Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Dear Future Law Student/or Graduate: My 2 cents

Being extraordinarily driven is a common characteristic of one who embarks on the journey to esquire-dom. However, school and real life are two entirely different animals. In approximately nine days all of my friends will find out if they are "competent" enough, as measured by the California State Bar Examiners, to practice law. Practice being the operative word.

In my experience, most students do not place nearly enough importance on gaining real life, hands on, experience in a legal setting. I can count on one hand the number of my classmates that successfully pursued legal positions prior to graduation. Here's the problem: the current economic climate is not conducive to the big firm jobs and careers in the legal field are sparse. The competition is stiff. As a student I recommend that you begin thinking about how you will set yourself apart from the others. In the alternative you will be financially victimized by the indiscretion of all the law schools who enroll people who will never be qualified to make it in this field.

One of my many mantras is that you gotta eat a lil shit to get anywhere in this world. This mindset has allowed me to work with many attorneys, in many law firms. I have connections and mentors and years of real life experience. I will sit for the February bar exam and when I pass I will immediately be gainfully employed. My advice to you all is to be diligent. Sit in on court hearings, talk to anyone who will give you their time and if you have to for free! That way when you are a freshly minted Attorney and you have to prepare a pleading, motion, subpoena, or even do a client interview, you will be prepared. No-one wants to pay to train you. Learn all you can, before you take the bar exam. This will open doors that would otherwise remain closed to you. Law school is not the time to hang out and be idle. Read books about litigation, and LEARN HOW TO DO DISCOVERY! Take an intermediate accounting course, or buy Accounting for Dummy's, learn the business aspects to running a firm, learn about marketing, and fully understand your ethical duties to clients.

So many attorney's place very little importance on properly accounting for client funds, maintaining contact with clients, communicating with clients, and running a business! Take the time to educate yourself. Do not be a slave to Sallie Mae. You can hang your shingle and be successful. Take the initiative to do self study in an area of law that interests you. Talk to court clerks, judges, and your professors. Never rest. If working hard is not who you are then you are in the wrong profession. I wish someone would have told me all of these things. Luckily for me I learned early in life that no-one was going to wipe my ass and if I needed to know something I had to figure it out. I also believe in being the best at anything I do. This can be tiring and the failures that come with this attitude are humbling. I wouldn't trade the knowledge I have now for anything in the world. And when I say knowledge this is relative to those in my exact same position. Clearly, there are many things I do not know and will have to learn by practice.

Don't expect law school to do anything for you. The legal education is worthless. My best friend is smarter than most of my fellow classmates and she doesn't have a college degree. She does have initiative, drive, and common sense. Point is don't be the person the media talks about when they describe what a failure the institution of law school is. It's up to you to make it happen once that J.D. is in your hand.

Best of luck to my friends awaiting bar results. I can't wait to practice law with them!

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