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Interviewing Primer 101.1_Generic Interview Do’s and Don’ts

Far too many attorneys and law students “blow” the legal job interview. This happens primarily because they either don’t prepare adequately for this critical make-or-break step in the job-hunting process. This blog series is intended to make sure that does not happen.

The first order of business is to review some basic interviewing rules of thumb that apply across the board to every type of job interview.

Interview Do’s and Don’ts


Arm yourself with what you need to know about the interviewing organization, its industry, and the individual interviewers. If the interviewer(s) has expressed his/her opinions in books, articles, blogs, podcasts, media interviews, etc., read or listen to those so that you can get a “fix” on them. The more information you are able to identify and familiarize yourself with, the better prepared you will be and the greater will be your self-confidence at the interview.

Take a trial run to the interview site. You may discover that there are unforeseen obstacles to getting you there on time, e.g., traffic congestion; parking problems; public transportation hold-ups; building security checkpoints. Try to do your trial run at the same time during the day that you will have to make your way to the actual interview.

Prepare and memorize a list of good questions to ask the interviewer(s) when it becomes your turn to take the floor. These can be general (e.g., What is your organization doing about cybersecurity? How does the legal department contribute to increasing shareholder value? What do you look for in a prospective employee? What are the likely challenges and difficulties that you foresee I might have to confront?) or specific to the particular employer (based on what you learned from your preparatory research).

Dress and groom appropriately. Regardless of the nature of the organization, you need to present yourself professionally. Proper attire and grooming are essential to making both a great first…and lasting impression.

Be respectful without being obsequious. Fawning may get you a job in the current administration, but it is highly likely to be off-putting everywhere else.

Do one or more mock interviews before the real thing. Select a trusted family member or friend who can intelligently critique your performance.


Don’t be late…or too early. Try to arrive at the interview site about 10 minutes before the time scheduled for the interview.

Take care of personal matters—bathroom, make-up, changing shoes—before you walk in the door.

Be aware that the interview begins the second you arrive. I always learned a great deal from my receptionist’s interactions with candidates while they waited for me to begin the interview. Sometimes what I heard was determinative, usually in a bad way.

Don’t fidget. You want the interviewer to hear what you have to say, not be distracted by your behavior.

Don’t interrupt. Good listening skills are as important as what you say.

Don’t let your eyes wander. Focus your attention on the interviewer, not the trappings of the office.

Don’t drone on. Keep your answers succinct, concise and to the point. If you get the “Tell me about yourself” question, you don’t need to begin with your conception or birth.

Don’t be an express of implied critic. You don’t know even remotely enough to be able to advise the interviewer as to what could improve his/her organization’s performance.

Don’t leave the interview without a clear picture of what happens next. That includes when you might expect to hear something.

Future blogs in this series will expand on some of these Do’s and Don’ts.

Next: Interviewing Primer 101.2_Understanding the Interview Process

The Future of Personal Injury Practice


Practitioners and law students should be alert to the trends and portents for personal injury—and by extension, workers’ compensation—practice. These huge practice areas are steadily shrinking and may be on the cusp of an inflection point as disrupting as the one that shook estate planning when Congress raised the individual and spousal exemptions by orders of magnitude that left many attorneys scrambling to find new arenas in which to make a living.

Three factors underlie the changes to these practice areas:

Workplace Changes

An increasing proportion of employees now work in service businesses. Because these industries are generally safer workplace environments, injuries and illness overall tend to decrease the more oriented toward the service sector business becomes.

Industry Injuries and Illnesses

A Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) annual survey of Employer-Reported Workplace Injury and Illnesses, 2017 found that private industry employers had 45,800 fewer cases of nonfatal injuries and illnesses among full-time employees in 2017 as compared to the prior year. This continues a 15-year trend. Employers had 2.8 total recordable cases of illness or injury per 100 workers, approximately 50 percent of the 2003 number.

The trend becomes even more pronounced if we look at the survey’s additional conclusions: missed workdays, OSHA-recordable incidents and injury-caused work restrictions have all declined steadily in this century. It is also striking that declines in injuries and illness have decreased throughout the economy in all sectors, including construction, healthcare, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, translating to fewer workers’ compensation claims.

