Tag Archives: John Marshall Law School

Professionalism and engagement programs

J. Nick Augustine J.D. is the principal of Pro Serve PR, a public relations firm serving the law and finance industries. Nick advises and assists attorneys in transition based on his experience in legal marketing, public relations, and his Secured Solo Practice model. Nick shares career growth strategy and experience with legal job seekers.

Your law schools are there to help. This week, I attended the Professionalism and Engagement Appreciation Luncheon at The John Marshall Law School to honor the local judges, justices and practitioners for their generous assistance and dedication to helping law students prepare for their career in law. The Office of Professionalism and Engagement, directed by recently retired Illinois Appellate Court Justice Margaret O’Mara Frossard, prepares students to compete with the best and uphold the standards of the legal profession.

Law students who embrace professionalism are more likely to advance quickly and earn respect from colleagues. Professionalism and engagement efforts focus on several practice management functions such as marketing, management, technology and finance. In a competitive marketplace, with so many opportunities for referrals, our best ambassadors are those who know, like and trust us.

Justice Frossard offered the following statement: “We appreciate the fact that over one hundred  members of the legal community  have committed to our in-classroom professionalism program which addresses the challenge presented to law schools by the Carnegie report , namely, to teach professionalism across the curriculum to IL’s, 2L’s and 3L’s. With this innovative program we are bringing judges and practitioners into the classrooms to explain what professionalism means, how to resolve ethical problems in a professional manner and most importantly, what professional skills are valued by employers in the workplace.”

Students should seek out programs that prepare them for the real world and the business of law practice. Look for professional responsibility professors, practice management lecturers and your career services staff who can identify useful resources in the pursuit of professionalism. Current student, Yolanda Delgado comments: “The John Marshall Law School’s Office of Professionalism and Engagement provides students and recent graduates invaluable preparation to achieve the skills valued by employers.”

Lawyers, judges and law school faculty working on professionalism outreach at the law school level to give students an opportunity to start their career with solid footing. I strongly suggest students get involved and take advantage of these opportunities so that law school administrators continue to develop and promote these programs. Ask your law school professors how they can help you move from academia to business. Get involved!

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92 days of summer

Nancy Mackevich Glazer is manager of Legal Launch LLC.  The mission of Legal Launch is to give uplifting and creative career advice to 3Ls, recent law school grads and experienced attorneys.  Nancy helps her clients land gratifying employment – legal and nonlegal  – in a competitive market.           

                       www.LegalLaunch.netNancy@LegalLaunch.net

 Summer is here.  For many lawyers, the season brings a long-anticipated sigh of relief.  There is finally reason to be outside and away from one’s desk.  The air is warmer.  The mood is lighter.  The atmosphere is more festive.

Generally speaking, the legal community slows down.  Judges, partners in law firms, in-house counsel, and yes, even associates, take vacations.  Bar associations, law schools and networking organizations all tend to turn their attention away from the legal world and slow down.  Summer becomes a time of regeneration.

In the glory days, when firms actually filled their empty offices with summer associates, the mood was always lighter during the summer months.  Today, despite operating drastically different entertainment budgets, law firms’ summer psyche does remain the same.

While most 2011 law school graduates are refocusing their energies and hitting their Bar Bri manuals, many licensed 2009/2010 grads continue to pound a softer law firm pavement.

What happens in the summer season for job seekers?  If you are an attorney looking for your next opportunity, here are a few suggestions for your summer “To Do” list:

1.  Be ready to hit the ground and run on Sept. 1.  Make sure your resume has specific descriptions of what you did as a law clerk or intern/extern.  This means that you have included (a) the specific subject matter area(s) and legal issues about which you are now an expert, and (b) your quantifiable successes, i.e., you detail how your research and your written brief helped convince the judge to dismiss X number of counts of the plaintiff’s complaint or strike Y number of your opponent’s jury instructions.

If your resume generically states that you drafted complaints, motions, and discovery — you are failing to separate yourself from the crowd.  You need to tell a prospective employer what you exactly know how to do, what legal subject areas you understand., and what skills you have mastered. Your goal is to add value to an employer’s practice and make her look good.  The more a prospective employer knows about your exact skills, the less she has to train you.  In today’s competitive market, that’s a huge advantage.

2.  Gain legal experience. Volunteer.  While some legal organizations are spread to capacity with volunteer attorneys looking for more legal experience, some cam always use more help.  If you are interested in litigation,  The John Marshall Law School runs a first-rate Veteran’s Legal Clinic to train you and help veterans advocate for benefits.  If you like estate planning, volunteer to research and update the planned giving materials for a non-profit’s website.   See if they can enlist a seasoned estate planner to bless your work. If you know how to mediate, offer your services to a neighborhood housing organization.  If you would like to learn to mediate, the summer might be a great time to be trained and certified.

3.  Continue to keep every door open. If an opportunity comes along and it’s not exactly what you are looking for, be open-minded.  Gaining experience in another area (in a down market) may not be the worst thing.  The key for you is gaining legal experience.  That’s not to say that you must stay in an unfavored position for the long haul.

