Five Things I Wish I’d Learned In Law School

Omer,DavidThis post originally appeared on the Law Student Division page, where you can find it and more advice for newly minted lawyers.

By David G. Omer

Law school is a strange creature.  You spend three long years sacrificing your sleep, your credit rating, your relationships, and your sanity.  In return, you get the opportunity to take the bar exam and start a career where you get to challenge yourself every day, help countless people, and maybe even make a little money along the way.  As you’ve (hopefully) learned, law school is all about filling your brain with points of law and forcing you to think your way around the gray areas.  For all the substantive information you pick up during your time as a law student, however, there are some important things that get left along the wayside.  As a recently licensed lawyer in North Carolina, I appreciate the opportunity to fill you in on a few things I didn’t learn until I made it out into the “real world.”

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Road Warriors: All-Time Favorite Vietnamese Food In Matthews

By James Walker

Road Warriors is back and is celebrating its 15th anniversary with the new 24th edition. The column, a long-standing feature in the Workers’ Compensation Section newsletter, Course & Scope, focuses on lunch eateries around the state. This special anniversary and celebration of Road Warriors revving up its engines again is devoted to my all-time favorite, Ben Thanh Vietnamese Restaurant. All the tips and comments from our membership have made Road Warriors possible. Please email me at with your favorite lunch stops and they may appear in following editions. If you take a moment to write a review, we’ll put it in the next edition if possible.

Ben Thanh Vietnamese Restaurant

1806 Windsor Square Drive

Matthews, NC 28105

(704) 566-1088

Ben Thanh has been a perennial favorite Asian restaurant in the Charlotte area for many years. And no wonder. The very best of Charlotte’s Vietnamese presence is on display at my all-time favorite restaurant. It’s like a journey through time to another era and to an exotic, mysterious tropical destination.

Ben Thanh’s family owned restaurant has its roots in the former Saigon of then South Vietnam. The culture and food are vastly different from the North, being a tropical region in the Mekong River Delta. The popularity of the flavorful, healthy food from this region has spread wildly around the world, with the beef and rice noodle soup phó having legions of followers.

Phó is seductively simple: rice noodles in an herbal/spiced broth, topped with various cuts of beef in different stages of doneness. When served, the patron garnishes the bowl with Thai basil, lettuce, bean sprouts and cilantro. Hot peppers are optional. Careful here, especially with the little red, nuclear tipped Thai chilies. Try Ben Thanh menu item No. 24 to have phó.



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‘Making A Murderer’ Defense Attorneys Hope To Spark Change

Having binge-watched Making a Murderer during January’s epic snow, my law-partner husband and I attended the DPAC presentation: “Dean Strang and Jerry Buting: A Conversation on Justice.” Dean is a UVA Law graduate, as is my husband. Jerry is a UNC Law graduate, as am I. My husband taught Jerry contracts and UCC.  On that cold January day, we felt an affinity for both. When the NCBA arranged a member event outing including a pre-presentation meeting with Dean and Jerry, pictured above, we said “Count us in!”

As the world now knows, Dean and Jerry defended Steven Avery against murder charges in the tragic death of Teresa Halbach in Manitowoc County, Wis.  The Netflix documentary about the case is an internet sensation.  The public conversation about the separate convictions of Steven Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey includes the topics of wrongful conviction, police misconduct and prosecutorial misconduct.  The documentary generated so much interest that a petition to pardon Steven Avery addressed to President Barack Obama (who has no authority in this state case) garnered more than half a million signatures.

During our private meeting with Dean and Jerry and the public presentation, lots of questions were asked about the case. One of interest to me was how two defense attorneys ended up in a documentary filmed during a murder trial. The answer: Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos began their work with the Avery family before either Dean or Jerry were engaged as counsel.  The film crew was a reality when their representation began.  They did not choose it. They had trepidation about it.  Both now believe that it has cast light where light must be cast.

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Google Proposes the Creation Of a Woman Lawyer Emoji, But Why?

If you had to draw a picture of an attorney, what would it look like?  How would your drawing of a male attorney compare to one of a female attorney?

I love emoji. I admit it.  And while they are fun, some academics are contemplating whether emoji may develop into a new language altogether and change our written communication to look less like a novel and more like a comic book.  While it’s easy to express happiness with 🙂 and sadness with 🙁 , how do you express a more complex idea or concept like a profession?  These are the new concepts we are all facing, and regardless of who we blame for the rise of emoji (cough cough *Millennials* cough cough), we need to start getting used to the idea that words+graphic=communication.

