Greedy Associates - The FindLaw Legal Lifestyle and Career Blog

January 2014 Archives

We are in the midst of the award show season, and the Fashion Police are out in full effect. If you watched the Grammy Awards last Sunday, then you probably couldn't help but notice tastemaker and renaissance man, Pharrell Williams' choice of headwear. If you didn't, then you missed the fashion statement of the year.

Yes we are still talking about this, but stick around, you might learn something.

Pharrell Williams' hat took on a life of its own, and within hours of the show, the hat had its own Twitter account, and the likes of Arby's and Quaker Oats were tweeting about it. Comparisons were made to Smokey the Bear, the Arby's logo, Canadian Mounties and Curious George's "The Man with the Yellow Hat", to name a few. The jokes and photoshop jobs inspired by this hat were by far, the best thing about this years' Grammy Awards.

Greedy Power Ranking: Top 5 Affordable Cities for Young Attorneys

Every year some legal news source comes out with a study on "Best Cities For Young Attorneys" or "Best Market for New Lawyers" without considering you actually have to pay to live in those places.

Using the National Jurist's 2012 study on the "Best Cities for Young Attorneys" and Demographia's 2014 survey on housing affordability worldwide, Greedy Associates has come up with our power ranking for the top five affordable cities for young attorneys.

ABA's Task Force on Fixing Law School Has a Lot of Bad Ideas

Ahem, it's actually the American Bar Association's Task Force on the Future of Legal Education. Either way, they need to take another look and issue a second (technically, fourth) draft.

The final report, which the ABA Journal notes is barely different than the task force's previous working paper and draft reports, presents 41 pages of recommendations, some of which are good, and some of which are absolutely terrible.

What does the task force's imaginary "future" look like?

Moral Character Lessons from Stephen Glass

It turns out that Stephen Glass can't shake his scandalous past, not even enough to be up to moral character snuff to practice law.

In an (un)surprising unanimous opinion by California's supreme court on Monday, Glass was denied admission to California's state bar based on his years and years of fabricating articles as a journalist in the 90's.

For those hoping to apply to practice law in California or any other state in the union, keep in mind these lessons:

2 New Approaches to Training Associates: Which is Better?

Late last year, at least one BigLaw firm announced that it was reconsidering the traditional training model for associates, at least in part. We were pretty keen on the idea of more training, less pay, and less billable hours.

Earlier this week, a founding partner of a 100-attorney litigation boutique took to the blawgosphere to explain how his firm trains associates. Hint: it's also a significant departure from the traditional BigLaw model. Our favorite part is the suggestion that young litigators should actually litigate.

So which system is better? And do they beat the traditional BigLaw sweatshop model?

Maybe you're unemployed and looking for a job at BigLaw, or maybe you've put in more than a year at your BigLaw firm and want to try out another BigLaw firm (say, one of the top fifty law firms for women). I recently came across an article in Careerealism that listed the seven qualities law firms look for in recruits. While the writer brings up some good points, I think that some of the points -- namely, commercial awareness, teamwork, and entrepreneurial instinct -- are off base.

Take if from me, I worked at NYC BigLaw and from what I remember, commercial awareness, teamwork and entrepreneurial instinct were not high on the list of qualities looked for in prospective recruits.

The Real House Husbands of Big Law: Can it Work For You?

The number of women in Big Law with house husbands is on the rise.

With more women in traditionally male dominated fields, like BigLaw and Wall Street, it's no surprise that the number of stay-at-home "house husbands" is increasing. However, until recently, female partners didn't like revealing the fact that their spouse took care of the house, the ABA Journal reports.

This shift in gender roles should be embraced rather than hidden, so here are some thoughts on making it work in your family.

Do Attorneys Need Good Handwriting?

Good handwriting often seems like a lost art, but as we celebrate National Handwriting Day, it seems appropriate to remind law students and attorneys why handwriting is important.

But in our age of technology, do attorneys really need good handwriting?

Top 5 Cheapest Law Schools (And 5 More Worth Attending)

When it comes to the Juris Doctorate, do you get what you pay for?

That's a loaded question, obviously. Some might argue that with current job market, no one is getting what they paid for. That's why, if you're looking at joining the Class of 2017, the cost of your degree should be one of your biggest considerations (right next to graduates' success in the job market).

What are the five cheapest schools? And the cheapest schools worth attending?

