What makes a legal career satisfying? Representing the most sophisticated clients? Making a great living? Getting the brass ring at a large law firm? Or is it giving back? If you ask Rich Johnston, Chief Legal Counsel for Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, it’s the latter. Rich spent almost four decades as a partner at WilmerHale (originally Hale and Dorr). While he did get to work on great cases as a commercial litigator, it was his public service and pro bono work that brought him the highest levels of satisfaction.
On this day after Joe Biden was named President-Elect, I was thinking what I could post on LinkedIn. Facebook is where I go to voice strong political opinions. My comments on LinkedIn are more measured. So I looked back into the archives of my blog and found a post which feels more relevant than ever (Talking Politics and Religion at Your Job Interviews). I posted it while Barack Obama was still president (during the 2016 election). My big message was “be cautious when talking politics and religion with people you don’t know” however don’t be afraid to authentic in job interviews or in business networking settings if you see an opening. You’ll attract the people you want to work with or work for.
Common political and religious beliefs are the basis of very strong bonds (maybe the strongest). Of course be careful. You may lose some opportunities. But you’ll strengthen the relationships you want to strengthen and IMHO, you’ll end up ahead.
The legal job market was strong until the start of 2020. And then came COVID. If you are currently a junior associate at a law firm, chances are that your first job search was more reactive than proactive. There were lots of options. Law firms came on campus for OCI and you ended up working as a summer associate (and eventually received an offer of permanent employment). Or maybe you responded to a posting from your career services office or even saw an ad on Indeed or LinkedIn for an entry level job.
The market has shifted and now that you’ve been on the job for a couple of years, what is the next step in your career? Partnership? Perhaps. But the reality for most associates is that they will make at least one move in the first few years of practice. Some associates will make a lateral move to another firm, while others may opt for in-house corporate roles, government agencies or even launching their own firms.
If you are a junior associate in your first job out of law school and you are looking for more career insights about these issues, join Stephen Seckler and Linda Kline for a live webinar at the Boston Bar Association on October 15th.
How do you move to a new city and build a law practice? Do what Dave Dykeman has done over the last 20 years. Dave is Co-Managing Partner of the Boston Office of Greenberg Traurig where he also Co-Chairs the firm’s Global Life Sciences & Medical Technology Group. In the latest episode of the Counsel to Counsel Podcast, Dave and I talk about building a niche IP practice in medical devices and other technologies. He describes how his early marketing efforts yielded great results over time.
Eventually, every professional athlete faces the same challenges: when to retire and what to do next. For the most part, an athlete’s career is limited. Few players will be able to compete into their 40’s. Lawyers, on the other hand, do not face these constraints. They can practice full-time well into their 70’s or 80’s and even continue to actively participate in firm management.
As the pandemic has caused law firms and partners to rethink their priorities, the issue of what to do with senior partners has never been timelier. For lawyers who are thinking about the next 10 to 15 years of their lives, they may be asking themselves the same question that King George poses in the musical Hamilton—What Comes Next?
In the latest episode of the Counsel to Counsel podcast, I speak with Lisa Cukier, a partner at the law firm Burns and Levinson in Boston. Lisa practices in a number of related areas including: all aspects of estate and trust litigation, fiduciary litigation, probate law, child custody, parentage issues and divorce. She also works on guardianship and conservatorship matters, elder financial exploitation, matters and serves as concierge trustee for many clients who feel protected by her approach to problem resolution. Her work includes representation of blended families.
We talk about how she has built what she calls a concierge practice. We also discuss what it has been like to serve on the executive committee of her firm, and how she has modified her own marketing and business development in a time of social distancing.
All professional athletes eventually face the same challenge: when to retire and what to do after retirement. For the most part, an athlete’s career is limited in time because of the physical demands of job. Lawyers on the other hand do not face these constraints. There are many lawyers who practice well into their 70’s or 80’s and some who never choose to retire. But for many law firms and for many law firm partners, this is not an optimal strategy. Healthy businesses need a healthy succession plan and after 40 years in practice, many lawyers are ready for some sort of change.
As the pandemic has caused many law firms and partners to rethink their priorities, the issue of what to do with senior partners has become more timely. Firms are already under a lot of under a lot of financial stress. A lack of succession planning only adds to this.
In the latest episode of the Counsel to Counsel Podcast, I welcome back Larry Stybel of Stybel Peabody. At the beginning of
, I welcome Mark Levine who has won the brass ring several times in his career. Mark is General Counsel and Secretary at Flexion Therapeutics, a commercial stage biotech company.
UPDATE: This webinar has already taken place. For a rough transcript, click here.
Please join me for a webinar on building business relationships on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM. Free for members of the Boston Bar Association. We will be discussing the importance of building your network and how networks are crucial for career advancement and business generation. I will be offering some tips on how to do this effectively at a time when getting together in person is not possible.
Just before the COVID crisis really heated up, I interviewed Lauren Resnick, who is the Chief Practice Partner for the national law firm BakerHostetler. Lauren is someone who not only broke through the glass ceiling at an AmLaw 100 firm, but she did it as a part-time attorney. I spoke with Lauren about her path from the public sector back into private practice, and what it was like being part-time. We also discussed some of the challenges of being in a