November 03, 2019

Sensitive Sunday Litigation Moment: Lawyers Aren't Royalty.

It's not about the lawyers anymore. No one cares you're a lawyer. Not impressive. A big so-what. In America, they made it easy to become a lawyer. Some day, everyone, including your waitress in Richmond, Kentucky, will be a lawyer. So get a head start on those you can. Distinguish yourself by serving clients. And get higher standards.

See Rule 9: Be There For Clients--24/7 from our Mr. Rogers-like but deadly serious 12 Rules.


Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

March 31, 2019

God’s Speed, Gentlemen.


Posted by JD Hull at 03:19 PM | Comments (0)

December 20, 2017

Work is Rarely About Workers. It's About Customers, Clients, Buyers, Patients, Consumers.

Let's review, shall we? Where most types of Work are concerned: Clients, Buyers, Customers, Consumers and The Served are First. Companies are Second. Workers (including Management) are Third.

Got that?

It's rarely about The Workers.

Office workers around a computer.jpg

Above: Generic Dweebs getting their Customer Thing On.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

November 30, 2017

Simmons, Weinstein, Lauer & Rose.

There’s more—much more—to all these recent male downfalls. Women of all ages are all over men with businesses, power & money. Like flies on shit. They fall over them. Going on for ages. Eons. Women often lie about their victimhood, too. Women can be sharks.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)

April 02, 2016

Happy Saturday, campers. Still on Maggie's Farm?

I ain't gonna work for Maggie's ma no more. No, I ain't gonna work for Maggie's ma no more. Well, she talks to all the servants about man and God and law. and everybody says she's the brains behind pa. She's sixty-eight, but she says she's twenty-four. No, I ain't gonna work for Maggie's ma no more.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:14 AM | Comments (0)

September 01, 2015

Great lawyering will have (a) high-pressure and (b) high-hours. Don't engage lawyers who haven't been steeped in both.

Full-blown HBR-approved Slackoisie empire-building alert. Either the Harvard Business Review is desperate for copy or has gone around the bend a little. There is a Center for WorkLife Law? Yes, it's true, at Hastings Law. As you may recall, student-driven rumblings about law firm culture hatched it last year. So are law clients opting for lazier, less ambitious, more Mommy-centric, nicer and Mr. Rogers-esque lawyers, some who have left BigLaw? No, trust us, notwithstanding what a recent HBR article says, that's not true. But do read "Law Firms’ Grueling Hours Are Turning Defectors into Competitors" by Joan C. Williams, Hastings Law School professor and also a founding director of the Center of WorkLife Law.

Williams' article cites an extensive study/call-to-arms--also co-authored by Williams--which discusses a number of newer law firm models that are arguably more culture-friendly to practicing lawyers. Interesting and certainly worth a read. The study, too, is beautifully written. The problem: not one of these new law firms models discussed in the Hastings study is designed with higher-end, medium or even mom-and-pop clients primarily in mind. Not one. The models are about the care and feeding of law students about to enter the market and established lawyers. The models are not really about clients. I would like to make lawyering for great clients easier, too. But it's just not about the lawyers, Teacups.

So a simple reminder to future and/or newbie law clients that sophisticated users of legal services already know. Ready? Law is (1) high-pressure and (2) high-hours. Don't engage lawyers who haven't been steeped in both.

Welcome HBR to the Club.

Posted by JD Hull at 10:39 PM | Comments (0)

October 03, 2014

Prisoner of Rock 'n' Roll: The Eagle Flies on Friday.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 01:49 AM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2012

Justin Patten: "Can Mediation Save The BBC?"

A few years ago in London, I was finally able to meet Justin Patten, a solicitor who focuses on employment practices and related litigation out of Hertfordshire, the ancient, embattled county just north of greater London. This month at his well-regarded Human Law Ezine he asks "Can Mediation Save The BBC?", a short but thoughtful piece triggered by the investigation into whether the beloved British Broadcasting Corporation, now in its 85th year, enabled or condoned a pattern of sexual misconduct between Sir Jimmy Savile, a BBC star who died last year, and underage or very young women "on BBC property and while he worked for the BBC". The BBC also faces the question of whether a pedophile ring had operated there for decades. The scandal hasn't just shaken the BBC and its public image. It continues to threaten its leadership and BBC jobs at several levels.

Posted by JD Hull at 02:12 AM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2012

REDUX: The New White Trash: "Who Cares What Makes Generation Y Tick?"

M.G. Krebs: Hero of those Happy Going through Life as Turds.

You cannot short-cut or dumb down the process of becoming a quality professional who serves clients, patients, customers or buyers. You can't Google it. You can't fake it. If you don't want to learn how to do your work, consider: (i) volunteer work with street people, mental patients, addicts, special children, Boomer-era acid casualties, or animals, (ii) retail, (iii) consulting, and (iv) full-time blogging. The short post below originally appeared on May 20, 2008:

From a marketing e-mail I received today:

Are you frustrated by young workers who feel entitled to success, need constant praise, want everything to be 'their way'? Are you struggling to attract and retain a generation of workers whose commitment seems more temporary than permanent?

This is Generation Y, a workforce of as many as 70 million, and the first wave is just now taking their place in an increasingly multigenerational workplace.

In this 1-day seminar, we'll show you how to motivate and manage Generation Y. You'll learn what makes them tick, how to retain them, and make them productive and energized.

It's your problem, Gen-X and Gen-Y. Not ours. Work, figure it out, ask questions, and we'll help you--but it's your job to adjust to "us" and the often hard adventure of learning to solve problems for your employer and its clients.

(past post dated 03.01.10)

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

November 05, 2011

Work is not about You, Jack: What did your Employees do for you this past week?

Clients, Buyers, Customers, Patients, Consumers and The Served are First.

Companies and Organizations are Second.

The Workers (including Management) are Third.

Got that?

It's rarely about The Workers.

Office workers around a computer.jpg

"Hi, we're here. Pay us!" The Generic Dweebs you hired?

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

Work-Life Balance: Still a Spectacularly Misplaced, Poorly-Framed & Dumb-Ass Idea.

Republished here from our original October 20, 2006 post.

images (21).jpg

Work-Life Balance is the Employee's responsibility--not Management's. Let people who must work and create do just that. Let's not discourage or punish them with PC nonsense. We need new Franklins, Edisons, Jobses and Gateses.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2011

An incomplete person. A negligent citizen. And a drag to have around.

Is the client rep or GC you're going to lunch with a Marshall or Fulbright scholar? Well, do not drag people under 30 along. They think Flaubert is a food, Marx a chain of movie theaters, and Disraeli my second favorite Cream album.

As "bright" and "educated" as they are, the vast majority of the younger hires (Slackoisie, Gen Y, Gen X, Echo Boomers, Looters or whatever we are calling them this week) I've met, known, worked with, or worked against in the last decade--in my firm's shops or in other workplaces--are at best semi-literate. And, yes, semi-literate, the more I think about it, is going a bit too far.

They don't know anything about "The World So Far".

It is not their fault, maybe. I don't care how they got this way. We don't need to probe for reasons or cast blame.

These people just need to change. But me? Nope. I don't need to change to accommodate "them"--any more than I "need" (a) a lobotomy, (b) to watch any reality TV, or (c) to snort solvents and cleaning products.


Newsweek/F. Martin Rami

Put another way, if a toddler climbs up and takes a Big Messy Dump on your dining room table during Easter dinner just before Uncle Harold dips into his pudding, it is not "just different" and therefore deserving of any respect and accommodation. It's also Just Wrong, dude.

White Collar Professional Ignorance--accompanied by Cookie-Cutter Thinking and Cultural Illiteracy--is a progressing American disease. The illness may touch 99 of out 100 new law hires.

Again, I do not need to change. Uncle Harold does not need to change. Neither do the other grossed-out diners.

White Collar Gen Y, in particular, is dumping all over America. The smarter and bolder Slackoisie ones will "change" just to keep up--just as I once needed to re-learn two foreign languages, needed to pass the California bar exam twenty years out of law school, or needed to change my life on a couple of occasions due to my enthusiasms for Scotch and Other People's Womenfolk. But I cannot do it for them.


How do they get "there"? I really don't care how. But it's certainly all out there in front of them. Even if you are young, and are part of the new batch that was never taught to think or lead on its own, you can at least find the tools.

This is America in 2011, Jack. We don't ban books. And you are allowed here to talk about what you learn. Or to disagree with what you've read or heard. Our best educational resources (like books) are mainly either free or cheap.

The ideas: Democracy. What were the Greeks, or Martin Luther, thinking about, anyway? Why do people still talk about them? The world's long transition from an agricultural to industrial economy. Regulating industries. Well, should we? And how much? What did Ralph Nader do? What are the responsibilities (or not) of developed nations' governments. What are the Chinese doing off and on throughout history when no one is looking? The institution of the family has served humans very well. But does marriage make sense anymore? And, just for fun, why is Keith Richards still alive?

Church versus State. You've heard of that one. And the place of organized religion in a world where people who know better will kill--or at least remain very small-minded for their entire life--to support a set of ostensibly harmless and even common sense ideas of an insular Christian or Muslim sect.

What are the Great Books, anyway? How did they change things? If you're a corporate lawyer, do you really need to know anything about a dead guy named Sinclair Lewis?

In the U.S., you can talk to people about these ideas, developments, works, innovators, and authors. You can argue. Recreate the old arguments. Make brand new ones. Whether or not they are established concepts, or institutions, you can challenge them--and have 99.75% odds that no one will throw you in jail. But you need to get the "vocabulary".

Sorry to get "old" on you--but lots of people fought and died all over the world for centuries so you (especially if you're an American) could learn and do all this stuff. And very recently.

We were hoping you'd be a citizen of the world, and maybe be poised to lead a bit, and to do that you need to know something about the history of your new "small" world, this country (Americans tend to isolate themselves so you have to reach way out), and the ideas and events that got everyone this far without literally blowing it all up.

About 30 centuries is what you need to catch up on. The world itself, like America, is actually pretty young. Lots of smart people--both dead and still living--have outlined and distilled a lot of what's happened so far for you. Please find their work. Maybe you can even get started with your favorite search engine.

But I cannot teach anyone on this Earth--or where I work--to have self-respect. Or to appreciate at once both the career value and more critical "quality-of-life" value of an education. Or to prize attaining the hard-won state of "being well-rounded".

I can forget about the expense in hires that do not work out. We'll take that hit. It's always worth it to try. Down through the ages, humans--especially those forged in pain, trauma or struggle--are generally and consistently amazing; they are always worth a gamble. But what comes into my world over and over again in recent years are hardly the Renaissance men and women many people expect of lawyers and young professionals. It's getting worse. No pain, trauma or struggle, of course--all of which could have helped them. No gospel, no gumption, no soul, and no education at all. No book-learning. Or even character-developing.

They are embarrassing, lacking both the vocabulary and bare-bones knowledge of the main threads of Western culture. It's as if they speak "digital" but do not care to learn and speak English. I experienced this last week, and the week before; it will come my way again this week.

Is the GC you're going to lunch with a Marshall, Fulbright or a Rhodes scholar? Do not drag people under 30 along. They think Flaubert is food, Marx a chain of movie theaters, and Disraeli my second favorite Cream album (after "Wheels of Fire").

And knowing these things is more than a social grace. Lawyers analyze and construct arguments. Reading or using, for instance, a legislative history for a bill in Congress or before a state legislature may require background in the American political process and its history, knowledge of past and current American public policy debate, and even appreciation of English and much older (i.e., Roman, Greek, tribal) ideas, traditions, methods and practices. Some examples of the latter are split-sampling in environmental law (English), the notion of popularly electing judges (German tribal and mid-19th century U.S.) and the notion of arbitration (the Ancient World).

Other lawyers and clients--not all, but many--expect younger people to have such knowledge and instincts. Like me.

If you know of any "mutant" exceptions to the syndrome--young lawyers, paralegals, researchers, assistants (I expect everyone in the legal profession to have modicum of cultural sophistication or at least be stretching that way)--have them e-mail me or reach me through the comments (which we won't publish).

Finally, the last chapter--Chapter 6, entitled "No More Culture Warriors"--of The Dumbest Generation (2009), the best-seller by Emory English professor Mark Bauerlein, is the most moving 31 pages I have read about why being steeped in the older and enduring ideas, events and works of the last 2500 years--especially the last 250 years of the American experiment--is required and minimum stuff for educated young people to have deep in their bones, minds and souls.

And so they will never embarrass you at lunch.

I don't agree with everything in Bauerlein's book, but would still have been proud to have written much of it. See these excerpts from Chapter 6:

[I]f you ignore the traditions that ground and ennoble our society, you are an incomplete person and a negligent citizen.

It isn’t funny anymore. The dumbest generation cares little for history books, civic principles, foreign affairs, comparative religions, and serious media and art, and it knows less.

Careening through their formative years, they don’t catch the knowledge bug, and tradition might as well be a foreign word. Other things monopolize their attention—the allure of screen, peer absorption, career goals.

They are latter-day Rip Van Winkles, sleeping through the movements of the culture and events of history, preferring the company of peers to great books and powerful ideas and momentous happenings. From their ranks will emerge few minds knowledgeable and interested enough to study, explain, and dispute the place and meaning of our nation.

(First appeared April 5, 2010)

Posted by JD Hull at 12:46 AM | Comments (0)

March 14, 2011

Slackoisie Studies: George Carlin in "Bobby, You're a Loser".

"Bobby, clean out your desk." (Busy polishing trophies? Skip to 4:30.)

Posted by JD Hull at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

March 02, 2011

Justin, Josh, Ashley, Brittany: Do you get it yet?

Note, too, that Iran is not a household appliance. Rumsfeld not a TV drama. Cameron not an African republic. Good for DLA Piper's Kimberly Egan and her "Everything associates didn't learn in law school" at You hit some nails on the head; we'll buy you dinner with Charlie, Holden and me. Current events emphasis especially good, ma'am. But new associate batch's biggest problems? Consider (1) bad writing and disrespect for The Sentence, (2) cultural illiteracy bordering on loathsome disease, and (3) wimping out quickly, totally and unashamedly at the first sign of adversity or complexity of any nature. Pick up on them next time you write. Gold star, though. Trophy. Balloons and ice cream on Friday.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:37 PM | Comments (0)

February 28, 2011

Prepare to Hurl: Megan's Law for Law Students.

And Dean Mentschikoff rolls twice over in her grave. Via Hull McGuire Of Counsel Greenfield and fellow Buckeye Gamso, view this from a University of Miami law student and both Greenfield and Gamso's posts:

"All about me, 24/7". Would you trust her with a Client for 5 minutes?