Lawyers, Suicide, Depression, and Prevention for Young Attorneys

CNN had an interesting headline late last week: "Why are lawyers killing themselves?"

This isn't news. Our industry is rife with depression, substance abuse, and predictably, yet tragically, a high rate of suicide. A legal career often means loneliness, financial pressure, job stress, and adversarial system that pits us against each other in court-sanctioned cock fights. Tack on clients and opposing counsel that are frequently out for blood and it's not a wonder that our profession ranks fourth in suicides, per the Centers for Disease Control, behind dentists, pharmacists, and physicians.

Is there a solution, especially one that young attorneys can look to now?

You're a first-year associate, and after months of document review, you've been asked to attend a deposition. You're thinking: "Yes, I've made it to the big leagues." But in all actuality, you won't actually do anything, besides sit and watch. In fact, the little chat Rashida Jones had with her client as a second-year associate in "The Social Network," is almost pushing the bounds of reality.

But still, it's your first depo and you want to be prepared. Here's some info on what to expect, and four tips on how to get through it with grace.

CLE Binge: 3 Last Minute Ways to Complete Your Hours

The CLE reporting period is here again and lawyers are scrambling to find last minute courses to attend.

Depending on your jurisdiction, you may be safe this year, but several states schedule their reporting periods right after the new year. For instance, in California, lawyers in Group 3 with last names in the N-Z range need to report their CLE hours to the state bar before February 3, 2014.

For those who need to fill up their CLE hours in one sitting or just want to get it over with, here are three last minute ways to complete your CLE hours.

How Much Do I Owe in Bar Dues?

For those of you who are now sworn-in and certified attorneys, you will finally get a chance to pay your bar dues.

We know, paying hundreds thousands of dollars for student loans, bar exam registration, and bar study really didn't leave you wanting to pay even more -- but your state of practice is here to help you out.

If you're as strapped as most young attorneys, find out how much you actually need to pay in bar dues.

Fired Doc. Reviewer Sends Firm-Wide Email Blast, Burns Bridges

There are many ways to handle being fired. You can discuss the termination with your contacts, hoping that someone can push for reconsideration. You can take your experience, plaster it on your resume, and mass-mail thousands of other firms. You can deface on the partners' offices.

Or, you can send an exceptionally-long, grammatical mistake-laden email to the entire BigLaw firm. As always, Above the Law has the goods, passed along from a Winston & Strawn tipster.

Lets take a look at the perfect way to burn bridges, shall we?

3 Mistakes You Shouldn't Make in a Cease-and-Desist Letter

Cease-and-desist letters are an everyday thing for owners of intellectual property, especially since the advent of the Internet. A site shares content without permission, and you, young lawyer, must convince them to take it down immediately.

It sounds simple, right? Just write a letter, recite some law, and the site owner will see the light or be scared into submission. And yet, the simple cease-and-desist task is so often botched, that at least once a month, a bad letter makes the rounds on the law blogs.

Learn from their mistakes, grasshopper.

Iowa Considering Dropping Bar For In-State Graduates?

The average debt of a University of Iowa Law graduate is $95,574. Drake Law grads are saddled with an average of $106,368, reports the Des Moines Register.

What's Iowa's solution to helping these graduates with their debt? Cutting the bar exam for in-state graduates, obviously!

It's not polite to talk about money, but we'll do it anyway.

You're working at BigLaw, which means one thing: you're making big bucks. As a first-year associate, this is probably the first time you're making a salary in the six-figures. But as you've already noticed, a big chunk of that gets taken out of taxes. Big bucks equal a higher tax bracket.

If this is your first time you are filing taxes as an associate at BigLaw (or MidLaw, or even a strong boutique firm -- we're equal opportunity here), here are some tips to get you through it. Because you're in the big leagues now. Luckily, lawyers are among the most honest when it comes to filing our taxes -- and we aim to keep it that way.

If you thought working in the litigation department of BigLaw meant that you would be litigating cases, or even see a courtroom, you are just too cute. Your innocence astonishes -- I should know, I was one of those people with dreams of litigating cases in S.D.N.Y. for big corporate clients. Instead, I spent much of my time at BigLaw in an office full of boxes -- doing a document review.

Oh, doc review -- an integral part of litigation discovery -- and a lot of what you'll be doing at BigLaw where most cases settle. So as you embark on the inevitable task of reviewing thousands of pages of text, here are five tips to get you through it.

And we promise, you'll come out of it at the end without having stuck a pencil in your eye.

