Monthly Archives: April 2009

Q & A with Cliff Scott-Rudnick

Cliff Scott-Rudnick, a visiting professor and director of Continuing Education and Professionalism at The John Marshall Law School, will be participating in the May 8 panel discussion at the Attorneys in Transition event. Here are his answers to a few questions regarding his participation in the panel.

What are your top three pieces of advice for a lawyer looking for his or her next job?

He suggests asking yourself:

What do you really want to do? What are your passions for the law?  How much money do you need?

How should lawyers keep busy while they look for a job?

Network. Volunteer. Exercise.

What do you hope those who attend the event will take away from or learn from the panel discussion?

You are not alone.  It is not the end of the world or your career.  Things will get better.

CARPLS sees increases in need

Allen Schwartz, executive director of the Coordinated Advice & Referral Program for Legal Services (CARPLS), said his organization has seen an increased need for its services. He points to the worsening economy as the reason why.

Calls to the CARPLS hotline have increased by more that 25 percent over the same period as last year. The largest number of calls by volume were recorded in the areas of housing, consumer, and family law.

CARPLS recorded a 58 percent increase in housing law calls; a 34 percent increase in consumer calls; a 10 percent increase in family law calls, and a 49 percent increase in Spanish-language calls.

CARPLS has responded to the increased demand by increasing its level of service in these high-impact areas, Schwartz said. CARPLS recorded a 78 percent increase in the number of housing law cases served; a 36 percent increase in the number of consumer law cases served; an 8 percent increase in the number of family law cases served, and a 25 percent increase in the number of Spanish-language cases served.

As these figures indicate, CARPLS has not only increased its overall capacity in response to the growing demand for is services, but it has targeted the increase in  capacity to those areas with the greatest legal needs, he said.

“The volunteers are really filling a portion of that gap. Basically they are doing 175 additional cases a week for us, which is pretty significant,” he said. “We do about 200 cases a day from the hotline, so that’s adding a sixth day to the week of fielding calls. Unfortunately, it’s not nearly enough because the demand has significantly outpaced our ability to respond, even with volunteers.”

The problem, he said, is that even employing volunteers has its limitations. Legal aid providers need resources to train and support the volunteers. A lot more people are willing to volunteer, but CARPLS only has the capability to train and suprvise so many volunteer, he said.

“That is pretty much the situation most legal aid providers find themselves in,” Schwartz said. “There has been a larger interest in volunteerism out there, but the real bottleneck right now is legal aid providers’ ability to absorb volunteers.”

Q & A with Leonard F. Amari

Another member of the May 8 Attorneys in Transition panel will be Leonard F. Amari.

He has been a private practitioner for 40 years, and is president of The John Marshall Law School Board of Trustees.

What are your top three pieces of advice for a lawyer looking for his or her next job?
— Be aggressive, as aggressive in finding a job as doing a job, 9 to 5, every day;
— Recognize that most Chicagoland lawyers are small firm and solo practitioners without a hiring policy, game plan, or mid-to-long range career plan. They hire who is at their office door when they need to hire, or, as was my case, when someone pointed out to me how valuable they would be if I hired them even though it was not on the agenda;
— Network, network, network.

How should lawyers keep busy while they look for a job?
See the answer above and exhaust the suggestions they’ll receive at this seminar.

What do you hope those who attend the event will take away from or learn from the panel discussion?
That they are not alone, that the legal profession is a mentoring profession, that they shouldn’t hesitate to reach out for help, career guidance, (networking, networking…).

Q & A with Kellye Fabian

Kellye Fabian is a litigation partner at Freeborn & Peters, and has been practicing for eight years.

What do you find the most interesting about your practice?

The industries I have learned about, the people I have met, and the places I have been.  I have learned about satellite telephones, the Chicago Board of Trade, milling uranium and vanadium, the ideal temperature for mashed potatoes, shared insurance pools, Medicaid, pharmacy benefits, cellular technology, how railroads came to own the property on which their trains run, joint-replacement products, beef jerky, and ethanol production.  I have met ostrich farmers, mill workers, miners, convicted felons, life-long nurses, salesmen, economic geniuses, real estate developers, and, of course, trial lawyers.  I have watched cattle grazing in Glacier National Park, paragliding in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, scaled red rocks in Moab, Utah, admired the New York City Ballet, seen the falls in Idaho, golfed in Grand Junction, Colorado, swam in the sun of San Diego, California, and climbed to the top of Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona.

