Why a Law Degree is Actually a Business License
[00:00:00] We're going to get started. Today is a pretty interesting topic and it's something that a lot of attorneys don't think about, but traditionally is something that attorneys have thought about when they went to law school and also when they come out of law school.
[00:00:14] And that's the idea that your law degree is a business license. And a lot of times attorneys don't necessarily think of that. Depending on where you went to law school or what your future you think looks like, it's always very important to think about running a business as an attorney and whether or not that's in a law firm or you're running it on your own because the more you think about the fact that you are really running a business the better off you're actually going to be and the practice of law.
[00:00:37] And unfortunately lots of attorneys do not think of their careers that way. And because of that, they they many times are dependent on other people. And there's a whole psychology that I'm going to cover today, which is the difference between thinking like an employee inside of a law firm or thinking like the law firm is actually a business that works for you.
[00:00:56]If you work in a law firm or you can always go out on your own and start a [00:01:00] business as an attorney. Much in what I'm saying, goes against what people traditionally think of when they think of the legal profession and the law is a profession, but the problem is you can quickly find yourself in a dead-end job.
[00:01:14] You can find yourself unemployed your skills and specialty can often become very irrelevant in the marketplace quickly. And you can also often find yourself in geographic locations. Where there is no work. And this kind of thing is something that I see on a daily basis. I see in my profession and this professional that I do, I see attorneys all the time that are in locations where they can't get jobs.
[00:01:37] I see people where they're not advancing. I see people with skills that are no longer relevant. And the problem is that no one really seems to think that, take the time to really think about their careers as businesses. And and that's really the most important way for you to think.
[00:01:53]If you're a good business manager career can go very far. If you ignore business realities in terms of the way that your business [00:02:00] works, or you can get into a lot of trouble and. I see attorneys go out of business all the time. I see them sometimes go out of business right when their career start.
[00:02:09] I see other attorneys go out of business 10 years in or 15 years in. And your objective as a business person always needs to be, to stay in the business and always have work and and stuff to do, and hopefully have a grownup. So I'm gonna I'm going to examine today and talk about for four different things or, three different things, the first is that your career needs to have a marketable product. And I'm going to talk about how to do that. I'm going to look at your brand and in terms of how to, market your brand and how to have a brand in the M and a, and. No, they go Mark it. And then I'm also gonna talk to you about how to explore and how to market your product to be successful.
[00:02:44] And what I do a lot of times in my job is I'm, when we do resume workshops and so forth, I'm trying to help people create a marketable product. And then when I do a lot of writing on my personal blog, which is Harrison barnes.com, which kind of talks about how to come up with a personal [00:03:00] brand that you can use.
[00:03:00] And then and then I also what we do at BCG and lock crossing in different companies, as we talk about how to market your product, meaning how to find the most firms and places to apply to, and most in-house places. And and so this is for attorneys obviously, but it applies to pretty much anybody.
[00:03:17]If you think about it the first thing is that your career needs a marketable product and that's obviously quite obvious, but the problem is that your, the product qualities, what goes into making your product will initially determine how much you can sell your product for aware.
[00:03:32]A business will sell all sorts of things and your business as a attorney is going to be selling yourself, but shortly in your career when your career starts, so start having a brand and and there'll be particular attributes and so forth that characterize your brand and those attributes are going to be pretty obvious, right.
[00:03:48]The becoming an attorney for the most part is something that's starts. When many people are in college and or even before they go to college, Penn and the college they go to. So the quality of the [00:04:00] university you go to, obviously it has some impact on. The type of law firm you're going into, and it has an impact on the law school you attend and and that can have something to do with it.
[00:04:08]And then when you go to law school either, how well you perform in law school is another thing and that's important. And and the quality. So you, you get for your brand while you're in law school. If you're on a journal and you're doing well are all going to be products, product qualities and and then you're obviously investing money in your product by the cost of the school and and how hard you work and what you give up in the short term to do well in school.
[00:04:31] And these things are all going determine how much you can charge. The people that, you know, and I hate to say this, but the people that do go to the best schools and do the best there, have the ability to charge the most for their product and do so in the largest market.
[00:04:44] So they can go into the most competitive markets and they can do well. And if you don't go to, if your product is not from from the, from the best schools all the time it's not as easy to do. You have to do very well. And then the next step you have to to make your product market you have take the bar exam.
[00:05:00] [00:04:59] And and even in California, in New York, there's lots of people that, have very good grades and stuff in law school. And for whatever reason it takes them a while to pass the bar exam because they don't study or whatever as much as they should. So you're basically the way to think about it is when you choose to go to law school you've made a lot of decisions and those decisions are going to lead you essentially to have a business and you're going to sell the product of that business to a law firm corporation or government or someone else.
[00:05:24] And but you're running a business and you have to decide what that business stands for and what it means. And and your early brand is going to be your college and law school and where you summered and so forth. And and some people, when they come out of law school have very hot brands meaning there may be a lot of, very desirable things about you or they may not.
[00:05:42] So it doesn't really matter. Your brand will certainly evolve throughout its career and your career, but your brand is going to have some early product qualities that are important. And then to stay in business you always have to have a marketable product. What that means is you're going to have lots of decisions along the way, about how to operate your [00:06:00] business, your, and every decision.
[00:06:01] And you make every decision, a business makes is going to determine the marketability of its product. If someone decides to change the formula to Coke, that's going to have a. An effect on the marketability of their product, or if somebody decides to not invest in a new model year for a car, that's going to have a, an impact.
[00:06:20] So every decision you make is going to determine how marketable you are. And and there's so many choices. When you come out of school, you have to decide and all throughout your career, you have to decide, do you want to be a big firm, lawyer? Do you want to be a solo lawyer? And you want to be a government attorney or an in-house attorney, you have to make all these decisions.
[00:06:38] And and those are very important. And so you're always in charge of your legal career, but the decisions you make and you have to remember that each of them is going to go into how marketable your product is in the future. And which is important. The better decisions you make, the more marketable you're going to be in the future.
[00:06:54] And and there's certain aspects of your product that are never going to change. You're never going to be able to change a lot of things [00:07:00] you've done in the past your law school, by the way. For those of you that are young, fades into almost, very little importance in the long run, but the same things as the first firms you worked at and all sorts of things, but especially, you just need to understand that those are product qualities and and the most important thing for any businesses.
[00:07:17] You know how well that business is operating. And the business can certainly operate all sorts of different ways, but the most important thing is how other businesses operate. The lingo field is very much like the business world.
[00:07:28]All businesses need marketable products. And so if you're doing personal injury law at your own law firm, that's your product. You'll be able to sell that in certain areas to certain size audiences and not others. But everything is about having a marketable product throughout your career.
[00:07:42] So you need to have something that's marketable and and the point of any business, of course, it's to survive and for many businesses to grow. You know what a lot of people don't really think about this, I don't think they think that they can and make all sorts of decisions. And those decisions may not necessarily penalize them.
[00:07:58] But you have to really think in [00:08:00] terms of every decision you make is going to have a long-term impact on the business. So if you go in one direction, that's going to have an impact of the ability to sell yourself another thing and other ways in the future. One of the most important aspects is other businesses, the type of work you do.
[00:08:13] And if you do tax law, for example, you're gonna that's an issue if you're regardless of the practice area. And it's important to understand that the decisions that you make have more appeal to the market than others. You just want to make the best business decisions you need to think in terms of every decision that you make is that the right decision and and one of the ways that people do that of course, is by the practice areas they choose.
[00:08:37]Certain practice areas are more marketable than others. Railroad law, for example, used to be very popular different geographic areas. A lot can happen to you based on the geographic area you choose. Some people may choose to work in a smaller market where there is a lot of work in their practice here.
[00:08:54] Other people may want to be in in the larger market. So all of those things are going to have kind of a major bearing [00:09:00] on your whether or not you succeed. And then the next one of course has the importance of your brand to marketing your product. The type of attorney you are You know that it really has a lot to do with your brand and and and so that's really a lot of what I write about us as your brand and how you do things in the market.
[00:09:17] And and the brand that I talk about is how attorneys can be marketable the large and small law firms, but mainly large law firms. And and you need to have a good brand. Your own, if you're operating your own law firm the quality of your brand is gonna determine the number of clients you get on the type of clients you get.
[00:09:32]If you're practicing a large law firm the quality of your work your interpersonal relationships and whether or not you're ultimately bringing in business. And the point of all this is that most brands have certain attributes and over time you're going to have a specific brand as well.
[00:09:46] And and if you think about how companies operate companies spend a lot of time and money developing their brands. When you think of a BMW or Chevy, like you have a thought about what the Chevy brand means. You think you have thoughts about, compared to [00:10:00] BMW or the same thing with RC Cola compared to Coke.
[00:10:03] And and you're developing a brand, whatever decisions you make and where you work your practice area and all this is going to have. A lot to do with your brand. And most brands can charge more and and they're going to have a lot more interest. The better the brand, the more they can charge.
[00:10:17] And every decision that you make in terms of the places you choose to work, the type of work issues to do the schools, you go to the how long you stay at an employer, what, everything you do are going to really come across and be what your brand ultimately is. And and you need to think very carefully about what type of brand you want to have.
[00:10:36] The final thing I'm going to talk about today before taking questions is how to market your brand and product for the ma Maximo success. You need to think in terms of what's happening. So if your salary is a hundred thousand dollars a year in a firm then, just say in this, obviously your billing rate is probably higher than this, but if you were billing $200 an hour and you're expected to build 2000 hours a year, this means that your small businesses generating $400,000 a year, [00:11:00] and you're netting a hundred thousand dollars, which actually from a business standpoint, isn't that bad.
[00:11:05]And the reason is because most businesses do not clear 25% of the money that they generate. So that's actually not that bad. And I'm surprised that. Most attorneys are most interested in going I am surprised, I'm sorry. They're most law attorneys are interested in calling the law firms that have the most prestigious associated with them because these are all a business decision.
[00:11:25] And and and so you want the, the amount of money that you collect from our billions to increase. So most people are trying to earn more and more money consistently, and that's just how the process works, but if you're going to make more money at a better firm with a better brand that can bail you out at more money than you would at a brand that's not as good.
[00:11:41] And so the law firms are the best brands are typically gonna give you a better brand. And so everything that happens is a result of the amount of money you can charge for your services is ultimately responsible is going to be influenced by your brand. And and lots of attorneys, for example do not go to the best law [00:12:00] schools or they, many of them start out in a horrible law firms.
[00:12:03] As a matter of fact, the majority of attorneys do not go to the best law schools. The majority of the attorneys start out on the best law firms, but out of that group of people many of them become an extremely. Very extremely successful and I see it all the time. And and the reason that happens is because those attorneys become experts in marketing their brand.
[00:12:20] And I've seen so many examples of this. I I'm friends with several attorneys that have done this, and it's pretty remarkable. You can do this in almost any practice area you want and you don't have to go to the best schools. You don't have to have the best work in the best firms.
[00:12:33] You don't even need to work in a firm at all. If you understand that it's all about how you position yourself. And the most important thing that an attorney can do is really understand the rules of marketing. And if it was me and I was practicing law right now, I would be reading books about marketing and so forth pretty much all the time.
[00:12:52] I would want to do everything I could to understand marketing because I would want to position myself in the most effective way I would want to learn. How do I look like the [00:13:00] best product? How do I stand out from the crowd? How do I not become a commodity that gets pushed down by the market?
[00:13:05] How do I do all these things? And so becoming a student of marketing is a hugely important thing. And honestly, most of the success, most successful attorneys out there have become students who are marketing and they've learned about marketing and they they become very enthusiastic about marketing.
[00:13:20] And you should too. Marketing, if you understand marketing, you understand that then you'll be able to really put together a good brand. And and you should be studying marketing all the time. You should read several books a year if you're an attorney, because your brand will influence how you're seeing inside of your law firm, it'll influence how you're seeing.
[00:13:39] If you start your own practice, it'll influence the decisions you make. And so here just a couple of years, a couple of points the first thing is when you market anything, you need to appeal to people on a rational level, meaning that the cost makes sense, but you also need to appeal to them emotional level.
[00:13:56] And and with personal services personal services are very [00:14:00] important because people, they trust what you're going to do, and they don't have any real yardstick to measure the quality of what you're offering. So they just have to trust and the fact that you may offer a good service.
[00:14:10] And most law firms we'll prefer to hire a certain type of person. And that has a similar background. And and so your product actually may be a very good product in some areas of the country and others and some types of firms and not others. And that's fine.
[00:14:23]But one of the things that I noticed was I was I spent about a year not a year, but almost a year trying to write a book about personal injury attorneys. And I noticed that the personal injury attorneys typically never had an, a V they were very successful, but they typically didn't have a lot of big firm experience or the best law firm credentials, but they were just extremely good at marketing themselves in terms of the way they position themselves in terms of the way that arguments they were able to make to, for people to use them.
[00:14:52] The way that they talked about their victories and so forth. And so that's a very powerful thing is to be able to market yourself and very few people do that. [00:15:00] And and a lot of very good personal injury attorneys also. They're just very flamboyant and and and where you market yourself as important.
[00:15:06] So in small towns there's lots of very successful attorneys and and that may have grown up in the area and her very much like the people that are working for. And what's very interesting is even in in small towns, the most successful ones are the ones that are doing the most marketing.
[00:15:22] They're going to the local clubs and bar associations. There there are many times, there have billboards on the road and there, and people talk about them and this is just all marketing. You can really if you know how to do marketing, you can really run a big firm.
[00:15:35] Some of the, I know one attorney that, that runs a firm that, I, she does over $25 million a year in revenue, and it's in just a niche practice area. She never worked in a law firm. And and it's all self-taught. And but it's all about marketing and she spends all of her time marketing and hardly, and other people do the practice of law and she's become very successful and well-known in her specialty.
[00:15:57]Lots of people that they understand marketing [00:16:00] can do very well. And it's the same thing in big cities. In big cities you may try to get clients to come to your firm and so forth, and that's a marketing component and and how you're positioned and how you look to the clients.
[00:16:12] And and the large part of what I do for a living is position attorneys. And so today, if anyone has questions about how to market themselves and position themselves, I'd love to talk about that. It's something can certainly talk about all day. It's a very kind of interesting topic and and and one of the ways that that I get people jobs is basically by positioning them in a certain way, and I packaged them.
[00:16:32]So I know what to say in order to make them look attractive to a certain brand affirm and how to take their experience and make it look a certain way. And and in the work we do it's not dishonest. It's just knowing the things to say to a particular firm about a month that firm is buying and making them look like what the customer wants.
[00:16:51]So this is a short presentation today. But the big point I just want to make to everyone is really to think and the most important thing you can do in your career is to [00:17:00] think about your career as a small business, and think about your brand as a small business, think about your product and do everything you can to make sure there's a market for your product.
[00:17:11] And those are the most important things. And this is a ongoing topic. There's lots of articles that I've written on BCG about treating your career like a small business and and other aspects about why a life's, getting your your bar card and stuff as a licensed to open a business, but it really is.
[00:17:29] And so you need to think, like a business person, and that's the mistake that a lot of people make when they go into the legal field, they say, don't think about things from a business standpoint and, you should have, and every attorney should have some sort of fundamental to extent they can understanding of economics and understanding of business and understanding the marketing, because the more you do the less, you're going to be dependent on other people that are making those business decisions for you.
[00:17:53] So if you go to work in a law firm, other people are making business positions. And if you're a and so you need to [00:18:00] understand where you sit and all that stuff. So I will be back in one second. And when I come back, I will answer a question and you guys can ask questions about this, or pretty much any legal topic you are, career topic you guys have today.
[00:18:15]Hey, start for questions. Give me one second. Yeah,
[00:18:19]questions are always like my favorite part of the week, so I love getting questions. So let's see here. Second here.
[00:18:27]Okay. So the first question is this was pretty quick. They came out just as a two L student. I have an offer from a small law firm in non-major market and from a large prosecutor's office and a major market. I want to work in the market where the prosecutor is. But I do not want to, but I want to do so in a law firm, what is a better option for my situation?
[00:18:50]That's a great question. Depending on the quality of the small law firm I really you have a couple of different options. So the problem with working in a prosecutor's office is if you work in a prosecutor's [00:19:00] office, as you're in your second summer, people are gonna think that you want to be a prosecutor or work for the government.
[00:19:05] So it's going to be much more difficult for you to get a position in the future with a with with a law firm. When you're trying to get a job, the three law firms are also going to think that you may not have been able to get a job in a law firm. So there's a couple of different ways to think about that.
[00:19:21]If the small law firm is not in a major market, but it's a good law firm where you can see yourself having a future. Then I really would probably take the small law firm route if you believe that it could lead to an offer and a career. And if they do the type of work you're trying to do. So I don't know what kind of work you're trying to do.
[00:19:38] I'm assuming it's litigation because you're doing prosecution or it could be, I don't know, but but I, as a two L you're S the summer after your second year is very important, and it does set the tone if you work in the prosecutor's office. I would also wonder if that could lead to a job later on.
[00:19:53] Now, prosecutors can go into law firms later but typically as criminal defense or white collar defense [00:20:00] attorneys. So that's where that's going to lead. The big concern that I have in terms of what you're saying is the market that you're interested in. The most important thing for a young attorney is to have access to work and sorry to have access to work.
[00:20:13]You should be more concerned about the quality of the work you're getting as a young attorney and the type of work, then you should be concerned about the market you're working in. It's it honestly the market you're in when you're a law student and you're choosing what market to work in, most attorneys spend the majority of their days sitting behind a desk in an office building.
