In Dear 1L: Five Guideposts for Your Future Professional Practice, Professors Thomas Stipanowich and Lela Love provide law students with professional advice for their future legal careers. Arguably, this advice applies to new attorneys as well as seasoned attorneys. Many attorneys believe that disputes are zero sum, and that might is right. You know those lawyer jokes? Well, they exist for a reason. Practicing law with integrity and courtesy elevates the legal profession. Spoiler alert – read the five guideposts that Professors Stipanowich and Love share with readers:
Help your clients consider the big picture, and what’s really at stake. Develop the skills of a wise counselor along with technical expertise.
Understand that although law and the legal system play critical roles in our lives, extended litigation is rarely the best way to resolve problems.
Make informed choices when selecting the best dispute resolution process to use, including online options.
Be aware of other human factors, including the biases, tricks of mind, and emotions that may be barriers to understanding and to resolution of conflict.
Be mindful of your ethical obligations as well as your moral foundation and aspirations.
We asked one of our partners, Angela Eastman, if she had other pro tips for law students and new attorneys. She said that the five guideposts really resonated with her, and added the following:
Practice with kindness. A kind lawyer is not a weak lawyer – do not confuse the two.
Hold your ground reasonably and assertively. You can hold your ground assertively while being kind and respectful.
Offer others the opportunity for grace and dignity. Offer yourself grace, when necessary.
Strive to learn and evolve as an attorney. If you are opposed to learning or professional development, then reevaluate your role as a counselor-at-law.
Follow through with your commitments and promises. Honor your word. Be trustworthy and reliable.
Frequently engage in gap analysis. How can you improve or innovate? Are you thriving in your practice? Is your work culture a good fit? How can you give back to the legal community?
Pacific Apex Law Group was founded on many, if not all, of the guideposts and principles outlined above. Our partners are always happy to mentor law students and new attorneys. Please feel free to reach out to us for professional guidance and mentorship opportunities.