Autonomous Vehicles

More than 90 percent of vehicular crashes in the U.S. are the result of driver error. It is believed that self-driving vehicles are destined to cut down dramatically on such accidents. If that happens, then the entire legal/regulatory/insurance structure as it applies to vehicular transportation will have to reinvent itself. That includes the thousands of attorneys whose practices focus on personal injury.


The time to begin thinking about protecting yourself against these trends and possibilities is now.

LCV Blog-11-15_Horizon Expansion 101.6: International Organizations

More than 200 primarily public international organizations employ American lawyers in attorney and/or law-related positions. This blog is restricted to them.

They range all over the globe and come in many different varieties. They include both mainstream attorney and JD Advantage positions.

Selected Major International Institutions

The following selected international agencies and organizations hire the most lawyers. Many organizations hire attorneys for more than just their legal counsel office.

Agencies with More Than Three Law/Quasi-Legal Offices

(Number of Such Offices in Parentheses)

Selected Additional Agencies

Selected JD Advantage Job titles

JD Advantage job titles in international organizations number in the hundreds. Some of the more frequently occurring ones include the following:

  • Advisor – Intellectual Property Rights
  • Board of Inquiry Officer
  • Child Protection Officer
  • Civil Affairs Officer
  • Claims Officer
  • Conduct and Discipline Officer
  • Consultant: Constitutional Law
  • Contracts Officer
  • Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Officer
  • Gender Officer
  • Human Rights Officer
  • Judicial Affairs Officer (JD required)
  • Judgment Coordinator (JD required)
  • Policy Advisor – Rule of Law and Access to Justice
  • Political Affairs Officer
  • Recovery, Return and Reintegration Officer
  • Research Officer
  • Rule of Law Project Manager
  • Team Leader – Governance and Human Rights




Horizon Expansion 101.5: Nonprofits (Cont.)–Hospitals, Land Trusts et al.


Just over 50 percent of the almost 6,000 U.S. hospitals are nonprofit corporations (the rest are either for-profit corporations or federal, state or local government hospitals). Like academic institutions, hospital functions and activities have become increasingly “legalized.”

Hospitals‘ response has also been similar to that of academe. The 21st century has witnessed the rise of hospital in-house counsel offices and the subsequent creation of separate legal and quasi-legal offices to manage responsibilities that have grown too large to be handled by the central legal staff. You can often find attorneys working in many of these offices. The key difference is that hospitals are much smaller employers than colleges and universities.

The “200-Bed Rule”

The major employers that hire for hospital law-related positions are those hospitals with 200 or more beds. There are 1,750+ such facilities, of which approximately 1,200 are nonprofits. As a rough rule of thumb, the greater the number of beds, the more likely that the institution will have a variety of law-related positions. The number of hospitals meeting this threshold is growing.

See the American Hospital Directory for a list of hospitals and their number of beds.

Why the Growth in Legal Jobs?

The variety of law-related positions in hospitals is diverse and growing, thanks to the following developments:

An Aging Population. Almost 80 million Baby Boomers becoming senior citizens are putting a tremendous strain on the healthcare system. More than 10,000 Boomers turn 65 each day and this will continue until 2029.

A Broken System. Talk to physicians, nurses, other healthcare professionals, politicians on both sides of the aisle, academics and consumers. All agree that American healthcare is broken. We rank 45th among nations in life expectancy and 37th in the performance of our national health system. Seventy-five cents of every healthcare dollar are spent on chronic disease treatment (four out of every five chronic diseases could be prevented because they result from smoking, consuming alcohol to excess, obesity, and lack of exercise).  We only spend 5 percent of each healthcare dollar on prevention.

Skyrocketing Healthcare Costs. Americans spend over $3.3 trillion a year on healthcare – almost 18 percent of U.S. Gross Domestic Product, twice as much as any other nation.

New Technologies. Telemedicine, e-prescribing, treatment breakthroughs and new drugs and therapies are fraught with legal, regulatory, ethical, business and other issues.

Corruption. One major reason why healthcare costs are exploding is the corruption endemic to the system. Providers are tempted by both the third-party payment systems and legal liability exposure to overprescribe and over-test. Fraud accounts for an estimated $200 billion per year in unnecessary healthcare costs.

The Opiod Epidemic. More than 72,000 Americans died last year from drug overdoses, more than from gun violence and traffic accidents combined.

