What happens after a lawyer is discharged is always somewhat messy. It is further complicated because usually there are bad feelings on both sides. The lawyer feels wronged and the client feels that the lawyer didn't do his or her job. Previous articles have been written on this subject, but the question continues to be asked regularly.
The practice of law can be a grueling physical, emotional and mental journey for any individual, especially younger lawyers relatively new to the legal workforce and trying to find their way in an ever-changing legal landscape. Young attorneys often find themselves admiring the status and life standing of some of their more seasoned peers who have enjoyed years of success in practice—imagining the luxury cars, the suburban houses, the exotic vacations and the completely satisfied student loans. Granted, through the eyes of a strained young associate coupled with a strong dose of rose-colored glass, an aging Honda sedan, small fixer-upper on a quiet end street, weekend in Lake Erie free from the urge to open a laptop, and only a few years left on loans can look like this exaggerated and complete life of luxury—reality is always dependent on frame of reference. Younger lawyers might forget the years of work, dedication and focus that add into some of the benefits of practice, while wishing away the very years that are so important to a legal career and fulfilling life outside of the office.
When it comes to serving as lead trial counsel, the gender gap persists. According to a recent study prepared and published by the American Bar Association, men remain much more likely to take on the role of lead trial counsel. The study, titled "First Chairs at Trial: More Women Need Seats at the Table," was conducted by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession and the American Bar Foundation. Based on a random sample of all cases filed in 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the study identified types of cases, practice settings, clients and other characteristics that impact the extent to which men are far more likely to serve in lead counsel roles.
On Sept. 8, sisters Serena and Venus Williams squared off during the U.S. Open in a match that could have had historical significance for Serena Williams, who was closing in on a Grand Slam, a feat not achieved since 1988. In an article aptly titled "Love Game," Steve Tignor, for Tennis.com, described the charged atmosphere as a sold-out, celebrity-riddled crowd filled Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York. "It was more unique, definitely," Venus Williams said of the vibe. "Serena is going for the Grand Slam, and I think everybody is interested because she has to play her sister to get to that. People want to see, you know, how that's going to come out."
Adrenaline took over as I rose to the podium. The moment's reality brought clarity, pushing aside lingering doubts. I was at my first trial, facing my first witness. I had deposed him eight months earlier at my first deposition, and I was now ready to deliver what I hoped would be an effective cross-examination. With my indexed outline and documents at the ready, I proceeded: "Your honor, I have a few questions for this witness."
You're coming to the end of your summer associate position and are hoping to make a good enough impression to be offered a permanent job. But you're not sure what the crusty old codger who has been at the helm of the firm since before you were born thinks of you.
Last month, I wrote about the rising recognition of emotional intelligence as a key factor in successful leadership using the new movie "Inside Out" to illustrate points about anger and self-management. Now, I turn to "The Sound of Music" for an assist in addressing another competency of emotional intelligence: self-confidence. In the movie, young novice Maria tentatively begins her journey to be governess to seven children. She has no experience and is forced to leave everything she knows. In the song "I Have Confidence," Maria sets her intention for how to handle the new situation, telling herself that she will stop self-doubting, be firm but kind, face her mistakes, and earn respect, adding that, "While I show them I'll show me." The "me" part is key. In this way, Maria employs positive self-talk to overcome her lack of courage, acknowledging that the most critical person in the self-assurance equation is herself. So when she later encounters obstacles—the heavy gates of the mansion she must physically push open, coldness of staff members, pranks played on her by the children and her seemingly cruel new boss—she need only look within for confidence.
Transitioning from your position as a summer clerk, summer associate or intern into a position as an associate may seem daunting, exciting, seamless, overwhelming or a combination of all of the above. No matter your emotional state, take comfort in the fact that it is completely normal. Remember, you already have a leg up after spending a summer or two with a firm. Despite this comfort from familiarity, there are five key differences to consider.
For so many years during childhood, and even through college as well, summer was a time to relax, unwind and enjoy the sunny weather. During grade school, it was a time to enjoy day camp kickball games and pool trips; during high school a chance to stay out late with friends and artificially delay the next school year as long as possible; during college it was an opportunity to catch up with friends who spent the school year in a different locality; and in law school it was a chance to finally shed the weight of the constant study schedule and regain some level of normalcy. Even with summer jobs and other responsibilities, summer formerly had a defined beginning and end dictated by school schedules.
As the days of summer go by and we are just after the end of July, most recent law school graduates are absorbed in their bar prep materials, preparing for what will likely be the biggest milestone of their young legal careers: taking the bar exam. Once the exam is complete, most are ready to unwind with a week or two of well-deserved relaxation, thinking only passingly about the results.
The new animated movie "Inside Out" takes the audience inside the brain of an 11-year-old girl named Riley, where her responses to situations are governed by five emotions personified. They are Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust, and they vie for command of the internal control center to influence Riley's behavior. When her family moves to San Francisco from Minnesota, where she was a happy part of a community, hockey team and circle of friends, Joy and Sadness get lost. Difficulties with the move ensue and all of the developments are seen through the lens of Fear, Anger and Disgust. Riley behaves accordingly, to the consternation of her parents, who are used to seeing their daughter with Joy primarily at the helm. They don't understand or know how to respond to her new attitude.
The first day at your new job can be an anxiety-provoking yet exciting time, and the first few years of your legal career can be some of the most important of your professional life. You will gain experience in several areas of the law, hoping to find your calling and specialize in a practice. You will develop business relationships with colleagues, clients and other leaders that you will (hopefully) maintain throughout your career. You will work long hours. You will finally get to make money. And, of course, while you are learning the practice of law, you will be judged by your superiors to see if you have the skills that make a successful attorney. This article offers practical advice on what to expect and how to have a successful start to your career now that you have found your first job.