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The New York Legal News Round Up

Latest_news It's the middle of the week and time for the weekly round up of interesting New York law-related news headlines:


The High Cost of Lawyering

Drlogo11

This week's Daily Record column is entitled "The high cost of lawyering."

A pdf of the article can be found here and my past Daily Record articles can be accessed here.

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The high cost of lawyering

“Lawyers who work harder [to make partner, to earn more money], and then tell themselves they don’t have time now for family and friends, are on a very slippery slope. They may think they are only postponing the opportunity [to be a better parent, a more loving spouse], but in fact they are sacrificing that opportunity.”

—WILLIAMH. REHNQUIST

I am now thoroughly depressed about my decision to become a lawyer.

Why?

Because I had the misfortune to stumble upon two recent reports concluding that the very skills that contribute to professional success of lawyers are detrimental to their mental health, their personal relationships and their overall physical health.

Yes, it’s true: The traits we’ve cultivated so carefully —that allow us to represent zealously and meticulously our client’s interests —don’t serve us very well outside of the legal arena.

Imagine that.

As a result, compared to other professions, lawyers are more inclined to suffer from alcohol abuse, drug addiction and depression.

Alison Grant’s recent article from The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer —“Cleveland bar raises awareness of lawyers’ depression” —describes the conundrum:

[Lawyers] are praised and highly paid for being aggressive, intellectual and emotionally detached. … Pessimism backfires in most pursuits —insurance agents make fewer sales attempts, swimmers take longer to bounce back from substandard swims. But law is an exception. … If ‘prudent’ is substituted for the pejorative ‘pessimistic,’ it makes sense. A cautious, skeptical attorney sees problems that could hurt clients. But pessimism also harms family life and friendships.

In other words, as a group, we’re not exactly the life of the party, as we repeatedly interrupt other party goers, seek clarity in the fact patterns of their jokes and pick apart the punch lines.

Apparently, we’re not exactly a barrel of laughs at home either. According to Dr. Fiona Travis, those personality traits that are stereotypically lawyer-like contribute very little toward healthy a marriage.

In her blog post at Lawyer Avenue “Marry a Lawyer? Proceed With Caution,” Travis explains that the skills that serve us exceedingly well in the courtroom don’t translate very well to the home front:

[C]ertain lawyerly goals and techniques are at cross-purposes with the behaviors that foster good marriages —for example, win (compromise), doubt (trust), cross-examine (discuss), argue (admit error), attack (accept fallibility in self and others), avoid vulnerability (concede), think for others (respect partner’s opinions and ideas), deny weakness (allow for vulnerability), hinder and delay (cooperate).

So what does it all mean to those of us who unwittingly drank the lawyer Kool-Aid in law school? Are our social and personal lives doomed for all of eternity? If we attempt to modify our behavior at home, will we lose our edge in the courtroom, become financially destitute and despondent?

Is there a middle ground that will allow us to be mediocre, yet functional, both at work and at home? Is that even a viable alternative or is languishing in mediocrity a sentence worse than death for most over-achieving lawyers?

I don’t know about you, but I need to think about the paradox a bit more.

I’m going to lock myself in my office with a bottle of wine, conduct extensive research on the issue, pick apart the fact patterns, examine each and every possible conclusion, then share the results of my research with the next poor, unfortunate soul who tries to tell me a convoluted, confusing joke.

That’ll teach ‘em.


The New York Legal Blog Round Up

Blawgs It's a cold, cold Monday and time for the weekly round up of posts from my fellow New York law bloggers:

Coverage Counsel:

Juz the Fax:

New York Attorney Malpractice Blog:

New York Criminal Defense:

New York Injury Cases Blog:

Second Opinions:


Define That Term #312

Dictionary_2 The most recent term was Feres Doctrine, which is defined as:

A legal doctrine that prevents people who are injured as a result of military service from successfully suing the federal government under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The doctrine comes from the U.S. Supreme Court case Feres v. United States, in which servicemen who picked up highly radioactive weapons fragments from a crashed airplane were not permitted to recover damages from the government. Also known as the Feres-Stencel doctrine or the Feres rule.

