Professionalism is not well-defined in our profession. We all know unprofessionalism when we see it. The lawyer who seems to be more concerned about his fees than he is about the merits of the case. The lawyer who disrespects the court or other lawyers. The lawyer who bloviates and obfuscates when she doesn’t understand the law or her own argument. The lawyer who gets disciplined for trust accounting violations or failing to communicate with the client. But do we always know professionalism when we see it?
I’ve mentioned that before I went to law school I had a career in information systems technology. I worked for about nine different companies – mostly because the original company that hired me merged once or twice or three times while I was there – during the Dot.com boom and bust of the late 90′s and early 2000′s.
We had a motto back then: “Fail fast, fail often.” So what does that have to do with the practice of law? Plenty.
I had lunch recently with a young lawyer who has been out of work for a while. She had worked for a BigLaw firm for a couple of years before getting caught up in a layoff. Several months later, she was still searching for a law firm that wanted to hire her. She was, quite […]
What goes in your professional email? What if your email server occasionally marks something as “read” which in fact has not been read? How do you respond to that? Should you include your email signature every single time or only the first time you respond? What belongs and does not belong in an email signature? What about typos? When does an email become too long and you’d be better off just writing a proper letter? What about graphics in email signatures? Or funny quotations?
And what about that long list of disclaimers many of us lawyers append to every single email signature?
I heard a story on NPR this morning about a 1993 Harvard Business Review Article entitled “The Memo Every Woman Keeps in Her Desk.” I remembered the article. It made some waves, back in the day. In the article, author Kathleen Reardon asks several influential business people whether a female executive should send a memo regarding sexism in the workplace to the company’s CEO. The memo details the struggles of women to be heard and treated equally by their male peers. Then it asks several prominent professionals whether she should give the memo to the CEO or let it sit in her desk drawer. Find out …..
Marketing is job #1 for small firm attorneys and solos. It’s a simple equation: no marketing = no clients, and no clients = no firm. But, quite frankly, marketing can really suck.
There’s a cacophony of BigLaw websites, advertising, and social media drowning out small firm voices. And then there are about a million new small firm sites every single day. Not to mention that referrals from other lawyers and professionals can be tough to come by when everyone knows an attorney or ten who do what you do. And don’t forget the do-it-yourself options like LegalZoom and Findlaw.
How do you make yourself heard amongst all that noise? There’s no point shouting into the wind. You can’t make yourself louder than everyone else, so don’t bother trying.
I’m just going to vent a little. Why oh why is it so damned hard to find an assistant for a small firm?
I have hired eleven assistants in the past seven years. Yes. Eleven. Here’s my story.
There is nothing like a disaster to show you the holes in your law firm’s Disaster Recovery Plan. And there’s nothing like a couple of disasters in a row to show you how desperately you need a Disaster Recovery Plan in the first place. #Irma #Harvey
Do you ever feel like an imposter? As successful as you are do you believe you are just fooling people because deep down you are incompetent, taking money for work you are ill-prepared to do? Do you think one day you will be found out for the fraud that you are? Well, so do most lawyers. Suzanne Meehle shares her story.