Too much? Many lawyers say they want to see more formal attire around the office.

Too much? Many lawyers say they want to see more formal attire around the office.

I am survey-crazy this week, having covered two others in posts this week. And on Change of Venue Friday, what could be more appropriate than survey results regarding casual dress in the law office?

The helpful people at Robert Half Associates surveyed lawyers on the question of professional dress. And they report:

“Managers in the legal field may be pushing back on more casual workplace attire at their law firms and corporate legal departments. In a new survey, 73 percent of lawyers report having a business casual attire policy at their workplace; however, half of these same attorneys would prefer their colleagues to dress more formally in the workplace.”

In their summary, the Robert Half folks noted:

Lawyers were asked: “In general, would you prefer legal professionals dress more formally or casually in the office?” Their responses:

  • Much more formally: 8%
  • Somewhat more formally: 42%
  • Neither more formally nor more casually: 22%
  • Somewhat more casually: 21%
  • Much more casually: 3%
  • Don’t know/no answer: 5%

Because we all love them, I share below an infographic that RHA created depicting the survey results.

Do these results resonate with you? Has the law office gotten too casual? Or is that simply yearning for a time better left behind?

Have a wonderful—and powdered-wig-free—weekend. And here’s that infographic (click to biggify):

Robert Half Legal_Business Casual Attire infographic

Gallagher & Kennedy attorney Laura Antonuccio reads to Phoenix Day schoolchildren, May 28, 2014.

Gallagher & Kennedy attorney Laura Antonuccio reads to Phoenix Day schoolchildren, May 28, 2014.

At a school in south Phoenix, dozens of children smile as a group from a law firm enters the room. They’ve come to know these women—each one a woman professional from law firm Gallagher & Kennedy—over the course of many months. And this day—May 28, 2014—is the culmination of the nearly year-long relationship.

If your eyes grow large at the notion that children would be pleased to see attorneys, you really need to understand what these women accomplished at Phoenix Day, an early education and youth development center serving underprivileged children.

The 18 women from Gallagher & Kennedy sought a way to make a difference in their community. The result was their participation in the Million Minutes Reading Challenge of the United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council.

Seeing the need, the G&K folks formed their own “Team Right to Read.” They also sought out a participating school, landing at Phoenix Day. Since last September, the women have volunteered more than 7,300 minutes (and counting) reading to 86 students.

Members of the Gallagher & Kennedy Professional Women’s Group who donated hundreds of books to children at Phoenix Day on Wednesday, May 28, 2014, as part of their role in the Valley of the Sun United Way's Million Minutes Volunteer Reading Challenge. L to R: Jodi Bohr, Jennifer Cranston, Lori Stinson (Phoenix Day), Laura Antonuccio, Meg Smeck, Alana Hake. (Photo: PatrickCorley.com)

Members of the Gallagher & Kennedy Professional Women’s Group who donated hundreds of books to children at Phoenix Day on Wednesday, May 28, 2014, as part of their role in the Valley of the Sun United Way’s Million Minutes Volunteer Reading Challenge. L to R: Jodi Bohr, Jennifer Cranston, Lori Stinson (Phoenix Day), Laura Antonuccio, Meg Smeck, Alana Hake. (Photo: PatrickCorley.com)

May 28 was a reading day like many others. But it also was an opportunity to give the children another present—a large box of books (and other items) for each to take home. The materials had been gathered and assembled over multiple weeks by the G&K women.

As the school’s Education Director Lori Stinson looks on with a smile, attorney Laura Antonuccio leads the kids in a rousing rendition of “Clap Your Hands.”

“Reach for the sky, wiggle your toes, Stick out your tongue and touch your nose.”

Antonuccio originated the idea of a reading support group, and she is adept at firing the children up with the excitement of reading.

She suddenly exclaims, “On the count of three, everybody tell me how old you are!” The joyful cacophony of “3,” “5,” “4” fills the room, while a sotto voce (and slightly Eeyore-ish) voice adds from the back of the room, “30.”

After the festivities, lawyer Jennifer Cranston tells a visitor why the women are committed to this effort.

“Of course, we are all a part of the community,” she begins. And if listeners need a better reason to offer children the gift of reading, she adds, “And we’ll certainly reduce the need for lawyers if the entire population can become better educated.”

(Yes, she meant reducing the need for lawyers is a good thing.)

Members of the Gallagher & Kennedy women’s group may continue their work at Phoenix Day. But the group also seeks a new initiative for the coming year. Congratulations and thank you to each of them for their remarkable commitment.

Here are some more photos from the May 28 event.

Gallagher & Kennedy's Meg Smeck with children of Phoenix Day.

Gallagher & Kennedy’s Meg Smeck with children of Phoenix Day.

One of the many boxes of donated items gathered by the Gallagher & Kennedy women as gifts to the children of Phoenix Day.

One of the many boxes of donated items gathered by the Gallagher & Kennedy women as gifts to the children of Phoenix Day.

Gallagher and Kennedy attorney Jodi Bohr reads to a Phoenix Day student.

Gallagher and Kennedy attorney Jodi Bohr reads to a Phoenix Day student.

Phoenix Day students and Gallagher and Kennedy women professionals at the May 28, 2014, event.

Phoenix Day students and Gallagher and Kennedy women professionals at the May 28, 2014, event.

Tim Corcoran, LMA President, speaks in Phoenix on Thursday, March 13, at the State Bar of Arizona.

Tim Corcoran, LMA President, speaks in Phoenix on Thursday, March 13, at the State Bar of Arizona.

This Thursday, an event at the State Bar of Arizona is absolutely worth your time. Here are 3 reasons you should attend:

  1. The presenter’s first name is Tim.
  2. The presenter is a committed blogger.
  3. The topic is law firms and money. You like money, don’t you?

The event is a production of the Southwest Chapter of the Legal Marketing Association, a group I’ve been privileged to collaborate with numerous times before (here’s the most recent).

The title of the event is “Demystifying Law Firm Finance for Marketing and Business Development Professionals,” and it occurs Thursday, March 13, from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm.

More detail and a registration link are here.

As the LMA describes it:

Legal Marketing Association logo“This interactive discussion will cover how law firms made money yesterday and how they will make money tomorrow. Tim Corcoran will discuss the role of Alternative Fee Arrangements (AFAs), Legal Project Management (LPM), Business Process Improvement (BPI), Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) and Big Data on the law firm of the future. This program is designed to demystify law firm finances so legal marketing and business development professionals can sit at the table as equals with finance professionals and firm leadership.”

“Tim will also provide an overview of the changing face of law firm finance, from the long-time R.U.L.E.S. approach to the more modern Learning Curve approach.”

Corcoran is the 2014 President of the LMA, and we are fortunate to have him come to Phoenix. The experienced executive “advises law firm leaders how to profit in a time of great change, with particular emphasis in strategy, business process improvement, legal project management and business development.”

And, as I alluded to at the top, he is the author of Corcoran’s Business of Law blog.

I am disappointed to say that as this program begins, I’ll be en route to Chicago for a presentation of my own. But I look forward to hearing about Tim’s message.

Again, here is a link to register.

Georgetown Law Report on the Legal Market 2014It’s still early in the year, so legal experts continue to offer predictions about the path of 2014’s legal economy. Today, I share a rather good report, this one from Georgetown Law School, specifically its Center for the Study of the Legal Profession. Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s titled “Report on the State of the Legal Market.” (Legal profession experts should begin hiring great headline-writers; they really should.)

I will let you dig into the blissfully brief (15-page) report. But I share just two of their charts so you can see the trajectory we’re on.

The first chart is in regard to legal demand:

Georgetown Law Report on the Legal Market legal demand chart

And the second table I share reflects the continued gap between hours worked, hours billed and (gulp) hours collected on:

Georgetown Law Report on the Legal Market rate progression chart

Here is a good summary of the Georgetown report, from the Wall Street Journal.

And I must offer a hat tip to the ever-watchful Katie Mayer of The Artigue Agency Public Relations for spotting the WSJ article. Thanks, Katie!

I continue to stumble across the notion that the challenges in the legal market center around the need for changes in approach and imagination (says the guy no longer in practice; easy for me to say). But I urge you to look at a previous post in which a change in view led to increased service delivery, increased client satisfaction—and, we assume, increased profitability.

Of course, that related to the medical profession. But who knows; we may learn something.

What's coming in the legal profession? We'd all like to know.

What’s coming in the legal profession? We’d all like to know.

Earlier this month, I said I would highlight a few industry predictions for 2014 from pros in various segments. Today, consider the insights of Dave Canfield, of UnitedLex.

Describing itself as a “global provider of legal and data solutions,” the company put together a list of some of the major trends that are currently influencing the legal industry.

Those trends include the following areas:

  • Legal outsourcing
  • Law firm innovation and the cloud
  • Law school innovation and consolidation
  • General counsel priorities and return on investment

Dave’s article is here. It’s worth reading and saving. And you can reach him directly at dave.canfield@unitedlex.com.

One other topic examined previously by the firm but unmentioned in this article is that of cybersecurity and the legal industry. Among the challenges will be internal and external attacks on law firm networks, and managing the increased desire for staff to participate in the BYOD (“bring your own device”) movement.

The legal industry is facing a landscape that is unlike any it’s confronted in a generation. How has your law office been affected by the altered economy? Have any new practices areas saved your bacon? Have new technologies or methods provided increased profitability in unexpected ways?

Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org. We may help tell your story in Arizona Attorney.

Venue Projects Beef Eaters sign

Longtime lawyer eatery Beef Eaters Restaurant, about to be reborn via Venue Projects.

Yesterday, I shared a story about historic preservation in Phoenix. And today, via the power of Craigslist, you may own an upholstered and cushy part of that history. You deserve it; take a well-earned seat.

Before I get to that, let me take you back to 1961, when the Beef Eaters Restaurant opened in Phoenix. From then until 2006, it was one of the go-to locations for prominent attorneys and their clients.

Today, it is being refurbished in a great collaborative effort. I wrote about that here.

Last night, scanning my Facebook stream, I saw a post by Modern Phoenix and by Lorenzo Perez of developer Venue Projects. Alerting those of us who like our history combined with comfort, they posted a photo of dusty but sumptuous Beef Eaters booths and suggested they could be in your own space.

*Like*

*Click*

Much to my pleasure, that click took me to Craigslist, where the following post appears:

“The iconic Beef Eaters Restaurant booths need to go asap! Some are in great shape and some are in need of repair. These booths are black high back leather 60’s style. 6’6″ Long x 4’6″ Wide. By appointment only to review the booths for purchase. Price is negotiable per booth.”

View the post for yourself here.

What settlement conference wouldn't go better when parties are seated around a Beef Eaters booth?

What settlement conference wouldn’t go better when parties are seated around a Beef Eaters booth?

Not to be competitive or anything, but which lawyer or law firm will be the first to purchase a booth? Who in town will be the bravest and coolest law firm? Which law office will possess the hippest collaborative work space, the one the Mad Men themselves only wish they could claim as their own?

Over at my house, I’m taking a tape measure to our walls to see if we can shoehorn in a booth of our own. It may or may not work for us. But if I still worked in a law office, I’d draft a purchase contract fast enough to make your head spin.

Who’s with me?

No U Turn: The tried-and-true law practice techniques are not up to 2014's challenges.

The tried-and-true law practice techniques are not up to 2014’s challenges.

Last week, I mentioned NextLaw, our effort at Arizona Attorney Magazine to explore innovations in the legal profession.

The focus of that 2014 coverage will range among different niches of law practice. To help you understand what we’re looking for, I share here my editor’s column from the December issue.

I would appreciate it greatly if you would share this (and/or reblog it) with those who might have a great and innovative story to tell about their law firm, law practice or courthouse. Here’s the column:

What’s next? is something we all wonder. Here at a law magazine, that’s how we describe our job.

You may catch me talking quite a bit about the future of law in the coming year. We’re very interested (and pretty invested) in the topic. And as we considered the way forward in a profession as complex as the law, we realized we had to break it down—way down.

That is why we will cover the topic category by category next year. After all, what is going to transform large firm practice is not the same thing that will make law school education a compelling draw once again. Sole and small practitioners have their own challenges, as do our courts.

That’s why we’re engaged in the NextLaw Project. In it, we want to help portray the best practices available in those (and perhaps other) categories.

How could you, your law office or court get involved? I’m glad you asked.

Let's try forward (image courtesy Brooklyn Museum)

Let’s try forward (image courtesy Brooklyn Museum)

It’s possible that you’re aware of a remarkable tool or strategy that has made your work more competitive. Perhaps you’re developing a killer practice area, or your small law practice is suddenly benefiting from a resource—human or otherwise—that you hadn’t anticipated. Or maybe you know about your local courthouse that has made service to all its constituents better through initiative and imagination.

So we’re interested in your stories, which we’ve broadly grouped into the following categories:

  • The Emerging Law Firm
  • The Emerging Solo Practitioner
  • The Emerging Law School
  • The Emerging Courthouse

Why do I say “emerging”? Because we all feel we’re peering out of a dark recession, not sure if the light we see is sunrise or sunset. If experience is any guide, those who deem it sunrise will have some compelling stories to tell. Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

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