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Too Busy to Meditate? What If It Could Actually Save You Time?

July 30, 2013

Emily_Purple_Pants_web_JPGAs legal professionals we spend a lot of time in our heads, and meditation is an easy way to make that time more efficient , not just by relieving stress when it happens, but by being mentally ready for it before it happens.  What if I were to tell you that the time you spend meditating will *save* you time?   New York-based Broadway professional-turned-meditation teacher Emily Fletcher knows all about getting the job of one’s dreams then being overwhelmed by stress.  Read what Emily has to say and see how some basic meditation techniques can help you do less and accomplish more. Read on and find out how.

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Looking Like a Lawyer, Revisited: Bespoke, Made to Measure, and Off the Rack

September 12, 2012

As the blog has been making its way through a multi-part primer on dressing like a lawyer, we’ve touched repeatedly on the importance of tailoring. The axiom is: if the suit doesn’t fit, don’t wear it. We have assumed that young lawyers’ budgets will require them to buy off-the-rack suits and shirts and tailor as needed. But now slimmed-down styles, inspired by the custom tailoring of London’s famed Savile Row, have come into vogue, shouldering out the boxier styling traditional to the U.S. With that trend has come a surge of interest in skilled custom tailoring. So, it seems appropriate that we briefly review the full spectrum of business attire customization.
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Looking like a Lawyer, Part 2c: Men’s Accessories.

July 30, 2012

This is the fourth installment in a series on cultivating a lawyerly image. The first discussed sartorial fundamentals for female lawyers; the second considered men’s suits; and the third examined men’s shirts. Today, we review how to choose appropriate accessories to complete your professional ensemble.

Your suit’s on the hanger, your shirt’s freshly pressed, and you’re just about ready to head out the door, right?


You’re not completely dressed until you’ve completed the ensemble. You’ll need at least a tie, and maybe a tie clip to go with it. Depending on your shirt cuffs, you may need cufflinks. While you’re at it, that breast pocket is looking pretty empty — maybe consider a pocket square.

Bottom line, there are some additional items to consider when getting yourself together in the morning. Let’s run through some basics to pull together your look: ties, cufflinks, and pocket squares.

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Looking Like a Lawyer, Part 2b: Men’s Shirts

June 18, 2012

This is the third installment in a series on cultivating a lawyerly image. The first discussed sartorial fundamentals for female lawyers and the second dealt with men’s suits. Guest contributor Leo M. Mulvihill is a partner at Mulvihill & Rushie–The Fishtown Lawyers. He has written widely on style for Art of Manliness. This is his debut on the PhiLAWdelphia blog.

After following the sage advice in Looking Like a Lawyer, Part 2a, now you have a suit that fits you well, and makes you look and feel like a million bucks. But unless you want to go to court looking like a Chippendale’s model, you’ll need to have a nice arsenal of shirts to wear with your suits. If you’re in the type of office that requires you to be in a shirt and tie every day, you’ll probably want to have at least 10 shirts to rotate so that you’re not doing laundry twice a week — or worse, wearing dirty shirts to work. Below, I’ll discuss some hints to make dressing in the morning as easy as possible for you, while ensuring you always look put together. My goal throughout this article to keep it simple and classic – almost to the point where you could reach into your closet, without looking, and end up with a suitable outfit for court.

Building Your Professional Shirt Wardrobe.
I’m going to take all of us back to our bar exam studies. Remember all those mnemonics your lecturers tried to make you remember? Well, neither do I.

But when shopping for shirts, we can distill everything down pretty simply to the 5Cs of what you should consider – – 1) Color; 2) Cut; 3) Cloth; 4) Collar; and 5) Cuffs.

So let’s have at it. Read more…

Looking Like a Lawyer, Part 2a: Choosing, Tailoring and Wearing a Men’s Suit

June 1, 2012

 Executive Board member Maria E. Harris recently posted on key points for female lawyers to keep in mind in cultivating a lawyerly image. This installment discusses the same topic with a focus on men. Part 2a deals with suits. Part 2b will deal with shirts, ties, shoes, and other accessories.

It’s the rare client or fellow lawyer that will judge you favorably for being a style maverick. People expect lawyers to look the part.

There is no one way to be an excellent lawyer—as legendary trial lawyer Bob Mongeluzzi counsels, you ultimately have to be yourself to achieve your lawyerly potential. The same goes for your visual presentation. You can never go wrong with a simple, neat, well-fitting, comfortable ensemble. If you look competent, you will enjoy a presumption of competence (albeit a rebuttable one). But, to the extent you individualize appearance, make sure it’s consistent with your personal style, your practice and your audience. Whether you’re cerebral and understated or bold and outspoken, dress the part. By and large, lawyers dress differently in the courtroom than in a document review room. No jacket or tie might be OK in Silicon Valley, dressy cowboy boots OK in Houston, seersucker OK in Atlanta and probably none of the above at a white-shoe firm in the Northeast.  To this day, My Cousin Vinny is unrivaled in highlighting with comedic artistry the importance of tradition and context in lawyerly dress. As you work to find your style niche, try to find lawyers whom you respect and emulate them. Every lawyer needs to be able to dress formally, even if only occasionally, so the following guide will focus on making sure are able to do that with aplomb, starting with suits. Once you have formal attire handled, you can dress down from there.

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Nutrition Tips for the Sedentary Attorney: The Great Lunch Caper

May 29, 2012

Angel’s BBQ in Savannah, Georgia, where I recently had an amazing BBQ lunch. If I lived there, I would eat at Angel’s just about every day. Luckily for my nutritional intake, I live in Philly. (How often is *that* said?)

By Mike Murphy and Carlynn Fitzgerald

When I was in high school, we had an “open campus,” which meant that, because our cafeteria wasn’t big enough to handle all the students eating at once, students could leave school and eat elsewhere.  Problem was, “lunch” was 35 minutes long, and the school was in the suburbs, so the social landscape aligned itself such that those in power were (1) of legal driving age and (2) had a car at school.  But even if you were lucky enough to know such a feudal lord or lady, there weren’t many good options nearby, and by “good,” I mean “good” by the definition of a bunch of 16-year-olds in Michigan, which is to say “deep-fried meat and/or pizza.” The Shangri-La of lunch places was The New McDonalds, which opened during my senior year.  If you knew a kid with a fast car, a general disregard for the personal safety of himself and his passengers, and the organizational precision of Danny Ocean, you could just barely get there, eat and get back for Fifth Period.  It made lunch the most exciting meal of the day.  We would race into Honors English conspicuously draining a 44-ounce pop (remember, this is the Midwest) and everyone would know that we pulled off yet another high-risk caper. 

Nowadays, I usually eat a salad at my desk.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Read on and find out:

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Looking Like a Lawyer, Part 1: Women

May 14, 2012

This is the first of a two-part series on cultivating a lawyerly appearance. Author Maria E. Harris is a member of the Young Lawyers Division Executive Committee.

The following tips are based upon interviews with female attorneys selected for their reputations as classy, professional and stylish members of the bar. They range in age from thirties to fifties and have practiced in a variety of settings, from government to private practice, both plaintiff and defense.

Know your audience. Dressing as an attorney depends not only on who you are but also whom you are interacting with.  It can vary depending on whether you are going to court, a networking event, appearing at the office or simply going to dinner with co-workers.

Just because it’s technically within the dress code doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Having interviewed partners in their 40s and 50s, I have an intimate view of the expectations for dressing as a young woman attorney.

Dressing up a little pays dividends. Women lawyers who are more established and experienced feel that, as young women, we should be more cognizant of how the way we present ourselves affects others’ impressions of us. [Ed. note: The Young Lawyer editorial board recently made this same point.]

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Lessons From Behavioral Science: The Cognitive Benefits of Exercise

May 3, 2012

I posted last week about all the ill effects of lawyers’ sedentary lifestyle and offered some suggestions for mitigating those effects. (Mike Murphy has offered some related suggestions on cultivating good eating habits). But for lawyers with serious work demands, it can seem like there’s never time for the essential components of a healthy lifestyle, such as regular exercise, or consistently getting enough sleep (an area lawyers have been proven to fail miserably). But, as it turns out, it’s not that simple. Apparently, maximizing your productivity at work depends on taking time away from work to exercise. Read more…

More Reasons Law Practice is Unhealthy and Some Things You Can Do About It

April 23, 2012

This is the third in a series on health topics affecting lawyers. The first was on cultivating good eating habits and the second on the legal profession’s sleep-deprivation problem.

As we’ve already discussed, lawyers tend to spend a lot of time sitting (burning almost no calories) and not nearly enough time sleepingAs it turns out those aren’t the only perils presented by a legal career. We tend to work long hours, which is correlated with bad habits like smoking, lack of exercise, and infrequent check-ups. Those working long enough hours to disrupt their regular sleep cycle suffer from reduced appetite control as well as elevated stress hormones, blood pressure, and pre-diabetic indicators. Even if we cultivate good eating habits, our sedentary lifestyles can take a toll on our bodies. And, as it turns out, all that sitting doesn’t just add to our waistlines—it significantly shortens our lives.

So are we lawyers necessarily doomed to lives that are nasty, brutish and short?

Thankfully, no. Read more…

Philly’s Greening Goes Well Beyond the Mayor’s Office

April 18, 2012

When Mayor Nutter announced his vision for post-industrial Philadelphia as one of the greenest in the nation, he got some deserved scoffs. I may have half-scoffed myself. But, as I’ve noted on the blog, he’s made huge strides, despite a budget crisis. In fact, just last week he and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced a landmark $2 billion plan for green stormwater management. All of a sudden, Philly’s a legitimate candidate for the greenest East Coast city title, along with perennial contenders Boston and New York City. Even better, the green wave has started to pick up real momentum in the private and non-profit sectors.

Philly-based mega-restauranteur Steven Starr is working on green initiatives with a local eco-consulting firm. He’s starting with composting at Talula’s Garden and Route 6, where there’s in-house composting know-how. La Colombe, Philly’s gourmet coffee empire in the making, is going to build the only private decaffeination plant in the nation, in a 15,000-square-foot Port Richmond warehouse. And they’re aiming to give it a zero carbon footprint.

Keeping up with the food industry is another Philly pillar, the arts sector. The Kimmel Center is incorporating energy efficiency climate-control features into its first major building overhaul since opening, which will also move its restaurant downstairs and pass management duties from Wolfgang Puck to local chef-lebrity Jose Garces. Meanwhile, the Barnes Foundation is set to open on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway with its impressive new LEED Platinum certified digs.

A local non-profit is working on taking sustainability a step further and make Philadelphia home of the first urban “earthship,” a fully self-sufficient residential structure made from re-used and re-purposed materials.

Even the state government is contributing, making the rare Philly-friendly gesture from Harrisburg by supporting its large bicycle community with a new traffic safety law. The law requires that motorists passing bicyclists leave four feet of room, and allows those motorists to cross a yellow line to do so, where safe. The law also prohibits right turns that impede the path of a bicyclist.

Boston and New York, you’re on notice.

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