Category: Hiring & Firing

Job Opening / Opportunity – Legal Assistant in Wyomissing

Berks County is a lovely area of PA.  The Law Firm of Leisawitz Heller is a mid-sized law firm serving clients throughout Berks County and southeastern Pennsylvania. It has been one of the leading law firms since 1945.  The firm offers a range of legal services, including business formations and mergers, bankruptcy, employment law, personal injury litigation, real estate development, estate planning and administration, elder law, and taxation.

The firm has an immediate job opening / opportunity for a legal assistant with 3-5 years litigation legal secretary experience.  Duties include word processing (70+ wpm), file organization, e-filing, answering phones and other administrative tasks. The qualified candidate should have excellent computer skills (Microsoft Office) with a high accuracy rate and attention to detail. A positive attitude and strong work ethic are important.

The firm offers comprehensive benefits and a team friendly work environment. Interested applicants should send a cover letter, resume and salary requirement  to Kimberly A. Dunkle, Controller / Firm Administrator.  Applications may also be submitted by U.S.P.S. to 2755 Century Boulevard; Wyomissing, PA 19610.

Estate Paralegal Job Opportunity / Opening in West Chester, PA

The mid-size law firm of Gawthrop Greenwood, PC, which is located in West Chester, Chester County, PA, is steeped in rich history. They have a job opening / opportunity for an Estate Paralegal with a minimum of five years’ experience. The successful candidate will be organized, professional, dependable, articulate, and able to work both independently and as part of a team.

Strong technical skills are required, including Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel; FastTax (“Zane”); Prosystems fX and TABS experience a plus.  Candidate must be able to prioritize and pay attention to detail and accuracy.

Must be generally familiar with court accounting and tax preparation software, along with knowledge of Orphans’ Court practice. Excellent oral and written communication skills required.

Competitive starting salary commensurate with experience, along with a comprehensive benefits package including medical, dental, STD, LTD, Life and 401K.

Please forward resume, salary requirements and references to Diane Wenner, Assistant Office Manager.  The firm is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Associate Attorney job opening / opportunity

The small, growing 4-attorney Jenkintown, Montgomery County, PA law firm of Solnick & Levin LLC is seeking an associate with a minimum of 3 years of plaintiff personal injury experience.  The desired candidate must be able

  • to work independently
  • pay attention to detail
  • have excellent writing skill
  • have strong analytical skills
  • be hard working
  • be well organized
  • have superior communication skills

Experience with court appearances, motion practice and depositions is required.  Email your cover letter, resume, and salary request to Kelly A. Mills, Firm Administrator.

Job opportunity / opening for an associate attorney

The King of Prussia, PA law firm of Mannion Prior, LLP has an immediate opening for an associate with a minimum of 2-3 years of solid commercial litigation experience at a large firm, as well as excellent academics. Experience in estate planning & administration and Orphans’ Court litigation preferred.

Mannion Prior  is a litigation boutique which pursues, defends, and provides advice on issues involving the standards of care applicable to fiduciaries such as trustees, executors, guardians, charitable organizations, banks, trust companies, partners, attorneys, and officers and directors of corporations.

The firm offers a generous salary and benefits package, including a 401(k) match.

Please send cover letter and resume to Christine Thul.

Job Opportunity – Attorney

job interview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lycoming County Public Defender’s Office in Williamsport, PA has an opening for an Assistant Public Defender.  A recent JD graduate who has passed the Bar is suitable.  Applicant must also be a member of the Pennsylvania Bar and possess a valid driver’s license. Interested applicants should mail directly to

William J. Miele, Esquire
Chief Public Defender
48 West Third Street
Williamsport, PA 17701

Be sure to include:

  • writing sample
  • cover letter
  • resume

The position will require assisting indigent clients in defense, children and youth, juvenile court, mental health and parole violations.

A Law Firm with a Sense of Humor

Is it an oxymoron to say law firm and sense of humor in the same sentence?  Apparently not.  Creating a fun atmosphere attracts employees.

Back in the day when I managed firms hands-on, I tried to introduce humor into the workplace whenever possible.  My colleagues at other firms did not approve.  They thought everything about law firm life should be serious, dignified, and . . . yawn . . . never fun.  I never had a problem encouraging some of their top employees to make a leap to the environment I worked so hard to craft.

This week’s edition of ABA Journal Law News Now headlined a story entitled “Fake Summer Associate Hired in Prank by Law Firm”.  Of course, I had to look at the article and accompanying video.  Hilarious!  And a great recruiting tool, too!  You can be sure that associates across the country who are looking for a great work environment where they can have fun and do challenging work as well, will be hankering for a chance to join their team.

Jay Edelson is the founder and managing partner of Edelson LLC, as well as the instigator of this great prank.  KUDOS, Jay.  Your firm’s web site says your firm is different from other firms in most aspects, and clearly that is true.  You’ve figured out that hard work and a fun work environment are not mutually exclusive.  And in fact, when you actually allow and even encourage people to enjoy themselves while working, you will always get greater dedication and a superior work product.  If you can introduce fun into the learning process, it will enhance the process considerably.

There’s much to be learned from this simple prank.  Read Edelson’s blog post from Oct 15, 2009 in ABA’s Legal Rebels, in which he describes his training / mentoring philosophy.  Take it to heart.  He knows whereof he speaks.

 

Use of Criminal Records in Hiring Decisions

I was instructing a class of 2L and 3L students at Drexel’s Earl Mack School of Law this past Monday, and included was my recommendation to use a credit and criminal records check for any potential new hire who would be handling client money, as a fraud prevention strategy .  In passing I indicated that there are certain legalities which will apply in order to do it properly, so as not to discriminate or violate privacy rights.

Today I received a Labor and Employment Alert from Ballard Spahr entitled “OFCCP Issues Guidance on Use of
Criminal Records in Employment Decisions” and the timing could not have been more perfect.  The guidance issued on this topic was issued by the EEOC Commission on April 25, 2012.

I continue to be grateful to Ballard Spahr’s hard-working and knowledgeable attorneys who keep pushing essential information out to people like me, in clearly understandable language.  It’s not the first time I have cited them and provided a compliment — something I don’t give too freely.

Attorneys have an obligation under Rule 1.15 [Safekeeping Property] to exercise a reasonable amount of care and due diligence in protecting client property.  When hiring employees who will handle client money — bookkeeper, estate paralegal, secretary in a small firm — the firm should check into the applicant’s criminal and credit history.  Failing to do so can have serious consequences, not least of which is the PR.  One law firm in Montgomery County found out the hard way.  They hired an estate paralegal without doing a reference check, let alone a criminal or credit check.  Only after money was stolen did they discover that the employee had previously worked for a law firm in New York, where she had been arrested for the same crime, and was out on bail when the PA firm hired her.  She was paying restitution to her former firm from the funds she was stealing from her new employer.  That’s about as bad as it gets.

Be sure to review the EEOC Guidance, or consult with a qualified attorney, so that you do it properly, and in a manner which does not have a disparate impact based on race or ethnicity, or any other protected category.  Yes, you have to be careful.  However, failing to check at all is taking a greater risk, and may create exposure for your firm for failing to take reasonable precautions in determine who handles client property.

While I’m doling out thanks, I wish to express my appreciation to Debra Speyer, the adjunct profession at Earl Mack, for bringing me back as a guest lecturer again this year.  I provided the students with an introduction to best practices for financial and procedural management.  It feels great knowing that at least a few of the new generation of baby lawyers will have some “real world” practical information when they graduate and join a firm or hang out their shingle.

Hiring for One Set of Criteria and Firing for Another

Hiring is not a precise science.  Mistakes happen, and need prompt correction.  Firms rarely fire too quickly when a mistake is made.  Usually it’s the opposite, with the firm letting things drag out far too long.  It’s put off because firing is unpleasant, and also because it’s an irrefutable admission that the hiring was a mistake.  You can greatly increase your success rate by hiring based on the same criteria that lead you to fire.

