COUNTY LAWYER NEW YORK
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Whether you’re a law student, a newly admitted attorney, or at any point in your career, you might feel the positive energy that’s in the air as we leave behind winter and have summer sunshine to look forward to right around the corner. If you’re a recent law school graduate, you may be preparing for the bar exam and beginning your job search. If you’re a professional with a few years under your belt, you may be thinking about how to hone your practice skills. If you’re a mid- or senior-level professional, you may be taking this time to re-evaluate where you are in your career. And, in addition to your vacation plans, you may be looking forward to spending some time this summer making connections with others. The summer time provides a great opportunity to freshen up your career, just as you would freshen up your garden, pull out your lighter weight summer wardrobe, or light the fire on your grill for the first time this season. Keep in mind that, at every corner you turn, there may be an opportunity to not only improve your career, but also shape it in such a way that surpasses your expectations. Within this issue, several NYCLA members share tips on how to do just that—
importance of involvement, building your reputation as a lawyer and managing finances.
Stewart D. Aaron President, New York County Lawyers’ Association
how to make the transition from law school to practice; how to impress your colleagues and managers from your first day on the job; how to gain practical experience; how to go about networking; how to go about changing career paths; and more. J.D. candidate, Julie Adler, offers advice to current law students and recent law student graduates on page 6 with her article on how to network in order to set potential opportunities into motion, while Associate Attorney, Katherine Hwang, offers tips for your first job on page 12. If you’re a lawyer who has been out of school for a few years, turn to page 13 to read Darren Marks’ article about the
If you’re a more seasoned practitioner and considering a change in your career path, turn to page 11 for tips on going from practice to judiciary and opening your own practice. Rachel Nash shares how she became an administrative law judge and Brad Andrews talks about office space and web presence options for solo or potential solo practitioners. You can use your membership at NYCLA to spring your efforts into action. Learn something new by coming to our Practice of Law Series events (Trial Techniques for Beginners on May 10 and Preparing a Trial Notebook on May 31) and the May 17 Public Forum on intellectual property. Join us in welcoming newly elected officers and members of the Board of Directors and, most importantly, build connections with others in our community at our May 24 Annual Meeting, or consider getting involved in a Committee that piques your interest. Allow this time of year to inspire you to start fresh, learn new skills, make connections and get involved. Tweet me at @NYCLAPres and share how you are springing into action.
Managing Your Debt By Ariella Greenbaum Leaving law school behind doesn’t always mean leaving the often lofty bill for it behind. Whether you are preparing to graduate from law school, recently graduated, or graduated several years ago, it’s likely that your law school loan payment is on your mind. Ann Levine, owner of Law School Expert (www.lawschoolexpert.com), a law school admission consulting firm; author of “The Law School Decision Game,” bestselling law school admission guide; and former Director of Admissions for two ABAapproved law schools, says that it’s important to think about your post-law school debt from the very first day you step into the classroom. “If you live like a lawyer while you’re in law school, you’ll live like a law student when you get out,” according to Levine. “Earn money during law school if you can and save if you can. Think about everything you’re spending
from your student loan distribution because when you end up paying it off years later, you will pay many times that amount due to interest—very much like credit card debt.” Once you have graduated and earned your law degree, you have earned expertise and insight that can help earn you the salary you deserve. In order to make this what it’s worth, Levine advises to make sure you’re getting paid what you should be earning. Visit sites such as Indeed.com, the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), and organizations such as the American Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association for salary calculators and listings. “Don’t feel like you have to be desperate and don’t be afraid to work for yourself,” says Levine. She notes that there is more risk in going solo, but there is often a better payoff since, nationwide, the median salary for lawyers regardless
of experience level is $113,000 per year. Even if you are earning a substantial salary that allows you to live comfortably, you might still have a loan hanging over your head, even several years after graduation. Don’t feel it’s necessary to buy into the hype—whether it be renting a fancy apartment, eating out at pricey restaurants, or buying designer clothes—just because everyone else does it, Levine advises. Take the money you would be putting toward these material items and use it to pay off your loans. The faster your loans are paid off, the more peace of mind you will have and the more likely you will be to save for something that will prove valuable for years to come— whether it be that vacation home, apartment, or whatever you have been dreaming about since law school. Ariella Greenbaum is NYCLA’s Senior Communications & Social Media Manager
Volume 7 / Number 12
I N S I D E
Networking for Your First Job 6 Starting Your Own Practice 11 Life After Law School
T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S Amicus Brief ..................................2 Book Review ................................12 Calendaring.....................................4 CLE Programs ................................5 Coding .........................................14 Electronic Research Center CLEs .............................................10 Ethics Hotline ...............................12 Events Calendar..............................2 Featured CLE Courses ...................4 First Job Tips ................................12 Judicial Path..................................11 Library Notes................................10 Life After Law School..................13 Managing Debt...............................1 Message from Barbara Moses, President of the NYCLA Foundation ......................................3 Message from Stewart Aaron, President of NYCLA......................1 Networking .....................................6 NYCLA in the News......................3 Practical Experience.......................7 Recent Events .................................8 Starting Your Own Practice..........11 What’s Tweeting.............................3
May 2012 / The New York County Lawyer
EVENTS CALENDAR All events, unless otherwise noted, will be held at NYCLA Home of Law, 14 Vesey Street. Visit the Association’s web site, nycla.org for more details, schedule changes and additions, and to R.S.V.P. for events, which are subject to change.
May Young Lawyers’ Section’s “In Practice” with Administrative Law Judge, Rachel H. Nash Tuesday, May 8–12:30-1:30 p.m. Portrait Unveiling Tuesday, May 8–6 p.m. Unveiling of portrait of former NYCLA president, Catherine A. Christian
Breakfast Forum: Opportunities in Green or Sustainable Housing and Development Thursday, May 10–8 a.m. Practice of Law Series: Trial Techniques for Beginners Thursday, May 10–6 p.m. Participate in discussions concerning trial strategy, witness preparation, jury selection, opening/closing statements, direct/cross examination, and hearsay
objections and other evidentiary issues at this Practice of Law Series event led by Jeffrey Kimmel, Esq. Public Forum: “Lin-tellectual Property” Thursday, May 17–6 p.m. “Lin-sanity” was one of the biggest New York sports stories of the year. Join NYCLA’s Entertainment, Media and Intellectual Property Section and its Sports Law Subcommittee for an in-depth analysis about about a variety of legal issues commonly involved in representing athletes, including issues involving, agency, intellectual property, and publicity rights from Steven Olenick, Esq.; Professor Marc Edelman; and Christopher Chase, Esq.
NYCLA and ScotBarNY WhiskyTasting Extravaganza Thursday, May 17–7 p.m. Join colleagues from NYCLA and The Scottish Bar Association of New York for an exclusive evening of networking while sampling a fine selection of Scotch whisky, craft beer, and gourmet food pairings. Free and open to NYCLA and ScotBarNY members only. NYCLA’s Annual Meeting Thursday, May 24–5:30pm Annual induction ceremony of NYCLA officers and members of the Board.
June Practice of Law Series: What Judges Want You to Know Thursday, June 7–6 p.m.
NYCLA Files Amicus Brief
NYCLA joined with other organizations in filing an amicus curiae brief in the case of Lino v. City of New York, a civil suit filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) against the NYPD which was dismissed by the lower court and is being appealed by the NYCLU. It was filed on May 19, 2010 in State Supreme Court for New
York County on behalf of what may be more than 100,000 New Yorkers whose personal information is being kept in the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk database even though state laws require that all police records of their stop-and-frisk encounters be sealed and not be available to any public or private agency.
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New York County Lawyer
May 2012 / The New York County Lawyer
MESSAGE FROM BARBARA MOSES PRESIDENT OF THE NYCL A FOUNDATION Dear Friends: The New York County Lawyers’ Association Foundation is pleased to welcome eight new and returning members to its Board of Directors. At the Foundation’s Annual Meeting, held on April 9, 2012, Dyan M. FinguerraDuCharme, Vilia Hayes, Henry J. Kennedy, James B. Kobak, Jr., Ann B. Lesk, Michael J. McNamara, Lewis Tesser, and Richard Williamson were elected or re-elected to three-year terms on the Board of Directors, and Veronica E. Rendon and John J. Kenney were elected to two-year terms. Among the many programs funded by the NYCLA Foundation are several geared to law students and young lawyers. Every summer, the Hon. Harold Baer Jr. and Dr. Suzanne Baer Minority Judicial Internship Program places highachieving minority law students in the chambers of both federal and state judges with stipend-supported internships. This summer’s interns are Hsinyi Chang, Maria Dyson, Carolyn Fakury, Kristen Ramos, and Bedel Tiscareno. After graduation, newly admitted lawyers
working as prosecutors and defense attorneys are eligible for NYCLA’s Public Service Fellowships, awarded annually based on an essay competition. In addition, throughout the year, young lawyers benefit from NYCLA’s Mentoring Program (winner of a 2011 Bar Leaders Innovation Award from the New York State Conference of Bar Leaders) and enjoy the social and networking events hosted by the NYCLA Young Lawyers’ Section.
