Archive for the ‘Helpful Hints’ Category

If X, Y, and Z, then A: Legal Analysis is Simple

Today we’re excited to welcome Joel Trachtman, Professor of International Law at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and author of The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win to share some tips on conquering legal analysis.

via If X, Y, and Z, then A: Legal Analysis is Simple.

California State Bar Pamphlets – Excellent Information

Not only does the California State Bar issue licenses to attorney allowing them to practice law in California, but it also provides valuable information to the public on legal matters. They just recently updated the  “Kids & the Law: An A-to-Z Guide for Parents.” Other age-connected publications are “Seniors & the Law: A Guide for Maturing Californians” and “When You Turn 18: A Survival Guide for Teenagers.

The pamphlets tackle specific areas of practice, too, including:

What Should I Do If I Have an Auto Accident?

How Can I Resolve My Dispute Without a Trial?

What Should I Know If I Am Arrested?

These pamphlets are FREE to anyone who orders it via the CA State Bar’s online order form.   I strongly recommend these to your friends and family.

So you got an e-mail suggesting you download the syllabus from Blackboard…

Do you know where Blackboard is located? Check out the homepage of University of La Verne. On the right hand side is a link that says “Current Students.” Beneath the link is another one that says…”Blackboard.” Once there, you can log into Blackboard using your student id and pin no. If you’re having trouble logging into Blackboard, contact the Technology help desk at x4130 or e-mail them at help at laverne.edu. Once you’re in Blackboard, you should have access to all the classes you’re enrolled in, save courses for which the professor does NOT use Blackboard.

If you’re in a class taught by Professor Adongo or myself, C. Bekhor, then you will see our classes.

Click on the appropriate class and away you go! If you’re still having trouble, check out the following link for a guide on how to download documents from Blackboard to your computer: Screencast video.

See you Monday!

C. Bekhor

Email Etiquette

Last week in class, we touched upon some rules with regard to email and ethics. Over the weekend when I sent out email to a colleague that had a typo (which I feverishly corrected before hitting “send”), I was reminded of a story a friend told me recently. She complained about how email is ruining the business world. She said, “People think they’re talking on the phone, that email is somehow a lesser form of business communication. They’ll be professional in a letter sent by the post, but shockingly unprofessional in email.”

Yikes!

Because I have my students’ futures in mind, I thought I’d go over some basic email etiquette that I pulled off of Purdue University’s writing workshop website:

  • Be sure to include a meaningful subject line; this helps clarify what your message is about and may also help the recipient prioritize reading your email
  • Just like a written letter, be sure to open your email with a greeting like Dear Dr. Jones, or Ms. Smith:
  • Use standard spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. THERE’S NOTHING WORSE THAN AN EMAIL SCREAMING A MESSAGE IN ALL CAPS.
  • Write clear, short paragraphs and be direct and to the point; professionals and academics alike see their email accounts as business. Don’t write unnecessarily long emails or otherwise waste the recipient’s time
  • Be friendly and cordial, but don’t try to joke around (jokes and witty remarks may be inappropriate and, more commonly, may not come off appropriately in email)

That last point is so true! How often has someone misinterpreted your humor?

New Magazine for Paralegals

KNOW magazineKNOW, The Magazine for Paralegals, is a new publication for Paralegals that hits the stands in June, 2008. Marketed as, “an outside-the-box, informative magazine balancing workstyle and life balance for paralegals,” the new mag should prove very interesting. Some planned articles include:

  • Famous TV Stars: What Fans Don’t Know About These Former Paralegals
  • Work Less, Earn More: Can You Ditch the 24/7 Stressful Routine?
  • The 10 Most Influential Paralegals in the Country
  • Trends Guaranteed to Change the Paralegal Profession
  • Diversity’s Little Secret: Are Caucasian Paralegals Doing Enough to Support African-American Paralegals?
  • Paralegals Succeeding Against All the Odds
  • Your Network is Your Net Worth
  • Wedding Cake Blues: When You Marry Your Job
  • Navigating a Male-Dominated Industry
  • New Case Law That Affects Your Career
  • Why Litigation Support Managers in BigLaw Can Earn Up to $200k Per Year
  • Can the IP Field Sustain Its Phenomenal Paralegal Growth?

Professionalism

So I’m in line, waiting to pick up the kids from their elementary school. The cars and trucks that are waiting with me are a pretty homogenous set of silver, white and black. Sometimes you’ll see blue and green. As I’m sitting in my silver car, a low rumbling noise distracts me. I turn to see a bright pink truck rolling up next to me. Not only is it loud and pink, but all over the truck are graphic displays of Playboy Bunnies, silhouettes of naked women, and the words “crazy b*%$^@” on the back window.  Out of a crowd, a tiny girl in jeans and a pink blouse with a Disney backpack came running to the Bunny truck. Climbed in. Off to the Playboy mansion.

Now, I’m all for freedom of speech and the First Amendment and all that, but…are you hearing me on this? Are you seeing the dissonance?

Recently, a student asked me what I thought of tattoos. “They’re great! Love ’em! Are you going to work in a law office?”

“I’d like to go to law school, sure, so yeah, I’m going to be in a law office.”

“Good for you!” 

“So yeah, I want a really fat one on my neck.”

“…”

“I got it all planned out. Black ink, fat letters, that say, ‘Darling’ in honor of my babe.”

“Cool! I think it would look awesome, a great fit with the multiple face piercings. Go for it. But…”

“But?”

But.

Child, there is just no denying the conservative nature of the law office, or other similarly legal environment (corporate office). First impressions mean a lot, and if the first time you walk in the door your potential employer sees you expressing yourself to the fullest extent of your desires and the law, she will worry about “what the clients will think.” I’m not advocating that mindset. It’s old, out of date, and doesn’t reflect the mainstream reality of modern American dress. 

But…the legal industry is still very conservative. Partners are frustrated because associates are wearing their Ugg boots all day. The ABA newsite has an old thread on the question. Many job websites provide articles on how to dress professionally for your corporate or legal job. It’s an undeniable part of the law culture.

On the other hand, what do I know. My daughter refuses to dress professionally for school.

Purple Shoes