It’s the year 2008 and the war for “best talent” is on. So when one of your Legal Secretaries hands in their notice, a Senior Solicitor announces his retirement or one of your highest billing fee-earners is going on maternity leave – how do you find quality candidates to replace your best assets quickly and efficiently?Gone are the days when a lineage ad in a popular weekly legal publication will attract an abundance of keen legal candidates. Whilst law firms have become more selective over the legal staff they employ, talented legal job seekers have become lazier. Ever-developing technology now means that candidates can go to a search engine, type in the title of their dream legal job; and hey, presto – generate fifty matching legal vacancies that they can apply to with just the click of a button. Why should potential legal staff spend hours trawling through countless publications, when law jobs could come straight to them?So we’ve already established that a legal job seeker’s life is becoming easier by the day, but is this to the law firm’s detriment? With competition getting stiffer for law firms as Legal Recruitment moves predominantly to the user-focussed web, it is imperative that law firms have a strong internet presence in order for their legal jobs to be seen. This will involve setting up a variety of marketing campaigns including paying through the nose to advertise on a variety of legal job boards – which, lets be honest, will probably end up being swamped by millions of other similar vacancies. Advertising legal vacancies on a law firms own website may also be a pointless exercise as when a candidate Googles “Commercial Property Solicitor job” it is highly unlikely to be seen without the website having undergone a substantial amount Search Engine Optimization work focussing primarily on keywords such as “legal jobs” – which seems an expensive and utter waste of time seeing as the primary focus of a law firm’s website is to attract new clients. Now for just a few legal vacancies, going to all of this trouble may seem an expensive and timely exercise. Relax, there is another option – why not use a Legal Recruitment Agency?In the nineties when legal recruitment began to take off, legal recruitment agencies were seen as a waste of money – a middle man placing a one or two adverts (that lets face it, the law firm could have done themselves just as quickly) and charging a whopping great fee for the no more than adequate law staff that they attracted. Well, times have changed and the Legal Recruitment industry is working harder than ever before to earn their fee, and more often than not, using a good Legal Recruitment Agency is a far more cost and time efficient method of sourcing candidates than going it alone. Good Legal Recruitment Agencies will have more time and experience in devising marketing strategies that work, they will also have the resources to invest in a number of different advertising mediums, and a good team of consultants with a knowledge and experience of the legal profession.With so many Legal Recruitment Agencies emerging it may seem like a daunting task finding a good one. However, in actual fact a good Legal Recruitment Agency should be extremely easy to find – they will have a good, user-friendly Legal Recruitment website; a large presence on the most popular legal job boards; and they will have good brand awareness online as well as in traditional media. All of these attributes are easy to measure by simply going to a Search Engine and searching for “Legal Recruitment Agency” in the area that the law firm is based. The best will have a good search engine ranking and a simple and effective website. The second step would be to call them up, discuss you requirements and judge how well informed they are about the legal profession, the culture of the area that you are based, and how well they have grasped your requirements. It is also worth discussing their fees and seeing whether there are any discounts for using that particular Legal Recruitment Agency exclusively, and whether there are any rebate periods. A good Legal Recruitment Agency should not charge you unless a candidate has been successfully placed with you.Quite often, a Legal Recruitment Agency will already have a good matching candidate on their database that is readily available. Otherwise, or in addition, the Legal Recruitment Agency will place a number of adverts in different strategic locations. Depending on the nature of the job, the Legal Recruitment Agency may even look at targeting passive candidates. The candidates that the Legal Recruitment Agency sends through will be filtered and should be good matches to your initial requirements. Should you want to interview any of them, the Agency should liaise closely with you and the candidate to get this organised quickly. The Legal Recruitment Agency should also be liaising between the candidate and client until the contract of employment has been sent out by the law firm and returned by the candidate.All in all, using a Recruitment Agency could save your Human Resources department hours of time an effort. So when you next foresee a Legal Recruitment nightmare within your Human Resources team, don’t discount Legal Recruitment Agencies – you never know, the right one could actually be the answer to all of your prayers!
