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Use of Temps on the Rise

Date October 14, 2005 Comment Comments Off on Use of Temps on the Rise

Large law firms continue to increase their use of temp attorneys on large, document intensive cases. An article in the National Law Journal shows that the numbers at some firms are growing signifcantly. I clearly see the benefit to firms. Temp staffing allows for much more flexible hiring and eliminates the problem of having to carry extra staff when there is nothing for them to do.

But temp assignments may not offer much of a career opportunity for the lawyers doing the work. Certainly, I would never fault anyone for taking on a temp assignment in order to generate some needed income. On the other hand, I think it more the exception than the rule that doing this kind of temp work (i.e. large document review in litigation or corporate transactions) will lead to something bigger.

Anyone looking for a stepping stone to a better legal job would do better to identify temp opportunities through networking. There is more leg work involved, but the opportunities are likely to be higher quality.

Creating Job Security for Yourself

Date October 12, 2005 Comment Comments Off on Creating Job Security for Yourself

Job security really doesn’t exist for most of us. The best we can do is prepare ourselves for the next potential move. Even if you are a partner at a law firm, things can change quickly (Testa Hurwitz is a recent example in Boston.) A career counselor offers some good tips for protecting yourself. You have to do a little translating to make this relevant to a legal career but the basic concepts are still there.

Ward Bower of Altman Weil on Globalization

Date October 11, 2005 Comment Comments Off on Ward Bower of Altman Weil on Globalization

Ward Bower offers some interesting observations about the impact of gloablization on the legal industry. He sees increased competition for the best legal talent and observes that over 100 U.S. law firms now have an office in London.

Survey on Median Billing Rates by Practice Area

Date October 11, 2005 Comment Comments Off on Survey on Median Billing Rates by Practice Area

Altman Weil has just published the results of a national survey of median billing rates by area of legal specialty. No big surprises here but it is still interesting to see the numbers.

When in Doubt, Leave it "In"

Date October 11, 2005 Comment Comments Off on When in Doubt, Leave it "In"

Accuracy in a resume does not mean documenting every single life accomplishment since high school. On the other hand, employers have a right to expect that your resume is a reasonable summary of your relevant experience. If you were fired from a legal position after a relatively brief period of time (e.g. 3 months), leaving that job off of your resume could later get you into hot water. (Remember, it is the cover up that got Nixon in trouble.)

If there is a blemish on your professional record, find a way to disclose the blemish that demonstrates how you have learned from your mistakes. For a more complete article on the subject, click here .

Making the Most of Volunteer Activities

Date October 7, 2005 Comment Comments Off on Making the Most of Volunteer Activities

Volunteering is a great way to build potential business relationships and enhance your career (while feeling good about doing good.) Here are some good tips to help you get the most out of your volunteer efforts.

Marketing Myths Debunked?

Date October 5, 2005 Comment Comments Off on Marketing Myths Debunked?

Rain Today has a free newsletter which offers some good marketing tips. But don’t believe everything you read. For example, I’m not sure if I agree with myth number four in an article I read today. Finding out what is “keeping a client up at night” is certainly not a fool proof strategy for identifying selling opportunities (and probably not a good way to start up a conversation with someone you have just met.) But it should certainly be one of the tools in your marketing tool box.

Five Myths of Professional Services Marketing
By Michael W. McLaughlin

For decades, professional service providers, including consultants, accountants, lawyers, and others, rarely marketed their services. Instead, they thrived in a cozy world where personal relationships and word-of-mouth generated enough new clients to grow a profitable business. Those days are long gone.

With so many business advisors to choose from, clients can quickly tap the minds of an army of experts for help. To compete in this market, professional service providers must challenge the conventional wisdom on marketing and selling professional services.

A good place to start is to dispel the following five myths.

Get rid of law school altogether?

Date October 5, 2005 Comment Comments Off on Get rid of law school altogether?

A law professor at Emory believes that our existing system of legal education is in some great need of reform.

Law School: Make It Optional?
Why is a Mercedes education necessary for a lawyer seeking a Corolla legal practice?

Sounds a little extreme though he does raise some thought provoking questions about the ABA standards for legal education (i.e. does a “one size fits all” approach make sense for educating lawyers.)

Am Law Survey of Mid-level Associates

Date October 4, 2005 Comment Comments Off on Am Law Survey of Mid-level Associates

Midlevel Associates Survey: Communication Breakdown?
The American Lawyer

Nearly 6,000 associates took part in The American Lawyer magazine’s 2005 Midlevel Associates Survey, offering, among other things, a glimpse of what upper management and youngish associates think of each other. Sometimes it’s not pretty. Are midlevels a bunch of “slackers,” or is slavish devotion to a firm simply no longer worth it? Is anyone even listening? Plus: See midlevels’ attitudes by locale as well as the best places to work.

For several years now, the American Lawyer has been surveying mid-level associates about their experiences in the largest law firms in the United States. But the AmLaw survey is just one of many information sources to consider when evaluating a law firm. For starters, if you look at the sample size from some of these firm, the number of respondants can be quite low. If you are going to look at these surveys, you should probably look back over a few years to see if there are trends. If a firm is consistently ranking high year after year, then that probably means something. But a survey is only one of many ways to evaluate what it might be like to work at a firm.

Why use a search firm

Date October 3, 2005 Comment Comments Off on Why use a search firm

I have collaborated with my colleague, Dan Binstock (managing director of the BCG office in DC) to put together an article on the benefits of working with a search firm. In rereading the article, I realize that there is one potential benefit that we forgot to mention.

If you are a lawyer with great credentials but you have something in your background that needs explaining (e.g. a gap in employment, an involuntary termination), a recruiter can help you get over this hurdle by being your agent. In other words, the recruiter can explain the problem to potential employers in a more neutral way.