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Lawyers in Transition Archives

October 25, 2010

VALUABLE ART LAW LECTURE AND NETWORKING OPPORTUNITY

By Leila Amineddoleh

For EASL members interested in attending a fabulous event related to art and antiquities law, SAFE (Saving Antiquities For Everyone) is hosting its annual Beacon Awards this Friday evening. The Beacon Awards promises to be a valuable event and fascinating look into art and antiquities law.

Learn more about the event by visiting http://www.savingantiquities.org/event.php?eventID=235.

Please do not hesitate to contact Leila Amineddoleh (Co-Chair of EASL's Lawyers-in-Transition Committee and Legal Chair of SAFE) at Leila.Alexandra@gmail.com for more information.

October 26, 2010

Morning Lecture Series: Breakfast and Art on Thursday, November 4


One of the legal community's fastest growing fields is art law. The New York State Bar Association's Entertainment, Arts & Sports Law Section invites you to an introductory lecture about this developing area of law. Leila Amineddoleh will be presenting a 1-hour overview about art law on Thursday, November 4th, from 8:30am-9:30 am at Sotheby's Institute of Art (570 Lexington Ave).

Join us for breakfast, networking opportunities, and a lecture about art law. The event is $10 for non-NYSBA EASL members, $5 for NYSBA EASL members, and free for students. Please join us for this fascinating lecture presented by the Lawyers-in-Transition Committee. Please RSVP to Leila.Alexandra@gmail.com.

January 24, 2011

Senior Corporate Attorney Position NYC

A Senior Corporate Attorney Position is available, which key responsibilities include:

• General legal affairs. Direct general legal affairs of the company, including public company compliance, risk management, commercial contracts, lease agreements, IP protections, business entity structure, capital financing, employment issues and other matters as needed. Participate in the definition, development of, and ongoing compliance of corporate policies and procedures.
• Business transactions. Serve as legal advisor on all major business transactions, including acquisitions, divestitures joint ventures, routine and non-routine commercial arrangements.
• Privacy. Serve as the company's Chief Privacy Officer. Develop and oversee privacy-related policies, procedures, compliance and disclosures. Establish and maintain an internal framework to ensure adherence to standards of consumer privacy including regulatory, NAI and other industry requirements. Conduct privacy training, prepare appropriate contractual provisions, develop procedures to vet potential partners, apprise senior management of significant industry developments and requirements, etc.
• Litigation. Manage all litigation matters involving the company. Consult with and direct outside counsel on case strategy and tactics. Judge the merits of claims filed against or on behalf of the company. Review and comment on drafts of pleadings, briefs, and other papers. Work with appropriate personnel to define strategic defenses and facilitate settlements where warranted.

Requirements and Qualifications:

• Accomplished attorney with 7-12+ years of progressively responsible experience relevant to the key responsibilities required for this role.
• Background in privacy law, corporate governance, litigation, and complex business matters a must.
• JD degree from national law school and professional license in good standing.
• Very strong knowledge of digital privacy rules and the current regulatory / self-regulatory environment.

If interested, please email Craig Rumberg, Managing Director, at crumberg@cyberforce.net

February 18, 2011

EASL Job Bank

The EASL Lawyers in Transition (LIT) Job Bank has been updated! To view the Job Bank, please visit the EASL Lawyers in Transition group page on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com).

The EASL LIT Job Bank on Linked In is an exclusive benefit for members of EASL. In order to view the Job Bank, you must request to join the EASL LIT group page on Linked In. To join, visit www.linkedin.com and search for NYSBA Entertainment Art and Sports Law Lawyers in Transition Committee under "Groups." After submitting your request to join the group, we will confirm that you are a member of EASL and your request will be granted.

February 24, 2011

EASL LIT Job Bank Updated

The EASL Lawyers in Transition (LIT) Job Bank has been updated! To view the Job Bank, please visit the EASL Lawyers in Transition group page on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com).

The EASL LIT Job Bank on Linked In is an exclusive benefit for members of EASL. In order to view the Job Bank, you must request to join the EASL LIT group page on Linked In. To join, visit www.linkedin.com and search for NYSBA Entertainment Art and Sports Law Lawyers in Transition Committee under "Groups." After submitting your request to join the group, we will confirm that you are a member of EASL and your request will be granted.

