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Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Lawyer?

Friday, September 15th, 2017

Are considering law school? This career path is not for everyone, as many who face the academic challenges graduate with a lot of debt. But if you are a hard worker with better than average college grades, then law school could be your path to a fulfilling, dynamic career.

Why Law?

Let’s start with the obvious question: why do you want to be an attorney? If it is for the money and fame, as is so often portrayed by Hollywood lawyers, you might want to think again. In 2013, the median salary was $114,300. The lowest-paid in the profession made less than $55,170. These numbers vary depending on where you live in. Even if the lowest salary seems like a lot to you, remember that you might have to start your professional career with a lot of debt. At the end of the three-year commitment, the average private school student graduates with $91,000 in debt. A typical public school student borrows $71,400. If money is your only incentive, you are clearly in it for the wrong reason. Only those who care passionately about their clients will become great lawyers. On top of the price tag, school is also extremely challenging. The hours are long and the competition is fierce. So if you do not possess a profound love for the field, those three years will feel like an eternity.

Working hard or hardly working?

How good are your college grades? How about your LSAT score? Your undergraduate GPA is interpreted as a summary of your college career, including your long-term determination and motivation. Admissions committees use the LSAT score to evaluate your potential academic performance. The test evaluates logical reasoning, analytical, and reading skills. These are just two examples of the qualifications you need to get into school. Once you have your JD, future employers will closely examine your performance on the LSAT, your school’s prestige, and your overall GPA. In addition to academic prowess, you will then have to pass the bar exam for the state in which you would like to practice, which is no walk in the park either.

Which path to choose?

Which leads us to the following question: what area of the law are you considering? There are many fields to choose from, with their own ranges of salaries, levels of competition, work-life balance, geographical obligations, and other constraints. Although it is not required to know which area you will eventually want to pursue, it can be helpful to gain an understanding of the work associated with each of them.

These areas include:

- Civil Rights: when individual liberties and government institutions collide
- Corporate and Securities: also known as Big Law, dealing with mergers and acquisitions and other large-scale corporate reorganizations
- Criminal: defending clients accused of a crime
- Education: disputes involving school districts and equal access to education
- Employment and Labor: relationship between the employee and the employer
- Environment and Natural Resources: protection of ecosystems, natural resources, and air/water/soil quality levels
- Family and Juvenile: relationship between individuals within the context of their family
- Health: healthcare, health insurance, and public policy
- Immigration: rights of individuals going through the process of naturalization or refugees seeking asylum
- International Property: trademarks, copyrights, and patents
- International: transactions between multinational corporations, business contracts, international regulations, customs issues, and trade barriers
- Military: legal matters pertaining to the armed forces
- Personal Injury: physical and/or psychological injuries arising from defective products, workplace accidents, or medical malpractice
- Real Estate: land ownership, construction, new developments, and landlord-tenant disputes
- Sports & Entertainment: amateur and professional sports, actors-studios contract negotiations, and royalty disputes
- Tax: local, state, and federal levels

It is now up to you to do your homework and to determine which field you are both passionate about and best suited for. If you are unafraid of hard work and steep competition, you just might be cut out for the daily challenges faced by lawyers.

5 Ways of How to Destroy a Business Partnership: Don’t Start That New Business Until You Read This

Friday, September 15th, 2017

Let any one of these 5 situations into your business and you’ll ravage your entrepreneurial career:

1st – Stop needing each other:

There’s a considerable chance that the partnership power and responsibility structure will start to shift and will look very different starting anywhere from 3-12 months after inception.

In the beginning of any new venture, a dynamic and compelling new venture phenomenon, made up of fear, anxiety, stress and excitement, emerges and makes for an impressive personal barrier disintegrator. No facades and no charades are the hallmark of a new venture. The partners forget about their own needs and are on their best behavior. Everyone is madly in “love.”

“Needing each other” is a compelling power source in successful business partnerships. In most partnerships that “need” is the bond that keeps it all together. As time passes, especially after the 12th month of being in business, everything and everyone starts to shift, evolve and a displacement arises that will be unsettling and transformative for the business and all the players.

See #4 for more information on “not needing each other”

Solution: Accept the fact that the above information is valid. Discuss it openly with your business partners. Be vigilant and sensitive to your business partners and what they say and do and how they say it and do it. You don’t have to be “a touchy feely kinda person.” Think selfishly. Think protection for your future. Think protection for your business’ future. Communicating, openly and civilly, is the only preventive measure that will increase the chance for a favorable outcome.

2nd- Allow your significant other to point out all the expensive gifts your partner’s significant other is receiving and they’re not:

Significant others, and other family members, can be the source of great pain and distress when it comes to the relationship you have with your business partner.

Greed, jealousy, being overcritical, being generally resentful, tactless and being superficial are some of the flies swimming around in the business partnership ointment. Money and power sometimes brings out the worst in “significant others” and family.

