JD Profiles: David Hobbie, Litigation Knowledge Management Attorney, Goodwin Procter, LLP

In this new series, we are profiling legal professionals and J.D.s and asking them the hard questions that don’t always get answered in law school. For example, how did they find their job? What do they do on a day-to-day basis? And, was law school a worthwhile investment?

David Hobbie started his career as a litigator at Bingham McCutchen (then Bingham Dana & Gould) before moving to a new firm and a new type of career. Nowadays, he serves as the Litigation Knowledge Management Attorney at Goodwin Procter, LLP in Boston. David shares with us how he started blogging, how he segued into a new position, and he also shares some resources for lawyers interested in KM.

RecruiterEsq: Hi David, thanks for speaking with us. You work at Goodwin Procter, which is one of the world’s top law firms. American Lawyer Magazine ranks it in the top 50 US based firms. The firm allows you to use Twitter, LinkedIn, and maintain a blog?

Yes, my firm’s social media policy allows attorneys and staff to blog, although of course some topics are off-limits and I have to make it clear I’m not speaking for the firm. I blog (intermittently) about litigation knowledge management and related topics at Caselines; that blog is my own and it is not firm-sponsored. There are three firm-sponsored blogs, Sustainable Development (e.g., green building), Financial Crisis Recovery, and the Founder’s Toolbox blog, part of the Founder’s Workbench online resource. I do not write for them or the firm’s Twitter accounts. I’ve had my blog Caselines since 2007 and have been using Twitter since 2008. Stay tuned also for some news about a new channel related to ILTA!

Initially I was using these collaborative tools with an eye to their possible use inside my enterprise; that remains true, but they have also turned into a great way to connect with KM colleagues around the world and to keep informed of all the latest developments in my line of work. For instance, I can get a daily snapshot and preview of the content that some of my favorite tweeps are linking to at http://paper.li/kmhobbie/legal-kmers, which is a compilation of stories from the people on my “legal-kmers” Twitter list.

As for LinkedIn, there are degrees of use, but I think that it’s well past the adoption tipping point. At my firm, over 1000 of us (attorneys and non-attorneys alike) are on LinkedIn already (that is, have Goodwin Procter as their “current company”) out of a total population of south of 1500.

Goodwin Procter, LLP seems to embrace the changes in technology. For start-ups, the Founder’s Toolbox that you mentioned is an awesome resource. How does the firm’s environment foster innovative thinking and lawyering?

One of the firm’s formally expressed core values is “collective entrepreneurship.” That means that, even if you’re a relatively junior person on the team, and you have a good idea, it won’t be dismissed out of hand simply because of your seniority. Many of the firm practice areas have developed technological sophistication and social media savvy simply in order to keep with their extremely sophisticated clients.

That’s awesome to know. It’s something you don’t necessarily find out during OCIs or even interviewing as a lateral. How did you decide to start blogging?

I started blogging as part of an experiment with social media. At the time, I was lucky enough to have Doug Cornelius as a fellow KM attorney at my firm. We were looking at social collaborative tools in part because we were moving to SharePoint 2007 (which includes primitive wikis and blogs) and wanted to see how they might enhance knowledge-sharing, and what security or governance challenges they might present. Doug had started KM Space six months or so before Caselines got underway. I haven’t been able to put as much time into it as I would like, but it’s proven a useful way to capture and organize my thoughts, particularly at conferences, and it’s also raised my visibility in the legal km field and led to speaking opportunities I might not otherwise have obtained.

What are your responsibilities as Litigation Knowledge Management Attorney?

My role and that of my team is to help the litigation department attorneys and staff function more efficiently and effectively. We do this by providing cutting-edge tools for searching and browsing information about the substantive work of the firm, such as previous briefs or deals, and putting information “at the fingertips” of the attorneys and staff. So I have some daily responsibilities to help people find what they need, and longer-term responsibility to A) make sure the firm has cutting-edge search, storage, and collaboration tools and B) deliver enough training and awareness for the attorneys and staff to know the best tool to use in a given situation.

What does a typical week look like for you?

My weeks vary a lot. I typically spend a number of hours responding to specific requests relating to firm work product or other internal information, and the bulk of my time on specific projects such as budgeting and alternative fee arrangements, investigating what to do about docketing and calendaring, developing a new shared workspace, or rolling out the next training & awareness on-demand resource.

You were a litigation associate in the early part of your career. How did you segue into knowledge management?

I had enjoyed the legal research and writing I did as an associate. I also realized that I liked working in an office, with intelligent colleagues, but that I didn’t enjoy the more adversarial aspects of civil litigation. To put that into simpler terms, I didn’t like butting heads with people all the time, and having it be my job to show that the attorney on the other side was an idiot (and vice-versa, his job to show me for a fool). The litigation KM position at this firm was advertised in the state’s local legal weekly, and I knew from reading the description that it would be a great fit for me. I relish being in a “helper” role instead of an adversarial one, and while not writing memos myself I’m close enough to the process to still be participating in identifying the best firm resources that fit a particular legal or business challenge.

How do you think clients benefit when law firms invest in knowledge management?

This is a great question. With better knowledge management resources and systems, a law firm is better able to find and refind key content, and keep from reinventing the wheel. Clients should be able to get answers faster, and hence–at least under a billable hour model–cheaper. Better KM should also lead to better identification of who has the most relevant experience for that project or potential project.  Lawyers who have to worry less about how their teams organize and find information should be more able to focus on their clients’ needs.

Some KM tools, such as document assembly and checklists, also enable a firm to move work to a lower-cost provider. For instance, a junior associate might be able to generate and do basic vetting of a set of transactional documents a lot faster using such tools, work that would have required a senior associate to adopt a slightly different form of agreement. On the litigation side, to give another example, an associate can get started on a legal research project into a topic such as commonality requirements for class actions at the fourth or fifth stage, instead of at the first stage, by quickly finding and leveraging the dozens of briefs on that topic that have already been written.

Collaboration tools such as matter wikis might also prevent a matter team from having to waste time looking for information that might be buried in an email chain or otherwise not readily available.

Do you think knowledge management is something that lawyers should learn in law school? How do you think it could or should tie into the law school curriculum?

I have mixed feelings about this. The emphasis in academia is, and perhaps should be, on learning how to think like a lawyer. While study groups are great, a lot of that work is best done by the individual law student struggling with the caselaw. I start off junior lawyer training sessions by contrasting how taking advantage of other’s work is treated in law school or college, as compared to how it’s treated in a law firm. It’s grounds for expulsion in one, and the zenith of communal good in the other! So, enterprise-type KM is probably not really relevant yet.

On the other hand, law students should perhaps be thinking already about how they manage their personal store of information, their personal knowledge management. How are they going to keep up with the changes in their profession? How will they learn about the firms or other careers they hope to join? How will they be able to organize and share what they learn? There’s a whole group of people studying personal knowledge management, and increasingly impressive technological tools (such as Evernote) to help them do it.

Speaking of Evernote (which I love!), what tools do you use on a daily basis – cell phone, cell phone apps, SaaS, etc.?

I work with an at-times bewildering array of tools. On a given day, I might be developing on a SharePoint list of settlement agreements; crafting or editing a Captivate training and awareness video; searching for samples of a certain type of motion to dismiss in a certain federal court through West KM; reviewing data-mining from our BudgetManager tool about work done in previous matters; setting up a SharePoint or PBWorks wiki; or testing search features of our document management system iManage/ Autonomy.

For my personal KM I use Hootsuite to publish to Twitter and LinkedIn; paper.li to catch up on stories people I follow have published; and Evernote and Instapaper, to hold interesting posts or other content. I have an iPhone, which I use primarily to consume rather than create content.

For someone interested in knowledge management topics, are there any resources (books, websites, groups) that you can recommend?

For on-line resources, the best legal-km related blogs at the moment are above and beyond km and Three Geeks and a Law.

The twitter hashtags #km and #kmers are used quite often.

ILTA is a great way for km peers to get to know each other, though it is not the only km peer group out there. There are also a few groups on LinkedIn, though those aren’t particularly active.

Some excellent books on KM-related topics that I’ve been reading lately include Richard Susskind’s The End of Lawyers?: Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services, Andrew MacAfee’s Enterprise 2.0, and Atul Gawande’s The Checklist Manifesto.

Awesome resources. I’ve added those books to my wishlist. Thank you for taking the time to chat with us!

David Hobbie is Litigation Knowledge Manager at Goodwin Procter. A frequent speaker on legal business intelligence, knowledge management, and enterprise 2.0, you can find David on LinkedIn and Twitter or check out his blog Caselines.