The fact that law firms typically hire based on skill and experience, but fire based on habits and attitudes, is the primary reason why lawyers are usually so terrible at making hiring decisions.  But you’re not alone.  Many HR professionals and administrators make the same mistake.

This topic was the basis for the brief presentation at last night’s reception at the Blue Bell, PA recruiting firm of Morgan Wentworth.   The purpose of the reception was to introduce Morgan Wentworth’s new Director of Legal Recruitment, Meg Halloran, Esquire.  Switching between two different brightly colored scarves, Meg posed as job applicant Amy, and then Bev.  I posed as the interviewer.  The program was entitled “My Best Secret Interview Questions.”

Meg Halloran, Esq (left) and Ellen Freedman (right)

 

Each applicant answered one of my sure-fire “behavioral” interview questions.  Then the audience was polled as to which candidate they favored, and why.  Each of the three questions posed clearly revealed the difference in attitude and initiative that a typical interview would not.

Asking open-ended questions which reveal subjective information regarding how a candidate resolves difficult issues, organizes workflow, handles conflict or stressful conflicting deadlines, reveals far more about the person.  Compare that to objective questions which may reveal years of experience, class ranking, number of appearances as first chair in court and so forth.  Objective questions will tell you only whether the candidate meets your skill and experience requirements.  It will not reveal whether they will thrive in your environment, or rise to the challenges you present.

Kudos to Patricia Mosesso and Ernie Szoke, founders and owners of Morgan Wentworth, for putting together a first-class reception.  The conference room and adjoining office were crammed with attendees who enjoyed food, drink, and conversation with familiar and new faces on an otherwise dreary weeknight.  I am appreciative of having been invited to design and present the short informational program.   And I greatly enjoyed working on it with Meg.  She was a great sport, and turned out to be quite the actress.

(Left to right) Patricia Mosesso, Ernie Szoke, Meg Halloran, Esq.

 

Hiring? Hire a Qualified Veteran and Get a Tax Break

Did you know your firm can get a tax break by hiring a veteran?  It’s not always easy to find the right job candidate, and adding another qualifying factor makes it even more difficult.  But the potential tax break is worth the extra effort.  And let’s not forget that a lot of the veterans seeking jobs have a myriad of skills which are suitable for law firms — technology, administrative, and lawyers as well.

In November 2011, Congress enacted the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which increases aid for vet­erans in education and training, job counseling, transi­tion and placement, and disability programs. It also provides specific tax credits for hiring certain veterans. These tax incentives range from $2400 for hiring veterans who are unemployed for more than four weeks but less than six months, to $9600 for hiring veterans with service-connected disabilities who have been looking for a job for more than six months.

If Your Employment Is Terminated

It always amazes me how surprised some people are when the axe falls.  Over the years I have witnessed the incredulity from attorneys, administrators, and staff at all levels.  Sometimes the signs are so clear you can’t imagine why the person doesn’t exit under their own steam.  But usually it’s obvious to everyone except the appropriate party.

When I was an active member of the Association of Legal Administrators, I used to advise my peers to always be prepared to come to work and find someone else sitting at their desk, with all their mementos packed in boxes, ready to be carried to their car after their keys were confiscated.   (Yes, it happened more than once to respected colleagues.)   Being prepared in my world meant having copies of evaluations, complimentary memos, and particularly excellent reports at home.  It meant keeping the list of contacts updated at home; not just at the office.  It meant always keeping one’s resume current, and on the home computer.   And so forth.

For example, having a current list of key vendor names and telephone numbers at home makes a huge difference when it comes to a job search, because they often know which firms are searching to fill slots.  For an attorney, having access to the names, phone numbers, mailing and email addresses for every active client in which a principal role is played by the attorney is essential.  (But keep in mind that you cannot download and keep a copy of the firm’s entire client list — that would constitute theft of firm confidential information.)

A post on the Attorney at Work blog entitled “Preparing for the Axe to Fall” is definitely worth a read.  I suggest you follow the advice.

==========

To return to the main page of the blog, click here.  To return to the blog  Index, click here.

WordPress Themes