What makes a good lawyer?

Any hard-working lawyer can try a case.  But only the lawyer willing to take risks, while retaining perspective, flexibility in thinking, and directness in speaking can win a case.  A litigator must always be thinking about the trial. Everything she does, from the time a complaint is filed until the jury instructions are prepared, must have a purpose for the trial.  A lawyer with perspective does not get distracted by discovery motion practice, letter writing, or bullying and bravado directed by or against opposing counsel.  Flexibility in thinking means that a lawyer must be nimble enough to change her theory as a case evolves and discovery reveals new or different facts.  Lawyers who are rigidly tied to one theory and cannot adapt as a case develops over time will miss opportunities and lose credibility with the fact finder.  Finally, a good lawyer speaks, whether to a client, a judge, or a jury, to be understood, not to impress.

What is the biggest legal news right now, and what is its impact?

In my view, the biggest legal news right now relates to the potential retirement of Justice Ginsburg from the Supreme Court. Obviously, she is the only woman on the Court, and one of the last liberal and socially responsible voices. A replacement, whatever his or her stature, will be junior and will not have the voice Justice Ginsburg has. Given the wide-ranging legislation President Obama is currently moving through Congress, it will be interesting to see what happens when this legislation is challenged and brought to an ultra-conservative Court.

Lawyer named first Cooney & Conway Chair in Advocacy

Loyola University Chicago School of Law recently announced that Barry Sullivan, a partner at Jenner & Block, will be the school’s first Cooney & Conway Chair in Advocacy. Sullivan will assume the chair on July 1.

The Cooney & Conway Chair in Advocacy was established by John D. Cooney, Robert J. Cooney Jr., and Kevin J. Conway (JD ’76) — all alumni of the law school.

Sullivan, a litigator specializing in appellate and supreme court cases, is a long-time leader of Jenner’s appellate and supreme court practice. Continue reading

Q & A with David S. Glynn

We’d like you to meet another member of the May 8 panel. David S. Glynn is director of research and product development for the Law Bulletin, and has been there 15 years. Prior to that he was a human resources manager at a mid-sized Chicago law firm. He also has a background in litigation support as he use to be in the courthouse trenches.

What are your top three pieces of advice for a lawyer looking for his or her next job?

Network, network and network.

  • Face-to-face networking — Just the act of networking will help to drum up employment. This can be done in a variety of ways, but in-person, face-to-face connections are important. Get one contact to give you five more contacts. It’s who you know, or who you’re connected to that will help you find a job. Keep these face-to-face meetings short, give them your elevator speech outlining your valuable qualities/skills, ask for some contacts who can help and follow up with a thank you note. Meeting with business people through mutual contacts may result in them having a personal stake in getting you re-employed.
  • Virtual networking — Use professional networking services like the Chicago Lawyer Network and LinkedIn to make virtual connections and locate connections you currently have.  It will also help you reconnect with contacts with whom you’ve been out of touch. Visit your contacts pages and their connections will remind you of people you know and with whom you can directly connect. Follow up on these connections to get in-person meetings that will lead to more contacts.
  • Presentation and Grooming — Fine tune your resume and customize it appropriately to fit the job. With the advent of word processors, you can organize/customize your qualifications to fit the job for which your are applying more accurately. A resume is a billboard to get you an interview. Once you’re in the door you have completed a major accomplishment. Get your suits cleaned and get your hair cut/done before an interview. The better you look, the more likely you’ll make a good first impression. Continue reading

Hinshaw & Culbertson lawyer reflects on profession

Anthony E. Davis, past president of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers and a New York-based partner in the Lawyers for the Profession practice group at Hinshaw & Culbertson, sees many imminent changes in the legal profession.

He recently spoke about some of those changes at the March Legal Malpractice & Risk Management Conference in Chicago.

For the first time in many years, there is much talk — with support from large corporate clients — about changing the way law firms charge for services, Davis said. This will eventually force law firms to rethink the hourly billing model and move away from a billing approach that is “based on the ability to read a clock.” Continue reading