Greedy Associates - The FindLaw Legal Lifestyle and Career Blog

April 2015 Archives

The ABA has released employment data for the class of 2014 and things are looking ... well, slightly better! Compared to the class of 2013, new law grads saw a marginally higher rate of employment in both legal and non-legal positions. Many of those spots were good jobs -- about 60 percent of new grads were employed in full-time, long-term legal work within 10 months of graduating.

But, there's a catch.

Round-Up: How to Be a Great Summer Associate

As the weather gets warmer, law students can be sure of two things: final exams and summertime. For some students, "summertime" means relaxing on a beach, but many 2Ls will find themselves making adult amounts of cash as summer associates.

If they say their prayers and eat their vegetables, they might just leave the firm in August with a job offer following graduation. Then again, this is a prime opportunity for a royal screw-up. Here's a roundup of some of our best advice for being a great summer associates.

Lawyer Letters Run Amok in Simple Restaurant Review

It all began as a restaurant review -- and not even a scathing one, like Pete Wells' legendary 2012 takedown of Guy Fieri's Times Square restaurant in The New York Times.

Jay Rayner of The Guardian paid a visit to Jinjuu, a new Korean restaurant on London's touristy shop-filled Regent Street. The executive chef, Judy Joo, claimed in her online biography that she spent two years working for Gordon Ramsay. Rayner emailed Ramsay's company, Gordon Ramsay Holdings, to see if that were true.

Big mistake.

Spring is here! It's time to shove the winter coats and formal goulashes to the back of the closet and start pulling out your new, sunnier attire.

The basic rules still apply. Dress formally and conservatively to court, keep yourself well groomed, and no wire hangers, ever. With those down, here's a few more tips to get you through the spring months and into summer:

Sure, we'd all like to work at Bob Loblaw's law job or many of the other glamorous, yet very realistic depictions of legal work on T.V. When we're fantasizing about our jobs, why not include some fantasy employers?

From Ally McBeal's unisex bathroom to Saul Goodman's bags of illicit cash, which T.V. law firms would be the best place to practice?

Ethical Dilemma of the Week: Who Owns Your Frequent Flyer Miles?

For our second installment of "Ethical Dilemma of the Week," we address a situation that many BigLaw associates may have wondered about.

You're flying somewhere on a client matter. The client is ultimately paying the bill, but the firm bought the airline tickets (or you bought them with your "rewards" credit card), and you entered your frequent flyer number so you can rack up those awesome miles and get an upgrade to Business Plus/First Class Minus, where there are a few more precious centimeters of leg room.

But the client's paying. Are those the client's miles, or yours?

Welcome to "First Week at the Firm," a new FindLaw feature for beginning associates, focused on helping you navigate the transition into firm life. We hope you'll enjoy this new series and come back regularly for more insider tips.

Remember the kid in grade school who cheated off your test, then complained when his score wasn't high enough? Or the girl you politely made conversation with at the law school mixer, only to have her latch on to you like a blood starved tick for the rest of the night? Guess what -- those people are now your new coworkers!

As you get used to life at a firm, it's important to know not only who deserves your attention and good will, but also which characters are better left alone. Some of them are real danger to your precious time, some are just not good to be around. So, to give you a leg up on the competition, here's five folks to avoid at your new firm:

Mid-Career Clerkships: Three Things to Know

With the death of the Law Clerk Hiring Plan, federal judges are able to take on whomever they wish when it comes to law clerks. For many judges, that won't include the traditional fresh-out-law-school clerks; instead, judges are opting for clerks who have a few years of practice under their belts.

For a mid-career lawyer, or even one with just a few years' experience, is the prestige of a law clerk position worth the income you'll be sacrificing?

More than 50 days after she was nominated, Loretta Lynch was confirmed by the Senate on Thursday and became the nation's first African American, female attorney general. That wait was longer than the past seven most recent AGs combined, according to CNN, a result of a fight between President Obama and Republicans over the president's executive actions on immigration.

Who is Lorreta Lynch and how did she come to replace outgoing attorney general Eric Holder? Here's three things to know about the country's new AG:

5 Ways Judges Can Improve Judicial Opinions

We love judges, but sometimes, they rub us the wrong way with some bad habits they have in their opinions. Judicial decisions, especially from appellate courts, are working documents for trial and appellate lawyers, who have to cite them for precedent.

Unfortunately, judges can do things that make life tough for the lawyer on the street. We respectfully request that judges think twice before engaging in these practices.

Law schools have seen better days. Applications to law school continue to plummet, according to data from the Law School Admission Council, and the quality of applicants has declined apace. Lower enrollment has lead to lower law school income, leading to cuts in staff and -- what was once unthinkable -- even reductions in tuition rates.

Will law schools be able to turn their fortunes around?