Sorry, Sweetie, but you're in training to be a Servant--not a Grand Dame. Can you imagine this young person in a few years with any good clients that stick? Lots of issues here. But how about Bills Of Rights for Wealthy Obese Teenagers, Underachievers, and St. Louis Cotillion Participants?

Posted by JD Hull at 12:00 AM | Comments (2)

February 03, 2011

Can America please resurrect "Bullying" at work? Before it's too late?

Tough Professions, Tough Choices. Either we Get in the Game--or we Get Out. Sounds harsh--but it's 100% true. It's one of the few absolutes for upper-level execs and managers, officers, owners, leaders and professionals.

In our view, most of you--the vast majority--are mailing it in. And you are hurting others. Maybe a career change?

There are lots of satisfying careers where you can't as easily compromise Clients, Customers, Buyers, Patients, Fiduciaries and even your Employer--people who count on you in callings where your work for them really counts.

Lawyering, too, by the way, isn't a dodge. Not for people who work to feel good about themselves for 2 hours a week, i.e., on Friday nights in a bar with other lawyer friends. There has to be more. It's an honor to be a lawyer--and a huge responsibility.

Thank you, Eric L. Mayer and Military Underdog.

Mamet via Baldwin: "Good father? Screw you. Go home and play with your kids."

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2010

Great Work-Life Balance Moments in the Movies.

He's saying he didn't want to be President of the United States so he could stay home and be "Daddy"?

Give me a f***ing break.

--Billy Bob Thornton's Carville-like character in Primary Colors

Please send us an e-mail when drive, hard work, ambition--and the excitement that go with them--are no longer symptoms of a new loathsome American disease. We'll throw a party on our yacht.


Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2010

Stephanie West Allen: On Changing, Evolving, Growing--Millennials, Boomers, and other Humans.

These are the Big Changes in personality and spirit: an overhaul or re-wiring of the brain, and an unfurling of the soul that often comes with it.

You hear it your whole life--from friends, family, and co-workers. They say that "people don't change".

From personal observations alone, I'm persuaded that they are 100% wrong. Take positive changes. People do make them, if slowly, and often with difficulty, in both fundamental and subtle ways. The best and biggest changes are often born in personal pain and crisis. And what about negative, "neutral" (or trivial), and even goofy changes? We all make these lesser, mild and unintended changes--and we do it all the time. We make them even if at heart we are hopeless, faithless, or lazy about the prospects of personal or professional blossomings.

For years, scientists have agreed that people change whether they want to or not. The trick is to harness the power of your brain to make the "good" changes--the ones that make sense for us--happen. We also call this growth.

Stephanie West Allen, a Denver-based mediator and consultant, has made a career of the study and utility of how people can and do change on all sides of difficult issues. The notion that people can change--fundamentally or in other ways--has interested me most of my life, beginning in childhood. Last year, when I first met Stephanie over the phone, and I later spent a couple of days with her in a Midwestern city, I was excited to know that someone (and with a law background, no less) was living and breathing it. The subject, of course, was not on the agenda of the meetings she and I were attending, and so I kept my exhilaration about it to myself.

But I kept thinking about it, and still do.` When I can, I read about the science of garden variety "human change".

Do note that the idea here--and Stephanie's work--is not about mere "consensus" or even "compromise". It's about the processs of starting to change and expand the way you think. There's a big difference making a deal (with yourself or with others) and real growth. As the actor William Hurt, who likes to work the idea of change and growth into his lines, might say with obvious irony: "I was merely evolving". These are the Big Changes in personality and spirit: an overhaul or re-wiring of the brain, and an unfurling of the soul that often comes with it.

Does that require pain and loss? Well, maybe. It certainly requires "work" on a scale that few are strong enough, and privileged enough, to undertake. My humble advice, to myself, and to others: wake up, get a plan, and try to change yourself anyway. Get bigger. Life is not only short; most of us are missing an awful lot of it.

To get a quick glimpse of what I mean, do read Stephanie's article, in the current issue of the ABA's Law Practice Today, entitled "Rules of Engagement: Generation Y". It's thoughtful and immediately useful. And I liked the way she concluded the article with "Remember that different is not necessarily wrong". Good for her she added the word "necessarily". Some things--like lawyers of any generation putting a client first--are just wrong to change. Let's not mess with that one.


Stephanie West Allen writes two well-known blogs: Brains On Purpose™, about neuroscience and conflict resolution, and Idealawg.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

September 25, 2010

In a Recession, you have a choice: (1) Hire Boomers, or (2) Get Your Squeak On.

Who do you really want for the hunt? Or as one Boomer said, quoted by Scott Greenfield in a fine Simple Justice post Greenfield turned in late last year:

Boomers will work long and passionately into their sixties, seventies and even eighties. They are never offended by hard work or complex problems.

They don't think that digital toys make your work better—and they are right about that. Boomers like complexity, ambiguity, and genuinely hard problems. Gadgets? They just make you coffee, or give you a copy.

I'd rather work with a 50-year-old than anyone because he or she, generally, will go on until the last dog dies. Never prissy. Always engaged. Nothing is too hard. Boomers are "Foxhole People" to the core.

One (1) Huntin' Dog.

Four (4) Looters.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 12:51 AM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2010

Once again: American Law Schools, can you help us all out on that pesky Value Thing?


Watch closely. At some point, a law firm, a law student, or a recent law grad may very well may bring a Rule 11-proof action against a "good" American law school.

It will not be because he or she cannot find a job. It will be simply because they cannot do one.

We are desperate--and burning daylight and money here. Marc Randazza is a San Diego-based First Amendment specialist who writes The Legal Satyricon. Like the undersigned, he is hard-working, works out of several offices, and is obviously having fun. Randazza is irreverent, "not prissy", passionate, mega-competent, and not concerned about what people think. Hear his April 2 NPR interview on SLAPP suits. Or read about abolition of limitations periods in clergy child abuse cases in "If you’re still Catholic...". He and his other writers don't cower behind "anonymity" when they write. Randazza's his own man, and a stand-up guy.

In short, an American. And none of this would be that unusual except that Marc is an American lawyer. And let's face it. Being eccentric, wild and/or "edgy" in American Lawyerland is not a tough mark to hit. Just wear a bow-tie, tasseled loafers and a trench coat. But maybe, say, in public, and wear them all on once, and on a weekday. Ah, live dangerously, lawyer friends. All over the world, we could go nuts--and "get it on" like big dogs.

Last year, Marc wrote "The Worthlessness of American Legal Education", a piece we admired and which is certainly worth your time to read. The theme "what should we expect now from law schools, anyway?" endures at Marc's blog and others. We've written about that theme--from the standpoint of clients as always being the "main lawyer event"--here at this blog for nearly five years. And written about it enough to know it's a very touchy subject.

In the late summer of 2008, we wondered aloud--and just weeks before the federal government's late "announcement" that there was a "recession goin' on"--on whether law students and recent grads should start paying law firms (yes, new lawyers pay the firms) for training to be lawyers who could add value in a shorter amount of time. In fact, our August 27, 2008 post was probably our most clicked-on but yet "unpopular" piece: "Should associates pay their law firms in the first 2 to 3 years?"

