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Courthouse shootings and violent crimes are rare, but they aren't unheard of. From X-rays to pat-downs, many courthouses have installed security procedures to protect against potential violence. Some courts have extended those procedures to lawyers as well, requiring attorneys to remove belts and pass through metal detectors in order to enter the courthouse.

That's a step too far, according to many lawyers. They've begun pushing back against the strict security procedures -- and they're having some success at it, too.

Most discussions on work-life balance focus on giving lawyers sufficient time off, finding opportunities for lawyers to meet their children or glimpse a beach, while trying to still bill 80 hours a week.

But there's more to quality of life than just spare time and high pay. In fact, lawyers can improve their quality of life, and that of their firm, by focusing on factors other than hours and compensation altogether.

It's time for Discovery's Shark Week again, the annual celebration of all things cold-blooded, sharp toothed, and, well, sharky. FindLaw is jumping on the bandwagon, celebrating the shark in all lawyers.

Even though Shark Week is in its 28th year, lawyers have been called sharks even longer -- for several centuries, in fact. Here's a brief history of the lawyer as shark:

We're not talking mercury in the ground or asbestos in the ceiling here. The type of toxic workplace we have in mind isn't one that poisons you over decades -- it grinds you down every day. A toxic work environment is filled with rude or insensitive interactions, aggressive relationships, and dehumanizing treatment.

Stay up late all night finishing a project, only to be told the next morning not to disturb the partners with late night emails? Regularly get chewed out by the lawyer with thinning hair and an alcohol problem for things that aren't even your fault? Working on your 3,000 billable hour quota? You have a toxic work environment. If you're still not sure, The New York Times has a nice quiz -- and we've got tips to dealing with the result.

Society seems to be getting more diverse every day. If you're not convinced, just check out the array of bar associations in your area. You'll find that there's a bar association or committee for practically every geographic location, ethnicity, and legal practice area you can imagine.

Did you know there's even a National Cannabis Bar Association? That's right, a bar association dedicated to cannabis! Formed recently by a group of San Francisco-based lawyers (no surprise there, right?), the association seeks to bring the legal marijuana manufacturing sector into the mainstream.

Pot isn't your thing? That's okay. You can still experiment with getting high by joining the Lawyer-Pilots Bar Association.

Summer is here and the beach is calling -- someone else's name? For many lawyers, getting away to enjoy the summer is no easy task. But it's not impossible and the benefits of taking a moment away from the law firm can be great: vacations can help you avoid burn out, devote time to relationships, relearn your children's names.

With a little planning, even the busiest lawyers can get away for a summer vacation or two. Here's a roundup of some of our best advice on how to take a successful vacation.

What to Do When Opposing Counsel Won't Play Nice

We've written before about how lawyers do (or at least, should) extend each other professional courtesies. These small actions, like not objecting to reasonable discovery requests or scheduling depositions at convenient times and places, amount to treating opposing counsel with respect.

Some lawyers, though, think that any amount of cordiality amounts to surrender. They've got to the establish themselves as the Alpha Dog, or whatever metaphor their self-help books use. How do you deal with these crazy people?

There's a reason LinkedIn urges you to upload a photo. For better or worse, how we look deeply affects others' perceptions of our strength, intelligence and trustworthiness, according to a round up of the relevant neuroscience done by Entrepreneur Magazine.

Happy faces -- think smiling, bright eyes -- make you seem more trustworthy. People respond better to faces they perceive as healthy over ones they see as smart. Those sort of impressions matter, especially when you're looking for a leg up in a job hunt.

So, are you ready for your close up? Here's five tips to help you repeat the benefits of a well-done LinkedIn photo:

Staying late, working weekends, worrying over your performance -- all of this can quickly lead to burnout. For lawyers, burnout is so common that there are whole industries devoted to helping us quit the profession.

But how can you be sure you're actually burning out like a cheap light bulb and not just going through a bad patch? Here are five signs you may be at the end of your rope:

How Casual Does Your Office Need to Be?

Gone are the "Mad Men"-esque days where everyone wore suits to the office. While many offices still have "dress down" or "casual" Fridays, reportedly invented by Dockers in 1992 (though possibly going back to Hewlett Packard in the 1950s, claims Business Insider), lots of offices have done away with suits and ties altogether.

The modern office is as casual, or as formal, as it has to be, and what it has to be is determined by its geography, its clientele, and its size. Where does your firm fit in?