JD Profiles: Susan Cartier Liebel, Owner, Solo Practice University

In this new series, we are profiling legal professionals and J.D.s and asking them the hard questions that don’t always get answered in law school. For example, how did they find their job? What do they do on a day-to-day basis? And, was law school a worthwhile investment?

Susan Cartier Liebel worked in advertising then sales for ten (10) years before she decided to go to law school. As a law student, she realized there were hardly any resources for anyone who wanted to start their own law practice or learn the business side of running a law practice. She took the initiative, sought out mentors from her clinics and network of contacts, and opened her own law firm with friends from law school shortly after she graduated.  Since then, Susan has successfully practiced as a solo/small firm founder. Based on her own experiences, she started to teach others how to do the same. She served as an adjunct professor at Quinnipiac University’s School of Law and then opened her own consulting firm. About two years ago, Susan brought the idea to a larger scale and started Solo Practice University, the ‘practice of law’ school. Susan talks about her journey and the void SPU fills in legal education.

RecruiterEsq: Thank you for speaking to us today! You worked in advertising and sales for ten (10) years before attending law school. Why did you decide to go to law school?

I love education.  I found advertising and sales very unfulfilling.  I was very good at it but I wanted my advocacy skills to have more meaning and becoming a lawyer meant I could use those skills for something more important than creating a campaign to sell more batteries or perfume.

Directly after law school – well, after passing the bar exam – you opened your own firm with two classmates. Who started this discussion? Why did you decide to take that path?

When I finally decided to go to law school (four years after taking the LSATs and after turning down an almost six figure job) I was unsure if I was going to actually practice law.  I knew I wanted the education to navigate through life.  It was during law school that I realized I wanted to open my own practice and become an entrepreneur in the legal field.  I believed being an entrepreneur in the legal field was the epitome of law practice. But, I was quickly disabused of that notion while in law school. When I told people my desire, especially academics, I was looked at like something unpleasant on the bottom of their shoe.  That really pissed me off (excuse my French). I was so confused by that attitude.  So, I realized I had to figure out my own game plan within law school to take the right classes, clinics, etc. to make me prepared to go out on my own when I passed the bar.  This was no easy feat.  Yet, on the very first day of school I met two gentlemen who felt the same way so we navigated together and formed a game plan.

What type of law did you practice when you owned your own firms? How did you decide what area of the law you wanted to practice?

I concentrated on family law doing primarily divorce as well as representing children during the dissolution process.  I personally enjoyed the one-on-one versus dealing with business entities. While family law can really burn you out over time, the personal advocacy can also be very rewarding as you know you had a hand in directly changing lives. I’ve represented more than 100 children through the process and had several very memorable cases.  Putting my skills to use in this way was what I always envisioned.

As part of your game plan, did you work for firms during your summers in law school? In which law school activities did you participate?

I don’t recall what I did during the summers except take summer classes.  However, clinic was the defining event for me.  We had a full blown 30 day custody trial.  We did all the research, interviewed the witnesses, the plaintiff, the experts, took depositions and put on the trial with supervision.  I got pneumonia during the trial and the judge ordered me home.  The trial lasted up until Christmas Eve so we missed our finals (we took them after the break after getting special consideration).  For this experience, I received a prestigious litigation award (along with a sizable check!) from the sponsoring highly-regarded insurance defense firm in CT.  These events ultimately gave me the confidence to go out on my own.  I wasn’t particularly worried about marketing or getting business as I had this background in sales and advertising already.

Because I knew I was going out on my own, I never did the ‘hire me’ activities such as law review or moot court.  Maybe it’s because I was a non-traditional law student (not directly out of college and older) or because I’d had enough working for others, but I directed all my activities to those which helped me be my own profit center and self-sustaining once I passed the bar.

Once you started your own firm, to whom did you look for guidance regarding different matters?

I went to my professors first, then other attorneys I’d met and even judges!  I have no problem meeting and greeting but always offering my assistance to others first.  We did something very cool, I think.  When we met lawyers in court who were traveling to that court house from another town, we always told them if they ever needed a place to hang their hat they could borrow our conference room or offices.  (And prior to having an office ourselves, we would ask lawyers if we could rent theirs if needed – this was before virtual offices, etc.)  This always presented nicely and we genuinely meant it.  It was our way of putting it out there first.  We never did yellow pages or traditional advertising as we couldn’t afford it.  We did hang out in the court houses and restaurants lawyers frequented, acting part of the crowd.  We’d often get, ‘don’t I know you?’ because we’d be seen around and that was our entree to introducing ourselves.  It was fun.  And, naturally, these lawyers would offer their assistance if we needed it.  We used these offers sparingly, but strategically.

How did your background in advertising and sales help you when you decided to go off on your own?

My background in sales and advertising played a huge role because I know how to interview clients and ‘close the sale.’  There is nothing wrong and everything right with being able to identify a client’s needs and effectively address them.  When you do so, they want to hire you.  When you understand what will inhibit an individual and overcome those inhibitors, they want to work with you. That is the nature of sales.  It’s a critical skill in advocacy, not just in getting clients but in working with opposing counsel, mediators and judges.

You’ve been blogging for a very long time about solo practice. Do you ever read old posts and question whether your thoughts about solo practice are still valid?

I actually don’t.  When I write a blog post it’s fairly well thought out and generally global in application.  I don’t shoot from the hip because I know it will be in cyberspace forever.  Therefore, I’m pretty pleased with the content and prepared to debate and defend my thoughts or statements if someone doesn’t agree with me :-)  It was years of this consistent content and message about solo practice which permitted me to attract those who have helped to make SPU the success it is – the faculty, the students and our sponsors. Most importantly, going solo is about entrepreneurship.  Principles of entrepreneurship are timeless.

How did you start writing “An Independent Spirit” for Law.com?

‘An Independent Spirit’ was a column I was invited to write for the Connecticut Law Tribune after I won their New Leaders in the Law Award for Education.  The class, obviously, was my course at Quinnipiac University School of Law.  Since CT Law Tribune was owned by Law.com, when the columns were particularly interesting, Law.com would pick up the columns for national exposure.

Can you tell us more about the course you taught at Quinnipiac, “How to Open and Manage [a] Law Practice Right After Passing the Bar Exam”? What were the types of assignments or readings that were on your syllabus? I’m thinking about the realities of starting my own business, which I should point out is not a law firm, and what I didn’t learn in law school – e.g., marketing, accounting, etc.

Students ultimately created a very unique and personal business plan which took them out two years.  It was labor intensive and no two plans were the same, nor could they be, because no two lawyers are the same.  This may sound strange to you, but this is the truth:  You can’t box in entrepreneurs, only lay the ground rules for what they absolutely cannot do.  Then the sky is the limit.  The business of lawyering should be no different.  Before we ever started the business plan each student went through a guided analysis of their strengths, weaknesses, individual needs, support systems, and technological savviness.  This helped me to help them and it guided their business plan, how they needed to allocate their resources and more.  It was never used to dissuade them from solo practice.  It was used as an exercise in overcoming perceived obstacles and to build confidence.  Many students years later told me it was the one project they saved from law school and with a few tweaks they implemented it when they were ready.

Oh, I love that philosophy about entrepreneurs: “You can’t box in entrepreneurs, only lay the ground rules for what they absolutely cannot do.” I need to stick that quote next to my desk! It applies to lawyers and non-lawyers but, based on my own experience, law students graduate without a good sense of what they absolutely cannot do, despite the ethics exam and ethics class requirements.

When I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 2006, there was nothing like the course you taught at Quinnipiac and you started teaching that course in 2001!  Now, I see that Legal Rebel Max Miller started a program at Pitt Law called the Innovation Practice Institute. Have you seen more law schools implement programs on how to be a successful solo over the years?

I see law schools making efforts to do so but ‘named’ schools are restricted by bureaucracy and tenured professors fighting for their livelihoods.  The newer schools seeking accreditation are much more innovative taking their classes on line and recognizing their students will be going into business for themselves upon graduation like Lincoln Memorial in Tennessee.  Keep an eye on them.

With Solo Practice University, you’re able to offer many courses like the one you developed at Quinnipiac on a much larger scale, given the online platform. You’ve created that space in which lawyers can learn how to be more entrepreneurial within the limits imposed by the profession. How did you decide to start Solo Practice University?

Solo Practice University is a labor of love.  Truly.  It sounds like it was an overnight brainstorm but it was many years in the making, I just wasn’t able to fully realize the vision until January, 2008 when all the necessary elements came together. Half of any successful venture comes from recognizing when all the necessary ingredients to create a business are right in front of you…then getting in the kitchen and cooking! Ironically, I started ‘cooking’ at a time when law students were graduating into $200,000 associates positions.  Yet, SPU physically opened its doors one month after Bloody Thursday.

