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July 2013 Archives

July 8, 2013

Seeking NYC In-House M&A Attorney

Bliss Lawyers is delighted to announce an in-house position for an M&A attorney to work for a company in its New York City offices. The company is seeking a candidate with five to twelve years of M&A experience to work in a full-time position, which is expected to last two years or more. The position is generally on-site with the possibility of working remotely one or two days per week after an initial ramp-up period. The pay is competitive, with benefits. Interviews will begin as soon as appropriate candidates are identified.

Key requirements and preferences include:

* Substantial experience as an M&A attorney working on divestitures; and,
* Experience working on M&A transactions involving technology is a plus.

If you have the requisite experience and are interested in being considered for the position, please click here to e-mail your resume as soon as possible with your name and "NYC M&A Position" in the subject line. If you are not suited for this position but you know someone who is, please forward this e-mail as you see fit. If you are not already on our free e-mailing list, you can join and send your resume by clicking here for future opportunities.

Thank you for your interest.


July 17, 2013

Panel Summary: How to Avoid a "Funk" While in Transition - Written by Jocelyn Cibinskas 7/13/13

What is a "funk"?

Often, attorneys and even law students can fall into a funk while in a career transition. Webster's Dictionary defines "funk" as "a state of paralyzing fear, a depressed state of mind." Perhaps you personally can attest to this state while in a career transition? What feelings transcend in a funk? Why do attorneys in particular struggle with this state of mind? What steps do you take to avoiding a funk while transitioning?

The Committee on Lawyers in Transition, chaired by Jessica Thaler, Esq., sponsored a panel discussion addressing the aforementioned topics on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. The webcast is still available on the New York State Bar Association webcast archive at: www.totalwebcasting.com/live/nysbar/lit.

Meet the Panel

The panel consisted of four very enlightening and inspiring women including, Elena Rand Kaspi, Esq., President, Law Scope Coaching, LLC; Amy Gewirtz, Esq., Director, New Directions for Attorneys, Pace Law School; Laura Powers, President, Powers Career Coaching, LLC; and Meredith Heller, Esq., Criminal Defense Attorney and active member of the New York City Bar Association.

As a highly trained and experienced career coach for lawyers, Elena Kaspi triggered the discussion by elaborating on the feelings generally associated with being in a funk - shame, denial and disappointment. Kaspi candidly pointed out that this is an issue to be aware of at all career levels, stating that even seasoned attorneys have struggled with these feelings; for example, not being able to tell their families they have been laid off for several months.

The Hard Truth

As the discussion progressed, the panel delved even deeper into the reasons why attorneys, in particular, struggle with these feelings of dismay. Specifically, attorneys learned in law school to issue spot, problem solve and fix - repeat. Now as professionals, they can issue spot, go out and try to solve the problem but they can't control the outcome. It's the lack of control over the outcome, along with the lack of control over market change that can lead to a funk. "By working through these emotions we can be at peace, not necessarily happy, but at peace and free from the burden of carrying these intense emotions" Laura Powers added.

Amy Gewirtz pointed out that this type of emotion could arise at any type of transition - not just job loss. This type of emotion can transcend career stages; whether, you are looking for your first job out of law school or you're a senior partner. Fortunately, there are practical steps and organizations to help address these issues.

How to get out of the "funk"

Meredith Heller explained the benefits of the Lawyers Assistance Program (LAP) and how they provide education and confidential assistance to lawyers, judges, law students and family members that are suffering from any type of issue from substance abuse to stress and quality of life.

Also, Powers explained that the concrete methodology you can undertake to aid in career transition follows through a commitment to learning and mastering the "job search" skill set by self-reflecting and implementing the following 5 steps:

Step 1: Career assessment, who am I?

Step 2: What is my next work objective, do I need to change it?

Step 3: Where do I want to work geographically, what industry, which organizations?

Step 4: How am I going to launch my job search market plan strategically?

