Have you ever noticed that whenever a sitcom wants to characterize a successful person they either make them a doctor or a lawyer? It’s almost become a cliche for script writers if they want to denote a high flyer.
For lawyers, in particular, the costs of entry are high. There are the years of training, the long working hours and the relentless competition. But there’s a reason for this. Being a lawyer still comes with a lot of prestige, not to mention the fat paychecks.
The following is what it takes to become a successful lawyer in the US.
Complete High School and College
The US has one of the highest school dropout rates in the Western world. It’s a tragedy for those affected because of the way it affects their life chances.
But completing high school is essential if you want to be a lawyer. You should aim to get the highest grades you can since these will carry you forward to better institutions later on.
Once you get to college, find out whether law is something that you are interested in. Most colleges will invite professionals to come and give talks about what life is like as a lawyer. They may even get you to undertake some legal task in a taster session. Use this experience to judge whether law is something that you want to pursue in the long term.
Have Experience Debating
Nothing builds your confidence and public speaking skills better than school and college debates. The experience that you build here will stay with you for the rest of your life.
But involving yourself in discussions is another way for you to find out whether the lifestyle of a lawyer is a way of life that you want. Does your personality fit the mold, or would you rather engage in something less combative?
Have A High GPA
Most law schools in the US require that you have a GPA rating of at least 3.0. But usually, this isn’t high enough to get into the top colleges.
If you want to receive plenty of financial aid while you’re in school, aim for the highest GPA possible. Again, this comes down to studying hard and not spending every day partying. Don’t worry; there will be time for that at weekends. It just shouldn’t be an everyday event.
Go To Law School
Going to law school is a very expensive endeavor. Top institutions could easily end up costing you more than $150,000. That’s why when you get to law school, you should devote yourself to the course. There’s no point doing what you did at college and messing around drinking and lazing about. This is your chance to hit the big time, so grab it while you can.
Know Your Job
There’s a reason why there are many different types of lawyers. Each field is vast, and often lawyers must specialize if they want to remain competitive. That’s why you’ll find lawyers specializing in truck accidents at sites like www.wlglaw.net/truck-accidents/ for example. It’s all about finding a niche where you can add value to potential clients.
Have High Ethical Standards
Being a successful lawyer goes beyond just being smart, hardworking and knowing your job. It also requires that you have strong ethical standards. You may be tempted to pass up your moral responsibilities in the short term, but this will affect your long term reputation.
Always stand by the Rules of Professional Conduct; it’ll benefit you in the long-term.
Find A Mentor
Building a relationship with a mentor is important for several reasons. First off, they’re able to give you a sense of perspective. Often they’re able to point out things that you hadn’t seen yourself. It’s good to find a mentor who can ask the tough questions that your colleagues might not be willing to ask. This keeps you in the realm of reality and doesn’t allow you to tell yourself stories about your work life and career.
But a mentor is also important as a person to whom you can vent. All of us need a friend who can help us get things off our chest. And in high-stress jobs, like being a lawyer, this is important. New lawyers can find out more about mentoring at supremecourt.ohio.gov.
Remember, asking somebody to be a mentor is rarely effective. Mentoring relationships come out of relationships that you have had in the past. That’s why it’s so important to get to know people really well on your course who can offer impartial advice.
Care For Your Clients
Going through the legal system is a stressful situation for anyone. No more so than for your customers. Great lawyers maintain respect for their clients as they do the law. They always remain professional and respectful regardless of their client situation.
Most people imagine that their careers will follow a linear trajectory. They’ll go to college. Then they’ll go to law school. Then they’ll graduate, get a law job and start making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
But that’s not usually that straightforward. Staying open and flexible allows you to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. Perhaps you’ll suddenly be offered a compelling case that can kick start your career and boost your reputation.
Keep Up To Date
Just like in any other profession, it’s important that lawyers stay up to date. Just as things change in the world of finance, so too do they change in the world of law. Though maybe not so fast. There are also nonstop technical developments in legal software and it’s important to stay abreast of those updates. Some platforms enable you to access your case management information on your smartphone, for example. Staying on the cutting edge of tech has become just as important as staying updated on law itself.
Each year the US government pumps out thousands of new regulations. And that means that lawyers have to stay on top of the latest developments if they’re going to be of any use to their clients.
If you find that you’re struggling to keep up, many states throughout the US offer training courses. Your employer might offer to pay for you to take part in one of these courses to keep you at the top of your game. After all, you’re in this business to be successful.
Photo Source/Credit – en.wikipedia.org