Greedy Associates - The FindLaw Legal Lifestyle and Career Blog

September 2013 Archives

A Handful of Reasons Not to Go to Law School

Dear Law School Applicants,

We've been a bit contradictory around here lately. We've talked about how the plummeting demand and low application rates make now a great time to "buy low" on law school. Then again, we've constantly lamented the never-improving job market.

If you are in the process of applying to law school, it may be wise to reconsider. Here are a few reasons that may make you not want to go to law school:

Last week, in our first post on Delegating 101, we looked at why you should delegate, and to whom you should delegate assignments. Now, we turn to the next questions: What should you delegate, and what are some strategies to delegate effectively?

What to Delegate

Legal consulting group Altman Weil Inc. has a great way of approaching delegation by looking at the relationship between risk and complexity. For example, something that is high risk and high complexity should probably stay on your desk, while something that is low risk/low complexity can easily be handed off to someone else. If it's in a high/low mix situation, you can delegate, but retain close supervision.

True story: A colleague interviewed a candidate who had all the right stuff: right grades, right credentials, and the right experience. The candidate didn't get the job though. Why?

She, um, like, said "you know" after like, every sentence, you know what I mean?

Filler phrases might be OK for chatting it up with your roommate. But if you want to make a good impression in a job interview, then you need to learn how to talk the talk -- and that talk doesn't include "um," "like," and "you know."

So how to break out of this awful habit? Here are four tips:

Ethics Complaint Filed Against Attorney Who Couldn't Prove Illness

The Illinois Registration and Disciplinary Commission has filed an ethics complaint against an Illinois lawyer who they claimed faked an illness to avoid oral arguments.

The complaint alleges that Finn agreed to represent a client, Kenneth Clark, in an appeal of his criminal conviction for possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute. Clark was sentenced to 240 months, and paid $15,000 for Finn's representation in his appeal.

But Finn never made it to his client's scheduled oral argument. He phoned the clerk's office, claiming that he was feeling ill and wasn't well enough to make it to court. He also stated that he had vomited earlier in the morning.

Quarter-Life Crisis: Tips for the 'New Lost Generation'

Our lives were supposed to be better than this. They said, "Go to college." They said, "Law is a noble, rewarding, and lucrative profession." They said, "Hard work will lead to greater things."

It hasn't quite happened that way. We, the twenty-somethings of the recession, are the "new lost generation." While tuition was rising, we did the "right" thing, went to school, and then graduated into a barren job market, for law grads and laypeople alike. Yesterday, senators from both sides of the aisle spoke about our issues, yet offered no solutions.

And now, after graduation and a fruitless job search, your life, career, and likely your personal relationships, are not where you want them to be. What do you do about it?

Career Change: Lawyer Turned ... Bank Robber?

There's nothing like a good old-fashioned robbery followed by a shoot-up, right? Here's one especially made for our sector: an alleged attorney from Wentzville, Missouri has been charged with both robbery and shooting a trooper while fleeing, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

It's been quite a couple of weeks in terms of lawyers (or in some cases, would-be lawyers) making our profession proud. From the naked attorney who ended up in a woman's bedroom and then subsequently got tased, to the law student pulled out of school to be charged with forcible rape. Joining the recent ranks of these fine folks now comes Warren Gladders.

Bar Results Begin Trickling In ... What Now?

It's beginning. The standing room only crowd of recently-admitted lawyers looking for careers just got a bit more crowded, with four states already releasing bar results. For those of you waiting until November, we empathize with your misery. For those who just got their results, well, we empathize with you as well.

The results parade began, as usual, with North Carolina, which experienced a ten percent dip in passage rate, according to Above the Law. Utah, Florida, and Indiana have also released results. For the examinees in those states, here are a few pieces of advice:

Young and Healthy? Should You Opt-In or Opt-Out of Obamacare?

Like many young people, I've been too busy to pay attention to Obamacare. Democrats passed a healthcare law, the Supreme Court upheld the insurance mandate as a tax, and since then, congressional Republicans have threatened to hold their breath and stomp their feet until they turn blue and pass out. Or until the law is defunded.

None of that means a thing to me. Until recently, I lacked a job with benefits, and the only concern I had was this: how does this affect my insurance premiums? The answer, unfortunately, is that for most of us recent graduates, it'll spike our premiums. A new push by Generation Opportunity (GOp ... like GOP with a little less facial Republicanism, but still funded by the Koch brothers) is encouraging our nation's youth to "opt-out" of Obamacare by paying the minor penalty, and abstaining from overpriced healthcare.

When Charles-Guillaume √Čtienne wrote (in French) "If you want something done right, do it yourself," he was not talking about delegating legal work. While most of us could probably admit to stating this phrase at least once (no law school study group horror stories? no failed group science experiments?), we know it doesn't make sense in the business world.

Delegating is important, and should be an integral part of your work strategy. In Delegating 101, we'll tell you why you need to delegate work, and how to delegate effectively.

