Greedy Associates - The FindLaw Legal Lifestyle and Career Blog

February 2014 Archives

Pick a Practice Area You Love, Not Just One That Pays

What type of law do you want to practice?

Anything by anyone who'll hire me.

Ask me that question three years ago, when I was couch-surfing and unemployed, and that would've been my answer. We're willing to bet that nearly every recent grad will give that same answer because, well, the job market is miserable. Take what you can get, because anything beats your momma's couch.

That's all true, and taking an "until I find something better" gig, especially with a firm that has a variety of practice areas, is a good way to figure out what you don't like. Then, once you have a paycheck and an idea of what you hate, you can turn your attention to finding something better.

Here are a few considerations for figuring out what "better" might be:

Is Justice Scalia's Past Sabotaging 'Traditional' Marriage's Future?

Anyone who knows anything about Justice Scalia's politics and jurisprudence can probably guess that he is opposed to gay marriage.

Heck, he's generally opposed to gays -- in as much as he believes in a state's ability to jail them for having sex. Justice Scalia has even equated homosexuals (though he's hardly the only one) to those who commit incest and bestiality.

So why then is he being credited for helping strike down gay marriage in Texas?

What Courses Should You Take To Prepare For BigLaw?

Now that you've secured your summer associate position, what courses should you take to prepare for your potential life as a first year at BigLaw?

Harvard law professors surveyed attorneys from 11 large firms to find out what courses law students should be taking to help them succeed as new associates, according to The Washington Post.

While the usual courses like evidence and federal courts are high up on the list, law students may be surprised that finance courses are highly recommended.

Anyone else have Oscar fever? In the spirit of the Academy Awards, and our great anticipation of the red carpet awards ceremony, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at the field of entertainment law.

Like many who enter the legal profession, we're guessing that there's a secret desire in you to work in a creative field. Yeah, you're not the only one, it's a pretty common theme in the lawyer files. That said, one area of law that creatives are naturally drawn to is entertainment law -- if you can't be an entertainer, then might as well represent one -- goes the thought process.

While that's a valid approach, before you make the big leap into the mystery that is entertainment law, here are a few things to consider, and that will help you along your career path.

Yesterday, we talked about this idea for the in-house crowd, today, this is for the rest of us.

No Gawker, Law Firm Hiring is Not Back to 2007-- It's Still Awful

Chalk this up to a lack of careful reading and/or unfamiliarity with law firm hiring models.

This morning, my Twitter blasted across a happy headline via a tweet: It's 2007 All Over Again For Law Students. Could it be? Will things be better for my dear brother (class of 2017)?

Legal. Market. Recovery.

Except, no, not really. Follow the source link to The Wall Street Journal and you'll find the source of the confusion: law firms aren't subjecting summer associate classes to firing squads, and, indeed, they are offering long-term gigs in pre-recession percentages.

Percentages.

Gathering Admissions Offers? Which Law School Should You Pick?

We promised that we'd follow up on decision time, when the time came. You've completed our step-by-step process for applying to law school and now, the offers are rolling in -- a scholarship here, good employment outcomes there, and family somewhere in between.

How do you choose? Here are some considerations, from most important, to least important.

Ok, we get it. You were one of those kids in class that always had their hand raised and asked for extra credit. Now that you're at BigLaw, you want to do the equivalent and be the best associate you can be.

Maybe you've gotten the swing of things, and billing 80 hours/week comes naturally to you -- now you want more work. Or, more realistically, maybe you don't want more work, but you want more control over the types of assignments you receive.

Here are three tips that you could follow to have more control over dictating your practice area, and the course of your career.

7 Sensational Pets for Loving Lawyers

February 20 is "Love Your Pet Day." Don't believe us? Check Google. Lawyers everywhere have hearts not as black as coal, but sentimental cavities full of pink, fluffy wuvs which they often share with their pets.

In celebration of the furry and scaly friends which lawyers love, we present seven sensational pets to lavish your unrequited love on:

One would be hard-pressed to argue that pro bono is not a good idea; it's one of the most noble things an attorney can do, and is a service to society. New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman has long been a proponent of attorneys volunteering for pro bono work, going so far as to make it a requirement that aspiring attorneys in New York perform 50 hours of pro bono work before they can be admitted to the New York State Bar Association.

