Monday, June 22, 2009

Are you helping others prepare for the future?

My last question on every 22 Tweets interview is always the same: "What advice do you have for people going to law school today?" Here's some of the valuable advice the lawyers I've interviewed are giving:

Venkat Balasubramani (@vbalasubramani): tech-internet lawyer

put in 110% percent, but realize there’s much more to life than law..also, don’t listen to the crowd/echo chamber

Nicole Black (@nikiblack): lawyer and legal technology consultant

Your law degree is just one weapon in your arsenal. A law degree does not limit your options-it expands them.

Kelly Erb (@taxgirl): tax lawyer

Life changes constantly. Don’t get sucked into the idea that any single moment, course or grade will define you.

I say that having gotten my lowest grade in law school… in tax law.

Dan Harris (@danharris) international lawyer

I would say don’t go to law school unless you know what you want to do with the degree once U have it.

Erik Heels (@erikjheels): trademark, domain name and patent lawyer

Be yourself. That’s what my mentor (Tom Bohan of told me. Be yourself, and you’ll be fine.

Marshall Isaacs (@marshallrisaacs): tenacious, unrepentant litigator, negotiator and draftsman

Don’t let ‘em convince you that only grades matter. Compassion, persistence and a pressed shirt are just as important.

Bill Marler (@bmarler): food safety advocate

Do not be lazy. Work hard to make yourself invaluable to your clients and your community.

Ben Qualley (@lawyerben): estate and business planning attorney

Take skills-based classes! Mediation, trial advocacy, drafting etc have helped me immensely. Substantive law changes anyway.

Jay Shepherd (@jayshep): employment lawyer

Two words: informational interviews. Meet many people. Don’t send blind résumés. Sell your differentness. And don’t panic!

Lowell Steiger (@steigerlaw): personal injury lawyer

Find the passion in what you do. If you love what you do, good will follow. Law is a wonderful profession.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What's wrong with this picture?

"What is the most significant issue currently facing the legal profession?" Here's what your peers are saying when 22 Tweets put the question to them.

David Barrett (@barrettdavid): "The LinkedIn Lawyer"
I think the most significant issue facing the legal profession is transparency …
As consumers get more sophisticated, we need new ways across the understanding gap between lawyers and non-lawyers …
Of course there have been great lawyers forever … and we could videotape them all day and clients would get value ….
But now we are in a new era of transparency … and there are a lot of areas in the profession where light has yet to shine

Kelly Erb (@taxgirl): tax lawyer
Besides layoffs? Image. There are terrible lawyers who have ruined what folks think of us. Most lawyers are good people!

Scott Gibson (@tradesecretlaw): business lawyer
Lawyers need to think differently about how we serve clients. Focus on client needs, solve their problems, and provide value.

Dan Harris (@danharris): international lawyer
BigLaw costs too much. Firms must move from hourly billing. Abt 75% of my firm’s work is flat fee. Better for clients & for us

Erik Heels (@erikjheels): trademark, domain name and patent lawyer
Learning to speak Plain English. The@creativecommons copyright licenses are a good example of anti-legalese legal writing.

Lack of legal representation for those who cannot afford it.

Tom McLain (@tommclain): international corporate and M&A lawyer
Communicating why lawyers are valuable at whatever billing basis is used. How do you value the lawsuit not filed?

Bill Marler (@bmarler): food safety advocate
Maintaining high legal standards for ethics while experiencing more and more competition.

Jay Shepherd (@jayshep): employment lawyer
Hourly billing, overpaid associates, legalese are killing it. BigLaw is like GM, newspapers, record co’s. Change is coming.

Christian Stegmaier (@cstegmaier): retail / hospitality and appellate lawyer
For younger attys, managing their debt. I feel for those folks…
… For mid-levels and partners, maintaining the pace & staying fresh. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Why are we still debating?

Are we really still debating whether Twitter is an effective business development tool for lawyers? I can think of at least five reasons why we should move on:
  1. Twitter is not a volume equation. It’s about engaging in a few conversations that lead to meaningful relationships.

  2. Twitter is not just for fun. It’s about exchanging information that helps us get better at what we do.

  3. Twitter is not formulaic. It’s about making the tool valuable for you, not lamenting its inability to do what other tools do.

  4. Twitter is not going away. Whether it’s Twitter or the next great thing, it has changed the nature of business relationships for good.

  5. Twitter is not difficult. It’s easy to do, requires little time and technology, and benefits are quickly realized with minimal effort.
Isn't it time to focus our energy on creating value? 
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