- Guy Kawasaki Shares 10 Ways to Use LinkedIn to Find a Job
- Rob Sciglimpaglia: Moving from Law to Acting and Voice Overs
- Interview: Michael Rothman: From Lawyer to High-End Private Investigator
- Patricia Lin: Environmental Lawyer Finds Joy in Scuba Diving
- Chinwe Enu: Pursuing an Opera Career
- In Challenging Economy, U.S. Lawyers Increase Pro Bono Service
- Careers Are Like Marriages: Find the One You Want -- or Fix the One You Have!
- Women Lawyers Transition to More Satisfying Careers
- Matt Homann Shares His Ten Rules About Hourly Billing
- Susan Cartier Liebel Explains Why Now is a Perfect Time to Go Solo
In a recent blog post, startup guru Guy Kawasaki explained how to use LinkedIn to find a job (please also check out LinkedIn for Lawyers 101 for a short LinkedIn tutorial tailored to attorneys). Below, in summary form, are Kawaskis ten tips (see Kawasakis full blog post referenced at the link above for further details for each point). While Kawasakis tips are tailored to a general job search, one can modify the tips to apply to a law firm job search. * Get the word out (that is, tell all of your LinkedIn connections that you are looking for a job). * Get LinkedIn recommendations from your connections * Find companies where people with your background and skills are working * If you are interested in a particular company, find out where people at a company came from to give you some idea what kind of "pedigree" the company is looking for. * Find out where people from a company go next (to see what kind of career path the company might open up for you). * Check if the company is still hiring. * Get to the hiring manager. * Alternatively, find a connection who can get your resume to the right HR person. * Find a connection who can help you learn more about the job requirements. * If youd prefer to try joining a startup, you can also search LinkedIn for startups to join. One extra tip: start building your network on LinkedIn today so youll have one available when you need to tap it.
Robert Sciglimpaglias legal career came to an unexpected crossroads in May 2006. He could either continue practicing workers compensation law full time, or accept a 13-day contract to perform as an extra in the Disney movie "Enchanted," co-starring Susan Sarandon. He chose the latter and seems to have found his true calling. "Im an attorney by trade, but Im doing less of that and more voice and acting now," Sciglimpaglia now says. "Im living proof you can get into this business and succeed in it." Sciglimpaglia already has his own bio on the Internet Movie Database. Hes also launched his own website listing recent projects and past acting credits.
Career opportunities often fall into a lawyers lap when he or she least expects it. The key is to seize the opportunity. A case in point is MICHAEL ROTHMAN who moved to New York and took a job in the global investigations department of a leading investigative consulting firm to secure an interim source of income while studying for the bar. The companys only in-house lawyer unexpectedly left, which presented Rothman with the opportunity to assume a bigger role on the business side of the company. Eventually, he became Senior Vice President of Investigations. However, Rothman comes from a family of entrepreneurs (his father owned and operated a lumberyard for 25 years), and he decided he was more suited to being his own boss than being an employee. Starting at his kitchen table with $30,000 in savings, Rothman set his sights on providing due diligence and investigative services to high-end financial clients such as investment banks, hedge funds and private equity firms. His firm - Rothman Consulting - now services a growing roster of clients in the Wall Street community helping them identify potential "landmines" that could prove damaging or embarassing such as securities violations, criminal records, fraudulent credentials, factual misrepresentations, and character issues before the client proceeds with a major transaction such as a merger or acquisition, or makes a key hire such as a hedge fund manager. Click below for a full interview with Michael. _JD BLISS (JDB): You’ve used your training as an attorney to found one of the country’s preeminent firms providing investigative due diligence services to corporate, financial and professional service clients. How did you get your start on the investigative consulting path after you got your law degree?_ ROTHMAN: After I got my J.D. degree in 1993 from Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco, I moved to Florida, passed the bar exam and practiced there for about a year. I moved back to New York City with the objective of taking the New York and New Jersey bar exams and entering practice in New York. While I was studying for the Bar I took a job in the global investigations department of a leading investigative consulting firm, to give myself an interim source of income while using my legal research skills. It turned out that the investigations firm was a great opportunity. They were looking for someone with a legal background to direct and prepare their research reports for clients, and when their only in-house lawyer left I was able to take a bigger role on the business side of the company. Eventually, as Senior Vice President of Investigations, I managed all aspects of their global investigative research, reporting and business development. _JDB: Did you ever intend to return to practicing law?_ ROTHMAN: Certainly I wanted to maintain my professional standing as a lawyer, but primarily because it provides great context and insight for my investigative consulting practice. Today I’m admitted to the Bar in New York, New Jersey and Florida, and I’m also an officer in the New York Army National Guard’s Reserve JAG Corps. But investigative due diligence consulting has remained my great interest and passion. _JDB: When and why did you move from your original company to starting your own consulting business?_ ROTHMAN: It’s fair to say that I’m great as a boss, but not so great as an employee. I was brought up in an entrepreneurial family – my dad owned a lumberyard for 25 years, and I helped manage it for several years after I got my undergraduate degree. I’ve always had the drive to pursue my own ideas, and while I was at my first firm I had the opportunity to develop a surveillance camera that parents could use to monitor their children. It had great potential, especially in investigating “shaken baby” cases, but the company wasn’t interested. So in 1997, I decided to leave and started my own company, Rothman Consulting (www.rothmanconsulting.com) to pursue this specialized idea and establish an investigative firm with broad-based capabilities. _JDB: How did you get the business off the ground?_ ROTHMAN: I started at a very basic level, literally working at the kitchen table. I used savings and financing for my initial investment of about $30,000, which went for such fundamentals as licensing and equipment. I started small with the surveillance camera idea, but my objective all along was to focus on creating a boutique consulting firm for the due diligence investigation needs of high-end clients: investment bankers, hedge and private equity funds, law firms and other professional service organizations, corporations and high net worth individuals. Working for them was completely geared to my legal training. It enabled me to know what my clients needed, where the best research sources were, and what to avoid – which, as the recent problems of Hewlett Packard showed, is as important as knowing what to do. Within a year we were largely out of home care provider surveillance work, and focusing on due diligence investigations. _JDB: What does your due diligence work consist of? What would a hedge fund or investment banker turn to you for?_ ROTHMAN: We give them the critical information they need to identify potential problems before making a decision on a merger, acquisition, key hire or some other important transactional decision. We conduct our due diligence investigations on three levels, that begin with database research and move up to include direct inquiry and on-site investigation. Because we want to solve problems for our clients and not create them, we take the time to properly source, confirm and analyze our information, and put it into the right context. We’re looking for the problems that can break a deal or cause damaging headlines when they come out after the fact: securities violations, criminal records, unpaid tax liens, fraudulent credentials, factual misrepresentations, character issues. _JDB: As President and CEO of your company, what do your day to day activities involve? Are you still active in due diligence investigations yourself?_ ROTHMAN: Even though I have to make the effort to pull myself out of day-to-day concerns and focus on profitability and business development, I’m still very actively engaged in our client work. Our entire organization is built on the idea of collaboration among the members of the firm. Everyone in Rothman Consulting knows about all the cases, and either I or another senior officer review and sign every investigative report. This is a place where we all enjoy coming to work, and a big part of that is because we work to the highest ethical standards – and it’s my job to ensure we do that. Ultimately our work is a lot like a typical law office, where everyone knows what needs to be done and pulls together to do it. _JDB: You make the comparison to a law office – how important is your background as a lawyer to what you do?_ ROTHMAN: It’s invaluable, and really makes us unique as investigative consultants. All our investigations are covered by privilege and confidentiality. Everything we do is in absolute compliance with the applicable laws and regulations, and we make sure our clients are in compliance – whether it’s the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, or some other statute. We have the lawyer’s responsibility, and toughness, to tell our clients that something like pretexting is wrong, and that we won’t do it. _JDB: It sounds as though you take a great deal of satisfaction in what you’ve achieved. How would you sum it all up?_ ROTHMAN: We have good growth potential but I’m quite comfortable with where we’re at now, both in what we do and how we do it. I go home and sleep well knowing that we are ethical and aboveboard, and do the right thing. We offer a great work product at a fair price, and I can honestly say I’ve never had a cross word with a client. Put all that together with the enjoyment of being my own boss, and the business has been tremendously satisfying.
Professionally, PATRICIA Lin is an environmental lawyer for the Chevron Corporation who is also very involved in local Asian bar association activities. However, in her personal life, Lin is a devoted scuba diver who spends as much time as possible beneath the ocean’s waves exploring and photographing all manner of marine life from manta rays and whale sharks to coral. In a profile in _The Houston Lawyer_, Lin says she loves both the peace and tranquility of diving, as well as the challenges posed by the sport in terms of negotiating the oceans currents, waves, surges, and fluctuating temperature and visibility. Lin should know: she has dived in many of the worlds most exotic locales, including Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the Tuamotu Atolls in French Polynesia, and the Phi Phi Islands in Thailand. Her ongoing training has enable her to obtain certification as a PADI Master Scuba Diver with additional certifications in night diving, underwater navigation, and rescue diving. Kudos to Lin for finding time to balance her professional responsibilities with a personal passion.
Chinwe Enu, a lawyer in Riverdale Park, Maryland, recently received the African Jewel Award. The award is sponsored by African Focus, Inc., a nonprofit organization in California that focuses on the well-being and growth of African people around the world. AFI honored Enu for "being an inspiration to young people." What did Enu do to deserve the award? She has been pursuing her dream of becoming an opera singer. She recently left her job as a lawyer to attend school full time at the University of Maryland, College Park School of music. At 28, Enu is following a dream she has held since she was a teenager. She began taking voice lessons when she moved permanently to the United States from Nigeria. During the last year, her performances have included singing at the African Goodwill Awards ceremony in Los Angeles in April when she received the AFI award, a Christmas concert at the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Silver Spring, Maryland, and a large performance in Nigeria in June 2007. Although Enu is still doing some contract legal work, she seems focused on her path to the opera stage. She says, "Definitely, though, in the long term I’m trying to do this full time and professionally. I hope to get a job with an opera company in the States or in Europe." Brava Ms. Enu, and best wishes for happiness and much success as you pursue your new career. _By Steve Imparl, guest blogger_
What do lawyers do during an economic downturn, when there is less work available? A lot of them are doing more pro bono work in their spare time. _ALB Legal News_ reports that many attorneys in the United States are increasing the time they dedicate to handling pro bono matters. Those volunteer lawyers work at such firms as Dechert LLP; Cadwalader, Wickersham and Taft; Akin Gump; and Paul Hastings, to cite a few examples. Some organizations are also noticing the increase in pro bono work. For instance, in October 2008, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York held a pro bono training session and 245 guests attended the program instead of the 80 attendees that were expected. Similarly, Esther Lardent, the president of the Washington, DC-based Pro Bono Institute, welcomed the increased pro bono service, noting that law firms had tended to discourage pro bono work before the 2001 recession. This is good news for our profession because the pro bono work helps lawyers stay busy while keeping their skills sharp and exposing them to some areas of law practice that they might not otherwise encounter. Moreover, performing significant pro bono service can improve the publics perception of lawyers. Additionally, the public benefits because there is always a need for pro bono legal work, and that need may be greater during difficult economic times when the numbers of bankruptcy and foreclosure actions are increasing. Lawyers pro bono efforts can provide a uniquely appropriate benefit to the public during a recession because they make legal services more available to some of the persons most severely affected by the slowing of the economy. _By Steve Imparl, guest blogger_
_By Olga Artman, Celia Paul, and Stephen Rosen_ Careers are like marriages in the sense that we spend a significant amount of time with both and put years into making them work. So what can you do if your marriage—or your career—is in trouble? As the old proverb states, you can either find the one you want or fix the one you have. How do you choose which approach to take? One answer to this question lies in careful evaluation of your compatibility. Like a couple experiencing marital problems, lawyers experiencing career difficulties can turn to professional counselors for help. And just as modern psychologists have developed a wide variety of tests to assess “marriage health”, professional career counselors can evaluate career compatibility thorough well-designed questionnaires and other assessment tools. In our practice, we use a “Career Well-Being Inventory,” a diagnostic tool that we developed to measure ”career health.” This instrument measures your career attitudes and behavior patterns against “career-change champions,” people who have changed careers successfully and easily and are highly compatible with their chosen professions. The closer your inventory results are to 100 percent, the closer your attitudes and behaviors resemble those who possess career health or career well-being. As in romantic relationships, there are some career relationships