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Shifting Sides – Advice for Those Considering Non-Practicing Roles at Law Firms (Part 1 of 2 Posts)

Each year I have pleasure of speaking with many lawyers who are considering transitioning to a non-practicing role at a law firm.  I always encourage practicing lawyers to take the time to research these roles and do all they can to understand how they differ from legal practice.  This will be Part 1 of a two-part post on this topic.  This post will cover general information about how the work and experience can differ from practice. Part 2 will provide detail about the interviewing process, specific resources you can consult and sample questions to ask as you decide whether this…

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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

Before we start – help me help you: Send your tips for bouncing back from work challenges. Tweet to @babysharklaw or send an e-mail. Easy! I will compile a roundup for a future column. Thanks. Good goes around! Q: I know of times when lawyers have sugar-coated feedback and left people confused about how they are doing. And a senior associate recently joked that new lawyers need to learn how to “take a hint.” Do you have suggestions on this? A: Ah. The world would be so much less interesting if people always said what they meant and meant what…

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It’s February Bar Season. But It Doesn’t Matter If You Pass. No, Really.

Eighteen years ago this month, I was sitting for the Bar Exam in New York. I was already barred in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and had been practicing law in New Jersey and Philadelphia for several years, but still the New York Bar Exam was sitting like a roadblock to my future that February.  Or so I thought.  I had just taken a new position in the Mass Torts Department of Skadden Arps in New York City. One of the Hiring Partners called me in December 1999 to convey the offer to me while I was sitting in my Newark,…

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A Galentine’s Day Reflection on the Value of Female Friendships

           Today is Galentine’s Day, a completely made up holiday popularized by a TV show, Parks and Recreation, that hasn’t aired in years. Unlike Valentine’s Day, this “holiday” is intended to honor female friendships rather than romantic relationships. To say the least, the episode which featured this holiday and the character who invented it, Leslie Knope, was memorable. As Malcolm Gladwell tells us, a “sticky” message from an extraordinary communicator can carry an idea far and wide. Yet, I don’t think that the show or Leslie Knope are the only reasons that Galentine’s Day caught on.…

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Don’t Be An Investing Clown

The stock market just finished a great year. For every dollar invested on January 1, 2017, in an index fund tracking the S&P 500, the market returned a whopping 19.42% in appreciation by the end of the year. That’s not even taking into consideration the dividends paid. If you add in those, the index investor saw a return of 21.83% on each dollar invested (less fees, which of course should be kept to a minimum). Those are exciting numbers. What does a 21.83% return get you? Well, it doubles your money every 3.3 years for a start. You could get…

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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

Thanks for the great insights on the questions that start this column; here is another one: How do you manage stress? Just send an e-mail here, tweet to @babysharklaw, or post a comment here. Easy! I will compile a roundup for a future column. I thank you, and your fellow lawyers thank you! Q: It is hard for me to track all my time. I can be in the office for long days, and I end up without much billable time. Do you have any time-tracking suggestions? A: Yes. Tracking time is one of the less fulfilling aspects of law…

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Advice for Effective Retooling

I have coached many attorneys who are retooling whether learning a new area of law after having practiced for a few years or starting over with a new employer in a new area either as practicing attorney or in a non-practicing role.  In fact, I’ve done so twice over the course of my career – once shifting from a corporate generalist position to being the lead employment and labor lawyer for my first in-house role and, second, when I left legal practice to focus full-time on attorney professional development.  Retooling can represent a tremendous opportunity to grow and expand your…

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Friend or Foe? Technology In Our Everyday Lives: Facing the New Year with Your Face

Welcome to the New Year! As you kick off 2018 with a host of new-found, far-flung, and/or recycled resolutions -- eating less, exercising more, nurturing forgotten friendships, de-cluttering your closet -- don’t forget about your cyber self. What technology-related areas deserve your attention in the New Year? For practicing attorneys and law firms, it would be strategically valuable to ask what emerging areas of law could expand your perceived expertise and book of business? Are you sure your firm’s privacy protocols are protecting digital data? What steps are you taking to enhance your corporate clients’ cybersecurity preparedness and incident responsiveness?…

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My ‘JD Preferred’ Story

I suppose I should start with an introduction, though I suspect that by the end of this post it will read more like an Ode to Compliance.  I consider myself one of the lucky ones who pretty much knew what they wanted to do with their career since a young age.  Once I got over the ‘I want to be a librarian because I like books’ and ‘chef because I like food’ aspirations of second grade, I became drawn towards law because of the endless debates I’d undertake with friends and family. (As it turns out lawyers do debate endlessly, and…

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Becoming a Pre-Law Leader on Campus - #MsJDPreLaw Mentoring Hangout (Ep. 02)

Watch the second episode of our #MsJDPreLaw Mentoring Hangouts on "Becoming a Pre-Law Leader on Campus"! This will be live-streamed at 12pm ET on Saturday, January 20, 2017, at Guest speakers are: Erin Callahan: Ms. JD Board Member. She was the President of Women in Law and The Student Bar Association at Dedman School of Law. Erin recently left the insurance industry and is now in private practice at a small firm in Houston, Texas. Moniel Sanders: Class of 2019 undergraduate at Indiana University Bloomington. President of the Pre-Law Black Law Student Association at Indiana University Bloomington. Margaret Zhu: Class…

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