5 Tips for a Writing Flawless Demand Letter

Whether you're a new solo attorney or a fledgling associate, writing a flawless demand letter can not only impress your clients, but also distinguish you as a force to be reckoned with.

Since demand letters are a fine mix of legal arguments and rhetoric, here are five tips for drafting an exceptional one:

3 Tips for Making Your First Court Appearance With Confidence

Matlock. That guy was a boss. He exuded confidence, and not just because he won every case. Then again, he was like 70. At that age, with that experience, you're either confident or ready for retirement.

Ditto for Denny Crain, though yelling your name probably won't win you many cases in real life.

How do you exude confidence, like those two legends, even with zero experience?

If you're like us, you've been yearning for a sequel to Anchorman, which like a fine wine, gets better with age. And with the recent release of Anchorman 2, our prayers have been answered.

Ron Burgundy is back, and better than ever. And, as far as role models go, what's not to love? Sure, he's sexist, slightly stupid, and horrible at his job, but we still can learn a lot from a man like him. Here are our five lessons for young attorneys from Ron Burgundy.

10 Ways to Get Rid of Your Student Loan Debt Faster

New Year's Resolution #1: start paying attention to my ever-expanding student loan debt.

Now, you may think that NYRs are an idiotic concept. Fair enough. My roommate ranted for forty-five minutes on the subject just last week.

That's fine. Call it a resolution, call it a goal, call it good old fashioned budgeting and finance. Either way, the moment you have a job, your focus should turn to your debt. Here are ten ways to assess the debt, free up cash, and finish paying off your debt long before 2075. Revisited: Glitchy, But a Necessity for Student Debt

Last year, we explored the brilliant, yet work-in-progress student loan management tool, (Tuition I owe - get it?)

We saw it as a useful tool, though we had some reservations about handing over our sensitive data (SSN, specifically). I went ahead and gave it a shot, because, well, if someone steals my identity, they become the proud owner of six-figure debt and $0.38 in a bank account. I'll adopt a pseudonym, become a bartender, and move to Dublin. Win-win, right?

Needless to say, I'm still here, and still blogging, which means their site stayed secure. Plus, for federal loans, they have ways to avoid handing over your sensitive information. They've also fixed a few other bugs and typos. At this point, if you are juggling multiple loans from multiple companies, your first stop should be

Ah, the business lunch. Whether you are interviewing, a new or summer associate, or a mentor to a summer associate, the business lunch is inevitable. And, while the thought of eating at some of the best restaurants in town is appealing, the idea of the business lunch may strike fear in the hearts of many young attorneys.

Don't worry, the business lunch doesn't need to be scary. It can be quite fun (and tasty); it's a great way to learn more about the people you work with, and an opportunity for your amazing personality to shine through. Keep the following five tips for surviving a business lunch in mind so you can concentrate on making a good impression, and not on which fork to use.

Really? A Close Look at Brooklyn Law Dean's 2014 Predictions

The glass is half-full. The glass is HALF-FULL. THE GLASS IS FREAKING FULL.

Seriously, it takes an optimistic soul to run a law school nowadays, especially one that keeps popping up on lists of schools that are facing financial crises.

Brooklyn Law School Dean Nick Allard seems to be that sort of man. He's the leader of the club that's too expensive for you and me. (BLS, 50k, better win the lot-ter-ry!) Dean Allard recently made a list of law school predictions for 2014, which were published by the Brooklyn Eagle. Here they are, in shortened form, with a few annotations.

For his sake, and the sake of students everywhere, we hope his wildest fantasies come true.

3 Questions Associates Should Never Be Afraid to Ask

Nearly all associates have questions they're afraid to ask the partners or supervising attorneys.

Perhaps it's our law school culture based on the Socractic method that leaves you in constant fear of being humiliated for not knowing the answer. But as attorneys, it's important to ask questions -- even if you're afraid you may look stupid.

So what are three questions new associates should never be afraid to ask?

New Year's Resolution: 10 Books to Read, Picked by 10 Lawyers

Many people's New Year's resolution is to read more books. If you're a soon-to-be law student, current student, or practicing lawyer who made a vow to broaden your reading habits in 2014, look to your colleagues for reading inspiration. The ABA Journal put together a fascinating reading list by asking 30 distinguished lawyers to pick a book they'd recommend to other legal professionals.

Here are ten books to read that were mentioned on the ABA's list: