Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

The Court of Federal Claims Bar Association Law Student Writing Competition

The Court of Federal Claims Bar Association is pleased to announce the creation of its Law Student Writing Competition. All students enrolled in law school are eligible to participate in this competition. The winning entries will receive cash prizes and an opportunity to be published via the Association’s website. Entries may address any topic that lies within the procedure, substance, or scope of the jurisdiction of the Unites States Court of Federal Claims. The rules of the contest are posted here (scroll down). Entry deadline is December 31, 2009.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

"So You Want to Go Solo? You Sure?"

The November 2009 issue of the ABA Journal has an interesting article, written by Deborah L. Cohen, about "the tasks you need to master to live the shingle life." A portion of the article is reproduced below. Go here to read the entire article, and don't forget to read the comments for a few additional pearls of wisdom.

"As of 2005, some 62 percent of attorneys in private practice work as solo or small-firm practitioners, according to the most recent data avail­able from the American Bar Association. Those numbers likely have swelled and will continue to do so as law firms reorganize and re-evaluate their professional staffing needs.

What was once a calculated career decision has become a matter of survival for many. But wheth­er a lawyer can cut it as a solo is not necessarily a sure thing, experts say. Not all lawyers have what it takes.

There is no magic formula for building a successful solo practice. It takes planning, persistence, long hours, sweat equity and personal sacrifice.

So whether you’re in for the long haul or just staving off the bill collectors, here are some useful tips from experts and newly minted solos to help ease the transition."

New York City Bar Association Career Search Support Group

Due to demand, the City Bar is continuing to hold support groups for its members who have been affected by the current economic climate. The group will be led by practicing attorney, psychologist and Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Einstein Medical School, Sylvan Schaffer. The meetings are not self-contained but continuous and progressive, so the participants should try to come for multiple sessions.

Dr. Schaffer has a unique approach that will help members cope with the emotional and psychological blocks related to job loss and job search. The support group will:

Provide a forum for members to discuss the impact of job loss and job search on their daily lives

Provide insight for members to overcome hurdles to job search, e.g., negative thinking, feelings of shame and diminished self-esteem, depression

Address the "myths" of what a lawyer can or cannot do, e.g., temporary work, contract work

Help members refocus their energy on a new venture before abandoning the profession

At each meeting Dr. Schaffer will present some instructive material, coaching and skills training. There will be ample opportunity for the participants to discuss their particular needs and feelings regarding their situation. The group will meet on Wednesdays from 12-1 PM at the House of the Association on the following dates: November 4, November 11 and December 2. There is no fee to attend these groups, but enrollment is restricted to NYC Bar Association members (so join), and registration for each date is required.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Law Students Should Participate in Legal Writing Competitions

Writing competitions are wonderful things. They motivate you to sharpen your research and writing skills on a topic of law you care about, and they allow you to show an employer that you have the discipline and skill necessary to do outstanding written legal work. In addition, should you happen to win, your paper is typically published in the journal of the organization that sponsored the competition, you are often invited to attend annual awards banquets on the house, and, of course, there are the cash prizes. Yes, cash money, sometimes running into thousands of dollars.

There are dozens and dozens of annual writing competitions sponsored by just as many organizations and covering a plethora of practice areas. In other words, there is a writing competition for just about everyone. Rather than reinvent the wheel and post them all here, a simple Google search yields good results. For example, you can go here and here. You also can visit bar association websites, such as the American Bar Association, to find other competitions.

We strongly encourage you to search out these writing competitions and dive into them. Winning papers create star power on a resume, and the coin you may receive for winning is, well, enriching.

Forward Thinking for Upper Division Law School Students

Sometimes, at about this time of year, upper class students ask assistant deans for career services where the summer and post-graduate jobs are. It’s a natural question, after all. I mean, fall on-campus interviewing usually concludes right about now and results in the hiring of relatively few students nationwide. So what about everyone else?

There is a natural tension between the needs of employers and the desires of law students. Only the largest of employers, employers with the resources to plan 6-9 months ahead, are in a position to hire summer interns and grads now. All other employers tend to put off hiring until they realize that they cannot afford to delay any further. Law students, of course, would like to move the issue of a summer or post-graduate job off their plate early, so they can focus on other matters, such as final exams or studying for the bar.