Step 5: When am I going to conduct my job search and how many hours per day/week will I spend job searching?

These fundamental steps, along with updating your resume and social networks, will give you a strong job search market plan to guide you through your career transition. Kaspi emphasized the importance of having authenticity and literacy accurately reflected in your resume and internet networking profiles. A mere list of experiences that vaguely explain what you have done, similar to a deposition, is not enough, Kaspi added.

Towards the end of the discussion the panel went into even further detail as to what you can do to expand your network and make yourself even more marketable.

Personally graduating from law school in September, I can attest to the emotions discussed by this panel, as well as, the mentality and confidence needed to transition. Thus far, I have found that volunteering and talking to people that are just as passionate about the law as I am, has put me in contact with inspiring people such as Thaler, Kaspi, Powers, Heller and Gewirtz. As I conclude my summer internship and continue to zealously search for that perfect position, I will be cognizant and proactive of my job search market plan. Throughout the process I will be certain to implement the other helpful and informative tips discussed by this panel with the hopes of avoiding a funk while transitioning into New York's legal arena.

July 22, 2013


Just walked to my office on a grey, wet, rainy Friday morning in June...I put my dripping wet umbrella on the ground, poured my third cup of coffee and am trying to overcome my own rainy day funk...so I thought there was no better time to share some of the tips about overcoming job search funk that was the topic of a presentation I gave earlier this month.

As part of my role as a member of the Lawyers in Transition Committee for the NYSBA, I was one of four panelists asked to speak on the topic of "Avoiding the Funk During the Job Search." It is a program we have run for the last several years since 2008 and for those of you that want to watch the full webinar you can download it for free on the NYSBA website.
So while the tips in this blog can be useful anytime the career funk sets in, this blog is for those persistent, noble, red-eyed, weary warriors of the legal job search who have had to weather weeks, months and, in some instances, at least a year of job searching in a weird legal climate.

First things first. You Are Not Unique. Career Funk is everywhere...regardless of your work or job circumstances, whether you are employed, self-employed, unemployed or looking for a job, rest assured, that a sense of ennui, frustration, and good old-fashioned depression can creep into your workday and mindset and derail even the most gung-ho, caffeine-driven career. It happens to me at least once a day like clockwork around 3pm and it hits hard, just like it does for everyone. I guess that's my first point: You are not unique and neither am I. Career funk will come. Funk will set in for all of us and we all need tips and tools and rituals to help De-Funk.

So it has me thinking? What does Job Funk & Job Search Fatigue Syndrome for attorneys look like, what are the causes and what can you do to combat it? So here are some of my initial lay observations about lawyers and why the job search funk hits attorneys particularly hard.
Here's the crux of it. We are a community of professionals who like to be prepared for the worst and we are trained to throw ourselves into a difficult situation, issue spot, quickly problem solve, fix and move on to the next issue. On a day to day basis, we are accustomed to immediate gratification

So here's the root of the job funk: many of my clients approach the legal job search with the same, immediate tackle, throw-down and conquer approach that they approached their legal practice. But soon enough within 3 -5 months, attorneys confront a harsh reality that job search in this climate can be a long, protracted and uncertain process. Attorneys come to learn that while they can control the effort they put into their job search, they cannot control the outcome, the timing and the results.

Lack of control, lack of immediate gratification, and a lack of certainty define the new job search reality for many attorneys and can lead to job search funk.

So what can you do to avoid the Funk? Here are some basic suggestions:

1) Go Inward: Some of you know that in addition to being a former attorney, I am also a shrink. And so, in my experience, spending quiet time identifying and processing difficult emotions is the starting point for overcoming any funk. Many times when we are in a funk we do not even know what emotions and feelings are brewing beneath the surface; all we know is that we are not ourselves and in a rut. Denial of difficult emotions, such as---rejection, bereavement, fear, grief, loss, hurt, embarrassment, disappointment-- breeds such career obstacles as procrastination, paralysis, indifference, fatigue and just guarantees us more funk. So no more denial! If you are sensing that your job search is running on fumes, it might be time to go inward a little and figure out what is going on internally and emotionally with you. Spending some time identifying what you feel, and allowing yourself to express and process the tough emotions associated with job loss or protracted job transition can actually be a starting point for re-energizing your job search. The only way through the grief and loss is through it... there is no way around it. And when we are in a funk...it's a sign to start going inward, articulate and process the rough feelings with a friend, mentor, counselor or professional.

2) Connect With Non-Lawyers: Reducing isolation and finding ways to connect interpersonally is key to reducing the funk. But here's the deal: while you are in the job funk, stay away from other attorneys and the networking events that draw other attorneys looking for employment. Why? Because misery likes company and the last thing you need right now is to surround yourself with other well-meaning, highly articulate, equally frustrated and defeated attorneys who can creatively add to your own list of reasons to be miserable. Part of getting out of the funk means protecting yourself.

Find ways to connect with other professionals from other industries through alumni associations, civic organizations, local charities or through hobbies you may have left to atrophy over the last several years. Mix it up and you are more likely to find people that are like-minded and maybe more positive and energetic than you are right now.

3) Eliminate Well-Meaning, Loveable Energy Drainers: I am about to give you a De-Funk mantra: Protect yourself. Protect yourself and then protect yourself some more. The reality is that while in the job funk, you are emotionally vulnerable. This means that for the immediate future you need to ruthlessly eliminate and/or reduce contact with those loving, caring and well-meaning people in your world--friends, colleagues, family members--who want the best for you, are worried about your "situation" but who, like clockwork, invariably give unsolicited advice that makes you feel worse about yourself, your job search efforts and your career. These are the well-intentioned people who always say and ask the wrong thing about the most sensitive area in your life. Do you have any people like that in your world? Yep. Thought so. Me too. To them and you, I say: BOUNDARIES. This is a time for you to create and maintain boundaries.

Reducing contact with these people is imperative to protecting you from sinking deeper into the funk. You can always reconnect with them when you are stronger, more confident and less vulnerable.

4) Structure Your Day & Get Moving: Some experts say that finding a job is a 40-hour a week "job." I do not agree. I don't know about you, but I can't do the same project, task or activity for more than 3 hours much less for 40 hours a week. I need variety. But I do believe that your work week should be scheduled and that the job search game plan, i.e. your resume revisions, networking, and connecting with contacts etc. should be structured and scheduled at the same time every day.

I also believe that exercise of some sort that gets you out of your home and into the world also needs to be structured into your "job search" day. It will help improve your mood, get you seeing other people and feeling that you accomplished something at the end of the day.

5) Be Selfish by Giving to Others: My final tip sounds counterintuitive but it actually makes sense. Start paying it forward. I'm not being preachy...I am being practical. When you give you feel better. Full stop. Your situation may be difficult, hard and frustrating but there are people in more dire and difficult circumstances than you or me. Find a way to volunteer your time to a cause you believe in, or to a hospital, children's cause, food pantry, soup kitchen or home for the aged and watch your funk lift! The most selfish thing you can do to get out of your funk is to give to others.

Giving activates our feelings of gratitude for what we have and reminds us that everything in life changes. Giving to others will make your spirits soar, it is good for the soul and you will gain perspective about your current situation. All good things.

Most importantly, there is a difference between job funk and full blown clinical anxiety and depression. If you believe your circumstances may be more serious than a "funk" then there is professional help for attorneys through the NYSBA and City Bar of NY to help address issues related to job loss that are more serious. And I would encourage you to capitalize on these resources to help move you forward.

And finally....I leave you with this quote about facing the challenges of uncertainty in the face of unwanted change, which I often find comforting. Peace.

"Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like." - Lao Tzu


July 24, 2013

From Chaos to Order: A 5-Step, Structured Approach to Job Search, by Laura Powers, President, Powers Career Coaching, LLC

Career transition is just that - a transition. A change. And with change comes loss - including the loss of that which was familiar - the structure, systems and environment in which you operated, added value, conducted your work, and 'did business' each day.

At its best, structure helps us feel safe and secure in our work environment. It helps us know what to expect, what needs to be done first, then next, then next. It helps us stay on track. It offers us a logical framework in which to get the business of our business accomplished each day. Structure offers us a road map, guideposts, boundaries...and opportunities to course correct as needed.

When structure disappears, our sense of safety and well-being can feel threatened, particularly as we enter the uncharted, unpredictable and largely unstructured terrain of job search. Whether you're looking for your first job out of law school or navigating a mid-career job change, the day-to-day job search experience can feel chaotic, confusing, isolating and overwhelming.

The good news is that it is possible to bring structure and community back into your life during this unsettling time of transition and infuse it into your job search; and in so doing, enable you to manage your search process with more confidence, efficiency and ease. Below is an outline of the 5-step job search method developed by my firm on behalf of its clients, which I would like to share with you:

Step 1: Define WHO You Are as both a product in the market and a whole person. This critically important, foundational step involves integrated career and self-assessment work designed to help you identify your unique blend of skills, accomplishments, experience, values and attributes that combine to add bottom line value to a prospective employer.

Step 2: Clarify WHAT'S NEXT by combining the 'internal' research you conducted in Step 1 with 'external', industry/company research to identify one or more realistic and satisfying work objectives.

Once equipped with clearly defined work objectives and the supporting data you gathered from your assessment work, you are ready to package your talent into a portfolio of targeted, oral and written self-marketing communication tools - your resume(s), LinkedIn profile, pitch (the answer to the question, "Tell Me about Yourself"), branding statement, and the like - to help you 'get your message out' in a powerful and effective way.

Step 3: Identify WHERE you want to work by first, defining your target market in terms of your geographic, travel, industry and company size preferences and next, by researching and identifying a list of target organizations/hiring managers within your target markets. Utilize your networks, social media, and online research resources to help build your target company list and research your target organizations.

Step 4: Learn and determine HOW to best present yourself, strategically and skillfully, to the appropriate people/decision makers within each of your target organizations...via various job search strategies, e.g., networking, social media, recruiters, pro bono work, etc.....and eventually, through interviewing and negotiating conversations.

Step 5: Decide and document WHEN you will conduct your job search activity each day and week. Schedule the exact number of hours per day into your calendar, document which job search activities and goals you intend to accomplish during those times, review your results, and adjust your activity and/or approach as needed.

Finally, in addition to utilizing this five-step method to help you manage your job search as efficiently as possible, I encourage you to create a job search support system/community of carefully selected 'trusted others,' e.g., fellow job seekers, supportive friends/family members, professional advisors (coaches, etc.) with whom you connect on a regular basis to help you stay motivated, focused, accountable and productive. No one conducts a successful job search in isolation; and time and again, I have witnessed job seekers who build and access appropriate support systems uncover more opportunities, get more leads, present themselves more effectively, and land more quickly than those who try and 'go it alone.'

Laura Powers, President of Powers Career Coaching, LLC, is an MBTI® - qualified career coach with 18 years of experience coaching professionals from diverse industries, levels, and career stages through the transition points in their careers. Laura was a recent panelist at the New York Bar Association Committee on Lawyers in Transition program, "How to Avoid a Funk While In Transition." Learn more about Laura and her private coaching practice at www.powerscareercoaching.com.

July 19, 2013

A Closer Look At The Reasons To Go In-House

More and more lawyers are looking to transition from the law firm environment to the in-house world. The desire to "go in-house" seems to have a consistent theme - lawyers feel that they have no control over their schedules at a law firm. It is not just that they have to work long hours, but that the hours are often unpredictable. In fact, many lawyers report that often times they are searching for work to do to keep their billables high, but yet, they are still sitting at the office for long hours. The need to keep "face time" and to be there when a client emergency arises is one of the factors that makes these lawyers stay at their desks, and that lack of control over their schedules is motivating lawyers to want to go in-house.

For the rest of the article, please click here.

July 23, 2013

3,600 More Legal Jobs Lost Last Month

Legal jobs are hard to come by these days - and more applicants are entering the job hunt...

For the rest of the article, please click here.

July 26, 2013

Avoiding Pitfalls With Staffing Agencies And Independent Contractors

With the media reporting that a large percentage of the recent job growth in the economy is being generated through staffing agencies and part-time workers, companies must keep in mind of the associated pitfalls...

For the rest of this article, please click here.

July 31, 2013

House Rules: Use Your Resume and Cover Letter to Get Inside

This is the second part of a series on getting yourself in the door to an in-house position. If it's not up your alley, read no further. Based on the feedback I received from last week's entry, this is helpful to some folks out there. Don't worry, my tell-all book is in the works, and when I'm ready to retire, I'll regale you with stories of love triangles and hexagons that will make your head spin. Until then, let's work on getting you that gig in-house.

For the rest of this article, please click here.

July 25, 2013

5 Trends in In-House Counsel Compensation

Are the pay packages in your legal department keeping up with the Joneses? The new "In-House Counsel Compensation Report" from General Counsel Metrics LLC and Major, Lindsey & Africa, a legal search firm, deciphers the trends in compensation by compiling data from over 1,700 in-house lawyers at approximately 480 U.S. and Canadian companies. The information used for the report includes: base salaries, cash bonuses, law school graduation years, primary practice areas, company revenues, and company industries.

for the rest of this article, please click here.

July 24, 2013

Lawyer Assistance Program

Sometimes superheroes are super anxious

I have four grandsons, so I knew opening day of the "Iron Man 3" movie would not go unnoticed.

When the day arrived, I strategically planned. I got our tickets online, established the ground rules about snacks, which included sharing the quart of soda, a.k.a. "small size," and miraculously found seats fairly close together.

I relaxed as I put in my earplugs and sat back in my seat to get comfortable. I had little interest in the movie--until the scene when the superhero has an anxiety attack in what looked like a non-threatening situation. Someone referred to a past event and the mere mention of that event triggered an anxiety attack for poor Iron Man. I sat up in my seat and said out loud, "This superhero has an anxiety disorder."

The kids around me ignored my diagnosis, or maybe they were in denial. Denial is often associated with mental illness. Thinking their superhero is impaired might have been more than they could bear. One more thing, knowing Iron Man's line of work, I assumed he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, which is one of the many forms of anxiety.

Though few lawyers would call themselves a superhero, most are called upon to accomplish superhuman feats when it comes to meeting unrelenting deadlines, addressing the complex needs of demanding clients, meeting the expectations of unrealistic billable hours, and the overwhelming exposure to clients' hardship and trauma.

With these factors in play, anxiety may be more common among lawyers and, apparently, superheroes, than we thought.

Normal v. abnormal

Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress and actually can be beneficial in some situations. In essence, anxiety can be our cue that something is wrong and needs our attention, like feeling anxious before an exam that prompts us to study. For many people, however, the normal becomes abnormal when worry and fear become excessive, intrusive and all-consuming.

There is a variety of anxiety disorders. Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by worry that gets out of control; obsessive-compulsive disorder occurs when thoughts take over; and panic attacks happen when a person is overwhelmed by fear. People who survive a lifethreatening experience often experience post-traumatic stress disorder, and people who have irrational, paralyzing fear suffer from a phobia.

Collectively, anxiety disorders are among the most common mental disorders experienced by Americans. According to The Anxiety and Depression Association of America(ADAA), anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the United States. That is 18 percent of the population. The ADAA also reports that:

  • Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only about one-third of those suffering receive treatment.

  • People with an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor for physical ailments and six times more likely to be treated for psychiatric disorders(especially depression and addiction) than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders.

