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How to Attract the Most Reputable Law Firms with Your Resume

Be truthful

Sell yourself, but keep it real. Lying or exaggerating on your resume is never a good look, especially if you get caught! Just be honest about your experience.  Instead of making things up, provide real-life involvement and skills that you have developed—and be ready to back it up with details. Always be prepared to defend and speak to those details with facts and stories in face-to-face interviews.

Keep it short, sweet, and simple

We have all heard the saying “less is more,” which is important to consider when creating your resume.  The best thing any lawyer can do for themselves is to condense and not puff up their resume with irrelevant words. Saying less on your resume can actually help you to get your point across more effectively and give you more to talk about in your interview. The last thing you want is for an employer to find any reason to not want to hire you.

Stand out, but keep it professional   

Anything that you put on your resume should remain relevant to practicing law. Of course, you want your personality and individuality to shine through (slightly), but avoid mentioning random things about yourself such as previous businesses you started that failed, or even framing yourself in a way where employers feel as though you are conspiring to leave the company.  Leave out random jobs that you had prior to law school with no relevance. Do this in order to prevent painting yourself in a bad light.

Make sure it’s perfect

Remember that your resume is one of the best ways to market yourself.  And if you want any reputable law firm to take you seriously, it is imperative that you deliver the best of the best. One thing to remember is to triple check for grammar, keep it compelling, and easy to read.  Perfecting the mechanics of your work will result in employers taking you seriously.

3 Time Management Tips for Lawyers

As a practicing law professional, there’s no doubt that your job is demanding, and that time is your most valuable resource. In a field where minutes and seconds matter, there are a few steps you can follow to help make the most of your time.

  1. Adhere to the 80/20 rule

The 80/20 rule applies to many aspects of life, but it can also apply to time management and how you delegate tasks. In the work place, this rule suggests that 20 percent of your actions will equate to 80 percent of your work created. This holds true to your work as a law professional. Try to make sure you’re putting billable work first and foremost. Prioritize your tasks by giving your administrative tasks to staff so you can focus on your most important work first.

  1. Utilize technology

In this technology-based age, there are plenty of resources you can utilize to help manage your time and make the most of your work day. Many of these are accessible on your phone. Some options include Fastcase, perfect for faster legal research, or Trialpad for paperless trial presentations. There are also business card readers and to-do apps that you can download on your phone to help you easily keep track of contacts and manage your tasks.

  1. Minimize your task-switching

It takes a conscious effort for your brain to switch from one task to a completely new one. Going back and forth from one task to the next can take unnecessary time away from you. There are also dangers in multitasking, especially when you’re dealing with important material. You work your best when you’re focusing on a sole project so your ideas can grow. Try your best to focus on one task at a time and get it done before you switch to another. This will help you get your tasks completed successfully while minimizing the struggle of going from one idea to another.

4 ‘Soft’ Skills for PR Pros

Yes, your job entails writing press releases and coordinating accounts. However, the best PR pros utilize a few essential soft skills that boost their business and relationships with others.

  1. Leadership

You’re the go-to person when a work emergency occurs, and problems need to be resolved. By showing genuine leadership on the job, people will turn to you for advice, listen to your ideas and have your voice heard in the decision-making process.

  1. Interest in current events

In order to do your job to the best of your availability, your knowledge of current events needs to be broad and up-to-date. You need to know who your audience is, what they are thinking and feeling and how to best reach them in a manner that they will respond to.

  1. Teamwork

Part of your job involves communication with various people including staff, clients and journalists. Even if you are the decision-maker in your work, you still need to be able to work with other people. You’ll save yourself a lot of unnecessary time by working as a team. Remember, staff and clients are just people, and they will appreciate your genuine attitude if you are working together.

  1. Composure

In the PR world, you are guaranteed to encounter some sort of crisis or client emergency that you need to handle. Many times, you will be on a strict time schedule to get the issue handled. You need to be able to look at a problem and find a solution without panicking. Think about how the problem can be fixed with the least amount of issues possible and act accordingly.

3 Ways to Abridge Communication with Your Clients

Try these tips that will guarantee effective and efficient communication without overwhelming your clients.

  • Ditch the Legal Jargon

Within the world of law, it is appropriate to use legal jargon amongst others in the profession. However, it is important to use simpler language with your clients.  We often forget that our clients are not lawyers, and the last thing you want is to make them feel inferior or confused while conveying messages to them. For instance, instead of using legal terms such as append, Choate, nul, ordinance and preclude, try simplifying by using attach, complete, no one, local law and prevent.

  • Explain Your Reasoning

Make sure that you are on the same page as your client when it comes to their case. They need to know that you fully understand their goals and have those goals in mind when you are making decisions. After all, happy clients make your job run a lot smoother. It is important to remember that when you begin working on their case, you need to be able to effectively communicate the reasoning behind your choices.  Always offer to clarify or explain things further to ensure they have a real understanding of the information you provide to them. This will not just help the case itself but improve your credibility and trust amongst clients. Lastly, have an explanation prepared at all times both for them and for the court.

