When I first started teaching undergraduate students after working as an attorney and mediator, I used to joke that the next generation, Generation Z, would be the “zombie” generation. I laughed and said they would be the “indoor kids” who could not communicate unless they had a screen in front of their faces. Looking back, I grossly underestimated this group of individuals.
Two recent events—around the same time in different parts of the country—starkly exposed the pernicious nature of systemic racism: One resulted in murder; the other could have. Both offer somber lessons for the legal profession and clients’ organizations about the need to identify and root out bias in their policies, practices and culture.
On June 12, I was in federal court cross-examining a witness about strawberry shortbread. Only, I wasn’t in the courthouse, and neither was the judge. The witness was my law partner, Michelle, and I wasn’t wearing pants.
Social media has undoubtedly changed the way we communicate, receive news and stay connected in our personal lives. In fact, social media is beginning to displace email as the preferred method of communication for many employees in the workplace.
Human beings are hardwired for interaction. We are, by definition, touchy-feely types of people. Without supportive human interaction, we tend to go insane. Numerous studies of inmates subjected to long-term solitary confinement and prisoner-of-war isolation indicate that people who isolate themselves eventually become depressed and often turn to substance relief.
The first year of law school is an unforgettable rite of passage to becoming a lawyer. I get that. But this year, it’s more “unforgettable” than usual. No one in my class at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law expected to finish it this way: attending Zoom classes, taking untimed finals and shooting for a “passing” grade instead of an A or B.
“I’m going to have to lower my fees.” This thought hovered in my mind as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. I suspect many lawyers had this exact thought about their own practices. I resisted that urge and instead decided to raise my prices. There are steps I’m taking to ensure that I keep getting clients.
Effective leadership is essential to well-functioning organizations, and it is vital to the success of law firms. Strong leadership is a key component of what law firm clients focus on, and entry-level lawyers rely on it.
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a spotlight on the underbelly of the United States economy. With many Americans following orders to stay at home, gig workers have moved into the forefront of the marketplace. Delivery workers, truck drivers and other independent contractors are still going out into the world to work and to keep the world working.
Three years ago, I began the slow process of migrating from the trial-lawyer planet to the world of academia, eventually landing as a professor at my alma mater, the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. In addition to my decade and a half as a litigator, I have about two decades of classroom teaching experience.