Hipster attorney riding a skateboard in office.

From Burnout to Balance: 4 Key Considerations for a Lateral Move

Career is a vital part of our lives, and our day-to-day actions at work have resounding consequences on our personal and professional relationships, as well as on our mental and physical health. The prospect of shifting to a new path, even if it’s a lateral shift, can be both overwhelming and, at times, discouraging to navigate the complex decision-making process. 
What I mean by “lateral shift” is a job transition involving a change in responsibilities or position, but maintaining a relatively similar level of seniority, compensation, or status. Typically, lateral moves do not entail a significant promotion or increase in pay. Contrary to a vertical move, which involves upward career progression, a lateral move focuses on acquiring new skills, broadening one’s experience, or seeking a better fit for one’s interests and strengths without necessarily climbing the corporate ladder.

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Lawyer jumping

The Benefits of Jumping

Hollywood is replete with stereotypes: Scientists are nerds, hackers spend their free time at raves, white men can’t jump. In the legal industry, we have a similar stereotype that established lawyers can’t jump … into a new area of law.
A tax lawyer, as the theory goes, must remain a tax lawyer for 35-plus years. A divorce lawyer, same thing. The idea being that after 10 years or so, we are stuck to our familiar, well-trodden practice areas. Something about our profession seems to create this sense that we’ll ruin everything we’ve worked so hard to build if we try something new. So the tax lawyer may indeed wish to switch to admiralty law, but doesn’t. It could be that their kids are in an expensive private school or the high monthly law school loan obligation that holds them back from making a needed change. The list of reasons why things can’t change is long, and it’s full of reasons beyond money.
Once you know something well, who wants to throw away all that knowledge? Plus, there’s the fear of losing referral sources. What of the established client base? Lawyers can spin up plenty of reasons to support the idea that, indeed, lawyers can’t jump.

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DPP and Me: How the Diversity Pipeline Program Opened My New Career Path

The Diversity Pipeline Program (DPP) is an innovative legal internship and skills development program in tech, media, and telecom (TMT) law, created by members of the Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA). The program provides 1L law students from historically underrepresented communities, and who are interested in TMT law and policy, with training and internship placements in law firms, the public and private sectors, nonprofits, and trade associations. The DPP is the inspiration of Rudy Brioché, Comcast’s vice president and global policy counsel based in Washington, D.C., and a member of the executive committee of the FCBA. Comcast and the FCBA got behind the idea early and actively shaped and launched the program.

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Asian business man wear face mask and he is being fired because of economic downturn due to the covid-19 spread all over the world

Pink Slips and Green Cards: How Tech Industry Layoffs are Impacting Immigrants

Not since the dot-com bubble of the 90s has the technology sector undergone such a massive downsizing. Seemingly bulletproof tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft have collectively shed tens of thousands of jobs in recent months. For U.S. citizens, being laid off from a prestigious job in tech may present a challenge, but for the thousands of people whose employment and immigration status are fully entwined, losing a job can also mean losing a new home.

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Shot of a young male lawyer standing by his desk in the office

Should I Open My Own Law Firm?

How do you know if going independent and starting a law firm business is the right choice for you? In this article, I’ll give you some of the tools you need to determine whether it’s time to ditch a traditional office role and strike out on your own.

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Many books on a bookshelf

Hidden Gems You Probably Didn’t Think are in the WSBA Lending Library

Sadly, many WSBA members are unaware that as members they have free access to hundreds of titles through the WSBA Lending Library. Even sadder, many WSBA members think the Lending Library is just another repository for dusty tombs of legal text that weigh as much as a neutron star but are far less interesting. Happily, many WSBA members, in this regard, are wrong.

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A lawyer questioning a witness in front of the judge in a courtroom.

Being the Lawyer the World Needs: How to Keep Growing Professionally and Up Your Trial Skills

Since becoming a lawyer, have you ever wondered why you chose this career path? Have you ever wondered if you were cut out for the immense pressures that our profession seems to effortlessly lay upon our shoulders? I mean, first comes law school, then comes the LSAT, then comes trying to figure out how to actually practice law (in a baby carriage)! And for those of us trudging through trial practice, the learning, growing, memorizing—all in an effort to really make a difference in this world—never really seem to stop. The most seasoned attorney and the most novel attorney probably have more in common than one might think: respect for the law, respect for the judicial process, and respect for those needing legal help. For an attorney to succeed in their career endeavor, they must be willing to learn from others, adapt, and remember why they chose this profession in the first place.

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Thief steals a purse while witness does nothing.

Are Bystanders Complicit? The Holocaust as Foundation for Crimes of Omission

If you are a bystander and witness a crime, should it be a legal obligation for you to intervene? Or is moral responsibility enough? I have come to view the bystander, who fails to act, as complicit in harm that befalls the victim. This has compelled me to create a workable legal requirement whereby duty can be imposed on the bystander. Relying on the oft-repeated phrase that “people will do the right thing” is appealing and compelling, but the moral obligation model is, for me, tenuous and soft.

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Books on shelves

Top Pandemic Reading Picks for Law Pros

If there’s a shining light from spending a year under lockdown, it does at least provide ample time to read. The following are some of the titles I read during the past year of pandemic life—in no particular order—which members might enjoy.

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Winter CLE Sale Graphic

Popular Ethics and Other CLEs Still 50% Off

If there had to be a single moment to exemplify how much has changed in the world of law, it would have to be a distraught lawyer affirming to a district court judge “I’m not a cat.” Yes, just when you think you’ve got this virtual hearing thing down, you find yourself the victim of your kid’s Zoom filter, frantically trying to de-kitty your visage before you argue your case.

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Winter CLE Sale Graphic

5 On-Demand Seminars You Should Check Out During WSBA’s Winter CLE

Starting today the Washington State Bar Association is offering 50% discounts on more than 500, on-demand CLEs to help WSBA members continue to learn and grow in this new world. The discounts will last through Feb. 16. You might want to start with the CLEs listed below, which have been among the most-popular courses on some of the most significant topics legal professionals are facing today.

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Woman in front of a device screen in video conference for work

7 Virtual Networking Tips for Legal Professionals in the 21st Century

The digital transformation of the legal industry went into overdrive the last few months. With in-person meetings and large gatherings canceled for the foreseeable future, networking virtually has become the norm. While networking virtually has made it easier than ever to reach out to a stranger and connect, virtual interactions can still feel awkward and unnatural.

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A lawyer with a briefcase and a surgical mask

On-Demand Office Environments for Legal Business

There are many options when it comes to on-demand office space. You can rent a conference room or a private office to limit access from other people. Or you can with other remote employees. Attorney Yuriy Moshes offers a few things to consider when choosing flexible office space.

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A diverse group of attorneys

Mandatory Equity and Anti-Bias Training on the Table Again

Six months after an unsuccessful effort to incorporate new mandatory subject areas within the ethics education requirements for Washington legal professionals, the Washington Supreme Court MCLE Board has suggested a similar but more narrowly focused amendment that is so far being viewed more favorably by WSBA members.

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