nized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization) to carry out the programs that make us proud to be members of NYCLA. You can make donations—in any amount you choose—simply by going to www.nycla.org and clicking on “Giving to NYCLA.” You can also mail a check, payable to “NYCLA Foundation,” to NYCLA Foundation, 14 Vesey Street, New York, NY 10007. We are grateful for every contribution, and are pleased to say “thank you” with a selection of DVDs, books, prints, and other gifts described on our website. Since the NYCLA Foundation is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization, gifts are deductible to the extent provided by law. NYCLA needs both your support and your ideas. Please do not hesitate to contact me with suggestions for fundraising or related topics. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sincerely,
Unfortunately, your dues do not cover all of NYCLA’s programs and services. We depend on your contributions (made to the NYCLA Foundation, which is recog-
Barbara Moses President of the NYCLA Foundation
NYCLA In The News A roundup of recent national and local news stories featuring NYCLA and its members
This Chinese-language newspaper published daily for residents in North America, reported on the April 16 U.S.-Asia Lawyer Cooperation Forum held at NYCLA. World Journal U.S.-Asia Lawyer Cooperation Forum Held April 17, 2012 NYCLA’s Judicial Section Task Force Co-Chair, Margaret Finerty, is quoted in this article, which discusses the new procedure put in place for restaurant tribunals. amny.com Health grade judges: City making it harder to dismiss violations March 29, 2012 A letter from NYCLA’s President, Stewart Aaron, about new issues in the legal field is featured in this newspaper: Metropolitan Corporate Counsel Letter from the President of the New York County Lawyers’ Association March 21, 2012 A photo from NYCLA’s March 15 Judicial Reception was featured in this issue: New York Law Journal NYCLA Hosts Reception for Judges March 20, 2012 An article about the filing of an appeal by NYCLA and other Manhattan bar groups for New York County Lawyers’ Association v. Bloomberg, 107216/10, on March 19 is mentioned: New York Law Journal Bar Groups Appeal Ruling On 18-B Conflict Cases March 20, 2012
An article about the Federal Probation Department confronting tightening resources mentions testimony from NYCLA’s December judicial budget cuts hearing. New York Law Journal Federal Probation Department Confront Tightening Resources March 19, 2012
COUNTY LAWYER Stewart D. Aaron President
Sophia J Gianacoplos Executive Director
Ariella Greenbaum Editor Senior Communications and Social Media Manager
New York County Lawyer is published by Long Islander Newspapers under the auspices of the New York County Lawyers’ Association. For advertising information, call 631-427-7000. Mailing address: 149 Main Street, Huntington, NY 11743. Copyright © 2012 New York County Lawyers’ Association. All rights reserved. New York County Lawyers’ Association grants permission for articles and other material herein or portions thereof to be reproduced and distributed for educational or professional use through direct contact with clients, prospective clients, professional colleagues and students provided that such use shall not involve any matter for which payment (other than legal fees or tuition) is made and provided further that all reproductions include the name of the author of the article, the copyright notice(s) included in the original publication, and a notice indicating the name and date of the Association publication from which the reprint is made. Subscription rate: $10.00 per year for non-members
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Photo Credits NYCLA’s ethics opinion on metadata was mentioned in this article: New York Law Journal Time to Revisit the Ethics of Metadata March 19, 2012
Bari Chase Zhiheng Keith Fu Alanna Gluck Ariella Greenbaum
May 2012 / The New York County Lawyer
CLE INSTITUTE Featured CLE Courses Focusing on the Effects of Technology This May, NYCLA’s CLE Institute, in conjunction with various NYCLA Committees, will be presenting programs looking at how technology has both affected the practice of law and brought about new threats to personal and data security. Documenting Technological Abuse: From Intake to Admission into Evidence – May 14, 2012, Co-sponsored by NYCLA’s Cyberspace Law Committee, Education Law Committee and Young Lawyers’ Section Increasing, abusive partners are using technology to establish power and control. From GPS devices to spyware,
Facebook tampering to harassing text messages, technological abuse is present in many cases of intimate partner violence. Gain an understanding of the technologies used by abusive parties to: • Help clients protect themselves from technological abuse. • Gather and document evidence of abusive behavior. • Get evidence of technological abuse admitted into court. Cybersecurity: Risks, Best Practices and Security Challenges – May 15, 2012, co-sponsored by NYCLA’s Cyberspace Law Committee
Take an in depth look at the state of cybersecurity, focusing on the inherent risks, development of best practices and challenges to the security of personal information, including: • Social media and cloud computing: the threats to privacy, security and liberty. • Creative data mining. • Growth of financial crimes. • Strategies for managing the risks associated with data-loss protection, brand protection, privacy erosion and more. Service of Process in the Digital Age:
Understanding the New Process Server Regulations – May 21, 2012, co-sponsored by NYCLA’s Civil Court Practice Section (CCPS) Learn about the new process server regulations that: • Require the carrying and operating of an electronic device recording GPS locations. • Require automatic transmittal of completed records to independent thirdparty contractors. • Provide new requirements on electronic record storage and availability. • Effect litigants and law firms engaging in court proceedings.
Managing Firm Risk with Calendaring Technologies (and avoiding missed court deadlines) Risk mitigation tips and calendaring selection criteria any firm can take to heart Risk Management is a hot, oft discussed topic these days, and more small firms and solos are looking to put processes and procedures in place to manage and mitigate risk. On top of that, firm clients are relying on their legal partner not to be a “risky” business. Proper risk management starts with knowing the main source of troubles ahead. Case in point, according to the American Bar Association’s “Profile of Legal Malpractice Claims,” calendar-related errors are a leading cause of malpractice actions against lawyers in the U.S. They account for over 34 percent of all malpractice claims, with 70 percent of claims filed against firms with five or fewer attorneys. The calendaring solution … commonly available legal-specific, court date calculation and rules-based calendaring technologies. These can assist with the calendaring process, improve efficiencies, and minimize the aforementioned risk of missing a deadline (that could eventually lead to a malpractice lawsuit). Here are some proven tips to navigating calendaring technology: 1. Legal calendaring is not “just” for
mega firms with significant technology budgets: Rules-based computerized date calculation services now operate via a software-as-a-service web model enabling users to select their jurisdiction, event and date to track their case deadlines online. Explore your web-based options and set up a free trial. 2. Calendaring proactively addresses disaster recovery/business continuity: Accessing calendars online and having redundancies “housed” in multiple locations greatly aids “business as usual” scenarios after disaster strikes. Telling the judge that you arrived late for court because your planner got destroyed or lost will not hold water. Regardless of your use of online calendaring, back up your files today. 3. Court date calculation services can serve as a tremendous productivity enhancer and help eliminate human error. Automating the tedious-butnecessary date calculation/calendaring process often saves days of research time. Keep track of how much time you and others at the firm spend on this task, and then weigh the cost/benefit of “outsourcing” it. 4. Knowledge might translate to cost savings. Understand your malpractice insurance carriers’ calendar automation requirements and rules since hav-
ing an automated system in place often results in insurance discounts. Call your provider today and find out more. 5. Maximizing calendar exposure. More and more professionals are sharing calendars these days, so don’t get left behind. Encouraging integration with other desktop calendars and establishing one cohesive, central, and easy-to-access calendaring system will minimize calendar-related errors and reduce billable time spent on researching rules and calculating deadlines. Increasing calendar exposure addresses disaster recovery and provides a back-up when you need it most. Once the relevance and importance of having (or at least considering) a rulesbased calendaring system has been determined, a common question with many answers is “what solutions should I look at and why?” Before investing time, money and resources in a legal calendaring program, the firm should consider the following criteria and factors: • Calendaring responsibility and expertise: At the smallest firms, attorneys may track their own calendar dates; at the other end of the spectrum, mega, national firms have entire departments dedicated to court docketing. Look carefully at the parameters of the calendaring
systems you consider to see which one will work best for your staffing levels. Attorney and other timekeeper buy-in: It doesn’t matter how sophisticated your calendar system is if people are not using it. Identifying a highly placed advocate at the firm can help smooth this process considerably. Quality and experience matter: Make sure the vendor/company you choose is truly in the “rules business” and not just providing timelines. Also check to see if the vendor’s IT staff includes qualified attorneys and legal calendaring professionals who update the rules regularly and can provide real-time technical support when you need it. Working the way you work: Since every firm has its own internal systems, procedures, and processes, it’s important that calendar programs can be customized to work your way, with your other existing software programs, and in a way your attorneys will accept. Off-site/backup capabilities: Based on enhanced attorney mobility, your calendaring system needs to be remotely accessible when a staffer is traveling or working from home. In addition, make sure your system can be backed up to another location and quickly restored when required. (See Calendaring on page 5)
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May 2012 / The New York County Lawyer
CLE INSTITUTE May CLE Course List The New York False Claims Act Tuesday, May 1, 2012–6-8 p.m. 2 MCLE Credits; .5 Ethics; 1.5 PP; Transitional and Non-transitional Advice From the Experts: Successful Strategies for Winning Commercial Cases in New York State Courts Friday, May 4, 2012–9 a.m.-5 p.m. 8 MCLE Credits: 1.5 Ethics; 3 Skills; 3.5 PP; Transitional and Non-transitional Bridge the Gap II: A Program for Newly Admitted Attorneys Consecutive Fridays, May 11 and 18, 2012–9 a.m.-5 p.m. 16 MCLE Credits: 3 Ethics; 7 PP/LPM; 6 Skills; Transitional and Non-transitional Documenting Technological Abuse: From Intake to Admission Into Evidence Monday, May 14, 2012–6-8 p.m. 2 MCLE Credits: 1 Skills; 1 Professional Practice: Transitional and Non-transitional (also NJ) How to Handle an Employment Discrimination Case Consecutive Tuesdays, May 15 and 22, 2012–6-9 p.m. 6 MCLE Credits: 2 Ethics; 2 Skills; 2 Professional Practice; Transitional and Non-transitional Cybersecurity: Risks, Best Practices, and Security Challenges Tuesday, May 15, 2012–6-9 p.m. 3 MCLE Credits: 1 Ethics; 2 PP; Transitional and Non-transitional (also NJ) How to Represent a Client in a Mediation – Special Lunchtime Program Wednesday, May 16, 2012–Noon-1:30 p.m. 1.5 MCLE Credits: .5 Ethics; 1 Skills; Transitional and Non-transitional (also NJ) Dealing With Ethical Issues Arising in Matrimonial Practice Wednesday, May 16, 2012–6-9 p.m. 3 MCLE Credits: 3 Ethics; Transitional and Non-transitional
Calendaring Technologies (Continued from page 4)
The last thing litigators want to worry about is facing litigation from (former) clients. With a thorough, effective calendaring system, the worries over malpractice cases shrink considerably — along with the hours spent on the grueling work of tracking down and verifying court dates over the phone or on line. Once you’ve made the business case for calendaring technologies, carefully evaluate the various options based on the comprehensiveness of the system’s available court rules, the ability to back up calendars on the fly as well as other factors such as a potential vendor partner’s reputation and track record.
Service of Process in the Digital Age: Understanding the New Process Server Regulations Monday, May 21, 2012–6-9 p.m. 3 MCLE Credits: 1.5 Skills; 1.5 PP; Transitional and Non-transitional Job Transitioning for Mid-Level Associates: The When, Why, and How to Move on to Your Next Position and Improve the Way You Practice Law Tuesday, May 29, 2012–6:30-8:30 p.m. 2 MCLE Credits: .5 Ethics; 1.5 Professional Practice; Non-transitional (also NJ). SAVE THE DATE: Ethical Considerations in Time Management, Wednesday, June 6 E-Discovery and Ethics: Technology Assisted Reviews, Predictive Coding, The Judicial Role and Ethical Considerations, Tuesday, June 12 Civil Rights Jamboree, Friday, June 15
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NYCLA’s CLE Institute now an Accredited Provider in New Jersey
• Matrimonial & Family Court Cases: New York County Lawyers’ Association’s CLE Institute is currently certified as an Accredited Provider of continuing legal education in the State New Jersey. Courses qualifying for CLE credit in New Jersey will be so designated on the NYCLA website. Be sure to consult www.nycla.org for program details and program locations. Please note that Tuition Assistance is available for qualified attorneys for live programs offered by the CLE Institute. Check our website at www.nycla.org for more information and how to apply for Tuition Assistance. Check our website for course details, faculty, complete program descriptions and pricing.
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Alexander J. Manners is the Director of CompuLaw at Aderant. He has been working in the legal calendaring field for 20 years and is responsible for the creation and growth of the CompuLaw rules department including the update and maintenance of 2000+ court rule sets. Alex has been instrumental in creating some of CompuLaw’s most innovative products such as a patented date calculation scripting language. He is a recognized industry expert in the legal calendaring arena and has authored many proposed rule amendments for courts nationally that have been adopted into law. Prior to joining CompuLaw in 1997, he managed a docketing department at a large multi-national law firm. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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May 2012 / The New York County Lawyer
Networking for Your First Job By Julie Adler The word “networking” often conjures up images of forced handshakes with strangers and awkward exchanges of business cards. But as a graduating 3L, I have learned that networking can mean much more than that, and it doesn’t have to be a dirty word. Here are some tips for thinking about networking beyond the informational interview. 1. Find your passions, and pursue them. This process should begin from day one of law school. In this job market, most employers only seriously consider those applicants who have demonstrated interest in their practice areas. Focus on course work and internships in the areas that interest you, join relevant bar association committees and listservs, and shape your networking efforts accordingly. Also be sure to keep an open mind about what you think you want to do and consider any first job that might help get you there. Recognize that finding your passions doesn’t mean just your legal passions. Don’t be afraid to start a side business, engage in community organizing, or work to develop other nonlegal expertise that will complement your legal skills. If you have “Food and Wine Club” on your résumé, you never know if some foodloving lawyer will call you in for an interview for your dream trusts and estates job just for that reason. At the very least, your passion and drive will certainly impress potential employers, and you will maintain your sanity during the job search by continuing to do things you love! 2. Start your career while in law school. The third year especially is a great time to begin to achieve your career goals. Make it a point to meet everyone you can who practices in your area of interest. Go to fun and interesting events (conferences, symposia, and “meetups”), get to know practitioners in the field, and get your name out there by writing articles on the topics that interest you. Try to publish your work in newsletters like this one, in law journals, or on legal blogs—you never know what will go viral! Also stay on top of the blogosphere and Twittersphere to keep abreast of new opportunities and developments in your area of interest, and even consider starting your own blog or Twitter feed. These days, social media is ubiquitous, and you can use it to show off your expertise in a particular area— blog, tweet out relevant news and developments, follow your career mentors and have them follow you back, and maintain a professional Facebook page. Most busy practitioners do not have time to stay on top of all the news in their legal field, especially if it is an emerging field of law, and they need someone like you to do it for them. Of course, joining LinkedIn and building your profile and connections there can be helpful as well, and you should look for specialized groups related to your preferred areas of law—many of them have job listings that you won’t find through your school’s job database.
3. Don’t underestimate the value of working for free. The first time I counted the number of unpaid internships I have had in my life, between undergraduate and law school, I cringed. Let’s just say I couldn’t count on both hands. It wasn’t until recently that I started pondering the true value I received from these internships. They are only a component of networking, but they are an extremely valuable component. Nothing compares to the connections you make when you actually work for someone and can demonstrate your potential when a job opens up. If you can’t afford to work for free, tell your employer that you need to hold a side job while you intern— many employers will completely understand. 4. Stay positive! This is probably the most important thing you can do. Be proactive, of course, but keep reminding yourself throughout the process that things will work out eventually— because it’s true! There are plenty of people out there who have struggled through unemployment after law school and then ended up landing great jobs, so talk to recent grads and let them inspire you. Maintain a healthy sense of realism by preparing to work as a bartender or barista to save money while you search for the right legal position. Don’t listen only to the naysayers or let the law school scam blogs get you down. In sum, the search for an entry-level job is a bit like a pinball machine or a game of billiards. Winning the networking game requires the right combination of luck and skill. And one thing is certain: the more balls you set in motion, the greater chance you have that one of them will fall in the hole. Julie Adler is a J.D. Candidate, 2012, at Brooklyn Law School and a NYCLA member.
Outside the “Networking” Box By Alanna Gluck The word “networking” can strike fear into the hearts and minds of even the most experienced and knowledgeable attorney. With the number of events available for professionals to attend, the labor of building a network can seem repetitive and uninteresting. Trying to maintain a work/life balance can also lead to the conclusion that there is no room for networking in your professional development. However, finding alternative networking options will not only lead you to your ultimate goal of making connections—it will make those traditional networking events more enjoyable. Here are a few options for broadening your networking opportunities: Have a community life outside your practice. By volunteering your time and/or expertise to aid an organization or people in need, you will demonstrate to colleagues and employers that you care about the world outside of your profession. Seek out volunteer opportunities via a professional association or through charitable organizations that serve to better the community. Remember that it is important to have professionals in addition to attorneys in your network. Joining a Committee or serving on a Board of Directors at a philanthropic organization, or simply devoting your free time to those in need will help you to connect with other like-minded people outside your profession-specific network. Find a hobby. Pursuing a passion
outside of legal practice will help you to maintain a work/life balance and will help you in both professional and personal endeavors. Join an amateur sport team or league, take a class, play an instrument, or become involved a club or group. Meeting others who share your personal interest can be a conduit to professional connections and leads. Carpe Diem. Seize every chance that arises to connect with others. Even everyday interactions are opportunities to meet a future colleague or an employer. Always be prepared, put your best foot forward and be thoughtful about your image. Carry your business card on you at all times—be ready to give it out, but only when there is a reasonable opening to do so. You never know who you may end up striking up a conversation with. It is not just about a business pitch. At its best, networking is about being memorable and making a lasting impression on another professional. Do not be afraid to discuss your interests and activities outside of your profession. Do you speak a second or third language? Have you recently done some traveling? Do you have expertise in a nonprofessional endeavor that sets you apart from your colleagues? Share something unique about yourself that will help you to stand out from others who may be very similar to you professionally. Alanna Gluck is NYCLA’s Membership Engagement Coordinator.
