{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "So I was hired exactly 2 months prior to this covid epidemic and as a result it has made learning how to be a lawyer quite a rollercoaster. I’m trying to learn how things are supposed to be but in all actuality, I’m having to be flexible and figure out how things are working at the moment...which is fine, but it’s hard to predict much of anything when you have nothing to compare it to. Being a law student and interning is nothing compared to practicing. Any advice!?", "post_id": "5ec2f73993a12200295455cc", "reply_count": 4, "vote_count": 4, "bowl_id": "5dd755f2232d3e001a6b51c0", "bowl_name": "Family Law" }

So I was hired exactly 2 months prior to this covid epidemic and as a result it has made learning how to be a lawyer quite a rollercoaster. I’m trying to learn how things are supposed to be but in all actuality, I’m having to be flexible and figure out how things are working at the moment...which is fine, but it’s hard to predict much of anything when you have nothing to compare it to. Being a law student and interning is nothing compared to practicing. Any advice!?

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If you have any down time right now, take the opportunity to read your state’s family code. Study it like you studied for the bar - as if you were going to be given a test on it. I did this after struggling for a few months as a new attorney and it really helped my comfort level, not necessarily because I had all the answers, but because I was more intimate with where to find them. Also - it’s okay to tell the client “i don’t have that answer right now, but I will get an answer to you.” I am in my 5th year and there are plenty of times when I tell a client - “you know what, that’s a great question. Let me think about that one” or if I just want more time to really be sure I’ve seen a problem from every angle, I ask my client to give me another day to think creatively about an issue. Sometimes you really do just need some time to sit with an issue. As a bonus, when you realize you really usually can buy yourself time, the pressure eases up and you CAN think clearer, thus having more answers already. As for hearings, you have the time to find the answer before hand by preparing. Prepare the hell out of everything. That is how you learn, and that is why it’s called the practice of law.

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Your reply makes my day! I’m so glad if it helped!! I also wanted to add - the biggest lesson I have learned so far that has helped the most with my confidence is to be myself. I work for a very well known, very well liked, VERY aggressive litigator. She treats people with kindness but takes no shit. She’s extremely concise and doesn’t have time for hand holding. Me? I’m a hand holder! She and I are wildly different in our approach but together we make an extremely effective team. Our clients laugh that our styles are so different, and so do we! But you know what? People always respond to authenticity and quite frankly, soooooooo much of lawyering is managing expectations. It’s easier to do that when you are speaking as a human, not as a “I think this is what a lawyer is supposed to sound like” lawyer impersonator. Be yourself and craft your own style. You’ll learn the law as you go. Study the family code whichever way is most effective for you to retain the information, and HAVE FUN LEARNING TO MASTER YOUR CRAFT! You worked hard to get here and you will do great - just keep going. I think you said your firm is great, so maybe this is moot, but it’s worth saying anyway (just in case).... but if your firm wants you to be an asshole attorney who litigates anything and everything for the billables or otherwise asks you to do things that don’t jive with your integrity or moral-compass - RUN. Do not work for them. Work only for people whose style and ethic you want to emanate. You are learning right now. Don’t let just anyone be your teacher.

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My general comment would be to establish a relationship with your supervising attorney so that you can ask questions and bounce ideas off of each other. No one has guidance right now with Covid and the courts are a mess (well more than usual). Try to take one day at a time and know when to reach out for help/guidance if you’re unsure how to proceed. The supervising attorney might not have the answer but you can work on coming up with a solution together. Don’t discount yourself because you’re new - we’re all dealing with this together!

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