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October 27, 2008

How to Present Yourself Powerfully

Checking out this helpful article regarding public speaking:

How to Present Yourself Powerfully, Part 1

"You may have a great idea bouncing around in your head. It may be something that could revolutionize the company that you work for, or even change your own career. But if you can't find a way to get that idea out and in front of others, you and it will be forever stuck. The key is to have the ability and the courage to get up in front of a room—full of your friends, your peers or your bosses—and tell them what you know. Once you are able to speak your passion, you can pass it along to others and begin to make a difference. Perhaps you are just plagued by shyness, like I was way back in the seventh grade, when everyone was getting called to the front of the classroom for the spelling bee. Gulp! That was my worst nightmare! But as I grew up, I learned more and more ways to speak effectively. These days, I speak all over the world many times a week. But getting there wasn't easy."

Click here for the entire article.


From corporate boardrooms and managing partner suites

What will law practice look like 10 years fromnow? It depends on who answers the question.
Paul Lippe from AMLAWDaily asked two questions of a group of law firm leaders:

"Over the last ten years, whose world has changed the most, clients or law firms?," to which 100 percent of the audience answered "clients."

And, "Over the next ten years, whose world will change the most, clients or law firms?," which resulted in 80 percent of the audience choosing "law firms."

He outlines two scenarios in Welcome to the Future. Add his perspective to your plans and strategies.

October 24, 2008

Express yourself (blog) without getting fired

From the NY Law Journal, Express yourself without getting fired is a guide for bloggers who might run afoul of ethical rules and get into serious trouble.

London Survival Lessons for a Downturn

From law.com London Survival Lessons in a Downturn.

Strategies for a market in turmoil

With the stock market in turmoil and reports of layoffs in every news cycle, law students and lawyers seem to have two choices: panic or denial. Neither attractive nor useful, exercising either choice is the job-search equivalent of putting yourself out on an ice flow, not a particularly good idea in light of global warming. What should you do?

(1) Create a reality-based plan
, and
(2) Start working on it. Make no mistake -- this is hard work and you - and only you -- have to take control of your career. "Wishin' and hopin' and thinkin' and prayin'�? are lyrics from a Burt Bachrach song from the '60s and not a sound basis for career management.

REALITY-BASED PLANNING Assess your interests and credentials against the near-term market. You may have to forgo long-held goals for relatively short-term stability.

Interests: Beyond "what's hot and what's not?�? is the question of what work is being done now, and what might you predict will be done in the near future. You shouldn't need me to tell you that residential real estate development isn't a hot area and won't be for a long time. However, there will be an enormous amount of work for law-trained folks who will tease out the actual mortgages under the mortgage-backed securities and sort out their values with both borrowers and lenders. One can only hope that Congress adds money for enforcement to the bailout bill, which will protect taxpayers and employ lawyers to do the work.

Credentials: As career services professionals have been echoing the words of their recruiting professional colleagues for years - grades are not enough. Whether your goal is BigLaw, BigGov, small-law, small-gov, alternative legal or any other gainful employment, the people who are hiring want to hire those who (a) really want to do the job; (b) who really care about the work that's being done; (d) who can demonstrate that they have skills and that they want to continue to grow and to learn; and (e) who can demonstrate emotional intelligence.

If you are apply for a job with the title "lawyer,�? employers will hold you to their standards of commitment to their law practices. This can be a barrier for students who have not come to law school saying "I know for sure that I want to be a lawyer.�? Talk to a career adviser about this BEFORE you interview.

BigLaw #1: If your goal is BigLaw Corporate or Real Estate, your credentials are marginal, and you have neglected every single networking opportunity that has been offered to you while in law school, move to Plan B. Plan B requires that you both study the legal and business market and make careful and sophisticated inquiry about practice areas that may be viable for employers - public or private - which are most likely to hire you. Plan B requires that you tailor your short-term goals to the market and keep your long-term goals in mind. If you start in a small firm and build yourself a Big Business that fits with BigLaw, you will be sought after - regardless of your credentials. FYI, law business history often finds that lawyers in small firms with Big Billings are often reluctant to trade their relative autonomy for BigLaw.

BigLaw#2: Loudly or quietly, large law firms will cut back their entry level hiring for the next year or two. As the market returns, those firms may hire more 3Ls in the fall and they will aggressively recruit laterals. Regardless of your credentials, if BigLaw is your only professional goal, you may need to develop Plan B.