American law schools are some of the most impressive places of higher education in the world. They are exciting intellectually, great think tanks for business, and attract mega-talented humans, particularly in the quality of faculty. They hatch presidents, justices, senators, captains of industry, great authors and diplomats. But many law firms these days are meeting new grads who won't be even marginally productive for two to three years. Or longer. And new grads--at a shop that actually tries to train you--often (not always) "get more" than the firm does out of the relationship in those years.

Law schools, certainly, are not in business to pay students to be trained. Students pay the tuition--not the reverse. The schools get the money. The schools don't pay the students to be there to learn.

Which gets us wondering again. Why should law firms pay new grads--even top students from fine schools--if they are often years away from being productive, and the law schools, for all their promise, potential and cache, are doing about 10% of the lawyer-creating job?

In many instances, the new grad is the only real beneficiary in the law firm-employee relationship. Turnover everywhere is relatively high. Many firms get zilch--and start over again. The current situation is bad for clients because it compromises value--and it cannot be good for students who think they are equipped to add value when they are not even close.

We suspect that legal education in recent years appears to have done many students a disservice by making them think that law school--by its very nature of being focused on teaching you "to think" like a lawyer--could ever give students more than 10% of what they need to be full-gauged lawyers and problem solvers.

Law done right is a hands-on profession and takes everything you have, and organizational and managerial skills the schools cannot teach or be expected to teach.

"Thinking like a lawyer" does not inform your every synapse, breath, and moment.

Moreover, lawyering is not necessarily a "PC", gentle or even genteel culture. Are the schools telling them it is?

To be fair, the substance of the work at a client-focused law firm doing higher-end problem-solving (in deals, courts, international work, etc.) may be very cerebral and challenging. A feast of exhilarating ideas and causes. Lucky people leading a Life of the Mind.

But what is the actual tone and atmosphere of an excellent law firm--even the most humane ones--that quickly resolves problems and gets things done? Often it will be more like Rahm Emanuel, John Wayne or Colonel Bill Kilgore in "Apocalypse Now" commanding brainstorming, hard-ass and fully-engaged troops.

It it will be less like Mr. Rogers or Alan Alda whispering kind and nurturing things to the latest crop of Teletubbies and making sure they are okay. Big Bird and Care Bears in the trenches is not an image most of us wish to project to clients. (If we ever do that, please get a big net, okay?)

Bosses at law firms may be Coif, former Law Review editors, and writers of famous Matthew Bender tomes. But they are still bosses who "want stuff". They do not understand (or even like) younger people who can't get it for them. Many law firms are dominated by type-A problem solvers with strong personalities who live to get things done. Let's hope that never changes. It's good for the customers.

You may ask: has the "recession" or downturn in the global economy helped? Has it made students and graduates more likely to stick it out, and compensate for things they may not have gained from their legal educations? Are students and new grads "stepping up" to train themselves?

Answer: No. We, at least, are not seeing it. Nothing has changed.

And finally there's the question: Is it really necessary for law students to be in classroom settings for three years?

At a minimum, we wish that law schools could convey a few truths, and what might be called "old verities", to part-time clerks, summer clerks and grads:

1. Even for the most brilliant, motivated, resourceful and ambitious people, law practice is time-intensive and very hard--especially in the beginning.

2. Graduating from law school with top grades and willing to give practice the old Siwash try is only the beginning of your travail. Again, practicing law is hard. Even harder to learn how. And hard to maintain as years roll by at a comfortable and honorable level of quality. You don't get to say this much: "Sorry, Jack, but I'm on my break."

3. Real-life client problems pose extraordinary ambiguity and complexity (you can't "Google" the answers; you may fret over some projects and have to stay late; at first, it may interfere with your relationships and your "real life").

4. Maybe you'll find that private practice is not for you. It's not about the lawyers, courtliness, lawyer-centric cults of "professionalism", bar associations, wearing cool suits, prestige, money or being in a special club. If you stay in it for all that stuff, even if you make big bucks, you will regret it. No, you will hate it.

5. Clients. Talented people with JDs are legion. It's really about those you serve: the gritty details, hardships, and joys of "getting it right" for them.


Law Schools: Weenie factories? Or where one first learns to think hard, work hard and add value? (Photo: The Situationist)

(from a Dec. 21, 2009 JDH post)

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 12:59 AM | Comments (1)

September 07, 2010

Wanted: One Huntin' Dog. Then Another.


And Another. Get three or four--and stop hiring. But Buy Boomer. Get stuff done. Resist the low standards of The Net and the CrappySphere. Nothing beats having a Boomer in your office when it's time to get things done. We're loyal, irreverent, and fun. You get energy, hustle, charm, and a nearly overwhelming sense of cultural identity. And we got that woof-woof thing going.

Yes, enthusiasm. We are always seen wagging some serious tail. Hardworking. Generation Moxie. Do-or-die.

And loyal.

But the real difference between "them" and us?

Weenies (by some estimates 98% of current work force, if you include older workers who buy into Gen-Y-style laziness and lack of self-respect)? They go through motions and push buttons on machines--and then say it's "work". The will never make anything, save anything, believe in anything, or even get famous for longer than 3 minutes. They are in love with the sound of their own breathing. Because, well, that's enough for them. (They will never even bark properly.) Low standards re: everything.

Boomers? Boomers will get their hands dirty, try anything to get work done (and are ashamed if they fail), and live to see problems are solved. We'll drool and roll around and make fools of ourselves over Work Done Well. And we love firing people in the morning after a good full moon--"feels like victory..."--even more than we love espresso, raw red meat and killing.

You want something done? Done right? Then Buy Boomer. Consider going straight to the top, for the best, and work from there:

HELP WANTED: Of counsel for growing and energetic Pittsburgh-based boutique business law firm with publicly-traded clients to die for. Candidate must have at least 8 years of highest level federal Exec. Branch experience, world-wide connections, Yale Law degree, one year at Oxford, own money and people skills. Crowd-pleaser. Must be able to sell anything to anyone. And be originally from Hope, Arkansas. State government experience preferred but not required. Same for participation in Renaissance weekends, and fund-raising. United Nations experience also a big plus. You don’t need to re-locate. Happy to set up the office for you. Wherever you want. Harlem or Chappaqua, New York are okay. Or DC. You decide. You can work out of your house. Whatever. NOTE: No previous private law practice experience necessary. Not a problem–no problem at all. Excellent benefits package.

Boomer tech (1).bmp
Above: Two intense way-fun boomers getting jazzed about accomplishing hard tasks. Resist the Crappysphere and the Anti-Work wank fest. Woof. OK?

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2010

Death of Big Bird: Work-life balance is no longer Cool.

Bad news for the Happysphere. And better news for serious lawyers and their clients. The down-markets do have a silver lining for professional services firms: those shops burdened by employees who take their jobs for granted or as some kind of right.

Our advice is simple and even very American. First, Terminate The Unwilling (note: just fire them, don't kill anyone). Second, Unload The Lame. Big Bird? Okay to kill.

Sound cruel and flippant? It's not. A job is not a right. It's either you or them, Clyde.


Kill Big Bird--and the rest is a walk. Get back to work. Get Sesame Street out of your shop.


Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 12:56 AM | Comments (0)

July 20, 2010

Slackoisie Alert: More Bad News for Non-Wanker Law Firms and In-House Shops Who Get It.

More unemployables. For polishing, looters head to expensive and wasteful 3-year incubation devices owned and operated by older unemployables. See Jane Genova's "Gen Y & Law School". Thanks to Stephanie West, sort of. Redford, do something. WAC? going back to bed. May begin drinking again. To start, Jamesons and ether, maybe?


