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Keeping it Quiet at Work

Date December 21, 2005 Comment Comments Off on Keeping it Quiet at Work

Looking for another job? One author suggests you shouldn’t use any resources at work. Get a private e-mail account if you don’t have one and field calls on a cell phone.

Personally, I like the idea about a private e-mail account and I would certainly avoid using a fax at work; but I’m not sure it is necessary to avoid your work phone. Cell phones don’t always give the greatest reception and when you are trying to build rapport with someone you don’t know, a land line makes a better impression. Also, it seems fairly improbable that an employer would monitor phone calls.

Get a Backbone

Date December 20, 2005 Comment Comments Off on Get a Backbone

Ellen Ostrow has some good advice for anyone who has difficulty advocating for themselves.

E-mail: Risks and Opportunities

Date December 12, 2005 Comment Comments Off on E-mail: Risks and Opportunities

E-mail is a powerful communication tool that can do a lot for your career. But it is also a dangerous tool that can do great damage. Here is my latest piece in MLW that I co-authored with Rob Toomey. Rob is a former corporate lawyer turned consultant. He uses the Myers Briggs Type Indicator to help lawyers learn how to communicate more effectively with clients and colleagues.

More Interviewing Tips

Date December 9, 2005 Comment Comments Off on More Interviewing Tips

CareerJournal.Com offers some great tips on responding to “extreme” questions in an interview (e.g. questions like: “What would your last manager say is your biggest shortcoming?”)

The author emphasizes the importance of being prepared for these questions but highly discourages text book answers like “I work too hard.” He suggests that you should come up in advance with three or more career success stories and two or more stories that had less than favorable outcomes but were learning experiences. He also provides some good language for connecting the interviewer’s question to you answer.

There is a link in the article to some challenging questions you might face. For more materials on interviewing, I have an article of my own which includes more basic interviewing questions.

Law Firm Leverage

Date December 8, 2005 Comment Comments Off on Law Firm Leverage

The debate over leverage in law firms continues. Clearly, figuring out the appropriate associate to partner ratio is a delicate balancing act. With too few associates per partner, you do not have the capacity to handle large deals and litigation matters and your profitability suffers because you can not capture as much work. If your ratios are too high, you run the risk that associates will be underutilized when work slows down.

That is all from the firm’s perspective. But from a career perspective, there is also a balance. Bigger firms tend to have access to more complex work. Working at a large firm is more likely to give you good training. But as you get more senior, the lack of room in partnership ranks can be problematic for your career. While this may not be an issue when you are a junior associate, it is certainly something to start considering by your fourth or fifth year in practice.

Finnegan Raises

Date December 7, 2005 Comment Comments Off on Finnegan Raises

More salary increases.

Look Before You Leap–With a Partner

Date December 7, 2005 Comment Comments Off on Look Before You Leap–With a Partner

It is very flatering to have a partner invite you to join him or her after she has decided to move to another firm. But it is important to do your own due dilligence about the firm and carefully consider the impact on your own career. In many cases, it will probably make sense to make the change. But sometimes your interests are not perfectly alligned with the partner. Career Journal talks about this issue in a general way (i.e. without referencing law firms per se.) But the advice is perfectly applicable.

K&LNG Gets Serious About Part-Time

Date December 6, 2005 Comment Comments Off on K&LNG Gets Serious About Part-Time

Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham has announced a new “balanced hours” program to promote the use of alternative work arrangements at the firm. It’s obviously too early to tell how it will work. But the firm has actually appointed someone to help lawyers come up with proprosals for reduced hours. Sounds promising.

California Bar Passage

Date December 5, 2005 Comment Comments Off on California Bar Passage

The WSJ reported today (sub. req.) that California continues to have one of the lowest bar passage rates in the country. In 2004, only 44% of the test takers passed. The passage rate is even lower for those licensed in other states who take do not take the multistate. (Reportedly 28%.) The article focused on the fact that the former Dean of Stanford Law School, a constitutional scholar, just failed. Moral of the story is that you better plan on studying hard if you plan to relocate to California and take the bar exam there. Sounds like she didn’t!

Keep the Search Going in December

Date December 2, 2005 Comment Comments Off on Keep the Search Going in December

I disagree with a number of the assertions in this article; but the basic premise is sound. December is a good time to keep your search moving forward because fewer candidates are actively looking. Also, you will have more momentum going into the new year.