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.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Constructive Summer Plans for Law Students: Some Ideas

To add to the multitude of bad news facing legal professionals, some summer associate programs are being cut or downsized in 2010, reports a recent article in the ABA Journal.

Need to plan for your summer? Consider the following tips:

* Plan ahead, and plan early! A more competitive market means you have to be more vigilant when it comes to landing a summer position--don't get lazy; don't wait until the last minute to find a job; and don't expect a job to fall into your lap.

* Be ready to "pound the pavement." You may need to go back to basics when it comes to finding a summer job, including proactive job-searching and networking.

* Don't put all of your eggs in the OCI basket: consider smaller firms and other employers for summer employment.

* Consider an internship, externship, or law student clinic if paid employment doesn't work out. You will still add valuable practical experience to your resume, and you'll gain valuable insight into whatever job you take on.

* If you absolutely cannot find employment or gain practical skills during the summer, don't waste the summer at the beach: do something constructive to further your legal education or experience, such as taking a summer course or studying abroad and gaining insight into a more global legal environment.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Case of the Week, 5.18.09

New lawyers, take note: while your supervisors have the responsibility to properly supervise your work, your ethics decisions are still your own--left for you to make!

In one Kansas case, a staff attorney received a five-day suspension for declining to accept representation in a case, even after she explained to her supervisor that she had a conflict of interest which prevented her from taking the case--the subordinate, the superior claimed, refused to elaborate on her reasons for finding a conflict. When the subordinate attorney appealed her suspension, the Court of Appeals held that a subordinate attorney retains responsibility for her own ethics decisions and does not have to defer those decisions to a supervisor. McCurdy v. Kansas Department of Transportation, 898 P.2d 650 (1995).

Of course, Rule 5.2 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct also makes it clear that subordinate attorneys have ethical and professional responsibilities: read the full text of the rule here.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Case of the Week 5.11.09

An applicant's financial issues -- and the applicant's failure to disclose those issues -- will trouble the bar examiners.

An applicant was disqualified from reapplying for admission to the Florida bar for five years after he failed to disclose his divorce proceedings, failed to disclose that he attended a college to which he owed money, and failed to disclose that he was rejected for a loan due to delinquent credit. Florida Board of Bar Examiners Re. R.L.W., 793 So. 2d 918 (Fla. 2001)The court noted, “this Court should focus not solely on the initial underlying conduct which R.L.W. failed to disclose or misrepresented…but on R.L.W.’s repeated and multiple failures to disclose that conduct to multiple Bar associations, and his engagement in conduct designed to further hide the truth.” Id., at 926.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Discussion Question 5.3.09

Note: These periodic discussion questions are designed to inspire dialogue about law student ethics and professionalism, whether through in-class discussions, informal discussions, or in the form of comments online.

What is the most difficult part of staying ethical and professional as a young lawyer?

Is it...

* Not being properly trained on issues of ethics and professionalism?
* Not knowing where to seek help and support with issues of ethics and professionalism?
* Not always being properly supervised or mentored on those issues or on practical questions?
* Dealing with the stress of time and money management in an increasingly stressful practice?

Summer Associates Told to Get a Grip?

There's no shortage of stories about summer associates getting out of control after a few months of wining and dining by firms. But according to a recent article, students are increasingly being told to lose their sense of entitlement.

"As law firms adjust their programs, taking a no-frills approach, students need to adjust as well, law school career counselors say," reports the ABA Journal. "At a seminar at Stanford Law School, students were told to volunteer for work and to watch their etiquette, Forbes magazine reports. They also learned it’s not a good idea to be a no-show after signing up for social programs. And summer associates need to lose the attitude, says Susan Robinson, Stanford’s associate dean for career services."