Friday 5: Signs that It’s NOT Time to Mediate

Learn to spot situations where mediation isn’t the best choice. I recently offered five signs that it’s time to put a case into mediation. As a lawyer and mediator, I’m a long-time advocate of settling cases through mediation. Statistically, mediation is around 90% effective. Nevertheless, I’ve been involved in mediations that didn’t work out. Based […]

Read More…
not time to mediate

Thinking Like a Lawyer vs. Thinking Like a Mediator

Remember in law school how they taught you to “think like a lawyer?” You were conditioned to think analytically, strategically, some might say paranoically. After all, devoting your mental powers to protecting your client’s interests at all costs is your supreme duty as a lawyer. The problem is that thinking like a lawyer can be […]

Read More…

Friday 5: Signs that It’s Time to Mediate

Get tips on when to bring up mediation with your client and opposing counsel. Most lawyers are at least aware of mediation as an alternative to extended litigation. But if you don’t regularly participate in mediation, you might wonder when it’s the right time to broach the subject with your client and opposing counsel. Here […]

Read More…

Friday 5: Another Crash Course in Better Writing

Learn how to identify and fix five common writing errors. As an editor, litigator and arbitrator/mediator, I read tens of thousands of other lawyers’ words every year. While most lawyers are generally good writers, I find a handful of faults recurring in lawyers’ writing. Here are five of the most common, all of which are easily […]

Read More…

Alternative Fee Arrangements

NWLawyer editor Michael Heatherly explains common alternative fee arrangements, with their pros and cons. Dramatic shifts in the business of practicing law, some hastened by the Great Recession, have led some to believe that the conventional hourly billing system is going the way of the powdered wig and quill pen.  Attention has turned to AFF […]

Read More…

Friday 5: Pros and Cons of Practicing in a Mid-Sized Town

The benefits and challenges of practicing law in a medium-sized city. Although I grew up and was educated mostly in Seattle, I have lived and practiced the past 22 years in Bellingham, the 12th-largest city in Washington. People talk a lot about big cities and small towns, but I’ve always had a fondness for places […]

Read More…

Friday 5: Signs that you’re a solo practitioner

Going solo has many perks, but be sure to bring a plunger. According to last year’s membership study, nearly one out of every five WSBA members are solo practitioners, making solo work the most common form of law practice by far.  I have been part of the one-fifth for the past seven years — almost […]

Read More…

AFTLO (Acronyms For The Law Office)

Check out NWLawyer Editor Michael Heatherly’s list of acronyms, unless you have a CATE. You know how because of texting, smartphones, Twitter, and whatnot, we can’t write in full sentences or even full words anymore? We reduce things to abbreviations and acronyms to the point that you’re srsly ROFL just thinking about it. (See also […]

Read More…

Your Lawyer Horoscope For Today

NWLawyer editor Michael Heatherly’s take on horoscopes, tailored to WSBA members. Below is NWLawyer editor/Bar Beat columnist Michael Heatherly’s take on horoscopes, tailored to WSBA members. Aquarius (Jan 20–Feb 18): Expect the unexpected, especially since you just accidentally emailed your grocery list to a client instead of your spouse. Pisces (Feb 19–Mar 20): You will feel […]

Read More…

Friday 5: Items for Every Lawyer’s Bucket List

NWLawyer Editor Michael Heatherly shares 5 career accomplishments to add to your bucket list! When it’s time to hang up your — uh, well, whatever it is lawyers hang up upon retiring — you won’t want to have missed out on any of the opportunities our profession offers. Regardless of what type of practice you […]

Read More…

Friday 5: What Video Games Have Taught Me About Litigation

NWLawyer Editor Michael Heatherly shares how video games made him a better litigator. I started my video game indulgence as a kid with Pong, Space Invaders and Asteroids. I didn’t play much in my younger adult years, but I rediscovered gaming as a parent, occasionally venturing into my son’s chaotic, Star Wars-themed room to challenge him […]

Read More…

Friday 5: Improve Your Writing

Don’t write like Yoda! NWLawyer Editor Michael Heatherly offers 5 tips to improve your writing. As a lawyer, writer, and editor for more than 2 decades, I’ve written and read millions of words. I’m proud to say that most of the writing I see from lawyers is pretty good — as it should be, considering how […]

Read More…

I’m an American Band (Namer)

NWLawyer Editor Michael Heatherly’s list of hypothetical tribute band names, with goodies like “Meetwood Flac” and “French Kiss.” Remember those aptitude tests from high school? I scored really well in the areas of nursing and agriculture, which was weird, because there were probably no two academic areas in which I had less knowledge, interest, or […]

Read More…