Sunday, November 25, 2012

#2 in our Mentee series: Michael Gasi

Many people in our NYCLA community have been hit very hard by storm Sandy. Our thoughts are with you during the extended cleanup and hope that the return to normal is swift. 

Due to Sandy, we have made some scheduling changes with the mentoring program and will be starting the new session in January. In anticipation of that and as we think about giving our time to less-experienced members of the bar, I am posting a piece from Michael Gasi. It is the second post from a mentee-participants in NYCLA's mentoring program.

When I sent in my application for the NYCLA Mentoring program, I had no idea what to expect.  All I knew was that I was a young lawyer with very few solid relationships in the profession and a whole lot to learn.  A year later I have developed a tremendous lasting relationship with an experienced, knowledgeable, compassionate and affable lawyer who has made sure that I am not alone in this huge world. 

From my particular experience, it was very easy to feel isolated and alone.  Though I had networked and developed some relationships, I wasn't always comfortable reaching out to those individuals for a variety of reasons. 

Although I barely knew my mentor at first, she made sure I felt welcomed.  She invited me out to lunch with her and, at times, with her and her colleagues.  Like a family member, my mentor accepted me as is.  I no longer had to fear being judged if I had a question a more experienced attorney would consider rudimentary.  She became my source of knowledge and wisdom that filled the gaps between the books, the statutes, the caselaw and the courtroom.

I'm deeply thankful to NYCLA for helping me form this relationship.  I have no doubt it will last for the remainder of my professional career.  I look forward to the day I can pay it forward and mentor a young lawyer such as myself.  I'm confident that day will come, now that I have such a great example to follow.


Michael Gasi is a solo practitioner located in Queens running a general practice.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

From the mentees ... Tiombe Carter

Below is the first in a series of blog posts from the mentees of NYCLA's mentoring program. Our first post is from Tiombe. We hope to hear more from Tiombe on this blog going forward...

NYCLA has an award winning mentor program and I am a most appreciative Mentee. The program’s broad spectrum of mentees made it unique. I had graduated from law school over 14 years prior to participating in the program. Not your average new attorney. My nontraditional path to practice had left me somewhat timid. NYCLA’s Mentor Program provided the support I needed. The year long program paired me with a seasoned attorney who practiced in the same area of law. During the kick-off event I identified the components of my mentoring plan. Then I met with my mentor and we strategized on how to address my action items: learning the unwritten customary rules of practice, reviewing my practice business plan, developing oral advocacy skills and how to deal with complicated ethical issues. My mentor seemed extraordinarily generous with his time, meeting with me, attending the planned events, answering my many questions. Later I learned during our networking sessions that the other mentees were having similar experiences with their mentors. That may be why NYCLA’s program is award winning. NYCLA supplemented the program with complementary CLE workshops on ethics, time management and professionalism plus activities designed to acclimate us to the legal community. At one particular workshop, “Myths of Lawyering Debunked”, a panelist posed the question to the attendees who included mentors and mentees - why did you become a lawyer? All the answers had one central theme – the high calling to help people. The NYCLA Mentor Program is that answer in action.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

So you do think lawyers are risk averse

The latest poll results: Do you think lawyers are resistant to change? OK.  A few more responses than last time (very few), but enough to report that 100% of the respondents all agree that lawyers are indeed risk-averse. Is it nature or nurture? Training from law school or an inclination that leads to law school?  Let me know what you think in the comments.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Do you think lawyers are risk averse (and a reminder that the poll is anonymous)

I got so few responses from my last poll -- Why are lawyers risk averse? -- that I decided to re-word the question and answers and give the NYCLA community another chance at responding. 

This iteration is not so judgmental (to all of you who were insulted by the insinuation of lawyers being risk averse). That said, cast your vote on whether you think Lawyers are Risk Averse or not.

And don't forget that the poll is anonymous, there is no way for me to track can comment anonymously as well.

Monday, May 21, 2012

How soon are changes coming to your practice

Lots of people are talking about changes in the legal profession and have been following the issue for over four years now. Obviously, changes are taking place (moves to alternatives to billable hours, rethinking large firm management procedures), but coming from New York big law and now a conservative legal department in a company, those changes are barely noticeable.

I read a recent quote by a partner at Seyfarth Shaw which sums up the reason for this phenomenon (paraphrase): never underestimate the power of a group of lawyers to argue  that a minuscule deviation from the status quo is a revolutionary change.   I had to laugh.

When are the smartest people in the room going to experiment with innovative business practices? Will real movement only be reactionary, the result of a domino effect: Heller, Thacher, Dewey, your firm ....