Sunday, November 1, 2009

Got a Job Interview? Better Prepare!

Among other trends in this economy, The American Lawyer reports on changing interviewing and OCI techniques:

"Law firms are also starting to take a more rigorous approach to their end of the recruiting process. "We're seeing better-prepared interviewers, more senior people" coming on campus, says Bruce Elvin, director of career and professional development at Duke University Law School. As for the interview itself, it's no longer about whether you like the same sports teams, at least not at places like Vinson & Elkins and McKenna Long & Aldridge. These firms are using behavioral interviewing techniques, in conjunction with law school rankings and grade point averages, to evaluate candidates. The idea behind behavioral interviewing -- used by consulting and other professional service firms for decades but fairly new to the legal industry -- is that the best predictor of future performance is past performance in specific situations. Interviewers are trained to ask questions such as "Tell me about a time when you had a setback and how you dealt with it," or "Give me an example of a time when you had to make a split-second decision." Vinson & Elkins hiring partner Thomas Leatherbury predicts that behavioral interviewing will be more common in the years to come. "It's much more substantive," he says. Even in traditional interviews, Elvin says, law students can and should adopt a behavioral focus: "Students can benefit themselves by talking about challenges they've overcome, decisions they've made. It shows you are taking ownership."

The moral of THIS story? In light of all the law student competition for jobs, bring your "A game!" Read the full story here.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Surfin' for Bar Applicant Info

It's not exactly a surprising development: one state bar association has formally announced that it will look at applicants' online profiles and conduct in determining whether to admit an applicant to the bar.

"Among a growing number of employers and agencies surfing the Internet and accessing social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace to look for adverse information about applicants is at least one bar group that has just adopted a formal policy of doing so. At a recent meeting, the Florida Board of Bar Examiners voted to review applicants' social networking sites on a case-by-case basis, focusing on those who have demonstrated problem conduct in the past, reports the Florida Bar News." Source:

Just one more reason for law students and recent law grads to keep things professional online!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Young Women Lawyers: Participate in a New Study by the Center for Law Student Ethics and Professionalism

There are quite a few recently published articles about women lawyers' apparent "queen bee complex," "vision issues," and various other titles depicting "cattiness" among women in the profession. For example:

Why Women Lawyers Get a Bad Rep: ‘Queen Bee Jealousy’ and ‘Vision Thing,’

"Have You Really Come a Long Way, Baby?"

“Women Lawyers Feel Betrayed When Female Bosses Aren’t Nurturing,”

"What Women Lawyers Really Think of Each Other"

“Are Professional Women Managers Sabotaging Those Who Follow?”

Backlash: Women Bullying Women at Work,”

In light of these articles, we were intrigued to find out what a potentially competitive or less-than-desirable attitude from other women may mean for new law grads and young lawyers who are looking for a connection to more experienced women lawyers in their workplaces. We're taking a closer look at women lawyers' formal and informal in-house mentoring opportunities--specifically, how women associates are faring when it comes to mentoring programs:

Who is doing the in-house mentoring "on paper?" What about informally?
Is it working, per the associates' views?
What does mentoring mean to young women lawyers?
Do they tend to see in-house mentoring by other women as any different from being mentored by other women OUTSIDE of their firms or workplaces?
If it is true that -- at least to some extent -- women undermine each other's progress at the firm, then do mentees feel that they can truly trust their in-house mentors?
Or, are young women lawyers better off finding female mentors outside of the firm? And if the answer to the previous question rings true, then what does that mean for the effectiveness of women's in-house mentoring programs? Many employers are spending a whole lot of resources on these programs--but are they working? Are associates trusting the programs enough to fully take advantage of them?
And finally, if women lawyers DO feel more comfortable being mentored by other women outside of their firms, what does that say about the importance of mentoring programs (and in many states, the lack of programs) by outside organizations such as young lawyers' committees, bar associations, lawyers' help organizations, and the like? Should those programs be receiving increased focus and resources for maximum efficiency in the mentoring of young women lawyers?--under the premise that mentoring NOT done in-house may bring with it less competition?

Interested in participating? Let us know! We're looking for voices and perspectives from young women lawyers in all work environments and practice areas. Contact Ursula Furi-Perry, Esq, at ursula at

Monday, August 10, 2009

On Social Networking Sites? Careful of Your Conduct

Just one more reason lawyers and law students must watch their step when it comes to social networking sites: judges and potential employers are watching you!

In a recent article, the ABA Journal reports on a judge who "has seen lawyers on the verge of crossing, if not entirely crossing, ethical lines when they complain about clients and opposing counsel. And she admonished one family member who jeopardized her own tort case by bragging online about how much money she would get from a lawsuit...The judge's near-breathless accounts of questionable online activity by members of the bench and bar had many in the audience wondering whether Facebook, Twitter and their ilk are worth the headache."

Another article reports (yet again) that most law firms are checking out potential associates' online profiles before inviting them to interviews. As we've said before: the bottom line is that lawyers and law students must be mindful of their online conduct.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Law Schools and the Legal Meltdown: An Interesting Post

In an interesting post on the Legal Profession Blog, Indiana University School of Law professor Bill Hendrickson asks whether law schools and legal educators are both oblivious to the economic pressures faced by so many in the legal profession and don't consider themselves to be subject to the same pressures.

"Frankly, amidst the meltdown of the entry-level lawyer job market, I am surprised by the lack of significant interest or attention by legal academics, at least as judged by blogosphere traffic. It is all-too-easy to assume that the market will rebound next year, or 2011 at the latest. To this I might ask, 'What is the basis for the optimism?' The salad days of 2004 to 2008 were driven by a Wall Street juggernaut that destroyed the U.S. investment banking industry, which was the historical client basis for the industry's most prestigious law firms," Hendrickson writes. "And here is a more pointed follow-up question, 'How much does the legal economy need to recover so that our students can to support their debt load?'"

He continues: "It is one thing to acknowledge that we lack good answers--that part is forgivable. But it is quite another to ignore or minimize the problem because, quite frankly, it really does not affect us personally. All of this reminds me of my youth in Cleveland, Ohio during the 1970s and 80s. Lots of my friends' parents worked for General Motors, which offered high pay, amazing benefits, predictable hours, and long vacations. No one else seemed to have it so good. I remember thinking at the time that GM was both complacent and invincible. It turned out that I was only half right. So I worry about my own industry. Do I have the mindset of a GM employee circa 1979? God, I hope not."

Read the entire post here.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

New Lawyers, Hone Your Business Skills!

Supervising lawyers see a need for new associates to have better business skills and writing skills, according to a recent article in the ABA Journal online.

"Law graduates need a better understanding of law firm economics, better writing skills. more practical experience and more management training, according to a survey of practice chairs, hiring partners and recruiters," the article reads.

"Respondents pointed out that new lawyers need to realize to realize a law firm is a business, the article says, “that it lives and dies on fees; that expenses have to be monitored; that their time has to be carefully tracked; that the latter is not some torture system devised for them alone, but part of the necessary running of a law firm."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Article: 13 Job Hunt Tips for Recent Law Grads

Need help with your job hunt? This article, featuring Ursula Furi-Perry's advice, offers 13 job hunt tips for recent law grads.