How to Feed a Lawyer (and Other Irreverent Observations from the Legal Underground)

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Ev and Matt,

Do you pay for hyperlink typos? Gaping Void is linked to Sandbox Wisdom rather than http://www.gapingvoid.com/

You've actually posted 6 blogs under Visit these five blogs regularly, but I assume you meant to say visit the [non]billable hour irregularly.

I'm forwarding this post to my friend who just opened his own practice right now.


Kevin: Jeez. I posted about three minutes ago, and am sitting here checking the links, and "helpful" people like you are already being critical.

That was a great post, wasn't it?

Matthew Homann

I screwed up the links on purpose to make Evan pay out some bucks. ;-)


Excellent post. Damn bloglines is addicting -- I just keep clicking on it and all the little categories light up and I click and I read and I click and I read.... gotta be quicker with the fixes next time.

David Giacalone

Yes, Evan, this is a great post. Thanks for writing it, Matt.

I have, of course, my usual caveat -- marketing techniques that may be just fine for typical products and services can often be inappropriate when done by lawyers, who have special ethical and fiduciary duties to their clients. As I've said elsewhere: "A simple test: If you'd be embarrassed to tell your client your marketing strategy, it's probably unethical (even if not a technical or obvious violation of any particular rule of professional conduct)."

Along with Matt's links, I hope your readers will peruse and consider some of ethicalEsq's offferings on this topic:

The Lowered Expectations Game - Lawyers as Tin Men
Is Legal Marketing Spoofable?
Brand Lex

Yes, law is a business and lawyers who work hard and well deserve to make a good living. But, undisciplined entrepeneurial impluses are best practiced outside the legal profession.


Great advice, Matt. Especially the Tablet PC recommendation. Your Toshiba M205 Tablet PC is a wonderful hybrid. (That's laptop/tablet, not gasoline/electricity.) Gotta luv that high resolution screen. But, the Motion Computing M1400 Tablet PC is a very nice tablet, too. Very slick. That would be a nice upgrade for Evan--from his Little Purple Drive--I think. He could even blog from the car when caught in railway-crossing traffic between offices.

Federalist No. 84

That post officially passes the shiz nit test. Your post was the shiz nit.

I have one semester of law school before I open my solo criminal shop. I'm already working on my web page so that I can jump from the gate. Your post will help me get their faster. Thanks!

Evan, btw, your blog is ON FIRE.

Federalist No. 84

"there" not "their".


Great post. Some other tidbits of advice:
a. Law school teaches you about The Law, not about practicing law (business and social skills). The sooner you realize that you are clueless...the sooner you can start becoming competent.
b. You catch more flies with honey....I too often see attorneys who treat my staff (and presumably their own) like crap. Just because you have J.D. doesn't give you the right to treat others poorly. Grow up. Maybe this fits into Matt's #5.
c. Remember, it is not what you know, but who you know. Network, network, network.
d. Your clients should be evangelists...treat them well, respect them, establish an actual relationship with them. You will be rewarded.
e. No one ever made money in life (unless they inherited it) without taking some risk. Risk in the practice of law typically means non-billable hours. Plan on taking some risks.
f. Having a great life is determined by what you gave, not what you received. Don't forget that...do what you love and leave time for other good things (family, friends, charity/religion).

Rufus T. Firefly

I don't have anything funny to say. Excellent post. I used to use NoteMap, one of Matt's reccomended programs, to organize my areas of inquiry for depositions. The same company also makes a program called TimeMap that allows you to make very detailed timelines, which for me came in handy in professional liability cases arising out of transactions.


I'm going to take issue with the following statement by Matt: "Don't be an Asshole. Nobody likes the student who always volunteers, and tries to show how smart he or she is. We called those students gunners."

"Being the student who always volunteers" is NOT the same thing as "being an asshole," "trying to show how smart you are," or "being a gunner". I was always a very humble law student and made many friends in law school, who remain my friends today. But I was also always the guy who always raised my hand to volunteer answers to profs' questions. This wasn't because I wanted to show everyone how smart I was (which would've been futile because I'm actually mildly retarded), but simply because I love the law and am fascinated by its academic study. I was also one of the few students in my class who was never even slightly intimidated by the Socratic method, and there were many times when a prof's question was met with silence and stillness, and only then did I raise my hand so his/her very interesting point did not go without being discussed.


I agree, UCL, and so does Professor Volokh.

David Giacalone

If there were more gunners in classrooms, classes would be far more tolerable for professor and students. Prof. Stracher's recent article In Praise of Gunners makes some good points. Whatever the irk factor may be in the classroom (I'll take gunners over backbencher "whatever dudes" and frat boys any day), there are lots of times when gunners come in handy in the practice of law.


Timewriter (http://www.timewriter.com/) is also a good time-keeping system. Fortunately, they offer a freeware version. (http://www.timewriter.com/en/download_free.php)



So if you realize you're clueless and you have roughly 2 more years to go... you're doing good? :-)


I don't know about "gunners," but I occasionally volunteer when I have something to say, and sometimes look up additional information (bless you, Lexis) to back up what I think I'm going to say. Does that count?

Beyond that, I definitely think that all the legal technology mentioned is going onto my "test extensively as soon as possible" list. Thanks.


Why do you wish you had gone with a Mac instead of a PC?
What is so great about Macs for lawyers?
You're a lawyer not a graphic designer.
I'm sure that most lawyers can afford a Mac, why would it be any good to a student?
Why can't you switch now?
I have asked a lot of questions so I really doubt they will ever get answered, but it would be nice.

Acai Berry

Yes, law is a business and lawyers who work hard and well deserve to make a good living. But, undisciplined entrepeneurial impluses are best practiced outside the legal profession.


I read this entire article and while it was extremely informative and very helpful, I must say that the best advice I got my 1L year was from an upperclassman. He suggested I follow along in my classes with an outline from a previous semester. Most professors teach the same way, almost word for word, semester after semester, so a solid outline is extremely beneficial. I uploaded my old ones to this site http://www.outlines.com/ so you’ll find plenty there to start with!


LIVING the DREAM is the brainchild of ex-BigLaw attorney Rick Eid, who wrote the episodes from his own
experiences as a middle class, second-tier law school graduate who lands the job of his dreams at the world’s most prestigious law firm.


hi sir. Thanks for the tips. I have a big problem right now. I am a first year student taking Juris Doctor program in one of the prestigious schools in the Philippines. Last Friday, my substitute professor called me for recitation and humiliated me infront of the class. I was able to answer all his questions except for one where I failed to explain in a manner that would satisfy him. He told me that I do not know anything and I do not know how to answer. I felt really humiliated and I cried after leaving the room. He made me feel so stupid. I was thinking of filing a complaint against him and withdrawing from the class. Unfortunately, my original professor has a heart failure and that substitute professor has to take over. Please give me an advice. Thank you.

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