Greedy Associates - The FindLaw Legal Lifestyle and Career Blog

January 2013 Archives

You Thought Legalization Was Tough? Try Regulating Marijuana

After passing Initiative 502 to legalize marijuana in November, Washington is now stuck trying to learn about — and regulate — pot. It's a challenge. So much so that the state is hiring a consultant to help draft its marijuana laws.

It's an unusual situation for the Liquor Control Board, which will oversee cannabis use and abuse. Think about it: It's not every day that a state decides to legalize something that the federal government continues to criminalize.

The Board must address how the state will approach growing, tracking, testing, processing, distributing and selling cannabis products before the end of the year, The Olympian reports. And it won't do it alone. The consultant, remember?

Study 100 Hours, Pass the Bar Exam?

The bar exam is less than a month away. If you haven't started studying yet, is there any way that you could pass it? Blake Masters says that you have more than enough time.

Masters is a Stanford Law grad and tech entrepreneur who passed the California bar after studying for only 100 hours. So yeah, he knows what he's talking about.

And he's happy to share how he did it.

Avoiding Crappy Law Jobs: Three Tips

It’s the land of frivolous lawsuits, shady sole practitioners, Googling legal research, and dropping clients because they refuse to settle a baseless suit. It is ambulance chasing, angry phone calls, and threatening letters.

It is everything you never wanted to be. But how do you avoid becoming another drone at another crappy law firm?

Let the Judicial Hiring Free-for-All Begin

It turns out that federal judges are just as big of gunners as the fledgling lawyers who want to work for them.

You see, once upon time, there was this thing called the Federal Judges Law Clerk Hiring Plan.

(Maybe we shouldn't speak about the plan in the past tense. Technically, it still exists. So do 8-tracks. That doesn't mean that anyone uses them.)

The big news this week is that the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has formally announced that it will not use the plan for the 2014-2015 term because so many other judges sidestepped the plan to get better law clerks. (Brief thanks, David Lat.)

3 Ways To Land a BigLaw Job (Hint: It's Still a Pipe Dream)

"It was all a dream," B.I.G. said, but you probably didn't think it was this much of a pipe dream when you were entering law school. For those of us belonging to the "lost generation" of lawyers, we entered school right before the economy tanked and graduated right before the traditional hiring model returned. That meant OCIs with two firms from Birmingham, job fairs with two firms from Fresno, and Boston Legal-esque hopes and dreams crushed.

You remember those naive days, don't you? Pre-law job fairs where schools touted "average starting salary in the private sector - 160k!" But you're a dreamer. You're listening to the theme song from Flashdance while perusing craigslist in a separate browser window right now. But if you're looking for a BigLaw job on craigslist, you're doing it wrong.

Here are three ways to increase your chances of landing that 80-hour work week:

A Wee Time Management Question: Do You Bill for Bathroom Breaks?

At my first job out of law school, lawyers billed in 15 minute increments. That seems crazy because the industry is so wedded to the six-minute standard, but the billing blocks weren't the strangest phenomenon in the office. No, what really kept people talking was the attorney who always stayed on his Bluetooth. Even in the bathroom.

This guy regularly did business ... while doing business.

Great attorney. Hard worker. But were the bathroom conversations really necessary? And were they billable?

Legal Lessons from Loaf: I Would Do Anything for Love, But ...

Say what you will about Meat Loaf, but the guy has imparted his fair share of lyrical wisdom over the years. (And he had a small role in the "Rocky Horror Picture Show." Respect.)

Legal types may be quick to dismiss Meat Loaf because he never waxed poetically about prenuptial agreements or search and seizure, but the guy could teach us all a thing or two about boundaries.

For example ...

How Do Random Acts of Ignorance Affect the Gay Rights Debate?

In case you missed it, vandals redecorated the Lambda Law Students Association's office at Boston College Law School (BCLS) over the weekend with a wall full of hate. Above the Law has a photo of the hooligans' handiwork here.

BCLS Dean Vincent D. Rougeau condemned the act. Jason Triplett, co-chair of the school's Lambda Law chapter, told Above the Law that the graffiti was shocking because the both students and faculty at the school are inclusive and supportive of the organization. Another Lambda Legal member suggested that the perpetrator was unaffiliated with the law school.

A Tired, Yet Unsettled Debate: Pleaded or Pled? Drunken or Drunk?

We have a problem. The editors insist on uniform standards of writing. Though such a quest is laudable, it creates a significant issue for us writers when it comes to two weird words: pleaded and drunken.

It's not just us either. The ABA and the Daily Report are pleading for a resolution to the pleaded versus pled debate. Meanwhile, we've turned to bottles of two buck chuck after arguing for common usage over technicalities in the drunken drunk debate.

More Debt, Less Income: The Law, It Is A-Changin'

There's a common refrain among lawyers that law students -- and aspiring law students -- dread: "When I was in law school..."

Some of the tales that follow that refrain are useful. If the professor who is older than death itself is still teaching, the students of yesteryear can offer grading insight. But when it comes to the cost of law school in the golden olden days ... Well, things have changed.

Get Fit to Practice Law: 7 Exercise Trends to Try in 2013

Have you ever had a tension headache? It’s not fun. Have you ever had a tension headache for five days? It will make you rethink your life choices.

The quick fix for an epic tension headache is a muscle relaxer. But if the thought of popping muscle relaxers to deal with career stress results in even more stress, hit the gym.

