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Should You Have a Niche for Your Practice?

Many law schools are telling students to “find their niche.” Some students take it to heart, while others prefer to take a more general approach to their practice. Whether or not you choose a niche is a personal decision. But it’s important to understand the advantages and potential disadvantages of specializing in a particular field of law. Understanding Niche and Micro-Niche Practices Today, we have niche and micro-niche law practices. The differences between the two are subtle but important. Here’s an example: Niche Practice: Personal injury lawyer Micro-Niche Practice: Mesotheliomia lawyer As you can see, a micro-niche is very specific,…

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3 Lawsuits That can Have Drastic Consequences For New Business

New business owners face many obstacles in their efforts to establish and maintain a new business. A few of these obstacles are controlling spending, making good hires, and fighting for market share with competitors. However, lawsuits from customers, former employees, or other business owners is a significant obstacle that is often overlooked.   Wrongful Termination   New hires are an important part of the growth strategy of any new and expanding company. However, business owners much take time to assure they make excellent hires for a variety of reasons.   Employees who feel they have been dismissed of job duties…

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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

Have a burning question about your career? Just send an e-mail here or tweet to @babysharklaw. I will answer in a future post. Q: I got my performance review. I thought things were fine, but my review was pretty negative. I mostly just listened. I don’t know if I should start looking for another job – and of course, the review didn’t give me information about which lawyers have concerns. How do I find out what I should do? A: Unfortunately, negative reviews sometimes come as a surprise. And as you note, the comments are typically anonymous. Here are some…

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Standing Out in a Male-Dominated Firm

Male-dominated firms are common, and perhaps that’s because women make up just 35% of the legal profession. In private practices, just 22.7% of women are partners and 19% are equity partners. Women judges are also underrepresented, with just 33% of Supreme Court Judges being women. Salaries for women, compared to the salary of men, are also lower, and this figure dropped from 89.7% to 77.6% between 2015 and 2016. Statistically, women are at a disadvantage in the legal field. It's essential that a woman stand out in a male-dominated firm to be able to demand higher compensation, have the chance…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Be Aware of Warning Signs of Instability in Young Lawyers

  The facts shared this week in an open letter from the widow of a Sidley lawyer were shocking and heartbreaking.  The suicide of a 42-year-old partner in the LA office raised many issues of our responsibilities as lawyers to our colleagues. It was discovered too late that this suicide victim suffered from a form of perfectionism that created so much pressure, anxiety and insecurity that the only way out seemed to be to take his own life.  If those facts came as a complete shock to everyone around him, that would give those of us in the profession some relief.  It…

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The 5 Best Ways To Build Your Reputation As A Lawyer

Lawyers live on their reputations. Have a good reputation as a lawyer and you can pretty well write your own check. Have a spotty or unclear reputation and people are not going to know what to make of you. Entire practices have had to shutter themselves in the past due to not having the kind of solid reputation that successful firms have been able to hang their hat on. Today we are going to explore some of the ways that everything from clever advertising to strategic HR can be used to build your reputation.   Strong Advertising One thing that…

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Why Women Lawyers Should Consider Service on a Public Board or Commission

This week, a historic number of women were elected to Congress and a record number of women ran in and won other races nationwide. If I had to pick a single word to describe this situation, it would be this: awesome. We need more women and diverse voices in government. But what you may not have heard about in the coverage of the recent elections is that the need to increase the representation of women extends to unelected government positions as well.  In particular, women do not make up a fair proportion of the people serving on state and local…

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Tips for New Lawyers to Understand Expectations of Their Law Firm

If you are a new lawyer, first of all, congratulations are definitely in order. However, after being hired on to the legal firm, you hopefully are aware that now the real work begins. Ask any experienced attorney, and they will tell you that it can take years to develop a solid, well-respected reputation. It will all start with attention to detail. Now that you are the newest associate in a legal firm, you will need to know how to look like the newly-minted professional that you are. How do you go about doing this? Here are some things to consider:…

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Starting A Law Firm In Your Hometown: What to expect

Law school typically prepares lawyers to join established firms. Many, however, want to strike out on their own. If you want to start your own firm, you might think that the best place to do is in your own hometown. Before you start looking at office space, though, you should make sure to that you know what to expect when you start practicing law.   Learning the Business Unfortunately, law school rarely teaches you how to open your own firm. While there might be specialized classes taken by some students, the truth is that you'll have to figure out how…

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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

Q: I need to start paying more attention to business development. But it’s very hard to keep up with that when I am really busy. And it’s not my favorite thing to do anyway. Are there things I can do to “force” myself to be more consistent about business development? A: It’s always easiest – and often essential – to do urgent things first. But as you realize, there can be a cost to letting business development languish. Here are some tips that may help: Set modest goals. Particularly if you are busy, it may be easier for you to…

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