March 9, 2011

EASL Job Bank Info Updated

The EASL Lawyers in Transition (LIT) Job Bank has been updated! To view the Job Bank, please visit the EASL Lawyers in Transition group page on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com).

The EASL LIT Job Bank on Linked In is an exclusive benefit for members of EASL. In order to view the Job Bank, you must request to join the EASL LIT group page on Linked In. To join, visit www.linkedin.com and search for NYSBA Entertainment Art and Sports Law Lawyers in Transition Committee under "Groups." After submitting your request to join the group, we will confirm that you are a member of EASL and your request will be granted.

January 30, 2012

Kernochan Center Intellectual Property Fellowship

The Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts at Columbia Law School (CLS) is accepting applications for a two-year fellowship opportunity for a future legal academic interested in researching and writing on intellectual property issues, particularly in the area of third-party liability and internet governance.

The fellowship will begin in September, 2012 and end in August, 2014. The fellow will have the opportunity to conduct his or her own research in the field of liability of internet intermediaries. The fellow will also be responsible for planning and implementing a conference, with the assistance of CLS faculty and staff of the Law School, on the topic of intellectual property and third-party liability, to take place at CLS in Fall 2013. The goal of the conference will be a discussion of current policy in the U.S. and abroad with an eye to proposing potential legislative solutions to current legal issues.

The fellow will receive a salary of $65,000 per year, and benefits, space to work in the law school, research facilities, and opportunities to interact with CLS faculty, staff and students.
Applicants should be 2-5 years out of law school and have a background in economics, technology, sociology or other, similar discipline which lends itself to a study of internet issues. To apply, applicants should send a cover letter, resume, writing sample, proposal for scholarly research on the topic of secondary liability (5-8 pages), two letters of recommendation, law school transcript and a list of additional references by April 15 to the address listed below.

June M. Besek
Executive Director
Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts
Columbia Law School
435 West 116 th Street, Box A-17
New York , NY 10027
jbesek@law.columbia.edu

Columbia is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer.

March 1, 2013

Reflections on Transitions: Things I Have Learned

By Jessica Thaler

Have you ever felt as though you are having a bad day, bad week, bad month, bad year, bad decade? I found myself having all of the above simultaneously. I was unhappy at my job, going through a bunch of personal struggles and feeling very alone, estranged, disregarded, unsatisfied and lost. I was in my mid-30s, single and living in New York City, one of the most exciting and wonderful and lonely places you could possibly inhabit. I had a constant internal struggle between what I was "supposed" to be doing and how I was "supposed" to be living at that stage of my life, and disliking what I was doing and how I was living. I felt like I was constantly in an uphill battle with The Abominable Snow Monster of the North, who was constantly hurling meteor-sized snowballs at me.

"Work is just a means to live" was the motto my father said my grandfather lived by. As wonderful and enlightened as it sounds, in this day and age, with the advent of the computer, the Internet, the cell phone, Citrix, video conferencing, the Treo, the BlackBerry, the iPhone, email, cloud computing, virtual conference rooms, Skype and more, there is no longer a distinction between work time and family time. My grandfather was a hard worker. He came out of the Depression, working and building a very healthy nest egg for his wife and children despite his lack of formal education. (He got his high school diploma the year before I did, his pride hiding that fact from his children and grandchildren - only my grandmother knew the truth.) But his workday was early morning until early evening, not 48-hour stints in the office. His workweek was generally five days, not back-to-back weekends making one week flow undetected into the next. It was not awful if a person did not love what he or she did because work could be compartmentalized, as people knew there was an end to each workday and each workweek. Work as a means to an end was not a daunting statement.

The Plunge

At the time my father shared these words with me, I was struggling to find purpose in what I was doing and to find happiness and satisfaction professionally. I kept hearing my grandfather's words; I understood them intellectually, but they were not bringing me comfort or helping me get through the day. I wanted more out of my job and my career. I wanted to enjoy what I was doing each day because I was spending far too much time working not to. It was 2008. I left the firm I was working for to pursue my dream, but my timing was off. My expertise and client relationships were in banking and finance, an industry that was the heavy stone pulling the economy down, so, like many others, I found myself looking for a new job. Like many others finding themselves in transition, I found myself feeling like I was alone.

Every situation is different. Some people have money saved. Some have spouses or other life partners who can help alleviate some of the financial pressures or provide the needed emotional support. Some choose to move home. Some pretend the transition is not happening. Some have a great deal of education. Some have little. Some are very senior level. Some are very junior. Some will choose to grab their passports and take off on trips to restore the soul. Some will not be comfortable taking even one day off until they have found something. Some will become hermits and speak to no one. Some will go to therapy or turn to religion for guidance. Some will speak to anyone willing to lend an ear. Some will spend their days working out. Some will spend them goofing off. Some will focus on all the home projects they had been meaning to do for years. Some will wake each morning and spend hour upon hour searching through websites for jobs. Some will attend conferences. Some will fill their schedules each day with coffee, lunch and drink dates - all in the name of networking. Some will have supportive family and friends. Some will want to divorce themselves from their family and friends. Some will become sleepless, get stomachaches and have their TMJ act up. Some will breathe deeply for the first time in years. Some will cry. Some will be angry. Some will look at it as a blessing. Some as a curse. For me, I was able to identify with and directly relate to many, if not most, of these people at some point during my transition.

Working Within and Without

Transition is discouraging. It can be very hard to stay positive. I have been in transition for a while now and, during that time, set up my own firm. I get an unsteady flow of work from clients and other small and solo firms and have obtained a full-time contracting position for which I am grateful, especially when the ebb and flow of my practice starts to weigh on me. I have made it work. I have struggled, failed, fallen down and been scraped off the floor. I have spent hours talking to many people. I discovered that, upon first hearing that a person is in a job search, people are generally very sympathetic, offering drinks, hugs, advice, contacts and more. It is not that sympathy wanes as the months of searching go on, but rather that people just do not know what more to say.

I have read countless books and attended numerous seminars trying to figure it all out. I do not have all the answers but I have made great strides in my outlook, which has significantly improved my access to opportu¬nities, personal and professional relationships, as well as my physical and mental well-being.

When I first started to look for a position, I was in a very negative place, the victim, fighting for control over things I would never have control over, looking for answers and explanations where there were none. I have learned many things about control (or the lack thereof), about how things work (and do not work), about people and about myself. Someone recently commented that I appeared much calmer, happier, at peace and, after we spoke about what had changed in my life and my outlook, he smiled and asked, "So, you have finally accepted your situation?" I thought about it and answered, with a grin, "No, I have surrendered to it."

Whether characterized as surrender or acceptance, I have come to realize that the key is understanding that I can actually control only a small part of my transition. I can control what I do, how I present myself and how I take care of myself. I have little to no control over how I am perceived, even when I put my best foot forward, what assumptions people may make, what is going on with the economy, how many people I am competing against, the decisions a business makes concerning its hiring needs or the candidates it chooses. All I can do is to understand that a large part of the process is luck. In the interim, while I keep pushing, applying, interviewing and getting rejections, I need to take care of myself.

I have had many leads. I have had offers that I turned down and some that were reneged due to a change of financial circumstances of the company. I have quadrupled my already large network. I have joined every jobsite and every social networking site. I have gotten contract work. I have started my own business. I have spent multiple hours per day making calls; attending meetings; emailing; writing and rewriting my resume, my cover letter and my biography. Not being a coffee drinker, I have never visited as many different Starbucks as I have during this time of transition. I went from never having a cup of coffee to having a few each week. Despite being someone who does not enjoy working out, I have become a regular at the gym, if only to get out of the house for an hour or so each day. I have taken up drawing and painting again after not picking up a brush in more than 14 years. I have learned to enjoy a quiet night at home and stopped filling my evening calendar to the brim. I have come to appreciate the day away from the City with "away" being the suburbs, as opposed to an alternative continent. I have spent the day with the TV on from 7:00 a.m. until midnight without knowing what I watched, as it was on only to provide the companionship and background noise I used to get by being in an office surrounded by others. I have started to learn that asking for help is okay. I have learned how to just say "thank you" when someone offers to pick up the tab, whether for a cup of coffee or for a meal, and not to feel guilty about it. I have gotten further involved with volunteer work - Make a Wish, the Red Cross, my alumni associations and more - figuring if I cannot feel fulfilled while making money, I will seek that fulfillment through doing good for others.

