Category Archives: Legal Careers

Achieved Your Goal? Reach for More.

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There are certain truths about successful people. The first is that they’re always learning. The second is that they’re always reaching for more. Not in a greedy way, but in a desire to reach their potential and live a fulfilled life. They understand that the attainment of a goal isn’t the end of the road. There is always more to see, do and be.

Here are a few tips to stretching yourself to go beyond what you thought was possible.

1. Identify areas that you’re in a rut or feel restless and discontent.

Reaching a goal is a great feat, but sustaining it can result in feeling settled and unchallenged.

2. Set the next goal above and beyond.

Maybe you don’t feel settled at reaching your goal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t push further. Having reached your goal, identify the next level to strive for. For example, can you move up further in your career or set higher sales goals in your business?

3. Determine the tasks required to move you beyond your rut to reach the next goal.

Do you need to continue what you did before or do something else?

4. Fit your new goal and tasks into your daily schedule.

If you’ve already achieved some goals, you know that they don’t come to fruition on their own. It takes action to make them a reality.

5. Watch yourself grow and achieve more than you initially thought.

There is a saying that success in life is a journey not a destination, and it’s true. You should feel proud at achieving your goals, but you should never stop and rest on your laurels. Always be learning and reaching to do and be more.

Read more: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/245738

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THE COMPLEAT BANK LAWYER

By William M. Aukamp, Of Counsel to Werb & Sullivan, a law firm in Wilmington, Delaware

In 1653, Isaac Walton wrote “The Compleat Angler” a book that is still read by avid fishermen desiring to learn all they can about the sport. One might ask today what makes a complete bank lawyer. The answer is often not fully understood by bank senior management. Among other things, they  sometimes fail to differentiate between legal and compliance. Both functions are critically important and they must work together as a team; however, while the lawyer should be a resource to compliance officers by helping them interpret complex or ambiguous regulations, it is not the lawyer’s responsibility to make sure they are followed by bank personnel. This is the role of compliance.  Why is it important for senior management to be aware of the differences between the two functions and the scope of their respective responsibilities? Because these are key functions and, as in the case of other key functions, they should know what they do, and have a sense of the knowledge and experience required of the individuals they hire to fill these key positions.

To become a complete bank lawyer, it is necessary to have both curiosity to learn new things, to be knowledgeable about the business of banking, and to have been presented, over time, with the opportunity to provide counsel to a wide variety of departments within a bank, as well as a bank’s board and senior management. Unfortunately, in this age of specialization, young lawyers are not afforded the opportunity to gain this broad based experience. This is why banking generalists are a dying breed. Large banking organizations can afford to hire specialists, who concentrate on specific areas of the bank’s operations. Small banks cannot. One solution for them may be to hire a semi- retired generalist on a part time basis. If this is not possible, outside counsel with experience in the various areas discussed herein, whether found within a single firm or in multiple firms, should be engaged.

It is important for all banks, large and small alike, to have a lawyer present at all board meetings, and not in the capacity of a director. This does not mean any lawyer, but one that has some expertise in banking law. Some lawyers claim to be bank lawyers because they represent banks in connection with loan transactions, but this, alone, is not enough to qualify one as a bank lawyer. The lawyer who is the primary “go to” lawyer for members of the board need not be knowledgeable about the full range of legal issues that may be encountered by a bank, but should be conversant with  certain laws that may command the board’s attention at some point, such as the following:  Bank Merger and Change in Control Acts; Bank Holding Company Act; laws and regulations governing financial subsidiaries, operations subsidiaries and other permissible investments; the Bank Bribery Act and US Department of Justice Prosecution Guidelines Under Act; dividends; management interlocks between banks and between banks and public utilities;  securities law restrictions regarding insider trading; and banking laws and regulations regarding restrictions on transactions with affiliates and insiders. There is also a provision in the federal Bank holding company Act that applies to all banks, not just those that are part of a holding company system, and prohibits a bank from making loans on preferential terms to directors of correspondent banks. In addition, it may not open a correspondent account if it has outstanding loans to a director of the correspondent bank, unless they are made on substantially the same terms, including interest rates and collateral as those prevailing at the time for comparable transactions with other persons and does not involve more than the normal risk of repayment or present other unfavorable features. The individual must also be knowledgeable about laws relating to corporate governance. In addition to their general oversight responsibilities, directors are required to review or approve of specified policies and procedures. The bank’s compliance officer should know what specific reviews or approvals are required and with what frequency, and   ensure that each director receives an adequate executive summary of the underlying law or regulation. He or she should also coordinate with the corporate secretary regarding calendaring the items.

Here are just some things with which a bank lawyer, or the bank’s lawyers, collectively, should be familiar:

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How To Foster Good Mental Health In The Workplace

Desk Woman

The way employees think, feel, and behave can impact everything from productivity and communication to their ability to maintain safety. Promoting good mental health in the workplace could be one of the most important steps an employer could take to improve an organization.

Depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues can cost employers a lot of money. In fact, the Center for Prevention and Health Services estimates that mental illness and substance abuse issues cost employers between $79 and $105 billion annually in indirect costs. Absenteeism, decreased productivity, and increased healthcare expenses are just a few of the ways mental health problems cost employers money.

Of course, the reasons for promoting good mental health stem beyond a company’s bottom dollar. Supporting employees in feeling their best also reduces suffering on an individual level and serves as a win-win situation for everyone. Despite the multitude of benefits of promoting good mental health, most workplaces do very little to prevent or address emotional problems.

Here are three ways employers can promote good mental health in the workplace:

1. Create a Healthy Environment

While biology is certainly a factor in the development of mental illness, the environment also plays a large role. It’s important for employers to take a look at the lifestyle they’re promoting among workers. Expecting employees to work 80 hours a week or insisting people respond to work-related email from home are just a few of the things that can interfere with an employee’s ability to build a natural buffer against workplace stress.

Since most people spend approximately one-third of their time at work, it it’s important to ensure the workplace is taking steps to promote good health. A few simple ways to foster a healthy environment include encouraging exercise, allowing for breaks where employees can socialize, and offering stress reduction workshops. Hiring a mental health professional to teach mindfulness or offering free access to a yoga class are just a few creative ways to bolster mental strength and develop resilience to mental health problems.

2. Help Workers Identify Mental Health Risks

Approximately one in four adults experience a diagnosable mental illness in any given year. Yet, many of them suffer in silence. Some people fail to recognize they’re experiencing a mental health issue. Instead, they may associate their symptoms with aging or assume that their problems are just a normal part of stress. Helping employees recognize their risk factors and symptoms is one of the simplest yet most effective ways for employers to help.
There are several ways business leaders can allow employees to access confidential mental health screenings. One way is to invite a mental health professional from the community to come into the office to provide free screenings. Employees can be given questionnaires that ask about their habits and symptoms. If the screening reveals a high likelihood a mental health issue, they can be referred for a complete assessment.

There are also free online screening tools that employees can be encouraged to access. Screenings can be completed in complete privacy and employees can be given immediate feedback about their results, as well as information about community resources that can assess and treat mental health problems.

3. Assist Employees in Addressing Mental Health Issues

Mental health issues are very treatable, so it’s essential that employees are supported in their attempts to seek help. Allowing an employee to attend weekly therapy appointments during business hours, for example, could prevent that employee from having to go out on disability due to serious depression. Creating policies that support emotional wellness and treatment can ensure that employees are able to perform at their best.

While most business leaders would never step over an employee suffering a heart attack, those same leaders often ignore employees who are clearly experiencing a mental health problem. Unfortunately, ignoring mental health issues only furthers the stigma. Educating managers on how to address employee mental health can ensure that employees feel safe to talk about their concerns and it will increase the likelihood that they’ll access available resources.

Amy Morin is a psychotherapist and the author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, a bestselling book that is being translated into more than 20 languages.

Read more at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2015/04/09/how-to-foster-good-mental-health-in-the-workplace/?ss=workforce-2020

7 Reasons Too Much Coffee Is Killing Your Career

Coffee

By: Jayson Demers

It seems like most people in the professional world have grown to not only love coffee, but depend on it. After all, caffeine’s effects on our focus and alertness have made us seemingly more productive. After a cup of coffee you feel bright, energized and motivated, so it’s got to be great for your career, right?

The truth is more blurry. While there are many benefits of moderate coffee intake, excessive coffee consumption could actually be harming your career. Here’s how:

1. Coffee can make you skip breakfast.

This isn’t true for everybody, but you definitely know who you are. You wake up late, scramble to get ready for work and say to yourself, “I don’t have time for breakfast. I’ll just grab a coffee on the go.”

Coffee is great for waking us up and giving us energy to start the day, but that energy is an illusion — without the high-quality calories needed to fuel your body and mind, you only think you’re more energetic. The truth is, skipping a nutritive breakfast can lower your focus even with caffeine in your system, and decrease your productivity as well.

2. It makes you OK with sleep deprivation.

How many times have you stayed up late to finish a project, not fearing the effects of sleep deprivation because you can wake yourself up with a cup of coffee in the morning? If you’re a working professional and a coffee drinker, chances are it’s happened more than once.

Knowing that coffee can help us feel more alert and focused in the short term makes us more comfortable with depriving ourselves of sleep for short-term gains. However, sleep deprivation can wreak total havoc on your career, causing you to lose focus, lose productivity and even develop long-term physical and mental health complications.

3. It fuels insomnia.

The cycle gets even worse when you consider the fact that drinking lots of caffeine throughout the day can actually encourage the onset of insomnia. Drinking too much caffeine or too close to bed time can make your body stay up far longer than under ordinary circumstances, even if you’re trying to get to sleep. This makes you extra tired the next day, which forces you to drink more coffee, fueling the cycle further. Pretty soon, you’ll be so sleep deprived that not even caffeine can snap you out of it, and your career will take a massive hit.

4. It’s taking all your money.

It’s true that money isn’t everything, but money is a big part of why we go to work in first place. If you end up blowing most of your salary on unnecessary, temporary items, it could defeat the primary function of your job and make you work longer for the same amount of money.

According to data from 2014, more than a third of all Americans drink gourmet coffee on a daily basis, with younger people willing to pay more than $3 for a good cup of coffee. Take $3, assuming seven or more cups of coffee a week, and that’s over a thousand dollars a year that you could be saving – at the very least.

5. It’s raising your blood pressure.

Caffeine naturally raises your blood pressure, which isn’t so bad in small doses. But in combination with a stressful lifestyle (like you’d find in a demanding job), that blood pressure can skyrocket, putting you at risk for a number of other health complications. The higher blood pressure and shallow breathing caused by excessive caffeine intake can even limit the amount of oxygen that flows to your brain, making it harder for you to complete even basic tasks and interfere with your responsibilities.

6. It makes you slack off.

The stimulant effects of coffee make it seem like it would help you work harder. However, a recent study seems to imply that excessive caffeine intake can actually make you slack off. In a comparative study involving rats, lazy rats showed no difference in productivity after a high intake of caffeine, but other, naturally hardworking rats actually performed worse after consuming caffeine.

If you’re a hard worker, consuming high amounts of caffeine could be making you perform less or perform worse, even if you don’t consciously realize it.

7. You’re building a tolerance.

Caffeine is a stimulant, and like with any stimulant, its effects can be addictive. Over time, as you drink more and more coffee on a regular basis, your body will become used to the effects of caffeine and build up a tolerance to them. That means you’ll need to consume even more caffeine to get the same effects, compounding all the other harmful effects.

What’s worse is that if you let your coffee addiction grow, ceasing your intake will result in difficult and painful withdrawal. If you don’t keep your habit in check, the end result is drinking six cups of coffee a day or trying to work through your withdrawal – and neither are good for your career.

If you keep your caffeine intake under control, you don’t have to worry about coffee ruining your career. A cup of coffee on most mornings can actually be good for you, but when you let your habit become an addiction, it can devastate your productivity, your motivation, and even your physical health. Moderation is the key.

