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Lawyering and Living for Less: Start a Firm Without Spending a Fortune

It's no secret that the legal job market is in depressingly terrible shape.  Ask any recent or prospective law school graduate about their career plans (if you dare) and you'll hear stories of grads fighting tooth and nail for legal assistant and paralegal positions, planning their return to pre-law jobs, or perfecting their latte-making skills.But many recent grads are taking a leap and putting their legal skills to work by forming a solo practice.  Starting a firm has many benefits - you can work when and where you want, practice whatever kind of law strikes your fancy, and be your…

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Vado Porro

Running from the Law: Finish Strong

 In less than a month, I will be able to follow my name with the letters "J.D."  This three year, six semester, incredibly challenging journey will be over, and I will stand at the beginning of the rest of my life.  May 10th is graduation day.  It's the finish line.  It's what we're running towards. At the same time, I'm training for my second half-marathon.  I'm on a mission to beat the course closing time of 3:15; but I'm also on a mission to beat my last half-marathon time of 2:20.  My friend who I run races with is training with…

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Me and the Boys

Forget the Linen Closet: The Perpetually Pregnant Law Student

I was eight and a half months pregnant with our second child when I started law school.  And I was terrified.  Add that to the fact that I was wait-listed and only allowed into the school three weeks before classes started, I did not feel like I belonged there. Needing reassurance, I called up the Dean of Student Services the day before orientation to inform her of my condition. (Translation: Is it actually okay for pregnant women to come to law school?)  My inquiry must have sounded something like, "I'm pregnant.... orientation.... due date..... um....?" The Dean, being a very…

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Ask Miranda Pennoyer: of ABBA & Electioneering

It’s time once again for “Ask Miranda Pennoyer,” the column that answers your questions about life, liberty, and the pursuit of billable hours.  This columnist is one the few to be recognized by members of the ABBA as both a Super Trouper and a Dancing Queen.    So now, it’s time to get to the name of the game: questions from our loyal readers.  Our first is an issue that touches all legal professionals, but only in appropriate places.   Q.  Last week, an interviewer asked me how I feel about pro bono work.  My question is, can anyone be anti-bono?…

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What Not to Do, Part II: Always Be Prepared

Always be prepared. One really can’t really stress how undervalued this advice is. It is common sense, but often ignored at the most inconvenient times. Especially for a law student during interview season.. It was fall of 2009 and Alex had her eye on a mid-sized local firm with seemingly great people and a wide selection of practice areas. The brief and glaringly cursory on-campus interview had gone well. She had worn a conservative black suit, brought the right portfolio, and smiled and engaged with the two partners at exactly the right moments. They seemed to have clicked. So she…

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Mikki Collier

Couture-At-Law: Accessory Report

So many women attorneys allow themselves to fall into a wardrobe rut (insert the term 'frumpy attorney' here). Day after day, they drag themselves to work wearing the same old tired clothes without care or concern for their appearance . For some, the daily demands of the profession do not allow for the time or mental space necessary to put towards creating a stylish outfit. For others, the thought of putting together a look that is both chic and conservative is daunting, so they simply give up . But consider this, in today's ultra-competitive environment, advancing in the profession is…

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Small Firm Life - Office Friendships

My office has a total of 25 employees; only 4 of these employees are men. Since women tend to build relationships by connecting with each other, it’s hard to draw a line between friendships and professional relationships in my office. Although we have smaller cliques within the office, in general everyone is friendly with everyone else, except those women who refuse to develop friendships, even professional friendships, with the other women. Recently I have read several articles cautioning against friendships in the workplace, and while in theory I agree, I have witnessed the following occurrences when people have avoided friendships…

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Wendy K. Akbar

Patently Litigating:  Examining the Role of Women in Patent Litigation and Other Intellectual Property Areas

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that an inventor in possession of a good patent must be in want of a litigator.”  So begins Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice . . . though my mind is admittedly a bit addled by eight years of pharmaceutical drugs.  Pharmaceutical drug patents, that is.  Not to mention patents on semiconductor inventions, medical devices, multimedia technology, golf clubs, and so forth.  Yes -- there really are patents on golf clubs.  Through over thirty depositions, bench trials, jury trials, and arbitrations in the area of patent litigation,  I've lugged my leather bag all over the…

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Impey Biggs

Confessions of a Non-Networker: Lunches

March Goal: Networking LunchesIn January, my goal was to have a face-to-face conversation with every attorney in my practice group. There were some awkward moments, but I met my goal and realized that face-to-face interactions are really valuable, and that they don’t happen unless you intentionally make them happen.In February, my goal was to attend a law school event and reconnect with my friends. I did that, but my post for Ms. J.D. was overtaken by events and instead I discussed personally dealing with some unexpected staff layoffs at our office, and recognizing that maintaining connections with colleagues who have…

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Frank Kimball

Reflections From A Headhunter and Hiring Partner: Beware the Administrative Dungeon

Women partners are often given administrative committee assignments with little professional upside —  hiring, marketing, women’s issues and initiatives, technology, assignments, associate evaluations, training, etc. And their tenure on these committees tends to be longer than their male colleagues.  Accept these assignments with caution - and with an exit strategy.  What seems appealing and worthwhile may actually derail your career at a time when it is essential to stay on course. The firm can trumpet to the media giving women ‘leadership roles’ even though the core operating committees which run the firm remain overwhelmingly male.    The same fate can…

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