The Most Prevalent Hospital JD Advantage Positions

The most hospital law-related jobs are in the following disciplines:

  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Risk Management
  • Ethics and Bioethics
  • Government Relations
  • Research Integrity
  • Patient Rights.
  • Privacy/Cybersecurity
  • Ombudsman/Mediation
  • Contracts and Procurement
  • Labor Relations
  • Technology Commercialization

Land Trusts

Land trusts are nonprofits that work to conserve land, natural habitats and endangered and threatened species of flora and fauna. Their mission is to acquire land and/or conservation easements, and to preserve land or easements owned by or under control of individuals, governments or private organizations. They solicit donations of land, conservation easements or money to purchase land.  Currently, 1,363 land trusts operate in the U.S., including national, regional and local organizations.

Selected Major Land Trusts

The most prominent national land trusts include the following:

Legal and JD Advantage Positions

You will find typically find attorneys in the following positions (note: job titles vary from trust to trust):

  • General Counsel
  • Staff Attorney
  • Director of Land Preservation
  • Director of Project Review
  • Executive Director
  • Land Conservation Coordinator
  • Acquisition Manager
  • Land Steward
  • Stewardship Coordinator
  • Land Protection Specialist
  • Real Property Specialist

More Information

Land Trust Alliance

Next: Horizon Expansion 101.6: International Organizations


Horizon Expansion 101.4: Nonprofits—Associations and Academe

Not-for-profit corporations abound in the United States. According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations are registered in the U.S. The Internal Revenue Service categorizes the largest numbers as Charitable/Religious, Social Welfare, Labor Unions, Agricultural, Business Leagues, Social/Recreational Clubs, Benevolent Life Insurance Associations, Credit Unions, and Veterans Organizations. In addition, there are Academic Institutions, Legal Services Organizations, Foundations, Healthcare Provider Organizations, Museums and Non-Governmental Organizations, to name select categories that employ attorneys in a variety of mainstream law and JD Advantage jobs. It is estimated that approximately 250,000-300,000 nonprofits have attorneys on their staffs.

The number of nonprofits has grown by more than one-third in just the last decade. Despite the perennial funding and fundraising woes of many nonprofits, it continues to be an immensely popular “business” model.

The two types of nonprofits that employ the most attorneys in the greatest variety of jobs are associations and academic institutions.

Trade and Professional Associations

Among nonprofits, trade and professional associations are by far the number one employer of attorneys. More attorneys work for associations in law-related positions than in pure attorney jobs. While only approximately ten percent of the estimated 90,000 U.S. associations have an in-house counsel office, almost all have a government affairs or government relations office, often employing attorneys as lobbyists, legislative and regulatory analysts and in other positions that favor a legal background.  Professional associations in particular often have an ethics or professional responsibility staff populated by attorneys whose job it is to keep the association’s members up-to-date on professional ethics and respond to requests for ethics opinions.

Examples of trade associations include: the American Forest Products Association, American Petroleum Institute and the National Association of Manufacturers. Examples of professional associations include: the American Bar Association, American Health Lawyers Association, and the American Psychological Association.

Associations share four features that should be of interest to every attorney:

  • They have substantial assets (more than $2 trillion in the aggregate);
  • They employ tens of thousands of attorneys;
  • You can find these attorneys in places other than just the in-house counsel office; and
  • They are corporations. Consequently, they share many of the structural features of their for-profit counterparts. Lawyers who work for their in-house counsel offices have many of the same responsibilities as their commercial counterparts. Their legal responsibilities mirror those of for-profit corporations quite closely, the major exception being that they do not practice securities law. Like commercial corporations (see Volume 12 in the 21st Century Legal Career Series, “JD Advantage Jobs in Corporations: In-House Counsel and 20 Other Departments,”available from the National Association for Law Placement), associations also hire lawyers for a variety of JD Advantage jobs.

For detailed information about where attorneys work in trade and professional associations and how to position yourself for one of these jobs, see Volume 13 in the 21st Century Legal Career Series, “Tricks of the Trade (and Professional) Associations: A Huge “Hidden” Legal Job Market,”available from the National Association for Law Placement.