Fullness of Transition

Transition is a word I have used much more frequently since 2008, and I have recognized that it has many meanings. With regard to a career transition, it may mean a person is looking for a position after a layoff, after raising a family or after some other hiatus from working, generally; starting his or her own firm or business, or leaving one or the other; shifting to a different industry focus or type of organization or role; or entering or exiting from a profession. No matter the form transition takes, I have come to realize the experiences and emotions and methods for managing, prevailing or coping in the face of those experiences and emotions have many commonalities. It is scary, exciting, daunting, fun, frustrating, fulfilling and stimulating all at one time. What has gotten me through this process so far?

Accepting, or surrendering to, my circumstances. I have come to understand and embrace the reality that there is an element completely in the hands of the universe, the almighty, faith, karma, luck, or however else the unknown can be characterized, and it plays a large role in reaching the end goal of this transition process. I do need to take control of the things that I do have control over and take comfort in that fact. If I do everything I can actually do that I have control over, the only thing left to do is become comfortable with the fact that there is nothing more I can do other than wait for the stars to come into alignment. (If only I could control the stars.)

Allowing myself to feel down. This is not a call for martyrdom but rather a knowledge that transition is hard, very hard, and there will be good and bad days in the process. Both the good and the bad are to be expected. I try to remember that I am not made of steel, as much as that was a hard reality to grasp, having always prided myself and presented myself as someone who can handle anything thrown at me. However, accepting my vulnerability was liberating. It allowed me to say it is okay not to plan six meetings in a single day, to take a few days off from submitting job applications, to spend a few hours or a full day on the couch watching mindless TV, crying off and on, not answering the phone, to let my friends and family see my fears and then allow them to take care of me.

Forgiving people who do not know what to say to or do. People want to help. They care for me. But, not knowing what to say, they will often try to provide a pep talk or words of wisdom and inspiration. Although these words often feel empty, obvious and annoying, they do come from a good place, normally. I also have come to understand that they can stem from the other person's fear that he or she may end up in the same position and that they do not know how to tackle that fear or how they would possibly get through what I am managing my way through. If nothing else, these words often do work great as screensavers. Once I had compiled a list of proverbs so long that I was able to ensure the ability to change them monthly for the next three to four years, how did I avoid an unintended feeling of resentment for and frustration with these well-intended friends, family members and colleagues? I worked up the courage to tell people what I needed, whether it is meeting me at Starbucks, for a quick lunch, a movie or just a hug. They do want to help. Most will be very grateful to know how they can help and be supportive.

Getting - even more - involved. Once people come to know of you as doer, as someone looking for networking opportunities, for ways to enhance your resume, you will be asked time and again to do one more thing, join one more committee, plan one more event, write one more article or speak on one more panel. With all the positives of this predicament, it did often leave me struggling to balance my sanity with what I thought I "should" do and trying to come through for everyone. I tried to set up rules as to how many things I would take on, meetings I would agree to and activities I would participate in daily, monthly and weekly, but I have found that nothing in my job search has been more beneficial than the volunteer work I have done, whether with professional organizations, nonprofits or otherwise. As a result, I quickly gave up on those rules. When I feel at my most overwhelmed and find myself struggling to prepare for, or even just get dressed for, yet another meeting, I remind myself that "you never know from where the next great opportunity will come." It has proven true time and again.

Realizing that I am not alone. Although misery does love company, although we have all had the nights commiserating with colleagues and friends, and although the occasional evening of venting can help me to feel better, I have learned that a "woe is me" mentality not kept in check will throw me quickly, and with added velocity, down Alice's rabbit hole, nothing to grab onto, walls too slippery to brace against, no cushion identifiable below, in the dark, hearing scary noises (sounding very much like insults) emanating from the abyss. I found the best thing to do is talk with people who are transitioning but who are also being proactive and those who have recently successfully transitioned. Those compatriots can provide a knowing nod and sympathetic smile when I am describing the latest sleepless night, my frustration that an opportunity fell through, my exasperation with feeling like my resume is in the void somewhere and my fear of an interviewer's unexplained silence. They will be less likely to walk me so close that I find myself teetering on the edge of the rabbit hole and more likely to ask why, exactly, it is that I am even looking into that hole again. They will help me see that hole ahead, recognize it is there, understand why it is appearing, and help me to steer in another direction. They will also understand the bumps and bruises I have after a recent fall and may have a trick for alleviating the lingering pain and discomfort.

Knowing that I am, and my situation is, not unique. It is not as harsh as it sounds. Despite always being praised for and encouraged to be unique, and in many ways I am very much my own person, and although my specific situation differs in degrees, the commonality I share with others in transition is just that - being in a state of transition. That process brings about uncertainty, vulnerability, stress and fear. As much as acceptance of this lack of distinction was a blow to my ego, when I finally accepted it, I was able to take a deep breath, recognize that there are others similarly situated who have survived this before, will survive it again and, because I also possess many of the same skills, education, resources, resilience, strength, perseverance, power, spirit, desire and drive, I too will survive. Not only will I survive -- I will succeed in my transition.

There Just Will Be Bad Days

Despite all the good, hard work and having a great screensaver, there are still those days that are just bad. The days when I decide I will never work again. I will never be successful. I am a failure. I never deserved to get where I was prior to this transition. For me, those days tend to happen when a job opportunity falls through, whether after one or more interviews or, sometimes, after finding out it has been filled before even having had the opportunity to interview. It is the day when I am told "you're too senior" and "we need someone to hit the ground running" during two separate conversations regarding two similar positions at two different companies. It is when I am heading to a wedding, a baby or bridal shower or a birthday and want to get a gift, knowing I would have gotten a "better" gift if I were in a different financial position. Those days also happen after having a great meeting or interview, when I become so fearful of getting my hopes up, I begin convincing myself that it will not happen before the BlackBerry can even reset itself and start receiving the emails and texts that came through while on the interview.

I have to work hard to get myself through those days. I battle my demons. I know I will not get through every day unscathed. I am learning to have compassion for myself. I am figuring out what I need to feel safe and supported and to seek it out, to take care of myself, to put myself first when I need to, to allow myself to feel and to just be, and to know, at risk of using one of much dreaded proverbs, "this too shall pass."

Moving From Negative to Positive

I truly believe that this will pass and that this period of my life, although challenging in many ways, is part of the cycles that we all must go through in our lives. I believe that, at some point, having had the courage to go out on my own to build a practice, the ability and expertise to acquire and service clients of various sizes and structures in a multitude of industries, the resourcefulness and fortitude to find and maintain a full-time (and now very long-term) contract position that adds to my experience and supplements my income, the altruism and ambition to volunteer for (and often take a leadership role in) professional, philanthropic and other organizations, the initiative and sociability to expand both my personal and professional networks and the great appreciation for and the good fortune to have people in my life who have advised, supported, mentored, listened, assisted, comforted, encouraged and even just hugged me, will all work collectively not only to allow me to find a new job but also to permit me to find professional and personal satisfaction and fulfillment in and through that new job. Like Rudolph who turned his bad experience with The Abominable Snow Monster of the North into friendship, I know that I will look back at this time of transition with the knowledge that I embraced that which scared and challenged me, and transformed my experience into a positive one.

JESSICA THALER is a lawyer in New York City, practicing as a corporate-transactional generalist, counseling clients in connection with various types of corporate transactions including lending and finance, mergers and acquisitions, development and cooperation, services, real property and licensing, in the fields of sports, media, telecommunications, biopharmaceuticals, video games and virtual worlds, entertainment, environmental, mobile advertising, technology and construction, among others. She is also a member of the New York State Bar Association and serves as the Chair of NYSBA's Committee on Lawyers in Transition, as Co-Chair of Membership of its Entertainment, Art and Sports Law Section and as an active member of the Sports Lawyers Association. Ms. Thaler is a graduate of UCLA, cum laude, and Fordham University School of Law. A version of this piece originally appeared in the September 2012 issue of the New York State Bar Association Journal, Vol. 86, No. 7.

March 22, 2013

A Tool for Lawyers in Transition: LinkedIn

BY JESSICA THALER

LinkedIn can be one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal during a time of career transition. It not only allows you to research people and companies who may ultimately serve as future employers, colleagues, collaborators or clients, but also introduces you to an expanded group of mentors, advisors and sources of relevant information. No matter your current position, having an extensive network is important, and LinkedIn is a great instrument for the maintenance and growth of that invaluable network.

When I speak to people in transition, or those who are thinking about exploring the possibilities, after ensuring they have an up-to-date resume, I inquire if they are on LinkedIn. Too often, the answer is that they are not. People often express concerns about their employer finding out about their LinkedIn profile - thus fearing that they are putting their job at risk - or will make the excuse that there just has not been enough time to set up a profile. "Is it really that helpful?", they will ask. Without hesitation or qualification, my answer is "yes." And although the task might seem daunting, LinkedIn makes the profile-creation process easy.

Head Shots

In setting up a profile, it is important to keep in mind that this is a professional venue. I have seen friends post the fun-loving profile shot that they use on Facebook; I have also seen head shots taken with cell phones while the subject was looking into a bathroom mirror. (This makes me shake my head like a disapproving mother.) Make sure your profile picture is of the type you would expect to see on a firm's webpage. Don't have the financial resources to hire a professional photographer? When I was developing my profile, I put on a suit, grabbed my camera and a friend, went to a library, and had her photograph me in front of a wall of books. I (we) felt silly but it was better than the bathroom-mirror shot. Eventually, through alumni and bar association involvement, I participated in professional photo shoots so that those organizations could have photographs of me that they could use in their materials. I asked permission to use several of these photos to update my LinkedIn profile picture, as well as my professional biography.

Work History and Educational Experience

Once your profile picture is chosen and uploaded, complete your work history and educational experience. Some people list only the names of what they think are the relevant entities and the titles of the positions they have held. Others, like me, more or less populate these fields with the extensive information contained in their resumes, and everything in between. In my opinion, the more information the better, so long as that information is germane, as it allows people a complete picture of your qualifications and experience. There is a caveat, however. There is such a thing as "too much" information, especially if the information is irrelevant or can become overwhelming to the reader. Where to draw the line depends on both your preferences and those of the intended consumer of the information. The rule I use is if I cannot read it through two or three times without getting distracted or losing interest, it is too long. Also, when I first put my profile up and whenever I make any significant changes, I ask a few trusted friends (a former supervisor and other career professionals I have worked with) to read my profile. As it so often happens, of course, if you ask six people, you will get six opinions. Ultimately, you have to decide what you are comfortable with. You can control how you present yourself and not how you are perceived. Accept the risk that someone may not like your profile and hope that is the exception and not the rule.

Making Connections

When your profile is up, it is time to start making connections. In my first attempt, I made a rookie mistake. LinkedIn will prompt you to allow it to tap into your email address book, wherever it is stored, and retrieve contact information. Once retrieved, it is very easy to click, click, click and send a mass invitation to connect. This sounded like a fantastic, easy and efficient way to get a LinkedIn network together. What I did not realize at the time was that not everyone is on or wants to be on LinkedIn and, once the request goes out, the system will continue to "remind" possibly to the point of annoyance invitees of the outstanding and yet-to-be-accepted invitation. Then I realized that when LinkedIn pulled my contacts into the system, it marked those who were also on LinkedIn with a little blue box containing the word "in" next to their names. So I focused on pursuing those contacts to be my LinkedIn connections, understanding that they would likely be more likely to accept because they too are using LinkedIn to expand their network.

Once your initial connections are established, LinkedIn will provide you with a list of "people you may know." LinkedIn surprised me with its accuracy. I suspect that the LinkedIn system uses a matrix to compare common connections, common learning institutions, common employers and the like in compiling these suggestions. I continue to look at LinkedIn's suggestions for potential connections. As I meet people through the more traditional methods of networking, I add them to my network, and LinkedIn's suggestions continue to grow.

Another option for enhancing a profile and, therefore, LinkedIn presence, is to join groups. I looked at professional groups, those based on my past employers, school affiliations and associations I was a part of, as well as other affinity groups. There really isn't a downfall to joining many groups outside of the fact that each group may send multiple notices to its members and your inbox may get flooded. (You can change your settings to manage how often emails are received.) Groups often use listserves to share information on trends, current issues, job opportunities and otherwise. Joining a group demonstrates to the LinkedIn community your interest in a particular subject, industry or other issue.