where separation is the best option, whereas others are worth saving and trying to work on. We generally observe two types of career relationships. The first type is composed of relationships with high compatibility, such as lawyers who are satisfied with their “work marriage” to law but might need some fine-tuning in their relationship. These individuals either remain in their current positions and work on making them better, or they transition into different areas of legal practice or other work environments. These individuals constitute about 40 percent of our total clients. The second type is composed of dysfunctional relationships, where lawyers are unhappy with their careers and would like to transition into a completely different field. Many of these clients suffer from what we call situational depression and spend years being unhappy but fearful of change. Unfortunately, the years being unhappy cannot be brought back. These folks constitute 60 percent of our clientele. KEYS TO MAKING IT WORK Let’s say that you believe you are up in the first category and would like to stay in law, but need to improve the quality of your work-marriage. How do you go about making it work? You can start by asking yourself simple questions, such as: What is the source of my dissatisfaction? What are the obstacles standing in my way of being happy with my career? How can I improve my current career circumstances? These types of open-ended questions can serve as diagnostic tools for the obstacles standing in the way of your happy work marriage. Karen, a senior-level lawyer, came to us with concerns about her management style. Even though she was happy with her career choice, she had to overcome her timidity to make it work. Her answers to our questions during the initial consultation revealed deeper sources of her dissatisfaction—a struggle with self-confidence, which led to a lack of assertiveness. Using videotape feedback, we showed her how she appears to others, and she learned to visualize and adjust her management behaviors to “push back” when needed. The most common obstacles leading to dissatisfaction among lawyers in solo practice are a lack of having vision for the practice, not knowing where to find clients, fears of inadequacy, poor time-management, the hours spent away from loved ones, the pressure of generating new clients, the stress of carrying sole responsibility for generating income, and losing interest in the job. Knowing the obstacles to happiness is a partial solution to the problem. Some of us make our marriages work without outside help; you could very well manage your career circumstances on your own. For those who lack time—or prefer the help of the experts—career coaching is a viable option. KEYS TO FINDING THE RIGHT ONE If you identify more with the clients in the “dysfunctional relationship” category, finding a compatible career option can be challenging. Being in the wrong career can feel like an unhappy marriage: You know it is not working and you want a divorce, but there is fear of letting go of something that you devoted so much effort to build. For a lawyer in private practice, the fear of letting go can be daunting because the time invested in getting a law degree and building a solo practice is significant. There is also a fear of lacking direction—law is a highly specialized field, and it can seem that there is nothing else you can do. The truth is that being a lawyer fosters the development of variety of skills that can be utilized successfully in your next career. We call these skills “transferable,” and identifying them will help you market yourself to potential employers with clarity and confidence. Martin, a fifth-year litigator associate at a large New York law firm, was initially very concerned about having the skills assessment. To his surprise, he discovered a broad set of skills that were not used at his present job. The assessment revealed “listening,” “follow-through,” “human relations,” and “innovation” skills—along with the skills used as an attorney such as legal writing, research, and negotiation. Examining his strongest and most enjoyable skill set helped Martin identify the missing link in his current job and boosted his self-confidence. There is also a fear of being isolated and having no support; after all, being a lawyer is thought by some to be prestigious, and others might be less understanding of your desire to leave the field. The January 6, 2008, issue of the _New York Times_ featured an article “Falling-Down Professions,” which revealed dissatisfaction within the field: “Forty-four percent of lawyers surveyed by the American Bar Association said that they will not recommend this profession to a young person.” It is important to know that you are not alone and find support for your career transition. Changing careers can feel like going through a divorce, filled with anxiety about the unknown, regret, and frustration. Talking to someone who already made the transition, or to a professional career counselor, can clarify your confusions, increase your confidence level, and boost your motivation. Increasingly popular blogs dedicated to lawyers and their career-specific issues can serve as support tools. The success stories posted on these online communities also can provide insight into how others survived and flourished, and about the areas that other lawyers transitioned into. After fears are tamed and you make the commitment to change, it is important to accurately assess which career direction to take; the prospect of ending up in the wrong career again may be