How to Answer ‘What Should I Blog About?’

The central question, “What should I blog about?,” is enough to keep many people from launching a blog, let alone embarking on a more comprehensive content marketing program, points out Amy Boardman Hunt of Muse Communications.

An hour or so of brainstorming probably can generate a dozen solid ideas that can populate your firm’s blog for months, she suggests. Add to that the occasional firm news, “best lawyer” listing, etc., and you’ve got a vibrant legal blog.

In her article, she discusses some legal blogger writing prompts to get the blogger thinking about good post content, and concludes with some common-sense advice.

Read the article.



Former Partner Hits Biglaw Firm With Explosive Gender Discrimination Charge

A former partner at Manatt has filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, on behalf of herself and those similarly situated alleging gender discrimination and retaliation at the Biglaw firm, reports Above the Law.

Rebecca Torrey’s filing details allegations of a “boys’ club” an environment that weighs “heavily in the favor of male partners.”

Torrey also alleges the compensation structure for partners is dictated by a group hand-selected by outgoing firm managing partner, William Quicksilver, and who rarely challenge his recommendations.

Read the Above the Law article.



Partners Forced Out As Biglaw Firm Considers Strategic Shift, It’s Reportedly A ‘Bloodbath Over There’

Above the Law reports that four partners in the London office of Ropes & Gray are being forced out following a strategic shift in the firm’s direction.

Editor Kathryn Rubino quotes a report from Legal Week: “Multiple sources have told Legal Week that the quartet are set to leave following discussions with firmwide management, who travelled into London last week from the US.

“One former partner said of the exits: ‘It seems like a bit of a bloodbath over there at the moment. It has for a long time. The last two years have been shaky.’”

Read the Above the Law article.



Social Media for Lawyers: Looking Good, Doing It Right

Social mediaSome lawyers and law firms dismiss social media in terms of marketing, but it can be a difference maker if you know where to be online and what to do once you get there, advises Bruce Vincent of Muse Communications.

Once you’ve embraced the notion of devoting some thought and effort to social media marketing, it’s time to determine where the people you want to reach can be found online, and that requires identifying your social media audience.

The article also offers some advice on what lawyers should say online, and the importance of staying the course on social media.

Read the article.




Bay Area Law Firm Archer Norris to Shutter, Costing 124 Jobs

The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that bay area law firm Archer Norris has filed for bankruptcy and plans to dissolve this fall.

The Walnut Creek firm, with offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Newport Beach, deals mainly in business and insurance litigation, according to Chronicle reporter Rebecca Aydin. It is closing those offices, where it employs 124 people, according to a notice the firm sent to state officials, and expects all to lose their jobs.

A court-approved interim operations will allow the firm’s employees to be paid to keep working with clients until mid-September.

Read the SF Chronicle article.



Ken Starr’s Next Role Will Be With The Lanier Law Firm

Bloomberg Law is reporting that Kenneth W. Starr, the former independent counsel, appeals court judge, and U.S. solicitor general, is going to be practicing law again.

Starr, the former Baylor University president, will join the Houston trial firm The Lanier Law Firm, which is involved in some of the country’s biggest civil disputes, including over hip replacements and talcum powder, writes Elizabeth Olson.

“Starr already has been working with the Lanier firm’s appellate litigation team on multi-million-dollar hip implant litigation against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics Inc.,” according to the report.

Read the Bloomberg Law article.



Court Holds that Attorney is Not Bound by Confidentiality Provision

Confidential - nondisclosureAlthough a settlement agreement may bind one or more parties to its confidentiality provision, an attorney’s signature under the words “approved as to form and content” does not impose any specific obligation on the attorney to maintain the confidentiality of the settlement, according to a recent California appellate ruling.

The Jackson Lewis California Workplace Law Blog discusses a case in which the court found the attorney was entitled to the granting of an anti-SLAPP motion in a case against him for breaching the confidentiality provision of the settlement, finding that he was not a party to that agreement.

