Monday, May 24, 2010

Different Job Ideas for New Lawyers?

I saw these supposedly real life examples for new lawyers in a comment to an posting. The article doesn't tell us anything new but I thought the comment's examples of treating your law degree like some other kind of advanced degree in this economy are worth sharing.

* "Interested in business: One of my classmates got a job as a closing agent with an escrow company, worked her way up to part-time in-house counsel, then CEO, then owner, now retired with a lakefront home. Treat your law degree like an MBA and apply for the same type of jobs."

* "Interested in government: One of my classmates got a job as a clerk in the county assessor’s office, then a manager, then ran for the state legislature and served a term, then into private practice with a mid-sized firm with a land use and government relations focus. Treat your law degree like a Masters in Public Administration and apply accordingly."

Most careers now, in the law and elsewhere, are more like marathons than sprints. They require endurance for the long haul.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tools for Women Lawyers Seeking a Raise

Following is a link to and points from a New York Times article that track a panel discussion at the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan state annual meeting and conference focusing on pay equity and compensation for women lawyers on May 15.

I received this news link this morning from Dave Winter, senior shareholder and former managing shareholder of Sommers Schwartz, who was a panelist at the WLAM state annual meeting and conference. Thank you, Dave.

The "toolkit" in the article includes the following advice for women seeking a raise. I've added a few pieces of information from our panel discussion for women lawyers on increasing your compensation and obtaining creative work arrangements.

Be Proactive. If you think you deserve a raise, don't just sit there and assume someone will notice and give you one.

Be Prepared. Have clear information about how much to ask for.

Specifically, gather information from the Internet, from NALP forms at law schools, possibly from your State Bar's economic survey results which may give you general demographic-based information, from peers, not just from women peers, from mentors within your firm and elsewhere, and experienced lawyers outside your place of employment, etc.

Tailor Negotiations. The article suggests that you state why your request for a promotion or raise is appropriate and also how it makes sense for the organization. Focus on the organization.

Anticipate. Envision your boss' objections and your responses.

Negotiate at home. Think about how the raise or promotion will affect your personal life and resolve those issues.

Be Creative. Consider alternatives like flexible work schedules.

As one panelist discussed at the annual meeting Saturday, consider negotiating to be paid on an hourly basis, based on your billable hours, rather than on some reduced schedule like 80% hours for 80% pay. This frees you up from working full time some weeks while only receiving 80% of a full time employee's pay, and it allows you to bill fewer hours some weeks without feeling guilty and behind on your hours. You are compensated for the hours that you bill. This was the first time that many lawyers present had heard of this idea and that it has worked successfully.

If you have thoughts and other ideas to share, please do so.

If you would like coaching to help you make more money, please contact me.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Job Posting: Bankruptcy Court, ED MI - Staff Attorney

A vacancy announcement for a Staff Attorney has been posted on the Bankruptcy Court (ED MI) website (link below). The announcement is open to all qualified candidates and closes Monday, May 31, 2010.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Do As Your Mother Says

On this beautiful Mother's Day, consider how the most basic habits you learned from your mother as a young child serve you today in your professional life as a lawyer. This list is in addition to obvious wisdom like work hard, apply yourself and always do your best.

1. Make your bed every morning.
2. Pick up after yourself.
3. Tell the truth and own up to your mistakes.
4. Stand up straight, speak up & look people in the eye.
5. Don't disparage other people.
6. Finish what you start.
7. Be helpful.

Perhaps there is a place for "put on a sweater" (said when she was cold) and "zip up your coat" on this list as well.

Have a little fun today thinking about these as actual habits in your career or as metaphors for elements of your daily practice. Consider renewing your commitment to them professionally and personally. Your mother would be proud.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Women Litigators - Opinions from One Panel of Women Judges

Here is a May 3 article from The Legal Intelligencer about a panel discussion by women judges at the ABA's Women In Law Leadership Academy last week.

I don't agree with some of the opinions and generalizations about women litigators. Do you?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Event Networking - Another Example of What Works & Why

I spoke about event networking yesterday to lawyers in the Macomb County Bar Association. Before the lunch started one of the lawyers asked me a question about my blog post "Elevator Speak: What Not To Say". Yet as I began the event networking discussion, that lawyer, and others, admitted she is reluctant to start talking with strangers and that she doesn't like going to networking events. When I showed surprise because she had been very direct in starting a conversation with me, she said she had had no problem because she was curious. I couldn't have planned a better answer and segue.

CURIOUS. CURIOSITY. Being curious about other people is a key to talking with complete strangers. This lawyer was curious about me so she started reading my blog. Because she was curious about a post, she asked me a question. I was curious about the group and their networking challenges, so I asked them questions. They asked each other questions. Several of them kept talking with each other afterwards. It's curious. . . pretty effective networking at a lunch & learn about event networking.

If would like coaching to help you be more comfortable and effective during event networking, please contact me.

Monday, May 3, 2010

2 Job Postings - USDC, ED MI

One full time and one part time staff attorney position at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Posted May 3. Close June 2.