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How can I become a successful Lawyer?

Hi my name is Carinthia Amaralis, I am currently enrolled in job corps, I'm going to study office admin, It will help me with my business and finance skills but I know that there is more information and I want all the information I can receive to become successful like all of you, please and thank you! #law #lawyer #attorney


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Kim’s Answer

Carinthia,

I suggest you first define what "successful" means, to YOU. I say this because I have watched people who keep wanting more and more and more, never stopping to live in the moment and realizing that by most people's standards, they are in fact, "successful."

To me, success means I am happy, able to pay my bills, put some away for savings, handle unexpected expenses that might come up, take an occasional vacation, etc. It has nothing to do with having the newest car or a house that is bigger and better than so and so's, although it would be nice to have a pool, and a yard guy, and a housekeeper. So, on a personal level, you need to decide what you want out of life.

Professionally, what does it mean to be a "successful" lawyer? If you are in private practice, you will need to have enough clients to support the business, and have them spreading your name around to their friends. Since most cases settle out of court, it means your clients must be happy with the work you did on the way to that settlement. Or in preparing their will, or handling their divorce, etc. Some lawyers work for businesses, some work for big law firms, some do criminal law - either defense or prosecution.

I used to do some work for a lawyer who handled Civil Rights cases. He was very knowledgeable, and worked extremely hard. However, because of how the courts are in Texas, he rarely won. Yet, he is highly sought after to do presentations at lawyer conventions. So, it's not necessarily about winning either.

I realize I created more questions than I answered. I challenge you to work on your definition of success. Then write it down, tuck it away somewhere, and as you progress on this journey of life, take it out and read it about every five years or so!


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Blake Ashley’s Answer

Hi Carinthia,

To be a successful lawyer, you should study hard in college and law school to get good grades. Also, take advantage of internships for experience. Find a part of the law that you are passionate about and learn as much as you possibly can. That would make you a successful lawyer.

Best,


Blake


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Richard’s Answer

To become successful in any field requires specializing in one area. Like medicine, there are so many areas of law that it is best to focus on one. Take all the Continuing Legal Education you can in that field, find a mentor in the area, join associations in that field so you receive literature devoted to that area, and keep abreast of current developments.

To have this much commitment to an area to become successful requires actually enjoying what you do! I recommend becoming an intern or volunteer at various places in your community where you can learn about a field to learn what you might enjoy doing.

Success isn't just being an attorney, doctor, etc. Success is being competent and doing the best you can for your clients. It starts with being your best YOU.

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Charles’s Answer

Carinthia,

I don't know if you are still interested in this question, but just in case I would like to respond.

Qualities that you need as a lawyer include the ability to persuade, write, speak articulately, debate, analyze complex issues, be creative, "think outside the box", and be interested in performing highly detailed work, often with many dollars riding on the outcome. Legal research skills are also important (which you begin to learn while in law school).

In order to be a lawyer in the USA, you need to complete a 4-year college degree, followed by a 3-year law school program. (Some law schools cater to working students and provide a 4-year law school part-time program - generally 3 courses per semester instead of 4 - but you have to attend classes year-round.) You must take the LSAT standardized test and get good scores prior to being accepted by most law schools. And of course in order to be accepted to law school you must get excellent college grades - generally A's with some B's.

Often prospective law students inquire about what college majors provide good preparation for law school. In my opinion, the type of major is not as important as the type of materials that you study and the type of tests that you take. Generally, you should take courses that require preparing papers and taking essay tests, rather than multiple choice or true/false. Lawyers must have excellent analytical abilities and need to know how to frame persuasive written and oral arguments for briefs, court appearances and trials (if you are a litigator) .

Of course a pre-law major (if available at your college) is ideal preparation for law school. But others are also excellent. I was a Government major, and many of my friends and acquaintances majored in History, English, Philosophy, Economics, and other social science programs. Law school students with an interest in the sciences or engineering might be interested in becoming patent attorneys. These lawyers file for patents for inventions and processes developed by their clients, and also defend their clients' patents in litigation against companies who copy the patent or trademark for their own use without paying royalties to the inventor.

Since you are interested in business, I highly recommend a business major in college. That should serve you well as law schools typically offer many courses that apply to business - contracts, commercial transactions, secured transactions, tax law, business law and litigation. Most law schools (such as mine - UCLA in Los Angeles CA) have an excellent clinical program that helps you to acquire "hands-on" skills and experience while in law school. If you are interested in litigation, you can become a certified law clerk in law school, which entitles you to make court appearances.

Best of luck as you continue your discernment process and learn what it takes to make one a great lawyer.

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