What office skills lawyers should know in an emergency; America's next hot sauce lawyer?
Be your own admin
Minnesota litigator Sybil Dunlop admits that when she first started practicing, she probably didn’t delegate enough administrative tasks to support staff. “I had a misplaced desire to own 100 percent of my projects,” she writes at Lawyerist.
That said, support staffers might not be around when you have to file something at 11 p.m., Dunlop writes. “At these moments, it’s important that SOMEONE know how to PDF a document or even file electronically.”
Other skills that you should try to acquire, according to Dunlop? The ability to add Bates numbers to a document; the ability to redact information from a document; and the ability to set up a conference call, add individuals to a call, and to conference someone into a call from your cellphone.
Hot new niche?
Dallas career coach Cordell Parvin says he’s dead serious when he asks his blog readers: “Who will become the ‘hot sauce’ industry go-to lawyer?”
He notes reports by the Washington Post’s Wonkblog and Mother Nature Network describing hot-sauce production as one of the fastest-growing U.S. industries and an article in Shape magazine calling hot sauce the world’s hottest food trend.
Parvin includes a list of suggestions that a wannabe hot sauce lawyer can take to bone up on the industry—that is, assuming “you put hot sauce on everything but ice cream,” Parvin writes. “If you don’t really like [hot sauces], I doubt you will do well representing companies in the industry.”
When a ‘win’ feels like a loss
This week, criminal defense lawyer Matt Brown wrote at Tempe Criminal Defense about how he found himself disappointed about the dismissal of a criminal case (with the condition that his client agree to forfeit $200 collateral) against his client. Usually, both he and his client would be happy with such an outcome. But in this case, he knew his client would feel conflicted about agreeing to the dismissal because he was fighting for a cause, and avoiding a conviction and staying out of jail were less important to him that this fight.
“Sometimes, it isn’t about winning,” Brown wrote. “Sometimes, a loss turns out better than a win. In those cases, winning looks more like losing. Is it a win when you spend hundreds fighting for a dismissal when the case could’ve died a quiet death months earlier for half the cost? Is it a win when you spend thousands getting a not guilty verdict on three counts when two of them would’ve gone away silently and one of them would’ve never been filed had you just sent in a check? It may seem like an easy question, but clients have different interests.”
At the same time, Brown says he is “skeptical about using the system to make a statement. It has surely worked in the past to stir public sentiment, but I wonder if we as a culture are moved by injustice to act like we once seemed to be. Where’s the outrage about Bradley Manning? What difference did all those Occupy arrests make?”
A Houston solo who was on board the Carnival cruise ship that caught fire and left him, his wife and other passengers without air conditioning and flushable toilets doesn’t intend to sue the cruise line or jump in on any class actions that have already been filed.
Scott Douglass told Tex Parte Blog that “there was no clear indication there was anything defective with that ship,” and that the suits being filed are premature. Lawyers should know “what are my damages, what are my damages worth, who is responsible and is it recoverable,” before filing a federal suit over an incident in international waters.
The worst thing about the ordeal was the lack of working toilets, Douglass said, which ultimately led to flooding of interior cabins. But Douglass told Tex Parte there was one bright side: “There was probably more interaction amongst the people on the cruise than you’d ever see on a normal cruise. If you have nothing to do, people revert back to—you take away their communication devices—guess what they have to do? They have to talk to each other.”