@whataboutparis

September 14th, 2011

J. Daniel Hull

Corporate Lawyer. Lobbyist. Fixer. Traveler. Writer.

Partner, Hull McGuire PC

Author of the What About Paris? / What About Clients? law blog

Today we’re tweeting with @Whataboutparis, the online persona of Dan Hull: int’l lawyer and “father” of the Slackoisie Movement

Two corrections: It’s the Anti-Slackoisie Movement, Lance. I am the Mother. @ScottGreenfield is the Father. Got that?

  1. @Whataboutparis, thank you for joining us on Twitter. Tell us, who is @Whataboutparis?
    WAP? is just the Twitter version of What About Clients? which started in 2005. Has been 5 or 6 writers off and on since that time.
  2. Tell us about your law practice.
    It’s Fun. Client industries include manufacturing, transportation, energy. Most (90%) long-standing. A few public figures, writers.
  3. What types of work do you do for those clients?
    Clusters of work for each: in’l corp. tax, IP, environmental, labor, cross-border disputes, federal courts, straight-up lobbying.
  4. What is the single most important legal issue affecting those clients?
    The Costs of Litigation. In B-2-B disputes especially, we need more Arbitrations Done Right & new concept of what “Winning” is.
  5. What do you tell every new client before you start working for them?
    You ask GC/client rep what he/she Really Needs. 2. Then you just Shut Up. 3. You Listen.
  6. Sounds about right. Tell us about one of the more significant client representations you’ve had.
    Representation of German co. sued by Spanish co. building steel mill in rural Kentucky with Atlanta arbitration under Ohio law.
  7. Wow. Why do your clients hire you?
    Most “hires” = repeat business. But my guess: they first come & stay because we think lawyering is not about the lawyers. Ever.
  8. What’s the most active area of your practice at the current time? Is that typical?
    Litigation. In a Recession, you’d expect it. But it is not that much more than usual.
  9. You’ve built a thriving int’l practice w/out setting up outside the US. Is that the right business model for all?
    No. You need very energetic lawyers who (1) want to “work abroad” & (2) could do that at almost any Western firm. Not 4 everyone.
  10. OK. Would you do the same again today? Or are the costs too high, the risks too great, the law too different?
    Great question. We worked internationally/nationally before that was cool. Am sure we’d try to enter market. Not sure if we would.
  11. Your firm has been part of the Int’l Business Law Consortium. What is it? What’s it mean for your clients? For you?
    IBLC “unbundled” lots of legal talent & gave even largest clients more choices abroad. 80+ firms in major cities around the globe.
  12. How do you describe what you do to people you meet at a cocktail party?
    Varies. But I don’t use the word “lawyer” until I have their attention. Even sophisticated users of lawyers think we’re Wankers.
  13. How do you market your int’l law practice? To whom? Did you always do it that way?
    We research thoroughly & pitch 4 new targets a year. If we get work from 2 inside of 18 months from first meeting, that’s success.
  14. Your blog, What About Paris?, is many things to your readers. What is it to you?
    Mainly fun. And to pitch a few ideas: art of the client, working “in the world”, cultural literacy/wholeness, lawyering as hard.
  15. OK, I gotta ask: what’s the Slackoisie, and why should they matter to the rest of us?
    The Slackoisie thinks Work is About Them–not about Buyers, Customers, Clients. The Slackoisie doesn’t matter. Just avoid them.
  16. :-) Let’s switch gears now: What is the most significant issue currently facing the legal profession?
    For decades now the Wrong People have been going to American law schools. Schools attract mainly “nice, smart” people. Not enough.
  17. What will the legal landscape look like in 10 years?
    1. Bigger & ultra-efficient in-house depts. 2. GC jobs more coveted than partnership. 3. Non-lawyers doing things lawyers now do.
  18. What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
    Hard question. Most likely I’d work as either a Travel Writer or a Talent Agent (authors, actors).
  19. How do you want to be remembered?
    Seriously, I’d be very honored if folks around me said I made them do 2 things: (1) Feel Alive, and (2) Think On Their Own.
  20. What do you do when you’re not working?
    Travel, Read, Run, Do Stuff Outdoors. I love water. Been a fisherman my whole life–but took up fly fishing late. I love Europe.
  21. What advice can you pass along to lawyers currently under- or unemployed due to the economic crisis?
    Legal skills/reasoning=10% of what great lawyers have/use. Use Everything you have. Don’t play by “the rules”. Think on your own.
  22. And the last question of our “longest” interview: What advice do you have for people going to law school today?
    For decades the vast majority of folks (i.e., 90%) who’ve attended U.S. law schools should not have attended. Don’t be among them.

Solid advice. Thanks much for tweeting with us (twice!); was great to get to know you and your practice better

PS Sorry I couldn’t end on an “up” note. But we do need the right people/personality types to become lawyers. :)

Indeed. And it’s good advice.

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@hampshirelawyer

October 19th, 2010

Gabor Kovacs

UK Litigation / Disputes Lawyer

Author of Hampshire Lawyer: Seeing the Wood for the Trees

Podcaster and Photographer

Today we’re tweeting with Hampshire, UK-based litigation / disputes lawyer, blogger, photographer, and podcaster @HampshireLawyer

  1. @HampshireLawyer, thank you for joining us on Twitter. Tell us, who is @HampshireLawyer?
    a 51 year old husband and father who happens to earn his living as a lawyer
  2. Tell us about your law practice.
    now in a small country town, mainly representing private clients, soon to move to a small commercial firm in a larger town
  3. What type of clients do you represent?
    private individuals and owner-managed businesses
  4. And what is the single most important legal issue affecting those clients?
    Private clients – the value of their property, protecting that value, leaving something for their kids …
    … Biz clients – it all boils down to keeping head above water
  5. What do you tell every new client before you start working for them?
    litigation is expensive; consider alternatives; don’t go to Court unless committed to the time hassle expense
  6. Tell us about one of the more significant client representations you’ve had.
    11 years ago instructed by 3 guys with small co. Engineers with no business sense. Small case but to lose would kill co…
    …8 years later they sold for £m+. I still represent one of them (others retired)
  7. Wow, that’s great. Why do your clients hire you?
    reputation of firm, recommendation to me. I try to cut to the core issues to achieve cost effective outcomes
  8. I’m sure they appreciate that. What’s the most active area of your practice at the current time? Is that typical?
    no 1 thing, but sadly a lot of neighbour disputes, boundaries; often caused by car parking space needs. All take, no give
  9. You recently announced a move from a private client practice to a commercial practice. Why the change?
    litigation for private clients is dying on its feet. Process too expensive and risky. Best advice not to go there…
    … So with diminishing workload/fee income I had to look for the work where it is. That means focussing on business clients
  10. Do you think you’re alone in changing your approach? Will access to lawyers eventually be limited to wealthy elite?
    I doubt I’m alone. If I am, there will be some extinct dinosaurs out there. Access to justice is a real issue …
    … I think there needs to be a “simple cases” track with a slimmed down procedure for disclosure etc, 1/2 day trial …
    … Fixed costs awarded to winner. Possibly rough justice, but a product I could sell
  11. Interesting. How do you describe what you do to people you meet at a cocktail party?
    I used to say I play sax at Ronnie Scotts (jazz club in London). Until I met someone who did! …
    … Often still flippant, something like fat cat lawyer manqué.
  12. How do you market your law practice? How has it changed over the past five years?
    stop waiting for work to come through door. Work the contacts. Visit clients (esp biz) at their place. I don’t believe …
    … in offering freebies or loss leaders to new clients. Prefer to say meter not running till we agree I can achieve something
  13. You’re very active on Twitter (as @hampshirelawyer and @gaborelectric). What’s your Twitter strategy?
    strategy, moi? If anything, it’s about engaging, being known, profile raising. If a strategy, it’s still being worked out
  14. :-) You’ve got 3 blogs, including one on law (http://bit.ly/9iRKu9). Why do you blog? Why should others visit them?
    Legal blog started as part self-promotion, part to sell blog idea to firm. Rely on others/twitter to spread word…
    … I guess others visit following links with reference to subject matter of post as of interest …
    … music podcast a hobby so visitors have common interest. Ditto photo-blog. 2 other blogs r for me don’t care if no visitors
  15. I’d say they’re worth visiting. Have your Web 2.0 activities led to any additional referrals or client engagements?
    surprised but yes. Instructions both via twitter (lawyer referral) and anonymous participation in online legal advice forum
  16. Very interesting. Let’s change gears now: What is the most significant issue currently facing the legal profession?
    finding and maintaining the quality work justifying realistic fees; pressures impacting ability to deliver quality service
  17. What will the legal landscape look like in 10 years?
    at my level, more smaller niche specialist expert firms. Fewer high street generalists. Black hole areas of no legal service
  18. What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
    No idea! Law was the one idea for Uni course my parents never talked me out of! Possibly teacher, probably languages?
  19. How do you want to be remembered?
    other than for my striking resemblance to Bryan Ferry? As someone who made a difference, someone who cared
  20. What do you do when you’re not working?
    indie music; photography; garden & enjoy home grown fruit & veg; support parents (dad had bad stroke April); family stuff
  21. What advice can you pass along to lawyers currently under- or unemployed due to the economic crisis?
    Stay active; keep brain engaged; consider pro-bono type work; blog and tweet; network network network
  22. Last question for you: What advice do you have for people going to law school today?
    not enough just to be a good lawyer (although a given). Understand the business of law. Make, nurture, keep contacts …
    … especially your non lawyer contemporaries: when you are senior they will be too. Do favours; pay it forward

That’s very good advice. Thanks so much for tweeting with us today; enjoyed learning more about you & your practice

You’re welcome, I enjoyed it. It’s a challenge to fit something worth saying into 140 characters! Good evening.

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