According to the Mayo Clinic “virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever.” (Exercise gives you endorphins — endorphins make you happy!) But spending an hour on an elliptical machine is even worse than doc review.

The Rules of Business- or Dress-Casual (For Guys)

It's said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When it comes to business casual, a similar subjectivity applies.

What goes in a "business casual" California startup environment might get you barred from a Virginia courtroom. Still, hopefully, a few general rules will help.

Aspirational Career Path of the Day: Law School Dean

We never contemplated a career in legal academia because, frankly, it never seemed to be the path to riches and fame. (Not compared to law blogging, at least.)

But New England Law School's dean, John O'Brien, may be the exception to the rule. The Boston Globe reported this week that O'Brien makes $867,000 a year in salary and benefits.

Just so we're clear, that's more than your average law blogger earns.

5 Tips for Fighting the Flu at Your Firm

Flu season is upon us once more, and the plague is particularly bad this year. The Centers for Disease Control suggest three simple steps for fighting the flu: Get a flu shot, take preventative actions -- like hand-washing and cough-covering -- to stop germs from spreading, and take flu anti-viral drugs when prescribed.

Those of us who follow the CDC recommendations each year know that three steps aren't necessarily enough. What's worse, a case of the flu can jeopardize your case as a lawyer. (It's hard to raise an objection when you're stuck in a Nyquil stupor.) So for those of you ready to go above and beyond the CDC recs, here are five more tips for fighting the flu at your firm:

5 Signs You Need to Leave Your Law Firm Job

Getting a high-paying law firm job was probably your main goal when you went to law school. That's why deciding to leave your high-paying gig can be so difficult once you've attained it.

At some point, however, all the money in the world isn't worth it if it means you'll have to be miserable.

Here are five signs that maybe walking away from your firm job is right for you. If you experience one or more of these signs, you may want to seriously reconsider your priorities:

Jack Lew's Signature Loopy, But What Does Yours Say About You?

It's an old joke that a doctor's signature is illegible, but what do people say about a lawyer's signature?

If that lawyer is Jack Lew -- a Georgetown Law grad, White House Chief of Staff and President Obama's nominee for Secretary of the Treasury -- then what most people are saying is his signature is weird. It's long and loopy and completely illegible, which is a problem for someone who could be signing all your dollar bills before long.

Jack Lew's signature is the subject of debate as people wonder whether it's fit to print. But you might also want to consider what your own lawyerly signature says about you.

How to Make the Move to BigLaw

Let's say you graduated from law school, landed a less-than-ideal job, and now want to make the switch to BigLaw. Can it be done?

Most people would say it can't, but the true answer is "maybe." It's not an easy task -- many people try and then give up, or perhaps never try in the first place. But for the determined few, it may just be possible to make the leap to a big firm.

If you think you have what it takes, or you just want to find out what it takes and then make your choice, you've come to the right place. Here are some tips to help you make that BigLaw career move:

5 Ways to Avoid Awkwardness When Networking

It's no secret that networking is a key part of career advancement. But if you feel awkward and uncomfortable, you're less likely to take advantage of it.

The problem is that besides job performance, networking is probably the most important factor in finding a new job or getting a promotion. In some cases it's even more important than performance, since being able to work well with someone isn't something you can learn.

That means it's time to learn how to effectively meet people who can influence your career. You may never feel at ease while networking, but if you follow these five tips, no one will know it except you:

A Matter of Time: Law Firms Cracking Down on Punctuality

Because keeping track of every six minutes of your time is not enough, associates at one law firm in Shanghai must now also clock in due to some apparent punctuality issues in the office.

Hogan Lovell partner Andrew McGinty sent out an email to all associates telling them that he wants them to be at their desks by 9:15 a.m. at the latest, reports Above the Law.

Those who fail to come to the office on time will be spoken to, warned, and possibly disciplined. In fact, punctuality may even be considered in promotions decisions, appraisals, and pay reviews.

7 Tips for New Associates Starting at Big Firms

If you're one of the lucky few law school graduates from the class of 2012 to have a job with a firm, congratulations! You've earned it.

As a new associate, you'll be busy trying to remember names, figure out how to work the coffee machine, and oh yeah, learn how to practice law. To say it's overwhelming is a slight understatement.

While you try to juggle all of your new tasks, here are a few tips to help you survive your first year as a new associate. It's not ground-breaking stuff, but that doesn't make it any less important.

The 10 Greediest Associates of 2012

As the New Year starts, we wanted to look back on the greediest associates of 2012, because who doesn't love a little schadenfraude?

This past year there have been many associates whose antics have made us laugh and feel better about our own crazy lives. We've taken note of the stories readers have loved the most and put them together in one easy-to-find place.

Whether you've revisiting old favorites or enjoying these stories for the first time, pat yourself on the back that your antics aren't on this list ... yet.

5 Ways Lawyers Can Beat the Back-to-Work Blues

Vacation time is over and it's back to work for lawyers and just about everyone else. But getting back to work is easier said than done.

Whether you traveled or stayed home, took time for yourself or spent time with family, time off can disrupt your daily schedule. That makes it difficult to jump back in and get to work.

No matter how you feel on your first day (or week) back from vacation, your boss is not going to want to hear any excuses. So it's time to arm yourself with ways to look more productive after a vacation, and maybe even be productive too: