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The phone interview is quickly becoming the go-to method for a first round of interviews. Phone interviews are cheaper for everyone, faster to conduct, and don't waste as much of the time of the people who inevitably won't get called back for an in-person interview.

Like in-person interviews, though, phone interviews have their own procedure, style, and etiquette. If you've never conducted a phone interview before, or you're not sure if you've been doing it right all along, here are some tips to guide you:

What should you look for in a paralegal or legal assistant? We don't mean "what should you put in the job application." That's easy: Writing skills, attention to detail, flexible schedule, and so on.

We're talking about personality traits that an ideal paralegal possesses, things that are essential to him or her. You can only find these types of qualities after an interview, or maybe only after a test run of a few days or weeks, but in the end, a paralegal with these qualities will make your firm run a whole lot smoother:

We've talked about how to write good recommendations, but what happens in that awkward moment when you get a request for a recommendation from someone you really don't want to recommend? It's tough to tell a co-worker or staff member, "No, I won't recommend you or act as a reference," but on the other hand, what if you really don't think the person is qualified to do the job he or she is applying for?

This advice applies to co-workers in the unenviable position of asking for recommendations of references from other co-workers. So how do you break the news? And should you even decline a polite request like this?

Cocktail parties, business lunches -- they're all fine places to network. But as Yogi Berra once said: "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded." It can be maddening to join a Facebook group or a bar association committee where everyone is trying to network.

In much the same way inspiration can strike in the bathtub, you may find yourself in a situation where you can network or drum up some business -- as in these five places to network that you might not have thought about:

Survey: Half of All Lawyers Want Us to Dress More Formally

Wardrobe tips are a funny thing: Often times, when you tell someone how to dress, you tick them off.

But there's no denying that the wardrobe, at least around law offices and the courts, has gotten a bit less formal over the last decade or two. With that in mind, Robert Half Legal, a staffing agency, asked 350 lawyers who work with "the largest law firms and companies in the United States and Canada" whether we should all step our game up.

Or more specifically: "In general, would you prefer legal professionals dress more formally or casually in the office?"

It's only mid-August, and the days are getting shorter already. I'm noticing it's darker out at my usual wake up time, and I'm thankful that I invested in my Philips Wake-Up Light so I can awake not only to bright light, but also the sound of birds chirping (kind of like this gal).

But seriously, anyone who feels the slightest effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder knows the impact of light on sleep. Now, a new study takes it a bit further -- into the workplace.

It's approaching back-to-school time for law school, which means students will be looking for internships and externships (if they don't have them already). With all these students out there, should your small firm get in on the action by hiring a law student intern?

Maybe -- but maybe not. Using unpaid interns in any for-profit business is under increased scrutiny, as a lack of jobs for fresh-out-of-college twentysomethings has given rise to an "internship" economy that may violate labor laws.

If you still want to grab an intern for the semester, tread carefully, and be prepared for some potential disappointment.

Running your own law firm is no easy task -- and then come the growing pains. Inevitably, there will come a time when you need to bring more people onto your team. First, you'll consider whether you should hire a contractor or a full-time employee. Then, you'll consider whether to hold a contest for the position (uh, probably not).

Well, we recently learned of a tip that aims to make your whole interviewing process a lot easier. All you need to do is ask one question...

Among the many stereotypes that lawyers have to deal with, the one that rings true is the high rate of depression among attorneys. Let's face it -- we are not a happy lot. But maybe we can be.

A growing trend among corporations, especially those in Silicon Valley, is the appointment of Chief Happiness Officers. This new member of the C-suite is responsible for making sure employees are happy. Sound silly? It may seem so at first, but when you understand the context, it makes a bit more sense.

Read on to learn more about Chief Happiness Officers, and whether your firm needs one.

Ironic: Firm Handles FLSA Cases, Doesn't Pay Paralegals Overtime

The Fair Labor Standards Act's (FLSA) exemption for "learned" individuals -- it's a grey line sometimes. But other times, it's really, really not.

FLSA puts us lawyerly folk into the "exempt" category due to our advanced degrees. The same goes for engineers, doctors, and other individuals putting their graduate degrees to work. But what about paralegals -- they're almost lawyers. True, but no matter how valuable your paralegal is, Labor Department regulations clearly state that paralegals and legal assistants are not exempt from overtime rules, except in a few rare cases.

Pasricha & Patel handles FLSA cases. They're also now defending themselves in a FLSA case, against current and former paralegals who were allegedly not paid overtime when they worked at the firm, reports the ABA Journal.