WHAT THEY DON’T TEACH YOU IN LAW SCHOOL: A REPRISE : EARLY MORNING STARTS AND LEGAL CHEEK STARTED A SERIES
Back in the dim and distant days of 2017 I wrote a series “What they don’t teach you at law school”. The series also got a lot of input from other lawyers. This seems a good time to reprise the series.
HOW THE SERIES STARTED
It was an early start from York station, to do a hearing in London, that led me to tweet “Thinking of doing a series on what they don’t teach you in Law School – early morning starts is first on the list.” Followed by “Any piece of technology upon which you rely will fail on the evening before you have to get up early to travel far for a case”. This was noticed by Legal Cheek and, before I had reached London, the commentary was online.
THE FIRST IN THE SERIES
I have written several times on the risks, and advantages, of using social media for litigators. It carries risks and advantages in equal measure for litigants and litigators. I should not, therefore, have been surprised when a few tweets from a freezing railway platform at 6.00 am this morning led to an entire feature on Legal Cheek later that same morning. However I have to admit was surprised, it was online before I completed my train journey. I was surprised at the response from Twitter uses as well. There was a lot of useful information in the responses from experienced lawyers and those who had only recently started practice.
The transition from learning to practice is not an easy one. It is even more difficult for litigators starting their careers now with the courts (and people generally) being less forgiving of mistakes. So this is the start of a series where I am drawing guidance from around the world on that difficult transition from learning to practice. I am starting with links to four very useful articles and one video on the topic.
(Incidentally the late starts have reduced. Problems with the reliability of public transport mean that nowadays (along with many others) I usually travel the night before and stay near the court. Still the principle holds…)
(York Station at 6.30 am)
WHAT THEY DON’T TEACH YOU AT LAW SCHOOL: USEFUL STARTING POINTS
Juggling: an essential skill
Seltzer Fontaine Beckwith have a very succinct summary aimed at candidates for jobs.
“An essential skill for the successful practice of law is the ability to juggle numerous projects at once, and complete them all well and on time. Thus, you need to constantly keep your eye on all the balls, while simultaneously focusing on the work at hand. “
Andrea Lee Negroni gives 26 useful points in the Washington Lawyer. All of them need reading and every point is a good one. My favourite quote is:-
“Attitude Is Everything. In every firm, there are people others want to be around and people they avoid. It is all about attitude. You can choose to be positive or negative at work; people recognize the difference. They say one can hear a smile through a phone line, and I believe that is true.”
Sometimes law is not the answer
This gem of information comes from Lexis Nexis Future of Law
“Here’s a tip they didn’t tell you at law school – sure, you need to be smart and know the law (at least a bit) but if you want to get on, you need to realise that sometimes applying a decent bit of standard logic will actually solve the problem. As scary as it sounds (after years of study and training), the law is not always the answer. There may be a simple solution that has nothing to do with law but which everyone has missed – do not be afraid to call it out, you will be surprised at how often you hear “Oh… I hadn’t thought of that!”
You can’t get anything out of a stone
Lawyerist has an an excellent guide, on keeping your job after law school. The tips include:
“Litigators don’t get the go-ahead to sue unless their clients are convinced that the other side has enough assets to make it worth the cost of litigation.”
(It goes on to give guidance on finding things out).
And a whole video on the subject
If you have an hour to spare NYU Law School has an entire video on the subject.