How do you choose faculty and guest lecturers?

Choosing faculty is both subjective and objective. We are frequently solicited by those who wish to teach. However, before we ever opened I actively solicited people I knew  who are excellent in their fields and believed in me. When I told them of my idea they were on board because it is positioned as a 100% win for all involved. I want those interested in teaching to approach me, too, because they may bring up a course I never thought of. One doesn’t need to be out for a 100 years to teach, though. They need to be good at what they do and have an active interest in a 21st century practice. If you are a superb advocate but don’t know how to turn on a computer, it will be very hard for you to teach others how to build their practices in the 21st century and on an online platform. I really enjoy using the SPU platform and traffic to popularize excellent lawyers who are teaching who might not otherwise be able to get the reach and audience SPU can provide. It’s actually one of my favorite things to do.  :-)

Are most of the people who enroll recent graduates?

Actually, no.  We are split between recent grads (0 – 3 yrs out), those out 4 – 8 yrs and a significant number out 10+.  Many finally want to learn how to build a 21st century practice and many are changing practice areas.  We also have a significant number still employed who are planning their exits or expect they will be shown the door soon.

Some of the skills that are taught at SPU would be beneficial for all lawyers to learn, solos or otherwise. Do attorneys ever sign up for SPU to learn how to expand their practice even if they have no desire to go solo or would SPU not be right for them?

Actually, we have many working for law firms (as noted above) who are utilizing the marketing, blogging, copywriting and virtual technology classes. And others are getting the benefit of the forensic accounting course and e-discovery class and other substantive classes and more to enhance their current work. While we emphasize solo practice, as you recognized, many classes can help any lawyer however situated.

Now that you’ve started Solo Practice University, what are your job responsibilities?

At this stage of the game I am totally in charge of SPU as the Founder and CEO with the exception of the actual architecture and maintenance of the site. However, 2011 promises expansion as we bring in more dynamic people to take SPU to the next level of operation.

What websites do you visit on a daily basis?

Interesting question.  There was a time when I had a list of must read blogs.  Now I utilize Twitter and use those I follow to drive me to excellent blog posts and articles, readings I would not otherwise know about.  I read NYT, WSJ and other news on a regular basis.

What technologies do you use in your business, e.g. blogging software, accounting software, SaaS products?

Our site is completely built on WordPress and BuddyPress and highly, highly customized as well as maintained by the extraordinary David Carson.  He’s absolutely loved by faculty and students.

[He’s also on Twitter!]

Solo Practice University is almost finished with its second full year of operation. Looking back, what has surprised you the most about the venture?

What has surprised me most about the venture is how universally well received it has been by colleagues, students, law schools and professional associations.  One person well positioned within a law school said, ‘You not only filled a void, the void was the size of the Grand Canyon.”  This was high praise indeed.  Along the same lines, the gratitude from students is very rewarding.  While our site is filled with testimonials, what I love most is hearing students say they finally have a place they can call home while they prepare for solo practice or continue to grow their solo practices.  Secondarily, we are reassured on a daily basis that we are delivering for our faculty, too.  They are receiving book deals, significant referral business, getting noticed by reporters and other opportunities they might not otherwise have gotten.  I feel personally successful when I know I am delivering on my promises.

You’re delivering on promises and you’re giving lawyers a space to achieve career success in their own way.  It was truly an honor to speak with you!

Solo Practice University, Susan Cartier Liebel’s brainchild, opened its doors in 2009. You can connect with Susan Cartier Liebel on Twitter or LinkedIn.

JD Profiles: Philip Guzman, Director of Public Service Programs, North Carolina Central University School of Law

In this new series, we are profiling legal professionals and J.D.s and asking them the hard questions that don’t always get answered in law school. For example, how did they find their job? What do they do on a day-to-day basis? And, was law school a worthwhile investment?

Philip Guzman worked in government and private practice before he became the Director of Public Service Programs at North Carolina Central University School of Law. He talks to us about his day-to-day responsibilities in the career services office as well as his career path to his ideal job or, as he calls it, “The Persistent Dream.” (Published in NALP Bulletin, Vol.22, September 2010.)

RecruiterEsq: Hi Phil, thank you for speaking to us today! You’re the Director of Public Service Programs at NCCU’s School of Law.  Many of us have met with the career services office at our law schools but very few of us know what the career counselors do on a daily basis.  What are your responsibilities in your position?  What is a typical day like for you?

It’s crazy and varied. The one thing that I have to get used to is the many “administrative duties” that need to get done. I spend a great deal of my time speaking with attorneys to either line up speakers to come and speak with our students (I’m not above even ordering the food for the events – lots of NY pizza!), or to promote our school to law recruiters and potential employers. I like to walk the halls of the school during classes to show the students a visible Career Services presence (I even drop in and will sit in on classes to actually get back the feeling and experience what our students are going through). There is travel to conferences and job fairs. In addition, I also try and spend some time on scholarship – reading and writing in the field. Yes, that does include Twitter time!

The bulk of my time, however, is spent with the students – either speaking with them and helping them fashion their careers, reviewing and commenting on resumes, and conducting “mock” interviews to prepare them for their employment interviews. Interaction with the students is by far the best part of the job.

Ah, I miss the free pizza of law school activities. How did you obtain your current position?  Did you move to North Carolina for the position?

I tell my story to all of my students for one reason – stay connected and network with local lawyers and local bar associations! I had decided that it was time to close my law practice and move back to my real passion the real love of my life – teaching. My wife and I chose to relocate to the Raleigh/Durham area for both personal and professional reasons: lovely climate (sometimes, I now realize), great medical facilities (we are parents of a special needs young adult), along with my ability to waive into the North Carolina Bar and continue practicing law if I so needed. In anticipation of our move, I contacted the Wake County Bar Association and was placed on their employment email “blasts.” It was through an email from the Bar that I became aware of the job opening at NCCU Law Career Services Offices. Had it not been for the “long-distance” networking that I did, I would have missed out on this very exciting position.

That’s awesome to hear of an e-mail blast working, especially an e-mail blast from a local bar association. Great story! Before your current position, you owned your own law firm.  What advice do you have for people who want to become solos?

It will likely take a solo a few years to get his/her business running. Anticipate lean times at first and be ready to eat a lot of rice and beans until you get the business going. If you can’t make that commitment, and are NOT a “risk taker,” then don’t do it. Furthermore, try and keep your costs down at the beginning. Nothing fancy for an office. Either work at home, or see if you get an arrangement where you can work cases in exchange for rent for another lawyer. In addition, track down lawyers (through the Bar, of course) who know that you are out there and will refer cases to you. Also, get your name out into the community as inexpensively as possible, i.e. take out a room at a library (free) and do a free evening legal presentation to the community. Tell everyone you are out there! Remember, that even through all the hardship and angst of knowing where your next dollar is coming from, there still is nothing quite like being your own boss.

I can agree with that last point! Actually, I can agree with all of your points. Anything entrepreneurial is hard! Would you ever go back to practicing law?

No, I’m done. Not because I didn’t love it. I simply now wish to pursue teaching in the form of law school career counseling. (I have a teaching degree and have taught both on the high school and college levels.) It’s where my heart is right now. Now, that’s not to say that I wouldn’t go back into the courtroom with the clinical students here at NCCU Law. I still love a good legal fight in a just cause!

How did you decide to transition to career services?

In my article “The Persistent Dream,” I talked about knowing what my “dream job” was and not initially pursuing it. Truth be told, I have always wanted to teach. I started out teaching high school English before going to law school. While I was a solo practitioner, I reconnected with my teaching roots by teaching Criminal Justice and Evidence at Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland. After a few years back in the classroom, I knew I was again “hooked” on education. For a lawyer who enjoys teaching, career services is the best of both worlds – I stay connected to the legal profession and get to teach at the same time! I couldn’t ask for more.

How did your role as an adjunct professor help you in your legal practice? What did you learn from teaching students about these subjects?

Getting back into the classroom as a professor sharpened my skills as a lawyer. For example, it was great to revisit all the Rules of Evidence, especially the exceptions to the Hearsay Rule. I would actually sit in the courtroom waiting for my cases to be called as I read my text book and prepared my classroom lessons. My colleagues kidded me unmercifully about my finally figuring out what to do in courtroom! I taught Criminal Justice (Levels I and II) and, as I said, Evidence. All my courses and my interchanges with my students energized me and definitely made me a better lawyer.

You’ve had experiences in private practice, solo practice, and as a government attorney at the Kings County District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Department of Justice.  How do you think this variety of experiences helps you connect with students in your current position?