[00:20:33] So that's just kinda how it works. And and it doesn't really matter where you do that. And many cases it's nicer to meet a smaller market because you don't have as long of a commute. And it's easier to get ahead and it's not as hectic and you can have a bigger place to live and a car and all sorts of things.
[00:20:48]I believe that, access to work. And then the second one is working somewhere where there's a future somewhere with the future. So those are the two things that I keep in mind. Now, if you have to be in the market where the [00:21:00] you know, where the prosecutor's offices for whatever, the reason your family's there or something, then it's certainly okay to take that job.
[00:21:06] But my ops, my ability would, or my instinct would be to take the job in a smaller market. If you want to work in a law firm just offers a different, a better type of training because you're working for private clients when you work for the government. The problem with the government is the quality of the work can differ.
[00:21:21]The government often depending on the department of the government the state and the federal and different locations, there's different quality of work that's expected, and there's different qualities of attorneys and and working in a prosecutor's office is not. General commercial litigation it's prosecution.
[00:21:37] So it's not going to really prepare you to do anything but that, and the final thing is there's a lot of prosecutors do retire and want to do something else fairly early. So prosecution is a great job when you're young, but it can get pretty tiring and and often does not lead to anything else. Meaning it's very difficult to get into anything but criminal defense and so forth.
[00:21:56] Once you have that training, because it doesn't teach you certain [00:22:00] research skills and stuff, it teaches you how to go to trial and to do all sorts of things. But if that's not the kind of work you want to be in a law firm you may be better off. And the final thing is I hate to give people so much information here, but this is just a really loaded question.
[00:22:13] And you're at an important decision. So I do want to give you a lot of information, but the benefit of a law firm is a law firm compared to the government law firm compared to government is you can work. So you can work in a law firm attorneys practice. So if you come out of law school at 25, you can practice in practice teller, you're in your nineties.
[00:22:33]I've seen that happen. If you come out of law school as a out of as a prosecutor, you can start when you're 25 and most prosecutors. We'll leave by 45 or so. And then and then many of them are done after that, or just take other types of jobs. A law firm also offers senior prosecutor and it gets very tiring by the way, going into court all the time.
[00:22:52]45 could be a little bit young, but 55, maybe that's it. And then the other thing about a law firm, that's really good is a [00:23:00] law firm teaches you how to get business and then run your own business. And meaning you have clients and those clients we'll give you ongoing work and that's very powerful.
[00:23:10]And then that your income is unlimited depending on whatever you want to do. And then the quality of the work that's expected in a law firm can differ. But generally it's generally very high. Generally I compared and, and then highest at best firms.
[00:23:24] And because you're working for paying clients and when the govern at best. And so those are some of the things to think about when you're trying to choose between the government and where you want to be, but people that make are making that decision there's other reasons too.
[00:23:36]If you work for the government, there's lots of benefits of working for the government and the government has Often much better hours,
[00:23:43]better hours. There's a lot of respect you get from it working for the government respecting the community depending on if you're a prosecutor you're doing something important, arguably more important than a law firm from your beliefs, always, arguably, always important, almost argument, always more important.
[00:23:58]More important you get, the [00:24:00] lifetime health insurance many times and and all sorts of other benefits of the government and it can also leak politics more easily. And another thing, so there are benefits to the government, as well as working in the law firm.
[00:24:13] And I actually think this would be a good article. So I appreciate you asking this question. And but I personally if your goal is to work in a law firm, I would go to work in the smaller town. Okay. Let me see. Should I follow up with a thank you note after an interview, I know you mentioned can be helped with this customer you liked about the interview or should I do this right after the interviewer?
[00:24:31] Yes. So you should definitely when you can follow up with a thank you note after the interview and and you don't always need to write the the actual partners and people that you spoke with and you can sometimes, the recruiting person, but you sh say something along the lines of, I enjoy talking to district people and appreciate what they said about this.
[00:24:48] And so you bring back some things that they spoke about. So if one person mentioned attorneys get early experience so it's just say one person mentioned attorneys get really [00:25:00] experienced I don't know, attorney they're like parents. Another person mentioned let me just sit here.
[00:25:06] Great questions. I love all these questions. One person mentioned that attorneys let's see, get one person mentioned they chose the firm over a large firm because of the reputation, or I dunno, chose from over a large firm. Due to reputation and quality of work. I dunno, that, that sort of thing.
[00:25:26] So you would have those two things and then you would say, I appreciated talking to, who told me that, that I love the idea of being able to get early experience and that, that was very helpful. And I also enjoy talking to, who told me that, and explained that the reasons they chose the firm or because of the reputation and the quality of work that they do compared to, compared to other firms in the city or something I'd love to be part of that.
[00:25:48] And something along those lines. And so if you say those sorts of things that's a very positive, and that will jump out at the firm and make them much more enthusiastic about hiring you. You don't always [00:26:00] need to write directly to the person that you spoke to. It's often very useful if they hear what you wrote from someone else, but people do like that.
[00:26:08]The thing is people there's people always want to hire people that want the job. They hire people that want the job. So I've written a lot about thank you notes and stuff, but I I do believe that you don't always need to write to people directly.
[00:26:20] If word gets that you wrote something nice to someone else that actually many times can be much more helpful than doing the other opposite. Okay. Okay. This is a great question here. I love this one. If anybody has any follow-ups, I'd ask you the questions. I'm also happy to answer them. This question is what do you think of the best cities to start my own law firm?
[00:26:38] Would it be smarter stumbling on permanent smaller, large markets, Princeton? Should I open a suburb, the metropolitan area where I live or within the city limits? Okay. That's a great question. So that the best cities to start your own law firm tend to be there's a couple, it tends to be dependent on a lot of different things.
[00:26:55]So the best cities to start with I'm from so you have a couple of different [00:27:00] issues. The first is, where you're from is one that's often the most logical, especially if you feel like people that you grew up with and stuff think very positively, have you constantly support you?