daunting. Those coming out of a bad marriage need to examine which parts of the failed relationship worked and which didn’t; similarly, career changers need to examine their career relationship and, most importantly, what makes up their career personality. Your “career self” is many dimensional, and consists of skills, values, personality preferences, decision-making patterns, personal and professional roles held outside of the career, and other complexities and aspirations. Identifying who you are in terms of your career persona—your skills, interests, priorities, and preferences-- will guide you to find career directions that are compatible with your personal style. In our practice we call this process of discovering who you are “assessment.” It is important to remember that having only one career direction that is inevitably clear is a very rare phenomenon. Albert Einstein, Mozart, and Edison are examples. Realistic outlook about what you can accomplish and what is out of reach is crucial in the process, and the majority of clients, in our experience, are highly compatible with three or four different career directions. Because most people choose their careers by trial and error, one way to minimize the risk of ending up in the wrong field is through exploring these compatible career options. It’s sort of like dating: You must put yourself out there, present yourself in the best possible way, and test the waters. The most efficient way to do “career dating” is by talking to someone who is already doing what you want to do. In our practice, we call this process “options exploration research,” and it serves two purposes: clarifying which career option is indeed compatible with who you are and establishing a network of contacts in the field. An alumnus client, Elisabeth, was very efficient at this process and landed her desired position within two months. Being an extrovert and very active socially, she came to counseling with an already-established strong (and bankable) social network. Even clients who are as socially adept as Elisabeth can benefit from being prepared for the information-gathering meetings and contacting targeted contacts. Career counseling provided Elisabeth with the opportunity to make all of her mistakes in our office and not during the meeting, and it expedited her job ultimately-successful search. After the “dating period” is over and you finally decide which career direction is most desirable and also compatible with who you are, it is time to pursue the “chosen one.” We call this final step in the career management process “implementation,” and it is designed to help you land the job of your choice. It is highly likely that by the time you reach this stage in the process, some job opportunities will present themselves through your network of contacts developed during the previous step. Studies show that only some 10 to 15% of jobs are found through published sources and online job sites; by far the vast majority come through contacts and referrals. Your best bet at increasing your chances of landing the desired position is to pursue both strategies as if this was your regular job. Obviously, you should spend most of your time and energy on the most productive strategy—contacts and referrals. Once the job interviews are set, it is a “beauty contest” from there on, and just as in dating, it’s about chemistry. In real life, “beauty” can be enhanced with plastic surgery procedures, makeup, and inner-health. In our practice, however, we help our clients become more “irresistible” to employers by improving their interviewing skills, résumés, and presentation styles. (Some people returning to the dating scene make their age less apparent by coloring grey hair or choosing the right haircut in order to hide some of the inevitable changes time brings.) In a similar fashion, we help our clients develop one-page profiles that can be used in place of resumes to make the gaps in employment fade, or to highlight client’s best attributes. Unpredictable personal interactions in an interview can be somewhat anticipated by intense and thorough preparation. Sensing the atmospherics and mood, and good social skills, are essential. Just like marriages, careers can make you happy or drag you down. Carefully choosing the right career can save you many years of being unhappy, years that cannot be recaptured. If you are one of the lucky people who already have found the right match, it is wise to remember that even matches made in heaven need work to keep them strong. _Celia Paul__ (firstname.lastname@example.org__) and __Stephen Rosen__ (email@example.com__) are partners in __Celia Paul Associates__ (__www.celiapaulassociates.com__), a New York City-based career management firm specializing in attorneys; Olga Artman is a corporate career coach._