Maybe you think your career has hit a dead end, or you've asked for a raise several times and been shot down. Perhaps what you imagined would be an exciting and challenging position has turned out to be not as great as expected. You might only be open to being poached, or actively sending out resumes, but fact is -- you're thinking about changing jobs.

So how do you know when the time is right to say goodbye to one job and find another?

First Week at the Firm: 3 People You Have to Make Friends With

Welcome to "First Week at the Firm," a new FindLaw feature for beginning associates, focused on helping you navigate the transition into firm life. We hope you'll enjoy this new series and come back regularly for more insider tips.

As you get settled into your new office, you should know that at a law firm, as in any organization, there are people who can get things done. Non-lawyer support staff have thankless jobs, but in reality, they often hold a lot of sway in terms of making your day easy or difficult.

It's up to you to reach out to the people, say hello, and stay on friendly terms. Here are three people you need to make friends with in your first week.

For the fifth year in a row, the number of entering law students with high LSAT scores has dropped, leading to hand-wringing concern that the lawyers of tomorrow won't be as smart as the lawyers of yesterday.

Indeed, less than half as many entering 1Ls had scores above 165 in 2015 as they did in 2010. Do America's best and brightest no longer want to be lawyers?

5 Gift Ideas for Administrative Professionals Day

Happy Administrative Professionals Day! This is the day when you appreciate the person in your office who prints, copies, files, types, answers the phone, and handles your calendar logistics.

Don't worry, the actual day isn't until April 22. If you forgot about it, there's plenty of time to get a gift for your administrative professional.

Forget Bird Law; Weed Law is one of the hottest legal fields right now. As more states turn slowly towards legalization -- 23 states and D.C. allow medical marijuana, while four have fully legalized it -- many lawyers are looking to specialize in this growing (no pun intended) market.

So, do you have a future representing Mary Jane?

Dos and Don'ts for Your LinkedIn Profile

By now, you've figured out how you're supposed to use LinkedIn, but there are so many options these days (test scores? Really?), it's hard to know what to put on your profile. And who keeps "endorsing" you for things, anyway?

In order to keep your profile tidy, ethical, and professional, we've got some tips on what to do (and not do) on LinkedIn.

Lawyers are often married to their jobs. Some are also married to other people. There's no reason either marriage should be unhappy, though they are often at odds. Divorce rates among skilled professionals such as lawyers are high, though thankfully lawyers are nowhere near to top of the list, according to Bloomberg -- sorry paper-hangers and nurses.

So how are you supposed to keep winning in the courtroom while also winning in love? We've got a few ideas.

Do Lawyers Need Business Cards Anymore?

There's no worse feeling than going to a networking or social event, then forgetting your business cards. How gauche! How unprofessional! You have to resort to scribbling your email address on whatever scrap of paper you can find, while all the other lawyers compare business cards a la "American Psycho."

And then you wonder, "Do we even need business cards anymore?" The answer is: Yes. Yes, we do.

One of the Western world's most important holidays is upon us: International Be Kind to Lawyers Day. So stop complaining about how your ex's slimeball attorney stole all your money in the divorce and start showing us, or yourself, some love.

What's the best way to be nice to a lawyer, even if you are one? Money, of course. Beyond that, here are some other ways to show a little appreciation to the lawyers in your life, whether they're your colleagues, friends -- or that vile slimeball attorney who stole all your money:

Ethical Dilemma of the Week: Dating a Former Client

Welcome to the first in what we hope to be a continuing series called "Ethical Dilemma of the Week," in which we try to make sense out of strange P.R. quandaries that lawyers may or may not find themselves in.

For our inaugural Ethical Dilemma of the Week, we ask, "How long do you have to wait before you can date a former client?"

Welcome to "First Week at the Firm," a new FindLaw feature for beginning associates, focused on helping you navigate the transition into firm life. We hope you'll enjoy this new series and come back regularly for more insider tips.

Your first client meeting is one of those great lawyer milestones. This is the chance to really test your lawyerly chops. Do it well and you can be on your way to becoming a firm rainmaker. Do it poorly and -- well, there are always other ways to use your J.D.

Like every first, your first client meeting is all about setting the tone, both of your relationship with the client and with the firm. With that in mind, here are some tips to help you nail your first client meeting.

There are plenty of lawyers with criminal backgrounds. Many ex-cons-cum-lawyers cite their past troubles as the reason they first pursued a legal career. When it comes to drug convictions, however, it can be even harder to turn things around. For one, drug convictions can disqualify students from federal student aid.

Turns out a past conviction can also get you kicked out of law school. That's what happened to David Powers, a rehabilitated drug user and part-time law student who was kicked out after the school found out that he had been charged, but not tried, for dealing.

Former Porn Copyright Troll Hit With $50K ADA Counterclaim

Everyone's favorite disgraced, copyright porno trolls are back -- and this time, they're championing the rights of the disabled.

