Strategist - FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog

Strategist - The FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog


Tips for Using a Third Party to Help With Your Job Search

If you're looking for an attorney job, maybe you should stay away from the headhunters because you'll need that head in the future. I speak from personal experience because my head was hunted once by a job recruiter and I barely got out alive.

To be serious, job recruiters surely provide a valuable service to law firms and companies looking for specific lawyers. That's why they get the big bucks, which headhunters apparently charge for finding those attorneys. It's typically a 30 percent contingency fee of the new hire's salary.

Carol Kanarek, a lawyer, psychotherapist, and author, explains that search firms are used only by those law firms and companies that are seeking lawyers with very specific expertise. "Consequently, if you are seeking a change in practice focus, or are looking for a non-legal job, a search firm won't be able to help you."

Should You Sell Clients' Uncollected Debt?

Times are tough when you have to borrow money to pay your bills.

Well, it's about that time for more than a few law firms. And it's not just the solo practitioners working on shoe-strings.

According to reports, even some BigLaw firms are reaching for money at the end-of-the-year rope. Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, New York City's oldest law firm with more than 450 lawyers around the world, sold off some of its receivables to make ends meet last year.

Cadwalader saw gross revenue drop 3.7 percent to $463.5 million in 2015. Managing partner Patrick Quinn attributed the decline to lagging collections. A former partner anonymously told the American Lawyer that the firm sold off some of its receivables at the end of that year.

More BigLaw Firms Are Suing for Clients' Unpaid Bills

The old wisdom against suing your client is giving way to a new normal.

According to recent reports, more BigLaw firms are breaking the old mold and suing their clients for unpaid fees. They say clients expect more of them, and so lawyers should expect more from their clients. This trend is happening at a time when law firm revenues are down and new lawyer expectations are up.

In other words, it is about money after all.

Immigration has been central to Donald Trump's agenda since he announced his candidacy almost a year and a half ago. Now, Trump's electoral success has signaled a massive shift in U.S. immigration policy and enforcement: a likely end to the Obama administration's immigration reform efforts, a promised increase in detentions and deportation, and potentially greater limits to worker visas. That's less "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" and much more "Build the wall!"

How are immigration lawyers preparing for the change?

When Does Criticizing a Judge Become an Ethics Violation?

Some things are best left unsaid.

At least attorney Christine M. Mire should have kept her criticism of a judge to herself, according to the Louisiana Supreme Court. In appellate pleadings, Mire had accused a trial judge of tampering with a court recording that allegedly obscured the judge's connection to a litigant in the case. Based on those pleadings, the state disciplinary council accused her of ethics violations.

The Louisiana Supreme Court, in a split decision, suspended Mire's license to practice for one year and one day with six months deferred and two years of probation. Justice Jefferson D. Hughes III wrote one of the dissenting opinions.

"Alteration of the transcript of a recorded judicial proceeding is a serious, perhaps criminal, matter," he wrote. "This court does justice no favor by punishing the whistleblower."

It's a good time to be a driver -- or a pedestrian. Our streets have become increasingly safe over the past decade, with traffic fatalities down 23 percent between 2006 and 2014 and injuries dropping 17 percent over the same period. These safety gains are expected to continue, even as Americans drive more total miles every year and despite an uptick in traffic fatalities last year.

This is good news for everyone on the road. But what does it mean for personal injury attorneys whose practices depend on motor vehicle accidents? A new whitepaper by FindLaw Lawyer Marketing has some insights.

'Tis the season, as they say. The halls are decked, gay apparel is donned, and chestnuts are roasting. But for all the winter mirth and merriment, the season can also be a contentious one. Think, for example, of the annual fights over saying "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Kwanza," and the yearly fury that surrounds Starbucks holiday cups.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't bring some holiday cheer into your law office. You should! But here are some tips to help you do it without leaving anyone feeling excluded, offended, or even litigious.

What to Do If You Can't Find Your Client

Everybody loses clients, but what if you literally lose a client?

Losing track of a client can be more distressing than losing the client's business. Lawyers have a duty to protect the legal rights of even those clients they can't find. When they go missing, you may find yourself in an ethical minefield as you go about searching for them.

"If an attorney is having trouble contacting a client, the attorney should make all reasonable efforts to locate the client," according to the Washington State Bar newsletter. "If contacting the client is not possible, the attorney should keep records documenting all efforts to give notice, including efforts to contact the client by mail, phone, and email."

Lawyers can expect to hear a lot about tort reform in the upcoming months. With a Republican president-elect, a Republican-controlled Congress, and a Trump-selected future Supreme Court justice, tort reform advocates are facing one of their most favorable political climates in some time.

So, how likely is tort reform in the near future and what could it mean for attorneys like you?

Best Practices for Unbundled Legal Services

'Unbundling' means 'limited scope' means 'a la carte.' Somebody get a dictionary, please.

A la carte, from the French for "according to the menu," used to mean "separately priced items." As applied to legal services, it became "limited scope representation." Now the word for a la carte, or limited scope, is "unbundling."

It is not entirely new, having been offered by the American Bar Association years ago, but it is becoming more popular. That is, once you know what's on the menu and what to keep off the menu.