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April 2007
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August 2007

"Pzizz Offers Help for Power Nappers"

Helpful "be more productive at work" find from the folks at Web Worker Daily. Yeah, actually napping at your firm during the day might not be a good career move. But what about all-night document productions?

"We’ve written before about the benefits of an afternoon “power nap” in helping you get through the day and attack problems with renewed energy. But some folks have trouble getting to sleep in a limited time slot. For reluctant nappers, the downloadable application pzizz promises help. It runs on either Windows or Mac systems, and I had a chance to give it a spin this week.

"Pzizz is easy to use: you launch the application, choose a preset (the 'Default Energizer' preset is designed for a 20-minute power nap), and tell it to generate a soundtrack. Then you can play your soundtrack directly on the computer (useful if you have headphones and enough space on your desk to put your head down) or export it to MP3 for playback on another device (likely to be more comfortable for most users)."

So, what do you think about the usefulness of power napping?


"Elevator Rides at Law Firms Call for Delicacy, Tact"

Good advice from The Snark, of Fulton County Daily Report fame...reprinted in Large Law Firm [note: links added to excerpt]:

"The random assortment of people joined together in a small box moving at rapid speed puts you in the close personal space of your co-workers in ways that would otherwise be unacceptable. The unique nature of elevator interaction requires the observation of certain 'good elevator practices.' After all, the elevator ride up to the office may be the only time you ever brush elbows with the firm's Legendary Litigator, Merger Master or Terrifying Tax Partner.

"With that in mind, I offer a few tips for surviving this delicate social experiment without leaving the impression that you are a Completely Clueless Cog.

"Some common elevator faux pas that require immediate discussion follow."

Not only funny, this is a must-read article for everyone who works in a law firm, large OR small. Well, if your office building has no elevators, never mind....


"Keeping Current Can Be Hard to Do for Law Librarians"

I bet! In fact, I've often thought that being a law librarian would be a most interesting job. Just think about everything you would learn!

"Librarians are curious people. We like to skim magazines and books, we like to surf the Web and we have some interest in a lot of topics. A former co-worker used to say that librarians are 'trivial' in that we are always picking up trivia -- a definite asset when one needs to keep current in their profession.

"I was familiar with blogs, wikis and social software before I wrote 'The Many Hats of a Law Librarian: Part 3.'

[snip]

"So, keeping current has two parts: awareness of new or changing resources/activities and appreciation of possible uses or impact in your institution. Or, there may not be a use in your library. Mash-ups look to be a fun technology, but I do not see a need for it at my institution at this time. Law firm librarians may find it more interesting.

"Keeping current is not just for technology advances, although technology does drive much of the change and activity. My 'Hats' series [of articles] is an attempt to describe how the Internet and electronics have impacted and continue to impact our profession. Our traditional hats as modified by technology means current awareness crosses more lines and covers more topics than ever."

Author Tricia Kasting is a reference/government documents librarian at Hofstra University School of Law's Deane Law Library in Hempstead, N.Y.


"Job satisfaction is high in the paralegal field"

Another gem of an article from LawCrossing which reports very good news for paralegals:

"Many paralegals entering the workforce these days have high expectations. Steady salary increases, expanded workplace challenges, and broad benefits packages all contribute to robust paralegal employment opportunities and job satisfaction.

"The paralegal profession is hailed as being one of the fastest-growing industries of the 2000s, and according to an NFPA compensation and benefits survey, paralegals seem to enjoy their work. Nearly half of those surveyed rated their job satisfaction as high or very high. Only a small number (10%) of paralegals rated their job satisfaction as being low, and an even smaller number (3%) deemed it very low. There are fewer experienced paralegals switching jobs, supporting the notion that most seem to be happy with their current employment situations."

Be sure to check out the hepful links at the end of this article...


"How to Avoid a Bad Reputation at Work"

Very good career advice from LawCrossing, in a series of questions & answers:

"Little things that you do every day without thinking could be driving your coworkers crazy. Your bad business habits can give you a bad reputation and make you the topic of water-cooler gossip. Take a deep breath—and a good hard look at yourself—and then ask yourself if you are guilty of committing any of the following reputation killers.

"Are you nosy? People eventually get irritated with the person who has to know every little thing that goes on. If staying abreast of workplace happenings is part of your job, schedule brief meetings for people to bring you up to date. Otherwise, try to mind your own business.

"Are you unprepared?

"Are you a kiss-up?

"Do you share too much information?

"Do you have sticky fingers?

"Do you talk too loudly?

"Are you confident?

"Are you too wordy and repetitive?"

Definitely recommend reading the entire article & investigating the helpful links, if only to find out the answers to these questions!


