And here, like Walker Percy, he interviews himself.

Well, close.

Well, close.

No one has ever asked me the lawyer-related questions I would like to be asked.  At age fifty-three, time is passing.  So, inspired by novelist Walker Percy, who wrote an essay entitled Questions They Never Asked Me, I decided to do a self-interview.

If you’re unwilling or unable to click through the link, here is the gist of it:

 

You have a social-media presence. Can someone hire a lawyer off the Internet?

No. Hiring a lawyer is an impossible judgment to make from a blog or webpage. There are a lot of good lawyers. They may be able to help you, but you can’t tell because their websites and bios look and sound the same. (Ask yourself: “The last guy I looked at who talked about ‘innovation in client service,’ was the background of his webpage goldenrod, or was he the guy with the blue stripe and tiny print down the side?”)

First one lawyer, then another.

First one lawyer, then another.

So how does someone with a legal problem tell one lawyer from another?

All lawyers want to stand out from the crowd, but everybody uses the same buzzwords. “Dedicated, innovative and collaborative.”

A very 1980s approach.

A very 1980s approach.

It’s like we all picked up the same management-guru’s paperback one night changing planes at DFW.

That doesn’t answer the question.

Well, it does.

First, I’m not going to tell you how smart, creative, proactive, problem-solving, practical-minded, cost-effective, sophisticated, responsive, savvy, innovative, disruptive, global and social I think I am. Clients and colleagues get to draw conclusions like that.

Second, I’m going to admit at least some ignorance. A lawyer learns about a client by listening. Not by talking. If I don’t listen to you, I can’t claim an understanding of your business, your problem or your life.

If we skip adjectives and admit ignorance, what’s left?

A promise. I promise I’ll pay attention to you, your business and your life. If I’m not the smartest guy in the room (which is entirely possible), I promise that I will work harder―a lot harder―than anyone else in the room. I promise that I respect the courtroom but I don’t fear trial. I promise that I will tell you (a) the truth about your problem and (b) about whether I’m the right person to help. I promise to be ethical. I promise to be loyal, because too many lawyers and businesspeople aren’t.

That’s it?

That’s it.

 


Breaking Bad, All the Time: White Collar Crime for Business Lawyers

 

Trial Dot Com

The Network of Trial Law Firms is an excellent CLE vehicle.  Here’s a Sharman White Collar Panel Video of a Network panel about white-collar issues for civil lawyers — me, Jackie Arango of Akerman Senterfit (Miami), Joel Neckers of Wheeler Trigg (Denver) and Gerry Leone of Noxon Peabody (Boston).  Here’s the blurb from the Network program:

No one thinks of themselves, their employees or their company as “criminals.” On the other hand, Walter White was once just a chemistry teacher. The lines between what are business-crime problems and what are traditional corporate civil issues — compliance, due diligence, regulatory recordkeeping and permitting, whistleblowers, confidentiality, privilege and indemnification — have become blurred. Listen to an experienced panel highlight the most important events and insights from 2013 and what to expect in 2014.

Video camera

I know, I know.  The video is a bit long to just sit and watch unless you’ve previously gone to the “Cocktails” archive of this blog, but I find the most curious point to arrive at minute 25:22, where I play for the crowd a 140-second video of myself talking about search warrants.  A video within video.  They loved it.