  • Give Ample Facts, but Do Not Overwhelm Them

Although it is important to keep your clients in the loop, it is equally as important to not completely bombard them with information. As you advance within your career, you will find that, sometimes, less is more. It is important to also recognize that each client is unique. A recommendation would be to tailor the way you convey information to each client. Keep it short and simple. This is where all of your education, skills and knowledge of the legal practice and effective communication will come into play.

4 Ways to Energize Your Scripted Speech

Authenticity is key to giving a speech. Speeches you prewrite can sometimes come off as fake and robotic. To strengthen the overall effectiveness and authenticity of your speech, follow a few key steps.

  1. Make your big choices first.

The use of varying emotion is vital to any successful speech and the impact it has on your audience. One tip is to use highlight your speech, marking various tones and emotions with different colors. After you do that, look at the speech and make sure there are enough turning points to keep the audience interested, but don’t bounce back and forth between two separate tones. It could confuse your audience as to the point you are trying to make.

  1. Know the information you are conveying and why.

It’s important that you disseminate the information you are going to be speaking about. It’s easy to get lost in a list of words and lose focus of the meaning behind those words. Make sure you fully understand the topic you are speaking about and that you can answer questions about it. It will improve your confidence level knowing you are skilled in the meaning of your words.

  1. Rehearse.

Giving a speech and reciting a paper are two different things. You don’t need to know your speech word for word. In fact, public speakers will sometimes run into this issue by trying to recite their speech perfectly. If you forget a word, however, your mind can go blank and you can forget where to start up again next. Rehearse by keeping bullet points of your main points on the side. In essence, public speaking is going to be somewhat impromptu. Be able to pull yourself back to your talking point if you misstep on a word to finish your speech with a bang.

  1. Deliver it effectively.

If possible, a good idea is to visit the venue before you make your speech. Visualize yourself in front of the crowd and give the speech you envisioned. Make eye contact and slowly build the energy up until the very end. Remember, it’s okay to start your speech on a subtle note and build energy until the end, just don’t get depleted before you finish.

How to Master Time Management as a Lawyer

Time management is a critical skill but there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. It boils down to what works for you and how you’re able to maneuver through your personal and professional affairs. Try incorporating these 4 behaviors into your routine and watch how they transform your life:

 

Make a to-do List

Planning out your days by writing them out in advance can make all the difference. Try it out and see if it benefits your productivity. Invest in a daily planner to keep your schedule at your fingertips. This will help you to buckle down and get your tasks in order which will only help prevent stress, over-booking and potential client disappointment.

Utilize Your Smartphone

Technology has come a long way, and there are millions of apps for Apple and Android that specifically target lawyers. These apps were created to assist people in the law business with their time, money, productivity and clientele satisfaction. Some apps worth trying include: MyCase, Practice Panther, LogMeIn, and FastCase.

Keep Your Workspace Clutter-Free

Nobody likes a cluttered desk, much less a cluttered life. And in so many ways, your workspace is a reflection of your life.  Taking the necessary steps to get your desk or office organized will ensure a neat, orderly and efficient space to make for clear thinking.  Doing this will also make it much easier for you to easily access papers, invitations and announcements that could have otherwise been misplaced. Do yourself the favor and organize your area­­­­—you’ll thank yourself later.

Sort Out Your Tasks

It is imperative to understand the difference between tasks that require your immediate attention and tasks that can wait—so make sure you learn to prioritize. Tasks that are critical to respond quickly to include: meeting important deadlines, responding to emails, answering calls, being physically present for court hearings, depositions or business meetings. Whereas important but less demanding tasks may include: writing weekly blogs for your firm, following up with clients and evaluating case files.

How to Maintain Relationships with Journalists as a Practicing PR Professional

Help them with their stories.

Your job as a PR professional is to make journalists’ jobs easier, not harder. Foster your relationships with journalists by supplying them with the information they need to formulate their stories accurately. Journalists will remember that you gave them information in the past and will find you more reliable to work with in the future.

Work with them, not against them.

While they have different goals in mind, journalists and PR professionals bring their best work to the table when they are working together. You both have different agendas to fill but your work and information can benefit one another. Ask how you could be of use to each other to improve your chances of both being successful.

Treat them with courtesy and respect.

Journalists receive hundreds of pitches a week, so they have many different story options to choose from to cover. Refrain from giving a negative attitude if they are too busy to respond right away. Have empathy for their work and how busy they are. They can’t say no to every single pitch, so if they choose to cover your story or even respond to your inquiry, show gratitude and be thankful for their time.

Don’t act like they work for you.

Some PR professionals just expect that journalists help them out with their own work. Many journalists have different niches that they tend to write about, and not every pitch is going to be a match for them. It is your job as a PR professional to find the right journalist to send your potential story ideas to. It is not their job to fix your errors; make sure you are proofreading and factchecking your work prior to sending it.