Manatt's 2007 Summer Associates Include Former Legal Assistant

How many paralegals or legal assistants do you know who have gone on to work for major law firms? Well, here's news about one:

"Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, the national law and consulting firm, announced its 2007 Summer Associate roster today. Twenty-one law students will be located in four of the firms eight offices: Los Angeles, New York City, Palo Alto and Albany. The mission of Manatts Summer Recruiting program is to engage, train and nurture the professional development of outstanding candidates from the nations top law schools and from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Manatt is ranked 19th on the Minority Law Journals Diversity Scorecard for 2007.

[snip]

"Erick Flores is a member of the class of 2009 at Georgetown University Law Center. Erick is involved in the Latino Law Society, the Sports and Entertainment Law Society, the International Law Society, and Outlaw; and he is a Pro Bono Pledge Participant. He holds a Masters degree in Sociology and a Bachelors degree with Distinction Honors in Communications from Stanford, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and earned the Rebele Fellowship. Erick has studied in Madrid, Spain, and is fluent in Spanish. Before law school, Erick held a wide range of positions: legal assistant at a local law firm [emphasis added], publicity intern at Twentieth Century Fox, reporter for the Beverly Hills Courier, and immigration caseworker for the International Institute of San Francisco."


"Biglaw Plods Towards Mastodon's Fate"

Goodness, gracious, this is a remarkable discussion about the future of big law firms! Thanks to lawyer, author, & blogger Robert J. Ambrogi for highlighting it in Legal Blog Watch:

"When the general counsel of a major corporation says that the current model of the large law firm is heading towards extinction, ears perk up throughout the legal industry. That is precisely what happened after Sun Microsystems GC Mike Dillon wrote on his blog last week that Biglaw is going The Way of the Mastodon. His thesis is that large law firms exist primarily as aggregators of specialized legal expertise -- by combining multiple legal disciplines, firms can provide 'one stop shopping' for their clients. That used to make sense, in the days before the Internet when it was inefficient for a company to hunt down all the specialized legal talent it might need. But with the Internet, the model is changed, Dillon says."

If you work for a big law firm, I strongly recommend reading the entire post!


District attorney recognizes paralegal for law enforcement assistance

Sure like it when everyday citizens find & help solve crimes! Read all about it in this article from California's Auburn Journal:

"The message from the Placer County District Attorney's Office was that law enforcement can't go it alone.

"'Many ignore the call,' District Attorney Brad Fenocchio said, during a ceremony honoring several who stepped up to assist an investigation or put a suspect behind bars.

"Area residents who went above and beyond that call stepped up Tuesday before the Board of Supervisors to receive praise and certificates from the District Attorney's Office.

[snip]

"Paralegal Gayle McMorow noticed some inconsistencies in an 87-year-old woman's checking account, reported what turned out to be theft by a former caregiver, and assisted with a felony elder abuse case that took three years to prosecute."

Congrats to Gayle!!


"MySpace Helps Attorneys Find Clients"

Smart, very smart! This Legal Technology article describes what kinds of firms & clients might benefit from a page on MySpace:

"When Missouri City, Texas, entertainment lawyer Leslie Warren Cross launched a MySpace.com page in 2006, he wanted a way to provide up-and-coming musicians basic information about the legalities of music contracts.

"But Cross says that as he acquired 'friends' on his MySpace page, he realized the Internet social networking site is a great marketing tool for his firm, Les Cross & Associates, and a way to stay in contact with his vagabond musician clients. 

[snip]

"Deborah McMurray, chief executive officer of Content Pilot in Dallas, who gives marketing advice to firms, says she wouldn't recommend MySpace to the large Texas firms.

"'It might be appealing to the 20-something, the Gen X, Gen Y group, in terms of connecting with their friends or keeping in touch with law school classmates and that kind of thing, but I don't envision major law firms — major business-to-business law firms -- thinking that would be a new source of new business,' McMurray says."

A search for "lawyers" on MySpace retrieved these results....


"Delegation Day in the Law Firm"

Found this interesting post at the morepartnerincome blog which is sponsored by Juris,Inc.:

"Hildebrandt’s Rees Morrison passes along a simple but clever technique for encouraging attorneys to improve efficiency by finding delegable tasks for non-lawyer members of the team.  The idea comes from the corporate world but should work to everyone’s benefit in a law firm as well. The law department asked its attorneys collectively to identify 20 activities that the lawyers were doing but that could be handed off to paralegals, administrative assistants or other support persons.

"The panelist sharing the law department’s experience noted that staff members were energized by the initiative. What attorneys were happy to hand off was refreshing and challenging to others.  Given the results, the department expanded its goal and accomplishments well beyond the original 20 activities."

Recommend reading this entire post "about how to do things better" by author Tom Collins, founder & former President of Juris, Inc.