Thought for the Day—-Young Lawyers Should Be Impressive Even in Defeat

Being impressive in defeat is harder than being impressive in victory— but no less important.  Remember the handshake after the contest.  You likely will meet that adversary again, and you want to keep all options open for your client.

Law Students, Young Lawyer | Comment

First Year Law Students Listen Up—Some Times You Need to Follow the No Money

I know how tough it is for first year law students these days when it comes to finding summer employment.  Paying positions are not likely to be plentiful for students after only one year of law school in this economy, and unpaid internships are really the only practical possibilities for most of you.  I know that your law school career counselors have given you good advice on the value of internships, but let me put in a few words of my own because I have been on the management side.

First of all, the summer after your first year of law school has to stand for something these days.  You want to have as much law-related experience on your resume as possible by the time you are looking for jobs after graduation.  The days of taking off for Europe or Central America to chill after the first year of law school are over.  Sorry.  You really need to be more resourceful to impress those future employers who you are going to be asking to pay for your services.

However, that puts you in a job squeeze because there also are a scarcity of intern jobs.  But, here’s a possible source of internships that I want you to know about:  Local Government Internships.

The offices of local government have little money today.  In fact, today state governments have little money because the federal government has little money, and it all flows downhill—-or ceases to flow downhill, as the case may be.  Presumably, you have not been living under a rock during all of the federal budget discussion and the debate about raising the debt ceiling, and you know how tight things are budget-wise in this country.  Because local governments get a considerable amount of money from state governments, local governments are really on the short end these days.  But, that does not mean that the offices of local government do not need help.

Career Counselors, Law School Educators, Law Students, Uncategorized | Comment

Thought For the Day—-Who Has the Power?

Asking yourself “Who has the power?”  should be your compass for how to act and who to challenge—until such time as you have the power!

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Thought For the Day—Choosing a Law School

Do not choose a law school for the climate—you will be in the library most of the time!

Have a nice day!

Career Counselors, Law Students, Pre-law | 1 Comment

Young Women Lawyers Need to Exercise Self Control

You know that I am always thinking of you young lawyers and trying to eke a lesson for you out of everything I read.  Well, yesterday the fertile ground for my efforts on your behalf was church.  There I was at the Easter Sunday service, and you were on my mind.  Glancing at the church bulletin, I noticed some topics for a future discussion group, and a lesson from Jewish teachings jumped out at me:  You Need to Have Self Control.

Let me clarify two things.  First of all, I was not zoning out during the sermon!  Second of all, yes, Christian churches like mine pay a lot of attention to the teachings of the Jews, and this was one of those moments.

I am sure that the ancient teachings about self control cover a lot of ground, but the relevance for the purposes here is that you should control your spending, control your debt and use self control about your lifestyle so that you preserve your options when it comes to your professional pursuits.

Here’s how it works.  Many young lawyers, men and women alike, start their law practices at big firms for big salaries.  These young lawyers work hard over time and advance in the firm, and they convince themselves that they are entitled to some really expensive lifestyle trappings for their pain and suffering—-the fancy car, the big house, the designer clothes, the vacation home, exotic trips—–and soon they feel like they cannot live without these things.  They look around the law firm and see senior members of the firm with extravagant lifestyles, and they want the same thing.  They consider it a statement of importance and having “arrived”, and soon these choices become automatic.

As you know, choices like this come with big price tags, and the biggest price tag typically turns out to be the house mortgage.  While it is true that the big salary can support the big house mortgage, that scenario only works until the job that supports the big salary is no longer desirable or available.  There comes a time for many of these big earners where they are either burned out or experience a change of heart about what they want to do professionally.   There also comes a time for some, especially during an economic downturn, where the job is no longer there.  Very often the choice or the solution is to go to a job that pays less.  Or there is also the possibility of being offered that big, prestigious job in the public sector—Deputy Director of Whatever—that you would really like to take for career enhancement, but it means a much lower salary.

Career Counselors, Law Students, Pre-law, Uncategorized, Young Lawyer | 4 Comments


Here we are again with law school exams looming on the horizon.  I know this is not a favorite time of year for law students—-or for their families, for that matter.  As one significant other told me recently, “I always look forward to this time of year when I will be told not to talk to her or make a noise in the apartment for at least three weeks!”  Tongue in cheek, of course, but basically true.

You all dread exams, but I suggest that you be philosophical about it.  Yes, it is pure misery to face the library on a near 24/7 schedule, prepare those lengthy outlines, commit them to memory and then try to psyche out what the prof is likely to ask about.  Slave labor and tricks is what a lot of it seems to be.  But, when you peal off those layers of fatigue and misery and self-sacrifice—and the layer of guilt that might be there because you have procrastinated about this inevitable exam period for too long—-what you really find is preparation for the bar exam.  You can prepare early or late for that all-defining test, and you are better to prepare early.  Learn it well now and refresh your memory later.  It will be so much easier, and, in most cases, so much more effective.

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Woman Law Professor Reviews Book for Ms. JD

Professor Lisa Mazzie of Marquette Law attended my speech at that law school a week ago.  She blogged about the book for Ms. JD, and I could not have said it better.  So, here is Professor Mazzie’s take on Best Friends at the Bar: What Women Need to Know about a Career in the Law.

Law Students, Young Lawyer | Comment