It’s something you hear when you’re starting your career (and something you’ll hear constantly, throughout your career, if you’re a nonconformist): “You have to be more professional.” Of course, that begs the question, just how does one “be professional” in the first place?
Think about what your definition for professionalism has been. It’s not something you came up with yourself. No one is coloring a particularly sweet giraffe in kindergarten thinking: “How can I do this kindergarten thing in a more professional manner?”
You don’t start thinking about this notion of professionalism until you start working — and not because you feel like it’s the right thing to be doing, either. Someone (your first boss, a teacher priding himself on remaining grounded in “real life”) started drilling the idea into your head. “Professionalism” — never was there a finer term to air-quote. … READ THE REST
A LAWYER'S LIFE
Yesterday, Curmudgeon Otto Sorts reflected on his personal definition of success, admitting it may be a bit outdated. So what might an updated definition entail, as more lawyers shed traditional trappings of “a lawyer’s life” for more independent, even creative, workstyles? We asked a few lawyers we admire to tell us what success means to them. Wise words from Nicole Bradick, Peter Carayiannis, Simon Chester, Chuck Coulter, Roy Ginsburg, Chris Hargreaves, Erik Heels, Vedia Jones-Richardson, Marc Lauritsen, Donna Neff, Ralph Pais and Greg Siskind. … READ THE REST
“What is the most important thing to your successful career?” Shelly asked earnestly.
It was flattering to be asked. This young associate was interviewing the more successful senior attorneys in the firm to help her figure out how to manage her own legal career. But I asked her to come back later, so I had time to think on it.
I’ve had a good life, not so different from others. But what is success? How do I measure it? … READ THE REST
CLIENT DATA SECURITY
If any of your clients are involved with health care, you know how highly regulated the field is. You may think you are complying with all the regulations and have lock-tight security measures in place at your firm. But you could be wrong.
Consider that there have been 92 breaches involving personal health information (PHI) so far this year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights’ database. Thirty-two percent of those breaches were caused by IT incidents or hacking. Either due to lax security practices or cyberattacks, personally identifiable information such as medical records and payment history was open to unauthorized third parties.
When you work with PHI, you need to keep your firm steps ahead of hackers and away from accidental data breaches — and be aware of your responsibilities. As a law firm “business associate” handling PHI, you need to understand what the government expects of you, and where you may be vulnerable. … READ THE REST
The Friday Five
Lawyers often lament: “I’ve been on LinkedIn for years, but I’ve never experienced any benefit from it.” What most mean is: “I’ve never gotten any work from it.” Lack of LinkedIn success is due to two factors. The first is lack of understanding of the platform’s tools. The second, more important factor is lack of understanding of its purpose.
Many lawyers aspire for connections, with the “500+” designation considered a benchmark for success. But LinkedIn isn’t about building connections, it’s about building relationships. Don’t get me wrong — connections are important, but only as a means to an end. The “end” is creating meaningful, lasting relationships with your connections. And this requires more than simply extending and accepting invitations.
As in all facets of life, the best way to build relationships is to give of oneself. You give your wisdom, and your connections give their time and attention. Over time, as you produce and share great content, you’ll be thought of as a resource, not a connection. So what’s the best way to expand your reach and your relationships on LinkedIn? Start posting articles using LinkedIn Pulse. … READ THE REST
In a few months, I will celebrate my third anniversary as a solo practitioner. Without question, this experience has been the most rewarding of my nearly 16 years practicing labor and employment law. In reflecting on this arbitrary milestone, I realize that I’ve amassed a few nuggets of useful information to share with others who are thinking about taking the leap to their own solo practice. Here are seven tidbits I hope you find useful.