Colleges and Universities

Among nonprofits, the academic sector employs more attorneys in law-related positions than any other employment sector. A generation ago, only a handful of America’s 4,500+ colleges and universities had their own in-house legal office. Today, very few do not. As their counsel offices’ responsibilities expanded, they often found that it made sense to establish other legal and quasi-legal offices outside of the general counsel office to handle very specific problems with a legal component.  These “satellite” offices expanded rapidly and today it is not uncommon to find multiple campus offices with attorneys working in either legal or law-related positions. Some of the larger institutions have all of the following offices with law-related responsibilities while others – large and small – have a selection of them:

  • Contract and Grants Management
  • Disabled Student Affairs
  • Employee Relations
  • Environmental Affairs
  • Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action
  • Ethics
  • Government Affairs
  • International Student Affairs
  • Judicial Affairs
  • Labor Relations
  • Legislative Affairs
  • Ombudsman
  • Real Estate
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Risk Management
  • Sponsored Research and Industry Alliances
  • Technology Transfer and Licensing

The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) imposed sweeping new regulatory mandates that require colleges and universities to report to the U.S. government on more than 300 topics subject to federal scrutiny, such as tuition and fee information, tuition cost reduction initiatives, textbook prices by individual course, transfer-of-credit policies, file sharing, binge drinking, meningitis outbreaks, missing persons, fire safety, voter registration, drug violations, fatalities, student sanctions and technology disposal, among many others. The law prompted a surge in legal hiring and an expansion of university legal involvement.

For detailed information about where attorneys work in trade and professional associations and how to position yourself for one of these jobs, see Volume 8 in the 21st Century Legal Career Series, The Education Sector: Overwhelmed by the Law,”available from the National Association for Law Placement.

 Next: Horizon Expansion 101.5: Nonprofits—Hospitals et al.

Horizon Expansion 101.3: Government

The first two blogs in this series looked at non-mainstream legal and JD Advantage jobs and careers in (1) law firms and (2) corporations. In this blog, we’ll focus on similar opportunities in government at all levels.

The U.S. Government

Executive and Legislative Branches

The federal government has more than 150 law-related job titles in which attorneys work.  With few exceptions, they are open to new law school graduates.  These jobs are found in every one of the 150-plus federal departments and agencies.

If you contemplate a federal legal job search, it is important to understand that government is full of overlapping and sometimes duplicative programs. For example, 31 departments, agencies and other organizations outside of the Environmental Protection Agency have environmental law practices; 16 outside of the Department of Energy have energy law practices. Selected duplicative and overlapping government functions include the following (the name of the function is followed by the number of federal organizations with responsibilities for the function):

  • Admiralty and Maritime Law – 19
  • Food Law – 18
  • Antitrust Law  – 18
  • Aviation Law – 12
  • Banking and Finance Law – 30
  • Civil Rights – 23
  • Communications Law – 10
  • Controlled Substances – 12
  • Criminal Law – 61 (not including 94 U.S. Attorney Offices)
  • Economic Development Law – 20
  • Health Law – 32
  • Housing Law – 12
  • Insurance Law – 26
  • Intellectual Property Law – 37
  • Real Estate Law – 35
  • Tax Law – 22

Below are listed some of the most abundant U.S. government JD Advantage job titles:

  • Adjudications Officer
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Specialist
  • Bankruptcy Examiner/Analyst
  • Compliance Specialist
  • Environmental Protection Specialist
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Officer
  • Ethics Program Specialist
  • Hearings and Appeals Officers
  • International Trade Specialist
  • Labor Relations Specialist
  • Legal Instruments Examiner
  • Legislative Assistant
  • Legislative/Regulatory Analyst
  • Patent Adviser
  • Privacy Officer
  • Program Integrity Specialist
  • Technology Transfer/Licensing Specialist

Federal Court System

The federal court system is also a good place to look for law-related positions. Several thousand attorneys besides Justices, Judges, and Magistrate Judges work in support positions in the federal courts. In addition to working as Judicial Law Clerks, Career Law Clerks, “Elbow” Law Clerks and Staff Attorneys, lawyers work as Clerks and Deputy Clerks of Court, Circuit and District Executives, Legal Research Specialists, and in other law-related positions.

