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How to Deliver Bad News

Date January 5, 2006 Comment Comments Off on How to Deliver Bad News

CareerJournal.Com offers some interesting ideas.

Hiding Associate Information is Ineffective

Date January 4, 2006 Comment Comments Off on Hiding Associate Information is Ineffective

The author of Adam Smith, Esq. discusses the growing practice of removing associate information from law firm web sites. He argues that putting a lot of energy into the professional development of associates is a much more effective associate retention tool.

Confidentiality in a Job Search

Date December 31, 2005 Comment Comments Off on Confidentiality in a Job Search

How confidential is confidential? Click here for my thoughts on keeping a job search confidential.

What to Use for a Writing Sample

Date December 31, 2005 Comment Comments Off on What to Use for a Writing Sample

Large firms typically like to see a writing sample from lateral hires. This is particularly true for litigators. Here are some common questions that come up in choosing an appropriate writing sample to submit.

Advancing Your Career

Date December 26, 2005 Comment Comments Off on Advancing Your Career

Working hard and being thorough are important. But simply doing a good “job” does not mean you are advancing your career. CareerJournal suggests that you also need to get out of your office. I have also written about this here and here.

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.