New York City based, with a national practice. Career management for the legal profession. In 20 years, Ms. Odentz has counseled/coached more than 3,000 attorneys and other legal professionals from AmLaw 200 law firms and Fortune 500 companies, and helped them optimize their career potential. Ms. Odentz was formally trained in psychological counseling at Columbia University (M.A. and Ed.M., with honors and a specialty in Business and Industry). She is a Fellow in the Institute of Career Certification International. For more information, go to www.progressinwork.com.
Archive for December, 2008
It’s been a good year for legal thrillers. And before the sun sets on 2008, we want to take a moment to look back and honor the eight current and former lawyers whose suspense novels were published this year, each them brimming with insider elements only a lawyer could love:
David Baldacci, JD (www.DavidBaldacci.com) – The former trial and corporate lawyer is the author of 17 novels, including this year’s NY Times bestsellers – Divine Justice and The Whole Truth.
Jeffery Deaver, JD (www.JefferyDeaver.com) – The former legal journalist and Wall Street lawyer is the author of 23 suspense novels, including this year’s NY Times bestsellers – The Bodies Left Behind and The Broken Window.
Joel Goldman, JD (www.JoelGoldman.com) – The former Kansas City trial lawyer is the author of five crime novels, including this year’s Shakedown. Goldman juggled his law and writing for about 10 years, finally retiring to write full-time in 2006.
James Grippando, Esq. (www.JamesGrippando.com) – The former Miami trial lawyer is the author of 13 legal thrillers, including three this year – Born to Run, Last Call and Lying With Strangers. Grippando is currently Of Counsel at the David Boies law firm.
Phil Margolin, JD (www.PhillipMargolin.com) – The former criminal defense lawyer is the author of 13 thrillers including this year’s Executive Privilege. Margolin retired from law to write full-time in 1996.
Steve Martini, JD (www.SteveMartini.com) – The former legal journalist-turned-lawyer is the author of 12 legal thrillers, including this year’s Shadow of Power. Martini practiced for 10 years before retiring from the law in the mid-1980s. His first novel was published in 1992.
David Rosenfelt, JD (www.DavidRosenfelt.com) – The former entertainment lawyer and marketing executive for Tri-Star Pictures is the author of eight thrillers, including this year’s Don’t Tell a Soul. Rosenfelt wrote film and TV scripts before turning to legal thrillers.
Michael Schein, Esq. (www.MichaelSchein.com) – The Seattle trial lawyer and former professor of American legal history is a first-time author with this year’s Just Deceits, a fact-based legal thriller involving John Marshall, first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Sheldon Siegel, Esq. (www.SheldonSiegel.com) – A corporate and securities lawyer in San Francisco, Siegel is the author of six courtroom thrillers, including this year’s Judgment Day.
How’s your own novel coming along? We thought so. That’s why we recommend the weekend fiction workshop in April in Chicago, sponsored by SEAK, the legal education company. The workshop will be taught by lawyer/crime novelist Robert Dugoni. For details, go to www.seak.com and click on Writing Workshops.
There are some 400,000 professionals providing financial advice in the US today. Bernard Madoff was one of them. Of course, the self-admitted author of a $50 billion Ponzi scheme is the exception, but his arrest this month doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in the others. So, how do you find a dependable (honest) financial adviser in these skeptical times? The Wall Street Journal recommends using fee-only advisers who charge an hourly fee, or a percentage of your portfolio’s value, or a fixed annual retainer. In addition, that you work only with certified brokers, planners, and insurance agents, and that you interview them critically with the following questions:
* What are your qualifications/credentials?
* Are you a Certified Financial Planner? If so, how long have you been practicing as a financial planner?
* Are you a Registered Investment Advisor?
* What other licenses or certificates do you have, and when did you obtain them?
* How are you compensated for your services? By the hour, by a flat fee, or by commission on the sale of products?
* What is your approach and/or philosophy of financial planning and investing?
* Do you sell/recommend specific investment products?
* What experience do you have working with lawyers or other professionals?
* Is there a minimum account balance that you require?
* What size accounts do you typically handle?
* How frequently do you review your accounts?
* Who will be the person(s) working on my account?
* May I have the names and contact information for 10 current clients for reference? You will then randomly select several to call.