Recommendations

A great feature of LinkedIn is the ability to receive and post recommendations from former clients, employers or colleagues. As wonderful as it may be to have nice things published about you, it is still important that the recommendations are relevant and realistic. If the recommendations are "just too much" or if they appear contrived (i.e., a friend's recommendation is on a personal rather than a professional level), they are probably more detrimental than beneficial. I have sought, and continue to seek, recommendations from people in each stage of my personal and professional career but only after I have had the opportunity to work and collaborate in some real and significant capacity with them. This allows each person to honestly and knowledgably speak to my skills, strengths and otherwise. I provide recommendations to others utilizing a similar "rule." I only offer recommendations for people, focusing on the skills and strengths of those people, with whom I am very familiar.

Research

LinkedIn can also be utilized to obtain relevant information about people and companies. When trying to connect with a company, whether in anticipation of an interview for employment or business development purposes, search for the company on LinkedIn. If the company has a profile, it provides a source of information that can supplement the information available in periodicals or on the company's proprietary website. LinkedIn will also show who you know, directly or indirectly, at that company. The direct connection is easy to identify and understand - someone part of your LinkedIn community is currently, or was previously, at that company. Where I find such a connection, I immediately reach out to that person, ask about the company, the person(s) I am scheduled or trying to meet, the position or project and possibly get the assistance of that person in getting ahead in the process. Even an indirect connection can be just as useful. The indirect connection shows someone in your network who has someone in his or her network who is at or was at that company. When I have this "second degree" connection, I will request that my "first degree" connection make an introduction to that "second degree" connection who can then provide me with the information or "in" I am seeking.

Similarly, before a scheduled meeting, check to see if the person with whom you are meeting is on LinkedIn. If he or she is, you can get information about that person, his or her interests, background and network; that knowledge can aid in your trying to connect. For example, it has allowed me to mention people known-in-common (granted, only after confirming that relationship is a current and amicable one), recognize and reminisce about a common university experience and so on. LinkedIn also allows you to look up someone you do not know and want to connect with but do not yet have a meeting with. You can see if there is someone in your network who might be willing to make an introduction. Just like with anything else, however, you need to consider how often you ask someone, respect what, if anything, the person is willing to do and the manner in which he or she is willing to do it. And be willing to reciprocate.

I personally have not made great use of the LinkedIn groups feature, although I know many who have, and I have only rarely posted into discussion groups. A danger with becoming too involved with posting is that, in attempting to get your name out, it can be easy to become an annoyance. Every time there is a post into a group's discussion page, the site sends out a notice of a new post to the group's members; so, if a member (who may be just the person someone is trying to impress) has not altered the default email settings, his or her inbox may be loaded with notices about the "serial" poster's latest musing. I have actually heard some colleagues commenting that they have unsubscribed from a group because of serial posts, and their impression of that poster is irreversibly marred.

Should You Get a Subscription?

Finally, do you need to get a paid subscription to get true benefit from using LinkedIn? My opinion is that it is not necessary. I like that the subscription service provides the ability to email people directly even if they are not a connection through the "in-mail" feature, that I can see who has viewed my profile as well as statistics regarding the number of views my profile receives and, when I submit for a job requisition, I am provided with greater information about the position, such as salary information, and can check a box to make my resume a "featured" application. Whether you need or want those or the other additional features that a paid subscription may provide depends on your personal goals and intended usage of the site.

Conclusion

Maintaining a network and a LinkedIn profile needs to be an ongoing endeavor. LinkedIn should be used, in whatever manner and however extensively a person is comfortable with, as a tool for professional networking and development. Most great opportunities come from whom you know, and LinkedIn provides a way to know more people. LinkedIn is also a great marketing tool. It is a personal website, demonstrating experiences and expertise and providing forums in which to share and from which to gather information. Like any other tool, however, you need to use it properly and appropriately not to be injured rather than assisted by it.

JESSICA THALER (jthaleresq@gmail.com), Law Offices of Jessica Thaler Esq., chairs the Committee on Lawyers in Transition of the New York State Bar Association. She received her undergraduate degree, cum laude, from UCLA and her law degree from Fordham University.

About Lawyers in Transition

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to The Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Blog in the Lawyers in Transition category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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