, 2006

Bankruptcy Practice Panel - what you missed

Three bankruptcy lawyers in three stages of their careers agreed:

(1) the Minnesota bankruptcy bar is collegial;

(2) the practice is great for new lawyers because they get to represent clients and go to court early in their careers;

(3) the practice requires learning across legal specialties and disciplines; and

(4) that their workdays are never, ever boring.

They also agreed that upper level real estate and Article 9 classes were important.

February 8, 2006

Solo Practice: Where can I find out about it? What do I need to know?

Jay Foonberg is the Guru of Solo Practice. An author and widely regarded speaker, his first book, How to Start & Build A Law Practice, is a classic. ...

The ABA General Practice, Solo & Small Firm section has a great website and welcomes students with newletters and other resources.

February 7, 2006

Big Firms: What do I need to know? Where can I find it?

The Bible of Big Firm Private Practice is The American Lawyer, which has covered LargeLaw for two decades. It is the home of the AMLAW 100 and AMLAW 200 lists which slice and dice the law biz by size, location, profits per partner, profits per lawyer and more. It is the primary journalistic source for stories of how firms succeed or fail, and, with great access and terrific writing, AMLawyer gives you a window on firm culture. When you can subscribe on your own dime, you might want to but it costs about $495/10 issues per year. The CPDC has 15 years of AMLawyer in our Library, and the issues are there for you to borrow. Check them out with John Malecha.

February 5, 2006

Where's your crystal ball?

"Where do you see yourself in 10 years?" is a cliched-and-not-uncommon interview question. Unless you plan to do divorces and collections -- which will NEVER go away -- think about J. Richard Fredericks, who 10 years ago observed "Banking is essential to a modern economy, but banks are not." For more on changes that will are quietly rocking the banking business, from which you might analogize changes in other industries, go to the 2/5/06 NY Times, and read "Where Lender Meets Borrower, Directly."

February 2, 2006

When the interviewer asks"Do you have any questions?" Be prepared with powerful questions...

Near the end of most interviews, you'll be asked "Do you have any questions?" Design your questions to get the answers you want by asking questions that people can actually answer. "Is this place a sweatshop?" or "Tell me about your culture"and "Is your boss a jerk?" are impossible to answer. You'll get what you need with open-ended questions, such as "What do people do outside of work?" or "Tell me about how you have benefitted from your agency's training programs" or "I am very interested in your tax practice. Can you describe the leadership style of Ms. X, the department chair?"

For more interview tips go to Career Files

February 1, 2006

Asking faculty for references

Faculty really do want to support your job searches, and they are more than willing to write letters of rec for students they know (get to know them!) and for students who give them the tools they need to write good letters (name and address of the prospective employer, the job description & your resume).

Don't make it hard for them to help you...One professor, well known for supporting students and grads, PLEADS for the right info at the right time. At the end of a long chain of emails:

"Aiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii! Why do I bother? [instead of spending time to draft a really supportive letter] I had to take time to email her to find out the information necessary to prepare and send the letter." He diminishes his efforts -- it was a long chain of email.

For more about References and Recommendations, go to CareerFiles

New National Law Journal Article on salaries and law school debt

The National Law Journal recently published an article, entitled "Salaries rise, so does debt". The article discusses how the cost of legal education is affecting the career choices of law students and recent graduates. For a full version of the article, click the following: