Soft Skills

Supreme Court Amends Rule Of Professional Conduct Related To Competence

Supreme Court Amends Rule Of Professional Conduct Related To Competence

The California Supreme Court approved the amendment of Rule 1.1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The new version of the Rule went into effect on March 22, 2021. The new version of the Rule contains a new Comment providing that a lawyer’s duty of competence encompasses a duty to keep abreast of the changes in the law and law practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology. The Rule reads as follows: Rule 1.1 Competence (a) A lawyer shall not intentionally, recklessly, with gross negligence, or repeatedly fail to perform legal services with competence. (b) For purposes of this...

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Summer Law Jobs 101

Summer Law Jobs 101

For law students, it is hard enough to get a good summer law job, whether at a private firm or public agency. Once this is achieved, the elation is immediately tempered with a stark fear of failure. You experience the realization that you will soon be making the transition from student to lawyer, albeit in a limited sense. Once you have a summer job at a firm, how can you ensure that the people who hired you will be satisfied with your performance and, more importantly, remember you as a worthy candidate for an associate’s job in the future? *Always exercise...

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Principles Of Professional Conduct – Meritorious Claims

Principles Of Professional Conduct – Meritorious Claims

Under the model rules of professional conduct, attorneys must be advocates. The California Desert Trial Academy College of Law (CDTA) offers the best of both worlds as it promotes the philosophy of not only teaching students the substantive law, but on training, educating, and developing students to be exceptional attorney-advocates. The CDTA believes that practical experience, including apprenticeships with mentors, during law school are essential elements of success. According to a summary of the ABA Model Rule: “A lawyer shall not bring or defend a proceeding, or assert or controvert an issue therein, unless there is a basis in law and fact for...

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The Components Of Lawyer Competence – Part Two

The Components Of Lawyer Competence – Part One

The licensing structures of most, if not all, state bars do not necessarily assess all the various and minimum aspects of lawyer competence. Research suggests that essay and multiple-choice exams with stressful time constraints are neither satisfactory nor effective formats for measuring competence as these tests truly simulate nothing close to the practice of law The components of lawyer competence include both hard and soft skills. The former include the substantive knowledge of the law while the latter represent analytical and interpersonal skills necessary in all walks of life. The following addresses components of minimum competence that are “softer” than “harder”...

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The Components Of Lawyer Competence – Part One

The Components Of Lawyer Competence – Part Two

Lawyers, especially attorney-advocates, must possess minimum competence to serve clients and the interests of the public-at-large. The following are six components of minimum competence that relate to the more technical side of the practice of law. The ability to communicate orally and in writing Attorneys must possess both the verbal and written skills to communicate with lawyers and clients equally. An attorney who cannot clearly and concisely communicate his or her legal position on behalf of a client, especially when it is viably strong, is like a fisherman with a full boat of fish but no paddle to get back to shore....

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Even More Time Management Tips For Online Students

Even More Time Management Tips For Online Students

A major challenge for students during the pandemic is time management. The coronavirus is altering how they live, study, and learn. Nothing is certain for the short-term, unpredictability has forced everyone to ad-lib just to get through the day. Online students must have the ability to be self-motivated, organized, and independent. Here are some basic time-management tips to make online learning more productive. Eliminate any distractions While a home environment provides convenience, comfort, and flexibility, it also presents the temptation to easily engage in activities that may be less productive. This tip is a correlate of having a dedicated workspace. It is...

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Five Things To Avoid During A Hearing

Five Things To Avoid During A Hearing

Whether it is the first time or the hundredth time, it is an exhilarating and nerve-wracking experience to walk into a court hearing. On one hand, an attorney’s attention is directed at asserting and protecting the rights of his or her client. On the other, he or she must act within the decorum required by the court and avoid any mistakes that may be detrimental to a case’s outcome. No lawyer is invulnerable to mistakes but some mistakes are more detrimental than others. The following lists five things that any attorney should avoid when handling a hearing, whether live and in-person...

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The Top Five Qualities That Produce The Best Job Performance

The Top Five Qualities That Produce The Best Job Performance

What do those office managers and upper-level executives – and senior law partners  - want in an employee – and associate? Of course, this may differ by industry and job, yet many desirable qualities are universal in any type of worker for any type of job. It is important to note that these qualities are not necessarily the same qualities that provide success in an academic setting. Many academics and scholars believe that a person’s grade point average (GPA) is not a strong predictor of job performance because it is not a true indicator of intelligence. Business organizations, including law firms,...

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Principles Of Professional Conduct – Competence

Principles Of Professional Conduct – Competence

The preamble of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct describes a lawyer and member of the legal profession as “. . . a representative of clients, an officer of the legal system and a public citizen having special responsibility for the quality of justice.” One primary principle of the Model Rules is that a lawyer must be competent as a representative of clients. In 2018, the California Supreme Court issued an order that approved 69 Rules of Professional Conduct for California attorneys, rejecting only one. These new rules became effective in November of 2018 and closely follow the ABA Model Rules of Professional...

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How Do I Know If I Should Take The Case?

How Do I Know If I Should Take The Case?

It really is no secret that the practice of law is highly competitive. There may be times when young lawyers and sole practitioners sit at their desks and wonder when a client will walk through the door. For attorneys, it is easy to find yourself taking every case that comes your way. However, in the long run, this may make your practice inefficient and unprofitable. As a young lawyer, how do you know if you should take a case? When attorneys accept a bad case from a client, several problems typically transpire. The matter causes the attorney to expend valuable resources...

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