Solution: There’s two parts to the solution:

a-It’s the smart business person who pays extreme attention to the health and tone of his business partnership. It should be the number one concern, above and beyond anyone else in your life. I know I’ll get a lot of Boos and Hisses but, if you take care of your business and the business partnership, it will always take care of you and the people you love and who love you. Everyone will be happy and satisfied.

b- Going to, or inviting in, a counsellor or therapist to meet privately once a month, individually and aggregately, with the business partners will always be money well spent. I’ve seen the wreckage that family members have created in some very successful businesses.

You will have partnership strife and discord. Bet on it. Prepare for it now and have the preventive and supportive resources at the ready and/or in play from the beginning. It will be a shame if one day you’re standing outside your padlocked office wondering what happened.

3rd – Have sexual relations with a family member of your business partner:

I “feel” the smirks already. Talk about destruction. This is an insidious act of extreme betrayal. It not only will leave your business ripped apart, it will destroy precious family and personal relationships. People will be crushed and devastated for a lifetime.

The reputations of all the partners will be tainted. You’ll be amazed and appalled at the same time to find out how many suppliers, banks and customers will turn their back on you. They know that with a soiled and stained situation like this, destruction and failure may be close by. No one wants to be part of this, especially if it hurts them financially. Something many people take for granted is that It takes years to build a reputation that’s respected and trusted. It takes 24 hours or less to blow it up.

Are you are going to make your bed and Lie in it, or not?

Solution: If you’re over 18, take a wild guess. Under 18? Talk to someone over 18.

4th – Do some self-talk about how you deserve more money than your business partner:

“I’m working so much harder than her.” “He was supposed to be the sales end of our business but…” “Our biggest customer can’t stand her.” “He can’t handle the pressure.” “I never realized how much she talks.” Do I need to go on? You may recognize one of these.

In the beginning of a new venture there’s “reality” and there’s “wishful and well-intentioned thinking.” The responsibilities and strengths that you bring to the new venture are not necessarily the responsibilities and strengths that will be in play when things get started and are rolling along.

Being aware of each partner’s powerful strengths and their ‘vulnerabilities’ will allow weekly partner meetings to be productive and allow for everyone to be open, honest and transparent. Staying flexible and being willing to adapt, not only leads to a sustainable business but what’s more exciting is, it leads to personal growth for all the partners.

Solution: There’s 3 parts to the solution.

a-Mandate, enforce and re-enforce up close and personal, respectful and empathetic communication meetings on, at least, a weekly basis. These meetings are confined to the partners only and are done behind locked and closed doors. Bring in food. Do not go to a public place to talk.

b- There are always 3 realities: Yours, theirs and the business’ reality. Work with the reality of the business only and adjust your life to the needs of the business. I repeat, make your business the priority above and beyond all others and the “others” will have a phenomenal life.

c- Accept as fact, that you may have to change your place and responsibilities in the business as time passes. Welcome it with open arms. If you have a problem with this I say, respectfully, get a therapist as soon as possible. Your reluctance is connected to, and about, ego, self-image and self-confidence. It pays to have someone help you disentangle your emotions and consequently save your entrepreneurial career.

5th -Start the new venture on a 50/50 ownership platform:

If you’re forced to initiate an equal stock partnership, then having or learning patience, empathy, and anger management becomes even more crucial and essential than ever before. A 50/50 is fine until the “cracks” start to appear. If you don’t follow the advice in step #4, it could be the beginning of the end for everyone.

Some interesting points:

a-In a partnership breakup your net worth is never, I repeat, never what you think it is. It’s always much less.

b-Banks, customers, suppliers and even employees will scatter when they get a whiff of bad news on the horizon. Your net worth could entirely dissipate in the time it takes you to say “Wait, I changed my mind.”

c-Make the partnership agreement as simple as possible (two pages is good) or you’ll find that the lawyers will make more than you.

d-You could make a 51/49 % stock ownership with a 50/50 % profit split. It’s worth it to give up more on the profit split in order to get 51% ownership of the company. In any event, no matter what you decide it’s always wise to have salaries, expenses and benefits remain equal.

Solution: See the solution in step #4

“Now go with your eyes wide open”… Good Luck out there.

A Personal Note:

I’ll be accused of being negative and shortsighted. My response: That’s Crap. This is reality. This is life. It’s raw, pure, up close and certainly personal.

You don’t like the article? I understand. The truth and reality have a way of making people feel uncomfortable.

Just do me one favor. Print it and put it in a drawer, in a sealed envelope. Open it 12 months to the day that you started your business. If I was right you unfortunately learned a valuable lesson and if your verdict is that I was wrong, please take a closer look and search for cracks in the partnership relationship. You may be in the “subtle stage.”

Partnerships are great when they’re solid and built on mutual respect. Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world. This article is about possibilities that you must be aware of and in tune with. Consider this article a practice “fire drill.” Adapt now, because when the flames start to roar, it’s too late.

This article is about coating your business relationship with empathy. It’s about knowing that you’re not only responsible for your welfare and performance, but you’re also responsible for your business partners state of being. I’m not advocating that you become super-parent. I’m advocating for you, and this article is all about your protection and your financial and mental well-being.

Once again. Good luck out there and never, ever give up on your dreams.