Friday, May 9, 2014

Working with Millennials

We've heard lots of people grumbling about working with millennials, sometimes with good cause, sometimes based more on stereotype than reality; this short article from Entrepreneur discusses some of these stereotypes and why they might be wrong.

But like many things, both positive and negative generalizations only go so far - it's difficult to pigeon-hole millenial attorneys just as one would be hard-pressed to pigeon-hole baby boomer attorneys and so forth.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Personal branding

Attorneyatwork had an interesting article recently on personal branding.

Most attorneys don't like to think of themselves as a "brand" - and, we suppose, if you're a BigLaw drone or something similar, you're not (your firm certainly is, though).

But as you move down to solo and small firm attorneys, you very much are a brand - potential clients may hire you for your legal acumen, but just as many might hire you because of something about you - maybe a shared culture or affinity or hobby, or a myriad of other things you are and can be.

So give some thought to it and make sure your brand reflects what you want it to be.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Retracting offers and the state of the profession

A snippet came out in the ABA Journal recently about a firm retracting offers it had made to new first-year associates.  Not, by itself, a shocking thing.

What drew laughter and snide comments was the firm's excuse: that "declining client demand for first year associates" was amongst the factors behind the move.

As commentators pointed out, it's highly unlikely any client would demand a first-year associate.

After all, while paid very well (at these firms at least), the average first-year associate does little besides busy work and is, by and large, far less valuable than a half-competent paralegal.

That's one of the bigger problems the profession (and law schools) still need to find a better solution for.

Friday, May 2, 2014

How much obsolete tech are you using?

Sam Glover has a nice little slideshow over at Lawyerist discussing obsolete technology that many lawyers are still using.

How about you?

The only one of these that's still useful for many people, in our opinion at least, is the copier - since many courts don't have e-filing and there's still often a need to produce copious amounts of paper.  While scanning everything and printing on demand works for most things, it can tax many a printer to have to print hundreds of pages (and have them properly collated, stapled, etc.)

Everything else though?  Yeah, it's been replaced.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The "LawTigers" opinion: another take

While some, including My Shingle's Carolyn Elefant, have decried it, Scott Greenfield commends the Indiana Supreme Court for holding an attorney responsible for the exaggerations (or misrepresentations) of a lead-providing service he signed up for.

Greenfield's points are valid and have merit, but his ultimate solution:

Hold lawyers accountable for their signing on to these schemes that promote them through deception and prosecute alt-law businesses that are engaging in the criminal enterprise of the unlawful practice of law. 

seems antiquated, at best.

Given the liberalization of lawyer advertising rules, it is difficult to imagine a retrenchment of rules in the first place.  What would have been seen as puffery years ago is now common-place.  This may not be a good thing, but it is reality.

More so for "alternative law businesses."  Sure, unauthorized practice of law is still technically a crime, but given both the acceptance of alt-law business and the money behind it, does anyone really think it's just going to go away because lawyers want to preserve their traditional monopoly?  It's far more likely unauthorized practice of law statutes will go away than to see a sudden resurgence in enforcement.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Will lawyers become obsolete?

Wired had an interesting article about a "futurist" who predicted lawyers will soon be obsolete.

Specifically, the claim is that AI might automate contract law.  This may well be, but it might be a tad premature to say lawyers will soon be obsolete, given that they do much more than just write boilerplate contracts (and realistically, much of that low level work has already been replaced by legal document sites).

We don't think lawyers have to worry about computers taking their jobs... yet.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Beating writer's block

We've touched on this topic before, but came across some useful tips from Julie Fleming on how to beat writer's block.

Writing is part of the essence of being a lawyer; and not just pleadings and the like, but also "content" - traditionally articles and papers, now more often on web-sites.

Potential clients often find you by your writings (perhaps by googling a specific legal topic) and being seen as knowledgeable in a subject goes great lengths to impress both potentials and search engines.

After all, they can't hire you if they can't find you.