Greedy Associates - The FindLaw Legal Lifestyle and Career Blog

November 2012 Archives

'Tis the Season to Start Your 1L Summer Job Search

Dec. 1 marks the first day 1Ls can start their summer legal job search, which means those gunners in your class already have their resumes and cover letters ready to go.

But if you're not in that group, it doesn't mean all hope of finding summer work is lost. There's still time to get your foot in the door.

If your goal is to graduate law school as an associate at a BigLaw firm, your first summer is crucial. But that doesn't necessarily mean a summer associateship is key to meeting that goal.

Lawyer Who Turned in Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel Gets Suspended

The lawyer/tipster who set off the Ohio State University football scandal that resulted in Jim Tressel's ouster and the team's current probation has been suspended from practicing law for a year.

Christopher Cicero made headlines a couple years ago when he reportedly tipped off then-coach Tressel that his players were trading team merchandise for tattoos, reports the Dayton Daily News.

However, by tipping off the coach, Cicero violated two provisions of Ohio's Rules of Professional Conduct, the state's Supreme Court has ruled.

2012 Year-End Bonuses Looking Better Than Last Year's

The numbers are in from Cravath, Swaine and Moore regarding 2012 year-end bonuses, and it certainly doesn't look bad. If Cravath continues to be the weather vane for holiday bonuses among BigLaw firms, it will be a happy holiday for many associates.

By "happy holiday" we mean there will likely be bonuses for most associates at the end of December. But it may not be exactly what some people thought they'd get when they decided to become lawyers.

The amount is nothing to sneeze at, but it's unclear whether it's an improvement over last year in the grand scheme of things.

5 Mistakes Lawyers Make When Trying to Bring in a New Client

The most important skill an attorney can have may be the ability to bring in clients. If you're a rainmaker, you will be successful. Yet, many attorneys make plenty of mistakes and overlook the critical skills of bringing in clients.

Whether it is arrogance or sloppiness, many attorneys miss out on coveted business opportunities simply because they don't know how to close a deal. This is especially true for new and younger lawyers.

Here are five common mistakes attorneys make when trying to sell their services to corporate clients, as noted by Above The Law:

More Law Firms Will Cut Partners in 2013: Survey

Many law firms are still feeling the pinch of declining billable hours, and for some the solution may be to cut partners.

Underutilized partners are one of the biggest issues the legal industry is dealing with as the country struggles to climb out of the recession. That's according to a new survey by Wells Fargo Private Bank which examined the finances of 115 firms.

The number of billed hours is down overall, but this time around it's not associates who are getting the ax. From the report, it looks like it's partners who aren't pulling their weight.

5 Things Every Lawyer Can Be Thankful for This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is almost here, and it's time to reflect upon the things we should all be thankful for. But as an overworked lawyer, so you may be having trouble coming up with even one thing to be thankful for this holiday season.

In the legal profession, it's natural to become jaded. With long hours, cranky clients, and sometimes seemingly pointless work, who can blame you?

So as a reminder, here are five things every lawyer can be thankful for this Thanksgiving:

Is There Hope for Discharging Student Loans in Bankruptcy?

When you sign off on student loan documentation, lenders make it very clear that bankruptcy will not discharge your law school debt. But that doesn't stop law students who are being crushed by debts from trying anyway.

Case in point: Michael Hedlund, who has been on a journey to decrease his law school debt for the past nine years. Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken overturned his partial victory from a lower court.

Hedlund is now appealing Aiken's decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. While Aiken ruled against him, her opinion reads partly in his favor.

5 Ways Attorneys Can Rack Up Pro Bono Hours

For many law firm attorneys, pro bono work may be the most rewarding type of work you get to perform.

Instead of staring at a computer screen and sifting through endless documents, pro bono work gives a lawyer an opportunity to do some good. The lawyer may actually get the opportunity to leave the office and have some face-time in front of a client. And unlike paper-pushing legal work, you can actually see how your work benefits a person.

Perhaps the best part of pro bono work? You may get some billable credit for your time. Here are five ideas for you to get started performing pro bono work (just make sure to run these by your superiors first to get their OK):

Law School Is Good Training for Novelists, Lawyer-Authors Say

We're halfway into November, which is also National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo, as fervent fans like to call it). So what better time to remind you that earning a law degree is good for more than just practicing law -- it's also excellent training for becoming a novelist.

There's no shortage of lawyer-authors in the world of fiction. John Grisham and David Baldacci are two notable examples, but they aren't the only success stories.

Writing a book, fiction or non-fiction, takes an enormous amount of time and dedication. But there are certain skills that help in the writing process.

Many of those are skills that most of us learned in law school.

More Corporate Clients Are Challenging Law Firm Expenses

Corporate counsel are scrutinizing law firm legal bills more closely than ever. Is this the end of first-class airplane tickets and meals at Michelin-starred restaurants?

There was a time when a BigLaw attorney kept receipts for every meal and every cup of coffee while on the clock. These costs were simply counted as work-related, and at month's end the attorney was automatically reimbursed for everything.

But with the economy weakening, corporate clients are increasingly reviewing every itemized expense claimed by outside counsel. And they are not necessarily happy with what they see, reports the ABA Journal.

Is Equity Partnership the Right Choice for Every Associate?

Equity partnership used to be the only top position an associate could aspire to. Now, as more firms try to restructure and create a new partnership model, some are offering a nonequity partnership track that is separate from the equity track.