[00:27:12] So where you're from is one. The next one is and that's just because you'll have a network and be able to hopefully talk to other people and, and have people refer people to, and you'll know neighborhoods and different people and and all that sort of thing.
[00:27:25] So that can be helpful. But the other thing to keep in mind also is. It depends on the practice area. So certain practice areas, if it was me, I would open in larger markets. So you have practice areas like, immigration is good for large markets. Trust in the States is good for large markets and these two practice areas, by the way also family law to a great extent consumer-facing practice areas are very good for large markets because because there's not a lot of competition, most attorneys do not go into these practice areas and you can do very well large markets doing consumer pacing practice here.
[00:27:59]For a large [00:28:00] markets. So I always recommend if you can to try to go into to the large markets for a lot of these consumer facing practice areas. Now, other ones, like I would say personal injury is going to be hard, but you could do it harder in large markets, just because of the cost of advertising.
[00:28:17]And reaching your target audience is going to be much more metropolitan but so that's how I'd recommend that, but you want to think about what your practice area and where you're most likely to have clients. So I would not open a, I would not open a personal injury law firm in a market with 5,000 people or 3000 people.
[00:28:33]You could, but I would not open a, I'm sorry, like a patent law firm and a market like that. But but you need to think about terms, state where your practice area, not, if you want to do general practice, you're much better off and in small markets.
[00:28:46] You can do general practice in smaller markets, which means you're doing everything that people know, so you can do those in smaller markets. And then if you want to do and then you also asked should you open a suburb, the metropolitan area where you live, or should you open the city limits?
[00:28:59]My [00:29:00] advice would be supper. So I'll just tell you my own history kind of with this. So I actually was thinking about and I did opening my own practice when I was practicing law. And what I ended up doing was I lived in a city called San Marino, which is. Outside of Los Angeles next to Pasadena.
[00:29:17] And I decided while I was practicing law to actually go and pick, and this is before the internet was really going to take out an ad in the yellow pages and to, market my services in San Marino. And we just went with an ad and the ad may be back then costs I dunno, $6,000 a year in my first three weeks of having the ad up.
[00:29:40]I got a I had I had multiple clients, meaning I would say, six, five plus clients walking in off the street or call that were good were very good clients. One of them was a major divorce. I don't know why this guy hired me. And I knew what I was doing.
[00:29:56] The other was a it was a DUI, but it was like a [00:30:00] $20,000 or $30,000 DUI that got out to my pay at another attorney and just all these different, cause there were, I don't know there was drugs and there was a wealthy families child, but there were just all these very good clients that walked in and I couldn't believe it.
[00:30:14] And so it's and this would have been, hundreds of thousands of dollars. And billable hours. So the point is, and I ultimately didn't take any of these cases or do anything with them because I was more interested in recruiting at that point. Cause I was learning about this business that I'm in and I just made more sense to me.
[00:30:31] But the point is that I was in a, I was in a suburb and and the suburb the people wanted to work with people from that suburb. And and so that was the kind of the issue does that make sense? I hope to work on that suburb. And having being from an area is very important.
[00:30:49]The closer you are to if you're a prominent area, like in a suburb, then you can become a go-to person and that area. And that's great. And so you just have to think about in terms of the practice [00:31:00] area you're in and the location, but I do think suburbs are better if you want to open your own practice and just a great question, by the way, if you have any follow up questions, I'd be happy to answer them.
[00:31:09] But I do think that having your own practice for a lot of attorneys, especially if you want to learn about marketing, having your own business, it's just like an awesome idea. Okay. Let's see. How can I develop the right mindset to see myself as a brand and grow my career that way. I feel stuck in the way that I see myself.
[00:31:26] Okay. Give me one second here. I will be back in one second or stuff like that.
[00:31:30]Sorry about that. Okay. So yeah, th that's how I would answer that question. Let me see the next one right now. Okay. How can I develop the right mindset to see myself as a brand and a career? I feel stuck in the way I see myself. Okay. This is a great question in terms of developing the right mindset and just see yourself as a brand.
[00:31:47] So a lot of what good attorneys do and all practice areas for the most part. And depends on where you want to be, as you need to be, become interested in self-improvement related things. And and that [00:32:00] just means like reading about marketing, it means about, how you see yourself.
[00:32:03] It means all the sorts of things. And so I've, I've been a student of since I was very since I was in I graduated from law school. Actually, no, since I've been in college, I've been a student of all sorts of, self-improvement type things.
[00:32:15] And there's all sorts of lots and lots of resources that you can do. There's Anthony Robbins there's there's Napoleon Hill there's there's all sorts of those are older people. There's all sorts of motivational books and other side type things and you can review and and the, it's just, and there's a lot of things you can find in it.
[00:32:35] So you should really just re read about the things that are interested in you. The interest you, the big thing that was, you need to learn how to control your mind, and you need to learn how you see yourself and you need to develop routines that help that happen. Because most people Anthony Robbins is a good example.
[00:32:50]And I used to work with him and and he, developed his mindset by just basically brainwashing himself that he could do all these things and he could, he would be, and it was very interesting and you can do [00:33:00] that. And most people that become very successful doing anything are able to do that.
[00:33:04]That's how I would recommend doing, what I would recommend in terms of developing the right mindset. And there's all sorts of things, that you can use to develop your mind, but you need to be a student of it. And honestly, almost every, like every very successful attorney.
[00:33:18] I know when I say successful, people that have started very successful firms that are really doing really well, people that have. Been able to become partners and do very well in law firms. The ones that are really on fire and doing the best are all people that have become students of various types of self-improvement because it helps you see the ways way forward.
[00:33:40]And it's just a smart thing to do. And it's a lot of people resist it and they think they don't need it, but really everyone that does this sort of stuff got benefits from it. It used to be religion would be what people would do. That's another way. And but all this stuff is very important.