“Recognizing that confidentiality is often a material term of a settlement agreement, the Court noted that a way to avoid this issue is to draft a settlement agreement that explicitly makes the attorneys parties to the agreement (even if only to the confidentiality provision) and explicitly requires them to sign as such,” according to the authors, Ellen E. Cohen and Hazel U. Poei.

Read the article.



Ideas for Law Firm Newsletter Content

Although the main purpose of a law firm newsletter should be substantive legal information, it also provides a good opportunity to include more than just blog posts, writes Amy Boardman Hunt of Muse Communications.

“Think of your newsletter as your firm’s hometown newspaper, and let people know about the interesting stories, people, and events that make your firm unique,” she suggest in a blog post on the Muse website. “Don’t go overboard, of course. The main focus should be legal updates, but feel free to add one or two items that veer outside those confines.”

She offers suggestions for additional content to include, such as client case studies, client victories, practice area promotions, recent publications or media appearances.

“An email newsletter isn’t simply an electronic communication. It’s a chance to deepen your and your firm’s connection with your network. Use that opportunity to its fullest,” she writes.

Read the article.




Law Firms Post Best Revenue Performance Since Recession

Money - pay - salary - dollarBloomberg Law reports that rising demand and rates pushed law firm revenue up 5.5 percent in the first half of 2018, the strongest performance since the recession.

The information is based on a report by Citi Private Bank’s law firm group.

“The 40 out of 50 largest firms which reported their metrics outperformed,” writes reporter Elizabeth Olson. “The biggest reported a revenue increase of 6.8 percent. Roughly 3.2 percent came from rising demand, and 4.8 percent from higher bill rates.”

Firms in the next category, ranked by size, had slightly lower rates of revenue growth, while smaller, niche firms reported sightly stronger growth.

Read the Bloomberg Law article.



Partner Settles Bias Suit Against Her Law Firm, Proskauer

Bloomberg Law is reporting that a law partner who sued her firm, Proskauer Rose, for $50 million over allegations of gender discrimination and unequal pay has settled the case.

Details of the settlement between Connie Bertram and the firm weren’t disclosed.

Bertram, who headed the firm’s labor practice in Washington, sued last year, alleging she was underpaid in relation to her male colleagues and that she was excluded from projects after complaining about it, writes Stephanie Russell-Kraft.

Bertram has remained at the firm since filing the lawsuit in May 2017.

Read the Bloomberg Law article.



Latham Completes Makeover After Chair’s Scandalous Exit

Bloomberg Law is reporting that Brad Kotler, a banking and finance partner, has been elected vice chair of Latham & Watkins, completing its leadership makeover following the abrupt departure of chairman William Voge over questionable contacts with a woman outside the firm.

“Kotler’s selection comes about a month after the firm chose Richard Trobman, another firm veteran, to replace Voge, who resigned earlier this year,” writes Bloomberg’s Elizabeth Olson. “Kotler will serve as vice chair along with Ora Fisher, a partner in Silicon Valley.”

Voge stepped down and resigned from the firm after admitting to inappropriate personal conduct of a “sexual nature,” the firm announced in March.

Read the Bloomberg article.



Law Firm PR Lessons Straight from Today’s Headlines

In a blog post on the website of Muse Communications, Bruce Vincent discusses two stories that are dominating headlines in politics and sports, both of which provide insights on why law firms should always be above board in their public relations efforts.

Vincent starts with an examination of the public relations headaches involving the continuing controversy over the 2016 “Trump Tower meeting.”

The other major PR story is Urban Meyer being placed on administrative leave as head coach of the Ohio State University football team.

“While it may be obvious at this point, the PR lesson provided in two examples above is simple: always tell the truth,” Vincent writes.

Read the article.




One of North Texas’ Largest Women-Owned Law Firms Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Estes Thorne & Carr PLLC is celebrating its 10th year as one of the largest women-owned law firms in North Texas. The Dallas Business Journal has ranked the firm among North Texas’ 100 largest women-owned businesses. And for six consecutive years, the firm has made the list of Best Law Firms by U.S. News – Best Lawyers in America.

Name partners are  Dawn EstesJessica Thorne and Lori Carr.

In a release, the firm said its partners bring decades of big firm experience to the litigation boutique. Their varied practice includes commercial litigation, labor and employment matters, family law, construction, energy litigation, ERISA litigation, professional liability, and alternative dispute resolution. The firm also often serves as Texas local counsel.

“We seized an opportunity 10 years ago to create a firm that allowed us to unite our strengths, and we’ve never looked back,” said Estes, who was selected a Top 100 commercial litigator in Texas in 2017 by Super Lawyers. “We said we always wanted to swim in the deep end. By creating the right environment for us and our clients, we’ve never been out of our depth.”

Read the firm’s release.



Why Do Experienced Female Lawyers Leave? Disrespect, Social Constraints, ABA Survey Says

Employment - hiringPreliminary results from an ABA survey of 1,300 respondents from the nation’s 350 largest firms underscored the disparate challenges, stereotypes and burdens women lawyers faced compared to their male colleagues, even at the senior level, reports the ABA Journal.

One of the findings showed that 81 percent of women say they were mistaken for a lower-level employee, but this didn’t happen to men.

And 60 percent of women said they’d left firms because of caretaking commitments, compared to 46 percent of men.

 Read the ABA Journal article.




Class of 2017 Notched Best JD Employment Outcomes Since Recession

The overall employment rate for law school graduates in the class of 2017 rose more than one full percentage point, to 88.6 percent of graduates for whom employment status was know, according to the National Association for Law Placement.

THE NALP reported:

For the third year in a row the actual number of jobs obtained was flat or went down in virtually every sector except the largest law firms of more than 500 lawyers. Members of this class secured just 16,390 jobs in law firms of any size, down by more than 4,000 since the number of those jobs peaked for the Class of 2007. And while the largest law firms of more than 500 lawyers hired more law school graduates than at any time since the recession, the number of entry-level jobs at those firms is still off by nearly 600 positions compared with the peak hiring measured with the Class of 2008.

The study found that the national median salary for the class of 2017 was $70,000.

Read the NALP report.




Why Big Law Firms Care About Which Law School You Attend

Big law firms tend to be particular about which lawyers they hire, according to a report from U.S. News & World Report.

Reporter Ilana Kowarski writes:

Thomas J. Simeone, a managing partner at the personal injury law firm Simeone & Miller in the District of Columbia, who spent many years working at big law firms, says these firms typically prefer to hire alumni of elite law schools that place in the top 15 in national law school rankings. Some particularly exclusive big law firms primarily employ graduates of J.D. programs that place in the top five or top 10, and in general, grads from higher-ranked J.D. programs have better chances of finding a job at a big law firm, Simeone says.

Kowarski writes that graduates of lower-ranked law schools “often need to either achieve extraordinary law school grades or gain several years of impressive legal work experience to convince a big law firm to hire them.”

Read the U.S. News article.




‘Stupid, Dumb and Fat’ Comments Get Cleveland Lawyer Suspended

A Cleveland lawyer who has already paid a $300,000 settlement to his former paralegal for insulting her has now been suspended from the practice of law for six months.

WKYC reports that the Ohio Board of Professional Conduct accused Howard Evan Skolnick, a lawyer since 1993, of violating professional conduct rules by “verbally harassing” the woman for more than two years. The board recommended a a six-month suspension to be held in abeyance.

But the Ohio Supreme Court issued a one-year suspension, with six months stayed on the condition that he engage in no further misconduct.

Reporter Phil Trexler wrote” “Court records show he called her “stupid, dumb, fat and `whorey’.” He also lodged insults against the woman’s husband and her mother. Records show Skolnick also sexually harassed the woman and a female co-worker by making a request for a sexual favor while inside a car.”

Read the WKYC article.




Kean Miller Combines With Dupuis & Polozola

Baton Rouge-based Kean Miller LLP has opened offices in The Woodlands, Texas, and Lafayette, Louisiana, by combining with the energy-focused law firm Dupuis & Polozola.

The firm said this expansion builds on Kean Miller’s Houston office opening in 2017 and strengthens the firm’s portfolio of legal and business services to energy, oil & gas, and petrochemical industry clients.

The 10 lawyers with Dupuis & Polozola work in upstream oil and gas exploration and production, handling transactional, regulatory, and litigation matters, as well as business and corporate, and real estate matters. The firm’s clients include global exploration companies and small independents operating in Texas, Louisiana, Colorado, Kansas, North Dakota and New Mexico.

“Lafayette is the hub of the south Louisiana energy corridor, and The Woodlands continues to experience unprecedented growth in corporate headquarters,” said Blane Clark, managing partner of Kean Miller. “Our two new offices strengthen our ability to offer strategic legal resources to our clients from east of New Orleans to the energy corridor of West Houston, and from the Gulf of Mexico to West Texas and beyond.”

James H. “Jimmy” Dupuis Jr.

The firm now has more than 160 attorneys after the union with Dupuis & Polozola. Joining Kean Miller as equity partners are James H. “Jimmy” Dupuis Jr. in The Woodlands and Kyle P. Polozola in Lafayette. The Woodlands office is located at 8301 New Trails Drive, Suite 100. The Lafayette location is at 2020 W. Pinhook Road, Suite 303.

“Combining our law firms makes great sense. We share a commitment to knowing our clients’ business inside and out, and to personalized client service,” said Dupuis. “Our clients will benefit from Kean Miller’s progressive approach and full-service offerings, and Kean Miller’s clients now have access to a team of upstream oil and gas attorneys experienced in Texas, Louisiana, and other producing states.”

Kyle P. Polozola

Polozola said he looks forward to playing a part in the cooperative efforts of talented lawyers across Kean Miller’s operations. “Our Lafayette office magnifies the existing firm presence across Louisiana and in Texas. With Kean Miller’s regional presence and deep bench of talented lawyers, we are an even more dynamic force in the Bayou State.”

Dupuis and Polozola, both experienced oil and gas and business attorneys, founded their firm in 2010. Dupuis earned his law degree from the Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert School of Law; Polozola’s law degree is from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law.



Firm Disqualified for Dropping One Client, Then Suing It for Another

A firm that represented two software competitors for years without issue can’t ditch one client and then sue it on behalf of the other, a Massachusetts federal court said July 26, according to a Bloomberg Law report.

A Massachusetts federal judge said Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers LLP’s breach of duty of loyalty was clear and the situation was not “unforeseeable.”

Reporter Mindy L. Rattan explains: Sunstein represented tech companies Syncro Soft and Altova from 2011 to 2017, until Altova asked Sunstein to sue Syncro Soft for patent infringement in June 2017, the judge said. The next month, Sunstein sent a letter to Syncro Soft terminating the relationship to avoid a conflict of interest. Sunstein then sued Syncro Soft on behalf of Altova in August 2017. Syncro Soft moved to disqualify Sunstein, which the court granted.

Read the Bloomberg Law article.



Biglaw Partner Suspended After Accusing Small-Firm Litigator of Using Pregnancy to Delay Trial

Shook, Hardy & Bacon has suspended a Miami lawyer after he objected when a pregnant opposing lawyer sought a continuance because her due date coincided with a trial date, reports the ABA Journal.

According to a statement provided by the law firm’s administrative managing partner, Paul Reid has been suspended pending further review by firm management.

Christen Luikart of Murphy Anderson in Jacksonville, Florida, is the opposing lawyer who sought the delay.

Reid argued his client had been injured five years ago and “parental leave is not a compelling circumstance justifying the severe prejudice” that will be caused by delaying the trial.” The court overruled his objection.

Read the ABA Journal article.