Legal translation is a task that requires a lot of expertise and familiarity with linguistic conventions that apply to laws and legal cases.Translations consist of taking a document in one language and switching it to another language whilst maintaining the same meaning. Legal translations deal with legal issues and terms. This field involves translating statutes, contracts, patents and any type of legal documentation. These documents are often used in legal proceedings where the initial original meaning must be maintained even after the translation.Legal terminology is very complex and can vary from one country to another. Due to the fact that not every country has the same legal system, in some cases legal concepts do not have an equivalent in the target language. Codes and laws have been created to suit a particular country or culture and when the legal term does not have an equivalent in the target language, the translator needs to “recreate” the concept and the whole idea attached to the legal expression. “Transcreation” is a re-interpretation of the original concept to suit the audience of the target language in a particular time. It is very difficult to find equivalence between two terms if both legal languages refer to different legal systems.Why Are Legal Translations Important?Laws and codes seek to establish clearly defined rights and duties for certain individuals. The purpose of legal translation is to look for linguistic and juridical similarities between legal texts that belong to different legal systems. There are some cases where crimes might have similar meanings in two systems but are not identical; imply different connotations which lead to different sentences. The legal translator should be aware of intention of the original legal text and the interpretation (or interpretations) that has been attached to that text. The use of precedent is typical of Anglo-American common-law tradition that is built on the doctrine of stare decisis. (stand by decided matters)Errors in legal translation could be fatal due to the effects that a legal misjudgment could have in the life and rights of individuals. It could also affect national security, diplomatic relations and lead to lawsuits.To avoid mistakes, legal translators should be guided by standards of linguistic, social and cultural equivalence between the language used in the source text to and the target language. According to the expert on Comparative Law, Gerard-René de Groot, the difficulty of legal translations depend more on structural differences between legal systems rather than on linguistically differences.Legal TranslatorsTo deliver accurate translations, legal translators need to understand the different law systems as well as specific areas within law such as Criminal Law, Commercial Law, Property Law, etc. They also need to be competent in legal writing and have an in-depth knowledge of legal terminology. It is critical to assign legal translations to professionals that have the knowledge and experience to deal with them. It is also indispensable to have a deep understanding of Comparative Law system which helps to comprehend basic legal terms and structures in an international context.What is Comparative Law?It is the study of the diverse legal systems around the world and the differences and similarities between them. Comparative Law provides the foundation to create bilingual dictionaries that try to find equivalence among the elements of the source and the target legal texts.
Legal translators have a hard job because many legal concepts were originated within a particular social and political framework and may have no counterpart in other legal system. They must look for juridical and linguistic equivalence between the terms in order to find the pragmatic and functional equivalence in the concepts.Comparative law methods help to create a reinterpretation of incompatible legal terms and to do so technical and pragmatist aspects of legal language should be taken into account. The equation is not that simple because some specialists prioritize the technical aspects of legal translation while other put emphasis on the connotative aspects of legal language. The convergence of these two approaches can facilitate the translation of legal texts.There are some cases where the divergence between legal terms is too big that equivalence is not an option. To resolve the problem, there are few options. One is to keep the foreign term as it is. Other alternatives are to create a new term or to paraphrase the given term. The last option seems to have more adepts within the translation industry because it facilitates the reader’s understanding of the concept and the purpose of legal translation is bridging different cultures and legal systems and help them to understand each other.
In my 22 year career as an attorney, I’ve met with countless clients who explained their legal problem in animated terms, railed about the injustice of their situation, and then expected a clear and immediate resolution to their problem without ever considering the single most important legal issue that applied to their case. So here’s the best $500 legal advice I could ever provide to a client – at no cost to you:Focus on the legal standard that will be applied to your situation.Think about it. The law is a system of standards. Unless you understand the legal standard that will be applied to a specific factual situation, it is very difficult to determine how your case will be resolved. Without focusing on the legal standard, it is almost impossible to formulate a sound strategy for achieving the client’s desired outcome.Here are several examples of legal standards. A city code enforcement ordinance specifies minimum maintenance requirements (legal standards) that could trigger a violation notice and ultimately a monetary fine. A contract defines the terms and obligations (legal standards) that will govern the relationship between the parties to the contract. A mortgage contains payment provisions (legal standards) that must be met in order for the homeowner to avoid foreclosure.During an initial consultation, an attorney must separate the relevant from the irrelevant. To do so, the attorney should address – and the client should anticipate – five specific questions:1. What is the factual situation?2. What is the appropriate legal standard?3. What resolution is the client seeking?4. How can the client’s desired resolution be reached?5. What will be the anticipated cost of the legal services to achieve the desired resolution? (Note: All clients want to control the cost of legal fees, so this is always an important question).During your consultation, the attorney should pay special attention to the second question (appropriate legal standard) and provide advice designed to explain how the law applies to your factual situation. In order to formulate an effective strategy for resolving a legal problem, the attorney needs to help the client narrow the issues, place emphasis on the relevant facts, apply the appropriate legal standard(s), consider the range of available options, and discuss how the desired outcome can be achieved.Let me make one final observation and recommendation. The pragmatic client consults an attorney to learn the appropriate legal standard before a problem ever arises. The attorney is then able to brief the client on the standard and the action necessary to comply with the law while avoiding potential pitfalls. I highly recommend that you consult an attorney to learn the appropriate legal standard before a legal problem ever appears on the horizon. That simple advice could save you far more than $500 in the long run.
