Whether you’re a newly minted lawyer or a third year associate, a solo practitioner or one of hundreds in a national firm, you should regularly review of the basics of practicing law. Research, writing, presentation, argument, and knowledge of the law are just tools of our trade, and keeping them sharp is as important to our practice as it is for any carpenter sharpening chisels, saws, and blades.
This month I am reading the short and handy “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law” by Mark Herrmann. With quick, practical, and to the point tips on everything from how to write a clear and concise brief to the etiquette of voice messages, it has proven, so far, to be both a delightful and refreshing reminder of the basics of legal practice, not to mention a good laugh.
- The Ten Most Common Mistaken Assumptions Made by New Lawyers (including #10: “So long as it’s clearly marked “DRAFT,” no one will care if it’s incomprehensible.”)
- What They Didn’t Teach You in Law School (I found this particularly interesting, and I might someday add some bits of it here)
- The Curmudgeon’s Law Dictionary (including this definition of Business Development: “Playing golf with old college buddies. As in: ‘Of course I charged the firm for my business development trip to Scotland.'” Or this one for Will Contest: “A judicial procedure in which disappointed legatees attempt to prove that their beloved testator was drunk, incompetent, or unduly influenced at the time the estate plan was made.”)
- The Curmudgeon on Clients, wherein the Curmudgeon reminds us that we are not in the legal industry, but the service industry, and it is our job to make clients’ lives easier.
- And so on…
- Return of the Curmudgeon (simplejustice.us)
- Inside Straight: Business Development (Part 2) (abovethelaw.com)
- International (And China) Litigation. The Questions To Ask. (chinalawblog.com)