Monday, May 30, 2011

Starting a Law Firm - Going Solo!

So, after much soul searching and discussion, I decided to go solo. So, what are some pros and cons that I am facing before I even start?

1) Making sure you are connected
2) Making decisions alone with no one else to blame if something doesn't work
3) Major changes including being home more often, having no fixed schedule, and having to think in terms of "market" instead of where you want to live, work, etc.
4) Initial investment of $$

1) No fear of pleasing a boss at the expense of your comfort
2) No fear of losing a job because you disagree with something
3) Practicing law the way you want to practice law (Could we sum it all with "More control!")
4) No limits to your potential
5) Control on how you spend your day
6) Control on which trainings etc. you want to go to
7) Being able to offer what you can offer - no artificial limits based on "job description".
8) Hopefully eventually being able to hire others for the "grunt work"

So, I still have to figure out all of the following
1) Accountant
2) Name for a law firm
3) Name for a website
4) LOCATION of law office
5) Sources of clients (ads? where?)
6) Designing a website

Phew! I will keep you updated on this journey.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bad Experience followed by Unemployment AGAIN

The world of immigration law jobs has not been an easy one for me. Thinking I was getting a great opportunity, I quit my "safe" job at the non-profit for a more lucrative one at a large national immigration law firm. However, that law firm has been a HUGE let down. I was subject to 15 hour workdays and non-stop traveling and visiting clients in various immigration detention centers far and near. Weekends were workdays as well. That would have been okay if that's all that was bad. However, the managing attorney was downright abusive to his employees. Any dissenter was fired. People were hired and fired in a snap for no apparent reason all the time. At-will employment at its best! I was forced to stay in an office far from where I was hired and was living off hotels. One question about when I would be sent back to my permanent location, and I was "let go".

And Good Riddance at that! I mean, how long can you hang on to a job like that? But then I went from a safe job to no job in the period of a month! As I write this, I have no job to speak of. I am hesitatingly considering applying for unemployment benefits. But a new possibility that has kept poking its head is now knocking on the door again, and yelling, "Start your own practice already, Dummy!"

What's keeping me back? I do not know. I know in my heart that I am a fantastic lawyer and that once I get started, I will be amazing. I know that I want to have my own schedule and be my own boss. I know I can deliver good results. But....getting that first client is still scary. It is scary to spend money on marketing without having any money to spend!

This is the new reality. No job security at all. Everyone is out on his or her own. Women like myself are forced to be bread-winners of the family. I am excited and nervous and at the same time a tad bit fearful of the future. But my cup is empty again. That means something will have to fill it!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Across the Board Budget Cuts - Fair for everyone?

Recently our nonprofit organization announced "Across the board budget cuts" and has asked everyone to reduce their hours and pay by 25% "across the board." This is a valiant effort in order to avoid layoffs, which our small firm would not be able to handle.

However, how does 'across the board' work with part-time workers? Some of our staff already reduces hours every summer voluntarily for their personal/family reasons. A 25% cut for them would be what they would normally do anyway. Whereas for full-time workers, it is a significant cut in pay and hours. What is a fair way to administer across the board cuts?

How do other agencies, companies, etc. make that happen?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Articles Like these frustrate me. Minority v. White?

We have seen several articles like these as the census comes nearer. Minority births, Minority immigration, and Minority percentage statistics to scare the historic White Majority away! These alarmist articles miss the point.

The world is becoming smaller. We are now dealing with emerging countries who are competing with us globally for better technology and education. And globally speaking, Chinese and Indians are the vast majority. Trying to protect our fragile racially conservative egos will only cause us to lose our competitive edge. Immigration has been our competitive edge throughout history. That is because we were formed as a nation of immigrants. Think about it. Starting from the European settlers, to the Irish mass immigration, to the Eastern European immigration, to the African slave trades, to the Japanese and Asian immigration waves, we have seen it all. And with every wave came a similar reaction from the "settled" folks. Fear mongering, discrimination, and sometimes worse. But what we feared actually is our strength. We are a country that is not defined by race but by ideals, and that makes a good country! Globally speaking, the world has always been shifting and immigrating. Immigration is determined by economics more than anything. High immigration is a sign of good economic conditions. Perhaps some people want higher immigration to our competing countries?

