March 18, 2018

Archives for November 10, 2011

Want Change? First, Change Everything (Part 2)

Editor’s Note: This article is the second in a three part series of job search and career transition articles. Part one and part three are also online.

Inspiration is strong energy. It comes asking the impossible – impossible not just because of the task to be done, but also because of who’s asked to do it. Especially who’s asked to do it.

Inspiration speaks with such conviction that we rarely doubt its ideas and visions. If we’re going to doubt anything, we’re going to doubt ourselves. But, despite what we think, we are always the most qualified candidate for our dreams. Big Ideas come to claim their own. If it’s my idea, dream, vision, then only one person gets to be its champion: me.

Then why does it seem so impossible? To begin, it’s helpful to realize that “impossible” doesn’t exist on some grand cosmic level. It’s only impossible for us because we’ve never done it before.

The mission of creating the change we want is impossible for who we are used to being and what we are used to doing, thinking, and believing. Our dreams and passionate ideas haven’t come true because our lives aren’t organized around making them happen. Instead, they’re organized around not making our dreams happen. We’re not yet in the right energetic shape to do what it will take to create the change we want.

“Energetic shape” is shorthand for all the ways we habitually shape our lives – psychologically, physically, emotionally, in our relationships, and in all our other habits and ways of going about life. We don’t have the lives we want, we haven’t reinvented ourselves and seen our Big Ideas come to fruition, because we haven’t restructured ourselves and our ways of going about life in a way that will make them happen.

To get something new, we need to become something new. And that means changing everything in us and in our lives that doesn’t support the new thing.

Whoa. That’s intense. Did you say everything?


No wonder we blanche when inspiration comes calling. Remake everything? Who’s going to take a deal on those kinds of terms?

We are, if we really want something new.

Kevin Rhodes left a successful 20+ years career in private practice to pursue a creative dream. He has led two workshops for the CBA’s Job Search and Career Transitions Support Group. His next one, scheduled for January 2012, is called Work With Passion: Find Your Fire and Fuel It!

Ross Guberman: Client Alert or Client Asleep?

Many law firms market themselves by sending out “client alerts” about the latest hot case or regulation.

Here’s a secret: These client alerts leave most clients cold.

Why? Because they fail the “So what?” test.

A Typical Alert

A typical client alert starts like this:

In Verzini v. Potter, No. 03-1652 (3d Cir. 2004), the court discussed the relationship between two defenses that employers can use under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The Court considered both the “direct threat” defense and the “business necessity” defense. The Plaintiff, a postal worker, told his supervisor that his neighbors were peering into his windows while he slept. The supervisor was concerned that the employee was not fit for duty and ordered him to be examined by a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist diagnosed the employee with chronic paranoid schizophrenia. The Postal Service eventually fired him. Plaintiff sued for disability discrimination, but the Postal Service insisted that it had a “business necessity” to fire him because it had to ensure workplace safety. . . .

Any clients still reading are tapping their pens.

A Better Approach

Start by telling your clients what they can or should do now. Only then discuss the case or regulation—and only to highlight the “So what?” factor.

Try something like this:

Under a recent Third Circuit ruling, if an employer fires an employee to preserve workplace safety, the employer need not prove that the employee has directly threatened anyone. In that case, for example, the court allowed the Postal Service to fire an employee who was “unfit for duty” simply because he had refused treatment for paranoid schizophrenia. Although this case appears to allow employers to fire an employee for legitimate business needs alone, employers should take the following steps before doing so. . . .

Ross Guberman is the founder and president of Legal Writing Pro, an advanced legal-writing training and consulting firm. He has conducted more than a thousand programs on three continents for many of the largest and most prestigious law firms and for dozens of state and federal agencies and bar associations. Ross is also a Professorial Lecturer in Law at The George Washington University Law School, where he teaches an advanced seminar on drafting and writing strategy. When you see the logo, you’re reading an article from Legal Writing Pro, where the article originally appeared.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 11/9/11

On Wednesday, November 9, 2011, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinions and two unpublished opinions.


United States v. Salazar

Hudson v. Mason

No case summaries are available for unpublished opinions. However, published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.