In some cases, associates are offered one track or another when it comes time for a promotion. In other cases, the firm hires certain associates on the nonequity track and others on the traditional equity track. Once they're placed in one track, associates can't really move to another one, according to the ABA's Law Practice magazine.

It's different from situations in which "junior partners" start out without equity and get promoted into an equity position. So when there's an offer of a permanent nonequity partnership, is it worth it?

Best Law Firms for Women: 5 Trends to Look For

Law has certainly become a more welcoming field for women in recent years, but when looking at your options, do you know the best law firms for women?

We didn't either until we saw the 2012 Best Law Firms for Women survey by Working Mother magazine and a company called Flex-Time Lawyers LLC. The unranked list of 50 firms offers some valuable insight into what makes a firm friendlier to women, and working mothers in particular.

The full list is a good resource for women just starting a legal career or looking to make a lateral transfer. But even if you aren't working at one of these firms, you can still judge how friendly your office is to women (and attorneys with families in general) based on certain policies.

Here are five trends spotted in the Best Law Firms for Women survey:

The 10 Worst Cities for Young Attorneys

No one ever accused young attorneys of having it easy -- especially if you choose to live in one of the worst cities for the job.

Most attorneys are strong Type A personalities, and there's nothing we love more than ranking ourselves against... ourselves. To help in that endeavor, the National Jurist recently determined the best and worst cities for young attorneys to live in.

If you work in one of these metro areas, you may have already suspected that things weren't so great. And now there's evidence, of sorts, to back up your suspicions.

5 Law Firm Partner Types and How to Deal With Them

Your early law firm experience usually boils down to luck -- and the type of law partner you're assigned to.

If you get a partner who is pleasant to work with, you may be one of those lucky few associates who has a long and fruitful career. Get stuck with a screamer? You may end up becoming a blogger by year's end.

Law partner types vary from firm to firm, and the disparity among partner types is often evident. Yet despite there being thousands of firms and even more law partners, law partner types typically fit into five general categories. They are:

7 BigLaw Firms to Work for if You Want the Big Bucks

A list of which law firms pay the highest starting salaries may seem strange in today's economy.

After all, you're bombarded with job market news that's pretty dismal for attorneys. Many lawyers aren't getting jobs at all, and many of the ones who do are landing jobs that pay very little.

Fortunately for those in the rarefied world of BigLaw, some firms are still pumping out salaries in excess of $160,000 a year, as Above The Law's David Lat recently pointed out.

Lat calls the list his "The $160K-Plus Club." They are:

New Law School 'Rankings' Focus on Jobs, Transparency

Move over, U.S. News & World Report -- there's a new rankings game in town, and it's called Law School Transparency. LST actually touts itself as a rating, not a ranking, but it provides an alternative measure for prospective law students.

The annual U.S. News rankings have gotten a lot of criticism from recent graduates for the fact that they don't project job prospects. But up until now, there hasn't been much of an alternative.

Rather than ranking schools based on prestige, LST provides information to prospective law students on what really matters: jobs.

In Sandy's Wake, Law Students Must Make Up Class Time

Sitting through class in law school can often be tedious. But for students in New York affected by Hurricane Sandy, those make-up classes are going to be even more painful.

Like any good dictatorial leader, the American Bar Association mandates down to the minute how much time students must spend in class if a law school wants to keep its accreditation. Without accreditation, a school's graduates can't sit for the bar exam in many states, among other disadvantages.

During the hurricane and in the days following, many New York City law schools cancelled their classes. That means under ABA rules, they won't be able to continue at the same pace.

I Made Junior Partner. Now How Do I Become a Rainmaker?

Congratulations. You made junior partner. Now, be prepared for a life of rainmaking!

Well, depending upon what firm you work at, that may not necessarily be the case.

The common stereotype is that associates are grunts, but once you make partner, you'll have to worry about bringing in the big clients. However, in many cases, making junior partner is not that different from being called "of counsel," "senior associate," "associate," or whatever position you most recently held.

The 5 Most Unethical Law Students in Recent Memory

The only time you ever really hear "lawyers" and "ethics" in the same sentence is when someone is cracking a joke about how lawyers have no ethics. So it shouldn't be a surprise that most unethical lawyers were once unethical law students.

Over the years, we've written about unethical law students' antics, including mere shenanigans and even murder.

So here is our list of the Top 5 most unethical law students that we know (starting with the most unethical):

Public interest lawyers’ salaries seem to be rising slowly, but they continue to lag far behind the pay of BigLaw associates, a new report finds.

Lawyers looking to land jobs in public-interest fields — for example, legal aid organizations and groups that focus on a legal mission like civil rights or social justice — can expect starting salaries in the low- to mid-$40,000 range, according to the National Association for Law Placement. Local prosecutors and public defenders make a bit more, about $50,000 a year.

Compare that to the median starting salary for BigLaw associates, which now stands at $145,000, according to NALP’s annual survey.

Law School Classes That Aren't Worth Your Time

For a professional school you'd hope that the courses offered at law school would all be useful for a career in law. But we'd bet you already know that there are some classes that are worthless when it comes to actually being a lawyer.

Black letter law classes are good for exploring different practice areas and practical skills classes can be invaluable if taught well. But then there are those classes that you wonder how they got onto the course list at all.

We've compiled a list of our favorite topics that, while perhaps interesting, will not be of much if you want to actually, you know, practice law. Consider it a warning, and some comic relief.