February 23rd, 2010

Harold Goldner

The Law Office of Harold M. Goldner

Author, HumanRaceHorses blog

Second Oboe in the Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra

Today we’re tweeting with employment lawyer @humanracehorses, who may well be the first 22 Tweets interviewee to play the oboe

  1. @humanracehorses thank you for joining us today on Twitter. Tell us: who is @humanracehorses?
    I solve workplace issues for employees who have been treated unfairly & for employers looking to improve their workplace.
  2. Tell us about your law practice.
    Mix of employment discrimination claims & defense work; human resources; w/a smattering of PI and estate work here & there.
  3. What type of clients do you represent?
    Big mix on employee side; on employer side, clients tend to be businesses where the bookkeeper is still the “HR director”
  4. And what would you say is the single most important legal issue affecting those clients?
    People spend about half their waking hours at work; if there are going to be conflicts, they’re likely to be on the job.
  5. What do you tell every new client before you start working for them?
    If you hire me, you get me, not a lower level associate. I am much easier to reach by email (or Twitter!) than by phone.
  6. Tell us about one of the more significant client representations you’ve had.
    Settled 2 cases alleging race, gender and retaliation against an airline. Came very close trial on the 2nd case.
  7. Why do your clients hire you?
    I ask the “Harry Potter” question at the very first consultation. “If I were a wizard, what could I do for you” (cont’d.)
    I make my focus getting what the client wants; not what I might want if I in their shoes. It’s all about the client.
  8. Indeed. What’s the most active area of your practice at the current time? Is that typical?
    Retaliation claims are big now. E/ees are aware of their rights & more likely to complain about discrimination.  (cont’d.)
    Also handling several non-competes where departing employees looking to be freed up to find better positions.
  9. How has the economic crisis changed the relationship between employers and employees? Are the changes permanent?
    For now employers have upper hand; employees are desperate to keep jobs even under bad conditions. Benefits more important. .
  10. What’s the next big battleground of discrimination in the workplace? How will it be resolved?
    1) Gender identify/affinity; acceptance of LGBT issues. 2) More anti-retaliation and whistleblowing laws.  (cont’d.)
    3) Genetic information. 4) Leave policies. As baby boomers age, more expansive family leave protection will be needed.
  11. Looks like conflicts to continue a while… How do you describe what you do to people you meet at a cocktail party?
    I solve employment & workplace problems, or as I like to say “We take the heartache out of HR”.
  12. You blog at Human Racehorses (http://bit.ly/cYQlbm). What are your blogging objectives? Are you meeting them?
    Much of my work comes from other lawyers; I think (at least I hope) the blog helps raise my “brand awareness.”  (cont’d.)
    I try to focus on the quality of my blog posts rather than the frequency. I hope that’s not a mistake. It shouldn’t be.
  13. Agreed. Besides your blog and Twitter, do you use other Web 2.0 tools to market your practice? Which ones?
    I answer lots of questions on Avvo (http://is.gd/90y5A) & “My Employment Lawyer” (http://is.gd/90ygi). I’m on LinkedIn too.
  14. What specific impact on referrals and/or client engagements, if any, have you realized from Web 2.0 activities?
    Neither LinkedIn nor Facebook generate any business (I don’t use FB that way); Avvo has generated several paying clients.
  15. Congrats for that! How much time do you spend each day developing / enhancing your brand?
    Not enough. I try to blog more often. I’d like to do a podcast. But I try not to ‘waste’ my tweets.
  16. What is the most significant issue currently facing the legal profession?
    You can’t be a worker bee without clients any more. Without a clientele, you are soon to be or are already unemployed.
  17. Interesting perspective. What will the legal landscape look like in 10 years?
    1) Expanded use of referral networks for solo/small firms; 2) Diminished use of billable hour  (cont’d.)
    3) More virtual versus in person clients. 4) More of a national or regional practice than archaic state-based model.
  18. What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
    Playing in an orchestra or band (I play alto sax & piano, too). Writing; composing. Maybe studying/teaching Shakespeare.
  19. How do you want to be remembered?
    My role model is George Bailey of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I’d like to be remembered as somebody who helped others.
  20. What do you do when you’re not working?
    Listening or playing music; playing tennis; walking or hiking. Reading (at least when I’m on vacation). Watching soccer.
  21. What advice can you pass along to lawyers currently under- or unemployed due to the economic crisis?
    a niche or expertise and be really good at it. Find clients you can help. Everything else will follow. Avoid mediocrity.
    Last answer, I mean FIND a niche…..  (thank Twhirl for the unwanted edit.)
  22. And our last question for you: What advice do you have for people going to law school today?
    Be sure it’s what you *really* want to do. Expect to find fulfillment outside of law practice – it’s a jungle out there.

That’s good advice. Thank you for the twitterview: I enjoyed it very much.

Likewise; thanks for the opportunity to chat. Keep up the good work. I look forward to your future “Twitterview.”

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