LSU Law Student Pulled Before IP Class, Arrested for Forcible Rape

A Louisiana State University law student was pulled right outside Intellectual Property class on Wednesday and arrested by officers on accusations of forcible rape, reports LSU's Daily Reveille. His bond has since been set at $100,000.

The arrest came after the female victim reported to police that Abdellatif Devol had forced himself upon her at his apartment, after the two went out for drinks, and after she refused to have sexual intercourse. Per the Reveille, "she was discovered to have scratches on her wrists, neck and breasts consistent with sexual assault."

Devol also apologized to the victim in a controlled phone call monitored by police officers.

5 Things to Know About Moral Character Apps (That You Might Not)

Hey, 3Ls (or, maybe 2Ls if you actually have time): it's definitely not too early to be thinking about your character and fitness application.

While you may be biting your nails about the summer from hell (aka bar-study) that awaits you, don't forget that passing the bar is not all that it takes to be a licensed attorney. It is absolutely required that you be of good moral character and fitness to become licensed. So, here are 5 general things to know about moral character applications:

Another Day Ending in 'Y': Naked City Attorney Gets Tased

The latest in the installment of ... attorneys behaving questionably who have made the news involves one in his birthday suit, who then also got tased.

Let's strip this one down, shall we? (Sorry, had to).

You may work on a lot of independent projects, but you surely don't work in a bubble. Chances are you're sharing office space, or work in a cubicle environment so you're coming into contact with people all day.

It's sometimes hard to be friendly when you're stressed and working on a deadline, but being sour will get you nowhere fast. Didn't your mama ever tell you that you "catch more flies with honey than vinegar?"

Here are five easy tips that will keep you off of everyone's hit list.

Least Important Research Ever: BigLaw Starting Pay Still $160k

The National Association for Legal Professionals, which tracks employment statistics and salaries of lawyers, issued a press release today that will have few, if any implications for anyone. After the median starting salary dipped last year to $145,000 for firms with more than 700 lawyers, it "rebounded" to $160,000 this year.

Is that a sign of a thriving industry on the rebound? No. Not at all.

What percentage of law grads work at firms with more than 700 lawyers? We don't have any numbers, but we'd venture a guess that it is somewhere in the neighborhood of less than one percent. (We are the 99 percent! Occupy BigLaw!) Median starting salaries aside, every other bit of recent BigLaw news, at least for associates, has pointed towards further decline.

DOL Clarifies: Unpaid Law Internships Still Illegal, Unless Pro Bono

This may not be news to you, or to us, but unpaid internships are illegal in nearly all cases. If you are working for a firm, and they are deriving a benefit from your work, you need to be paid.

The ABA, however, sought clarification from the Department of Labor on one narrow set of circumstances: internships with for-profit firms where the intern handles pro bono matters exclusively. Here are the major takeaways from the DOL's full response:

ABA Discussing Legal Access Job Corps; But Is it More Than Talk?

I've never been the type to appreciate "we need to do something" speeches. Yes, the first step is to admit you have a problem, but the most important step is finding a way to fix the problem.

We have too many law graduates. We have little to no access to the justice system for low income and rural residents. Both are massive problems, and the new ABA President, James R. Silkenat, has twice in two months mentioned the problem. Last month, in the weeks before the ABA Annual Meeting, he spoke about the scope of the problem, and a possible Legal Access Job Corps that could kill both birds. This month, he reiterated his interest in such a program.

But we still haven't heard the how.

How Many Law Schools Should You Apply To?

One of the most frequent questions I heard back in my LSAT teaching days was, "How many schools should I apply to?" Obviously, you'll want a safety school or two. And if you've ever dreamed of attending a specific school, you should add that to the list as well. But what is the sweet spot?

The answer, like many questions in law, is "it depends."

A recent article in The New York Times proclaimed that bringing lunch to work is not "hip." Whether you make a mad dash for the cafeteria (and let's face it, it's not gonna be like the Google cafeteria) or to the closest fast food joint, lunch ends up being something we just shove in our face, rather than a healthy, nutritious meal that will help us avoid the 3 p.m. slump.

The author's goal in writing the article was to change the view that brown-bagging your lunch is not hip, and since we agree with his noble cause, here are four reasons why you should bring your lunch to work.

Ever thought about working with headhunters? And, no, unfortunately we don't mean Herbie Hancock's jazz masterpiece, we mean legal recruiters. Most often used by experienced lateral attorneys making the hop, skip and jump from one firm to a better one, or from BigLaw to in-house life, recruiters can also help newer attorneys, or attorneys out of the market for some time.

Though working with a headhunter won't guarantee you a job, if you keep five things in mind, it may make the whole job hunt experience less painful for you.

The Post-OCI Process: Now, What?

Done with OCI? First off, congrats! It can't have been easy to run around campus in your best wrinkle-frees, while trying to make it to one of the most crucial (no pressure) job interviews of your career, and juggle law school on top of that.