[00:33:54]Okay. Okay. Let me see. All here's an interesting question. Let me see here [00:34:00] Korat that tells us sufficiently not to worry about hours. That's good. You're a crevasse chair because they're not warn us in set bonus and salary, but it took me until this month to hit a hundred hours of legal work, people said picks up, you'll look back on these days and wish you could redo them, but it isn't taken out whether an attorney has Acrobat or another firm with no hours, minimum hour.
[00:34:17] Are they? How real are they? Is there a point in which you're in trouble? You mean if there's no hours minimum? At Carvel, I don't think you're going to have a ton to worry about. But, and I don't know what department you're in or what, and then the crevasse rotates people between different departments.
[00:34:32]But the the hours that people do work in affirm. Yes, if you're not working a lot of hours, most firms will that I don't know about crevasse, but most firms will let attorneys go. If they're not hitting a certain number of hours after a certain length of time now from liquor VAT typically is not ever going to lay people off for not making hours, but they will give you indications that they don't like your work and ask you to leave if you're not doing a good job.
[00:34:56]But most firms will don't have hours or [00:35:00] maximums and so forth. Even when they say that they will still expect you to to leave the firm at some point, if you're not working hard and many times they will lay people off that aren't your objective.
[00:35:09] And I said this earlier, but your objective when practicing law is to do whatever you can to to get to, to be stay busy. When an attorney runs out of work that bad. I said earlier that, the, you want to have access to work. So access to work is important.
[00:35:25]And and so always having work to do and access to work is very important.
[00:35:30]So if you're not getting worked or crevasse, you're not going to get laid off from Quebec, I don't think. But but at most firms, if you were only getting a hundred hours a work that would be a bad sign and that would mean that the firm doesn't have the work. And and you're, if other people are getting the work that's a big problem.
[00:35:46]That means you need to find people to give you the work. But that's kinda how I recommend no
[00:35:52]are lots of good questions. So is Delaware mostly the litigation battleground for transactional stuff, handled elsewhere as have plenty of equally more [00:36:00] sophisticated, transactional work and Delaware market. So Delaware typically I, I would think I did would, but I it's a market that I do a lot of work in.
[00:36:09]But it's very, there's not a lot of attorneys that are admitted to the Delaware bar. And so it tends to be a kind of a much smaller market for for what I do, but there's a lot of demand there. I I do think that I don't know how choice of law works and if people choose Delaware over New York city, for example, for litigation I do believe that there is a lot of transactional work that does happen in Delaware.
[00:36:31]So there are plenty of transactional work there, and there's also a lots of litigation there, and there's a lot of, there is a lot of demand for litigators they're there, every big firm is in Delaware. You have, I think Sullivan and Cromwell even is there, a lot of very big firms are there.
[00:36:46]But I don't and I think they actually have fairly significant litigation practices there. I think Sullivan and Cromwell has all right. I think Skadden has litigation practice there as well. So there's a lot of very sophisticated work there. But I don't know [00:37:00] the amount of the work I do know that in terms of us making placements there and the demand for attorneys there, it tends not to be that large because even though there's a lot of very sophisticated work, it's a much Mahler type market.
[00:37:11]Okay. Here's a great question. Let's see. Okay. Says I went in-house as a third year, corporate associate pays good. Two 25 base with potential. But I'm just bringing that to 270,000. Wow. The only problem seems to jobs and fair eliminate, and the work has shifted from the responsibilities and she'll advertise how I'm doing mostly NDAs.
[00:37:31] Wow. Your environment is every day. That's funny. I'm trying to stay put because the economy, so it looks like I was in the job for at least one year in my resume, but I'm worried about what I think I can do next. I don't want to go to a big firm and I, where I want, how much to talk about another legal job interview, WWI practice that law firm is never used for companies think finance and banking.
[00:37:50] Should I look for it in your job? No. I don't think you should look for new jobs. You certainly can. But if you are making all this money and they're paying you to do this work there's [00:38:00] really unless it's a different type of experience you want then I don't know that you need to if they're having to do NDAs for $270,000 a year I understand that may be somewhat limiting, but it is important for you I think to have some stability and to stay somewhere several years and just try to get maybe different types of experience in house and try to look at what's happening.
[00:38:21]My concern would be making sure that your career can advance. And you want to do whatever you can to to make sure your career's consistently advanced scene and and you're doing better. And and that's and but you're going to hold yourself back if you leave, because people are going to think that you want stick around your next job.
[00:38:37] And that's one of the problems with going in house many times the jobs are not represented what they represent. There tends not to be as much employment stability as in a lot of law firms. And and so if you can find a much better in house position then that's great. And maybe you can look, but I personally wouldn't you're, it sounds like you haven't been there very long.
[00:38:57] You're only three or four years out of law school [00:39:00] and are four years out of law school. I would probably try to stick around and see if there's any room to advance and and maybe lightly look for a job. So something looked very good. Then I would try to do that, but I don't know that looking for a job right now is the right thing to do because no job is going to be perfect.
[00:39:16] And part of the reason people go in-house is because. They, they do want to do a different type of work with less stress. And one of the big complaints that people have about in-house jobs as many times that the most sophisticated work is done by law firms. That to some extent, maybe what you chose to do by going in house was taking a less demanding jobs.
[00:39:34] So if it was me, probably, I probably would not want to stay there, but but my advice would be probably should and just enjoy it as long as you feel like your your position safe and then lightly look for a job but not an all out job search and find something where you really do believe there's a future.
[00:39:52]But most of your concerns are probably gonna be present in most other places you'd go to work. So most other [00:40:00] in-house employers are going to have, are going to, there's going to be similar problems with the job in terms of the level of challenge, the a lot of times repetitive work not feeling like you're getting the good experience, most of the good experience, by the way, when you go in house is done by law firms and in-house are really using you to do NDAs and so forth because they don't want to pay outside attorneys to do those.
[00:40:23] And they're saving money by having you do that, which is smart for them, but obviously not the best thing for you. Correct. Okay. Okay. Are there any good marketing books that you would recommend reading? Let's see here. Yeah, so there's lots of good marketing books. There's I love marketing books.