Posted by JD Hull at 12:44 AM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2010

UPDATED: Teletubbie Alert (Orange Level): Law schools must now teach you how to be "a person"?

Above: This bunch headed for law school? Hopefully not--but run one over if you see one just in case. Speed up a bit.

To us, the suggested cure--that law schools do for people what people down through history have generally done for themselves (i.e., become full-fledged human beings)--seems way worse than the disease(s).

Get the net? Our head writer told me--at first--to "trash this blog post thoroughly, lovingly and like you mean it". And then said, on second thought, to go easy since the blogger is a "King-Hell Straight-Up Total Betty". So his hypocrisy knows no bounds.

We will bite our tongue, then. We will hold back.

But do see the well-written and sincere but perplexing "Will Law Schools Help Build a Healthier Profession?" at the otherwise sane Law People. So studies find that "within six months of entering law school, students experience significant decreases in well-being and life satisfaction, and substantial increases in depression, negative affect and physical symptoms." So, some voices cry out, the law schools should address this terrible and pressing problem.

Wait. Didn't we sign up for that risk? The often difficult externalities of professional school and learning how to be a lawyer? Comes with the territory, right? We knew law school and the profession would be stressful.

Isn't it a cliché--but a true one--that growing up is a hard and often painful process?

And now law schools should do something about it? To us, the suggested cure--that law schools do for people what people down through history have generally done for themselves--seems way worse than the disease(s).

"Lames, Looters and Tea Cups" are bad for clients. Law schools these days have enough problems producing grads who (a) are marginally useful within two years of being hired and (b) can get through the day without falling apart because they have come face-to-face with a real life client problem that fits no molds.

Turning law school into a rehab for people without life skills is going to make that problem worse--and put clients at even greater risk than they currently face at the hands of "Teletubbie" young lawyers.

Helping law students be real people so they can be happy as real lawyers? It all sounds "nice", though--especially if you are independently wealthy, you have never practiced law longer than 18 months, or you yourself are a victim of too much recreational mescaline during the 1960s.

Look, law people, we always thought that becoming a lawyer or a person was an "inside job". We seriously doubt that Law turns people to booze, drugs, nitrous oxide, ether, glue, Twinkies, or mental illness any more or faster than the same people would ingest or suffer in different or less taxing professions. A lot of that "hay is in the barn" when you get hatched (i.e., at birth). Some call it DNA, genes and family "patterns". Entire books by shrinks, regular physicians and scientists cover it.*

How about this? Law schools will work on recruiting somewhat tougher people who would make good lawyers and actually like, handle and even "use"--rather than fold under--the "pressure" that is likely to still accompany much great legal work for clients in the future? And then make them into the best lawyers they can make them into in three (3) semesters rather than six (6)? Or is that too insensitive, old school, and cost-efficient?

*Wait. Can law school teach our associates which fork to use, about the correct colognes, and how to decant the good port when visiting the Pilkingtons in Pointe aux Barques? Now you're talking.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (1)

May 27, 2010

Doris, let's talk. Close the door and pull up a couch.

Insane Clown Laws. In Michigan, the Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Act, Act 453 of 1976, Sec. 209, bans discrimination in employment based on race, color, religion, national origin, age sex, height, weight, or marital status. (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. 37.2102 (1985 & Supp. 1993).

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:21 PM | Comments (1)

April 14, 2010

China depositions: So what's the deal this week?

Even though China signed a treaty with the U.S. on evidence in 1980, and acceded to the Hague Evidence Convention in 1998, China attached strings to both and, generally speaking, nothing really happens if you want to take a deposition in mainland China. One year ago Dan Harris at China Law Blog wrote "Taking Depositions In China. It Can Be Done. Just Kidding". He was inspired by several posts in early 2008 at the Experience Not Logic: Business and Law in China--which, by the way, is a dead-on if not perfect title for any website, blog, book or course about doing business in China. Read these links on taking evidence in China. Send us your own anecdotes, news, wisdom.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:59 AM | Comments (1)

April 12, 2010

Answer: Way Crappy. Trust us.

A new referendum on TeleTubbies, Looters and the 'Wazee? See at Above The Law Friday's "Corporate General Counsel Puts Fear of God into Legal Educators" and today's "Just How Crappy Is Legal Education Today?" Below is the best new what-everyone-else-was-thinking-anyway-but-too-wimpy-to-say quote about new associates by in-house Paul Beach, after whom I am naming my next born legitimate child of either gender:

We don’t allow first or second year associates to work on any of our matters without special permission, because they’re worthless.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

March 09, 2010

Idealawg: Can anyone fix Gen Y's quick-fix chip?


Lest we begin to hear the awful roars of manager-wielded chainsaws in the white collar workplace. Seriously, for a sober moment, like about five minutes, let's resist the burning urge to vent about the time, money and resources spent recruiting, training and keeping smart young workers and students whose idea of excellence is showing up by 9:00 AM and breathing on their own for eight hours.

First, know that it's everyone's--or no one's--fault. But it's still a mind-numbing problem, i.e., employees who can't work, and don't even know it. Many employers in the West never expected this to happen--any more than they believed they would be abducted one evening by the Crop Circle People and taken to the planet Zangor.

Second, and seriously, this time, take a look at Stephanie West Allen's post at her Idealawg entitled. "Are Gen Y kids harder to teach? Are Gen Y employees harder to manage?". She highlights one part of the puzzle being discussed by John Dunford, a prominent British educator, who has suggested that English children currently in secondary school are "harder to teach" because they are so oriented to the Internet and television that success in school "cannot come fast enough". In short, they require instant gratification.

Here are some excerpts from a speech Dunford made this past weekend that appeared in yesterday's Daily Mail (which Stephanie links to along with another article about Dunford):

Children are increasingly reluctant to put real effort into their studies because they expect success to be instant.

The attitude has apparently spread to A-level classes, where few teenagers read books other than those produced for the syllabus which tell them exactly what they need to know--and nothing more.

Research shows that young people spend an average of 1.7 hours per day online, 1.5 hours on games consoles and 2.7 hours watching TV, Dr Dunford added.

'They live in a celebrity-dominated society where success appears to come instantly and without any real effort,' he said. 'It is difficult for teachers to compete. Success in learning just doesn't come fast enough.'

Dr Dunford went on to call for reforms to exams to encourage youngsters to work independently.

'To engage the impatient young people of generation Y, something more is needed.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (2)

February 24, 2010

Inside Counsel: Screw the cite-check and pass the Cheetos?


Why do things the hard way? It's not like lawyering is demanding. In February's edition of InsideCounsel magazine (formerly Corporate Legal Times), do see Associate Editor Lauren Williamson's cover piece, "Mind the Gap: Generation Y Attorneys Enter the Workplace".

Whether you're 25 or 52, Williamson did a masterful job. If you're 52, even longer in the tooth, or one of those heartless seasoned yeoman lawyers who love their jobs and think about clients 24/7, and are just learning the names of your teenage kids, it's, well, interesting. It might even make you angry.

If you're 25 or 30, however, you might be mystified by all that American drive in the "seniors". Perhaps suspicious. Hey, just why are Boomer partners in the office for hours after the associates leave? Stealing stuff maybe? Wait, Shepard’s® does what? Dude, you're hosin' me. No way!

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2009

More Manhattan Moxie: "Notes from the Breadline" continues.

