Greedy Associates - The FindLaw Legal Lifestyle and Career Blog

March 2014 Archives

Is 'Buy Low' Happening? Are LSAT Takers Really on the Rise?

On the one hand, it's doubtful that the number of test-takers could fall any lower. After all, we've seen the numbers plummet at every offering of the test since June 2010. In fact, pretty much every metric of law school demand has plummeted consistently, from LSAT applications to actual applications.

On the other hand, it's the February test -- the least popular administration time for the LSAT. The increase of 213 test-takers isn't quite the surge that schools and the Law School Admissions Counsel were hoping for.

Still, it might be sign, either that we've reached rock-bottom demand-wise, or a sign that would-be law students are buying low at exactly the right time.

Anyone else super excited for season four of "Game of Thrones" (premiering April 6)? With all of the power grabbing going on, "Game of Thrones" is the perfect launching pad for lessons for aspiring attorneys. While there are plenty of don'ts (i.e., don't do anything King Joffrey Baratheon would do), there are also many "dos."*

Here are lessons from some of our favorite "Game of Thrones" characters.

Pot Lawyers Get 'Green' Light From Colo. Supreme Court

The Colorado Supreme Court released a decision Monday allowing Colorado lawyers to provide legal services to marijuana businesses.

Since the Rocky Mountain State opened its first retail pot shop in January, lawyers have been antsy about whether taking on "green" clients would rub up against the state's ethical rules. More than three months later, the Colorado High Court (cough) reported lawyers "may counsel clients regarding the validity, scope, and meaning" of the state's pot laws, reports Reuters.

Is there still room to be paranoid, or should Colorado lawyers mellow out?

This is How a Top Law School Plummets 17 Spots in the Rankings

Seventeen spots.

Just last year, we were speculating on how Washington and Lee was managing to thrive in an otherwise dismal market for law schools. Though most schools were plagued with plummeting enrollment and demand, my dear W&L accidently enrolled its largest class ever, thanks, it seemed, to a higher than expected yield rate (the percentage of students who accept the school's offer). Many were suggesting that the school's practice-based third-year curriculum was the reason for the spike in demand.

Plus, the school was riding high in the rankings, recovering from a dip that began with the recession (and purely coincidentally, my enrollment) to return to its perennial status as a mid-20s school.

Now, after a seventeen-spot decline, it's tied at 43. How?

How to Get Your Shingle's Contact Info in Front of a Few Million Eyes

Once upon a time, I read a handful of books on running my own practice. In one of these books, the author recommended taking a daily walk around town to enhance your visibility in the community. The thought was, in sight, in mind, or something to that effect. Except, in certain parts of certain cities, you are far more likely to be mugged than to be hired by a paying client. Besides, who has time to exercise mid-day?

Here's a different idea: add your name to a directory that has over 1.5 million visitors per month. Yep, that would be FindLaw's Lawyer Directory, which has been around for ten years and is still the most trafficked directory out there. And best of all, it's ridiculously easy to get started.

In the latest episode of "Women and Body Shaming in the Legal Industry," we have a slide from a memo presented by Loyola Law School's externship director to law students, which Above the Law shared. It says, in relevant part: "I really don't need to mention that cleavage and stiletto heels are not appropriate office wear (outside of ridiculous lawyer TV shows), do I? Yet I'm getting complaints from supervisors ... "

Look, I'm not going say that I'm immune from this -- I've given my share of fashion advice on this blog (for summer associates, OCI interviews and office parties). But, I'd like to think I did it in a reasoned, low-key manner -- and oh yeah, this is a blog, so it's written in part for entertainment. It's not the same as advice from your school, employer, or judge, for that matter.

I'm not going to lie, yesterday, I succumbed to the temptation of Peeps. That is, I introduced my daughter to what has been a spring tradition since I was a child -- the ingesting of neon colored, sugar-covered marshmallows.

Was it gross? Yes. Was it fun? You bet.

Well, it seems that the ABA Journal has its own Peeps tradition -- the Peeps in Law Diorama Contest. Six years strong, this may be the best yet because at their sixth "anniversary," wedding etiquette dictates that the traditional anniversary gift would be candy (or iron -- meh). The premise of the contest is simple: create a diorama using Peeps, "illustrating a law-related event, case or theme."

10 Free CLE Webinar Providers: Part I

Although you may not be down to the wire on your state bar's MCLE compliance date, it's always good to start early.

These ten sources provide valuable CLEs at absolutely no cost, and can save you from spending hundreds on last minute CLE binges:

5 Reasons Shingle-Hangers Need a FindLaw Directory Listing

Solos, what's the hardest part of running your own practice?

It's not the billing, practice management, local rules, or even opposing counsel. And though you're a recent graduate with little to no experience, you'll pick up the nuances of the law as you go.

No, the hardest part of running your own firm is getting clients in the door. You'll get some referrals, a desperate friend or two, and maybe some court-appointed work, but if you want to thrive, rather than survive, you'll eventually need a bigger client base than friends and family.

If you do one thing, one easy thing, to market your solo practice, it should be to sign up for the FindLaw Directory.

Shocker: Money Can't Buy Happiness in The Legal World

A recent study by a Florida State University law professor and University of Missouri psychology professor revealed that lawyers making a lot of money in a "prestigious" job are less happy than those working in public service positions, according to the ABA Journal.

We're shocked.

It's ingrained in our minds during law school that grades, honors, and awards are everything when it comes to achieving that dream job in the legal world -- but what happens when you get that big, fat paycheck, and you still aren't happy?