Now that you're done, though, it's time to first take a breather and then move forward. As a 2L, there's always something that needs to be done (and that's on top of the actual school part - yikes). In doing that, however, here are 3 considerations to take while in the post-OCI process:

Done With OCI? 5 Tips for Your Thank-You Notes

Done with OCI? Don't forget to send a follow-up thank-you note. Even if you didn't participate in OCI, a thank you note is crucial after any interview, really. But, how should you send it? When should you send it? Do you even send it? The answer to that last question is a resounding yes, by the way.

As for the other concerns, here are 5 tips to consider for your thank-you note to the firm(s) you interviewed with at OCI (or, just in general):

Recent Grads, Like Obama, Think Third Year Needs Revamp

A survey of recent law graduates found that, surprisingly enough, they were unhappy with the status quo of legal education.

Seriously, a shocker, right?

The survey's findings are somewhat in line with President Barack Obama's suggestions from a few weeks ago, though we're still wary of the unintended consequences of dropping the third year. The survey, done by our friends at Kaplan, polled bar review students on legal education reform, resulting in three significant takeaways:

6 Apps to Help Busy Lawyers Find Dates

Obvious advice of the day: If you care about your job, don't date in the office.

The reasons are obvious, but we'll recap them in as few words as possible: drama, office gossip, and sexual harassment. But you are an associate! You spend 100 hours per week in the office. You never have the chance to meet anyone if you don't date coworkers.

We get it. You've got this whole career thing standing in the way of happiness. Fortunately, you have dozens of options for online or "app" dating. And trust us, (nearly) everyone is doing it. Here are a few suggestions, from "traditional" websites to apps that are a bit more ... casual:

Law Sucks. What Else is There? Spirit Healer

Ordinarily, we'd write this guy off as a kook. He feels auras, uses crystals, and performs exorcisms. He'll wave his "energy hand" to cure you of your ills. People who talk like this are often put in prison, or given a straight jacket.

Not Kenneth Klee, however. He's called the "dean of the bankruptcy bar," for good reason. He literally wrote the book on bankruptcy, serving as a contributing editor to Collier on Bankruptcy from 1979 until 1996, recently managed Jefferson County, Alabama's bankruptcy, and he charges $1,000 per hour. He's also been a professor at UCLA since 1979.

Allright, then. Where does one get crystals again?

4 Other Job Tips: When Being 'Practice-Ready' Isn't Enough

What should you do when being "practice-ready" just isn't enough to land you a job? It's a rather universal complaint among law students, that law school often doesn't prepare us for the realities of the legal sector. In an attempt to remedy this, law schools these days are trying to incorporate more practical experience into their curriculum.

But, really, they can only do so much. As promised (and mentioned) in a recent post where we summarized the findings of a law professor, who claimed that the ideas behind being a practice-ready law graduate were a fantasy; here are some tips to work within this rather crappy job market, where no one is knocking down your door to offer you a job.

You're on the not-so-fun job hunt that at some moments seems pointless. How do you differentiate yourself from the countless other grads looking for legal work? Well, by having a standout cover letter, that's how. The cover letter is the first encounter you have with a prospective employer so you have to ensure that it's perfect.

Here are five tips to getting you to the perfect cover letter -- and hopefully, the perfect job.

The 'Practice Ready' Law Student is a Fantasy, Says Law Professor

A recent paper released by a University of Maryland Law professor comments on how the theory of a "practice ready" law graduate is a heavily loaded myth, reports The Wall Street Journal. In a very generalized nutshell, the author is saying: stop blaming your joblessness on your law school.

Professor Robert Condlin, in calling the concept of a practice-ready graduate a "millennialist fantasy," makes a fair point in noting that the BigLaw (and SmallLaw, and MidLaw) job market are often beyond the control of law schools themselves. Each respective legal sector, whether it be a firm practice, non-profit, government, or in a judges chambers, also come with different practical skill-sets required.

Buying a Home After Law School: It May be Possible

Renting is hideous, especially here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Back in the projects of Lexington, Virginia (true story), we were able to find two bedroom apartments for only $450 per month. Here? We're talking $1,100 for a crappy "junior one bedroom" apartment.

That's $13,100 per year. That's might-as-well-have-a-mortgage territory.

Except, there is this minor factor of student loan debt. Now, everyone's finances are different. Some of us have $1,000 per month student loan payments. Others are using IBR to delay the inevitable. Either way, student loan presents two major obstacles to home ownership: debt to income ratios and down payments.

Numerical Proof that BigLaw, OCIs are Dead (What's Your Plan B?)

In 2006, as a wee lad in undergrad, I went to a law school information fair. Schools from across the nation had tables trumpeting their successes and excesses, including a handful that had massive signs proclaiming, "Average Starting Salary -- $160,000!"

Wait, $160,000? That'd cover the loan bills and my mother's retirement home in Barstow. Score!

Needless to say, it didn't happen. Not for me, and not for, well, pretty much anyone. BigLaw is dead for most law students, and though the economy seems to be trending upward, Above the Law has a depressing infograph that shows that, unfortunately, BigLaw hiring is still trending downward.