Historically, the equilibrium that is reached ends up yielding the following results: the vast majority of summer clerks and interns and a good-sized plurality of graduating students obtain their positions anywhere between February and July. In addition, depending upon the kind of work they are seeking, many graduating students will find jobs after graduation, the bar exam, or on learning that they passed the exam. Take it from me, who worked for a smaller law firm for more than 10 years, some law firms simply cannot afford to hire graduating students until they know the grad will soon be admitted.

So, what does all this mean? I’ll tell you what it means. It means that, at this time of year, patience is a virtue. There are plenty of things for you to be doing now to plan ahead, but actually applying for jobs is not one of them. Make an appointment to see a counselor before the end of this semester or early next semester to discuss your job search plan. Most of the problem during this time of year is the anxiety that accompanies not knowing when you are going to get a job. Talk to us and send the anxiety packing!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Writing Your Résumé: Tips from Leading Litigators"

The website of the Section of Litigation of the American Bar Association lists many very useful tips on resume writing from the litigators of the Section.

"Your résumé is often the first point of contact between you and your prospective employer. Writing an effective resume is a challenging task, but it need not be intimidating. We've compiled advice from leaders in the Section of Litigation who have risen through the ranks and have learned a thing or two about effective résumés along the way.

General Tips

* Nothing will hurt your employment chances more than a typographical error in your résumé. Lawyers have to be able to keep track of the little details.
* Be especially careful about your use of plurals and possessive as spellcheck won’t catch improper use.
* Although “memorandums” it not technically incorrect, the common usage in the legal field is “memoranda.”
* Your personal email address says something about you. If it is not a professional choice, such as your name, consider choosing a new email address.

. . ."

To read the remainder of this very good article, go here.

The ABA Section of Litigation Summer 2010 Judicial Internship Program

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Intellectual Property Legal Writing Competition

The Virginia Journal of Law and Technology, in conjunction with Altacit Global, is holding its 1st Annual Intellectual Property Law Writing Competition. The Topic for 2009 is “The varying treatment of patentable subject matter” (the paper should be a scholarly analysis of the topic and not just a global survey of patentable subject matter). Go here for for detailed information and to submit your article.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Career Planning for Evening Students

As an evening student, you may feel like there are not enough hours in the day to do all you have to do. We understand that balancing full- or part-time work, family and friends, community service activities, recreational activities, and school is not an easy task. The fact that you do it, and do it well, says a lot about your perseverance, strength, and skills.

Along with everything else on your plate, you should make time to evaluate your legal career objectives and begin implementing a career strategy. We have found that the sooner you implement a Personal Career Plan, a plan which you and your counselor work on together, the greater the likelihood of success in finding a fulfilling legal career upon graduation.

For those of you who have non-legal jobs, the first question you should ask yourself as you evaluate your career objectives is whether to leave your current position in pursuit of legal experience, or whether to keep your position and seek alternative ways to gain legal experience. For many, this is a very difficult decision, as you presently may be in a well-paying position with responsibilities that are challenging and satisfying.

Sometimes, a legal position you take while in law school will be lower paying, may have reduced fringe benefits (health insurance, life insurance, etc.), and may give you less responsibility than your current position. Keeping the non-legal job may keep the paycheck higher, but it may reduce your marketability when you graduate. Taking a legal job now may mean taking a pay cut short term, but it will increase your options upon graduation.

We have found that a good balance between these competing considerations is to attempt to make a transition from non-legal to legal employment at the beginning of your third year. In that way, you will have two years of legal experience, just as full-time students have that opportunity (since they do not generally work during their first year of law school).

However, such a transition will prove impossible for some. In that case, other avenues to gain legal experience must be explored with a counselor. Here are a few ways evening students can develop practical legal experience:

Examine Your Skills: Evaluate your skills, experiences, and expertise in your current non-legal position that may be transferable to the practice of law.

Law-Related Projects in your Present Position: Your employer may have a legal department that may be willing to assign you a short-term project involving legal research or writing. If your company does not have a legal department, consider whether there are other ways you could participate in legal-related projects, such as contract review or due diligence. Contact the person in your company in charge of legal matters to discuss this possibility.

Bar Association Activities: Become an active member of the Suffolk County, Nassau County, New York City, or other bar association in the geographic area in which you are interested in practicing (see links for these bar associations on page one). As an active committee member, you can network and work collaboratively with attorneys.

Volunteer/Pro Bono: One excellent way to obtain legal experience is through volunteering with a public service organization or government agency.

Law Journal and/or Publish: Writing a law-related article reflects your research and writing abilities. Write publishable papers on subjects that interest you, especially in areas that you want to specialize in later. Legal employers will recognize the time and commitment that goes into writing an article. You should also consider: Moot Court, serving as a Research Assistant, participating in clinical programs and/or externships, networking, conducting informational interviews, attending career panels, and joining student organizations.

Evening students need to make a special effort to consider how to gain legal experience before graduation. If you presently have a legal job, talk to a counselor to discuss if it is the right one for you to keep until graduation. If you do not have a legal job, consider making a transition at the end of your second year of law school. You need to stay in touch with your counselor to discuss these and other issues that arise during the course of your law school career.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Free Public Relations and Marketing CLE for Attorneys

On November 5, The Public Relations and Marketing Group (PRMG) will hold its “PR and Marketing for Lawyers” lecture at Trio Restaurant, located at 700 Patchogue-Holbrook Road in Holbrook. The lecture is from 12:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. and is free of charge for attorneys. Attorneys will receive one (1) Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit for ethics and professionalism for this three-hour program. The course is appropriate for both newly admitted and experienced attorneys.

The CLE lecture will be presented by PRMG’s Founder and President, John Zaher, an attorney. It will cover marketing; advertising; press conferences and press releases; public relations; practice development techniques; relationships with existing clients; Web site design, marketing and optimization; professionalism requirements, including an update on New York’s advertising rules; and the impact of Web 2.0 concepts — such as blogs and social networking — on lawyer marketing.

This program will provide attorneys with strategies to grow their practice while conforming to ethical requirements. In addition, those in attendance will gain practical tips for choosing marketing methods that are suited to their practice, personality and their means.

Registration and lunch will begin at noon. Please note that this lecture is open to attorneys only. Seating is limited to the first 35 persons.

To register, call (631) 207-1057, or e-mail:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

You've Survived Your First Year of Law School: Now What? A Roadmap for Students

The New York City Bar Association presents:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009, 6:30 - 8 PM
House of the Association, 42 West 44th Street
Registration: This program is free of charge, however registration is required.

You’ve made it through the Socratic method, mandatory classes, outlining, and first-year finals. Now what? Come hear panelists discuss the ways in which you can continue to develop your skills and make yourself marketable. Panelists will cover topics such as important classes to take, the Bar Exam and the Multistate Professional Responsibility Test, internships, externships, clinics, study abroad programs, and Bar Association membership. A reception will follow and light refreshments will be served.


ANDREW CHAPIN, Director of Counseling and Public Interest Scholars, Fordham University School of Law

STUART D. SMITH, Director of Legal Recruitment, New York City Law Department

No fee required. To register, please RSVP to Jodi Savage at

Sponsored by:

Committee on Law Student Perspectives, Jodi Savage, Chair

Members of the Association and their guests are all welcome. The program is free.

Wonderful PSLawNet Resources in Public Interest/Service Law

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ABA Recession Tools for Students/Alums

The American Bar Association has dedicated a portion of its website to various resources for law school alums (and students) to deal with the economic downturn. The resources include Job Search/Networking, Career Transitioning, Practice Management, Professional Development, Stress Management, and others.

To access these recession tools, go here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Doing Nothing is Not an Option - NYSBA Lawyer Assistance Program

To help lawyers better manage their careers during this tough economy, the New York State Bar Association Committee on Lawyers in Transition is continuing its series of free, live webcasts to guide attorneys as they search for new jobs, revise resumes, brush-up on their interview skills and contemplate career changes.

The 2009 Career Development live webcasts are free to all attorneys, but pre-registration is required. If you miss a session, the recorded archive of the program can be viewed on demand here.