No one guessed this time around.

Today's term is:

preference relative.

As always, no dictionaries please.


The New York Legal News Round Up

Latest_news It's time for the weekly round up of New York law-related headlines:


The New York Legal Blog Round Up

Blawgs It's time, once again, for the weekly round up of blog posts from my fellow New York law bloggers:

The Buffalo Lawyer:

Coverage Counsel:

New York Attorney Malpractice Blog:

New York Civil Law:

New York Criminal Defense:

New York Personal Injury Law Blog:

Rochester Family Lawyer:


New York Legal News Round Up

Latest_news  It's time for the weekly round up of New York law-related news headlines:


Are Social and Professional Networking Mutually Exclusive?

Drlogo11

This week's Daily Record column is entitled "Are Social and Professional Networking Mutually Exclusive?"

A pdf of the article can be found here and my past Daily Record articles can be accessed here.

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Are Social and Professional Networking Mutually Exclusive?

Last week I attended the LegalTech conference in New York City.

LegalTech New York is sponsored by Incisive Media and focuses on distributing information about technology and law practice management.

While at the event, I attended a number of seminars regarding Web 2.0 and its application and uses in legal practice-specifically in law firms. A prevailing theme that emerged from many panelists is that online social networking and online professional networking are two very different beasts.

In fact, one of the panelists carried two Blackberrys with him wherever he went —one for his professional network and the other for his social network. His expla-nation for his dual Blackberry methodology is that it helps him keep the two networks separate.

I wonder whether his attempts to keep the two separate is futile, at best, and pointless, at worst. And, even to the extent that online networking can be confined to the professional sphere, doing so is short sighted.

Networking can be loosely defined as “an extended group of people with similar interests or concerns who interact and remain in informal contact for mutual assistance or support.”

The online arena is a perfect place to network and for that very reason online networking has become mainstream. Facebook now has more than million 36 million members, Linked In has 8 millions users and Twitter has more than 3 million and is increasing exponentially in popularity.

The number of online legal networks is increasing as well. Many new forums and networking sites devoted to the legal field have been launched in the last year,  including include Lawlink (lawlink.com), Martindale-Hubbell’s Connected (martin-
dale.com/connected) and the American Bar Association’s legal network, Legally Minded (legallyminded.com).

While it is encouraging to see established legal organizations attempt to participate in the Web 2.0 world, such forums are not, in my opinion, nearly as useful as the mainstream networking sites.

Certainly useful information can be gleaned from the sites; how- ever, busy lawyers have only  a limited amount of time to devote to networking, and their time would be better spent at mainstream online networking sites.

Furthermore, attempting to limit online participation to networks devoted to the legal field is counterintuitive, as is attempting to separate so-called social networking from professional networking.

Social and professional networking necessarily overlap. A person’s interests are not limited to their profession unless, of course, the person is an unbelievably one
dimensional and boring human being. People are more than their careers.

Separating one’s professional and social online identities and interactions is a mistake. It is the overlap between the two that makes a lawyer more likeable, more approachable and more human.

People would rather hire a lawyer who is person to whom they can relate —someone with whom they can connect — and understand. If you limit your social networking to a circle of people you already know, you miss out on the chance to interact with
potential clients on a more personal level.

Successful networking, therefore, doesn’t occur in such a delineated fashion and lawyers who believe that they can or should control and separate their online networks in such a way are missing the point. In the process, they’re also missing out on opportunities to connect with others, including potential referrers and clients.

The social and professional arenas are not mutually exclusive. They can and should overlap since it is the overlap that makes all the difference.


The New York Legal Blog Round Up

Blawgs It's Monday and time for the weekly round up of posts from my fellow New York legal bloggers:

Coverage Counsel:

New York Criminal Defense Blog:

New York Injury Cases Blog:

New York Public Personnel Law Blog:

Rochester Family Lawyer:

The Law Office of Jeena R. Belil Blog:

CPLR Blog: