Graduating from law school and passing the bar exam in the state(s) wherein you plan on practicing is a tremendous feeling. You have spent countless hours studying, reading cases, preparing for mock arguments, enduring final exams, and then prepared for the bar exam and now you have passed and are ready to commence the actual practice of law. However, there is an abundance of learning that you have to do because there are many practical implications of the practice of law that are simply not taught in law school. Those that have had the benefit of a family member, employer, or mentor who is an attorney may have shed some light on these points; however, listed below are some practical tips that every newly admitted attorney can benefit from in addition to continuing to expand your abilities as an attorney.
As I have discussed before, balancing your professional life with your personal commitments is a task that takes time to perfect. Your practice cannot survive with just one client (especially when you work for yourself); you will need a large client base in order to have a sustainable income. However, what do you do when there is so much work coming in that you simply cannot keep up with everything? There are a couple of different solutions that you may find helpful to address this issue.
First, and this seems rather simple; hire a secretary or paralegal to handle the administrative side of your practice so that you can focus on the legal and practicing side of your practice. The key issue with hiring someone is that you want someone with experience and hopefully that you do not have to teach them how to prepare a pleading, draft correspondence, or organize discovery; so you have to be certain that you vet the people that apply to work for you and make sure that they are both capable of performing the tasks that you need completed but also in the manner in which you expect those tasks to be completed.
The second option that you have is to find another attorney who may want to partner with you and the two of you can work together. As with any business relationship and as lawyers we all know what happens when business relationships do not work out; there has to be boundaries and rules that are established so that you and your now partner know what each of your respective roles in your newly founded firm are going to be. A simple security measure such as a well drafted operating agreement between the members ensures that there is a clear and decisive understanding of what everyone’s role in the firm will be, how the profits/expenses will be shared, and what happens if everyone agrees to close the firm.
Third, you manage your time and continue to do your job. While this may not seem like a “normal or “practical” solution but it when taken into consideration, it is a very pragmatic concept. You managed your time in law school between studying and working and managing your practice and your clients is no different. You have to simply tackle each task one at a time and just manage your time in the same manner that you did in law school. You have to acknowledge that you may not be able to get to every task everyday. You simply have to focus on one task at a time and complete them systematically. Focus on what is most important (or the soonest due date) and complete those tasks before moving on to the next ones that may not have to be completed as quickly. Remember that you can only do so much in one day and you need to make sure that you do not burn out working. Take time to yourself to recharge and to avoid losing focus and you will complete what needs to be done.
“The opinions expressed herein are solely opinions of the author and are by no means to be referenced in any pleading, document, or to be used for republication in any platform whatsoever.”
This series will continue next month with part five which looks at helpful thoughts about building your clientele basis.
To read part one, please see What Law School Doesn’t Teach You Part One.
To read part two, please see What Law School Doesn’t Teach You Part Two.
To read pat three, please see What Law School Doesn’t Teach You Part Three.