4.  Check out areas of law where there actually is demand. Are you interested in health law?  Have you considered health-care compliance work?  Have you noticed how many compliance positions have been posted over myriad pharmaceutical web sites?  If you are a stickler for following rules and regulations, this may be a great area of law for you to pursue.  The demand is great and only continues to grow.

There are other kinds of compliance as well.  Investment and brokerage firms must always be in compliance with SEC regulations.  As most attorneys are not clamoring to this area of law, the chances are good that demand for these skills is quite high.

5.  Take a break. Even though I’m making suggestions about how to land legal work in this competitive market, I am also going to talk out of the other side of my mouth.  Take a break from your search.  Put this on the “To Don’t Do” list.  You must acknowledge to yourself that finding legal work is stressful.   Summer is a great time to be kind to yourself.  Finances depending, take a break, get away, and regenerate.

We all know how quickly the days of summer fly.  There are so many more activities available to fill our time.  Perhaps, just getting out there under the warm sun, meeting people and enjoying outdoor life is one of the best networking avenues we have.  Do what you love, and don’t even call it “networking.”

There are about 92 days of summer.  Please pass the lemonade.

Job Search Strategies: A meaningful CLE class

Aurora Donnelly is a solo practitioner always looking forward to the next exciting transition.

In last week’s posting I commented that CLE programs often are not directly instructive to our specific areas of law, but that we sometimes sit through them just to comply with the CLE hourly requirement.

In contrast, the Continuing Legal Education conference titled “Ethics in the Movies Presents Michael Clayton” at The John Marshall Law School I attended last week was pertinent, instructive, and enjoyable. You can find more information at http://www.jmls.edu/cle/index.shtml

The Professional Responsibility requirement of the Supreme Court Rule prescribing CLE requires a minimum of four hours of instruction in professionalism, diversity issues, mental illness and addiction issues, civility, or legal ethics.

Just about all of these issues are covered in the movie Michael Clayton.  Cliff Scott-Rudnick, director of continuing legal education and assistant professor at The John Marshall Law School, presents an engaging and illuminating program centered around this movie.  Attorney and movie expert Richard Adler contributes with a detailed and fascinating look at the symbolism in the film.  Entertainment attorney Hal “Corky” Kessler provides useful commentary as well.

The program begins with a discussion of the concept of professional responsibility and of the New Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct effective January 1, 2010.  Scott-Rudnick provides handouts to facilitate the discussion:  “The New Rules Guide – Rule by Rule” from the ARDC, “Highlights of the New Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct,” and a comprehensive “Redline Comparison of the 1990 Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct to the 2010 Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct.”

Selected scenes from the movie are then discussed in the context of ethical breaches by the characters and of the professionalism Rules that are being stretched, or violated. On the other hand, it is interesting to note that in a couple of the scenes, dialog or actions that seem to be violations of the Rules, are not.

Presenting the CLE topic within this format is highly effective because specific Rules are illustrated by particular scenes in the movie and guide the discussion.  The drama in the scenes, the human motivation revealed and the moral dilemmas are compelling and therefore, memorable.

For example, the failure to timely confront and deal with a senior partner’s mental illness results in a cataclysm for all parties involved in the case.  Should I ever encounter a colleague suffering from a similar affliction, I think the pertinent scenes in this movie would quickly come to mind, reminding me vividly of the reason and necessity for the Rules. Illustration is a powerful tool in the learning process.

This excellent program, through its creative format, promotes learning in a painless and memorable way.  And, if you haven’t seen Michael Clayton, watch it. I guarantee you will be moved and will find it meaningful in your practice of law.

Attorneys in Transition Event on May 8, 2009

Panelist Leonard Amari of Amari & Localo speaks about thinking beyond law firms for employment opportunities. (L to R) Cliff Scott-Rudnick, John Marshall Law School, Alexis Reed, Special Counsel, Leonard Amari, Amari & Localo, David Glynn, Law Bulletin at the Attorneys in Transition event co-sponsored by Law Bulletin and The John Marshall Law School on Friday, May 8th at The John Marshall Law School. Photo by Colleen OBrien.

Panelist Leonard Amari of Amari & Localo speaks about thinking beyond law firms for employment opportunities. (L to R) Cliff Scott-Rudnick, John Marshall Law School, Alexis Reed, Special Counsel, Leonard Amari, Amari & Localo, David Glynn, Law Bulletin at the Attorneys in Transition event co-sponsored by Law Bulletin and The John Marshall Law School on Friday, May 8th at The John Marshall Law School. Photo by Colleen O'Brien.

The John Marshall Law School and Law Bulletin Publishing Co. recently held the Attorneys in Transition Seminar on May 8th. Attendees enjoyed a networking breakfast followed by a panel presentation from five legal and business professionals. Panelists discussed resume tips, networking, financial planning and more with attorneys who are changing careers or in the process or finding their next job.

See the photos.