Going into law is a sensible decision. The industry is growing all the time and it offers some exceptionally well-paid positions.
But there are some things that you need to know first before you take the plunge.
Law School Doesn’t Teach You How To Practice Law
You might think that law school would teach you how to practice law, but that’s not how it works in the real world.
Law school gives you “book smarts” but it doesn’t give you “street smarts.” The only way to become a professional lawyer is to actually represent clients. You can study books all you want, but they can never show you what practice is really like.
You Don’t Spend Much Time In Court
If you think that lawyers simply shout at courtrooms all day (because of what you see on TV), then you’re sadly mistaken.
Most lawyers only spend a couple of days in court per week at the most. The rest of the time, they’re researching cases, calling clients, and doing paperwork.
You’ll Become A Writer
Budding law students go into the legal profession believing that it’s all about understanding the law and representing clients. But, again, that’s not quite how it works.
You see, the law is essentially just a big complicated verbal code that tells people how they should live. And, because of this, it is very important. It’s expressed in language, so the words you use matter a great deal.
Becoming a writer, therefore, is part and parcel of the experience. You won’t be writing any great novels. But you will be creating legally-binding documents that have to stand up to scrutiny in court. And that’s a challenge in itself.
You Won’t Become A Partner Immediately
People in the legal profession have to find a training role. They then have to get a position and a real law practice, working with agencies, such as Wegman Partners. Then, after that, they get a full-time salary and the opportunity to work up to a partner.
Don’t assume a company will offer you the role of partner immediately, even if you’re a top-performer. Sometimes, it’s just a question of convincing your colleagues over a long period that you have the skills for the role. Everyone has to “do their time,” as people in the industry sometimes put it.
You’ll Spend Most Of The Day On The Phone
As a lawyer, you’ll spend most of your time on the phone with your clients. And you won’t be able to restrict these conversations to office hours only. Clients will also want to call you on evenings and weekends.
You’ll Take A Lot Of Notes
Remembering everything your clients tell you about their cases is a challenge. So lawyers make a habit of taking notes, even while talking to clients on the phone. You can’t always remember every single specific detail of a conversation, so putting pen to paper is usually your only option. Often you find yourself writing down things that don’t seem relevant right now but become more important in the future.