Quasi-Federal Sector

The “quasi-federal” sector also offers numerous attorney and law-related jobs. This sector consists of the following selected organizations (among others with only a few attorney and law-related jobs—and lower turnover—than the ones listed below):

Self-Regulatory Organizations (SROs)

SROs are organizations authorized (primarily by the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission) to develop and enforce regulations for a regulated industry. The SROs that employ the largest number of attorneys include:

Other Federally-Chartered or Affiliated Organizations

State and Local Government

State and local governments also employ a great many attorneys in mainstream and JD Advantage positions. Many of these mirror the law-related job titles at the federal level; others are unique to the states or municipalities.

Special Purpose Districts

Special purpose districts are governmental and quasi-governmental units established to perform specific functions, usually for a region that cuts across state and/or municipal boundaries. There are approximately 12,000 such entities nationwide and most of them hire lawyers for attorney and law-related  positions. Some of the better known special districts include: the East Bay Municipal Utility District, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority.

Next: Horizon Expansion 101.4: Selected Nonprofits

Horizon Expansion 101.2: Corporations

Note. For a more extensive treatment of this important array of legal job opportunities, see JD Advantage Jobs in Corporations: Expanding the Legal Function (21st Century Legal Career Series, Book 12), $15.00 at Amazon.com or the National Association for Law Placement .

In the initial blog in this series, we examined non-mainstream legal and JD Advantage jobs and careers in law firms. In this blog, we’ll dissect similar opportunities in corporations.

In-House Counsel Offices

While in-house counsel offices are a major stretch for entry-level lawyers, finding employment in one of the rapidly increasing number of corporate law-related positions is within the realm of possibility for everyone. JD Advantage job opportunities in companies are proliferating, and attorneys who travel this alternative route to getting their feet in the corporate door are thriving. The reasons are the increasing complexity of corporate existence, greater scrutiny by governments at all levels, technology and globalization.

The Company Legal Revolution

All of the reasons cited above have a legal component. That meant much more work for the traditional in-house counsel office to the point where corporate general counsels and their staffs became overwhelmed. In addition, a number of the issues on their plate were so complex that it was apparent that the legal staff was insufficiently specialized to manage them effectively.

The result was the farming out of legal and quasi-legal responsibilities to other company units. That included the creation of entirely new units to handle emerging areas of responsibility.

Featured Opportunities

The following corporate JD Advantage opportunities offer the most jobs:

Regulatory Compliance is the poster child for fast-growing corporate JD Advantage careers.  Compliance used to be a major responsibility of in-house counsel offices. However, it has grown too important and too wide-ranging with too many complexities to remain subsumed solely within the legal office. Regulatory compliance is now a separate operational office within almost all Fortune 1000 corporations and many smaller companies.  In some large companies, there are even separate offices to handle specific compliance arenas, e.g., Global, Domestic, Financial, Healthcare, etc.

Risk Management is also trending toward a separate corporate function. It is sometimes combined with the Ethics function or with Regulatory Compliance, although increasingly risk management offices stand on their own.

Every corporation of any significant size has a Contracting or Procurement office. Many  of these find entry-level attorneys attractive because their legal education more than qualifies them for contracting positions.

Some corporations have separate Tax departments. One of my former company’s major clients staffed its tax department with more than 35 attorneys.

Privacy/Data Protection matters are now a major concern and headache for every corporation. Healthcare and financial services companies are in the lead with respect to this.

Many corporations also have independent offices that manage the following legal or mostly legal functions:

  • Board of Directors Staff
  • Due Diligence
  • Technology Commercialization
  • Real Estate
  • Litigation Management
  • Marketing
  • Intellectual Property
  • Government Affairs
  • Acquisitions
  • Labor Relations
  • Policy Management
  • Human Resources
  • Diversity
  • Training

Industry-Specific Variations

Certain industries offer corporate JD Advantage positions unique to their industry. A selection of the most widespread such jobs follows:


Landman opportunities are abundant. This position is found only in the energy industry, more specifically oil and gas firms and, to a lesser extent, coal companies. Landmen are often hired directly out of law school based on legal education alone, which the industry considers a big advantage. Landmen go out in the field to negotiate mineral leasing rights with landowners, then documents the transactions so that the company can explore for and develop these resources. The work also usually includes supervising and administering the leases and royalty payments and answering legal and other questions about them.

The small size of most gas companies and recent discoveries of vast domestic gas deposits make this job particularly exciting. For example, 70,000 gas wells have recently been brought to market in the Marcellus Formation stretching from Central and Western Pennsylvania down into West Virginia. Twenty states now produce natural gas.

A particularly attractive feature of this job is that incumbents are not desk-bound all day every day.


Claims Managers and other Claims Personnel. Attorneys are found in significant numbers in insurance claims departments.

Environmental Underwriters and Professional Liability Underwriters have to deal with a variety of legal matters.

Advanced Marketing Consultants participate in insurance product sales transactions in order to explain the legalities associated with their purchase.

Financial Services

This industry also generates a variety of JD Advantage positions, including:

  • Bank International Trade Specialist
  • Bankruptcy Analyst
  • Community Investment Act Director
  • Estate and Financial Planner
  • Fiduciary Administrator
  • Investment Banking Officer
  • Legal Advertising/Sales Literature Manager
  • Legal Product Manager
  • Probate Manager
  • Trust Officer
  • Elder Financial Abuse Monitor

Nonprofit Corporations

Don’t overlook nonprofits in planning your job search. They have gone the same route as their for-profit cousins, albeit not quite as rapidly or extensively. Nevertheless, there are interesting and exciting opportunities with them as well.

Next: Horizon Expansion 101.3: Government

Horizon Expansion 101.1: Law Firms and Subsidiaries

Back in the day—actually not so long ago—the number of places you could go and ways you could use your legal education was quite limited. You could enter private practice either as a sole practitioner or law firm associate. You could join a corporate in-house counsel office. Or, you could go to work for a government agency’s legal office. Period. There were not many options beyond these alternatives.

The legal universe has changed. Like the expansion beyond the Big Bang, this particular cosmos has gone wild, expanding in all directions. Today, the possibilities and opportunities are all over the economy. Lawyers can be found everywhere. There are even jobs and careers for attorneys who don’t want to do “mainstream law” in mainstream legal environments like the ones itemized above.

In this and soon-to-follow LegalCareerView.com blogs, we’ll examine the major legal employment sectors and typical types of “JD-Advantage” positions you can expect to find in each.

Law Firms

Large law firms now have greatly enlarged their array of law-related support positions. They tend to favor hires for these types of jobs who understand what law practice is all about. Top candidates for these jobs often bring something in addition to their JD to the table.

Law Firm Marketing is increasingly important as competition for corporate clients has become fierce.  Many large law firms now also employ marketing staff specific to each of their practice groups. An offshoot job title gaining traction is “Client Relations Coordinator.”

Law Firm Administration has made significant inroads into the law firm community. Many administrators have either both a JD and MBA or a JD and significant management experience. Job titles vary. A popular recent one making inroads is “Chief of Staff.”

Professional Development is an important feature of every major law firm and an important attorney recruiting enticement. Many of the people who work in these departments have a law degree. The “Legal Career Coach” job title is increasingly popular.

Law Firm Trainer. This position is responsible for both in-house attorney and staff training and for engaging outside trainers as well as identifying appropriate CLE programs.

Legal Knowledge Management is growing as fast as any law firm JD-Advantage discipline. Law firm knowledge managers usually come armed with some computer skills beyond the average attorney’s.

Recruiting. Approximately 50 percent of chief law firm recruiters have a JD.

Pro Bono Coordinators are found in most major law firms.

Complex Case Support Coordinators. These positions are in demand in firms that litigate cases that span more than one practice area or contain more intricacies than normal.

Legal Project Manager. This position assumes overall direction of major firm matters, including both litigation and transactions.

Legal Risk Manager. Expanding firm liability exposures are the impetus for this position.

Diversity Directors monitor law firm diversity hiring and promotion. Their ascendancy is largely the product of demand by firms’ corporate clients.

Law Firm Alumni Relations Directors. This job title derives from the realization that firm alumni can be valuable rainmaking contacts once they move on.

Discovery Officers coordinate the complexities of the discovery and e-discovery.

Privacy Officers maintain a vigil over privacy/cybersecurity matters that are an increasing concern for all law firms.

Law Firm Subsidiaries

Law firms no longer just practice law. Many firms have established subsidiaries (a.k.a. “ancillary businesses”) for two reasons:

  1. To take advantage of the loosening of restrictions on (1) revenue-sharing between attorneys and non-lawyers and (2) attorney-client privilege concerns.
  2. To more effectively counter and compete with the growing number of CPA and other organizations offering what amount to legal services.