In general, a person with an anxiety disorder may experience:

  • Overwhelming feelings of panic, fear and nervousness;
  • Uncontrollable obsessive thoughts;
  • Intrusive thoughts and memories;
  • Physical problems such as upset stomach, muscle tension, heart pounding, and jumpiness--sometimes, severe enough to mimic a heart attack.

Consequently, these symptoms can adversely affect a person's overall physical health, job performance, relationships, cognition and judgment.

For lawyers, the demands of the profession are so high that an anxiety disorder can impair competent representation and place them at risk for egregious errors. These mistakes can harm clients and jeopardize a lawyer's license to practice law.

Treatment works. According to the national Mental Health Association, the treatment success rate for anxiety disorders is 70 percent or better. In fact, treatment success rates for mental illness in general surpass those for medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

The most effective treatment plan for anxiety disorders starts with a comprehensive assessment and can include medication and/or therapy. Sometimes self-help strategies can be effective. Eating healthy, exercising, meditating, dealing directly with the source of the worries, and having a support system can make a difference. But as soon as a people realize that attempts to manage worry and fears on their own are not working, it is time to ask for professional help.

When called upon to perform superhuman feats, don't be deceived. If they don't involve high speed car chases, dodging bullets or calling on your superpowers, don't think there are no risks. Iron Man's anxiety impaired his job performance and caused problems in his relationships. If this can happen to a superhero, think what an anxiety disorder can do to us mere humans.

Bottom line, things were not going to go well for Iron Man until he dealt with his anxiety. He got humble and let go of his "I can do this by myself" attitude and accepted outside help.

If Iron man can ask for help, so can all those who are trying to be superheroes. It is often the only way.

Please call the confidential Lawyer Assistance Program at 800-255-0569 or email us at nysbalap@hushmail.com.

Patricia Spataro
New York State Bar Association
Lawyer Assistance Program Director

July 31, 2013

The 2013 GC Compensation Survey

General Electric Company didn't mince words in its most recent proxy statement. Summing up general counsel Brackett Denniston III's performance, it says: "Mr. Denniston had a strong year in 2012."
It must have been a very strong year indeed. In fact, Denniston, GC of the Fairfield, Connecticut-based company since 2004, took home $10.9 million in total cash compensation in 2012. After a three-year absence from Corporate Counsel's GC Compensation Survey, Denniston returned in style-- finishing ahead of the year's other 99 highest-paid legal chiefs.

To read the remainder of this article, click here.

July 30, 2013

Litigation Associate

I am delighted to announce a full-time, permanent position for a litigation associate with an AmLaw 100 law firm in its NYC offices. This is a non-partnership track position with fairly regular hours of about 40 - 45 hours per week. Salary is competitive and benefits are provided. Interviews will begin as soon as appropriate candidates are identified.

Key Requirements Include:
Law school graduate.

  • Admission to the New York State Bar.

  • At least two years of litigation experience at a large law firm.

  • eDiscovery experience in negotiating search protocols, understanding electronic evidence of all types, and reviewing documents.

Preferences include:

  • Experience in employment law.

If you have the requisite experience and you are interested in being considered for the position, please click here to e-mail your resume as soon as possible with your name and "Seeking NYC Law Firm Litigation Associate Position" in the subject line. If you are not suited for this position but you know someone who is, please forward this e-mail as you see fit. If you are not already on our free e-mailing list, you can join by clicking here and send your resume by clicking here for future opportunities.

Thank you for your interest.


Ten Tips for Landing JD Jobs

Here is a helpful article containing tips on the ways you can improve your credentials through writing and research.
Click here for the article from American University, Washington College of Law Professor Walter Effross entitled Ten Tips For Landing JD Jobs for Law Students and Graduates which was written for The National Law Journal and published on 7/16/13.

About July 2013

This page contains all entries posted to Lawyers in Transition in July 2013. They are listed from oldest to newest.

June 2013 is the previous archive.

August 2013 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.