Going suddenly solo and writing about it takes big ones. See at Above the Law: "To Be On Your Own (Part II)", by NYC heroine "Roxana St Thomas" who, for obvious reasons, gets a WAC? Club Ned anonymity permit. Our blog, our rules. If you comment, please use your real name. If you do not, we will track you down, drag you out of your house at 100 Happy Street one Saturday morning, and humiliate you in front of your family, your neighbors, and your little white dog.


Posted by Rob Bodine at 12:50 AM | Comments (2)

July 17, 2009

Breaking news: I will name my next three children after Jack Welch.

Query: In the United States in the year 2009, must you be Jack Welch just to tell the truth any more? And please note, everyone: it's not a Mommy, Woman, Man, or Gen-Y thing. It's about customers, quality, and not alienating the productive workers at your shop so irretrievably that they vote with their feet.

Tons of coverage--and oddly much of it negative--on this story. WAC? is so outdated, irrelevant, and old fashioned. For now see "No Such Thing as Work-Life Balance for Women, says Jack Welch" by Alpha Mummy at The Times of London.

We are indebted to Redford for the heads up on the Welch story. We've been working too hard lately to notice coverage of the WLB swan song. But this is great. I was getting tried of going to my meetings, anyway:

Hello everyone. My name is Rob, and I'm a recovering workaholic. Feels really good to be able to say that today. My life was unmanageable. My co-workers did an intervention--and they saved my life. You see, one year ago today was the end of my last work bender....

"Work-Life Balance Is A Dumb-Ass Issue" and related posts dating from 2006 can be found in the Running Firms archive at this blog.


Life ain't easy for a little girl on the playground known as "Jackwelch". But we are too inspired to change it now.

Posted by Rob Bodine at 11:59 PM | Comments (3)

June 16, 2009

Notes from the Breadline (Part V)

We got busy and we missed it. This is Part V of Above The Law's "Notes from the Breadline" by "Roxanna St. Thomas". It's about her adventures, and all manner of newly-discovered emotions, after losing her job at a law firm some months ago in NYC. For a lawyer, she writes pretty well--especially about all those different colors of angry out there. Below are excerpts from her weary yet simmering interview last week with a solo, zombie-like little man from a David Lynch set:

One day, I get an e-mail from a solo practitioner who has seen my resume online and wants me to come in for an interview.... When I arrive at his office, which is in one of the old, ornate buildings near Grand Central, my spirits are buoyed by the momentary sense that I am part of the bustle of commerce. A gilded chandelier in the lobby hangs over polished marble floors, and when I get out of the elevator upstairs my footsteps are cushioned by thick, red carpet. It feels anachronistic, but vaguely comforting.

But when I arrive at the suite I have written down, a door opens on a shared office space that is distinctly less grand. In fact, it reminds me of the war room I recently occupied, and I half-expect Mr. Potato Head to pop out from behind a plant, trailing a string of sausages. I try to ignore the sinking feeling that creeps through me as I sit in the reception area, waiting.

When the lawyer, a thin, cadaverous man who looks as though he escaped from the wax museum, comes out to fetch me, I quickly determine that I probably could toss him through the window, even without superhuman strength. He extends a limp hand and introduces himself as Asa, a name I have always associated with donkeys.

Once I am seated across from his desk, he tells me that he is looking for one associate to assist him in his solo practice. He takes out my resume and begins to pore over it. Silence descends. Minutes tick by. He tells me that he handles a lot of regulatory matters for shipping companies. Have I ever worked on such matters?

No, I answer, not specifically. How about admiralty? No again.


Posted by Rob Bodine at 04:54 PM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2009

Wanted: One Huntin' Dog.


One gift of The Recession is that it has improved the work ethic of people of all ages, including people born after 1978. That's the idea, anyway. And it does make sense. Not sure I buy it, though.

For more than two decades, I've worked closely (i.e., every work day at least for a year) with dozens of associates with very fine resumes assigned tough things to do. It's always interesting to see who "gets it" the fastest, and who catches on fire with a yen for more. Practicing under constant pressures is not for everyone--but it's a great way to learn, grow and grow up.

But there is still a steady decline in young "huntin' dogs" in my shop and others. They talk a good game, especially at the interview--but weeks later they are never eager to help, or even around, when things get really tough. A customer or client emergency. A backlog in work. The unexpected--but that which can be solved. They are not there at midnight the two or three times a year you need that problem-solving.

Nice kids...but not people you want in the foxhole. To even the most irreverent or laid-back Boomer, it's a character thing.

The Recession? It's not changing anything. That's not their problem. It will "go away". Someone else will fix it for them. We're not just talking about associates, law students and legal assistants here. Maybe (a) the vast majority of younger workers never expected that work (or life) would be that "hard", and (b) high schools, colleges and graduate schools aren't helping to prepare them for the challenges of working for a good customer or client no matter what.

Life and Work do cruelly collide. You are sick. You are exhausted. Depressed. Your wife just left you. You were in a bad car accident two weeks ago. A close friend suddenly dies. Your boyfriend just confessed that he's been cheating on you. Your husband loses his job.

A child has trouble adjusting to a new school. A sibling is dying over a period of months or years while you, helpless, watch. A scare: You or yours may have cancer. Parents are failing. Your youngest may have some degree of autism.

These things will be part of anyone's--everyone's--life at work. And for a professional, and those key people who assist them, you can't call in and say "sorry, just too much life today--I can't make it".

The unexpected, the jarring, the tragic or the just plain annoying happens to you. This is part of the "terrain" of being a professional. No unemployed pseudo-consultant, or W-L balance proponent, can look you in the eye and tell you that, at those times, you can ever separate Work from Life.


I don't mean to be morose, or dramatic. But these days do happen. You are impaired, distracted, despairing. Sure, you get a few breaks from loved ones and colleagues.

But know this: On those very same days, you will have a deadline, an appearance in court, a deal, or a promise to keep. And the only prayer a good client may have is you. You are it.

I simply do not see people coming out of American schools these days who remotely understand the pain (and greatness) of being a professional on those isolated days--the ones that really define us. Those people are not currently in the pipeline. Don't expect many huntin' dogs for a long, long while. We bred and raised generation weenie. And weenies, of course, are all we're getting.

One Solution: "Buy Boomer". Time to solve the problem. Think a bit. How can you be sure that new recruits--even part-times and temps--aren't just wasting your time? Well, at my firm, we may "Go Old". Boomers. Say what you want about us. But we are there when you need us--and you don't even have to ask. We feel your pain. We never ever give up. Our parents and grandparents fought in horrible and important Great Wars. Working Well. Doing Our Job. It's the least we can do to pay them back.

Nothing beats having a Boomer in your office when it's time to get things done. We're irreverent, and fun, too. Energy, hustle, charm. Do-or-die. Have a nearly overwhelming sense of cultural identity. Loyal. Hardworking. Generation Moxie. You want something done? Done right? Then Buy Boomer.

Consider going straight to the top, for the best, and work from there:

HELP WANTED: Of counsel for growing and energetic Pittsburgh-based boutique business law firm with publicly-traded clients to die for. Candidate must have at least 8 years of highest level federal Exec. Branch experience, world-wide connections, Yale Law degree, one year at Oxford, own money and people skills. Crowd-pleaser. Must be able to sell anything to anyone.

