@humanracehorses

February 23rd, 2010

Harold Goldner

The Law Office of Harold M. Goldner

Author, HumanRaceHorses blog

Second Oboe in the Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra

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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.
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  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.
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  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”
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  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.
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  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.
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  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.
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  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.
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  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.
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  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. .
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  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.
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  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”.
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  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.
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  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.
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  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.
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  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.
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  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.
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  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.
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  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.
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  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.
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  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.
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  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.)
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  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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@russellbesq

September 17th, 2009

08998Russell Beck

Partner and Head of Trade Secret/Noncompete Task Force, Foley & Lardner LLP

Co-author of Trade Secret / Noncompete Blog

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Today we’re tweeting with lawyer @russellbesq who heads up the Trade Secret / Noncompete practice of a global firm

  1. @russellbesq thank you for joining us today on Twitter. Tell us: who is @russellbesq?
    Thank you. Pleasure to be here. The answer is: Father, husband, lawyer, photographer, law school lecturer, author.
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  2. Tell us about your law practice.
    20 years as commercial litigator, w/focus on soft IP (copyright, trademark, trade secret), especially, noncompete agreements
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  3. What type of clients do you represent?
    I represent clients of all sizes in all industries. Mostly companies, but sometimes individuals, esp. in noncompete cases.
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  4. What is the single most important legal issue affecting those clients?
    Hard to say; law is developing in many areas, but…changes to Computer Fraud & Abuse Act and poss change in MA noncomp law
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  5. What do you tell every new client before you start working for them?
    Despite being a litigator, I tell new clients that litig is last resort. It’s costly, stressful & long. R u sure u need it?
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  6. That’s a useful perspective. Tell us about one of the more significant client representations you’ve had.
    Over 20 years, there have been lots; 4 me, signif derives frm meaningfulness 2 client. Eg, 2 clients accused of fraud. …
    There had been a related case w/their company, represented by other lawyers and lost. Individuals came 2 me 4 their case. …
    My clients hadn’t done wrong, but co. had lost & these cases r rarely won b/f trial. But, we won w/o trial. …
    It was very emotional for them; I will never forget their joy and thankfulness.
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  7. That’s a great story! Why do your clients hire you?
    I like 2 think that it’s b/c I work to understand the case from their perspective, take a practical approach & hate to lose!
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  8. All good qualities in a lawyer… What’s the most active area of your practice at the current time? Is that typical?
    Trade secret/noncomps (counseling and litigation). Yes typical, but times when more copyright, trademark & commercial lit.
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  9. You drafted the current bill pending before MA House to define & codify MA noncompetition law. How did that come about?
    MA high ct issued decision, after which a state rep, Lori Ehrlich, asked me if I would help to advise on and revise the law
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  10. That’s a great recognition of your work and experience. How do you market your practice?
    Traditional marketing (wrote the book on MA noncompetes, lecture, happy clients, etc) & new media: Twitter, LinkedIn, Blog.
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  11. How do you describe what you do to people you meet at networking events?
    I try to avoid pitch, instead have fun. If asked, I say that I am a litigator who fixes problems, but prefer to prevent them
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  12. What led a 20-year partner at a global law firm to embrace non-traditional marketing as aggressively as you have done?
    I have a computer science background, and have always been very tech savvy. It’s purely b/c I enjoy it.
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  13. You write Trade Secret/Noncompete Blog jointly w/4 others (http://bit.ly/12VjKM). Do you recommend that approach? Why?
    TSN Blog is new; I started it for F&L’s trade secret/noncomp group (which I run). There r 50+ lawyrs, so more will write. …
    I recommend it – more/diverse content & I believe people shld do as much or as little as they wish. I enjoy it, so I do it.
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  14. What specific impact on referrals and/or client engagements have you realized from Web 2.0 activities?
    We r more visible. So, new clients r more likely 2 have heard of us when they r referred by other clients or lawyers. …
    For example, just today, someone saw on Twitter that we were doing the web seminar and contacted us to attend.
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  15. How much time do you spend each day developing / enhancing your brand?
    Not to be glib, but as much as I have! I do a lot of writing and speaking, and then use new media when I can slip it in.
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  16. Let’s switch gears a bit. What is the most significant issue currently facing the legal profession?
    Cost. Legal services, esp litig, r costly. Lawyers, clients, law makers & courts must wk together 2 make it more practical.
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  17. That makes sense. What will the legal landscape look like in 10 years?
    If I only knew! :) I suspect more small firms & fewer – but larger – big firms. Conflict of interest rules will b relaxed.
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  18. What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
    I do love what I do, but… (and don’t laugh!) race car driver (but my wife would kill me), so, photographer or astronomer.
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  19. One of the earlier twitterviewees said he’d race motorcycles…. How do you want to be remembered?
    (Hmm… shld add motorcycles!) Loving father, husband, brother, and son. Good friend.
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  20. What have I started… What advice do you have for lawyers currently under- or unemployed due to the economic crisis?
    (No worries, my wife wld kill me more for that!) Times r really tough. They must market. …
    … Market, market, market. After that, market more. But, focus on types of mkting u enjoy. Ask 4 help & find mentors.
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  21. What advice do you have for people going to law school today?
    Focus on areas of interest and practical skills. You can learn the rest when needed – and you will for the bar.
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  22. That’s good advice. Our final question for your today: What do you do when you’re not working?
    Is there a time I’m not working?! :) #1 priority: time w/kids & wife (& dog). Then, photog, computer, garden, music, driving

Well, thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions today: this was a great twitterview!

It was my pleasure. Thank you for the thoughtful questions and taking the time to twitterview me!

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@charlesthomas

September 15th, 2009

ct_self_portraitCharles Thomas

Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney

Founder, The Law Offices of Charles Thomas

Author of Persuasive Authority and Philly LGBT Lawyer

Today we’re tweeting with Philadelphia criminal defense attorney and (new) solo practice evangelist @CharlesThomas

  1. @CharlesThomas, thank you for joining us today on Twitter. Tell us: who is @CharlesThomas?
    Thanks for having me! I’m a true solo doing MOSTLY crim def. I enjoy cooking and play some music too. http://is.gd/3jctX
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  2. Looks interesting; I’ll have to watch it later. Tell us about your law practice.
    I was trained as a criminal def atty- that’s my bread & butter. I’m trying to add civil and LGBT rights to my practice.
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  3. What type of clients do you represent?
    My crim clients come from all walks of life. LOTS of people get a DUI or a shoplifiting or into a fight. Rich & educated too
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  4. What is the single most important legal issue affecting your clients?
    The inequality in the system- I have a 5 county practice. Bucks Co would jail someone where Philly would just give a fine.
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  5. Wow. What do you tell every new client before you start working for them?
    That I have a firm no-BS rule. If I say “this is the best I can do for you” I mean it. Can’t always win on this side.
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  6. Tell us about one of the more significant client representations you’ve had.
    When I was a PD, I was set precedent about the the 1st Amend rights of parolees. http://is.gd/3jf3Q (PDF)
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  7. Significant representation indeed! Congrats on that. Why do your clients hire you?
    Because I am not judgmental. Most of them are embarrassed & afraid- I get that, but I also let them know there are ways out.
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  8. I imagine that’s a huge comfort for them. What’s the most active area of your practice right now? Is that typical?
    There’s no such thing. Each phone call is different. One guy gets busted with weed- someone else punched a guy.
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  9. You started your career as a public defender. What led you to strike out on your own?
    I was there almost 5 years. That seems to be the point when people either a PD for life or break away. I wanted a change.
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  10. How is your practice different now that you’ve got your own practice? What does it mean to your clients?
    For one thing, I have fewer felony cases. Ironically, I used to work harder on the CASES back then. Now I work on the biz.
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  11. That’s very interesting. How do you market your practice?
    Entirely through social media. All my referrals come through twitter or facebook.
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  12. Why did you decide to become active on Twitter? Are you achieving those objectives?
    I was an early adopter for personal purposes. I found more lawyers and made deeper connex, I saw the pro possibilities.
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  13. You blog at Persuasive Auth (http://bit.ly/lvVjK) & Philly LGBT Lawyer (http://bit.ly/14ETsk) Who do you write for?
    Myself. As a Bi man I have a stake in LGBT rights. Pther blog is about legal writing, which is so awful. If clients result, bonus.
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  14. You said all your work comes from SocMed. How do you manage that? What do you do to keep up the flow?
    I sub to @davidmatson ’s lead generation service where his 800 number fwds to my cell. Otherwise, it’s referrals from attys.
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  15. How much time do you spend each day developing / enhancing your brand?
    Branding is a new thing to me. My website http://is.gd/3jkRb is a good start, emphasizing my caring and empathetic approach.
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  16. Yes, it is. Let’s switch gears: what is the most significant issue currently facing the legal profession?
    That clients have FINALLY figured out what a ripoff biglaw is. The billable hour rewards incompetence & needless research.
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  17. What will the legal landscape look like in 10 years?
    Biglaw will shrink. Boutiques will grow. And the prison pop will increase. In 1960 PA had 7800 inmates- it’s now 51K.
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  18. That’s a stunning statistic. What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
    I’d be a standup comedian or an actor. I’m always tempted to move to LA and start auditioning. In drag, like Swayze in To Wong Foo.
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  19. Maybe that can be your next YouTube video…. How do you want to be remembered?
    A DA once called me the King of the BS Defense, meaning I would try anything to help the client. That’s how I want to be remembered.
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  20. What do you do when you’re not working?
    I play my guitar and write songs. I am also writing a comic book about an insurance adjuster who saves the world.
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  21. What advice would you pass along to lawyers currently under- or unemployed due to the economic crisis?
    Now is the time. Find a niche, and seize on it. There is a guy in DC who ONLY does milk regs- THAT’S a niche.
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  22. Is he on Twitter? Our last question for you: what advice do you have for people going to law school today?
    My advice: right now, don’t. New grads will be competing with laidoff assos. The readjusted salaries will not cover loans.

Thank you very much for your thoughtful responses today. This was a great twitterview.

Thank you for having me! I hope to have many conversations with people in the days to come.

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@eric_b_meyer

September 11th, 2009

3418977_1Eric B. Meyer

Labor and Employment Attorney

Associate, Dilworth Paxson LLP

Regular contributor to The Legal Intelligencer Blog

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Today we’re tweeting with @eric_b_meyer, labor & employment lawyer & winner of the 610 WIP SportsRadio Midday Show Suicide Pool

  1. @eric_b_meyer, thank you for joining us today on Twitter. Tell us: who is @eric_b_meyer?
    Husband, recent father, L&E attorney, Philly-area native, sports nut (Eagles, Sixers, Bruins, BoSox – family is from Boston)
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  2. Congrats on fatherhood! Tell us about your law practice.
    I’m an associate at Dilworth Paxson LLP in Philly where I counsel employers on labor and employment issues affecting the workplace
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  3. What type of clients do you represent?
    Most of our clients are employers in the Mid-Atlantic (PA, NJ, DE) region that have 50+ employees
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  4. What are some of the key legal issues now affecting those clients?
    Most common are issues involve sexual harassment, discrimination and FMLA. Employee use of social media is also hot now
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  5. SocMed issues probably going to grow…. What do you tell every new client before you start working for them?
    Employment disputes have a tendency to get very personal. It’s ok to be passionate, but at the end of the day, it’s business
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  6. Wise words…. Tell us about one of the more significant client representations you’ve had.
    1 of which I am most proud was a non-L&E pro bono case, helping a couple who bought a puppy mill dog take action against a kennel
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  7. I hope you and they were successful. Why do your clients hire you?
    Chloroform & brainwashing ;). But seriously, I like to think I’m good at what I do, while providing great value for our clients
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  8. What’s the most active area of your practice right now? Is that typical?
    Discrimination, sexual harassment & FMLA actions are generally plentiful. We are now seeing an increase in wage & hour disputes
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  9. You write a lot about the Employee Free Choice Act. What does it mean to your clients? Where does it stand?
    #EFCA means a lot to our clients, especially those that are not presently unionized — it is an absolute game changer …
    I do not see #EFCA passing this year — Congress will have its hands full with healthcare. Maybe a watered-down version in 2010
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  10. How has the economic crisis affected your clients’ ability to do business?
    Some of our clients are hurting. We’ve seen layoffs. We’ve seen bankruptcies. 2009 has not been the best of times for them
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  11. I think everyone’s looking forward to the next economic phase…. How do you market your practice?
    because its viral, social media is great! Although, nothing can replace some face to face time, a handshake & good conversation
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  12. You blog at The Legal Intelligencer Blog (http://bit.ly/p41HW). Why not start your own blog?
    There are only 24 hours in a day ;). @TheLegalIntel is so well known; I can just focus on blogging (rather than marketing)
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  13. Makes a lot of sense. Why did you become active on Twitter? Are your goals still the same? Are you meeting them?
    Getting my start on Twitter just kinda happened. And I aimed low — I started last November w/ zero goals … I met them.
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  14. What specific impact on referrals and/or client engagements have you realized from your Web 2.0 activities?
    I’ve gotten many speaking engagements and have also become a recognized authority on #socialmedia issues affecting the workplace
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  15. How much time do you spend each day developing / enhancing your brand?
    I use Tweetdeck at work and at home, so it’s constantly on for me. Actively, I probably spend an hour or two a day on Twitter.
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  16. Let’s switch gears. What would you say are some of the most significant issues currently facing the legal profession?
    Finding ways to distinguish yourself from the field. For me, that means staying on the cutting edge, e.g., #EFCA and #socialmedia
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  17. What will the legal landscape look like in 10 years?
    What will the stock market look like in 10 years? I have no idea. Guessing, I’d say more emphasis on tech, less on billable hour
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  18. What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
    I always wanted to be a sports agent (still do). More than likely, I’d be in financial services (a stockbroker, maybe)
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  19. How do you want to be remembered?
    I want to be remembered as a great lawyer and an even better person
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  20. What do you do when you’re not working?
    My 12 week old son, Brooks, dominates my life away from work (although my wife would tell you its fantasy football/baseball)
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  21. What advice would you pass along to lawyers currently under- or unemployed due to the economic crisis?
    Get out there and network like its your full-time job. Make contacts. Make contacts with your contacts. Be aggressive & persistent
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  22. Our last question of the day: What advice do you have for people going to law school today?
    As explained to me many years ago, in the whole scheme of things, law school doesn’t count for much …

Thanks for having me

Thank YOU for a great twitterview! I really appreciate your thoughtful responses

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@taxgirl

April 21st, 2009

taxgirlavatarKelly Phillips Erb

Owner at The Erb Law Firm PC

Tax law blawger at Taxgirl: “because paying taxes is painful… but reading about them shouldn’t be.”

Mom, tax lawyer, coffee drinker, manic blogger, iPod addict – not a sleeper

Today, we’re tweeting with @taxgirl: coffee drinker, super blawger, mom, Philly native, and true tax law rockstar

  1. @Taxgirl, thank you for joining us today on Twitter. Who is the person behind @Taxgirl?
    Thanks for having me! I’m pretty much exactly what I tweet about: mom, tax lawyer, blogger. And I drink a lot of coffee…
     
  2. Tell us about your law practice.
    I own a practice in Philly w my husband @jcerb (no casualties yet). We focus on int’l, tax, computer and biz law – I do the tax bit.
     
  3. Let’s hope that record lasts…. What type of clients do you represent?
    Most clients are businesses/biz owners. We rep a lot of tech companies, ISPs, the like, a # of int’l businesses (esp German/UK).
     