We lost the Olympic bid largely because our country was considered too hostile to visitors. Do we want to fall behind globally while pampering our fragile egos?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Time for something new?

After a year or so of ups and downs at Nonprofit law, I wonder if it is time for something new.

Several questions keep popping up in my mind. How soon is too soon to change jobs? Is a year too soon? How about 2?

How does one transfer skills from nonprofit to the private law world? Surely the case load is qualitatively different. The whole world of employment based immigration rarely enters the nonprofit world because of the income differences. However, this is often the bulk of the practice in the for-profit world. And employment-based immigration is a whole new beast to tackle.

So how would I go about convincing a potential private law firm employer that I am qualified for the job? Does beginning in non-profit mean I am pegged into the nonprofit sector hole for the rest of my career? It isn't that I dislike working at nonprofits. Actually, quite the opposite. However, there is limited growth at my current organization. I could not possibly wind up doing the same thing I have done for the past year for another 10 years.

I see some jobs popping up, but many of them require experience in the employment-based arena. That does not stop me from wanting to apply. Is it normal to feel bored of a job after such a short period of time?

I wonder. . .

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Make up for Professional Women?

I was reading an article about indicators of the struggling economy, and below is a quote from it:

"You’ve got that recession look in your eye. Total eye-makeup sales at supermarkets and drugstores were up 8.5% in the one-year period that ended on March 22. In that period, more than $260 million was spent on eye makeup – in particular, eyeliner was up 9% and mascara almost 13%, the industry says.

The leading lipstick indicator – the past trend that lipstick sales rose in economic downturns as consumers settled for inexpensive luxuries – is not holding up. Lipstick sales are down 11%. But eye makeup has replaced lipstick as the indicator, devotees of this theory say."

This gets me to think - what are the implications of make up in the professional world? Or even more specifically, what are the implications for the various types of make up (i.e. eye make up vs. lipstick?). In the book I read, "Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers," Lois P. Frankel discusses the implications of wearing make up, as well as wearing much make up. Both of those, she says, are harmful to a woman's image as a professional and therefore impede on her chances of moving up the ladder.

On the one hand, make-up seems to emphasize a woman's femininity. On the other hand, it makes her more noticeable. Naturally more petite than men, women are often in the shadows. With slight help of an eyeliner or a lipstick, certain features stand out a little more, in a subtle fashion. Normally, I don't wear much make-up, but when I do, it is a little eyeliner, and a little lipstick. So what are the different effects of eye make-up and lipstick? I think a red lipstick indicates confidence and power. Bright lips draw attention to a woman's spoken words. On the other hand, eye make-up emphasizes the eyes. Eyes, the windows to the soul, can indicate a more submissive role of listening and looking, or of "paying attention" but also of an empowering act of making eye-contact, depending on the person's demeanor.

Yet, for some reason, lipstick stands out to me as a confidence indicator. Bright lipstick. I would wear a bright lipstick in court, but perhaps eye-make up is ideal for creating a warm, comforting, and trusting relationship with a sensitive client.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Big Law may start to cut associate pay

So, I have heard that several Big law firms are starting to cut associate pay - to - $144,000 instead of $160,000. You won't find any sympathy here, new big law associates! As for the people who are laid should know that there was no reason for them to lay you off. They could have reduced pay for everyone just a little and avoided lay offs.

That is what stinks about the minds of people in charge. It is easier for them to trim their workforce, including new associates and staff members, than it is for them to announce pay cuts. I have a very hard time sympathizing with the big firm business model, but that may be because I am missing something.

Anyone care to explain?