The professionals who work directly for these subsidiaries often have a JD.

Medium-size law firms are always creating subsidiaries. This is not surprising because they are increasingly subject to the same pressures as large law firms.  Firms of this size are usually more amenable to considering entry-level attorneys who have the requisite business skills or background to perform these functions.

The Most Popular Subsidiary Topical Areas

The list that follows is a selection:

  • Corporate Compliance
  • Visa Services
  • Public Policy Advice
  • Environmental Risk Assessment
  • Sports Management
  • Economic Development Advisory Services
  • Litigation Support
  • Reputation Management
  • Crisis Management
  • Insurance Recovery
  • Government Relations/Lobbying
  • Employee Relations
  • M&A and Divestiture Consulting
  • Private Wealth Management
  • Intellectual Capital Management
  • Asset Management
  • Fiduciary Real Estate Advising
  • Real Estate Consulting
  • Investment Banking
  • Title Agencies
  • Corporate Restructuring/Turnaround Management
  • Literary Agencies
  • Capital Access Consulting
  • Start-Up Consulting
  • Board of Directors Advising
  • Corporate Training
  • Tax Accounting
  • Talent Agencies
  • Forensic Investigations
  • Infrastructure Project Management
  • Appellate Consulting
  • Disaster Preparedness & Recovery

What This Means

The immense and growing diversity of law firm opportunities is exciting. It means that you can go to work for a major law firm without having to meet the very high academic performance bar demanded of recent law grads or having to work 80-hour weeks and have to meet a billable hour mandate. You can still earn a handsome living while securing a reasonable work-life balance.

Next:  Horizon Expansion 101.2: For-Profit Corporations

Evaluating Supplemental Education

An Actual Tale of Woe

A legal career transition counseling client came to my former company distraught. She had spent more than $50,000 securing an LLM in environmental law from an otherwise highly regarded law school, only to discover that prospective employers were (1) unimpressed with her new credential and (2) dismissive of the granting institution. Here’s what several employers told her: “Didn’t you know that X and Y law schools are the cream of the crop in environmental LLMs? Why did you decide to attend Z law school? Are you aware of environmental law certificate programs that are far less costly and less time-consuming than an LLM? Why didn’t you do any due diligence of these programs?”

Do Your Due Diligence

Increasingly, attorneys seek to supplement their legal education with additional education or training in order to become more competitive in the job market, better position themselves for promotion and generally boost their careers. Many legal career changers seek additional credentials when they aspire to transition to a new field.

Here are a few “due diligence” tips to keep in mind before selecting an academic or other training program:

Examine certificate and comparable programs in addition to LLM and other degree programs. LLMs are not the only answer. They are, however, expensive and time-consuming. Certificate programs, in contrast, may be a viable alternative for many disciplines. They may offer you an opportunity to obtain a credential with far less investment of your time and money. U.S. law schools currently offer a large number of certificate programs in many topical areas that are open to non-degree candidates. An increasing number of them are offered online.

In addition, many other academic institutions, as well as other organizations such as trade and professional associations, also offer legal certificate programs both on-site and online. When investigating any certificate, degree or other program, make sure to determine that it will be worth your time and money before enrolling.

Expand your survey of educational programs to include law-related ones. Depending upon your background and interests and the state of the employment market, you may be better off in terms of enhancing your employability if you obtain a law-related graduate degree or professional certificate rather than an LLM or legal certificate. There are, for example, superb law-related programs in fields such as contracting, international transactions, risk management, alternative dispute resolution, compliance, real estate, and insurance, to name just a few.

Talk to individuals who have already earned the credential. Get their assessment as to whether the credential made a difference to their careers, promotion potential and compensation. Ask them:

  • How difficult was it to find suitable employment after completing the program?
  • How much help – and what kind of help – did they receive with respect to finding employment from the granting institution’s career office?
  • Would they do it – pursue the credentialing program – again?

Talk directly to employers of individuals who have the degree or certificate. Ask them:

  • Do they value the fact that an employee has the credential?
  • How does the credential benefit their organization?
  • Do they believe the credential is a career booster?
  • What is their opinion of the credential-granting organization?

