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Posts Tagged ‘biglaw’

Anyone who is a regular reader of the blawgosphere will be familiar with Mark Herrmann, former contributor to the Drug and Device Law blog (which is still capably run by Jim Beck) and current contributor to a regular column on Above the Law entitled Inside Straight.  Herrmann’s work on that column attracted the attention of ABA Publishing, which collected many of Herrmann’s Inside Straight columns in a single bound volume, aptly titled Inside Straight.  So, essentially you now have the privilege of paying $24.95 for something that you could get for free, legally, on the Internet.  Why, you ask, should you do it?  Within about one hour of having received an advance copy of the book, one of my partners absconded with it, and I haven’t seen it since.  That might be a clue as to its value.

The subtitle of the book, Advice about Lawyering, In-House and Out, That Only the Internet Could Provide fairly sums up its subject matter.  It’s a book about the stuff that you don’t learn in law school (sorry to have to break the news to all those law schools out there touting their “experiential learning” curricula), like how to impress partners and clients.  Plus, the book is organized in a way that preserves the user comments from the original ATL posts, so it offers additional interactive content that only the Internet could have provided. 

Herrmann’s book, and the column more generally (he’s still writing it), are an extremely useful resource for helping to answer questions of associates and young partners about the often murky dynamics of life in a big law firm, both in terms of dealing with other lawyers within the firm and in dealing with the in-house lawyers who tend to be our clients.  I’ve been able to point lawyers to his column several times just in the last few weeks in answering a question about why I think an issue should be approached a particular way.  Just this past Friday, I pointed an associate to Herrmann’s most recent column, discussing the need to provide actual legal advice rather than simply referring a client or partner to the source, in trying to explain my criticisms of portions of a legal memo.  Unlike that conversation (for the associate at least), Herrmann’s column has the advantage of being engaging and funny, which actually makes it even more useful since it makes it more likely that the advice will sink in!

In short, I would encourage everyone to shell out the mere $24.95 it takes to get Herrmann’s insights in a glossy bound volume.   At minimum, give his ATL column a try.  If you do, it’ll be hard to resist ordering a copy of the book too.

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This is not class action related, but it is blawg related.

I will be participating in a CLE webcast on July 27, 2012, which has the working title Social Media for Lawyers: Do’s, Don’ts, Why Nots, and You Probably Shouldn’ts.  The will be presented by the West LegalEdCenter.  My co-panelists will be Kristine Scott, Corporate Compliance Director – Privacy, for Aon Service Corporation, and fellow class action blogger H. Scott Leviant of The Complex Litigator.  Below is a brief summary of the program.  I’ll post more details as soon as they are available.  We hope you can join us!

In this webcast, our panel will address the common ethical and legal pitfalls associated with the growing use of blogs, Twitter, facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media in law firms and corporate environments.  The three unique perspectives  offered by the panelists on this timely subject will provide useful information for both in-house lawyers and private practitioners in a variety of firm sizes and practice areas. 

Part I will address the unique ethical issues facing the plaintiffs’-oriented or small firm lawyer.  Issues include the ethics of “friending” judges, how to ethically use social media in advertising, whether to segregate personal and professional social media use, how to provide legal commentary without giving legal advice, selecting social media based on practice type (one size does not fit all), and the circumstances under which it is appropriate to use social media to publicize events in a pending case.

Part II will address ethical and risk management issues facing corporate lawyers and executives.  Topics to be addressed in Part II include best practices in social media policies, the use of social media by employers in vetting potential employees, protection of employee or customer privacy, and how and when it is appropriate for an employer to  monitor employee social media use.

Part III will focus on ethical issues for large firms and lawyers in large firms.  Topics include maintaining a level of appropriate decorum without boring your audience, when and how to talk about clients in social media, the danger of “issues” conflicts and other conflicts of interest, and best practices in law blog comments policies and disclaimers.

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The guys at the Drug and Device Law Blog have a post outlining “six things we’ve heard” about why no lawyers from the ten most profitable law firms have blogs.  Perhaps wisely, the’ve chosen to stay out of the fray by commenting further.  I do not share their good sense.  I’m completely unqualified to speak to what motivates lawyers at the 10 most profitable firms to do or not do anything, but I will say some things in defense of the benefits of blogging for big firm lawyers.

1. Lawyers at the most profitable firms are stupid:

“‘Profitable’ large law firms don’t see the need or the benefit of doing blogs. Clearly, if they are already doing well, why go to the trouble and work involved in blogging, when too many BigLaw lawyers still believe that the work will always be there. A mistake of course, but a perception nonetheless.”

I can offer no proof that this is a mistaken perception, but it does presuppose that the only reason to do anything is to make more money. 

2. Lawyers at the most profitable firms are too busy:

“The reason they are so profitable is that everyone is working their heads off – nobody has time to blog.”

I started work at 8:21 a.m. today and finished at 11:06 p.m., with 30 minutes off to drive home and pick up a Chipotle burrito on the way, so don’t talk to me about being too busy to blog.

3. Lawyers at those firms won’t stoop to blog:

“They are so profitable that they don’t think they need to stoop to marketing (which is what they think blogging is).”

Could be.  Blogging is the geekiest form of shameless self-promotion, unless you count Twitter.  But it’s also a great outlet for self-expression and a place to share ideas with smart lawyers who share your interests.

4. Lawyers at those firms don’t want to give away their product for free:

“Lawyers at the top ten PPP firms wouldn’t want anyone at the firm to blog because they might divulge the firm’s precious secrets.”

Of course, how to bill 1000 hours for a 150-page brief and the complete history of the juridical link doctrine are secrets worth protecting, but think about how much more money you could make if you made a nickel for every person who clicked on your blog to learn about your firm’s precious secrets.

5. Lawyers at those firms lack the necessary skill set:

“Those high-profit firms are so profitable because they are very good at making money, but the skill sets required for being good at making money may not be the same as the skill sets required to blog.”

ClassActionBlawg.com is proof positive that blogging does not require a skill set.

6. Lawyers at those firms correctly believe that blogging is unlikely to yield a decent return on investment because of the nature of the firms, the work they do, and their clients:

“When your firm name is already well known and your reputation that well established, you wouldn’t add any value by blogging.”

This one is right on.  That’s why you end up with so many law blogs written by nobodies who’ve never accomplished anything and who hope that by starting a blog, you’ll mistake them for someone famous.  Like this one from some guy named Spence who doesn’t even own a proper suit for court: http://gerryspence.wordpress.com/.  Or how about these two: http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/?  They sound more like Becker-POSER to me.

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