[00:40:36] There's there's I, and I could talk about marketing books all day, but one of the best ones, I think I used to like stuff by a guy named Jay Abraham. He has good stuff. He's never sold a lot of books, but he's a marketing guy that I used to really enjoy reading about.
[00:40:51]And he talks about a lot of things. There's another book called positioning that I really there's another book called I don't know, the 22 laws of marketing. I'm mean [00:41:00] to, you're just kind of classics trying to achieve laws are 22 immutable laws laws of marketing.
[00:41:05] There's another book called
[00:41:07]By Robert cl Danika pink or cl beanie. There's another book called, those are some of the good ones one of the best ones that I like, and there's a lot of and once you start reading those you'll find others. But these books right here, there are, these three books are, some real classics and good ones, and there's just a lot of marketing books out there.
[00:41:28]And that you can read and that can help you. But those are three that I really. Okay. Let's see here. And just when you find those books, you can, when you read about marketing or anything my advice is to to try to find books that appeal to you.
[00:41:43] So it's not, shouldn't just read what I'm telling you to you should go and review and read things that you find personally. Very interesting, because if you find them interesting, then you're more likely to read them. And if you're more likely to read them then you'll be okay, much better off.
[00:41:57]Okay. I'm a two O struck out [00:42:00] at OCI. We had a summer off an in-house legal department that does a kind of work that if you'd asked me, when I started law school, I told you that I'd like to be doing after being in private practice for a time. That's not bad. I've also received a pain offer from a PI group that is pretty prestigious in the same general space as the corporate group, but more policy litigation focused my dream practice and not something I really think I'd have a shot at getting, given my pedigree.
[00:42:24] Neither of these organizations is necessarily going to lead to a long-term position, though. It seems. To be about whether a relevant position opens up the right time, both are recorded, very different experiences. I guess I'm asking whether you think one is better than the long-term play. If I were a one L summer, I wouldn't hesitate take the latter role because I'm so spooked by striking out OCI.
[00:42:44] I don't trust my judgment at all. Okay. You didn't strike out on OCI. But the thing I would tell people with OCI is you can certainly interview with firms through your school, but you should also be looking for positions in other markets where, you know, in firms that don't come to your school.
[00:42:58]A lot of, even the most prestigious schools, like [00:43:00] I went to, I'm a pretty prestigious school. University of Virginia and, there were hardly any firms from Chicago that came there and there were none from Detroit, which is where I'm from. It's you can't, so you have to really apply to, and there were hardly any from California back then.
[00:43:13]Maybe, three firms like Brobeck Latham and Brobeck didn't even existing or maybe all Melbourne. So you have to, so OCI is not you should be looking for jobs many times and other ways in OCI. What I would recommend from for, from you is making decision to do PI is a longterm career decision.
[00:43:30] And I don't, if it's a prestigious firm, then that's great. But pie can be all over the map. So what that means is. It could be a PI firm that does very high-end pie, or it could be a PI from the low NPI. It could be a PI firm that does very complex work or it could be a PI firm that doesn't do complex work.
[00:43:50] And pie is a lot different than general commercial litigation with general litigation. You have to, come up with all sorts of theories to defend things. And with PI you're pretty much you have the injury. [00:44:00] And so it's, you're almost always going to get a trial and get to court.
[00:44:03] Whereas if you have a contract claim and so forth, it can be very difficult to get to court. And so they need very smart attorneys that argue on both sides and so forth. So P is a little bit different in terms of in-house you're talking about the firm, does the kind of work that you'd like to be doing after being in private practice?
[00:44:18]That sounds like ideal. It sounds to me like you were able to sell yourself on that. If you go down pie, the problem is that's one direction that you almost can't go back from because a pie, the problem with pie, you can just hear the problem with PI is. And and it's actually a strength but it's also a weakness PI is that the work from a litigation standpoint isn't that complex and and the reason It's not that complex just because you are, you have the injury the injury exists.
[00:44:49] And so it's not, it's much different than trying to prove a contract claim or something along those lines where people can argue and that sort of thing. The other problem with PI is that PI [00:45:00] attorneys make money when when they get settlements or when they get a verdict, a settlement or verdict.
[00:45:07] And so because of that the salaries tend to be much lower. So the salaries are much lover as a general rule because people basically make money and spend it make money.
[00:45:19]And then because the work is in this complex that the quality of the attorneys does not need to be of attorneys does not need to be extremely high. In terms of smarts, I guess is a way to put it smarts, not street smarts, but smart because getting to trial and so forth, it's not that it's not a part.
[00:45:36] So it becomes when you're, when your MPI becomes a lot more about many times your personality. Ability to move juries bill is subtle cases all those sorts of things and you connect with clients. And so it's just a different type of skill. And there's certain people that are very good at it, but you certainly do not need to do well in law school or go to a good law school to do [00:46:00] most forms of PI.
[00:46:01] Now there are some very sophisticated pharmacy like mesothelioma. I don't even know how to spell it. That's what I've seen me, Alma junta, Helena how to spell that word. But yeah, and that's fairly sophisticated and there can be a lot of money involved but for the most part that's a big problem with PI.
[00:46:16] So if you go into PI, you should be pretty convinced that's what you want to do as a career. And you can do extremely well. If you start your own practice or if you learn how to do it and you get good at it, but it's definitely its own career path. And most PI attorneys do not ever go into in house later on.
[00:46:33] So if you have an in-house opening now opening in a practice area that you like, then that actually might be a good thing compared to doing pie. If it was me, I probably would choose PI just cause I think it'd be fun to learn about, but PI is a perfect example of a practice where you're opening your own business.
[00:46:48]Okay. Okay. Let's see. Two big law firms hire summer after three also graduated. Should I keep looking my studying for the bar? Yes. A big law firms do well. No, they don't. [00:47:00] They Oh, after graduation, yes. That they're always, they're always hiring if the right people come along on it, it's much more difficult to get a job as a three elbow after three hours, if you haven't worked in a big firm but I would keep looking if you don't have a big job, a big law firm after the summer if you haven't had one in the summer, then it does become much more difficult to get one, but just, the other thing to remember, the, your career is a long race you'll be, you don't need to get a job right away.