Pro Bono Scholars Program

Last week, Judge Lippman went a step further and announced the Pro Bono Scholars Program, in his State of the Judiciary speech. In the program, third-year law students would devote their last semester doing pro bono work, receiving law school credit for the work they do. In addition, students in the Pro Bono Scholars Program would be allowed to take the February bar exam, reports The New York Times.

Which Schools Have Shrinking Class Sizes? Does it Mean Anything?

Schools are cutting class sizes!

Some have shed as much as 66.2 percent of their incoming classes!

The law school bubble has burst!

Maybe. Enrollment numbers are certainly down from their obscene peak in the height of the recession, but we're willing to bet that the market for a JD will recover in the near-future, hopefully after a few diploma mills go belly-up, saving a few thousand unfortunate souls from taking on six-figure debt for a degree from a non-entity.

That being said, when someone goes through the effort of counting heads and ranking the schools that are bloodletting the most, we'd be remiss (and boring) if we did not witness the carnage.

Business Casual Survival Guide Helps You Dress Like an Adult

I have a friend who works in sales. This friend, who we'll call Joe, wears a company-mandated polo shirt and slacks. Simple enough, right? You can't screw that outfit up. Except he does, with running shoes. His New Balances look like a dog ate them, and then defecated them out. The only thing holding those shoes together is duct tape.

He may be beyond saving. Another friend of mine looks like page 57 of GQ.

Emmi Sorokin's The Business Casual Survival Guide is for neither of them. This book is, however, for everyone else, especially those recent graduates making the leap from law school to the working world.

Have you caught Olympic fever yet? We have, and any time we're not at work, we're watching world-class athletes perform feats that leave us in awe (and make us feel pretty pathetic in comparison).

No doubt the next generation of athletes watch with an eye to the future, but fear not, we lawyers can learn from, and be inspired by Olympians too. Here are three lessons for young attorneys, and law students, from Olympians.

Not Going Out on Valentine's Day?: Top 5 Reasons to Stay In

There are many reasons lawyers might not be able to go out on Valentine's Day: crowded restaurants, heavy workload, no one to go out with.

But there are just as many reasons to say phooey to the outside world on V-Day and just stay in. Here are our top five:

Giving Pre-Law Folks What They Want: Clinics

Here's a question that is asked often: why are people still applying to law school? (Answer: likely a combination of lack of a better option and pre-lawyerly arrogance that they will succeed where tens of thousands of others have failed.)

Here's another one: knowing what they know about the legal job market, what are these applicants looking for in a school? After all, beating their heads against casebooks for three years isn't going to help them when they have to hang shingles in 2017 or so.

Pampering Parent Seeks to Pay Legal Employers to Hire Son

Craigslist: it's no longer just for exploitative employers offering barista wages to barristers, it's also for pampering parents who would like to pay someone to hire their offspring.

Yes, you read that right. If you are a firm in the Orange County, California area (and presumably anywhere in the Los Angeles metropolitan area), this parent will subsidize his or her son's salary for any firm that will provide at least half-time work.

5 Sober Valentine's Day Drink Ideas for Attorneys

Valentine's Day falls on a Friday this year, right before a long weekend. That can only mean one thing for attorneys: Valentine's Day happy hour!

Attorneys who have a torrid love affair with alcohol will be steering clear of spiked beverages. If that's you, don't worry. You can still get into the spirit (sans spirits) and treat yourself to tasty libations with a romantic flourish.

This Valentine's Day, fall in love with your liver. Check out these five non-alcoholic options, courtesy of Apartment Therapy:

No Valentine? Try Coffee Meets Bagel, a Unique Dating Site

CMB. Coffee Meets Bagel. Purely for the sake of this blog, and to help the readers, I experimented with the oddly-named site and was blown away.

What makes this site different from all of those other dating sites and apps lawyers use that we've talked about? For one, the demographics skew towards educated and professional. Also, it avoids the biggest pitfall of most other sites: choice.

OK lonesome lawyers, listen up. We are going to save you time, money and maybe help you find a Valentine.

Prof. Bernstein's 'Local Rules' Are a Great Primer for Practice

Pundits often whine about legal education not preparing students for the practice of law. And practitioners often bemoan the annoyances of practice, such as grumpy judges, poorly formatted pleadings, or indecipherable local rules.

Professor Ray Bernstein, of Santa Clara Law, teaches Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing (LARAW), a long-winded variant of the same legal writing class that every law school requires. The point of these classes is to teach students to write like lawyers. (They could start by teaching brevity.)

Perhaps as an ode to the annoyances of real-life practice, Prof. Bernstein adopted his own local rules, which are as tedious as the real thing. "Ridiculous" and "condescending" or a well designed primer for practice? You decide.

Valentine's Day is approaching, and while many people are over this holiday and don't want to hear any more about it, we thought it would be fun to talk about our legal crushes. No these lawyers don't get our hearts beating faster (well, except for #4), but they definitely stir up our minds. Here are four lawyers we have legal crushes on and we'd love to have dinner with...

1. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Yes, I have a girl crush on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and why not? She is -- to put it bluntly -- a badass. Before becoming the second woman Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States, she devoted much of her career advancing the causes of women's rights, founding the Women's Rights Project at the ACLU, and argued cases before the Court that she now sits on.

The interplay between likability and success has been debated since Machiavelli's "The Prince" hit the printing presses. He famously pondered the question "whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved?" His answer to male politicians (then and now): "It may be answered that one should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, it is much safer to be feared than loved."

Women have not fared so well with this advice. First, Machiavelli didn't write "The Princess," and second, we have all heard the successful women are bitches stereotype. Over and over. A recent article in New York Magazine examined how a successful and well-liked woman -- Jenna Lyons, President and Creative Director of J.Crew -- has managed to walk that fine and ever-shifting line. That inspired us to wonder about what we "lady" lawyers can do to strike a balance.

Why should we have to trade likability for success? Why can't we have both? Here are a few things to consider.

Should an Associate Ask a Coworker Out on Valentine's Day?

As you may or may not know, Valentine's Day is barely more than a week away. And as young, single associates, certain feelings of anxiety or pressure may be originating from a non-work source -- not having a date.

The workplace is a common place for new relationships to blossom, but should associates risk asking out their coworkers?

You're one month deep in the quest to attain an inhuman amount of billable hours; if you want a change, the time is now. You recently received your end-of-year bonus for 2013 -- before you add more hours to tally for you 2014 bonus, if you want to make a lateral career move, the earlier you do it, the better.

Here are some different career changes you can make, and some tips on how to make them.

5 Tips to Jazz Up the LinkedIn Page You Forgot About

Maybe you're looking for a job. Have you looked at your LinkedIn lately?

C'mon now. This is an online resume, open-ended cover letter, and narrative of your professional life. Unless your name is John Doe, a web search for your name is going to turn up your LinkedIn almost immediately. This is your opportunity to provide something shiny, intelligent, and useful, so that your future employer doesn't dig further -- and find the Facebook page that you should have tweaked.

Enough babbling. Let's do some work.

6 Facebook Tweaks You Should Make When Looking for a Job

Happy 10th Anniversary Facebook! Since your inception, you've dropped the "The," you've added photo albums and chat, and, along with Google, have basically made it impossible to stay anonymous on the Internet.

That's not always a problem. Most of us are, after all, unremarkable and uninteresting. But when searching for a job, we've learned a few lessons about reasserting our privacy.

For those on the job hunt, here are six tweaks you should make now to hide your personal life from your potential professional one:

3 Things to Do Your First Week as an Associate

It's a new job, either for the summer, or post-grad. You don't know anyone here, nor do you know anything about the substantive law, the office procedures, or where the nearest falafel joint is at.

How do you get up to speed quickly? It's simple: it's all about the people.

The new year has brought in a great selection of new FindLaw Practice Guides. Last week, we looked at some of the practice guides that would help solo practitioners, and today, we look at practice guides that new attorneys at BigLaw could benefit from reviewing.

Here are our top five FindLaw practice guides you should take a look at: