A legal career can be professionally and financially rewarding. What is also known is candidates have to consider the many challenges that come with working in the law. It’s going to demand a significant amount of your time, your finances, your energy, and your patience even before you reach a foothold in the profession. Before you get started keep these ideas in mind.
Becoming a lawyer could require an additional three or more years of education. There isn’t only course work. Law students are expected to do mock trials, internships, study law journals outside of regular courses, and more. You need to be dedicated. You also need to be ready to assume the financial burden. The lawyers you see in $5,000 suits are far and few between. Ask yourself if being a lawyer means so much you don’t mind racking up a substantial debt.
Do I Have What It Takes?
There are certain attributes and characteristics that a good lawyer has. If you have these or hope to refine these skills, you are giving yourself a great advantage.
- Oral and written communication skill
Being able to convey, advocate, and listen are a lawyer’s most powerful tools.
- Customer service
Lawyers need to represent their clients with honesty and integrity. They must operate in every client’s best interest and strive to produce outcomes to that effect every time.
- Due diligence
Good lawyers know about the tedium of research and confirming case law, concepts, statutes, and analyzing and interpreting the law.
It might not seem important in the conference or court room, but lawyers need to master their hardware and software talents. Legal research software, the Internet, word processing, spreadsheets, presentation tools, email, videoconferencing and more. According to an online llm degree student they’ve all become invaluable in a lawyer’s world today.
- Time Management & Organization
Staying on top of your game is a priority. Multi-tasking, tight deadlines, managing data and documents, meeting clients, billing, achieving objectives and more are going to be critical to success. If you’re not naturally organized, find a way to get in the habit.
Prepare for the Worst
For every reward in life, there can be a drawback. If you choose to go forward, be prepared for stress with client demands, deadlines, billing pressures, debt, and more. Expect – especially in the beginning – to work long hours doing grunt work. Expect to be viewed poorly by most of the public, and evolving technology that’s minimizing the work performed by new lawyers, a lot of which is getting outsourced. This growing practice threatens to eliminate positions for new lawyers.
Stop watching television about lawyers with their romantic entanglements and stirring summations. Being a real lawyer is a lot more than wearing great suits and talking to the press.
This article is from Brooke Chaplan, a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.