May 2012 / The New York County Lawyer
Gaining Practical Experience in Your First Legal Job By William Daks Congratulations. You just endured several grueling days of taking one or more bar exams. It’s nearing the end of summer and now what? It’s time to initiate or get back to employment. How do you successfully transition into your first practicing legal job? More importantly, how do you gain the practical experience you sampled through law school but never really engaged in? Here are some practical tips to guide you. First, eagerly anticipate and inquire to your superiors about receiving new assignments. Demonstrate that you are eager and willing to do your best, and handle a full caseload. Your employer may initially only assign a variety of simple assignments. Whether it is only a brief research memo on applicable causes of action or reviewing a file and assessing the plaintiff’s medical treatment records, take each task with pride. Your employer is certainly expecting you to complete each assignment successfully. More importantly, he or she is also identifying your analytical and problemsolving skills. Excelling at these tasks early and demonstrating your ability to work well under pressure will pave the way for more complex and gratifying assignments.
Second, show continuity and the ability to transfer into new assignments. You may initially only draft a summons and complaint or a bill of particulars. However, as the expression goes, “see the forest for the trees.” As the course of litigation progresses, you may be called upon to draft subsequent follow-up assignments, such as a motion for summary judgment on liability or damages, or a motion to compel discovery. Drafting the early pleadings and other important documents through the course of litigation allows you to know the case better than your superiors. Additionally, demonstrating your understanding of the important pleadings and motions through the course of litigation will only enhance and further your practice skills. Third, create and maintain a task list and be attentive to upcoming deadlines. One of the most fundamental lessons to be learned early as a practicing attorney is the importance of dates and deadlines. Motion practice is almost entirely predicated on return dates. In order to ensure proper compliance, you must document and continually review such dates on your calendar. Another compelling reason to stay apprised of important dates is for proper law firm practice. The last thing you want to explain to your employer is that you overlooked a particular return date and thereby served late papers. This
Induction Ceremony and Reception All NYCLA Members are invited to attend the Association’s annual induction ceremony of NYCLA officers and members of the Board. Unsung Hero Awards will be presented and The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York: A Retrospective (2000-2010) announced
Thursday, May 24 5:30 p.m. NYCLA Home of Law 14 Vesey Street Reception following ceremony
R.S.V.P. at NYCLA.org
will only provide embarrassment (and possibly lead to termination) and may further be grounds for unnecessary motion practice to restore a case to active status. Therefore, as such problems are easily avoided, maintaining and staying apprised of your caseload is an important habit to develop early in your career. Fourth, research and do your best to continually follow up, and stay updated on new and important decisions. Depending on your type of practice, the legal authority we often rely upon is continuously fluctuating and evolving. This is particularly more relevant practice areas such as the New York labor law. Additionally, there are various sources and methods for staying current within your practice areas. Grab a copy of the New York Law Journal for your daily commute or browse your firm’s office subscription. Also consider joining applicable practice committees at your local bar association, such as the New York County Lawyers Association (NYCLA). Committees often keep their members updated of the latest practice-worthy news with daily or weekly mailing lists. Moreover, such active participation aids your career development while also allowing you to become an expert on nuanced issues arising within the office. Your employer will appreciate your demonstrated engagement and interest.
Fifth, have a copy of the Civil Practice Laws and Rules (CPLR) and relevant treatises readily available in your office. Early in practice, you will be surprised at how many times assignments involve new issues that you have not yet encountered. For these situations, your go-to source of information includes sources such as Siegel’s New York Practice treatise. Consulting with these valuable sources provides you with a solid background before engaging in the more in-depth research assignments often require. Additionally, no newly practicing attorney is expected to memorize or know all of the relevant rules. Therefore, do not hesitate to utilize such valuable resources. Finally, ask questions! You will be surprised what you might learn. Not only do your superiors have a wealth of experience, but they are often extremely willing and excited to share such information. By asking insightful questions, you are demonstrating your willingness to learn and correctly handle challenging situations. Good luck and make the best of your first legal job experiences! William Daks, a NYCLA member, is an admitted attorney in New York and New Jersey, and is currently a Law Clerk at Raskin & Kremins, LLP.
May 2012 / The New York County Lawyer
RECENT EVENTS Asian Practice Committee Hosts U.S.-Asia Lawyer Cooperation Forum On April 16 at NYCLA Home of Law, NYCLA’s Asian Practice Committee hosted the U.S.-Asia Lawyer Cooperation Forum, which consisted of a panel of lawyers who discussed cooperative opportunities between U.S. and Asian Lawyers and related topics under the background of economic globalization, and a reception.
Stewart D. Aaron (center), NYCLA’s President, welcomes Forum attendees to the Home of Law and talks about the history of the organization and its mission, the history of the Association’s Asian Practice Committee and its work, his personal observations on Asian practice, Asian-related litigation, Asian business and transactional opportunities, and challenges, at this panel moderated by Zhihui (Julie) Guo (third from left), Chair, NYCLA’s Asian Practice Committee.
Nearly 100 attendees heard from experts including attorneys from the United States and Asia, a New York State Supreme Court judge, and leaders of New York Asian Bar Associations.
Committees Gather to Discuss Literature and Bioethics Alan L. Fell (left), Law and Literature Committee CoChair; Beverly J. Jones (second from right), Health Law Committee Chair; and Marilyn J. Flood (right), NYCLA counsel; welcome Phoebe A. Stone (second from left), attorney and bioethicist; and Loren Wisser Greene (Center), M.D., M.A. (Bioethics), Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, to the April 18 joint meeting of the Law and Literature and Health Law Committees where Stone and Wisser Greene discussed bioethics around “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot, which raised issues about medical ethics.
“UNRAVELED” director Marc Simon before the evening screening at Village East Cinemas Panelist Ronald Minkoff (center) flanked by his mentee, Jennifer Ramme (right), and a member of the audience (left).
Marc Dreier’s attorney, Gerald Shargel (right), discusses some of the finer points of the defense strategy with audience members following the screening.
NYCLA Hosts Film Screening and Discussion On Friday, April 13, NYCLA’s Task Force on Professionalism co-sponsored a screening of the documentary “UNRAVELED,” the story of Mark Dreier, the prominent New York City attorney who was arrested for orchestrating a massive fraud that netted over $750 million from hedge funds. A discussion with the film’s director, Marc Simon, and noted ethicists, Ronald Minkoff and James Kobak, followed the screening and covered dissatisfaction in the legal profession, ethics, values, and the choices lawyers make in today’s society.
May 2012 / The New York County Lawyer
RECENT EVENTS The New York Bar Foundation Presents Donation to Project Restore
Attendees hear from Paramjit L. Mahli, Chief Executive Officer, The Rainmakers Roundtable, on how to use social media tools to maximize the job search.
Meet-Up Covers Career Development Topics
Silfath Pinto, Founder, Stylosophy, speaks about how to look the part on an interview.
On Wednesday, April 28, experts in professional development held interactive sessions at NYCLA’s Advance Your Career Meet-Up. Attendees learned what employers look for on resumés, how to use social media in the job search, and how to look the part on an interview.
Collin Bull (center), NYCLA Board of Directors member and Supervising Attorney of Project Restore, accepts a $5,000 donation to NYCLA’s Project Restore program, from The New York Bar Foundation. Sylvia Chin (second from left), Co-Chair of The Bar Foundation’s first judicial district, was on hand to present the check at the April 9 Board of Directors meeting, from this charitable and philanthropic entity of the New York State Bar Association that is dedicated to aiding educational, direct legal services, and charitable projects aimed at meeting the law-related needs of the public and the profession. Alongside Bull and Chin are Stewart D. Aaron (left), NYCLA’s President; Lois Davis (second from right), NYCLA’s Director of Pro Bono Programs; and Barbara Moses (right), President of the NYCLA Foundation. This donation will help NYCLA’s Project Restore program provide assistance to individuals with misdemeanor and felony convictions who are denied vocational licenses by the New York Department of State.
Former Women’s Rights Committee Chairs, Marilyn Flood, NYCLA Counsel (far left); Hon. Richard Price (second from left); Kay Murray (third from left); Rosalind Fink (fourth from left), former NYCLA President; Hon. Paula Omansky (fifth from left); Susan Harper (fifth from right); Marcia Goffin (fourth from right); Barbara Rochman (far right), pose with current Women’s Rights Committee Chairs, Minna Elias (second from right); and Joana Lucashuk (third from right).
Minna Elias (center) and Joana Lucashuk (right), NYCLA Women’s Rights Committee Co-Chairs, present Donna Lieberman (left), Executive Director, New York Civil Liberties Union, with the Edith I. Spivack Award.
Edith I. Spivack Award Presented to Donna Lieberman On April 23, NYCLA’s Women’s Rights Committee hosted the Edith I. Spivack Award Ceremony and Reception honoring Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, with the Edith I. Spivack Award for her work in the area of women’s rights. Edith Spivack’s granddaughter, Susanna Parker (left), and daughters, Amy Bass (second from left), and Rita Christopher (third from left), pose with NYCLA’s President, Stewart Aaron (center, left), Donna Lieberman (center, right), Minna Ellias (third from right), Joana Lucashuck (second from right), and Carlin Meyer, (right), Professor of Law, New York Law School, and Director, The Diane Abbey Law Center for Children and Families, who gave introductory remarks.
10 May 2012 / The New York County Lawyer
LIBRARY NOTES To make suggestions about books, ebooks, or database purchases, contact Dan Jordan at email@example.com or 212-267-6646, ext. 201.
Featured Internet Sites
Class Action Litigation Information www.classactionlitigation.com/about.html Class Action Litigation Information is a service provided by Timothy E. Eble, P.A., maintained to provide a useful legal research source for attorneys and a free service to assist the public in understanding class action litigation, government, and the legal system. The site features links to numerous sources of information related to many questions that arise in the context of class action or “representative” litigation. It aims to dispel some of the unwarranted myths and criticisms of class action litigation and the legal system as it is a necessary procedure to protect the public from unethical and improper business practices. This website contains: • The Federal Class Action Practice Manual-Internet Edition, by Timothy E. Eble • The Manual for Complex Litigation, 3rd and 4th editions • Class action and complex litigation articles by Timothy E. Eble and Judge Thomas A. Dickerson,
• • • •
Associate Justice, Appellate Division, Second Department The text of the “Federal Class Action Fairness Act 2005” with analysis and recent decisions A flowchart of how class action litigation proceed Information on Canadian class action litigation A place for attorneys to post court ordered notices of class action litigation Links to monitor pending legislation on class action litigation And a Glossary of Class Action Legal Terms, and more
On the lighter side Lawhaha.com – The site, compiled by Professor Andrew J. McClurg, bills itself as the only academically oriented legal humor and commentary site. Lawhaha.com seeks to “proximately caus[e] comic/stress relief among legal professionals and the public at large” — an amusing site providing the pause that refreshes the mind.
New Arrivals and Newly Updated The Department of Justice Manual, 3rd Ed. (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business, March 2012) Gain insight to the poli-
cies and directives outlined in the U.S. Attorneys’ Manual, an eight-volume co lection of the basic manuals, guidelines, policy statements, and procedures disturbed by the Department of Justice that govern the actions of U.S. Attorneys working in the Justice Department’s Civil, Environment & Natural Resources, Tax, Antitrust, Civil Rights, and Criminal Divisions, as well as in the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices nationwide. Fashion Law: A Guide for Designers, Fashion Executives, and Attorneys, edited by Guillermo C. Jimenez, Fashion Institute of Technology and Barbara Kolsun, Stuart Weitzman LLC. (New York: Fairchild Books, ) As the global fashion and
apparel industry has grown to represent a $3 trillion market, a new area of law is required to help guide fashion designers and executives through the legal quandaries peculiar to fashion. This text addresses such legal issues as: defining and protecting intellectual property, knock offs, licensing, counterfeiting; agreements such as franchising, distribution, rentals, leasing; handling customs; and creative copyright infringement. It provides a practical working knowledge to avoid legal disputes and protect rights of fashion executives, managers, and designers. Contributors representing industry and law firms will provide content and case studies for better understanding of legal issues when law meets design.
Electronic Research Center CLE Programs Unless otherwise noted, classes are free and open to the public
May 8–3-4 p.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional
Lexis: I May 9–10:30-11:30 a.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional
Westlaw: Basic May 8–1:30-2:30 p.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional Westlaw: Family Law Research
Lexis: II May 9–Noon-1 p.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional
Lexis: Criminal Law Research May 9–1:30-2:30 p.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional Using Bloomberglaw.com for Litigation May 17–10-10:50 a.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Electronic Case Filing System June 18–10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 2.5 MCLE Credits: 2.5 Skills; Transitional Members: $65; Nonmembers: $85; Nonlegal Staff: $35
Using Bloomberglaw.com for a Corporate Transactional Practice May 17–11:05-11:55 a.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional
Westlaw: Basic June 20–10-11 a.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional Free and open to the public
Westlaw: Intermediate May 22–10-11 a.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional
Westlaw: New York Materials June 20–11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional
Westlaw: Entertainment Law May 22–11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional
Using Bloomberglaw.com for Litigation June 21–10-10:50 a.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Electronic Case Filing System May 23–10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 2.5 MCLE Credits: 2.5 Skills; Transitional Members: $65; Nonmembers: $85; Nonlegal Staff: $35
Using Bloomberglaw.com for a Corporate Transactional Practice June 21–11:05-11:55 a.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional
Lexis: I June 26–11 a.m.-Noon 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional
Westlaw: Advanced June 5–1:30-2:30 p.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional
Lexis: Update Enhancements Research June 26–12:30-1:30 p.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional
Westlaw: Intellectual Property Research June 5–3-4 p.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional
Lexis: Expert Witness June 26–2-3 p.m. 1 MCLE Credit: 1 Skills; Transitional
May 2012 / The New York County Lawyer 11
Starting Your Own Practice: Your Physical Office and Your Online Office By Brad Andrews The most useful thing I learned during a summer clerkship in 2005 at a large firm out west is that a life in “biglaw” wasn’t for me. So a year later, I did what any reasonable law school graduate would do – moved across the country, sat for the bar exam, and started my own family law practice in Manhattan. I quickly learned that there is a lot involved in starting your own practice. In this column, I’ll address just two aspects of same: your physical office, and what you might call your online office—your website. Your physical office You have three main options: renting
space in a law suite, renting a virtual office but working from home or somewhere else, or simply working from home. Since starting my own practice, I’ve done the first two. Renting in a lawyers’ suite has many advantages. You have somewhere to go to work each day. It’s decorated how you want. You have all of your files there. It looks and feels professional, and may even include a receptionist and an account with the United Lawyers’ court service. Also, importantly, there is the advantage of being around other lawyers every day. You can ask them for advice as you encounter problems that are new to you, but old to them; you can refer matters to them that you are not competent to handle; in return, you may well
get referral or contract business from them. Perhaps most importantly, you will enjoy the camaraderie of interacting with a variety of lawyers on a regular basis, trading “war stories” and gaining a variety of perspectives as to how to practice law. The major downside of a law suite is the cost. In midtown, the cost ranges from around $1,200 per month for a small, interior office in a good suite with a receptionist to $2,500 (or more) for a large, windowed office. Your second option is a virtual office, which can be had for as little as $150 per month. It gives you a prestigious address for the delivery of mail, and access to conference rooms. It might include a
United Lawyers’ account that you can glom onto for a small fee. In the $150 range, you will need to rent a conference room by the hour, while a higher monthly fee—say $500—will include a set number of hours that you can reserve a conference room. There may also be an option to pay a little extra to have someone answer your telephone and take messages. But, you will have to find somewhere else to work. For virtual offices, you could start by looking at Regus (www.regus.com) and DaVinci (www.davincivirtual.com). Your third option is to work from home and use your home address. In my view, this is a false economy. Fair or not, if I see a lawyer’s “office” address being in a resi(See Starting Your Own Practice on page 15)
A Judicial Path For those NYCLA members who wish to pursue an ALJ or related position, my suggestion is to attend related CLE classes, panels, join bar committees, volunteer in the courts, seek judicial internships and attend the “In Practice” and “In Chambers” series organized by NYCLA’s Young Lawyers’ Section.
By Rachel H. Nash, Esq. Living, working, and being educated in the public school system of the City of New York has exposed me to many diverse cultures. I easily relate to people from all different backgrounds and socioeconomic levels. My travels and studies abroad and around the globe have given me personal knowledge and awareness of other cultures. I always wished to work in the public service area. So, after graduating from Brandeis University but before starting Cardozo Law School, I worked in the Press and Research office of then Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. It was exciting to work in the Mayor’s office, and felt a part of the heartbeat of my city and everyone I met. So, I decided law school was the path to a rewarding profession in public service. During law school, I did a summer internship with the New York City Law Department summer honors associate program and the Department of Consumer Affairs Adjudication Division. During my judicial internship for a DCA Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), I observed hearings first-hand, and learned about administrative procedures, law, evidence, testimony, and creditability. After that summer, I knew that I wished to pursue an ALJ position, but I was unsure how to reach such a high goal. There was a hiring freeze and three years of law practice were required. The competition would be fierce. After graduating Cardozo Law School and passing the NYS Bar in 2001, I attended numerous law panels and CLE classes in order to broaden my professional network and sharpen my skills. In 2003, I attended a full-day program on “How to Become a Judge” sponsored by the City Bar Association of New York. At the program, I learned about various judgeships and the judicial application process. The information provided led me to my first and current position as an ALJ. Over the past seven years, I have been
I love my work as a per diem
fortunate to have adjudicated cases at the Health Tribunal, Environmental Control Board, Small Claims Assessment Review for the New York State Department of Finance, and as a volunteer Small Claims Civil Court Arbitrator. It is common in these tribunals and courts for respondents to appear pro se. The administrative hearing is often the respondent’s first courtroom experience and may be the only one. Unfamiliarity with the process can cause anxiety, stress and sometimes tears. I begin all hearings with a welcome to the tribunal; a small gesture that many times has a very largely beneficial effect. Next, I explain the hearing procedure, and always end the hearing by wishing them a good day. Soon after joining NYCLA in 2011, I attended a NYCLA panel that addressed the need for diversity on the bench. It was stressed that New York City was a diverse place and justice was better served when those seeking justice were judged by a reflectively diverse bench. I believe that my diverse background, education, experiences, and youth have helped me to provide justice fairly to the ever-changing pool of respondents. My positions have allowed me to implement what I believe are the most desired qualities of a judge; the treatment of all parties with the utmost respect, patience and fair and balanced decision making.
