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Innovation in the Law

Dear Readers- I hope that your October is off to a great start. Over the past year or two, we have been hearing more and more about innovation. While it is most often in the context of technology and medicine, we have no choice but to acknowledge its importance in all aspects of the legal profession - from the way in which our law schools teach their students, to the way law firms train their associates, and how they package and deliver services to clients. We as lawyers have a lot to learn from the engineers and scientists among us. In March…

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Journey to a JD: 5% of the Way There

Today is a big day.  Why?  Because as of today, I am officially 5% of the way along with my law school education.  Which means I am this much closer to earning my JD and becoming a lawyer.  Looks like it’s time to break out the champagne… Here at Penn, it is a special tradition for all the 1Ls to celebrate this milestone with a giant pizza party every year.  As I walked around the courtyard this afternoon, munching on my slice of pepperoni and mingling with my classmates, I could not help but smile.  Here I was, five weeks into…

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Is the 3/10 Year Bar Really That Tough on Immigration?

In 1996, vowing to “get tough” on illegal immigration, Congress passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRAIRA). This law included a number of reforms aimed at deterring and punishing illegal immigration. Many illegal immigrants are unaware of the consequences of leaving the United States after accruing “unlawful presence” in the United States.  If you have been in the United States illegally and then leave the country, you may be prohibited from returning to the U.S. for several years, or barred permanently.  There are three potential bars for illegal aliens seeking readmission to the United States know as…

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Moneyball Provides Lessons in Good Recruitment, Management

Dear Readers- As August quickly draws to a close, this is the time for law firms to reflect on our hiring processes and protocols and to think about how we go about recruiting the best and brightest for our firms.  It is also a time for recruits to think about those environments in which they are most likely to grow and thrive.  The bestselling book "Moneyball" by Michael Lewis is a timeless classic and provides invaluable insight into talent management, both for baseball teams as well as lawyers. I hope that you find this article to be an interesting and provocative read…

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Law School Rules: Five to Keep and Five to Break

As you’ve probably already discovered, when you tell people you’re going to law school, everyone wants to offer tips and advice, even those people who were never law students themselves! Much of the guidance you’ve heard (or will hear) is contradictory. Based on my experience as a law student, the experiences of my friends and colleagues, and what I’ve seen teaching first-year law students, I’ve compiled a list of five law school rules you can break and five you should definitely follow! Rule to Break #1—Read the Cases and You’ll Do Well in Law School This rule isn’t 100% wrong—you…

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Law School Lessons: A 3L’s Pointers for Law School Success in a New Environment

I am graduating from law school in less than three weeks. My experience has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride, yet I wouldn’t change it for the world. Close to three years ago, this Latina from Miami, FL decided to leave everything she knew for the University of Wisconsin Law School in Madison, WI. I thought I knew what I was getting myself into, but soon realized that I was mistaken. Law school is difficult enough on its own, but couple that with culture and climate shocks, and you are in for quite the challenge. Now that I am…

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South Carolina Women Lawyers Association - April President’s Message

April 14, 2015 is Equal Pay Day.  Here are the reasons why this day should matter to everyone reading this letter. The History.  Prior to 1963, it was legal for employers in the United States to pay women less than men for the same job.  In 1963, women were earning 59% of what men were paid.  Congress enacted the Equal Pay Act to eliminate this inequality. The Present.  It has been over 50 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act and women still do not have pay equality. In 2013, among full-time, year-round workers, women were paid only…

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Project Happiness: Lawyer Edition

A Johns Hopkins Study completed in 2011 canvassed individuals in 100 different occupations, and researchers found that lawyers had the highest incidence of depression.  In 1991, the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division published a study that found that 40% of female attorneys reported feeling dissatisfied with their jobs.  In 1996, lawyers overtook the title for the profession with the highest rate of suicide.  Back in 1995, a study found that seven in ten California lawyers would leave their practice if the opportunity arose. So what gives? Why are lawyers so disenchanted? Or more aptly put, why aren’t more lawyers…

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Walk a Mile in My Heels: My Secretary Says I Stress Her Out, But My Two Male Partners Don’t

Today I am a bit heartbroken.  My secretary of many years had the opportunity to switch out attorneys when a current secretary quit, and she has indicated she would like to keep the two male partners she has  and dump me (my words).  I have prayed for her family, she has prayed for mine, we have been friends and supporters, but this move makes evident an underlying issue she must have always had with me which I feel has some gender conotations, and which to be honest really hurts my feelings.  I am a very busy partner, and grouping three partners…

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Ramp up the Power: Plan and Budget for Marketing Now (part 1)

Law firms, large and small, should develop and implement a solid marketing plan and budget as key to effective business growth. Large firms typically have something that looks like a budget but is often not aligned with a strategic firm marketing plan. Small (or solo) firms usually do not create a specific marketing plan or budget but rather make marketing investments on an ad hoc basis. To that, I would ask, how's that working for you? Commit to making 2015 a more strategic, deliberate year for your firm's marketing efforts. Six reasons why firms should create a marketing plan and…

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