Becoming a lawyer is an extremely difficult process. You must go through challenging, time-consuming schooling and constantly push yourself to your limits. The job does not become any easier once you’ve passed the bar and begin practicing law. Follow these 6 tips to have a successful career as a lawyer.
1. Your Attitude Is Important
Some people are hesitant to work with lawyers because there is a stereotype that lawyers are harsh and aggressive. This is not true. Treating clients with respect and compassion is an important part of the job and a great way to make them feel they can trust you. Whether you’re just starting off in a law firm or a corporate law department, superiors are more likely to advance positive, productive lawyers over negative ones. Never act entitled or like you deserve more, as this is an extremely unattractive quality. Your clients, colleagues, and superiors will certainly not praise you for it.
2. Develop Relationships with Colleagues
Even though your co-workers may seem secondary in your law career, you should spend time developing relationships with them. Having connections with other lawyers will help you down the road both with cases and with networking if you ever want to change firms. If your colleagues invite you out after work, always try to accept the invitation.
Need more incentive to network? Consider joining your state’s bar association or an association for corporate counsel. As a member, you’ll have the opportunity to gain continuing legal education (CLE) credits and the chance to meet an array of lawyers in all stages of their legal careers.
3. Behave Well in and out of the Office
For many jobs, people do not need to worry about being professional and behaving well outside the office. As a lawyer, your superiors will most likely hear about poor behavior and it could directly affect your standing. You represent your law firm or company even when you are not in the office, and your superiors will not appreciate inappropriate behavior damaging the firm or department’s reputation.
4. Take It One Day at a Time
Taking on a career in law is extremely challenging. No matter what kind of law you choose to specialize in, you are constantly under pressure. You will likely go through periods where you feel stressed and overwhelmed by the amount of work and responsibilities that you have. Take it one day at a time. If you do, everything will be more manageable and you will be less likely suffer from lawyer burnout.
5. Embrace Constructive Criticism
Because of the direct impact of your work, it is highly likely that you will experience a significant amount of constructive criticism as a lawyer. As a new lawyer, you will have a long list of things to learn and you will make many mistakes. Learn to separate constructive criticism from comments about your personality or intelligence. Take each piece of feedback as an opportunity to improve and become a better lawyer.
6. Be Kind to Yourself
Self-care is extremely important, especially as a lawyer. You will be in numerous stressful, difficult situations. Sometimes you may become too engrossed in your work, and it will take over your emotional and mental well-being. Every once in a while, try to take a step back and gain perspective. Remind yourself of your accomplishments and potential, especially in moments when you are feeling hopeless or frustrated.