How to Sustain your Mental Health as a Law Professional

Having a career in law can be gratifying yet overwhelmingly stressful. Here are some ways to nurture your mental physical and emotional well-being to ensure that you deliver your best self to clients.

Sweat it Out

Regardless if you get a workout before or after work, make sure you are helping your body out in the healthiest way possible by getting out and active. Exercise is more important than you may think. Getting your blood flowing improves your mood and focus while increasing your energy levels for the day or day to come. By working out at least a few times a week, you will decrease your chances of feeling sluggish or unmotivated.  Not only that, but exercise is said to release serotonin and endorphins which aid in your body having the ability to wind down after a busy or stressful work day and avoid feelings of depression.

Sleep

It can take some time for your brain to shut down from a long day’s work. It’s important, however, to make sure you get enough hours of proper rest and allow your brain to rest and your thoughts to rejuvenate. The mental focus and energy that clients, partners, colleagues, opposing counsels, judges, can demand from you can cause you to feel burnt out at work. you can bet that you will arrive to work refreshed and ready to take on any stresses the day may present to you.

Put Aside Some “You” Time

Have an outlet outside of work that you can use to release emotions that negatively impact your mental health. While it is understandable that you may be limited on the number of hours you have in a day for recreational activities, take some time for yourself. Do something you genuinely enjoy. Read a book, start painting classes, join a sports club or take that trip you’ve been thinking about.  Taking on a hobby and doing activities you enjoy create more room for mental happiness and help with your work-life balance.

Separate Work from Personal Life

Many law professionals bring their work home mentally. In order to preserve your mental well-being, it’s essential to separate your work life from your personal life. If a day didn’t go as planned or if you didn’t win that case you’ve been working on, have the ability to separate those work emotions from the ones affecting your personal life and connections. This will help keep your mental health in check, which will then benefit you when it’s time for you to focus on your work and clients.

4 Bad Writing Habits and How to Break Them

It’s shown that the best way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a new and better one. In this digital age, there are some essential habits that all public relations professionals should implement in their business communication.

Ignoring your audience.

Communication is now a two-way connection, meaning your audience isn’t just reading your content anymore. They have thoughts and opinions that should be addressed and taken into consideration when writing for your business. Just because your company has a job to do and an agenda to adhere to, you still want to make sure that your content is what your readers want to hear. Think of your audience before you begin writing and make sure it is something that they will find beneficial to their own lives.

Burying the lead.

Your audience can’t read your mind. When writing content that will be read by audience members, an important rule is to put the most important information first. Online viewers especially don’t normally read through the whole content, especially when the main idea is buried somewhere in the middle. Convey the most important and relevant information first to increase the chances that your audience will want to continue reading your content.

Leaning on “crutch” phrases.

It’s common for writers to use vague phrases to convey messages or connect two thoughts. Delete phrases such as “as many of you know” or “it is worth noting.” The words are meaningless in front of the important information. Just say what the message is and try to transition your sentences and thoughts in more thought-provoking and specific ways.

Overusing complex words.

Just because a word is more complex does not mean that your message has any more conviction. In fact, many audience members will often overlook words that they don’t understand, which can hurt your chances of properly conveying the message that you want. Use clear and concise words that are easy for your audience members to understand that won’t require them to whip out a dictionary.

4 Ways to Enhance Your Client Experience

When it comes to the profession of law, it is crucial to possess strong characteristics that will help boost your standing within the field and what you are known for as a law professional.

Implementing these 4 characteristics will turn you from a good lawyer to a great lawyer:

Interpersonal Skills

Great lawyers have excellent interpersonal skills when interacting with their clients. Being a great lawyer means maintaining the ability to communicate effectively while displaying a strong level of commitment to your work. By practicing this skill, you will develop trusting relationships with everyone you encounter in the professional world, making it appear effortless.

Analytical Skills

No situation or client situation will be the exact same as the one before it. Therefore, it is crucial as a law professional to possess excellent analytical skills when interacting with clients­­­—specifically when it comes to defending them. Lawyers are often given large volumes of information and are required to readily make sense and solve complex issues. Be able to visualize, analyze, problem solve, and gather information effectively.

Logical Thinking

The word logic comes from the Greek word “reason.” To think reasonably means to observe and analyze logically.  This step is crucial within the legal world. In doing this, one is able to gather their thoughts and facts correctly, resulting in reasonable judgements and assumptions based on the information presented. This results in an effective and enriching experience for your clientele.

Maintaining Perseverance

In the legal world, it is crucial to maintain a steadfast mentality. The best law professional possess perseverance and work until the best situation is available. Client cases require many hours of work with heavy research and lots of writing. A great lawyer must be willing to put in the time it takes to get the job done right, regardless of the obstacles or issues he or she may face.