Unintended Consequences

Local Tragedy Causes Concern about Marina Safety

Michael Scott Knudson, 18, of Mancelona, Michigan died as a result of receiving an electric shock from stray voltage while swimming at the Duncan L. Clinch Marina in Traverse City, Michigan.

A preliminary investigation reports that the source of the stray voltage which caused the electric shock to Michael Knudson emanated from an electrical line carrying electrical power to a section of floating dock.  Evidently, the electrical line had a short circuit which for an unexplained reason did not trip the circuit breaker carrying power to the dock. 

Read more about the Traverse City marina accident here.

Sony Sued over Sony Playstation Data Breach

The ABA Journal reports that the action filed by the Rothken Law Firm contends that Sony failed to protect the sensitive data of its users, which  resulted in the loss of personal and private information and is believed that hackers may have obtained users' credit card numbers of up to 75 Million users.

Related Stories:

Circuit Breaker Story, (Cnet News)


Reuters Story, (Reuters)

Out-of-Work Lawyer Struggles to Find Job

Experienced lawyer, Laurie-Ellen Shumaker, applies to over 1,000 jobs and has yet to be called for an interview.  "Interviews are like seeking unicorns," says Shumaker. 

Read the full story here "Unemployed Lawyer Applies for 1,000 Jobs, Scores Zero Interview" by Martha Neil,  the ABA Journal Law News Now.

Continue reading "Out-of-Work Lawyer Struggles to Find Job" »

Tough Times Ahead for Graduating Law Students in Today’s Job Market

According to this recent ABAJournal article entitled US News Warns of Tough Times for Law Grads; Expert Says ‘It’s Just Like the Lottery’, law school graduates are finding it much harder to find employment in today’s struggling job market.  U.S. News reports that those who are considering attending law school should carefully weigh the costs of obtaining a law degree to the benefits of holding one.

Continue reading "Tough Times Ahead for Graduating Law Students in Today’s Job Market" »

More Layoffs at One of the Country’s Largest Law Firms

Above the Law reports that one of this country’s largest law firms, Fish & Richardson, recently announced a second round of layoffs.  Although the last round of layoffs included mostly support staff, this round included one-third of its incoming first year associates, who were “cold offered”.  Another third of the associates will start on time, with the last third being deferred until October 2010.  This is seen as a poor move by those who thought they would be moving to another location and had planned on taking state bars this summer.  Now they will have to rethink where they want to locate to practice, and if it is somewhere other than where they had planned, sign up for the next bar exams in February.  Let’s hope that those bright attorneys who received these “pink slips” find a better firm to work with.

Judge Receives Reprimand for His Comments Made on FACEBOOK

As reported at law.com’s Legal Blog Watch, North Carolina Judge recently received this reprimand by the state’s Judicial Standards Commission for posting and exchanging messages on Facebook with a Lawyer in a matter being tried before him. Here are some snippets from the article :

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New Record Set For Lawyer Layoffs In February

LAW360 reports that 1045 lawyers from around the globe were laid off in the month of February and the number of layoffs is expected to increase in the coming months.   See the full analysis here.

February marked the most treacherous month so far in a slew of layoffs in the legal industry that began building last fall as the economic crisis set in, but the brutal trend appears to be accelerating as March's numbers continue to rise by the day, Law360's analysis shows.

About 1,045 lawyers worldwide — the bulk of them associates — received pink slips in February, nearly double the number of layoffs in October, the second-worst month in the past...

Why Would Any Client Continue to Trust Their Law Firm Once They Realize that Firm Is Under Severe Financial Stress

We all know how it works.  Law firms start to see workloads lighten, and they start generating a bunch of "make-work" for their partners and associates.  The work that is generated has little or no value to the client.  It is designed exclusively to generate revenue for the law firm.  Law.com recently posted another "layoff list" setting forth a long list of law firms who are laying off partners and associates. 

What I don't understand is this.  Why would these clients, knowing their large law firms are under severe enough financial stress that they are having to lay off large numbers of lawyers, trust those law firms to avoid "make-work" billing.  One of the many challenges posed by hourly billing is that it requires a high degree of trust between the law firm/attorneys and their clients.  In a growing economy, a client might believe that the law firm has more than enough work to keep it busy and will only allocate hours to things that are meaningful.  If I were a client of any of the law firms on the layoff list, I would actively be seeking other alternatives in the market from firms which are financially stable or growing.  There is no way I would trust that my law firm was going to put my interest ahead of their own instincts for survival.

Expanding Your Practice with "Of Counsel" Relationships

In this age of change, with large law firms laying off partners and associates, I have to wonder about the future of the of counsel relationship.  As a result of technology and the internet, large corporate law firms which dominate the market based on sheer size are going to start seeing real competition from boutique and small firms.  It also seems to me that lawyers and firms will start forming looser associations as they look to service their clients in distinct, but related, practice areas.  Will these associations take on an "of counsel" flavor?

I would be interested to hear your thoughts about whether or not the of counsel relationship will grow over the next few years.  Further, I would be interested to know whether or not you see ethical limitations on the of counsel relationship which will limit the ability of law firms and lawyers to develop relationships short of partnership.

Attorneys And Stockbrokers Among The 20 Most Stressful Jobs

Stephanie West Allen of Idealawg posted an article indicating that the category of attorney ranks number 82 in a list of top 200 jobs.

Rounding out the top 100, attorneys and stockbrokers may earn considerably more than bookbinders or telephone repair technicians, but these high-powered careers are hurt by anxiety, as both rank among the 20 most stressful jobs on our list. More surprising is the relatively low score of author, just above cosmetologist -- a result of the profession's stress levels and, in many cases, relatively poor working environment.

Read the entire article "Attorney ranks 82 in list of top 200 jobs"