Saturday, March 27, 2010

No badmouthing

See my article on not badmouthing current/past employers and colleagues at:

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Law Shucks

Hi all, you can view my guest post on This week's topic is: CYA

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

answering more questions

One of our readers indicated that he (or she?) has a job offer for a summer associate position at a firm this summer. The class is around 6 people. The firm usually has a much larger class. Our reader asked whether I think this bodes well for getting an offer. HP doesn't have a crystal ball, but my educated guess is that yes, I think the firm would try to give offers to the smaller class. To me, it's a good sign that the firm has made a careful decision to minimize the class size. Presumably the firm has looked to its future needs, such as surveying department heads for their anticipated needs going forward when you would eventually join. Following this analysis, the firm concluded that a number around 6 would be the right number. Now, assuming the firm didn't want 3 and got extra acceptances, I think the chances of an offer are good. However, I agree you still need to be great. Firms won't feel so uncomfortable about "no offering" this summer. You need to produce top notch work product, be positive, participate in whatever social events they have, and not make any social faux pas. So, be on your guard just the same as last year - remember the whole summer is an interview. Everything counts - office presence, work product, the way you communicate orally, in writing (including e-mails), treatment of other attorneys, staff, etc. Be on your game.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Monday Musings

Hello all. Some of you may have already seen my post, but in case you didn't, I will be guest blogging weekly over at -- my first installment was last Friday. The good folk at have created an excellent source of information on the comings and goings in the law industry. I encourage you to check out their site.

Now, you may be asking: "if HP can barely keep up her own blog, how can she guest elsewhere"? Well, I, too, have had that thought. I'm hoping that being busy just keeps me moving faster. I know I am best when I have multiple deadlines. I am hoping to use my site for specific advice - e.g., when I am answering questions, and more general career guidance. Much of my advice goes beyond BigLaw and even law in general, and relates to general workplace getting along and getting ahead. Over at lawshucks, I will focus on big picture items, I think.

Someone asked about taking multiple bars as a fall back. As in, they are going to work in State A, but think maybe they should take the bars in States B and C to make themselves more marketable. Well, I think it depends on a few factors. Does the firm you are going to encourage multiple bars? I have a friend who works for a firm in DC. They have VA and MD offices. The firm likes for their lawyers, especially litigators, to have DC and one of either VA or MD. Will your firm pay for the dues on other state bars? This is actually an important question and can add up significantly. Another important question my cousin didn't really consider when she took an extra bar were the CLE and other ongoing requirements. She had no interest in the short, or even long, term practicing in the state, yet there were many requirements for ongoing dues and other payments and mandatory CLE. In the end, she had to give up the bar membership since (if I remember correctly), they didn't really have an inactive status that didn't require payments. And, do you have the time to study and take these extra bars? You certainly don't want to take away any time from your main bar, as these days, firms aren't likely to look positively on failing bar results.

Now, moving on to the big picture, I recently got invited to a professional conference. The list of the speakers was set forth in the email. I noticed the name of a man I know, and he was listed at a firm other than the one where I first met him. I was pretty surprised so I googled him and sure enough, he had just moved. Why was I surprised? After all, tons of people make lateral moves. I was surprised because this guy was such a "company man," he had at one time managed the office of the prior firm. When I met him he was super gung ho on the place. I truly saw him as a lifer there. Which brings me to the point. Remember, there is no loyalty in BigLaw. People move for so many reasons. Sometimes they take people with, other times not. Even people who seems like they will sail off into retirement from Firm ABC suddenly make unexpected moves. So, don't go someplace just because you really like Partner Susan, or associate Tom was so fun and hip. It's happened to me that when you show up, those people could already be gone. Really goes back to the point I made on lawshucks last Friday -- and I've made here before -- that you have to always look out for yourself -- whether it is positioning yourself for your own move at some point, or recognizing that you don't want to only work for X because X might leave next week and not take you and then you're hosed because you haven't worked with anyone else. People move, things change. Be careful about hitching your wagon too closely -- be more like a UHAUL attachment that can attach and unattach to various pulls.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

social networking - does it help?

Some people ask whether participation in social networking -- Facebook, Linkedin, etc. actually helps in the career/job search world. I do think there's a benefit to getting back in touch and staying in touch with your contacts. But, of course, remember if you write silly things on Facebook, your business contacts who are your FB "friends" will see these things just as your real friends will. So, I usually recommend keeping pure business contacts on Linkedin and friends on Facebook. But what if, say, a client or other business contact "friends" you? Then, what do you do? Well, I've had this happen. A client who I also know socially friended me. In fact, I have a couple of them. I accepted the friend requests -- felt that it would be too weird not to -- but when I post updates, pics, etc., I try in the back of my mind to remember that it's not just my high school classmates reading and posting to my FB -- it also includes the clients.

Now, getting back to my original point...does any of this social networking actually help you in the career advancement world? Yes, I think getting back in touch, and staying in touch with people can help advance your career. It's certainly better than doing nothing at all, of course. I always tell people that if you are interested in a new job, you should let people know. As far as creating opportunities generally, the social networking sites will help put you in the mind of some former colleagues/classmates who otherwise might not think of you.

Case in point. Just recently, I needed a local counsel in a different part of the country. I could ask my colleagues for recommendations and I did that. I thought for a minute. Do I know anyone who practices in this metropolitan area? This is a matter for a very important client and I want someone I know and can trust. I didn't think I knew anyone in this area. But then the light bulb went off. Someone from law school who I am Facebook friends with does practice in the area. And his postings occasionally talk about court -- so I know he litigates locally. I called him. He answered...and it looks like he and his firm may end up serving as our local counsel. Without Facebook, I would not have thought about him. He may very well end up getting a significant referral from this, and possible follow up work.

I can talk more about social networking for job searches in another post but wanted to touch on this recent connection before it slipped my mind.

For those who have come back to HP's Office blog as I've returned....thank you.

(btw, no, right now we are not hiring 3Ls or entry level associates).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Hi all. I'm sorry I had to curtail my blogging for awhile. There was just a lot going on personally and professionally and I just couldn't keep up. I am starting to feel like I can resume the blogging -- but I wonder if you are still interested? And if so, what interests you most these days? I hope things have improved for the job seekers -- I do feel like I see more opportunities starting to open up out there -- though I still hear from clients that they are under tremendous budget constraints. Clients are definitely handling more things in-house these days - trying to do things on their own rather than calling outside lawyers. I think the opportunities I have seen more recently are in-house, governmental, etc.

Anyway, let me have your thoughts? Continue? Topics?