Even in the best of times, the law can make for a difficult career. These days, a combination of various economic conditions and lifestyle factors are prompting many women lawyers to make changes in their careers and to find better opportunities for themselves. This article, by Christy Burke, profiles five women lawyers who have made successful and satisfying career changes: * Carolyn Elefant, who left the law firm where she had been employed to start her own successful solo practice and become a well-known blogger and book author who now provides much useful information to other lawyers who are in solo practice or considering moving to it; * Sari Gabay-Rafiy, a partner in the two-lawyer firm of Gabay-Rafiy & Bowler LLP, who has created a successful network of women lawyers who refer business to one another, to address the challenges female lawyers face when they operate solo practices or small firms; * Maia Spilman, the executive vice president of business and legal affairs for a digital distribution company called INgrooves, who combines the benefits of a position as in-house counsel with an independent law practice that she operates in her spare time; * Amy Hinzmann, whose career began in private practice, then led her to a job as in-house counsel at Merrill Lynch, and eventually to her current position: vice president of discovery strategy for DiscoverReady, a company that manages the document review process and provides services to manage electronic discovery; and * Jessica Porter, a college art history major, turned lawyer, turned proprietor and curator of Raandesk Gallery, a virtual online art gallery, who also markets art works directly to lawyers. These women share their stories and affirm that there are many ways to have a successful career in the law; private practice at a law firm is just one of several options. Their success will motivate and inspire all lawyers--women and men--who are exploring possible changes in their careers with a clear message: You can alter your legal career path and find a situation that offers you work that you find more satisfying. Its possible; the five lawyers mentioned above have done it. _By Steve Imparl, guest blogger_
Last week, we looked at the billable hour in light of current economic conditions. Economic factors provide a context in which to reevaluate hourly billing, but it is also useful to continue to explore more generally the merits and potential problems of billing our services by the hour. Some questions we can ask about the billable hour include: * Why do we bill hourly? * Does hourly billing represent the true value of what we provide to our clients? * Does billing by the hour provide the best assurance that we will be paid for our services, without any client disputes or hassles? These are just a few basic, preliminary questions. At _the [non]billable hour_, Matt Homann, a lawyer, mediator, and entrepreneur, offers his Ten Rules About Hourly Billing. Each of his "rules" provides an important point to ponder about how we bill for our work and invites us to consider whether we want to bill by the hour or according to some other fee-calculating method. It is helpful to consider each of the "rules" in relation to our practices and our clients. Doing so will help us make informed decisions about whether to keep hourly billing or to adopt some other billing model. _By Steve Imparl, guest blogger_
Gloom. Plunging stock prices. Layoffs. "Negative growth." Does any of that sound familiar? It does, if youve been following mainstream news and blog coverage of the current global economy. In these tumultuous times, law firms are laying off lawyers and lateral positions and first jobs are increasingly difficult to find. So, what can you do? You can keep looking for employment. You can lie awake at night and beweep your adverse state. Or you can hire yourself. Yes, you read that right: hire yourself. Susan Cartier Liebel is a coach and consultant who helps lawyers start and build solo practices. In an inspiringly optimistic article, Liebel explains, perhaps somewhat counterintuitively, why now is "the perfect time to start your solo practice." Presenting historical examples of numerous successful companies that were started during a recession or depression, she argues that a shaky economic environment creates "the perfect climate" for lawyers to start a solo practice. Why should this be so? First, Liebel explains that the opportunity costs to entering solo practice are lower now than they are in so-called "prosperous" times. During a period of slowed economic activity, entrepreneurs (such as solo lawyers) understand that they have nothing to lose but everything to gain by starting a new business. After all, if you are unemployed or underemployed, how much will you be sacrificing if you give up that state in order to hang your own shingle? Further, changes happening in the legal profession now are creating favorable conditions for solo practices to thrive. There are many such changes, and Liebel points out that competitors to solo practices--that is, larger law firms--are weakening, especially if they are reducing their marketing efforts. At the same time, clients are looking for better deals. By aggressively marketing their services, solos can create opportunities for themselves because they can be more cost-effective for clients and may be able to offer some services that larger forms have reduced or eliminated. Finally, by following an effective start-up strategy, you can launch a successful solo practice. Liebel offers a few pointers about how to do that: * To clients who may be seeking new legal counsel, present yourself as a viable and valuable alternative source for the services you provide and how you bill for them. * Market yourself aggressively so prospective clients can find you. * Offer innovative and cost-effective solutions to the prospective clients. * Make yourself available to Big Law firms as an independent contractor to work on an as-needed basis. Offer firms an option they firms will find attractive because contracting for your services can be less expensive than hiring an associate to do the work. Read Susan Cartier Liebels article. It will inform you and present a strong case for considering solo practice. If youre not already a solo, it very well might convince you to hire yourself. By Steve Imparl, guest blogger