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Bar News - January 19, 2007

Notes from a Messy Desk


Today’s Trend – “Nice” Rules!

The Christian Science Monitor recently reported that there’s a “quiet cultural change” underway – “nice” and “kind” are becoming operative philosophies that involve more ethical strategies, and welcoming, warm approaches to managing people. Robin Koval, co-author of The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World with Kindness, said “niceness” doesn’t mean wimpiness or lack of accountability. “We all have to work with each other. We all work in teams… The old command-and-control way of doing business is clearly over. Meanness is so last millennium. Niceness is the future,” she wrote.

Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 16, 2006.


Corporations’ Growing Interest in Ethics

Corporate boards are becoming actively involved in the oversight of their companies’ ethics and compliance programs. Ethics training—in part spurred by federal sentencing guidelines that can reduce the severity of sentences for companies convicted of improper conduct—is now widespread. Also, 91 percent of the participants in a survey by the Conference Board said they maintain an anonymous reporting system for observed misconduct (up from 52 percent in 1998).

Source: Universal Conduct: An Ethics and Compliance Benchmarking Survey, The Conference Board.


Lawyers on MySpace

The Nov. 6, 2006, issue of LawyersUSA newspaper reports that some lawyers are creating pages on the social-networking Web site to market their practices. So far, most of the attorneys who have ventured into creating MySpace pages are in entertainment law, hoping to capture the attention of musicians, filmmakers and comics who might already be marketing themselves on MySpace. A 31-year-old New York City solo attorney, Jason Lopez, says he is also hoping to find interesting friends as well as clients. In his line of work—he is seeking to build an entertainment practice—having a MySpace site is indispensable. “These days, MySpace is like having a cell phone number,” Lopez said. On the other hand, Warren Redlich, an Albany solo attorney who does criminal defense and personal injury work, has been disappointed by the few inquiries he’s had. “I get messages that say, ‘My girlfriend stole my iPod. Can I sue her?’ They’re all young and they don’t have any money.”


Podcasts for Prospects

To lure hot new legal talent, you may need more than an up-to-date Web site nowadays. Another article in LawyersUSA (Oct. 23, 2006) quotes a couple of law firms that have used podcasts to provide a cutting-edge, inviting means of depicting their culture. A Cleveland law firm created a 20-minute podcast in which four summer associates described what it was like to work at the firm. A large Boston firm created 16 brief podcasts—ranging from 40 seconds to 2 minutes—to tackle specific subjects identified by the firm’s summer associates as topics of key interest to young lawyers looking for a place to start. Topics included: how work is allocated to associates; what’s it like to be a woman working at the firm; and anecdotal descriptions of mentoring experiences at the firm.

Quote to Remember:

It is the spirit and not the form of law that keeps justice alive.

- Earl Warren

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