Category Archives: Legal Careers

Ready for Spring Cleaning? Here are some Not-So-Typical Tips!


Spring cleaning Office

3 Spring Cleaning Tips

While wacky weather has marked the start of spring here in New York City, the fact that we are already in the second quarter of the year should not go unnoticed. It may not feel like spring, but this is still the time of renewal, a phenomenon that has as much relevance in our professional lives as it does it in the natural world. By now, we know if our New Year’s resolutions have amounted to anything, and it is a natural time to pause and consider whether our year is off to the start we were hoping for — because there is still time to correct the course, especially if decisive action is taken right away with that goal in mind.

As lawyers, the idea of a professional spring cleaning can mirror the yearly domestic routine that many of us follow once springtime rolls around. Depending on our motivation level, and strength of our hoarding tendencies, home offices and garages might be cleaned out over the course of a lengthy (and nowadays sports-light) Sunday afternoon. Yes, we may one day find some utility in that 2005 day planner, but more likely the time has come to free up precious shelf space.

In a similar vein, I just found myself pulling no less than seven suit jackets, some dating back to the turn of the century, out of my closet. All were ostensibly repurposed as sport coats, once the accompanying pants had worn through in the seat — but in truth they were doing nothing more than serving as decorations for some of my finest hangers. The fact that it was even a question as to whether to clear them out is a testament to the power of inertia, at a minimum.

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Crossword: It’s a Stretch

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13 Companies Making Healthy Meals Easier Through Delivery

Stumble in the front door at 8 p.m. after a long day at work, and the last thing anyone wants to do is spend an hour making a mess in the kitchen. In a perfect world, dinner would always be pre-planned and pre-prepped, and cooking and eating it would cure the day’s stress, not cause it. Luckily, these 13 companies have our backs. From pre-packed dinner boxes delivered to your front door, to meticulously organized meal plans for the entire week, there’s something here to make healthy cooking easier for everyone.

Dinner in a Box

Blue Apron

Everyone should be able to enjoy delicious, interesting, home-cooked meals, right? Blue Apron is all about providing a great cooking experience for its users. Once per week, you’ll get a delivery including all the ingredients you need to make three meals (serving two people each). Each week, they feature entrees like chicken chilaquiles, steak salad with chicory and curried chickpeas, and salmon cakes with beet salad. The only things they assume subscribers have are olive oil, salt, and pepper. Every recipe features a new special ingredient (tatsoi, anyone?) to broaden your culinary palette, too. Plus, they offer a meat and fish box or a vegetarian box. Delivery available from Maine to Florida, and west to the Mississippi river as well as Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada and most of Utah and Arizona. Cost: $59.94 per week for three meals that each serve two people.


Who wouldn’t want a chef-designed meal on the dinner table a few times a week? With Plated, you get just that, but in your own home (and, well, you get to prepare it yourself). It’s pretty simple: You choose the meals you want in a given week, order, and the ingredients for those meals show up at your doorstep the next week. Your recipes may have been created by a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef, one who’s appeared on The Chew, or someone who’s won multiple “Best Restaurant” awards. Each week they have up to seven dishes ranging from entrees like meatloaf burgers with garlic mashed potatoes to berbere spiced salmon with steamed potatoes and winter greens. Delivery available to 80 percent of the continental U.S. Cost: $12 per plate for weekly deliveries.

Sweet Roots NYC

In NYC and looking for an easier way to plan, shop for, and cook organic meals at home? Marisa from Sweet Roots NYC may have the answer. She works with her clients one-on-one to create tailored weekly meal plans that take into account your taste preferences, health goals, and how comfortable you are wielding a knife. Once you OK the week’s plan, her team does all the work to deliver the ingredients (pre-measured, sometimes pre-chopped, with recipes) right to your door. They want to take the stress out of cooking without taking away the joy and satisfaction of preparing a meal on your own. Delivery available in New York City (Manhattan and Brooklyn). Cost: $25 per meal ($75 minimum per week).

Hello Fresh

This one’s all about the healthier options. Every week you’ll have a box with ingredients for three meals delivered to your door and packed with fresh produce and protein. Boxes hold enough to serve two or four people, but the recipes (like cheesy pork enchiladas with avocado) take no more than 30 minutes to prepare, regardless of how big the crowd is. Not in the U.S.? Hello Fresh has quite the international vibe. The company started in Germany in 2011, and quickly expanded to the UK, the Netherlands, and Australia! Delivery available nationwide. Cost: Boxes available from $59 per week.

Luke’s Local

San Franciscans, we are officially jealous. Luke’s Local is reinventing ready-to-eat meals. Every week, they deliver boxes that are some sort of hybrid between a CSA (community supported agriculture) program, personal catering, and an artisan food shop. All the meals are prepared by local chefs, all the produce comes from local farms, and the artisan items are all locally sourced (like bread or granola for snacking!). The best part? You get to pick which items go in that box for every order. Delivery available in San Francisco, East Bay, and South Bay for $3.99; pickup also available at other locations in San Francisco area. Cost: Prepared foods range from $5 (breakfast burrito) to $75 (family meal bundle).


Southern cooking isn’t all fried chicken and collard greens, as PeachDish is proving. Their chefs create seasonal, Southern-inspired recipes that would appear on restaurant menus, then the company makes them super easy to create at home by sending pre-measured ingredients and cooking instructions to your doorstep. Pick two recipes a week (vegetarian options sound delicious: Roasted Delicata Squash Stuffed with Currants, Red Onion, Sage, Walnuts, and Quinoa, anyone?), and you’ll get everything you need for dinner for two. Except that bottle of wine. Cost: $50 per week for two meals that serve two.

Meal Planners

Cook Smarts

This free meal plan newsletter is perfect for those who love cooking at home but don’t love all the time it takes to actually plan out those weekly menus. Founder Jess Dang started Cook Smarts as a way to help people get back in the kitchen. But it’s about more than just the free meal plans: Jess also runs the Cook Smarts blog, which offers some pretty killer cooking tips and instructional videos. Cost: Free.

Plan to Eat

This simple desktop app was born out of a desire to eat real, healthy, delicious food, prepared at home, without all the stress of walking in from work at six o’clock and trying to throw something together before the family (or just you) gets cranky. Basically, the program allows you to store all your favorite recipes, drag-and-drop them onto the day you want to eat them, and get an easy shopping list to print out for easier shopping. Still not impressed? The mobile app allows you to view your shopping list while out and about. Plus, it also keeps track of all of your “pantry items” when you check them off your shopping list. Cost: $4.95 per month; $39 per year.


If you tend to bookmark or pin recipes but always end up making the same stir-fry, it’s Relish to the rescue. An email reminds you to log in every Thursday to check out the new weekly menu, complete with recipes for entrees, sides, and desserts that take no more than 30 minutes to make. Drag the 15 items you want to make into your weekly menu and scale them to serve two, four, six, or eight. Relish generates a grocery list that can be customized to add staples you’re low on or subtract things you already have. All you have to do is shop once, and you’re ready to cook for the entire week. Cost: From $4.90 per month.

The Fresh 20

All it takes is 20 ingredients and 20 minutes each night to eat healthy, unprocessed meals, according to the Fresh 20. Each week they create a meal plan for five recipes with a shopping list of 20 seasonal ingredients (plus pantry staples) to make those meals. The promise: Reduce waste (no more excess chard going bad in the fridge) and save time, whether you’re vegetarian, gluten free, kosher, or… not at all picky. While most plans are made for families, there’s also a “for one” option of recipes that serve two, so instead of going out for lunch, take the rest of dinner to work and save moolah. Plus, everything is reviewed by a registered dietitian to be sure the meals are indeed healthy. Cost: From $18 for three months


For all the convenience of services that deliver ingredients or do all the work to create meal plans, sometimes you just don’t want someone else to decide that you’re having roasted spaghetti squash with marinara and olives on Thursday night. The solution for those who want more control? Make your own plan with Pepperplate. This app allows you to customize and organize recipes you’ve created as well as ones from popular sites. Add the ones that appeal most at this moment to your schedule and shopping list, then rearrange the list so it makes sense for how and when you shop. Once it’s time to cook, take your device into the kitchen and avoid covering it in chocolate-covered fingerprints thanks to “Cook Mode,” which keeps the screen from dimming. We’ll still lick our digits clean, though—need to make sure that brownie batter has enough cocoa. Cost: Free


Find a recipe you love on Greatist or any other site? Tap a button, download it, and save it to Paprika—the app makes it that easy. From there you can create reusable meal plans for the week (or month, Chef Ambition!), scale the recipes to serve the number of people at your table, and hit the grocery store with the automated shopping list that brilliantly groups items by aisle and combines similar ingredients so “avocado” isn’t listed five times. While cooking, cross off ingredients, highlight which step you’re on, and make notes to the recipe—the screen won’t go black as you work. Plus you can have multiple recipes open at once (great for holiday and party cooking) and set a timer for each. The one downside users report is that you have to buy the app for each device you want to use it on. Cost: $4.99 for phone and tablet; $19.99 for desktop

Bits and Pieces

Turntable Kitchen Pairings Box

OK, so you’ve found the time to get in the kitchen and cook… but now it’s time to make it more fun. Kasey and Matthew of the popular food and music blog Turntable Kitchen have the solution for you: a monthly gift box filled with three killer recipes, a mix tape (in both vinyl and digital form), and a few special key ingredients. Turn on the record player and fire up the stove for a perfectly paired music and cooking experience. Cost: $25 per month (plus tax). Originally posted December 2012, updated November 2014.

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7 Tips For the Perfect Phone Interview

One of the greatest tools we can have as business people is the skill of interviewing.  This important skill, which is often overlooked, can very easily take you from the bottom of an employers’ stack of phone interviewresumes to the top.  However, if you fail to make a good impression, it can be a detriment to your candidacy, even if you are the most qualified individual. Experts believe it only takes someone four seconds to form an opinion about you after you begin speaking.  Since the interviewer in a phone interview cannot see your body language or connect with you in person, it is even more crucial to ensure what you say AND how you say it reflects professionalism and clarity.  The tips below were prepared by industry professionals and will ensure you make the proper first impression.

  1. Be prepared. As you should do with any interview, make sure you know with whom you will be speaking and prepare yourself by reviewing the company’s website, prepare questions to ask the interviewer about the position’s responsibilities and the company’s work environment, and have a copy of your resume in hand so you can easily make references to it during your interview.  Review the organization’s mission statement and be prepared to articulate why you are a perfect fit within the organization.  Also, make sure you know who will initiate the call and, have the interviewer’s phone number so you can call them back if necessary and recognize their number on your caller ID when they call.
  2. Be positive – but don’t be arrogant. Make sure you understand the difference between sounding arrogant and highlighting your experience. Businesses search for people they believe would be team players, not for those who are only interested in themselves.  Stress the benefits you have achieved for your current organization and/or your clients.
  3. Do not be distracted. A telephone interview is not just another phone call. It is important that you eliminate anything that could be a distraction to you.  Try not to schedule an interview during a time you would normally eat a meal, unless you are comfortable with waiting to eat.  Eating, chewing gum, typing, texting, or walking are kinds of distractions which can not only make you lose your focus and thought, but also can be heard by the interviewer and give them the impression you do not take the position seriously.
  4. Man phone intervewListen Closely. Make sure you listen intently on what the interviewer has to say. Often, they may say something which triggers a few questions in your mind.  Taking notes can ensure you are actively listening and don’t miss anything important.  Also, since you can’t actually see the interviewer, make sure you wait until they are completely finished speaking before you begin to speak.
  5. Be Concise. When an interviewer cannot actually see you, it is easy to lose their attention. In order to keep them from checking emails or doodling on their notepad, keep your answers brief but relevant.
  6. Be Gracious. Make sure the interviewer knows how much you appreciate their time. There are so many other things they could have been doing rather than speaking with you, so it is courteous to express your appreciation and humility.
  7. Follow up. One thing in my mind truly sets candidates apart and that is whether or not they follow up and express interest in the position.  A follow up call or thank you letter further portrays professionalism and graciousness.  The follow up you make could be the deal-maker if the position is at an impasse between you and another candidate.


5 Tips For Getting Back To Work After A Vacation

back to work

The vision of returning to the office after vacation and the reality usually have very little in common. While many of us expect to sit down at our desks after time away filled with boundless energy and restored creativity that will fuel new projects, what usually ends up happening is that we spend several scattered hours (or days) trying to process a deluge of emails and falling further behind on tasks that have built up in the interim.

“You’ve got to set yourself up so there’s the minimum pileup while you’re gone,” says Julie Morgenstern, productivity consultant and author of Never Check Email In The Morning. “Once you invest in that process once, it becomes an automated process. ‘Every time I go away, this is my coverage bible.’”

How can you avoid the post-vacation crush and hang on to that refreshed glow?

Actively plan for your return.

When planning time away from work, most people focus on getting organized for departure. Avoid undoing all that restoration by treating your return as something that needs to be managed in advance as well.

While many of us try to maximize vacation time by coming home Sunday night, Laura Vanderkam, author of I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time, suggests considering an earlier-than-last-minute return.

“Consider coming back on Saturday instead of Sunday,” says Vanderkam, emphasizing that time to unpack, pick up a few essential groceries, and get a quiet, uninterrupted jump on email can lessen the impact that first day back in the office.

Factor in some triage.

Don’t just walk back into the office after a vacation without a plan of attack–unless you want to be steamrolled.

“The tendency is to try to make up for all the meetings you miss,” says Vanderkam. “As much as possible, try to push those to the second day or the afternoon gives you a little bit of space.”

Morgenstern suggests you protect the time you’ve set aside to get caught up the way you would a meeting or a presentation. It’s just as necessary–so treat it that way.

“Build in some transition time. Don’t book anything for your first day in the office, allot the time,” says Morgenstern. “And block off the time in your calendar. If it looks like you’re available, people are going to put things on your calendar. These are meetings with your to-dos.”

out of officeYour out-of-office response is your first line of defense–wield it to your advantage

Your out-of -office autoreply needs to be straightforward (ditch the phrase “much-needed vacation,” please), helpful, and honest–but not that honest. Vanderkam recommends leaving it up through that catch-up period; your coworkers will know you’re available but it will help stem the tidal wave of outside inquiries, or at least lower the expectation of an immediate response.

She and Morgenstern agree that an out-of-office message directed at external parties should include directions for who to contact according to contingencies. Assess who’s going to be emailing you along two or three broad categories and let them know who to reach out to instead or when they might expect a response.

Morgenstern adds that it’s ok to suggest people follow up because you just might not get to their email.

“Everybody who emails understands the volume problem and that things can get lost when someone is away. It’s not really a shock to anybody—you’re just warning people: ‘It may get lost or buried, please feel free to follow up with me.’”

Feeling especially brave? Skip the days of wading through email and nuke your inbox.

unread messages

The very thought of losing the contents of your inbox likely sends a chill down most spines, but some argue that a post-vacation email purge can be just the thing you need to get back on track without losing an entire day to email maintenance.

“Some people take a quick look at what’s flagged, see what’s interesting, and then delete everything,” says Vanderkam.

You should try to be indispensable–but realizing that you’re not might make you a better employee.

Vanderkam says planning for and returning from a vacation can be a good time for an adjustment of your professional outlook. We’re all striving to be the go-to team member, but believing the company actually can’t function without us can be damaging in the long run.

She describes a five-day vacation she once took where she believed WiFi would be readily available and discovered it was not. Having done all she could to prepare for time away, she realized her only option was to change her outlook on needing to be connected.

“No armies were waiting for my word to invade countries,” says Vanderkam. “I missed a few things, but I could apologize to a few people when I got back. I missed a few opportunities. There will be others.”

Learn to plan ahead, rely on your coworkers, and understand that sometimes, it’s inevitable that you’ll miss out on that last-minute request, and you’ll be that much more productive when you return.

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Achieved Your Goal? Reach for More.


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.

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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.

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