Administrative Law Judge. I feel working as a judge is the most noble and selfless position one can have as a lawyer. For me, it is synonymous with being at the height of the practice within the heartbeat of the profession. Rachel H. Nash, Esq. is a per diem Administrative Law Judge and a NYCLA member..
12 May 2012 / The New York County Lawyer
From Books to Practice: Tips for Your First Job your productivity.
By Katherine Hwang I currently work as an Associate Attorney at a small firm in midtown Manhattan, but my first year out of law school was a balancing act. I graduated during the downturn in our economy, in 2009, and worked several part-time jobs at the beginning of my career, legal and non-legal. I was a receptionist, a teaching assistant, an intern with a large NGO in human rights litigation, assistant to a professor, and a law clerk to the firm where I currently work. Every one of these positions felt like a “First Job.” As such, the first few years out of law school was not the smoothest, but they were formidable and allowed me to hone skills in different areas and branch into new types of practice. It was also through my first jobs that I grew confident by learning and growing. Your first two years out of law school will be just that—a learning and growing experience. Your first job is where you begin to develop your skill set, typically in litigation or transactional work, whether it be in drafting, oral advocacy, case management, negotiations, or client relations, first through imitating others, then by finding your own voice. However rocky or smooth or transition from law school to practice will be, here are a few tips which I hope will make your transition from the books to the practice a bit easier: Give yourself a break. In the beginning of any job, you will know little or nothing. When you venture into a new area, you will be challenged every time. If you are like me, a perfectionist, a hard worker, and sometimes too hard on yourself— attributes of many law students-then you will endeavor to do your best. However, remember that sometimes the only way to learn is to make mistakes. Give yourself a break—you are new to the law practice, and you do not know everything. You are not expected to, and that is okay.
Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to admit that you do not know something. I have never failed to have been helped by a fellow attorney when I asked him or her a question, whether it was legal, procedural, or career related. More experienced attorneys remember what it was like to start out and are willing to impart advice. Do your best, control what you can, and let go of what you cannot. In law school, we managed our classes, our schedules, and how we studied. However, as an attorney, we are subject to the whim of our boss, our clients, judges, court staff, deadlines, and opposing counsel, both civil and uncivil. We write motions, try cases, and win or lose. Do your best and have passion for your job, and that is all that anyone can ask of you. Let go of the rest. Join a Committee or a Section, such as the Young Lawyers’ Section for support and guidance. Join in law school if you can, and you will have a support network for when you begin practicing. If you develop these networks and participate in these communities early on and you will benefit tremendously. I emphasize that these are communities because as you become involved, you develop relationships and friendships with fellow members. I joined a bar association committee while in a 2L and upon graduation and five years later, I reaped the benefits. Because I had been a member for several years, I became friends with other members. Following graduation, I have the opportunity to take on a leadership position and direct my own projects. Find a stress relief that works for you. I go to the gym, practice yoga, cook, and bake to relax and relieve stress. Find whatever works for you and stick with it. You will find that it not only helps you relax, but it will enhance
Remember that you are the only one in charge of your career. No matter what your aspirations, take ownership of developing your own skills set. Active listening, drafting, negotiation, oral advocacy, organization, and case management are just a few skills necessary to being a good lawyer. Leave work at work. If you have the opportunity to do so, leave work at work, literally and mentally! Remember that if there is nothing you can do about a case, then go out and have a good time, or go home and relax. Give yourself extra time. No matter the
assignment, overestimate how much time it will take you to complete it, especially if you are starting out at a new job or working within a new practice area of law. Inevitably, it will always take you longer than you think to figure out what to do. The law is a “demanding mistress,” as I once was told by a colleague several years my senior. Practicing law can be a challenge, but that is also what makes it interesting. Keep these tips in mind and develop good practices in the first few years of your career that will stay with you throughout. Katherine Hwang is an Associate Attorney at Santamarina & Associates and a NYCLA member.
Ethics Hotline The Committee on Professional Ethics accepts both written and telephone inquiries on ethics matters and provides advisory opinions. For additional information, call the members listed below. April 16-30 Bruce Handler 212-508-9372
May 16-31 Mark Bower 212-240-0700
May 1-15 Lew Tesser 212-754-9000
June 1-15 Ron Minkoff 212-705-4837
Please Note: Assignments are subject to change. Questions to the Hotline are limited to an inquiring attorney’s prospective conduct. The Hotline does not answer questions regarding past conduct, the conduct of other attorneys, questions that are being litigated or before a disciplinary committee or ethics committee, or questions of law. This notation shall not be construed to contain all Hotline guidelines. For a full discussion of Ethics Hotline guidelines, please see “Guidelines on NYCLA’s Ethics Hotline,” September 2006, New York County Lawyer, Vol. 2, No. 7. To view the article, visit NYCLA’s website at www.nycla.org, click on Ethics (on the left-hand side of the page) and then on Ethics Hotline.
BOOK REVIEW A Walk Across the Sun by Corbin Addison By Linda Lemiesz If you are looking for a good book to take on vacation with you, consider picking up a copy of Corban Addison’s first novel, a fictional tale, “A Walk Across the Sun” (Regalus Books, 2012). Not only will you be supporting the literary efforts of a fellow lawyer, you will also be rapidly engrossed in the novel’s memorable characters, fast-paced and suspenseful plot line, and exotic settings. However, there is a better reason for perusing it than your pleasure at the author’s good craftsmanship. Following the great 19th century novelistic tradition of social realism, Addison’s work focuses on the crime of sex trafficking and the global legal system’s struggle to end slavery. Once you finish the novel,
you will look at the world around you differently. “A Walk Across the Sun” opens in coastal India as a tsunami strikes. Teenage sisters Ahalya and Sita Ghai, in a stunning sequence of scenes, lose their home, parents, friends, position in the world, and then, path to shelter in their convent school. A trip with an unreliable driver ends with their being sold to a brothel. Across the world in Washington, D.C., young attorney Thomas Clarke’s career setbacks at the corporate firm Clayton Swift initially seem trivial by comparison to the ordeal of the two sisters, but soon we learn he has lost his way as well. After the death of their infant daughter, his wife Priya has fled home to India, her misery at her loss
aggravated by her husband’s workaholism. At the height of his confusion about the state of his life, as he wanders around a park, Thomas witnesses the abduction of a child. His powerlessness to help the child and her mother propels him to accept an offer from Clayton Swift that he initially had shrugged off: the chance for a pro bono sabbatical. He accepts a position with an NGO and is soon on a plane to Bombay himself. Addison’s plot has the reader skipping around the globe as Thomas learns of the disparate fates of Sita and Ahalya and meets a cast of characters that range from brothel workers and global crime lords to sexual slaves, police officers, and lawyers. Despite the inherent salaciousness of the subject matter, Addison’s writing is never less than sensitive to the plight of the trafficked. One of the strengths of the book is its portrayal of how Thomas develops as both a lawyer and as a person, from a
careful observer and commentator to a passionately involved advocate for the exploited. Within a few weeks of reading Addison’s novel, I stumbled across the following scenes: at Penn Station in the middle of January, a burly man hastened three barely clad blonde teenagers into a waiting town car; in the Financial District, in the early hours of the morning, a girl with a broken stiletto heel and a fresh bruise on her face sat crying in the subway station, but could not speak English when asked if she was okay; and in Chinatown, a door opened on the back of a van with five or six young women inside looking terrified. Innocent vignettes of New York City life or something more ominous? “A Walk Across the Sun” will leave you questioning what you witness. Linda Lemiesz is a NYCLA member and member of NYCLA’s Law and Literature Committee
May 2012 / The New York County Lawyer 13
Life After Law School By Darren R. Marks, Esq.
justification as to why they did not.”
They say you learn the law three times: law school, the bar, and the practice. However, young lawyers rarely learn what life will be like after law school. Hopefully, these bits of advice will help your professional development.
I have some lawyer friends who are the first to complain about how they are too tired or busy to get involved in professional or community organizations. On the other hand, I have other lawyer friends who work equally as hard, if not harder, but make the time to network, volunteer, sit on charity boards, and even participate in legal and political organizations. I personally make the time to do the above, and even box and run half marathons. Inasmuch as being busy requires careful planning, it requires an ongoing self-commitment to better yourself. You don’t need to join every organization under the sun, just seek out those organizations you feel passionate about as well as those organizations that may serve you best in both your personally and professionally. Keep in mind, that you should not just join an organization to add a line to your CV. Join an organization that you want to be a part of and then actually do something!