Doing Nothing is Not an Option -
NYSBA Lawyer Assistance Program

Thursday, October 15, 2009
12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. (ET)

Presented by:

Larry Zimmerman, Esq.
New York State Bar Association
Lawyer Assistance Committee Chair

Hon. Sallie Krauss
Brooklyn Bar Association
Lawyer Helping Lawyer Committee Chair

Eileen Travis, LSW
New York City Bar Association
Lawyer Assistance Program Director

Patricia Spataro, LMHC, CEAP
New York State Bar Association
Lawyer Assistance Program Director

The current economic crisis is causing lawyers tremendous concern and stress. Stress can trigger or exacerbate mental health problems. Even without the additional stress of hard times attorneys tend to be more prone to alcoholism and depression than the general population. Taking care of your emotional well-being as well as your financial well-being is critical. Prevention and early intervention are vital to dealing with this widespread crisis in the legal profession. It is important to understand the signs and the symptoms of emotional problems as well as deal with stress. Identifying effective strategies for confronting the risks will help prevent the addiction and mental health issues that plague lawyers.

Register online here.

Are you in the NYC area? Attend in person.

If you are in the New York City area, and would like to attend the live sessions in person, please contact Kathy Suchocki, Staff Liaison to the Committee on Lawyers in Transition at (518) 487-5590 or The sessions are broadcast live from Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp LLP, Office of Committee Chair, Lauren J. Wachtler, Esq. Live attendees are asked to arrive by 11:30 a.m. A light lunch will be provided. Seating is limited and pre-registration is required. Register here.

Monday, October 12, 2009

NYC Bar Association Program on Solo and Small Firm Practice

The New York City Bar Associationis holding a full day Symposium on Small Firm Practice on November 5, 2009, entitled “Jumping in and Staying Afloat in Your Solo or Small Firm Practice”. Its focus is on how solo and small firm practitioners can start up, maintain and grow their firms most efficiently during a tough economic climate.

The Symposium will be held at the House of the Association at 42 West 44th Street in NYC. It will last from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. The workshops, which will be divided into two tracks, will include information on office space, entity choice, tech support, equipment, marketing and networking “on and offline” and finance. There will be workshops on how to properly maintain escrow accounts, achieve a work-life balance and join the Legal Referral service at the New York City Bar. In addition to attending the sessions aspiring solos and small firm owners can get advice from the Small Business Administration, discuss their office needs with vendors who cater to small law firms, and brainstorm with experienced solo practitioners in our “Seasoned Solo” Drop-In Center.

Most of the workshops will last 45 minutes and will provide participants with helpful handouts and checklists to use in their practice. The cost of attendance is $25 for New York City Bar members ($50 for nonmembers) and includes admission to all workshops, exhibit hall, breakfast, lunch and the music reception. To register, go here.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The 12th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative Writing Competition


The 12th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative
Writing Competition

Co-Sponsored by
The ABA Forum on the Entertainment and Sports Industries
with additional support from Westlaw

The ELI Essay Competition invites law students focusing on the entertainment practice to write a 3,000-word paper on a compelling legal topic facing the music industry today. The contest culminates with the winning student authors presenting their essays at the prestigious ELI luncheon on January 29, 2010.

First Place Winner Receives $5000
Four Semifinalists Receive $1,500

All Winners receive:
One GRAMMY Awards Show Ticket
Round Trip Airfare to the GRAMMY Awards in Los Angeles
Hotel Accomodations
Ticket to The MusiCares Person of the Year Tribute Dinner

Submission deadline is Jan 4th, 2010
Winners will be announced on January 22, 2010

For a complete listing of competition rules, and ELI Writing Competition Workshops go to the Entertainment Law Initiative page on Simply search for "The Entertainment Law Initiative" or just go here.
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The GRAMMY Foundation's Entertainment Law Initiative (ELI) was conceived as a means to recognize and further develop the bond between the legal profession and the recording community with the goal of resolving issues confronting the music industry. One of the premier educational initiatives of ELI is the national legal writing contest and scholarship program, which is co-sponsored by the American Bar Association. Law students from across the country are invited to research, analyze and submit essays regarding important issues facing the industry.

Minority Corporate Counsel Program - Law Student Volunteers Needed

This program presents a great opportunity to network with attorneys who work in general counsel offices of corporations.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

How to Apply for Jobs with the NYC Legal Aid Society

We received the following information from the New York City Legal Aid Society regarding the procedures students should use to apply for positions with this organization.

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