Whether you’re thinking about applying to law school, considering a career as a paralegal or legal assistant, or have already committed to this career path, you’re on your way to a challenging yet fulfilling career ahead of you. The legal industry can be demanding, and you will need to be ready to give a lot of your time and brainpower toward the projects given to you. As you focus on the opportunities that come your way, feel inspired by these 5 things to know before starting your legal career.
It’s okay to feel overwhelmed at times – especially as you’re trying to juggle your new career path with your personal life. But take it one step at a time, and the legal industry will greet you with all kinds of people, cases, surprises and changes. Embrace what’s to come and be open to any advice that comes your way.
Here’s What You Need to Know Before Starting Your Legal Career
You’ll have lots to learn and experience, but here are some pointers for you to take advantage of as you get into the thick of your legal career.
1. Pick a field of practice that resonates with you
Between criminal defense, litigation, corporate law, environmental practices or tax law, there are many different avenues that you can choose. You need to find one that works for you and that will keep you interested in pursuing it. Take the time to learn about the different practice areas you can engage in, but ultimately you will want to find the area that engages you and that fits your personality.
2. Sharpen your writing skills
You will be writing – a lot. The legal field comes with memos, briefs, contracts, letters, emails and many more written projects. While you will be up to speed with your writing capability in school, it’s post-law school that you truly need to continue to practice your writing. Your writing needs to be sharp, clear, and careful, and without typos and grammatical errors. Being able to communicate clearly through your writing is a crucial part of your job.
3. Take advantage of networking opportunities
Networking is an opportunity welcomed in every industry, including the legal field. Keep up with your current professional groups and alumni law school groups for any opportunities that may come your way. Take the time to connect with people in your field and don’t be shy about asking for insight into your career path. It could also be a good idea to find a mentor to help you navigate law school and the legal field. Your mentor should be someone who can give you good advice and someone you can trust will support you as you start out in the legal field.
4. Be ready to do a lot of reading
With writing comes a lot of reading. You will also constantly be buried in reading about cases and backgrounds along with the memos and briefs that will come to your office. You will learn about past cases, how they were handled, and all the laws and regulations that you will need to know to focus on your practice. Reading will keep you up to speed and will help you find things to solve cases.
5. Leverage your expertise
You may have prior experience in eCommerce, medical care, or other industries, especially if moving into the legal industry is a career change for you. Use this experience as leverage when you are pursuing opportunities. Your eCommerce experience can help you work as a legal consultant for startups, or your medical experience can open a door to practice law in the medical industry. Your experience can help you build a niche area that can open a ton of opportunities for you to pursue.
Stay Confident While Pursuing Your Legal Career
Times might be tough, and work-life balance might be askew, but it’s important to stay confident and work through the challenges that come your way. If you need help, ask for it. If you make a mistake, learn from it. You will only become stronger and be well on your way toward a successful legal career.
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