So you’ve gotten your JD, passed the Bar Exam, and are ready to practice law. Unfortunately, times have changed from previous years; we’re two years into a worldwide pandemic that’s vastly changed how we view the world. New lawyers must juggle staying healthy while also juggling a global recession and their six-figure debt. Today we’ll be looking at some of the best advice for new lawyers to keep in mind.
Stay open-minded on what you’d like to practice
Pivoting as a lawyer can be necessary for survival. Think of it in terms of entrepreneurship; sometimes, an entrepreneur can change the products they’re selling or even change their whole strategy of doing business when the cost necessary to stay active isn’t worth it. Pivoting, in turn, keeps their business afloat. Maybe you started your law career passionate about being a lawyer but realize later on that you have a passion for helping children. You can pivot to family law, reinvigorating what you love doing.
Think about how you define success
As a new law graduate, you may be attracted to the idea of having a six-figure salary. That may be the reason you decided to pursue law in the first place. However, the quicker you realize that the money you make doesn’t have a bearing on your idea of success, the happier you’ll be. Find things that make you happy that aren’t conventional ways of measuring success, such as a dream job or a particular salary. Your future self will thank you for it.
Understand what you want from an employer
Toxic work environments are too familiar in every industry, especially law. The one thing that you should prioritize above all else is yourself and your mental health. The last thing that you want to do is stay in a toxic environment because you feel tied to your job.
You should also realize your value as a lawyer. You’re not beholden to one law firm like lawyers in other generations have been. Considering the career opportunities, you’ll have as a lawyer is one of the most beneficial things you can do. For example, you may want to start your own law firm, as you’d rather work for yourself than anyone else. Or, you may want to just practice law– in that case, joining a larger law firm can give you the experience necessary to practice law without the billing and administrative work that comes with owning your own practice.
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