Archive for September, 2006

Lawyers Seeking a Career Change: What Can You Do with a Law Degree?

Saturday, September 9th, 2006

Many lawyers contact me feeling exhausted and stressed.  They don’t know whether to look for a new job, go part-time, leave the law altogether, or take a sabbatical.

I often have them start with Deborah Arron’s What Can You Do With a Law Degree?  A Lawyer’s Guide to Career Alternatives Inside and Outside the Law. It’s a good way to begin looking into career change solutions.Although sections of the book are pretty general, it is a good resource for delving into career alternatives.  Many of my clients have found its exercises helpful, like the steps set forth for identifying ideal jobs and analyzing transferable skills. One helpful appendix lists dozens and dozens of alternate careers, which can stimulate ideas about alternate job paths.

As a lawyer coach, I have seen far too many attorneys with no appreciable grasp on their finances–or the finances of their law practice.  The money just comes in and goes out, and far too many lawyers don’t keep track of their billables, accounts receivable, or spending. For this reason, the chapter discussing lawyers’ finances is very timely–especially because lawyers wanting to change jobs need to have a good handle on what income they really need to earn.

The book lists some helpful links to websites with career advice, jobs postings, salary information and the like.  Because the 5th edition was published in 2004, there are some new career siyes not listed; nonetheless, the book mentions many helpful websites.

International lawyers–note that there is nothing in this book tailored to an international career  However, if you are thinking of switching to a domestic practice, or if you want general career change guidance, the book remains useful.

The book is a helpful launching point for lawyers thinking about a career change.

Report Shows Law Firm Attorneys Communicating Poorly with Clients

Friday, September 8th, 2006

Law firm attorneys take note:  your general counsel clients are highly dissatisfied.

Today’s ABA Journal E-report quotes the BTI Consulting Group’s study titled How Clients Hire, Fire and Spend: Landing the World’s Best Clients. Seventy percent of the 200 corporate counsels surveyed (mostly from Fortune 1000 companies) were unhappy with the performance of their outside counsel–and the general counsels have demoted or fired many of these firms.

The reasons?  Not keeping up with and being responsive to changes in the client’s organization.  Not communicating well enough with the clients.  And, in particular, not communicating to the client the value that the law firm delivered.

The remedy?  Realize that EVERY client communication is a critical client development opportunity.  Law firm lawyers must regularly listen to their clients, act responsively, and let the client know–in ways that the particular client can understand and appreciate–just how responsive the outside lawyer has been, and how much value has been provided.

Various Careers in International Law

Wednesday, September 6th, 2006

Want to learn more about various careers in international law? For a summary of resources, access this page on the University of Washington School of Law’s website.

How International Lawyers Can Break Their Golden Handcuffs

Wednesday, September 6th, 2006

For more on this topic, please read the newest addition to our Learn:  Professional Development page.

Keep Your Elite Status–or Risk Customer Service Siberia

Monday, September 4th, 2006

In “1-800-I-am-truly-fed-up”, the Los Angeles Times (subscription-albeit free- required) reports on US travelers’ frustration with airline customer service.

Many airlines have outsourced their customer service functions to India and other places with cheap labor. Waylaid American travelers–who are already frustrated by travel problems–get angry when they can’t understand their customer service reps. over the phone.

The solution for international lawyers who travel a lot?  Keep your elite status and you get to talk to “cream-of-the-crop” U.S. agents. “Pretty much everyone else is sent to the airline equivalent of Siberia, in terms of customer service.”