These varied experiences help me connect with most students’ questions and aspirations. Having been in the private section with a large firm, a boutique, and then in a solo practice, I can assist those students with a preference for the private sector as to what it’s really like to work as an Associate. Also, with my public sector experience on the state and federal levels, I am able to guide students through the process of gaining summer and, eventually, full-time work if they have a public service bent. For better or worse, there are few job experiences that I am not familiar with and I enjoy passing on my experiences with my students. I believe that my background may also give me more credibility with my students as I have actually been in those jobs.

On the topic of variety, I agree that your experience gives you quite a bit of credibility. On the other hand, you always hear that a long resume with multiple moves is less than desirable. What advice do you have for people who have a lot of jobs on their resumes?  Should they address this in a cover letter?

Lawyers make lateral moves for many reasons that are fully legitimate. Thus, making several moves in a relatively short time should not always be considered a negative – certainly not in these difficult times. Lawyers need to remember this as they apply for a new position and not be overly defensive about it during a new application cycle.

Whenever a candidate applies for a job whether s/he is an attorney making a lateral move, finding a new position after a layoff, or a graduating 3L, it is still about the “skill set” of the candidate and what he/she can specifically offer a firm/agency. Always, tailor your letter to the employer’s needs. A cover letter must highlight how the candidate’s work experience and varied skills will make him/her an asset to the specific organization to which the application has been forwarded. I believe that skill (and depending on the position- experience) is what the employer is looking for. Though there is no “one answer fits all situations,” I would not generally address the multiple job issue in the cover letter and leave it for the interview where it will, no doubt, be brought up in one form or another.

You and I met on Twitter.  How is Twitter being used in law schools today?

Well, I can really only specifically speak for North Carolina Central University School of Law and myself, but I believe that Twitter is now a major engine of social media communication among the law school community – educators, administrators and, of course, students. I follow my career counseling colleagues in the field, both in and out the law school community, along with knowledgeable attorneys in all areas of the law. Twitter also helps me to follow trends and current issues and concerns in academia. For students, it is a way to communicate with one another and with professionals from other schools and all areas of practice. By the way, I would very much encourage law students to reach out to all the professionals from other schools who tweet. I would be surprised to find anyone in the Twitter community that would not take the time to speak with and answer law students’ questions and/or make referrals to people in a networking capacity.

What other tools do you use on a daily basis?  E.g., technology, social networking sites, etc.

Though I know that Facebook is now a major social media outlet for law students and professionals (and I would encourage its use), I am a big time advocate of LinkedIn. Why? I feel that networking, networking, networking is the name of the game for professional attorney placement and I find LinkedIn’s a marvelous way for me to reach out to our alumni and attorneys in all areas of the country and in the varied specialty fields. To give you an example, yesterday a student came to my office seeking information on a patent law position in the Greensboro, NC area. It took me less than five minutes to locate an attorney alum, one of my contacts, who was more than willing to help the student. It was that easy (not always so, I know). I encourage all students to start and work their LinkedIn account while in law school and beyond.

That’s a great example of the effects of LinkedIn. And, I agree – students should start to work on their LinkedIn profiles while in law school. In this day in age, it’s essential for finding a job and staying on top of your professional reputation. Switching gears, as the Director of Public Service Programs, you must keep abreast of pro bono issues.  What are some popular areas where people do pro bono work?

There are as many varied opportunities for pro bono work as there are areas of practice: Civil Rights, HIV/AIDS, Homeless, Housing, Immigration, and Tax just to name a few. Also, students need to remember that there are wealth of fellowship opportunities sponsored by foundations and law firms that are eager to assist and fund worthwhile pro bono projects. Some worthwhile resources include: (1) AALS Section on Pro Bono and Public Service Opportunities, (2) ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service and the Center for Pro Bono, (3) The Annual Equal Justice Works Conference and Fair ( a fantastic happening!), (4) Equal Justice Works (check the website), (5) PSLawNet, (6) Pro Bono Institute, and (7) Pro Bono Net . . to name a few. If you are looking for work in the area of pro bono, I would encourage students to check out these websites. This is so worthwhile! I love the passion of those interested in pro bono work!

How can pro bono work help in a lawyer’s career?

Pro bono career lawyers are a unique breed who get their career satisfaction in areas outside of monetary rewards, for sure. Beyond that, you will recall that I spoke of the importance of experience and “skill sets.” Pro bono work often gives an attorney first-hand and important experience in the specific law. An attorney can, no doubt, enhance his/her resume by working in a specific area of the law on a pro bono basis and then move to another position and point to vital experience gained in the pro bono arena.

In the NALP piece that you recently published, you recommend for attorneys to listen for “the inner call to their dream career.”  What if that inner call is at a really low decibel?  What are some ways to motivate it to speak louder, if you will?

That was the case with me at the outset. One needs to continue to seek and ask these questions: What do I enjoy? What excites me? What do I keep thinking about? . . . Now this is what I would really like to do !! . . . One needs to be persistent in seeking answers to these questions, then to apply the answers in developing strategies and the development of a game plan and then go out and to seek the job and career that answers all all of these introspective questions.

Another way to help ring the bell louder is to speak with other lawyers and develop “mentors” to help weave through the career selection maze. More times than not, you reach the point where there is only one clear dream career. Now, whether one chooses the road that will travel in the direction of that career, or another will often depend on a host of individual reasons.

Thank you again, Phil, for your time and insight.  Mentors are vitally important. I hope your advice gave at least a few of our readers the knowledge to go out and pursue their dream career!

Philip Guzman serves as the Director of Public Service Programs at North Carolina Central University’s School of Law.  He maintains the law school’s Twitter account as well as his personal Twitter account.  He can also be reached on LinkedIn.

[Product Review] Formulists: A Twitter Tool

In or around October or November, I noticed that more and more people would list me on Twitter using a tool called Formulists.  At first, I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical.

To a certain extent, it seemed like Formulists was a scam.  Twitter has its own list builder.  So, what would be the point of using a replica product?  Especially one that seemed to promote itself at every turn?  (How many times have you been added to a Twitter list and noticed that it was “generated by @formulists” in the description?)  Plus, Formulists is not a separate platform like Hootsuite or TweetDeck so I couldn’t see the added value.

Nevertheless, I was intrigued.

As someone who has spent a great deal of time building and tweaking her Twitter lists (see: my AMLAWTweeple project), this notion of self-updating lists piqued my curiosity.

After exploring the site for a few minutes, however, the benefits of Formulists weren’t readily apparent.  But, thankfully, Formulists uses Get Satisfaction, a feedback tool similar to UserVoice.  (More law firms should implement feedback tools, but more on that at another time.)

I sent off a request: “What is the benefit of Formulists? Why would I use it instead of Twitter’s list option?

I received an awesome response – and then a follow-up Power Point presentation(!) – from Natalie Michelson, Marketing Manager at Formulists, and I became a believer.

Her response:

Formulists is not actually meant to be used instead Twitter’s list option but rather to complement it.  A Formulists-made Twitter list, is still a Twitter list- viewable from your Twitter home page or client.  However, the benefit of using Formulists to make some or all of your Twitter lists, is that Formulists takes care of a lot of the hard work for you that is involved in both list creation and list maintenance.

As one classic example, making a “locals” list of the people you follow manually, would require you to click on the profile pages of each person you follow, see where they are from and then manually add them to your “locals I follow” list.  Using Formulists, you can filter all the people you follow by location within a minute  Additionally, Formulists-made lists update themselves daily so that if you follow another person from you city, they will automatically be added to this list too.

Because they are dynamic and automatically-updated, Formulists lists can also be used to do things Twitter lists couldn’t do in the past, like show you who recently unfollowed you or who your friends talk to most.  And because this information is being shown via a Twitter list, you can easily view and act on it from you Twitter client or homepage.

Here is one slide that I found particularly useful in the quick Power Point presentation she forwarded to me:

Mainly, I took Natalie’s advice and created lists to target potential clients by location.  While I didn’t delete my old lists, I now use a few private lists that are, yes, generated by @Formulists.

Do you use Formulists?  What do you think?

Further Reading:

How to Create a New Twitter List Within Hootsuite

Need a Kickstart into Twitter Lists?  Maybe Formulists Can Help You with That and I Have Invites

JD Profiles: Richard Russeth, Vice President + General Counsel, Leprino Foods Company

In this new series, we are profiling legal professionals and J.D.s and asking them the hard questions that don’t always get answered in law school. For example, how did they find their job? What do they do on a day-to-day basis? And, was law school a worthwhile investment?

Richard Russeth has worked in-house at various multi-national companies in the food industry since his graduation from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1982. In his roles as Assistant General Counsel and General Counsel, his clients may ask him questions relating to employment, intellectual property, or international tax law on any given day. Rather than focusing on one area of the law, Richard has become a rare entity – a self-proclaimed generalist. The Last Generalist talks with us once again about his career path, networking philosophies, technology, and the implications of the Food Safety Modernization Act for FDA lawyers.

RecruiterEsq: Thank you for speaking to us today!

Richard Russeth:  Glad to have the opportunity!

We had spoken earlier over #LawJobChat about your career path. I’d like to follow-up here with a few more questions because you provided such valuable information. During #LawJobChat, you talked about how a GC at Pillsbury took a chance on you when you applied to intern there. Can you tell us more about how you went about applying for the position? What your interview process was like? And, how you demonstrated your abilities from the get-go?

It was so long ago that I got that law clerk job!

The “in” was actually through the Deputy General Counsel, Ronald Lund (who went on to be General Counsel of Medtronic) who I knew through family connections – family is your number one network opportunity, then friends, then business colleagues and then everything else from LinkedIn to Twitter and beyond.

While my network got me in the clerkship door, it was Ed Stringer, the GC (later appointed to MN Supreme Ct) who took the chance three years later to hire me full-time. In hindsight, I think the reason was that I always was looking for solutions, not just giving “legal advice.” It’s easy to write sterile legal advice – it’s far more effective to give practical, useable solutions to your clients. Saying “that looks risky” is easy – saying there are risks but here’s a pretty good map through the minefield, well, that’s a winner with any client.

What are some hot legal issues facing food industries?

Primarily, food safety. The Senate just passed a final version of the Food Safety Modernization Act (passed by the House this past summer) that is the biggest overhaul of our nation’s food safety laws since before WWII; working through the implications for our clients should keep us FDA focused lawyers very busy!

Hear that, Folks? Food safety/FDA law may be an area to check out! You’ve had to deal with corporate restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, and organizational changes. For example, you moved from The Pillsbury Company to Haagen-Daaz, one of Pillsbury’s wholly-owned subsidiaries. Later, you worked as VP & General Counsel for Cutlor Foods, which was then acquired by Danisco so you moved over to a new position there. Is this a usual trend in the in-house industry?

Businesses are in a constant cycle of mergers and acquisitions, and this has a significant impact on the in-house legal functions; this cycle has only accelerated in the course of my career. There can only be one GC in any organization so consolidation leaves someone one out of a job. The trick is to be ready to deal with that. You can’t ever have your head in the sand. Constantly acquiring new knowledge, new or upgraded skills, and new experience is essential. General Counsels may have a specialty or focus in their practice, but the word “General” really means something in my view. After all you are managing all of the corporations legal issues, not just those with which you may have the most experience. Keep reinventing yourself!

How did you decide to move from Haagen-Daaz to Cultor Food Science? Were you recruited or how did you find the position?

I wish I could say, “recruited” – it sounds so much better! But a few years after Pillsbury was acquired by what is now known as Diageo, the decision was made to relocate the Haagen-Dazs business from NJ to the HQ in Minneapolis, MN. I had been with Pillsbury/Diageo for almost 14 years at that point and I didn’t see a clear career path inside Diageo any longer – so I opted to “pursue other options.” My network steered me into the Cultor Foods job – networks did exist before LinkedIn, believe it or not. It’s just so easy to maintain and grow a network now that no one has any excuse.

Great point. Is there a difference between an assistant general counsel role and a GC?

The GC needs to make the “big calls” on a wide variety to issues – some she knows a lot about, some she knows little about. This is why a diverse background in the law is essential in my view – assistant GCs tend to be more specialized – at least in large legal departments. In a large legal department, the differences are quite large in terms of strategic goal setting, delegation and overall access to and support of senior management. But in the departments that I’ve headed up from five to fifteen people, the difference is pretty much academic, although the buck clearly does stop at my desk – as it should!

During the same #LawJobChat, you also mentioned taking advantage of Twitter and LinkedIn. How do you use both of those sites? What would be your response if a lawyer asked you, “Why would I use Twitter? What do I do on LinkedIn?”

I am participating in this interview because you and I got to know each other through #lawjobchat on Twitter!! I have met so many great lawyers and other professionals on Twitter and then networked in person at the ACC Annual Meeting and other events. As for LinkedIn, it is simply a way to keep your profile in public in a way that you never, ever could before. Is LinkedIn going to land a job for you all by itself – of course not, but its part of building and tracking your network in real time; all without taking up as much time as that task used to entail. And recruiters are combing it every day. LinkedIn is as essential as an email account.

In the past, attorneys working at law firms only had to think about corporate restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, and organizational changes in terms of their clients. Now, we see more and more law firms merging or changing their organizational structure. What advice do you have for lawyers given your own experience?

Build your network now – that’s where your next job is coming from. Keep it fresh. Stay in touch. Most of all: Help others in their job search just as you’d want to be helped should it be necessary. Yes, the Golden Networking Rule!  When someone you “sort of know” asks for help, do you respond or do you “archive”? Are you on LinkedIn? Facebook? Twitter?  Do you “stay in touch” often enough?  Are you tracking job listings? Are you attending local ABA or ACC meetings? Are you writing for publication?

Your blog is called The Last Generalist. It’s a great read that I’d recommend for all of our readers to visit. What do you mean by “The Last Generalist?”

It’s a little bit of a joke to be honest.  I go to bar or ACC functions and everyone is talking about their specialty and gathered in their specialist huddles and I’m sometimes on the outside looking in more often than I’d care to admit.  My huddle often seems pretty darn small – me and my cup of coffee…

As an entrepreneur who handles everything herself, I know there are real benefits to being a generalist.  In your opinion, what are the benefits to being a generalist rather than a specialist? How do you maintain your credentials as a generalist?

I think the benefits depend on the type of person you are. I enjoy variety and being a jack-of-all-trades. Not everyone does. I think in private practice, being a generalist is all but impossible inside a firm of any scale. But as a General Counsel, I think those generalist instincts are key to being able to manage a wide variety of legal issues and lawyers across the US and the globe. And maybe seeing the forest where your specialist can only see the trees. As for credentials, well, I think it involves reading a wide variety of periodicals and branching out in CLE courses. But most important is getting a wide exposure to different fields of law as you grow in your career. I probably had a different “specialty” every 12 months for the first 14 years of my career!

How did you decide to start a blog? Was this something recommended by your company?

The blog was a natural as I have always loved to write – I enjoy the creative outlet it provides. Also, I just felt like there was a story that wasn’t getting told much any more in the very tough business that the law has become – that being good at what you do is important but not at the cost of selling your soul or not having a life outside the law. In my view, courtesy, ethics and professionalism matter. The Last Generalist lets me speak to these things. My company tolerates my blog! I am very careful never to discuss my company or any legal matters or topics related to anything I’m handling – it’s my personal blog and I’m very careful to keep it that way.

How do you work it into your daily schedule?

I have to say I am not terribly disciplined in this respect but the flip side is that it doesn’t take that much time to keep the ball moving. I probably spend 30 to 45 minutes between getting up and bedtime on these activities. First thing in the AM is a great way to kick the day off – talking to the world with a cup of coffee. When I was at a recent PLI seminar I tweeted it live – and got feedback from lawyers in the UK when I posted something on UK law – it’s such a great tool!

What technology do you use on a day-to-day basis? E.g., phone apps, Skype, SaaS, any blogging tools

I’m a huge fan of Hootsuite. I can track numerous Twitter streams, LinkedIn and Facebook accounts all from one great platform. Can’t say enough good things about it.  That plus my Droid gets me through the day.

In your position, are you in charge of hiring attorneys? If so, what are some of your favorite interview questions?

Well, I wish I could hire more! Seriously, for me, once we establish your credentials then it’s really about working together. I spend more time with my co-lawyers than anyone else in my life so I really, really want to be sure they are smart, funny and easy to work with! Oddly enough, if they are open and honest about failure, they tend to be the best people with whom to work. My favorite interview question is one that I picked up in the course of my various job searches: “Why do you think you lost the first lawsuit that you ever lost?”

I loved being asked and asking that question. Failure and how we learn and recover from it is so much more interesting than success. It’s our failures that shape us. If someone can talk about failure honestly and how they picked themselves up – that is way more interesting to me that the win. They tend to be more interesting people too!

I like that one.  I may add it to my repertoire. Again, it was a pleasure speaking with you! Thank you very much again for your time!

Thank you!

Richard Russeth is Vice President and General Counsel at Leprino Foods. You can read his blog or connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Lessons from #LawJobChat: @betsymunnell on Online Tools for Career Management

Note: Just because this post is a little delayed, doesn’t mean it’s not worth reading :-)

On November 18, 2010, we hosted our fifth #LawJobChat, a chat on Twitter that usually takes place the last Thursday of each month from 9 – 10 pm Eastern.  (November and December we switched up the schedule due to the holidays!)

During #LawJobChat #5, we spoke with Elizabeth (“Betsy”) Munnell (@BetsyMunnell),  a former BigLaw partner and rainmaker who started Elizabeth Munnell & Associates, where she focuses on “business development training for law students and young lawyers.”

Betsy provided tips on how to curate the web, monitor practice areas or firms of interest, and build connections with the business intelligence you gather.  Betsy can be reached on Twitter or LinkedIn.

It was thanks to this #LawJobChat that we also started the LawJobChat LinkedIn group, which you should join!

5 Takeaway Tweets

  • @BetsyMunnell: Use Twitter links/JDSupra/RSS to deepen expertise on legal and business, targeted industries, to research prospects & more
  • @BetsyMunnell: A smart, strategic web curator’s strategy must help you build relationships…to develop your reputation/network.
  • @BetsyMunnell: If you have some material relationships developing then you want to be watching subjects of interest to them.
  • @BetsyMunnell:  Moral: Watch for breaking news, for data that will help someone else shine. Send it immediately.
  • @BetsyMunnell: …the web offers excellent ways to learn directly from practicing lawyers

I’d also recommend Amanda’s post that highlights the important points that Betsy covered.

Mark Your Calendars: #LawJobChat – January 27, 9-10 pm Eastern

Before I paste the full transcript, I’ll remind everyone that the next #LawJobChat will be at its normal date and time – the last Thursday of the month – from 9-10 pm EST.   We’re finalizing the topic and guest host for next time but we’re also open to your suggestions and requests.  You can leave a comment and/or send me an e-mail at melissa at recruiteresq dot com.

Full Transcript

2:00 am aellislegal: Welcome to the 5th #LawJobChat! Tonight we are discussing online tools to manage your career. #lawjobchat
2:01 am j2_whittington: Time for #lawjobchat
2:01 am j2_whittington: RT @aellislegal: Welcome to the 5th #LawJobChat! Tonight we are discussing online tools to manage your career. #lawjobchat
2:01 am aellislegal: You may already use online resources in your practice – we hope tonight’s info will share new resources #lawjobchat
2:02 am LNLawSchool: RT @aellislegal: Welcome to the 5th #LawJobChat! Tonight we are discussing online tools to manage your career. #lawjobchat
2:02 am aellislegal: Our guest tonight is @betsymunnell, former BigLaw partner/rainmaker who now coaches attorneys. She knows A LOT abt online tools #lawjobchat
2:03 am aellislegal: I’ll let @betsymunnell share a little more about her background! #lawjobchat
2:03 am BetsyMunnell: Thanks so much Amanda for inviting me to take part in #LawJobChat. #lawjobchat
2:03 am BetsyMunnell: When I started a 2nd career (July ’10) I never imagined becoming a breathless fan of social media & online learning for lawyers! #lawjobchat
2:04 am BetsyMunnell: I certainly didn’t expect my new business to gain traction so quickly, in part due to my enthusiasm for Twitter & LinkedIN. #lawjobchat
2:04 am aellislegal: Oh, after @betsymunnell‘s intro, I’ll start w/some questions, labeling them Q1, Q2, etc. Feel free to jump in when u have ??s #lawjobchat
2:04 am BetsyMunnell: As a lawyer I totally underestimated the power of online platforms, but I caught up fast via strategic Twitter/LinkedIN follows #lawjobchat
2:05 am BetsyMunnell: Any JD or law student can enrich & advance his/her career by disciplined use of the web. We’ll make suggestions like these…. #lawjobchat
2:05 am BetsyMunnell: 1. Use curated searches to identify an interesting, growth practice area (or vet a possible new law firm). #lawjobchat
2:05 am BetsyMunnell: 2 Use Twitter links/JDSupra/RSS to deepen expertise on legal and business, targeted industries, to research prospects & more #lawjobchat
2:06 am LNLawSchool: RT @betsymunnell: 1. Use curated searches to identify an interesting, growth practice area (or vet a possible new law firm). #lawjobchat
2:06 am mjsq: RT @BetsyMunnell As lawyer I underestimated pwr of online platforms, but I caught up fast via strategic Twitter/LinkedIN follows #lawjobchat
2:06 am BetsyMunnell: 3. Build & monitor your personal brand & a rich professional network. And: 4. Learn how to deploy both to generate business. #lawjobchat
2:07 am LNLawSchool: RT @betsymunnell: 2 Use Twitter links/JDSupra/RSS to deepen expertise, to research prospects & more #lawjobchat
2:07 am BetsyMunnell: OK Amanda–I’m exhausted from that lengthy monologue–time for a question. #lawjobchat
2:07 am LNLawSchool: RT @betsymunnell: 3. Build & monitor your personal brand & a rich professional network. #lawjobchat
2:08 am LNLawSchool: And: 4. Learn how to deploy both to generate business. #lawjobchat
2:08 am aellislegal: Q1: Great! Let’s start with a basic: which websites do you check daily? Which 3 sites should JDs/students check daily? #lawjobchat
2:09 am BetsyMunnell: The web is huge–so we all need favorite a web filter: a search engine? an RSS feed like Google Reader? a Blawg ?Carnival? ? #lawjobchat
2:10 am BetsyMunnell: I recommend Twitter for news, LinkedIn and JDSupra for network status, industry info, and some combo of blogs #lawjobchat
2:11 am j2_whittington: RT @BetsyMunnell: I recommend Twitter for news, LinkedIn and JDSupra for network status, industry info, and some combo of blogs #lawjobchat
2:11 am BetsyMunnell: I am not a fan of Facebook for lawyers. And I see the web as primarily a news and data filter for practitioners. #lawjobchat
2:11 am mjsq: @BetsyMunnell Facebook? #lawjobchat
2:12 am mjsq: @BetsyMunnell: read my mind! #lawjobchat
2:12 am BetsyMunnell: The ethical and other difficulties of engaging fully on Twitter are challenging. Blogging can be tricky too. But.. #lawjobchat
2:13 am BetsyMunnell: Ultimately, with enough experience, many lawyers can benefit enormously from a blog presence–perhaps thru @lexblog #lawjobchat
2:13 am aellislegal: Q2: Let’s use a specific example – how would a health lawyer use web filters to gain updated info for that area/industry? #lawjobchat
2:14 am BetsyMunnell: Lawyers and students who want to consider blogging should follow @kevinokeefe–he has it all figured out. #lawjobchat
2:16 am BetsyMunnell: In my book Twitter is the zenith of Web filters…I use lists to follow the best subject curators. #lawjobchat
2:17 am aellislegal: Q1 re blogging – I think @mjsq has some blogging info/basics on her site, too #lawjobchat
2:17 am BetsyMunnell: The experts you follow must be reliable-so you need ?referrals? from seasoned lawyers, others. Ask them. Or… #lawjobchat
2:17 am mjsq: @BetsyMunnell do you use Twitter’s built-in list function or a tool like @formulists? #lawjobchat
2:17 am BetsyMunnell: …raid their lists. :) In health care I like @HealthBlawg & the blog carnivals he favors. #lawjobchat
2:19 am BetsyMunnell: @mjsq I use @hootsuite and have set up a number of lists, including Best Content, News, Business News, Science, etc #lawjobchat
2:19 am BetsyMunnell: The best curators/lawyers cover industries ?holistically?–law, business, IT, policy, different types of clients #lawjobchat
2:20 am aellislegal: Q2 cont – So, find health care lawyers like @healthlawblawg and see who they follow #lawjobchat
2:20 am BriHoffman: not going to be able to participate in #lawjobchat tonight, but i look forward to the transcript! have fun, and hope ur all doing well!
2:21 am BetsyMunnell: @j2_whittington is a perfect example of blogging’s benefits & he’s gone viral–! #lawjobchat
2:21 am mjsq: Agree. RT BetsyMunnell ..best curators/lawyers cover industries ?holistically?-law, business, IT, policy, diff types of clients #lawjobchat
2:22 am aellislegal: Q2 cont – what about using Google alerts to learn about “health law”? Or Google alerts for health lawyers (if job searching)? #lawjobchat
2:23 am BetsyMunnell: One of the beauties of Twitter etc is the range of possible info-sharp lawyers understand the industries they serve #lawjobchat
2:24 am BetsyMunnell: I used Google Alerts for a while but was disappointed–the info from the sweeps comes in too slowly. So.. #lawjobchat
2:25 am BetsyMunnell: I now use Twitter searches and set them up in Hootsuite columns. If job searching you’re still after similar info #lawjobchat
2:26 am BetsyMunnell: You need to make your interviewer see the depth of your interest in/knowledge of the field and his/her company #lawjobchat
2:27 am aellislegal: Q2 cont For those that may not b familiar w/Twitter searches, do u mean a “saved search” for “health law”? Any special steps? #lawjobchat
2:27 am BetsyMunnell: so you need to be way out in front of current developments at that company –such as regulatory changes, litigation #lawjobchat
2:28 am BetsyMunnell: I’d have to check this again–I can’t recall how I set up the three I have Amanda–but it was easy–maybe a new tab? #lawjobchat
2:29 am BetsyMunnell: Other ways to track legal fields, industries, companies, prospects: RSS feeders-but you need patience/discipline #lawjobchat
2:30 am aellislegal: Q3 Time mgmt is huge issue for lawyers – how often do u have to check the search results? #lawjobchat
2:30 am j2_whittington: @HammieHamHam check out #lawjobchat – pretty good info from some really good ppl about getting your name out there – never 2 early 2 start
2:31 am LNLawSchool: @betsymunnell In Hootsuite, it’s as easy as setting up a new “stream” with a search term. Very important, imo. #lawjobchat
2:32 am BetsyMunnell: Q3 Good question. The net itself can be an enormous distraction/timewaster. Especially if you enjoy the people. #lawjobchat
2:32 am squirrelpants: @BetsyMunnell What is the benefit to hootsuite over tweetdeck or Twitter? #lawjobchat
2:33 am BetsyMunnell: The search results in Hootsuite show up alongside al the other lists/streams and are easy to check. #lawjobchat
2:33 am BetsyMunnell: How often to check–well that depends on where you are in your networking/biz development strategy: #lawjobchat
2:34 am aellislegal: Q4: Do you find LinkedIn groups helpful for gaining info about practice areas/industries? If so, any examples? #lawjobchat
2:34 am BetsyMunnell: If you have some material relationships developing then you want to be watching subjects of interest to them. #lawjobchat
2:34 am BetsyMunnell: When you see something break, you want to be the first to send along the linkl–making yourself valuable/memorable. #lawjobchat
2:35 am BetsyMunnell: @squirrelpants First, that’s one hell of a great handle. Second–I don’t know anything about tweetdeck, but #lawjobchat
2:36 am BetsyMunnell: twitter alone just doesn’t give me much flexibility–and is way too disorderly for my brain. #lawjobchat
2:37 am BetsyMunnell: Q4 I think LinkedIN is a tremendous resource for information when used strategically. Alumni groups can be great. #lawjobchat
2:37 am j2_whittington: @BetsyMunnell but don’t you need to be careful and read what you’re RTing first tho? jrnalists have taken big hits b/c of this #lawjobchat
2:37 am BetsyMunnell: You have to check things out, watch to see who is active, wheter the content is intelligent and helpful, etc #lawjobchat
2:39 am BetsyMunnell: My favorite thing about LInkedIn is its partnership with JDSupra–the premium account even send you posts based on #lawjobchat
2:40 am aellislegal: Re watching subjects of interest, job seekers: use searches 2 find articles in desired pract area, send to atty w/whom u intvwd #lawjobchat
2:40 am BetsyMunnell: ..sorry–more on @JD Supra- I have found some wonderful substance thru this vehicle. #lawjobchat
2:40 am mjsq: I wondered about the premium account… what are the benefits? Would you recommend for all lawyers to upgrade their @LinkedIn? #lawjobchat
2:41 am BetsyMunnell: Jack- yes lots of people RT links based solely on the tweeter’s intro or the title of the post itself. Lazy. Risky. #lawjobchat
2:41 am aellislegal: Q4 cont – Using the health lawyer ex .. health lawyer could subscribe 2 health law feeds on JD Supra to gain info re health law? #lawjobchat
2:41 am BaranCLE: Good Q. Many don’t RT @j2_whittington @BetsyMunnell but don’t you need to be careful and read what you’re RTi #lawjobchat
2:42 am mjsq: @BetsyMunnell Also, I wondered if premium @LinkedIn accts should be benefit firms offer so that their emplys can learn. Opinion? #lawjobchat
2:43 am BetsyMunnell: @mjsq I don’t recommend an upgrade ($) unless you’re following a specific, hot topic well vetted on @JDSupra. #lawjobchat
2:45 am BetsyMunnell: @mjsq Firms should help lawyers access online info, but I don’t think JDSupra has yet proven value of premium. #lawjobchat
2:46 am aellislegal: Q4 cont Still using health lawyer ex … any specific groups for health lawyers to join on LinkedIn? Search groups for keywords? #lawjobchat
2:46 am BetsyMunnell: @aellislegal – there are a number of large firms that post routinely on JDSupra-some fields are better than others #lawjobchat
2:47 am BetsyMunnell: As an example, my old firm’s Insurance/Reinsurance practice regularly tweets/posts on LInkedIN/JDSupra #lawjobchat
2:48 am BetsyMunnell: I understand that the insurance posts are carefully followed in the industry #lawjobchat
2:49 am BaranCLE: RT @aellislegal Welcome to the 5th #LawJobChat! Tonight we are discussing online tools to manage your career. #lawjobchat
2:50 am aellislegal: Q5: You’ve shared tips re Twitter searches, JDSupra, RSS feeds. Any examples of lawyers using these to learn abt pract areas? #lawjobchat
2:51 am cyclaw: Interesting discussion going on at #lawjobchat. Great info for a work-in-progress solo like me..
2:51 am BetsyMunnell: Q4 Keywords for health care? Healthcare reform. FraudAbuse. Conflict of Interest..That sort of thing. #lawjobchat
2:52 am BetsyMunnell: Q5 Yes–to preface my answer..The end goal for all of this-of course-is a self-sustaining law practice. #lawjobchat
2:54 am BetsyMunnell: A smart, strategic web curator’s strategy must help you build relationships…to develop your reputation/network. #lawjobchat
2:54 am BetsyMunnell: One of my clients-a small firm 4th year- wants to develop a peer referral source in a big firm. #lawjobchat
2:55 am j2_whittington: For those of u solos out there lking for help I would recommend @SCartierLiebel -Solo Practice University- Great tool for solos #lawjobchat
2:55 am mjsq: @BetsyMunnell how does one organize/use info once they find/gather it online? How do they turn it into competitive intelligence? #lawjobchat
2:56 am BetsyMunnell: The Biglaw hotshot he’s targeted is in cleantech, biofuels–stuff like that. She’s expected to blog weekly. #lawjobchat
2:56 am mjsq: *how does one turn it into competitive intelligence. #lawjobchat
2:56 am aellislegal: @betsymunnell Thoughts re evernote? RT @bcuban can evernote benefit attorneys? #lawjobchat
2:56 am BetsyMunnell: And of course she is anxious about proving herself in a firm where only 15% of the equity partners are women. #lawjobchat
2:57 am aellislegal: Good Q RT @mjsq: @BetsyMunnell how does one organize/use info once they find/gather it online? #lawjobchat
2:57 am maggieesq: RT @BetsyMunnell: Jack- yes lots of people RT links based solely on the tweeter’s intro or the title of the post itself. Lazy. Risky. #lawjobchat
2:58 am BetsyMunnell: My guy set a twitter search & read the NYT Green Blog daily. One fine day he spotted a breaking post, sent it 2 her #lawjobchat
2:59 am BetsyMunnell: His BigLaw contact, thrilled, sent it to the partner she works for, who was grateful & impressed. #lawjobchat
2:59 am BetsyMunnell: Same goes for the associate…who matured into a solid referral source overnight.. #lawjobchat
2:59 am aellislegal: @j2_whittington Great point re @SCartierLiebel‘s SPU as online tool for solos … can take classes for diff practice areas #lawjobchat
3:00 am BetsyMunnell: Moral: Watch for breaking news, for data that will help someone else shine. Send it immediately. #lawjobchat
3:00 am BetsyMunnell: That’s how you build a practice. #lawjobchat
3:01 am BetsyMunnell: @SCartierLiebel‘s SPU is a wonderful resource–as are a number of other platforms/blogs etc @myshingle for example #lawjobchat
3:01 am aellislegal: Final Q – we’ve talked about lawyers using these tools -what about firms? How are they using online tools to reach/help clients? #lawjobchat
3:02 am BetsyMunnell: Last Q Several savvy large firms are offering free online documents and support (“document generators”) online. #lawjobchat
3:03 am aellislegal: Good Q RT @mjsq: @BetsyMunnell how does one organize/use info once they find/gather it online? #lawjobchat
3:03 am BetsyMunnell: These target startups and venture capitalists and are brilliant marketing tools. #lawjobchat
3:04 am BetsyMunnell: Wilson Sonsini put out a term sheet generator for entrepreneurs in ’09. #lawjobchat
3:05 am BetsyMunnell: But law firms have always offered fre/discounted assistance at that level–I know I did. It’s good business. #lawjobchat
3:06 am BetsyMunnell: The real cutting edge stuff is coming from Goodwin Procter via @GoodwinBigIdeas & the new “Founder’s Workbench”. #lawjobchat
3:06 am aellislegal: @betsymunnell you’ve provided some great insight re using searches, RSS, JDSupra, LI Groups to learn abt pract areas .. #lawjobchat
3:06 am aellislegal: @betsymunnell you’ve provided some great insight re using searches, RSS, JDSupra, LI Groups to learn abt pract areas .. #lawjobchat
3:07 am BetsyMunnell: Very useful documents and tremendous support on many levels–tax, regulatory etc. Great marketing. #lawjobchat
3:07 am aellislegal: @betsymunnell and great insight re firms’ use of online tools. THANK YOU for joining us to share your knowledge! #lawjobchat
3:07 am BetsyMunnell: The thing I love about Goodwin’s site is that it benefits the profession at large, and law students too. #lawjobchat
3:08 am BetsyMunnell: It?s way better than PLI/CLE, and free. #lawjobchat
3:08 am BetsyMunnell: This way BigLaw can help train lawyers in practical skills as well as specialized substance–law schools doesn’t! #lawjobchat
3:09 am mjsq: RT @BetsyMunnell …real cutting edge stuff is coming from Goodwin Procter via @GoodwinBigIdeas & the new “Founder’s Workbench” #lawjobchat
3:09 am BetsyMunnell: Thanks Amanda – my pleasure. I appreciate being included and welcome questions offline from anyone I missed! #lawjobchat
3:10 am j2_whittington: Do you guys have a #lawjobchat group on LinkedIn?
3:10 am BetsyMunnell: Well Jack we will soon! #lawjobchat
3:11 am LNLawSchool: Many thanks @BetsyMunnell @aellislegal and others for a great #lawjobchat! #Lawschool students, search on the hashtag to read the script.
3:11 am aellislegal: As always, I’ll post a summary and chat transcript tomorrow #lawjobchat
3:11 am mjsq: @BetsyMunnell Thank you so much for joining us! I know we could’ve talked for hours about this stuff… #lawjobchat
3:12 am LNLawSchool: Great idea, Jack! RT @j2_whittington: Do you guys have a #lawjobchat group on LinkedIn?
3:13 am mjsq: We will! RT @LNLawSchool Great idea, Jack! RT @j2_whittington: Do you guys have a #lawjobchatgroup on LinkedIn? #lawjobchat
3:13 am BetsyMunnell: @mjsq Thanks Melissa- I really enjoyed this–my first experience with a real time online discussion. #lawjobchat
3:14 am LNLawSchool: RT @betsymunnell: Well Jack we will soon! #lawjobchat (re:#lawjobchat Linkedin group)
3:18 am BetsyMunnell: I need to add one thing I wanted to cover– the web offers excellent ways to learn directly from practicing lawyers #lawjobchat
3:20 am BetsyMunnell: @lancegodard?s @22twts & @cordellparvin?s podcasts give you useful access to lawyers in your field #lawjobchat
3:21 am BetsyMunnell: Tip: Be sure to follow marquis blogs (WSJ, NYT etc). Blogs rarely ?break? news, but offer good, quotable analysis. #lawjobchat
3:22 am BetsyMunnell: Finally–be watching for growth practice areas–health care and “green” especially. But also China and #KM. #lawjobchat
3:24 am BetsyMunnell: For China, I like @DanHarris, among others. Knowledge management is fascinating–a trending field. #lawjobchat
3:25 am BetsyMunnell: #KM is at the intersection of law, project management, IT…and its key to the future of the profession. #lawjobchat
3:25 am BetsyMunnell: I’m learning about #KM via @greglambert @LawyerKM & a bunch of very scary smart law librarian tweeps. #lawjobchat
3:26 am BetsyMunnell: Thanks to all those who participated. Made my day. #lawjobchat
3:34 am mjsq: Agree. Req reading: Bill Gates. RT @BetsyMunnell #KM = intersection of law, proj mgement, IT..& it’s key to future of profession #lawjobchat
3:34 am j2_whittington: Alright #lawjobchat was very informative – but now its back to this appellate brief – til’ the night closes in bow-bow-bow #lawschool
3:50 am lancegodard: @BetsyMunnell Thanks, Betsy, for including @22Twts in your excellent #lawjobchat! Lots of useful info.
4:22 am aellislegal: @v9n You can thank @betsymunnell (follow her if you aren’t already)! She mentioned @HealthBlawg on #LawJobChat tonight
4:22 am steveMwade: So true.. RT@BetsyMunnell: the web offers excellent ways to learn directly from practicing lawyers #lawjobchat
9:14 am mijori23: RT @j2_whittington: #lawschool students keep in mind #lawjobchat is tonight beginning at 9 EST – see you there – LOTS of invaluable advice from GREAT ppl
9:17 am mijori23: RT @LNLawSchool: RT @betsymunnell: 3. Build & monitor your personal brand & a rich professional network. #lawjobchat
11:24 am keyvanrastegar: RT @BetsyMunnell: Tip: Be sure to follow marquis blogs (WSJ, NYT etc). Blogs rarely ?break? news, but offer good, quotable analysis. #lawjobchat
12:55 pm healthblawg: Thx 4 mention > @aellislegal @betsymunnell #lawjobchat
9:33 pm BetsyMunnell: Thanks for the RT! @stevemwade: So true. RT@BetsyMunnell-The web offers excellent ways to learn directly from practicing lawyers #lawjobchat
9:35 pm BetsyMunnell: Thanks for the RT! RT @mjsq: Agree. Req reading: Bill Gates. RT @BetsyMunnell #KM is key to future of profession #lawjobchat
9:35 pm BetsyMunnell: @lnlawschool Thanks for participating in #lawjobchat!!!
9:36 pm BetsyMunnell: @lawyercoach Thanks for mentioning our #lawjobchat!
9:36 pm associatesmind: @BetsyMunnell I didn’t get to participate in #lawjobchat but I read over it this morning. Good stuff. Going to try and make the next one.
9:37 pm BetsyMunnell: Thanks for the mention! RT @barancle: Good Q. Many don’t RT @j2_whittington @BetsyMunnell …be careful and read what you’re RTi #lawjobchat
9:39 pm BetsyMunnell: Thanks! It was fun! RT @associatesmind:… didn’t get to participate in #lawjobchat…… Good stuff. Going to try and make the next one.
9:41 pm BetsyMunnell: My pleasure!!! I love your site. RT @carolynelefant: @BetsyMunnell thank you for mention of myshingle as solo resource at #lawjobchat