How might lawyers be affected?

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Single Platform Seeks Smart Lawyer: The Case for the iPhone-Only Law Office, Part 1

When was the last time you checked your phone? Was it in the last hour? The last 15 minutes? The last 5? Are you reading this article on your phone right now? Chances are, if you’re a Boomer or a Millennial, you check your phone more than 20 times a day (even during meal times). In fact, according to a report based on a recent Nielsen Poll, the worst offenders aren’t teenagers, they’re people aged 25-54.

Now, I’m not here to cast aspersions, or to chastise you in front of your peers. Just the opposite, in fact. I know that none of us are likely to untether from the grid. We use our phones to respond to clients, take notes at depositions, videochat with remote business associates. We have good reasons to be on our phones, and we’re not going to stop using them. So we must create business practices that adhere to the current reality. And for this reality, I postulate that we create iPhone Only law offices. Why?

  1. Lawyers use mobile devices, and ignoring the implications of working on a smartphone is irresponsible.
  2. Using a single platform is better for almost any business, including law firms.
  3. Security, Security and … Security.

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Here’s What Should Be Keeping You Up At Night

Here’s an actual email1 I received from a consulting client at the Center for Practice Management.

Dear Erik,

I think it is time for me to ramp up my firm’s online marketing efforts, but nothing I’ve done so far seems to work. It’s almost frustrating enough to make me miss the Yellow Pages.


Sleepless in Search Engine Land2

And my reply3.

Dear Sleepless,

I’m sorry to hear about your frustration with online marketing. The place I would start with this is thinking about what keeps your clients up at night. To get your gears turning, here’s a list of things that keeps me up at night:

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By Popular Demand: A Little Help For The Legislative Drafter


I recently received an email from a reader who asked if I knew of any good resources on drafting legislation. At the time, nothing specific came to mind, and I made a note to myself to do some investigating when time permitted. This week, time finally permitted.

I always start these investigations by looking through the hundreds of books on my office shelves.1 I receive exam copies of legal writing books on a weekly basis, and often, if I look patiently, I can find one that meets a particular need. So yesterday, I began skimming titles, looking for something pertaining to legislative drafting. And lo and behold, right there it was: Plain English for Drafting Statutes and Rules.2

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Encrypt It, Restrict It, Firewall It: The Panama Papers’ Security Lessons for Lawyers


The leak of the Panama Papers has done more than reveal the underbelly of the international tax-dodger trade. This massive security breach, the biggest document leak in history, also serves as a wake-up call for lawyers and law firms about our responsibility to keep client information confidential.

The files, leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, came from the Mossack Fonseca law firm in Panama. Their contents are incredibly incriminating for several multinational organizations and many world leaders as they describe the ways powerful and knowledgeable people have gamed the financial system to create tax havens in off-shore accounts. It’s important that you understand the contents and repercussions of the documents, certainly, but even more important is that you understand what this leak means for law firm security in the future.

Here’s the takeaway:

  1. If you keep it, it can be stolen. Encrypt.
  2. If you send it, it can be misdirected. Encrypt.
  3. If you give access to it, it can be retained. Restrict Downloads.
  4. If your data is stored on your network, it can be accessed by anyone who has network permissions. Firewall it.

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On the Ides Of March, a Soothsayer’s Tips On Making Law Partnerships Last

“All happy law firms are alike; each unhappy law firm is unhappy in its own way.” Tolstoy wrote that. Or maybe it was Tolstoy’s lawyer. I forget.

Whoever wrote it, it’s wrong.

Unhappy law firms – and by unhappy, I mean the law firms where the partnership is fracturing – are often unhappy in similar ways and for similar reasons. I regularly do consultations with a couple of lawyers who are planning to open a firm together. It makes sense; starting a law firm is scary, and doing it with someone you like and trust feels like it helps mitigate the risk.

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Beware the Ethics Pitfalls of Social Media Research


By James M. Dedman IV

Lawyers now find themselves well into the era of social media discovery. Time was, Internet evidence was a novelty, and courts eyed such issues with wonder and skepticism. Cf. St. Clair v. Johnny’s Oyster & Shrimp, Inc., 76 F. Supp. 2d 773, 774 (S.D. Tex. 1999) (“[A]ny evidence procured off the Internet is adequate for almost nothing . . . .”). These days, these inquiries are routine. Accordingly, corporate counsel should be aware of the ethical principles governing social media research in litigation (whether they be conducting such research internally or relying on outside counsel to do so).

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