Legal careers and legal jobs are becoming one of the most dynamic and rewarding career choice; as our legal system has become an integral part of our daily lives. Either minor or major, we need legal expertise and guidance for every right that we possess.We live in an information age, where people are aware of their fundamental rights and duties, so lawyers and other legal professionals must know how to have success for a client. A meaningful law career that solves client’s needs, leads not only to career satisfaction and a sense of achievement; but, it also can result in a high income earning potential.More and more bright young aspirants are considering law as their prime career choice to become as successful as the lawyers and professionals they idolize. But not all who begin with high hopes succeed. So, what could be the most important qualities to obtain success in a legal career and the legal profession?In his book, The Science of Getting Rich, Wallace Wattles notes that those who “thinks in a certain way” will succeed pure and simple. Hence, let’s take a look at the things that successful legal professionals embrace. If you do these things in that same way that the successful legal practitioner does, you will, in fact, succeed. Here, then, are a few ingredients that will lead to success in any legal job:
Communication: A legal professional is bound to have exemplary communication skills. Communication skills cover your written, oral and listening skills. In the legal profession one has to interview suspects, witnesses, clients and all sorts of people in order to extract any and all information associated to their case; not only that but he also needs to analyze that information on various fronts to verify the veracity of the information received. Therefore, working and improving upon your communication and listening skills is essential to your success in a legal career. Any seminars, books or training devoted to increasing your communication abilities will inevitably lead to success.
Empathic and Rational: Being empathic in the legal profession means the capacity to understand and know emotionally what a client has experienced and the ability to put oneself in clients’ shoes. Note I did not say to be sympathetic. Sympathetic means you feel sorry for your client. Empathy involves the quality of appreciating your client’s situation. At the same time a legal professional should have a rational mind and clear thinking, because as my mother used to say “rule your life with reason.”
Out of the Box thinking: Legal professionals must have the ability to find what is hidden and present the best choices for their clients. Typically, clients are in conflict with an adversary. The creative legal professional can break deadlocks through creative solutions that lead to mutually beneficial solutions
Specialized Knowledge: One needs to have expert knowledge in their area to work in any profession, but in this is especially so in the legal profession. The top legal professional must not only master the legal knowledge of the sector he represents but also he must gain the knowledge vital to the industry itself. As they say – “Hundred men with guns cannot steal as much as a lawyer with his words”, so to choose the right words and phrases one must be knowledgeable. For example, if you are a litigator that represents a company in the oil industry, then you must know every detail of the oil industry to prepare a strong and winning argument for the case; similarly for any client a legal professional must have a thorough knowledge of every detail associated to a client’s work.
Confidentiality: Legal ethics demand strict confidentially with your client. If you cannot observe this basic cannon, then you cannot find success in the legal profession. Maintaining confidentiality is the foremost task of a legal professional. Attorneys, paralegals, legal receptionists, all gain confidential information and it must be kept secret. Violating the attorney client privilege is tantamount to losing a client’s faith, which can be fatal in any legal position.
Commitment: There is a saying that “A Lawyer would do anything to win a case.” Commitment is required in any and every legal profession. Fighting a case for a client is like treating a patient; clients in the legal world have just one expectation of ‘success’ and to fulfill it, one must be committed to his work. Most of the famous and highly reputed people in legal careers forget about everything else, sometimes they overlook their personal commitments; it’s just 40% what they work at officially and 60% of the unofficial work that makes the difference. Success in the legal profession requires preparation-a lot of time in research and drawing up all the necessary documents. Perseverance is the key; one must be willing to work without any boundaries to time in a legal job.
Diplomatic: It is said rightly that “He is not a lawyer who can’t take two sides”. There are no friends or foes in legal profession; one must say the right words at the right place and the right time. Being diplomatic makes your overall personality favorable, even for those who disagree as to what you say or believe; also, it makes you a good negotiator, which is a routine task in any legal profession. You should be diplomatic if you are trying to find success in legal careers.
Persuasive: Whether a lawyer, attorney, paralegal or a legal assistant everyone in legal the profession should be persuasive. It requires a great amount of skill and practice to persuade a judge, jury or even client to your position. Every client expects their legal consultant to be aggressive, they do not pay you to sleep and be shy; you must learn to persuade to get success in legal careers.
Patience: You need to be patient in order to be successful in legal profession. If you don’t succeed at first, try again; you will not get your way the first time around. You will need to write letter after letter, draft motion after motion, in order to succeed for your clients. Practicing a legal job requires a lot of waiting. Waiting around courthouses for your case to be called. Waiting around for decisions on appeals to be handed down. It is said rightly that – “If you are a legal professional, either you will learn to wait or you will simply grow old before time.”
Last, but not the least, Love of argument: Legal professionals debate constantly; with courts, with adversaries, with companies and even with their own clients and associates. If you love to advance your position, not just occasionally or at work but day in and day out, and if you are difficult to beat in arguments; then you definitely have what it takes to excel in legal careers.