Jackson Walker + Twitter

My AMLAWTweeple project only focused on the Am Law 100 list, but I think Jackson Walker – an Am Law 200 firm – takes the cake for the most official twitter accounts.

Jackson Walker (News about the firm) • JW Law (Legal updates in all categories)Corporate LawEnergy LawEntertainment Law Environmental Law ERISAFinancial Recovery SolutionsFirst AmendmentHealth Care LawHIPAAIntellectual Property LawInternational Law Labor and Employment LawLitigation AlertsMedia LawReal Estate LawTax LawTechnology LawWealth Planning

My Favorite Part of Twitter’s E-mail

Twitter’s e-mail was awesome.


1) I opened it.

2) I read through it.

3) It provoked my attention.

Twitter is so good. I can’t decide whether to even hold this against them.

Other questions that I’m wondering:

The Twitter team sent out an e-mail to Twitter’s users (Subject: “Update: Twitter Apps and You”) and posted a few updates about Twitter’s evolution on its official blog (e.g., The Evolving Ecosystem or A Better Twitter.)  Each presents information about Twitter’s growth and changes but uses slightly different language to communicate or emphasize certain points.  Does that make sense – should the same information be found in one place?  Or, even if the varied perspectives/distribution methods are valid, is cross-referencing appropriate?

Twitter Lists: Legal Job Market

Enough has been said about using Twitter to find a job that I don’t feel the need to repeat it here.  For background reading and helpful tips targeted for a job search in the legal industry, I’d recommend Amanda Ellis‘s newsletter from September, 2009 (Attorneys Finding Jobs on Twitter).  She explains three ways in which attorneys can integrate Twitter into their job search.

Instead, I’d like to use this example – conducting a job search on Twitter – as a way to illustrate the benefits of using Twitter Lists to manage information. Continue reading