Talk to current students in the program. Ask them:

  • Is the program worth the time, effort, money, and career interruption?
  • What do they intend to do with their degree or certificate?

Talk to the career placement professionals and program directors at the sponsoring school or organization. Ask them:

  • Where can you expect to work once you earn the credential?
  • What is their track record when it comes to placing program graduates?
  • Where do program graduates work?
  • What career paths will be open to you?
  • Finally, ask them for specific examples of what they can do for you during and after you complete the program.

If they “stone-wall” you or become defensive, or if their answers are vague or otherwise unsatisfactory, say “thank you,” pick up your tuition payment check, and walk away from the program.

Do all of the above in person, face-to-face, if possible. Direct communication is far superior to either the telephone or email. Communication is more than mere words. Body language and facial expression are essential parts of the due diligence investigation you need to conduct about supplemental educational programs in order to be fully informed. If a face-to-face meeting is impossible, your fallback should be the telephone. While you won’t have the benefit of observing body language, things like “pregnant pauses” before responding to a question can be very informative. Email should be your last resort.

“Data-mine” the digital world. The perfect capstone to your research is the Internet, specifically social media. See what people are saying about the programs you are considering.

The importance of this kind of due diligence cannot be over-emphasized. The road to career doldrums is littered with the frustrations of attorneys who have gone before you who invested tens of thousands of dollars and enormous amounts of time in supplemental credentialing programs that proved to be of little job-seeking or career-boosting value.

The Jerry Rice Strategy: Part Four

Impressing and Imprinting At—and After—the Interview

If you make it to the job interview stage, your resume had to have impressed a prospective employer. In addition to the boost this should give your confidence level going into the interview, it means that you have put yourself in a great position to seal the deal. Here are some tips about applying the Jerry Rice Separation Strategy to the interview.


First, find out as much as you can about what to expect in order to prepare to confront it.

Will you be interviewed by one person? A panel? By more than one person sequentially? Will a meal be part of the interview? You need to prepare somewhat differently for each of these scenarios. If you find yourself in front of a panel of interlocutors, make sure you (1) determine who is the panel leader, and (2) make eye contact with each panelist when responding to or posing questions. If you will be interviewed sequentially, have something different to say to each interrogator. If you will be eating with your interviewer(s), don’t order soup or anything “glopy.”

Where will the interview take place? Are there travel and logistical problems you might encounter on your way to the interview? Do you need to make a trial run to the interview site to familiarize yourself with its location and how to get there in a timely manner? Put any logistic issues to rest before you travel to the actual interview.

What kind of preparation do you need to do? Where should you go to get information on the job, the employer, the interviewer? With whom can you role-play? What personal “quirks” do you need to work on: Interrupting? Eye contact? Verbal crutches, such as “ah,” “umm,” “you know?” “like,” “right?” “You know what I’m saying?” “Are you with me?” Speaking in a monotone? Slouching? Poor or negative body language? Practice makes perfect.

Have you practiced answering the tough questions that may be asked? And not wasted prep time answering the questions you know you can knock out of the park? Focus on the questions likely to make you squirm.

Have you prepared great questions to ask of the interviewer(s). Try to incorporate your background as well as knowledge of the prospective employer into your questions.

What will you wear to the interview? Dress “to the nines” regardless of the nature of the employer or its dress code. Look your very best.

During the Interview

Remember that the interview begins when you walk into the office and has already begun while you are sitting in the reception area waiting to be interviewed. Many employers ask their receptionist how you conducted yourself while you were waiting, and what you talked about.

Exude confidence, energy and enthusiasm without going overboard.

Answer the interviewer’s questions with specific examples from your background.

Have ready your mental list of great questions to ask the interviewer.

Close the interview by reiterating your interest in position (unless the interview has turned you off to the job), determining the next step in hiring process, and thanking the interviewer(s).

Following the Interview

The interview is not over when you walk out of the office. There is follow-up involved. Write a thank-you note or email to the interviewer, in which you also reaffirm your interest.

“De-brief” yourself in writing, being as critical as you can of your interview performance while the interview is still fresh in your mind. Such a debriefing will be of immense value to you during any succeeding interviews. Be brutal. You need to be your own harshest critic.

Each one of these precepts is a means of putting some distance between you and other job candidates.