The Law Student / Lawyer Trail

The Law Student / Lawyer Trail

For people who want to go to law school or who are lawyers, the following is my view of the law student / lawyer trail, or stated differently, the primary steps, time periods and activities in the development of a lawyer.

My list includes 8 primary steps, times and activities. And each step, time or activity will in some manner impact and influence what follows, but not necessarily in an absolute way.  The law is a constantly changing environment – for every challenge or change in the law, your practice, or the legal profession different opportunities develop, and people, firms and clients are always looking for better solutions and results or ROI (return on investment).  And these steps or processes should be a collaborative endeavor because working in silos makes it more difficult to identify and evaluate the risks/uncertainties, opportunities and solutions, and to achieve the objectives and results.

Of course this list isn’t the be-all and end-all, as obviously the primary steps, times and activities can be expanded and tweaked.

Although step one is extremely important and covers a long period of time and development, and what you do in step one will significantly impact whether you go to law school, which law school, and your path as a lawyer, you will also note that step one is the only step, time or activity that occurs prior to the law school application process.

Thus, a tremendous amount of development occurs or can occur leading up to and at the time of the law school application and thereafter.

Of course each lawyer’s trail will be different and individual, and also in some respects similar, but each of the 8 steps, times and activities requires that you:

(1) Develop or learn, and continually learn or update;

(2) Current qualifications, expertise, experience and interests that are needed and valued in the legal services market and are available for immediate use;

(3) While engaging in effective outreach and personally connecting and appropriately promoting yourself with the right people so that they (1) really get to know you or of you, (2) respect your reputation and what you are doing and can do for them, and (3) think of you as a go-to person and want you to work for them or much better yet they want to work with you.

1.  First or step one, the lawyer’s personality, life experiences and education before the law school application process.

2.  Second, as a law school applicant, the connection between the applicant and the prospective law schools.

3.  Third, law student mentoring and career development during law school.

4.  Fourth, law student education, experience, training and qualifications developed during law school including both the academic education and the hands-on practical experience.

5.  Fifth, bar passage.

6.  Sixth, as a law school graduate/lawyer, the connection between the lawyer and prospective employers and prospective clients, including the market need and pricing for legal services and practice areas.

7.  Seventh, alumni/lawyer mentoring, career development and connecting after law school.

8.  And eighth, the lawyer’s ongoing continuing education, professional and life experiences, relationships, training and qualifications throughout the lawyer’s career.

Each one of these steps, times and activities is important and will impact development and opportunities, happiness and satisfaction: because there are different and better opportunities available for you; changes do occur in the law and legal services marketplace; sometimes people decide that they no longer want to work with you; sometimes you decide that you no longer want to work with certain people; and sometimes you just want to do something different.

Thanks for listening.

A lot going on about how law schools are structured, legal education, and legal training – residencies?

Note: this blog was first posted on April 30, 2013, but I have continued to add additional comments and links of interest on these topics.  See also my May 2, 2013, blog post about law schools operating law firms, or clinics, or residencies with law school graduates.

NY Times, To Practice Law, Apprentice First, Click Here.

ABA Legal Education Task Force Panel, Click Here.

Lawyers Mutual, Are Lawyer Residencies The Future, Click Here.

The National Law Journal, article about ASU creates a law firm, Click Here and Click Here.

Is Law School Reform Going to Come Top Down or Bottom Up, Click Here.

Blog post D-Day for Law School Deans, Click Here and Click Here (and this second link has additional useful links for further reading and information).

Flipped learning in the law school classroom, Click Here.

Reinvent the law website, Click Here.

Somewhat off topic, but I thought this was interesting although maybe too simple, The Fromm Six, Click Here.

Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco)