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Unsolicited advice for law school graduates

Jeremy Rachlin

Jeremy Rachlin

Every now and again, even the best blogger has to recycle his old post topics. Some might say that avoiding reinventing the wheel is an important practical tip for a lawyer to master. With that in mind, and with congratulations in store for our local law school graduates in the Class of 2018, I polled my partners at Bulman, Dunie, Burke & Feld and asked them for unsolicited advice they’d offer to newly minted law school graduates.

I’ll go first. Law school grads should expect to take a winding path to their preferred field of law. When I graduated from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, I knew more those areas of law that I didn’t wish to practice than those areas of law that I found exciting. It was not until I clerked and could see the real-world practice of certain types of cases that I gained an understanding for what kinds of law I really wanted to practice.

Over time, due to market demands and law practice needs, I explored new areas of practice, such as probate and trust administration. If you had asked me at law school graduation if I ever would focus on these kinds of cases, I would have told you that I took estates and trusts pass-fail because: (1) I had the pass-fail to use; (2) people raved about Professor Monopoli; and, (3) it seemed important to graduate law school knowing what a will was.

Now, 12 years out from graduation, I find probate and trust administration cases truly rewarding, intellectually stimulating and the foundation of a major part of my practice. New graduates, if you’re not certain what kind of law you want to practice, give it time. Let your
practice evolve. And remember that life is too short and practice is too difficult to do work that you don’t enjoy.

Dan Shaivitz, UM Carey Law, Class of 2004:

Maintain your friendships. My best friend from law school and the relationships that flowed from our friendship landed me the jobs that have brought me to this point in my career. In addition, he referred me clients whose cases generated substantial revenue through the years. I guess what I’m saying above is ride someone else’s coattails as long as possible. And I would be pumping gas if not for Rob.

Meg Rosan, UM Carey Law, Class of 2006:

A few practical pointers for those of you about to embark on a career in litigation:

  • Know the Rules and bring them with you to court.
  • Call the judge after the time to note an appeal has expired, and ask him or her for feedback on your presentation.
  • When in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask other, more knowledgeable attorneys for advice.
  • Always treat opposing counsel with respect. You never know when you may reap the benefits.

Congratulations, Class of 2018! More unsolicited advice – just what you were looking for! Now go enjoy a little bit of down time before Bar Exam prep begins.

Jeremy Rachlin is a principal at Bulman, Dunie, Burke & Feld Chtd. in Bethesda where he practices estates and trusts and civil litigation.