Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A tremendous (and illustrated) "alternative career" story from Above the Law.

Here.  Hat tip to my buddy Kathleen Lyon.  The lesson:  if you don't like your life at a law firm, maybe you really should change careers.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Don't be the person known around the firm as someone who is trying to do a good job. Be the person who is actually doing a good job.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard was provided by Demetra Liggins, a partner at Thomson & Knight.  She spoke to our law students about job success, and she explained that everyone is in charge of his or her own career.  The best way to get ahead, she said, was not just to do a good job on your assignments but to think hard about how your assignments fit into the bigger picture--and offer to take on work that would move the entire project forward.

You will impress your boss(es) if you think about how what you're doing is going to be used by those higher up on the pecking order.  If you make your work highly useful--and then see what else needs to be done--you will open up whole worlds of opportunities.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Appropriate attire depends very much on where you're working.

See this story from the ABA Journal about a firm that insists on classic work attire.  Of course, the Great Pantyhose Debate probably will continue for a while, but here are my rules:

Appearing at the USSC:  pantyhose.
Appearing before a circuit court or state supreme court:  fishnets.
Appearing elsewhere:  probably a pantsuit.

But that's just me.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Three timely articles in the Financial Times and an important post from TaxProf Blog.

Four things caught my eye this morning: 
  1. A post on TaxProf Blog about Clifford Chance's decision to strip applicants' resumes of information that identifies where they received their degree, in an effort to avoid the bias of elitism (here).
  2. An essay by John Gapper (Bankers and lawyers are on an unhealthy treadmill) in the Financial Times about how bad working long hours can be for lawyers and bankers (here).
  3. An article by Naomi Shragai (Emotions at work in finance), also in the FT, about how emotions affect our business decisions (here) (including this quote:  "Optimism, for ex­ample, is necessary, but too much can mean crucial realities are ignored. Desire to succeed can be so powerful as to repress the risks involved. Fear is appropriate when caution is called for, and excitement is necessary to motivate staff and move business on.").
  4. The subarticle in item 3 (Tales that fund managers tell themselves about decisions), which describes how powerful our own narrative can be in dictating the decisions that we're making (including this quote:  "[Professor David Tuckett of University College London] says: 'The great thing about a story is that it can smoothly get rid of information. Stories create a believable picture of the imagined future by providing grounds for being attracted to the option for some gain, while repelling any potential doubts about loss.'").
Take these four items together, and you can see how powerful our subconscious is in our work lives.

Monday, January 6, 2014