Read More: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/243794

Law firms clash over laptops taken by departing lawyers

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A battle over laptops taken by lawyers to a new law firm failed to reach a settlement during a three-hour session before a magistrate judge.
The suit by Pennsylvania insurance boutique Nelson Brown Hamilton & Krekstein initially sought the return of laptops taken by 14 departing lawyers to Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith, the National Law Journal (sub. req.) reports. The suit seeks damages under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
After the suit was filed last May, Lewis Brisbois returned the laptops, but erased and preserved the information they held, the story says. Now both law firms have hired computer experts to determine what information was on the devices.
The departing lawyers had represented hacked companies, and Nelson Brown says sensitive information such as Social Security numbers may have been saved on the laptops. The firm also says the devices may have contained confidential client lists and legal strategies.
Lewis Brisbois contends the lawyers needed to use the laptops to complete client matters after Nelson Brown fired the chair of its data privacy practice.
Jana Lubert, general counsel at Lewis Brisbois, told the National Law Journal that the laptops weren’t stolen. “It is important to note that at no time before or after the lawyers left Nelson Levine, which occurred over a year ago, was the data itself ever viewed by anyone who was not privileged and authorized to see it,” Lubert said.
The suit isn’t the only legal dispute spurred by the lawyers’ leap to Lewis Brisbois. Seven of the 14 departing lawyers have filed a suit, claiming Nelson Brown never paid them promised bonuses.
Nelson Brown also sued another group of departing lawyers over contingency fees, but the suit was dismissed, according to the story. Nelson Brown “had a tough year,” shrinking from 75 to 25 lawyers, the story says.

7 Tips To Better Employee Retention

By: Steve Olenski

No matter the size or stage your business is currently at, having employees leave is just bad for business. As the Wall Street Journal notes, a high employee turnover rate can cost “twice an employee’s salary to find and train a replacement.” Not only are there financial repercussions, a high turnover rate can also lower the knowledge base in your company and decrease performance and morale.

If you want to avoid this negativity, it’s best to retain your best employees. And, you can do that by following these seven tips.

Right Candidate

1. Hire Selectively

Before you can begin to retain employees, you have to make sure that you have the right employees to begin with.

The Wall Street Journal suggests you “Interview and vet candidates carefully, not just to ensure they have the right skills but also that they fit well with the company culture, managers, and co-workers.”

You can also use tools like hiQ to gather data on prospective employees. This data can be used to predict which job seekers would fit best within your company. As an added bonus, hiQ also uses internal data from companies to helps retain employees.

2. Offer a Competitive Benefits Package Salary

If you want to keep top-notch talent, then you’re going to have to pay them well. Entrepreneur notes that salaries are based on the following:

  • Employee skill and experience
  • Supply and demand
  • Geographical location
  • Worker seniority

However, a high salary isn’t always the deciding factor when employees to seek employment elsewhere.

Many times they are looking for competitive benefits. As the Wall Street Journal points out, make sure you provide, “health insurance, life insurance, and a retirement-savings plan is essential in retaining employees.” Also offer additional perks such as flextime and the option of telecommuting that fit the needs of your employees.

work environment

3. Provide a Comfortable Work Environment and Culture

Have you ever walked into a room and felt either unsafe or uncomfortable? Image doing that every workday for eight or more hours a day.

Employees want to feel safe and comfortable at work. That’s why it’s important that your office is properly ventilated, well-lit, and at a comfortable temperature. Lois Goodell, principal and the director of interior design at CBT Architects, adds on Inc.com that “Designing a comfortable office environment is about more than aesthetics; careful attention to design can give a boost to employee happiness.”

You also need to have a culture that matches your industry, engages your employees, and motivates them. John Tabis, founder and CEO of The Bouqs Company, states in Fast Company that you accomplish this by making the culture personal and authentic. You then need to find a way to communicate your vision and always remember to put people first.

4. Offer Training

Entrepreneur recommends that “you should offer skills enhancement to all your workers.” Why? “New technology, new selling techniques, changes in employment laws, and the huge impact of the internet are all compelling reasons to keep permanent employees in the loop.”

Here are some ways to keep your employees trained:

  • Computerized training
  • DVDs, audiotapes, books, articles and pamphlets
  • Mentoring programs
  • Outside seminars and classes

Stay Interview5. Listen to Them

You can learn a lot when listening to employees. Maybe it’s a great new business plan that can be implemented, which makes them feel like they’re a part of the entire business process. Perhaps you heard they have a sick family member, so you want to send them a card or flowers or simply wish them condolences. You can always spare a few minutes to find out what’s going on with your employees in both their professional and personal lives.

Bonus tip: Conduct “stay” interviews so you can find out exactly why employees have remained with the company and what it would take for them to leave.

6. Quarterly Reviews

Quarterly reviews, or evaluations, are a major assist. These one-on-one meetings allow you to set goals and define how you want these goals to be achieved. However, this discussion should also include asking them what they need to accomplish these goals. Remember, this is should be a conversation and not a lecture.

7. Recognize Their Accomplishments

Finally, and perhaps most important, you have to recognize the accomplishments of employees. This could be a simple thank you or handwritten well-done note. If you want to raise the stakes, you could thank them by introducing them to new clients, sponsoring them at an industry event/conference, stock options, or awarding a prize.

However you decide to reward your employees, praising employees for completing performance goals is one of the most effective ways to make them feel appropriate, which will make them want to stay with you for the long haul.

Beyond Biglaw: The Dean’s 4-Step Formula For Dealing With Mistakes

By: Gaston Kroub

Show me a lawyer who has not made a mistake in their career, and I will show you a lawyer who has never practiced a single day. Mistakes happen. Lawyers are human, and no matter how well-trained, or how high their billing rate, there will be times when someone screws up. Most of the time, those screwups turn out to be harmless. Other times, they land the unfortunate maker of the mistake in these pages, as an unwilling “news item” of interest.

MistakeAs with many other things related to law practice, younger lawyers are often not taught how to deal with the inevitable mistake when one happens. As a result, easily correctable situations are often made worse, with the “cover-up worse than the crime” an often-seen consequence. In fact, other than being told not to make mistakes, younger lawyers, whether at Biglaw or smaller firms, often receive no training at all with respect to this issue. Making things worse is the tendency of firms to turn partners into demigods, who must have never made a mistake on the way to their current position. And no firm would ever admit that one of its current partners is capable of error. While definitely not true, this aspect of firm “culture” often serves to inculcate in younger lawyers an irrational fear that if they make a single mistake — disaster. Bye-bye to their jobs, at least.

This is a silly state of affairs. And when younger lawyers think that the more senior lawyers they work for are infallible, they are much less likely to come forward to ask for help correcting a mistake. No one wants to be embarrassed and admit they created a problem. But when mistakes are not addressed quickly — ideally with the input of more experienced lawyers who are better positioned to understand the ramifications of both the mistake and the corrective measures necessary — they have a way of festering, making it worse for everyone.

making mistakes

The solution is a simple one: educate younger lawyers, and “remind” more senior ones, about what to do when a mistake happens, as part of trying to minimize the cultural barriers found in law firms that hamper having mistakes addressed quickly and with the input of everyone on the legal team. To start, we can learn from one of the great basketball coaches of all time, the recently deceased Dean Smith — who, despite coaching some of the best players of all-time, definitely saw his share of mistakes perpetrated by his team on the court.

We can use one of the boneheaded mistakes I made as a relatively senior associate as our example.

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6 Personality Traits That Can Make You a More Trusted Entrepreneur

As entrepreneurs, one of our greatest assets is our ability to be trusted.

No one does business with an untrustworthy person. Without trust, you can’t broker deals, close deals, sell stuff, or come out on top. Trust is the one thing you can’t live without.

Trust is hard to gain, though. Many people, especially successful businesspeople are inherently distrustful of others. This is one of the reasons why they’re successful. They have learned not to blindly trust people. By taking this approach toward most people, they have been able to protect themselves from stupid business deals and dangerous partnerships.

If you are an entrepreneur or business person involved in making and closing deals, one of the best things you can do is to build trust. Here are some things to keep in mind.

1. Authenticity — truly being trustworthy.

You can’t fake trust. You are either trustworthy or not. People who are emotionally intelligent and perceptive will be able to tell.

Being authentically trustworthy requires that you be honest in all your dealings — big and small. You must ensure that every area of your life has trustworthiness. That means keeping promises, maintaining relationships, following through on commitments, keeping your word, doing your taxes and following the little laws.

We all make genuine mistakes. You can’t be perfect. But trust isn’t about perfection, nor is it about some legalistic adherence to an arbitrary standard. It’s an approach to life that is characterized by the pursuit of trustworthiness.

Trust Falls

2. Confidence — insisting on your own way.

Ironic as it seems, someone who is trustworthy is someone who insists on his or her own way.

Why is this true? In any relationship, people will trust someone who knows what they are doing. If you behave in such a way that you know what you’re doing, it inspires trust in others.

Obviously, you don’t want to be rude about this. There’s a way to insist on your own way that doesn’t run roughshod over others. Be gentle but firm about the way that you know to be the best, and people will trust you.

3. Humility — asking for feedback.

Another way to create trust in others is to ask for their input.

When someone voices his or her viewpoint on an issue, the person is creating buy-in. The individual feels as if he or she is having a part in the project, thus voluntarily becoming invested in it. As long as someone feels like he or she is a valued part of the project, the person will trust your leadership of that project.

In order for this approach to be successful, you have to really listen and respond. People can tell if you’re merely getting token acceptance, and whether they are being valued and appreciated.

4. Calmness — refusing to panic in stressful situations

As long as you have a sense of calm resoluteness, people will trust you.

Stressful situations are some of the greatest opportunities to create trustworthiness. While everyone else is running around in a panic, you remain confident and unflustered. People gravitate to that kind of approach. They trust you.

Stressful times are going to happen, both in life and business. The calmer you are, the more you will be able to inspire the trust of those around you.

corporate-meditation

5. Experience — trying and failing

You gain trustworthiness by experience. In order to get experience, you have to make bold moves. Yes, you might fail; but even in failure, you earn trust.

Many successful entrepreneurs whom I know are young. I’ve met twenty-somethings who are worth millions of dollars, investing in VC, starting tech companies and disrupting industries. One of the ways that they’ve built their businesses is by experiencing ups and downs, and creating trust in that way.

Experience breeds trust, but you can’t experience anything unless you go for it. You may fail, and that’s OK, because you’ve gained valuable lessons, and you’ve built trust.

6. Honesty — always telling the truth

At its core, trustworthiness is about honesty. People will only trust you if they know you’re telling the truth.

I can’t think of a business situation where it is better to lie than to tell the truth. As cliche as it may be, honesty is the best policy.

Conclusion

In a business environment that is dripping with inauthenticity, artificiality and scam deals, you’ve got to be a person that people can trust.

Trustworthiness creates its own reputation. As you prove your ability to be trusted, other people will trust you. This creates a cascade of trusting relationships, which lead to profitable business deals. You simply can’t go wrong by being trustworthy.

There will be times when you’re tempted to cut corners or do some little under-the-table deals. Avoid it. It can take a lifetime to build trustworthiness, but it can come crumbling down with one wrong move.

What personality traits do you think are important for being a trusted person?

When an Employee Is On Call, Is That Working?

Waiting on Phone

Your employee is on call, but does that mean he or she is on the clock? Jennifer Palagi of Liebert Cassidy Whitmore takes on the issue in a recent post. She says that in some cases, wage-and-hour law requires on-call time to be paid at minimum wage (or more) if it is “controlled.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has come up with two predominant factors that must be assessed when determining if the time is compensable: 1) the degree to which the employee is free to engage in personal activities, and 2) the agreements between the parties.

Whether the employee is free during on-call hours depends on if there are restrictions to his or her movement, an on-premises living requirement and whether on-call responsibilities could be easily traded, among other elements. As for the agreement, this could be analyzed by a court to see whether the two parties characterize wait time as work or have decided that the person will be paid only for time spent performing an actual job, explains Palagi. She warns companies to structure on-call assignments effectively with an eye to these laws and also to have a clear on-call policy in place.