[00:47:27] So that's you don't need, and you'd also do not necessarily need to start in a big firm
[00:47:32]to get to one.
[00:47:33]Okay. Question chair. This person says let's see here. And you're in a nice transaction of Gribben interested in lateraling into a more general corporate position. Do you know how to position myself for this? Or if any firms would be open to talk about someone like this? Yeah. So I think that firms would be interested.
[00:47:51]It sounds that that you can definitely do that. I would think about why you want to do that many times. If you're in a nice transaction group, that's a real benefit because [00:48:00] there's not a lot of people that would do that type of work you do. So if you have very niche experience then then that actually that, that can be very helpful for you.
[00:48:10]So I would recommend doing what you can to maybe stick with that. If you do lateral into one of these practice groups, then it's going to be a much more difficult for you in the long run to potentially find another position. And then if you're in the niche practice group, it may, I don't know what your niche practice group is, but if that niche practice group is something that, that not a lot of people do, then, that may actually be a very good idea for you because it'll come, it'll be a, something that not a lot of people can do but M and a capital markets in order to to be hired.
[00:48:41] By a firm in one of those practice groups, the most important thing, and the smartest thing you could possibly do would probably be to apply to a lot of places that have openings for one, but the places that are most likely to hire you are going to be firms that are not as good as well. You are
[00:48:56]where you are, or firms and [00:49:00] smaller markets. The reason that firms and smaller markets would be good is because firms in smaller markets typically want more
[00:49:08]and and they will and they will also and they will also like your big firm experience. I'm assuming you're a big permit for your repair in each practice, approximately.
[00:49:16]And it doesn't when I say a smaller market, like if you're in I mean that, that means, not as big of a market. If you're in Charlotte, North Carolina, that means maybe working in, I don't know. It's just not as big of a market as that much better experience.
[00:49:30]So that's how I would crutch that. But. But I would also think about why you want to go into one of these other practice areas because when it comes down to it, the there's differences in each, but you'd have to, is it because you, because if you're going to be more marketable and you want to these practice areas, because there's some special reason, like you find one of these other practice areas more interesting, is it is it because you want to go on house and you think these will make you more marketable?
[00:49:55]Before you actually ask that question, I would just say, what is it [00:50:00] that you're looking for in the long-term?
[00:50:01] Say here,
[00:50:03]this says here I've heard that corporate associates, especially in New York, can do litigation pro bono projects with the office partners on board. Have you seen this happen? What's the best way to ask for it? I don't want to think I'm trying to switch to litigation I don't want to entirely lose that experience, so yeah, you can certainly do that.
[00:50:24]If that's something you're interested in I have seen people do that. The problem is when people are evaluating you, they're going want to ask, that when they're evaluating your firm, they would prefer that you make them money, whether than do that work.
[00:50:36]And but I don't think that there's certainly anything wrong with doing that type of work and doing something else. I and if you're in, if you have the time at your firm and you can put in the effort, I think that'd be great. I don't see anything wrong with it, and you certainly can.
[00:50:50] And if you're not interested in switching to litigation, that's good. So it's just, you're committed to the practice of law and you want to do that. I don't think there's any problem. The only concern that I would have is you just don't [00:51:00] want that to impact your hours or anything that you're currently doing it your existing firm, and you do want to look committed, but I think that's great.
[00:51:06] I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I just would be careful about anything that looks like he may not be committed to what the next question is, how do you market yourself to a company's in-house technology department or technology your company's in-house department? So the best way of doing that typically is just to find out whoever the technology company is.
[00:51:25] You can, right? The general counsel many times the the in-house companies also do not have. Not even have a legal department and then you can, a CEO. So that's I've done a lot of this by the way in the past for people, but that's typically the best way of doing it.
[00:51:40] Typically when you do write someone about it you're always better off writing the CEO unless it's like a, public company or something, a company. No. But private company. Yes. But so that's how I would recommend doing that. I the other way is you wanna talk about why you want to work there and maybe some connection or what you can do [00:52:00] for them and your cover letter.
[00:52:01]So that would be
[00:52:02]okay. I'll turn to that. I got my awesome questions today. My vault 34 year firm requested a reference. Let's turn it back shot. I actually contacted my past. Should I be worried? It was a common practice for essay program. Oh, Yeah. So it's not common, but it is more common now. And I don't know if your past employer did tell you about this and I don't think you need to be worried the general rule, by the way, with law firms is most law firms, not all, but most law firms will not say bad things about people and bad things about people when giving references.
[00:52:40] They realize that there may have been mistakes, the person in the past, they don't want to be th they don't want to position themselves poorly. So I've seen very few law firms give bad references. I've seen the very best law firms, like the top law firms almost never give bad references.
[00:52:58]It just refused. They won't say [00:53:00] anything negative and to have a good time. And the other thing that's interesting is the better the attorney many times. Meaning ask the one asked for the reference.
[00:53:11] The more likely they are not, they are more likely to references are always going to be positive. Okay.
[00:53:17]So where you start seeing issues with references many times are when the attorney is actually not when they, when the attorney being asked for the reference is not a great attorney or when it's not a great firm and so forth like that, that, I hate to say that I don't know why that is, if you've worked at really good places before unless you've done something just really badly are bad, I'm sorry.
[00:53:38]Or really upset. Some people, they ads you get into poor reference are pretty slim. Now it's not to say I haven't seen people get bad references, but for the most part, people do not give bad references, many times small markets will ice people out, small markets, ice people out.
[00:53:54]I've seen people meaning like if you upset someone in a small market, they'll make sure that you have a [00:54:00] hard time working there, large markets very rare or get bad references.
[00:54:04]Now, if one partners calling another partner a about you which typically does not happen for young associates or summer associates then what'