Sort of.

Paul Hansmeier, a former principal of Prenda Law, now calls his firm "Class Justice," and he's suing Kahler Hotels for ADA violations. Kahler, though, isn't interested and instead is counterclaiming for abuse of process and civil conspiracy.

So you're looking for a new job. We feel for you. Job searches are grueling, especially in an unforgiving economy. What's worse is how easy it is to do them wrong.

Of course, you know about the simple mistakes people make when looking for a job. Things like having a five page resume, addressing the cover letter to the wrong firm, or showing up late to an interview. You're smarter than that.

But those aren't the only mistakes to be made. In fact, these three are so common, you might not even know you're making them:

Attention, Law Students: Free ABA Membership!

Hey, law students! We know you're into free things due to your outrageous debt (meaning you're wandering around school, lurking in any lecture or meeting that offers free pizza), so here's your chance to snag an ABA membership for free!

Right now, everyone's favorite nationwide bar association is offering students at ABA-accredited law schools free membership, leading to a wonderland of rental car discounts and more magazines than you could possibly read in a month.

How to Negotiate a Salary

Negotiating salary is usually everyone's least favorite part of getting a new job. Ask for too little and your base salary -- which forms the foundation for your future raises and bonuses -- won't be as much as it could if you'd just haggled a little more.

But ask for too much and you run the risk that the employer will think you're "too expensive" and won't hire you. Where do you draw the line? Don't worry; we're here to help you negotiate a salary.

Defaulting on a Student Loan Can Cost You Your Law License

The average law school debt for private schools is $125,000, and for public schools, $75,700, ABA Journal reported in 2012. That's a lot of debt -- and if it comes from federal student loans (which it probably does), the debt isn't dischargeable, even in bankruptcy, except for some very specific (and hard to prove) situations.

And that's the good news. The bad news is that, if you default on your student loans, you might even place your professional certification -- or even driver's license -- at risk.

There are plenty of activities outside the firm door that most lawyers are great at -- and they're not just drinking and golf! Lawyers can use their analytical minds, competitive nature and creative thinking to thrive in all sorts of endeavors, from coaching little league to setting up a hobby winery.

So, what new world of leisure time activities might be available to you? Here are three non-law activities that lawyers will be great at:

Welcome to "First Week at the Firm," a new FindLaw feature for beginning associates, focused on helping you navigate the transition into firm life. We hope you'll enjoy this new series and come back regularly for more insider tips.

It's your first week at the firm and you're already making a great impression, dressing sharp, making friends and managing your work load. Now, you just need to print out that filing for a one last look through. Uh ... How do you do that?

As always, there's more to work than knowing how to do the work. Here's three systems to get under your belt as soon as you walk through the firm's door:

Court Website Madness Tournament: Final Four and Championship

It's down to the Final Four: Pennsylvania Supreme Court in the East, Federal Circuit in the South, Indiana Supreme Court in the Midwest, and California Supreme Court in the West. Who will take home the coveted ... bragging rights?

3 Things Employers Want to See on Your Resume

Now that you know what employers don't want to see on your resume, the question is: what do they want to see? (Advice framed in the negative is useful, but so is positive advice.)

When preparing your resume, make sure that your resume includes all of these elements. And remember: Your resume doesn't get you a job; it gets you an interview. You don't need to put your entire life story into your resume.

Every holiday has its traditions. On Halloween there are pumpkins. And eggs. For the Fourth or July we celebrate independence with ritual explosions. For spring? We trot out the Peeps, those strangely colored marshmallow confections resembling young chicks.

They say Peeps are edible and I'm inclined to believe them, but why eat your sugar snacks when you can play with them? That, at least, is what the ABA wants you to do.

How to get a Busy Lawyer to Be your Mentor

We've talked before about the importance of mentors. They give you advice, they give you experience, and hey, if you play your cards right, they just might point you toward a job opening.

The reality, though, is that once you're out of law school, your mentors will be practitioners, and they're very busy -- too busy, it would seem, to take a green lawyer under their wing. As it turns out, though, you can even get those busy lawyers to pay attention to you.

It can be hard enough just to get courts to release opinions in a timely manner, but to have them tweet out their every move? Instant gratification.

And there's no need to go searching around for every court's Twitter account either. Twitter lets you organize Twitter users into groups, making it easy to manage what how you see tweets -- and making it easy to follow whole groups at once. To help you out, FindLaw has assembled a number of Twitter lists, including Courts That Tweet, featuring the best of the legal Twittersphere.

March has slipped away, but our madness for court websites remains. It's time for another round of FindLaw's head-to-head tournament. Last week, Indiana came out as number one in the Heartland, winning best court website in the Midwest.

Today, we go West, young men (and women), to find the greatest court website that side of the Rockies.