Frank Kimball

Death by Diction: Don’t Dumb Yourself Down

The current record for the incorrect use of the word “like” is held by a law student at a leading school who did so 132 times during a 30 minute counseling session. Her description of an interview might have gone as follows -"Like dude they were , like, bizarre.. They were full of like, freaks. I like wanted to get the hell out. I was, like, wow. But, like, the second firm rocks – like totally cool. Gonna pay me like bookoo bucks.  The 411 was right.   That first place was full of like wing nuts. I was like well you…

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Frank Kimball

A Book Shelf For Professional Success and Development: The First 34 You Should Read

You are the fiduciary of your own career. The more reading, thinking, and planning you do  the better equipped you will be to succeed in this rapidly-changing profession that is driven by powerful economic, professional, and client service forces that, will result in more change in the practice of law in the next decade than has been seen in the last century. This post includes nearly three dozen of my favorite books.  Buy and read one a month and in less than three years you’ll know far more than your peers about the profession, your firm, economics, practice development, and how…

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Frank Kimball

100 Reasons I Support Ms. JD

On a cold night last December I attended a law firm holiday reception. The crowd included partners, associates, spouses, guests, vendors, etc. - the usual - and it was as raucous as lawyers can get on a weeknight.  I didn’t know many of the lawyers but that didn’t stop me from wading in. We are, after all, working here.  About an hour in I’m taking a breather with a glass of Pinot noir and meet a partner about my age (57), corporate type.We exchange the obligatory guy greetings — bad  joke, Bears playoff prospects, the mayoral election, and he asks…

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Frank Kimball

What A Marine Pilot Told A New Wall Street Lawyer

In September 1977 I joined New York’s Shearman & Sterling as a new associate. We were paid $25,000 a year.  The toughest, smartest businessman I’ve ever known wrote me a note which I still have in a folder behind my desk.  He said “Congratulations on joining Shearman & Sterling. I’ve checked them out and it looks like a great place to start. But one thing Frank.  If when you get there they can only pay you $10-15,000 a year, keep the job because it is a good job.”  As a survivor of the Depression and the terrible recession that followed…

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Frank Kimball

You’re Not Networking - You’re Connecting

My New Year’s Resolution for 2011 is to banish the word networking. It’s become tiresome, predictable, and cliche ridden, conjuring up images of people working rooms, collecting cards, and investing way too much time in LinkedIn, Facebook, and updating the synch software on their Blackberry. The word for the new year is Connecting. Until you take the final step of connecting - personally, old school - the network is incomplete and useless. Once you connect it’s the most powerful weapon in your arsenal. Plus, and this is top secret, it’s fun. Since human beings came out of the caves and formed…

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Frank Kimball

Excellence Begins With Shoelaces

One day a humble, quiet young man with what some called an unusual haircut and tremendous talent moved across the country to a great public university to join a team which had suffered through a disappointing season or two. In short order he re-started a tradition of unparalleled excellence. National championships came quickly. The young man became a legend in a city already full of giants - and was a wizard greater than the one Dorothy found in Oz. But what fascinated the media was the athlete’s obsession with shoelaces. .Because of my preoccupation with Michigan football you are forgiven if you…

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Frank Kimball

Reflections from a Headhunter: The View From the Bottom of Mt. Everest

Professional growth is parabolic with shallow and then steep curves of growth and accomplishment. Sometimes it’s difficult to remember that the lawyer 2-5-10-25 years older than you was also a new lawyer once. What they do easily now is an art and a craft, which they have been honing for years. They cried in the taxi or quaked with nervousness their first time in court too though. All the great ones do. Consider these titans of the bar to be your parents or your big brother or sister - for whom everything seems to come more easily.As a summer associate…

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Frank Kimball

Practicing & Parenting, Part III

This final collection of parables covers the waterfront from road trips to youth sports to dealing with uber-parents and other strange creatures you’ll meet along the highway of life. After twenty four years of being a parent I know that I learn more from those who I admire than I learn on my own. Feel free to pass along your lessons learned whether they’re profound, light- hearted, or provocative.Do things with kids when they are ready to do them. Parents who take children to Disney World when they are two years old are hereby warned - the kids will go…

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Frank Kimball

Practicing & Parenting, Part II

This second column on practicing and parenting compiles some practical advice on the process interspersed with some anecdotes which are intentionally informal and irreverent.  I’ll leave it to the reader to decide which parables fall into which categories. At Some Point Kids Are Old Enough to Walk to the corner market. We live in the DePaul area of Lincoln Park about 2 miles north of downtown Chicago.  It’s an urban brownstone-filled neighborhood with a fair amount of traffic. The over protective dad in me resisted letting our daughter walk the 2 blocks to the local grocery store until she was 7…

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Frank Kimball

Practicing & Parenting, Part I

Being a parent is the most challenging, important, difficult, and enjoyable task in the world.  Building your professional career is complex, draining, and rewarding. Doing both at the same time often seems downright impossible. Of all the things you’ll be called in life - law student, law review editor, associate, partner, judge, Senator, or even President I think the best title you can ever have is Mom or Dad. This post and two which follow grow out of a 1992 presentation to Harvard Law School students about the transition from school to practice and a note written last year to…

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