Lawyer Dogs

Can a dog be a lawyer? I don’t see why not if he or she passes a bar exam. Admittedly, though, this rarely happens. Aside from Mr. Peabody and Scooby Doo, most dogs aren’t that accomplished. But if a lawyer dog isn’t a lawyer, then what is he or she?

I know that’s an odd question, but it’s definitely one to consider in light of a recent ruling from the Louisiana Supreme Court that said a suspect’s request for a lawyer dog (as opposed to a “lawyer, dawg”) was ambiguous. That meant the police didn’t have to stop questioning him because, apparently, you have a right to a lawyer but not to a lawyer dog.

No, there’s nothing in the ruling explaining what the justices think a lawyer dog is or why anyone would ask for such a thing. Maybe they thought the suspect was asking for a specially trained service dog to cope with the stress of interrogation.

Lawyer dogs, which could be could be interpreted as dogs for lawyers, however, could be a way for your law firm to attract top talent.

This occurred to me immediately after reading a press release issued last week by a legal recruitment firm that included this informative statement: “‘For legal professionals, a competitive salary remains one of the most important factors when considering a job offer,’ said Laurie Chamberlin, president, Special Counsel.”

Apparently, lawyers want money.

Shocking as this may seem, lawyers can be lured with other stuff too. Said the release: “The top non-traditional benefits are pet insurance, back-up or emergency child care, and credit union or loan access.”


A lawyer with a six-figure salary offer is going to make a job decision based on pet insurance?

OK, if the pet has a pre-existing condition, that could make sense. Otherwise, I think the lawyer should have that covered.

The credit thing makes no sense either unless there’s a major student loan problem.

If you’re going to attract free agent talent, you need to offer something special – like lawyer dogs.

Say there are similar salary offers from two firms, but one of them has an office equipped with dogs. Of course, your recruit is going to pick the doggy firm (unless the lawyer is afraid of dogs – then you can offer a cat option).

Or World of Lawyercraft. Millennial recruits can be enticed with the opportunity to join law firm World of Warcraft raiding parties or Call of Duty teams. Or they can be rewarded with booty — say, an enchanted Axe of Cenarius or a Lothar Armor hoodie.

Finally, you know what they say (or should say if they don’t) – the way to recruiting a lawyer’s heart is through his/her stomach. If your firm can offer high-end in-house dining experiences – with periodic cooking demonstrations – you can attract lawyers with high standards.

A well-curated wine cellar will also keep spirits high.

Or you can offer really cool cars.

At least those are things I would offer, but then I’m not a major law firm and I’ve never been part of a major law firm. I know this is uncharacteristically humble for me and I normally wouldn’t say such a thing but after writing the above last week I almost immediately came across a tweet from a major law firm, Davis Wright Tremaine.

This is what it said: “We look forward to many years with our class of 2017 associates! Nationwide, DWT has been ranked #1 for the lowest attrition rate of any large law firm.”

So it may be that the best selling point for a law firm is a record of not murdering their associates.

I think that’s very practical.

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