Your finances & you One of the best “welcome to the world” tips I received after law school was to stay on top of my student loans. This may sound silly, but it was some of the best advice I got. Six years out of law school, I am thankful I listened to my friend’s advice. What you may not realize is that how you handle you student loans, in fact, reflects and affects you. As a lawyer, you are a fiduciary with obligations to your clients. Potential employers, as well as the character and fitness committee, know that your résumé highlights how great you are; however, your credit score tells them how responsible you have been with the largest financial obligations most of us have yet to undertake. How you manage your student loans directly affects your access to, and cost of, credit. Whether you are looking to buy a home or car, or a hang up your own shingle, how you have managed your student loans will affect your life choices. I get that many young lawyers have exorbitant debt and may not be able to pay off these loans as quickly as they may like; however, it is important that you be your own advocate and communicate with your lenders to ensure that your student loans are kept in good standing. Especially when you are first out of law school and your student loan debt is at its peak, the missed payments and higher interest rates will have exponential ramifications on your financial and professional well being. Just do it! A mentor once told me, “there are people who do, and those who have a reasonable
You do not have to take over the organization, but you should be active and make an effort to accomplish something within that group. Stand out in the organization by organizing an event, writing an article, editing an amicus brief, or volunteering to do some pro bono. Just don’t become the “never seen dues paying member.” No matter how busy you feel you are, in hindsight, I am sure you will reflect upon how you could have found a way to have been more involved. Remember, you are fortunate to be a member of a highly regarded profession, in the greatest city in the world. The potential for clients and professional opportunities are almost endless. However, you are not likely to catch a break if you do not get involved. Remember that luck favors the prepared. Develop a Stellar Reputation Within a population of over eight million people, New York City has over 77,000 lawyers. A judge once told me that New
York’s legal community is small and that your reputation will precede you. Having been in practice a few years, I can tell you that the longer you are a lawyer, the smaller the legal community becomes. Understand that how you interact with others does not occur in a vacuum. Yes our legal system is “adversarial,” but there is a difference between zealous advocacy and being a jerk. As a professional, you should always maintain a courteous disposition because someday you will be calling on a fellow lawyer seeking a courtesy yourself. You will find that it takes the same amount of effort to develop a reputation of being a sharp and courteous lawyer as it does to become known as the lawyer who is discourteous and unprofessional. Food for Thought Take the time to learn everything about the cases you handle. When a client comes to you, or a partner assigns you a case, do not rush through the minutiae of investigating the who, what, why, where, and when of your case. Do your own investigation and research. If you rely on the work of others, you will not know everything about your case and the mistakes of others can harm both you and your client. As you are developing your professional career and work habits, take your time to that you go step-by-step through the process. Do not rush; your clients will be more accepting of the legal bills for your professional services then they will of your careless error costing them their case.
Learn to see and plan for the bigger picture. Think outside the box! While your clients’ issues may be legal in nature, their problems exist outside legal papers and the courtroom and your actions as their lawyer have real-life repercussions. Think to yourself of how your actions in representing your clients will affect their lives after the case is resolved and govern yourself accordingly. Never lose sight of your client’s end goal. You will be amazed at how many times legal problems can be resolved with some common sense and creativity. A final tip is to find a mentor and eventually become a mentor. As a young lawyer, there is a lot to learn. A mentor will not only teach you the law, but also the nuts and bolts of the legal practice based on his/her experiences. In time, as you get situated into your legal career, find a young lawyer to mentor. Giving back and helping others is not only a testament to what you have learned, it is very rewarding. I hope that you find time to give back to the community over the course of your promising legal career. Darren R. Marks is a Member of Smith Mazure Director Wilkens Young & Yagerman, PC and a NYCLA member. Darren has spent the last three years as the Treasurer of the Lexington Democratic Club, as well as a Delegate to the New York County Democratic Judicial Nominating Convention. Darren is a 2006 graduate of Touro Law Center.
14 May 2012 / The New York County Lawyer
Predictive Coding Lessons from Judge Peck’s Opinion in Da Silva Moore
By Matthew F. Knouff This article was extracted from a four-part series published online on the Lawyer to Lawyer blog in March 2012. The ideas and opinions expressed in this article are solely the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Peck, CDS Legal, or any other person or entity. One would be hard-pressed to find a legal topic hotter than predictive coding at the moment. Whether your buzz term of choice is “computer-assisted review,” “technology-assisted review,” “predictive coding,” or “computer-assisted coding,” the debate over the use of this new technology has revolved around misconceptions of its role in the discovery process and fears about its efficacy in comparison to other methods of search and retrieval. In Monique Da Silva Moore, v. Publicis Groupe & MSL Group 11 Civ. 1279 (S.D.N.Y. Feb 24, 2012), the Honorable Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Peck, United States Magistrate Judge for the Southern District of New York, gives us the first opinion approving the use of computerassisted review, which in his article Search, Forward from the October 2011 edition of Law Technology News he defines as “tools…that use sophisticated algorithms to enable the computer to determine relevance, based on interaction with (i.e. training by) a human reviewer.” Those who looked to Judge Peck’s commentary in Search, Forward as a “sign of judicial approval” now have a ruling which can begin to assuage the fears associated with breaking from the costly and oft-ineffective traditions of exhaustive human review and search methodologies solely built on keywords. In Da Silva Moore, a gender discrimination case, the parties discussed an electronic discovery protocol which included the use of predictive coding. A dispute arose not over the use of the actual technology, but rather over the protocol surrounding its use. In brief, the ESI protocol proposed by the defendant (MSL), and objected to in its entirety by the plaintiffs, included the following steps: (1) MSL would use technology to generate a random sample set from the document universe (2,399 documents out of approximately three million). This sample would be reviewed and coded according to certain categories (e.g. relevance, privilege, and issuerelation), beginning the process of creating the seed sets used to train the computer. In addition, MSL would use “judgmental sampling” techniques that leveraged the use of keywords (including those proposed by plaintiffs), Boolean operators, conceptual searches, and similar methods, to identify documents to further develop the seed sets. (2) The non-privileged results from this initial phase would be reviewed by plaintiffs’ counsel with any disputes regarding coding being subject to conference. The resultant sets would be the initial seed sets used to code the full document universe. (3) The initial seed sets would be run against the entire corpus to identify similar documents. MSL would then review sample sets of at least 500 computer-coded documents to evaluate coding decisions, make any
changes, and further train the system. At least seven iterations of refinement would be performed. Plaintiffs would receive all documents reviewed during each iteration, allowing them the opportunity to participate in calibrating the predictive process. (4) The entire set of relevant documents following the final iteration would be reviewed by defense counsel. MSL then proposed cost-shifting for the review and production of documents exceeding the 40,000 mark. (5) MSL would perform quality control by reviewing a random sample of documents excluded during the computer-assisted review process as being non-responsive. These documents would be provided to plaintiffs for review to determine if the levels of recall and precision are acceptable. In evaluating MSL’s proposed ESI protocol and plaintiffs’ objections thereto, Judge Peck debunked myths, reiterated some old lessons, and provided counsel with much needed guidance. In an age where increasing volumes of ESI highlight the shortcomings of traditional search and retrieval methods, the need to effectuate the “just, speedy, and inexpensive determination” requires that legal practitioners adapt accordingly. Computer-assisted review can provide counsel with a means to tackle the realities of modern litigation discovery head on. Whether you decide to take the leap into computer-assisted review technology now that you “no longer have to worry about being the ‘first’ or a ‘guinea pig’” as Judge Peck comments, or decide to resist the Matrix with all your might, it behooves you to consider eleven key lessons that can be gleaned from Peck’s opinion: 1. Technology-assisted review is as effective, if not more so, than manual review. The long-held belief that manual review is the most effective method for finding all the relevant documents during discovery is a myth. Although humans are very smart, and have big brains that rival the reasoning power of any computer, they get fatigued, they make mistakes, and they can produce wildly divergent decisions even when evaluating the same documents. Judge Peck sites various scholarly works to support his opinion that “statistics clearly show that computerized searches are at least as accurate, if not more so, than manual review.” 2. The standard for review is not perfection; rather the process should be better than the alternatives at a lower cost. A perfect methodology for returning 100 percent of all the relevant information in a case has never existed and probably never will exist. Judge Peck explicitly concedes that computer-assisted review is not perfect, and reiterates Judge Shira Scheindlin’s observation in Pension Committee that parties are not expected to meet such a standard. Rather, the aim is to promote FRCP’s mandate for “‘the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination’ of lawsuits” reinforced by the FRCP 26(b)(2)(C)’s proportionality doctrine. In comparing predictive coding to keyword searching, Judge Peck illustrates
numerous shortcomings associated with keywords including the inherent problems in selecting terms without having the requisite knowledge about a dataset, over-inclusiveness, and their usual lack of effectiveness. 3. Proportionality plays a key role in developing a protocol for computer-assisted review, but is evaluated in light of the results. Judge Peck rejected the part of MSL’s proposed ESI protocol that limited review and production to the top 40,000 documents returned by the ESI protocol: “…proportionality requires consideration of results as well as costs. And if stopping at 40,000 is going to leave a tremendous number of highly likely responsive documents unproduced, [MSL’s proposed cutoff] doesn’t work.” The threshold for where a producing party can rely on technology to corral an unnecessarily high review and production burden depends on an analysis of the results rather than setting an arbitrary cap. This does not mean that early agreement on such a cap is not possible or even desirable, but costs “cannot be considered in isolation from the results of the predictive coding process and the amount at issue in the litigation.” 4. FRE 702 and Daubert are not applicable to search methodology during discovery. In holding that MSL’s ESI protocol did not run afoul of FRE 702, Judge Peck highlighted that FRE 702 and Daubert apply to the admissibility of expert testimony at trial, not to search and retrieval methodology during the discovery process. 5. Humans are not being replaced by technology. A common, though cartoonish, concern involves a veritable doomsday scenario where attorneys are replaced by machines and the legal profession as we know it ceases to exist. Counsel can rest easy. Predictive coding is meant to help humans practice law. Actual people are necessary to “train” the system by selecting a seed set, reviewing resultant sets, and refining the protocol. Keep in mind that counsel still has to use the information to build a case. We are a long way from robots making courtroom appearances. Think of computerassisted review technology as another tool in your arsenal; albeit a tool that only works effectively within a defined process. 6. FRCP 26(g)(1) does not require counsel to certify that a production is “complete.” In objecting to Judge Peck’s acceptance of defendant’s ESI protocol, plaintiffs argued that the court provided “unlawful cover” for defense counsel who has a duty to certify the “completeness” of document productions under FRCP 26(g)(A)(1). Judge Peck highlighted plaintiffs’ erroneous reliance on this subsection which applies to initial disclosures. FRCP 26(g)(1)(B) applies to discovery and incorporates proportionality under FRCP 26(b)(2)(C) as opposed to a requirement for “completeness.” 7. Cooperation and transparency are important considerations for gaining acceptance from the bench.
