Denise Howell Denise Howell
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Dennis M. Kennedy Dennis M. Kennedy
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Tom Mighell Tom Mighell
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Marty Schwimmer Marty Schwimmer
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Ernest Svenson Ernest Svenson
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Denise Howell is a seasoned appellate and intellectual property litigator based in Los Angeles. Denise writes one of the first and most popular law-related blogs, Bag and Baggage, coined the term "blawg" and helped pioneer podcasting for lawyers. Microcontent obsessed since 2001, she is frequently quoted in the media on legal issues involving intellectual property and technology law. "Sound Policy" is Denise's show at IT Conversations, and it's also what she hopes results from the briefs she submits to court. Email Denise at

Dennis Kennedy is a computer lawyer and legal technology expert based in St. Louis, Missouri. An award-winning author, a frequent speaker and a widely-read blogger, he has more than 300 publications on legal, technology and Internet topics, many of which are collected in his e-books. Dennis has been described as someone who knows almost every rock song in existence and, more importantly, how they apply to technology and law. Email Dennis at his gmail address.

Tom Mighell is Senior Counsel and Litigation Technology Support Coordinator at Cowles & Thompson in Dallas. He has published the Internet Legal Research Weekly newsletter since 2000 and blogged about the Internet and legal technology at Inter Alia since August of 2002. With Tom's singing, Ernie on guitar and Dennis' encylopedic knowledge of rock music, we may have the beginnings of a good band, if this whole blog thing doesn't work out. Email Tom at

Marty Schwimmer left a partnership in the largest trademark practice in the world and founded Schwimmer Mitchell, a full-service IP micro-boutique in Westchester County, New York, where he represents owners of famous and not yet famous trademarks. He founded The Trademark Blog, the first IP law blog and the one with the most pictures. He is the first to come in and the last to leave in his firm. Email Marty at

Ernest Svenson practices law with a mid-sized law firm in New Orleans, specializing in business-related lawsuits. Most of his practice takes place in federal court, especially the Eastern District. He is best known for his weblog Ernie the Attorney, which he started as an experiment. Like many experiments it got out of control. Nevertheless, he continues to practice law and, occasionally, to seek enlightenment. Email Ernest at
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Between Lawyers provides just-in-time group commentary on the issues raised when technology, culture and the law intersect. We take you behind the firewalls and conference room doors to show you how experienced lawyers deal with these issues and help you prepare for the new challenges we all face. For more, see our introductory post.
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July 16, 2006


1. on July 23, 2006 6:16 PM writes...

I want to pick-up where Gerry Riskin left-off & where it would seem you are headed. Mr. Riskin states that:

"A firm cannot prosper without keeping its best people and the best people will always have choices which they will exercise based on their drive for self actualization. The Managing Partners who understand this and manage accordingly will be judged as our profession's greatest heroes"

I couldn't agree more & have the follwing two cents to throw-in. . .

As anyone who has poked his or head out the window of their ivory tower lately can tell you, the pace of change in the world today is accelerating. And increasingly, the pace of these changes is going to have a huge impact on how law firms must treat their most valuable assets (people) if they hope to remain profitable. Flex time, part-time, telecommuting, and even some presently out of the box approaches to help parents (fathers AND mothers) balance work & life is increasingly becoming a smart competitive advantage for businesses in every industry, including law firms.

AN EDUCATED GUESS -Or at least what often happens in law firms that don't realize how much & how fast the world around them is changing. . . Obviously we do not know all sides of the story why Ms. Howell's former firm decided to terminate its relationship with an experienced & presumably profitable attorney.

But I can make an educated guess (about lawyers & law firms in general not Ms. Howell herself or her former firm specifically,) and so can anyone reading this comment:

Consider that for the first time in human history we now have four different generations all going at it elbow-to-elbow in the workplace. Now think about the different values, perceptions, priorities & even different definitional understandings of several common words & phrases that exist between Gen Y, Gen X, Baby Boomers & so-called Matures, and it becomes clear that many of the law firm management (and marketing) strategies that served the owners of law firms well in the past, are going to start failing with increasing regularity & severity of consequence.

Now pile on top of those ideas the biological fact that as we age, it becomes harder, not easier to work a 60 hour week, commute two hours in traffic, etc.

And finally, sprinkle some economic reality...There are only three ways for a lawyer in a large firm to make him or herself more valuable to the firm and secure their job (yes, partners get fired too):

1. Sell more of your own hours.
2. Sell your own hours for more money
3. Learn How To Make It Rain & start selling the hours of others who can then wrestle with the first & second parts of this economic reality

Apologies to all the managing partners and Associates too, for bringing this inconvenient truth to your collective attention: Consider the case of a 65-year old managing partner of a law firm who thinks he (sorry but statistically most of them are still he's) is going to motivate a 30-something attorney (male or female) to work long hours and make personal sacrifices "for the firm" in the hopes of someday acheieving equity partner status. Now ask some 30-something lawyers (or anyone else) you know if they really expect to be at the same job 5 years from now.

Fact of the matter is that Ms. Howell is certainly one of the more visible attorneys to get caught in the changes afoot, but she isn't the only one & won't be the last.

Law firms are pretty easy businesses to understand. The only way they make money is to sell legal services to clients. To do that successfully, someone needs to sell the services and someone (often someone else) needs to deliver the services. Lawyers who know how to deliver services are in far greater supply than those Rainmakers who can effectively sell the services of the law firm business. I work primarily with solo practitioners who have no choice but to become adept at selling legal services. But there's alot for a lawyer in a large firm, to learn from the likes of a lowly solo practitioner who knows how to sell half-a-million dollars worth of legal services consistently year-in & year-out. Becoming a Rainmaker is the way for a lawyer to protect him or herself from sudden career derailment.


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