And be originally from Hope, Arkansas. State government experience preferred but not required. Same for participation in Renaissance weekends, and fund-raising. United Nations experience also a big plus. You don’t need to re-locate. Happy to set up the office for you. Wherever you want. Harlem or Chappaqua, New York are okay. Or DC. You decide. You can work out of your house. Whatever.

NOTE: No previous private law practice experience necessary. Not a problem–no problem at all. Excellent benefits package.

Source of Help Wanted Ad: An earlier WAC? post, when the economy was better.

Posted by JD Hull at 01:31 AM | Comments (3)

June 04, 2009

Make Yours Moxie.

Demand first-rate work of yourself, and others. (1) What are you doing today? (2) What are your employees doing for you today?


Posted by JD Hull at 11:57 PM | Comments (0)

The Economist: Please Don't Kill Yankee Drive.


Even Brits like us "the way we were". In an opinion piece that will trouble the Slackoeisie, and more senior looters in the new sloth movement, the 166-year-old The Economist graces us with "Piling On: In His Zeal To Fix Capitalism, Barack Obama Must Not Stifle America’s Dynamism". Excerpts:

The American economy is dynamic because Americans like it that way, even now. A Pew poll released on May 21st found that 76% of Americans agree that the country’s strength is “mostly based on the success of American business” and 90% admire people who “get rich by working hard”.

America’s free-market capitalism has always been a model for the rest of the world. By all means fix its flaws, Mr Obama; but do not take its dynamism for granted.

Thank you, sirs.

To unfashionable working lawyers in the West: Whether or not a post-war European statism sloth trend "takes" in the U.S., let's never send messages to doers, innovators, inventors, passionate employees, and other "huntin' dogs"--in our clients' or our own workplaces--that they and their energies are no longer PC, no longer valued, or otherwise not welcome. Keep the class. Dump the trash.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:40 AM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2009

Graduating in the time of down-markets.

Canada as light years ahead. See "Graduating Into A Recession" at Jordan Furlong's Law21. And see the always-superior and client-centric CBA Practice Link of the Canadian Bar Association.

Jordan Furlong

Posted by JD Hull at 11:23 PM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2009

Slackoisie-Fest: Fighting Loser-ism in the Workplace.

Listen, you creeps, you screwheads. Here is a man who would not take it anymore. A man who stood up against the scum, the dogs, the filth and the crap. Here is a man who stood up.

~ Travis Bickle, Taxi Driver (1976)

Young wankers against work. Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice rails, too often alone, against the dreaded 'Wazee: the Cliff Notes kids, scourges of the workplace, and Maynard G. Krebses with a straight-faced demented Ritalin-laced rap on the right to be barely adequate at work. This is Gen-Y. You were born after 1978. You demand--with no real bargaining power--that employers buy into "work-life balance". You want a family-life "lifestyle".

The truth: you're lazier and more incompetent than WAC?'s old Southern Ohio whiskey-swilling doped-up hound dog "Craps". But now you call yourself Super-Daddy. Or Concerned Humanist. Or Non-Selfish Sensitive New Age Person. Some trendy if wimpy U.S. employers are increasingly buying into this.

But since 1997 at Hull McGuire--the firm for which I co-write this blog, and clerked for last summer--such workers have been referred to openly as the Slackoisie, the 'Slack and (on bad days) "Looters". The firm was alone in its dismay for many years. Then other firms in the U.S. experienced the same problem. No one, it seemed, wanted to talk about it--even as higher-end clients worried increasingly about getting real value from their planners and problem solvers.

But, in Scott Greenfield, last year we finally found a talented and spirited ally. Here is a man who would not take it anymore. He is hero to the quiet legions of builders, planners, inventors and yeoman lawyers who know what problem-solving takes, and what sacrifices are demanded to get things done for clients and customers.

Ben Franklin, Tom Edison and Clarence Darrow root for Greenfield in Doers' Heaven. The Immortals do watch us. They hope that America's shameful, and ill-timed, work-life balance charade will soon die the vampire's death it deserves. Enough is enough, they think; this is not what we Yanks are all about. Get "balance" on your own time, in your own way, or through a less demanding career.

Young lawyers need to learn the tough and hard-learned art of practicing law. Older lawyers need to work hard at teaching them, and serving valued clients.

We serve. Clients and customers are "always"--and they come first. See Scott's "First, You Have To Get The Job". About 30 comments so far.


Greenfield (dated photo), Last of the Anti-Wankers.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 08:48 PM | Comments (5)

May 13, 2009

Return of Roxana: The Document Review

More "Notes from the Breadline" at Above The Law. Roxana gets a part-time gig:

Clearly, I have joined an effort that is already in progress. Whether the attorneys who work here ever actually leave the room is less clear. Most of the computer stations look lived-in: pillows, blankets, and sweaters adorn the chairs, and personal effects are lined up on the tiny slivers of desk space between reviewers.

Something about the scene reminds me of a casino, and the way gamblers stake out slot machines by arranging coin cups, drinks, and ashtrays around the perimeter of their territory. Most people have containers of lotion next to their keyboards, and everyone has a large tankard of hand sanitizer nearby. Some have bottles of prescription drugs lined up in their space....

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 12:06 AM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2009

Are there any more out there like you, sir?

I don't get this tension between doing your job and enjoying your life. Geez!, if you don't enjoy practicing law, find another line of work. Life's too short to spend 2,000 hours a year doing something you don't enjoy.

When people thank me for doing my job, I often reply, "I live to serve." The usual response is a chuckle. But I really mean it--serving others is a lawyer's job. Any lawyer who doesn't understand that needs to find another line of work.

Raymond Ward, Lawyer and Renaissance Man, New Orleans, May 11, 2009

The Rainman

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:27 PM | Comments (8)

April 28, 2009

You think?

WSJ Law Blog: Recession Advice to Associates: Keep Your Head Down and Work.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 12:10 AM | Comments (0)

April 10, 2009

Beavis, just tell them: "No pro bono--no Beavis".

Reformation of the evils of BigLaw is a wonderful thing.... [The] evil [is] to the clients who pay for useless hours by young associates whose work product could be more swiftly and competently produced by monkeys sitting at typewriters in the bowels of the Library of Britain.

We're glad someone has the guts and Simple Honesty to just say it. See "Slackoisie to Biglaw: Be Funner" at Church of Greenfield. Most of you? You are not worthy. Ya' big weenies.


Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 12:28 AM | Comments (0)

March 16, 2009

Talk about an employer's market.

"Hi. I am nobody from nowhere--and I am about to eat your lunch." ALM's Legal Blog Watch: "Lawyers Can't Even Find Work for Free". Which raises the question: would you strut your stuff for free (1) to showcase yourself, (2) to get experience or (3) to keep sharp? If your answer is "no", we predict that you are about to meet--and be upstaged by--some of the most ambitious people with JDs on the planet. Of all ages and pedigrees. Right now, Blaise, our waitress friend from night school, is figuring out a way to eat your lunch.


A bad economy for Teacups and Weenies.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:42 PM | Comments (0)

March 11, 2009

Is Gen-X Moxie starting to bloom?

Reinvent this, you Boomer running dog lackeys, you Gen-Y teacups. Eve Tahminciogluan, an MSNBC contributor, notes that Gen-X (defined liberally as those born between 1961 and 1981) is "getting hit with a double whammy". First, the dot-com bubble bursts--and now this, The Recession. But the article trumpets the degree of Gen-X Moxie, self-reliance and true grit:

This generation never had any illusions that an employer would take care of them for life, says Neil Howe, economist, demographer and co-author of “Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069.”

