September 11th, 2014
A law firm so sure of its work that it guarantees clients will be satisfied or they pay what they believe the work was worth? True. And not just one firm, but at least three now turn pricing over to clients. At Valorem Law Group, invoices come with a “value adjustment line.” The firm invoices for the agreed upon amount, then allows the client to reduce the fee, even down to zero, if it chooses. “The Value Adjustment Line is one important way we show our clients that we trust them. Few firms are willing to put their fee in their client’s hands,” writes Patrick Lamb, a founding member of Valorem, a business litigation firm with offices in Chicago and San Jose, Calif. ” In practice, it is rarely used.” ABA Journal
July 15th, 2014
Would you believe the hottest job in the legal profession in New York City is not lawyer, but paralegal? So says the New York Daily News, drawing on data provided by the job distribution and search service, ZipRecruiter.com
In fact, paralegals are so much in demand in the city, the legal hub of the U.S., that the job came out on top in ZipRecruiter’s review of the job titles that grew the fastest compared to a year ago. Read the rest of this entry »
June 26th, 2014
Law school graduates will have an easier time landing their first job than did their counterparts over the last few years. But only marginally.
The Wall Street Journal says many of the largest law firms are hiring a few more new associates than they have in previous years. But for the most part, the top firms are still off their pre-recession hiring high.
In 2009, reports The Journal, slightly almost 5,200 new grads had jobs nine months after leaving school at big firms — those with 500 or more lawyers. Nine months after last year’s class graduated, the number was just under 4,000, and that was a significant improvement from the nadir in 2011. Read the rest of this entry »
April 14th, 2014
The employment market for in-house counsel is improving as companies beef-up their legal departments. The trend is driven by both an improving economy and the desire to save on the cost of having outside counsel handle routine matters.
That’s heating up the market for attorneys, say John Okray and Diana Lai, chair and treasurer, respectively, of the Federal Bar Association Corporate and Association Counsel Division. “Whereas just a couple years ago, candidates were managing only one offer at time, now we see strong candidates with multiple offers at any given time,” they said in an interview published in Federal Lawyer. Read the rest of this entry »
January 27th, 2014
Wondering if it’s worth going to law school? A study of the economic value of a law degree answer that with an unequivocal ‘Yes.’ Even in these times of downsized legal practices, a law degree is worth hundreds of thousands more more than a bachelor’s.
Two professors, one from Seton Hall Law School, the other a business and economics professor at Rutgers, used data from the Census Bureau’s Read the rest of this entry »
January 13th, 2014
Chere Estrin’s newest “The Estrin Report” on effective client communication starts with a great quote from George Bernard Shaw, “”The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Paralegals are often asked (or expected) to handle calls from clients. This is truer in smaller offices, but even at large firms, when a client’s billables don’t even warrant the time of an associate, answering a client’s questions and updating them on the status of their case often falls to a paralegal. The essence of client communication is understanding that it is not enough that the client hears or reads the communication. Understanding the communication is the key. Consider also these five tips:
1. Let clients speak for themselves.
2. Try to take a no-blame approach. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge mistakes.
3. Show respect.
4. Don’t volunteer others. Speak only for yourself.
5. Use every opportunity for learning, connection and insight.
The Empowered Paralegal
December 13th, 2013
The recession years may not have been good for the mega-law firms, but smaller firms are enjoying the kind of profit margins typically being reported by tech companies. In the last 12 months, privately held law firms have average a 20.2% margin, with sales rising 8.8%. According to Sageworks, a firm that analyzes the finances of private helf firms, the average law office employee generated nearly $41,000 in profit during the 12 months ending in October. That’s a 20% increase from the 2012 fiscal year. of the nation’s law firms, 70% have fewer than 20 employees. Sageworks
October 29th, 2013
There’s an old joke about the work of a first year associate being the equal of a highly paid proofreader. There’s just enough truth in it to be funny, so long as you’re not the first year associate in question. But the work itself is no laughing matter, as one firm discovered when an appellate court reversed its award of fees because “ambiguities in the offer prevent its enforceability.” The ambiguities? Misplaced apostrophes. Proofreading matters, says Kathy Sieckman, a paralegal and marketing director of NALS, the professional association for paralegals and legal secretaries. theNALSdocket
October 4th, 2013
Playing fantasy football can make you a better paralegal. What?, you say. Seriously? Rob Schwartz, Jr., thinks so. He hopes to one day be a lawyer. In the meantime, though, the parallels he draws between putting together a fantasy team and constructing a brief are nothing if not original. Writing before the start of the regular NFL season, Schwartz explains, “Throughout the last few weeks, I spent countless hours going over expert opinions on players and draft strategies. This is no different than reading case law or a judge’s opinion involving a court ruling. I had to sift out the opinions I found valid and create a logical reasoning for my plan of attack come draft day. This sounds similar to how paralegals and attorneys prepare evidence and precedent in order to develop a plan of attack for a big case or trial.” The Paralegal Society
September 29th, 2013
Taking a cue from the Six Word Festival on Twitter, Marquette University’s Law School faculty blog challenged students and professors alike to tell a law school or law related story in six words. The submissions started rolling in, and not only from Marquette, but elsewhere. Soon, other law schools and the ABA Journal jumped on the bandwagon, with their own six word law challenges. Some submissions spoke of their passion, such as this one: “Tirelessly devoted to representing the underdog.” Others, were humorous commentaries on law professors, “Legal writer, for sale, bores family.” And more than a few commented on the job market, “Don’t outsource, let our lawyers work.”