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Aug 4, 2015

Talk like a man?

This past December, a college acquaintance gave an interview on New York public radio to discuss a cookbook that she edited for Saveur magazine. Within five minutes of wrapping the interview, she began receiving comments that, due to her “vocal fry,” “Valley-girl uptick,” and “little girl cooing,” she was “unlistenable.” (This woman, by the way, […]

Jul 28, 2015

Help! I need some help; not just any help

There we stood, in the middle of the trail, screaming at each other. Like most American males, my relationship with my father has, with some fairly blatant irony, gotten closer as I’ve entered fatherhood. But here we were arguing about how to hoist the baby backpack onto my shoulders without spilling my son out and […]

Jul 17, 2015

Beef up security in office with BYOD habit

If left to their own devices to perform work for your firm, attorneys and staff could get you in a heap of trouble. That’s because of something known as BYOD. BYOD stands for “bring your own device,” such as a private cellphone, laptop or tablet, and using it for work purposes, such as answering work […]

Jul 1, 2015

Rainmaking: Making friends and influencing people

Marketing is all about people: it is all about engaging other people in you as a person and as a lawyer. Many lawyers are intimidated by the idea of marketing, but they must overcome that fear because marketing is essential for gaining and retaining clients. Communication with prospects Effective rainmakers find out not only what […]

Jun 10, 2015

Well, well, well: Some new guidance from EEOC

Wellness programs are a new trend in the workplace thanks to a provision in the Affordable Care Act that encourages employers to implement these programs. However, not all employers have been quick to jump on board, due in part to a lack of regulatory guidance and some pushback from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or […]

Jun 4, 2015

Is the door to scandalous trademarks about to open?

For nearly 70 years, Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act has prohibited registration of disparaging, scandalous and immoral trademarks. Courts and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office consistently justify this restriction on the basis of public policy. Critics, meanwhile, argue that Section 2(a) is an unconstitutional restraint on the freedom of speech. Now, in a […]

May 28, 2015

Anticipation: Making Your Fate

“Anticipation . . . is making me wait.” These words, based on a Carly Simon song, were the basis of a Heinz ketchup commercial from the late 1970s that sold consumers on slow-running ketchup by bathing slowness in the positive light of anticipation. Anticipation is an important concept for lawyers, too. When lawyers anticipate, many […]

May 19, 2015

Service: a counterweight to commoditization

In recent years, the “Two C’s”— convergence and commoditization — have become major issues for national and large regional law firms, as well as small-firm and solo practitioners. Convergence is the trend among clients to reduce their legal expenses. Lawyers need to counter the trend by offering exceptional service. Commoditization Large corporate clients reduce their […]

May 12, 2015

Legal Writing: The singular ‘they’: put a ring on it

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Dear English language: We’ve been friends for a while now, right? And I think we’ve achieved a level of trust. You know I respect you and appreciate your quirks. I’d never do anything to hurt you; I’ve always had your back, and always will. So I hope you’ll bear with me a […]

May 1, 2015

A Gen X attorney’s client service advice

Recently, I was honored and humbled to be recognized by BTI Consulting as one of 364 attorneys nationwide, and one of only five attorneys in North Carolina, as a “BTI Client Service All-Star.” This award is based entirely on client nominations, and the acknowledgment has caused me to reflect on the way I approach client […]

Apr 17, 2015

Protecting your Internet domain name

Guess who owns the Internet domain name Not Microsoft. Guess who owns Not Apple. According to a WHOIS lookup performed at domain name registrar on April 2, the registrant of is an entity named “Secaucus Group, Inc.,” and the listed “administrative contact” for Secaucus Group Inc. is someone named Dan Parisi. […]

Apr 16, 2015

How America skunked the term ‘data’

The word data is evolving. In Modern American Usage, Bryan Garner describes data as a “skunked term” — a word undergoing change, prompting one group of people (grammar nerds) to insist on the traditional usage, while a second group (everyone else) embraces the new usage. We skunk a word by using it incorrectly — sometimes […]

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