If you aren’t confident negotiating, you should start working on building this skill.
If you just graduated from law school, congratulations! These past few years have probably been some of the most stressful, yet rewarding, times in your life. Now the real work starts! You’ll be building your career as a new lawyer, which means long days and plenty of challenges. You’re probably wondering about what you can do to ensure your success.
Here are some tips to help you as you get started in the legal field.
Never Stop Learning
Being a lawyer means continually updating your knowledge and skills. Letting yourself grow stagnant can hinder your career advancement. Research trends within the legal field and make sure you are up to date on new laws. Workshops and conferences can be great places to learn new things and make connections with other attorneys. Above all, continue to educate yourself however you can. Being an expert in your field will help not only you, but also your clients.
As a new lawyer, it’s important to save money as many lawyers can fall into debt. Make sure you have a solid plan for repaying any loans you may have. A great tip is making sure you have a solid credit score. Obtaining a secured credit card, for example, is a smart way to build up your credit so you can get approved for loans if needed.
Become a Skilled Negotiator
Being a skilled negotiator is a crucial skill for all lawyers. This is one of the elements of your job that will come into play almost every day of your career. If you aren’t confident negotiating, you should start working on building this skill. Remember to be courteous, but firm. Negotiating successfully at the beginning of a case can mean avoiding the courtroom altogether.
Find a Mentor
A mentor can be helpful in several different ways. Connecting with an experienced attorney within a mentorship capacity can help you build your communication skills, find people to network with, brainstorm, and develop your soft skills. Finding a mentor can seem intimidating, but this shouldn’t stop you. Remember that, as with any relationship, a mentorship takes time to develop. You may have to ask several people to mentor you before you find someone that agrees. A mentorship should be mutually beneficial, so make sure you are adding value to your mentor’s career as well.
Be Realistic About Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance is emphasized in many careers, but you should be realistic about this concept within your law practice. Be prepared to work long hours! You may even end up taking work home with you. Don’t feel that your work and personal activities need to be balanced at all times. Instead, approach your law practice as part of a full, busy life. Do make time for the things that bring you joy, however, even if it is just for a few hours each week. Prioritize time with loved ones and be sure to stay physically active as a way to reduce stress.
Focus on Time Management
Time management is crucial for several reasons. Most importantly, you should keep careful track of your time so that you can accurately bill your clients. Managing your time wisely also means that you will be more efficient and more likely to have extra hours to devote to personal activities each week. Make a to-do list every day and keep track of how many minutes you spend on each task. This will also be useful during your yearly performance review.
Setting and achieving goals is key to a long, successful career. Have a list of short-term and long-term goals, and revisit these regularly. You should always be working on your goals, even if you just take a few small steps each week.
Build a Network
Networking can help you further your career by allowing you to connect and learn from other professionals in your field. Join professional organizations or attend conferences to begin building a network of trusted colleagues. This is a great way to hear about new jobs and find people to collaborate with on projects.
Being a lawyer can be challenging, but also extremely rewarding. You’re hoping to have a long, successful career in the law field, so you should do everything you can to grow. Try just a few of these tips to see an improvement in your career.