And to help you sort the wheat from the chaff, here are some of the better-known and well-established designations you might see behind the names of financial advisors looking to win your business:
CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst). Awarded by the CFA Institute, this designation goes to investment professionals who successfully complete a rigorous three-year, three-exam program of study in the fields of portfolio management and investment analysis. While held by some personal financial advisors, the designation is especially popular among Wall Street security analysts and money managers who cater to institutional investors.
CFP (Certified Financial Planner). Awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards to candidates who complete a personal financial planning curriculum, pass a 10-hour, two-day exam, and provide evidence of financial planning-related work experience. It is increasingly becoming the most well-known designation for financial planners.
ChFC (Charter Financial Consultant). To become a Chartered Financial Consultant, financial advisers must complete an educational program offered by The American College, which cover financial planning, investments and insurance, meet experience and ethical standards, and complete 30 hours of continuing education biannually.
CPA/PFS (Certified Public Accountant/Personal Financial Specialist). CPAs who wish to specialize in financial planning can go on to earn the Personal Financial Specialist credential from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants by accruing at least 1,400 hours of financial planning business experience, committing to continuing education in the field, and passing any one of six qualifying exams, including those required to a CFP, ChFC or CFA designation.
RIA (Registered Investment Adviser). A financial adviser who has registered with the Securities & Exchange Commission or his or her state securities regulator to manage the investments of others. To become an RIA, advisers typically must pass the Series 65 Uniform Investment Advisor Law Examination administered by the North American Securities Administrators Association, or have earned one of the following certifications: CFP, ChFC, or CPA/PFS.
And to make sure you’re getting someone knowledgeable, search for a CFP at www.cfp.com. If you use a broker, check for disciplinary problems at www.pdpi.nasdr.com/pdpi. And if you want to find a fee-only adviser in your area, go to www.feeonly.org or to www.garrettplanningnetwork.com.
– Excerpted from Lawyers at Midlife: Laying the Groundwork for the Road Ahead (2008). Available from LawyerAvenue Press. Click on Bookstore.
These days, tuition for executive MBA programs run $40,000 (Univ of Florida) to more than $136,000 (Univ of Pennsylvania’s program at Wharton). But do the most expensive programs offer the best return on investment? Emphatically not! This week, the Wall Street Journal published it’s first rating of the five-year ROI of more than two dozen executive MBA programs. Some big surprises: most of the schools that topped the list weren’t big brand names. In fact, the ROI for the executive MBA programs at Wharton, Cornell, Columbia, and NYU all ranked at the bottom of the list! Even Northwestern’s Kellog School of Management ranked only 12 out of 27. At the top of the list were Texas A&M, University of Florida, and Ohio State. Applications for most executive MBA programs are due early next year. Check out the Journal article (www.WSJ.com/MBA). Caveat emptor.
Looking for a house, but waiting for the market to bottom? Don’t wait too long. Five or 10 years from now, when the financial crisis is a story you remember over a glass of single malt, first-time home buyers will look at this moment in time and realize the golden opportunity they passed up. Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages are close to 5.5% now, and this week there are suggestions the Fed might soon drive them down to 4.5%! Pretty good for a 30-year fixed. So good, NY Times financial columnist Ron Lieber says it might be time to get off the sidelines. And if your credit score isn’t 720 or higher, he says, take steps for the next several months to improve your score and qualify for many of the best mortgage rates.
Airline passengers are willing to pay extra to check a bag or reserve a seat with extra legroom. Now, United Airlines (www.united.com) is betting some of us will pay more to join fast-track security lines to qualify for PRIORITY BOARDING. At a dozen or so major airports, including Boston, Chicago, Denver, Washington DC, New York’s LaGuardia, Los Angeles, San Francisco) economy class passengers can now join first-and business-class and frequent flier elites in special “premier” lines for $25 each way … Snow has begun falling on ski slopes, and so have prices of lift tickets and luxury hotel rooms at many big destination resorts. The New York Times reports today that the STEEPEST DISCOUNTS can be found in Rocky Mountains whose destination resorts rely on visitors flying from distant locations. Aspen Skiing Co., says business fall 5-15% this year, and Vail bookings is already off 23% for the season.