Transitioning from Law School to PracticeMost attorneys will have studied at law school, received their JD, and then passed the bar. Some have passed the bar after reading the law, as Abraham Lincoln did. No matter which manner an attorney has entered the legal field, they will often find it very different than an academic setting. Many also find that even internships do not fully prepare a young attorney for their first adventures after their education. Determining Which Way Forward
Many attorneys are unsure if they would like to work for a government agency, an established firm, or to start one themselves. All three can be lucrative options, depending on circumstance. There are few "shortcuts" through this process and ultimately the most important resource for a freshly minted lawyer is themselves. However, some tups can be used to try and find which way to turn.
The Role of a Solid Mentor
Having a mentor that has been through the process themselves can be a major help. When interning, studying at law school, or preparing for the bar, an older, more experienced figure may be able to give you the guidance you need to make the next step. Working under an skilled attorney that has built a career can show you which tactics may work and which do not. The personal experience can also assist as such a mentor figure can tell you hpw their work habits have affected their personal success and raising a family. Their time in the trenches and your youth and optimism can be combined in order to combine tried and true tactics to changes in office culture, precedent, and technology.
Often attorneys will embark on a job hunt intending to get experience needed to open their own firm. Sometimes this takes place in upaid internships, but those already out of school usually try to avoid such accommodations. A short stint with a state agency can help build up a bank account while also helping gain contacts in government. Working for an established firm can also build contacts and show the greenhorn the importance of organizing an office and building a firm's reputation.
No matter what the direction you take on your long journey, there are many that can help play roles leading to your success. Remember to take as much advice as possible and learn from others' successes and mistakes. You represent the future of the legal field and in many ways, the clients of the future are depending on your actions. Don't let them down.
Michael Ehline is a Los Angeles-based attorney specialized in automobile and personal injury law. His years of experience as a former United States Marine and an attorney have prepared him to assist his clients and attorneys just breaking into the field. His firm, Ehline Law, is a chief participant in projects to improve attorney-client relations, including the Circle of Legal Trust, in which Ehline serves as President.