Browsing Category 'career success in the law’ RSS

Get Help When You Need It

Date February 24, 2010 Comment Comments Off on Get Help When You Need It


This post is dedicated to my accountant (who I generally resist contacting because after all, I’m smart and I should be able to figure this stuff out myself!)

The other day, I was struggling with a tax question. I knew there was probably an easy answer, so I decided to run some computations myself. As I grew increasingly frustrated and anxious (the phrase “interest and penalties” scares me), I decided that it was time to turn to an expert (i.e. my accountant). In two quick e-mail exchanges, I got my answer and quickly noted that my blood pressure had dropped considerably.

There is a moral to this story. As I get more senior in my career, I am allowing myself to ask for help with much greater frequency. It is a lesson that lawyers are not really taught. In college and in law school, we are rewarded for individual achievement. As we try to advance our careers, this belief carries forward (i.e. that success comes from working hard and figuring it all out on your own).

While success generally does require hard work and individual action, along the way, there are a lot of people who help us to achieve success (parents, siblings, mentors, friends and sometimes, other paid professionals). So work hard and take responsibility for your own achievements. But don’t forget to ask for help along the way. Law is a challenging profession (and don’t think for a minute that anyone at the top made it all on their own!)

Is Specialization Good For Your Career or Your Firm?

Date August 29, 2009 Comment Comments Off on Is Specialization Good For Your Career or Your Firm?

Legal Rebels Website Launched by ABA Journal

Date August 29, 2009 Comment Comments Off on Legal Rebels Website Launched by ABA Journal



Looks like a good place to find inspiration for making change in your own legal career. Here is a description in an e-mail I received about the launch:


Over the course of the next three months, we’ll be profiling 50 of the profession’s leading innovators at http://www.legalrebels.com . The first seven profiles, along with videos and audio slideshows that illustrate the changes they’re trying to make in the practice of law, are now online. We’ll be adding at least three new profiles to the site every week until Thanksgiving.

Some Good Tips for Managing Your E-mail

Date August 26, 2009 Comment Comments Off on Some Good Tips for Managing Your E-mail

From the blog Law Department Management. My own thoughts on the subject here.

Overcoming Adversity

Date June 16, 2009 Comment Comments Off on Overcoming Adversity

That’s the key to real career success. Success is not a straight path to the top. That in today’s Career Journal.

Actually it’s 8; but doing excellent work is presumed and not counted on the list by this author.

I’m sure many equity partners fall far short in following these tips. These are all aspects of managing and building a business and obviously each lawyer brings a different strength to the table (aside from his or her practice expertise); but if you consider them aspirational, it’s a good road map for success (i.e. pay for yourself, pay for someone else, cross sell, develop associates and staff, play nice, help manage the firm, represent the firm in the community).

At the end of the article, this author suggests that non-equity partner should not be a long term status (at least not for a large number of attorneys). He suggests that allowing non-equity ranks to get too large creates the perception that there is a log jam for advancement at the firm. It may even breed resentment (non-equity partners who don’t believe they are being recognized enough and equity partners who don’t think the non-equity partners are carrying enough weight).

I’m not sure I agree with this analysis. Other businesses have figured out how to segment senior staff into ownership and non-ownership categories. The whole work/life balance movement presumes that different professionals have different priorities in life (but that doesn’t mean that non-owners can’t make an important and substantial contribution to the firm’s bottom line).

Advice for Summer Associates

Date June 1, 2009 Comment Comments Off on Advice for Summer Associates

My latest article in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

Want to Be Successful? Keep an Open Mind

Date May 15, 2009 Comment Comments Off on Want to Be Successful? Keep an Open Mind

That from an interview with the inventor of Star Trek’s Klingon language. This has a lot of relevance to lawyers and today’s economy. If you think creatively about your options, you are more likely to find success in these challenging times. This may not be easy for many lawyers; but thinking outside the box is a skill we can all cultivate (even risk averse lawyers who spend their days advising clients how to avoid risk).

Advice for Keeping Your Law Firm Job

Date May 13, 2009 Comment Comments Off on Advice for Keeping Your Law Firm Job

Make sure to keep up your billable hours (free subscription required). Seems like old fashioned advice since hourly billing is under attack right now.

But until the law firm model truly changes, your survival in a downturn depends on your ability to show that you are generating sufficient revenues for your firm.

While anyone who understands the practice of law knows that hours billed are not a good measure of true productivity, for now, that is the metric that counts at most firms.