Tuesday, April 25, 2006



Limited Litigation in the Blogosphere
Cathy Kirkman blogs about the state of libel litigation in the blogosphere, linking to a recent  essay titled "Libel in the Blogsphere:  Some Preliminary Thoughts" by uberblogger Glenn Reynolds.   Kirkman writes that the paper posits two main reasons for a lack of online libel litigation:

(1) Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which immunizes  ISPs and others for publishing third-party comments; and

(2) technological and cultural aspects of the blogosphere, including  norms of rapid correction, third-party substantiation, and hostility to legal threats in the form of public exposure and criticism.

Of course, we're still in the early days of blogging, the initial honeymoon phase.   For me, the jury's still out on what happens when this initial infatuation wears off.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on April 24, 2006 at 01:55 PM | Permalink

More on Law Department Sabbaticals
Rees Morrison again posts on the topic of law department sabbaticals.  Morrison cites statistics that 23 percent of businesses in the country offer paid or unpaid sabbaticals.  But while many of these companies have substantial law departments, Morrison notes that "I have never heard of one of their in-house lawyers who has taken such a leave."   Some companies allow lawyers to take a sabbatical as they wish, while others only permit the lawyer to work for a nonprofit. 

I'd certainly take time off if I had the option, particularly if the company paid for my leave.  I'd like to know why more lawyers don't take advantage of these programs.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on April 24, 2006 at 01:47 PM | Permalink

Can A Firm Make Associates Enthusiastic Employees?
Bruce MacEwan starts this post with a quote about yet another disgruntled and unenthused law firm associate complaining about inefficiencies and poor management and treatment of employees at his law firm and others.  But unlike many other associates, this fellow did some research on management and came up with a book that MacEwan recommends to firms:  "The Enthusiastic Employee."  Granted, in today's law firm culture, an "enthusiastic associate" is almost an oxymoron. But it doesn't have to be that way -- and in fact, enthusiastic employees can substantially improve the firm's bottom line.  As the book's dust jacket reads:

"Enthusiastic employees far out-produce and outperform the average  workforce: they step up to do the hard, even 'impossible' jobs.  They'll rally each others' spirits in even the toughest times. Most  people are enthusiastic when they're hired -- hopeful, ready to work  hard, eager to contribute. What happens? Management, that's what."

Isn't that  what law firms want?   MacEwan thinks they should -- and  for those who don't believe the benefits, MacEwan reminds them:  "How much does it cost to replace an associate?"

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on April 24, 2006 at 01:14 PM | Permalink

Another Blawg Review
Brandy Karl  hosts Blawg Review #54, with a "through the looking glass theme."  Most interesting of her posts is the recognition of this month's trend toward the personification of the blogosphere. Among the in-person meetings between bloggers this month were last week's LexThink Lounge  and the Blog Law and Blogging for Lawyers conference and the Volokhs' planned get together at the Berkman Center's Bloggership conference. If you have the chance, jump on this new blogwagon and reach out and touch a blogger sometime soon.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on April 24, 2006 at 01:05 PM | Permalink

The Sun Shines on Sons and Daughters Who Make Rain
Larry Bodine recognizes that women sometimes  have it tough  making it rain at law firms.  So he links to Ten Best Practices by Women Rainmakers, which lists various techniques that women can use to overcome obstacles to bringing in business.  These techniques include marketing as part of a team, focusing on a niche and seeing marketing possibilities in everything you do.  But those ideas benefit everyone, not just women.   In my mind, the tip labeled "Set Ground Rules" is the one that's most helpful to women (or men) concerned with maintaining a work-family balance.  Setting ground rules involves saying no to certain marketing endeavors, like after-hours cocktails, and instead proposing substitutes like breakfasts that better suit your schedule.  This kind of marketing rule ensures that women have an opportunity to market and to come up with marketing ideas that not only accommodate their own schedules, but might more readily accommodate a prospective client's schedule as well.

The article on best practices reminds us that successful marketing is the great equalizer in the legal profession.  As the article concludes:  "The sun shines on those who make rain."  So true.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on April 24,