Updates: New Job + Class at Jenkins Law Library

You may have noticed a lack of posting to this blog. As some of you know, I’ve taken a position with Thomson Reuters working on Westlaw Journals (f/k/a Andrews Litigation Reporters). I started in April and ‘graduated’ from training earlier this month.

Right now, I work on the Westlaw Journal Insurance Coverage. So, I’m monitoring all of the news on insurance coverage litigation, writing about cases, etc. The team in Wayne is awesome. I’ve learned so much already from the copy team and through my training about journalistic writing. (All notwithstandings and neverthelesses have gone out the window.)

Here are some of the cases that I’ve written about that have been published on the website. You’ll note that headline writing is a craft and I’m still practicing:

  • Restaurant must serve fresh insurance claims, N.Y. panel finds: May 6 (Westlaw Journals) – A Long Island, N.Y., restaurant’s failure to alert its insurer about a possible lawsuit as soon as it discovered that a patron died from alleged food poisoning proved fatal to its coverage claim, a state appeals court has ruled.

Exciting, no? No, but really… it’s great to analyze cases again. In addition, it’s awesome to know that my employer appreciates my social media skills and my independent endeavors. While I had to take a break from this site and my other site while I was getting acclimated to my new job, I’m definitely not leaving this project behind.

With that said, here is one more plug and activity on which I’ve been spending some time. Remember my class on Blogging for Legal Professionals? Well, I’m teaching it at Jenkins Law Library in Philadelphia on July 27th from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. You can check out the website for more details but here’s the course description:

This course will give an overview about the benefits to blogging in a legal practice or as a legal professional. You’ll learn how to focus your blogging topics to match your business objectives, use your blog to connect with clients and colleagues, and manage a posting schedule that matches your lifestyle.

Will be back soon and I apologize for the delayed absence!

Change of Plans! BigLaw Job Listings

I’ve decided to give registered users and newsletter subscribers the chance to download the job listings first.

Here’s the schedule:

Wednesday (8/4/10): Those who are registered — those who have a username and password — will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to access the listings.

Friday (8/6/10): Those who subscribe to my newsletter — but who are not registered — will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to access the listings.

Sunday (8/8/10):  I’ll post the link to the new listings on my blog and homepage.*

* As a reminder, as soon as I publish the new listings, registered users will have access to a limited version of the previous listings.

Checking In – Reflection on Maker’s vs. Manager’s Schedule

Hi Everyone!  It’s been quite a few days since I’ve updated here.  After reading Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule, I realized that I’ve been working under a manager’s schedule when the growth of this site requires me to follow a maker’s schedule or at least come up with a better compromise.

First, let me summarize how the article explains the two schedule types.  A manager’s schedule breaks up the day into hourly chunks or intervals (i.e., daily planners, Outlook calendars, etc.).  You designate the times you’ll check your e-mail, e.g., 8 – 9 am, 12 – 1 pm, and 6-7 pm.  You arrive at the office at 8, check your e-mail until 9, and then you focus on the next item on your agenda.  You return to your e-mail at 12 pm to answer any updates and so on and so forth.  Through short bursts of undivided focus on a certain task, a manager’s schedule encourages efficiency and productivity.

On the other hand, it’s not optimal for a maker – writers, architects, programmers, builders, etc. – to try to accomplish what s/he needs to do within the constraints of a manager’s schedule.  An hour may be enough time for a writer to stretch his or her creativity muscles, outline an article, or brainstorm a thesis but it’s hardly easy to write a novel in hour increments.  Lawyers, think about writing an appellate brief – even if you ignore the research , the Bluebooking, or formatting it correctly for the court – think about the process of crafting an argument that shows the court why the correct interpretation of the law or facts supports your client.  Now, think about how frustrating it is to get into the groove only to get interrupted by phone calls, a staff meeting, or a mandatory CLE.  Or, better yet, think about writing that appellate brief in hour intervals only and producing something worthwhile.  (As an aside, I found this post extremely insightful about the obstacles of scheduling creativity.)

As a solo entrepreneur, I am both the manager and the maker.  For me, the manager’s schedule lends itself to accomplishing the day-to-day tasks that make the business operate. It makes sense for handling PR, follow-up marketing, and the ultimate time-drain: administrator.  Therefore, lately, the manager’s schedule has worked for me because I’ve been trying to get the word out about the job listings column, I’ve been registering subscribers as site members, I’ve connected with people via Twitter and e-mail, and everyday I spend time perusing the industry news.  It’s fast-paced, it’s people-oriented, and it makes me feel productive.

On the other hand, there’s no reason for me to work on a manager’s schedule if there’s nothing to promote or no operations to handle.  Making things – coding the website so it’s more user-friendly, creating content, adding more features – these take hours, days, sometimes weeks to finish and there’s no immediate gratification.  It’s hard to internalize that you are making progress when you’re not posting or updating.

So, back to why I’ve been MIA.  I’ve had 5 major projects and aspirations for this site that have taken the backburner since, well, around November!  Because I had been running on a manager’s schedule for the last few weeks, I decided to dedicate last week and this week to a pure maker’s schedule to chip away at those projects.  Since last Monday (2.22), I only completed the manager-type tasks that required my immediate attention.  It may not have been the best solution but I needed a strict detox regiment.  I had to go to one extreme to get out of the other so that I could eventually find some sort of workable compromise.

I still haven’t finished the 5 projects – I didn’t think I would – but I am much further along in the process.

To give you a preview, the projects include:

  • Publishing the Am Law job listings posts as a sortable table using javascript.  No more need to leave the site, sign into Google documents, etc.
  • Adding more job listings columns – e.g., bankruptcy positions, IP positions, location-based columns.
  • Creating an easy method for site viewers to support the site financially.  (Hey, we all have student loans to pay off.)
  • Writing a few e-books that will be free downloads

I’m still around and I’ll get better at dividing my time.  As any solo practitioner or entrepreneur knows, it’s a learning process.  I hope you’ll stick around. 

Two Weeks: Membership Open

Now that I worked out a few glitches, I’m also going to extend free membership to anyone who signs up for my newsletter on or before March 1, 2010 at 12:01 am EST. After you sign up for the newsletter, you will receive an e-mail with your username and password within 24 hours. It will come from WordPress with [RecruiterEsq] in the subject line. Finally, anyone who signed up for the newsletter after membership was closed last time will also receive free membership to the website.

[ad#PostBiz]

Viewing Am Law 100 Listings As Google Doc

I sent out this e-mail last night to all site members. I’d also like to post it here as a general announcement.

Hi!

This is the Google document for the Am Law 100 job listings that I posted yesterday on the site. Remember, if you’d like to sort by practice area or location, view it in the Google doc as a list. (Under View, pick List view.) Once it’s in list view, click on the link to sort how you’d like.

From now on, I will automatically give you access to the Google document when I publish the post. Therefore, I will not send out any more e-mails like this.

In addition, I will start sending my newsletter once per month with links to the updated listings in case you missed them when I posted them. So you know, I try to post the Am Law 100 listings during the first half of the month and the Am Law 200 listings during the second half of the month. However, there is no set schedule.

If you would like, you can always subscribe to the RSS feed of the blog portion of my site. Since January, I have a new RSS feed so make sure the feed address you have is up to date. (To test, make sure you can see the last five updates on the Blog page in your RSS viewer.)

Finally, I mentioned to some of you that I have a new, geeky feature on my site: a live chat! If I’m around, it will say I’m available. Feel free to send a message. It’s only me :-)

Best,

mjs

New Subscribers Will Receive Membership Details w/in 24 hours

Q: If someone subscribes to the newsletter before this Friday, January 29th at 11:59 pm, how does s/he access the members-only section of the site?  Sincerely, Inquisitive New Subscriber

A: Dear Inquisitive,

Great question!  I’m sure other people want to know this as well.  Thank you for asking.

Basically, once someone subscribes to the newsletter, I still need to add them manually to the site’s WordPress database.1

Every night this week, I plan to add the people who signed up that day.  Once I add a new user, WordPress automatically sends that user an e-mail with his/her username and password.

In other words, anyone who subscribes to the newsletter before Friday, January 29th at 11:59 pm EST can expect:

  • to receive a registration e-mail from WordPress with a username and password within 24 hours; and
  • to receive free membership, forever.

Most likely, each night this week, I’ll add people at around midnight EST.  I may add people sporadically throughout the day.  Nevertheless, I’d rather you be pleasantly surprised than anxious or disappointed, i.e., don’t bank on it.

Let me know if you have any further questions.  I love inquisitive readers.  x

1 If you’re really bored and want to know why, shoot me an e-mail and I’ll let you know.

Username vs. Display Name

If you can view this full post, it means you’ve successfully signed in. WAY. TO. GO.

I sent this in the “Password Issues Resolved” newsletter but I thought I’d post it here as well. In the future, announcements like this will be categorized under administrative.

The difference between your username and your display name.1

Your username is how you login to the site.  You are not able to change this.

You may, however, change your display name.  Your display name is how you look to the outside world.  E.g., This is the name that shows up if you leave a comment when you are logged in.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

1 See also, this article in the WordPress Codex

Big Announcements, Site Changes, and Exclusive Content

How do you like RecruiterEsq’s new face?

I’m still working out the kinks to this new design but I’m liking the bright colors and spacious layout.

I thought I’d take a moment to explain a few site of the site changes.

First, I’ve changed the RSS feed to only include posts that I include on the blog.  (If you had subscribed to my previous RSS feed, you may want to resubscribe.1)

As for the blog section, this where I’ll post announcements like this one.  I’ll also post shorter updates about career, technology, or other topics relating to the legal industry.2

Longer career articles will be properly filed and located under career and longer technology articles will be filed and found under technology.  I’ll introduce these articles via the blog with either a brief post or an excerpt so that you’ll get notice via the RSS feed.

The career page will have easy access to all things career.  The technology page will have easy access to all things technology.  This way, you can navigate around one or the other and not be too overwhelmed.

This biggest change, however, is yet to come.  Within the upcoming weeks, I am going add a members-only section to my site.  Members will have access to additional resources and detailed articles that I do not post for the general public.  More importantly, this is where I’ll publish the Am Law 100 & 200 job postings columns.  [Note: the job board that I'm launching will always be available to the general public.]  Most importantly, I plan to charge for access.3

However:

  • Anyone who is already signed up for my newsletter will have their fees waived forever.
  • Same goes for those who signs up for my newsletter before I officially implement the members-only system.4

Thank you, early adopters!  Thank you!!

Each month, members will have access to at least one (1) updated in the following columns:

  • Round Up: Am Law 100 Job Listings
  • Round Up: Am Law 200 Job Listings

I will also publish at least one (1) in-depth career article and/or resource and one (1) in-depth technology article and/or resource.

Think of my newsletter on steroids.

Cost: $8.00

I’ll make another announcement and a last call but I thought I’d give you a heads up now.

1 You’ll know if you need to re-subscribe if you haven’t been receiving feed updates. Let’s hope you also check the website!
2 I can hear some of you ask, “Isn’t this all a blog?” Yes, technically, it is. But, blogs get bad reps so I decided to organize this one to appear more legitimate to blog naysayers.
3 Perhaps with the first month free? I don’t know. I’m still crunching numbers.
4 So, if you know anyone who should sign up and/or if you’d like to sign up for yourself, now may be a good time.

Getting in Touch

I switched my site to a new server to prep for some upcoming surprises, to cut the load time, & to test my technical know-how.

Ok, fine, I only included that last one to stroke my ego (English major, over here! They don’t teach MySql in law school.)

I guess to keep me humble my email has decided to play hide-and-seek with me. Until I resolve this, feel free to contact me at recruiteresq at gmail dot com.

UPDATE: My e-mail is fixed! You can e-mail me again at melissa at recruiteresq dot com

Email

I switched my site to a new server to prep for some upcoming surprises, to cut the load time, & to test my technical know-how.

Ok, fine, I only included that last one to stroke my ego (English major, over here! They don’t teach MySql in law school.)

I guess to keep me humble my email has decided to play hide-and-seek with me. Until I resolve this, feel free to contact me at recruiteresq at gmail dot com.