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Three tips for new attorneys

I’ve been practicing law for almost three years and I’ve learned so much. There is much more to learn, of course, but I’d like to share with young and/or new attorneys a few tips I think have helped me grow as an attorney. My list is extremely short and I know there are so many other tips that could be added. I encourage other more experienced attorneys to share their personal tips with younger and less seasoned attorneys.

1 — Take the time to observe other attorneys. When I was a law clerk and an intern I had the opportunity to sit in courtrooms and observe other attorneys in action. I was able to see what to do and what not to do. Since I started practicing law, I don’t have a lot of free time to observe as much as I would like but have found several ways I can get some observation time with my busy schedule.

When I go to court to file something and I have an extra 30 minutes of free time, I will pop into the assignment office and ask if there are any interesting cases going on or sometimes I may even ask a sheriff. One of my favorite things to do is to support my colleagues and spend some time watching them and the other side. As a new attorney, I believe observing others is a great way to improve the craft of practicing law.

2 — Attend trainings, seminars, panel discussions, CLEs, etc. There are a lot of inexpensive or free legal trainings and CLEs offered throughout the year. One of the things I appreciate the most about attending a training class or a CLE are the materials that are distributed. There have been occasions where I’ve used a notebook or a packet I picked up during a training class to help me draft a motion or a pleading.

Another great thing about attending a training class or a CLE is the fact that I have an opportunity to meet other attorneys and judges in the area. I am of the opinion the more people I meet in my profession the better chances I have at becoming a successful attorney.

3 — Seek out constructive feedback. I’ve heard judges say it numerous times: “My door is open so feel free to come in to chambers to talk.” There have been several occasions when I’ve reached out to a judge, after the time for appeal has lapsed, to get his/her opinion about my performance. The feedback has been invaluable and I’m confident that I’ve grown as a result.

For example, I speak pretty fast, especially when I get on a roll. A judge finally told me during one of my follow-up sessions in chambers that I needed to slow down. My 20-minute meeting with that particular judge has improved my performance in the courtroom and I will never forget that advice.

One comment

  1. Mahasin, thanks for this valuable information. I’m a fund of trainings seminars and discussions.