Starting out your law career can be pretty intimidating. You finish your schooling and suddenly you are thrust into the “real world” – with no idea or instruction manual of what you are supposed to do. You will learn a lot in the first few years of your law career, most of it the hard way through trial and error (no pun intended).
However, there are a few basic things that you can keep in mind that will help you to achieve success in your law career:
Find a Mentor
Your mentor is someone who has more experience in the law business than you, who takes you under their wing and teaches you everything they have learned. You can’t really seek out a mentor, the relationship happens naturally when you work or study with someone who you look up to. Keep yourself open to your potential mentors are be eager to learn from your elders.
This person can offer you a lot more than a little bit of advice and a foot in the door. Your mentor should be someone who will not only teach you about the basics of law, but about ethics, respect and other philosophical and emotional aspects of the job. Be open to their teachings and they will help you to discover your professional identity.
There are No Small Jobs
When you start out as a lawyer, you will probably be saddled with plenty of small and menial jobs – such as filing documents, performing searches and recording deeds. Don’t get the thought in your head that you are a lawyer and that you are above this paperwork. There is always a reason why you have been given this job, rather than a secretary. Perhaps you are meant to learn how a certain process works, or get to know the details of relationships with the court. There is always a lesson to learn from every assignment, so do them and do them well.
Never Stop Learning
When you finish law school, you will probably have a smug feeling like you know pretty much everything there is to know about your area of law. After all, you aced all of your exams, right? Wrong. The truth is that law is such a complex topic that you will never ever know everything – and things are always changing.
The best way to be successful in your law career is to assume that you don’t know the first thing about anything and to continue constantly learning as much as you possibly can. Always further your education by reading, taking more courses and learning from your experience. Also, stay updated on what is happening in the world of law (for industry news, also check out Lexis Nexis). Having an attitude of lifelong learning will ensure that your career doesn’t get stuck in a rut.
Use Social Media to Your Advantage
There are many benefits to being a lawyer in this day and age – and the internet is one of them. When you are putting yourself out there as a young lawyer and applying for your first jobs, you have the opportunity to use social media to its full potential. You can create a LinkedIn profile, a Twitter account and other profiles, then use them to make valuable connections in the law industry.
You should be networking as much as possible, so that you can gain professional contacts as well as learn about practicing law.
Starting your career as a lawyer can be intimidating, but with this advice you can begin your journey with confidence and head toward long lasting career satisfaction.
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