Strategist - FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog

Strategist - The FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog


Sorry, we've always wanted to use one of those titles. But seriously, you really won't.

Jennifer Gaubert is a lawyer, a radio host, and a self-described "public figure." She also reportedly tried to sleep with a cab driver while very, very drunk. None of this is remarkable, or something we'd ordinarily care about, but then the courts got involved.

The cab driver, Hervey Farell, accused her of assault, as she allegedly grabbed his genitals. She has since been convicted, thanks to his videotaping of the encounter.

A year later, she filed alleged false accusations of him trying to extort money for the video. This led to his arrest, negative press coverage, and a temporary loss of work. He's now suing both her and the New Orleans Police Department, while she faces felony charges for the false accusations.

As a lawyer, you know the power of persuasion, whether you are trying to persuade a judge or jury, a client, or a party you are negotiating with. We recently came across an article in Inc., written for business people, about seven things persuasive people do, and thought we would tailor it for attorneys.

After all, you can never be too persuasive, right?

Here are three tips to help you become a more persuasive attorney:

Stronger than all the armies is an idea whose time has come. ... The time has come for equality of opportunity in sharing in government, in education, and in employment. It will not be stayed or denied. It is here.

--Senator Everett Dirksen, minority leader in 1964, on the Civil Rights Act of 1964

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which passed "on the backs of Northern Democrats and Republicans" by a vote of 73-27 in the Senate, and 289-126 in the House, reports CNN. As he announced the passage of the Act, President Lyndon B. Johnson stated, "It does say that there are those who are equal before God shall now also be equal in the polling booths, in the classrooms, in the factories," says CNN.

As we honor this momentous piece of legislation, we look at some of our posts dealing with handling discrimination claims and litigation.

I once had a car, a 1986 Nissan Pulsar NX, that had no keys. The ignition was started with a screwdriver, and the doors were always unlocked. I had this car for more than two years before it was towed away by the city.

Imagine an estimated two-thirds of your Internet accounts being that car. This, my friends, is Heartbleed, which has left the doors open since 2011. And the locksmiths are taking their time going around and changing the locks.

Here are a few tips for managing this minor crisis:

If Jerk.com [via Internet Archive] wasn't dead before, its fate is nearly sealed now.

The no longer online website just got slapped with an administrative complaint [PDF] by the Federal Trade Commission. Jerk allegedly violated Facebook's terms of service by scraping individuals' photos and names without their or Facebook's permission, allowing the site to create profiles for at least 73 million individuals. Visitors could vote "Jerk" or "Not Jerk," and leave comments. Most importantly, the site charged for memberships, implying that the purchase would allow the person to delete or edit their profile.

But it didn't.

Some call it a race to the bottom.

Some say that you're a lawyer, and you deserve to be paid $300 to $500 an hour.

Alright, but what percentage of the population can afford to pay such a rate? And can you afford to charge less, while still making a living and paying off your student loans?

What's the sweet spot?

Everyone has a theory about how to boost employee productivity and morale in the office. Some firms try to do it with perks and money, and others with making small changes around the office. It's important to gauge how employees experience the workplace, but one study has found that one thing employers have been taken for granted: the power of compassion.

'Culture of Compassion'

A recent study conducted by Wharton Professor Sigal Barsade and George Mason University Professor Olivia O'Neil shows the benefits of "companionate love" in the office, reports Inc. And no, there is nothing inappropriate about companionate love. It's merely the act of showing compassion, and showing your employees that you care; the authors explain that coworkers "are careful of each other's feelings. They show compassion when things don't go well."

We've written about the so-called Yelp "scam" in the past. Many, including a judge, have compared the site to the mafia because of its alleged favorable treatment of those who pay for advertising. Basically, the common (and so far unproven) complaint is that if a business turns down Yelp's advertising overtures, their positive reviews are filtered out, and negative reviews are given more prominent placement.

Of course, individual anecdotes, the kind plastered in the multiple news stories we've seen on this topic, could just be bitter businesses with legitimately disgruntled customers. What about the 2,048 complaints since 2008, a little more than five years? The Wall Street Journal sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Federal Trade Commission, which responded with the big figure. When the FTC posted the letter on its site, it sent Yelp's stock plummeting 6 percent Wednesday afternoon.

But still, even if Yelp is (allegedly) a scam, can you choose to ignore it?

It's a heck of a business model: Start your own firm. Then hire unpaid interns and post-bar clerks, many of whom are so desperate for a few lines of experience on their resumes that they will gladly take anything.

If they quit, hire another intern or two. If they stay, have them handle your research, writing, and other grunt work, preferably with their school-provided research accounts. And if an intern proves to be truly valuable, hire them at something approximating a living wage once they pass the bar, and provide them with their own set of interns.

This may sound unethical. It may sound like a labor law violation. It's probably both. But guess what? Everybody's doing it!

Rap is a boastful and often fictional genre.

Rick Ross built an entire career on his past as a drug dealer, a false identity appropriated from an inmate, and which was recently labeled by an appeals court as "fair use."

Heck, the most "gangster" rapper of all time, Tupac, attended a ballet school before he adopted his "Thug Life" persona and became a rap legend.

The genre glorifies violence and gang affiliations, necessitating the above rappers' curation of a darker persona. Hyperbole and violence is the recipe for most successful rap songs, which makes it worrisome that prosecutors are increasingly turning to rap music as evidence of criminal conduct.