Judge Peck noted his strong endorsement of the Sedona Conference Cooperation Proclamation and stated that “the best solution in the entire area of electronic discovery is cooperation among counsel.” The defendant MSL was extremely transparent with its ESI protocol in that “plaintiff [could] see how [defendant] has coded every e-mail used in the seed set (both relevant and non-relevant).” Judge Peck went on to state that defendant’s “transparency in its proposed ESI search protocol made it easier for the Court to approve the use of predictive coding.” 8. Leverage your client’s knowledge to help develop the search protocol. Judge Peck expressed surprise that “in many cases counsel do not appear to have sought and utilized their client’s knowledge about the opposing party’s custodians and document resources.” When handling eDiscovery in modern litigation you must know your client’s data, key custodians, business terminology, and internal processes. Having this type of knowledge in advance will not only provide many strategic advantages, but when you openly share information about target custodians and your proposed search methodology, “opposing counsel and the Court are more apt to agree to your approach (at least as phase one without prejudice).” 9. Phased discovery can help control costs. MSL proposed a phased approach to discovery where 30 custodians would be reviewed during an initial phase, after which a second phase would be considered. The Court agreed with this approach and addressed plaintiffs’ concern over having enough time to complete both phases by extending the timeframe for discovery if necessary. With this approach MSL was able to avoid the up-front costs of searching seven additional custodians. In addition, Judge Peck held that MSL’s CEO, whose emails were in France and likely protected by French privacy laws, should not be reviewed initially because those emails could be obtained through various custodians located in New York. This also helped reduce the costs associated with complex cross-border eDiscovery efforts. 10. Predictive coding is not necessarily appropriate for every case. Judge Peck stated several times that he approved of computer-assisted review in “appropriate cases.” In the same manner that a chainsaw is not the best tool for all types of yard work, technology-assisted review is not the ideal tool in all cases. In Da Silva Moore it was deemed appropriate, in part, because of the large document universe. Some may argue that every case involving millions of records does not necessarily require computer-assisted review since there are several other factors that can weigh on such a decision. I submit, however, that it is important to at least evaluate whether computerassisted review would be an appropriate solution. If it can help cut costs, defensibly streamline the dis(See Coding Lessons on page 15)
May 2012 / The New York County Lawyer 15
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Coding Lessons (Continued from page 14)
covery process, reduce burden on all parties (including the court), and identify relevant information more effectively than any alternative method, there would appear to me to be a strong case for using computerassisted review. 11. Rely on a trusted vendor to lend their expertise. Without endorsing any specific vendor, Judge Peck noted that service providers can be helpful even when counsel is knowledgeable about ESI issues. Unfortunately, all vendors are not created equal. It is important to vet providers of computer-assisted review for their knowledge of the technology as well as their ability to implement processes and protocols to ensure its successful deploy-
Starting Your Practice (Continued From Page 11)
dential neighborhood, I assume the lawyer can’t afford an office. Other lawyers—and more importantly, potential clients—may well make the same assumption. Since the fee for even a very small legal matter is equivalent to several months of rent at a virtual office, to me it just doesn’t make sense to use your home address. If you lose even one or two potential clients as a result, you’ve lost money. My suggestion is that, if possible, you should try to rent an interior office in the best law suite that you can find. When evaluating suites, be sure to consider not just the physical space, but the lawyers who occupy it. Talk to as many of them as possible before committing and see if you develop a rapport. The ideal situation might be to move into an office with one senior attorney in your practice area and the rest in other practice areas. If you can befriend everyone in your suite, then the senior attorney would be available to you as a resource and possibly give you contract work, while the other attorneys may refer you clients that can’t afford the senior attorney’s hourly rates. But more important than trying to find
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ment. Make sure you ask your vendor lots of questions until you are comfortable that they can successfully show how their processes are defensible when a judge or opposing party comes calling. Da Silva Moore significantly advances the case for predictive coding. Judge Peck ruled that its use was warranted given: “(1) the parties’ agreement, (2) the vast amount of ESI to be reviewed (over three million documents), (3) the superiority of computer-assisted review to the available alternatives (i.e., linear manual review or keyword searches), (4) the need for cost effectiveness and proportionality under Rule 26(b)(2)(C), and (5) the transparent process proposed by the [defendant].” While it appears that we have a long way to go before computer-assisted review supplants the traditional, and more costly, manual review
that precise situation is to find a suite with smart, friendly lawyers that may be able to serve as mentors, regardless of their practice areas. Your online office Amazingly, some lawyers still don’t even have a basic, informational website. In my view, it’s a must. Even if you don’t aspire to generate new clients from your online presence, a basic website may nevertheless prevent you from losing business. For example, a friend might give someone they know your name, but that person decides to Google you before calling (these days, that is probably the rule rather than the exception). If that client cannot find out anything about you—or, worse, finds only your Facebook profile that says that your favorite movie is “The Hangover”—you may well lose that client and never know it. So, how do you do it? Again, I think you have three options: you can do it yourself, you can configure an out-of-the-box lawyer website, or you can have a web designer/ developer create a custom site for you. Doing it yourself is not as hard as you think. One option is to develop your site on Blogger. If you are at least a little tech savvy and, set aside a few hours you
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methods, the new technology and associated processes present a means to address the problems associated with expanding amounts of ESI and the associated eDiscovery burdens that may arise. The legal industry does not exist in isolation from developments in technology, but rather, is intimately intertwined with such advancement. As a result, legal practitioners must adapt. With his opinion in Da Silva Moore, Judge Peck gives all legal professionals a means to jut ahead a few positions on the evolutionary chart.
tion. Plaintiffs sited various remarks made by Judge Peck as well as writings and industry appearances showing his support of predictive coding. On April 26, Southern District Judge Andrew Carter upheld Peck’s ruling. Finding that there exists no basis to hold Peck’s conclusion that “the use of predictive coding software as specified in the ESI protocol is more appropriate than keyword searching” as clearly erroneous or contrary to law, Judge Carter denied Plaintiffs’ objections. He further stated that “there is simply no review tool that guarantees perfection.”
Matthew F. Knouff serves as General Counsel & eDiscovery Counsel at Complete Discovery Source, a NYCLA benefits partner, and is a NYCLA member. For more information about predictive coding technologies and processes, contact Matthew at email@example.com or 212813-7006, or visit www.cdslegal.com.
1. On April 13, 2012, plaintiffs filed a formal motion to recuse or disqualify Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck alleging that the “cumulative effect” of his statements as well as his conduct “in the aggregate” presented the appearance of partiality towards the defendant’s posi-
can figure out how to create a site, configure it with different pages and gadgets, put some content in there, and customize the banner. If you Google “remove blogger navbar,” you can even find instructions on how to remove the annoying blue bar at the top of the page. For an example, see my website at www.andrews-law.net. Other options for do-it-yourself websites are Weebly (www.weebly.com) and WordPress (www.wordpress.com). Option number two is to configure an out-of-the-box website using a standard template. For example, see www.1and1.com and www.lawyersites.net. The up-front costs are low, and the monthly fees appear to be reasonable. You can even configure an attorney website for free at www.lawfirm911.com, but note that if you upgrade to its “premium version,” there is a setup fee of $500 as well as a seemingly outrageous monthly fee of $300. Option three is to hire either a company or an independent web designer to develop and host your site. The cost depends on your requirements. An independent developer may charge a reasonable, flat fee for your website, no monthly fee, and even throw in a year or more of free
hosting of the site. Hosting is very cheap these days; see, for example: www.bluehost.com. If you wish, you can check out my side business at www.andrewswebsites.com, which provides a basic site with a blog for a flat fee. A larger company is more likely to charge an ongoing monthly fee for hosting, “software updates,” and perhaps some SEO (search engine optimization) services. However, if you are looking to gain customers through search, going with a larger company may prove advantageous if they are able to develop links to your site that either generate traffic or improve your SEO. Take a look at the websites of several law firms to get a feel for what you want. Then take a look at each of the options mentioned above to start thinking about how you want to go about it. Again, doing it yourself really is not that hard with today’s technology. If you have decided to start your own practice, or are considering it, congratulations! Hopefully, the information in this article will help you get your two “offices”—physical and online—in order. Bradley H. Andrews, Esq., is a collaborative divorce attorney and NYCLA member.
16 May 2012 / The New York County Lawyer