Law360, Los Angeles (March 21, 2016, 2:08 PM ET) — In a BigLaw culture in which doing great work and hitting your billables is par for the course, it’s easy for even excellent attorneys to get lost in the crowd. Boosting your image from reliable worker bee to law firm standout is essential to advancing your career, experts say.
The work comes first — there’s no way to get ahead at a firm without first delivering great results to senior partners and clients. But lawyers who keep their noses to the grindstone and never look up risk languishing with all the work and few of the accolades.
There are essentially two routes to burnishing your image at the firm: developing strong relationships with colleagues and making it rain, experts say. Here, they share five tips for focusing on those two areas to improve your image among firm colleagues.
Become a Leader
Find opportunities to lead within the firm, even if that means taking on an undesirable task and turning it into a leadership role, Reed advises. Volunteering to serve on an internal committee, testing new software or devices, or stepping up to investigate a new practice area opportunity are all things that will be noticed by both your peers and firm decision makers. Continue reading →
This is 2016. It is a year where we could witness Hillary Clinton become the first female President of the United States. It is a time where women have ostensibly shattered whatever glass ceiling may have existed in the past. Yet, despite the perceived progress for women, there are still obstacles to overcome, including work-life balance.
In honor of International Women’s Day, celebrated annually in March, it seems an appropriate time to reflect on issues that impact working women—and in particular, young women attorneys.
For young women lawyers, navigating through the ever-changing legal world can be challenging for a multitude of reasons. Inequality in pay, respect, and advancement are among the issues confronting young women lawyers. According to a recent survey conducted by the Young Lawyers Division of the Florida Bar, 43% of young women attorneys have experienced gender bias. One of the survey participants said that she left a job because she “was told by the managing partner that [she] did not have to worry about making money and moving ahead because [she] would get married one day and will not have to worry about living expenses.” More than a quarter of those surveyed reported that they resigned from a position due to lack of advancement, employer insensitivity, and lack of work-life balance.
What do you do when you have reached the pinnacle of career success and represented some of the biggest names in the community? For famed attorney Alan Kluger and wife, retired Judge Amy Dean, you come up with the brilliant idea to invite resource-challenged non-profits to hold fundraising events in your downtown law office – Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine, P.L.
A part of the firm’s 25,000 square foot space has been specially converted to host up to 40 guests and to show off an extensive group of art works from the Kluger’s coveted Contemporary Latin American art collection.
Kluger’s idea is twofold: help non-profits with an interesting space to fundraise and help them learn how to ask for donations.
For SocialMiami.com, a company that is dedicated to helping non-profits get the word out about their events and celebrating those who make the events successful, a collaboration with Alan Kluger was a match made in non-profit heaven. SocialMiami invited a vetted list of non-profit professionals to come and experience an evening with Kluger. When they arrived at the office, wine, beer, soft drinks and bottled water awaited along with a conference table-turned buffet overflowing with appetizers. Continue reading →
Florida has long recognized a “litigation privilege” affording absolute immunity for communications made during the course of judicial proceedings, including statements in written pleadings and motions and at hearings and depositions, unless the statements bear no relation to the proceeding or are fraudulently made for the sole purpose of inducing settlement. The privilege initially was created to protect litigants, lawyers, and witnesses from defamation claims. However, over time, Florida courts have expanded the privilege to additional tort claims, including fraud and tortious interference.
Florida courts have also been faced with an important issue testing the boundaries of the privilege: whether, and to what extent, the litigation privilege applies to “pre-suit” communications. The issue was presented to the Fourth District Court of Appeal for the first time in Pledger v. Burnup & Sims, Inc., 432 So. 2d 1323 (Fla. 4th DCA 1983), where a draft complaint, which allegedly contained a false statement, was presented to opposing counsel prior as a settlement tactic prior to litigation. The court held that a “qualified privilege” applies to certain pre-suit communications, such as communications that are mandated by statute, administrative regulation, or by contract. The court noted that while not all pre-suit settlement communications satisfy that standard, the privilege should cover those communications because public policy favors the resolution of disputes outside of court. The court expressed some limitation on the privilege, holding that statements made during such pre-suit communications would not be protected if the injured party can prove “express malice or malice in fact.”
The law regarding the qualified litigation privilege for pre-suit communications is still developing. Continue reading →
Florida follows the “American Rule” on the entitlement to attorney’s fees, in that attorney’s fees generally are not recoverable as an element of damages in the absence of statutory authority or a contractual agreement. However, civil litigators throughout Florida should be aware of a powerful yet somewhat unknown exception to that general rule – the Wrongful Act Doctrine.
The Wrongful Act Doctrine permits “a plaintiff to recover third-party litigation expenses as special damages where the defendant’s wrongful act caused the plaintiff to litigate with a third party.” More specifically, the Doctrine provides that “[w]here the wrongful act of the defendant has involved the claimant in litigation with others, and has placed the claimant in such relation with others as makes it necessary to incur expenses to protect its interests, such costs and expenses, including reasonable attorney’s fees upon appropriate proof, may be recovered as an element of damages.” Continue reading →