  4. What do you tell every new client before you start working for them?
    Not to be scared of tax. While it’s important to try to get it right the 1st time, there’s practically nothing that can’t be fixed.
     
  5. That makes me feel better about the return I just filed…. What was the most significant client representation you’ve had?
    Gosh, that’s tough, how do you define sig? Just before I started my firm, I made a great pitch to a sizable biz – they loved it.
     
  6. Yes, winning a new client as you’re starting on your own is significant. Did they say what was special about your pitch?
    No, but I knew. It was that I could think on my feet. They changed their minds about what they wanted, and I was able to respond.
    Around that time, I thought I had fallen out of love w law. I realized I loved tax law. I just didn’t love my old firm. Aha moment.
     
  7. That’s a good strength to have. What are the other reasons your clients hire you?
    I hope they hire me because I’m good at what I do and I understand that businesses aren’t just about spreadsheets.
     
  8. How is the economic crisis affecting your clients?
    You know, knock wood, our clients haven’t been terribly affected by the slowdown in the economy.
     
  9. They (& you) are fortunate. Do you think it stems from their businesses/industries, an improving economy or other factors?
    Some of it is definitely industry specific. I also think small-mid sized biz are often better equipped to adapt to chg.
     
  10. That’s no doubt correct. How do you market your practice?
    Lots of networking, “real life” and SM. We sponsor events. I write quite a bit and I speak often (@jcerb – be nice!)
     
  11. Looks like I’ll have to interview @jcerb soon…. How much time do you spend each day developing / enhancing your brand?
    Good luck w that – @jcerb is very diff from me!
    I kind of am my brand, it’s hard to quantify. Is it wrong to say all of my waking hours? ;)
    maybe it’s Twitter or maybe it’s lawyers but the 22 Tweets interviewees all seem to have a similar answer to that question….
     
  12. You’ve blogged for more than four years as Taxgirl (http://bit.ly/1aAm8M). How much is there to say about taxes?
    Are you kidding me? I could talk forever @ taxes! Like it or not, practically every aspect of life can be linked to taxes.
     
  13. you really ARE a tax law rockstar! What has been the greatest benefit you’ve got from blogging?
    I guess that every day, I get to talk about interesting things w great people. How many people can say that?
     
  14. Have your Web 2.0 activities had an impact on referrals or client engagements?
    Yes and no. I actually get more biz from the web for the other attys in my firm – but that’s just as good.
     
  15. Indeed. Switching gears, what is the most significant issue currently facing the legal profession?
    Besides layoffs? Image. There are terrible lawyers who have ruined what folks think of us. Most lawyers are good people!
     
  16. What will the legal landscape look like in 10 years?
    Despite the noise, it will look the same. The legal field is not terribly fluid/progressive (my colleagues still use DOS).
     
  17. Interesting perspective. What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
    I don’t know. I’m spoiled now, so I’d have to work for myself (who wants a boss anymore?). I’d love to own a winery.
     
  18. How do you want to be remembered?
    Remembered? What have you heard? Am I going somewhere?
     
  19. OK, OK, maybe it’s not the right question. How’s this one: what do you do when you’re not working?
    Chasing after my kids or digging in the dirt (I love to garden). I also like to drink wine but that sounds sad out loud.
     
  20. You mentioned that you and your husband are law partners. Is it tough to leave your practice at the office?
    Yeah, but it’s also cool to work w someone who understands where you’re coming from, if I have to answer a call, he gets it.
    But we also have 3 small kids so we don’t have a lot of time to talk law at home: we’re busy playing zone defense.
     
  21. I get that…. For your final question, what advice do you have for people going to law school today?
    Life changes constantly. Don’t get sucked into the idea that any single moment, course or grade will define you.
    I say that having gotten my lowest grade in law school… in tax law.

Great advice made infinitely stronger by that admission! Thank you so much for tweeting with 22 Tweets today.

    [Ed. note: due to editorial oversight, @taxgirl was not asked all 22 questions....]

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