5 Spring Cleaning Tips for Lawyers

Spring is upon us. (Hooray!) That means spring cleaning is upon us, too. (Hooray?) If your long-and short-term goals have been in hibernation, now's a good time to rouse them from their slumber.

But where do you even start? Here are five areas every lawyer should add to their spring cleaning list:

The Ides of March: How to Handle Backstabbing at Work

Do you know what tomorrow is?

It's the Roman New Year. "Beware the Ides of March," a soothsayer once said. The warning, unfortunately for Julius Caesar, was ignored. It's been 2,058 years since that fateful day, but things haven't changed all that much. Treachery and betrayal live eternal in the hearts of ambitious men and women, nowhere more than a law firm.

At your firm, are you the assassin, Marcus Brutus, or the assassinated, Julius Caesar? Let's talk backstabbing and betrayal.

10 Regrets About Going to Law School: Part II

Back for more introspection and regret? Fantastic!

For the second half of this trip down law school regret lane, we thought we'd focus on the things we wish we'd done while in law school.

Take what you will from these parting words of our ten regrets about going to law school:

Ah, the U.S. News and World Report law school rankings were published yesterday, and law students -- future, current, and former -- rushed to see how schools ranked.

This listing is not the end all be all, but as college juniors start thinking about applying to law school, this list will definitely affect their decision on what schools to apply to. Current students may get a boost of confidence (or quite the opposite) as they head into the legal job market. Meanwhile, alumnus are hoping their alma maters move up the list, making their resumes look more impressive.

Here's a look at the top 10 law schools as ranked by U.S. News and World Report.

Tired of BigLaw? Become a Reality TV Host!

For associates and partners who need a break from BigLaw life, you're in luck: producers are looking for an "everyday lawyer" to host a reality TV show.

GRB Entertainment, a Los Angeles production company, is producing a U.S. version of the BBC TV show, "The Legalizer," according to the ABA Journal. The U.K. show teaches consumers how the Small Claims Court process works and how they can fight for their rights.

So do you have what it takes to be a breakout reality TV host?

"Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be." -- Coach John Wooden

Those are the words that introduce Citi Private Bank's 2014 Client Advisory on law firm revenue. Noting a 2.7 percent growth in revenue in the first three quarters of 2013, the study noted a "fundamental shift in the market for legal services," which led to its disappointing prediction they "do not project a return to pre-2008 levels of performance."

Because of the changed demand environment for legal services, law firms will need to make internal changes to avoid the fates of Dewey & LeBoeuf and Patton Boggs. Here, we'll take a look at what law firms are doing to manage profit margins and costs, and what they can do to improve.

March is Women's History Month, and tomorrow is International Women's Day, but apparently law firms have not gotten the memo. Many take this time to celebrate the achievements of women, and while we share those sentiments, we have some news that may cast us as a Debbie Downer.

National Association of Women Lawyers

The National Association of Women Lawyers ("NAWL") is an organization "devoted to the interests of women lawyers and women's rights" and is "the voice of women in law®." Established in 1899, NAWL has grown to encompass much more than education, and now is responsible for several programs, events and reports. Last week, NAWL released its Report of the Eighth Annual NAWL National Survey on Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms.

10 Regrets About Going to Law School: Part I

In the spirit of Lent, a time of penitence and reflection, it's not too difficult to summon up a regret or two about law school.

With the benefit of hindsight, many things we were lacking in our law school experiences have become crystal clear. We know, it's all a part of a magical "Chicken Soup for the Soul"-type journey, but who really lives a life bereft of regret?

Reflecting on our own pasts, we offer up these ten of our crowdsourced regrets about going to law school:

Are You an Alcoholic? Signs of Trouble and Helpful Resources

It's not an easy question to ask, or to answer.

"Do I have a drinking problem?"

Everyone has an opinion. Your mother thinks you drink too much. Your buddies think you don't drink enough. Some folks can drink every night until they black out, then make it to court in the morning, while others have a drink or two and have to call in sick the next morning. There are clinical criteria and there are informal self-evaluations.

So yeah, asking the question is hard, but answering it (honestly) is harder.

Make Your Resume Unique ... With Test Scores and Quirky Interests?

It all started with a Wall Street Journal sidebar. In an article about employers asking for SAT scores, the Journal states:

"Law-school graduates generally have near-identical transcripts and little work experience. Quirky interests, such as 19th century French poetry or a stint as a sports team mascot, can differentiate candidates for law firms." (emphasis original)

The Legal Watchdog blog thinks this is stupid advice, and points out that class rank, GPA, and other means of dividing up a homogenous group are the things that matter.

Legal Industry's Fashion Crisis: $20,000 Watches or Clients with Spoons?

Know, first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly.

-- Epictetus

It seems we've come to a crossroads in the legal industry, both within our ranks and amongst our clientele. The issue is fashion and it is not going away any time soon, apparently.

On one end of the spectrum, we have attorneys preaching the merits of $20,000 watches, multi-point pocket squares, and, of course, the three-piece suit. And on the other, we have clients showing up to court with exposed underwear, pajama pants, and in one extreme case, a crack spoon tied around his or her neck.

It might be time for a little self-reflection.

Last week, we looked at how to deal with new general counsel from an in-house attorney's perspective. But, realistically, in-house counsel aren't the only ones who have to brace themselves for change when there's a new GC in charge. After all, in many cases the GC has hired your firm -- and she may easily decide to take her business elsewhere.

Here are some tips for BigLaw associates on how to deal with a change in your client's in-house law department.