Saturday, January 24, 2009

Guest Poster - Helpful Hints

I am the guest poster that was introduced here last week. I am a partner at an Am Law top 10 firm. I know this is a very hard time for all of us, especially given the lay offs at many of the nation's top law firms. It is more important than ever for associates to stay focused on their performance and to continue to demonstrate their value to their respective firms. There are a lot of ways to do this - here are four quick pointers: (1) Communicate. Make sure that you are always on the same page with your partner regarding the scope of an assignment, the due date for that assignment and the form of the the assignment (email, or formal memo); (2) No Suprises. Make sure that your team members know where you are on the weekends and know in advance, if possible, when a vacation is planned. (3) Blackberry. Everyone should regularly check their messages and respond to them, but do not use your blackberry or your cell phone when you are in client meetings or meeting with your Partners. and (4) Legal Research. It is good to be thorough, but with Westlaw and Lexis it can come at a huge cost for the client and a surprise for the billing Partner. Always ask if you are going to use these expensive on-line research tools. Better yet, do not use them. Loislaw is free and just as good and there are others as well. Well those are my four pointers for this week, I hope they are helpful and I hope to be invited back again soon to offer suggestions. Have a great week.


Anonymous said...

What the hell was this post? Zero effort, zero insight, poor formatting, waste of time.

Expected better out HP.

what? said...

Don't use westlaw or lexis? Even the small firms I have worked at have a log in for each staff member and general services are flat rate - not billed per service to the client. I can't imagine any firm not using online research services.

Anonymous said...

The associates I know do their legal research on days that westlaw/lexis reps come in so that the search time is free...and they've told me that the firm has scolded them a few times for not billing anything for westlaw/lexis...supposedly they wanted some billed, just not a ridiculous amount.

Anonymous said...

HP this post really isn't up to scratch. If an associate turned in work of this quality I'm sure there would be hell to pay and while I realize Guest HP is doing this as a favor, if he or she isn't going to try harder its probably not worth it.

f-3 said...

As much as I want this blog to succeed, I have to agree that this post was very weak. It rehashes a lot of what HP has discussed already, and the rest is way too basic / generic. Yes, it's helpful to get reminders every now and then, but at this point we're expecting pointers that are deeper, more insightful, and less commonly considered / known.

Plus one piece of information is inaccurate - Loislaw is not free.

Suggestion: Recent commentators have posted questions about some tricky situations. Perhaps HP and GP can try to answer those first. You can build a lot more loyalty if your readers feel like they are being heard.

f-3 said...

Oh - and previous posters are correct - shouldn't just issue a blanket statement telling people not to use Westlaw / Lexis. How you use it depends on the specific pricing arrangement your firm has with the vendors.

My firm also has a long-term, flat-rate contract with one of those, and the firm wraps that cost into its operating expenses, rather than bill clients for usage. Under that scenario, there is no reason to avoid using the service.

Anonymous said...

I hate to rehash what has already been said, but this post was terrible.

No formatting, weak advice, written in a haste with little thought.

Better not to have a guest poster if this is what it's going to be like.

Anonymous said...

I use lexis all the time, but remember that HP said we would be getting a different view. This person is a partner at a top firm and this is apparently at least how he feels, so take it for what is it, just another viewpoint. You don't have to agree but good to know that some people think this way and to be careful and know with whom you are dealing.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I agree ... lame effort. I mean, is this really valueable insight? I agree with earlier comments ... if the blog continues along these lines, it will become extinct.

Anonymous said...

This post, and the subsequent response to it, is proof positive that the profession of law draws to itself with magnetic force the most pretentious self-absorbed douche-bags in all of society.

Anonymous said...

Things guest partner and HP can address:

1. For those without a 2L summer job or without a permanent job, are non-profit or pro bono jobs considered viable resume gap fillers?

2. Should judicial clerks worry about the security of their post-clerkship jobs now? What can / should they do?

3. At what point do unemployed class of 2008 graduates become unemployable (coming upon the 9 month mark)?

4. What to do if the mid-level or senior associates are hoarding work / hours?

5. Given the current state of things, is a foreign office assignment a good thing (opportunity to differentiate onself) or a bad thing (out of sight, out of mind)?

6. How do you go about building your own book of business when even partners' activities are slowing down?

There are so many other things we can discuss other than turning off our Blackberrys and worrying about using westlaw.

Roxanne said...

LoisLaw IS an online research tool. The only thing you need Westlaw or Lexis for is to "shepardize" the cases that you find.

Anonymous said...

This is pathetic. This is the guest partner's contribution? Who do you think your audience is and why would anyone need a V10 partner to tell the this?

How about some insight into the financial realities firms are facing? How about a sense of how many firms are serious financial trouble, how many are being squeezed, and how many are just using this economy as an excuse to squeeze associates?

The idea of anonymity is that you use it to tell the world things you couldn't tell them otherwise. not to post some drivel that a first year associate or even a human resources staff member could spit out

If this person actually is a V10 partner then either s/he's trying to send a message "do as i say, not as i do" or there really are that many people promoted to partner that aren't half as talented as the countless attorneys that either have no interest in being partner or are turned down for partnership.

You failed your first assignment as a blogger. At least here you actually get a second chance whereas as an associate with temperamental and inarticulate partners that's not always the case. try again.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5:55, YOUR post is a fail.

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of rumors flying around about firm offers for this summer. What is your opinion? Do you think it is just silly panic that firms are only going to give offers to 50% of their SA class? Will there be a huge variance?

I know you aren't a fortune teller, but you must have some insight.

I think all posters would be interested in this answer.