10 tips to new lawyers from young lawyers
The Missouri Bar Young Lawyers’ Section Council offers words of wisdom to new lawyers ahead of Friday’s Enrollment Ceremonies
The Missouri Bar Young Lawyers’ Section is thrilled to welcome new admittees to the bar this week! All Missouri lawyers 36 years old or less or, if older, who have been in practice five years or less, are automatically members of the YLS section at no additional cost. The YLS Council knows entering the profession can be both exhilarating and terrifying, so here are 10 pieces of advice from fellow new and young lawyers as you embark on the start of your career.
1. Preparation is key. Always show up prepared. You may have a case with a seasoned lawyer and feel overwhelmed, but good preparation demonstrates to the court and opposing counsel that you are ready, willing, and able to handle the case as a new lawyer. There are many times that you can prevail over another lawyer just by mere preparation.
2. Be confident (but not cocky). Confidence goes a long way as a young lawyer. Exhibiting confidence shows your client and opposing counsel that you can hold your ground.
3. Be respectful. Respect opposing counsel, judges, and, most importantly, court clerks and staff. The court clerks have the judge’s ear and won’t hesitate to mention if you treated them inappropriately. Speaking of…
4. Your reputation is everything. Don’t let a poor reputation ruin all of your hard work. The legal community is tight knit, and news will spread fast if you are difficult to work with or treat people poorly.
5. Ask for help. No one expects you to know all the answers. Always know that you can reach out to a partner or colleague for advice if you feel you are in over your head.
6. Find a good mentor. Having a mentor is key to your development as a young lawyer. Ask another lawyer to coffee or lunch, or network with them at an upcoming Missouri Bar conference. Pick their brain and ask for advice. I promise, they will be flattered.
7. Play it cool. It can be easy to get hot-headed when opposing counsel is being obnoxious or disrespectful. Cooler heads always prevail. Don’t give in and match their attitude. Always keep it professional.
8. Be honest. Your word is everything. If you lose your credibility with the court and other lawyers, they will remember. Stay honest and accurate in reports to clients.
9. Work hard. You had to work hard to get here, and you have to work hard to advance your career. But don’t forget to maintain a healthy “work/life balance.”
10. Maintain your values. Always stick to your values and maintain your integrity. That is going to lead you to long term success.
YLS Council members will be at the Enrollment Ceremonies on Friday, April 28, to assist new lawyers. Don’t hesitate to say hello or ask a question to council members at the ceremonies. You can also get to know your fellow new and young lawyers in the online connect.MOBAR community, which you will be added to following enrollment. To stay up to date on the latest YLS news, visit News.MoBar.org.
Remember to read these tips for making the most of your enrollment ceremony, which includes information about parking, registration, networking opportunities, and more.
Again, congrats to all #NewMOLawyers!