You work such long and hard hours in law school, you might expect some reprieve when you finally have passed the Bar exam and you’re ready to practice law. However, successful lawyers know that is when the real work begins. Some rise to the occasion and others get lost in the shuffle, but you don’t have to be the latter. Here are several tips designed to put you on the path to success.
Find Your Niche
You may first think that as a young lawyer you need to take any and every case. While that may be the case from time to time just to make ends meet, your best bet is to look for just the right niche for you to grow your reputation in. This will allow you to appear as an expert in your field which can help you get more cases and referrals. Sometimes it is more than just choosing an area of practice, but also a specific niche within that area. For instance, rather than focusing on business law, maybe focus on trademarks or tax laws in order to build your skills and your reputation.
Get involved in your community and think of ways that you and your firm can help others. By becoming more involved in the community not only helps with visibility and reputation, but it can turn into a source of referrals for just the kind of business you need to grow your firm.
Think Like A Business Owner
Being a business owner may not have been the first thing you were thinking about when you went into law school, but to be a successful lawyer you may find thinking like a businessman is the only way to create a thriving practice. Learn to treat your clients like customers, treat them with the care and compassion you would want if you were in their place. When clients feel respected and well treated they often become a great source of referrals for your firm.
Protect Your Reputation
When you are starting out one of the major problems is a lack of reputation. As you build your professional experience pay careful attention to the reputation you are creating. It takes years to build of a solid reputation in any field, but the truth is it can only take a few moments to ruin it. Always act with integrity and be sure to protect the reputation you are building as close as you would protect your business itself.
Seek Mentors and Educational Opportunities
You can never have too many mentors when you work in the legal field. Beyond the information they can impart to you, mentors also act as references and referral sources to help you grow your professional network. Never miss an opportunity to further your education whether through coursework, conference or mentoring relationships. These opportunities can help you grow in more ways than one.
Don’t Be Impatient
If you are just starting out it is hard to relax and just take things as they come. Yes, you want to jump in and start winning big cases and making an impression, but the reality is it takes years to build the skills, experience, and reputation you need to be the lawyer you want to be. Don’t be too impatient, this process is something all lawyers go through and it just part of what makes a great attorney. Of course, it doesn’t mean that you just have to busy yourself with the grunt work—you can also find ways to make yourself stand out by networking, sourcing referrals or developing social media strategies to attract new clients.
Being a new lawyer is an exciting, and scary, time for you as a professional. While there are near infinite ways to positively impact your legal career, there are an equal amount of pitfalls that can derail your train to success. With the right mix of motivation and integrity, your reputation will only grow and within time you will find just the success you are looking for in your chosen practice area.