I have spent 11 years and counting as a lawyer. Reaching the point where I could call myself a lawyer wasn’t easy, nor has it been easy practicing law at times.
When I started law school, I struggled at times. Learning the material I was taught wasn’t where I struggled the most.
I struggled the most with the inherent contrived competitiveness of law school. The stress created by everyone wanting to be better than everyone else and the pressure put on your grades struck me as unnecessary and not accurately reflective of one’s potential legal prowess.
Yet, I was a first-year law student; what exactly did I know anyway? I knew more than I gave myself credit for. I knew that I needed to continue to be me and remain in control of my destiny and not cede that control to others.
Remaining in control of my destiny as much as possible has been essential to my well-being and success as a professional. I wanted in this edition of my newsletter to share some other general thoughts on the legal profession and being a lawyer:
To be a lawyer requires that you have mental fortitude. You need to be able to play the role of the “bad guy.” You need to be able to accept criticism, whether warranted or not. It does not mean needing to put up with disrespect or being treated as anything less than a human being.
You need to accept that you will make mistakes. Mistakes of the small kind. Mistakes of the significant kind. This is okay. You will have days when you struggle. You will have days when you excel. Such is life. To make mistakes is to be human.
You do not work as a lawyer because of an innate desire to get thanked every time something goes right. You are a lawyer because you want to be a lawyer. Being a lawyer is not an easy job.
Regardless of what law school can teach you or will teach you, being an attorney is a journey of lifelong learning. Being a lawyer now means having a degree of tech-savvy.
To be tech-savvy does not mean you need to know how to code or that you must develop the apps you use to do your work. It means knowing how to make optimal use of the applications you use or need to use to do your job effectively for your clients. It also means keeping current with technological advancements that impact your practice and ability to deliver legal services.
You do not need to know everything. You will never know everything. Seek out help. Seek out guidance. Welcome both. Do not fear doing so.
Don't be a jerk. Don't leave your humanity at the door when you enter or leave school or when you enter or leave the legal profession.