“Generation X never expected any security,” he says, adding that the mentality of the company man or woman was dead by the time these individuals entered the workforce.

They are also a resilient lot, he adds... In contrast to the younger Generation Y group with their overprotective parents and baby boomers still pining the loss of the gold watch days, Gen Xers never “trusted that the world or anyone was going to take care of them," he says.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (1)

February 26, 2009

The Recession as Teacher.

Is this the end of the right to be helpless? Our astral twin, the uncommonly cruel but clear-eyed workaholic boomer apologist, New York's Scott Greenfield, had provocative things to say about, uh, real life, in this post: "Economics 101 (Slackoeisie Version)". What if you are among the "laid-off young", and need to hit the streets, he asks?

If you are fortunate enough to have clients, they will expect you to perform for them in exchange for paying you. This is not a novel concept, no matter how foreign it may seem to you. This was how your old bosses did things, while you were insulated from the harsh business aspect of the practice.

Your clients will call you or come to you with the expectation that you will provide legal services. They will expect your services to be timely, professional and minimally competent. They will not care about your work/life balance, and your need to take a "mental health day" off at the expense of a filing deadline will not be understood or accepted. Clients can be so darned unreasonable.

Some people. The way that guy struts around on his blog.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 12:43 AM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2008

Coming soon: "Why Johnny Can't Work".

Or "The New Employee as Houseplant". Dan Hull just got back to the States--and now suddenly goes back to Europe for a few days. But he plans to finish the above when he returns. ("I may have figured out why these people can't accomplish anything; so alert the Media..."). Whatever, Dan.

In the meantime, see at Scott Greenfield's "The Lawprofs Respond: The Slackoiesie are Differently Abled" at Simple Justice and Jeffrey Harrison's "Creating Disabilities" at MoneyLaw. Greenfield, a hero to boomers, is on a roll. Query: can "high self-esteem" exist along side marginal abilities/low self-respect? And isn't this in the DSM IV somewhere?


Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 12:23 AM | Comments (2)

July 27, 2008

Exciting global news: French inching toward actually working again.

The French, uh, work ethic, so to speak. We've written about this subject before--and this news has us in a tizzy. Sixty-three years is a damn long holiday, even for Europeans. Bloomberg News: "French Lawmakers Pass Bill to Increase Work Hours":

July 24 (Bloomberg) -- French lawmakers passed a bill to increase work hours, eroding the 35-hour weekly limit and handing President Nicolas Sarkozy his sixth legislative victory this week before the summer recess.

The law allows companies freedom to negotiate the workweek, triples the annual ceiling of overtime, and lets white-collar workers swap days off for more pay. Sarkozy was elected in May 2007 after campaigning on the slogan "work more to earn more", saying the decade-old 35-hour workweek reduced French competitiveness and set back economic growth. [more]

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2008

Who cares what makes Generation Y tick?

From a marketing e-mail I received today:

Are you frustrated by young workers who feel entitled to success, need constant praise, want everything to be 'their way'? Are you struggling to attract and retain a generation of workers whose commitment seems more temporary than permanent?

This is Generation Y, a workforce of as many as 70 million, and the first wave is just now taking their place in an increasingly multigenerational workplace.

In this 1-day seminar, we'll show you how to motivate and manage Generation Y. You'll learn what makes them tick, how to retain them, and make them productive and energized.

It's your problem, Gen-X and Gen-Y. Not ours. Work, figure it out, ask questions, and we'll help you--but it's your job to adjust to "us" and the often hard adventure of learning to solve problems for your employer and its clients.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (28)

May 03, 2008

France's American-esque president: his tough first year.

Nicolas Sarkozy was elected on May 7, 2007. According to The Economist, in "Sarkozy's France: The Presidency as Theatre", his difficult first year in office can be divided into three acts. In Act II, as we reported in December, the business-oriented President Sarkozy on national television told millions of his countrymen:

The French needed to work harder, he told the country that invented the 35-hour working week. They needed to invest more in brainpower; and the state needed to tax and spend less. [more]

Posted by JD Hull at 11:11 PM | Comments (0)

December 14, 2007

Getting nastier: Guild files NLRB complaint against studios.

LOS ANGELES (AP)- Union officials representing striking Hollywood writers said Thursday they have filed an unfair labor practices complaint claiming studios violated federal law by breaking off negotiations [on Dec. 7].

The Writers Guild of America demanded in a statement that the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers return to the bargaining so the six-week strike can be ended and thousands of workers idled by the walkout can return to their jobs.

The studios quickly responded: the "baseless, desperate NLRB complaint is just the latest indication that the WGA’s negotiating strategy has achieved nothing for working writers.” [more]

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

December 03, 2007

Sarkozy to France: Get off your derriere and back to work.

Speaking of picket lines and protests, nearly 19 million French viewers heard words to this effect in a televised interview on Thursday. WAC? still loves Paris above all places and the French above all Europeans. However, and as we've suggested, it's high time for the French--the West's high-minded guardians of culture, conscience and taste--to start working again. Between 1901 and 2002, the French (population about 60 million) won 44 Nobel prizes, fourth behind the US (pop. 287 million), UK (60 million) and Germany (83 million). Why not excel once again in the world's marketplaces as well? Begin by chucking the 35-hour work week, a madness the French president thinks is killing the country. So in Saturday's Financial Times, see "Sarkozy Urges France to Work Harder", and for a list of President Sarkozy's specific proposals, designed in large part to increase French consumer purchasing power, see Reuters.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:06 PM | Comments (0)

December 02, 2007

California FedEx court: drivers are employees, not ICs.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Supreme Court of California on Thursday denied the final appeal of FedEx Corp.'s domestic ground unit, which tried to overturn a lower court's ruling that FedEx drivers are employees and not independent contractors. [more]

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 02:37 PM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2007

Life-life balance: Pres. Sarkozy v. French utility unions

This past week, France was hobbled by transport, electricity and gas worker strikes to protest French President Nicolas Sarkozy's proposals to end generous pensions for certain public-sector workers. Currently, some workers can retire on full pensions at 50. Sarkozy, president since May, had promised to end such "special regimes" during his election campaign. See at The Economist "Sarkozy's Bad Week".

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 11:59 AM | Comments (0)

September 20, 2007

French to start working again?

WAC? loves the French above all Europeans. See our Ile St Louis post in March entitled "Ernest, the French aren't like you and me". But 62 years (since 1945) is a hell of a long vacation, and enough is enough. Not everyone loves the new president of France, pro-business tough guy Nicolas Sarkozy, but The New York Times reports that at least he's got the right idea:

Sarkozy Takes Aim at Retirement Perks

PARIS, Sept. 18 (NYT) — President Nicolas Sarkozy of France took the first perilous steps to rein in generous early retirement perks of powerful unionized workers on Tuesday in a speech demanding “a new social contract” that could raise their retirement age to 65 from as low as 50. [More]

Posted by JD Hull at 08:38 PM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2007

"Would've left work earlier today, but fell asleep at my desk."

Happy Monday, American workers. And buck up, as we hear from a Gallup poll that 77% of you hate your damn job. Not a good stat. But there's hope. Please see at Gruntled Employees the piece "Ept Managers Lead to Gruntled Employees" and the linked-to materials.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 07:57 PM | Comments (0)