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HIRING

First-year associate salaries rise in spite of pandemic pay cuts

Salaries for first-year associates are rising in spite of last year’s pay reductions. The National Association for Law Placement (NALP) has released its 2021 Associate Salary Survey report, showing that the overall median first-year associate base salary as of Jan. 1, 2021 was $165,000, up $10,000 (6.5%) from 2019, the year of the last survey administration. Law firms of more than 250 lawyers accounted for about 78% of the 572 responses. “Despite widespread media reports of austerity measures implemented by law firms during the pandemic, including delays in partner draws and in some cases temporary salary reductions for lawyers, the findings from NALP’s latest Associate Salary Survey show that associate compensation has continued to grow over the last two years, with first-year associate compensation of $190,000 now measured as the most common… . . . read more

TECHNOLOGY

Zoom court appearance prep: Check for cat filters

Now that a lawyer has appeared as a kitten in a Zoom court hearing, we can add another item to the list of Zoom hearing best practices: Check the webcam for filters before joining the meeting. Last week an attorney accidentally joined a video conference of a civil forfeiture court hearing while using a webcam filter that made him look like a confused white kitten. “I’m here live. I’m not a cat,” Presidio County Attorney Rod Ponton told Judge Roy Ferguson. “I can see that,” replied Ferguson, whose district covers five counties in West Texas, including the town of Marfa from which Ponton was calling. The short video clip, which was shared online by Ferguson, ends with others coaching the attorney on how to remove the cat filter. The judge… . . . read more

TECHNOLOGY

What problems does AI bring to the legal sector?

By Brittainy Boessel Artificial intelligence (AI) technology is steadily gaining traction in the legal sector, and some practitioners worry about the changes it’s bringing. Many legal professionals fear AI may infringe on their job security by significantly cutting the available jobs. A number of legal professionals raise ethical and legal concerns underlying the use of AI in their work. Still others wonder whether future attorneys will possess the skills needed to take advantage of this technology. This article will discuss a few of the valid concerns regarding the use of legal AI technology and explain why the benefits of AI outweigh the risks. Will AI make lawyers obsolete? When technology performs better than humans at certain tasks, job losses seem inevitable. But the effect may not be as dire as… . . . read more

MANAGING STAFF

Use your high performers to engage the rest of the team

Among the goals of any manager is to create and maintain a high-performance organization. That means you have created a machine that operates at top efficiency, and your employees are engaged. Some organizations don’t believe this really applies to them. Research has suggested that only 25 percent of the typical workforce is engaged. This means that only a fraction of your employees are in tune with your mission, vision, and values. As a high-performance organization, with a larger core group who can be counted on to care about the organization’s success, your results would be much higher. But nothing stays the same. Employees leave for reasons that have nothing to do with job satisfaction, and it can be a challenge to replace former employees.  It can be a challenge to… . . . read more

INCREASING PROFITS

Can every attorney in your office answer these 10 critical questions for 2021?

Want to see more profit in 2021? Get each attorney to draw up a practice plan for the year. A plan forces the attorneys to organize their work agenda by focusing on practice development, production, and self-improvement. What’s more, it ensures that everybody does work that furthers the firm’s goals, it keeps the marketing focused, and it keeps the collections in line. Use this 10-point format: First are the hours goals 1 What is the number of hours you will devote to billable work? This forces the attorneys to take a serious look at how they should spend next year’s time. It also forces them to look at their historical performance. It’s not reasonable, for example, for an attorney who has billed 1,400 hours for the past two years to… . . . read more

HUMAN RESOURCES

5 people problems and how to solve them

By Lynne Curry bio We can’t guess all the challenges facing us as office managers in this new year, but we can assume that we will be dealing with an old one: people and their personalities. Whether working together virtually or in-person, chances are good you will be dealing with people problems. Here are five common problems and strategies for dealing with them. Stopping a bully senior manager without losing your job Question: I face a situation that has no easy answer and no easy solution. As the office manager and human resources director, I supposedly enforce our corporation’s code of conduct and oversee the human resource issues. I report to the report to the chief operating officer, a bully who runs roughshod over any employee unlucky enough to cross… . . . read more

MANAGING THE OFFICE

Renting out extra space? Set up protective walls to avoid risk

With more law firm employees working from home during the pandemic, a firm may find itself living in too much space—and paying too much rent. One solution is to bring in a tenant. Usually the renter is a solo practitioner or a small firm, and the arrangement is good for everybody, because the firm collects the rent and the renter gets the amenities as well as the appearance of an association with the larger group. From a risk perspective, however, it’s a cause for concern. The firm has to look past the financial benefits to the danger spots. It has to think like a landlord and get signed documents and insurance policies. And more, it has to set up protections against the disasters specific to a law firm/law firm lease… . . . read more

TRAINING

Now is the time to train for technology

By Doug Striker bio I think it’s safe to say that the legal industry is not the most “agile” profession in the marketplace. The law actually breeds the opposite of agility. We tend to reward slow processes, long research endeavors, decisions-by-committee, slow turning of the ship to accommodate changes. So, it is no surprise that the rapid changes demanded by COVID-19 outbreak have rattled law firms to their cores. To put it more bluntly, I’ll quote a couple of people I recently heard speak at an ILTA Roundtable discussion regarding the legal industry’s use of tech tools to get work done “during these difficult and challenging times:” “I have a lot of self-represented litigants on my [virtual] docket and many of them are more comfortable with technology than the attorneys… . . . read more

JOB PLACEMENT REPORT

Class of 2019 is the most employed since the Great Recession

The Class of 2019 experienced the highest employment rate in the dozen years since the start of the Great Recession, according to the National Association for Law Placement, Inc. NALP has released its Employment for the Class of 2019 — Selected Findings, a synopsis of key findings from the upcoming annual Jobs & JDs: Employment and Salaries of New Law School Graduates. The release of the full Jobs & JDs report is anticipated in October 2020. This year’s Selected Findings show that the Class of 2019 experienced the highest employment rate in 12 years. The overall employment rate for the Class of 2019 was up 0.9 percentage points to 90.3% of graduates for whom employment status was known, compared to 89.4% for the Class of 2018. This marks the highest… . . . read more

PARTNERSHIP PATTERNS

Study identifies generational similarities, differences in the workplace

The National Association for Law Placement, Inc. (NALP), in partnership with PP&C Consulting principals Aric Press and Yolanda Cartusciello, has released Multiple Generations in Law Firms: Working Together. The first-of-its-kind study provides insights into some of the generational dynamics at play in the current law firm work setting. The survey gathered responses from 2,473 lawyers—1,394 partners and 1,079 associates during 2019. With members of the Baby Boomer, Gen X, and Millennial generations all working together in today’s law firms and popular culture providing so many tropes and stereotypes for each of these distinct generations, the study seeks to measure some of the similarities and differences in the opinions and attitudes held by partners and associates of a variety of ages. The oldest members of the Millennial generation have become partners… . . . read more


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