The beginning of your career can set the tone for many years to come. You can always make changes to the way you work along the way, but things are easier if you get a strong start. For many people, that means having connections in the industry and enjoying support from influential professionals. Though that is rarely something you have control over, there are things you can do to follow in the footsteps of great lawyers and attorneys.
Between getting an education, networking as much as possible, and mastering legal software for attorneys, you will be quite busy. Here are some tips and tricks that will help you become a successful lawyer.
Get an education
Getting an education is the first step towards your career as a lawyer, and it is inevitable. You need a graduate degree to join the legal field as a lawyer. That means getting an undergraduate degree first, passing the LSAT, getting into law school, and passing the bar exam. Once you’ve passed the bar, you can officially join the legal profession.
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Though your professors can’t teach you everything, you should take advantage of the time you have in the classroom. You will learn a lot from your colleagues and mentors at work, but you need background knowledge. Some important skills you’ll learn include conducting legal research, writing briefs, and the basis of US law.
Enroll in a clerkship
Many graduate programs offer clerkships to successful law students. You can apply for a clerkship and be placed in an organization where you will get to experience doing common legal tasks. In other words, you get to assist a judge or a lawyer and shadow them for free. Though it’s not exactly a dream job, as you would mostly be dealing with boring paperwork, it can teach you a lot about the legal field. If you get that opportunity, grab it!
A clerkship can be your first venture into the field of law. It’s something you can put in your resume and cover letter. When you apply for jobs, you will be better off than your classmates that have no experience. If you were placed in an organization you’d like to work for, you can apply to work there full time after you’ve graduated. If you’ve done a good job in your clerkship, they would probably love to have you on board.
One of the best ways to get a job in any field is through networking. You are lucky if you already have connections upon entering the industry. If you don’t, you can make connections as you go. Network with your classmates, keep in touch with your professors and attend events and conferences in the legal sphere.
Your classmates and professors will likely have connections in the field, so don’t miss out on them! Add everyone you meet on LinkedIn, and don’t be shy about your academic achievements.
Technology is becoming increasingly important in the lives of individuals and firms. As an aspiring lawyer, you need to get acquainted with programs like Loio legal software, CRM software, and so on. The former is a tool for proofreading and editing contracts and other legal documents. The tool highlights parts of the contract that need attention and even suggests edits that you can implement with just one click.
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There are other tools like that that you can take advantage of in your practice. Working together with technology will make you faster and more precise. It will take a lot of boring administrative work off your shoulders. Try to get to know any programs you might use before the time comes. This will help you get ahead and save you lots of time. You can be a better lawyer if you can automate administrative tasks.
Practice public speaking
A successful attorney is always an incredible writer and public speaker. In all honesty, you need to be a bit of a wordsmith and master perfect written and oral communication. Written communication includes writing briefs and memoranda, as well as communicating with clients and other legal professionals. Public speaking skills will come in handy when you’re presenting a case in front of people in court, which, not to mention, is incredibly stressful.
You need to be persuasive and present your thoughts in a logical way. You should be able to negotiate with opposing counsel too. Communication is a big part of a lawyer’s work, be it in the courtroom or behind closed doors. Perfect your oral and written communication skills to become the best attorney you can be.
The career of a lawyer or an attorney is incredibly stressful; it’s not for everyone. If you find yourself on this path, here are some final tips to make your job easier:
- Continue to educate yourself even after your official education is over.
- Show initiative when it comes to business development.
- Learn from your colleagues and adopt their best practices.
- Practice in an area you love to make it all worth it!
Photo credit: The feature image has been done by Christina Morillo (WOCinTech).