Public Service: If your goal is public defense and you have created a resume that reflects and supports that interest and you are willing to move to a city or town with a funding for your work, stay with Plan A, but expand it. It is not naïve to assume that funding for public sector work is going to be kicked to the curb for the next few years. Adjust your plan to include practice areas in which you can develop the skills that you need to move to public law in better budget times. What might those be? In tough times, people litigate - employment, personal injury, commercial issues, probate. Counter-intuitively, in tough times divorce practice can slow down as middle income people realize that they can't afford to get divorced. They may still fight over custody, and upper income folks won't stop haggling.

WORK ON YOUR PLAN: You brush your teeth every day. You fill your tank with gas when it's empty. Identify tasks that move your Plan forward and do something every single day. Here are some basics, and your career adviser and CPDC materials, including CareerFiles offer many more:

a. Know your region's business climate: You need to know about the business climate in the city or town where you want to live. Read its daily newspaper and business journal, and watch its tv news. You don't want to be the last to know that town's major manufacturer or service business have gone belly up. You do want to connect with the Mayor to volunteer to be part of new initiatives, and to apply for jobs that relate to your interests.

b. Bar Associations are more important than ever:
You need to connect with the bar association(s) in the city or town where you want to live. People hire folks they know. Don't be a stranger.

c. Your career adviser is your partner and your coach. Talk to your career adviser who is your partner in creating a plan and a strategy. Understand that "partnership" requires two-way communication -- lots of it. Your 30-minute first meeting with your career adviser is just that: the first meeting. This relationship is not Twitter and not speed dating. Your partner will advise and direct you, but you must ultimately take the lead in managing your own career.

October 15, 2008

Where is the tsunami of litigation?

Anyone who has read history or who is sufficiently chronologically enriched to remember previous panics, meltdowns and financial crises can tell you that financial shenanigans always generate work for lawyers. The questions are:

When will the work start? Who will get to do it? How long will it last?

WHEN WILL THE WORK START? In a recent story about litigation layoffs, which are unexpected in this kind of market meltdown, a partner was quoted as expecting a tsunami of litigation which hadn't yet materialized.

Lehman Brothers collapsed exactly 30 days ago. Frankly, anyone who had expected a tsunami of litigation to begin by now is operating on the widely discredited Raman Noodles Principle of Practice Development. If the Giant Pile of Mortgage Backed Securities is in limbo, the depth and breadth of the economic problem is yet to be clearly identified, and the theories of fault and blame are still being developed, it is hardly likely that a tsunami or even a big wave of litigation could have begun.

WHO WILL GET TO DO IT? Part of that is being sorted out at the highest level of BigLaw and BigGov. In the end, however, each and every individual mortgage backed security and the underlying actual mortgages that have been enveloped by smoke and mirrors, will be wrestled back to reality by junior associates or cadres of lawyers hired by as-yet-undesignated-government entities. There will be work and there will be a lot of it.

The savings and loan crisis of the 1980s was finally wrapped up in the mid-1990s when the Resolution Trust Corporation's duties were transferred to the FDIC. Yes, I know that the financial structures are different in today's financial meltdown, but I have no reason to believe that the tail of this problem will be any shorter than the RTCs.

October 14, 2008

Ten Legal Podcasts to Keep You Informed

Here is a great resource regarding legal podcasts that I came across at law.com.

Ten Legal Podcasts to Keep You Informed

By Robert J. Ambrogi
Law Technology News
October 10, 2008

Podcasts come and podcasts go -- and others merely lie fallow. Inconsistency is the curse of podcasting, particularly within the legal field, where lawyers have plenty enough demands on their time without trying to squeeze in a regular broadcast.

Launched with the best of intentions, podcasts often have a short half-life. In fact, when revisiting my 2005 column on this topic, I discovered that five of the 10 had disappeared or gone dormant.

Click here for the entire article.


October 2, 2008

Interview Checklist--The 25 Forbidden Questions

A couple of students have come to me recently and have asked, "Can they ask me this question...?" Here is an article from HR Advisor Daily that lists 25 questions that should be asked.

Interview Checklist--The 25 Forbidden Questions
Thursday, October 02, 2008 7:00 AM
by Steve Bruce

Check each forbidden question to indicate your awareness that it cannot be asked in employment interviews.

Forbidden Questions--Age

* “How old are you??
* “What is your date of birth??

(You may ask, “Do you meet the state minimum age requirement for work?? and “Are you over 18 and under age 65??)

Forbidden Questions--Availability for Work and Travel

* “Can you work Saturdays and Sundays??
* “Do you have children??
* “What are your child care arrangements??

(You may ask, “These are the hours of work -- can you attend work during these hours?? and “Work sometimes requires overtime. Can you work such a schedule?? and “Do you have any obligations that would keep you from work-related travel??)

For the complete article, please click the title of the article above.